“We gave Iraq a chance” – President Obama
Recent events in Iraq are a tiny foreshadowing of the horrors to come. A glance at smoldering Syria reveals Iraq’s fate if current events continue. And while such a crisis demands that something be done, the solutions offered will only expedite Iraq’s descent into a prolonged nightmare.
The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should strike terror in the hearts of all Iraqis. Unfortunately, there are anti-government groups in Iraq making the same foolish mistakes made by the Syrian opposition: both naively treat ISIS — and other al-Qaeda-type groups — as an ally towards bringing down the government. But ISIS remains the leader of this movement, and an ISIS-led government would be an unnecessary tragedy for all Iraqis.
The marriage between ISIS and the Iraqi opposition will be short, and the divorce brutal. Ultimately the broader Sunni-led opposition desperately needs a progressive vision for the country. Simply being anti-government is a shallow goal if the outcome is ISIS coming to power.
The other main force in Sunni-dominated politics are former Baathists, who simply want a return to an Iraq where they received special perks as they dominated the Shia population. Between the Baathists and ISIS the legitimate grievances of the broader Iraqi Sunni population have no representation in this fight.
Some argue that because ISIS is so horrific that U.S. military intervention is justified, since it would be an actual case of “humanitarian intervention.”
However, ISIS is a Frankensteinan monster raised by the Gulf state monarchies and aided and abetted by the Obama administration. The exceptional Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn recently wrote:
“Since the U.S. supports the Syrian opposition and the Syrian opposition is dominated by ISIS and al-Qa’ida groups, the Iranians wonder if the U.S. might not be complicit in the ISIS blitzkrieg that destabilised [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki and his Shia-dominated pro-Iranian government.”
Yes, Obama’s bloody fingerprints are all over this unfolding crime, which is why the U.S. cannot be relied on to have any positive impact. The U.S. government is incapable of using foreign policy in a “helpful” way. Indeed, the U.S. government prioritizes “U.S. interests,” which have continually led to the train wreck that is currently the Middle East. Obama’s “humanitarian” assistance in Syria is what led to the disaster now infecting Iraq.
Any U.S. intervention will also empower ISIS, since the majority of Iraqis want U.S. soldiers out of their country, and more U.S. soldiers will simply push the broader Sunni population into the arms of the Islamic extremists.
The Shia religious community of Iraq cannot save Iraq for similar reasons. The greater that the Shia community comes together to face ISIS, the more sectarian ammunition ISIS will have to agitate the broader Sunni community, who would otherwise be repulsed by ISIS’ ideology. The lunatic sectarianism of ISIS cannot be countered by a sectarian response without further dragging the country into chaos.
For similar reasons the Iranians can be no real help to the situation. Iran is in many ways the leader of the world’s Shia community, and thus despised by the Sunni extremists leading the revolt in Iraq. Any Iranian intervention will only help ISIS attract more recruits. Iran also has its own geo-political interests, which often prioritize brokering a peace/nuclear deal with the U.S. while Iraq and Syria are used as bargaining chips.
An increasingly popular idea to “save Iraq” among U.S. politicians has the greatest potential to destroy it. The solution of partition seems to be gaining ground, where Iraq will be splintered either into independent nations or autonomous zones dominated by a Sunni, Shia, and a Kurdish region. The U.S. loves partition because it creates weak, easily exploitable countries, giving greater power to U.S. allies in the region.
History has shown time and again that re-drawing borders on ethnic-religious grounds creates large scale ethnic-religious cleansing, as the new nation seeks to give its majority population a stronger political mandate by getting rid of minorities.
Those minorities who remain become official second class citizens, since they are not believers in the official faith or lack the official blood of the nation state. The splintering of Yugoslavia and India are especially good examples of how partition kills, while Israel and Saudi Arabia are good models that show the psychopathic discrimination embedded in a nation founded on religion.
Many politicians argue that Iraq’s partition is already complete, and refer to it as “de-facto partition.” They argue: why not make the reality official by drawing new boarders and creating new states? But such a move would just be the beginning of even greater conflicts, which will exacerbate ethnic-religious cleansing, intensify the war in Syria and give greater license for similar types of proxy wars toward an even greater disintegration of the Middle East.
All of the above solutions to Iraq’s problems are no solutions at all, and must be met with a truly progressive counter-force. The religious extremists who are working collaboratively with corporate politicians to tear apart the Middle East can’t be defeated by competing religious and business interests.
To fight the ideology of religious-ethnic division that is destroying the Middle East, a countervailing force is required which unites, that has the potential to unify the vast majority of people against the minority of economic-religious elites who pursue this destructive divide and rule strategy.
Sunnis, Shias and Kurds have more in common than differences, but their differences are being preyed upon and exacerbated by religious-corporate elites who profit by maintaining their despicable leadership over these communities.
Unity is possible when common interests are focused on, such as the dignity that all people desire that requires a decent, job, education, housing, health care, etc. A political vision that prioritizes these needs can create a new progressive movement, much like the pan-Arab socialist revolutionary movements that transformed the Middle East in the 1950’s and 60’s. But this means that the U.S. government, with its imperialist interests, must not be allowed to intervene.
The Middle East elites used ethnic and religious divisions and foreign intervention to defeat the pan-Arab movement, but the outcome for the Middle East has been nonstop catastrophe. The Middle East cannot be saved outside of a new ideology of political and economic unity, similar to the principles that drove the revolutionary pan-Arab socialist movement in the past.
Last Tuesday’s sudden capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city (population 1.8 million), by a coalition of Sunni forces led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was swiftly followed by the fall of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town. By Thursday morning the insurgents were reported to have advanced to the city of Samarra, only 80 miles north of Baghdad. Their lightning success has thrown the U.S. policy in the region into disarray. It creates a new global flashpoint at a time when the Obama administration has its hands full trying to manage regional emergencies, mostly of its own making, in Ukraine and in the Far East.
The most remarkable feature of the ongoing rebel offensive is that the Iraqi army and police units, although superior to the attackers in numbers and equipment, are melting away without a fight. The collapse of their morale, and especially the apparent inability of the government in Baghdad to maintain any semblance of command and control, is without precedent in an even semi-functional modern state. (Mali comes to mind, but sub-Saharan Africa is in a dysfunctional league of its own.) In Mosul, the insurgents captured a vast treasure-trove of U.S.-supplied arms abandoned by the Iraqi army soldiers as they fled. Last January’s fall of Falluja and Ramadi – for which hundreds of U.S. Marines gave their lives in the first decade of this century – now appears to have been a mere dress rehearsal for Mosul. After hundreds of taxpayer billions and thousands of American lives wasted on the war in Iraq before the withdrawal, it is now evident that the additional $14 billion that the United States has spent on arming, training and equipping the Iraqi security forces since December 2011 were also wasted. Even before the latest rebel advance the Iraqi army was ineffective and plagued by mass desertions, especially among its Sunni soldiers. Now that army can be seen for what it is: a sectarian Shi’ite militia, very well armed and equipped but atrociously trained and even worse led. Its top brass is uninterested in defending Sunni-majority areas in the northwest of the country, and its rank-and-file is deeply divided along sectarian lines. Unable and unwilling to develop any sense of loyalty or common purpose among its non-Shia recruits, NCOs and officers, the Iraqi army effectively does not exist.
It is equally noteworthy that Islamic militants have now joined forces with the Baathist leaders and military commanders from Saddam’s era (“Former Regime Elements,” FREs). Most prominently they include former vice-president Izzat al-Douri, who has evaded capture by the “Coalition” and by the Iraqi government for over a decade. Prior to 2003, people like al-Douri – a Baathist secularist – and various hard-core jihadist movements trying to undermine Saddam’s regime were mortal enemies. Their present ability to join forces is entirely due to their shared disdain for the sectarian Shia government in Baghdad. Of course they will not be able to offer a joint “vision” for a Sunni state carved out of what remains of Iraq, but they are eminently able to ensure that one-third of this once-prosperous Arab state will no longer be controlled from the center. The majority-Shia regions – approximately one-half of the territory and two-thirds of the population – will become even more closely linked to Iran, thus making a mockery of Geroge W. Bush’s post-WMD rationale for starting the war.
Particularly ironic is the fact that ISIS is the main fighting force battling Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The ISIS-affiliated jihadists in Aleppo and Raqqa (under whatever temporary label) are to this day aided and abetted by the U.S. government. The arms and equipment shipped via Turkey and Jordan and meant for the elusive Syrian “moderates” invariably end up in extremist hands. Across the border, in Iraq, these same people are the enemy of America and her chosen regime in Baghdad. All along, the group’s ideology and objectives are the same. They are openly proclaimed: there is nothing secretive about the ISIS goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and southeastern Turkey.
There is no coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq, or by inevitable association, in Syria. Both have been pushed to the back-burner in recent months, and both have been based either on wishful thinking or on pig-headed mendacity. The current chaos in Iraq reminds us of the extent to which U.S. interventions abroad are bad in principle if no vital American security and economic interests are involved. Malaki has asked for American air strikes, and even the return of boots on the ground, but this must not happen. No American interest is at stake in the ongoing Iraqi mess, and therefore no U.S. involvement is justified. It never was. Foreign intervention becomes inexcusable if its likely outcome is worse than the status quo. In Iraq the U.S. should not become an active ally of the sectarian Shia regime that cannot and will not either co-opt or corrupt its Sunni co-nationals. In Syria, it is clear that the only likely alternative to Bashar is a nosedive into terrorist jihadist mayhem. Both outcomes would be far worse from the vantage point of U.S. interests, geopolitically as well as morally, than letting things be as they are. The Bush administration, the U.S. government was a problem in creating the bloody Iraqi mess in 2003 and managing it thereafter. Washington’s evil and insane “foreign policy community” cannot be a solution to Iraq’s problems now, and never will be.
“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners.”
– Admiral Cecil Haney, commander, US Strategic Command on the deployment of B-2 stealth bombers to Europe.
“Against stupidity, no amount of planning will prevail.” – Carl von Clausewitz
Less than 24 hours after Ukraine’s new president Petro Poroshenko announced his determination to retake Crimea from Russia, US Admiral Cecil Haney confirmed that the US Air Force had deployed two B-2 stealth bombers to Europe to conduct military exercises. The addition of the multipurpose B-2, which is capable of delivering nuclear weapons, is intended to send a message to Moscow that the United States is prepared to provide backup for Ukraine’s fledgling government and to protect its interests in Central Asia. News of the deployment was reported in the Russian media, but was excluded by all the western news outlets.
The B-2 announcement was preceded by an inflammatory speech by Poroshenko at the presidential “swearing in” ceremony in Kiev. In what some analysts have called a “declaration of war”, Poroshenko promised to wrest control of Crimea from Russia which annexed the region just months earlier following a public referendum that showed 90 percent support for the measure. Here’s part of what Poroshenko said:
“The issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine is not subject to discussion…I have just sworn ‘with all my deeds to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,’ and I will always be faithful to this sacred promise…
“Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is and will be Ukrainian soil…Yesterday, in the course of the meeting in Normandy, I told this to President Putin: Crimea is Ukraine soil. Period. There can be no compromise on the issues of Crimea, European choice and state structure…” (New York Times)
On Thursday, the day before Poroshenko was sworn in, “President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron set a deadline for Russia to comply with its demands or face harsher economic sanctions that would be imposed by members of the G-7. Once again, the threat of new sanctions was largely ignored by the western media but was reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“To avoid even harsher sanctions.. Putin must meet three conditions: Recognize Petro Poroshenko’s election as the new leader in Kiev; stop arms from crossing the border; and cease support for pro-Russian separatist groups concentrated in eastern Ukraine.
“If these things don’t happen, then sectoral sanctions will follow…”
Obama said the G-7 leaders unanimously agree with the steps Cameron outlined.” (Haaretz)
The United States is ratcheting up the pressure in order to widen the conflict and force Russian president Vladimir Putin to meet their demands. It’s clear that the threat of sanctions, Poroshenko’s belligerent rhetoric, and the steady buildup of military assets and troops in the region, that Obama and Co. still think they can draw Putin into the conflict and make him look like a dangerous aggressor who can’t be trusted by his EU partners. Fortunately, Putin has not fallen into the trap. He’s resisted the temptation to send in the tanks to put an end to the violence in Donetsk, Lugansk and Slavyansk. This has undermined Washington’s plan to deploy NATO to Russia’s western border, assert control over the “bridgehead” between Europe and Asia, and stop the further economic integration between Russia and the EU. So far, Putin has out-witted his adversaries at every turn, but there are still big challenges ahead, particularly the new threats from Poroshenko.
If Poroshenko is determined to take Crimea back from Moscow, then there’s going to be a war. But there are indications that he is more pragmatic than his speeches would suggest. In a private meeting with Putin at the D-Day ceremonies in France, the Ukrainian president said he had a plan to “immediately stop the bloodshed”
Here’s how Putin summarized his meeting with Poroshenko:
“Poroshenko has a plan in this respect; it is up to him to say what kind of plan it is… I cannot say for sure how these plans will be implemented, but I liked the general attitude, it seemed right to me, so, if it happens this way, there will be conditions to develop our relations, in other areas, including economy.
“It’s important to stop the punitive actions in the southeast without a delay. That’s the only way to create conditions for the start of a real process of negotiations with the supporters of federalization. No one has yet said anything concrete to the people (living in the southeast of Ukraine) and nothing practical has been offered to them. People there simply don’t understand how they’ll live in the future and what the parameters of the new Constitution will look like.” (Poroshenko tells Putin of plan to immediately stop bloodshed in Ukraine, Itar-Tass)
If the report is accurate, then there’s reason to hope that Poroshenko is moving in Russia’s direction on most of the key issues which are; greater autonomy for the people in East Ukraine, Constitutional provisions that will protect them from future abuse by Kiev, and an immediate end to the violence. Putin has sought assurances on these issues from the very beginning of the crisis. Now it looks like he might get his way. Of course, it is impossible to know, since Poroshenko is sending mixed messages.
So why is Poroshenko sounding so conciliatory in his private meetings with Putin, but so belligerent in public?
It could be any number of things, but it probably has a lot to do with Monday’s scheduled tripartite meetings of representatives from the European Union, Ukraine and Russia. These meetings will have incalculable impact of Ukriane’s economic future. They will resolve the issues of price for future gas purchases as well as a plan for settling all previous claims. (Russia says that Ukraine owes $3.5 billion in back payments for natural gas.)
