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American neocons delutional attempt to secure global hegemony

From Jesse's Café Américain -- Sitting On Top Of the World. April 02, 2015

News Neoconservatism Recommended Links American Imperialism Neocolonialism American Exceptionalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism  Demonization of Putin The Deep State Predator state  Economic costs of American Exceptionalism
Diplomacy by deception  Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation Narcissism as Key American Value Right to protect Corporatism National Security State Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism
Color revolutions  "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Syria civil war Civil war in Ukraine Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair
Robert Kagan Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Obama: a yet another Neocon       Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?
Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Philippics Hyman Minsky  Machiavellism  Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians  Humor Etc
  The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells

American journalist John T. Flynn
cited from Wikipedia

Like any great country the USA is prone to creating its own empire. In this sense it is not that different from Spain, Great Britain, France, and Germany. The difference is that the USA prefer indirect methods installing puppet regimes and creating "fifth column" within the country. Like Great Britain in the past the USA pretences are global in nature as in "Sun never sets in British Empire")

U.S. global domination agenda is bipartisan. It far precedes 'neocons', as an extension of north America's 'manifest destiny' doctrine, which was transformed into U.S. finance imperialism. For a very frank discussion of US empire see https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YM_MH_Bfq5c

Internally the US dual party structure provides a clever mechanism that is directed toward reducing resistance against imperial policies. Voters are forced to support this system by endorsing one of  two basically equally jingoistic imperial candidates.

The new documents suggest that mantra 'No Rivals' that the USA neocons promote is actually a long lasting foundational trait of this republic, that precede emergence of neocons as a dominant political force. Neocons dominance in Washington just reveals US post-Soviet geostrategic agenda, including its Mideast proxy Israel's new role. According to Wikipedia (American imperialism - Wikipedia) :

Journalist Ashley Smith divides theories of the U.S. imperialism into 5 broad categories: (1) "liberal" theories, (2) "social-democratic" theories, (3) "Leninist" theories, (4) theories of "super-imperialism", and (5) "Hardt-and-Negri-ite" theories. There is also a conservative, anti-interventionist view as expressed by American journalist John T. Flynn:

The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.[16]

A "social-democratic" theory says that imperialistic U.S. policies are the products of the excessive influence of certain sectors of U.S. business and government—the arms industry in alliance with military and political bureaucracies and sometimes other industries such as oil and finance, a combination often referred to as the "military–industrial complex". The complex is said to benefit from war profiteering and the looting of natural resources, often at the expense of the public interest.[17] The proposed solution is typically unceasing popular vigilance in order to apply counter-pressure.[18] Johnson holds a version of this view.

Alfred T. Mahan, who served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the late 19th century, supported the notion of American imperialism in his 1890 book titled The Influence of Sea Power upon History. In chapter one Mahan argued that modern industrial nations must secure foreign markets for the purpose of exchanging goods and, consequently, they must maintain a maritime force that is capable of protecting these trade routes.page needed]

A theory of "super-imperialism" says that imperialistic U.S. policies are not driven simply by the interests of American businesses, but by the interests of the economic elites of a global alliance of developed countries. Capitalism in Europe, the U.S. and Japan has become too entangled, in this view, to permit military or geopolitical conflict between these countries, and the central conflict in modern imperialism is between the global core and the global periphery rather than between imperialist powers.

Empire

American occupation of Mexico City in 1847

Ceremonies during the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii, 1898

Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the idea of American imperialism was reexamined. On October 15, the cover of William Kristol's Weekly Standard carried the headline, "The Case for American Empire." Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the National Review, called for "a kind of low-grade colonialism" to topple dangerous regimes beyond Afghanistan.[20] The columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that, given complete U.S. domination "culturally, economically, technologically and militarily," people were "now coming out of the closet on the word 'empire.'"[8] The New York Times Sunday magazine cover for January 5, 2003, read "American Empire: Get Used To It."

In the book "Empire", Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argued that "the decline of Empire has begun".[21] Hardt says the Iraq War is a classically imperialist war, and is the last gasp of a doomed strategy.[22] This new era still has colonizing power, but it has moved from national military forces based on an economy of physical goods to networked biopower based on an informational and affective economy. The U.S. is central to the development and constitution of a new global regime of international power and sovereignty, termed Empire, but is decentralized and global, and not ruled by one sovereign state; "the United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire, but this privilege derives not from its similarities to the old European imperialist powers, but from its differences."[23] Hardt and Negri draw on the theories of Spinoza, Foucault, Deleuze and Italian autonomist marxists.[25]

Geographer David Harvey says there has emerged a new type of imperialism due to geographical distinctions as well as uneven levels of development.[26] He says there has emerged three new global economic and politics blocs: the United States, the European Union and Asia centered on China and verification needed] He says there are tensions between the three major blocs over resources and economic power, citing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, whose goal was to prevent rivals from controlling oil.[28] Furthermore, Harvey argues there can arise conflict within the major blocs between capitalists and politicians due to their opposing economic interests.[29] Politicians, on the other hand, live in geographically fixed locations and are, in the U.S. and Europe, accountable to the electorate. The 'new' imperialism, then, has led to an alignment of the interests of capitalists and politicians in order to prevent the rise and expansion of possible economic and political rivals from challenging America's dominance.[30]

Classics professor and war historian Victor Davis Hanson dismisses the notion of an American empire altogether, mockingly comparing it to other empires: "We do not send out proconsuls to reside over client states, which in turn impose taxes on coerced subjects to pay for the legions. Instead, American bases are predicated on contractual obligations — costly to us and profitable to their hosts. We do not see any profits in Korea, but instead accept the risk of losing almost 40,000 of our youth to ensure that Kias can flood our shores and that shaggy students can protest outside our embassy in Seoul."[31]

Factors unique to the "Age of imperialism"

A variety of factors may have coincided during the "Age of Imperialism" in the late 19th century, when the United States and the other major powers rapidly expanded their territorial possessions. Some of these are explained, or used as examples for the various perceived forms of American imperialism.

Industry and trade are two of the most prevalent factors unique to imperialism. American intervention in both Latin America and Hawaii resulted in multiple industrial investments, including the popular industry of Dole bananas. If the United States was able to annex a territory, in turn they were granted access to the trade and capital of those territories. In 1898, Senator Albert Beveridge proclaimed that an expansion of markets was absolutely necessary, "American factories are making more than the American people can use; American soil is producing more than they can consume. Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours."[37]

U.S. foreign policy debate

 

1898 political cartoon: "Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip" meaning the extension of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. The cartoon contrasts this with a map of the smaller United States 100 years earlier in 1798.

Annexation is a crucial instrument in the expansion of a nation, due to the fact that once a territory is annexed it must act within the confines of its superior counterpart. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations, "If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."[38]

Prior to annexing a territory, the American government still held immense power through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil.[39] Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of [39]

When asked on April 28, 2003, on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."[40]

However, historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition—imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."[41]

Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, in support of non-interventionism (sometimes referred to as "isolationism"), discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."[42]

Andrew Bacevich argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world.[43] As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.[44]

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.[45]

Thorton wrote that "[...]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."[46] Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world;[47] political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided...by the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth.".[48] Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.[49]

Other political scientists, such as Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, argue that neither term exclusively describes foreign relations of the United States. The U.S. can be, and has been, simultaneously an empire and a hegemonic power. They claim that the general trend in U.S. foreign relations has been away from imperial modes of control.[50]

Cultural imperialism

Some critics of imperialism argue that military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,

[...], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.[51]

International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume.[52] Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.[53]

Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898, "We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"[39]

U.S. military bases

Further information: List of United States military bases

Chalmers Johnson argues that America's version of the colony is the military base.[54] Chip Pitts argues similarly that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggest a vision of "Iraq as a colony".[55]

While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion.[56] As of 2003[update], the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.[57]

Benevolent imperialism

Main articles: Neoconservatism and Monroe Doctrine

Political cartoon depicting Theodore Roosevelt using the Monroe Doctrine to keep European powers out of the Dominican Republic.

One of the earliest historians of American Empire, William Appleman Williams, wrote, "The routine lust for land, markets or security became justifications for noble rhetoric about prosperity, liberty and security."[58]

Max Boot defends U.S. imperialism by claiming: "U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated communism and Nazism and has intervened against the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing.[59]" Boot used "imperialism" to describe United States policy, not only in the early 20th century but "since at least 1803".[61] This embrace of empire is made by others neoconservatives, including British historian Paul Johnson, and writers Dinesh D'Souza and Mark Steyn. It is also made by some liberal hawks, such as political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski and Michael Ignatieff.[62]

British historian Niall Ferguson argues that the United States is an empire and believes that this is a good thing. Ferguson has drawn parallels between the British Empire and the imperial role of the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, though he describes the United States' political and social structures as more like those of the Roman Empire than of the British. Ferguson argues that all of these empires have had both positive and negative aspects, but that the positive aspects of the U.S. empire will, if it learns from history and its mistakes, greatly outweigh its negative aspects.page needed]

Another point of view implies that United States expansion overseas has indeed been imperialistic, but that this imperialism is only a temporary phenomenon; a corruption of American ideals or the relic of a past historical era. Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis argues that Spanish–American War expansionism was a short-lived imperialistic impulse and "a great aberration in American history", a very different form of territorial growth than that of earlier American history.[64] Historian Walter LaFeber sees the Spanish–American War expansionism not as an aberration, but as a culmination of United States expansion westward.[65]

Historian Victor Davis Hanson argues that the U.S. does not pursue world domination, but maintains worldwide influence by a system of mutually beneficial exchanges.[66] On the other hand, a Filipino revolutionary General Emilio Aquinaldo felt as though the American involvement in the Philippines was mutually destructive, "...the Filipinos fighting for Liberty, the American people fighting them to give them liberty. The two peoples are fighting on parallel lines for the same object. We know that parallel lines never meet."[67] American influence worldwide and the effects it has on other nations have multiple interpretations according to whose perspective is being taken into account.

Liberal internationalists argue that even though the present world order is dominated by the United States, the form taken by that dominance is not imperial. International relations scholar John Ikenberry argues

Excerpts From Pentagon's Plan: 'Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival' http://www.princeton.edu/~ppn/docfiles/pentagon_1...
NYT March 8, 1992

Following are excerpts from the Pentagon's Feb. 18 draft of the Defense Planning Guidance for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999: This Defense Planning guidance addresses the fundamentally new situation which has been created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of the internal as well as the external empire, and the discrediting of Communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence. The new international environment has also been shaped by the victory of the United States and its coalition allies over Iraqi aggression -- the first post-cold-war conflict and a defining event in U.S. global leadership. In addition to these two victories, there has been a less visible one, the integration of Germany and Japan into a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic "zone of peace."

U.S. blueprint for proxy Israel's role in conquering a 'new world order' agenda for incoming Benjamin Netanyahu regime, compatible with fascist 'eretz israel' agenda: 1996 A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm

Following is a policy blueprint prepared by The U.S. Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies' "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000." The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy.

1997 A Geostrategy For Eurasia, by Zbigniew Brzezinski [major democratic strategist] Foreign Affairs,76:5, September/October 1997 Council on Foreign Relations Inc. http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/9709brzezinski.h...

much more at http://www.burbankdigest.com/

REBUILDING AMERICA'S DEFENSES – A Summary

"Rebuilding America's Defenses" – A Summary
Blueprint of the PNAC Plan for U.S. Global Hegemony

Some people have compared it to Hitler's publication of Mein Kampf, which was ignored until after the war was over.

Full text of Rebuilding America's Defenses here

By Bette Stockbauer

05/06/03: When the Bush administration started lobbying for war with Iraq, they used as rationale a definition of preemption (generally meaning anticipatory use of force in the face of an imminent attack) that was broadened to allow for the waging of a preventive war in which force may be used even without evidence of an imminent attack. They also were able to convince much of the American public that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attacks of 9/11, despite the fact that no evidence of a link has been uncovered. Consequently, many people supported the war on the basis of 1) a policy that has no legal basis in international law and 2) a totally unfounded claim of Iraqi guilt.

What most people do not know, however, is that certain high ranking officials in the Bush administration have been working for regime change in Iraq for the past decade, long before terrorism became an important issue for our country. In 1997 they formed an organization called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). They have sought the establishment of a much stronger U.S. presence throughout the Mideast and Iraq's Saddam Hussein has been their number one target for regime change. Members of this group drafted and successfully passed through Congress the Iraqi Liberation Act, giving legal sanctions for an invasion of the country, and funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to Hussein opposition groups called the Iraqi National Congress and The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

The PNAC philosophy was formed in response to the ending of Cold War hostilities with Russia and the emergence of America as the world's only preeminent superpower. Claiming that this is a "strategic moment" that should not be squandered, members of PNAC say that America should use its position to advance its power and interests into all areas of the globe. They believe the time is ripe for establishing democracies in regimes considered hostile to U.S. interests and are not hesitant to advise the use of military means to achieve those ends.

PNAC members on the Bush team include Vice-President Dick Cheney and his top national security assistant, I. Lewis Libby; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton; and former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle. Other PNAC members exerting influence on U.S. policy are the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq Randy Scheunemann, Republican Party leader Bruce Jackson and current PNAC chairman William Kristol, conservative writer for the Weekly Standard. Jeb Bush, the president's brother and governor of Florida, is also a member.

Their campaign to overthrow Hussein was unsuccessful during the Clinton presidency and early days of Bush's term, but on 9/11 they found the event they needed to push for the overthrow of Hussein. Within 24 hours both Wolfowitz and Cheney were calling for an invasion of Iraq, even before anyone knew who had been responsible for the attacks.

Individuals who now belong to PNAC have been influencing White House policy since the Reagan era, calling for coups in Central America and claiming that a nuclear war with Russia could be "winnable." Richard Perle is one of their most prominent spokesmen. He and Michael Ledeen (of the American Enterprise Institute), who is currently lobbying for war with Syria and Iran, have adopted a stance that they call "total war" - the ability to wage multiple simultaneous wars around the globe to achieve American ends. Recently Perle commented on America's war on terrorism: "No stages," he said, "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

Members of PNAC are so self-assured they are advancing America's best interests that they publish policy papers specifically outlining their plans, plans that many fear may be laying the groundwork for a third world war. Their ideas are peculiarly atavistic, considering the friendly ties that have been forged between most of the major nations during the past ten years.

Their central policy document is entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses (RAD)," published on their website at http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf. It outlines a plan for American hegemony in the coming years, pinpointing "problem areas" of the world and suggesting regime change of unfavorable governments so that eventually the whole world will be unified under the banner of American democracy.

Already we are seeing evidence of PNAC influence on U.S. policy. For instance, the concept of "Homeland Defense" comes straight from "RAD." Iran, Iraq and North Korea, nations that George Bush calls the "Axis of Evil", are listed together in "RAD" several times as possible military threats to the U.S. There is a suggestion that military spending be increased to 3.8 percent of the GDP, exactly the amount (over and above present expenses for the Iraqi campaign) Bush has proposed for next year's budget. Its basic statement of policy bespeaks and advocates the very essence of the idea of preemptive engagement.

Bush's National Security Strategy of September 20, 2002, adopted PNAC ideas and emphasized a broadened definition of preemption. Since we are already hearing accusations against regimes in Iran and Syria, will they be slated next for invasion?

The document is written with all of the single-mindedness, unilateralism and inattention to international ramifications (with either friend or foe) that the Bush administration displayed in its current build-up for war with Iraq. There is even assertion of the necessity of American political leadership overriding that of the U.N. (p. 11), a policy that was sadly played out when the U.S. invaded Iraq without the approval of either the U.N. or the international community.

Rebuilding America's Defenses

I believe that "Rebuilding America's Defenses" is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of our planet. Since the document is over 80 pages long I have created a summary of its major ideas in order to make it more accessible.

Subject areas are arranged under 4 categories:

A. Pax Americana - outlining the rationale for global empire,

B. Securing Global Hegemony - pinpointing regions that are considered trouble spots for U.S. policy,

C. Rebuilding the Military - plans for expansion of U.S. military might, and

D. Future Wars of Pax Americana - the "RAD" vision of complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

As much as possible I have used direct quotations followed by page numbers so that the reader can consult the original. My personal comments are in italics.

For further reading about the PNAC, see the following articles:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm (Information Clearing House has many excellent articles about the PNAC.)
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2326.htm (this article is followed by a long list of links to published articles about the plans of the Bush Administration influenced by the PNAC.)
http://www.mail-archive.com/brin-l@mccmedia.com/msg12730.html
http://pilger.carlton.com/print/124759

A. Pax Americana

"It is not a choice between preeminence today and preeminence tomorrow. Global leadership is not something exercised at our leisure, when the mood strikes us or when our core national security interests are directly threatened; then it is already too late. Rather, it is a choice whether or not to maintain American military preeminence, to secure American geopolitical leadership, and to preserve the American peace" (p. 76).

The building of Pax Americana has become possible, claims "RAD," because the fall of the Soviet Union has given the U.S. status as the world's singular superpower. It must now work hard not only to maintain that position, but to spread its influence into geographic areas that are ideologically opposed to our influence. Decrying reductions in defense spending during the Clinton years "RAD" propounds the theory that the only way to preserve peace in the coming era will be to increase military forces for the purpose of waging multiple wars to subdue countries which may stand in the way of U.S. global preeminence.

Their flaws in logic are obvious to people of conscience, namely, 1) a combative posture on our part will not secure peace, but will rather engender fear throughout the world and begin anew the arms race, only this time with far more contenders, and 2) democracy, by its very definition, cannot be imposed by force.

Following is the preamble to the document:

"As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

"[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

"Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership" (from the Project's Statement of Principles).

Four Vital Missions

PNAC members believe that there are four vital missions "demanded by U. S. global leadership," but claim that "current American armed forces are ill-prepared to execute" these missions.

"Homeland Defense. America must defend its homeland. During the Cold War, nuclear deterrence was the key element in homeland defense; it remains essential. But the new century has brought with it new challenges. While reconfiguring its nuclear force, the United States also must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action by threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland itself. Of all the new and current missions for U.S. armed forces, this must have priority.

"Large Wars. Second, the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars and also to be able to respond to unanticipated contingencies in regions where it does not maintain forward-based forces. This resembles the 'two-war' standard that has been the basis of U.S. force planning over the past decade. Yet this standard needs to be updated to account for new realities and potential new conflicts.

"Constabulary Duties. Third, the Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the current peace in ways that fall short of conduction major theater campaigns. A decade's experience and the policies of two administrations have shown that such forces must be expanded to meet the needs of the new, long-term NATO mission in the Balkans, the continuing no-fly-zone and other missions in Southwest Asia, and other presence missions in vital regions of East Asia. These duties are today's most frequent missions, requiring forces configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations.

"Transform U.S. Armed Forces. Finally, the Pentagon must begin now to exploit the so-called 'revolution in military affairs,' sparked by the introduction of advanced technologies into military systems; this must be regarded as a separate and critical mission worthy of a share of force structure and defense budgets" (p. 6).

"In conclusion, it should be clear that these four essential missions for maintaining American military preeminence are quite separate and distinct from one another – none should be considered a 'lesser included case' of another, even though they are closely related and may, in some cases, require similar sorts of forces. Conversely, the failure to provide sufficient forces to execute these four missions must result in problems for American strategy. The failure to build missile defenses will put America and her allies at grave risk and compromise the exercise of American power abroad. Conventional forces that are insufficient to fight multiple theater wars simultaneously cannot protect American global interests and allies. Neglect or withdrawal from constabulary missions will increase the likelihood of larger wars breaking out and encourage petty tyrants to defy American interests and ideals. And the failure to prepare for tomorrow's challenges will ensure that the current Pax Americana comes to an early end" (p. 13).

On Usurping the Power of the UN

"Further, these constabulary missions are far more complex and likely to generate violence than traditional 'peacekeeping' missions. For one, they demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations, as the failure of the UN mission in the Balkans and the relative success of NATO operations there attests.

"Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality; the preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these missions demand forces basically configured for combat. While they also demand personnel with special language, logistics and other support skills, the first order of business in missions such as in the Balkans is to establish security, stability and order. American troops, in particular, must be regarded as part of an overwhelmingly powerful force" (p. 11).

On Preserving American Preeminence

"Since today's peace is the unique product of American preeminence, a failure to preserve that preeminence allows others an opportunity to shape the world in ways antithetical to American interests and principles. The price of American preeminence is that, just as it was actively obtained, it must be actively maintained" (p. 73).

"The fourth element in American force posture – and certainly the one which holds the key to any longer-term hopes to extend the current Pax Americana – is the mission to transform U.S. military forces to meet new geopolitical and technological challenges" (p. 11).

"America's armed forces, it seemed, could either prepare for the future by retreating from its role as the essential defender of today's global security order, or it could take care of current business but be unprepared for tomorrow's threats and tomorrow's battlefields" (p. i).

"Moreover, America stands at the head of a system of alliances which includes the world's other leading democratic powers. At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible. There are, however, potentially powerful states dissatisfied with the current situation and eager to change it, if they can, in directions that endanger the relatively peaceful, prosperous and free condition the world enjoys today. Up to now, they have been deterred from doing so by the capability and global presence of American military power. But, as that power declines, relatively and absolutely, the happy conditions that follow from it will be inevitably undermined" (p. i).

B. Securing Global Hegemony

"In a larger sense, the new president will choose whether today's 'unipolar moment,' to use columnist Charles Krauthammer's phrase for America's current geopolitical preeminence, will be extended along with the peace and prosperity that it provides" (p. 4).

"RAD" takes the posture that only the U.S. should manipulate international relations and points out "trouble spots" that may cause future problems, like Iraq, Iran, Korea and all of East Asia. There is concern that several nations might come together to challenge U.S. interests. Consequently any nation that produces nuclear weapons or engages in significant arms build-up will be viewed as a potential threat.

"America's global leadership, and its role as the guarantor of the current great-power peace, relies upon the safety of the American homeland; the preservation of a favorable balance of power in Europe, the Middle East and surrounding energy-producing region, and East Asia; and the general stability of the international system of nation-states relative to terrorists, organized crime, and other 'non-state actors.' The relative importance of these elements, and the threats to U.S. interests, may rise and fall over time. Europe, for example, is now extraordinarily peaceful and stable, despite the turmoil in the Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to be entering a period with increased potential for instability and competition. In the Gulf, American power and presence has achieved relative external security for U.S. allies, but the longer-term prospects are murkier. Generally, American strategy for the coming decades should seek to consolidate the great victories won in the 20th century – which have made Germany and Japan into stable democracies, for example – maintain stability in the Middle East, while setting the conditions for 21st century successes, especially in East Asia.

"A retreat from any one of these requirements would call America's status as the world's leading power into question. As we have seen, even a small failure like that in Somalia or a halting and incomplete triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on American credibility. The failure to define a coherent global security and military strategy during the post-Cold War period has invited challenges; states seeking to establish regional hegemony continue to probe for the limits of the American security perimeter" (p. 5).

Iraq and the Persian Gulf

"After eight years of no-fly-zone operations, there is little reason to anticipate that the U.S. air presence in the region should diminish significantly as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the forces based in the Kingdom nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region" (p. 17).

"In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semi-permanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein" (p. 14).

"Although the no-fly-zone air operations over northern and southern Iraq have continued without pause for almost a decade, they remain an essential element in U.S. strategy and force posture in the Persian Gulf region. Ending these operations would hand Saddam Hussein an important victory, something any American leader would be loath to do. Likewise, withdrawing from the Balkans would place American leadership in Europe – indeed, the viability of NATO – in question. While none of these operations involves a mortal threat, they do engage U.S. national security interests directly, as well as engaging American moral interests" (p. 11).

"In Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, enduring U.S. security interests argue forcefully for an enduring American military presence" (p. 74).

"The Air Force presence in the Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military strategy, and the United States should consider it a de facto permanent presence, even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi, Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S. presence" (p. 35).

Axis of Evil

"It is now commonly understood that information and other new technologies – as well as widespread technological and weapons proliferation – are creating a dynamic that may threaten America's ability to exercise its dominant military power. Potential rivals such as China are anxious to exploit these transformational technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they seek to dominate" (p. 4).

"The current American peace will be short-lived if the United States becomes vulnerable to rogue powers with small, inexpensive arsenals of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads or other weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself. The blessings of the American peace, purchased at fearful cost and a century of effort, should not be so trivially squandered" (p. 75).

East Asia

"Reflecting the gradual shift in the focus of American strategic concerns toward East Asia, a majority of the U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all carrier battle groups, should be concentrated in the Pacific. A new, permanent forward base should be established in Southeast Asia (p. 39).

"As stressed several times above, the United States should seek to establish – or reestablish – a more robust naval presence in Southeast Asia, marked by a long-term, semi-permanent home port in the region, perhaps in the Philippines, Australia, or both" (p. 44).

"In Southeast Asia, American forces are too sparse to adequately address rising security requirements….Except for routine patrols by naval and Marine forces, the security of this strategically significant and increasingly tumultuous region has suffered from American neglect…..Southeast Asia region has long been an area of great interest to China, which clearly seeks to regain influence in the region. In recent years, China has gradually increased its presence and operations in the region.

"Raising U.S. military strength in East Asia is the key to coping with the rise of China to great-power status. For this to proceed peacefully, U.S. armed forces must retain their military preeminence and thereby reassure our regional allies. In Northeast Asia, the United States must maintain and tighten its ties with the Republic of Korea and Japan. In Southeast Asia, only the United States can reach out to regional powers like Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia and others. This will be a difficult task requiring sensitivity to diverse national sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling by the emergence of new democratic governments in the region. By guaranteeing the security of our current allies and newly democratic nations in East Asia, the United States can help ensure that the rise of China is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American and allied power in the region may provide a spur to the process of democratization inside China itself….A heightened U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia would be a strong spur to regional security cooperation, providing the core around which a de facto coalition could jell" (pp. 18-19).

"The prospect is that East Asia will become an increasingly important region, marked by the rise of Chinese power….A similar rationale argues in favor of retaining substantial forces in Japan. In recent years, the stationing of large forces in Okinawa has become increasingly controversial in Japanese domestic politics, and while efforts to accommodate local sensibilities are warranted, it is essential to retain the capabilities U.S. forces in Okinawa represent. If the United States is to remain the guarantor of security in Northeast Asia, and to hold together a de facto alliance whose other main pillars are Korea and Japan maintaining forward-based U.S. forces is essential" (p. 18).

Europe

"As discussed above, the focus of American security strategy for the coming century is likely to shift to East Asia. This reflects the success of American strategy in the 20th century, and particularly the success of the NATO alliance through the Cold War, which has created what appears to be a generally stable and enduring peace in Europe. The pressing new problem of European security – instability in Southeastern Europe – will be best addressed by the continued stability operations in the Balkans by U.S. and NATO ground forces supported by land-based air forces. Likewise, the new opportunity for greater European stability offered by further NATO expansion will make demands first of all on ground and land-based air forces. As the American security perimeter in Europe is removed eastward, this pattern will endure, although naval forces will play an important role in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, and will continue to support U.S. and NATO operations ashore" (pp. 43-44).

"The Balkans, and southeastern Europe more generally, present the major hurdle toward the creation of a Europe 'whole and free' from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The delay in bringing security and stability to southeastern Europe has not only prevented the consolidation of the victory in the Cold War, it has created a zone of violence and conflict and introduced uncertainty about America's role in Europe" (pp. 15-16).

"Despite the shifting focus of conflict in Europe, a requirement to station U.S. forces in northern and central Europe remains. The region is stable, but a continued American presence helps to assure the major European powers, especially Germany, that the United States retains its longstanding security interest in the continent. This is especially important in light of the nascent European moves toward an independent defense 'identity' and policy; it is important that NATO not be replaced by the European Union, leaving the United States without a voice in European security affairs" (p. 16).

"Although U.S. Navy and Marine forces generally operate on a regular cycle of deployments to European waters, they rely on a network of permanent bases in the region, especially in the Mediterranean. These should be retained, and consideration given to establishing a more robust presence in the Black Sea" (p. 17).

Regime Change

Several statements advocating the possible necessity of removing hostile regimes can be found in the document.

"American military preeminence will continue to rest in significant part on the ability to maintain sufficient land forces to achieve political goals such as removing a dangerous and

hostile regime when necessary" (p. 61).

"The need to respond with decisive force in the event of a major theater war in Europe, the Persian Gulf or East Asia will remain the principal factor in determining Army force structure for U.S.-based units. However one judges the likelihood of such wars occurring, it is essential to retain sufficient capabilities to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion, including the possibility of a decisive victory that results in long-term political or regime change" (p. 25).

"America's adversaries will continue to resist the building of the American peace; when they see an opportunity as Saddam Hussein did in 1990, they will employ their most powerful armed forces to win on the battle-field what they could not win in peaceful competition; and American armed forces will remain the core of efforts to deter, defeat, or remove from power regional aggressors" (p. 10).

C. Rebuilding the Military

"If an American peace is to be maintained, and expanded, it must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence" (p. 4).

One stated objective of "RAD" is "to outline the large, 'full-spectrum' forces that are necessary to conduct the varied tasks demanded by a strategy of American preeminence for today and tomorrow" (p. 5). Much of the document is an elucidation of those missions and includes specific recommendations about weaponry, deployment patterns, increased personnel and defense spending.

"In sum, the 1990s have been a 'decade of defense neglect'. This leaves the next president of the United States with an enormous challenge: he must increase military spending to preserve American geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back from the security commitments that are the measure of America's position as the world's sole superpower and the final guarantee of security, democratic freedoms and individual political rights" (p. 4).

"Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future. But years of cuts in defense spending have eroded the American military's combat readiness, and put in jeopardy the Pentagon's plans for maintaining military superiority in the years ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has found itself undermanned, inadequately equipped and trained, straining to handle contingency operations, and ill-prepared to adapt itself to the revolution in military affairs" (p. i).

The four core missions of PNAC referred to below were outlined in section A. Pax Americana.

"To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary allocations. In particular, the United States must:

MAINTAIN NUCLEAR STRATEGIC SUPERIORITY, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a global, nuclear net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, not merely the U.S.-Russia balance.

RESTORE THE PERSONNEL STRENGTH of today's force to roughly the levels anticipated in the 'Base Force' outlined by the Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength from 1.4 million to 1.6 million.

REPOSITION U.S. FORCES to respond to 21st century strategic realities by shifting permanently based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia.

MODERNIZE CURRENT U.S. FORCES SELECTIVELY, proceeding with the F-22 program while increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey 'tilt-rotor' aircraft for the Marine Corps.

CANCEL 'ROADBLOCK' PROGRAMS such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding while providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings from these canceled programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation.

DEVELOP AND DEPLOY GLOBAL MISSILE DEFENSES to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world.

CONTROL THE NEW 'INTERNATIONAL COMMONS' OF SPACE AND 'CYBERSPACE,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service – U.S. Space Forces – with the mission of space control.

EXPLOIT THE 'REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS' to ensure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage transformation process which

• ?maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced technologies, and,

• ?produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition between single services and joint-service experimentation efforts.

INCREASE DEFENSE SPENDING gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually" (p. v).

"In general terms, it seems likely that the process of transformation will take several decades and that U.S. forces will continue to operate many, if not most, of today's weapons systems for a decade or more. Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of transformation will in fact be a two-stage process: first of transition, then of more thoroughgoing transformation. The break-point will come when a preponderance of new weapons systems begins to enter service, perhaps when, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, the Pentagon should be very wary of making large investments in new programs – tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that would commit U.S. forces to current paradigms of warfare for many decades to come" (p. 13).

Army

List of recommendations for modernizing the Army (see p. 23).

"American landpower remains the essential link in the chain that translates U.S. military supremacy into American geopolitical preeminence. Even as the means for delivering firepower on the battlefield shift – strike aircraft have realized all but the wildest dreams of air power enthusiasts, unmanned aerial vehicles promise to extend strike power in the near future, and the ability to conduct strikes from space appears on the not-too-distant horizon – the need for ground maneuvers to achieve decisive political results endures. Regimes are difficult to change based upon punishment alone. If land forces are to survive and retain their unique strategic purpose in a world where it is increasingly easy to deliver firepower precisely at long ranges, they must change as well, becoming more stealthy, mobile, deployable and able to operate in a dispersed fashion. The U.S. Army, and American land forces more generally, must increasingly complement the strike capabilities of the other services. Conversely, an American military force that lacks the ability to employ ground forces that can survive and maneuver rapidly on future battlefields will deprive U.S. political leaders of a decisive tool of diplomacy" (p. 30).

Air Force - Toward a Global First-Strike Force

List of recommendations for modernizing the Air Force (See p. 31).

"Although air power remains the most flexible and responsive element of U.S. military power, the Air Force needs to be restructured, repositioned, revitalized and enlarged to assure continued 'global reach, global power'" (p. 31).

"Because of its inherent mobility and flexibility, the Air Force will be the first U.S. military force to arrive in a theater during times of crisis; as such, the Air Force must retain its ability to deploy and sustain sufficient numbers of aircraft to deter wars and shape any conflict in its earliest stages. Indeed, it is the Air Force, along with the Army, that remains the core of America's ability to apply decisive military power when its pleases. To dissipate this ability to deliver a rapid hammer blow is to lose the key component of American military preeminence" (p. 37).

"A gradual increase in Air Force spending back to a $110 billion to $115 billion level is required to increase service personnel strength; build new units, especially the composite wings required to perform the 'air constabulary missions' such as no-fly zones; add the support capabilities necessary to complement the fleet of tactical aircraft; reinvest in space capabilities and begin the process of transformation" (p. 37).

"The ability to have access to, operate in, and dominate the aerospace environment has become the key to military success in modern, high-technology warfare. Indeed, as will be discussed below, space dominance may become so essential to the preservation of American military preeminence that it may require a separate service. How well the Air Force rises to the many challenges it faces – even should it receive increased budgets – will go far toward determining whether U.S. military forces retain the combat edge they now enjoy" (pp. 38-39).

"A recent study done for the Air Force indicates that a worldwide network of forward operating bases….might cost $5 billion to $10 billion through 2010. The study speculates that some of the cost might be paid for by host nations anxious to cement ties with the United States, or, in Europe, be considered as common NATO assets and charged to the NATO common fund" (p. 20).

Navy/Marine Corps

List of recommendations for modernizing the Navy (See pp. 39-40).

List of recommendations for modernizing the Marines (See pp. 47-48).

"The end of the Cold War leaves the U.S. Navy in a position of unchallenged supremacy on the high seas, a dominance surpassing that even of the British Navy in the 19th and early parts of the 20th century. With the remains of the Soviet fleet now largely rusting in port, the open oceans are America's, and the lines of communication open from the coasts of the United States to Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Yet this very success calls the need for the current force structure into question. Further, the advance of precision-strike technology may mean that naval surface combatants, and especially the large-deck aircraft carriers that are the Navy's capital ships, may not survive in the high-technology wars of the coming decades. Finally, the nature and pattern of Navy presence missions may be out of synch with emerging strategic realities. In sum, though it stands without peer today, the Navy faces major challenges to its traditional and, in the past, highly successful methods of operation" (p. 39).

"Thus, while naval presence, including carrier presence, in the western Pacific should be increased, the Navy should begin to conduct many of its presence missions with other kinds of battle groups based around cruisers, destroyers and other surface combatants as well as submarines. Indeed, the Navy needs to better understand the requirement to have substantial numbers of cruise-missile platforms at sea and in close proximity to regional hot spots, using carriers and naval aviation as reinforcing elements" (p. 46).

"The Navy's force of attack submarines also should be expanded. It is unclear that the current and planned generations of attack submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic missile submarines) will be flexible enough to meet future demands. The Navy should reassess its submarine requirements not merely in light of current missions but with an expansive view of possible future missions as well" (p. 46).

"The Navy must begin to transition away from its heavy dependence on carrier operations….. Design and research on a future CVX carrier should continue, but should aim at a radical design change to accommodate an air wing based primarily on unmanned aerial vehicles" (p. 40).

"To offset the reduced role of carriers, the Navy should slightly increase its fleets of current-generation surface combatants and submarines for improved strike capabilities in littoral waters and to conduct an increasing proportion of naval presence missions with surface action groups. Additional investments in counter-mine warfare are needed, as well" (p. 40).

"In particular, the Marine Corps, like the Navy, must turn its focus on the requirements for operations in East Asia, including Southeast Asia. In many ways, this will be a 'back to the future' mission for the Corps, recalling the innovative thinking done during the period between the two world wars and which established the Marines' expertise in amphibious landings and operations" (p. 47).

Overseas Bases

"As a supplement to forces stationed abroad under long-term basing arrangements, the United States should seek to establish a network of 'deployment bases' or 'forward operating bases' to increase the reach of current and future forces. Not only will such an approach improve the ability to project force to outlying regions, it will help circumvent the political, practical and financial constraints on expanding the network of American bases overseas" (p. 19).

"There should be a strong strategic synergy between U.S. forces overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units operating abroad are an indication of American geopolitical interests and leadership, provide significant military power to shape events and, in wartime, create the conditions for victory when reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the ability to deliver an unquestioned 'knockout punch' through the rapid introduction of stateside units will increase the shaping power of forces operating overseas and the vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an enduring need for large-scale American forces" (p. 74).

"Further, improvements should be made to existing air bases in new and potential NATO countries to allow for rapid deployments, contingency exercises, and extended initial operations in times of crisis. These preparations should include modernized air traffic control, fuel, and weapons storage facilities, and perhaps small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as well as sufficient ramp space to accommodate surges in operations. Improvements also should be made to existing facilities in England to allow forward operation of B-2 bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie rates if needed" (p. 34).

"The Air Force should be redeployed to reflect the shifts in international politics. Independent, expeditionary air wings containing a broad mix of aircraft, including electronic warfare, airborne command and control, and other support aircraft, should be based in Italy, Southeastern Europe, central and perhaps eastern Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia"

(p. 31).

Nuclear Expansion

"…significant reductions in U.S. nuclear forces might well have unforeseen consequences that lessen rather than enhance the security of the United States and its allies" (p. 8).

"Over the past decade, efforts to design and build effective missile defenses have been ill-conceived and underfunded, and the Clinton Administration has proposed deep reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without sufficient analysis of the changing global nuclear balance of forces" (p. 6).

"Rather than maintain and improve America's nuclear deterrent, the Clinton Administration has put its faith in new arms control measures, most notably by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty proposed a new multilateral regime, consisting of some 150 states, whose principal effect would be to constrain America's unique role in providing the global nuclear umbrella that helps to keep states like Japan and South Korea from developing the weapons that are well within their scientific capability, while doing little to stem nuclear weapons proliferation. Although the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, the administration continues to abide by its basic strictures. And while it may make sense to continue the current moratorium on nuclear testing for the moment – since it would take a number of years to refurbish the neglected testing infrastructure in any case – ultimately this is an untenable situation. If the United States is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both effective and safe, it will need to test." (pp. 7-8).

"…of all the elements of U.S. military force posture, perhaps none is more in need of reevaluation than America's nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons remain a critical component of American military power but it is unclear whether the current U.S. nuclear arsenal is well-suited to the emerging post-Cold War world. Today's strategic calculus encompasses more factors than just the balance of terror between the United States and Russia. U.S. nuclear force planning and related arms control policies must take account of a larger set of variables than in the past, including the growing number of small nuclear arsenals – from North Korea to Pakistan to, perhaps soon, Iran and Iraq – and a modernized and expanded Chinese nuclear force. Moreover, there is a question about the role nuclear weapons should play in deterring the use of other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological, with the U.S. having foresworn those weapons' development and use. It addition, there may be a need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements, such as would be required in targeting the very deep under-ground, hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries" (p. 8).

"But what should finally drive the size and character of our nuclear forces is not numerical parity with Russian capabilities but maintaining American strategic superiority – and, with that superiority, a capability to deter possible hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S. nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed of; rather, it will be an essential element in preserving American leadership in a more complex and chaotic world" (p. 8).

D. Future Wars of Pax Americana

"Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission – worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces – it will remain stillborn" (p. 60).

"RAD" envisions a future in which the United States is in complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace of planet Earth. It finds objectionable the limitations imposed by the ABM treaty and urges a newer rendition of Reagan's 'Star Wars' defense shield program. Three missions are seen as crucial.

1. Global Missile Defenses - "A network against limited strikes, capable of protecting the United States, its allies and forward-deployed forces, must be constructed. This must be a layered system of land, sea, air and space-based components" (p. 51).

"The first element in any missile defense network should be a galaxy of surveillance satellites with sensors capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles immediately upon launch" (p. 52).

"At the same time, the administration's devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has frustrated development of useful ballistic missile defenses. This is reflected in deep budget cuts – planned spending on missile defenses for the late 1990s has been more than halved, halting work on space-based interceptors, cutting funds for a national missile defense system by 80 percent and theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the administration has cut funding just at the crucial moments when individual programs begin to show promise. Only upgrades of currently existing systems like the Patriot missile – originally designed primarily for air defense against jet fighters, not missile defense – have proceeded generally on course.

"Most damaging of all was the decision in 1993 to terminate the 'Brilliant Pebbles' project. This legacy of the original Reagan-era 'Star Wars' effort had matured to the point where it was becoming feasible to develop a space-based interceptor capable of destroying ballistic missiles in the early or middle portion of their flight – far preferable than attempting to hit individual warheads surrounded by clusters of decoys on their final course toward their targets. But since a space-based system would violate the ABM Treaty, the administration killed the 'Brilliant Pebbles' program, choosing instead to proceed with a ground-based interceptor and radar system – one that will be costly without being especially effective" (p. 52).

2. Control of Space - "RAD" advises instituting a new "Space Service" thereby escalating U.S. military preparedness "from the theatre level to the global level" in order to achieve worldwide dominance, both militarily and commercially.

"Yet to truly transform itself for the coming century, the Air Force must accelerate its efforts to create the new systems – and, to repeat, the space-based systems – that are necessary to shift the scope of air operations from the theater level to the global level" (p. 64).

"…control of space – defined by Space Command as 'the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space' – must be an essential element of our military strategy" (p. 55).

"Much as control of the high seas – and the protection of international commerce – defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new 'international commons' be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the 'infosphere' will find it difficult to exert global political leadership" (p. 51).

"The proliferation of technologies for delivering highly accurate fires over increasingly great distances poses a great challenge for both the Army and the Marine Corps, but rather than attempting to compete in the game of applying long-range fires, both services would be better off attempting to complement the vastly improved strike capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to future space capabilities as well" (p. 68).

"Target significant new investments toward creating capabilities for operating in space, including inexpensive launch vehicles, new satellites and transatmospheric vehicles, in preparation for a decision as to whether space warfare is sufficiently different from combat within earth's atmosphere so as to require a separate 'space service'. Such a transformation would in fact better realize the Air Force's stated goal of becoming a service with true global reach and global strike capabilities" (p. 64).

"Given the advantages U.S. armed forces enjoy as a result of this unrestricted use of space, it is shortsighted to expect potential adversaries to refrain from attempting to disable or offset U.S. space capabilities. And with the proliferation of space know-how and related technology around the world, our adversaries will inevitably seek to enjoy many of the same space advantages in the future. Moreover, 'space commerce' is a growing part of the global economy. In 1996, commercial United States, and commercial revenues exceeded government expenditures on space. Today, more than 1,100 commercial companies across more than 50 countries are developing, building, and operating space systems.

"The complexity of space control will only grow as commercial activity increases. American and other allied investments in space systems will create a requirement to secure and protect these space assets; they are already an important measure of American power. Yet it will not merely be enough to protect friendly commercial uses of space.

"As Space Command also recognizes, the United States must also have the capability to deny America's adversaries the use of commercial space platforms for military purposes in times of crises and conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become the new 'international commons', where commercial and security interests are intertwined and related. Just as Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote about 'sea-power' at the beginning of the 20th century in this sense, American strategists will be forced to regard 'space-power' in the 21st" (pp. 54-55).

"In short, the unequivocal supremacy in space enjoyed by the United States today will be increasingly at risk" (p. 55).

"As Colin Gray and John Sheldon have written, 'Space control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an optional extra.' For U.S. armed forces to continue to assert military preeminence, control of space – defined by Space Command as 'the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space' – must be an essential element of our military strategy. If America cannot maintain that control, its ability to conduct global military operations will be severely complicated, far more costly, and potentially fatally compromised" (p. 55).

"But, over the longer term, maintaining control of space will inevitably require the application of force both in space and from space, including but not limited to anti-missile defenses and defensive systems capable of protecting U.S. and allied satellites; space control cannot be sustained in any other fashion, with conventional land, sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare. This eventuality is already recognized by official U.S. national space policy, which states that the 'Department of Defense shall maintain a capability to execute the mission areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application.' (Emphasis added.)" (p. 56).

3. Control of Cyberspace - "Although many concepts of 'cyber-war' have elements of science fiction about them, and the role of the Defense Department in establishing 'control,' or even what 'security' on the Internet means, requires a consideration of a host of legal, moral and political issues, there nonetheless will remain an imperative to be able to deny America and its allies' enemies the ability to disrupt or paralyze either the military's or the commercial sector's computer networks.

"Conversely, an offensive capability could offer America's military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner. Taken together, the prospects for space war or 'cyberspace war' represent the truly revolutionary potential inherent in the notion of military transformation. These future forms of warfare are technologically immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear that for the U.S. armed forces to remain preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in the exercise of its power they must be sure that these potential future forms of warfare favor America just as today's air, land and sea warfare reflect United States military dominance" (p. 57).

Strategy for Transforming Conventional Forces

Read below notions of how conventional warfare will be conducted in the future, including the use of microbes and "advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes."

"In exploiting the 'revolution in military affairs,' the Pentagon must be driven by the enduring missions for U.S. forces. This process will have two stages: transition, featuring a mix of current and new systems; and true transformation, featuring new systems, organizations and operational concepts. This process must take a competitive approach, with services and joint-service operations competing for new roles and missions. Any successful process of transformation must be linked to the services, which are the institutions within the Defense Department with the ability and the responsibility for linking budgets and resources to specific missions" (p. 51).

"Although it may take several decades for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and 'combat' likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, 'cyber-space,' and perhaps the world of microbes. Air warfare may no longer be fought by pilots manning tactical fighter aircraft sweeping the skies of opposing fighters, but a regime dominated by long-range, stealthy unmanned craft. On land, the clash of massive, combined-arms armored forces may be replaced by the dashes of much lighter, stealthier and information-intensive forces, augmented by fleets of robots, some small enough to fit in soldiers' pockets. Control of the sea could be largely determined not by fleets of surface combatants and aircraft carriers, but from land- and space-based systems, forcing navies to maneuver and fight underwater. Space itself will become a theater of war, as nations gain access to space capabilities and come to rely on them; further, the distinction between military and commercial space systems – combatants and noncombatants – will become blurred. Information systems will become an important focus of attack, particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to short-circuit sophisticated American forces. And advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool" (p. 60).

Changes in Naval Warfare: "Beyond immediate opportunities such as conversion of Trident submarines, consideration should be given to employing a deactivated carrier to better understand the possibilities of operating large fleets of UAVs at sea. Likewise, submerged 'missile pods,' either permanently deployed or laid covertly by submarines in times of crisis, could increase strike capabilities without risking surface vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the Navy is moving toward 'network-centric' warfare, it should explore ways of increasing the number of 'nodes on the net'" (p. 67).

Army of the Future: "Consider just the potential changes that might effect the infantryman. Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated, climate-controlled, powered fighting suits, laced with sensors, and boasting chameleon-like 'active' camouflage. 'Skin-patch' pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus concentration and enhance endurance and strength. A display mounted on a soldier's helmet permits a comprehensive view of the battlefield – in effect to look around corners and over hills – and allows the soldier to access the entire combat information and intelligence system while filtering incoming data to prevent overload. Individual weapons are more lethal, and a soldier's ability to call for highly precise and reliable indirect fires – not only from Army systems but those of other services – allows each individual to have great influence over huge spaces. Under the 'Land Warrior' program, some Army experts envision a 'squad' of seven soldiers able to dominate an area the size of the Gettysburg battlefield – where, in 1863, some 165,000 men fought" (p. 62).

Comment section added to this article on October 30, 2011

mforza · 48 weeks ago

Throughout this document which is capital in understanding the catastrophic events to which 9/11 was designed to be the detonator, wars of aggression against peaceful nations, total annihilation of nations and civilizations, are coldly described as their aim and plan, with specific methods to reach their genocidal and even biocidal (destruction of all life) pathologically evil

To understand the motor behind this PNAC's genocidal wars, the FILTER must imperatively be removed from our investigative reading.

The key word that is filtered out from the debate, yet it is the elephant in the room, is the very FACT that most signatories of this document are either JEWISH or ultra-zionists, most of them appear also in the Jewish-Israeli documents for identical strategy, a document which invariably exposes the treasonous allegiance to an entity enemy to the USA, of the often dual-nationals signatories to these two major documents. As a few examples:

Participants in the Study Group on "A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000:"
Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader
James Colbert, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Johns Hopkins University/SAIS
Douglas Feith, Feith and Zell Associates
Robert Loewenberg, President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Jonathan Torop, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
David Wurmser, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Meyrav Wurmser, Johns Hopkins University

While it is theoretically of ZERO importance to which racial or religious or national or cultural origins one is, we must have the intellectual courage to recognize that inspite of this ideal we humanists do hold, there is a group amidst us who has departed from us, who by exclusion and hatred of the others has slipped into a degree of pathological mass-sociopathy for whom the aim has become annihilation and domination of what they consider "the enemy" namely all non-jews --

The cross-pollination of racist ideology between their "secular" and "religious" networks, is striking to whomever reads extensively and critically Jewish and Israeli publications and declarations, and compares it to the malevolent activities of the same Judeo-centric networks, foundations, trusts, thinbk-tanks, etc etc etc with often lofty names feigning "pro-democracy" nd "pro-peace" while they are the very radical opposite.

Wars of aggression and total genocide corresponds 100 % to Jewish Talmudic ideology, contrary to all the hype.

Lawrence Wilkerson Travails of Empire - Oil, Debt, Gold and the Imperial Dollar

Reproduced from Lawrence Wilkerson Travails of Empire - Oil, Debt, Gold and the Imperial Dollar

"...This includes the observation that "gold is being moved in sort of unique ways, concentrated in secret in unique ways, and capitals are slowly but surely divesting themselves of US Treasuries. So what you are seeing right now in the supposed strengthening of the dollar is a false impression."... "
"...The BRICS want to use oil to "force the US to lose its incredibly powerful role in owning the world's transactional reserve currency." It gives the US a great deal of power of empire that it would not ordinarily have, since the ability to add debt without consequence enables the expenditures to sustain it."
"...Later, after listening to this again, the thought crossed my mind that this advisor might be a double agent using the paranoia of the military to achieve the ends of another. Not for the BRICS, but for the Banks. The greatest beneficiary of a strong dollar, which is a terrible burden to the real economy, is the financial sector. This is why most countries seek to weaken or devalue their currencies to improve their domestic economies as a primary objective. This is not so far-fetched as military efforts to provoke 'regime change' have too often been undertaken to support powerful commercial interests."
"...A typical observation is that the US did indeed overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 in Iran. But 'the British needed the money' from the Anglo-Iranian oil company in order to rebuild after WW II. Truman had rejected the notion, but Eisenhower the military veteran and Republic agreed to it. Wilkerson says specifically that Ike was 'the last expert' to hold the office of the Presidency. "
August 15, 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain
"We are imperial, and we are in decline... People are losing confidence in the Empire."
This is the key theme of Larry Wilkerson's presentation. He never really questions whether empire is good or bad, sustainable or not, and at what costs. At least he does not so in the same manner as that great analyst of empire Chalmers Johnson.

It is important to understand what people who are in and near positions of power are thinking if you wish to understand what they are doing, and what they are likely to do. What ought to be done is another matter.

Wilkerson is a Republican establishment insider who has served for many years in the military and the State Department. Here he is giving about a 40 minute presentation to the Centre For International Governance in Canada in 2014.

I find his point of view of things interesting and revealing, even on those points where I may not agree with his perspective. There also seem to be some internal inconsistencies in this thinking.

But what makes his perspective important is that it represents a mainstream view of many professional politicians and 'the Establishment' in America. Not the hard right of the Republican party, but much of what constitutes the recurring political establishment of the US.

As I have discussed here before, I do not particularly care so much if a trading indicator has a fundamental basis in reality, as long as enough people believe in and act on it. Then it is worth watching as self-fulfilling prophecy. And the same can be said of political and economic memes.

At minute 48:00 Wilkerson gives a response to a question about the growing US debt and of the role of the petrodollar in the Empire, and the efforts by others to 'undermine it' by replacing it. This is his 'greatest fear.'

He speaks about 'a principal advisor to the CIA Futures project' and the National Intelligence Council (NIC), whose views and veracity of claims are being examined closely by sophisticated assets. He believes that both Beijing and Moscow are complicit in an attempt to weaken the dollar.

This includes the observation that "gold is being moved in sort of unique ways, concentrated in secret in unique ways, and capitals are slowly but surely divesting themselves of US Treasuries. So what you are seeing right now in the supposed strengthening of the dollar is a false impression."

The BRICS want to use oil to "force the US to lose its incredibly powerful role in owning the world's transactional reserve currency." It gives the US a great deal of power of empire that it would not ordinarily have, since the ability to add debt without consequence enables the expenditures to sustain it.

Later, after listening to this again, the thought crossed my mind that this advisor might be a double agent using the paranoia of the military to achieve the ends of another. Not for the BRICS, but for the Banks. The greatest beneficiary of a strong dollar, which is a terrible burden to the real economy, is the financial sector. This is why most countries seek to weaken or devalue their currencies to improve their domestic economies as a primary objective. This is not so far-fetched as military efforts to provoke 'regime change' have too often been undertaken to support powerful commercial interests.

Here is just that particular excerpt of the Q&A and the question of increasing US debt.

