Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:49:19 GMT Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:49:19 GMT Nikki Haley’s Compulsion Flouts the Law of Nations Michael S. Rozeff

Flip Wilson had a comedy routine “The Devil Made Me Do It”. Nikki Haley is far from funny when she uses the same kind of excuse, telling us that the US is prepared to attack Syria again. Why? Compulsion, or the devil made me do it. In her words: “…there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”

Is the US also compelled to ally with Saudi Arabia in its brutal bombings and embargo/blockade in Yemen? Is the US compelled to aid Israel when it brutally invades Gaza? Was the US compelled to attack and destroy Libya? Was the US compelled to attack and destroy Iraq? Was the US compelled to destroy the Taliban government in Afghanistan?

If the US claims the moral high ground to justify attacks on Syria, is this the same moral ground and compulsion that justified its attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen? But such compulsions are no justifications at all. “The devil made me do it” is no different from “The angel made me do it” or “God made me do it”. All are non-justifications, just empty childish excuses. We human beings cannot blame devils, angels or Gods for what we do. Freedom to choose and act is an essential part of our makeup, and no devil, angel or God can be held responsible for this freedom or its consequences when we use it. If they can be held responsible, not each of us, and we lack such primary freedom that’s beyond any devil or any God, then what? Are we machines ruled by predetermined causes in some sort of choreographed and senseless lives? In that case, the result is nihilism. Our freedom to act may be an illusion, but if it is, it’s an illusion we can be sure of, a very convincing one.

If compulsion is a justification for bombing another nation, why condemn and sanction Russia over Ukraine? Couldn’t the Russians argue that they felt compelled to interfere to save Russian-speaking people from being oppressed by neo-Nazi battalions? Couldn’t environmentalist wackos justify their bombings by their compulsion to act against climate-change deniers? Couldn’t FBI officials justify their coup against Trump by being “compelled to take their own action” against the prospective great disaster of his presidency and its irreparable harm?

Couldn’t Nikki Haley have found a better excuse than compulsion? If compulsion is a ruling principle in international relations, then what nation may not have the excuse to flout international law and interfere with another nation?

There is a body of international law that governs international relations. It is not perfect and its enforcement is a delicate matter, admittedly, but it is better than jungle law or “law” generated by compulsion, strong feelings, red lines and feelings of moral obligation, all of which lead to chaos and mass destruction. In 1758, Emer de Vattel’sLaw of Nations” has a section on p. 265 labeled “§7. But not by force.” It begins
But though a nation be obliged to promote, as far as lies in its power, the perfection of others, it is not entitled forcibly to obtrude these good offices on them. Such an attempt would be a violation of their natural liberty. In order to compel any one to receive a kindness, we must have an authority over him; but nations are absolutely free and independent (Prelim. §4). Those ambitious Europeans who attacked the American nations, and subjected them to their greedy dominion, in order, as they pretended, to civilise them, and cause them to be instructed in the true religion, — those usurpers, I say, grounded themselves on a pretext equally unjust and ridiculous.
Vattel argues for a moral obligation for one nation to help another nation under some circumstances, but it may not do so “forcibly“. Nikki Haley’s compulsion to bomb Syria for the good of Syrian rebels and some Syrians factually speaking will not be “a kindness”. Besides taking many lives and wounding others, wrecking families and economies, destroying order as in Iraq and Libya, and opening the way to extremist bombings, the US destroys whole cities and ruins infrastructure that took decades to construct. Even overlooking all the evils the US does in the name of good, the US has no authority over Syria or Syrians of any stripe and authority is essential if such attacks are not to violate the natural liberty of Syrians, which means their existence as a free and independent nation.

What does Nikki Haley acknowledge or respect of the law of nations? Apparently nothing, or she wouldn’t have said that the US could be “compelled” to bomb Syria. Compulsion is no more than the law of savage beasts, and not even up to that standard; and she shares this lack of regard for the law of nations with Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whom have smashed international law under false and phony pretenses, in its name, or in the name of an oppressed people, or in the name of enforcing law, or of doing something good like removing a dictator, or of stopping weapons of destruction, or even of defending America, which wasn’t even remotely the case.