On April 1, Gazprom cancelled Ukraine’s discount and raised the price of gas to 485.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters nearly doubling the rate of payment. (It had been $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters) It is impossible to overstate the impact this will have Ukraine’s economy. Even Ukrainian hardline Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was candid in his dire assessment of the situation. He said, “I could have made a populist statement but it is not true. We cannot refrain from using Russian gas.”
If Poroshenko sounds conciliatory, this is why.
Putin refused to discuss the gas issue with the media, but implied that political developments in Ukraine would factor heavily into any decision by Gazprom.
“Russia will be compelled to enact economic protection measures to defend its market if Ukraine signs the association agreement with the EU. “As soon as that accord is signed, we’ll start taking measures to defend our economy,” Putin said. (Itar-Tass)
In other words, if Ukraine doesn’t play ball, it’s going to have to go-it-alone. Kiev cannot expect “most favored trade partner-status”, gas discounts, or other perks if they’re going to stab Moscow in the back and jump into bed with the EU. That’s just not the way things work. Putin is merely warning Poroshenko to think about what he’s about to do before taking the plunge. ( “Average gas prices for Ukrainian households began rising by more than 50 percent in May, and heating prices are expected to climb by about 40 percent, starting in July.” World Socialist Web Site)
This is a much more important issue that most analysts seem to grasp. Many seem to think that IMF, EU and US loans and other assistance can buoy Ukraine’s sinking economy and restore it to health. But that’s a pipedream. In a “must read” report by the Brookings Institute, authors Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes spell it out in black and white, that is, that “Ukraine is a prize that neither Russia nor the West can afford to win.” Here’s a clip from the text:
“It is clear to most observers that the West would not be able to defend Ukraine economically from a hostile Russia…The simple fact is that Russia today supports the Ukrainian economy to the tune of at least $5 billion, perhaps as much as $10 billion, each year…
When we talk about subsidies, we usually think of Russia’s ability to offer Ukraine cheap gas — which it does when it wants to. But there are many more ways Russia supports Ukraine, only they are hidden. The main support comes in form of Russian orders to Ukrainian heavy manufacturing enterprises. This part of Ukrainian industry depends almost entirely on demand from Russia. They wouldn’t be able to sell to anyone else…
If the West were somehow able to wrest full control of Ukraine from Russia, could the United States, the other NATO nations, and the EU replace Russia’s role in eastern Ukraine? The IMF, of course, would never countenance supporting these dinosaurs the way the Russians have. So the support would have to come in the way of cash transfers to compensate for lost jobs. How much are we talking about? The only known parallel for the amount of transfer needed is the case of German reunification. The transfer amounted to 2 trillion euros, or $2.76 trillion, over 20 years. If Ukraine has per capita income equal to one-tenth of Germany’s, then a minimum estimate is $276 billion to buy off the east. (In fact, since the population size of eastern Ukraine is larger than East Germany’s, this is an underestimate.) It is unthinkable that the West would pay this amount.” (Ukraine: A Prize Neither Russia Nor the West Can Afford to Win, Brookings)
The authors go on to show that “a NATO-affiliated Ukraine — is simply impossible under any real-world conditions” because it assumes that Russia will either “become an enthusiastic EU and NATO member itself” (or) “will it return to being the bankrupt, dependent, and compliant Russia of the 1990s.” In other words, the Obama administration’s strategic objectives in Ukraine do not jibe with economic reality. The US cannot afford to win in Ukraine, that’s the bottom line. Even so, we are convinced the aggression will persist regardless of the presumed outcome. The train has already left the station.
At the D-Day ceremonies, Putin and Poroshenko also met briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande although the content of their discussions was not revealed. Public support for the two leaders’ Ukraine policy is gradually withering as the fighting continues in the East without any end in sight. An article in the popular German newspaper Die Zeit indicates that elite opinion in Europe is gradually shifting and no longer sees Washington’s Ukraine policy as being in its interests.
Here’s a brief summary from the WSWS: “It goes on to argue that Washington’s aggression is laying the foundations for a Chinese-Russian-Iranian axis that “would force the West to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy to secure its access to important but dwindling raw materials such as oil.” In opposition to this, the commentary insists that Germany’s independent interests lie “with preserving and deepening Europe’s relations with Russia,” while pursuing similar ties with Iran.” (D-Day anniversary: Commemorating the Second World War and preparing the Third, World Socialist Web Site)
This is an important point and one that could put a swift end to US aggression in Ukraine. Washington’s objectives are at cross-purposes with those of the EU. The EU needs a reliable source of energy and one, like Russia, that will set its prices competitively without resorting to coercion or blackmail. Washington, on the other hand, intends to situate itself in this century’s most prosperous region, Eurasia, in order to control the flow of oil from East to West. This is not in Europe’s interests, but promises to be a source of conflict for the foreseeable future. Case in point: Just last week Bulgaria’s prime minister, Plamen Oresharski, “ordered a halt to work on Russia’s South Stream pipeline, on the recommendation of the EU. The decision was announced after his talks with US senators.”
According to RT News, Oresharski stopped construction after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday.
McCain, commenting on the situation, said that “Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues,” adding that in the current situation they would want “less Russian involvement” in the project.
“America has decided that it wants to put itself in a position where it excludes anybody it doesn’t like from countries where it thinks it might have an interest, and there is no economic rationality in this at all. Europeans are very pragmatic, they are looking for cheap energy resources – clean energy resources, and Russia can supply that. But the thing with the South Stream is that it doesn’t fit with the politics of the situation,” Ben Aris, editor of Business New Europe told RT.” (Bulgaria halts Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project, RT)
Once again, we can see how US meddling is damaging to Europe’s interests.
Western elites want to control the flow of gas and oil from East to West. This is why they’ve installed their puppet in Kiev, threatened to levy more sanctions on Moscow, and moved B-2 stealth bombers into the European theater. They are determined to succeed in their plan even if it triggers a Third World War.
In the past week, we discovered that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Islamic Al-Qaeda’s only prisoner of war, deserted his post while serving with his unit in Afghanistan. Instead of a hero’s welcome, he can expect a court martial with hard time.
In addition, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, broke the law by not conferring with Congress by giving 30 days notice when he bartered five mastermind Muslim terrorists back into their own ranks. Obama remains in contempt of the U.S. Constitution with a new status: he faces charges of aiding and abetting the enemy.
Both Bergdahl and Obama face hard questions on what it means to be serving our country. Both clearly think themselves above the law. Both clearly broke the law. Both need to face a court of justice.
“Yes, we resented Bergdahl,” said Evan Buetow, Bergdahl’s former Army team leader. “And we were upset with the fact that we were looking for this guy who we knew walked away.”
After Bergdahl deserted, six Army soldiers lost their lives trying to recover a man who walked away from his post. When the dust settles, Bergdahl faces a court martial for desertion. He faces hard time in a military prison.
Before he deserted, he emailed his parents this final note: “The US Army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies.”
His father, a Muslim, wrote back, “Dear Bowe, In matters of life and death, and especially at war, it is never safe to ignore one’s conscience.”
Three days later, at 5:30 a.m., a fellow soldier tried to awaken Bergdahl for guard duty. His body armor and weapon remained, but Bergdahl vanished.
A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that the evidence proved incontrovertibly that Bergdahl walked away from his unit. If Army brass fulfills their command duties, Bergdahl faces prison for desertion. He faces the wrath of the families of six other Army soldiers who lost their lives trying to recover the deserter.
On top of that intrigue on the world stage, Mr. Barack Obama, already shredding the U.S. Constitution with his “Fast and Furious” gun running, Benghazi cover-up, granting amnesty unlawfully, his lack of a valid Social Security number, sealing all his records to conceal his very questionable past, lack of enforcing our immigration laws, suing states to stop them from enforcing their immigration laws—and the list grows—now faces “aiding and abetting” the enemy by turning over, not just five Muslim ground grunts, but five of the biggest masterminds of the Islamic terrorist network. Those guys return to planning the next 9/11. How stupid would that make Barack Obama, himself a Muslim by his own admission? Answer: pretty smart! He captured the White House and now he aids the Islamic enemy by returning their best mastermind killers.
Additionally, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-CA) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (R-OK), wrote in a statement, “Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.”
The President broke the law by releasing the five GITMO terrorists. The law requires our sitting president to notify Congress at least 30 days in advance before transferring any prisoner out of GITMO. He gave no notification. He made a unilateral decision. There needs to be a full investigation and consequences – articles of impeachment, for starters.
What questions does this entire fiasco in our foreign policy bring to mind? Who runs our government if not a mob of madmen? What will history report on this myopic, misguided and dishonest president?
Why do we remain in Afghanistan for 12 years of killing, social insanity and over $1 trillion wasted on a goat-herder Islamic society? What kinds of minds drive such stupid, insidious and mindless wars like Iraq and Afghanistan? Why do we “educated and freedom-loving” Americans allow such stupidity to continue? Why do we allow our own government to carry on “private wars” with a volunteer army for the profits of corporations and bankers?
Is Bergdahl guilty of desertion or did he wake up to America’s war-prone insanity? Is Obama a sagacious president or a chronic liar?
We citizens of this Constitutional Republic need to ask ourselves if we want to continue our apathy that allows such pathetic leadership or engage in electing leaders who truly work for the intelligent future of America. If we elect more Obama’s, Harry Reid’s, Charles Schumer’s, John McCain’s, Mark Udall’s, Orrin Hatch’s, Barbara Boxer’s, Diane Feinstein’s and the like—we shall endure more Afghanistan’s with all the insanity created by endless wars and incompetent decisions by incompetent presidents.
Is Edward Snowden a radical? The dictionary defines a radical as “an advocate of political and social revolution”, the adjective form being “favoring or resulting in extreme or revolutionary changes”. That doesn’t sound like Snowden as far as what has been publicly revealed. In common usage, the term “radical” usually connotes someone or something that goes beyond the generally accepted boundaries of socio-political thought and policies; often used by the Left simply to denote more extreme than, or to the left of, a “liberal”.
In his hour-long interview on NBC, May 28, in Moscow, Snowden never expressed, or even implied, any thought – radical or otherwise – about United States foreign policy or the capitalist economic system under which we live, the two standard areas around which many political discussions in the US revolve. In fact, after reading a great deal by and about Snowden this past year, I have no idea what his views actually are about these matters. To be sure, in the context of the NBC interview, capitalism was not at all relevant, but US foreign policy certainly was.
Snowden was not asked any direct questions about foreign policy, but if I had been in his position I could not have replied to several of the questions without bringing it up. More than once the interview touched upon the question of whether the former NSA contractor’s actions had caused “harm to the United States”. Snowden said that he’s been asking the entire past year to be presented with evidence of such harm and has so far received nothing. I, on the other hand, as a radical, would have used the opportunity to educate the world-wide audience about how the American empire is the greatest threat to the world’s peace, prosperity, and environment; that anything to slow down the monster is to be desired; and that throwing a wrench into NSA’s surveillance gears is eminently worthwhile toward this end; thus, “harm” indeed should be the goal, not something to apologize for.
Edward added that the NSA has been unfairly “demonized” and that the agency is composed of “good people”. I don’t know what to make of this.
When the war on terrorism was discussed in the interview, and the question of whether Snowden’s actions had hurt that effort, he failed to take the opportunity to point out the obvious and absolutely essential fact – that US foreign policy, by its very nature, regularly and routinely creates anti-American terrorists.
When asked what he’d say to President Obama if given a private meeting, Snowden had no response at all to make. I, on the other hand, would say to Mr. Obama: “Mr. President, in your time in office you’ve waged war against seven countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. This makes me wonder something. With all due respect, sir: What is wrong with you?”
A radical – one genuine and committed – would not let such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass by unused. Contrary to what his fierce critics at home may believe, Edward Snowden is not seriously at war with America, its government or its society. Does he have a real understanding, analysis, or criticism of capitalism or US foreign policy? Does he think about what people could be like under a better social system? Is he, I wonder, even anti-imperialist?
And he certainly is not a conspiracy theorist, or at least keeps it well hidden. He was asked about 9-11 and replied:
The 9/11 commission … when they looked at all the classified intelligence from all the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed … to detect this plot. We actually had records of the phone calls from the United States and out. The CIA knew who these guys were. The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we had.
Whereas I might have pointed out that the Bush administration may have ignored the information because they wanted something bad – perhaps of unknown badness – to happen in order to give them the justification for all manner of foreign and domestic oppression they wished to carry out. And did. (This scenario of course excludes the other common supposition, that it was an “inside job”, in which case collecting information on the perpetrators would not have been relevant.)
The entire segment concerning 9/11 was left out of the television broadcast of the interview, although some part of it was shown later during a discussion. This kind of omission is of course the sort of thing that feeds conspiracy theorists.
All of the above notwithstanding, I must make it clear that I have great admiration for the young Mr. Snowden, for what he did and for how he expresses himself. He may not be a radical, but he is a hero. His moral courage, nerve, composure, and technical genius are magnificent. I’m sure the NBC interview won him great respect and a large number of new supporters. I, in Edward’s place, would be even more hated by Americans than he is, even if I furthered the radicalization of more of them than he has. However, I of course would never have been invited onto mainstream American television for a long interview in prime time. (Not counting my solitary 15 minutes of fame in 2006 courtesy of Osama bin Laden; a gigantic fluke happening.)
Apropos Snowden’s courage and integrity, it appears that something very important has not been emphasized in media reports: In the interview, he took the Russian government to task for a new law requiring bloggers to register – the same government which holds his very fate in their hands.
Who is more exceptional: The United States or Russia?
I was going to write a commentary about President Obama’s speech to the graduating class at the US Military Academy (West Point) on May 28. When he speaks to a military audience the president is usually at his most nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist – wall-to-wall platitudes. But this talk was simply TOO nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist. (“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”) To go through it line by line in order to make my usual wise-ass remarks, would have been just too painful. However, if you’re in a masochistic mood and wish to read it, it can be found here.
Instead I offer you part of a commentary from Mr. Jan Oberg, Danish director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research in Lund, Sweden:
What is conspicuously lacking in the President’s West Point speech?
- Any reasonably accurate appraisal of the world and the role of other nations.
- A sense of humility and respect for allies and other countries in this world.
- Every element of a grand strategy for America for its foreign and security policy and some kind of vision of what a better world would look like. This speech with all its tired, self-aggrandising rhetoric is a thin cover-up for the fact that there is no such vision or overall strategy.