I am not sure how much the policy makers and strategists agree with this theory about gold. But there is no doubt in my mind that they believe and are acting on the theory that oil, and the dollar control of oil, the so-called petrodollar, is the key to maintaining the empire.

Wilkerson reminds me very much of a political theoretician who I knew at Georgetown University. He talks about strategic necessities, the many occasions in which the US has used its imperial power covertly to overthrow or attempt to overthrow governments in Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and the Ukraine. He tends to ascribe all these actions to selflessness, and American service to the world in maintaining a balance of power where 'all we ask is a plot of ground to bury our dead.'

A typical observation is that the US did indeed overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 in Iran. But 'the British needed the money' from the Anglo-Iranian oil company in order to rebuild after WW II. Truman had rejected the notion, but Eisenhower the military veteran and Republic agreed to it. Wilkerson says specifically that Ike was 'the last expert' to hold the office of the Presidency.

This is what is meant by realpolitik. It is all about organizing the world under a 'balance of power' that is favorable to the Empire and the corporations that have sprung up around it.

As someone with a long background and interest in strategy I am not completely unsympathetic to these lines of thinking. But like most broadly developed human beings and students of history and philosophy one can see that the allure of such thinking, without recourse to questions of restraint and morality and the fig leaf of exceptionalist thinking, is a terrible trap, a Faustian bargain. It is the rationalization of every nascent tyranny. It is the precursor to the will to pure power for its own sake.

The challenges of empire now according to Wilkerson are:

  1. Disequilibrium of wealth - 1/1000th of the US owns 50% of its total wealth. The current economic system implies long term stagnation (I would say stagflation. The situation in the US is 1929, and in France, 1789. All the gains are going to the top.
  2. BRIC nations are rising and the Empire is in decline, largely because of US strategic miscalculations. The US is therefore pressing harder towards war in its desperation and desire to maintain the status quo. And it is dragging a lot of good and honest people into it with our NATO allies who are dependent on the US for their defense.
  3. There is a strong push towards regional government in the US that may intensify as global warming and economic developments present new challenges to specific areas. For example, the water has left the Southwest, and it will not be coming back anytime soon.
This presentation ends about minute 40, and then it is open to questions which is also very interesting.
Lawrence Wilkerson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William Mary, and former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Related: Chalmers Johnson: Decline of Empire and the Signs of Decay

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[Oct 10, 2017] America Causes War, Sorrow, Poverty - Epic Rant From #1 Russian Anchor (Kiselyov)

Notable quotes:
"... (Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.) ..."
"... When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world. ..."
"... He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations. ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | russia-insider.com

Particularly guilty are the media, because they are in the business of selling this horror show to the unsuspecting public.

Take a few minutes and listen to what this man has to say.

He says it well, and he hits the nail on the head, as painful as it might be to admit it.

Time for a change of leadership, America.


(Full transcript follows below with key points in bold.)

Isn't this how how the US acts all over the world though? They destroy countries, cause civil wars, bring sorrow and poverty to entire nations. Just like that. They seem to not even notice the consequences of their actions. They blame others for everything, and then gloat about being sinless. With this simple, carefree mentality, they can allow themselves everything.

America fines European banks and companies, to punish them for defying America. They impose unilateral sanctions in Europe against those who want to buy cheaper Russian gas, instead of the more expensive American gas. They tap phones and read emails of billions of people on the planet, including the leaders of US allied countries. They arrest foreign citizens all over the world and throw them in secret jail outside of the US. Outside of the US of course, so that they can torture them , without fear of breaking any of their own laws. They plan and execute coup d'etats and color revolutions. They usually time them with the elections in the victim country.

They de facto continue to militarily occupy Germany and Japan . The US has a huge number of military bases in these countries. A base, by the way, is a foreign military force. It directly limits the sovereignty and the ability of the occupied country to act in their own national interests.

They start and execute military operations without sanctions from the UN. They falsely justify their own actions and act on false pretenses . For cover, they gather fake coalitions And all of this is done with that simple American air of naïveté. That same mindset allows them to be allied with what is left of Islamic State in Deir-ez-Zor.

With the same simple-mindedness, Trump threatened to destroy an entire country at the UN General Assembly. The Americans have already announced that they are pulling out of the the nuclear agreement with Iran. Without any justifiable reasons, in spite of everything and everyone. Just like that.

When Donald Trump became President, he received the people's mandate to build a rational relationship with Russia, and to implement a more rational policy in the world.

He wasn't supposed to overthrow foreign governments . Right now , Trump acts in direct opposition to his voters' expectations.

Is there, at least , one problem in the world which the US has helped solve this year? - No.

What's worse, he made North Korea even more dangerous and non-complying. South Korea and Japan are in clear danger now. He has deployed more troops to Afghanistan , but we don't know what he is trying to accomplish there either. In Syria, the US has lost its strategic goals and started to directly oppose Russia and the anti-terrorist forces. He is on bad terms with Turkey, he has scared off Europe, and nothing good is happening in South America, either. Tensions between the US and China are growing. Relations with Russia are at an all-time low.

It's bad enough that the US took over Russian diplomatic residencies, but they are also tearing through them like nobody's business. How else one would label the actions of those agents in our Consulate in San Francisco? Does it mean that Russia must respond in a mutual manner? Perhaps as simple-mindedly as the US does? If Russia did, it would ruin the very concept of diplomacy. What would be next? Or does Washington prefer not to think about that? Or do they? The less diplomacy there is, the less politeness and nice words, the higher the demand for US weapons. That's much better.

It's not like diplomacy is very lucrative. It's about airing concerns, which leads to...unneeded restrictions. Taking the high road is difficult, and the low road is always there . It is coarser, but it does have elements of cheap theatricality.

Take for example what Trump did when he went to Puerto Rico after the hurricane. For appearances sake, he brought his wife along. She wasn't wearing her usual high heels , but specially bought yellow Timberlands. He made the local Americans happy, personally throwing paper towels into the crowd. It looked like one big ridiculous show.

And it all took place on a day of nationwide mourning in honor of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

[Oct 09, 2017] Amazon.com Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges published this book eight years ago and the things he predicted have sadly been realized
Notable quotes:
"... his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall. ..."
"... He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes. ..."
"... One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs. ..."
"... Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country. ..."
"... The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society . ..."
"... He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers. ..."
"... Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets. ..."
"... The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style. ..."
"... Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. ..."
"... Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down. ..."
"... Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government. ..."
"... Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it. ..."
"... Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...." ..."
"... The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. ..."
"... This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials. ..."
"... Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails! ..."
"... It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help). ..."
"... The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress). ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

H. I. on May 13, 2011

This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!

Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.

Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.

As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.

Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.

Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.

The truth shall set us free.

By Franklin the Mouse on February 5, 2012

Dream Weavers

Mr. Hedges is in one heck of a foul mood. His raging against the evolving of American democracy into an oligarchy is accurate, but relentlessly depressing. The author focuses on some of our most horrid characteristics: celebrity worship; "pro" wrestling; the brutal porn industry; Jerry Springer-like shows; the military-industrial complex; the moral void of elite colleges such as Yale, Harvard, Berkeley and Princeton; optimistic-ladened pop psychology; and political/corporate conformity.

Mr. Hedges grim assessment put me in a seriously foul mood. The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society .

He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers.

Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets.

The oddest part of Mr. Hedges' book is the ending. The last three pages take such an unexpectedly hard turn from "all is lost" to "love will conquer," I practically got whiplash. Overall, the author should be commended for trying to bring our attention to what ails our country and challenging readers to wake up from their child-like illusions.

Now, time for me to go run a nice, warm bath and where did I put those razor blades?...

By Walter E. Kurtz on September 25, 2011
Amazing book

I must say I was captivated by the author's passion, eloquence and insight. This is not an academic essay. True, there are few statistics here and there and quotes from such and such person, but this is not like one of those books that read like a longer version of an academic research paper. The book is more of author's personal observations about American society. Perhaps that is where its power comes from.

Some might dismiss the book as nothing more than an opinion piece, but how many great books and works out there are opinion pieces enhanced with supporting facts and statistics?

The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is about celebrity worship and how far people are willing to humiliate themselves and sacrifice their dignity for their five minutes of fame. But this is not just about those who are willing to make idiots out of themselves just to appear on television. This is about how the fascination with the world of rich and famous distracts the society from the important issues and problems and how it creates unhealthy and destructive desire to pursue wealth and fame. And even for those few who do achieve it, their lives are far from the bliss and happiness shown in movies. More than one celebrity had cursed her life.

Chapter two deals with porn. It offers gutwrenching, vomit inducing descriptions of lives and conditions in the porn industry. But the damage porn does goes far beyond those working in the "industry". Porn destroys the love, intimacy and beauty of sex. Porn reduces sex to an act of male dominance, power and even violence. Unfortunately, many men, and even women, buy into that and think that the sex seen in porn is normal and this is how things should be.

After reading this chapter, I will never look at porn the same way again. In fact, I probably will never look at porn at all.

Chapter three is about education. It focuses mostly on college level education and how in the past few decades it had increasingly changed focus from teaching students how to be responsible citizens and good human beings to how to be successful, profit seeking, career obsessed corporate/government drones. The students are taught that making money and career building are the only thing that matters. This results in professionals who put greed and selfishness above everything else and mindlessly serve a system that destroys the society and the whole planet. And when they are faced with problems (like the current economic crisis) and evidence that the system is broken, rather than rethink their paradigm and consider that perhaps they were wrong, they retreat further into old thinking in search of ways to reinforce the (broken) system and keep it going.
Chapter four is my favorite. It is about positive thinking. As someone who lives with a family member who feeds me positive thinking crap at breakfast, lunch and supper, I enjoyed this chapter very much. For those rare lucky few who do not know what positive thinking is, it can be broadly defined as a belief that whatever happens to us in life, it happens because we "attracted" it to ourselves. Think about it as karma that affects us not in the next life, but in this one. The movement believes that our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect reality. By assuming happy, positive outlook on life, we can affect reality and make good things happen to us.

Followers of positive thinking are encouraged/required to purge all negative emotions, never question the bad things that happen to them and focus on thinking happy thoughts. Positive thinking is currently promoted by corporations and to lesser extent governments to keep employees in line. They are rendered docile and obedient, don't make waves (like fight for better pay and working conditions) and, when fired, take it calmly with a smile and never question corporate culture.

Chapter five is about American politics and how the government and the politicians had sold themselves out to corporations and business. It is about imperialism and how the government helps the corporations loot the country while foreign wars are started under the pretext of defense and patriotism, but their real purpose is to loot the foreign lands and fill the coffers of war profiteers. If allowed to continue, this system will result in totalitarianism and ecological apocalypse.

I have some objections with this chapter. While I completely agree about the current state of American politics, the author makes a claim that this is a relatively recent development dating roughly to the Vietnam War. Before that, especially in the 1950s, things were much better. Or at least they were for the white men. (The author does admit that 1950s were not all that great to blacks, women or homosexuals.)

While things might have gotten very bad in the last few decades, politicians and governments have always been more at the service of Big Money rather than the common people.

And Vietnam was not the first imperialistic American war. What about the conquest of Cuba and Philippines at the turn of the 20th century? And about all those American "adventures" in South America in the 19th century. And what about the westward expansion and extermination of Native Americans that started the moment the first colonists set their foot on the continent?

But this is a minor issue. My biggest issue with the book is that it is a powerful denunciation, but it does not offer much in terms of suggestions on how to fix the problems it is decrying. Criticizing is good and necessary, but offering solutions is even more important. You can criticize all you want, but if you cannot suggest something better, then the old system will stay in place.

The author does write at the end a powerful, tear inducing essay on how love conquers all and that no totalitarian regime, no matter how powerful and oppressive, had ever managed to crush hope, love and the human spirit. Love, in the end, conquers all.

That is absolutely true. But what does it mean in practice? That we must keep loving and doing good? Of course we must, but some concrete, practical examples of what to do would be welcome.

By Richard Joltes on July 18, 2016
An excellent and sobering view at the decline of reason and literacy in modern society

This is an absolutely superb work that documents how our society has been subverted by spectacle, glitz, celebrity, and the obsession with "fame" at the expense of reality, literacy, reason, and actual ability. Hedges lays it all out in a very clear and thought provoking style, using real world examples like pro wrestling and celebrity oriented programming to showcase how severely our society has declined from a forward thinking, literate one into a mass of tribes obsessed with stardom and money.

Even better is that the author's style is approachable and non judgemental. This isn't an academic talking down to the masses, but a very solid reporter presenting findings in an accurate, logical style.

Every American should read this, and then consider whether to buy that glossy celebrity oriented magazine or watch that "I want to be a millionaire" show. The lifestyle and choices being promoted by the media, credit card companies, and by the celebrity culture in general, are toxic and a danger to our society's future.

By Jeffrey Swystun on June 29, 2011
What does the contemporary self want?

The various ills impacting society graphically painted by Chris Hedges are attributed to a lack of literacy. However, it is much more complex, layered, and inter-related. By examining literacy, love, wisdom, happiness, and the current state of America, the author sets out to convince the reader that our world is intellectually crumbling. He picks aspects of our society that clearly offer questionable value: professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry (which is provided in bizarre repetitive graphic detail), gambling, conspicuous consumption, and biased news reporting to name a few.

The front of the end of the book was the most compelling. Especially when Hedges strays into near conspiracy with comments such as this: "Those who manipulate the shadows that dominate our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for illusion. The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style.

What resonated most in the book is a passage taken from William Deresiewicz's essay The End of Solitude: "What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge -- broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider -- the two cultures betray a common impulse.

Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves -- by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility."

Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down.

This is definitely a provocative contribution and damning analysis of our society that would be a great choice for a book club. It would promote lively debate as conclusions and solutions are not easily reached.

By S. Arch on July 10, 2011
A book that needs to be read, even if it's only half true.

Empire of Illusion might be the most depressing book I've ever read. Why? Because it predicts the collapse of America and almost every word of it rings true.

I don't know if there's really anything new here; many of the ideas Hedges puts forth have been floating around in the neglected dark corners of our national discourse, but Hedges drags them all out into the daylight. Just about every social/cultural/economic/political ill you can think of is mentioned at some point in the text and laid at the feet of the villains whose insatiable greed has destroyed this once-great country. Hedges is bold. He predicts nothing less than the end of America. Indeed, he claims America has already ended. The American Dream is nothing more than an illusion being propped up by wealthy elites obsessed with power and the preservation of their lifestyle, a blind academia that has forgotten how to critique authority, and a government that is nothing more than the puppet of corporations. Meanwhile, mindless entertainments and a compliant news media divert and mislead the working and middle classes so they don't even notice that they are being raped to death by the power-elite and the corporations.

(Don't misunderstand. This is no crack-pot conspiracy theory. It's not about secret quasi-mystical cabals attempting world domination. Rather, Hedges paints a credible picture of our culture in a state of moral and intellectual decay, and leaders corrupted by power and greed who have ceased to act in the public interest.)

At times Hedges seems to be ranting and accusing without providing evidence or examples to substantiate his claims. But that might only be because his claims have already been substantiated individually elsewhere, and Hedges's purpose here is a kind of grand synthesis of many critical ideas. Indeed, an exhaustive analysis of all the issues he brings forth would require volumes rather than a single book. In any case, I challenge anyone to read this book, look around honestly at what's happening in America, and conclude that Hedges is wrong.

One final note: this book is not for the squeamish. The chapter about pornography is brutally explicit. Still, I think it is an important book, and it would be good if a lot more people would read it, discuss it, and thereby become dis-illusioned.

By Bruce E. McLeod Jr. on February 11, 2012
Thorough and illuminating

Chris Hedges book, "Empire of Illusion" is a stinging assessment and vivid indictment of America's political and educational systems; a well-told story. I agree with his views but wonder how they can be reversed or transformed given the economic hegemony of the corporations and the weight of the entrenched political parties. Very few solutions were provided.

Corporations will continue to have a presence and set standards within the halls of educational and governmental institutions with impunity. Limited monetary measures, other than governmental, exist for public educational institutions, both secondary and post-secondary. Historically, Roman and Greek political elitists operated in a similar manner and may have set standards for today's plutocracy. Plebeian societies were helpless and powerless, with few options, to enact change against the political establishment. Given the current conditions, America is on a downward spiral to chaos.

His book is a clarion call for action. Parents and teachers have warned repeatedly that too much emphasis is placed on athletic programs at the expense of academics. Educational panels, books and other experts have done little to reform the system and its intransigent administrators.

Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government.

Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it.

They continue to be hood-winked by politicians using uncontested "sound bites" and "racially-coded" phrases to persuade voters.

Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...."

The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. This is further exemplified by Jay Leno's version of "Jaywalking". On the streets, he randomly selects passersby to interview, which seems to validate much of these charges.

We are all culpable. We are further susceptible to illusions. John Locke said, "Government receives its just powers from the consent of the governed".

This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials.

Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails!

By Richard Steiger on January 14, 2012
Powerful in spite of itself

There are many flaws with Hedges' book. For one thing, he is given to writing sermons (his father was a minister), hurling down denunciations in the manner of the prophet Amos. The book also tends to be repetitious, as Hedges makes the same general statements over and over. It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help).

His last-second "happy ending" (something like: we're all doomed, but eventually, somewhere down the line, love will prevail beacuse it's ultimately the strongest power on earth) is, to say the least, unconvincing.

SO why am I recommending this book? Because in spite of its flaws (and maybe even because of them), this is a powerful depiction of the state of American society. The book does get to you in its somewhat clumsy way.

The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress).

This book will not exactly cheer you up, but at least it will give you an understanding of where we are (and where we're heading).

[Oct 01, 2017] Gaius Publius The American Flag and What It Stands For

Oct 01, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Yves Smith By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

A scene from the Hard Hat Riot, March 8, 1970 ( source )

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
-- " The Stars-Spangled Banner "

Bottom line first. The main point of this piece is -- we should stop pretending.

In light of the recent protests by black athletes during the playing of "The Stars Spangled Banner" before football games -- the "stars-spangled banner" being the American flag, so-named in Francis Scott Key's memorable (and musically deficient) American national anthem -- it seems fair to ask, What does the American flag stand for?

Let me offer several answers.

A Symbol of Abolition and Militarily Forced Unity

During the Civil War, the American flag went from being a simple banner to a powerful symbol of the Union (and the union) cause (my emphasis throughout):

The modern meaning of the flag was forged in December 1860, when Major Robert Anderson moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Author Adam Goodheart argues this was the opening move of the American Civil War , and the flag was used throughout northern states to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism . [emphasis added]

In the prologue to his book 1861 , Goodheart writes:

Before that day [in December 1860], the flag had served mostly as a military ensign or a convenient marking of American territory, flown from forts, embassies, and ships, and displayed on special occasions like American Independence day. But in the weeks after Major Anderson's surprising stand, it became something different. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes flew -- as it does today, and especially as it did after the September 11 attacks in 2001 -- from houses, from storefronts, from churches; above the village greens and college quads. For the first time American flags were mass-produced rather than individually stitched and even so, manufacturers could not keep up with demand. As the long winter of 1861 turned into spring, that old flag meant something new. The abstraction of the Union cause was transfigured into a physical thing: strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for .

Note two things about this transformation from flag to symbol. First, it represents military conquest -- originally the reconquest of the South, "strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for."

Second, those conquests are always presented as defensive -- in this case, "preserving the Union" as opposed to re-annexing territory whose inhabitants were exercising, however good or ill their reasons, the right of self-determination, a prime example of which was the nation's own Revolutionary War of 1776.

The Flag of a Warrior Nation

To expand the second point: We like to think of our warrior nation's wars as fought in defense -- with the flag representing that brave defensive posture -- but I can't think of a single defensive war after the War of 1776, save World War II (a war whose causative attack, some historians argue, we invited).

The War of 1812 was, in large part, a failed U.S. attempt to annex Canada while the British were tied up with Napoleon on the European continent (see also below). The Mexican American War was fought, ultimately, as a result of a dispute over Texas, which had seceded (irony alert) from Mexico and was subsequently welcomed into the U.S. In other words, a war of territorial expansion.

In the Civil War, the U.S. government took the position of the government of Mexico a decade and a half earlier and fought to disallow the secession of Southern states from the national government. One could call that war, among other things, a war to retain territory. Of course, the Civil War was also a war to abolish slavery, but that entirely moral motive came relatively late in the discussion .

The Spanish-American War was also a war of territorial expansion, as Gore Vidal, among many others, so well elucidated . Out of that war, along with other possessions, we acquired the Spanish-speaking island of Puerto Rico, which we're now mightily abusing.

World War I was certainly not a defensive war, whatever else it was. The sinking of the Lusitania , for example, owed as much to American banking and industrial support France and England and the resultant German blockade of England, one that ships carrying U.S-sourced war matériel refused to honor, as it owed to the barbarity of "the Hun," however propagandistically that attack was later portrayed.

Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were products of U.S. intervention into the Cold War in Asia, though with some differences. In Korea, the U.S. was helping South Korea (a post-World War II created nation ) repel an invasion from North Korea (a similarly created nation).

In Vietnam, the U.S. and its World War II allies violated an agreement with Ho Chi Minh, who had fought with them against the Japanese, not to return Vietnam, his homeland, to French colonial rule. Vietnam was returned to the French, however, and Ho went back to war. He defeated the French in 1954, Vietnam was temporarily partitioned so the defeated French could evacuate, and unifying elections were set for 1956. Realizing that Ho Chi Minh would win overwhelmingly, the U.S. under Secretary of State John Foster Dulles allowed Vietnam south of the demilitarized zone to be declared a separate nation , and Ho again went back to war, with results that are with us today.

It goes without saying that neither of the Iraq wars were defensive, nor are the multiple places in the Middle East with insurrections we are currently bombing, droning, or supporting those (the Saudis, for example) who are doing both with our help.

What does the American flag stand for, militarily? Certainly not defending the nation from attack, since we've so rarely had to do it. Our enemies would say it stands for national aggression. Which leads to the next point.

A Symbol of National Obedience

Take a look at the image at the top. During the Nixon era, enemies of Vietnam War protestors and draft dodgers appropriated the flag as a symbol of their own aggression and anger -- anger at "the hippies"; at free love (which to a man they envied); at "unpatriotic" protests against the nation's wrongdoing; at anything and anyone who didn't rejoice, in essence, in the macho, patriarchic, authoritarian demands for obedience to right-wing leaders like Richard Nixon.

That's not an overstatement, and everyone reading this knows it, given just a little thought. Why do cops wear flags on their uniforms, for example, but not nurses? Ignore the cover-story explanations and ask, is it "national pride" and patriotism the police are expressing, or something closer to the authoritarian anger shown in the image above?

To the Black Lives Matter movement, the answer is obvious. Thus it should be to the rest of us. The obvious reason why cops wear flags is rarely stated though, so I won't say more of it here, except to add the following: The complaint against football players who "took a knee" in protest to American racism -- perpetrated in large part by aggressive, race-angry, flag-decorated police -- is that they don't "honor the flag" and what it represents.

Perhaps, unknowingly, that's exactly what they're doing.

So we're back to the question -- what does the American flag represent beyond its meaning as a heraldic device? What does the American flag stand for?

The answer, of course, is all of the above. Again: all of the above. We should stop pretending.

"The Stars Spangled Banner"

Which brings us back to Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem. Jonathan Schwartz (of A Tiny Revolution ) astutely writes this at The Intercept in a piece subtitled "The National Anthem is a Celebration of Slavery":

Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Twitter then went predictably nuts , with at least one 49ers fan burning Kaepernick's jersey .

Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner." Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.

Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you'll see why "The Star-Spangled Banner" is not just a musical atrocity, it's an intellectual and moral one, too:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

"The Star-Spangled Banner," Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don't ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.

And about those slaves

[O]ne of the key tactics behind the British military's success was its active recruitment of American slaves.

Whole families found their way to the ships of the British, who accepted everyone and pledged no one would be given back to their "owners." Adult men were trained to create a regiment called the Colonial Marines, who participated in many of the most important battles, including the August 1814 raid on Washington .

So when Key penned "No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave," he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who'd freed themselves . His perspective may have been affected by the fact he owned several slaves himself .

Thus we come full circle, from the Hard Hat Riot by those who would morph from "Silent Majority" into "Reagan Democrats" and then form part of the Donald Trump base (the racist part), to those who angrily hate the "anti-flag" protesters. All of them fans of police in their most brutal manifestation. All of them fans of American football, a violent sport, as Donald Trump admiringly reminds us . All of them fans of aggressive, manly, "no one pushes us around" wars. And all of them fans of obedience to authority, so long as it's the one they also obey.

What does the American flag stand for? We may as well all stop pretending and admit it -- it stand for all of the above. Every bit of it. Because that's what its wearers want it to stand for.

[Sep 27, 2017] Anthem Sprinting ! Crooked Timber

Sep 27, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

This reminds me of one of Ray Bradbury's short stories, "The Anthem Sprinters," based on his experiences in Ireland while working on John Huston's Moby-Dick. The story isn't available online (though brief summaries can be found here and elsewhere, but the plot is straightforward enough, concerning an American visitor's discovery of a peculiar national sport. Since there was a requirement after all cinema performances that the Irish national anthem, a peculiarly lugubrious number called "The Soldier's Song," be played, and since Dublin cinema goers were more enthusiastic about getting to the pub to get a round or two in before closing time than about demonstrating their fidelity to the national ideal, they used to rush towards the exits in a class of a race, to avoid having to stay and stand through the rendition. Bradbury's suggestion that this was transformed from a disorganized herd-like stampede into an actual sport is probably poetic exaggeration, but I don't doubt that the underlying practice existed.

I'm sure that I'm not the only imported American to find the required sincerity of American nationalism a bit disorienting – it's not what I grew up with in a country where even the greenest of 32 counties Republicanism was shot through with ambiguities. It's not just a right wing thing either (the Pledge of Allegiance having been famously written by a socialist). Nor did I realize until the recent controversy that one of the verses of the "Star Spangled Banner" apparently looks forward to the death of American slaves freed by the British who fought in their regiment. A little more ambiguity and anthem-dashing might be no bad thing.

Jim Harrison 09.26.17 at 4:00 pm

Standing for the anthem or repeating the pledge of allegiance a pure gesture of loyalty. The meaning of the words don't matter. Jerusalem is the de facto anthem of England, but the wild radicalism of its author is long forgotten. And I doubt if very many Frenchmen are all that bloodthirsty or still mad at Bouillé. The real issue isn't the lyrics but to whom one must express fealty; and the apt analogy, especially in the Trump era, is to the Roman practice of sacrificing to the Emperor. Trump, who personalizes everything and hasn't got a patriotic bone in his body, is accusing the gladiators of lese majeste.

rootlesscosmo 09.26.17 at 4:09 pm ( 2 )

Movie audiences in England likewise used to rush for the exits in order not to be trapped by the obligatory playing of "God Save the Queen."
Glenn 09.26.17 at 4:24 pm ( 4 )
Great points,

I would be interested to see how many flag and anthem symbol worshipers would run to the exits if the ceremony followed the games in America, instead of preceding them.

How many would sacrifice their speedy exit from the parking lots in order to perform a ritual showing of respect?

JanieM 09.26.17 at 8:30 pm ( 15 )
It didn't just start randomly in 2009.

http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/09/19/defense-department-paid-sports-teams-53m-taxpayer-dollars-play-anthem-stage-over-the-top-military-tributes/

JanieM 09.26.17 at 8:44 pm ( 17 )
http://www.snopes.com/nfl-sideline-anthem/

Snopes article on the NFL and the military and $.

[Sep 25, 2017] American exceptionalism extract a price from common citizens

Highly recommended!
Widespread anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.
Notable quotes:
"... The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these rastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars. ..."
"... or heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to congress. ..."
"... I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs. ..."
"... I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad. ..."
Jul 01, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling | Jun 30, 2017 8:21:54 PM | 31

For all the haters of us ugly americans, just remember that we at this blog are suffering in our country standing up for the truth, pitted against our neighbors, coworkers, and friends in the arena of political debate and decrying the massive injustice of our foreign aggression. I won't call ya out by name, but lumping us forlorn sacks into your "untouchable" category reeks of reactionary arrogance that is, to pay patrons at this fine blog their due, beneath you.

In the mean time, American issues = issues concerning the empire thay we all want to see destroyed. Liberating Americans should also be on your wish list.

lex.talionis | Jun 30, 2017 9:14:01 PM | 36
Amen @31

The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these rastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars.

For heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to congress. And you, the World, think for a moment we, citizens in this colony, have a snowball's chance in hell reeling these creatures in all by ourselves are sorely mistaken. We can't even get the voters to learn their votes equal WAR with what ever Party they are aligned with. Get real. Our challenge is yours. Help us!

h | Jun 30, 2017 8:38:56 PM | 32

@Nemesis

Well said...!

I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.

Playing groups of people against one another is the oldest domination trick in the world, but it seems to work every single time...sad! ;-)

smuks | Jun 30, 2017 8:50:51 PM | 35

@ Nemesis and all,

I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad.

I am very glad to have found MoA and the crew of experts. I have learned so very much.

Big up b! Booyakah as they say in JA. God help us.

[Sep 23, 2017] The Dangerous Decline of U.S. Hegemony by Daniel Lazare

Notable quotes:
"... By Daniel Lazare September 9, 2017 ..."
"... But this is one of the good things about having a Deep State, the existence of which has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt since the intelligence community declared war on Trump last November. While it prevents Trump from reaching a reasonable modus vivendi ..."
"... If the U.S. says that Moscow's activities in the eastern Ukraine are illegitimate, then, as the world's sole remaining "hyperpower," it will see to it that Russia suffers accordingly. If China demands more of a say in Central Asia or the western Pacific, then right-thinking folks the world over will shake their heads sadly and accuse it of undermining international democracy, which is always synonymous with U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... There is no one – no institution – that Russia or China can appeal to in such circumstances because the U.S. is also in charge of the appellate division. It is the "indispensable nation" in the immortal words of Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, because "we stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future." Given such amazing brilliance, how can any other country possibly object? ..."
"... Next to go was Mullah Omar of Afghanistan, sent packing in October 2001, followed by Slobodan Milosevic, hauled before an international tribunal in 2002; Saddam Hussein, executed in 2006, and Muammar Gaddafi, killed by a mob in 2011. For a while, the world really did seem like " Gunsmoke ," and the U.S. really did seem like Sheriff Matt Dillon. ..."
"... Although The New York Times wrote that U.S. pressure to cut off North Korean oil supplies has put China "in a tight spot," this was nothing more than whistling past the graveyard. There is no reason to think that Xi is the least bit uncomfortable. To the contrary, he is no doubt enjoying himself immensely as he watches America paint itself into yet another corner. ..."
"... Unipolarity will slink off to the sidelines while multilateralism takes center stage. Given that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by better than 20 percent since 1989, a retreat is inevitable. America has tried to compensate by making maximum use of its military and political advantages. That would be a losing proposition even if it had the most brilliant leadership in the world. Yet it doesn't. Instead, it has a President who is an international laughingstock, a dysfunctional Congress, and a foreign-policy establishment lost in a neocon dream world. As a consequence, retreat is turning into a disorderly rout. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
Sep 21, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

The bigger picture behind Official Washington's hysteria over Russia, Syria and North Korea is the image of a decaying but dangerous American hegemon resisting the start of a new multipolar order, explains Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
September 9, 2017

The showdown with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a seminal event that can only end in one of two ways: a nuclear exchange or a reconfiguration of the international order.

While complacency is always unwarranted, the first seems increasingly unlikely. As no less a global strategist than Steven Bannon observed about the possibility of a pre-emptive U.S. strike: "There's no military solution. Forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about. There's no military solution here. They got us."

This doesn't mean that Donald Trump, Bannon's ex-boss, couldn't still do something rash. After all, this is a man who prides himself on being unpredictable in business negotiations, as historian William R. Polk, who worked for the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis, points out . So maybe Trump thinks it would be a swell idea to go a bit nuts on the DPRK.

But this is one of the good things about having a Deep State, the existence of which has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt since the intelligence community declared war on Trump last November. While it prevents Trump from reaching a reasonable modus vivendi with Russia, it also means that the President is continually surrounded by generals, spooks, and other professionals who know the difference between real estate and nuclear war.

As ideologically fogbound as they may be, they can presumably be counted on to make sure that Trump does not plunge the world into Armageddon (named, by the way, for a Bronze Age city about 20 miles southeast of Haifa, Israel).

That leaves option number two: reconfiguration. The two people who know best about the subject are Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both have been chafing for years under a new world order in which one nation gets to serve as judge, jury, and high executioner. This, of course, is the United States.

If the U.S. says that Moscow's activities in the eastern Ukraine are illegitimate, then, as the world's sole remaining "hyperpower," it will see to it that Russia suffers accordingly. If China demands more of a say in Central Asia or the western Pacific, then right-thinking folks the world over will shake their heads sadly and accuse it of undermining international democracy, which is always synonymous with U.S. foreign policy.

There is no one – no institution – that Russia or China can appeal to in such circumstances because the U.S. is also in charge of the appellate division. It is the "indispensable nation" in the immortal words of Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, because "we stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future." Given such amazing brilliance, how can any other country possibly object?

Challenging the Rule-Maker

But now that a small and beleaguered state on the Korean peninsula is outmaneuvering the United States and forcing it to back off, the U.S. no longer seems so far-sighted. If North Korea really has checkmated the U.S., as Bannon says, then other states will want to do the same. The American hegemon will be revealed as an overweight 71-year-old man naked except for his bouffant hairdo.

Not that the U.S. hasn't suffered setbacks before. To the contrary, it was forced to accept the Castro regime following the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and it suffered a massive defeat in Vietnam in 1975. But this time is different. Where both East and West were expected to parry and thrust during the Cold War, giving as good as they got, the U.S., as the global hegemon, must now do everything in its power to preserve its aura of invincibility.

Since 1989, this has meant knocking over a string of "bad guys" who had the bad luck to get in its way. First to go was Manuel Noriega, toppled six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall in an invasion that cost the lives of as many as 500 Panamanian soldiers and possibly thousands of civilians as well.

Next to go was Mullah Omar of Afghanistan, sent packing in October 2001, followed by Slobodan Milosevic, hauled before an international tribunal in 2002; Saddam Hussein, executed in 2006, and Muammar Gaddafi, killed by a mob in 2011. For a while, the world really did seem like " Gunsmoke ," and the U.S. really did seem like Sheriff Matt Dillon.

But then came a few bumps in the road. The Obama administration cheered on a Nazi-spearheaded coup d'état in Kiev in early 2014 only to watch helplessly as Putin, under intense popular pressure, responded by detaching Crimea, which historically had been part of Russia and was home to the strategic Russian naval base at Sevastopol, and bringing it back into Russia.

The U.S. had done something similar six years earlier when it encouraged Kosovo to break away from Serbia . But, in regards to Ukraine, neocons invoked the 1938 Munich betrayal and compared the Crimea case to Hitler's seizure of the Sudetenland .

Backed by Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dealt Washington another blow by driving U.S.-backed, pro-Al Qaeda forces out of East Aleppo in December 2016. Predictably, the Huffington Post compared the Syrian offensive to the fascist bombing of Guernica .

Fire and Fury

Finally, beginning in March, North Korea's Kim Jong Un entered into a game of one-upmanship with Trump, firing ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, test-firing an ICBM that might be capable of hitting California , and then exploding a hydrogen warhead roughly eight times as powerful as the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima in 1945. When Trump vowed to respond "with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before," Kim upped the ante by firing a missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

As bizarre as Kim's behavior can be at times, there is method to his madness. As Putin explained during the BRICS summit with Brazil, India, China, and South Africa, the DPRK's "supreme leader" has seen how America destroyed Libya and Iraq and has therefore concluded that a nuclear delivery system is the only surefire guarantee against U.S. invasion.

"We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein," he said . "His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged . We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq . They will eat grass but will not stop their nuclear program as long as they do not feel safe."

Since Kim's actions are ultimately defensive in nature, the logical solution would be for the U.S. to pull back and enter into negotiations. But Trump, desperate to save face, quickly ruled it out. "Talking is not the answer!" he tweeted . Yet the result of such bluster is only to make America seem more helpless than ever.

Although The New York Times wrote that U.S. pressure to cut off North Korean oil supplies has put China "in a tight spot," this was nothing more than whistling past the graveyard. There is no reason to think that Xi is the least bit uncomfortable. To the contrary, he is no doubt enjoying himself immensely as he watches America paint itself into yet another corner.

The U.S. Corner

If Trump backs down at this point, the U.S. standing in the region will suffer while China's will be correspondingly enhanced. On the other hand, if Trump does something rash, it will be a golden opportunity for Beijing, Moscow, or both to step in as peacemakers. Japan and South Korea will have no choice but to recognize that there are now three arbiters in the region instead of just one while other countries – the Philippines, Indonesia, and maybe even Australia and New Zealand – will have to follow suit.

Unipolarity will slink off to the sidelines while multilateralism takes center stage. Given that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by better than 20 percent since 1989, a retreat is inevitable. America has tried to compensate by making maximum use of its military and political advantages. That would be a losing proposition even if it had the most brilliant leadership in the world. Yet it doesn't. Instead, it has a President who is an international laughingstock, a dysfunctional Congress, and a foreign-policy establishment lost in a neocon dream world. As a consequence, retreat is turning into a disorderly rout.

Assuming a mushroom cloud doesn't go up over Los Angeles, the world is going to be a very different place coming out of the Korean crisis than when it went in. Of course, if a mushroom cloud does go up, it will be even more so.

* Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Read also: The Brazilian Coup and Washington's "Rollback" in Latin America

[Sep 03, 2017] Anyone who blames the US for something it is not responsible for, in an attempt to distract from the country's economic issues for example, is an anti-American

Sep 03, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Matt , September 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Strawman, that many here, including Mark and PO, have tried using against me. First, I have criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, like the 2003 Iraq war, intervention in Libya, and the war in Afghanistan. This debunks the first part of your post.

As for the second: anyone who blames the U.S. for something it is not responsible for, in an attempt to distract from the country's economic issues for example, is an anti-American. Ditto for anyone who wants the U.S. to collapse, be destroyed, or makes fun of its people with stereotypes.

The above paragraph can be applied to any country in the world and is standard fare for defining phobia against a country. You and your ilk are quick to whine about "Russophobia", but when similar tactics are used against the U.S., you start calling anyone who calls them out an "imperialist".

Such extreme over-simplifications do nothing except twist my words and make it easier for you to avoid critically self-assessing your views on U.S. foreign policy. An easy way to avoid debate.

Same old, same old.

likbez , September 3, 2017 at 6:10 pm
"Ditto for anyone who wants the U.S. to collapse, be destroyed, or makes fun of its people with stereotypes."

That's too simplistic. The USA simultaneously represents a country and a global neoliberal empire led from Washington. The latter gave us all those wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria (KSA is a part of the empire).

You may want prosperity for the USA proper, and the collapse of this neoliberal empire at the same time. This is essentially Bannon's position and the position of other "economic nationalists" in the USA, who are now tarred and feathered as "Putin friends" (Putin's position is also somewhat closer to economic nationalism then to neoliberalism, although in certain areas he sits between two chairs).

The USA is a great country which among other things gave the world Internet, as we know it. As well as modern CPUs and computers ( although here British scientists and Germans made important contributions too, often as staff of foreign subsidiaries of the US companies such as Intel, and IBM) . Due to which such forums are possible.

Neoliberalism and US governed global neoliberal empire will most probably shrink or even collapse after the end of cheap oil and due to the rise of nationalist movements in almost all EU countries and elsewhere, which partially reverses the trend toward neoliberal globalization that existed before. That's uneven process. In the USA neoliberalism demonstrated amazing staying power after financial crisis of 2008, which buried neoliberal ideology.

Recently in some countries (not without some help from the USA) neoliberalism staged revenge (Argentina, Brazil), but the general trend now does not favor neoliberal globalization and, by extension, kicking the can down the road via color revolutions and such.

The typical forecast for end of cheap oil is a decade or two. KSA is the canary in the mine here. It should collapse first.

The USA as a country probably will be OK because it is rich in hydrocarbons, but the neoliberal empire will collapse as the USA probably it will not be able or willing to serve as armed enforcer of multinationals around the globe any longer. The set of ideas known as neoliberalism are already on life support. See https://www.amazon.com/dp/0199283273 A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey. Also see http://softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/index.shtml

Neoliberals who control the US state after Reagan coup (or even starting with Carter) still push down the throats of Americans those dead ideas due to power of propaganda machine, but they are less and less effective. Trump election means that allergic reaction to neoliberal propaganda already is a factor in the US political life. Hillary positioned herself as quintessential globalist and warmonger for the USA led neoliberal empire and lost. Trump proved to be no better then the king of "bait and switch" Barak Obama and shed all his election promises with ease. But the fact remains. .

For the same reason we also need to distinguish between neocons, who currently determine the US foreign policy (and dominate the State Department) and the rank-and-file Americans who suffer from this imperial overreach, from outsourcing, with some of them returning home dead or maimed. There nothing bad in denigrating neocons.

I would view the current round of hostilities between Russia and the USA through the prism of the fight for the preservation of the US neoliberal empire. They need an external enemy to squash mounting resistance to neoliberalism with the USA. And Ukraine gambit was designed explicitly for that. If they can take out Russia (by installing Yeltsin-style regime, which is the goal) the life of empire might be prolonged (they tried and failed in 2012). The second round of looting also might help with paying external debt. The shot in the arm which the USA got from the collapse of the USSR led to [fake] prosperity in 1994-2000.

[Aug 11, 2017] Important opportunity to "peek" into the mindscape of the vast majority of those who remain unrepentant and even blissful supporters of the Exceptional Nation

Notable quotes:
"... By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America's misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom. ..."
"... "It is different in the United States," I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. "We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn't propaganda, that is truth . And to us, that isn't nationalism, it's patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free . So we don't know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion." ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Lyttenburgh , August 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Suddenly – a decent article-confession on the pages of the "Groaning Man" . It is important as an opportunity to "peek" into the mindscape of the vast majority of those who, unlike the author, remain unrepentant and even blissful supporters of the Exceptional Nation:

"We were all patriotic, but I can't even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don't remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn't stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.

We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before . There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it."

[ ]

We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn't even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.

[ ]

When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn't heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore

[ ]

I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America's foremost intellectuals, "history" had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of "its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy" was dominating "op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists". These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.

[ ]

In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn't know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America's role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey's and Greece's economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US's manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.

American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.

[ ]

The words "take that for granted" gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people's views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?..

American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country's nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn't that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.

By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America's misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.

[ ]

"It is different in the United States," I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. "We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn't propaganda, that is truth . And to us, that isn't nationalism, it's patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free . So we don't know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion."

"Wow," a friend once replied. "How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn't it?

It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world."

Jen , August 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm
Much of what Suzy Hansen says about Americans could apply to Australians as well. We may not have pummelled into our brains from birth that we are the greatest or that we are free-thinking, but a narrative about Australians as always being on the side of moral right and decency when abroad in the world (as soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq, let's say) is ever present, in what our news media chooses or is forced to ignore as much as what it reports. Our history as a former British colony with British political and cultural institutions also blinds us to how other people, particularly Aboriginal people and other people brought to Australia as forced labour, might perceive us.

[Aug 10, 2017] If the present provides a hint of what it is to come, the nastiest, ugliest, and bloodiest wars to be fought this century will be between states opposed to continued US dominance, and the force multipliers of US dominance.

Notable quotes:
"... We see the outline of sovereign self-defense programs that take diverse forms, from the banning of foreign funding for NGOs operating in a state's territory, controlling the mass media, arresting protesters, shutting down CIA-funded political parties, curtailing foreign student exchanges, denying visas to foreign academic researchers, terminating USAID operations, to expelling US ambassadors, and so forth. In extreme cases, this includes open warfare between governments and armed rebels backed by the US, or more indirectly (as the force multiplier principle mandates) backed by US allies. ..."
"... US intervention will provoke and heighten paranoia, stoking repression, and create the illusion of a self-fulfilling prophecy that US interventionists can further manipulate, using logic of this kind: they are serial human rights abusers; we therefore need to intervene in the name of humanity. There will be no discussion, let alone admission, that US covert intervention helped to provoke repression, and that the US knowingly placed its "force multipliers" on the front line. "Force multipliers" also requires us to understand the full depth and scope of US imperialism comprising, among other things: entertainment, food, drink, software, agriculture, arms sales, media, and so on. ..."
Aug 10, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Temporarily Sane | Aug 5, 2017 4:24:36 PM | 80

Max Forte's Force Multipliers and 21st Century Imperial Warfare: Practice and Propaganda is well worth reading.

An excerpt:

If the present provides a hint of what it is to come, the nastiest, ugliest, and bloodiest wars to be fought this century will be between states opposed to continued US dominance, and the force multipliers of US dominance.

We see the outline of sovereign self-defense programs that take diverse forms, from the banning of foreign funding for NGOs operating in a state's territory, controlling the mass media, arresting protesters, shutting down CIA-funded political parties, curtailing foreign student exchanges, denying visas to foreign academic researchers, terminating USAID operations, to expelling US ambassadors, and so forth. In extreme cases, this includes open warfare between governments and armed rebels backed by the US, or more indirectly (as the force multiplier principle mandates) backed by US allies.

US intervention will provoke and heighten paranoia, stoking repression, and create the illusion of a self-fulfilling prophecy that US interventionists can further manipulate, using logic of this kind: they are serial human rights abusers; we therefore need to intervene in the name of humanity. There will be no discussion, let alone admission, that US covert intervention helped to provoke repression, and that the US knowingly placed its "force multipliers" on the front line. "Force multipliers" also requires us to understand the full depth and scope of US imperialism comprising, among other things: entertainment, food, drink, software, agriculture, arms sales, media, and so on.

The full book can be downloaded here (for free) .

IMO, Forte offers some of the best political commentary available anywhere...his writings on Empire go straight to my required reading list.

[Aug 02, 2017] Sanctions, smoke and mirrors from a kindergarten on LSD by Saker

Notable quotes:
"... "Israel Lobby" is, of course, a misnomer. The Israel Lobby has very little interest in Israel as a country or, for that matter, for the Israeli people. If anything, the Israel Lobby ought to be called the "Neocon Lobby". ..."
"... For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons. ..."
"... Keep in mind that the historical record shows that while the Neocons are fantastically driven, they are not particularly smart. Yes, they do have the kind of rabid ideological determination which allows them to achieve a totally disproportionate influence over US policies, but when you actually read what they write and listen to what they say you immediately realize that these are rather mediocre individuals with a rather parochial mindset which makes them both very predictable and very irritating to the people around them. ..."
"... urbi et orbi ..."
"... Zero effects? Speaking of changing policy is true but not that it won't create troubles for Russia. Anyway, any aggression requires swift and ruthless response otherwise it invites more of aggression. Putin is wrong to behave the way he behaves. There must be zero patience and head for an eye response. Than aggression stops. ..."
"... someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to? "rights on climate change and refugee admissions" Seriously? Oh please. ..."
"... The Syrian Government did not ask Washington to intervene, so under international law American intervention and bombings there are as legitimate as "Saving Vietnam from the commies", "Bringing democracy to Iraq", or . the list is long. No adventure on that list turned out well for America or anyone else, with the exception of the merchants of death. ..."
"... This could no doubt be more accurately stated as, the Israel Lobby has nothing to do with the interests of the Israeli people. It seems to exist for the benefit of the ultra moneybag crowd and its deranged puppets such as Netanyahooooo! ..."
"... anything is possible with this gang of criminal sociopaths. Their poster boy is now an insatiable warmonger who is suffering from brain cancer! How could things get any worse? ..."
"... After the impressive military victories the US has achieved against such formidable foes as Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, mighty Grenada, Serbia and Libya, taking on Russia should be a "cakewalk", right? And to think there is a sizable demographic in this country which still believes this! Unbelievable. The last time that the US took on a military opponent at rough conventional parity with it (the Chinese in Korea) the result was a stalemate. To paraphrase Cardinal Newman, "To be deep in history is to cease to be a neocon." ..."
"... I'm afraid you're right. But I remain puzzled at how 98 Senators could have been lined up for that stupidity. ..."
"... The current crisis between the largely special interest owned American executive branch and the largely failing reformer Donald Trump can be a historic opportunity for Europe to mend the artificial divide between the European Union and Russia. The crisis can also be a golden opportunity to shake the corrupt system of government in the USA. These opportunities are subject to having strong and free leaders who can capitalize on the hubris of the ignorant senators and representatives on Capitol Hill. ..."
"... This sanctions bill is a domestic US matter. The Republicans are trying to pacify the Democrats' rage and bitterness over losing the election. It is most convenient for them to adopt the canard blaming Russia for the result of the election. The voters knew exactly where Trump stands on Russia, so even if Russia leaked the DNC and Podesta emails, there was no theft of the election. Voters were not mislead about positions, and knew very well the Democrats accuse the Russian of the leaks. ..."
"... We have an old saying: when you're enemy's committing suicide, stand back and let him. That's what Washington is doing now: committing suicide. ..."
"... I don't believe the "with every fiber of their being" part. This is just wishful thinking on the part of Saker. If this were so, they wouldn't just be grumbling or trusting their corrupt representatives. Average Americans still elect people like McCain, Graham and Schumer and I haven't seen any mass anti-war demonstrations in Washington or New York or anywhere else. ..."
"... Oil is the only reason the global population has quadrupled in only the last 100 years. The Industrial Revolution was not enough. Oil is necessary to maintain this population and keep it fed. ..."
"... Much is made of this so-called "neocon" business. They appear to be a current highly aggressive strain of American expansionism. However, there were no "neocons" in 1898 when the US saw it's opportunity to attack Spain and grab away it's holdings. The US has been aggressively expanding ever since, inserting itself into both world wars at the very last minute in order to gain as much for itself as possible. ..."
"... And, yes, that another THING; this time the opponent can retaliate hard. Nukes do make all that difficult to execute. ..."
Jul 31, 2017 | www.unz.com

The latest US sanctions and the Russian retaliatory response have resulted in a torrent of speculations in the official media and the blogosphere – everybody is trying to make sense of a situation which appears to make no sense at all. Why in the world would the US Senate adopt new sanctions against Russia when Russia has done absolutely nothing to provoke such a vote? Except for Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, every single US Senator voted in favor of these sanctions. Why?! This is even more baffling when you consider that the single biggest effect of these sanctions will be to trigger a rift, and possibly even counter-sanctions , between the US and the EU. What is absolutely clear is that these sanctions will have exactly zero effect on Russia and I don't think anybody is seriously expecting the Russians to change anything at all in their policies. And yet, every Senator except Paul and Sanders voted for this. Does that make any sense to you?

Let's try to figure out what is going on here.

First, a simple reminder: like all US politicians, from the county level to the US Congress, Senators have only one consideration when then vote – "what's in it for me?". The very last thing which any US Senator really cares about are the real life consequences of his/her vote. This means that to achieve the kind of quasi unanimity (98%) for a totally stupid vote there was some kind of very influential lobby which used some very forceful "arguments" to achieve such a vote. Keep in mind that the Republicans in the Senate knew that they were voting against the wishes of their President. And yet every single one except for Rand Paul voted for these sanctions, that should tell you something about the power of the lobby which pushed for them. So who would have such power?

The website " Business Pundit: Expert Driven " has helpfully posted an article which lists the 10 top most powerful lobbies in Washington, DC . They are (in the same order as in the original article)

Okay, why not? We could probably rearrange them, give them different labels, add a couple (like the "Prison Industrial Complex" or the "Intelligence Community") but all in all this is an okay list. Any name on it jump at you yet?

One could make the case that most of these lobbies need an enemy to prosper, this is certainly true of the Military-Industrial Complex and the associated high tech industry, and one could also reasonably claim that Big Oil, Mining and Agribusiness see Russia has a potential competitor. But a closer look at the interests these lobbies represent will tell you that they are mostly involved in domestic politics and that faraway Russia, with her relatively small economy, is just not that important to them. This is also clearly true for Big Pharma, the AARP and the NRA. Which leaves the Israel Lobby as the only potential candidate.

"Israel Lobby" is, of course, a misnomer. The Israel Lobby has very little interest in Israel as a country or, for that matter, for the Israeli people. If anything, the Israel Lobby ought to be called the "Neocon Lobby". Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above. For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him. These are the folks who simply use "Russia" as a propagandistic fulcrum to peddle the notion that Trump and his entourage are basically Russian agents and Trump himself as a kind of "Presidential Manchurian Candidate".

Keep in mind that the historical record shows that while the Neocons are fantastically driven, they are not particularly smart. Yes, they do have the kind of rabid ideological determination which allows them to achieve a totally disproportionate influence over US policies, but when you actually read what they write and listen to what they say you immediately realize that these are rather mediocre individuals with a rather parochial mindset which makes them both very predictable and very irritating to the people around them. They always overplay their hand and then end up stunned and horrified when all their conspiracies and plans come tumbling down on them.

I submit that this is exactly what is happening right now.

First, the Neocons lost the elections. For them, it was a shock and a nightmare. The "deplorables" voted against the unambiguously clear "propaganda instructions" given to them by the media. Next, the Neocons turned their rabid hatred against Trump and they succeeded at basically neutering him, but only at the cost of terribly weakening the USA themselves! Think of it: 6 months plus into the Trump administration the USA has already managed to directly threaten Iran, Syria, the DPRK and in all cases with exactly zero results. Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo --

So while Kim Jong-un fires missiles on the 4th of July, the Syrian Army is closing in on Deir ez-Zor, the Ukraine is turning into Somalia, the Russian economy is back to growth and Putin's popularity is as high as ever, the Neocons are totally freaking out and, as is typical of a person losing control, they don't do things which would make sense but do what they are used to doing: slapping sanctions (even if they are totally ineffective) and sending messages (even if they are totally ignored). In other words, the Neocons are now engaging in magical thinking, the deliberately chose to delude themselves about their power and influence and they are coping with their full-spectrum failure at everything by pretending that their votes in Congress matter. They truth is – they don't.

Here is where we need to turn to the other misconception in this matter, that the Russian reaction to these latest sanctions is really about these sanctions. It is not.