Americans acting through the US government have no right to inflict so-called “good”, which is far more frequently evil anyway, on any people or portion of a people of another nation. For the US Ambassador to the U.N. to argue that “states are compelled to take their own [interfering] action” is an insult to international law and relations, and yet it perpetuates the thinking and tragically the very bloody action at the highest levels of the US government that have gone on for far too many years. Is it not time to see and say clearly that no nation is above the law of nations, and that no nation can enforce its perverted version of that law in the name of a compulsion or even a strong feeling of moral obligation?

Reprinted with permission from]]> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:49:19 GMT
Meaningless Words Alert: Neoconservatives are Now 'Classical Liberals Jeff Deist
Mona Charen

The term "classical liberal" always has been a misnomer, in that it presupposes an earlier or undiluted form of liberalism that must be distinguished semantically and temporally. and  But the great historian Ralph Raico disabused us of this empty distinction in his great book Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School:
There was no ‘classical’ liberalism, only a single liberalism, based on private property and the free market, that developed organically, from first to last. Liberalism . . . is based on the conception of civil society as by and large self-regulating when its members are free to act within the very wide bounds of their individual rights. Among these, the right to private property, including freedom of contract and exchange and the free disposition of one’s own labor, is given a high priority. Historically, liberalism has manifested a hostility to state action, which, it insists, should be reduced to a minimum.
But today we find, in the grand Orwellian tradition of meaningless words, arch neoconservative Jennifer Rubin has declared herself a "classical liberal."


This comes on the heels of a harrowing episode at the recent CPAC conference, where Rubin's friend Mona Charen experienced a smattering of boos for her criticisms of Trump and Roy Moore. Since then the twittersphere has burst forth with praise for Charen's courage— one attendee gushed "that was so brave" as Charen left the building. Only in Washington does leaving one's well-paid job at a think tank for a few hours to speak at a conference, under conditions of less than 100 percent enthusiastic agreement, constitute uncommon valor. It's hardly surprising to anyone who has attended CPAC that the pep rally atmosphere doesn't lend itself to intellectual arguments and nuance. And the idea that neoconservatives like Rubin and Charen imagine themselves speaking truth to power is absurd, given the close relationships and influence their movement has with leaders in both political parties and the administrative state. 

They just don't like Trump, which hardly makes them unique or noble. Only libertarians, after all, have the temerity to challenge the validity of democracy itself as the mechanism for organizing society. Sorry, but democrats don't get a mulligan when the wrong guy wins. Only anti-state libertarians can say "not my president" with any degree of coherence.

Ms. Rubin's use of the term "classical liberal" is especially galling, given her neconservative worldview. Ms. Charen and other neoconservatives define liberalism as a set of pre-approved political and cultural precepts, not as a conception of restrained government. They accept, and encourage, a strong and activist state: one that provides regulated capitalism, a robust safety net, unchallenged central banking, uniform social and cultural norms, and most of all an unrestrained military role for the United State across the globe. 

This is hardly Misesian liberalism, with its emphasis on private property, individual liberty, trade, and peace above all as the necessary precondition for the first three. From this perspective Rubin and Charen are actually quite authoritarian in outlook, considering both would propose significant restrictions on property and commerce, military conscription, economic sanctions on a host of nations, and escalation of American wars. They are, in fact, distinctly illiberal, always insisting on a central role for the state in human affairs. Liberalism is society organizing itself, neoconservatism and progressivism are society organized around the state.

What really distinguishes the Jennifer Rubins of the world from garden variety progressives like Hillary Clinton or Dianne Feinstein? The answer is not much, save for perhaps a bit more lip service given by the former to Judeo-Christian moral traditions, and greater emphasis on identity politics and welfare by the latter. Their differences are those of tone and style, not substance.