- Some little hint of reforms of existing institutions or new thinking about globalisation and global democratic decision-making.
- Ideas and initiatives – stretched-out hands – to help the world move towards conflict-resolution in crisis areas such as Ukraine, Syria, Libya, China-Japan and Iran. Not a trace of creativity.
Ironically, on May 30 the Wall Street Journal published a long essay by Leon Aron, a Russia scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The essay took Russian president Vladimir Putin to task for claiming that Russia is exceptional. The piece was headed:
“Why Putin Says Russia Is Exceptional”
“Such claims have often heralded aggression abroad and harsh crackdowns at home.”
It states: “To Mr. Putin, in short, Russia was exceptional because it was emphatically not like the modern West – or not, in any event, like his caricature of a corrupt, morally benighted Europe and U.S. This was a bad omen, presaging the foreign policy gambits against Ukraine that now have the whole world guessing about Mr. Putin’s intentions.”
So the Wall Street Journal has no difficulty in ascertaining that a particular world leader sees his country as “exceptional”. And that such a perception can lead that leader or his country to engage in aggression abroad and crackdowns at home. The particular world leader so harshly judged in this manner by the Wall Street Journal is named Vladimir Putin, not Barack Obama. There’s a word for this kind of analysis – It’s called hypocrisy.
“Hypocrisy is anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.” – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi, (1828-1910) Russian writer
Is hypocrisy a moral failing or a failing of the intellect?
The New Cold War is getting to look more and more like the old one, wherein neither side allows the other to get away with any propaganda point. Just compare any American television network to the Russian station broadcast in the United States – RT (formerly Russia Today). The contrast in coverage of the same news events is remarkable, and the stations attack and make fun of each other by name.
Another, even more important, feature to note is that in Cold War I the United States usually had to consider what the Soviet reaction would be to a planned American intervention in the Third World. This often served as a brake to one extent or another on Washington’s imperial adventures. Thus it was that only weeks after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the United States bombed and invaded Panama, inflicting thousands of casualties and widespread destruction, for the flimsiest – bordering on the non-existent – of reasons. The hostile Russian reaction to Washington’s clear involvement in the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in February of this year, followed by Washington’s significant irritation and defensiveness toward the Russian reaction, indicates that this Cold War brake may have a chance of returning. And for this we should be grateful.
After the “communist threat” had disappeared and the foreign policy of the United States continued absolutely unchanged, it meant that the Cold War revisionists had been vindicated – the conflict had not been about containing an evil called “communism”; it had been about American expansion, imperialism and capitalism. If the collapse of the Soviet Union did not result in any reduction in the American military budget, but rather was followed by large increases, it meant that the Cold War – from Washington’s perspective – had not been motivated by a fear of the Russians, but purely by ideology.
Lest we forget: Our present leaders can derive inspiration from other great American leaders.
White House tape recordings, April 25, 1972:
President Nixon: How many did we kill in Laos?
National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen [thousand] …
Nixon: See, the attack in the North [Vietnam] that we have in mind … power plants, whatever’s left – POL [petroleum], the docks … And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?
Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.
Nixon: No, no, no … I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.
Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.
May 2, 1972:
Nixon: America is not defeated. We must not lose in Vietnam. … The surgical operation theory is all right, but I want that place bombed to smithereens. If we draw the sword, we’re gonna bomb those bastards all over the place. Let it fly, let it fly.
“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” – Michael Ledeen, former Defense Department consultant and holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute
- William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 50
- Jonah Goldberg, “Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two”, National Review, April 23, 2002
President Barack Obama delivered his most belligerent and menacing speech to date at the US Military Academy at West Point. Aside from the lofty rhetoric we’ve come to expect in every Obama presentation, the president’s commencement address was a defiant restating of the Bush Doctrine of unilateral intervention, executive authority and endless warfare. The speech contained no new initiatives or surprises, but emphasized Obama’s unwavering support for the policies which have plunged large parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Eurasia into civil conflict, economic collapse and war. Obama defended US aggression on the grounds of “American exceptionalism”, the dubious idea that Americans are special and cannot be held to the same standards as others. The theory implies that Washington’s relentless war-mongering and killing of civilians cannot be prosecuted under international law because the US is a law unto itself.
“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Obama. “But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”
Obama’s statement is deliberately misleading. As the president knows, the Bush administration notified U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the US would withdraw from the International Criminal Court Treaty in May 2002 just prior to the invasion of Iraq claiming that the ICC treaty put U.S. service members and officials at risk of prosecution by a court that is “unaccountable to the American people.” In retrospect, we can see that Bush and his lieutenants wanted to remove themselves from any accountability for the atrocities and crimes against humanity they planned to perpetrate in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thus, exceptionalism does not affirm Washington’s willingness to comply with “international norms and the rule of law” as Obama says, but to absolve US leaders from any responsibility for their habitual war-making. As policy analyst Noam Chomsky has said many times, “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”
Here’s Obama again: “Let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency: The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it… International opinion matters, but America should never ask permission to protect our people, our homeland or our way of life.”
In other words, the United States will do whatever the hell it wants to and if you don’t like it: “Too bad”. This is the Bush Doctrine verbatim. The West Point oration proves that the new administration has simply modified the Bush credo to suit Obama’s pretentious speaking style. Strip out the visionary formulations, the grandiose bloviating, and the sweeping hand gestures and the ideas are virtually identical; unilateralism, preemption, and exceptionalism, the toxic combo that has spurred 13 years of war, occupation, regime change, black sites, extra-judicial assassinations, drone attacks, and hyperbolic state terror most of which has been directed at civilian populations whose only fault is that they occupy regions where vast petroleum reserves have been discovered or which have some fleeting strategic importance to Washington’s war planners. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the World Socialist Web Site titled “Obama’s West Point speech: A prescription for unending war” by Bill Van Auken:
“Obama is not elaborating here a policy of defensive war to be waged only in response to an attack or the threat of an imminent attack. He is spelling out that the US reserves the right to intervene militarily wherever it believes its “core interests”—i.e., the access of its corporations and banks to markets, raw materials, cheap labor and profits—are involved.
When he speaks of “our livelihoods” and “our way of life,” he is referring not to the ever-declining living standards of the American worker, but to the eight-figure compensation packages of American CEOs, whose fortunes are founded on the exploitation of the working populations and resources of the entire planet…
Everything put forward by Obama is a repudiation of international law and an endorsement of the policy of aggressive war practiced by the Nazis three-quarters of a century ago.” (Obama’s West Point speech: A prescription for unending war, Bill Van Auken, WSWS)
Here’s Obama again defending his malignant foreign policy in terms of “leadership”:
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
Obama finds it easy to praise the people who fight his wars, even while he stealthily carries out a plan to privatize the Veterans Administration. Check out this blurb from an article titled “VA secretary resigns amid push to privatize US veterans’ health care”:
“Obama and members of Congress have responded to the VHA scandal with a breathtaking level of cynicism and hypocrisy, even by Washington standards … according to many lawmakers, the answer to this crisis is not the appropriation of funds to hire new doctors and other medical professionals, but the dismantling of the government program in order to provide a profit windfall to private insurers and health industry firms. The result of this policy will be less care at greater cost to veterans…
Under the “Veterans Choice Plan” being promoted by Rep. Andy Harris (Republican of Maryland), veterans could either choose to continue receiving care through the VHA or go to a private provider of their choosing. In what amounts to a voucher system, the federal government would cover the cost of insurance premiums and some out-of-pocket costs, depending on a veteran’s priority ranking…
The moves to privatize veterans’ health care underscore the hypocrisy of the bipartisan glorification of soldiers and veterans. It also sets a precedent for privatizing Medicare and Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor.” (VA secretary resigns amid push to privatize US veterans’ health care, WSWS)
Is there any doubt that Obama forced General Eric Shinseki to step down so he could start to dismantle the VA? And if Obama cares so much about veterans, then why hasn’t he spoken out before about other veteran-related issues like the epidemic of suicides, rapes, traumatic brain injury or PTSD? Obama’s phony outrage is just a headline-grabbing gimmick to conceal what’s really going on, which is the VA is being handed over to America’s insatiable health care tycoons on a silver platter.
Obama again: “For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America, at home and abroad, remains terrorism, but a strategy that involves invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naïve and unsustainable. I believe we must shift our counterterrorism strategy, drawing on the successes and shortcomings of our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.”
Obama’s comment absurdly implies that the US has learned from its past mistakes and has fine-tuned the art of counterterrorism so it doesn’t involve the squandering of valuable resources. What a joke. It’s like listening to a Mafia hit-man boast that he ‘s learned how to save money on ammo by strangling his victims with his bare hands. This is also a good example of how the Dems think they’re more effective (and discreet) in executing the elitist/corporate agenda than their rivals in the GOP. As if that was the purpose of the party!
Obama also made a few perfunctory remarks about closing Guantanamo, ending indefinite detention and taking steps to address climate change. But clearly these had nothing to do with the main thrust of the speech which was to announce his intention to expand the wars abroad. Citing hotspots in Syria, Ukraine and the South China Sea, Obama promised to “lead” with the military, asserting, by implication, dominion over these regions where the US claims to have “national interests”. Obama is as committed as his predecessor, Bush, to rule by force of arms even though his current adversaries (Russia and China) are not ragtag militias in sandals, but nuclear-armed nation-states who could level the better part of the planet with a flip of the switch. Even so, Obama is determined to pursue the same provocative strategy whatever the risks increasing the probability of a miscalculation that ends in a mushroom cloud.
President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.
“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”
This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries – in other words, power – in China’s favor.
In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition.
As for the “global leadership,” it is unclear what exactly Obama had in mind. Russia and China are creating a powerful Eurasian counterweight to what they rightly perceive as Washington’s continuing bid for the global hegemony. India’s new prime minister is a potential partner at best, and certainly loath to acknowledge America’s “leadership.” In the Islamic world, Obama’s attempts at appeasement – which started with the Cairo speech in 2009 – have not worked: The U.S. is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George W. Bush. America is heartily disliked even in Turkey and Jordan, presumably our allies, not least because of the continuing drone strikes. American influence in Latin America is weaker now than at any time since Theodore Roosevelt, as manifested in the unanimous rejection of Washington’s efforts to effect a regime change in Venezuela. Members of the American elite class are hard pressed to name a single country with which the U.S. has better relations today than five years ago. The NSA global spying network has infuriated even some otherwise reliable American friends in Western Europe. Most “Old Europeans” are remarkably resistant to U.S. pressure to agree to serious sanctions against Russia.
On balance it appears that Barack Obama is the one misreading history and engaging in partisan politics.
“Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative.”
In reality, by most value-neutral parameters the American economy is chronically weak and insolvent:
- Far from growing, the economy contracted in the first three months of this year at the annualized rate of one per cent, and it is unclear where future growth would come from. Gross domestic income is also falling sharply, for the first time in years.
- There are fewer workers, they are less efficient than a decade ago, and new employment is mostly in low-paying part-time jobs. Labor force participation (the percentage of Americans at work) is low, at levels not seen since the stagnant economy of the 1970s. One-fifth of 80 million American families do not have a single employed member.
- Government dependence has reached epidemic levels: the number of Americans getting money or benefits from the federal government exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million. Welfare spending and entitlement payments account for 69 percent of the federal budget.
- One-third of all American households are living hand-to-mouth, one paycheck from poverty. The median annual income is 7.5 percent lower than in January 2008.
- The inflation-adjusted S&P500 is back to where it was in 2007. The single biggest buyer of stocks are the companies of the S&P500 itself. At $4 trillion, stock buybacks account for one-fifth of the total stock market value. The biggest buyback in market history added zero productive value to the companies concerned.
- The mountain of debt is nearing $17.5 trillion. The drivers of growing deficits and debt in the future are unfunded entitlement programs that are designed to transfer resources from working people to retirees. When the government pension and health care commitments which are missing from official budget figures are accounted for, the total national debt is nearly $95 trillion, more than seven times the published figure.
- The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is almost over. Russia and China have joined forces in “de-dollarization” of their mutual transactions and are looking for a more productive and safe use for their monetary reserves. Their recent gas deal is the beginning of the end for the petrodollar. Eventually Washington will have to choose between an outright default and hyperinflation, and the rest of the world is waking up to that fact.
Some “dynamism,” some “innovation”…
“America continues to attract striving immigrants.”
Obama’s statement is correct. It does not illustrate America’s alleged strength as was his intent, however; it underscores this country’s major weakness. Illegal immigration is spiraling out of control, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed. If the influx continues at current high levels, the U.S. population will increase to almost half a billion in 2060 – more than a 50 percent increase. New immigrants – mostly from the Third World, unskilled, uneducated, and a net drain on American resources – and their descendants will account for over one hundred million of that increase. On current form, English-speaking Americans of European origin will become a minority in their own country four decades from now. They will inhabit an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, permanently impoverished country. America unfortunately does continue “to attract striving immigrants,” mostly illegal ones and of poor quality. This is far greater threat to the survival of the United States in a historically or culturally recognizable form than terrorism or any conceivable alliance of foreign powers. Barack Obama does not understand this, or does not care, or – just as likely – cherishes the prospect.
“The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.”
By “public squares” Obama was probably alluding to Kiev’s Maidan. Indeed, it has propelled some “new movements” to global prominence, such as the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. The Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn that, in the opinion of the President of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnybok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs to Stepan Bandera. This is on par with Senator Joseph Lieberman saying, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help.”
Obama is mixing apples (natural disasters) and pears (man-made ones). The problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria was exacerbated by the refusal of the Department of State under Hillary Clinton to place Boko Haram (“Secular Education is Sinful”) on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen. The de facto protection thus given to Boko Haram has enabled it to morph into a state-within-the-state with an estimated 300,000 followers.
It would be ironic if “the world” were to look to America for help in Ukraine (which in any event it does not), since the course of crisis there has been, overwhelmingly, of Washington’s own making, as manifested in Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to Ambassador Pyatt. The new Drang nach Ostenmakes sense from the point of view of the liberal globalist-neoconservative duopoly: there is no better way to ensure U.S. dominance along the European rimland in perpetuity than drawing Europe back into NATO (i.e. U.S.) security orbit in general and subverting the Russo-German rapprochement in particular. The “masked men” in buildings are a direct consequence of American meddling.