First, let's tackle the myth that these sanctions are hurting Russia. They really don't. Even the 100% russophobic Bloomberg is beginning to realize that, if anything, all these sanctions have made both Putin and Russia stronger . Second, there is the issue of timing: instead of slapping on some counter-sanctions the Russians suddenly decided to dramatically reduce the US diplomatic personnel in Russia and confiscate a two US diplomatic facilities in a clear retaliation for the expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic facilities by Obama last year. Why now?

Many observers say that the Russians are "naive" about the West and the USA, that Putin was "hoping" for better relations and that this hope was paralyzing him. Others say that Putin is "weak" or even "in cahoots" with the West. This is all total nonsense.

People tend to forget that Putin was an officer in the foreign intelligence branch of the KGB, the so-called "First Main Directorate" (PGU). Furthermore, Putin has recently revealed that he worked in the highly secretive "Directorate S" of the PGU and he was in charge of contacts with a network of illegal Soviet spies in East-Germany (were Putin was under the official cover of Director of the USSR-GDR Friendship House). If the PGU was the "elite of the elite" of the KGB, and its most secretive part, then the "Directorate S" was the "elite of the elite" of the PGU and its most secretive part. This is most definitely not a career for "naive" or "weak" people, to put it mildly! First and foremost, PGU officers were "specialists of the West" in general, and of the United States especially because the USA was always officially considered as the "main enemy" (even if most PGU officers personally considered the British as their most capable, dangerous and devious adversary). Considering the superb level of education and training given to these officers, I would argue that the PGU officers were amongst the best experts of the West anywhere in the world. Their survival and the survival of their colleagues depended on their correct understanding of the western world. As for Putin personally, he has always taken action in a very deliberate and measured way and there is no reason to assume that this time around the latest US sanctions have suddenly resulted in some kind of emotional outburst in the Kremlin. You can be darn sure that this latest Russian reaction is the result of very carefully arrived to conclusion and the formulation of a very precise and long-term objective.

I submit that the key to the correct understanding of the Russian response is in the fact that the latest US sanctions contain an absolutely unprecedented and, frankly, shocking feature: the new measures strip the President from the authority to revoke the sanctions. In practical terms, if Trump wanted to lift any of these sanctions, he would have to send an official letter to Congress which would then have 30 days to approve or reject the proposed action. In other words, the Congress has now hijacked the power of the Presidency to conduct foreign policy and taken upon itself to micromanage the US foreign policy.

That, my friends, is clearly a constitutional coup d'état and a gross violation of the principles of separation of powers which is at the very core of the US political system.

It also is a telling testimony to the utter depravity of the US Congress which took no such measures when Presidents bypass Congress and started wars without the needed congressional authority, but which is now overtly taking over the US foreign policy to prevent the risk of "peace breaking out" between Russia and the USA.

And Trump's reaction?

He declared that he would sign the bill.

Yes, the main is willing to put his signature on the text which represents an illegal coup d'état against this own authority and against the Constitution which he swore to uphold.

With this in mind, the Russian reaction is quite simple and understandable: they have given up on Trump.

Not that they ever had much hope in him, but they always strongly felt that the election of Trump might maybe provide the world with a truly historical opportunity to change the disastrous dynamic initiated by the Neocons under Obama and maybe return the international relations to a semblance of sanity. Alas, this did not happen, Trump turned out to be an overcooked noodle whose only real achievement was to express his thoughts in 140 characters or less. But the one crucial, vital, thing which Trump absolutely needed to succeed in – mercilessly crushing the Neocons – he totally failed to achieve. Worse, his only reaction to their multi-dimensional attempts at overthrowing him were each time met with clumsy attempts at appeasing them.

For Russia is means that President Trump has now been replaced by "President Congress".

Since it is absolutely impossible to get anything done with this Congress anyway, the Russians will now engage in unilaterally beneficial measures such as dramatically reducing the number of US diplomats in Russia. For the Kremlin, these sanctions are no so much an unacceptable provocation has an ideal pretext to move on a number of Russian internal policies. Getting rid of US employees in Russia is just a first step.

Next, Russia will use the frankly erratic behavior of the Americans to proclaim urbi et orbi that the Americans are irresponsible, incapable of adult decision-making and basically "gone fishing". The Russians already did that much when they declared that the Obama-Kerry team was недоговороспособны (nedogovorosposobny: "non agreement capable", more about this concept here ). Now with Trump signing his own constitutional demise, Tillerson unable to get UN Nikki to shut the hell up and Mattis and McMaster fighting over delusional plans to stop "not winning" in Afghanistan, the Obama-Kerry teams starts to look almost adult.

Frankly, for the Russians now is the time to move on.

I predict that the Neocon-crazies will not stop until they impeach Trump. I furthermore predict that the USA will not launch any major military interventions (if only because the USA has run out of countries it can safely and easily attack). Some "pretend interventions" (like the ill-fated missile strike on Syria) remain, of course, quite possible and even likely. This internal slow-mo coup against Trump will absorb the vast majority of the energy to get anything done, and leave foreign policy as simply another byproduct of internal US politics.

The East-Europeans are now totally stuck. They will continue to haplessly observe the unfolding Ukrainian disaster while playing at silly games pretending to be tough on Russia (the latest example of that kind of "barking from behind a fence" can be seen in the rather pathetic closure of the Romanian air space to a civilian aircraft with Russian Vice-Premier Dmitri Rogozin amongst the passengers). The real (West) Europeans will gradually come back to their senses and begin making deals with Russia. Even France's Emmanuel Macron de Rothschild will probably prove a more adult partner than The Donald.

But the real action will be elsewhere – in the South, the East and the Far-East. The simple truth is that the world cannot simply wait for the Americans to come back to their senses. There are a lot of crucial issues which need to be urgently tackled, a lot of immense projects which need to be worked on, and a fundamentally new and profoundly different multi-polar world which needs to be strengthened. If the Americans want to basically recuse themselves from it all, if they want to bring down the constitutional order which their Founding Fathers created and if they want to solely operate in the delusional realm which has no bearing on reality – that is both their right and their problem.

Washington DC is starting to look like a kindergarten on LSD – something both funny and disgusting. Predictably, the kids don't look too bright: a mix of bullies and spineless idiots. Some of them have their fingers on a nuclear button, and that is outright scary. What the adults need to do now is to figure out a way of keeping the kids busy and distracted so they don't press the damn button by mistake. And wait. Wait for the inevitable reaction of a country which is so much more and better than its rulers and which now desperately needs a real patriot to stop Witches' Sabbath in Washington DC.

I will end this column on a personal note. I just crossed the USA, literally, from the Rogue River in Oregon to East Central Florida. During that long trip I did not only see breathtakingly beautiful sights, but also plenty of beautiful people who oppose the satanic ball in DC with every fiber of their being and who want their country to be free from the degenerate demonic powers which have taken over the federal government. I have now lived a total of 20 years in the USA and I have learned to love and deeply appreciate the many kind, decent, honorable and simply beautiful people who live here. Far from seeing the American people as enemies of Russia, I see them has natural allies, if only because we have the same enemy (the Neocons in DC) and absolutely no objective reasons for conflict, none whatsoever. Moreover, in many ways Americans and Russians are very much alike, sometimes in comical ways. Just as during the Cold War I never lost hope in the Russian people, I now refuse to lose hope in the American people. Yes, the US federal government is disgusting, evil, ugly, stupid, degenerate and outright satanic, but the people of the USA are not. Far from it. I don't know if this country can survive the current regime as one unitary USA or whether it will break up in several quite different entities (something I see as very possible), but I do believe that the people of the USA will survive and overcome just as the Russian people survived the horrors of the 1980s and 1990s.

[Sidebar: after being accused of being a "paid Putin agent" (Vladimir, please send me money!!), a "Jew-lover" or even a "crypto-Jew" myself, a Nazi and Anti-Semite (which decent and good person has not been called an Anti-Semite" at least once in his/her life), a Communist and a Muslim (or, at least, a "Muslim propagandist"), I will now be called an "USA lover". Fine. Guilty as charged! I do love this country very much, as I do love its people. In fact, my heart often breaks for them and for the immense sufferings the Anglo-Zionist Empire also inflicts upon them. In the fight between the people of the USA and the Empire I unapologetically side with the people whom I see as friends, allies and even brothers.]

Right now the USA appears to be plunging into a precipice very similar to the one the Ukraine has plunged into (which is unsurprising, really, the same people inflicting the same disasters on whatever country they infect with their presence). The big difference is that immense and untapped potential of the USA to bounce back. There might not even be a Ukraine in 10 years, but there will most definitely be a USA, albeit maybe a very different one or even maybe several successor states.

But for the time being, I can only repeat what Floridians say when a hurricane comes barreling down on them: "hunker down" and brace for some very difficult and dangerous times to come. (Republished from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)

Bragadocious > , August 1, 2017 at 12:58 am GMT

Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo

So I guess the Americans are stupid for antagonizing Russia, they're stupid for antagonizing Russia's enemies in the EU–they're just plain stupid, according to this Dutch-Russian emigre. I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't. And if this upsets Western Europe, so much the better. Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to?

Sharrukin > , August 1, 2017 at 1:50 am GMT

@Bragadocious Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo

So I guess the Americans are stupid for antagonizing Russia, they're stupid for antagonizing Russia's enemies in the EU--they're just plain stupid, according to this Dutch-Russian emigre. I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't. And if this upsets Western Europe, so much the better. Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to? Americans and the US government are two different things.

That is no small part of why Trump got elected.

Antagonize Russia to what purpose?

Now we have Haley at the UN, Tillerton, and McMaster making statements at odds with Trumps and they still have a job. Can Trump even remove them?

Who is actually in charge of the American government? Is it Trump or the Neocons?

The entire Russia hacking story is a joke and probably a setup by the Democrats if their links to Fusion GPS is true.

Regardless, foreign nations have to deal with the world outside of Washington DC and its looks like the lunatics have taken control of the DC asylum which may well be the case.

The problem is the lack of coherence from Washington.

We may be looking at a slow motion coup, or simple incompetence, but Trump never struck me as incompetent in his other business dealings.

A power struggle seems to make the most sense.

Ned > , August 1, 2017 at 2:07 am GMT

God bless you Saker

Ned > , August 1, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT

@Bragadocious Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo

So I guess the Americans are stupid for antagonizing Russia, they're stupid for antagonizing Russia's enemies in the EU--they're just plain stupid, according to this Dutch-Russian emigre. I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't. And if this upsets Western Europe, so much the better. Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to? Your trolling comment is offensive

Excal > , August 1, 2017 at 2:26 am GMT

"During that long trip I did not only see breathtakingly beautiful sights, but also plenty of beautiful people who oppose the satanic ball in DC with every fiber of their being and who want their country to be free from the degenerate demonic powers which have taken over the federal government."

I am anything but beautiful, but everything else about that sentence describes me.

I have never been to Russia, but I have known many Russians, and I am a bit of a Russophile. I voted for Trump partly because I was certain that Clinton would immediately plunge us into war with Russia. It sickens me that the senate are now rattling sabres against them. I am praying for them, and that this country is stopped from doing any real damage to them.

I can't help but wonder whether the all-but-signed alliance with the Saudis has something to do with this. There must be something diabolical there too.

Bragadocious > , August 1, 2017 at 3:45 am GMT

@Ned Your trolling comment is offensive You returned from a 3-year posting absence to write that?

exiled off mainstreet > , August 1, 2017 at 5:07 am GMT

Great picture and great description. Hopefully, things will degenerate to the point where they can't gin up a nuclear war.

NoseytheDuke > , August 1, 2017 at 6:21 am GMT

@Bragadocious You returned from a 3-year posting absence to write that? So Ned took a break for whatever reason, what of it? He wrote that your comment was offensive, I would have called it simply stupid. It smacks of knee-jerk chest-thumping of the sort that the US has already had more than enough of.

Yes, the neocons took over before Trump. Good observation, Sherlock. Trump was elected because he promised to do something about it but so far he's been a wimp. Many people still hope that Trump is merely playing rope-a-dope but Saker makes it clear in the article that this time is different in that it undermines the president's authority and it neuters his ability to effect change. Chew on that please, or better still, re-read the article.

Saker was hoping for peace just like so many Americans were when they voted for DT but it is increasingly looking like it's not going to happen.

Grandpa Charlie > , August 1, 2017 at 6:22 am GMT

I see USA as analogous to the Chinese Empire during its "decline and fall" 1850-1950 (very last part of the Manchu dynasty). Of course, it's a rough analogy, but it's there all the same. Like China back then, the "Court" of the USA like the imperial court of China was willing to sell off anything and everything. It's all been for sale for at least the last 50 years. (If you want an example, take the Panama Canal.)

In that milieu, consider the neocons. What are they unless (like the DNC and the GOP's National Central Committee) but a money-laundering and influence-peddling center. So apply that to the "known known" that the main 'position' of the neocons (their excuse for some kind of principle) is "Russia is dangerous and must be destroyed." As seen in the Saker's article, that is a destructive proposition – destructive of the interests of the USA and its people. So then WHY – why do the neocons pursue that agenda? Well, if you think about the nature of the neocons, of Congress, etc., you realize that the neocons must be making money off of this. They are pushing the anti-Russia agenda because they are paid to do so. Then, ask yourself, as with any money-following effort, CUI BONO? Well. what is accomplished by keeping the heat turned up on Russia? Isn't it that the anti-Russia agenda provides a distraction from what China is doing? And who, almost certainly, has been paying off the neocons for almost 50 years now – ever since Kissinger (godfather of the neocons) took his secret trip to Beijing in 1973. Put it this way: the old China lobby had been providing huge amounts of $US to the entire USA establishment – in particular to political parties and to the media – since way back in WW II. Now there would be a huge hole where the old China lobby had been. Who would fill that? Kissinger, for all his many faults, was smart enough to know, and Chou En-Lai was smart enough to know, what had to be done. And the old China Lobby had long seen the writing on the wall. So the old China Lobby was taken over by the New China Lobby. Lo-and-behold, Kissinger created the neocons where the paleocons had been. (If you want, you can also find evidence of an effective conspiracy extending back into WW II and the 1930′s, but that might mean identifying with the old JBS, and I want to stay focused on issues more current.)

That's the basic reality about the neocons. The PRC (or its rulers in the Standing Committee) are the neocons' bread-and-butter. Oh, sure they appreciate the Israel lobby and they need it to keep Congress dumb and afraid but their bread-and-butter is the PRC. Or more precisely, the Standing Committee. Americans like to think that we have all the billionaires (or the billionaires have us), but the reality is that USA's politicians, bureaucrats and bankers deal with many billionaires, including the billionaires (active and retired) of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China and the billionaires of the Kim dynasty of the DPRK. These billionaires use their money much more in concert with one another than do most billionaires. So they get what they want. And what they want includes the ability not to be bothered by, e.g., the US Navy when they decide to extend their empire over the SCS and do not want USA's people even to know that Hanoi asks pleadingly to become a port and outpost of the US Navy. Etc. etc.

If you find this hard to believe, google on "Clinton china bribery." Or, here at the Unz Review, check out Peter Lee's 'China Matters' blog story "Four Corners/Fairfax". Just think it over. If your mind has been closed, let it open.

"Yet none dare call it treason."

Parbes > , August 1, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT

The neocons and their media in the U.S. and the rest of the West simply HAVE to be taken out, one way or another. This is the only acceptable route – a knot tying the whole world up in insanity, which must be broken.

utu > , August 1, 2017 at 7:56 am GMT

@Bragadocious Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo

So I guess the Americans are stupid for antagonizing Russia, they're stupid for antagonizing Russia's enemies in the EU--they're just plain stupid, according to this Dutch-Russian emigre. I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't. And if this upsets Western Europe, so much the better. Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to? Did I miss it or Saker does not even explain what kind of sanctions were imposed but nevertheless he assures his readers that they won't hurt Russia and possibly make it even stronger and basically everything will be hunky-dory because PGU has extremely well qualified individuals on its staff: "superb level of education and training." And obviously Putin is a superman who was in charge of spies in East Germany which required as much sophistication and risk taking as spying in Wales for James Bond.

Randal > , August 1, 2017 at 8:15 am GMT

But the one crucial, vital, thing which Trump absolutely needed to succeed in – mercilessly crushing the Neocons – he totally failed to achieve.

Indeed. The next step, as with Buchanan's piece today which is similarly discouraged as far as US foreign policy under Trump is concerned, is to name the neocons. Identify the people burrowing into the institutions of the US administration and subverting any hope of any substantive change in foreign policy from the Clinton/Bush/Obama years. Name the people who act as the tools of the Neocon Lobby within the administration, because those Trump can at least deal with, if he ever comes to understand what is going on (which admittedly seems unlikely so long as he tolerates Nikki Haley's open warmongering).

The subservience of Congress can only be dealt with by the American people defeating these sitting members and replacing them with ones who fear, and are loyal to, their constituents more than the lobbyists – which of course requires Americans to recognise when they are being manipulated by lobbyists via the media.

See the piece yesterday by Ron Maxwell, naming some of the neocons:

How Romney Loyalists Hijacked Trump's Foreign Policy

Randal > , August 1, 2017 at 8:29 am GMT

@Bragadocious Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo

So I guess the Americans are stupid for antagonizing Russia, they're stupid for antagonizing Russia's enemies in the EU--they're just plain stupid, according to this Dutch-Russian emigre. I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't. And if this upsets Western Europe, so much the better. Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to?

I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't.

Saker didn't refer to any of those things in his criticism of the Trump regime's foreign policy stupidity. The only aspect of "Trump's behaviour towards Europe" that he (absolutely correctly) singles out for criticism is the literally stupid sanctions resolution. Though he could equally well have criticised the delusional stupidity of Trump's seeming wholesale swallowing of neocon propaganda about Iran and the nuclear agreement.

Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq?

He's clearly well aware of that. As he has rightly pointed out previously (and Buchanan also points out again today), Trump was elected in part precisely because he seemed to offer an escape from the neocon-driven invade the world/invite the world lunacy. But his actual foreign policy seems to have been little more than continuity with minor trimming only when forced by reality, especially with the likes of Nikki Haley in such a prominent position.

And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to?

Not trying to right all the world's suppose wrongs by force (military or economic) would be a good start. That and ceasing to regard the interests of Israel and of Saudi Arabia as of primary importance for US foreign and military policy.

JL > , August 1, 2017 at 8:34 am GMT

This article is something of a mixed bag. The idea that there is going to be some rift between the EU and US is, at best, wishful thinking, but probably closer to downright delusion. No, European countries ceased to be subjects of history, and became objects, when they ceded their sovereignty to the implicitly Atlanticist and supranational structure that is the EU. So they may growl and gnash their teeth a bit, but will eventually roll over and hope that their bellies are scratched and not slashed.

As for Trump signing the sanctions legislation as it is written, Saker's point is valid. No president should abrogate power without a fight. He should, at the very least, insist that the restrictions on his ability to unilaterally cancel sanctions be removed from the legislation or he will veto the bill and fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. And, he should make clear that this isn't about sanctioning or not sanctioning Russia, but the fact that the law is unconstitutional.

Saker is also correct that the US is simply too dysfunctional now to pursue any kind of coherent foreign policy. If I were Putin, I would ask Trump who in Congress he should be negotiating with, since neither Trump himself, nor anyone in his cabinet, possesses the authority to follow through with any possible agreements. The smarter commentators are actually all coming around to the same view. Dmitry Trenin:

"I think the Kremlin views the U.S. as a dysfunctional polity, with its political class at war with itself and its society deeply divided along cultural fault lines. Under these circumstances one hardly expects a consistent policy Bad as they are now, U.S.-Russian relations continue to get worse, edging ever closer to a kinetic collision between their armed forces somewhere: in Syria, over the Baltic and Black Seas, or Ukraine."

It does indeed seem like something dramatic needs to happen, at which point the US will either come to its senses or it's mushroom cloud time for all of us.

animalogic > , August 1, 2017 at 8:58 am GMT

Although I think there is some hypobole involved, I would like to thank the Saker for raising this very interesting and very pregnant issue:

"In other words, the Congress has now hijacked the power of the Presidency to conduct foreign policy and taken upon itself to micromanage the US foreign policy.
That, my friends, is clearly a constitutional coup d'état and a gross violation of the principles of separation of powers which is at the very core of the US political system."

This is a very disturbing development, to say the least.

However, I do disagree with the Saker on this point:
"If the Americans want to basically recuse themselves from it all, if they want to bring down the constitutional order which their Founding Fathers created and if they want to solely operate in the delusional realm which has no bearing on reality – that is both their right and their problem."

The "Americans" -- that is US citizens -- do NOT want to bring down the constitution, nor have a government operate in a delusional realm. Nor does the US "government have the "right" to operate in the way they do: that amounts to saying they have the right to commit treason ( a meaningless concept for the Elites). Finally, it is NOT just an American "problem": unfortunately, it's a world problem. We are all liable to suffer for the insane shenanigans of the US Ruling class.

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 1, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

I predict that the Neocon-crazies will not stop until they impeach Trump.

And that's probably behind this clusterfuck. The globalist cabal is working hard to make Trump look bad and he's falling for it (him asking Comey – a certified swamp creature – to be loyal is proof of his naivete). This same cabal is running Western Europe so any "positive" developments between Macron de Rothchild and Putin will be temporary and designed to further ostracise Trump. With Jews you loose and Russia will forever be their ultimate target. Russian nukes are the only thing standing in the way of One World Government.

I furthermore predict that the USA will not launch any major military interventions

Don't be so sure. They want him to make mistakes . A new war would disappoint a lot of Trump's core supporters and destroy his capability to expand the base.

Bragadocious > , August 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT

@NoseytheDuke So Ned took a break for whatever reason, what of it? He wrote that your comment was offensive, I would have called it simply stupid. It smacks of knee-jerk chest-thumping of the sort that the US has already had more than enough of.

Yes, the neocons took over before Trump. Good observation, Sherlock. Trump was elected because he promised to do something about it but so far he's been a wimp. Many people still hope that Trump is merely playing rope-a-dope but Saker makes it clear in the article that this time is different in that it undermines the president's authority and it neuters his ability to effect change. Chew on that please, or better still, re-read the article.

Saker was hoping for peace just like so many Americans were when they voted for DT but it is increasingly looking like it's not going to happen. Yes, the neocons took over before Trump. Good observation, Sherlock

Thanks. The reason I wrote that was because Saker wrote this:

Not that they ever had much hope in him, but they always strongly felt that the election of Trump might maybe provide the world with a truly historical opportunity to change the disastrous dynamic initiated by the Neocons under Obama

See, the key word there Sherlock, is initiated . That means to start, in case you didn't know. I know, I'm Captain Obvious again. Maybe Saker should write more carefully, and not sound like a kindergartner on LSD.

"I would have called it stupid"

Yes, that's the operative word for Saker and his minions. Everyone's stupid. Except you. You're smart. Especially when you're peddling 9/11 truther stuff. Then you're a special kind of smart.

Bragadocious > , August 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT

@Randal


I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't.
Saker didn't refer to any of those things in his criticism of the Trump regime's foreign policy stupidity. The only aspect of "Trump's behaviour towards Europe" that he (absolutely correctly) singles out for criticism is the literally stupid sanctions resolution. Though he could equally well have criticised the delusional stupidity of Trump's seeming wholesale swallowing of neocon propaganda about Iran and the nuclear agreement.

Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq?
He's clearly well aware of that. As he has rightly pointed out previously (and Buchanan also points out again today), Trump was elected in part precisely because he seemed to offer an escape from the neocon-driven invade the world/invite the world lunacy. But his actual foreign policy seems to have been little more than continuity with minor trimming only when forced by reality, especially with the likes of Nikki Haley in such a prominent position.

And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to?
Not trying to right all the world's suppose wrongs by force (military or economic) would be a good start. That and ceasing to regard the interests of Israel and of Saudi Arabia as of primary importance for US foreign and military policy. Saker didn't refer to any of those things

I agree, he didn't, but then again, it seems Saker doesn't do nuance very well. He specializes in grandiose insults (stupid, LSD, kindergartners, overcooked noodle, gone fishing) without mentioning some pretty important stuff, like Trump cutting off funding to the Syrian rebels. That move infuriated the neocons. Why doesn't Saker mention that? I guess it doesn't jibe with his overall "incompetence" theme and anti-Trump snark.

As for the sanctions, they seem to upset Saker. But then he says it's water off a duck's back for Putin. Hey, they probably even strengthen his hand -- So really, who gives a shit? He contradicts himself.

Finally, he says Trump has turned over foreign policy responsibility to Congress. I'm no constitutional expert, but Congress is in charge of declaring war. Sanctions can be interpreted as an act of war. In any case, forcing the congresscritters to go on record for something like this can be seen as very useful, just as the Iraq war vote was in blocking Hillary from higher office.

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm GMT

Thanks for the compliments regarding the American people. They all want peace just like all others and have always voted for what they thought was the peace candidate only to be betrayed later. I've lived here longer than just twenty years, however, but my whole life and am not so sanguine about the nature of most Americans. I'd say the vast majority, perhaps 70%, are ignorant dolts and easily bamboozled. Elections are just festivals of lies and deceit with few being able to learn from the previous experience. The population is composed mostly of dodo birds. The ruling class are predators looking for the next dollar to be extorted or stolen. This is a bad formula and can only go so far. The fault is not in our stars but in us.

Grandpa Charlie > , August 1, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

" The ruling class are predators looking for the next dollar to be extorted or stolen."

And who exactly is this "ruling class" if not the neocons? Are they not exactly like Milovan Djilas' "new class" – a class of apparatchiks in positions to profit enormously (while living very comfortably) from the decline and fall of an empire. How could this be, if their treasonous profiteering could only leave them as having no place to turn but the China-dominated new world order? Well, perhaps they actually know that the very millionaires who controlled key industries in China prior to 1950, were also millionaires who lived, have lived even during the Cultural Revolution, and for their families, continue to live, very comfortably and securely in Shanghai from 1950 onward – assuming that they were astute enough to have been doing business with the Communists all along. Perhaps they realize that the Communists are about as communistic as the National Socialists were socialistic so that course which is most profitable in the short-run is also most profitable in the long run.

"Yet none dare call it treason."

Robert Magill > , August 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm GMT

I submit that the key to the correct understanding of the Russian response is in the fact that the latest US sanctions contain an absolutely unprecedented and, frankly, shocking feature: the new measures strip the President from the authority to revoke the sanctions.

This is part of the plan to sideline Russia, render it untouchable on the Executive's part and move on to China. The plan is to stun everyone with the announcement (probably on Labor Day) of 50k new, well paying, mostly private sector jobs, with benefits. China will feature prominently. Chinese built factories in Wisconsin, Chicago etc. just teasers. Bigly deal to follow: much, much bigly. All will be well --

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

Sean > , August 1, 2017 at 7:33 pm GMT

Largely due to Obama's timidity in Syria on top of his denial of defensive weapons to Kiev, Russia humiliated America in Syria. Putin will rue the day, because America is going to hit back at Russia (it has to). Trump is going to take asymmetric vengeance and bleed Russia white. A fraction of what has been spent in Syria will go a very long way in you-know-where.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/world/europe/pentagon-and-state-department-are-said-to-propose-arming-ukraine.html

Sean > , August 1, 2017 at 7:58 pm GMT

@Robert Magill


I submit that the key to the correct understanding of the Russian response is in the fact that the latest US sanctions contain an absolutely unprecedented and, frankly, shocking feature: the new measures strip the President from the authority to revoke the sanctions.
This is part of the plan to sideline Russia, render it untouchable on the Executive's part and move on to China. The plan is to stun everyone with the announcement (probably on Labor Day) of 50k new, well paying, mostly private sector jobs, with benefits. China will feature prominently. Chinese built factories in Wisconsin, Chicago etc. just teasers. Bigly deal to follow: much, much bigly. All will be well --

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com The production facilities of the future will be automated and the elimination of workers will mean there is no particular reason to continue offshoring production. The factories will come back to the West, but the jobs won't exist .

Alan Donelson > , August 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm GMT

@exiled off mainstreet Great picture and great description. Hopefully, things will degenerate to the point where they can't gin up a nuclear war. Great picture -- just not congruent with the title of the post. With a moniker like that, EoM, one might think you'd notice the size of that girl's pupils. Not on LSD. Ill bet she had already graduated from kindergarten, too. But then, why be critical of what one sees and reads. I take SAKER's input with a salt shaker on hand.

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm GMT

And yet, every Senator except Paul and Sanders voted for this.

2 men out of "100″ men looks like the regular average.

Chuck > , August 1, 2017 at 9:38 pm GMT

@Grandpa Charlie I see USA as analogous to the Chinese Empire during its "decline and fall" 1850-1950 (very last part of the Manchu dynasty). Of course, it's a rough analogy, but it's there all the same. Like China back then, the "Court" of the USA like the imperial court of China was willing to sell off anything and everything. It's all been for sale for at least the last 50 years. (If you want an example, take the Panama Canal.)

In that milieu, consider the neocons. What are they unless (like the DNC and the GOP's National Central Committee) but a money-laundering and influence-peddling center. So apply that to the "known known" that the main 'position' of the neocons (their excuse for some kind of principle) is "Russia is dangerous and must be destroyed." As seen in the Saker's article, that is a destructive proposition - destructive of the interests of the USA and its people. So then WHY - why do the neocons pursue that agenda? Well, if you think about the nature of the neocons, of Congress, etc., you realize that the neocons must be making money off of this. They are pushing the anti-Russia agenda because they are paid to do so. Then, ask yourself, as with any money-following effort, CUI BONO? Well. what is accomplished by keeping the heat turned up on Russia? Isn't it that the anti-Russia agenda provides a distraction from what China is doing? And who, almost certainly, has been paying off the neocons for almost 50 years now - ever since Kissinger (godfather of the neocons) took his secret trip to Beijing in 1973. Put it this way: the old China lobby had been providing huge amounts of $US to the entire USA establishment - in particular to political parties and to the media - since way back in WW II. Now there would be a huge hole where the old China lobby had been. Who would fill that? Kissinger, for all his many faults, was smart enough to know, and Chou En-Lai was smart enough to know, what had to be done. And the old China Lobby had long seen the writing on the wall. So the old China Lobby was taken over by the New China Lobby. Lo-and-behold, Kissinger created the neocons where the paleocons had been. (If you want, you can also find evidence of an effective conspiracy extending back into WW II and the 1930's, but that might mean identifying with the old JBS, and I want to stay focused on issues more current.)

That's the basic reality about the neocons. The PRC (or its rulers in the Standing Committee) are the neocons' bread-and-butter. Oh, sure they appreciate the Israel lobby and they need it to keep Congress dumb and afraid ... but their bread-and-butter is the PRC. Or more precisely, the Standing Committee. Americans like to think that we have all the billionaires (or the billionaires have us), but the reality is that USA's politicians, bureaucrats and bankers deal with many billionaires, including the billionaires (active and retired) of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China and the billionaires of the Kim dynasty of the DPRK. These billionaires use their money much more in concert with one another than do most billionaires. So they get what they want. And what they want includes the ability not to be bothered by, e.g., the US Navy when they decide to extend their empire over the SCS and do not want USA's people even to know that Hanoi asks pleadingly to become a port and outpost of the US Navy. Etc. etc.

If you find this hard to believe, google on "Clinton china bribery." Or, here at the Unz Review, check out Peter Lee's 'China Matters' blog story "Four Corners/Fairfax". Just think it over. If your mind has been closed, let it open.

"Yet none dare call it treason." Kingmaker Sheldon Adelson also has a China connection.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/259853-training-tactical-officers-critical-for-national

Priss Factor > , Website August 2, 2017 at 4:08 am GMT

Let the US reveal itself to be totally owned by Zionist globalists.

And if EU goes along, it will only show itself as cuck vassals of the US.

Russia needs to fix its problems and build a super-economy of its own.

With China and Iran as partners, Russia can do much if they put their mind to it.

But do Russians have the National Character?

Stephen R. Diamond > , Website August 2, 2017 at 4:15 am GMT

@utu Did I miss it or Saker does not even explain what kind of sanctions were imposed but nevertheless he assures his readers that they won't hurt Russia and possibly make it even stronger and basically everything will be hunky-dory because PGU has extremely well qualified individuals on its staff: "superb level of education and training." And obviously Putin is a superman who was in charge of spies in East Germany which required as much sophistication and risk taking as spying in Wales for James Bond.

And obviously Putin is a superman

Have you notice that the same folks you say Trump is a superman say the same of Putin? Everything is a stroke of genius.

These folks might study up a bit on the nature of intelligence. It would help them recognize these mediocrities for what they are.

NoseytheDuke > , August 2, 2017 at 4:35 am GMT

@Bragadocious Yes, the neocons took over before Trump. Good observation, Sherlock

Thanks. The reason I wrote that was because Saker wrote this:

Not that they ever had much hope in him, but they always strongly felt that the election of Trump might maybe provide the world with a truly historical opportunity to change the disastrous dynamic initiated by the Neocons under Obama

See, the key word there Sherlock, is initiated . That means to start, in case you didn't know. I know, I'm Captain Obvious again. Maybe Saker should write more carefully, and not sound like a kindergartner on LSD.

"I would have called it stupid"

Yes, that's the operative word for Saker and his minions. Everyone's stupid. Except you. You're smart. Especially when you're peddling 9/11 truther stuff. Then you're a special kind of smart. I see that you've outed yourself as a Coincidence Theorist there so you may console yourself as at least being "useful", even if it is only as being a useful idiot.

Start with ae911truth.org, grap a book on high-school physics and go on from there. There's plenty of reading and learning ahead for you, but you'll be much better for it. Oh, and stop the chest-thumping, it only results in bruises.

Grandpa Charlie > , August 2, 2017 at 4:41 am GMT

@Chuck Kingmaker Sheldon Adelson also has a China connection.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/259853-training-tactical-officers-critical-for-national "Kingmaker Sheldon Adelson also has a China connection." – Chuck, citing to The Hill

Thanks, Chuck. That's a great catch.

aaaa returns > , August 2, 2017 at 4:45 am GMT

As always, a good read from the Saker.
I think his assessment is spot on; Trump and his movement have been disabled. Now Congress members seem to be jockeying for future power-gains, while Trump might be starting to check out. He'll keep tweeting or whatever, but Nikki Haley, Pence and the generals might end up grabbing more decision-making power or perhaps not.. who knows.

There's always the 25th amendment scenario, the Russian collusion angle, or maybe some other damning revelation to pop up in the future to sink Trump, but I think many in Washington may be under warning that his removal could have a devastating impact.

I am not as optimistic about a lack of militarism in response to the crisis. That has been the go-to option for all modern American presidents in times of crisis.

nsa > , August 2, 2017 at 5:08 am GMT

The worms in the House and Senate have been totally terrorized by the vile jooies. Give the loathsome jooies whatever they want, no matter how foul, and keep their jobs or cross the abominable jooies and lose their jobs when a well funded opponent supported by the repulsive KM (kosher media) just happens to appear in the next primary. The Jooie Lobby runs the Knesset on the Potomac, not the US citizenry who are held in the utmost contempt by the bloodthirsty jooie elites. Government of the jooies, by the jooies, for the jooies .

KA > , August 2, 2017 at 5:25 am GMT

Many events are sprouting up all over the map
India China, Taliban in Afghanistan ,Venezuela , Iran Syria Lebanon , Israel Palestine -- all are moving rapidly into unknown territory . America is no longer is in a position to influence these events. . despite not wanting American policy makers will be forced to look inwards . Those counytriesmay nt bother to inform America .

Health Care, Student loans, next inevitable housing bubble, millennial not saving and being forced to spend the income on health care and rents along , nation as a whole see increasing social fragmentation on ethnic lines -- these forces will make America much weaker economically and socially . Foreign countries like China and Gulf monarchies will influence American foreign and domestic policies .

America democracy itself may not survive the changes . Neocons with eager media may settle down on dictatorship.

F > , August 2, 2017 at 6:32 am GMT

@Ned God bless you Saker Creepy comment.

Sergey Krieger > , August 2, 2017 at 7:52 am GMT

"The latest US sanctions and the Russian retaliatory response"

There has not been any response so far. Response was to US expelling 35 Russian diplomats 6+ months ago. This is why I am not a fan of delayed responses. As saying goes, spoon is for dinner, not afterwards. Russia so far failed to respond to USA aggression which is what sanctions are.
Putin has been doing this whole patience expectations of US coming to her senses for some 10 years with poor results as US belligerence seems to grow in lack of appropriate responses from Russia.
Putin being liberal he is, seems cannot abandon hope to be part of the club so far hence this treatment in white gloves when it is stick across US face and kick into US groin what's necessary.
USA is like a dog that understands only stick. And stick has been missing despite Russia having enough options to start really hurting USA where it hurts and stop cooperation everywhere even in Syria.
I am not holding my breath with Putin though. He still insists on not letting up and talking to madman despite that doing everything to hurt him.
Slow learner he is both in regards to USA and Russian economy.

Sergey Krieger > , August 2, 2017 at 7:56 am GMT

"What is absolutely clear is that these sanctions will have exactly zero effect on Russia and I don't think anybody is seriously expecting the Russians to change anything at all in their policies."

Zero effects? Speaking of changing policy is true but not that it won't create troubles for Russia. Anyway, any aggression requires swift and ruthless repsonse otherwise it invites more of agression. Putin is wrong to behave the way he behaves. There must be zero patience and head for an eye response. Than aggression stops.

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 2, 2017 at 8:07 am GMT

@Randal


But the one crucial, vital, thing which Trump absolutely needed to succeed in – mercilessly crushing the Neocons – he totally failed to achieve.
Indeed. The next step, as with Buchanan's piece today which is similarly discouraged as far as US foreign policy under Trump is concerned, is to name the neocons. Identify the people burrowing into the institutions of the US administration and subverting any hope of any substantive change in foreign policy from the Clinton/Bush/Obama years. Name the people who act as the tools of the Neocon Lobby within the administration, because those Trump can at least deal with, if he ever comes to understand what is going on (which admittedly seems unlikely so long as he tolerates Nikki Haley's open warmongering).

The subservience of Congress can only be dealt with by the American people defeating these sitting members and replacing them with ones who fear, and are loyal to, their constituents more than the lobbyists - which of course requires Americans to recognise when they are being manipulated by lobbyists via the media.

See the piece yesterday by Ron Maxwell, naming some of the neocons:

How Romney Loyalists Hijacked Trump's Foreign Policy

The subservience of Congress can only be dealt with by the American people defeating these sitting members and replacing them with ones who fear, and are loyal to, their constituents more than the lobbyists – which of course requires Americans to recognise when they are being manipulated by lobbyists via the media.

Yet, that has never happened, and will never happen. People elect leaders quite like themselves.

It is the people, stupid (I don't necessarily mean you).

The Alarmist > , August 2, 2017 at 9:06 am GMT

The neoconservative are like junkies. Does a junkie ever really appreciate the risk whilst in the middle of pursuing his next fix? Each successive fix is never quite enough, so they go on to bigger fixes at the risk of overdose. Neocons seem to think kicking Russia's ass will be a manageable high, a cakewalk nonetheless, same for China thereafter, because the wars and dying will be done over there in their estimation.

TheJester > , August 2, 2017 at 10:20 am GMT

Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above. For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him.

Many people who notice believe that "Neocon" is a euphemism for "Jew". Yes, there are non-Jewish outliers among the Neocons like John McCain and Lindsey Graham but this need be no more complex than assuming that they, like so many others in government such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, have cut their deals with the Jewish lobby. Indeed, when I read an article on Neocons, the list of culprits does read like a list of Ashkenazi Jews.

The import is that if the Neocons are religiously committed to world domination and "Neocon" is a euphemism for "Jew", then it follows that the age-old stereotype that there are cabals of Jews seeking world domination at the expense of the goyim they live among is true.

jacques sheete > , August 2, 2017 at 10:54 am GMT

Does that make any sense to you?

No.

And one of the things I've learned is to NOT seek a reasonable answer to situations provoked by utter crackpots.

It's simple; many of those in positions of power and responsibility are not only nuts in the head, but no human is built to shoulder much power at all.

mp > , August 2, 2017 at 10:56 am GMT

Of the lobby groups listed, probably only Big Oil and Big Jew (and not in that order) have much of an interest in going to war with Russia. The Military-Industrials are happy just to get contracts to build stuff. They don't really care, or particularly want, their stuff to be used. Most of it is too expensive to use, and probably doesn't work as advertised, anyhow.

Wizard of Oz > , August 2, 2017 at 10:58 am GMT

I'm afraid you're right.

But I remain puzzled at how 98 Senators could have been lined up for that stupidity.

Can you enlarge on the details of neo-con ideas, personnel and means of influence to explain the neo-con part? I mean 98 out of 100 Senators!!!

And, given especially your assertion that Israeli lobbyists aren't acting in Israel's real interests, can you give a fuller explanation of what they are up to and why, with particular reference to that Senate vote?

Following on from that, or, if you insist, as an aside would you care to give your view of what rational Israeli lobbying might seek Americann help for. Here's my attempt at starting your explanation .. Israel knows it can no longer defeat the battle hardened Hezbollah forces, from which they have already received a bloidy nose, without using nuclear weapons or losing a high proportion of young Israelis. So it fears that Hezbollah, still connected to Iran and protected in that by Syria, will launch intolerable rocket attacks to provoke Israeli attack against its dug in positions.

The need to remove Assad's regime has to be seen in that light??? Could it be as simple as that?

white noise > , August 2, 2017 at 11:44 am GMT

@Anonymous


I predict that the Neocon-crazies will not stop until they impeach Trump.
And that's probably behind this clusterfuck. The globalist cabal is working hard to make Trump look bad and he's falling for it (him asking Comey - a certified swamp creature - to be loyal is proof of his naivete). This same cabal is running Western Europe so any "positive" developments between Macron de Rothchild and Putin will be temporary and designed to further ostracise Trump. With Jews you loose and Russia will forever be their ultimate target. Russian nukes are the only thing standing in the way of One World Government.

I furthermore predict that the USA will not launch any major military interventions
Don't be so sure. They want him to make mistakes . A new war would disappoint a lot of Trump's core supporters and destroy his capability to expand the base. "Russian nukes are the only thing standing in the way of One World Government."

Indeed. Vladimir Putin has big balls, and the elites hate him. But he's not afraid of a murder attempt. The elites know that if something happens to him, Europe, Israel and North America would be reduced to radioactive debris in about one hour

KA > , August 2, 2017 at 12:11 pm GMT

A new alignment is likely to emerge .t will be much less adversarial and much less enthused with polemic. America China Israel Saudi Arab – pitted against – India Russia Iran Japan, . China will embrace US because of Neocon and myriad financial connections with US .India will be forced to return to Russia . China joining America or America deciding to join China is the game changer and disrupt very other relationship. China will try to occupy American position after WW2 while US will find itself occupying post WW2 British position. Neoconservatives and financial system of the world will force this merger .

Pakistan Germany Turkey will try to juggle and hedge theirs bets . Central Asian Stan will be politically connected to Russia but economically to China .China and Russia will quarrel here and these countries will face a period of turmoil. Balkans will move back to Russia . NATO will be largely irrelevant with no ability to have consensus and a mission .
The world will become more rambunctious and hyper verbal but it won't fight .
Polyglot countries like India and America will try to talk along ethnic lines more but the fundamental underlying realities will not change . Despite the divisiveness promoted by parties, the citizen will move to closer relationship and understanding and common ground partly because the divisiveness will fail to accrue any benefit to the groups most interested in harvesting it .But the divisiveness will not disappear from daily discourse .

ffff > , August 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm GMT

Anyone else find their comments censored on thesaker? Seems like a "pro"-russian version of CNN

utu > , August 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

@Stephen R. Diamond


And obviously Putin is a superman
Have you notice that the same folks you say Trump is a superman say the same of Putin? Everything is a stroke of genius.

These folks might study up a bit on the nature of intelligence. It would help them recognize these mediocrities for what they are. ;) Everything is a stroke of genius.

Like playing 3D or nD (n–>inf) chess, right?

I think it come from desperation and hope, I think. And as they say, hope does not want to die in spite of the evidence that it should long time ago.

n230099 > , August 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT

" 10 top most powerful lobbies in Washington, DC. They are (in the same order as in the original article)

Tech Lobby
Mining Industry
Defense Industry
Agribusiness Industry
Big Oil
Financial Lobby
Big Pharma
AARP
Pro-Israel Lobby
NRA"

Well, some are 'lobbies' but some are just bogeymen.

white noise > , August 2, 2017 at 12:34 pm GMT

@The Alarmist The neoconservative are like junkies. Does a junkie ever really appreciate the risk whilst in the middle of pursuing his next fix? Each successive fix is never quite enough, so they go on to bigger fixes at the risk of overdose. Neocons seem to think kicking Russia's ass will be a manageable high, a cakewalk nonetheless, same for China thereafter, because the wars and dying will be done over there ... in their estimation. " Neocons seem to think kicking Russia's ass will be a manageable high"

That's what they think. Given that Russia currently has more nuclear power than USA and Israel combined, to think that they can handle Russia is sheer stupidity.

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Much is made of this so-called "neocon" business. They appear to be a current highly aggressive strain of American expansionism. However, there were no "neocons" in 1898 when the US saw it's opportunity to attack Spain and grab away it's holdings. The US has been aggressively expanding ever since, inserting itself into both world wars at the very last minute in order to gain as much for itself as possible. It got a couple bloody rebuffs in Korea and Vietnam but learned how to refine it's technique from those experiences. The US has been on the march ever since 1898, sometimes slowly sometimes quickly. It's not something new but is an inherent dynamic. Like a balloon things expand until they reach some sort of internal or external limiting factor. For the US one can imagine what those might be.

John Q. Public > , August 2, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT

We need a better term than "neo-con." People like Brennan, Clapper and McMaster were never Trotskyites and they never wrote for Commentary. Their view is really a liberal internationalism update for the post-Cold War, post-9/11 situation. And this view is ubiquitous inside the Beltway.

Joe Hide > , August 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT

Saker,
I especially liked your use of the term "demonic" which is an appropriate term both figuratively and possibly literally to describe many neocon adherents.
The internet is providing "Light coming into the world", that is, Truth or information coming into mass consciousness. Mass consciousness must shape which possible futures become reality, or the controlled media wouldn't be spending billions to try to influence it. Some would say that this is solely because of the physical changes that people then force to happen, but evidence also supports consciousness simply altering possible outcomes "The prayers of a righteous man availeth much".
Saker, thanks much for Your articles!

jacques sheete > , August 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm GMT

Lesson unlearned.

Abstinence from all injustice to other first-rate powers is a greater tower of strength than anything that can be gained by the sacrifice of permanent tranquillity for an apparent temporary advantage.

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Book I, 1.42-[3]

Aedib > , August 2, 2017 at 1:25 pm GMT

Great article. Quite accurate description of the hubris infected American establishment.

jacques sheete > , August 2, 2017 at 1:26 pm GMT

@Sergey Krieger "What is absolutely clear is that these sanctions will have exactly zero effect on Russia and I don't think anybody is seriously expecting the Russians to change anything at all in their policies."

Zero effects? Speaking of changing policy is true but not that it won't create troubles for Russia. Anyway, any aggression requires swift and ruthless response otherwise it invites more of aggression. Putin is wrong to behave the way he behaves. There must be zero patience and head for an eye response. Than aggression stops.

Anyway, any aggression requires swift and ruthless repsonse

Not always, and not necessarily now. Sometimes no response is the most powerful. Aggressive and ruthless responses are often best reserved for the times they're likely to succeed decisively. Responding to petulant pissants is more often than not a waste of time, energy and concentration. Putin appears to know all that, and good for him. I 'd love to see him knock the bastards on their collective asses permanently. Sometime.

Aedib > , August 2, 2017 at 1:31 pm GMT

@utu

Did I miss it or Saker does not even explain what kind of sanctions were imposed but nevertheless he assures his readers that they won't hurt Russia and possibly make it even stronger and basically everything will be hunky-dory because PGU has extremely well qualified individuals on its staff: "superb level of education and training." And obviously Putin is a superman who was in charge of spies in East Germany which required as much sophistication and risk taking as spying in Wales for James Bond. Russia had quite satisfactorily surfed sanctions.

https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/

Pandos > , August 2, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

@Bragadocious Worse, Trump's behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course. This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo

So I guess the Americans are stupid for antagonizing Russia, they're stupid for antagonizing Russia's enemies in the EU--they're just plain stupid, according to this Dutch-Russian emigre. I don't know why America's stupid for standing up for its rights on climate change and refugee admissions and calling out NATO freeloaders, I really don't. And if this upsets Western Europe, so much the better. Also, someone should explain to "The Saker" that the neocons were well in control before Obama. How do you think we got into Iraq? And what is the "semblance of sanity" he thinks we should return to? "rights on climate change and refugee admissions" Seriously? Oh please.

yeah > , August 2, 2017 at 2:28 pm GMT

@Sean Largely due to Obama's timidity in Syria on top of his denial of defensive weapons to Kiev, Russia humiliated America in Syria. Putin will rue the day, because America is going to hit back at Russia (it has to). Trump is going to take asymmetric vengeance and bleed Russia white. A fraction of what has been spent in Syria will go a very long way in you-know-where.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/world/europe/pentagon-and-state-department-are-said-to-propose-arming-ukraine.html

Regarding Syria and your comments thereon: Excuse me, but is it all about Russia versus America or can the Syrian people and their Government have any say? The world has people and Governments other than American ones, you know, and they don't like freedom, democracy, or whatever delivered by bombs, not even by smart bombs. The Syrian Government did not ask Washington to intervene, so under international law American intervention and bombings there are as legitimate as "Saving Vietnam from the commies", "Bringing democracy to Iraq", or . the list is long. No adventure on that list turned out well for America or anyone else, with the exception of the merchants of death.

Now your fond hope is "Trump is going to bleed Russia white" and no doubt you would welcome "Getting tough on Russia". Maybe you prefer your news to be exciting – with trade wars, sanctions-wars, hot wars, cold wars, shooting wars, full blown mushroom-cloud-wars – but you will have to spare us such merry excitement.

John Q. Public > , August 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT

You are making too big a deal about the 30 day repeal. I bet you Trump will include a signing statement that he reserves the right to ignore the parts of the law that are unconstitutional.

schmenz > , August 2, 2017 at 4:12 pm GMT

I'm afraid I had to stop reading when our beloved Saker stated that the Israel Lobby has nothing to do with Israel. I'm really not sure what planet Saker lives on but he might ask the destroyed nations around Israel if they think the Lobby has nothing to do with Israel.

jacques sheete > , August 2, 2017 at 4:36 pm GMT

@schmenz I'm afraid I had to stop reading when our beloved Saker stated that the Israel Lobby has nothing to do with Israel. I'm really not sure what planet Saker lives on but he might ask the destroyed nations around Israel if they think the Lobby has nothing to do with Israel.

I'm afraid I had to stop reading when our beloved Saker stated that the Israel Lobby has nothing to do with Israel.

This could no doubt be more accurately stated as, the Israel Lobby has nothing to do with the interests of the Israeli people. It seems to exist for the benefit of the ultra moneybag crowd and its deranged puppets such as Netanyahooooo!

Mulegino1 > , August 2, 2017 at 5:49 pm GMT

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. Thus, the "American" (please note the quotation marks) oligarchy is imploding. Hopefully, they will not exercise a Samson Option of their own, but anything is possible with this gang of criminal sociopaths. Their poster boy is now an insatiable warmonger who is suffering from brain cancer! How could things get any worse?

After the impressive military victories the US has achieved against such formidable foes as Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, mighty Grenada, Serbia and Libya, taking on Russia should be a "cakewalk", right? And to think there is a sizable demographic in this country which still believes this! Unbelievable. The last time that the US took on a military opponent at rough conventional parity with it (the Chinese in Korea) the result was a stalemate. To paraphrase Cardinal Newman, "To be deep in history is to cease to be a neocon."

Trump should have just let the veto proof sanctions become law without his signature.

Moi > , August 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm GMT

"The big difference is that immense and untapped potential of the USA to bounce back."

This tells me the writer is delusional. The "American Century" is over, and it did not last one hundred years. Too bad.

Moi > , August 2, 2017 at 6:01 pm GMT

@TheJester

Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above. For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him.

Many people who notice believe that "Neocon" is a euphemism for "Jew". Yes, there are non-Jewish outliers among the Neocons like John McCain and Lindsey Graham ... but this need be no more complex than assuming that they, like so many others in government such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, have cut their deals with the Jewish lobby. Indeed, when I read an article on Neocons, the list of culprits does read like a list of Ashkenazi Jews.

The import is that if the Neocons are religiously committed to world domination and "Neocon" is a euphemism for "Jew", then it follows that the age-old stereotype that there are cabals of Jews seeking world domination at the expense of the goyim they live among is true. Agree!

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT

@Sean Largely due to Obama's timidity in Syria on top of his denial of defensive weapons to Kiev, Russia humiliated America in Syria. Putin will rue the day, because America is going to hit back at Russia (it has to). Trump is going to take asymmetric vengeance and bleed Russia white. A fraction of what has been spent in Syria will go a very long way in you-know-where.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/world/europe/pentagon-and-state-department-are-said-to-propose-arming-ukraine.html

Russia humiliated America in Syria

They humiliated Tel Aviv. American people never wanted to spill their blood and treasure on the other side of the Globe for the Grater Israel project.

Suman > , August 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT

Rand Paul and Mike Lee voted against the sanctions. Bernie Sanders is getting undue credit.

Moi > , August 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz

I'm afraid you're right. But I remain puzzled at how 98 Senators could have been lined up for that stupidity. Can you enlarge on the details of neo-con ideas, personnel and means of influence to explain the neo-con part? I mean 98 out of 100 Senators!!!

And, given especially your assertion that Israeli lobbyists aren't acting in Israel's real interests, can you give a fuller explanation of what they are up to and why, with particular reference to that Senate vote?