Sorry, but Jennifer Rubin's opposition to Trump doesn't make her a liberal, classical or otherwise. At least she didn't come out and declare herself a libertarian. We already have enough trouble with that word.

Reprinted with permission from Mises Institute.]]> Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:12:20 GMT
Rex Tillerson: Neocon Michael S. Rozeff

In case it is not clear, the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is a neocon. Strong evidence of this unfortunate fact is his speech on January 17, 2018 at Stanford’s Hoover Institute. After warmly acknowledging his debt to Dr. Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, Tillerson goes into his “Remarks on the Way Forward for the United States Regarding Syria.”

What do we hear? “…it is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, and assist the Syrian people as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.” He wants the US to stay in Syria indefinitely, its purposes being to defend the American nation, to cause the war to end, and to create a new government/state in Syria.

We’ve heard the same neocon language in the past 17 years regarding Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other countries. None of these countries are “crucial” to American security. Entry by US forces into each and every one of them has increased American insecurity, generating ever more Muslim terrorist forces. None of these places posed state-led threats to Americans and none posed non-state forces that could not have been addressed by means other than the failed methods that the US government adopted, symbolized by the entirely unnecessary and counter-productive War on Terror.

In his speech, Tillerson presents new elaborations, new rationales, and new flowerings of neocon thought, but the root of it all remains unchanged. It’s the same old rot we’ve heard for the past 17 years and longer. The War on Terror remains fixed firmly in his mind. This he makes clear, saying “The fight against ISIS is not over.” And he says “Similarly, we must persist in Syria to thwart al-Qaida…” The secondary excuse for the uninvited US presence inside Syria is to get rid of the Assad government and create a new state. “Additionally, a total withdrawal of American personnel at this time would restore Assad and continue his brutal treatment against his own people. A murderer of his own people cannot generate the trust required for long-term stability.”

Baloney. Tillerson’s language echoes the language used against Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. The US always resorts to holier-than-thou language like this when it wants to justify the empire’s presence in some place that has nothing to do with American security.

Tillerson knows enough not to name “nation-building” in Syria as US policy. Instead he uses a euphemism: “STABILIZATION”.

The world is not a pretty place everywhere, not even in parts of the Americas that I’ll refrain from naming; but some are close to the White House. This doesn’t justify a costly US presence that, in any event, is very likely not only to fail but also to produce a worse situation.

It’s not the role of the US government to dry out an alcoholic world, or to get it off drugs, pretty it up, wash it clean, apply new makeup, get it a paying job, find it a mate, turn it into a responsible citizen, and have it raise its children as good parents. Why not? Because it cannot! It doesn’t know enough to do it and it cannot know enough to do it, so that when it tries the results are no better and often worse than doing nothing at all, not to mention the costs.

People in power who use lofty language as in this speech present to us a scenario, which is that they have surveyed the turf, discovered the issues, and formulated a plan. They make out that they actually understand human problems and can do something about them using the powers of their office. We should believe none of this. The processes that they think are predictable and governable are neither. Non-ergodicity rules much of human life.

NON-ERGODIC: “Attribute of a behavior that is in certain crucial respects incomprehensible through observation either for lack of repetition, e.g., by involving only transient states which are unique, or for lack of stabilities, e.g., when transition probabilities (see probabilities) are so variable that there are not enough observations available to ascertain them. Evolution and social processes involving structural changes are inherently non-ergodic. To understand non-ergodic behavior requires either reference to the underlying organization of the system exhibiting it or the study of a large sample of systems of the same kind (see ergodic). (Krippendorff)”

Reprinted with permission from]]> Sat, 27 Jan 2018 18:18:48 GMT
How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism Ilana Mercer

It's fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump’s foreign policy.

A couple of months back, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:

"… for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. 'The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,' Trump said. 'We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.'"

"For a moment," swooned Lake, "I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to a Weekly Standard editorial meeting."