“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”
It has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech, where he explained why he intervened, disastrously, in Bosnia: “The fact is America remains the indispensable nation. There are times when America, and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear.” That Obama has chosen to recycle such rubbish is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. “Indispensable” to whom, exactly? It is unimaginable for the leader of any other country in the world – Vladimir Putin, say, or Xi Jinping – to advance such a claim. It is tasteless at best and psychotically grandomaniac at worst, a latter day “Manifest Destiny” on steroids. The problem is that such hubristic delusions easily translate into non-negotiable foreign policy objectives. Resisting the will of the “indispensable nation” is ipso facto evil: Susan Rice’s condemnation of Chinese and Russian vetoes of the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution on Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable” comes to mind.
“Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”
Quite apart from the genesis of the crisis in Ukraine, to which “Russia’s aggression” hardly applies, Obama’s use of the term “former Soviet states,” plural, implies that in his opinion Ukraine is not the only “victim of Russia’s aggression.” Presumably he means Georgia, the only “former Soviet state” with which Russia has had a conflict since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If so, and there is no other explanation for his turn of his phrase, Obama has a dangerously flawed understanding of the August 2008 Georgian crisis.
Georgian then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order to attack South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was a breathtakingly audacious challenge to Russia, to which she was bound to react forcefully. That response was promptly exploited, for the first time since Gorbachev, by the American mainstream media machine and the foreign-policy community in Washington to paint Russia as a rogue power that is not only dangerous but intrinsically malignant. The vehemence of that rhetoric exceeded anything ever said or written about jihad, before or after September 11. To be fair, Saakashvili was led to believe that he was tacitly authorized to act as he did. President George W. Bush had treated Georgia as a “strategic partner” ever since the Western-engineered “Rose Revolution” five years earlier, and in early 2008 he strongly advocated NATO membership for Georgia. Washington had repeatedly supported Georgia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which implied the right to use force to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to heel, just as it is supporting “resolute action” in Donetsk and Lugansk today. Saakashvili may be forgiven for imagining that the United States would have bailed him out if things went badly. It is noteworthy that he was not disabused of such notions. The calculus in Washington appears to have been based on a win-win scenario, not dissimilar to the current Ukrainian strategy. Had Georgian troops occupied South Ossetia in a blitzkrieg operation modeled after Croatia’s “Operation Storm,” while the Russians remained hesitant or ineffective, Moscow would have suffered a major strategic and (more importantly) psychological defeat after almost four years of sustained strategic recovery. If Russia intervened, however, she would be duly demonized and the U.S. would push for NATO consolidation with new vigor. “Old” Europeans – the Germans especially – would be pressed to abandon their détente with Moscow. A resentful Georgia would become chronically anti-Russian, thus ensuring a long-term American presence in the region.
In the event, like the Ukrainian army today, the Georgian army performed so poorly that a military fait accompli was out of its reach. Excesses against Ossetian civilians – just like the shelling of schools in Slavyansk today – made the “victim of aggression” narrative hard to sell, Obama’s “aggression” rhetoric notwithstanding.
“The question we face… is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”
It is unclear how, if at all, America will secure her own “peace and prosperity” in the years and decades to come, let alone how she can extend it “around the globe.” If this is a statement of Obama’s grand strategy, it is flawed in principle and unfeasible in detail. In this statement there is not a hint of an overall blueprint for action that matches our country’s resources to her vital interests. A sound grand strategy enables a state to deploy its political, military, economic, and moral resources in a balanced and proportionate manner, in order to protect and enhance its security and promote its well-being, never mind “the globe.” In Obama’s universe, however, there are no brains behind “indispensable,” heavy-handed diplomacy and military power. Obama creates a false dilemma (“the question we face”) unsupported by facts. China, India, Russia, the Muslim world and Latin America do not want to be “led,” quite the contrary. Old Europe is reluctant at best. Subsaharan Africa is an irrelevant mess. The question we face is not global leadership, but national survival.
“Regional aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world, will ultimately impact our allies, and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries.”
This simultaneous dig at Russia and China reflects a hubristic world view that is unmatched by conflict-management resources. A sane American relationship with Moscow demands acceptance that Russia has legitimate interests in her “near-abroad.” Obama’ four-nation tour of East Asia last Aprilescalated existing U.S. military commitments to the region, created some new ones, deeply irritated China, and emboldened American allies and clients to play hardball with Beijing. Obama does not understand that it is extremely dangerous for a great power to alienate two of its nearest rivals simultaneously. The crisis in Ukraine is going on, but the situation in Asia is potentially more volatile. Dealing with both theaters from the position of presumed strength and trying to dictate the outcomes is perilous, as many would-be hegemons (Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler), blinded by arrogance, have learned to their peril. Obama has continued the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. U.S. overreach led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in the gas deal signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony, pardon, “leadership.” In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
The notion that “the world stage” demands a “leader” is flawed. It is at fundamental odds with the balance-of-power paradigm, which has historically secured the longest periods of peace and unprecedented prosperity to the civilized world. Today’s world is being multipolarized, whether Obama the Exceptionalist likes that or not. The very idea of the self-awarded “world leadership” would appear absurd in the days of Bismarck or Metternich. Washington has neither the resources nor the minds for such a role, even if it were called for.
“The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”
None of the above applied in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya… but enough of Obama. There was more rhetoric at West Point, including an ode to American exceptionalism and further references to America’s global leadership, but it just as tedious, vacuous and intellectually wanting as the first ten minutes of his address.
Overall, it is evident that the United States in Barack Obama’s final term has not given up the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the management resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. It will be a belated equivalent of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1893 – the predictable result of an earlier great power, Wilhelm’s Kaiserreich, basing its strategy on hubristic overestimation of its capabilities. U.S. overreach has led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in last month’s energy agreement signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. It is unfortunate that America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
Judging by the West Point address, for the remaining two and a half years of Obama’s term U.S.-initiated global confrontations will continue as before. Instead of de-escalating the bloody mess to which she has made a hefty contribution, Victoria Nuland will continue encouraging her blood-soaked protégés in Kiev to seek a military end-game in the East. Instead of calming the South China Sea, Washington will continue encouraging its clients to be impertinent. And Putin and Xi will draw their conclusions: that they do have a powerful common enemy, a rogue regime not amenable to reason or rational calculus.
It cannot be otherwise, considering the Obama Administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which is but a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words from two years ago, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserts that the task of the United States is to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” This is not a grand strategy but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the interventionists’ urge to “confront and defeat” not only aggression as such but also “aggression” resulting from internal conflicts irrelevant to the American interest (Syria, Ukraine) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran).
Obama is a more reluctant interventionist than McCain or Romney would have been, but he, too, does not recognize the limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. He fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. He rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again, while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline. Obama’s absence of a viable grand strategy produces policies that are disjointed, nonsensical, and self-defeating. He is prone, no less than his predecessor, to equate any stated political objective in some faraway land with America’s vital interests, without ever offering a coherent definition of those “vital” interests.
On both sides of the duopoly, the ideology of American exceptionalism and the doctrine of global dominance reign supreme. At a time of domestic economic weakness and cultural decline, foreign policy based on the American interest requires prudence, restraint, and a rational link between ends and means. Abroad, it demands disengagement from distant countries of which we know little; at home, a sane immigration policy.
It will not happen.
The damaging of Iran’s centrifuges through the Stuxnet virus a year or so back can only be considered an act of war (certainly the Iranians see it that way!). Is the President authorized to commit acts of war against Iran? I have yet to meet any foreign policy wonk who thinks so. The closest thing to an “authorization to use military force (AUMF)” they can come up with is Article 2 of the Constitution. All I find there is the vesting of executive power in the President and the naming him “Commander in Chief”. The article goes on to state the President shall “from time to time” recommend to the “Consideration” of Congress “such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” (This in contradistinction to the explicit right of Congress to declare war in Article 1).
Only a constitutional lawyer of John Yoo’s caliber could take this to mean President Obama (or Bush, under whom it all started) is authorized to commit acts of war against Iran. But I have heard of no move to hold the president accountable for violating the constitution. Maybe that should yet be considered, as the question of what hostile acts the president is authorized to engage in has assumed a qualitatively larger dimension with the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. Is Obama authorized to commit acts of war against Russia?
The idea may seem preposterous, but consider this. Even before the confrontation began, back last July, a Russian space launch, which was to place a satellite in orbit as part of Russia’s attempt to build a global positioning system (GPS) competitive with our own, failed spectacularly while being broadcast live on national TV. Then, in May, another launch carrying a $200 million telecommunications satellite failed. Such failures can hardly be blamed on Russian ineptitude in space technology as we rely on their rocket engines for our own launches, including shuttling astronauts to the International Space Station. By comparison, the European space agency has not suffered a launch failure in 12 years.
Then, in early March, there was a major fire at the largest refinery in Europe, which happens to be in Russia. Here’s a photo of it:
At that time, you may recall, Russia’s annexation of the Crimea appeared imminent. Finally, in late April there was a massive explosion at an ammunition depot in Siberia (There have been a number of ammo dump explosions over the last few years).
Are we committing acts of war against Russia?* Is the president authorized to engage in such hostile acts? Consider that Iranian centrifuges would still be blowing up without the Iranians knowing why or we being aware our government was at war with Iran if the Iranians (with Russian help) hadn’t discovered the Stuxnet virus. It might be well to press the president on this point before we learn the hard way why the Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, placed the power to declare war exclusively in the hands of the legislative branch.
*If we are, I think I know how we are doing it; but, lest you reclassify me from conspiracy nut to bona fide wacko, I’ll keep it to myself (just two words: Star Wars).
Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.
Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.
The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree.
President Lincoln issued an executive order for the arrest and imprisonment of northern newspaper reporters and editors. He shut down 300 northern newspapers and held 14,000 political prisoners. Lincoln arrested war critic US Representative Clement Vallandigham from Ohio and exiled him to the Confederacy. President Woodrow Wilson used WWI to suppress free speech, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt used WWII to intern 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent on the grounds that race made them suspect. Professor Samuel Walker concluded that President George W. Bush used the “war on terror” for an across the board assault on US civil liberty, making the Bush regime the greatest danger American liberty has ever faced.
Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution.
The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”
Southern secession did pose a threat to Washington’s empire, but not to the American people.Neither the Germans of WWI vintage nor the Germans and Japanese of WWII vintage posed any threat to the US. As historians have made completely clear, Germany did not start WWI and did not go to war for the purpose of territorial expansion. Japan’s ambitions were in Asia. Hitler did not want war with England and France. Hitler’s territorial ambitions were mainly to restore German provinces stripped from Germany as WWI booty in violation of President Wilson’s guarantees. Any other German ambitions were to the East. Neither country had any plans to invade the US. Japan attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor hoping to remove an obstacle to its activities in Asia, not as a precursor to an invasion of America.
Certainly the countries ravaged by Bush and Obama in the 21st century–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen posed no military threat to the US. Indeed, these were wars used by a tyrannical executive branch to establish the basis of the Stasi State that now exists in the US.
The truth is hard to bear, but the facts are clear. America’s wars have been fought in order to advance Washington’s power, the profits of bankers and armaments industries, and the fortunes of US companies. Marine General Smedley Butler said, “ I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”
It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars.
For the entirety of the 21st century the US has been at war, not war against massed armies or threats to American freedom, but wars against civilians, against women, children, and village elders, and wars against our own liberty. Elites with a vested interest in these wars tell us that the wars will have to go on for another 20 to 30 years before we defeat “the terrorist threat.”
This, of course, is nonsense. There was no terrorist threat until Washington began trying to create terrorists by military attacks, justified by lies, on Muslim populations.
Washington succeeded with its war lies to the point that Washington’s audacity and hubris have outgrown Washington’s judgment.
By overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine, Washington has brought the United States into confrontation with Russia. This is a confrontation that could end badly, perhaps for Washington and perhaps for the entire world.
If Gaddafi and Assad would not roll over for Washington, why does Washington think Russia will? Russia is not Libya or Syria. Washington is the bully who having beat up the kindergarden kid, now thinks he can take on the college linebacker.
The Bush and Obama regimes have destroyed America’s reputation with their incessant lies and violence against other peoples. The world sees Washington as the prime threat.
Worldwide polls consistently show that people around the world regard the US and Israel as the two countries that pose the greatest threat to peace. http://www.ibtimes.com/gallup-poll-biggest-threat-world-peace-america-1525008 and
The countries that Washington’s propaganda declares to be “rogue states” and the “axis of evil,” such as Iran and North Korea, are far down the list when the peoples in the world are consulted. It could not be more clear that the world does not believe Washington’s self-serving propaganda. The world sees the US and Israel as the rogue states.
The US and Israel are the only two countries in the world that are in the grip of ideologies. The US is in the grip of the Neoconservative ideology which has declared the US to be the “exceptional, indispensable country” chosen by history to exercise hegemony over all others. This ideology is buttressed by the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines that are the basis of US foreign policy.
The Israeli government is in the grip of the Zionist ideology that declares a “greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. Many Israelis themselves do not accept this ideology, but it is the ideology of the “settlers” and those who control the Israeli government.
Ideologies are important causes of war. Just as the Hitlerian ideology of German superiority is mirrored in the Neoconservative ideology of US superiority, the Communist ideology that the working class is superior to the capitalist class is mirrored in the Zionist ideology that Israelis are superior to Palestinians. Zionists have never heard of squatters’ rights and claim that recent Jewish immigrants into Palestine–invaders really–have the right to land occupied by others for millenniums.
Washington’s and Israel’s doctrines of superiority over others do not sit very well with the ”others.” When Obama declared in a speech that Americans are the exceptional people, Russia’s President Putin responded, “God created us all equal.”
To the detriment of its population, the Israeli government has made endless enemies. Israel has effectively isolated itself in the world. Israel’s continued existence depends entirely on the willingness and ability of Washington to protect Israel. This means that Israel’s power is derivative of Washington’s power.
Washington’s power is a different story. As the only economy standing after WWII, the US dollar became the world money. This role for the dollar has given Washington financial hegemony over the world, the main source of Washington’s power. As other countries rise, Washington’s hegemony is imperiled.
To prevent other countries from rising, Washington invokes the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines. To be brief, the Brzezinski doctrine says that in order to remain the only superpower, Washington must control the Eurasian land mass. Brzezinski is willing for this to occur peacefully by suborning the Russian government into Washington’s empire. ”A loosely confederated Russia . . . a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” In other words, break up Russia into associations of semi-autonomous states whose politicians can be suborned by Washington’s money.