Following on from that, or, if you insist, as an aside would you care to give your view of what rational Israeli lobbying might seek Americann help for. Here's my attempt at starting your explanation..... Israel knows it can no longer defeat the battle hardened Hezbollah forces, from which they have already received a bloidy nose, without using nuclear weapons or losing a high proportion of young Israelis. So it fears that Hezbollah, still connected to Iran and protected in that by Syria, will launch intolerable rocket attacks to provoke Israeli attack against its dug in positions.

The need to remove Assad's regime has to be seen in that light??? Could it be as simple as that? That kind of overwhelming support in the Senate is usually reserved for Israel.

Joe Levantine > , August 2, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

The current crisis between the largely special interest owned American executive branch and the largely failing reformer Donald Trump can be a historic opportunity for Europe to mend the artificial divide between the European Union and Russia. The crisis can also be a golden opportunity to shake the corrupt system of government in the USA. These opportunities are subject to having strong and free leaders who can capitalize on the hubris of the ignorant senators and representatives on Capitol Hill.

Germany, absent Merkel, can resurrect the reinsurance treaty with Russia which Kaiser Wilhelm II abrogated much to the frustration and disapproval of Bismarck, the pilot of German unification. What followed was a precarious geopolitical divide in Europe which led to the WWI with its disastrous consequences for Germany, followed by the ordeal of the Versailles Treaty and ultimately the breakout of WWII.

By putting the energy gun to the head of the Europeans, the American legislature will force the Europeans to rethink and revamp their self defeating policies towards Russia that are done at the behest of the USA. Any rapprochement with Russia will seal the fate of Eurasia as an integrated economic bloc with the New Silk Road at its backbone.

As for the United States internal politics, it is obvious that the neocons are pushing matters to a head with Trump whose only resort is to knit a special relationship with those leaders of the military establishment who do not fancy the dominance of the deep state under the leadership of the CIA. The neocons move to impeach the president should create the kind of unrest that should spur the military to take action against the corruption of the legislative branch and its extension in the neocons media complex.

Yet this very much desired scenario that could a boon for world peace hinges on the emergence of a new leadership in the western world that is willing to defy the powers that be. Currently Europe is woefully lacking in the quality of leadership that can seize the moment to break free from the dominance of the neocons.

Zogby > , August 2, 2017 at 6:21 pm GMT

This sanctions bill is a domestic US matter. The Republicans are trying to pacify the Democrats' rage and bitterness over losing the election. It is most convenient for them to adopt the canard blaming Russia for the result of the election. The voters knew exactly where Trump stands on Russia, so even if Russia leaked the DNC and Podesta emails, there was no theft of the election. Voters were not mislead about positions, and knew very well the Democrats accuse the Russian of the leaks.

Trump did not veto the the bill because of the veto proof majority, but will effectively veto the bill by ignoring it. I don't see any Federal Court issuing orders to enforce this bill, and can ignore that too. It's like Congress declaring a war the President doesn't want to fight. Who is gonna make him?

Harold Smith > , August 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm GMT

"Why in the world would the US Senate adopt new sanctions against Russia when Russia has done absolutely nothing to provoke such a vote? Except for Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, every single US Senator voted in favor of these sanctions. Why?!"

There is no satisfactory "worldly" explanation for what's happening here, but there is an explanation. The Jew-controlled "U.S. government" apparently hates Russia for the same reason that Cain hated (and eventually murdered) Abel. To put it another way, "bad" (evil) hates "good" because if there were no such thing as "good", then there would be no such thing as "bad" by comparison. The Russian government demonstrates respect for international law, mutual cooperation, diplomacy, stability, restraint, etc., while the U.S. government simply trashes everything, including America.

The Jews HATE a good example, and Russian re-emergence onto the world scene as an example of relative goodness, in stark contrast to U.S. evil, is simply too much for them to bear.

"An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked" (Proverbs 29:27).

Seamus Padraig > , August 2, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT

@Sergey Krieger "What is absolutely clear is that these sanctions will have exactly zero effect on Russia and I don't think anybody is seriously expecting the Russians to change anything at all in their policies."

Zero effects? Speaking of changing policy is true but not that it won't create troubles for Russia. Anyway, any aggression requires swift and ruthless repsonse otherwise it invites more of agression. Putin is wrong to behave the way he behaves. There must be zero patience and head for an eye response. Than aggression stops.

Putin is wrong to behave the way he behaves. There must be zero patience and head for an eye response. Than aggression stops.

I second what 'jaques sheete' said. I just want to add that we could be on the verge of a major break between Washington and the EU -- something Putin has been working towards for years. We have an old saying: when you're enemy's committing suicide, stand back and let him. That's what Washington is doing now: committing suicide.

Miro23 > , August 2, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT

During that long trip I did not only see breathtakingly beautiful sights, but also plenty of beautiful people who oppose the satanic ball in DC with every fiber of their being and who want their country to be free from the degenerate demonic powers which have taken over the federal government.

I don't believe the "with every fiber of their being" part. This is just wishful thinking on the part of Saker. If this were so, they wouldn't just be grumbling or trusting their corrupt representatives. Average Americans still elect people like McCain, Graham and Schumer and I haven't seen any mass anti-war demonstrations in Washington or New York or anywhere else.

Seamus Padraig > , August 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm GMT

Even more depressing than the bill is Trump's craven capitulation:

In a signing statement released by the White House, Trump said the legislation "included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions" in lawmakers' "haste" to pass it.

"While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed," he said

Trump, however, said in another statement accompanying the bill that he would not allow the U.S. to "tolerate interference in our democratic process and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-trump-signs-russia-sanctions-bill/story?id=48985465

So Trump now officially regards his own election as illegitimate? As the result of Russian "subversion and destabilization"? Incredible! I realize he can't stop the bill; but that doesn't mean he has to officially sign it.

Sean > , August 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

@yeah Regarding Syria and your comments thereon: Excuse me, but is it all about Russia versus America or can the Syrian people and their Government have any say? The world has people and Governments other than American ones, you know, and they don't like freedom, democracy, or whatever delivered by bombs, not even by smart bombs. The Syrian Government did not ask Washington to intervene, so under international law American intervention and bombings there are as legitimate as "Saving Vietnam from the commies", "Bringing democracy to Iraq", or .... the list is long. No adventure on that list turned out well for America or anyone else, with the exception of the merchants of death.

Now your fond hope is "Trump is going to bleed Russia white" and no doubt you would welcome "Getting tough on Russia". Maybe you prefer your news to be exciting - with trade wars, sanctions-wars, hot wars, cold wars, shooting wars, full blown mushroom-cloud-wars - but you will have to spare us such merry excitement.

https://defenceindepth.co/2017/02/17/the-russian-militarys-view-on-the-utility-of-force-the-adoption-of-a-strategy-of-non-violent-asymmetric-warfare/

Russian military thinking seems to have reached the point now where the idea of using force intentionally in conflicts with peer-state adversaries has been almost completely ruled out. This seems a radical move. But there has been a clear recognition within this military that better strategic outcomes for Russia will result from the use of non-violent 'asymmetric warfare' activities rather than those which will or can involve the use of force – such as conventional war or hybrid warfare. [...] The principal aim of Russian asymmetric warfare is to create degrees of destabilisation (destabilizatsiya) within targeted states and within collectives of targeted states (e.g. NATO, EU). [...] And all this plays to the Russian military's own strengths – its 'own relative advantages'. While it might lack 'quantitative indicators' – the tanks, aircraft and ships – it does have a massive capacity to gather information, to disseminate (mis)information and to employ considerable cyber abilities

The most painful sanctions for Putin are old news, it was the cancellation of the Exxon deal by the Obama administration. ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-exxon-treasury-fight-and-the-roots-of-russiagate_us_597de928e4b0c69ef70528ff ).

Too backward to frack, Russia tried to bribe the tech from Exxon with massive access to Russia untapped resources to show them how. I would really like someone to tell me why Russia should be rewarded by transfer of crucial US technology for what it did in Ukraine. Were they expecting a pat on the back? Russia will it not start a conventional or nuclear war unless it thinks there is a chance of it winning, and there isn't.

Sean > , August 2, 2017 at 7:43 pm GMT

@Anonymous

Russia humiliated America in Syria
They humiliated Tel Aviv. American people never wanted to spill their blood and treasure on the other side of the Globe for the Grater Israel project. No because Jordan not Syria is just across the river from the occupied territories' Palestinian population. Syria has little or no bearing on the West Bank Arab problem, which is the main one for Israel
Johnny Rico > , Website August 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm GMT

It is all about the oil.

Oil is the only reason the global population has quadrupled in only the last 100 years. The Industrial Revolution was not enough. Oil is necessary to maintain this population and keep it fed.

The remaining relatively-cheap oil is all in Russia, Saudia Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and The UAE. Everybody understands this. The Russians, the Chinese, the Neocons, Donald Trump. They all get this.

The United States is for all intents-and-purposes energy independent when you include supplies from Canada and rapidly-dwindling supplies from Mexico. But the United States relies on "control" of the oil coming from the Persian Gulf to maintain control of its Empire and as tenuous control over its real one and only rival – China.

South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are completely dependent for survival economically on energy that comes from the Middle-East and is protected by the U.S. Navy.

The constant tension between Israel and Saudi Arabia (The two worst regimes in the world) on the one side and Iran on the other is necessary to give the American Deep State and Empire purpose.

While it 'appears' that all the American military equipment and bases and meddling in the Middle East are aimed at surrounding and blunting Iran's power – it should be obvious from 75-plus years of history that the real purpose is to surround Saudi Arabia.

Whether it is Roosevelt meeting with the King in 1945 on the way back from Yalta or Trump meeting with the King a month ago – the message is clear – The heads belonging to the House of Sand are only attached to their necks at the discretion of the United States.

peterAUS > , August 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm GMT

@anonymous

Much is made of this so-called "neocon" business. They appear to be a current highly aggressive strain of American expansionism. However, there were no "neocons" in 1898 when the US saw it's opportunity to attack Spain and grab away it's holdings. The US has been aggressively expanding ever since, inserting itself into both world wars at the very last minute in order to gain as much for itself as possible. It got a couple bloody rebuffs in Korea and Vietnam but learned how to refine it's technique from those experiences. The US has been on the march ever since 1898, sometimes slowly sometimes quickly. It's not something new but is an inherent dynamic. Like a balloon things expand until they reach some sort of internal or external limiting factor. For the US one can imagine what those might be. Agree.

The only difference, at this stage of expansion, is that the lower classes do not get the spoils of the expansion. If they did .well .it would be interesting to see how much they'd be against The Empire.

And, yes, that another THING; this time the opponent can retaliate hard. Nukes do make all that difficult to execute. What a conundrum ..

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[Jul 29, 2017] The Myth of American Exceptionalism by Melvin Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... The Bay of Pigs is the "poster child" for American operational failure, and the CIA's Office of the Inspector General put the blame squarely on what it described as "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence" within the CIA. ..."
"... But it was national security adviser Henry Kissinger who ordered the operation and explained that he couldn't "see why the United States should stand by and let Chile go communist merely due to the stupidity of its own people." ..."
"... Putin's intervention in Syria in 2015 was designed in part to make sure that the U.S. history of regime change didn't included another chapter in the Middle East. ..."
"... Before former U.S. officials such as Tom Malinowski decide to lambaste Putin for cynicism and treachery, it would be a good idea to become familiar with U.S. crimes and calumny. Forty years ago, former senator Frank Church said the United States "must never adopt the tactics of the enemy. Each time we do so, each time the means we use are wrong; our inner strength, the strength that makes us free, is lessened." Malinowski should ponder William Faulkner's admonition about the land of his birth: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." ..."
Jul 27, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Like too many nations, the United States likes to think of itself as a chosen nation and a chosen people. Presidential inauguration statements are typically an exercise in proclaiming American exceptionalism, and this mentality has far too much influence in the United States. It's particularly regrettable when individuals who should no better indulge the kind of hubris and triumphalism associated with American exceptionalism.

An excellent example of our exceptionalism appeared in Sunday's Washington Post in the form of an op-ed by Tom Malinowski, the former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in the Obama administration. In a fatuous display of ignorance, Malinowski lambasted Russian President Vladimir Putin for stating that the United States frequently meddles in the politics and elections of other countries. Malinowski argued that it is Russia that interferes in democratic elections, such as the U.S. presidential race in 2016, but that the United States consistently "promotes democracy in other countries."

One of the reasons why the United States has so little credibility in making the case against Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election is the sordid record of the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency in conducting regime change and even political assassination to influence political conditions around the world. In 1953, the United States and Great Britain conspired to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran; the following year, the Eisenhower administration backed a coup in Guatemala that led to the introduction of Central America's most brutal regime in history. Similarly, Eisenhower's willingness to pursue the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo led to the installation of the worst tyrant in the history of Africa, Sese Seku Mobutu.

The Bay of Pigs is the "poster child" for American operational failure, and the CIA's Office of the Inspector General put the blame squarely on what it described as "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence" within the CIA. Ten years later, however, another American administration and the CIA tried to prevent the election of Salvador Allende, a leftist, as president of Chile. After Allende's election, the CIA moved to subvert his government. CIA director Richard Helms was given a two-year suspended prison sentence for lying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the operation in Chile. But it was national security adviser Henry Kissinger who ordered the operation and explained that he couldn't "see why the United States should stand by and let Chile go communist merely due to the stupidity of its own people."

The revelation of assassination plots in Cuba, the Congo, the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam finally led to a ban on CIA political assassination in the mid-1970s. Nevertheless, when Libyan leader Muammar Qadafi was killed, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boasted that "we came, we saw, he died." In an incredible turn of events, the United States invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein, although it was a CIA-sponsored coup against Colonel Abdul Kassem that led to the emergence of Saddam Hussein in the first place.

Vladimir Putin is certainly aware of CIA intervention of behalf of the Solidarity movement in Poland to destabilize the communist government there in the early 1980s; to bolster the regime of former president Eduard Shevardnadze in the Republic of Georgia in the 1990s; and more recently to undermine the regime of former president Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine.

Putin's intervention in Syria in 2015 was designed in part to make sure that the U.S. history of regime change didn't included another chapter in the Middle East.

Before former U.S. officials such as Tom Malinowski decide to lambaste Putin for cynicism and treachery, it would be a good idea to become familiar with U.S. crimes and calumny. Forty years ago, former senator Frank Church said the United States "must never adopt the tactics of the enemy. Each time we do so, each time the means we use are wrong; our inner strength, the strength that makes us free, is lessened." Malinowski should ponder William Faulkner's admonition about the land of his birth: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. His latest book is A Whistleblower at the CIA . (City Lights Publishers, 2017). Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org

Tobe Fair · 1 day ago

Strictly on the record, US & Allies are a Global Menace who became wealthy by cannibalising rest of humanity to the tune of Millions murdered and more millions maimed and made homeless.
Putin is a tough man who has intelligence and empathy where US is devoid of conscience.
know the truth · 1 day ago
The US is indeed the "great satan", all evil emanates from that abomination of a country and its people.
Kofi · 1 day ago
The core philosophy underlying a nation's raison d'être matters: Individualism, greed is good, self before community---- Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" is a good start for insights here. And the pendulum has swung to an extreme where the necons and the one percent rule with an accompanying dramatic rise in inequality not seen in decades.

This corrosive philosophy needs to be unwound so that the pendulum reverts back to a more 'acceptable', realistically feasible median.

[Jul 19, 2017] On Crapified News And Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... The diminishing capacity to get a proper look at global affairs is related to the rise in Imperial Hubris of the Outlaw US Empire, which I turn degrades your ability to properly respond to events--particularly those created by Empire policy. I think this is a part of what b's writing about here. ..."
"... It is more than just rise, however correctly pointed out by you, of Imperial Hubris--the whole panoply of the "tools" of military-political analysis is plain and simple wrong. This failure is based on a metaphysical mistake -- wrong reading of history, especially of the 20th Century, which led to an ultimate failure in understanding the issues of scales and proportions. What was merely a once in a lifetime window of opportunities due to a specific combination of geopolitical, military, economic etc. factors in the immediate wake of WW II was perceived as a dialectic and inevitable march of history in favor of messianic USA, not a gift to be cherished. Sand castles on the beach, however, do not live long, the high tide has arrived some time ago. ..."
"... As in the US DOJ, FBI, CIA etc., are organizations aimed directly to protect oligarchic rule, IRG protects ruling class of clerics in Iran, in both countries under guise of protecting constitution and law and order, earthly or heavenly. ..."
"... Unfortunately, "What was merely a once in a lifetime window of opportunities due to a specific combination of geopolitical, military, economic etc. factors in the immediate wake of WW II was perceived as a dialectic and inevitable march of history in favor of messianic USA," this "metaphysical mistake" had already ingrained itself into the Outlaw US Empire's Mythos as Manifest Destiny and quickly found its way into all realms of discourse by the mid-1840s. The creation and perpetuation of such a grandiose mythos can only be done though lies and the deliberate falsification of history. ..."
"... While I don't disagree with you, it has to be well understood that any big "player" by 19th Century had its own version of Manifest Destiny e.g. Russia as a Third Rome. But it was namely through WW II where US could claim a "victory" over Nazism (hence a vast field of Anglo-American WW II history falsifiers) and thus realize itself as a continental power that the issue of exceptionalism really have got into over-drive and resulted in US literally running itself into the ground. When one has a political class (and population) not conditioned by continental warfare--it is almost inevitable. ..."
"... I get the impression the situation is typically less a matter of, "the editors demand a fast one on some less familiar issue", than certain intelligence operatives tasked with gaming the media echo chamber, feed well placed assets prioritized talking points to create the illusion of a 'thing'. ..."
"... Just look at the media shitstorm regarding Russia, different crap, same difference! ..."
Jul 19, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Significant parts of the Trump administration , Congress and the general Zionist borg would love to start a war between the U.S. and Iran.

A war is unlikely. Iran's geography and strategic position is unassailable. Its global political standing has increased during the last decades. Any war with Iran would be extremely costly yet unwinnable.

But with U.S. pressure again increasing on Iran it is important to learn and understand what happens inside of country. Unfortunately most reporting about politics within Iran is bit of a mess. Considers the piece below from the Washington Post. Written from Turkey by a journalist who (to my best knowledge) does not speaks Farsi nor has any special knowledge of the country: With U.S. scholar's conviction, power struggle escalates between Iran's president and hard-liners

ISTANBUL -- A high-stakes power struggle between Iran's moderate president and his hard-line opponents in the judiciary appeared to escalate with the arrest of the president's brother and the conviction of an American student for espionage this weekend -- rulings that seemed timed to embarrass the Iranian leader at home and abroad

The piece should be classic foreign reporting. But who is speaking here?

There is certainly no reason to lambast the journalist, Erin Cunningham, for being lazy. Getting five telephone or email interviews and authorized quotes for the piece was surely a day's work. But how come there is no voice from Iran? The only quote from an Iranian person, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is in translation of a lobby shop in New York which does not reveal its sponsors. Is the quote correct? The other "expert" are all from outlets that are more or less adverse to Iran's system of governance.

The piece makes the recent dispute and judicial action look extraordinary and sensational. It connects it to actions in Washington DC:

The tensions come as Iran and the United States spar over the terms of a nuclear deal struck with world powers to limit Iran's nuclear weapons program.
...
The Trump administration has taken a much harsher stance on Iran, threatening to abandon the deal, and the Treasury Department on Tuesday announced new sanctions primarily targeting Iran's ballistic missile program.
...
The arrest and conviction of Wang, a 37-year-old scholar at Princeton, appeared to target Rouhani's wider foreign policy and engagement with the West. Although Wang was detained in August 2016, the timing of the verdict is suspect, analysts say.

"Why did they keep it a secret as long as they did? Timing is important," said Alex Vatanka, an Iran expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

Conflicts between the executive and the judiciary in Iran are legend and reoccur at least every other year. They are independent of the president being "moderate" or "hard-line" himself. Consider the obvious similarities between the above lede and this one from 2012 :

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- The head of Iran's judiciary lashed out at the country's president Wednesday, the latest salvo in an escalating political conflict that has undermined much of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political clout

The Iranian constitution and political system is build on the principal of Vilayat-e Faqih, the guardianship of the (Islamic) jurists. The undecided question is how absolute the primacy of the jurists is supposed to be. The interpretations vary widely and often depend on the issue at hand. The executive will naturally assert primacy wherever it can, while absolute principalists in the judiciary will always assert that their jurisprudence is prime. The conflict is daily bread in Tehran and it makes no sense to sensationalize it.

The arrest of the president's brother for corruption may well be justified. It should astonish no one. It could be timed to assert pressure but we have no way to know that. It would be mere speculation to say so. Experience has show that effective coordination within the Iranian state machinery is way less than western authors tend to assume.

The U.S. student/spy had already been imprisoned for eleven months. That he was convicted now is likely not related to any Trump tantrum or epiphany. Washington's capers are less important in Tehran as the U.S. would like them to be.

All together the piece shows the typical pitfalls of U.S. reporting on Iran (and many other countries).

One original voice from within Tehran's ruling circuit would have been more valuable to the above piece than the five think tank quotes. A few more words about the historic role of the judiciary would have helped to set some perspective. Connecting the political theater in Tehran to Trump's zigzags makes it easier to write the lede. But there is no justification for it without evidentiary backing.

Despite the nitpicking I don't regard the Cunningham piece as bad at all. Each day there are way worse reports in the papers and on cable TV. It is probably the best one can do when the editors demand a fast one on some less familiar issue. Over the last years many experienced foreign correspondents were fired or paid to leave. Main-stream media replaced serious foreign reporting with childish "listicals", high school level "explainers" and cat pictures.

When a few dailies and news shows drive foreign policy making the lack of in-depth reporting becomes a serious issue. Members of Congress and the administration get much of their foreign policy knowledge from U.S. media reports. It is no wonder that they are clueless when those reports lack insight and details. The crapification of high decision making is probably directly related to the crapification of the news media. Trump taking his clues from Fox News (and others) is bad. Fox News (and others) having no well reported clues at all is even worse.

Posted by b on July 19, 2017 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Freespirit | Jul 19, 2017 12:14:14 PM | 1

Yeh, sure I am going to believe an, in effect, "ALL-AMERICAN" stooges reporting about anything stated as FACT from or about Iran

Keep in mind what ,who and Chacteristics of WHOM we are dealing with:

Perpetual WAR, ISRAEL , CHRISTIANS, JEWS, Muslims and the CONNECTION: https://boblivingstonletter.com/alerts/america-perpetual-war/

AND

Psychopathy by James Corbett: https://youtu.be/DPf5i84BqcA

AND

Trump's NEW WORLD ORDER, run by Jews, with him as Temporary Chief Stooge : http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1222

karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 12:18:08 PM | 2
Southfront has a report about a just released stink tank study: "A new study conducted by members of the U.S. military establishment has concluded that the U.S.-led international global order established after World War II is "fraying" and may even be "collapsing" as the U.S. continues to lose its position of "primacy" in world affairs." https://southfront.org/us-military-establishment-study-american-empire-collapsing/ https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1358

The diminishing capacity to get a proper look at global affairs is related to the rise in Imperial Hubris of the Outlaw US Empire, which I turn degrades your ability to properly respond to events -- particularly those created by Empire policy. I think this is a part of what b's writing about here.

Willy2 | Jul 19, 2017 12:28:28 PM | 3
- One doesn't have to occupy Iran in its entirety. One can simply occupy the Khuzestan oil province in the west of Iran to cripple the Iranian government.
Yul | Jul 19, 2017 12:42:28 PM | 4
@b

http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/en/page/1970219/All+Rumors+about+Hassan+Rouhani%E2%80%99s+Recently+Arrested+Brother+Hossein+Fereidoun.html

somebody | Jul 19, 2017 12:49:32 PM | 5
3
that is why Iran has specialized in all types of missiles for the last decades or so.
Pnyx | Jul 19, 2017 12:59:03 PM | 6
Important background. Thank you B.
Yul | Jul 19, 2017 1:16:32 PM | 7
@2 karlof1

Nafeez Ahmed did a good job dissecting the 145 pages report:
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/pentagon-study-declares-american-empire-is-collapsing-746754cdaebf

Mike Maloney | Jul 19, 2017 1:36:03 PM | 8
Believe it or not, NYT's Tehran correspondent, Thomas Erdbrink, is pretty good. I remember seeing a video a couple years ago where Erdbrink profiles Najiyeh Allahdad, a daughter of a martyr in the Iran-Iraq War I believe. It was very sympathetic to the revolution. In the bio of Allahad NYT published they included this:
How do you describe yourself? I'm an Iranian Muslim who uses any opportunity to improve her country and who protects her country's reputation in the world. I love life, and I love peace. I feel that what people have lost in this world is spirituality. I've devoted my life to trying to find this spirituality for myself first and then to help others enjoy it.

Have you traveled outside of Iran? Where? What did you think? I have traveled to India, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, the United States and Syria. I found some Eastern countries like India and China to be very civilized, but they have not used their civilization to improve their daily lives. On the other hand, I found the Western countries to be detached from their histories and stepping into a new world that has an unclear future. Some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. seemed too dependent on Western countries and would be nothing without help from the U.S. And a country like Iraq has always been hampered by circumstances throughout its history.

There is a strong body of opinion within the U.S. national security state that believes along with b that Iran cannot be defeated militarily. Trump is doing the bidding of his buddies in Jeddah and Tel Aviv.
Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 19, 2017 1:50:12 PM | 9
A beautiful piece of analytical, sequential surgery, b.
I was watching a doco at the weekend and #Occupy was mentioned, reminding me that we can thank #Occupy for the introduction of 1%/99% into the lexicon, and the #Occupiers for the meme...

The America dream
You have to be asleep
To believe it.

Similarly, I'm grateful to Trump for linking the terms "Fake News" and "Mainstream Media" and making each an autonomic reminder of the other.

james | Jul 19, 2017 2:23:52 PM | 10
thanks b... msm is superficial at best... unfortunately they are beholden to israel's agenda which is the same as the military, financial and neo-con industries... until that changes, it will be playing fast with facts in order to perpetuate more war... good to know what the msm is really about... it isn't about anything in depth, that's for sure!
karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 2:54:20 PM | 11
Yul @7--

Thanks! I noted Southfront cited him and linked to his article.

To continue my thought on this: Garbage in leads to garbage out. In the process of propagandizing and indoctrinating the populous, you dumb them down to the point that to be effective analysts and policy makers people must be reeducated. My #1 example is Trump. He's been fed so much Crappola his entire life that it negatively affects his thought processes and judgment. At least he's willing to call such crappola for what it is, although he in turn produces his own version of it often.

A very good example of the change in the elite's philosophy from 1776 to today is found in this clause from the Outlaw US Empire's Declaration of Independence:

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And then compared to this exemplary expression of hubris from Karl Rove:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

In other words, we don't give a damn about what anybody else thinks or what the law says--pretty much the same sentiments uttered by every megalomaniac that ever existed.

How to return to the prudent, moral, and law-based philosophy penned by Jefferson that seems to guide the Multipolar Alliance? Where was it reported in the Western media that Iran sanctioned the Outlaw US Empire for its overwhelmingly obvious support for terrorism that I noted yesterday:

"In view of the overt support provided to terrorist groups by the US government and the country's military and intelligence forces and repeated confessions by American officials to having created terrorist groups and offered them all-out support, from the standpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the entirety of the United States' military and intelligence forces are considered as supporters of terrorist groups in the region." http://theduran.com/us-iran-sanctions-are-a-tit-for-tat-measure-that-is-part-of-a-wider-geo-strategic-reality/

Just how many Outlaw US Empire citizens are aware of the fact that it was deemed necessary by a member of congress to introduce a bill entitled the Stop Arming Terrorists Act that affirms the Iranian Parliament's decision to sanction such behavior. And how many citizens are aware that their government's behavior flaunts numerous UNSCRs and is thus in violation of International Law--the very same International Law it championed in 1940--Atlantic Charter--which resulted in the UN Charter and UN organization? As someone who was trained to teach US History, I can tell you I was never taught a huge amount of very important facts about the Outlaw US Empire--indeed, many of my presentations and essays resulted in educating my professors! And some talk of colonizing Mars! That's a huge howler! And I haven't even touched upon Junk Economics and its related Randian Crappola.

SmoothieX12 | Jul 19, 2017 3:15:59 PM | 12
@2, karlof1
The diminishing capacity to get a proper look at global affairs is related to the rise in Imperial Hubris of the Outlaw US Empire, which I turn degrades your ability to properly respond to events--particularly those created by Empire policy. I think this is a part of what b's writing about here.

It is more than just rise, however correctly pointed out by you, of Imperial Hubris--the whole panoply of the "tools" of military-political analysis is plain and simple wrong. This failure is based on a metaphysical mistake -- wrong reading of history, especially of the 20th Century, which led to an ultimate failure in understanding the issues of scales and proportions. What was merely a once in a lifetime window of opportunities due to a specific combination of geopolitical, military, economic etc. factors in the immediate wake of WW II was perceived as a dialectic and inevitable march of history in favor of messianic USA, not a gift to be cherished. Sand castles on the beach, however, do not live long, the high tide has arrived some time ago.

TimmyB | Jul 19, 2017 3:55:08 PM | 13
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that a country's executive branch has clashed with its judiciary branch. Errr, isnt that the entire point of separating these two government functions, so they will clash instead of having the judicary act as a rubber stamp for the executive? In the US, we call it the "Separation of Powers Doctrine." What is so wrong when other countries, such as Iran, have the same policy our Founding Fathers wanted us to have?
Kalen | Jul 19, 2017 4:04:21 PM | 14
Of course there is nothing sensational to write about, everyday occurrence elbowing for influence peddling and positioning within grid of political power.
But more interesting is what such a common, for US Iran and most of other countries, occurrences really mean, namely political game within strictly limited range of moves mostly for benefit of electoral audience entertainment while constitutional and judicial framework makes sure that Deep state and Rulling elite interests, political and economic are satisfied no matter what.

As in the US DOJ, FBI, CIA etc., are organizations aimed directly to protect oligarchic rule, IRG protects ruling class of clerics in Iran, in both countries under guise of protecting constitution and law and order, earthly or heavenly.

Unfortunately, the overall collapse of civilization corrupted by money and power in a unprecedented global dimension of mass mental enslavement, extereme radical consumerism, religion,nationalism or delusional psychotic cult of globalism and suicidal growth of social cancers is ubiquitous within societies crazed by fetish of material or immaterial social products or commodities, monetizing everything including most of all human flesh, relations, culture, religion, and humanist egalitarian societies. Such a decomposing ocean of human flesh spawned an mercenary army of human looking zombies conditioned and ready to violently defend their own enslavement for whatever reason was fed into their rotten brains.


karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 4:17:43 PM | 15
SmoothieX12 @12--

Thanks for your reply! Unfortunately, "What was merely a once in a lifetime window of opportunities due to a specific combination of geopolitical, military, economic etc. factors in the immediate wake of WW II was perceived as a dialectic and inevitable march of history in favor of messianic USA," this "metaphysical mistake" had already ingrained itself into the Outlaw US Empire's Mythos as Manifest Destiny and quickly found its way into all realms of discourse by the mid-1840s. The creation and perpetuation of such a grandiose mythos can only be done though lies and the deliberate falsification of history. As Hoarsewhisperer @9 intoned:

"The America dream
You have to be asleep
To believe it."

SmoothieX12 | Jul 19, 2017 5:17:29 PM | 16
@15, Karlof1
Outlaw US Empire's Mythos as Manifest Destiny and quickly found its way into all realms of discourse by the mid-1840s. The creation and perpetuation of such a grandiose mythos can only be done though lies and the deliberate falsification of history

While I don't disagree with you, it has to be well understood that any big "player" by 19th Century had its own version of Manifest Destiny e.g. Russia as a Third Rome. But it was namely through WW II where US could claim a "victory" over Nazism (hence a vast field of Anglo-American WW II history falsifiers) and thus realize itself as a continental power that the issue of exceptionalism really have got into over-drive and resulted in US literally running itself into the ground. When one has a political class (and population) not conditioned by continental warfare--it is almost inevitable.

spinworthy | Jul 19, 2017 5:43:58 PM | 18
Regarding, "crapification".

I get the impression the situation is typically less a matter of, "the editors demand a fast one on some less familiar issue", than certain intelligence operatives tasked with gaming the media echo chamber, feed well placed assets prioritized talking points to create the illusion of a 'thing'.

Any western reporting on America's/Israel's numero uno enemy du jour cannot be anything other than psyops. The strategy of 'full spectrum' BS necessitates that the media become the biggest (and most cost effective) venue for conducting psyops.

Just look at the media shitstorm regarding Russia, different crap, same difference!

karlof1 | Jul 19, 2017 6:12:07 PM | 19
SmoothieX12 @16--

"The issue of exceptionalism"

Yes, on the international stage I must agree with you, although it would've occurred earlier if the US government hadn't censored George Seldes's interview with Hindenburg shortly after the Armistice. Hindenburg: "The American infantry won the World War in battle in the Argonne." (p 24; You Can't Print That ; George Seldes; Payson & Clarke, Ltd; New York; 1929)

Arguably, however, if the interview hadn't been censored and been published as the world-wide scoop that it was, then the "Stab in the Back" propaganda charge wouldn't have had anything to uphold it and Hitler's movement wouldn't have happened, although it's very likely the Pacific War would've occurred regardless. Censorship and Propaganda always have unforeseen consequences.

nobody | Jul 19, 2017 7:00:42 PM | 20
a century old discussion

Posted by b on July 19, 2017 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Not sure where you are getting that number from. The doctrine was introduced by Khomeini, at some point after his exile: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokumat-e_Islami_:_Velayat-e_Faqih_%28book_by_Khomeini%29

It is also not a "discussion", b. It is a thought-crime to criticize this doctrine in the Islamic Republic.

Laguerre | Jul 19, 2017 7:20:15 PM | 23
re 3 willy2
- One doesn't have to occupy Iran in its entirety. One can simply occupy the Khuzestan oil province in the west of Iran to cripple the iranian government.
That was what Saddam thought in 1980. I suppose that's a bit too much like ancient history for you to know anything about that war.
nobody | Jul 19, 2017 7:56:58 PM | 24
messianic USA

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jul 19, 2017 5:17:29 PM | 16

Is it not true that (some) Russians believe that ("Holy") Russia has a messianic role to play in the history of mankind?

To what extent would you say this self perception is prevalent among the Russian people and the Russian ruling elite?

George Smiley | Jul 19, 2017 7:57:45 PM | 25
https://mobile.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-trump-orders-cia-halt-financial-military-aid-rebels-syria/

WOW

nobody | Jul 19, 2017 8:05:15 PM | 26
[The New York Times] was very sympathetic to the revolution.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 19, 2017 1:36:03 PM | 8

No shit. Afterall, the West provided assistance at every turn to the "revolutionaries" -- many of whom are now residents of USA -- to topple the Shah of Iran. Most of you know zip about Iran, "1953", and the role of Soviet Union, UK, France, Germany, and United State of America in the concerted effort to topple the uber nationalist Shah of Iran. You will not write our history for us, I assure you.

Curtis | Jul 19, 2017 8:06:02 PM | 27
For any planned future for Iran, look at the pictures from Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Gaza. As to the usual suspects, it's funny that they're Mideast experts but mostly connected to Israel.

George Smiley 25

The break in US support for the rebel factions is interesting in that it hasn't been public in US MSM. This includes the new coalition that doesn't want to attack Syrian government forces.

nobody | Jul 19, 2017 8:13:58 PM | 28
WOW

Posted by: George Smiley | Jul 19, 2017 7:57:45 PM | 25

Is "WOW" a neologism for Déjà vu?

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

Liam | Jul 19, 2017 9:22:07 PM | 34
Just released and there is nothing else like it - Truth of Ukraine War Revealed: Watchdog Media Releases Definitive Chronological Timeline Video of Ukrainian War From Euromaidan to MH-17 https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/07/19/truth-of-ukraine-war-revealed-watchdog-media-institute-releases-definitive-chronological-timeline-video-of-ukrainian-war-from-euromaidan-to-mh-17/
Temporarily Sane | Jul 19, 2017 10:29:27 PM | 37
@29 ben

Concise and spot-on summary that sums up the state of "journalism" in 2017.

@18 spinworthy

Remember 911 hero Ashleigh Banfield ? Her "fall from grace" is a typical example of what happens to American journalists who try to tell tell the truth about the empire's wars.

[Jul 17, 2017] Russias anti-American fever goes beyond the Soviet eras by Michael Birnbaum

Is not this a blowback of Washington neocons organized Kiev coup d'état of February 22, 2014 ?
Neocons sowed the teeth of dragon. Now wait...
Notable quotes:
"... The anger is a challenge for U.S. policymakers seeking to reach out to a shrinking pool of friendly faces in Russia. ..."
"... The anti-Western anger stands to grow even stronger if President Obama decides to send lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian military, as he has been considering. The aim would be to "raise the cost" of any Russian intervention by making the Ukrainian response more lethal. But even some of Putin's toughest critics say they cannot support that proposal, since the cost is the lives of their nation's soldiers. ..."
"... "The United States is experimenting geopolitically, using people like guinea pigs," said Sergey Mikheev, director of the Kremlin-allied Center for Current Politics, on a popular talk show on the state-run First Channel last year. His accusations, drawn out by a host who said it was important to "know the enemy," were typical of the rhetoric that fills Russian airwaves. ..."
"... Soviet rhetoric was officially anti-Western, but it couldn't repress ordinary Russians' passion for the Beatles or their enthusiasm for getting news from jammed Voice of America broadcasts. Those positive feelings spilled over after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... But the list of perceived slights from the United States has long been building, particularly after the United States and NATO bombed Serbia, a Russian ally, in 1999. Then came the war in Iraq, NATO expansion and the Russia-Georgia conflict. Each time, there were smaller spikes of anti-American sentiment that receded as quickly as they emerged. ..."
"... The years of perceived humiliations have "led to anti-Americanism at the grass-roots level, which did not exist before," said Vladimir Pozner, a journalist who for decades was a prominent voice of the Soviet Union in the United States. More recently, he has to explain the United States inside Russia. "We don't like the Americans, and it's because they're pushy, they think they're unique and they have had no regard for anyone else." ..."
"... Many Russians tapped into a deep-rooted resentment that after modeling themselves on the West following the breakup of the Soviet Union, they had experienced only hardship and humiliation in return. ..."
Mar 08, 2015 | The Washington Post

After a year in which furious rhetoric has been pumped across Russian airwaves, anger toward the United States is at its worst since opinion polls began tracking it. From ordinary street vendors all the way up to the Kremlin, a wave of anti-U.S. bile has swept the country, surpassing any time since the Stalin era, observers say.

The indignation peaked after the assassination of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, as conspiracy theories started to swirl - just a few hours after he was killed - that his death was a CIA plot to discredit Russia. (On Sunday, Russia charged two men from Chechnya, and detained three others, in connection with Nemtsov's killing.)

There are drives to exchange Western-branded clothing for Russia's red, blue and white. Efforts to replace Coke with Russian-made soft drinks. Fury over U.S. sanctions. And a passionate, conspiracy-laden fascination with the methods that Washington is supposedly using to foment unrest in Ukraine and Russia.

The anger is a challenge for U.S. policymakers seeking to reach out to a shrinking pool of friendly faces in Russia. And it is a marker of the limits of their ability to influence Russian decision-making after a year of sanctions. More than 80 percent of Russians now hold negative views of the United States, according to the independent Levada Center, a number that has more than doubled over the past year and that is by far the highest negative rating since the center started tracking those views in 1988.

Nemtsov's assassination, the highest-profile political killing during Vladimir Putin's 15 years in power, was yet another brutal strike against pro-Western forces in Russia. Nemtsov had long modeled himself on Western politicians and amassed a long list of enemies who resented him for it.

The anti-Western anger stands to grow even stronger if President Obama decides to send lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian military, as he has been considering. The aim would be to "raise the cost" of any Russian intervention by making the Ukrainian response more lethal. But even some of Putin's toughest critics say they cannot support that proposal, since the cost is the lives of their nation's soldiers.

"The United States is experimenting geopolitically, using people like guinea pigs," said Sergey Mikheev, director of the Kremlin-allied Center for Current Politics, on a popular talk show on the state-run First Channel last year. His accusations, drawn out by a host who said it was important to "know the enemy," were typical of the rhetoric that fills Russian airwaves.

"They treat us all in the same way, threatening not only world stability but the existence of every human being on the planet," Mikheev said.

Soviet rhetoric was officially anti-Western, but it couldn't repress ordinary Russians' passion for the Beatles or their enthusiasm for getting news from jammed Voice of America broadcasts. Those positive feelings spilled over after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

But the list of perceived slights from the United States has long been building, particularly after the United States and NATO bombed Serbia, a Russian ally, in 1999. Then came the war in Iraq, NATO expansion and the Russia-Georgia conflict. Each time, there were smaller spikes of anti-American sentiment that receded as quickly as they emerged.

Putin cranked up the volume after protest movements in late 2011 and 2012, which he blamed on the State Department. It wasn't until last year, when the crisis started in Ukraine, that anti-Americanism spread even among those who once eagerly hopped on planes to Miami and Los Angeles.

Fed by the powerful antagonism on Russian federal television channels, the main source of news for more than 90 percent of Russians, ordinary people started to feel more and more disillusioned. The anger seems different from the fast-receding jolts of the past, observers say, having spread faster and wider.

The years of perceived humiliations have "led to anti-Americanism at the grass-roots level, which did not exist before," said Vladimir Pozner, a journalist who for decades was a prominent voice of the Soviet Union in the United States. More recently, he has to explain the United States inside Russia. "We don't like the Americans, and it's because they're pushy, they think they're unique and they have had no regard for anyone else."

... ... ...

Many Russians tapped into a deep-rooted resentment that after modeling themselves on the West following the breakup of the Soviet Union, they had experienced only hardship and humiliation in return.

"Starting from about 1989, we completely reoriented toward the West. We looked at them as a future paradise. We expected that once we had done all that they demanded, we'd dance for them and they would finally hug and kiss us and we would merge in ecstasy," said Evgeny Tarlo, a member of Russia's upper house of parliament, on a Russian talk show last year. Instead, he said, the West has been trying to destroy Russia.

The anti-Americanism makes it harder for American culture to make inroads through its traditional means - soft-power routes such as movies, music and education. Last year, Russian policymakers ended a decades-old high school exchange program that offered their nation's best and brightest the chance to spend semesters at U.S. schools. Few Western artists now perform on Russian soil.

Western diplomats also say privately that they find themselves frozen out of speaking engagements and other opportunities to explain their countries' positions to Russian audiences. And Russians who work for local outposts of Western companies say their friends and neighbors increasingly question their patriotism.

... ... ...

Even McDonald's, long an embodiment of Russian dreams about the West, was targeted for supposed health violations in the fall. Some of its most prominent locations were forced to shut down temporarily. When they reopened, McDonald's started an advertising campaign emphasizing its local ties and its 25-year history in Russia, playing down the Golden Arches' global significance as a bright beacon of America.

Last week, one McDonald's billboard in the heart of Moscow read: "Made in Russia, for Russians."

Michael Birnbaum is The Post's Moscow bureau chief. He previously served as the Berlin correspondent and an education reporter.

[Jul 17, 2017] Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons by Curt Mills

max Book is just anothe "Yascha about Russia" type, that Masha Gessen represents so vividly. The problem with him is that time of neocon prominance is solidly in the past and now unpleasant question about the cost from the US people of their reckless foreign policies get into some newspapers and managines. They cost the USA tremedous anount of money (as in trillions) and those money consititute a large portion of the national debt. Critiques so far were very weak and partially suppressed voices, but defeat of neocon warmonger Hillary signify some break with the past.
Notable quotes:
"... Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies." ..."
"... But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject. ..."
"... New York Observer ..."
"... Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, " ..."
"... : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

This week's primetime knife fights with Max Boot and Ralph Peters are emblematic of the battle for the soul of the American Right.

To be sure, Carlson rejects the term "neoconservatism," and implicitly, its corollary on the Democratic side, liberal internationalism. In 2016, "the reigning Republican foreign-policy view, you can call it neoconservatism, or interventionism, or whatever you want to call it" was rejected, he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the National Interest Friday.

"But I don't like the term 'neoconservatism,'" he says, "because I don't even know what it means. I think it describes the people rather than their ideas, which is what I'm interested in. And to be perfectly honest . . . I have a lot of friends who have been described as neocons, people I really love, sincerely. And they are offended by it. So I don't use it," Carlson said.

But Carlson's recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being "immoral" and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings , and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson "basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today." But is this assessment fair?

Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies."

Even if Carlson doesn't want to use the label neocon to describe some of those ideas, Boot is not so bashful. In 2005, Boot wrote an essay called "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh." Carlson "has become a Trump acolyte in pursuit of ratings," says Boot, also interviewed by the National Interest . "I bet if it were President Clinton accused of colluding with the Russians, Tucker would be outraged and calling for impeachment if not execution. But since it's Trump, then it's all a big joke to him," Boot says. Carlson vociferously dissents from such assessments: "This is what dumb people do. They can't assess the merits of an argument. . . . I'm not talking about Syria, and Russia, and Iran because of ratings. That's absurd. I can't imagine those were anywhere near the most highly-rated segments that night. That's not why I wanted to do it."

But Carlson insists, "I have been saying the same thing for fifteen years. Now I have a T.V. show that people watch, so my views are better known. But it shouldn't be a surprise. I supported Trump to the extent he articulated beliefs that I agree with. . . . And I don't support Trump to the extent that his actions deviate from those beliefs," Carlson said. Boot on Fox said that Carlson is "too smart" for this kind of argument. But Carlson has bucked the Trump line, notably on Trump's April 7 strikes in Syria. "When the Trump administration threw a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria for no obvious reason, on the basis of a pretext that I question . . . I questioned [the decision] immediately. On T.V. I was on the air when that happened. I think, maybe seven minutes into my show. . . . I thought this was reckless."

But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject.

Boot objects to what he sees as a cavalier attitude on the part of Carlson and others toward allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and also toward the deaths of citizens of other countries. "You are laughing about the fact that Russia is interfering in our election process. That to me is immoral," Boot told Carlson on his show. "This is the level of dumbness and McCarthyism in Washington right now," says Carlson. "I think it has the virtue of making Max Boot feel like a good person. Like he's on God's team, or something like that. But how does that serve the interest of the country? It doesn't." Carlson says that Donald Trump, Jr.'s emails aren't nearly as important as who is going to lead Syria, which he says Boot and others have no plan for successfully occupying. Boot, by contrast, sees the U.S. administration as dangerously flirting with working with Russia, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. "For whatever reason, Trump is pro-Putin, no one knows why, and he's taken a good chunk of the GOP along with him," Boot says.

On Fox last Wednesday, Boot reminded Carlson that he originally supported the 2003 Iraq decision. "You supported the invasion of Iraq," Boot said, before repeating, "You supported the invasion of Iraq." Carlson conceded that, but it seems the invasion was a bona fide turning point. It's most important to parse whether Carlson has a long record of anti-interventionism, or if he's merely sniffing the throne of the president (who, dubiously, may have opposed the 2003 invasion). "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it," Carlson told the New York Observer in early 2004. "It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. . . . I'm enraged by it, actually." Carlson told the National Interest that he's felt this way since seeing Iraq for himself in December 2003.

The evidence points heavily toward a sincere conversion on Carlson's part, or preexisting conviction that was briefly overcome by the beat of the war drums. Carlson did work for the Weekly Standard , perhaps the most prominent neoconservative magazine, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Carlson today speaks respectfully of William Kristol, its founding editor, but has concluded that he is all wet. On foreign policy, the people Carlson speaks most warmly about are genuine hard left-wingers: Glenn Greenwald, a vociferous critic of both economic neoliberalism and neoconservatism; the anti-establishment journalist Michael Tracey; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation ; and her husband, Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert and critic of U.S. foreign policy.

"The only people in American public life who are raising these questions are on the traditional left: not lifestyle liberals, not the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) group, not liberals in D.C., not Nancy Pelosi." He calls the expertise of establishment sources on matters like Syria "more shallow than I even imagined." On his MSNBC show, which was canceled for poor ratings, he cavorted with noninterventionist stalwarts such as Ron Paul , the 2008 and 2012 antiwar GOP candidate, and Patrick J. Buchanan. "No one is smarter than Pat Buchanan," he said last year of the man whose ideas many say laid the groundwork for Trump's political success.

Carlson has risen to the pinnacle of cable news, succeeding Bill O'Reilly. It wasn't always clear an antiwar take would vault someone to such prominence. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney could be president (Boot has advised the latter two). But here he is, and it's likely no coincidence that Carlson got a show after Trump's election, starting at the 7 p.m. slot, before swiftly moving to the 9 p.m. slot to replace Trump antagonist Megyn Kelly, and just as quickly replacing O'Reilly at the top slot, 8 p.m. Boot, on the other hand, declared in 2016 that the Republican Party was dead , before it went on to hold Congress and most state houses, and of course take the presidency. He's still at the Council on Foreign Relations and writes for the New York Times (this seems to clearly annoy Carlson: "It tells you everything about the low standards of the American foreign-policy establishment").

Boot wrote in 2003 in the Weekly Standard that the fall of Saddam Hussein's government "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history" comparable to "events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which everything is different." He continued, "If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if ), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."

Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, "

Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. "This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there's not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea," Carlson says. "All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that's enough to reveal these people have no idea what they're talking about. None."

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest . Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .

Image : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Jul 08, 2017] Absolutization of human rights is a part of american exceptionalism

Actually hima rights serve as pretext and justification for neocolonial actions on weaker countries.
Notable quotes:
"... "American exceptionalism," Sen. Sasse thus continued, "was an understanding about the historical moment in which the American founding flipped on its head the relationship between rights and government." ..."
"... "The American founding is a claim that God gives us rights, not government, and government is our secular-shared project to secure those rights. That's all American exceptionalism means. That's what Washington used to mean." ..."
Jul 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

"American exceptionalism," Sen. Sasse thus continued, "was an understanding about the historical moment in which the American founding flipped on its head the relationship between rights and government."

Sen. Sasse reached our conclusion. "The American founding is a claim that God gives us rights, not government, and government is our secular-shared project to secure those rights. That's all American exceptionalism means. That's what Washington used to mean."

[Jun 24, 2017] The United States and Iran Two Tracks to Establish Hegemony by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... June 10, 2017 | unz.com ..."
"... US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran ..."
"... And yet the US destroyed Iran's most useful enemy, Saddam's Iraq. Sometimes I wonder whether US foreign policy has any guiding intelligence at all. Maybe it consists only of stupid, reckless flailing. ..."
www.unz.com
June 10, 2017 | unz.com

Introduction

US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations:

  1. US Imperialism is the force of global domination
  2. US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran.
  3. The return of Iran to the status of puppet regime will advance Washington's ultimate goal of encircling and isolating Russia and China.
  4. The US overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran will facilitate Israel's final seizure of Palestine, including Jerusalem, and establish Tel Aviv as the dominant regional power in the Middle East.

Washington's 'Two Track' Policy for Domination

US strategic planners rely on a two-track policy , combining and blending military and ideological weapons.

Its military strategy relies on slicing up the Middle East - 'salami tactics' – invading and conquering of each and every country and government, which shares the Islamic Republic of Iran's policy of national sovereignty and independence. US military success or failure depends on its alliances in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all sponsor terrorist groups which have attacked Iran's scientists, its elected representatives and military leaders, as well as its sacred sites – inside Iran as well as abroad.

The political and ideological strategy involves the penetration and organization of domestic forces to destabilize and weaken Iran's internal security, defense capability and overseas alliances.

Ideological warfare involves: (1) exploiting regional, ethnic, class and religious differences to undermine stability and fragment the country; and (2) converting legitimate social critics and political opposition parties into imperial collaborators.

Ideological attacks are designed to attract Iranian writers, academics, intellectuals and artists who choose to ignore the history of US imperialism in fomenting bloody coups (Mossadegh 1954), launching proxy wars via Saddam Hussain's invasion (1980- 88) and the terrorist attacks by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as the terrorists backed by Iraq's former dictator.

US propaganda intervention in Iran's electoral process has been designed to promote a so-called "color revolution" regime change favored by neo-liberal, pro-West parties and candidates who seek US sponsorship in their ascent to power. The imperial collaborators and various Western 'human rights' NGOs hide the sordid history of Washington's overt and proxy wars/coups and occupations in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Palestine.

In order to intimidate and weaken overseas and domestic allies; and the (4) financing and arming of terrorists from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to attack the Islamic Republic.

Linguistic and Conceptual Perversions

Imperial warfare depends on perverting political language and concepts. The US refers to invasion, which have killed and maimed millions of Muslims and Christians in Iraq (2003-2017) and Syria (2011-2017) as 'humanitarian interventions'. In reality its policy described an ongoing 'holocaust' – the massive genocidal violation of the human rights of scores of millions of people to sovereignty, peace and security of home, life, limb, culture and faith.

The millions of victims of the West's current holocaust in the Middle East reject and scorn Washington's imperialist claim of defending 'democratic values' and its so called 'responsibility to protect (R2P) ' as pronounced by a series of US Administrations through their mouthpieces in the United Nations.

In contrast, US support for the Saudi monarch's brutal bombing and blockade of Yemen has led to an entire population facing starvation and a massive, cholera epidemic, which now threatens over 26 million Yeminis. The campaign against Yemen by the brutal Saudis and their US-EU allies is the very definition of crimes against humanity and international law.

Sanctions: A Tool of Conquest

US sanctions against Iraq, Syria, Iran and Yemen have been designed to starve working people into submission while capturing the support of some middle class consumers. US policy of invading Libya and brutally murdering President Gadhafi and his family members was designed to systematically destroy a prosperous, independent republic and turn it into a backward, impoverished fiefdom of tribal warlords, exploited by Western oil companies. Saudi Arabia joined the European Union in financing terrorists, many trained in the destroyed remnants of Libya, who later killed innocent civilians in Paris, Nice, London, Manchester and other parts of Europe.