Onward to Venezuela!

Mr. Lake, a neoconservative, was loving every moment. In error, he and his kind confuse an expansionist foreign policy with “American exceptionalism.”

It's not.

As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country’s founding. They're more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State.

That's just the way things are.

So, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have enlisted the West in “a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war,” Riyadh’s ultimate aim. Donald Trump has been perfectly willing to partake.

After a campaign of "America First," the president sided with Sunni Islam while demonizing Iran. Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369!

Iranians recently reelected a reformer. Pray tell who elected the Gulf petrostate sheiks?

Moderates danced in the streets of Tehran when President Hassan Rouhani was reelected. Curiously, they've recently been rioting.

If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. For the Left and the pseudo-Right, this is a look-away issue. As the left-liberal establishment lectures daily, to question the Central Intelligence Agency—its spooks are also agitating against all vestiges of President Trump's original "America First" plank—is to "undermine American democracy."

Besides, "good" Americans know that only the Russians "meddle."

In Saudi Arabia, a new, more-dangerous regime is consolidating regional power. Almost overnight has the kingdom shifted from rule by family dynasty (like that of the Clintons and the Bushes), to a more authoritarian style of one-man rule.

When it comes to the Saudi-Israeli-American-Axis-of-Angels, the Kushner-Trump Administration—is that another bloodline in-the-making?—has not broken with America's ruling dynastic families (the Clintons and the Bushes, aforementioned).

It's comforting to know Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in the UN's human rights affairs. In January of last year, the Kingdom executed 47 people in one day, including a rather benign Shiite cleric. Fear not, they went quickly, beheaded with a sword.

Then US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, a woman as dumb and dangerous as Nikki Haley, was cool with the carnage. (One almost misses Henry Kissinger's realpolitik. At least the man was highly educated and deeply knowledgeable about history and world affairs. Second only to Jared Kushner, of course.)

Our bosom buddies, the Saudi’s, are currently barricading Yemeni ports. No aid gets through her hermetically sealed ports. Yemenis are dying. Some Twitter followers twittered with joy at the sight of starving Yemeni babies, like this one. Oh well, Yemeni babies can be sinister.

No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump’s National Security Strategy. Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of "sovereignty," but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to "multilayered technology"; to the "deployment of additional personnel,” and to the tried-and-tested (not!) "vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors."

These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose.

"It’s often said that the Trump administration is 'isolationist,'" wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. "In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without ... any debate in Congress or the media."

Indeed, while outlining his "new" Afghanistan plan, POTUS had conceded that "the American people are weary of war without victory." (Make that war, full-stop.) Depressingly, the president went on to promise an increase in American presence in Afghanistan. By sending 4000 additional soldiers there, President Trump alleged he was fighting terrorism, yet not undertaking nation building.

This is tantamount to talking out of both sides of one's mouth.

Teasing apart these two elements is near-impossible. Send "4,000 additional soldiers to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan," and you've done what Obama and Bush before you did in that blighted and benighted region: muddle along; kill some civilians mixed in with some bad guys; break bread with tribal leaders (who hate your guts); mediate and bribe.

Above all, spend billions not your own to perfect the credo of a global fighting force that doesn’t know Shiite from Shinola.

The upshot? It's quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway. "We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them."

With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions.

This is the gift President Trump has given mainstream neoconservatives—who now comfortably include neoliberals and all Conservatism Inc., with the exceptions of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives—aka Conservatism Inc.—did the same.

Having consistently complained of his isolationism, the Left and the phony Right cannot but sanction President Trump's interventionism. The other option is to admit that we of the callused Old Right, who rejoiced at the prospects and promise of non-interventionism, were always right.

Not going to happen.