Brzezinski propounded “a geo-strategy for Eurasia.” In Brzezinski’s strategy, China and “a confederated Russia” are part of a “transcontinental security framework,” managed by Washington in order to perpetuate the role of the US as the world’s only superpower.
I once asked my colleague, Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over others is the only foreign policy that Washington knows.
The mindset that America must prevail set the stage for the Neoconservatives and their 21st century wars, which, with Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, has resulted in a crisis that has brought Washington into direct conflict with Russia.
I know the strategic institutes that serve Washington. I was the occupant of the William E.Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a dozen years. The idea is prevalent that Washington must prevail over Russia in Ukraine or Washington will lose prestige and its superpower status.
The idea of prevailing always leads to war once one power thinks it has prevailed.
The path to war is reinforced by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual who formulated US military and foreign policy doctrine, wrote among many similar passages:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere [China], that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit.
The difference between Brzezinski and the Neoconservatives is that Brzezinski wants to suborn Russia and China by including them in the empire as important elements whose voices would be heard, If only for diplomatic reasons, whereas the Neoconservatives are prepared to rely on military force combined with internal subversion orchestrated with US financed NGOs and even terrorist organizations.
Neither the US nor Israel is embarrassed by their worldwide reputations as the two countries that pose the greatest threat. In fact, both countries are proud to be recognized as the greatest threats. The foreign policy of both countries is devoid of any diplomacy. US and Israeli foreign policy rests on violence alone. Washington tells countries to do as Washington says or be “bombed into the stone age.” Israel declares all Palestinians, even women and children, to be “terrorists,” and proceeds to shoot them down in the streets, claiming that Israel is merely protecting itself against terrorists. Israel, which does not recognize the existence of Palestine as a country, covers up its crimes with the claim that Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel.
“We don’t need no stinking diplomacy. We got power.”
This is the attitude that guarantees war, and that is where the US is taking the world. The prime minister of Britain, the chancellor of Germany, and the president of France are Washington’s enablers. They provide the cover for Washington. Instead of war crimes, Washington has “coalitions of the willing” and military invasions that bring “democracy and women’s rights” to non-compliant countries.
China gets much the same treatment. A country with four times the US population but a smaller prison population, China is constantly criticized by Washington as an “authoritarian state.” China is accused of human rights abuses while US police brutalize the US population.
The problem for humanity is that Russia and China are not Libya and Iraq. These two countries possess strategic nuclear weapons. Their land mass greatly exceeds that of the US. The US, which was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, has no prospect of prevailing against Russia and China in conventional warfare. Washington will push the nuclear button. What else can we expect from a government devoid of morality?
The world has never experienced rogue states comparable to Washington and Israel. Both governments are prepared to murder anyone and everyone. Look at the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and the dangers thereof. On May 23, 2014, Russia’s President Putin spoke to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of delegations from 62 countries and CEOs from 146 of the largest Western corporations.
Putin did not speak of the billions of dollars in trade deals that were being formalized. Instead Putin spoke of the crisis that Washington had brought to Russia, and he criticized Europe for being Washington’s vassals for supporting Washington’s propaganda against Russia and Washington’s interference in vital Russian interests.
Putin was diplomatic in his language, but the message that powerful economic interests from the US and Europe received is that it will lead to trouble if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia’s concerns and continue to act as if they can interfere in Russia’s vital interests as if Russia did not exist.
The heads of these large corporations will carry this message back to Washington and European capitals. Putin made it clear that the lack of dialogue with Russia could lead to the West making the mistake of putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Putin has learned that Russia cannot rely on good will from the West, and Putin made it clear, short of issuing a threat, that Western military bases in Ukraine are unacceptable.
Washington will continue to ignore Russia. However, European capitals will have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into conflict with Russia that is against European interests. Thus, Putin is testing European politicians to determine if there is sufficient intelligence and independence in Europe for a rapprochement.
If Washington in its overbearing arrogance and hubris forces Putin to write off the West, the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance, which is forming to counteract Washington’s hostile policy of surrounding both countries with military bases, will harden into preparation for the inevitable war.
The survivors, if any, can thank the Neoconservatives, the Wolfowitz doctrine, and the Brzezinski strategy for the destruction of life on earth.
The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything. These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.
Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers. The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves. Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression. There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.
Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains. As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists. A different entity has taken its place.
Europe died with the European Union, which requires the termination of sovereignty of all member countries. A few unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels have become superior to the wills of the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese peoples.
Western civilization is a skeleton. It still stands, barely, but there is no life in it. The blood of liberty has departed. Western peoples look at their governments and see nothing but enemies. Why else has Washington militarized local police forces, equipping them as if they were occupying armies? Why else has Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Postal Service and Social Security Administration ordered billions of rounds of ammunition and even submachine guns? What is this taxpayer-paid-for arsenal for if not to suppress US citizens?
As the prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente spells out in the current Trends Journal, “uprisings span four corners of the globe.” Throughout Europe angry, desperate and outraged peoples march against EU financial policies that are driving the peoples into the ground. Despite all of Washington’s efforts with its well funded fifth columns known as NGOs to destabilize Russia and China, both the Russian and Chinese governments have far more support from their people than do the US and Europe.
In the 20th century Russia and China learned what tyranny is, and they have rejected it.
In the US tyranny has entered under the guise of the “war on terror,” a hoax used to scare the sheeple into abandoning their civil liberties, thus freeing Washington from accountability to law and permitting Washington to erect a militarist police state. Ever since WWII Washington has used its financial hegemony and the “Soviet threat,” now converted into the “Russian threat,” to absorb Europe into Washington’s empire.
Putin is hoping that the interests of European countries will prevail over subservience to Washington. This is Putin’s current bet. This is the reason Putin remains unprovoked by Washington’s provocations in Ukraine.
If Europe fails Russia, Putin and China will prepare for the war that Washington’s drive for hegemony makes inevitable.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/
What is now called the Tea Party began in 2007 as a loosely-organized yet highly-motivated grassroots support effort for Congressman Ron Paul’s bid for the White House. Since those early days, a lot has happened to the Tea Party.
For one thing, the Tea Party is now much larger and broader than any one person’s political candidacy. And though a Tea Party candidate has not yet obtained the White House (Ron Paul was the lone Tea Party Republican candidate in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections), a host of Tea Party candidates have won several elections in the US House and Senate–as well as many State and local races. And to win these elections, Tea Party candidates have had to repel the attacks against them from the Republican establishment. In fact, the GOP establishment is far and away the Tea Party’s biggest enemy.
Republican leaders such as John Boehner, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Peter King, etc., have made one of their missions in life to defeat Republican Tea Party candidates–even if those candidates are incumbents. This is for good reason: the establishment Republican Party is diametrically opposed to the goals and principles of the Tea Party.
Based on the positions of most Tea Party candidates (which is all we have to go on as the Tea Party is not a real political party but only a grassroots activist effort being conducted mainly within the Republican Party), the goals and objectives of the Tea Party can be summarized generally as follows:
- They support a non-interventionist foreign policy.
- They support the Constitution and recognize the current attacks against the Constitution, especially against the Second, Fourth, and Tenth Amendments.
- They oppose the NSA spying on the American citizenry (including the use of drones for such purposes).
- They oppose the Patriot Act and the militarization of the Department of Homeland Security as well as local and State law enforcement agencies.
- They oppose the Import-Export Bank.
- They oppose the Federal Reserve Bank.
- They oppose CISPA.
- They oppose the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA.
- They support ending the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
- They support limited government spending–especially at the federal level.
One can easily see that many, if not most, of these goals and objectives are diametrically opposite the goals and objectives of the establishment Republican machine. And more than anything else, the Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., wants GOP congressmen and senators to be “team players.” Of course, by “team players” they mean good little Republican robots that will not buck party leadership.
Since Representative Ron Paul retired, the Tea Party leader in the U.S. House is Justin Amash of Michigan. And working side-by-side Rep. Amash is Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky. In the U.S. Senate, the Tea Party is being led by men such as Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas. There are several other Tea Party supporters in both the U.S. House and Senate, of course. It is no accident or coincidence that each of these congressmen and senators has incurred (and continue to incur) the wrath of establishment Republican leaders.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY) reserves his harshest rhetoric, not for any Democrat, but for Senator Rand Paul. King said that Rand Paul “disgraced his office,” he “doesn’t deserve to be in the U.S. Senate,” and he “tells absolute lies.” Karl Rove has repeatedly lambasted Justin Amash. House Speaker Boehner has spearheaded well-financed opposition to Amash’s reelection campaign this year. Senator John McCain (the GOP standard bearer in 2008) recently called Amash, Paul, and Cruz “wacko birds.” So much for Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment to not speak evil of fellow Republicans. It would appear that commandment only applies to not criticizing the GOP establishment, while Republicans espousing Tea Party convictions are open-season for Republican leaders to lampoon and lambast without mercy.
Earlier this month, the GOP establishment spent over $1 million in a single House district race in an attempt to defeat 20-year Republican incumbent Walter Jones. The reason? Jones has a history of voting against the wishes of the party establishment–especially concerning the freedom issues listed above. Thankfully, they failed.
But all over the country, in national, State, and local elections, the GOP establishment is working feverishly to keep Tea Party candidates out of office or to defeat incumbent Republicans who support the Tea Party agenda. In fact, one way I can tell whether a candidate deserves my support or not is by the support or opposition he or she receives from the GOP establishment. If the Republican establishment supports him or her, I can pretty much know that I should vote for someone else.
The reason that Boehner, Karl Rove, and other big-government Republican leaders are trying so hard to defeat Justin Amash in particular is due to the fact that Amash has quietly but effectively spearheaded the momentum of small-government conservatives on Capitol Hill. Since the retirement of Ron Paul, Amash has successfully formed a potent coalition of constitutionally-minded Republicans within the Tea Party movement. He calls his coalition the “House Liberty Caucus.” Of course, most of the framework for this caucus was put together by former Congressman Ron Paul.
Since Justin Amash was elected to the House and Rand Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010, eight of the eleven Ron Paul-endorsed congressional candidates won elections in 2012, including Senator Ted Cruz. All of these folks had significant Tea Party support. Boehner and Rove have reason to be worried. No wonder Amash’s establishment-endorsed opponent has over $1 million to spend trying to oust him. No wonder the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a long-time establishment organization) has unveiled a $50 million war chest designed to defeat Tea Party congressmen nationwide.
And please know this, too: the establishment has done its best to infiltrate the Tea Party so as to dilute its message and weaken its effectiveness. In fact, some Tea Parties around the country are now mostly dominated by establishment neocons. Thank God, many, if not most, of the Tea Parties around the country are still mostly comprised of strong, constitutionally-minded, non-establishment folks who refuse to bow to the GOP hierarchy. But we must be aware of the neocon infiltration that has taken place among many Tea Parties.
In virtually every political race this year–including national, State, county, and city–the establishment will be working tirelessly to elect their hand-picked neocons. When you hear Tea Party-type candidates being lampooned as “wacko” or “far right,” etc., when you hear their critics and detractors say, “He can’t win,” please understand that you are listening to an establishment elitist whose job is to undermine the candidacies of those folks who refuse to go along with the establishment. Many of these critics will call themselves “conservatives.” They will say they are simply being “pragmatic” and “reasonable.” Hogwash! What they are doing is trying to ensure that non-establishment candidates never get elected.
The future of the Republican Party–or even if there is a Republican Party in the future–depends on the next few elections and whether or not the establishment will be able to bully and buy-off the votes of the American people. When John Boehner, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, etc., demand that Congress provide amnesty for illegal aliens, when they try to ram their elitist, big-government agenda down the throats of congressmen and senators, when they spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to defeat Tea Party Republicans, you can rest assured that they are not seeking the welfare of the country or even of the Republican Party.
The big-government establishment doesn’t give a flip about freedom, the Constitution, or even the constituent back home. What they care about is THEM. They have become part of a wealthy and powerful cabal of miscreants who are going to be well-taken-care-of NO MATTER WHAT. They are themselves the pawns of evil power-brokers; and in order to survive, they must make sure that there are other pawns coming to Washington, D.C., to keep the power base intact.
This is a war. It is not only a political war; it is a spiritual war. It is a war for both the soul of the Republican Party (which at present, there isn’t much of one left) and the soul of the country. It would really help if our pastors and churches could awaken to this war and help us fight it. The establishment knows it’s a war; and they are fighting it with every ounce of energy in their collective being. And they have declared the Tea Party as public enemy number one.
What started as one congressman’s presidential bid back in 2007 has now become a full-blown assault on the big-government establishment in Washington, D.C.–and around the country. The result is there is now a small army of Ron Pauls on Capitol Hill.
I urge you to ignore the shills of the establishment and go to the polls in the primaries this year and elect as many non-establishment candidates as you possibly can. Let’s give Karl Rove and John Boehner something to really worry about.
Two important recent events – Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in India last week and the massive energy and trade agreement which Russia and China signed in Beijing on Wednesday – have the potential to alter Asia’s strategic landscape.
Modi is an assertive politician unafraid to take risks, a market-oriented reformer, but also a Hindu nationalist. When asked recently about his approach to foreign affairs, he replied “I believe in Hindutva … And I am confident my Hindutva face will be an asset when dealing with foreign affairs with other nations.” In other words, he will try to increase the country’s international visibility. Already on my visit to India six years ago, several analysts and academics unsympathetic to the Congress government expressed hope that Gujarat’s then-Chief Minister would one day lead the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) instead of its ageing founder Lal Krishna Advani. As they had expected, Advani led the BJP to a defeat at the 2009 general election, but it was not until last September that Modi was finally selected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
The most controversial episode in Modi’s political career concerns anti-Muslim violence which swept Gujarat at the end of February 2002, after a fire – allegedly started by Muslim arsonists – destroyed a train packed with Hindu pilgrims, killing 58 of them. The Modi government imposed a curfew in major cities and issued shoot-at-sight orders, but some human rights groups and sections of the media accused him of taking inadequate action against the riots, or even sympathizing with them.