The strategic goal of the US invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen has been to violently divide these independent republics and turn them into ethnically cleansed, impoverished, mini-states – in the imperial tradition of 'divide and conquer'. Such tribal fiefdoms are easily dominated by imperial powers.

Regional and Global Strategy

Washington's imperial strategists have arrived at the conclusion that they cannot conquer independent states, like Iran, in a single attack, given its size, defense capability, internal cohesion and regional alliances.

Their strategy is to surround Iran by destroying its allies, one nation at a time.

The first phase of the US invasion, occupation and systematic destruction of Iraq and its entire governmental infrastructure was designed to overthrow the Baathist state, then neutralize the Shi'a militia and impose a servile client regime in Baghdad. The second step was to encourage Sunni tribal warlords to seize control of central Iraq. The third step was to arm the Kurds to form a mini-state in northern Iraq (so-called "Kurdistan"). This would entail large-scale ethnic cleansing, the total destruction of Iraq's ancient Christian community, the extermination of its multiethnic modern educated, scientific, cultural and technocratic work force. In other words, the US strategy was to obliterate any remnant of the Iraqi Republic in its war to 'remake the Middle East'.

After Iraq and Libya, the next target for US-EU aggression has been the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran's ally. The EU, USA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey sponsored an invasion by mercenary Salafi forces under a network of Daesh-ISIS-al Queda terrorists. Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have provided military, logistical and financial support to the terrorists.

After Syria, the fourth target of Anglo-American-Saudi-Israeli military strategy would be to undermine the national sovereignty of Lebanon and destroy the armed political Hezbollah Party, the powerful Lebanese resistance organization (allied with Iran). It was consistent with this strategy for the West to support Israel's brutal air and ground attacks against the civilian population and infrastructure of Beirut, Lebanese port cities and villages. Tens of thousands of Lebanese Christians were not spared the Israeli terror bombing campaign.

If a Lebanese campaign were successful and Hezbollah was destroyed, the 'final' Israeli conquest of Palestine, the fifth objective, could commence: US and world Zionism would unconditionally celebrate Israel's massive ethnic purge of Palestine's native peoples and finish off the total confiscation of the homes, mosques, churches, land and resources of millions of Muslim and Christian Palestinians and other peoples. This would create history's first 'pure Jewish' state.

The sixth imperial objective would be to disarm Iran's military and security structure and weaken its economy in order to isolate the Islamic Republic and undermine its Middle Eastern alliances. This strategic objective explains why Washington promotes its one-sided nuclear arms agreement with Iran, while the nuclear-armed Israel is excluded! Despite Iran's abiding by the terms of the agreement, there have been no reciprocal lifting of economic sanctions or the normalization of trade and diplomatic relations.

Iran Counters the US Global Military Threat

Iran responded by developing economic, technical and military agreements with Russia and China in order to counter the US-Israeli-Saudi threats and sanctions. Russia provides advanced defensive weapons systems. China signs large-scale, long-term trade agreements while including Iran in its huge Central Asian infrastructure projects. Most importantly, Iran has succeeded in defending the legitimate government of Syria, while aiding Iraq and Yemen.

Iran undermined official US sanctions by signing multi-billion dollar agreements with the giant Boeing Corporation for the purchase of passenger airplanes as well as developing further agreements with US banks and agro-business exporters and oil companies. These profitable agreements with the US agro-business export sector can weaken the Pentagon-Zionist sanctions.

Iran has the diplomatic support of the Non-Aligned Movement opposing Israeli-US Zionist military threats.

Iran's principled opposition to Saudi Arabia's massive arms purchases, as well as the Kingdom's vicious alliance with Israel and its genocidal assault against the Yemeni people, has gained the support of world public opinion – especially the masses of independent Muslims throughout the world.

Iran's educational, scientific, military and political-electoral advances provide the basis for national security, economic growth, cultural enrichment, international alliances and the deepening of social democracy for its people. It provides an alternative independent vision for many millions of Muslims living under harsh monarchies, military dictators and imperial oppression.

Conclusion

Since the US and its allies launched their 'hot war' by surrounding, threatening and destabilizing Iran, Washington's strategy has suffered serious military defeats and political retreats.

Iraq is no longer encircled by the US. Shia-based militias have regional control, especially south of Baghdad and beyond. Syria, Iran's ally, has fought hard to finally liberate many towns, cities and territory taken by the terrorist mercenaries despite the EU-US-Saudi-Israel's initial advances.

Rival rebel forces and mercenary gangsters besiege the US puppet governments in Libya, Somalia and South Sudan. The classic CIA term, 'blowback', means these terrorists are now turning their guns on the West.

Washington has lost control of Afghanistan. Over a third of the Afghan military and police recruits defect to the resistance fighters. The central 'government' in Kabul influences less than a quarter of the country

Despite spending trillions of dollars on wars and propaganda over the past two decades, US military strategy to encircle and conquer Iran has been a military, diplomatic and economic failure. The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Despite US congressional, Presidential and Pentagon support for Israel's Jewish colonization of Palestine, more countries, trade unions and social movements, around the world, support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel than ever before. Manu are speaking up despite government threats to outlaw 'criticism of Israel' as a 'hate crime'.

The turmoil and deep political divisions in the United States between the oligarchs allied to President Trump and the opposition oligarchs have created a profound institutional crisis, which has undermined domestic governance and disrupted US global alliances, US-EU relations and US-Asian trade links.

Despite the bizarre and often theatrical presentation by the US mass media, the American Congress and President Trump are fighting over fundamental issues, including control of the national security agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc.), foreign and military policy, the economy and environmental agenda, the federal budget, judiciary and the Presidency.

The political crisis has paralyzed the capacity of the US to start new wars and negotiate international agreements. President Trump is facing a serious coup d'état involving the political-intelligence elite, with the military looking warily on the chaos. The masses are increasingly polarized or disgusted.

In an attempt to deflect from his domestic problems, President Trump deepened the US alliance with Saudi Arabia and reiterated threats against Iran. Nevertheless he declined pressure to move the US embassy to Israel. The inconsistent and ad hoc nature of current US policy alienates friends and foes – with no redeeming features.

The domestic opposition demands an end of President Trump's diplomatic overtures to Russia. It uses the fake pretext of Russian interference in the US presidential election to move toward the president's impeachment.

The US faces a CLANDESTINE CIVIL WAR among its elite!

A financial bubble accompanies the American domestic political crisis. The economic elite, the banks and stock market have benefited through speculation, despite or because of, the paralysis among rival political oligarchs!

The emergence of Trump's so-called 'national-capitalist ideology' means a decline in US multi-lateral agreements, such as NATO, the EU, NAFTA and the Trans-

Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). This explains Trump's effort to renegotiate bilateral agreements, which have failed

Trump's stated policy objectives have fallen between two chairs: the multi-lateral agreements have not been replaced by lucrative bilateral deals. Trump relies on big business offerings and 'nationalist' ideology to minimize his diplomatic failures and ideological isolation. Trump wants to win contracts for greater US exports and investment. This has been weakened by the previous administration's pursuit of economic sanctions and expanding wars, as well as his feckless propaganda.

The Trump regime is full of contradictions: It threatens to end the nuclear agreement with Iran but allows Boeing to sell billions of dollars of civilian aircraft to Teheran. It signs a $300 billion dollar arms sales agreement with Saudi Arabia (business for the for military industries) while losing political influence in the US, where the Saudis are widely despised.

At least, Trump does not blather on about humanitarian wars; he would prefer signing business deals. He mentions the need for 'regime change' in Syria and sending more troops to Afghanistan but does little to implement these goals.

President Trump is fighting for his own political (and personal) survival and to prevent his impeachment (via a Congressional coup). His strongest defense would be to strengthen the domestic economy and show some overseas economic successes.

Essentially, Trump's economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation's core electorate.

Trump would like to balkanize Syria, while avoiding new troop commitments to Afghanistan. He would prefer profitable trade relations with Russia and China and perhaps, Iran, over war.

The impediments to any Trump policy success are massive: Trump's Administration includes zealous neo-conservative Russophobes and Zionist-Iranophobes. These are militarists who would provoke eventual armed conflict with Moscow and Teheran. Their current focus is on expanding the war in Syria, sending more US troops to Afghanistan and forging deeper ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The current internal political contradictions between the Trump regime and the 'Deep' State apparatus, and between the Trump-allied business elite and the Zionist-neoconservative warmongers, preclude the development of a consequential Trump foreign policy.

In the meantime, domestic political warfare and the deepening divisions between the US and EU will create opportunities for Russia, China and Iran to join together in historic economic political and alliances, which might help re-balance a world on the brink of 'world war', economic collapse and environmental disaster.

The divisions among NATO countries undermine the establishment of a united front for greater imperial wars. The fragmentation of the European Union (Brexit, the collapse of Greece, the EU-sponsored putsch in Ukraine) lessens its global economic influence. The division between the US Presidential regime and the Opposition Security State apparatus paralyzes the US push for new imperial wars.

Divisions and conflicts within the imperial camp presents favorable opportunities for anti-imperialist countries in the Middle East, like Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

This essay is dedicated to the memory of the innocent martyrs of the recent brutal terrorist attacks against the Iranian Parliament and the holy shrine and to honor the brave survivors and family members of the victims.

Republished from James Petras website

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of 63 books published in 29 languages, and over 560 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, Temps Moderne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Life Time Career Award, Marxist Section, of the American Sociology Association, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. Some recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), Unmasking Globalisation (2001), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author) Multinationals on Trial (2006). His most recent title, The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, Inc. 2006), has been acquired for Japanese, German, Italian, Indonesian and Arabic editions.He received his MA and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Among his books:

Joe Levantine Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 8:51 am GMT

Jun 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

A perfect article beyond any possible comments. Mr. Petras hits a perfect score as he often does. A dispassionate, lucid and thorough analysis of the greater geopolitical world that could teach the half brained and crooked congressional representatives a great many lessons.

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:12 am GMT

A very good description of the present world.
Alas western media present a quite different picture.

disturbed_robot Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:14 am GMT

Mr. Petras, my hats off to you. This is the most to-the-point, honest assessment of what's going on I've read in a long time.

My only complaint is the use of the term "Middle East". We should all drop this British colonial era term and just call it what it is: Southwest Asia. Please don't take that as being nit-picky and looking for fault (not my intention at all) your article is brilliant. But we have to start somewhere.

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:15 am GMT

@Joe Levantine Is it possible that many representatives know quite well what's going on, but have reasons, their own political survival, to pretend they do not know ?
Senator Hollings just dared to speak the truth shortly before he resigned, in 2004.

Hans Vogel Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 7:14 am GMT

With respect to Israel's supposedly assigned role, I beg to differ. The US, like Russia and Iran, is an assimilative empire, established on the basis of welcoming and incorporating any group or individual willing to adopt the imperial culture and language. In other words, these are non-exclusive states. Israel, on the other hand, is built on rigid and comprehensive racial and religious exclusiveness. Only jews can join. Israel is the quintessential nation state, built on an antiquated, romantic 19th-century idea. The self-defeating and ultimately untenable model of the nation state was demonstrated unequivocally in 1945, but ignoring historical proof, Israel resuscitated it in 1948. Therefore, it would seem to me Israel can never become the dominant force in the Middle East. Even if it somehow succeeds in attaining this position, it will definitely be of a very short duration. It is a bit like what Guizot once remarked: you can do anything with a bayonet, except sit on it.

Durruti Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

A Nicely Written Article by Petras:

1. Could have used a bit of information on the Rothschilds and other dominant Jewish Banking Family Oligarchs, including their role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy (the last Constitutional President of the United States ), on November 22, 1963, in the Coup D'etat in Dallas, (the first successful Modern Arab Spring ).

2. Could have benefitted by references to the horrors of Vietnam and Indonesia (1965), 9/11, and the attack on the Liberty, among other dark pages of recent history, which would have taken a sentence.

3. Could have used a bit of a VISION advocacy of how to Cure this Zionist imperialist plague so nicely described by Petras. The Restoration of the Republic, destroyed on November 22, 1963, is the Revolutionary Cure so ignored by the earnest and not so earnest critics of the Zionist New World Order.

Oh for our own Decembrists!

God Bless America! Restore the Republic!

Durruti for The Anarchist Collective

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 11:07 am GMT

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

Let's hope so.

I, for one, am more than fed up with the one trick parasite, gangster politics.

Sergey Krieger Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT

As USA internal rot accelerates she is becoming increasingly erratic and desperate in her international policy. It increasingly looks like biten by white shark seal trashing desperately in the water while life along with blood leaving it's body. Others should keep their cool and patiently wait.

dearieme Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

"2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran."

And yet the US destroyed Iran's most useful enemy, Saddam's Iraq. Sometimes I wonder whether US foreign policy has any guiding intelligence at all. Maybe it consists only of stupid, reckless flailing.

fnn Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

How many Americans and Europeans realize that all Islamic terrorism in the West is Sunni and none of it is Shia, and that all the demonization of Iran and Hezbollah is solely for the benefit of Israel?

Rurik Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT

Excellent article and analysis

kudos and gratitude

If I were to offer any suggestion, I'd just prefer that the author amend the abbreviation of the US to the Z US (Zionist occupied US), as all of the things he mentions that the US is doing, are all in direct contravention of the principles and interests and people of the actual US, and are, rather, all being done to benefit the most sinister and intractable enemy of the of the US (and so many others including Iran); the Z US.

The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Trump's economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation's core electorate.

I spell out my case for calling it the ZUS here:

(which I invite the moderators to including under a blue 'more' link so as not to clutter up the comment section)

saying US, by which I do not mean ordinary US people then the rotten elite running the show.

I sort of know that, but I hope you (and others) can understand why that distinction is so important to us genuine Americans who're horrified at the conduct of the US government on the world's stage.

The interests of the US government vs. the people of the US, could not be more diametrically opposed. They're looting our Treasury and our future to fund eternal wars for Israel- that do nothing but destroy any kind of long-term hope for this country. They're creating hatred for the American people that will reverberate over generations. They're systematically dismantling our sacred codified rights (earned in blood) going all the way back to the Magna Carta. They assassinate our citizens if they prove inconvenient to the regime, when they aren't burning them alive at places like Waco or the World Trade Center. There seems to be nothing too demonic that this government will do to us American citizens if they suspect that by doing so it will somehow augment their power to dominate us even more.

Today in America is much like the Russians during the Bolshevik / Soviet regime. Our government is our most intractable and dangerous enemy on the planet. We Americans have nothing to fear from Russia or Iran. That's laughable. But we have everything to fear from Washington DC. The drooling fiend that inhabits those think tanks and J-Street and K-Street and CFR and PNAC and CIA and all the other acronyms of Satan are our worst enemy on this planet, just as they threaten and menace the rest of the people of the planet, intending to use our children as cannon fodder even as they commit endless atrocities and war crimes in our name.

So I guess my point is just that the interests of the US [zio-government], vs. the interests of the US people are so wildly at odds, that it would be nice if others could see this as glaringly as those of us American citizens, watching with horror- as our government perpetrates monstrous crimes all over the globe, and here at home.

The banking cartels are not run by patriotic American citizens, they're run by our enemies.

The Pentagon is not run by patriotic American citizens, it's run by our enemies.

the FBI and CIA and DEA and NSA are all operated by the enemies of the American people.

the media are the most sinister and committed enemy we have. No one hates our guts more.

the universities are nothing but kosher Marxist indoctrination centers, telling our young people (among other things) that the "US" liberated the people of Kosovo. (is that what happened?). They tell our students that our participation in the world wars was honorable and noble. They tell them that what we are doing in the Middle East today is honorable and noble. They even are attempting to make any criticism of Israel a crime on the universities and campuses. Outlawing any expression of support for the BDS movement. Does that sound like our universities are run by and for Americans?!

there are two entities here in the good ol' US of A. There is the ZUSA, that is an enemy to all of mankind, including the people of the US. And then there are the people of the US; represented by those who still cling to quaint notions like the Rule of Law, and our traditions like freedom of speech and fair play. People like Michael Hastings. People like Seth Rich. People like Pat Tillman or Ron Paul or all of his supporters. People like the ones that voted for Obama to end the wars, and who voted for Trump to end the wars. People like Ken O'keefe, who are Americans to the core, and still represent the spirit of what being an American was all about, until our nation was hijacked in 1913 for the greater glory of $atan.

the US goal in former Yugoslavia was primarily a rejuvenation of NATO which has lost its meaning with the demise of SU. Also, the Demoncrats have a natural propensity to package their imperialism into "humanitarian" interventions, the Republicans are much less sleazy – the Republicans just say you are with us or against us, no matter whether what we do is legal or illegal. Therefore, it was a perfect little war for the Clintons:
1) breath a new life into NATO,
2) clean up the Southern Europe of any residual Russia and/or socialist influence and
3) do a dress rehearsal for attacking Russia (using NATO).

sounds like a perfectly excellent analysis to me.

I remember how we scrambled at the time to make sense of it. WTF were they up to?!

why were they bombing a nation that had been 'our' ally during WWII, and seemingly so that some KLA terrorists could lay claim to their ancient and sacred lands? Hard won from the same Muslim hoards that had drenched Kosovo in Christian, Serbian blood for centuries.

Some of us figured it was kind of a payback for Palestine. 'Yes, we zio-scum are ravaging your people in Palestine, but as payback, we'll give you Kosovo!

We even wondered if there wasn't some secret, high-level negotiations going on between the representatives of Islam and the Zionists. 'OK, what do you want for Palestine?' / 'We'll take Kosovo'.

Then there was general Clarks quote regarding the necessity of bombing Serbia:

"Let's not forget what the origin of the problem is. There is no place in modern Europe for ethnically pure states. That's a 19th century idea and we are trying to transition into the 21st century, and we are going to do it with multi-ethnic states."

- General Wesley Clark

so it's been a conundrum, but your analysis sounds like the best so far.

travelling NGO EcoSystem

:-)

Yes we see it all over the place. But also please keep in mind that the original NGO that $ubverted and corrupted is the one that took control of the US.

The actions of the 'US' (ZUSA) today are no more a representation of the people of the US, than those in Kyiv or Kabul represent the typical Ukrainian or Afghan.

Washington DC no more represents the 300+ million people here than did the actions of Mubarak represented the Egyptian people, or Yeltsin represented the Russian people, or Tony Blair represented the people of England.

We have all of us been NGO'd by the Fiend, and none more so than us here in the US, where they declare from their pulpits that there is 'zero daylight between Israel and the ZUSA!'

So it stings to read about how this or that benefits the US, when all the benefits are going to the very same Beast that is drooling its putrid saliva all over US too.

[Jun 24, 2017] The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency by Todd E. Pierce

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
"... Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles. ..."
"... This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency ..."
"... But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong. ..."
"... Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences. ..."
"... Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

Hating the US

There also must be the realization that our "national security" apparatchiks - principally but not solely the CIA - have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the US.

Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda's most important "combat multiplier" since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in US prisons in Iraq.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate "Murder, Inc.," when judged by the CIA's methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA's misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But "morality" seems a lost virtue today in the US, which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as "information warfare," upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as "conditioning the battlefield," which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that "before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police."

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. "Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren't all the way with the government and aren't all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea," according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to "Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police" is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the "enemy." Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German "Security Warfare" as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is "potentially" a threat, deemed either "partizans" or terrorists.

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be "neutralized" by any means necessary. The US military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the US military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the US in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This "imperial policing," i.e., counterinsurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the US drew upon German counterinsurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for "anti-bandit warfare," (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen "concept of anti-partisan warfare," a German predecessor to the "Phoenix Program."

'Anti-Partisan' Lessons

It wasn't a coincidence that this "anti-partisan" warfare concept should be adopted by US forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a "post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as 'men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.'"

Consequently, "The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel," who presumably included members of the newly created US Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day US global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the "attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). 'Action against enemy agitation' was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, 'Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.'"

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the "enemy" is the basis for what the US government charges as "conspiracy" in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine "existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to 'neutralize' the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI)." He explained further that "neutralize" meant "to kill, capture, or make to defect." "Infrastructure" meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

"The Vietnam's War's Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges" is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the "CIA's Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective." The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from "neutralizing" enemy leaders into "a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated." The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in "emergency decrees" and orders for "administrative detention."

Lauding Petraeus

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called "counterinsurgency experts" whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine "counterinsurgency," or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a "liberal author and journalist" at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the US military into that of "imperial policing," or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that "The 'War on Terrorism'" is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, "we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency." His "disaggregation strategy" called for "actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program."

He went on, "Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice."

It is readily apparent that, in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now US global policy and - just like in Vietnam - it is applying "death squad" strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One "sanitized" article - approved for release in 2011 - is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a US Army counterintelligence officer "who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy's soldiers but at its civilian leaders." He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of "eleven bloody ears" as proof of six people killed.

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, "It made me sick. I couldn't go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong 'infrastructure' – the communist's shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn't wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners.

"How many VC they got I don't know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We'd put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes."

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was "taking steps that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus." Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet "security committees" throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 "Class C civilians" to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, "Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced." The latter statement would mean they were just held in "indefinite detention," like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other US detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that "Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government." In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer's opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA's participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the US government today calls "unlawful combatants."

"Unlawful combatants" is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom US officials alleged were "terrorists" from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called "Global War on Terror." Since the US government deems them "unlawful" – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the "privilege" of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a "direct part in hostilities" – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine's book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine's book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. This originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com .

Read more by Todd E. Pierce Inciting Wars the American Way – August 14th, 2016 Chicago Police Adopt Israeli Tactics – December 13th, 2015 US War Theories Target Dissenters – September 13th, 2015 Ron Paul and Lost Lessons of War – September 1st, 2015 Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?– January 4th, 2015

[Jun 18, 2017] As a Chosen People with what Niebuhr refers to as a Messianic consciousness, Americans came to see them selves as set apart, their motives irreproachable, their actions not to be judged by standards applied to others.

Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -

, June 17, 2017 at 04:18 PM
Bacevich is a treasure...he's been inside the belly of the beast, and understands from first hand knowledge how it produces immense quantities of BS for public consumption and for preserving its own perks, privileges, and budgets.
libezkova - , June 17, 2017 at 11:39 PM
Yes, Bacevich is an interesting conservative critic of neocon foreign policy.

See for example his recent book:

https://www.amazon.com/Americas-War-Greater-Middle-East/dp/0553393952

He wrote a foreword to reprint of The Irony of American History (Paperback) by Reinhold Niebuhr which you can read on Amazon for free.

Niebuhr thought deeply about the dilemmas confronting the United States as a consequence of its emergence after World War I and, even more, after World War II, as a global superpower. The truths he spoke are uncomfortable ones for us to hear-uncomfortable not only because they demand a great deal of us as citizens, but also because they outline so starkly some of our recent failures. Four such truths are especially underlined in The Irony of American History: the persistent sin of American Exceptionalism; the indecipherability of history; the false allure of simple solutions; and, finally, the imperative of appreciating the limits of power.

The Anglo-American colonists who settled these shores, writes Niebuhr, saw their purpose as "to make a new beginning in a corrupt world." They believed "that we had been called out by God to create a new humanity." They believed further that this covenant with God marked America as a new Israel.

As a Chosen People with what Niebuhr refers to as a "Messianic consciousness," Americans came to see them selves as set apart, their motives irreproachable, their actions not to be judged by standards applied to others.

... ... ...

Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in their political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. "This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion than of light in the political realm."

In the United States, he continued, "The tendency to equate our political with our Christian convictions causes politics to generate idolatry."9

Evangelical conservatism and its growing influence on American politics, which Niebuhr did not live to see, have only reinforced this tendency.

Niebuhr anticipated that the American veneration of liberty could itself degenerate into a form of idolatry. In the midst of World War II, he went so far as to describe the worship of democracy as "a less vicious version of the Nazi creed." He cautioned that "no society, not even a democratic one, is great enough or good enough to make itself the final end of human existence."

Although he rarely uses the term "American [neoliberal] empire", and I think never terms "Washington consensus", "debt slavery", or neoliberalism.

[Jun 17, 2017] General Lee Speaks Had it Figured Out - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... The consolidation of the states into one vast empire, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of ruin which has overwhelmed all that preceded it." Robert E. Lee ..."
"... Then came the vast empire, the phenomenal increase in the power and reach of the federal government, which really means the Northeast Corridor. The Supreme Court expanded and expanded and expanded the authority of Washington, New York's store-front operation. The federals now decided what could be taught in the schools, what religious practices could be permitted, what standards employers could use in hiring, who they had to hire. The media coalesced into a small number of corporations, controlled from New York but with national reach. More recently we have added surveillance of everything by Washington's intelligence agencies. ..."
"... Tyranny at home, said said General Lee . Just so. This could happen only with the consolidation of the states into one vast empire. ..."
"... Aggressive abroad, said General Lee. Is this not exactly what we see? At this moment Washington has the better part of a thousand military bases around the world, unnecessary except for the maintenance of empire. America exists in a state of constant war, bombing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, recently having destroyed Iraq and Libya. Washington threatens Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China. Its military moves deeper into Africa. Washington sanctions Cuba, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, to no effect. It constantly tries to dominate other nations, for example adding to NATO. ..."
"... In a confederacy, states would have to approve a war. Few would unless the United States itself were threatened. ..."
"... But with a central government, those benefiting from war can concentrate money and influence only on that government. For example, military industry, Israel, big oil, Wall Street. Wars might carry the votes of states with arms factories. Other states would decline. ..."
"... In principle, the Constitution should have prevented the hijacking of the military that we now suffer. As we all should know, and some do, America cannot under the Constitution go to war without a declaration by Congress, the last one of which occurred in 1941. ..."
"... And thus, just as Marse Bob expected, the federals are out of control and make war without the least reference to the nation. If America attacks North Korea, or Russia, or China, we will read of it the day after. The central government, and only the central government, decides. ..."
"... A few days ago I read that the Pentagon contemplates sending thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan. This combines tyranny at home and aggression abroad. Who wants to send them? A few neocons in New York, the arms industry, a few generals, and several senators. It could not happen in a confederacy. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.unz.com
"The consolidation of the states into one vast empire, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of ruin which has overwhelmed all that preceded it." Robert E. Lee

The man was perceptive. Amalgamation of the states under a central government has led to exactly the effects foreseen by General Lee.

In, say, 1950, to an appreciable though imperfect extent America resembled a confederacy. Different regions of the America had little contact with each other, and almost no influence over one another. The federal government was small and remote. Interstates did not exist, nor of course the internet, nor even direct long-distance telephone dialing. West Virginia, Alabama, Massachusetts, New York City, Texas, and California had little in common, but little conflict arose since for practical purposes they were almost different countries. They chiefly governed themselves. The proportion of federal to state law was small.

It is important to note that regional differences were great. In 1964 in rural Virginia, the boys brought shotguns to school during deer season. Nobody shot anybody because it wasn't in the culture. The culture was uniform, so no one was upset. It is when cultures are mixed, or one rules another, that antagonism comes. Such shotgun freedom would not have worked in New York City with its variegated and often mutually hostile ethnicities.

Regions differed importantly in degree of freedom, not just in the freedom of local populations to govern themselves but also in individual freedom. It made a large difference in the tenor of life. If in Texas, rural Virginia, or West Virginia you wanted to build an addition to your house, you did. You didn't need licenses, permits, inspections, union-certified electricians. Speed limits? Largely ignored. Federal requirements for Coast Guard approved flotation devices on your canoe? What the hell kind of crazy idea was that?

Democracy works better the smaller the group practicing it. In a town, people can actually understand the questions of the day. They know what matters to them. Do we build a new school, or expand the existing one? Do we want our children to recite the pledge of allegiance, or don't we? Reenact the Battle of Antietam? Sing Christmas carols in the town square? We can decide these things. Leave us alone.

States similarly knew what their people wanted and, within the limits of human frailty, governed accordingly.

Then came the vast empire, the phenomenal increase in the power and reach of the federal government, which really means the Northeast Corridor. The Supreme Court expanded and expanded and expanded the authority of Washington, New York's store-front operation. The federals now decided what could be taught in the schools, what religious practices could be permitted, what standards employers could use in hiring, who they had to hire. The media coalesced into a small number of corporations, controlled from New York but with national reach. More recently we have added surveillance of everything by Washington's intelligence agencies.

Tyranny at home, said said General Lee . Just so. This could happen only with the consolidation of the states into one vast empire.

Tyranny comes easily when those seeking it need only corrupt a single Congress, appoint a single Supreme Court, or control the departments of one executive branch. In a confederation of largely self-governing states, those hungry to domineer would have to suborn fifty congresses. It could not be done. State governments are accessible to the governed. They can be ejected. They are much more likely to be sympathetic to the desires of their constituents since they are of the same culture.

Aggressive abroad, said General Lee. Is this not exactly what we see? At this moment Washington has the better part of a thousand military bases around the world, unnecessary except for the maintenance of empire. America exists in a state of constant war, bombing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, recently having destroyed Iraq and Libya. Washington threatens Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China. Its military moves deeper into Africa. Washington sanctions Cuba, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, to no effect. It constantly tries to dominate other nations, for example adding to NATO.

None of these wars and little if any of the imperial aggression interests more than a tiny fraction of the country's people. To whom can the war against Afghanistan matter? Libya? Few people have heard of Montenegro. Does its membership in NATO or lack of it affect Idaho?

In a confederacy, states would have to approve a war. Few would unless the United States itself were threatened. They might well refuse to pay for wars not in their benefit, or to allow their sons, daughters, and transgenders to be conscripted.

But with a central government, those benefiting from war can concentrate money and influence only on that government. For example, military industry, Israel, big oil, Wall Street. Wars might carry the votes of states with arms factories. Other states would decline.

In principle, the Constitution should have prevented the hijacking of the military that we now suffer. As we all should know, and some do, America cannot under the Constitution go to war without a declaration by Congress, the last one of which occurred in 1941. But a single central government can be corrupted more easily than fifty state governments. A few billionaires, well-funded lobbies, and the remoteness of Washington from the common consciousness make controlling the legislature as easy as buying a pair of shoes.

And thus, just as Marse Bob expected, the federals are out of control and make war without the least reference to the nation. If America attacks North Korea, or Russia, or China, we will read of it the day after. The central government, and only the central government, decides.

A few days ago I read that the Pentagon contemplates sending thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan. This combines tyranny at home and aggression abroad. Who wants to send them? A few neocons in New York, the arms industry, a few generals, and several senators. It could not happen in a confederacy.

Will this, as General Lee predicted, prove "the certain precursor of ruin which has overwhelmed all that preceded it. " ? Wait.

[Jun 17, 2017] Stones Putin Interviews offend a US establishment drunk on its own exceptionalism

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, surely such an insight is absolutely necessary, what with Russia being the biggest country in Europe, a major nuclear power, and with the deepening tensions arising from Russia's geostrategic differences and rivalry with Washington in recent years. Yet for the Western liberal commentariat, condemnation rather than understanding is the order of the day, evidenced in the barrage of criticism with which Stone's documentary series on the Russian leader has been received in the Western mainstream. The interview the filmmaker did with liberal US talk show host Stephen Colbert on his project is a prime example. https://www.youtube.com/embed/k6XQOD-7VhA Colbert's line of questioning amounted to a regurgitation of the very caricature that Stone had set out to move beyond in over 20 hours of interviews on an abundance of topics with Putin – his upbringing, family history, career, thoughts on leadership, the challenges Russia faced during the dark days of the 1990s, his relations with various US presidents, NATO, and so on. Yet for the likes of Mr. Colbert it's much easier to go with the official narrative, contained in his first question of the interview: " What do you say to people who say that yours [Oliver Stone's] is a fawning interview of a brutal dictator? ..."
"... Listening to Colbert's studio audience laugh at Stone in response to his statement that Putin had been unfairly treated and abused by the US media, I was minded of the treatment meted out to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. Such a comparison is not as outlandish as some may think on first impressions. ..."
"... As everybody knows, in times of war – whether cold or hot – a nation's tolerance for dissent, for daring to swim against the cultural tide, evaporates, even though it is precisely at such times when dissent is most necessary. After all, in the case of the rising tensions that we have witnessed between Russia and the US recently, it is not people like Stephen Colbert who will be sent into combat should those tensions spill over into direct military conflict. ..."
"... ' Carthago delenda est ..."
"... Oliver Stone is to be commended for trying to wake America up to the damage it does and has done around the world over many decades. Those who would attack and laugh at him for doing so merely confirm the degeneration of a culture built on foundations not of wisdom, but of crass ignorance. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.rt.com
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1 Published time: 16 Jun, 2017 Oliver Stone's documentary series on Vladimir Putin, you would think, is required viewing for Western audiences looking to see beyond the crude caricature of Russia's president in order to gain an insight into his worldview. Indeed, surely such an insight is absolutely necessary, what with Russia being the biggest country in Europe, a major nuclear power, and with the deepening tensions arising from Russia's geostrategic differences and rivalry with Washington in recent years.

Yet for the Western liberal commentariat, condemnation rather than understanding is the order of the day, evidenced in the barrage of criticism with which Stone's documentary series on the Russian leader has been received in the Western mainstream.

The interview the filmmaker did with liberal US talk show host Stephen Colbert on his project is a prime example.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/k6XQOD-7VhA

Colbert's line of questioning amounted to a regurgitation of the very caricature that Stone had set out to move beyond in over 20 hours of interviews on an abundance of topics with Putin – his upbringing, family history, career, thoughts on leadership, the challenges Russia faced during the dark days of the 1990s, his relations with various US presidents, NATO, and so on.

Yet for the likes of Mr. Colbert it's much easier to go with the official narrative, contained in his first question of the interview: " What do you say to people who say that yours [Oliver Stone's] is a fawning interview of a brutal dictator? " Not only the question, but also the casual and insouciant way in which it was delivered, confirmed the dumbing-down of news information, analysis and commentary that has been underway in the United States over decades.

The result is a culture so intellectually shallow it is frightening to behold, one in which ignorance is celebrated rather than scorned, in which national exceptionalism and arrogance is exalted rather than rejected. And woe betide anyone, such as Oliver Stone, who dares try to penetrate this fog of ignorance and sense of exceptionalism that has so corroded US cultural values.

Listening to Colbert's studio audience laugh at Stone in response to his statement that Putin had been unfairly treated and abused by the US media, I was minded of the treatment meted out to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. Such a comparison is not as outlandish as some may think on first impressions.

Think about it: for daring to question the prevailing orthodoxy, received truths, and dominant ideas the philosopher was lampooned, ridiculed and ultimately condemned to death by the powers that be in Athens, considered at the time to be the home of democracy and liberty, just as Washington is – or to be more accurate claims that it is – in our time.

Interestingly, the clamor to condemn Socrates took place when tensions between Athens and its Greek city-state rival and adversary, Sparta, were still high just a few years after the end of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC).

As everybody knows, in times of war – whether cold or hot – a nation's tolerance for dissent, for daring to swim against the cultural tide, evaporates, even though it is precisely at such times when dissent is most necessary. After all, in the case of the rising tensions that we have witnessed between Russia and the US recently, it is not people like Stephen Colbert who will be sent into combat should those tensions spill over into direct military conflict.

With this in mind, perhaps it would have been more to the talk show host's benefit to have listened carefully to a man, in Oliver Stone, who has experienced combat, and who does have first-hand experience of a devastating war unleashed in the cause of the very national exceptionalism previously described.

As a filmmaker, Oliver Stone's body of work, reaching all the way back to the 1980s, is a testament to his integrity both as an artist and as a human being. From 'Salvador' in 1986, an unflinching expose of covert US support for right-wing death squads in El Salvador, all the way up to his latest movie 'Snowden' in 2016, which tells the story of US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, this is a filmmaker with a fierce passion for truth. As such, it is a fair bet that in generations to come his works will still command respect and serious analysis. Could we say the same about Stephen Colbert's body of work?

To ask the question is to answer it.

' Carthago delenda est ' – Carthage must be destroyed. These words of Cato the Elder, which the Roman statesman and orator is said to have repeated at the conclusion of every one of his speeches, is the sentiment behind the campaign of demonization against Vladimir Putin that is a feature of Western cultural life.

It has become so pervasive and obsessive you would think that it was the Russian leader who had the destruction of entire countries on his record and conscience – i.e. Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya – and that it was his foreign policy that had killed more people and sown more chaos than at any time since World War II.

Oliver Stone is to be commended for trying to wake America up to the damage it does and has done around the world over many decades. Those who would attack and laugh at him for doing so merely confirm the degeneration of a culture built on foundations not of wisdom, but of crass ignorance.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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[Jun 13, 2017] The shining city on a hill sustains royalty, secures Wahhabi aims, wars to end unjust peace , ousts Qaddafi with no regard for how much turmoil millions endure and drops 27000 bombs on 7 Muslim countries during 2016 a year of peace overseen by a peace prize winner!

Notable quotes:
"... Are there no longer any Sunday PM rallies in US cities against the electoral college which denied the dnc crooks their conned prize? ..."
"... "As for that cherished image of a shining city on a hill*? As my fiend Richard Pitkin says, there is a little city-on-a-hill in all Americans. It is a complicated sort of truth about which even Russian journalists and scholars may have a say." ..."
"... The biggest threat to the republic comes from the fuzz exploding from domestic faux media. So much for diminishing fuzz in the US! Russia's vapid "influence" compares little to the scam run by a pair of political parties owned by Wall St. *The latest refuge of Comey; rolling out Dutch Reagan's 'shiny city' scam......... ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm - June 12, 2017 at 04:57 PM

Corruption and stagnation.......

Are there no longer any Sunday PM rallies in US cities against the electoral college which denied the dnc crooks their conned prize?

David Warsh, June 11

http://www.economicprincipals.com/issues/2017.06.11/2006.html

Not Russian fuzz! Why question RT?

Undiminshed fuzz is all the US gets from the dnc corrupted media!

"As for that cherished image of a shining city on a hill*? As my fiend Richard Pitkin says, there is a little city-on-a-hill in all Americans. It is a complicated sort of truth about which even Russian journalists and scholars may have a say."

The "shining city on a hill" sustains royalty, secures Wahhabi aims, wars to end "unjust peace", ousts Qaddafi with no regard for how much turmoil millions endure and drops 27000 bombs on 7 Muslim countries during 2016 a year of "peace" overseen by a 'peace prize' winner!

The biggest threat to the republic comes from the fuzz exploding from domestic faux media. So much for diminishing fuzz in the US! Russia's vapid "influence" compares little to the scam run by a pair of political parties owned by Wall St. *The latest refuge of Comey; rolling out Dutch Reagan's 'shiny city' scam.........

[Jun 13, 2017] The Deadly Fraud of American Exceptionalism by William Rivers Pitt

Notable quotes:
"... Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | billmoyers.com

BillMoyers.com

Doubtless you have heard more than once the term "American Exceptionalism." It implies, in short, that we are somehow special, different, superior. We are the "city upon a hill" whose freedoms and accomplishments set us apart. Alexis de Tocqueville coined the phrase midway through the 19th century, and it has enjoyed constant deployment by politicians and pundits ever since, because it lights a warm bulb of self-satisfaction in many bellies and people feeling good about themselves are easier to convince. Salesmen thrived on this axiom before Babylon's bricks were laid.

For the sake of comparison, here's something exceptional: Médecins Sans Frontières. Founded in France, the organization is most commonly known in the US as Doctors Without Borders. Made up of more than 30,000 medical professionals, administrators and logistical experts, this organization provides vital health care in places mired in war and strife: Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Afghanistan sadly, the list has included some 70 countries over the intervening years, and does not stop. Military personnel have a saying: "Run to the sound of the guns." Doctors Without Borders volunteers do exactly the same thing.

This past weekend, Doctors Without Borders volunteers were treating people in a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, when the building erupted in fire and screaming. A US airstrike by a massive AC-130 gunship laid an ocean of ordnance on the building at fifteen-minute intervals for more than an hour, and when it was over, 22 people were dead including three children and ten Doctors Without Borders staff members. One nurse who survived recounted how the hospital was all but destroyed, and when the survivors went in to look, they found six patients on fire in their hospital beds.

For its part, the US said it wasn't us, then said it might have been us, then said the hospital was a nest of Taliban fighters – a claim the doctors dispute vehemently – before saying Afghan officials asked us to do it. Yesterday, President Obama personally apologized to Dr. Joanne Liu, the organization's international president, for the attack. Doctors Without Borders is not having it, and is not mincing words. Immediately after the attack, the organization's General Director, Christopher Stokes, said, "We reiterate that the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched. We condemn this attack, which constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law." The organization's Executive Director, Jason Cone, described it as the "darkest couple of days in our organization's history," before going on to call the attack a "war crime." After the apology, Dr. Liu demanded an independent investigation into the incident.

Never fear, however: The Authorities are on the case . The Pentagon is going to investigate the Pentagon to see if the Pentagon obliterated a hospital in Afghanistan by bombing it with precision munitions fired from a massive gunship for more than an hour, incinerating civilians, children and doctors. Sounds legit.

American Exceptionalism in full effect.

Speaking of which, the 247th mass shooting in the United States during this current calendar year took place in Room 15 of Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on October 1. The man who did it shot down a roomful of students, including a professor and a woman using a wheelchair.

A lady in the next classroom over with gray hair using a cane went to investigate when the noise began, and staggered back moments later covered in blood with part of her arm blasted away. "Don't go in there," she said before collapsing. An Army veteran named Chris Mintz attempted to thwart the attack and was shot five times, on his son's sixth birthday. He survived his service and his deployments overseas intact, only to come home to a rain of gunfire in the 45th school shooting incident this year alone.

When it was all over, nine people were dead. The shooter, whose name I will not repeat because that's what he wanted, blew his own brains out once he was cornered. Nine others were wounded. Everyone involved will be scarred for life, emotionally if not physically, and the families of the dead are on their way to funerals.

Some 87,000 people in the US have been shot dead since the unimaginable Sandy Hook massacre. There have been 142 school shootings over that span of time, and more mass shootings than days on the current calendar. If international terrorists came to the US, killed 87,000 people and attacked 142 schools, the US Air Force would be unleashed with napalm, bombs, bullets and rage to turn the rest of the planet into smoking glass in an act of blind vengeance. Since we've done it to ourselves, however, it's just politics. The NRA is powerful, you know. Exceptional.

Here's what would actually be exceptional: Don't bomb hospitals filled with medical professional volunteers and civilians, including children. Don't ignore the fact that the gun fetish in the United States is causing bodies to be stacked like cordwood because the NRA, along with the gun manufacturers and distributers who back them, throw weight in DC. This nation is about as exceptional as the Mob: We rob, we intimidate and we kill for profit. We kill ourselves at home and kill others abroad. We are not special. We are dangerous.

It would be exceptional if we got ourselves out of the habit. I'm not holding my breath.

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.

[Jun 09, 2017] Russophobia Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by A. Tsygankov

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda. ..."
"... I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation. ..."
"... To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region. ..."
"... Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse. ..."
"... The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics. ..."
"... According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4 ..."
"... Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available. ..."
"... This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6 ..."
"... Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity ..."
"... The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15 ..."
"... During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. ..."
"... Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91 ..."
"... In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood. ..."
"... In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. ..."
"... The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle. ..."
"... Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114 ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

It was during the spring of 2006 that I began this project. I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda.

As I researched the subject, I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation.

... ... ....

Although a critical analysis of Russia and its political system is entirely legitimate, the issue is the balance of such analysis. Russia's role in the world is growing, yet many U.S. politicians feel that Russia doesn't matter in the global arena. Preoccupied with international issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, they find it difficult to accept that they now have to nego- tiate and coordinate their international policies with a nation that only yesterday seemed so weak, introspective, and dependent on the West. To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region.

And some in Moscow are tempted to provoke a much greater confrontation with Western states. The attitude of ignorance and self-righteousness toward Russia tells us volumes about the United States' lack of preparation for the twenty-first century's central challenges that include political instability, weapons proliferation, and energy insecurity. Despite the dislike of Russia by a considerable number of American elites, this attitude is far from universally shared. Many Americans understand that Russia has gone a long way from communism and that the overwhelming support for Putin's policies at home cannot be adequately explained by high oil prices and the Kremlin's manipulation of the public-despite the frequent assertions of Russophobic observers.

Balanced analysts are also aware that many Russian problems are typical difficulties that nations encounter with state-building, and should not be presented as indicative of Russia's "inherent drive" to autocracy or empire. As the United States and Russia move further to the twenty-first century, it will be increasingly important to redefine the relationship between the two nations in a mutually enriching way.

Political and cultural phobias are, of course, not limited to those of an anti-Russian nature. For instance, Russia has its share of America-phobia -- a phenomenon that I have partly researched in my book Whose World Order (Notre Dame, 2004) and in several articles. Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse.

The Anti-Russian Lobby

When the facile optimism was disappointed, Western euphoria faded, and Russophobia returned ... The new Russophobia was expressed not by the governments, but in the statements of out-of-office politicians, the publications of academic experts, the sensational writings of jour- nalists, and the products of the entertainment industry. (Rodric Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River, 2002)1

....

Russophobia is not a myth, not an invention of the Red-Brovvns, but a real phenomenon of political thought in the main political think tanks in the West . .. [T]he Yeltsin-Kozyrev's pro-U.S. "giveaway game" was approved across the ocean. There is reason to say that the period in ques- tion left the West with the illusion that Russia's role was to serve Washington's interests and that it would remain such in the future. (Sergei Mikoyati, International Affairs /October 2006j)2

This chapter formulates a theory of Russophobia and the anti-Russian lobby's influence on the U.S. Russia policy. 1 discuss the Lobby's objec- tives, its tactics to achieve them, the history of its formation and rise to prominence, and the conditions that preserved its influence in the after- math of 9/11.1 argue that Russophobia has been important to American hegemonic elites in pressuring Russia for economic and political conces- sions in the post-Cold War era.

1. Goals and Means

Objectives

The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics.

According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4

Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available.

This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6

In his view, the Soviet "totalitarian" state was incapable of reform. Communism's decline was therefore irreversible and inevitable. It would have made the system's "practice and its dogma largely irrelevant to the human conditions," and communism would be remembered as the twentieth century's "political and intellectual aberration."7 Other com- mentators argued the case for a global spread of Western values. In 1990 Francis Fukuyama first formulated his triumphalist "end of history" thesis, arguing a global ascendancy of the Western-style market democracy.®

... ... ...

Marc Plattner declared the emergence of a "world with one dominant principle of legitimacy, democracy."9 When the Soviet system had indeed disintegrated, the leading establishment journal Foreign Affairs pronounced that "the Soviet system collapsed because of what it was, or more exactly, because of what it was not. The West 'won' because of what the democracies were-because they were free, prosperous and successful, because they did justice, or convincingly tried to do so."10 Still others, such as Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity.11

In this context of U.S. triumphalism, at least some Russophobes expected Russia to follow the American agenda. Still, they were worried that Russia may still have surprises to offer and would recover as an enemy.12

Soon after the Soviet disintegration, Russia indeed surprised many, although not quite in the sense of presenting a power challenge to the United States. Rather, the surprise was the unexpectedly high degree of corruption, social and economic decay, and the rapid disappointment of pro-Western reforms inside Russia. By late 1992, the domestic economic situation was much worsened, as the failure of Western-style shock ther- apy reform put most of the population on the verge of poverty. Russia was preoccupied not with the projection of power but with survival, as poverty, crime, and corruption degraded it from the status of the indus- trialized country it once was. In the meantime, the economy was largely controlled by and divided among former high-ranking party and state officials and their associates. The so-called oligarchs, or a group of extremely wealthy individuals, played the role of the new post-Soviet nomenklatura; they influenced many key decisions of the state and suc- cessfully blocked the development of small- and medium-sized business in the country.13 Under these conditions, the Russophobes warned that the conditions in Russia may soon be ripe for the rise of an anti-Western nationalist regime and that Russia was not fit for any partnership with the United States.14

The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15

... ... ...

The impact of structural and institutional factors is further reinforced by policy factors, such as the divide within the policy community and the lack of presidential leadership. Not infrequently, politicians tend to defend their personal and corporate interests, and lobbying makes a difference in the absence of firm policy commitments.

Experts recognize that the community of Russia watchers is split and that the split, which goes all the way to the White House, has been responsible for the absence of a coherent policy toward the country. During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. The brain behind the invasion of Iraq, Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91

Since November 2004, when the administration launched a review of its policy on Russia,92 Cheney became a critically important voice in whom the Lobby found its advocate. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and, until November 2004, Colin Powell opposed the vice president's approach, arguing for a softer and more accommodating style in relations with Moscow.

President Bush generally sided with Rice and Powell, but he proved unable to form a consistent Russia policy. Because of America's involvement in the Middle East, Bush failed to provide the leadership committed to devising mutually acceptable rules in relations with Russia that could have prevented the deterioration in their relationship. Since the end of 2003, he also became doubtful about the direction of Russia's domestic transformation.93 As a result, the promising post-9/11 cooperation never materialized. The new cold war and the American Sense of History

It's time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States. (Bret Stephens, "Russia: The Enemy," The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2006)

If today's reality of Russian politics continues ... then there is the real risk that Russia's leadership will be seen, externally and internally, as illegitimate. (John Edwards and Jack Kemp, "We Need to Be Tough with Russia," International Herald Tribune, July 12, 2006)

On Iran, Kosovo, U.S. missile defense, Iraq, the Caucasus and Caspian basin, Ukraine-the list goes on-Russia puts itself in conflict with the U.S. and its allies . . . here are worse models than the united Western stand that won the Cold War the first time around.

("Putin Institutionalized," The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007) In order to derail the U.S.-Russia partnership, the Lobby has sought to revive the image of Russias as an enemy of the United States. The Russophobic groups have exploited important differences between the two countries' historical self-perceptions, presenting those differences as incompatible.

1. Contested History

Two versions of history

The story of the Cold War as told from the U.S. perspective is about American ideas of Western-style democracy as rescued from the Soviet threat of totalitarian communism. Although scholars and politicians disagreed over the methods of responding to the Soviet threat, they rarely questioned their underlying assumptions about history and freedom.' It therefore should not come as surprise that many in the United States have interpreted the end of the Cold War as a victory of the Western freedom narrative. Celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure"-as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it2-the American discourse assumed that from now on there would be little resistance to freedom's worldwide progression. When Francis Fukuyama offered his bold summary of these optimistic feelings and asserted in a famous passage that "what we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War... but the end of history as such,"3 he meant to convey the disappearance of an alternative to the familiar idea of free- dom, or "the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."4

In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood.

In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. Russians formulated the narrative of independence centuries ago, as they successfully withstood external invasions from Napoleon to Hitler. The defeat of the Nazi regime was important to the Soviets because it legitimized their claims to continue with the tradition of freedom as independence.

The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle.

This helps to understand why Russians could never agree with the Western interpretation of the end of the Cold War. What they find missing from the U.S. narrative is the tribute to Russia's ability to defend its freedom from expansionist ambitions of larger powers. The Cold War too is viewed by many Russians as a necessarily defensive response to the West's policies, and it is important that even while occupying Eastern Europe, the Soviets never celebrated the occupation, emphasizing instead the war vic- tory.6 The Russians officially admitted "moral responsibility" and apolo- gized for the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.7 They may be prepared to fully recognize the postwar occupation of Eastern Europe, but only in the context of the two sides' responsibility for the Cold War. Russians also find it offensive that Western VE Day celebrations ignore the crucial contribution of Soviet troops, even though none of the Allies, as one historian put it, "paid dearer than the Soviet Union for the victory. Forty Private Ivans fell in battle to every Private Ryan."8 Victory over Nazi Germany constitutes, as another Russian wrote, "the only undisputable foundation of the national myth."9

If the two sides are to build foundations for a future partnership, the two historical narratives must be bridged. First, it is important to recognize the difficulty of negotiating a common meaning of freedom and accept that the idea of freedom may vary greatly across nations. The urge for freedom may be universal, but its social content is a specific product of national his- tories and local circumstances. For instance, the American vision of democracy initially downplayed the role of elections and emphasized selection by merit or meritocracy. Under the influence of the Great Depression, the notion of democracy incorporated a strong egalitarian and poverty-fighting component, and it was not until the Cold War- and not without its influence-that democracy has become associated with elections and pluralistic institutions.10 Second, it is essential to acknowledge the two nations' mutual respon- sibility for the misunderstanding that has resulted in the Cold War. A historically sensitive account will recognize that both sides were thinking in terms of expanding a territorial space to protect their visions of security. While the Soviets wanted to create a buffer zone to prevent a future attack from Germany, the Americans believed in reconstructing the European continent in accordance with their ideas of security and democracy. A mutual mistrust of the two countries' leaders exacerbated the situation, making it ever more difficult to prevent a full-fledged political confronta- tion. Western leaders had reason to be suspicious of Stalin, who, in his turn, was driven by the perception of the West's greed and by betrayals from the dubious Treaty of Versailles to the appeasement of Hitler in Munich. Arrangements for the post-World War II world made by Britain, the USSR, and the United States proved insufficient to address these deep-seated suspicions.

In addition, most Eastern European states created as a result of the Versailles Treaty were neither free nor democratic and collaborated with Nazi Germany in its racist and expansionist policies. The European post-World War 1 security system was not working properly, and it was only a matter of time before it would have to be transformed.