To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton's triangulation tactics. To others, it's a cynical sleight of hand.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016) & “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook,Gab & YouTube.]]> Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:20:03 GMT
Surrounded by Neocons undefined

Award winning journalist James Risen has recently described in some detail his sometimes painful relationship with The New York Times. His lengthy account is well worth reading as it demonstrates how successive editors of the paper frequently cooperated with the government to suppress stories on torture and illegal activity while also self-censoring to make sure that nothing outside the framework provided by the “war on terror” should be seriously discussed. It became a faithful lap dog for an American role as global hegemon, promoting government half-truths and suppressing information that it knew to be true but which would embarrass the administration in power, be they Democrats or Republicans.

If one were to obtain a similar insider account of goings-on at the other national “newspaper of record” The Washington Post it is quite likely that comparable trimming of the narrative also took place. To be sure, the Post is worse than the Times, characterized by heavily editorializing in its news coverage without necessarily tipping off the reader when “facts” end and speculation begins. In both publications, stories about Iran or Russia routinely begin with an assertion that Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. election and that Iran is the aggressor in the Middle East, contentions that have not been demonstrated and can easily be challenged. Both publications also have endorsed every American war since 2001, including Iraq, Libya and the current mess in Syria, one indication of the quality of their reporting and analysis.

recent op-ed in the Times by Bret Stephens is a perfect example of warmongering mischief wrapped in faux expert testimony to make it palatable. Stephens is the resident neocon at the Times. He was brought over from the Wall Street Journal when it was determined that his neocon colleague David Brooks had become overly squishy, while the resident “conservative” Russ Douthat had proven to be a bit too cautious and even rational to please the increasingly hawkish senior editors.

Stephens’ article, entitled Finding the Way Forward on Iran sparkles with throwaway gems like “Tehran’s hyperaggressive foreign policy in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal” and “Real democracies don’t live in fear of their own people” and even “it’s not too soon to start rethinking the way we think about Iran.” Or try “A better way of describing Iran’s dictatorship is as a kleptotheocracy, driven by impulses that are by turns doctrinal and venal.”

Bret has been a hardliner on Iran for years. Early on in this op-ed he makes very clear that he wants it to be dealt with forcibly because it has “centrifuges, ballistic missiles, enriched uranium [and] fund[s] Hezbollah, assist Bashar al-Assad, arm[s] the Houthis, [and] imprison[s] the occasional British or American citizen.” He describes how Iran is a very corrupt place run by religious leaders and Revolutionary Guards and proposes that their corruption be exposed so that the Iranian people can take note and rise up in anger. And if exposure doesn’t work, they should be hammered with sanctions. He does not explain why sanctions, which disproportionately hurt the people he expects to rise up, will bring about any real change.

Stephens cites two of his buddies Ken Weinstein of the Hudson Institute and Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), who are apparently experts on how to squeeze Iran. Weinstein prefers exposing the misdeeds of the Mullahs to anger the Iranian people while Dubowitz prefers punitive sanctions “for corruption.”

The article does not reveal that Weinstein and Dubowitz are long time critics of Iran, are part of the Israel Lobby and just happen to be Jewish, as is Stephens. The Hudson Institute and the FDD are leading neocon and pro-Israel fronts. So my question becomes, “Why Iran?” The often-heard Israeli complaint about its being unfairly picked on could reasonably be turned on its head in asking the same about Iran. In fact, Iran compares favorably with Israel. It has no nuclear weapons, it does not support any of the Sunni terrorist groups that are chopping heads, and it has not disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of people that it rules over. The fact is that Iran is being targeted because Israel sees it as its prime enemy in the region and has corrupted many “opinion makers” in the U.S., to include Stephens, to hammer home that point. To be sure, Iran is a very corrupt place run by people who should not be running a hot dog stand, but the same applies to the United States and Israel. And there are lots of places that are not being targeted like Iran that are far worse, including good friend and ally of both Jerusalem and Washington, Saudi Arabia.