This episode resulted in the U.S. government denying him a visa in 2005 under a section the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes foreign government officials ineligible if they are responsible for “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” Even after India’s Supreme Court found no such evidence against Modi, the U.S. did not lift the ban. The campaign “to get Modi” was particularly virulent during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State, ostensibly for the 2002 riots, but in reality “for taking stands that may be different from that favored by the U.S. administration.” As an Indian commentator noted on the day of the election, since the Obama Administration still has not expressed regret for its revocation of his visa, “Modi is unlikely to go out of his way to befriend the U.S. by seeking a White House visit. Instead, he is expected to wait for US officials to come calling.”
America’s relations with India can and should improve, and for all its many sins the administration of George W. Bush cultivated and improved them during his second term. First of all, in the context of the “Pivot to Asia” Washington should give up on the notion of using India as a southern prop of the U.S.-led geopolitical ring around China. There are potential common U.S.-Indian interests in balancing China’s growing might, but India under Modi’s leadership will base its foreign policy on the old-fashioned premises of national interests, and not on the notions of “shared values” and “joint responsibilities.”
While Modi will not continue the “feeble” foreign policy of his predecessors, economic development and civil service reforms are his priorities. My contacts expect that his foreign agenda will include maintaining good relations with Iran, building stronger ties with Japan, and advancing a more resolute demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the world’s second most populous nation; yet “the toughest job he faces is to force the Indian Foreign Service mandarins to start thinking strategically.”
On the whole China has been doing a better job of translating its growing economic power into political and diplomatic influence. India’s long-term strategy will require a more effective balancing act vis-à-vis China to the north and Pakistan to the West. India’s traditionally close relationship with Russia – the country’s major arms supplier – is particularly important now that Moscow and Beijing are forging what is de facto strategic partnership.
A word from Putin to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the desirability of seeking a new era of détente between Asia’s two giants could do a lot to defuse latent tensions on the Subcontinent. In Narendra Modi the nationalist, the Chinese may yet find a bolder and more imaginative partner for serious talks on the perennial border problem and other issues than in the ineffective and weak outgoing government.
“Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, and he eats without listening to anyone.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin referring to the United States…
The Ukraine crisis has its roots in a policy that dates back nearly 20 years. The origins of the policy can be traced to a 1997 article in Foreign Policy magazine by Zbigniew Brzezinski, titled “A Geostrategy for Eurasia.” The article makes the case that the United States needs to forcefully establish itself in Central Asia in order to maintain its position as the world’s only superpower. While many readers may be familiar with Brzezinski’s thinking on these matters, they might not know what he has to say about Russia, which is particularly illuminating given that the recent uptick in violence has less to do with Ukraine than it does with Washington’s proxy-war on Russia. Here’s what Brzezinski says:
“Russia’s longer-term role in Eurasia will depend largely on its self-definition…Russia’s first priority should be to modernize itself rather than to engage in a futile effort to regain its status as a global power. Given the country’s size and diversity, a decentralized political system and free-market economics would be most likely to unleash the creative potential of the Russian people and Russia’s vast natural resources. A loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic — would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entitles would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, A Geostrategy for Eurasia, Foreign Affairs, 76:5, September/October 1997.
So is this the goal of US policy, to create “A loosely confederated Russia” whose economy can be subsumed into America’s market-based system?
Notice how easily Brzezinski chops Russia into smaller, bite-size statelets that pose no threat to US imperial expansion. Brzezinski undoubtedly envisions a Russia that will sell its vast resources in petrodollars and recycle them into US Treasuries further enriching the corrupt rent-skimmers in Washington and Wall Street. He foresees a Russia that will abdicate its historic role in the world and have no say-so in shaping global policy. He imagines a compliant Russia that will help facilitate US imperial ambitions in Asia, even to the point where it will pay to police its own people on behalf of US oligarchs, weapons manufacturers, oil magnates, and 1 percenters. Here’s the paragraph in Brzezinski’s piece that sums up Washington’s objectives in Ukraine, Russia and beyond. It is fittingly headlined with the following words in bold print:
“Defining the substance and institutionalizing the form of a trans-Eurasian security system could become the major architectural initiative of the next century. The core of the new transcontinental security framework could be a standing committee composed of the major Eurasian powers, with America, Europe, China, Japan, a confederated Russia, and India collectively addressing critical issues for Eurasia’s stability. The emergence of such a transcontinental system could gradually relieve America of some of its burdens, while perpetuating beyond a generation its decisive role as Eurasia’s arbitrator. Geostrategic success in that venture would be a fitting legacy to America’s role as the first and only global superpower.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, “A Geostrategy for Eurasia,” Foreign Affairs
Translation: The United States will police the world, dispatch troublemakers, and eliminate potential threats wherever it finds them. It will impose its neoliberal dogma (Austerity, privatization, structural adjustment, anti labor reforms, etc) across-the-board and on all participants. Also, minor partners–”Europe, China, Japan, a confederated Russia, and India”–will be expected to provide security for their own people at their own expense in order to “relieve America of some of its burdens.”
Nice, eh? So you even have to pay for your own jailers.
And what is “Transcontinental Security” anyway? Isn’t it just a fancy way of saying “one world government”?
Indeed, it is. It’s the very same thing. Here’s more from Brzezinski:
“Failure to widen NATO…would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe… Worse, it could reignite dormant Russian political aspirations in Central Europe.”
This is an oddly convoluted statement. In the first sentence, Brzezinski supports the idea of an “expanding Europe”, and then in the next breath, he worries that Russia might want to do the same thing. It’s another case of the pot calling the kettle black.
What’s clear, is that –in Brzezinski’s mind– EU and NATO expansion will help Washington achieve its hegemonic aspirations. That’s all that matters. Here’s what he says:
“Europe is America’s essential geopolitical bridgehead in Eurasia…A wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve the short-term and longer-term interests of U.S. policy… A politically defined Europe is also essential to Russia’s assimilation into a system of global cooperation.”
“Bridgehead”? In other words, Europe is just a means to an end. But what would that “end” be?
Global domination. Isn’t that what he’s talking about?
Of course, it is.
What makes the Ukrainian crisis so hard to understand, is that the media conceals the policy behind the impenetrable fog of daily events. Once the fog lifts though, it’s easy to see who’s causing all the trouble. It’s the party that’s calling the shots from abroad, the good old US of A.
Putin doesn’t want this war and neither do most Ukrainians. The whole thing was conjured up by Uncle Sam and his minions to stop the flow of Russian gas to Europe, to push NATO further eastward, and to break the Russian Federation into little pieces. That’s what it’s really all about. And these madmen are willing to raze Ukraine to the ground and kill every living organism within a 3,000 mile radius of Kiev to get their way. After all, isn’t that what they did in Iraq? They sure did. And did I mention that, according to this week’s Wall Street Journal, “Iraq’s Oil Output Surged to Highest Level in Over 30 Years” with all the usual suspects raking in hefty profits.
The point is, if they’d did it in Iraq, they’ll do it in Ukraine too. Because what Washington cares about is constituents not carnage. Carnage they can handle.
Brzezinski is not the only one supporting the current policy either. There’s also fellow traveler, Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was Secretary of State Clinton who first used the term “pivot” in a 2011 article in Foreign Policy Magazine titled “America’s Pacific Century”. Clinton’s op-ed described a “rebalancing” plan that would open up new markets to US corporations and Wall Street, control the flow of vital resources, and “forge a broad-based military presence” across the continent. Here’s an excerpt from the text of Clinton’s seminal speech:
“The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.
As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region…
Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology…..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia…The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia…
…as I talk with business leaders across our own nation, I hear how important it is for the United States to expand our exports and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets.” (“America’s Pacific Century”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”, Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)
“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama”?
Does that sound like someone who wants to cultivate a mutually-beneficial relationship with their trading partners or someone who wants to move in, take over and run the show?
Washington’s plan to shift its attention from the Middle East to Asia is all about money. Clinton even says so herself. She says, “The region generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade…Asia’s markets … provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and…a vast and growing consumer base.”
Money, money, money. The upside-profit potential is limitless which is why Madame Clinton wants to plant Old Glory right in “the center of the action”, so US corporations can rake in the dough without fear of reprisal.
Brzezinski says the same thing in his magnum opus “The Grand Chessboard” Here’s an excerpt:
“A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” (Zbigniew Brzezinski, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives”, page 31)
Get the picture? It’s a gold rush! Having successfully looted every last farthing from the battered US middle class and left the economy in a ghastly shambles, Brzezinski, Clinton and Co. are headed for greener pastures in Central Asia, home of the world’s largest oil producing nation, boundless reserves in the Caspian Basin, and zillions of voracious consumers who’ll need everything from I Pads to leisure wear, all graciously provided by US-owned corporations. Cha-ching!
So don’t get tripped up on the daily events in Ukraine. This isn’t a clash between pro-government forces and anti-government activists. This is the next big phase of Washington’s plan to conquer the world, a plan that will inevitably pit Moscow against the amassed military power of the United States of America. This is David vs. Goliath, Mother Russia vs. the Great Satan, Vladie Putin vs. Comrade Wolf.
Ukraine is just Round 1.
“Let me repeat again, that in Russia’s view, the blame for the crisis in Ukraine lies with those who organized the coup d’etat in Kiev on February 22-23… But whatever the case, we must look for a way to solve the situation as it is today….And, as I said, what is needed is direct, full-fledged and equal dialogue between the Kiev authorities and the representatives of people in southeast Ukraine….I don’t know whether a Geneva-2 round of talks.. is realistic. (But) I believe that if we want to find a long-term solution to the crisis, there must be an open, honest and equal dialogue . That is our only option.”
-Russian President Vladimir Putin, press statement, OCSE meeting, Moscow, May 7, 2014
So many lie beneath the eternal granite
But of those honored by this stone
Let no one be forgotten
Let nothing be forgotten.
-Olga Berggolts, “Leningrad”
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a proposal for ending the violence in Ukraine at an OCSE (Organization for the Cooperation and Security in Europe) in Moscow. Unfortunately, most Americans never heard what he had to say because the media failed to publish his statement. The reason for the omission is fairly obvious, the media doesn’t want people to know that Putin is not the ghoulish, authoritarian caricature he’s portrayed to be, but a levelheaded pragmatist who wants a swift and peaceful resolution to the crisis. Here is what he said:
“We think the most important thing now is to launch direct dialogue, genuine, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine. This dialogue could give people from southeast Ukraine the chance to see that their lawful rights in Ukraine really will be guaranteed.”
Does that sound like a bloodthirsty “KGB thug” who’s driven by dreams of territorial expansion and empire-building or does it sound like a responsible leader who wants to facilitate a cease-fire until cooler heads prevail?
Did you know that Putin called for a “genuine…dialogue between the Kiev… and representatives of southeast Ukraine”? Don’t you think the media should publish critical information like that so people can decide for themselves how they feel about Putin? Or do you think the media is entitled to withhold whatever information they choose as long as it benefits their corporate bosses? Is that how a free press is supposed to work?
Putin made a number of concessions in his speech that are worth noting. For example, he agreed to move his troops away from the Ukrainian border which has been a bone of contention with the Obama administration since the Kiev crackdown began more than two weeks ago. Putin agreed to withdraw his army even though he may have weakened Russia’s defenses in the process. This is no small matter, in fact, it’s a question national security which is a president’s primary responsibility and one that Putin does not take lightly, especially now that neo Nazi-crackpots are roaming the countryside armed to the teeth and threatening to kill ethnic Russians wherever they find them. But Putin made the concession anyway hoping that his good-faith gesture would help put an end to the violence. Here’s what he said:
“We have withdrawn our forces and they are now not on the Ukrainian border but are carrying out their regular exercises at the test grounds. This can be easily verified using modern intelligence techniques, including from space, where everything can be seen. We helped to secure the OSCE military observers’ release and I think also made a contribution to defusing the situation.”
Does that sound like a man who’s lying?
Of course not, which is why the media doesn’t want you to hear what he has to say. Because it doesn’t jibe with the “Putin is Satan” trope.
Putin is a plain-speaking guy who shoots from the hip and says what he means. He’s not a bullshitter. People know that, which is why the media won’t publish what he says. It’s because they’re afraid that people will believe him and all their jingoistic, pro-war propaganda will be for naught. The fact is, people have a sense of what the truth sounds like. Call it intuition, call it whatever you like. But people know the difference between a guy like Putin and a dissembling fraud like Kerry. That’s just the way it is.
Putin also asked representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine to postpone the referendum scheduled for May 11.
Why would he do that? After all, if he really wanted to rebuild the Russian Empire, as his critics say, then he’d want the balloting to take place so he could show the world that the people in the East reject the junta government and demand greater autonomy from Kiev. But that’s not what Putin wants. What he wants is an end to the carnage, which is why he asked the people to postpone the voting so the government wouldn’t have an excuse for launching another bloody crackdown. Putin doesn’t want to see Ukraine ripped to shreds and reduced to Iraq-type anarchy by external enemies who are using it as a staging-ground for their own geopolitical ambitions. He wants to restore stability and security. He wants the hostilities to stop. Here’s what he said:
“We are asking representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine and federalization supporters to reschedule the referendum scheduled for May 11.”
Okay, so he moved his troops back from the border and called on pro-Russian activists to put off the vote on greater political autonomy. That’s two significant concessions, right? But, why is Putin doing this?
Does he have something up his sleeve? Is he trying to lull his enemies to sleep before he orders a full-blown blitz on Kiev?
Be serious. Putin doesn’t want to take over Ukraine, that’s just neocon hogwash. He has his own problems to deal with. He’s not going to add to them by annexing a broken, basket-case failed state that’s rapidly sliding into a major Depression. Why would he do that?
Then why is he so eager to make concessions? Is it because he’s scared? Maybe he’s afraid of a confrontation with NATO and the US so he’s caving in before war breaks out on his western flank?
Is that it? Is Putin a coward?
According to the western media he is, but that’s because the coverage has focused exclusively on his willingness to move his troops which makes it look like Washington’s hardline policies (sanctions, threats, saber-rattling) are actually working instead making things worse. Which they are. What’s been left out of the reporting is Putin’s plan to end the violence. That never gets mentioned because the media doesn’t want Putin to look like a peacemaker. That doesn’t serve their interests at all.
Putin’s not afraid. He’s not going to end up like Gadhafi or Saddam. But he is worried. He’s worried that the US is going block access to his biggest market, the European Union. Russia can’t simply reroute its gas from west (EU) to east (China) as many of the pundits seem to think. That’s nonsense. Russia needs Europe, just as Europe needs Russia. There is a strong, natural business/trade relationship between the two that Washington wants to sabotage so it can be the big cheese in Central Asia. That’s what this is all about, right? The pivot to Asia.