Third, if an agreeable historical account is to emerge, it would have to accept that the end of the Cold War was a product of mutually beneficial a second Cold War, "it also does not want the reversal of the U.S. geopolitical gains that it made in the decade or so after the end of the Cold War."112 Another expert asked, "What possible explanation is there for the fact that today-at a moment when both the U.S. and Russia face the common enemy of Islamist terrorism-hard-liners within the Bush administration, and especially in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, are arguing for a new tough line against Moscow along the lines of a scaled-down Cold War?"113

Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114

[Jun 04, 2017] A coverup after a Ukrainian fighter plane shot it down

Notable quotes:
"... MH17 seems to have disappeared from MSM reporting. The Dutch preliminary report was unconvincing. ..."
"... For me, the suspicious thing is that there was no mention of ELINT. Why didn't NATO or the US government simply say that "We intercepted the Buk's surveillance radar at time X and location Y; the tracking radar started emiting Z minutes before the crash and, just before the crash, it entered its CW terminal guidance mode". None of this would reveal secret capabilities - we are talking about 1960s tech. ..."
"... Perhaps, there were no ELINT/ESM assets in the area. But this was the only hot war in Europe at the time, and it is likely that both Russian and American special forces were there, if only as observers. ..."
"... Does the MH17 evidence that Russia provided, you are referring to include their satellite images? The US refused to provide their's, so is left just pointing bloody fingers as usual. I am increasingly disappointed by the collusion of the Dutch in this mess. Their investigators are traitors to their own citizen victims ..."
"... However, the WHERE, WHY and BY WHOM is an important point here, but there is little info on that, not from NATO, and not from the Ukies. All we get from these two is the claim that it was, of course, the Russians, end of story. NATO aside, by geography the Ukies would of course be an advantaged collector of such informations. ..."
"... The dutch MH17 report in large part depended on Ukrainian reports of whatever happened on the day MH17 was shot down. And natutrally, everybody who believes and trusts the Ukies in what they say happened is unwise. That is to say that the Ukies, out of self interest, lie a lot given a chance, and what they say should not be accepted as truth, certainly not without checks from, second sources, ideally own services and systems. ..."
"... If in case of MH17 it wasn't the Russians, but, say, some Ukie, the Ukies would be motivated to lie - instead of saying that the aircraft was shot down by themselves, or one of their volunteer units that would be mebarassing, well, murderous, to put it mildly. ..."
"... I would be very surprised if the US did not have naval, air and space based ELINT assets monitoring the area closely at that time. Maintaining an up to date EORBAT was a pretty high priority during the Cold War and I doubt that has changed much. ..."
"... At the end of the day, these kinds of systems are not difficult to keep track of. They are few in number, loud (ELINT systems have the advantage over radars of 1/R^2 vs 1/R^4 in signal strength) and have relatively simple waveforms. ..."
"... U.S. Modus Operandi: Whenever something big happens, the U.S. immediately comes up with a simple narrative that is accepted by the MSM and our western allies and never changes it. In the case of MH17, within a day or two, 'the rebels killed innocent civilians armed with an illegally supplied Buk from Russia'. Khan Shaykhun, same thing, 'Assad poisoned children from this airfield and is being protected by the Russians'. Come hell or high water nothing will ever change our narrative. ..."
"... The Russians, they respond with multiple theories that sometimes contradict each other within a matter of days or weeks. Is this the sign of Information Warfare or possible innocence, what would you do if you were suddenly called a baby killer? I think it is clever that we have spun a natural response to a standard tactic of 'Russian information warfare' that U.S. experts call 'deny, obfuscate, and overload'. ..."
"... It's great to have money to burn, we have tons of it to throw at consultants, think tanks, and the like. ..."
Jun 04, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

MH17. Russian sources have published documents claimed to be from Ukrainian intelligence sources . They describe a coverup after a Ukrainian fighter plane shot it down. ( Original Совершенно секретно ) ( English ) I merely put this out – I don't know: there are plenty of fakes around. But I do not believe a Buk shot it down: a Buk warhead has about 6000 lethal fragments and detonation a metre or two from the aircraft would have left a lot more fragments in the wreckage than were found. The Dutch report is self-contradictory by the way.

Prem said...
MH17 seems to have disappeared from MSM reporting. The Dutch preliminary report was unconvincing.

For me, the suspicious thing is that there was no mention of ELINT. Why didn't NATO or the US government simply say that "We intercepted the Buk's surveillance radar at time X and location Y; the tracking radar started emiting Z minutes before the crash and, just before the crash, it entered its CW terminal guidance mode". None of this would reveal secret capabilities - we are talking about 1960s tech.

Instead we get dubious ballistics and analysis of grass burns.

Perhaps, there were no ELINT/ESM assets in the area. But this was the only hot war in Europe at the time, and it is likely that both Russian and American special forces were there, if only as observers.

Bandit -
Does the MH17 evidence that Russia provided, you are referring to include their satellite images? The US refused to provide their's, so is left just pointing bloody fingers as usual. I am increasingly disappointed by the collusion of the Dutch in this mess. Their investigators are traitors to their own citizen victims .

The Saker has a May 23 article about the SBU, the Security Service of Ukraine which, if true, exposes that agency directive to destroy or dispose of all evidence relating to the shooting down of MH17. Here is the link:

https://thesaker.is/sbu-orders-to-destroy-all-evidence-of-the-conducted-special-operation-mh17/

confusedponderer -
Prem,

Buk has a certain range, and it needs a suitable radar of a certain (rather limted) range. Also, russian and Ukie Buks use the same radar. That means that detecting a Buk radar doesn't mean it was russians who operated it - it just means that a Buk was located. It also means that to detect a Buk radar, one needs to be rather close.

However, the WHERE, WHY and BY WHOM is an important point here, but there is little info on that, not from NATO, and not from the Ukies. All we get from these two is the claim that it was, of course, the Russians, end of story. NATO aside, by geography the Ukies would of course be an advantaged collector of such informations.

That said, they also have their own interests. And perhaps they have collected things like ELINT or SIGINT info on the shootdown of MH17, but what they give out doesn't change the narrative that it was Putin. Well, distrustful as I am, I have a hunch that the narrative was written well before MH17 was shot down.

That written, SIGINT and ELINT only have so long a range and Ukraine is a large land. A SIGINT/ ELINT system in Poland or Romania, or in an aircraft collecting over the baltic may just been too far away - out of range - to listen to or locate/find a Buk system.

The dutch MH17 report in large part depended on Ukrainian reports of whatever happened on the day MH17 was shot down. And natutrally, everybody who believes and trusts the Ukies in what they say happened is unwise. That is to say that the Ukies, out of self interest, lie a lot given a chance, and what they say should not be accepted as truth, certainly not without checks from, second sources, ideally own services and systems.

If in case of MH17 it wasn't the Russians, but, say, some Ukie, the Ukies would be motivated to lie - instead of saying that the aircraft was shot down by themselves, or one of their volunteer units that would be mebarassing, well, murderous, to put it mildly.

In light of that it is probable that it is perceived to be far more handy to keep up the fairy tale that MH17 was of course shot down by the evil Russians - probably out of boredom and utter evilness. Yes, of course, and why else?

That sort of nonsense should be kept in mind whenever hearing any Ukies statements for or over anything - it may just be a load of self interested BS. Policy based on believing such things would likewise be utter nonsense and unlikely to work.

Prem -
I would be very surprised if the US did not have naval, air and space based ELINT assets monitoring the area closely at that time. Maintaining an up to date EORBAT was a pretty high priority during the Cold War and I doubt that has changed much.

At the end of the day, these kinds of systems are not difficult to keep track of. They are few in number, loud (ELINT systems have the advantage over radars of 1/R^2 vs 1/R^4 in signal strength) and have relatively simple waveforms.

Ulenspiegel said...
Patrick Armstrong wrote: "But I do not believe a Buk shot it down"

The funny thing is that even the Russians not longer claim it was a SU25 launched missile. Since September 2016 it is the Russian versin too that a BUK hit the MH17, hower, a Ukrainian. :-)

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/mh17-was-wir-ueber-den-flugzeugabsturz-wissen-14456935.html

The piss poor Russian PR performance pointed IMHO to the more likely scenario that their guys screwed up and Russia played for time with stupid stunts like the press conference where a poor Russian general had to sell the redar echo of debis as SU25 and the sudden change of SU specifications on the home page of the producer. :-)

If it had been a Ukranian BUK, the Russians could have fried the Ukrainians very easily and would not have missed this opportunity.

And last but not least: On the German mil blog "Augen gerade aus", there were extremyl good discussions and people there - air force officers with deep konwledge of Russian AA systems and planes - came very earlty to the conclusion that it was a BUK most likely.

james - Ulenspiegel ...
sorry ulenspiegel... too many signs point to ukraines involvement.. why no minutes from air control and etc. etc. etc.???
Ulenspiegel -
Sorry, james, the Russians promoted the story of Ukrainian SU25, "supported" by stupid lies of a Russian general at a press conference, and with changing technical specifications on the SU25 home page...

September 2016 they changed it to BUK. "Great" performance.

Chris Chuba - Ulenspiegel ...
"The piss poor Russian PR performance pointed IMHO to the more likely scenario that their guys screwed up"
From a PR perspective, it would have been much cleaner had they just said, 'rebels acquired a BUK from Ukrainian military stockpiles, they have been under attack by the UkAf and mistook a passenger jet for a bomber since it would be insane to direct air traffic to a war zone'.

The problem is that since the Russians probably didn't know what actually happened, they were genuinely caught flat footed and exploring the issue. Having watched how they have managed press releases in Syria I have concluded that they do not do PR management. Contrary to what many state, the Russians totally suck at Information Warfare.

I am not commenting on what actually did happen with MH17 but taking the opportunity to comment on U.S. vs Russian Information Warfare . We have dozens of NGO's that will issue press releases stating 'Assad, Russia, Iran guilty of war crimes, ranked #1 in executions, corruption, #144 in the Democracy index'. Russia doesn't have anything like our NGO's. Here is one reference that I book marked because I found it so amusingly obvious, 'Physicians for human rights', a U.S. based NGO
http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/moscow-politely-calls-bs-after-us-accuses-assad-barrel-bombing-maternity-wards-fun/ri19984 I couldn't find the source of their funding but I'll bet someone a steak dinner that govt money would be in that trail.

The other avenue of U.S. Information Warfare is when the FBI / CIA give anonymous leaks or otherwise feed stories to the NYT / WaPo . Now the Russian govt does have access to RT but we still have a much more influential press corp. We also have more power in charting course in investigations that are supposed to be neutral. We killed OPCW investigations in Syria and the one for MH17 was dubious.

Tel said...
What always confused me about MH17 is that some of the wrecked panels clearly had holes punching BOTH inwards and ALSO outwards on the same plate. Plenty of photos on the Internet can be found showing at least some of the holes are nice and neat and ROUND which the Dutch report ignored, but possibly could be a machine gun. BUC fragments are not round and would never leave a neat round hole.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150927225501/http://www.shoutwiki.com/w/images/acloserlookonsyria/thumb/a/ae/MH17_cockpit_right_window_frame_bullet_holes.png/400px-MH17_cockpit_right_window_frame_bullet_holes.png ">http://www.shoutwiki.com/w/images/acloserlookonsyria/thumb/a/ae/MH17_cockpit_right_window_frame_bullet_holes.png/400px-MH17_cockpit_right_window_frame_bullet_holes.png">https://web.archive.org/web/20150927225501/http://www.shoutwiki.com/w/images/acloserlookonsyria/thumb/a/ae/MH17_cockpit_right_window_frame_bullet_holes.png/400px-MH17_cockpit_right_window_frame_bullet_holes.png

Also, they never released the full cockpit recording, and they never released the air-traffic control conversations with the aircraft (especially at the critical time when the craft changed off their normal course to instead fly over the hot zone of rebel held territory). No aircraft would normally fly over a war zone so the conversation around that course correction is absolutely critical to knowing what happened that night.

Bandit -
I appreciate the contributions forum members give to this important MH17 event that the MSM has been recently ignoring after it published so many lies and omissions in its previous articles. I think most of us just want the truth, and the evidence to support it. Whoever is responsible, Russia, Ukraine, or the US, needs to be revealed to the world. But, many of these types of atrocities tend to disappear after their "newsworthy" merits are exhausted and there is more money to be made by exploiting the Trump trend.

Much like the Kennedy assassinations, the US does everything to cover up and mislead the public, and it takes years and the advent of the internet to get the facts more widely viewed. By that time, the perps are either dead or Alzheimer zombies, and a new generation of citizens have more pressing concerns than what happened some 50 years ago. But, for me, MH17 will remain current news as long as it takes for the truth to be revealed.

VietnamVet said...
PA

The problem with the wartime information operations underway since 9/11 is that people who should know better start believing the propaganda, the public is uninformed, corporations buy silence and they now include Russia. Besides MH-17, Ukraine's ongoing trench war or the potential nuclear flashpoint at Al-Tanf; there is the is the Airbus fly by wire computer control system that is implicated in at least three crashes that killed all souls on board and Qantas Flight 72 that had a narrow escape.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qantas_Flight_72

Thomas said...
"If it had been a Ukranian BUK, the Russians could have fried the Ukrainians very easily and would not have missed this opportunity."

That is exactly what the Noveau Khans wanted so as to drag the United States into their war. Thanks to a lazy government official's commode computer, the Russians probably knew it too (see F U EU). Funny that Nato won't provide their proof to the public the those Russkie Rebels did the deed. Why is that?

Chris Chuba said...
The Information War
U.S. Modus Operandi: Whenever something big happens, the U.S. immediately comes up with a simple narrative that is accepted by the MSM and our western allies and never changes it. In the case of MH17, within a day or two, 'the rebels killed innocent civilians armed with an illegally supplied Buk from Russia'. Khan Shaykhun, same thing, 'Assad poisoned children from this airfield and is being protected by the Russians'. Come hell or high water nothing will ever change our narrative.

The Russians, they respond with multiple theories that sometimes contradict each other within a matter of days or weeks. Is this the sign of Information Warfare or possible innocence, what would you do if you were suddenly called a baby killer? I think it is clever that we have spun a natural response to a standard tactic of 'Russian information warfare' that U.S. experts call 'deny, obfuscate, and overload'.

It's great to have money to burn, we have tons of it to throw at consultants, think tanks, and the like.

[May 31, 2017] So why do the American people accept US criminal hegemony, domestic and foreign brutal tyranny neo-colonialist blood-letting with scant protest? by Vanessa Beeley

May 31, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info
Originally from: Gaslighting State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism This article was first published by 21st Century Wire

Exceptionalism: the condition of being different from the norm; also : a theory expounding the exceptionalism especially of a nation or region.

May 29, 2017 " Information Clearing House " - There are many theories surrounding the origin of American exceptionalism. The most popular in US folklore, being that it describes America's unique character as a "free" nation founded on democratic ideals and civil liberties. The Declaration of Independence from British colonial rule is the foundation of this theory and has persevered throughout the often violent history of the US since its birth as a free nation.

Over time, exceptionalism has come to represent superiority in the minds and hearts of Americans. Belief in their economic, military and ideological supremacy is what has motivated successive US governments to invest in shaping the world in their superior image with little or no regard for the destruction left in the wake of their exceptional hegemony.

In considering itself, exceptional, the US has extricated itself from any legal obligation to adhere to either International law or even the common moral laws that should govern Humanity. The US has become exceptionally lawless and authoritarian particularly in its intolerant neo-colonialist foreign policy. The colonized have become the colonialists, concealing their brutal savagery behind a veneer of missionary zeal that they are converting the world to their form of exceptionalist Utopia.

Such is the media & marketing apparatus that supports this superiority complex, the majority of US congress exist within its echo chamber and are willing victims of its indoctrination. The power of the propaganda vortex pulls them in and then radiates outwards, infecting all in its path. Self-extraction from this oligarchical perspective is perceived as a revolutionary act that challenges the core of US security so exceptionalism becomes the modus vivendi.

Just as Israel considers itself 'the chosen people' from a religious perspective, the US considers itself the chosen nation to impose its version of Democratic reform and capitalist hegemony the world over. One can see why Israel and the US make such symbiotic bedfellows.

"The fatal war for humanity is the war with Russia and China toward which Washington is driving the US and Washington's NATO and Asian puppet states. The bigotry of the US power elite is rooted in its self-righteous doctrine that stipulates America as the "indispensable country" ~ Paul Craig Roberts: Washington Drives the World Towards War.

So why do the American people accept US criminal hegemony, domestic and foreign brutal tyranny & neo-colonialist blood-letting with scant protest? Why do the European vassal states not rise up against this authoritarian regime that flaunts international law and drags its NATO allies down the path to complete lawlessness and diplomatic ignominy?

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslight

The psychological term "Gaslighting" comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instil in their victim's mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the US and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.

Gaslighting as an abuser's modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.

Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim. It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim's subconscious over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious "hard disk" and cannot be overridden by the conscious floppy disk. Put more simply, it is brainwashing.

" Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate." ~ Alex Myles

Three Stages of Gaslighting: Stage One

The first stage depends upon trust in the integrity and unimpeachable intentions of the abuser, a state of reliance that has been engendered by the abuser's artful self-promotion and ingratiating propaganda. Once this trust is gained, the abuser will begin to subtly undermine it, creating situations and environments where the victim will begin to doubt their own judgement. Eventually the victim will rely entirely upon the abuser to alleviate their uncertainty and to restore their sense of reality which is in fact that of the abuser.

Stage Two

The second stage, defence, is a process by which the abuser isolates the victim, not only from their own sense of identity but from the validation of their peers. They are made to feel that their opinion is worthless, discredited, down-right weird. In political circles they would be labelled a conspiracy theorist, a dissident, a terror apologist. As a consequence, the victim will withdraw from society and cease to express themselves for fear of ridicule, judgement or punishment.

This stage can also be compared to Stockholm Syndrome where a hostage or captive is reduced,by psychological mind games, back to infantile dependency upon their captor. Narcissistic abuse bonds the victim to the aggressor via trauma. Stockholm Syndrome bonds the victim to the aggressor via regression to an infantile state where the abuser/aggressor becomes the "parent" who will rescue the victim from imminent annihilation. Both methods tap into the victim's survival mechanisms to gain and maintain control.

Stage Three

The final stage is depression. A life under the tyrannical rule of a narcissist drives the victim into a state of extreme confusion. They are stripped of dignity & self-reliance. They, ultimately exist in an information vacuum which is only filled by that which the abuser deems suitable or relevant. This can eventually invoke symptoms of PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]. Flashbacks, constant apprehension, hyper vigilance, mind paralysis, rage and even violence. The process is complete and the victim has been reduced to a willing accomplice in the abusers creation of a very distorted reality.

Exceptionalism or Narcissism?

Gaslight

We are currently seeing the transformation of US exceptionalism into an abusive Narcissism .

The gargantuan apparatus of mind bending and controlling is being put into hyper drive by the ruling elite. We are inundated with propaganda that challenges our sense of reality but only after being "tenderized" by the fear factor. Fear of "terror", fear of war, fear of financial insecurity, fear of gun violence, fear of our own shadow. Once we are suitably quaking in our boots, in comes the rendition of reality that relieves our anxiety. If we challenge this version of events we are labelled a conspiracy theorist, a threat to security. We are hounded, discredited, slandered and ridiculed. We are isolated and threatened.

Wars are started in the same way. Despite the hindsight that should enable us to see it coming, the process swings into motion with resounding success. The ubiquitous dictator, the oligarch who threatens to destroy all that the US and her allies represent which of course is, freedom, equality & civil liberty all wrapped up in the Democracy shiny paper and tied with the exceptionalist ribbon.

Next the false flag to engender fear, terror and to foment sectarian strife. The support of a "legitimate" organic, indigenous "revolution" conveniently emerging in tandem with US ambitions for imposing their model of governance upon a target nation. The arming of "freedom fighters", the securing of mercenary additions to these manufactured proxy forces. All this is sold in the name of freedom and democracy to a public that is already in a state of anxiety and insecurity, lacking in judgement or insight into any other reality but that of their "abuser".

The NGO Complex Deployment

Finally, the Humanitarians are deployed. The forces for "good", the vanguard of integrity and ethical intervention. The power that offers all lost souls a stake-holding in the salvation of sovereign nations that have lost their way and need rescuing. A balm for a damaged soul, to know they can leave their doubts and fears in such trustworthy hands as HRW, Amnesty International, they can assuage their deep sense of guilt at the suffering being endured by the people of far flung nations because they can depend upon the NGOs to provide absolution with minimal effort on their part. They don't realise that NGOs are an integral part of their abuser's apparatus, operating on the leash of neo-colonialist financing and influence. NGOs provide the optic through which the abuser will allow the victim to perceive their world and once absorbed into this flawed prism the victim's own cognitive dissonance will ensure they do not attempt a jail break.

In this state of oppressed consciousness the victim accepts what they are told. They accept that the US can sell cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia that obliterate human beings and lay waste to essential civilian infrastructure in Yemen. They accept that the US financially, ideologically & militarily supports the illegal state of Israel and provides the arsenal of experimental weapons that maim and mutilate children and civilians on a scale that is unimaginable. They accept that a crippling blockade of the already impoverished and starving nation of Yemen is "necessary" to resolve the issues of sectarian divisions that only exist in the minds of their Congressional abusers.

The majority of Americans accept mass murder under the pretext of the right to protect , because their ability to form rational and reasoned opinions has been engineered out of them. This is now the definition of US exceptionalism. It is their ability to manipulate the world into accepting their lawlessness and global hegemony agenda. In seeking to impose its own image upon our world the US has drifted so far from its founding principles, one wonders how they will ever return to them. They have employed a recognised form of torture to ensure capitulation to their mission of world domination which entails the mental, physical and spiritual torture of target civilian populations.

In conclusion, the US has indeed achieved exceptionalism. The US has become an exceptional global executioner and persecutor of Humanity. Imperialism is a euphemism for the depths of abuse the US is inflicting upon the people of this world.

Our only hope is to break the cycle of abuse with empathy for the victim and with appreciation for the years of brainwashing that precedes their agonizing passive-aggressive apathy towards crimes being committed in "their name".

This was an email I received recently from one courageous young American girl whose epiphany is testament to the resilience and survival instinct of the human spirit.

" My name is Caroline and I am a 22 year old US citizen. I only fairly recently discovered the truth about Empire/NATO's activities in Syria and Libya and so many other countries (thanks to writers like Andre Vltchek, Cory Morningstar, Forrest Palmer). I am sickened when I remember that I signed some of those Avaaz petitions and I feel horrified at knowing that I have Syrian and Libyan blood on my hands. I want to believe that I'm not "really" guilty because I really thought (as I had been told) that I was not doing something bad at the time, but still, what I did contributed to the suffering of those people and I want to do something to atone in at least some small way, even though I probably can't "make up" for what I did or erase my crime.

If it's not too much trouble, could you please tell me what you think I should do, if there is anything?"

She deserves an answer

***

Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and s ince 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall .

[May 30, 2017] When Intelligence Is Not by Patrick Armstrong

Notable quotes:
"... I know a lot of people on this blog have experience in the intelligence world. I would be very interested in hearing what you think of my theory. ..."
"... intelligence sources ..."
"... So why are there so many "intelligence assessments" on important issues depending on social media "evidence"? ..."
"... four years earlier ..."
"... many of the "intelligence assessments" contain what look like hints by the authors that their reports are rubbish. ..."
May 29, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

I know a lot of people on this blog have experience in the intelligence world. I would be very interested in hearing what you think of my theory.

In my career in the Canadian government I was never formally in "intelligence" but I did participate in writing many "intelligence assessments". Facebook, Twitter and other kinds of social media didn't much exist at that time but, even if they had, I can't imagine that we would have ever used them as sources of evidence: social media is, to put it mildly, too easy to fake. In writing intelligence assessments, while we did use information gathered from intelligence sources (ie secret), probably more came from what was rather pompously called OSInt (Open Source Intelligence; in other words, stuff you don't need a security clearance to learn). What was, however, the most important part of creating an assessment was the long process of discussion in the group. Much talk and many rewrites produced a consensus opinion.

A typical intelligence assessment would start with a question – what's going on with the economy, or political leadership or whatever of Country X – and would argue a conclusion based on facts. So: question, argument, conclusion. And usually a prediction – after all the real point of intelligence is to attempt to reduce surprises. The intelligence assessment then made its way up the chain to the higher ups; they may have ignored or disagreed with the conclusions but, as far as I know, the assessment, signed off by the group that had produced it, was not tampered with: I never heard of words being put into our mouths. The intelligence community regards tampering with an intelligence assessment to make it look as if the authors had said something different as a very serious sin. All of this is preparation to say that I know what an intelligence assessment is supposed to look like and that I have seen a lot of so-called intelligence assessments coming out of Washington that don't look like the real thing.

Intelligence is quite difficult. I like the analogy of trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle when you don't know what the picture is supposed to be, you don't know how many pieces the puzzle has and you're not sure that the pieces that you have are actually from the same puzzle. Let us say, for example, that you intercept a phonecall in which the Leader of Country X is telling one of his flunkeys to do something. Surely that's a gold standard? Well, not if the Leader knew you were listening (and how would you know if he did?); nor if he's someone who changes his mind often. There are very few certainties in the business and many many opportunities for getting it wrong.

So real raw intelligence data is difficult enough to evaluate; social media, on the other hand, has so many credibility problems that it is worthless; worthless, that is, except as evidence of itself (ie a bot campaign is evidence that somebody has taken the effort to do one). It is extremely easy to fake: a Photoshopped picture can be posted and spread everywhere in hours; bots can create the illusion of a conversation; phonecall recordings are easily stitched together: here are films of Buks, here are phonecalls. (But, oddly enough, all the radars were down for maintenance that day). It's so easy, in fact, that it's probably easier to create the fake than to prove that it is a fake. There is no place in an intelligence assessment for "evidence" from something as unreliable as social media.

An "intelligence assessment" that uses social media is suspect.

So why are there so many "intelligence assessments" on important issues depending on social media "evidence"?

I first noticed social media used as evidence during the MH17 catastrophe when Marie Harf, the then US State Department spokesman, appealed to social media and "common sense" . She did so right after the Russians had posted radar evidence (she hadn't "seen any of that" said she). At the time I assumed that she was just incompetent. It was only later, when I read the "intelligence assessments" backing up the so-called Russian influence on the US election, that I began to notice the pattern.

There are indications during the Obama Administration that the intelligence professionals were becoming restive. Here are some examples that suggest that "intelligence assessments" were either not being produced by the intelligence professionals or – see the last example – those that were were then modified to please the Boss.

If one adds the reliance on social media to these indications, it seems a reasonable suspicion that these so-called intelligence assessments are not real intelligence assessments produced by intelligence professionals but are post facto justifications written up by people who know what the Boss wants to hear.

We have already seen what appears to have been the first example of this with the "social media and common sense" of MH17. And, from that day to this, not a shred of Kerry's "evidence" have we seen. The long-awaited Dutch report was, as I said at the time, only a modified hangout and very far from convincing .

Russia "invaded" Ukraine so many times it became a joke. The "evidence" was the usual social media accompanied by blurry satellite photos . So bad are the photos, in fact, that someone suggested that "Russian artillery" were actually combine harvesters . In one of the rare departures from the prescribed consensus, a former (of course) German Chief of Staff was utterly unconvinced by thse pictures and explained why . By contrast, here is a satellite photo of Russian aircraft in Syria ; others here . Sharply focussed and in colour. The "Russian invasion" photos were lower quality than the Cuban Missile Crisis photos taken six decades earlier! A hidden message? See below.

The so-called Syrian government CW attack on Ghouta in August 2013 was similarly based on social media; heavily dependent, in fact, on "Bellingcat". Quite apart from the improbability of Assad ordering a CW attack on a suburb a short drive away from arriving international inspectors, the whole story was adequately destroyed by Seymour Hersh . (Bellingcat's "proofs", by the way, can be safely ignored – see his faked-up "evidence" that Russians attacked an aid convoy in Syria .)

A dominant story for months has been that Russia somehow influenced the US presidential election. As ever, the Washington Post led the charge and the day after the election told us " Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House ". But when we finally saw the "secret assessments" they proved to be laughably damp squibs. The DHS/FBI report of 29 December 2016 carried this stunning disclaimer:

This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.

Perhaps the most ridiculous part of the DNI report of 6 January 2017 was the space – nearly half – devoted to a rant that had been published four years earlier about the Russian TV channel RT. What that had to do with the Russian state influencing the 2016 election was obscure. But, revealingly, the report included:

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

In other words, DHS told us to ignore its report and the one agency in the US intelligence structure that would actually know about hacking and would have copies of everything – the NSA – wasn't very confident. Both reports were soon torn apart: John McAfee: "I can promise you if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians". ( See 10:30 ). Jeffrey Carr: " Fatally flawed ". Julian Assange: not a state actor. Even those who loath Putin trashed them . In any case, as we now know, the NSA can mimic Russians or anyone else .

In April there was another suspiciously timed "CW attack" in Syria and, blithely ignoring that the responders didn't wear any protective gear in what was supposed to be a Sarin attack , the Western media machine wound up its sirens. The intelligence assessment that was released again referred to "credible open source reporting" and even "pro-opposition social media reports" (! – are the authors so disgusted with what they have to write that they leave gigantic hints like that in plain sight?). Then a page of so of how Moscow trying to "confuse" the world community. And so on. This "intelligence assessment" was taken apart by Theodore Postol .

So, we have strong suggestions that the intelligence professionals are being sidelined or having their conclusions altered; we have far too much reliance of social media; is there anything else that we can see? Yes, there is: many of the "intelligence assessments" contain what look like hints by the authors that their reports are rubbish.

There are too many of these, in fact, not to notice – not that the Western media has noticed, of course – they rather jump out at you once you look don't they? I don't recall inserting any little such hints into any of the intelligence assessments that I was involved in.

In conclusion, it seems that a well-founded case can be presented that:

Where done? By whom? That remains to be discovered. More Swamp to be drained.

[May 02, 2017] Last years report by the Dutch Safety Board reached no conclusion about who was responsible for shooting down the plane, killing 298 people. Separatists did it vertion looks more and more like propaganda peddled by neoliberal MSM such as WaPO and NYT

Carlton Meyer , Website September 14, 2016 at 4:18 am GMT \n

300 Words Better examples are found in an article that I linked:

Sep 12, 2016 – The Ukrainians Shot Down MH-17!

I highly recommend this brilliant article about how the New York Times and Washington Post have become propaganda machines for the American Neo-Con Empire.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/07/new-york-times-and-the-new-mccarthyism/

They rarely print corrections when caught in a lie, and even attack those speaking the truth by implying they are foreign agents. In reality nearly all major media have become spin machines evidenced by that article's interesting news item that I read nowhere else:

The MH-17 Case

As an example, MacFarquhar cites the case of the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, claiming "Russia pumped out a dizzying array of theories." The Times correspondent then asserts as flat fact that "The cloud of stories helped veil the simple truth that poorly trained insurgents had accidentally downed the plane with a missile supplied by Russia."The Dutch Safety Board's reconstruction of where it believed the missile exploded near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014.

But, according to official investigations that have been underway for more than two years, MacFarquhar's claim is not "the simple truth," as he put it. Last year's report by the Dutch Safety Board reached no conclusion about who was responsible for shooting down the plane, killing 298 people.

Indeed, the DSB's report included a statement by Dutch intelligence (reflecting NATO's intelligence data) that the only powerful anti-aircraft-missile systems in eastern Ukraine on that day – capable of hitting MH-17 at 33,000 feet – were under the control of the Ukrainian military. (Though an official document, this Dutch intelligence report has never been mentioned by The New York Times, presumably because it conflicts with the favored Russia-did-it narrative.)

annamaria , September 15, 2016 at 1:24 am GMT \n
@Quartermaster

The problem with accusing the Ukrainians of having shot down MH-17 is found in the wreckage. The type of pellet that did the damage is not found in the version of the Buk missile in the possession of the Ukrainians. Only the newer version, owned only by the Russians, have the type of pellet that did the damage.

Russia shot down MH-17. Russian troops are known to be in eastern Ukraine operating heavy weapons. Russia has also come clean that regular troops have been sent to the Donbas and a lot of the artillery fire that has been aimed at the Ukrainians has come from Russian territory.

You've swallowed a load of Putinist propaganda.

You habitually accuse the UNZ Review readers in "swallowing Putin propaganda" when you asked to provide proofs for your cavalier Russophobic statements. In case you have not noticed yet, UNZ Review does not publish Eliot Higgins (and other experts in selling ladies underwear), but prefers to deal with the serious thinkers and professionals.

Joe Wong , September 15, 2016 at 2:59 am GMT \n
200 Words @Carlton Meyer

Better examples are found in an article that I linked:

Sep 12, 2016 - The Ukrainians Shot Down MH-17!

I highly recommend this brilliant article about how the New York Times and Washington Post have become propaganda machines for the American Neo-Con Empire.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/07/new-york-times-and-the-new-mccarthyism/

They rarely print corrections when caught in a lie, and even attack those speaking the truth by implying they are foreign agents. In reality nearly all major media have become spin machines evidenced by that article's interesting news item that I read nowhere else:

The MH-17 Case

As an example, MacFarquhar cites the case of the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, claiming "Russia pumped out a dizzying array of theories." The Times correspondent then asserts as flat fact that "The cloud of stories helped veil the simple truth that poorly trained insurgents had accidentally downed the plane with a missile supplied by Russia."

The Dutch Safety Board's reconstruction of where it believed the missile exploded near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. But, according to official investigations that have been underway for more than two years, MacFarquhar's claim is not "the simple truth," as he put it. Last year's report by the Dutch Safety Board reached no conclusion about who was responsible for shooting down the plane, killing 298 people.Indeed, the DSB's report included a statement by Dutch intelligence (reflecting NATO's intelligence data) that the only powerful anti-aircraft-missile systems in eastern Ukraine on that day – capable of hitting MH-17 at 33,000 feet – were under the control of the Ukrainian military. (Though an official document, this Dutch intelligence report has never been mentioned by The New York Times, presumably because it conflicts with the favored Russia-did-it narrative.)

NYT has been fabricating stories as long as it exists to assist USA government engineer regime changes and colour revolutions, and wage reckless wars on the fabricated allegations around the world, as well as white wash American war crimes. NYT is the core of the Western black information network to spread disinformation and misinformation for the American conquest of global full spectrum dominance via organised violence and committing crime against humanity.

It is puzzling why the NYT has sentenced itself to wither away into irrelevance because it works with the government to suppress stories, covering up election fraud in the ruling party and ruthlessly campaigning against the main US opposition leader Donald Trump while it has been doing the same unscrupulous things since its existence? Is it because the author's sense of justice is selective, and he feels the American is exceptional, injustice applies to people not American does not count?

annamaria , September 17, 2016 at 1:02 pm GMT \n
100 Words @blert 1) The WMD in Iraq were being unearthed straight through the occupation. Only in 2012 did the NY Times -- of all publications -- flatly admit that they'd suppressed the truth all those years -- at the request of the Pentagon for obvious national security reasons.

A SINGLE binary nerve agent round (155mm) -- properly detonated -- could have killed thousands of New Yorkers commuting by subway.

Hundreds of these rounds were ultimately recovered. The enemy never understood what they had their hands on, as Saddam had ensured that these nerve agent rounds looked identical to conventional rounds. He's the only madman that crazy.

( He did so to hide their usage from the French military advisors during his Iranian invasion. )

2) The Dutch are correct. MH-17 can't be resolved as the Russians and Ukrainians have essentially identical counter-air assets. Both parties have every reason to lie; and to screw up. The flight should never have been routed anywhere near the conflict. KAL 007 and Iran Air 655 should've been warning enough.

3) The US MSM is over concentrated to a ruinous degree. Ditto for America's J-schools, whose ethos is to propagandise the World for its betterment.

4) It's no joke that the NY Times regards anyone west of the Hudson to be rubes.

5) They can spew it out -- but can't take correction -- at ANY level. This causes a profound detachment from ground truth. "The WMD in Iraq were being unearthed straight through the occupation"

Thank you for reminding what country had provided the chemical WMD to Saddam:
"How Reagan Armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons:" http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/06/17/how-reagan-armed-saddam-with-chemical-weapons/
"Rumsfeld helped Iraq get chemical weapons:" http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-153210/Rumsfeld-helped-Iraq-chemical-weapons.html
"CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran:" http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/

And thanks for the alert, "A SINGLE binary nerve agent round (155mm) - properly detonated - could have killed thousands of New Yorkers commuting by subway."
There is more for your attentions.
"Concern in Russia is increasing over the growing number of hard-to-access, double-purpose medical laboratories, financed by the US Department of Defense, appearing alongside its borders " https://sputniknews.com/world/20160908/1045088663/us-russia-biological-laboratories.html
"Russia Says U.S. Expanding Bioweapons Labs in Europe:" http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russia-says-u-s-expanding-bioweapons-labs-in-europe/

Alfred , September 14, 2016 at 4:25 am GMT \n

There is a giant billboard going up again across the street from the NYT calling them out on 9/11

"ReThink911's "New York Times Billboard" Is Here"

http://rethink911.org/news/november-campaign-new-york-times-billboard/ Read More Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments

[Apr 28, 2017] Former President Obama Has a New Job Control the Official Narrative of American Exceptionalism - Truthdig

Apr 28, 2017 | www.truthdig.com
The ruling class is seriously rattled over its loss of control over the national political narrative-a consequence of capitalism's terminal decay and U.S. imperialism's slipping grip on global hegemony. When the Lords of Capital get rattled, their servants in the political class are tasked with rearranging the picture and reframing the national conversation. In other words, Papa Imperialism needs a new set of lies, or renewed respect for the old ones. Former president Barack Obama, the cool operator who put the U.S. back on the multiple wars track after a forced lull in the wake of George Bush's defeat in Iraq, has eagerly accepted his new assignment as Esteemed Guardian of Official Lies.

At this stage of his career, Obama must dedicate much of his time to the maintenance of Official Lies, since they are central to his own "legacy." With the frenzied assistance of his first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, Obama launched a massive military offensive-a rush job to put the New American Century back on schedule. Pivoting to all corners of the planet, and with the general aim of isolating and intimidating Russia and China, the salient feature of Obama's offensive was the naked deployment of Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. imperialism in Libya and Syria. It is a strategy that is morally and politically indefensible-unspeakable!-the truth of which would shatter the prevailing order in the imperial heartland, itself.

Thus, from 2011 to when he left the White House for a Tahiti yachting vacation with music mogul David Geffen and assorted movie and media celebrities, Obama orchestrated what the late Saddam Hussein would have called "The Mother of All Lies": that the U.S. was not locked in an alliance with al-Qaida and its terrorist offshoots in Syria, a relationship begun almost 40 years earlier in Afghanistan.

Advertisement Square, Site wide He had all the help he needed from a compliant corporate media, whose loyalty to U.S. foreign policy can always be counted on in times of war. Since the U.S. is constantly in a (self-proclaimed) state of war, corporate media collaboration is guaranteed. Outside the U.S. and European corporate media bubble, the whole world was aware that al-Qaida and the U.S. were comrades in arms. (According to a 2015 poll, 82 percent of Syrians and 85 percent of Iraqis believe the U.S. created ISIS .) When Vladimir Putin told a session of the United Nations General Assembly that satellites showed lines of ISIS tankers stretching from captured Syrian oil fields "to the horizon," bound for U.S.-allied Turkey, yet untouched by American bombers, the Obama administration had no retort. Russian jets destroyed 1,000 of the tankers , forcing the Americans to mount their own, smaller raids. But, the moment soon passed into the corporate media's amnesia hole-another fact that must be shed in order to avoid unspeakable conclusions.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump's flirtation with the idea of ending U.S. "regime change" policy in Syria-and, thereby, scuttling the alliance with Islamic jihadists-struck panic in the ruling class and in the imperial political structures that are called the Deep State, which includes the corporate media. When Trump won the general election, the imperial political class went into meltdown, blaming "The Russians"-first, for warlord Hillary Clinton's loss, and soon later for everything under the sun. The latest lie is that Moscow is sending weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the country where the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan spent billions of dollars to create the international jihadist network. Which shows that imperialists have no sense of irony, or shame. (See BAR: " The U.S., Not Russia, Arms Jihadists Worldwide .")

After the election, lame duck President Obama was so consumed by the need to expunge all narratives that ran counter to "The Russians Did It," he twice yammered about " fake news " at a press conference in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama was upset, he said, "Because in an age where there's so much active misinformation and its packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television. If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won't know what to protect."

Although now an ex-president, it is still Obama's job to protect the ruling class, and the Empire, and his role in maintaining the Empire: his legacy. To do that, one must control the narrative-the subject uppermost in his mind when he used Chicago area students as props, this week, for his first public speech since leaving the White House.

"It used to be that everybody kind of had the same information," said Obama, at the University of Chicago affair. "We had different opinions about it, but there was a common base line of facts. The internet has in some ways accelerated this sense of people having entirely separate conversations, and this generation is getting its information through its phones. That you really don't have to confront people who have different opinions or have a different experience or a different outlook."

Obama continued:

"If you're liberal, you're on MSNBC, or conservative, you're on Fox News. You're reading The Wall Street Journal or you're reading The New York Times, or whatever your choices are. Or, maybe you're just looking at cat videos [laughter].

"So, one question I have for all of you is, How do you guys get your information about the news and what's happening out there, and are there ways in which you think we could do a better job of creating a common conversation now that you've got 600 cable stations and you've got all these different news opinions-and, if there are two sets of opinions, then they're just yelling at each other, so you don't get a sense that there's an actual conversation going on. And the internet is worse. It's become more polarized."

Obama's core concern is that there should be a "common base line of facts," which he claims used to exist "20 or 30 years ago." The internet, unregulated and cheaply accessed, is the villain, and the main source of "fake news" (from publications like BAR and the 12 other leftwing sites smeared by the Washington Post, back in November, not long after Obama complained to Merkel about "fake news").

However, Obama tries to dress up his anti-internet "fake news" whine with a phony pitch for diversity of opinions. Is he suggesting that MSNBC viewers also watch Fox News, and that New York Times readers also peruse the Wall Street Journal? Is he saying that most people read a variety of daily newspapers "back in the day"? It is true that, generations ago, there were far more newspapers available to read, reflecting a somewhat wider ideological range of views. But most people read the ones that were closest to their own politics, just as now. Obama is playing his usual game of diversion. Non-corporate news is his target: "...the internet is worse. It's become more and more polarized."

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC and Fox News all share the "common base line of facts" that Obama cherishes. By this, he means a common narrative, with American "exceptionalism" and intrinsic goodness at the center, capitalism and democracy as synonymous, and unity in opposition to the "common" enemy: Soviet Russians; then terrorists; now non-Soviet Russians, again.

Ayanna Watkins, a senior at Chicago's Kenwood Academy High School, clearly understood Obama's emphasis, and eagerly agreed with his thrust. "When it comes to getting information about what's going on in the world, it's way faster on social media than it is on newscasts," she said.

"But, on the other hand, it can be a downfall because, what if you're passing the wrong information, or the information isn't presented the way it should be? So, that causes a clash in our generation, and I think it should go back to the old school. I mean, phones, social media should be eliminated," Ms. Watkins blurted out, provoking laughter from the audience and causing the 18-year-old to "rephrase myself."

What she really meant, she said, was that politicians should "go out to the community" so that "the community will feel more welcome."

If she was trying to agree with Obama, Ms. Watkins had it right the first time: political counter-narratives on the internet have to go, so that Americans can share a "common base line" of information. All of it lies.

Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

[Apr 17, 2017] To think how the US is acting different now to the past I would probably point to MH17

Notable quotes:
"... Most US wars since WWII have been wars of choice, done at leisure, in a time and place of US choosing. ..."
"... The difference between now and all the years since WWII, through the cold war and so forth is that the US has very little time left. In trying to think how the US is acting different now to the past, or actually dig up solid points I would probably point to MH17. With MH17 Australia, one of the five eyes gladly sacrificed some people for empire. That shook me. The evidence was the same as the crap dossier on Assad gassing his own people, yet not a word of protest out of any Australian politician. ..."
"... The US now have total and complete control over all its vassal. The US can now say and do anything, no matter how obvious, and the bobble heads as Putin calls them, just bobble their heads in agreement. ..."
www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU | Apr 14, 2017 3:04:29 PM | 64

@ outraged

I have been giving your posts a lot of consideration. How to tie the logistics and so forth lead time, to what we are seeing take place?

create major incident, congress quickly votes for war?

Can the US deploy faster than we have seen in the past? Most US wars since WWII have been wars of choice, done at leisure, in a time and place of US choosing.

The difference between now and all the years since WWII, through the cold war and so forth is that the US has very little time left. In trying to think how the US is acting different now to the past, or actually dig up solid points I would probably point to MH17. With MH17 Australia, one of the five eyes gladly sacrificed some people for empire. That shook me. The evidence was the same as the crap dossier on Assad gassing his own people, yet not a word of protest out of any Australian politician.

The US now have total and complete control over all its vassal. The US can now say and do anything, no matter how obvious, and the bobble heads as Putin calls them, just bobble their heads in agreement.

I think what we will see in the next few years will be much different to the last 70 or so years. If the US does nothing, it will start to collapse as the power of the dollar is eroded by other currencies taking up market share.

I believe US will act, and that means taking down China as China is currently the number one threat to the US. China simply continuing the way it is, manufacturing, trading ect will take down the US.

The US is going to war. Much thought and training going into fighting peer, or near peer adversary. At the same time, China and Russia are working to prevent the US from going to war.

What you have said about lead time does have to be taken into account to try and work out US strategy. Does the US need another Pearl Harbour to get its population on a war footing for the coming war with China? Sink a few useless aircraft carriers, similar to battleships being sunk at Pearl harbour when WWII was a aircraft carrier war and battle ships were largely obsolete?

US think tanks like Brookings and Rand. Fronts for the 0.01% ? US policy roughly follows the lines put out by these type think tanks.

[Apr 07, 2017] Ukraine BUK battery passing theorugh north Donetsk April 2014.

Apr 07, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
HowdyDoody -> Volkodav , Apr 6, 2017 4:18 PM

The news of the 'attack' has wiped other news off the front page. Bellingcat has just released a report with videos and photos of whole Ukrainian BUK batteries around Donetsk from April 2014 up to a few days before the shooting down of MH-17. The Ukrainians have always claimed they had no BUKs in the eara, so it must have been a Russian system, for which they created an elaborate tale of BUKs on tour.

This report destroys the whole Ukraine narrative. The Ukraine media are all over it. Where's the coverage in the western media?

Ukraine BUK battery passing theorugh north Donetsk April 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrfRQqXeg14

https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&ie=UTF...

[Mar 11, 2017] John Helmer: Australian Government Trips Up Ukrainian Court Claim of MH17 as Terrorism

Notable quotes:
"... By John Helmer , the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears ..."
"... The Australian Government refuses to declare the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 a terrorist act, and is withholding state payments of $75,000 to each of the families of the 38 Australian nationals or residents killed when the plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 14, 2014. ..."
"... In public Turnbull said on Monday: "Vladimir Putin's Russia is subject to international sanctions, to which Australia is a part, because of his conduct in shooting down the MH17 airliner in which 38 Australians were killed. Let's not forget that. That was a shocking international crime." ..."
"... Why were successive Australian officials so quick to designate the Nairobi and Brussels incidents as terrorism, before the local police and courts had time to investigate and prosecute, and why have the Australian officials spent two years and eight months refusing to designate the Ukrainian incident? Canberra sources believe the answer is that there is no legal basis in the Australian Criminal Code for doing so because the evidence of terrorism in the MH17 case isn't there. ..."
"... Only a bloody fool would suggest that Putin has anything to gain by shooting down a civilian airliner. If Turnbull really believes this he should issue a travel advisory on all Australian airlines crossing Russian airspace. Whan I first heard of this it appeared that the rebels had shot the plane down thinking it was some kind of Ukranian plane. The Ukranian went full court with this to brand Russia a terrorist state, things went downhill from there. The Ukraine bears culpability for allowing transit flights over a disturbed area, thus they can't really press for a neutral judgement. ..."
"... There was one KH-11 (USA-161) (2001-044A) that provides optical imagery in position at that time that might have had chance to image the area. However it might no longer have been functioning as it was deorbited a few months later. ..."
"... On that day several radar imaging satellite / systems made passes over the area. Lacrosse 5 (2005-016A), FIA Radar 1, 2 and 3 (2010-046A, 2012-014A and 2013-072A), the SAR-Lupe satellites, the Hélios system and IGS. These are operated by the US, Germany, France and Japan. ..."
"... My understanding is that the SBIRS saw the missile launch. Likely others 'saw' something. But likely, nothing any one satellite 'saw' is going to 'prove' anything. It would take the assembly of a number of things that were 'seen' to provide a weighted conclusion. Also a number of those satellites would have been looking at the Middle East instead of the Ukraine when they made those passes. ..."
"... This sounds like another sleazy compromise. Maybe the secret is that the Russians have cold hard evidence against Nato and Ukraine on this. Perhaps evidence that the Netherlands also compromised its notorious caution and allowed somebody to let MH17 fly over a war zone. So with this obfuscation about lack of intent both Russia and Ukraine have won. ..."
"... You make me think John Helmer. Yes, if Russian citizens, Putin or otherwise, are directly responsible for supplying the Buk that allegedly shot down flight MH17 to anyone in Ukraine or actually committed such an act, why are the Netherlands, USA, Australia, all countries of the world, especially those of Anglo-American persuasion, allowing their commercial aircraft to overfly Russian and Ukrainian territory? Why? Because they don't believe the story themselves, see Australia's stance, for instance. What a bunch of flaming hypocrites. The dead are dead so why not makt the best of them use them as an unprincipled excuse to achieve political ends. ..."
"... This whole MH17 incident stinks to high heaven and I cannot believe how much of our media here in Oz is uncritically accepting the official story. What is worse is knowing that all those deaths are being used as a convenient political football, the truth be damned. I can think of a dozen things that set of my BS Indicator here with MH17 such as the Ukrainians absolutely refusing to release the ground control comms to the downed airliner or that, unlike the Russians, the US has refused to release detailed radar and radio intercepts for that day. They did reference a nice YouTube clip of a moving truck though ..."
"... How many people know that the Ukrainians had their own BUK missiles in the area because they were shit-scared of the Russian Air Force maybe paying them a visit. Or that they had previously shot down an airliner – and had refused to accept responsibility? I think that Turnbull does not want the crash labelled a terrorist incident as when the full truth comes out (and it always does in the end) it would open up all sorts of legal liabilities and it could be him left swinging in the wind. ..."
"... If you asked people in Australia if it was a good idea to ship uranium to a semi-failed state in the middle of a civil war that has made indications that they would like to acquire nuclear weapons most of them would say no way. And yet last year we signed an agreement to do precisely that with Ukraine. ..."
"... As a former combat veteran, I can attest that the "smoking gun" in the MH17 case is the clearly identifiable circular holes in the fuselage which could only have been caused by the cannons of a fighter aircraft and not from shrapnel produced from an exploding missile. Shrapnel does not produce perfectly circular and consistent holes. MH17 was most likely brought down by the fighter jet following it in eyewitness accounts. ..."
Mar 11, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on March 11, 2017 by Yves Smith By John Helmer , the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

The Australian Government refuses to declare the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 a terrorist act, and is withholding state payments of $75,000 to each of the families of the 38 Australian nationals or residents killed when the plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 14, 2014.

The Australian Attorney-General, George Brandis, has written to advise Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (lead image, left; right image, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko) there is insufficient evidence of what and who caused the MH17 crash to meet the Australian statutory test of a terrorist act. Because the Attorney-General's legal opinion flatly contradicts Turnbull's public opinions, Brandis's advice is top-secret; he refuses to answer questions about the analysis of the MH17 incident which he and his subordinates, along with Australian intelligence agencies and the Australian Federal Police, have been conducting for more than two years.

In public Turnbull said on Monday: "Vladimir Putin's Russia is subject to international sanctions, to which Australia is a part, because of his conduct in shooting down the MH17 airliner in which 38 Australians were killed. Let's not forget that. That was a shocking international crime."

On Wednesday Turnbull was asked to explain why, after so long, the Prime Minister, on the advice of the Attorney-General, refuses to designate the MH17 incident as criminal terrorism according to the provisions of the Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Act. Turnbull replied through a spokesman that he is still investigating. "The criminal investigation of MH17 is ongoing. The outcomes of this investigation could be relevant in determining whether this incident should be declared for the purposes of the Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment scheme."

Brandis was asked to explain the reason for the legal opinion Canberra sources confirm he has sent to the prime ministry denying the MH17 incident was terrorism. That he has provided the advice on AVTOP is confirmed by a source in Turnbull's office.

AVTOP is the Canberra acronym for Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment. This is how the AVTOP scheme operates, and how eligibility is decided, according to the Australian social security ministry. It records that the last terrorism incident for which Australians qualify for AVTOP compensation was the Westgate shopping mall killings in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. There were 67 fatal casualties in that incident, and more than double that number of wounded. One Australian was killed. On October 6, 2013, two weeks after the incident, the Australian prime minister issued a formal designation of the terrorist incident for AVTOP compensation. That commenced on October 21, one month after the incident, according to the statutory filing in the Australian parliament.


Source: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2013L01799/Explanatory%20Statement/Text

The prime minister then was Tony Abbott; his attorney-general was Eric Abetz.

In March 2016 Turnbull had replaced Abbott as prime minister; the attorney-general was Brandis. They agreed to designate three bombing attacks in Brussels, at the airport and at a city train station, as terrorist incidents for AVTOP. The date of the incidents was March 22 (pictured below). The date of the Turnbull-Landis designation was May 6 – 45 days later.

There are press reports that Australians were in Brussels, and were anxious; there are no reports of Australians being killed or wounded in the attacks.

Why were successive Australian officials so quick to designate the Nairobi and Brussels incidents as terrorism, before the local police and courts had time to investigate and prosecute, and why have the Australian officials spent two years and eight months refusing to designate the Ukrainian incident? Canberra sources believe the answer is that there is no legal basis in the Australian Criminal Code for doing so because the evidence of terrorism in the MH17 case isn't there.

The 2013 and 2016 designations, along with the Canberra sources, identify a terrorist incident according to the Australian Criminal Code. Officials working under Brandis and Turnbull must satisfy the Attorney-General and Prime Minister that the incident comes under the Code's sub-section 100.1(1). This says a terrorist act "means an action or threat of action where: (b) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; and (c) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of: (i) coercing, or influencing by intimidation, the government of the Commonwealth or a State, Territory or foreign country, or of part of a State, Territory or foreign country; or (ii) intimidating the public or a section of the public."

For background on the debate among government officials, police and lawyers about the impact of Australian law on the MH17 incident, read this .