Oddly enough Stephens, Weinstein and Dubowitz do not get into any of that back story, presumably because it would be unseemly. And, of course and unfortunately, theNew York Times opinion page is not unique. An interesting recent podcast interview by Politico‘s Chief International Affairs correspondent Susan Glasser with leading neoconservatives Eliot Cohen and Max Boot, is typical of how the media selectively shapes a narrative to suit its own biases. Glasser, Cohen and Boot are all part of the establishment foreign policy consensus in the U.S. and therefore both hate and fail to understand the Trump phenomenon. Both Cohen and Booth were vociferous founding members of the #NeverTrump foreign policy resistance movement.

Boot describes the new regime’s foreign policy as “kowtow[ing] to dictators and undermin[ing] American support for freedom and democracy around the world,” typical neocon leitmotifs. Glasser appears to be in love with her interviewees and hurls softball after softball. She describes Boot as “fantastic” and Cohen receives the epithet “The Great.” The interview itself is remarkably devoid of any serious discussion of foreign policy and is essentially a sustained assault on Trump while also implicitly supporting hardline national security positions. Cohen fulminates about “a very serious Russian attack on the core of our political system. I mean, I don’t know how you get more reckless and dangerous than that,” while Boot asks what “has to be done” about Iran.

Pompous ass Cohen, who interjected in the interview that “and you know, Max and I are both intellectuals,” notably very publicly refused to have any part in a Trump foreign policy team during the campaign but later when The Donald was actually elected suggested that the new regime might approach him with humility to offer a senior position and he just might condescend to join them. They did not do so, and he wrote an angry commentary on their refusal.

Hating Trump is one thing, but I would bet that if the question of a hardline policy vis-à-vis Russia or the Jerusalem Embassy move had come up Cohen and Boot would have expressed delight. The irony is that Trump is in fact pursuing a basically neocon foreign policy which the two men would normally support, but they appear to be making room for Trump haters in the policy formulation process to push the national security consensus even farther to the right. Indeed, in another article by Boot at Foreign Policy he writes “I applaud Trump’s decisions to provide Ukraine with arms to defend itself from Russian aggression, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and to accelerate former President Barack Obama’s strategy for fighting the Islamic State.” Cohen meanwhile applauds the embassy move, though he warns that Trump’s success in so doing might embolden him to do something reckless over North Korea.

Perhaps one should not be astonished that leading neocons appearing in the mainstream media will continue to have their eyes on the ball and seek for more aggressive engagement in places like Iran and Russia. The media should be faulted because it rarely publishes any contrary viewpoint and it also consistently fails to give any space to the considerable downside to the agitprop. It must be reassuring for many Americans to know that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is preparing itself to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United States and it will be sharing information on the appropriate preparations with the American people. There will be a public session on how to prepare for a nuclear explosion on January 16th.

CDC experts will consider “planning and preparation efforts” for such a strike. “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps,” the Center elaborated in its press release on the event.

That the United States should be preparing for a possible nuclear future can in part be attributed to recent commentary by the “like, really smart” and “very stable genius” who is the nation’s chief executive, but the fuel being poured on the fire for war is the very same neocons who are featured in the mainstream media as all-purpose experts and have succeeded in selling the snake oil about America’s proper role as aggressor-in-chief for the entire world. It would be an unparalleled delight to be able to open a newspaper and not see Bret Stephens, Eliot Cohen, Max Boot or even the redoubtable Bill Kristol grinning back from the editorial page, but I suppose I am only dreaming.

Reprinted with permission from Unz Review.

]]> Tue, 09 Jan 2018 14:02:42 GMT
Trump and Haley: Shut Up About Iran Michael S. Rozeff

The US government has chosen to be against Iran’s government. Neocon Elliott Abrams says “We should be expressing support” for protests. Given his record and views, we therefore can be quite sure that this is exactly what should not be done. Mere support sounds “moderate”, but it’s only a first step, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The full Abrams and neocon agenda on Iran and many other foreign lands, shown clearly by his record is full neocon, meaning intervene, interfere, use any means, make war if need be, so as to influence, control and dominate these regions. The agenda is to expand the American empire.