So, yes, Putin’s interest in peace is not entirely altruistic. It’s also about money too. Big money. But, so what? What difference does that make? So Putin is not as pure as the driven snow. Big deal. The fact is, he’s still pushing for peace, which is not only beneficial for Moscow, but Europe and Ukraine as well. The only one that doesn’t benefit from peace is Washington, which is why the media is suppressing information that promotes de-escalation. It’s because Washington wants a war. War is the vehicle for breaking up the Russian Federation into tiny statelets that pose no threat to US military bases spread throughout Asia. War is the means by which Washington can make its pivot, surround China, and control its future growth. War paves the way for establishing US outposts in Ukraine and subverting greater economic integration between Russia and Europe. War is US policy because war advances US interests. Period.
Washington cannot achieve its strategic or economic objectives without a confrontation. That’s why the present situation so worrisome, because –judging by the scalding rhetoric emerging from the White House, the US State Department, and all the major media– Obama is going to continue to provoke Moscow until he gets the reaction he wants. If 40 dead in Odessa doesn’t do the trick, then the next provocation will be 400, or 4,000, or 400,000. Whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter. As Madeleine Albright noted some time ago when she was asked if the sanctions on Iraq were worth the half million lives they cost, she answered without the slightest hesitation, “We think the price is worth it.”
Whatever it takes. That’s US foreign policy in a nutshell.
Here’s more from Putin:
“The responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine now lies with the people who carried out an anti-constitutional seizure of power,.. and with those who supported these actions and gave them financial, political, information and other kinds of support and pushed the situation to the tragic events that took place in Odessa. It’s simply blood-chilling to watch the footage of those events.”
Try to imagine Obama saying something like that. Try to imagine Obama even caring about the people who died in Odessa. It’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? By now, Obama has seen the same videos as Putin. He’s seen the people hurtling themselves out of windows to escape the flames. He’s seen the victims being pummeled to death on the streets by neo Nazi goons. He’s seen the charred remains of the people who were incinerated in the fire. But he’s said nothing. He hasn’t even offered his condolences to the families who lost loved ones. He’s remained stone silent since the incident took place believing that any reference to the massacre would only undermine US policy. His callousness is all part of a political calculation. People don’t matter, what matters is the policy. Obama is no different than Albright or any other high-ranking member of the US political establishment in that regard. They’re all the same. Life means nothing to any of them. All that matters is the objectives of their constituents.
So, what does Putin really want?
Here’s what he says: “Russia urgently appeals to the authorities in Kiev to cease immediately all military and punitive operations in southeast Ukraine. This is not an effective means of resolving internal political conflicts and, on the contrary, will only deepen the divisions.”
“Cease all military and punitive operations”? In other words, he wants peace.
Unfortunately, Obama’s crew strangled Putin’s peace plan before it ever left the cradle. Just yesterday, the US-backed puppet regime in Kiev promised to step up attacks on protestors in the east. According to Defense Secretary Andriy Parubiy:
“The counter-terrorist operation will continue unhindered, despite the presence of terrorist and insurgent groups in the Donetsk region.”
As for Putin’s appeal for peace, puppet-PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk swiftly dismissed it as “hot air.”
So, there you have it. The threat of peace has been skillfully avoided giving Obama’s fascist friends the green light to pursue their strategy of tearing Ukraine apart, killing untold thousands of civilians, and deploying NATO to Russian’s western perimeter.
And that’s why Putin’s speech was blacked out by the media, because it conflicted with Washington’s plan to launch another war.
So, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror.
And how did this latest example of American foreign-policy exceptionalism come to be? One starting point that can be considered is what former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates says in his recently published memoir: “When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, [Defense Secretary Dick Cheney] wanted to see the dismemberment not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.” That can serve as an early marker for the new cold war while the corpse of the old one was still warm. Soon thereafter, NATO began to surround Russia with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members, while yearning for perhaps the most important part needed to complete the circle – Ukraine.
In February of this year, US State Department officials, undiplomatically, joined anti-government protesters in the capital city of Kiev, handing out encouragement and food, from which emanated the infamous leaked audio tape between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, former US ambassador to NATO and former State Department spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. Their conversation dealt with who should be running the new Ukraine government after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown; their most favored for this position being one Arseniy Yatsenuk.
My dear, and recently departed, Washington friend, John Judge, liked to say that if you want to call him a “conspiracy theorist” you have to call others “coincidence theorists”. Thus it was by the most remarkable of coincidences that Arseniy Yatsenuk did indeed become the new prime minister. He could very soon be found in private meetings and public press conferences with the president of the United States and the Secretary-General of NATO, as well as meeting with the soon-to-be new owners of Ukraine, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preparing to impose their standard financial shock therapy. The current protestors in Ukraine don’t need PHDs in economics to know what this portends. They know about the impoverishment of Greece, Spain, et al. They also despise the new regime for its overthrow of their democratically-elected government, whatever its shortcomings. But the American media obscures these motivations by almost always referring to them simply as “pro-Russian”.
An exception, albeit rather unemphasized, was the April 17 Washington Post which reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom the author interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear of “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder: “At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.”
Arseniy Yatsenuk, it should be noted, has something called the Arseniy Yatsenuk Foundation. If you go to the foundation’s website you will see the logos of the foundation’s “partners”. Among these partners we find NATO, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs in the UK), the German Marshall Fund (a think tank founded by the German government in honor of the US Marshall Plan), as well as a couple of international banks. Is any comment needed?
Getting away with supporting al-Qaeda and Nazi types may be giving US officials the idea that they can say or do anything they want in their foreign policy. In a May 2 press conference, President Obama, referring to Ukraine and the NATO Treaty, said: “We’re united in our unwavering Article 5 commitment to the security of our NATO allies”. (Article 5 states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them … shall be considered an attack against them all.”) Did the president forget that Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO? And in the same press conference, the president referred to the “duly elected government in Kyiv (Kiev)”, when in fact it had come to power via a coup and then proceeded to establish a new regime in which the vice-premier, minister of defense, minister of agriculture, and minister of environment, all belonged to far-right neo-Nazi parties.
The pure awfulness of the Ukrainian right-wingers can scarcely be exaggerated. In early March, the leader of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) called upon his comrades, the infamous Chechnyan terrorists, to carry out further terrorist actions in Russia.
There may be one important difference between the old Cold War and the new one. The American people, as well as the world, can not be as easily brainwashed as they were during the earlier period.
Over the course of a decade, in doing the research for my first books and articles on US foreign policy, one of the oddities to me of the Cold War was how often the Soviet Union seemed to know what the United States was really up to, even if the American people didn’t. Every once in a while in the 1950s to 70s a careful reader would notice a two- or three-inch story in the New York Times on the bottom of some distant inside page, reporting that Pravda or Izvestia had claimed that a recent coup or political assassination in Africa or Asia or Latin America had been the work of the CIA; theTimes might add that a US State Department official had labeled the story as “absurd”. And that was that; no further details were provided; and none were needed, for how many American readers gave it a second thought? It was just more commie propaganda. Who did they think they were fooling? This ignorance/complicity on the part of the mainstream media allowed the United States to get away with all manner of international crimes and mischief.
It was only in the 1980s when I began to do the serious research that resulted in my first book, which later became Killing Hope, that I was able to fill in the details and realize that the United States had indeed masterminded that particular coup or assassination, and many other coups and assassinations, not to mention countless bombings, chemical and biological warfare, perversion of elections, drug dealings, kidnapings, and much more that had not appeared in the American mainstream media or schoolbooks. (And a significant portion of which was apparently unknown to the Soviets as well.)
But there have been countless revelations about US crimes in the past two decades. Many Americans and much of the rest of the planet have become educated. They’re much more skeptical of American proclamations and the fawning media.
President Obama recently declared: “The strong condemnation that it’s received from around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.” Marvelous … coming from the man who partners with jihadists and Nazis and has waged war against seven nations. In the past half century is there any country whose foreign policy has received more bitter condemnation than the United States? If the United States is not on the wrong side of history, it may be only in the history books published by the United States.
Barack Obama, like virtually all Americans, likely believes that the Soviet Union, with perhaps the sole exception of the Second World War, was consistently on the wrong side of history in its foreign policy as well as at home. Yet, in a survey conducted by an independent Russian polling center this past January, and reported in the Washington Post in April, 86 percent of respondents older than 55 expressed regret for the Soviet Union’s collapse; 37 percent of those aged 25 to 39 did so. (Similar poll results have been reported regularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. This is fromUSA Today in 1999: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.”)
Or as the new Russian proverb put it: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”
A week before the above Post report in April the newspaper printed an article about happiness around the world, which contains the following charming lines: “Worldwide polls show that life seems better to older people – except in Russia.” … “Essentially, life under President Vladimir Putin is one continuous downward spiral into despair.” … “What’s going on in Russia is deep unhappiness.” … “In Russia, the only thing to look forward to is death’s sweet embrace.”
No, I don’t think it was meant to be any kind of satire. It appears to be a scientific study, complete with graphs, but it reads like something straight out of the 1950s.
The views Americans hold of themselves and other societies are not necessarily more distorted than the views found amongst people elsewhere in the world, but the Americans’ distortion can lead to much more harm. Most Americans and members of Congress have convinced themselves that the US/NATO encirclement of Russia is benign – we are, after all, the Good Guys – and they don’t understand why Russia can’t see this.
The first Cold War, from Washington’s point of view, was often designated as one of “containment”, referring to the US policy of preventing the spread of communism around the world, trying to blockthe very idea of communism or socialism. There’s still some leftover from that – see Venezuela and Cuba, for example – but the new Cold War can be seen more in terms of a military strategy. Washington thinks in terms of who could pose a barrier to the ever-expanding empire adding to its bases and other military necessities.
Whatever the rationale, it’s imperative that the United States suppress any lingering desire to bring Ukraine (and Georgia) into the NATO alliance. Nothing is more likely to bring large numbers of Russian boots onto the Ukrainian ground than the idea that Washington wants to have NATO troops right on the Russian border and in spitting distance of the country’s historic Black Sea naval base in Crimea.
The myth of Soviet expansionism
One still comes across references in the mainstream media to Russian “expansionism” and “the Soviet empire”, in addition to that old favorite “the evil empire”. These terms stem largely from erstwhile Soviet control of Eastern European states. But was the creation of these satellites following World War II an act of imperialism or expansionism? Or did the decisive impetus lie elsewhere?
Within the space of less than 25 years, Western powers had invaded Russia three times – the two world wars and the “Intervention” of 1918-20 – inflicting some 40 million casualties in the two wars alone. To carry out these invasions, the West had used Eastern Europe as a highway. Should it be any cause for wonder that after World War II the Soviets wanted to close this highway down? In almost any other context, Americans would have no problem in seeing this as an act of self defense. But in the context of the Cold War such thinking could not find a home in mainstream discourse.
The Baltic states of the Soviet Union – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were not part of the highway and were frequently in the news because of their demands for more autonomy from Moscow, a story “natural” for the American media. These articles invariably reminded the reader that the “once independent” Baltic states were invaded in 1939 by the Soviet Union, incorporated as republics of the USSR, and had been “occupied” ever since. Another case of brutal Russian imperialism. Period. History etched in stone.
The three countries, it happens, were part of the Russian empire from 1721 up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, in the midst of World War I. When the war ended in November 1918, and the Germans had been defeated, the victorious Allied nations (US, Great Britain, France, et al.) permitted/encouraged the German forces to remain in the Baltics for a full year to crush the spread of Bolshevism there; this, with ample military assistance from the Allied nations. In each of the three republics, the Germans installed collaborators in power who declared their independence from the new Bolshevik state which, by this time, was so devastated by the World War, the revolution, and the civil war prolonged by the Allies’ intervention, that it had no choice but to accept the fait accompli. The rest of the fledgling Soviet Union had to be saved.
To at least win some propaganda points from this unfortunate state of affairs, the Soviets announced that they were relinquishing the Baltic republics “voluntarily” in line with their principles of anti-imperialism and self-determination. But is should not be surprising that the Soviets continued to regard the Baltics as a rightful part of their nation or that they waited until they were powerful enough to reclaim the territory.
Then we had Afghanistan. Surely this was an imperialist grab. But the Soviet Union had lived next door to Afghanistan for more than 60 years without gobbling it up. And when the Russians invaded in 1979, the key motivation was the United States involvement in a movement, largely Islamic, to topple the Afghan government, which was friendly to Moscow. The Soviets could not have been expected to tolerate a pro-US, anti-communist government on its border any more than the United States could have been expected to tolerate a pro-Soviet, communist government in Mexico.
Moreover, if the rebel movement took power it likely would have set up a fundamentalist Islamic government, which would have been in a position to proselytize the numerous Muslims in the Soviet border republics.
- See RT.com (formerly Russia Today) for many stories, images and videos
- Robert Gates, Duty (2014), p.97
- If this site has gone missing again, a saved version can be found here.
- Voice of Russia radio station, Moscow, April 18, 2014; also see Answer Coalition, “Who’s who in Ukraine’s new [semi-fascist] government”, March 11, 2014
- RT.com, news report March 5, 2014
- CBS News, March 3, 2014
- Washington Post, April 11, 2014
- USA Today (Virginia), Oct. 11, 1999, page 1
- Washington Post print edition, April 2, 2014; online here
“According to the evidence that I’ve seen …Odessa was a giant false flag operation. It… was one of those staged massacres that the pro-Western forces from Bosnia to Kosovo, now Ukraine, excel at staging, intended to draw Russia to overreact and commit military forces … I believe that the fact that they are willing to stage such a horrendous atrocity shows the depth of their desperation at this point.”
– Nebojsa Malic, political analyst, Russia Today
“Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected –
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.”
– “Requiem” – Anna Akhmatova
Photos of the victims of the Odessa fire which have been circulating on theInternet have cast doubt on the official version of events. It’s now clear that many of the anti-junta activists who occupied the Trade Unions House were neither burned to death nor died of smoke inhalation, but were savagely shot at point-blank range by agents and thugs who had infiltrated the building to kill as many of the occupants as possible, burn the corpses, and then slip away without notice. Some of the victims–like a young woman who was eight months pregnant –were strangled with an electrical chord and left slumped backwards over her desk in a room that shows no sign of fire or smoke damage. In another case, a woman was stripped naked from the waste down, raped, killed, and set ablaze.