Canberra sources explain that even if Brandis had told Turnbull there was enough evidence to certify the MH17 shoot-down as a terrorist incident, according to the criminal code provisions, the prime minister still has a broad discretion in deciding whether or not to make a declaration regarding a particular incident.

That Turnbull hasn't done so for the MH17 carnage means he doesn't want to do so - and not only because of his attorney-general's advice. Turnbull was also behind press leaks that as a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Abbott in August 2014, he opposed a scheme of Abbott's to send 3,000 Australian troops to join Dutch and other NATO forces in a US-backed military operation in eastern Ukraine. Abbott and NATO had prepared the justification for the military operation as Russian state terrorism in downing the MH17. Turnbull arranged for his son-in-law to reveal the cabinet papers and intelligence reports from the time, and to record his assessment that Abbott was foolhardy. For that story, click here .

Australian sources who know Turnbull don't agree in their interpretation of what he is now saying and doing. Some sources believe that with his political mouth Turnbull is backing the US position against Russia and protecting himself from opposition party attacks that he is "soft" on the Kremlin. With his legal mind Turnbull knows there is no admissible evidence and no prospect of prosecuting terrorism in the MH17 case.

The Australians haven't realized that their decision that the MH17 is not a terrorist act undermines this month's proceedings in The Netherlands, where the Ukrainian government has applied to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to convict Russia of financing, arming and aiding terrorist acts, including the destruction of MH17. The lawyers engaged this week at The Hague haven't realized either.

The 45-page Ukrainian claim against Moscow to the ICJ is dated January 16, 2017, and can be read here . The US law firm Covington & Burling is defending the Kiev government; the advocates for the Russian side include British and French lawyers.

Advocates for Kiev at the ICJ this week: left US lawyer Marney Cheek; right, Olena Zerkal, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine

According to the Ukrainian claim, the destruction of MH17 was an act of terrorism. "When the Russian Federation delivered this deadly surface-to-air missile system to the DPR, it knew precisely the type of organization it was aiding The Russian government knew or should have known that their proxies would use these powerful antiaircraft weapons in a manner consistent with their previous pattern of disregard for civilian life."

"By the early summer of 2014, the Russian Federation was well aware that its proxies operating on Ukrainian territory were engaged in a pattern and practice of terrorizing civilians. Yet rather than intervening to abate those actions, the Russian Federation's response was to substantially increase these groups' firepower by supplying them with powerful weapons. An early result of this decision was the attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. In July 2014, as part of this escalation of arms supplies and other support, the Russian Federation delivered a Buk surface-to-air missile system to DPR-associated forces. Those illegal armed groups used the Buk system to commit a devastating surface-to-air attack, destroying a civilian airliner transiting Ukrainian airspace and murdering the 298 individuals on board These perpetrators committed this terrorist attack with the direct support of the Russian government There is no evidence that the Russian Federation has taken any responsibility before the peoples of the world for supporting this horrific terrorist act."

"Ukraine respectfully requests the Court to adjudge and declare that the Russian Federation bears international responsibility, by virtue of its sponsorship of terrorism and failure to prevent the financing of terrorism under the Convention, for the acts of terrorism committed by its proxies in Ukraine, including: a.The shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17."

The Russian presentations in open court so far can be read here . Ilya Rogachev, Director of the Department of New Challenges and Threats at the Russian Foreign Ministry, testified in front of 16 judges of the court on March 7. Rogachev was followed for the Russian side by London Queens Counsel, Samuel Wordsworth.

According to Rogachev, "it should be noted that during the summer of 2014 the Ukrainian Army's anti-aircraft missile regiment No. 156, equipped with 'BUK-M1' missile systems, was stationed in the zone of conflict. The regiment's headquarters and its first division were located in Avdiivka near Donestk, its second division in Mariupol and its third in Lugansk. In total the regiment was armed with 17 BUK-M1 SAMs, identical to the one identified by the JIT."

He went on to argue that whether the Ukrainian forces fired the BUK missile, or whether the separatists did, there is no evidence that either force intended to do so. "It is enough to note," said Rogachev, "that neither the DSB [Dutch Safety Board] nor the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] appear to be concluding that the civil airliner was shot down with malicious intent or, which is what matters most for today, that the equipment allegedly used was provided for that specific purpose."

The JIT, according to Turnbull's spokesman in Canberra this week, includes Australia,Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. The spokesman said they "remain committed to ensuring those responsible for the downing of MH17 are held to account." On the other hand, the evidence so far produced by the JIT hasn't satisfied the admissibility and prosecution tests of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers on the JIT staff. The AFP's Commissioner Andrew Colvin reports to the Australian Justice Minister and he, as well as the AFP , are part of the portfolio of Attorney- General Brandis.

In two Australian coroners court hearings, the AFP has revealed serious reservations about the Dutch evidence and Ukrainian claims in the MH17 investigation; for details read this and this .

Turnbull adds through his spokesman an additional qualification. "The outcomes of this investigation could be relevant" in determining whether the downing of MH17 was a terrorist act. In Australian law and in the Prime Minister's judgement, could means not now – and not at the International Court.

"For the action to fall under the Montreal Convention," Rogachev testified this week in The Hague, referring to the principal international treaty covering compensation for aircraft incidents, "the intention must have been to shoot down a civilian aircraft "

Wordsworth told the ICJ judges that for every act alleged in the court papers by the Kiev regime, "there is a separate requirement of specific intent. So far as concerns Ukraine's allegations with respect to Flight MH17, Article 2.1 (a) incorporates the offences under the Montreal Convention, which comprise the unlawful and intentional destruction of a civilian aircraft. So far as concerns the other allegations of Ukraine, there is a requirement of both specific intent and purpose. Article 2 (1) (b) refers to: "(b) Any other act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act."

Wordsworth was repeating in open court what the Australian Attorney-General has already advised the Australian Prime Minister. Because the Australians have decided there is no case for a terrorist act to justify compensating their own citizens, the Ukrainians have already lost their case.

Ivan , March 11, 2017 at 2:20 am

Only a bloody fool would suggest that Putin has anything to gain by shooting down a civilian airliner. If Turnbull really believes this he should issue a travel advisory on all Australian airlines crossing Russian airspace. Whan I first heard of this it appeared that the rebels had shot the plane down thinking it was some kind of Ukranian plane. The Ukranian went full court with this to brand Russia a terrorist state, things went downhill from there. The Ukraine bears culpability for allowing transit flights over a disturbed area, thus they can't really press for a neutral judgement.

hemeantwell , March 11, 2017 at 7:49 am

I'll add the usual point that the charge is all the more incredible because none of the US' radar and satellite coverage at the time has been brought to bear to "prove" Russian complicity. Ukraine air space 7/24/14, unplugged?

Bill Smith , March 11, 2017 at 9:12 am

There was one KH-11 (USA-161) (2001-044A) that provides optical imagery in position at that time that might have had chance to image the area. However it might no longer have been functioning as it was deorbited a few months later.

There were also a number of commercial imaging satellites that passed through the area that day.

On that day several radar imaging satellite / systems made passes over the area. Lacrosse 5 (2005-016A), FIA Radar 1, 2 and 3 (2010-046A, 2012-014A and 2013-072A), the SAR-Lupe satellites, the Hélios system and IGS. These are operated by the US, Germany, France and Japan.

There were numerous (too many to list) SIGNIT satellites operated by a number of countries from LEO to HEO (SBIRS).

My understanding is that the SBIRS saw the missile launch. Likely others 'saw' something. But likely, nothing any one satellite 'saw' is going to 'prove' anything. It would take the assembly of a number of things that were 'seen' to provide a weighted conclusion. Also a number of those satellites would have been looking at the Middle East instead of the Ukraine when they made those passes.

But what do you mean by 'prove'?

susan the other , March 11, 2017 at 10:48 am

This sounds like another sleazy compromise. Maybe the secret is that the Russians have cold hard evidence against Nato and Ukraine on this. Perhaps evidence that the Netherlands also compromised its notorious caution and allowed somebody to let MH17 fly over a war zone. So with this obfuscation about lack of intent both Russia and Ukraine have won.

If intent cannot be proven against the Russians, it can't be proven against the Ukrainian army either because the evidence presented eliminated all the above top secret details. So now the whole thing was an "accident". When, if all the evidence were reviewed, a case for intent falls against Nato and Ukraine – they intended to frame Russia for the incident to gain support for their cause. And as such it does meet the definition of terrorism. At least Turnbull refused to call it Russian terrorism.

rkka , March 11, 2017 at 2:38 am

What I want to know is why the Ukrainian air traffic control system directed this flight over a zone of active hostilities, where the Ukrainian Air Force had previously had a good many military aircraft shot out of the sky.

Bill Smith , March 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

The answer to the first part of your question is that countries get paid for over flights. The second part of your question is that all the Ukrainian Air Force planes that had been shot down were flying much, much lower and it was assumed the equipment being used to do it couldn't go as high as the commercial airliners were flying.

You, know sort of like the Soviets couldn't reach the U-2.

tgs , March 11, 2017 at 9:29 am

And of course the tapes from the control tower have simply disappeared.

Here is a another Australian lawyer who outlines why the investigation was compromised from the beginning.

MH17 and the JIT: A Flawed Investigation

dcrane , March 11, 2017 at 4:32 am

Indeed – even if they had no reason to believe that a capability to shoot down airliners at 30,000 feet plus (i.e., a weapon like the Buk-M1) was present on the ground at that point, commerical airliners are sometimes required to descend rapidly to much lower altitudes (e.g., by pressure emergencies) so it makes no sense to rely on an assumption that hostile weapons can't reach the usual cruising altitude. It is a fair question what the airline ops people were thinking as well.

Agreed that this has always seemed more likely to be a reckless screwup by the people running the BUK than a deliberate terrorist act. (Then again, I think the host nations do make money from these flyovers.)

Bill Smith , March 11, 2017 at 9:16 am

I agree with your conclusion that it was a total screw up. Only part of the system was present and that cut down the ability to see the entire picture (or better see the entire picture).

martanus , March 11, 2017 at 5:20 am

interesting study of accident MH17

https://mh17web.wordpress.com/

Barry Fay , March 11, 2017 at 10:05 am

What a great article! Must read!

Quentin , March 11, 2017 at 6:32 am

You make me think John Helmer. Yes, if Russian citizens, Putin or otherwise, are directly responsible for supplying the Buk that allegedly shot down flight MH17 to anyone in Ukraine or actually committed such an act, why are the Netherlands, USA, Australia, all countries of the world, especially those of Anglo-American persuasion, allowing their commercial aircraft to overfly Russian and Ukrainian territory? Why? Because they don't believe the story themselves, see Australia's stance, for instance. What a bunch of flaming hypocrites. The dead are dead so why not makt the best of them use them as an unprincipled excuse to achieve political ends.

The Rev Kev , March 11, 2017 at 7:39 am

This whole MH17 incident stinks to high heaven and I cannot believe how much of our media here in Oz is uncritically accepting the official story. What is worse is knowing that all those deaths are being used as a convenient political football, the truth be damned. I can think of a dozen things that set of my BS Indicator here with MH17 such as the Ukrainians absolutely refusing to release the ground control comms to the downed airliner or that, unlike the Russians, the US has refused to release detailed radar and radio intercepts for that day. They did reference a nice YouTube clip of a moving truck though.

How many people know that the Ukrainians had their own BUK missiles in the area because they were shit-scared of the Russian Air Force maybe paying them a visit. Or that they had previously shot down an airliner – and had refused to accept responsibility? I think that Turnbull does not want the crash labelled a terrorist incident as when the full truth comes out (and it always does in the end) it would open up all sorts of legal liabilities and it could be him left swinging in the wind.

Following American policy for this area, of which Australia has no connection, has led to all sorts of weird repercussions. Tony Abbott wanted to send a brigade of our troops to eastern Ukraine as part of a NATO force. That would of worked out well! If you asked people in Australia if it was a good idea to ship uranium to a semi-failed state in the middle of a civil war that has made indications that they would like to acquire nuclear weapons most of them would say no way. And yet last year we signed an agreement to do precisely that with Ukraine.

andyb , March 11, 2017 at 8:23 am

As a former combat veteran, I can attest that the "smoking gun" in the MH17 case is the clearly identifiable circular holes in the fuselage which could only have been caused by the cannons of a fighter aircraft and not from shrapnel produced from an exploding missile. Shrapnel does not produce perfectly circular and consistent holes. MH17 was most likely brought down by the fighter jet following it in eyewitness accounts.

Persona au gratin , March 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

Agreed. This would not be an issue at all were it not for the propaganda smoke screen the western MSM was ordered to throw up to protect those who must never be named.

originalone , March 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Perhaps I'm wrong here, but I remember reading that Putin was traveling back to Russia and his flight path was changed prior to the shoot down of MH17, which was on the same flight path, but wasn't altered. A mistake by the Ukrainians who didn't get the word? As for the silence of the U.S., seems to go with the territory considering who is/was at center stage in the overthrow revolution.

[Mar 03, 2017] The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer

Notable quotes:
"... Allen Dulles masterminded the coup that turned Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh out of office and installed the Shah on the Peacock Throne. Less than a year later he presided over the operation that ousted Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz. He set in motion plots to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Sukarno in Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, and Fidel Castro in Cuba. He delegated to his deputy, Richard Bissell, leadership of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. ..."
"... Corporate greed is not new but for members of the US Congress and the Administartion to support corporate interests over Americans safety and put money ahead of the protection of the people of our country as well as the people of other nations is a violation of our US Constitution and these people should not be immune from prosecution. G.W. Bush destroyed the infrastructure of an entire country and he killed hundreds of thousand of innocent citizens just so Brown & Root and Halliburton, V.P. Cheney's company, could receive billions of dollars of US taxpayer monies to rebuild the very infrastructure that Bush destroyed that provided the life support for the people of Iraq. ..."
"... George W. Bush asked the question after 9/11-- "Why do they hate us?" The answer he came up with was, "Because of our Freedoms." When you read this book, you come face to face for the real reasons THEY (most of the rest of the world) hate us. It's because these Bush's "freedoms" are only for the United States, no other non-white, non-Christian, non-corporate cultures need apply. ..."
"... The missionary Christian, Corporatism of the Dulles Brothers--John, the former head of the largest corporate law firm in the world, then Secretary of State, and his brother Allen, the head of the CIA all the way from Korea through Vietnam -- constitutes the true behavioral DNA of America-in-the-world. It's enough to make you weep for the billions of people this country has deprived of freedom and security for the last sixty years. ..."
"... This book is, in fact, a MUST READ... for anyone who wants to know what their taxes have paid for in the last half century--for anyone who wants to know just exactly why the rest of the world wants either to attack us or throw us out of their countries. And a must read for anyone who no longer wishes their "representatives" in Washington to keep facilitating the stealing and killing all over the world and call it American Exceptionalism. ..."
"... Foster promptly works on a policy of "rollback" to replace the "containment" policy of Truman and Kennan. ..."
"... The 1953 coup of democratically elected Mohammed Mosaddegh in Iran was similar in the sense that it was made more urgent by Mosaddegh's nationalization of British oil interests after the Brits refused to let Mosaddegh audit their books or negotiate a better deal. ..."
"... Kinzer writes that Foster saw a danger in a country like Iran becoming prosperous and inspiring others toward neutrality that might result in eventual creep toward the USSR, hence he and others like him had to be eliminated. How much the coup was driven to help the UK is unknown. The blowback from intervention in South America and Iran has since come back to haunt the US in the form of skepticism and greater Leftist angst against the US and the 1979 overthrow of the Shah. ..."
"... This type of neutrality was against the Dulles' worldview, and in his memoir, Sukarno lamented "America, why couldn't you be my friend?" after the CIA spent a lot of manpower trying to topple his regime in 1958. There was also the training of Tibetan rebels in Colorado in 1957 and the ongoing plot to assassinate Congo's Lumumba, given with Ike's consent. ..."
"... Allen Dulles' reign at CIA reads like the nightmare everyone worried about "big government" warns you about. Experiments interrogating prisoners with LSD, the purchase to the movie rights of books like The Quiet American in order to sanitize them, planting stories in major newspapers, planting false documents in Joseph McCarthy's office to discredit him, along with the private armies and escapades. Dulles comes under official criticism by Doolittle, who wrote that he was a bad administrator, bad for morale, and had no accountability-- all of which was dismissed by Eisenhower who saw Allen as the indispensible man. ..."
"... When Castro seizes power in Cuba, the Eisenhower Administration made it official policy to depose him. ..."
"... Dulles' last act was on the Warren Commission investigating JFK's assassination. This was problematic because Dulles' goal was to keep CIA assassination operations in Cuba a secret. Kinzer writes of Lyndon Johnson's desire to make Oswald a lone gunman with no political attachments, which brings us to a whole other story. ..."
"... I was surprised that President Eisenhower, whose administration is commonly thought to be one of tranquility, approved toppling governments and assassinating leaders. In some ways, he was the front man, for instance urging Congress to approve funds for "maintenance of national independence" but really for fomenting a coup in Syria and installing a king in Saudi Arabia to get US friendly governments to oppose Gamal Nasser (p. 225). ..."
"... the story of these two scions of an American aristocratic family, who were fully steeped in Calvinistic Protestantism (and it's capitalist ethic) and unquestioningly convinced of American Exceptionalism and it's Manifest Destiny to lead the world and make it safe for democracy and American Business ..."
"... It is an exposition of the quintessential, archetypical American (WASP) mindset, worldview or psychology that has motivated our collective international behavior over the past six or seven decades. ..."
"... All State employees that don't hew the line are regularly fired or transferred to obscure jobs or roles and in place are pro-CIA hardliners. ..."
"... There is much here that further condemns Eisenhower. In many cases he fully supported and endorsed their plans while pretending not to, fully employing the most cynical of strategies; "plausible deniability". ..."
"... Having read the 2012 Eisenhower biography by Jean Edward Smith I was surprised here by the wealth of information that ties Eisenhower more directly to clandestine activities and their purposes. Particularly disappointing is his continues build up for the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba after Kennedy's election but before he took office and will little effort to brief the incoming president. Similarly our Vietnam involvement in the 1950's was so deep already as to make a Kennedy pullout far more difficult. ..."
"... There is much here about these issues and the corrupt relationships between the Dulles's prior careers at Sullivan and Cromwell and their support of private interests while working at State and the CIA. ..."
"... At the heart of the story is the unfortunate belief by the brothers that if a country was not totally in agreement with American philosophy they were against us. Any nationalist leaders of a former colonial nation that believed in land reform or neutrality on the international scene had to be evil and must be destroyed. If they were not with us, they had to be communist. This American foreign policy changed the history of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America. ..."
"... Its interesting to note that Kinzer asserts that on the death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson in 1953, Eisenhower offered the position of Chief Justice to John Foster Dulles. According to Kinzer, Dulles turned it down because he wanted to stay at the State Department. The story has always been that Ike had promised Earl Warren the first seat on the Supreme Court in exchange for his support in the 1952 election - Warren had been out maneuvered by Richard Nixon to get the bid for the vice presidency. How different legal history would have been had John Foster Dulles become Chief Justice! ..."
"... Author Stephen Kinzer explores the unique situation in which the intelligence gathering agency is also an actor. Throughout he illustrates how the relationship of their leaders enabled two agencies that would normally question and check each other, to work in seamless harmony to carry out the covert operations that both saw as primary instruments of American power. Behind them was President Eisenhower who had used covert operations during World War II and who approved their actions. In the end the author posits that the policies were the President's and the brothers were more his servants than his masters. ..."
Amazon.com

Mal Warwickon July 21, 2014

They shaped US foreign policy for decades to come

One of them was the most powerful US Secretary of State in modern times. The other built the CIA into a fearsome engine of covert war. Together, they shaped US foreign policy in the 1950s, with tragic consequences that came to light in the decades that followed. These were the Dulles brothers, Foster and Allen, born and reared in privilege, nephews of one Secretary of State and grandsons of another.

What they did in office

Allen Dulles masterminded the coup that turned Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh out of office and installed the Shah on the Peacock Throne. Less than a year later he presided over the operation that ousted Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz. He set in motion plots to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Sukarno in Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, and Fidel Castro in Cuba. He delegated to his deputy, Richard Bissell, leadership of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Later, out of office, he chaired the Warren Commission on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "'From the start, before any evidence was reviewed, he pressed for the final verdict that Oswald had been a crazed gunman, not the agent of a national and international conspiracy.'"

Foster Dulles repeatedly replaced US ambassadors who resisted his brother's assassination plots in countries where they served. Pathologically fearful of Communism, he publicly snubbed Chinese foreign minister Chou En-Lai, exacerbating the already dangerous tension between our two countries following the Korean War. The active role he took in preventing Ho Chi Minh's election to lead a united Vietnam led inexorably to the protracted and costly US war there. He reflexively rejected peace feelers from the Soviet leaders who succeeded Josef Stalin, intensifying and prolonging the Cold War. Earlier in life, working as the managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell, the leading US corporate law firm, Foster had engineered many of the corporate loans that made possible Adolf Hitler's rise to power and the growth of his war machine.

What does it mean now?

At half a century's remove from the reign of the formidable Dulles brothers, with critical documents finally coming into the light of day, we can begin to assess their true impact on US history and shake our heads in dismay. However, during their time in office that spanned the eight years of Dwight Eisenhower's presidency and, in Allen's case, extended into Kennedy's, little was known to the public about about Allen's activities (or the CIA itself, for that matter), and Foster's unimaginative and belligerent performance at State was simply seen as a fair expression of the national mood, reflecting the fear that permeated the country during the most dangerous years of the Cold War.

Diving deeply into recently unclassified documents and other contemporaneous primary sources, Stephen Kinzer, author of The Brothers, has produced a masterful assessment of the roles played at the highest levels of world leadership by these two very dissimilar men. Kinzer is respectful throughout, but, having gained enough information to evaluate the brothers' performance against even their own stated goals, he can find little good to say other than that they "exemplified the nation that produced them. A different kind of leader would require a different kind of United States."

Their unique leadership styles

To understand Foster's style of leadership, consider the assessments offered by his contemporaries: Winston Churchill said "'Foster Dulles is the only case I know of a bull who carries his own china shop around with him.'"

Celebrated New York Times columnist James Reston "wrote that [Foster] had become a 'supreme expert' in the art of diplomatic blundering. 'He doesn't just stumble into booby traps. He digs them to size, studies them carefully, and then jumps.'"

Senator William Fulbright, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Foster "misleads public opinion, confuses it, [and] feeds it pap." "A foreign ambassador once asked Foster how he knew that the Soviets were tied to land reform in Guatemala. He admitted that it was 'impossible to produce evidence' but said evidence was unnecessary because of 'our deep conviction that such a tie must exist.'" (Sounds similar to the attitude of a certain 21st-century President, doesn't it?)

Allen, too, comes up very, very short: "He was not the brilliant spymaster many believed him to be. In fact, the opposite is true. Nearly every one of his major covert operations failed or nearly failed . . . [Moreover,] under Allen's lackadaisical leadership, the agency endlessly tolerated misfits." He left the CIA riddled with "lazy, alcoholic, or simply incompetent" employees.

Stephen Kinzer was for many years a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, reporting from more than fifty countries. The Brothers is his eighth nonfiction book. It's brilliant.

W. J. Haufon June 27, 2014

Without John Foster Dulles There Would Have Been No Hitler and No Nazi Germany!

After the Treaty of Versailles mandated the imposition of incredibly severe monetary reparations on Germany, John Foster Dulles in the 1930s, as a partner in his law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, assembled a coalition of banks to lend Germany over $1 trillion, (in today's dollars), supposedly for them to pay these reparations. Had Foster not organized these massive bank loans to Hitler's Germany and organized the sale of raw materials such as cobalt to fabricate armor plating to build Germany's war machine, there would have been no Nazi war machine or an Adolf Hitler to kill millions of Americans, ally troops and civilians in a war that would have never happened.

As a reward our government appointed John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State so he could continue his war against democracy by orchestrating the overthrow of democratically elected leaders such as the Prime Minister of Iran to restore the Shah, and then continuing his reign of terror against other democratically elected governments such the CIA overthrow of the President of Guatemala in 1954 by his brother Allen, Director of the CIA, and installing a US controlled puppet President so the United Fruit could continued its monopolistic hold on the banana industry in that country and eventually throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Oh did I mention that JFD was a stockholder in United Fruit. Corporate greed is not new but for members of the US Congress and the Administartion to support corporate interests over Americans safety and put money ahead of the protection of the people of our country as well as the people of other nations is a violation of our US Constitution and these people should not be immune from prosecution. G.W. Bush destroyed the infrastructure of an entire country and he killed hundreds of thousand of innocent citizens just so Brown & Root and Halliburton, V.P. Cheney's company, could receive billions of dollars of US taxpayer monies to rebuild the very infrastructure that Bush destroyed that provided the life support for the people of Iraq.

Our Founding Fathers would never had fought to build a country of democratic principals if they knew that the political representatives in this country would worship money and support corporate greed over American human rights and freedoms.

G.W. Bush said that the attacks on 9-11 were because "they hate our freedoms". What a disgrace for a President to lie and not say it was because we have been interfering and overthrowing democratically elected governments for decades. Shame on you Mr. Bush, but you will meet your Maker one day and you can explain why you killed so many people just so you and your friends could receive billions of dollars in profits. "May God Have Mercy on Your Very Soul"

Mike Feder/Sirius XM and PRN.FM Radio on October 11, 2013

Best Political/Historical Book in Years

You know those reviews clips, headlines or ads that say "Must Read" or, "...if you only read one book this year..."
I have to say, with all the books I've read before and am reading currently, this one is absolutely the most eye-opening, informative and provocative one I've come across in many years.

And--after all I've read about American politics and culture--after all the experts I've interviewed on my radio show... I shouldn't be shocked any more. But the scope of insanity, corruption and hypocrisy revealed in this history of the Dulles brothers is, in fact, truly shocking.

Just when you thought you knew just how bad the United States has been in the world, you come across a history like this and you suddenly become aware of the real depths to which "our" government has sunk in subverting decency, freedom and democracy all over the world.

George W. Bush asked the question after 9/11-- "Why do they hate us?" The answer he came up with was, "Because of our Freedoms." When you read this book, you come face to face for the real reasons THEY (most of the rest of the world) hate us. It's because these Bush's "freedoms" are only for the United States, no other non-white, non-Christian, non-corporate cultures need apply.

The missionary Christian, Corporatism of the Dulles Brothers--John, the former head of the largest corporate law firm in the world, then Secretary of State, and his brother Allen, the head of the CIA all the way from Korea through Vietnam -- constitutes the true behavioral DNA of America-in-the-world. It's enough to make you weep for the billions of people this country has deprived of freedom and security for the last sixty years.

I grew up practically in love with America and the Declaration of Independence. When I was a kid the USA had just beaten the Nazis. I saw the picture of the marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. I knew men in my neighborhood that had liberated concentration camps.

But they never taught us the real history of America in high school and barely at all in college. If they had given us a clear picture of our true history, there never would have been a Vietnam in the first place--and no Iraq or Afghanistan either; Global Banks wouldn't have gotten away with stealing all our money and crashing our economy and Christian fundamentalist and corporate puppets wouldn't have taken over our government.

Karma is real. You can't steal a whole country, kill and enslave tens of millions of human beings, assassinate democratically elected leaders of countries, bribe and corrupt foreign governments, train the secret police and arm the military of dictators for decades-- You cannot do all this and escape the judgment and the punishment of history.

This book is, in fact, a MUST READ... for anyone who wants to know what their taxes have paid for in the last half century--for anyone who wants to know just exactly why the rest of the world wants either to attack us or throw us out of their countries. And a must read for anyone who no longer wishes their "representatives" in Washington to keep facilitating the stealing and killing all over the world and call it American Exceptionalism.

I'll also add that Stephen Kinzer is also a terrific writer; clear, articulate, factual and dramatic. His inside the inner circle revelations of the Dulles brothers and their crimes is morbidly page-turning.

Chris on October 11, 2013

The Dark-side of American foreign policy

The American people and the world at large still feel the reverberations from the policies and adventures of the Dulles' brothers. They are in part to blame for our difficult relations with both Cuba and Iran. This history helps answer the question, "Why do they hate us?" The answer isn't our freedom, it's because we try to topple their governments.

The Dulles brother grew up in a privileged, religious environment. They were taught to see the world in strictly black and white. Both were well-educated at Groton and the Ivy League schools. Both worked on and off in the government, but spent a significant amount of time at the immensely powerful law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell. They had virtually identical world views but nearly opposite personalities. (John) Foster was dour, awkward, and straight-laced. Allen was outgoing, talkative, and had loose morals.

There's no need for a blow-by-blow of their lives in this review. The core of the book revolves around Foster Dulles as the Secretary of State under Eisenhower and Allen as the Director of the CIA. The center of the book is divided into six parts, each one dealing with a specific foreign intervention: Mossaddegh of Iran, Arbenz of Guatemala, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Lumumba of the Congo, Sukarno of Indonesia and Castro of Cuba.

The Dulles view was that you were either behind the US 110% or a communist, with no room for neutrals. Neutrals were to be targeted for regime change. The author lays out explicitly all the dirty tricks our government tried on other world leaders, from poison to pornography. This dark side of American foreign policy can help Americans better understand our relationships with other countries.

My difficulty with this book is the final chapter. The author throws in some pop-psychology such as; people take in information that confirms their beliefs and reject contradictory information, we can be confident of our beliefs even when we're wrong, etc. The Dulles brothers are definite examples of these psychological aspects. Then the author says the faults of the Dulles brothers are the faults of American society, that we are the Dulles brothers. I felt like a juror in a murder trial during the closing statements, "It's not my client's fault, society is to blame!"

In most of America's foreign adventures, the American people have been tricked with half-truths and outright lies. Further more, these men received the best educations and were granted great responsibility. They should be held to a higher standard than "Oh well, everyone has their prejudices."

I agree with the author that the public should be more engaged in foreign policy and have a better understanding of our history with other nations. However, I think he goes too far in excusing their decisions because they supposedly had the same beliefs as many Americans.

Harry Glasson August 24, 2015

So Eisenhower wasn't really a "do nothing" president, but based on this book, I wish he had done less.

This is the most interesting and important book I have read in the past twenty or more years. Most Americans, myself included, considered John Foster Dulles a great Secretary of State, and few ordinary people knew Allen Dulles or had any idea how the CIA came to be what it is.

Learning the facts as they have been gradually made public by those who were witnesses, and others who researched and wrote about the behavior of the United States during the height of the Cold War has been an enlightening and saddening experience. I was in high school during Eisenhower's first term, in college during his 2nd term, in the Air Force during JFK's time in office and deployed to Key West during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

My view of America was the same as that of most Americans. I was patriotic. I bought into the fear of Communist world dominance and the domino theory. But there was much that was being done in the name of fighting Communist domination around the world that was monumentally counterproductive, and contrary what we consider to be some of our basic principles.

This book helps fill important gaps in my knowledge. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to know what really was going on during the Cold War, its impact on where we are today, and Kinzer's take on why it happened that way.

Mcgivern Owen L on August 15, 2015

The Cold War at it Core

This reviewer generally takes careful notes while he reads-the better to compose a future review. In the case of "The Brothers", he was drawn right into the flow of the story.

"The Brothers" covers the period from the late 1940s to the mid -1960s when John Foster Dulles was the powerful Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. They fermented regime changes in Iran. Guatemala, Indonesia, the Belgian Congo and Iran. And, as many know by now, Cuba as well. The troubles they stirred up in Iran and Cuba persist to this day. The book jacket also states that the Dulles' "led the United States into the Vietnam War..." That statement is unproven within these pages. The Vietnam conflict was vastly too complicated to be reduced to one sentence.

"The Brothers" is sharply written and well documented. There are 55 pages of end notes in a 328 pages of text. Author Kinzer ostensibly turns on the brothers for all their regime changing activities. He then reverses course and arrives at a most sensible elucidation: The brothers Dulles were a product of their times and "exemplified the nation that produced them". A different kind of leader would require a different United States". This reviewer can live with that sentiment.

There was a deadly serious Cold War in session during this period the brothers Dulles were at the core. Author Kinzer deserves credit for capturing the essence of that era as well as he does.

Amazon Customer on August 10, 2015

Informative and entertaining while also scary. Author oversimplifies, omits much about diplomacy besides the Cold War.

This is my third Kinzer book (The Crescent and the Star and Reset), he is a master at spinning off new books from research collected while writing other books. This work peels back the cover on U.S. covert and overt foreign policy in the 1950s and what happens when two brothers have too much power within an Administration that has the public's trust and far too little of its scrutiny. It is a joint biography of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles who were Secretary of State (1953-1958) and CIA Director (1953-1961), respectively.

Some reviewers have pointed out that Kinzer tends to oversimplify his message. For example, Eisenhower and Dulles' overthrow of Mohammed Mosadegh, for example, may have had something to do with our needing Britain's support in SE Asia more than simply a crusade to eliminate anyone who was not clearly "for us" or "against the Communists." This book covers some of the territory of Trento's Prelude to Terror, Perkin's controversial Confessions of an Economic Hitman and the similar compilation A Game as Old as Empire. You may not believe what you read here as the facts certainly seem more like fiction. Did the U.S. really (clumsily) secretly spend blood and treasure to try and subvert governments on every continent? How many assassinations and overthrows did Eisenhower surreptitiously give the go-ahead on? Eisenhower essentially comes across as a monster from our 2015 vantage point. But is he any different than a President Obama who is given intelligence and orders drone strikes to assassinate enemies of U.S. foreign policy? You be the judge. This book speaks volumes about what is learned by declassification of documents over time. I will say that I read a great biography on George Kennan last year and there appears to be little overlap; Kennan's foreign policy may have been too dovish for the Dulles, but he had helped create the precursor to the CIA, the Office of Policy Creation, on which both Dulles brothers worked--this connection gets no attention from Kinzer. Much of the diplomatic effort during the Cold War-- which did exist-- at this time are left unmentioned by Kinzer, which is problematic.

The Dulles family grew up with an international mindset. One grandfather (John W. Foster) was an Ambassador (before that title was formalized) to several countries, including Russia, before becoming Secretary of State.The other was a missionary to India. They had other family connections working in diplomacy and such a career seemed just fine to them. Their father was a conservative Presbyterian minister who had an awkward relationship with his wayward children. Kinzer writes that the boys (and their younger sister) essentially saw America as the City on a Hill that was bringing light to the nations through democracy and capitalism.

Studying at Princeton hitched them to the rising star of Woodrow Wilson, who they adored.
Sister Eleanor deserves her own biography, she was a pioneer as a PhD female economist who did relief work in WWI, attended Bretton Woods after WWII, and made her own career in diplomatic service.
John Foster (Foster henceforth) attended the Paris peace conference with Wilson and was disappointed with the outcome, both he and Eleanor arguing along with J.M. Keynes that the German reparations were simply setting the stage for the next European war. At the time, Foster was working in international law for U.S. business interests, and even supposedly ghostwrote a rebuttle to Keynes' book to serve his own interests. Foster's law firm designed the legal arrangements by which U.S. firms could profit off the German reparations, which allowed him to be wealthy even during the Great Depression. He was the more religious of the bunch and was mostly faithful to his wife.

Meanwhile, Allen Dulles was serving in the newly-formed Foreign Service while sleeping with as many women as would have him. In a "What would have been?" moment of history Allen reportedly brushed off meeting Vladimir Lenin, after Lenin supposedly called him just before Lenin went to St. Petersburg for the Russian Revolution, in order to engage in a soiree with a couple of blonde Swiss females. His own sister recounts that he had "at least a hundred" affairs, and his wife approved of some and disapproved of others. A sign of the times, they remain married although she probably miserably. This continued on all through his CIA years and makes one wonder why recent CIA chief David Petraeus had to resign for anything.

Kinzer interestingly calls Wilson out for being a hypocrite, citing his inconsistent application of the doctrine of self-determination. While that doctrine stirred nationalist sentiment in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Wilson obviously didn't apply it to the Philippines, Hawaii, or other U.S.-occupied territories. Nonetheless, the three sibling Wilson devotees attend the Paris peace talks together. Foster returns to his law firm where he's made a full partner while Allen remains in the Foreign Service until joining the firm himself in 1926.

The author ignores much of Foster's religious interest and involvement in these years. Foster changed his mind several times in life, whether in his religious devotions or from isolationist to interventionist. Interestingly, Foster was a German sympathizer and refused to believe any tales being produced about the Nazis as his firm had many German business interests. Allen disagreed strongly after touring Germany himself, and after Germany began defaulting on its debts the firm severed ties.

Allen Dulles built up his network through the law firm, the Council on Foreign Relations, and his old Foreign Service contacts and made a fortune molding business deals for European connections, including those in Nazi Germany. After the U.S. enters the war, Dulles is recruited by "Wild Bill" for the new OSS, becoming the first OSS officer behind enemy lines, sneaking into Switzerland to do so. He meets with all sorts of characters while feeding intelligence to the U.S., much of which was false, but enough was helpful enough to expand his reputation. Of course, he has many affairs, including a long one with a woman his wife approved of and shared with him. Interestingly, when the Valkyrie operation was launched by German traitors to kill Hitler and restore order, Dulles was the main contact with the U.S. relaying news back to Washington. The participants wanted to sue for peace, but FDR officially rejected the olive branch and Dulles was not allowed to negotiate on any such olive branch. After the War, Truman abolishes the OSS.

Foster helps draft the U.N. Charter and becomes an internationalist, seeing world peace as a Christian ideal. Foster apparently contributed to the "Six Pillars of Peace" outline by the Federal Council of Churches in 1942. He eventually reverses after the Iron Curtain falls, becoming a militant anti-Communist and seeing the USSR as truly and evil empire, the antithesis of everything American. Reinhold Niebuhr eventually pens critiques of Foster as he begins to promote a black-and-white vision of the world.

Both brothers backed the Dewey campaign in 1948, which left them disappointed. However, Dewey appoints Foster Dulles to fill a void in the Senate, which immediately elevates Foster into a higher realm, although he promptly loses the special election for the seat. Nonetheless, he is appointed to the State Department by Truman and impresses people in negotiating the final treaty with Japan in 1950. This makes him a good choice for Secretary of State when Eisenhower is elected in 1952, and Foster promptly works on a policy of "rollback" to replace the "containment" policy of Truman and Kennan.

However, Kinzer also writes that NSC-68, a top secret foreign policy strategy signed by Truman in 1950, was monumental in militarizing the response to the USSR and that the Dulles operated under an NSC-68 mindset. "A chilling decree" according to Kinzer, NSC-68 called for a tripling of defense spending in order to prevent Soviet influence from overtaking the West. Allen Dulles was appointed the first civilian director of the CIA and the die was cast.

The 1950s roll like the Wild West, with Eisenhower signing off on expensive operations, assassinations, and propaganda campaigns at home and abroad. Supposedly, more coups were attempted under Eisenhower than in any other administration, and recently declassified documents show that Dulles' CIA actively engaged in Eisenhower-warranted assassination plots in the Congo and elsewhere. Perhaps Richard Bissell, Eisenhower's enforcer is more to blame than Kinzer allows. The CIA-backed 1954 coup in Guatemala was actually initiated by Truman years earlier, but demonstrated Eisenhower's resolve. "Once you commit the flag, you've committed the country." Dulles' secret armies in Guatemala and the Philippines needed U.S. airpower for support. If the media went with a story exposing operations, or a pilot was shot down, it didn't matter-- the mission must succeed once the U.S. was committed. The CIA even used religious-based propaganda in Guatemala to foment political change, having priests on the CIA payroll publish editorials denouncing Communism.

Guatemala also showed the intersection of U.S. business interests and foreign policy. The coup was encouraged by the United Fruit Company, which had been a client of the Dulles' NY law firm and Allen Dulles had served on its Board of Directors; others in the Eisenhower Administration had ties. While Guatemala's president was democratically elected, he was a leftist, and anyone showing Leftist sympathies was to be eliminated, particularly in the Western hemisphere. The 1953 coup of democratically elected Mohammed Mosaddegh in Iran was similar in the sense that it was made more urgent by Mosaddegh's nationalization of British oil interests after the Brits refused to let Mosaddegh audit their books or negotiate a better deal. Kinzer writes, however, that Foster in particular was unable to see anyone as "neutral." Mosaddegh believed in democracy and capitalism and could have been an ally, but Mosaddegh and others like Egypt's Nasser were nationalists who favored neither the US nor the USSR, but courted deals from both. Kinzer writes that Foster saw a danger in a country like Iran becoming prosperous and inspiring others toward neutrality that might result in eventual creep toward the USSR, hence he and others like him had to be eliminated. How much the coup was driven to help the UK is unknown. The blowback from intervention in South America and Iran has since come back to haunt the US in the form of skepticism and greater Leftist angst against the US and the 1979 overthrow of the Shah.

Ho Chi Minh had initially offered the US an olive branch after WWII and was not opposed to working with US interests, but the more he was rebuffed the more he turned to harder Communism. John Foster Dulles apparently hated the French for abandoning Vietnam, and never forgave them. While Eisenhower did not want to replace the French in Vietnam, he eventually warmed to the idea as Foster promoted the "domino theory" that if one nation fell victim to Communism then others would soon follow and the eventual war would widen. Better to install brutal dictators as in Iran and South Vietnam than let a country fall. Another enemy was Sukarno in Indonesia who was trying to thread the needle between democracy, socialism, nationalism, and Islam. This type of neutrality was against the Dulles' worldview, and in his memoir, Sukarno lamented "America, why couldn't you be my friend?" after the CIA spent a lot of manpower trying to topple his regime in 1958. There was also the training of Tibetan rebels in Colorado in 1957 and the ongoing plot to assassinate Congo's Lumumba, given with Ike's consent.

Allen Dulles' reign at CIA reads like the nightmare everyone worried about "big government" warns you about. Experiments interrogating prisoners with LSD, the purchase to the movie rights of books like The Quiet American in order to sanitize them, planting stories in major newspapers, planting false documents in Joseph McCarthy's office to discredit him, along with the private armies and escapades. Dulles comes under official criticism by Doolittle, who wrote that he was a bad administrator, bad for morale, and had no accountability-- all of which was dismissed by Eisenhower who saw Allen as the indispensible man.

Eventually both John Foster Dulles and Eisenhower become old and unhealthy, Eisenhower suffering a heart attack in 1955 and Foster dying of cancer in 1959. Allen Dulles' libido slows slightly as age takes its toll and he becomes more detached from operations at the CIA, creating a more dangerous situation. When Castro seizes power in Cuba, the Eisenhower Administration made it official policy to depose him. While Dulles was officially in charge at the CIA, he was far detached from the details of the anti-Castro operations which the media had exposed and continued at great risk of failure.

Newly-elected JFK inherits the Bay of Pigs invasion plans and faces a political dilemma: Back off and be accused of sparing Castro since the government was invested in success, or go forward and risk a disaster. Unlike Eisenhower, Kennedy would not consent to air support or other official military measures to help the CIA's army once it landed, dooming the operation. Those closest to the operation begged Dulles and others to cancel the operation to no avail. Dulles was enjoying a speaking engagement elsewhere in the region, giving the appearance of attachment to the operation while being completely oblivious to its failure. The White House forced him to resign in 1961.

Dulles' last act was on the Warren Commission investigating JFK's assassination. This was problematic because Dulles' goal was to keep CIA assassination operations in Cuba a secret. Kinzer writes of Lyndon Johnson's desire to make Oswald a lone gunman with no political attachments, which brings us to a whole other story.

Kinzer concludes the book with armchair psychology, writing that the Dulles brothers succummed to cognitive biases, including confirmation bias. They saw everything in the world as they wanted to, and not as it was. They were driven by a missionary Calvinism and the ideal of American Exceptionalism that clouded their lenses. They also seemed to consider themselves infallible in their endeavors. Ultimately, "they are us," writes Kinzer, which is why it is important to learn from them. The parallels with recent American military and para-military endeavors is also clear, but Kinzer lets the reader make those comparisons.

I learned a great deal from the history of this book, studying the Dulles is an integral part in studying the execution of American foreign policy in the Cold War. Some of the omissions, simplifications, and psychoanalysis mar the book somewhat. 3.5 stars out of 5.

Doug Nort, on April 23, 2015

Too Much Passion;Too Few Facts

This book is marred by Kinzer's repeated overstatements and failures to marshal facts to support his theses about the Dulles brothers.

His failure to persuade me begins early: In the introduction Kinzler wrote of the naming of Washington's Dulles airport: "The new president, John F. Kennedy, did not want to name an ultra-modern piece of America's future after a crusty cold-war militant." He provides no documentation that Kennedy himself thought that. Given that JFK was proud of his own credentials as a cold warrior, it is unlikely that was his objection. It is much more likely his objection (or that of the staffer speaking for him in the matter) was that Foster Dulles was an iconic figure of the Eisenhower administration-which Kennedy and his New Frontiersmen viewed as having made a hash of things-or that he was a stalwart of the Republican Party, or that Dulles disapproved of a Catholic becoming president. Kinzler apparently thinks his sweeping statement is self-evident but it isn't to me.

A few pages later Kinzler gives us another hint that the pages to come will contain sweeping, unsupported generalizations. He wrote "The story of the Dulles brothers is the story of America." My goodness, didn't they share their times with FDR and Ralph Bunche and Dwight Eisenhower and Tom Watson and A. Phillip Randolph and George Marshall and a host of others who, although coming from backgrounds quite different from the brothers Dulles, are just as much the American story? The accomplishments and peccadillos of two brothers with an upper-class pedigree is hardly "the story of America."

Chapter eleven contains several such unsupported or historically blinkered generalizations. At one point (sorry-I'm a Kindle reader, no page numbers), after noting "the depth of fear that gripped many Americans during the 1950s." Kinzler asserts that "Foster and Allen were the chief promoters of that fear." Crowning the brothers as chief fear-mongers ignores some powerful other voices: Khrushchev, Joe McCarthy, General Curtis Lemay, Nixon, Churchill, Drew Pearson, Robert Welch and his John Birch Society-the list could continue.

At another point Kinzler says, "They [the brothers] never imagined that their intervention[s] . . . would have such devastating long-term effects." He cites Vietnam, Iran falling into violently anti-American leadership, and the Congo descending "into decades of horrific conflict." Regarding Vietnam, I think most historians would say that JFK, LBJ, and McNamara bear much, much more responsibility than do the Dulles brothers. As for their Iran and Congo sins, I believe those developments were much more due to unpredictable consequences than to the Dulles' blindness. Yogi is right: "Predictions are hard, especially about the future."

And on the same page (excuse me "location") Kinzler is quite certain that "Their lack of foresight led them to pursue reckless adventures that, over the course of decades, palpably weakened American security." The reader who already believes that will nod and read on while the reader who expects this ringing declaration to be followed by specifics that provide powerful support will read it and say, like the customer in the fast food ad, "where's the beef?"

OK, enough already. Kinzler's writing obviously pushed my buttons and I wouldn't have finished the book but for it being a selection of my book club. I am fine with criticism of people and policies when well-documented-for example Michael Oren's Power, Faith and Fantasy-but I lose patience with book-length op-ed pieces such as The Brothers.

Dale P. Henkenon, April 6, 2015

Cuba Si! Yankee No!

If a work based on Cold War history could construct a case against American (U.S.) exceptionalism, The Brothers by Stephen Kinzler would be a strong candidate. It illustrates the dangers of a coupling of foreign policy and covert operations involving what we now know as regime change.

It is a story of the Dulles brothers and coups arranged by the executive branch triad composed of the President (Ike) and the dynamic duo of the Dulles brothers as Secretary of State and Director of the CIA (without congressional oversight) in Guatemala, Iran, Cuba, Indonesia, the Congo and Vietnam.

It is a story that deserved to be told and it is told well. It is somewhat slow going at the start and one-dimensional but is a captivating read regardless. It is not a rigorous biography or history of the era and the events it depicts. It is driven by the thesis that our actions in the developing world even though driven by anti-communism or American idealism or Christian fundamentalist fervor (all were involved) can have baleful results.

The results can be so bad that Americans are now resented and even hated and have been for generations in large parts of the world. Highly recommended.

R. Spell VINE VOICE on March 28, 2015

Who We Are as Americans in the 50s

Engaging historical perspective that while dragging and repetitive at times, has so much information that frames our world now, and generally NOT in a positive way, that it should be required reading. Yes, I was aware of the name as a 61 yr old. But I was not aware of their roles. Not aware of brothers. Not aware of Allen's involvement in the CIA. Nor aware of their careers at the massive law firm of Cromwell and Sullivan.

But reading this was stunning and made me angry. George Dulles was more responsible for the Cold War than anyone. And documents after the war shows the Soviets were not near as devious as we give them credit for. But our fear painted a view of a hidden enemy bent on our destruction. We missed opportunities with Khrushchev. More importantly and totally unaware to me, these guys we responsible for government overthrows and were actively involved in the 1950s with alienating Vietnam leading eventually to a horrible loss of civilian lives and more importantly to me, American soldiers who were led in to the wrong war at the wrong time.

But let us not forget the documented CIA overthrows of Congo, Guatemala,Indonesia and Iran. Is this America? Well, in the post WWII world, we lost our values and stooped to such tactics.

There are stories here America doesn't study and they should. How the interface of commerce, politics and war can lead to disastrous results that haunt us today.

Read this book to learn. Not all of it will make you proud. Yes, I learned. And yes, I'm angry and ashamed.

Schnitzon February 25, 2015

Allen Dulles May have Inadvertently Saved the US from a Nuclear Holocaust

It is ironic that the Bay of Pigs debacle commissioned by Allen Dulles may have inadvertently prevented the incineration of millions of Americans in a nuclear holocaust. As the author points out when John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency he was told by his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower that the invasion of Cuba by Cuban refugees with support from the US should move forward. As a young, new President of the US, Kennedy did not want to appear weak so when Dulles presented him with the plan seeking his approval Kennedy found himself in a box.

On the one hand Kennedy had doubts regarding the chances for success. On the other hand he wanted to appear strong to the people of the US and the world. This was the first true test of his presidency and legacy. After the abject failure of the operation Kennedy to his credit took full responsibility in his address to the American people but he would never again trust the CIA or the military.

Fast forward tot he Cuban missile crisis. If Kennedy had not experienced the Bay of Pigs failure he probably would have placed more trust in the military and CIA who were vehemently urging him to bomb Cuba at various stages of the crisis. If he had taken the military's advice it would have likely resulted in escalation and possibly nuclear war with Russia. As it turned out Kennedy rejected the advice and negotiated a settlement which saved face for both sides. Kennedy's wisdom born of a past failure saved the day.


Compelling and informative about an era which had a darker ...

OLD1mIKEon February 17, 2015

The Dulles Brothers. They changed History.

Five Stars. Great book. Readable. Well researched, Informative. Highly recommended for someone interested in mid 20th century history or understanding the root cause of the anti-american animosity in certain parts of the world.

The Dulles brothers played pivotal roles in an incredible number of historic events that shaped the 20th century. They exemplified american attitudes and beliefs of their day and were placed in positions to act on these beliefs. The book not only presents their part in history, but also helps us understand the reasoning behind their actions.

I should leave the book review end with the above paragraphs, but I was originally unaware of how many key historical events of the 20th century the brothers participated in and influenced. I find it impossible not to casually speculate on their effect on history. John Foster helped write the Reparation portion of the WWI Treaty of Versailles. Some historians believe German anger over the unfairness of the reparations to be one element causing WWII. John Foster helped write the 1924 Dawes Plan that opened the door to American investment in Germany. Even in 1924 John Foster was obsessed with fighting communism. He saw a strong Germany as an effective stop gap against communistic expansion. Foster used his affiliation with Sullivan & Cromwell and his friendship with Hjalmar Schacht, Hitlers Minister of Economics, to increase American investment in Germany and its industry. Without international investment, Germany probably could not have supported it's military aspirations. Allen and the CIA was instrumental in the 1953 Iranian Coup that overthrew the democratically elected Iranian Government to install the Shaw of Iran. This action and the heavy handed governing style of the Shaw certainly led to some of the anti American resentment in the middle east today and the Iranian (Islamic) Rebellion in 1979. The Iranian Rebellion probably helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980. In regard to Vietnam. Foster, acting as Eisenhower's Secretary of State, refused to sign the 1954 Geneva Accord. Over considerable objections, John Foster and Allen chose and installed Ngo Dinh Diem as the 1st president of the newly created Republic of South Vietnam. Diem had been a minor official in Vietnam and was Interior Minister for three months in 1933. He had not held a job since. Once in power, Allen's CIA helped keep him there. John Foster continued to support the escalation of our involvement in Vietnam until his death in 1959. Allen took a hands off approach to the Bay of Pigs operation (17 April 1961), but as the Director of the CIA, it was his responsibility. JFK fired him in November 1961. There are JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theory's that include CIA involvement. It is interesting that Lyndon Johnson personally chose Allen to be a member of the Warren Commission. Add U2 Spy Planes, Congo revolts, overthrow of South American leaders, Cuba and a host more. The policies and action of these two men changed global history and probably still effect the beliefs of many today.

Loves the View VINE VOICE on December 2, 2014

Attitude, Access, Ambition and US Foreign Policy

Stephen Kinzer shows how instrumental these brothers were in the design of US foreign policy in the post war years. He shows how their attitudes and personalities were formed, developed, and grew to influence the course of history.

The brothers' learned statecraft at their grandfather's side. John W. Foster, US ambassador to three countries, later served as President Harrison's trouble shooter and Secretary of State. He helped in the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in Hawaii and later used his State Department connections to engineer government policy to benefit his corporate clients. Kinzer shows how the brothers benefited from their grandfather's access and came to dual pinnacles of power in shaping US foreign policy: one heading the CIA, the other the Department of State.

The 1950's operations weren't as hidden as I expected. Allen Dulles, in the Saturday Evening Post, beamed with pride for removing Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. He even has copies made of Diego Rivera's critical mural where he is depicted taking money while his brother shakes hands with a local puppet and Eisenhower is pictured on a bomb. Many willingly joined in dirty tricks, for instance Cardinal Spellman wrote a pastoral letter to Guatemalan Catholics calling their President a dangerous communist.