Nikki Haley refers to Iran as a “dictatorship.” She says that “a long-oppressed people [is] rising up against their dictators.” Actually, Iran has a system of elections. Their institutions vet candidates, to be sure. In America, our institutions also vet candidates, our Supreme Court has immense power over laws, and our deep state and agencies wield considerable undemocratically-restrained power.

Do Trump, Haley and Abrams actually know who is protesting and why they are protesting? Are they so sure that a governmental system more to their liking will result if the existing form of government is destroyed? How can they possibly know what the result of a power struggle will be? They have to be assuming that the US will institute a regime to its liking, in one way or another because they cannot be assuming that such a regime will magically arise on its own.

How do they know that they are not promoting a full-scale civil war as they did in the case of Syria? How do they know that destabilizing Iran will produce a wonderful democratic system with checks and balances and liberty and justice for all? How do they know that such a newborn, if it ever could arise, will be better for the Iranian people? How do they know that Islamic extremists and suicide bombers won’t infiltrate and further destabilize the country?

Once the US expresses such strong anti-regime and pro-protest support, won’t the next steps be to arm forces that are anti-regime? If protesters are already attacking police stations and police, aren’t Trump, Haley and Abrams conscience-bound to provide them with material support? Maybe Trump already is doing this. One cannot in good conscience encourage unarmed people to attack armed forces and die in the process. Most revolutions are bloody affairs. The end of the Soviet Union is the exception.

The Trump-Haley agenda on Iran is American dominance. It has three focal points: oil, Israel and Russia. Democracy and freedom are not the focal points. They are merely proposed means to the end of control. The US is aligned with Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran. The US long accepted the non-democratic Shah as ruler of Iran. The US would accept another Shah, a decidedly non-democratic result, but that’s not in the cards. What it’s after as its means to control is some sort of “modern” democracy, to overturn the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah. However, such a means is an absurdly naive expectation and simplistic goal. This has been shown in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Democracies do not arise from the ashes of broken states, either automatically or by the hand of the US Death, destruction, bombings, terror havens, refugees, hardship, disease and civilian deaths are the consequences.

“As of March 15, 2016, IHRDC estimates that there are 821 individuals imprisoned in Iran for the exercise of fundamental rights.” Under the Shah, there were more: “According to official statistics, Iran had as many as 2,200 political prisoners in 1978.” The Shah was the US man in Iran. In America, drugs are politicized. The number of drug-related political prisoners runs into hundreds of thousands. Let’s not forget the thousand and more people in America injured and killed by police using excessive force. Is this what gives Trump, Haley and Abrams the right to pontificate about the Iran regime and associate it with terrorism?

The Shah was overturned via a revolution that amalgamated various dissident groups to create a state, the Islamic Republic of Iran, that has now lasted almost 40 years. Do you think that Trump, Haley and Abrams have any real clue as to what sort of situation they are fomenting through their words and deeds as they aim to overturn the Islamic Republic of Iran? It is my belief that they should shut up.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Wed, 03 Jan 2018 19:32:08 GMT
How to Make Quick Peace with North Korea: Let Lindsey Graham Move to Seoul Robert Bridge

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the US is ‘getting close to a military conflict’ with Pyongyang, adding that Pentagon officials should stop sending their families to South Korea. But following Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, will they be any safer in the US?

In a deeply disturbing interview at the weekend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said preemptive US military action against North Korea is becoming “more likely.” 

"We're getting close to a military conflict because North Korea's marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America but deliver the weapon,” Graham told Face the Nation on Sunday. "The policy of the Trump administration is to deny North Korea the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tipped missile. Not to contain it," he said.

“We're running out of time."

Graham, who failed to mention years of provocative US military moves in the Korean Peninsula, then had some rather strange advice for military officials, which will certainly ratchet up the geopolitical thermostat in the region.

“It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, continued. “So, I want them [the Pentagon] to stop sending dependents and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea."