In still other cases, victims with bullet-holes through their skulls, had flammable fluid dumped on their heads and were incinerated, leaving a charred head atop a corpse whose clothes were untouched by fire. The sloppily-executed killing-spree proves that the fire was not the result of a spontaneous clash between pro and anti-Kiev demonstrators, but a carefully planned black-op that likely involved foreign Intel agencies working hand-in-hand with the fascist junta government in Kiev. Did we mention that the CIA has taken up residence in the Ukrainian capital? Here’s the scoop from the AFP:
“Dozens of specialists from the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are advising the Ukrainian government … helping Kiev end the rebellion in the east of Ukraine and set up a functioning security structure…” (CIA, FBI agents ‘advising Ukraine government: report, AFP)
We all know about the CIA’s energetic efforts to create a “functioning security structure” in nations around the world. The CIA’s presence in Ukraine suggests that the US was either actively involved in the Odessa incident or knows who was. Either way, there should be an independent investigation before the case is referred to the ICC for prosecution.
The rampage in Odessa is part a broader strategy to provoke Moscow into a military confrontation. US war planners want to draw Putin into a conflict to justify NATO expansion, block further EU-Russian economic integration, and facilitate the “pivot to Asia.” The victims in this tragedy were sacrificed to advance Washington’s imperial ambitions and to establish US global hegemony. Obama has repeatedly reiterated his unwavering support for the crackdown on dissidents in the east. In a Rose Garden press conference just days ago, the president applauded the military attack on civilians saying, “The Ukrainian government has shown remarkable restraint throughout this whole process.”
Indeed, the Odessa graveyards are now full of people who can attest to the great restraint of the junta government that Obama so admires.
The coverage of the Odessa massacre by the western media is as bad as any in recent memory. The giant news conglomerates no longer make any attempt to pretend they’re anything other propaganda organs for the State. Even by that low standard, the coverage has been abysmal. Here’s a typical summary from an article on the liberal website, Huffington Post.
“Police said the deadly fire broke out in a trade union building, but did not give details on how it started. Earlier, police said at least three people had died in a clash between the two sides in the city of 1 million.
According to Ukrainian news reports, the pro-Kiev demonstrators broke up an encampment of Moscow supporters outside the trade union building. The latter took refuge in the building, which then caught fire.
Odessa police spokesman Volodymyr Shasbliyenko told AP the fire apparently was caused by Molotov cocktails. He had no further details or identities of the victims.” (Odessa Building Fire Kills Dozens, AP)
The author deliberately misleads his readers about what really took place. The fire did not “break out” in a trade union building. It was started. There’s no debate about this. There’s video footage of the whole incident and tons of eyewitness reports. Right sector goons started the fire by throwing Molotov cocktails through the windows. It’s all on tape.
Second, the “pro-Kiev demonstrators” (did not) “break up an encampment of Moscow supporters outside the trade union building…which then caught fire.” This is nonsense. The fascist extremists burned down the tent city, chased the activists into the building, barricaded the exits, and then set the building on fire with the obvious intention of killing the people inside. Again, there is no debate about this. It’s all on video. The US media is involved in a massive cover up, mainly because a investigation would undoubtedly point to US involvement. This is why none of the major news organizations are covering an incident which would normally be headline news. Odessa is unique blend of Waco and Columbine, a combo that editors typically use to boost sagging ratings by exploiting public empathy and outrage. Only this time, the media has minimized its coverage and refused to report on a story that would probably lead straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
While the New York Times has been widely criticized for publishing fake photos of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal wins the trophy for absolute worst coverage. In a piece titled “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”, the WSJ pushes the improbable theory that the anti-coup activists inside the building actually burned the building down themselves, a pathetic attempt to blame the victims of a ruthless government crackdown. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The fire began from the roof. There were extremists there, we found casings and firearms,” Mr. Chebotar said. “But something unexpected happened; their Molotov cocktails fell, and ignited the higher floors of the building.” (Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Wall Street Journal)
Utterly ridiculous. Are the editors of the WSJ aware of the fact that footage of the Neo Nazis throwing Molotov cocktails at the building are all over the Internet?
The article, of course, fails to explain how many of the people inside the building were either shot or strangled to death. Nor does the author speculate on why the police stood by while people hurled themselves from windows to escape the fire or were savagely beaten by right wing extremists on the pavement in front of the building. Instead, the WSJ tries to provide a plausible excuse for the one part of the story it chooses to focus on as if “who started the fire” can be separated from other important details. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the 40 victims of the incident were killed in a homicidal rampage that was perpetrated by Obama’s new friends in Kiev. No amount of whitewash is going to hide that one glaring fact. Here’s how Serbian historian and political analyst, Nebosja Malic, summed it up:
“According to all the evidence that I have seen, the entire thing in Odessa was a giant false flag operation. It was a provocation, it was one of those stage massacres that the pro-Western forces from Bosnia to Kosovo, now Ukraine excel at staging, intended to draw Russia to overreact…
“We have proof that the West is instigating this. And just the other day, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s commissioner for foreign policy, pretty much gave a green light to the extremists from Kiev. She pretty much said they had a right to establish law and order within the borders of the country. I would say that the EU has blood on its hands, especially Catherine Ashton. It’s the same thing they did in Yugoslavia in the 90s, when they started encouraging radicals, extremists, secessionists.” (Interview with Nebosja Malic, RT)
It’s true that Washington supports Neo-Nazi extremists who burned down the Odessa Trade Unions House. If that wasn’t the case, then Obama would have spoken out forcefully against the action, which he has not. That implies that things are going according to plan. Malic is also correct when he says the fire was a “giant false flag operation” which refers to a covert military operation where agents disguise themselves as members of their adversary’s group to initiate a provocation that will then be blamed on the other side. In this case, pro-regime fascists (and probably agents from the Security Services) disguised themselves as Kiev regime opponents, in order to throw bricks and stones at the police and Right Sector goons. This was the flashpoint that started the melee that ended in a massacre.
Videos on Russia Today show the agents in red arm bands mingled with the pro-Russia activists, initiated a confrontation with the cops, and then quickly switched sides when the fighting broke out. This is classic false flag operation. The police were obviously in on the scam, as they immediately opened their ranks to let the imposters slip by when the street-scrum began. These same imposters were later filmed shooting handguns and automatic weapons in the direction of the building just minutes after they had switched sides. (Take a look at this video from 3:30 minutes to the 6 minute-point and decide for yourself whether this was a false flag operation or not.)
Bottom line: There was nothing spontaneous about the clash that led to the catastrophic fire that killed 40 people in the Trade Unions House. It was a carefully planned and executed operation designed to shock Moscow into sending troops to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine. If the CIA is working in Kiev –as it is–there is no doubt that they either knew or actively assisted the operation.
In related news: Moscow has announced it will “deploy additional forces in Crimea as part of beefing up the Black Sea fleet…before year’s end”. According to RT: “The fleet will receive new submarines and surface ships of new generation this year.”
The Kremlin is responding to the buildup of NATO forces in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea where additional aircraft, warships and ground troops have been deployed in case war breaks out. Also, according to RT:
“NATO’s three-week ‘Spring Storm’ drills, involving a record-breaking number of 6,000 troops, have begun in Estonia….(bringing) together a record number of allied troops.” (Also) around 150 personnel of the US airborne division arrived in a military transport aircraft to Amari airbase (while) the UK and France deployed eight fighter jets to Lithuania and Poland to strengthen NATO air defense over the Baltic regions.” (NATO’s record 6,000-strong drills kick off in Estonia amid Ukraine tensions, RT)
So while the death toll mounts, the slide to war continues to gain momentum. Odessa was supposed to be the tipping point, the “catalyzing event” that would draw Putin into the fighting. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Putin has stayed on the sidelines and refused to take the bait. That means there’ll be more provocations to come; more false flags, more bloodshed, more stage-managed terror disguised as civil unrest. Eventually, people will see who’s behind all the trouble. But how many will have died by then?
Note: Here’s a 12 minute video on Obama’s fascist friends in Ukraine. Listen to the last minute of the video to hear neocon Victoria Nuland praise Ukraine’s development of “democratic skills and institutions” with the appropriate backdrop of balaclava-clad Nazis and brightly colored swastikas.
Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:
– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”
Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”
None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.
Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.
– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “
The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations , that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.
– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”
In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.
– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”
The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.
Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:
The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)
How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?
Long live the Cold War
In 1933 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union after some 15 years of severed relations following the Bolshevik Revolution. On a day in December of that year, a train was passing through Poland carrying the first American diplomats dispatched to Moscow. Amongst their number was a 29 year-old Foreign Service Officer, later to become famous as a diplomat and scholar, George Kennan. Though he was already deemed a government expert on Russia, the train provided Kennan’s first actual exposure to the Soviet Union. As he listened to his group’s escort, Russian Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, reminisce about growing up in a village the train was passing close by, and his dreams of becoming a librarian, the Princeton-educated Kennan was astonished: “We suddenly realized, or at least I did, that these people we were dealing with were human beings like ourselves, that they had been born somewhere, that they had their childhood ambitions as we had. It seemed for a brief moment we could break through and embrace these people.”
It hasn’t happened yet.
One would think that the absence in Russia of communism, of socialism, of the basic threat or challenge to the capitalist system, would be sufficient to write finis to the 70-year Cold War mentality. But the United States is virtually as hostile to 21st-century Russia as it was to 20th-century Soviet Union, surrounding Moscow with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members. Why should that be? Ideology is no longer a factor. But power remains one, specifically America’s perpetual lust for world hegemony. Russia is the only nation that (a) is a military powerhouse, and (b) doesn’t believe that the United States has a god-given-American-exceptionalism right to rule the world, and says so. By these criteria, China might qualify as a poor second. But there are no others.
Washington pretends that it doesn’t understand why Moscow should be upset by Western military encroachment, but it has no such problem when roles are reversed. Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that Russian troops poised near eastern Ukraine are “creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine” and raising questions about Russia’s next moves and its commitment to diplomacy.
NATO – ever in need of finding a raison d’être – has now issued a declaration of [cold] war, which reads in part:
“NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday [April 1, 2014] reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. ‘NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,’ NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. … Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. ‘We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,’ he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States. … NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia.”
Does anyone recall what NATO said in 2003 when the United States bombed and invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”, compared to the Russians now not firing a single known shot at anyone? And neither Russia nor Ukraine is even a member of NATO. Does NATO have a word to say about the right-wing coup in Ukraine, openly supported by the United States, overthrowing the elected government? Did the hypocrisy get any worse during the Cold War? Imagine that NATO had not been created in 1949. Imagine that it has never existed. What reason could one give today for its creation? Other than to provide a multi-national cover for Washington’s interventions.
One of the main differences between now and the Cold War period is that Americans at home are (not yet) persecuted or prosecuted for supporting Russia or things Russian.
But don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a big US-Russian war. For the same reason there wasn’t one during the Cold War. The United States doesn’t pick on any country which can defend itself.
Cuba … Again … Still … Forever
Is there actually a limit? Will the United States ever stop trying to overthrow the Cuban government? Entire books have been written documenting the unrelenting ways Washington has tried to get rid of tiny Cuba’s horrid socialism – from military invasion to repeated assassination attempts to an embargo that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”. But nothing has ever come even close to succeeding. The horrid socialism keeps on inspiring people all over the world. It’s the darnedest thing. Can providing people free or remarkably affordable health care, education, housing, food and culture be all that important?
And now it’s “Cuban Twitter” – an elaborately complex system set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to disguise its American origins and financing, aiming to bring about a “Cuban Spring” uprising. USAID sought to first “build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then the plan was to push them toward dissent”, hoping the messaging network “would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize ‘smart mobs’ – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice – that might trigger political demonstrations or ‘renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society’.” It’s too bad it’s now been exposed, because we all know how wonderful the Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, and other “Arab Springs” have turned out.
Here’s USAID speaking after their scheme was revealed on April 3: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.” We are thus asked to believe that normally the poor downtrodden Cubans have no good or safe way to communicate with each other. Is the US National Security Agency working for the Cuban government now?
The Associated Press, which broke the story, asks us further to believe that the “truth” about most things important in the world is being kept from the Cuban people by the Castro regime, and that the “Cuban Twitter” would have opened people’s eyes. But what information might a Cuban citizen discover online that the government would not want him to know about? I can’t imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami and other southern cities; both CNN and Telesur (Venezuela, covering Latin America) are seen regularly on Cuban television”; international conferences on all manner of political, economic and social issues are held regularly in Cuba. I’ve spoken at more than one myself. What – it must be asked – does USAID, as well as the American media, think are the great dark secrets being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?
Those who push this line sometimes point to the serious difficulty of using the Internet in Cuba. The problem is that it’s extremely slow, making certain desired usages often impractical. From an American friend living in Havana: “It’s not a question of getting or not getting internet. I get internet here. The problem is downloading something or connecting to a link takes too long on the very slow connection that exists here, so usually I/we get ‘timed out’.” But the USAID’s “Cuban Twitter”, after all, could not have functioned at all without the Internet.
Places like universities, upscale hotels, and Internet cafés get better connections, at least some of the time; however, it’s rather expensive to use at the hotels and cafés.
In any event, this isn’t a government plot to hide dangerous information. It’s a matter of technical availability and prohibitive cost, both things at least partly in the hands of the United States and American corporations. Microsoft, for example, at one point, if not at present, barred Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service.
Cuba and Venezuela have jointly built a fiber optic underwater cable connection that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos; the outcome of this has not yet been reported in much detail.
The grandly named Agency for International Development does not have an honorable history; this can perhaps be captured by a couple of examples: In 1981, the agency’s director, John Gilligan, stated: “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.”
On June 21, 2012, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of USAID from their nine member countries, “due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”
USAID, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (and the latter’s subsidiaries), together or singly, continue to be present at regime changes, or attempts at same, favorable to Washington, from “color revolutions” to “spring” uprisings, producing a large measure of chaos and suffering for our tired old world.
- William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, p.22-5
- Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men (1986), p.158
- Washington Post, March 31, 2014
- “NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine”, NATO website, April 1, 2014
- Sandy Berger, White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
- Associated Press, April 3 & 4, 2014
- Washington Post, April 4, 2014
- Associated Press, June 2, 2009
- George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321