I was surprised that President Eisenhower, whose administration is commonly thought to be one of tranquility, approved toppling governments and assassinating leaders. In some ways, he was the front man, for instance urging Congress to approve funds for "maintenance of national independence" but really for fomenting a coup in Syria and installing a king in Saudi Arabia to get US friendly governments to oppose Gamal Nasser (p. 225).

With today's internet and 24 hour news cycle, can large covert operations such as those against the President Sukarno (the first president of Indonesia who naively looked to the US for help in developing his nation's fledgling democracy) go under the radar? I presume the CIA budget can still hide items such as the $6 million a year paid to the Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen (who should have been tried at Nuremberg (p. 185)).

By preventing compromise when compromise was possible, the brothers and President Eisenhower, prolonged the Cold War into the Khruschev era and sowed the seeds of the Vietnam War. The lack of reflection or personal responsibility is clear in the quote on p. 283 when years later Allen Dulles coolly tells Eric Sevareid regarding the torture and murder of Patrice Lumumba, that " we may have overrated the danger.." How would the Congo be today if the US had left its fledgling democracy alone, and not have installed Mobutu in a leadership position?

The last coup attempt in the book is the Bay of Pigs. It was an Eisenhower approved intervention and there seemed that to be no turning back for Kennedy. Its fiasco signaled the end of Allen Dulles, but not the Cold War since its relic, Vietnam as a domino, was an image deeply ingrained in policy DNA.

In a side story, the brothers show little consideration to their sister, who had to push to have a career. She marginally benefits from the family name. They do not see that they have been born on third base and she on first. In fact, when it is convenient for them, they try to fire her, yet still go to her house for holiday dinners.

Kinzer concludes with recent work in psychology and personality profiling (" blind ourself to contrary positions prepared to pay a high price to preserve our most cherished ideas declarations of high confidence mainly tell you an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind beliefs become how you prove your identity.." p. 322) that not only characterize the brothers, but a lot of the thinking in the Cold War.

These paradigms are with us today. Too many politicians and their appointees still their job as responding to lobbyists, not just for big business, but for foreign countries with interests contrary to those of the US. Similarly there are those who force their economic ideology on small and helpless countries. The book tells a sobering and troubling story. It is greatly at odds with what is taught in high schools. This book has been out for a year now, and it seems the story told is just more noise in political system. Unfortunately it will make a large event for insiders in Washington to reflect on what we now call "muscular" foreign policy and its results.

Regnal the Caretakeron November 13, 2014

Nasty lawyers and the rise of CIA

These two globo-corporate lawyers dictated USA foreign policy during governance of four presidents: Roosevelt, Truman (he signed CIA into the law in 1947), Eisenhower and Kennedy. They were called 'Cold Warriors' and built Cold War model which rested on the premise that any growing social influence in Third World countries must be resisted because socialist gains are always irreversible. Any nation that tried to stay 'neutral' had to face CIA interventions that did not bring anything positive for populations (notably we learn in details about Guatemala, Iran, Congo, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cuba). Eisenhower times were the worst, when covert capability of CIA grew massively.

Fascinating work by Stephen Kinzer can be easily extrapolated to help explain XXI century behavior of Washington. Not much has changed.

Craig N. Warrenon November 12, 2014

Making the World Safe for Democracy (and American Business).

I've learned more about the development of American foreign policy and international relations in the twentieth (and twenty-first) century, especially since WWII, in reading the story of these two scions of an American aristocratic family, who were fully steeped in Calvinistic Protestantism (and it's capitalist ethic) and unquestioningly convinced of American Exceptionalism and it's Manifest Destiny to lead the world and make it safe for democracy and American Business, than I have anywhere else.

This is more than a biography (or double biography) of two very influential actors in American history, politics and international relations. It is an exposition of the quintessential, archetypical American (WASP) mindset, worldview or psychology that has motivated our collective international behavior over the past six or seven decades.

Digital Rightson June 14, 2014


A "How to Not Run Foreign Policy" Primer

Stephen Kinzer's new book offers a very focused and surgical condemnation of the Dulles brothers foreign policy collaboration in the 1950's that has resulted in a horrid and nightmarish chain of events ever since.

Allen Dulles at CIA, first as a lead operative for covert missions and then as it's second Director and John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State lead foreign policy during the Eisenhower Presidency. The book goes through six operations to overthrow or destabilize governments through that time; Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Vietnam and the formerly Belgian Congo.

In each case Kinzer shows the limited lens of cold war anti communism that resulted in the Dulles' tunnel vision where grouping all non-Pro American groups as enemies and communists. He equally addresses their lack of personal curiosity and intellect and preference for slogans and absolutism over analysis or objective debate. All State employees that don't hew the line are regularly fired or transferred to obscure jobs or roles and in place are pro-CIA hardliners.

It is painful reading. The objective was to both create the world they wanted while limiting the use of US military personnel to achieve those ends. The short cuts and limited world vision have exacted a terrible price. Sadly there is not a place in the world where their activities resulted in any sustainable success and in fact have lead to perhaps millions of deaths and suspicions and misunderstandings for the next 50 to 60 years.

There is much here that further condemns Eisenhower. In many cases he fully supported and endorsed their plans while pretending not to, fully employing the most cynical of strategies; "plausible deniability".

Having read the 2012 Eisenhower biography by Jean Edward Smith I was surprised here by the wealth of information that ties Eisenhower more directly to clandestine activities and their purposes. Particularly disappointing is his continues build up for the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba after Kennedy's election but before he took office and will little effort to brief the incoming president. Similarly our Vietnam involvement in the 1950's was so deep already as to make a Kennedy pullout far more difficult.

There is much here about these issues and the corrupt relationships between the Dulles's prior careers at Sullivan and Cromwell and their support of private interests while working at State and the CIA.

It's grim but the writing is good and the story is well worth knowing.

C. Ellen Connally, May 22, 2014

An amazing tale of intrigue and deception

As we fly in or out of Dulles International Airport, no one gives much thought to the namesake, John Foster Dulles. Sure, he was Secretary of State and some Americans have a vague knowledge of his brother Allan Dulles, director of the CIA and long time super spy and intelligence person. Reading Stephen Kinzer's book, THE BROTHERS reveals the truth about the Dulles brothers and how they changed American and World History.

At the heart of the story is the unfortunate belief by the brothers that if a country was not totally in agreement with American philosophy they were against us. Any nationalist leaders of a former colonial nation that believed in land reform or neutrality on the international scene had to be evil and must be destroyed. If they were not with us, they had to be communist. This American foreign policy changed the history of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America.

There is much blame put on President Johnson for the War in Viet Nam. But reading THE BROTHERS shows that the roots of the Viet Nam Conflict go back many years. Likewise, the situation in the Middle East. We have to go back and look at the foreign policy that created the tensions that now exist and the men that shaped that foreign policy.

Its interesting to note that Kinzer asserts that on the death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson in 1953, Eisenhower offered the position of Chief Justice to John Foster Dulles. According to Kinzer, Dulles turned it down because he wanted to stay at the State Department. The story has always been that Ike had promised Earl Warren the first seat on the Supreme Court in exchange for his support in the 1952 election - Warren had been out maneuvered by Richard Nixon to get the bid for the vice presidency. How different legal history would have been had John Foster Dulles become Chief Justice!

Kinzer is a masterful story teller. This book is extremely readable and a must read for understanding the history of American foreign policy and how individual people can change.

John Berryon March 13, 2014

What Our History Lessons Didn't Tell Us!

It has been a long time since an author has captured my interest so quickly and made me question everything I have been taught or have learned about our country. Churchill once said Democracy is the worst kind of government except all others. This comment keeps reverberating around in my mind as I read this book. I am one of those people that have flown into Dulles airport countless times, yet never gave a moments thought as to why, what or even if there was a who to the airports name. I grew up during the cold war and I vividly remember the fear of the Big Russian Bear overtaking us with their form of government and the possibility of nuclear war. It would have never crossed my mind that my very own government aided and abetted in promoting this fear in order for us to gain public moral outrage and support for our endeavors. I kept trying to tell myself this was different times, yet the author pointed out countless times where there were those in the known that were summarily dismissed for having counter opinions.Or leaders from our allies that would not support the Dulles brothers opinions and missions that so disagreed with who we told the world we were. Abraham Lincoln once said "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power". I can think of no better example of failure in handling power than the two Dulles brothers. Not only was I continuously shocked by their gross misuse of power, but I found myself being angry at them as well because of the fear I remember my mother facing as a widower with three children to raise. She needed not to have been this afraid with all the other issues she had to deal with but because of President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers she had to face this fear as well. Whether or not Mr. Kinzer took liberties with the political agenda's of the leaders we either overthrew or attempted to overthrown does not matter to me at all. The fact that we promoted our country as a free democracy yet we were willing to dance with any leader in the world as long as they did exactly what we wanted them to do is so counter to the way I was raised to believe still leaves me reeling.

Currently in the news President Putin has said in no uncertain terms that the U.S. is responsible for the revolution taking place in the Ukraine. In the past I would have said he is just another Russian bully trying to get his way. After reading The Brothers I now wonder what, if anything, my country had to do with promoting this revolution. I heard our Ukraine Ambassador say almost word for word what I read in this book our ambassador's under the power of The Brother's said back during the cold war. The author tells us that the U.S. with its secret prisons and torture's may have actually invented terrorism.

This author has opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking and I am so disappointed in opportunities missed and I am so disappointed with our current leaders for having learned apparently nothing from history.

If you love reading history then please buy this book and ask your family to read it as well. Do I believe everything I read, no not usually, but in this case there are just too many facts that distort my view of who we are to dismiss.

James Gallen VINE VOICE on March 4, 2014

An Indepth Study Of American Covert Action

"The Brothers" tells the story of the brothers Dulles, John Foster and Allen, who drove American foreign policy through much of the 1950s. Grandsons of Secretary of State John Foster and nephews of Secretary of State Robert Lansing, the two grew up in an atmosphere mixing high diplomacy with the spirit of Christian Crusaders. Their path to power was linear. At the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell they represented companies with interests around the world and came to see their clients' interests united with America's. As Foster moved into politics and government service he often brought Allen with him.

Although expected to be Secretary of State in a Dewey Administration, Foster came in with Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. With Allen as Director of Central Intelligence, they formed a team that searched the world for dragons to slay. Guided by a world view of us, American Christian capitalists, against them, Socialist Evil Doers, they identified their foes and went after them. Among their successes were Guatemalan President Árbenz, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. TYhose who got away included Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro. This book is a study of American covert operations in Guatemala, Iran, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Congo and Cuba. Allen's Bay of Pigs operation is a case study of disaster.

Author Stephen Kinzer explores the unique situation in which the intelligence gathering agency is also an actor. Throughout he illustrates how the relationship of their leaders enabled two agencies that would normally question and check each other, to work in seamless harmony to carry out the covert operations that both saw as primary instruments of American power. Behind them was President Eisenhower who had used covert operations during World War II and who approved their actions. In the end the author posits that the policies were the President's and the brothers were more his servants than his masters.

Kinzer portrays the Brothers as men with rigid, narrow outlooks that saw enemies in independent nationalists and conspiracies in disorganized movements. He presents them as two sides of the coin, the molders and reflectors of public opinion. The book is not flattering. It depicts the Dulles brothers as men whose flawed expectations caused many problems for the U.S. and the world by destroying men who America need not have fought. Ultimately he concludes that they were representatives of the people they served and their successes, and failures, are our own. "The Brothers" forces the reader to confront a portion of America's past with its triumphs and shames. Although Kinzer gives his opinions, he provides the facts to permit the reader to form his own. Any serious student of history would do well to delve beneath the surface of our history and appreciate its deep currents and lasting effects.

[Mar 03, 2017] America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism

Notable quotes:
"... an unwillingness or inability among Americans to question the country's sinlessness feeds a culture of public conformism, ..."
"... he daringly points out America's "hypocrisy," which also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American. ..."
"... The combined resentments lead to a sort of chip on the shoulder patriotism which so characterizes American nationalism. ..."
"... The book suggests that the Republican Party is really like an old style European nationalist party. Broadly serving the interests of the moneyed elite but spouting a form of populist gobbledygook, which paints America as being in a life and death, struggle with anti-American forces at home and abroad. It is the reason for Anne Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. That is the rhetoric of struggle acts as a cover for political policies that benefit a few and lay the blame for the problems of ordinary Americans on fictitious entities. ..."
"... The main side effects of the nationalism are the current policies which shackles America to Israel uncritically despite what that country might and how its actions may isolate America from the rest of the world. It also justifies America on foreign policy adventures such as the invasion of Iraq. ..."
"... " The [U. S.] conduct of the war against terrorism looks more like a baroque apotheosis of political stupidity;" ..."
"... "One strand of American nationalism is radical...because it continually looks backward at a vanished and idealized national past; " ..."
"... " [George W.] Bush, his leading officials, and his intellectual and media supporters..., as nationalists, [are] absolutely contemptuous of any global order involving any check whatsoever on American behavior and interests ;" ..."
"... I find that Mr. Lieven's assessment of both the United States' and Israel's role rings true. While he does not excuse Arab leaders for their misdeeds, he clearly documents a history in which the United States has repeatedly subordinated vital U.S. regional interests in favor of accepting whatever Israel chooses to do. ..."
Oct 30, 2016 | www.amazon.com
America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism is one of the best book on American exceptionalism. Here are some Amazon reviews

From Siegfried Sutterlin March 21, 2006

... While there are incontestable civilizing elements to America's nationalism, there are also dangerous and destructive ingredients, a sort of Hegelian thesis and antithesis theme which places a strong question mark in America's historical theme of exceptionalism.

Unlike in other post-World War II nations, America's nationalism is permeated by values and religious elements derived mostly from the South and the Southern Baptists, though the fears and panics of the embittered heartland provide additional fuel.

Lieven's book, among other elements, is also a summation of lots of minor observations--even personal ones he made as a student in the small town of Troy, Alabama--and historical details which reflect the grand evolution of America's nationalism. When he says that "an unwillingness or inability among Americans to question the country's sinlessness feeds a culture of public conformism," then he has the support of Mark Twain who said something to the effect that we are blessed with three things in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and, thirdly, the common sense to practice neither one! Ditto when he daringly points out America's "hypocrisy," which also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American.

Lieven continues with the impact of the Cold War on America's nationalism and then, having always expanded the theme of Bush's foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, examines with commendable perspective the complex and very much unadmitted current aspects of the U.S.'s relationships with the Moslems, the Iraq War and the impact of the pro-Israeli lobby. It is the sort of assessment one rarely finds in the U.S. media . He exposes the alienation the U.S. caused among allies and, in particular, the Arabs and the EU.

Lieven wrote this book with passion and commendable sincerity. Though it comes from a foreigner, its advice would without question serve not only America's interest but also provide a substantial basis for a detached and objective approach to solving the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the satisfaction of all involved before worse deeds and more burdens materialize.

Tom Munro:

What this book suggests is that a significant number of Americans have an outlook similar to European countries around 1904. A sense of identification with an idea of nation and a dismissive approach to other countries and cultures. Whilst in Europe the experience of the first and second world wars put paid to nationalism in America it is going strong. In fact Europeans see themselves less as Germans or Frenchmen today than they ever have.

The reason for American nationalism springs from a pride in American institutions but it also contains a deep resentment that gives it its dynamism . Whilst America as a nation has not lost a war there are a number of reasons for resentment. The South feels that its values are not taken seriously and it is subject to ridicule by the seaboard states. Conservative Christians are concerned about modernism. The combined resentments lead to a sort of chip on the shoulder patriotism which so characterizes American nationalism.

Of course these things alone are not sufficient. Europeans live in countries that are small geographically. They travel see other countries and are multilingual. Most Americans do not travel and the education they do is strong in ideology and weak in history. It is thus easier for some Americans to develop a rather simple minded view of the world.

The book suggests that the Republican Party is really like an old style European nationalist party. Broadly serving the interests of the moneyed elite but spouting a form of populist gobbledygook, which paints America as being in a life and death, struggle with anti-American forces at home and abroad. It is the reason for Anne Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. That is the rhetoric of struggle acts as a cover for political policies that benefit a few and lay the blame for the problems of ordinary Americans on fictitious entities.

The main side effects of the nationalism are the current policies which shackles America to Israel uncritically despite what that country might and how its actions may isolate America from the rest of the world. It also justifies America on foreign policy adventures such as the invasion of Iraq.

The book is quite good and repeats the message of a number of other books such as "What is wrong with America". Probably there is something to be said for the books central message.

Keith Wheelock (Skillman, NJ USA)

A Socratic 'America know thyself': READ IT!, August 13, 2010

Foreigners, from de Tocqueville and Lord Bryce to Hugh Brogan and The Economist's John Micklethwait and Adrian Woodridge, often see America more clearly than do Americans. In the post-World War II period, R. L. Bruckberger's IMAGES OF AMERICA (1958) and Jean -Jacques Servan-Schreiber's THE AMERICAN CHALLENGE (1967) presented an uplifting picture of America.

Two generations later, Englishman Anatol Lieven paints a troubling picture of a country that is a far cry from John Winthrop's' "city upon a hill."

Has America changed so profoundly over the past fifty years or is Mr. Lieven simply highlighting historical cycles that, at least for the moment, had resulted in a near `perfect storm?' His 2004 book has prompted both praise [see Brian Urquhart's Extreme Makeover in the New York Review of Books (February 24, 2005)] and brick bats. This book is not a polemic. Rather, it is a scholarly analysis by a highly regarded author and former The Times (London) correspondent who has lived in various American locales. He has a journalist's acquaintance of many prominent Americans and his source materials are excellent.

I applaud his courage for exploring the dark cross currents in modern-day America. In the tradition of the Delphic oracle and Socrates, he urges that Americans `know thy self.' The picture he paints should cause thoughtful Americans to shudder. Personally, I found his book of a genre similar to Cullen Murphy's ARE WE ROME? THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE AND THE FATE OF AMERICA.

I do not consider Mr. Lieven anti-American in his extensive critique of American cross currents. That he wrote this in the full flush of the Bush/Cheney post-9/11 era suggests that he might temper some of his assessments after the course corrections of the Obama administration. My sense is that Mr. Lieven admires many of America's core qualities and that this `tough love' essay is his effort to guide Americans back to their more admirable qualities.

Mr. Lieven boldly sets forth his book's message in a broad-ranging introduction:

  1. " The [U. S.] conduct of the war against terrorism looks more like a baroque apotheosis of political stupidity;"
  2. "Aspects of American nationalism imperil both the nation's global leadership and its success in the struggle against Islamic terror and revolution;"
  3. "Insofar as American nationalism has become mixed up with a chauvinist version of Israeli nationalism, it also plays an absolutely disastrous role in U.S. relations with the Muslim world and in fueling terrorism;"
  4. "American imperialists trail America's coat across the whole world while most ordinary Americans are not looking and rely on those same Americans to react with `don't tread on me' nationalist fury when the coat is trodden on;"
  5. "One strand of American nationalism is radical...because it continually looks backward at a vanished and idealized national past; "
  6. "America is the home of by far the most deep, widespread and conservative religious belief in the Western world;"
  7. "The relationship between the traditional White Protestant world on one hand and the forces of American economic, demographic, social and cultural change on the other may be compared to the genesis of a hurricane;"
  8. "The religious Right has allied itself solidly with extreme free market forces in the Republican Party although it is precisely the workings of unrestricted American capitalism which are eroding the world the religious conservatives wish to defend;"
  9. "American nationalism is beginning to conflict very seriously with any enlightened, viable or even rational version of American imperialism;"
  10. " [George W.] Bush, his leading officials, and his intellectual and media supporters..., as nationalists, [are] absolutely contemptuous of any global order involving any check whatsoever on American behavior and interests ;"
  11. "Nationalism therefore risks undermining precisely those American values which make the nation most admired in the world;" and
  12. "This book...is intended as a reminder of the catastrophes into which nationalism and national messianism led other great countries in the past."

Mr. Lieven addressed the above points in six well-crafted and thought-provoking chapters that I find persuasive. For some readers Chapter 6, Nationalism, Israel, and the Middle East, may be the most controversial. I am the only living person who has lunched with Gamal Abdel Nasser and David Ben-Gurion in the same week. I have maintained an interest in Arab-Israeli matters ever since. I find that Mr. Lieven's assessment of both the United States' and Israel's role rings true. While he does not excuse Arab leaders for their misdeeds, he clearly documents a history in which the United States has repeatedly subordinated vital U.S. regional interests in favor of accepting whatever Israel chooses to do.

In 1955 American historian Richard Hofstadter wrote,

"The most prominent and persuasive failing [of political culture] is a certain proneness to fits of moral crusading that would be fatal if they were not sooner or later tempered with a measure of apathy and common sense."

I am confident that Professor Hofstadter would agree with me that AMERICA RIGHT OR WRONG is a timely and important book.

[Mar 03, 2017] America primary strategic threat is not North Korea, or radical Islam, or Russia, but its own revolutionary, messianic, expansionist ideology.

Notable quotes:
"... "In fact, this conception of America's purpose expresses not the intent of providence, which is inherently ambiguous, but their own arrogance and conceit. Out of that conceit comes much mischief. And in the wake of mischief come charlatans like Donald Trump." These last sentences sums up the problem of the War mongering Neo-Cons of Republican Party and their imitators in Democratic Party." Honestly it brings to mind the Jehovah witnesses who call on me to save my soul, in spite of the fact I keep reminding them that I am a Hindu and I believe in Karma and do my best to be good to others. But they don't give up just like the Neo-Cons. ..."
"... Brooks himself is a wealthy man who lives in a bubble in Washington and nothing he recommends will impact upon him personally in any way. That is what being a neocon is all about. Why should anyone listen to what he has to say? ..."
"... Putin conspiracy theories regards killing journalists of "Ted" reference have never been proven. I believe the theory that has key wings of the American governing apparatus allowing (not planning but looking the other way) the 9-11-2001 attacks have more credence but I would never comment in a doctrinaire manner that implied policy should revolve around the theory. ..."
"... If you really want to get down on the man, though, follow Columbia professor Andrew Gellman. Here is a sample of his take on Brooks: http://andrewgelman.com/2015/06/16/the-david-brooks-files-how-many-uncorrected-mistakes-does-it-take-to-be-discredited/ ..."
"... To understand David Brooks' "thinking" just go back to his initiation by disciples of Leo Strauss during his undergraduate days at the University of Chicago. It is all there, a "political philosophy" that somehow winds up with initiates convinced that they are a tiny elite that needs to lead dumb Americans in defending civilization, viz, the "West", against barbarism. After my own indoctrination, I was ready to jump in an F-16 and attack, well, just about anybody. See Senator Tom Cotton, Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, etc., for other examples of the phenomenon. Washington is crawling with these guys and gals. ..."
"... The trend is to Deep State co-option of democracy, its overthrow or unaccountable management, a confluence with democracy-killing Globalism that seeks to make of all governments multinational corporate subordinates. Which corporatism involves democracy, not at all. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Sceptic , says: February 23, 2017 at 11:28 am
Bacevich is one of our very few strategic thinkers. What Bacevich has disclosed here is something far more significant than merely the faults of Brooks' or of neoconservatism generally (and to be fair, where Brooks goes beyond neoconservatism/nationalism, he can be thoughtful).

What he has disclosed in fact is that America's primary - I emphasize again, primary - strategic threat is not N. Korea, or radical Islam, or Russia, but its own revolutionary, messianic, expansionist ideology. That is the source of our woes, our growing insecurities and looming financial bankruptcy (to say nothing of the sufferings of millions of our victims).

America's strategic problem is its own mental imprisonment: its self-worship, its inability to view itself - its destructive acts as well as its pet handful of ideas torn from the complex fabric of a truly vibrant culture - with any critical distance or objectivity.

Joined to that, and as a logical consequence of it - the United States' persistent inability to view with any objectivity its endless, often manufactured enemies.

Cornel Lencar , says: February 23, 2017 at 11:46 am

Kudos Mr. Bacevich for an exceptional piece!

Somehow the current situation in the U.S. reminds me of the end of a TV miniseries, "Merlin", where Sam Neil plays the role of Merlin. At the end, Merlin speaks to his archenemy, Morgana, that she will loose her grip on the people because they will just stop believing in her and her powers. And as he speaks, the group of countrymen surrounding Merlin turn their back one after another at Morgana and after the last one turns her back, Morgana simply vanishes

The flip side of The Church of America the Redeemer, as with any other respectable church is that it needs the "hell", the fear, to better control its flock. The terrorists that want to kill us for our liberties You should have included this in your article.

Also, mentioning Jerusalem, a place of madness and fervor, and pain, and strife, that has brought nothing civilizational to the world, as in par with Rome, Athens, Baghdad, Florence, and other cultural centres in Iran, China, India, Japan, is an overstretch

Murali , says: February 23, 2017 at 12:16 pm
"In fact, this conception of America's purpose expresses not the intent of providence, which is inherently ambiguous, but their own arrogance and conceit. Out of that conceit comes much mischief. And in the wake of mischief come charlatans like Donald Trump." These last sentences sums up the problem of the War mongering Neo-Cons of Republican Party and their imitators in Democratic Party." Honestly it brings to mind the Jehovah witnesses who call on me to save my soul, in spite of the fact I keep reminding them that I am a Hindu and I believe in Karma and do my best to be good to others. But they don't give up just like the Neo-Cons.
Phil Giraldi , says: February 23, 2017 at 1:08 pm
David Brooks is a Canadian whose son served by choice in the Israeli Defense Forces rather than the U.S. military. He passed on playing an active role in the wars that his father so passionately supports. Brooks himself is a wealthy man who lives in a bubble in Washington and nothing he recommends will impact upon him personally in any way. That is what being a neocon is all about. Why should anyone listen to what he has to say?
Cynthia McLean , says: February 23, 2017 at 2:09 pm
Brilliant! It's about time someone seriously took down David Brooks & Co's faux innocence narrative of US history. The only point I would add is that this story predates Brooks by a good century and a half. By identifying its national "interests" with those of the Divine, the US gives itself an eternal and perpetual get-out-jail-free-card. It seems not to matter that millions are slaughtered and entire cultures destroyed, as all was all done with the "best of intentions."
Howard , says: February 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm
It's a poor kind of child who loves his parents only so long as they are more attractive, richer, and more powerful than other parents, and it is a poor kind of "patriot" who loves his country only so long as it is more admired, richer, and more powerful than other countries.
David Walkabout , says: February 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm
Preach it, Brother Andrew!
No Nation Nell , says: February 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm
I don't know if it was your intention but your piece made it far more evident that Brooks is a charlatan you've constructed as Trump.
Howard , says: February 23, 2017 at 4:41 pm
"In terms of confessional fealty, his true allegiance is not to conservatism as such, but to the Church of America the Redeemer." As though having "confessional fealty" to "conservatism" (which some people indeed have) were any better. Regarding anyone who falls into that category, all I can do is quote one of the great voices of wisdom for our time: "I pity the fool!"
jon-e , says: February 23, 2017 at 5:48 pm
'The things Americans do they do not only for themselves, but for all mankind.' Well aint that grand! Brooks must have been intoxicated by his ideas at this point, sounds like Dennis Prager. It would be easy to laugh at such ideas if they weren't so destructive. Excellent piece.
Ken Hoop , says: February 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm
Brooks son being in the IDF and Brooks own vehemence to destroy an unthreatening (to the US) enemy of Israel in 2003 is of course of one piece.

Putin conspiracy theories regards killing journalists of "Ted" reference have never been proven. I believe the theory that has key wings of the American governing apparatus allowing (not planning but looking the other way) the 9-11-2001 attacks have more credence but I would never comment in a doctrinaire manner that implied policy should revolve around the theory.

Of course Russia has always needed a strong man to stay intact and I couldn't rule out government sympathizers might have taken action on their own, those who were alarmed at Russian liberal journalists fomenting the kind of discord which might suit Victoria Nuland but not Russia staying intact that is.

Rick Jones , says: February 23, 2017 at 8:04 pm
Although I actively seek out level-headed conservative thinkers/writers, I've never been a fan of David Brooks (probably for reasons related to those put forth in this article).

If you really want to get down on the man, though, follow Columbia professor Andrew Gellman. Here is a sample of his take on Brooks: http://andrewgelman.com/2015/06/16/the-david-brooks-files-how-many-uncorrected-mistakes-does-it-take-to-be-discredited/

troopertyree , says: February 23, 2017 at 9:51 pm
Phil giraldi. if brooks'views are less valid because his son skipped Iraq are bill kristol's and Elliot Cohen's more valid because their sons were u.s.marines in Iraq?
ctks , says: February 24, 2017 at 2:57 am
superb essay.
Gil , says: February 24, 2017 at 6:45 am
Lies, Andrew. Not "alt-facts." Lies.
david robbins tien , says: February 24, 2017 at 7:49 am
To understand David Brooks' "thinking" just go back to his initiation by disciples of Leo Strauss during his undergraduate days at the University of Chicago. It is all there, a "political philosophy" that somehow winds up with initiates convinced that they are a tiny elite that needs to lead dumb Americans in defending civilization, viz, the "West", against barbarism. After my own indoctrination, I was ready to jump in an F-16 and attack, well, just about anybody. See Senator Tom Cotton, Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, etc., for other examples of the phenomenon. Washington is crawling with these guys and gals.
connecticut farmer , says: February 24, 2017 at 9:03 am
Good article. Couldn't agree more. A few minor quibbles though:

1. Compared to Lippmann, Brooks is an intellectual lightweight. They're not even close.

2. Though in the context of the article somewhat self-serving, Brooks' criticism of the educational system is valid.

Otherwise, the author is spot-on.

Fran Macadam , says: February 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm
"The global trend has been towards democracy for a century now"

The trend is to Deep State co-option of democracy, its overthrow or unaccountable management, a confluence with democracy-killing Globalism that seeks to make of all governments multinational corporate subordinates. Which corporatism involves democracy, not at all.

[Feb 25, 2017] The American Disease: I Deserve To Get Away With Anything Everything

Notable quotes:
"... entitlement and power means you never have to apologize for anything ..."
"... What the American with power does have in nearly limitless abundance is a grandiose yet unacknowledged sense of entitlement and a volcanic sense of indignation . ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Here's the American Disease in a nutshell: entitlement and power means you never have to apologize for anything. Public relations might require a grudging, insincere quasi-apology, but the person with power can't evince humility or shame--he or she doesn't have any.

What the American with power does have in nearly limitless abundance is a grandiose yet unacknowledged sense of entitlement and a volcanic sense of indignation .

[Feb 25, 2017] the Church of America the Redeemer

Notable quotes:
"... Under the circumstances, it's easy to forget that, back in 2003, he and other members of the Church of America the Redeemer devoutly supported the invasion of Iraq. They welcomed war. They urged it. They did so not because Saddam Hussein was uniquely evil-although he was evil enough-but because they saw in such a war the means for the United States to accomplish its salvific mission. Toppling Saddam and transforming Iraq would provide the mechanism for affirming and renewing America's "national greatness." ..."
"... In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded. ..."
"... Rather than requiring acts of contrition, the Church of America the Redeemer has long promulgated a doctrine of self-forgiveness, freely available to all adherents all the time. "You think our country's so innocent?" the nation's 45th president recently barked at a TV host who had the temerity to ask how he could have kind words for the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Observers professed shock that a sitting president would openly question American innocence. ..."
"... In fact, Trump's response and the kerfuffle that ensued both missed the point. No serious person believes that the United States is "innocent." Worshipers in the Church of America the Redeemer do firmly believe, however, that America's transgressions, unlike those of other countries, don't count against it. Once committed, such sins are simply to be set aside and then expunged, a process that allows American politicians and pundits to condemn a "killer" like Putin with a perfectly clear conscience while demanding that Donald Trump do the same. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm : , February 25, 2017 at 01:50 PM
Spend 22 minutes listening to retired Army Col Bacevich concerning the Trump National Security Council.

https://warisboring.com/the-bannon-effect-and-a-brief-history-of-the-national-security-council-f5f4c584241b#.8dpdo8os5

Disclaimer: the contents do not reflect ilsm's perceptions and are Col Bacevich's.

libezkova -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 04:53 PM
Thank you for the link.

Bacevich is an interesting thinker about the danger of the US militarism and neocon dominance since Reagan.

Recently he speculated about the existence in the USA of a dangerous cult "the Church of America the Redeemer" which is slightly broader than the concept of neocons. It is an apt synonym of American Exceptionalism, and American Messianism. See

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/angst-in-the-church-of-america-the-redeemer/

BTW we can find members of "the Church of America the Redeemer" cult in this forum too: im1dc and Fred are obvious examples.

== quote ==

In terms of confessional fealty, his true allegiance is not to conservatism as such, but to the Church of America the Redeemer. This is a virtual congregation, albeit one possessing many of the attributes of a more traditional religion.

The Church has its own Holy Scripture, authenticated on July 4, 1776, at a gathering of 56 prophets. And it has its own saints, prominent among them the Good Thomas Jefferson, chief author of the sacred text (not the Bad Thomas Jefferson who owned and impregnated slaves); Abraham Lincoln, who freed said slaves and thereby suffered martyrdom (on Good Friday no less); and, of course, the duly canonized figures most credited with saving the world itself from evil: Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, their status akin to that of saints Peter and Paul in Christianity.

The Church of America the Redeemer even has its own Jerusalem, located on the banks of the Potomac, and its own hierarchy, its members situated nearby in High Temples of varying architectural distinction.

This ecumenical enterprise does not prize theological rigor. When it comes to shalts and shalt nots, it tends to be flexible, if not altogether squishy. It demands of the faithful just one thing: a fervent belief in America's mission to remake the world in its own image. Although in times of crisis Brooks has occasionally gone a bit wobbly, he remains at heart a true believer.

In a March 1997 piece for The Weekly Standard, his then-employer, he summarized his credo. Entitled "A Return to National Greatness," the essay opened with a glowing tribute to the Library of Congress and, in particular, to the building completed precisely a century earlier to house its many books and artifacts. According to Brooks, the structure itself embodied the aspirations defining America's enduring purpose. He called particular attention to the dome above the main reading room decorated with a dozen "monumental figures" representing the advance of civilization and culminating in a figure representing America itself. Contemplating the imagery, Brooks rhapsodized:

The theory of history depicted in this mural gave America impressive historical roots, a spiritual connection to the centuries. And it assigned a specific historic role to America as the latest successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. In the procession of civilization, certain nations rise up to make extraordinary contributions At the dawn of the 20th century, America was to take its turn at global supremacy. It was America's task to take the grandeur of past civilizations, modernize it, and democratize it. This common destiny would unify diverse Americans and give them a great national purpose.

This February, 20 years later, in a column with an identical title, but this time appearing in the pages of his present employer, the New York Times, Brooks revisited this theme. Again, he began with a paean to the Library of Congress and its spectacular dome with its series of "monumental figures" that placed America "at the vanguard of the great human march of progress." For Brooks, those 12 allegorical figures convey a profound truth.

America is the grateful inheritor of other people's gifts. It has a spiritual connection to all people in all places, but also an exceptional role. America culminates history. It advances a way of life and a democratic model that will provide people everywhere with dignity. The things Americans do are not for themselves only, but for all mankind.

In 1997, in the midst of the Clinton presidency, Brooks had written that "America's mission was to advance civilization itself." In 2017, as Donald Trump gained entry into the Oval Office, he embellished and expanded that mission, describing a nation "assigned by providence to spread democracy and prosperity; to welcome the stranger; to be brother and sister to the whole human race."

Back in 1997, "a moment of world supremacy unlike any other," Brooks had worried that his countrymen might not seize the opportunity that was presenting itself. On the cusp of the twenty-first century, he worried that Americans had "discarded their pursuit of national greatness in just about every particular." The times called for a leader like Theodore Roosevelt, who wielded that classic "big stick" and undertook monster projects like the Panama Canal. Yet Americans were stuck instead with Bill Clinton, a small-bore triangulator. "We no longer look at history as a succession of golden ages," Brooks lamented. "And, save in the speeches of politicians who usually have no clue what they are talking about," America was no longer fulfilling its "special role as the vanguard of civilization."

By early 2017, with Donald Trump in the White House and Steve Bannon whispering in his ear, matters had become worse still. Americans had seemingly abandoned their calling outright. "The Trump and Bannon anschluss has exposed the hollowness of our patriotism," wrote Brooks, inserting the now-obligatory reference to Nazi Germany. The November 2016 presidential election had "exposed how attenuated our vision of national greatness has become and how easy it was for Trump and Bannon to replace a youthful vision of American greatness with a reactionary, alien one." That vision now threatens to leave America as "just another nation, hunkered down in a fearful world."

What exactly happened between 1997 and 2017, you might ask? What occurred during that "moment of world supremacy" to reduce the United States from a nation summoned to redeem humankind to one hunkered down in fear?

Trust Brooks to have at hand a brow-furrowing explanation. The fault, he explains, lies with an "educational system that doesn't teach civilizational history or real American history but instead a shapeless multiculturalism," as well as with "an intellectual culture that can't imagine providence." Brooks blames "people on the left who are uncomfortable with patriotism and people on the right who are uncomfortable with the federal government that is necessary to lead our project."

An America that no longer believes in itself-that's the problem. In effect, Brooks revises Norma Desmond's famous complaint about the movies, now repurposed to diagnose an ailing nation: it's the politics that got small.

Nowhere does he consider the possibility that his formula for "national greatness" just might be so much hooey. Between 1997 and 2017, after all, egged on by people like David Brooks, Americans took a stab at "greatness," with the execrable Donald Trump now numbering among the eventual results.

Invading Greatness

Say what you will about the shortcomings of the American educational system and the country's intellectual culture, they had far less to do with creating Trump than did popular revulsion prompted by specific policies that Brooks, among others, enthusiastically promoted. Not that he is inclined to tally up the consequences. Only as a sort of postscript to his litany of contemporary American ailments does he refer even in passing to what he calls the "humiliations of Iraq."

A great phrase, that. Yet much like, say, the "tragedy of Vietnam" or the "crisis of Watergate," it conceals more than it reveals. Here, in short, is a succinct historical reference that cries out for further explanation. It bursts at the seams with implications demanding to be unpacked, weighed, and scrutinized. Brooks shrugs off Iraq as a minor embarrassment, the equivalent of having shown up at a dinner party wearing the wrong clothes.

Under the circumstances, it's easy to forget that, back in 2003, he and other members of the Church of America the Redeemer devoutly supported the invasion of Iraq. They welcomed war. They urged it. They did so not because Saddam Hussein was uniquely evil-although he was evil enough-but because they saw in such a war the means for the United States to accomplish its salvific mission. Toppling Saddam and transforming Iraq would provide the mechanism for affirming and renewing America's "national greatness."

Anyone daring to disagree with that proposition they denounced as craven or cowardly. Writing at the time, Brooks disparaged those opposing the war as mere "marchers." They were effete, pretentious, ineffective, and absurd. "These people are always in the streets with their banners and puppets. They march against the IMF and World Bank one day, and against whatever war happens to be going on the next They just march against."

Perhaps space constraints did not permit Brooks in his recent column to spell out the "humiliations" that resulted and that even today continue to accumulate. Here in any event is a brief inventory of what that euphemism conceals: thousands of Americans needlessly killed; tens of thousands grievously wounded in body or spirit; trillions of dollars wasted; millions of Iraqis dead, injured, or displaced; this nation's moral standing compromised by its resort to torture, kidnapping, assassination, and other perversions; a region thrown into chaos and threatened by radical terrorist entities like the Islamic State that U.S. military actions helped foster. And now, if only as an oblique second-order bonus, we have Donald Trump's elevation to the presidency to boot.

In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded.

Brooks belongs, or once did, to the Church's neoconservative branch. But liberals such as Bill Clinton, along with his secretary of state Madeleine Albright, were congregants in good standing, as were Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton. So, too, are putative conservatives like Senators John McCain, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, all of them subscribing to the belief in the singularity and indispensability of the United States as the chief engine of history, now and forever.

Back in April 2003, confident that the fall of Baghdad had ended the Iraq War, Brooks predicted that "no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, 'We were wrong. Bush was right.'" Rather than admitting error, he continued, the war's opponents "will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future."

Yet it is the war's proponents who, in the intervening years, have choked on admitting that they were wrong. Or when making such an admission, as did both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton while running for president, they write it off as an aberration, a momentary lapse in judgment of no particular significance, like having guessed wrong on a TV quiz show.

Rather than requiring acts of contrition, the Church of America the Redeemer has long promulgated a doctrine of self-forgiveness, freely available to all adherents all the time. "You think our country's so innocent?" the nation's 45th president recently barked at a TV host who had the temerity to ask how he could have kind words for the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Observers professed shock that a sitting president would openly question American innocence.

In fact, Trump's response and the kerfuffle that ensued both missed the point. No serious person believes that the United States is "innocent." Worshipers in the Church of America the Redeemer do firmly believe, however, that America's transgressions, unlike those of other countries, don't count against it. Once committed, such sins are simply to be set aside and then expunged, a process that allows American politicians and pundits to condemn a "killer" like Putin with a perfectly clear conscience while demanding that Donald Trump do the same.

What the Russian president has done in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria qualifies as criminal. What American presidents have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya qualifies as incidental and, above all, beside the point.

Rather than confronting the havoc and bloodshed to which the United States has contributed, those who worship in the Church of America the Redeemer keep their eyes fixed on the far horizon and the work still to be done in aligning the world with American expectations. At least they would, were it not for the arrival at center stage of a manifestly false prophet who, in promising to "make America great again," inverts all that "national greatness" is meant to signify.

For Brooks and his fellow believers, the call to "greatness" emanates from faraway precincts-in the Middle East, East Asia, and Eastern Europe. For Trump, the key to "greatness" lies in keeping faraway places and the people who live there as faraway as possible. Brooks et al. see a world that needs saving and believe that it's America's calling to do just that. In Trump's view, saving others is not a peculiarly American responsibility. Events beyond our borders matter only to the extent that they affect America's well-being. Trump worships in the Church of America First, or at least pretends to do so in order to impress his followers.

That Donald Trump inhabits a universe of his own devising, constructed of carefully arranged alt-facts, is no doubt the case. Yet, in truth, much the same can be said of David Brooks and others sharing his view of a country providentially charged to serve as the "successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome." In fact, this conception of America's purpose expresses not the intent of providence, which is inherently ambiguous, but their own arrogance and conceit. Out of that conceit comes much mischief. And in the wake of mischief come charlatans like Donald Trump.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, now out in paperback.

[Feb 25, 2017] Angst in the Church of America the Redeemer

Feb 25, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Apart from being a police officer, firefighter, or soldier engaged in one of this nation's endless wars, writing a column for a major American newspaper has got to be one of the toughest and most unforgiving jobs there is. The pay may be decent (at least if your gig is with one of the major papers in New York or Washington), but the pressures to perform on cue are undoubtedly relentless.

Anyone who has ever tried cramming a coherent and ostensibly insightful argument into a mere 750 words knows what I'm talking about. Writing op-eds does not perhaps qualify as high art. Yet, like tying flies or knitting sweaters, it requires no small amount of skill. Performing the trick week in and week out without too obviously recycling the same ideas over and over again-or at least while disguising repetitions and concealing inconsistencies-requires notable gifts.

David Brooks of the New York Times is a gifted columnist. Among contemporary journalists, he is our Walter Lippmann , the closest thing we have to an establishment-approved public intellectual. As was the case with Lippmann, Brooks works hard to suppress the temptation to rant. He shuns raw partisanship. In his frequent radio and television appearances, he speaks in measured tones. Dry humor and ironic references abound. And like Lippmann, when circumstances change, he makes at least a show of adjusting his views accordingly.

For all that, Brooks remains an ideologue. In his columns, and even more so in his weekly appearances on NPR and PBS, he plays the role of the thoughtful, non-screaming conservative, his very presence affirming the ideological balance that, until November 8th of last year, was a prized hallmark of "respectable" journalism. Just as that balance always involved considerable posturing, so, too, with the ostensible conservatism of David Brooks: it's an act.

Praying at the Altar of American Greatness

In terms of confessional fealty, his true allegiance is not to conservatism as such, but to the Church of America the Redeemer. This is a virtual congregation, albeit one possessing many of the attributes of a more traditional religion. The Church has its own Holy Scripture, authenticated on July 4, 1776, at a gathering of 56 prophets. And it has its own saints, prominent among them the Good Thomas Jefferson, chief author of the sacred text (not the Bad Thomas Jefferson who owned and impregnated slaves); Abraham Lincoln, who freed said slaves and thereby suffered martyrdom (on Good Friday no less); and, of course, the duly canonized figures most credited with saving the world itself from evil: Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, their status akin to that of saints Peter and Paul in Christianity. The Church of America the Redeemer even has its own Jerusalem, located on the banks of the Potomac, and its own hierarchy, its members situated nearby in High Temples of varying architectural distinction.

This ecumenical enterprise does not prize theological rigor. When it comes to shalts and shalt nots, it tends to be flexible, if not altogether squishy. It demands of the faithful just one thing: a fervent belief in America's mission to remake the world in its own image. Although in times of crisis Brooks has occasionally gone a bit wobbly, he remains at heart a true believer.

In a March 1997 piece for The Weekly Standard, his then-employer, he summarized his credo. Entitled " A Return to National Greatness ," the essay opened with a glowing tribute to the Library of Congress and, in particular, to the building completed precisely a century earlier to house its many books and artifacts. According to Brooks, the structure itself embodied the aspirations defining America's enduring purpose. He called particular attention to the dome above the main reading room decorated with a dozen "monumental figures" representing the advance of civilization and culminating in a figure representing America itself. Contemplating the imagery, Brooks rhapsodized:

The theory of history depicted in this mural gave America impressive historical roots, a spiritual connection to the centuries. And it assigned a specific historic role to America as the latest successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. In the procession of civilization, certain nations rise up to make extraordinary contributions At the dawn of the 20th century, America was to take its turn at global supremacy. It was America's task to take the grandeur of past civilizations, modernize it, and democratize it. This common destiny would unify diverse Americans and give them a great national purpose.

This February, 20 years later, in a column with an identical title, but this time appearing in the pages of his present employer, the New York Times, Brooks revisited this theme. Again, he began with a paean to the Library of Congress and its spectacular dome with its series of "monumental figures" that placed America "at the vanguard of the great human march of progress." For Brooks, those 12 allegorical figures convey a profound truth.

America is the grateful inheritor of other people's gifts. It has a spiritual connection to all people in all places, but also an exceptional role. America culminates history. It advances a way of life and a democratic model that will provide people everywhere with dignity. The things Americans do are not for themselves only, but for all mankind.

In 1997, in the midst of the Clinton presidency, Brooks had written that "America's mission was to advance civilization itself." In 2017, as Donald Trump gained entry into the Oval Office, he embellished and expanded that mission, describing a nation "assigned by providence to spread democracy and prosperity; to welcome the stranger; to be brother and sister to the whole human race."

Back in 1997, "a moment of world supremacy unlike any other," Brooks had worried that his countrymen might not seize the opportunity that was presenting itself. On the cusp of the twenty-first century, he worried that Americans had "discarded their pursuit of national greatness in just about every particular." The times called for a leader like Theodore Roosevelt, who wielded that classic "big stick" and undertook monster projects like the Panama Canal. Yet Americans were stuck instead with Bill Clinton, a small-bore triangulator. "We no longer look at history as a succession of golden ages," Brooks lamented. "And, save in the speeches of politicians who usually have no clue what they are talking about," America was no longer fulfilling its "special role as the vanguard of civilization."

By early 2017, with Donald Trump in the White House and Steve Bannon whispering in his ear, matters had become worse still. Americans had seemingly abandoned their calling outright. "The Trump and Bannon anschluss has exposed the hollowness of our patriotism," wrote Brooks, inserting the now-obligatory reference to Nazi Germany. The November 2016 presidential election had "exposed how attenuated our vision of national greatness has become and how easy it was for Trump and Bannon to replace a youthful vision of American greatness with a reactionary, alien one." That vision now threatens to leave America as "just another nation, hunkered down in a fearful world."

What exactly happened between 1997 and 2017, you might ask? What occurred during that "moment of world supremacy" to reduce the United States from a nation summoned to redeem humankind to one hunkered down in fear?

Trust Brooks to have at hand a brow-furrowing explanation. The fault, he explains, lies with an "educational system that doesn't teach civilizational history or real American history but instead a shapeless multiculturalism," as well as with "an intellectual culture that can't imagine providence." Brooks blames "people on the left who are uncomfortable with patriotism and people on the right who are uncomfortable with the federal government that is necessary to lead our project."

An America that no longer believes in itself-that's the problem. In effect, Brooks revises Norma Desmond's famous complaint about the movies, now repurposed to diagnose an ailing nation: it's the politics that got small.

Nowhere does he consider the possibility that his formula for "national greatness" just might be so much hooey. Between 1997 and 2017, after all, egged on by people like David Brooks, Americans took a stab at "greatness," with the execrable Donald Trump now numbering among the eventual results.

Invading Greatness

Say what you will about the shortcomings of the American educational system and the country's intellectual culture, they had far less to do with creating Trump than did popular revulsion prompted by specific policies that Brooks, among others, enthusiastically promoted. Not that he is inclined to tally up the consequences. Only as a sort of postscript to his litany of contemporary American ailments does he refer even in passing to what he calls the "humiliations of Iraq."

A great phrase, that. Yet much like, say, the "tragedy of Vietnam" or the "crisis of Watergate," it conceals more than it reveals. Here, in short, is a succinct historical reference that cries out for further explanation. It bursts at the seams with implications demanding to be unpacked, weighed, and scrutinized. Brooks shrugs off Iraq as a minor embarrassment, the equivalent of having shown up at a dinner party wearing the wrong clothes.

Under the circumstances, it's easy to forget that, back in 2003, he and other members of the Church of America the Redeemer devoutly supported the invasion of Iraq. They welcomed war. They urged it. They did so not because Saddam Hussein was uniquely evil-although he was evil enough-but because they saw in such a war the means for the United States to accomplish its salvific mission. Toppling Saddam and transforming Iraq would provide the mechanism for affirming and renewing America's "national greatness."

Anyone daring to disagree with that proposition they denounced as craven or cowardly. Writing at the time, Brooks disparaged those opposing the war as mere "marchers." They were effete, pretentious, ineffective, and absurd. "These people are always in the streets with their banners and puppets. They march against the IMF and World Bank one day, and against whatever war happens to be going on the next They just march against."

Perhaps space constraints did not permit Brooks in his recent column to spell out the "humiliations" that resulted and that even today continue to accumulate. Here in any event is a brief inventory of what that euphemism conceals: thousands of Americans needlessly killed; tens of thousands grievously wounded in body or spirit; trillions of dollars wasted ; millions of Iraqis dead, injured, or displaced ; this nation's moral standing compromised by its resort to torture, kidnapping , assassination, and other perversions; a region thrown into chaos and threatened by radical terrorist entities like the Islamic State that U.S. military actions helped foster. And now, if only as an oblique second-order bonus, we have Donald Trump's elevation to the presidency to boot.

In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded.

Brooks belongs, or once did, to the Church's neoconservative branch. But liberals such as Bill Clinton, along with his secretary of state Madeleine Albright, were congregants in good standing, as were Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton . So, too, are putative conservatives like Senators John McCain , Ted Cruz , and Marco Rubio , all of them subscribing to the belief in the singularity and indispensability of the United States as the chief engine of history, now and forever.

Back in April 2003, confident that the fall of Baghdad had ended the Iraq War, Brooks predicted that "no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, 'We were wrong. Bush was right.'" Rather than admitting error, he continued, the war's opponents "will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future."

Yet it is the war's proponents who, in the intervening years, have choked on admitting that they were wrong. Or when making such an admission, as did both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton while running for president, they write it off as an aberration, a momentary lapse in judgment of no particular significance, like having guessed wrong on a TV quiz show.

Rather than requiring acts of contrition, the Church of America the Redeemer has long promulgated a doctrine of self-forgiveness, freely available to all adherents all the time. "You think our country's so innocent?" the nation's 45th president recently barked at a TV host who had the temerity to ask how he could have kind words for the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Observers professed shock that a sitting president would openly question American innocence.

In fact, Trump's response and the kerfuffle that ensued both missed the point. No serious person believes that the United States is "innocent." Worshipers in the Church of America the Redeemer do firmly believe, however, that America's transgressions, unlike those of other countries, don't count against it. Once committed, such sins are simply to be set aside and then expunged, a process that allows American politicians and pundits to condemn a "killer" like Putin with a perfectly clear conscience while demanding that Donald Trump do the same.

What the Russian president has done in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria qualifies as criminal. What American presidents have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya qualifies as incidental and, above all, beside the point.

Rather than confronting the havoc and bloodshed to which the United States has contributed, those who worship in the Church of America the Redeemer keep their eyes fixed on the far horizon and the work still to be done in aligning the world with American expectations. At least they would, were it not for the arrival at center stage of a manifestly false prophet who, in promising to "make America great again," inverts all that "national greatness" is meant to signify.

For Brooks and his fellow believers, the call to "greatness" emanates from faraway precincts-in the Middle East, East Asia, and Eastern Europe. For Trump, the key to "greatness" lies in keeping faraway places and the people who live there as faraway as possible. Brooks et al. see a world that needs saving and believe that it's America's calling to do just that. In Trump's view, saving others is not a peculiarly American responsibility. Events beyond our borders matter only to the extent that they affect America's well-being. Trump worships in the Church of America First, or at least pretends to do so in order to impress his followers.

That Donald Trump inhabits a universe of his own devising, constructed of carefully arranged alt-facts, is no doubt the case. Yet, in truth, much the same can be said of David Brooks and others sharing his view of a country providentially charged to serve as the "successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome." In fact, this conception of America's purpose expresses not the intent of providence, which is inherently ambiguous, but their own arrogance and conceit. Out of that conceit comes much mischief. And in the wake of mischief come charlatans like Donald Trump.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History , now out in paperback .