The question is: will that precaution make any difference if worst comes to worst?

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, during a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday, warned that the North Korea's "ballistic missile that was fired last week showed that all our States may be exposed to this danger."

Nevertheless, the games continue.

This week, after an illusory lull in the military exercises, the US and South Korea will hold“unprecedented” air force exercises, featuring six F-22 Raptor fighter jets and six F-35A stealth jets. A total of 12,000 personnel and over 230 military aircraft will participate.

Pyongyang responded to the announcement about the war games, saying the US is “begging for nuclear war."

Meanwhile, North Korea is certainly not oblivious to what happens to those chosen countries – Iraq, Libya and almost Syria, which just barely escaped the jaws of the regime change machine - that do not have the defensive means to protect themselves from US aggression. They strive to get the most powerful weapons they can procure. This type of survivalist thinking has defined military strategy ever since men fought wars with spears and shields.

On September 3, 2017, North Korea stated it had tested a thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb), adding that the weapon could be “detonated…at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack.”

At the end of last month, North Korea stunned military analysts when it successfully tested its Hwasong-15, an ICBM that according to Pyongyang could deliver heavy nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States. The missile had a 53-minute flight that finished its journey some 600 miles into the Sea of Japan. 

Pushing Pyongyang

For Lindsey Graham to speak so loosely about the prospects of military action suggests the Trump administration wants Pyongyang to strike first, thus giving the US carte blanche to resort to ‘defensive actions’ that will most certainly inflict tremendous destruction on the entire region.

Unfortunately, Graham has not been alone in uttering such reckless comments.

White House security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday that North Korea represents "the greatest immediate threat to the United States," and the potential for war with the communist nation is “increasing every day.”

Meanwhile, America’s loose cannon in the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley, told the UN Security Council “if war comes… the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

So much for diplomacy.

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, called Haley’s spectacle “a really bloodthirsty tirade.”

“If someone really wants to use force to – as the US representative to the UN put it – destroy North Korea... then I think it’s playing with fire and a huge mistake,” Lavrov added.

However, before Lindsey and McMaster uttered their provocative comments, Lavrov preempted their saber-rattling by one day, reminding Japan and South Korea that, in the case of war with North Korea, they will be the “first victims” in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula.

“Unfortunately, they are trying to drag the Japanese, and South Koreans in the same direction, who... will be the first victims in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula,” Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian broadcaster STV.

Although Lavrov failed to mention it, there are also tens of thousands of US military personnel and their families in the region who would also come under significant risk in the event of some emergency.

According to the latest available data, there are about 40,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan. At the same time, there are 35,000 US military personnel serving in South Korea.

And herein lies the solution for bringing a swift end to the ratcheting up of hostilities between the United States and North Korea. Let those pugnacious people – Lindsey Graham, HR McMaster, and Nikki Haley, for example – who speak so freely and recklessly about war in the Korean Peninsula – be required to live and work in South Korea and Japan, precisely in range of North Korea’s missile launches, much like the rest of the local population.

That would change their hawkish tunes very fast, and we’d be much closer to the road of peace and diplomacy rather than bloodshed and militancy.

Reprinted with permission from RT.]]> Mon, 04 Dec 2017 20:14:44 GMT
State Department's New Victoria Just Like the Old Victoria Nuland! Daniel McAdams

Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swore into office a new Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Dr. A. Wess Mitchell became the Trump Administration's top diplomat for Europe, "responsible for diplomatic relations with 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia, and with NATO, the EU and the OSCE."

Readers will recall that the position was most recently held during the Obama Administration by Kagan family neocon, Victoria Nuland, who was key catalyst and cookie provider for the US-backed coup overthrowing the elected government in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland's virulently anti-Russia position was a trademark of the neocon persuasion and she put ideology into action by "midwifing," in her own words, an illegal change of government in Ukraine. 

It was Nuland's coup that laid the groundwork for a precipitous decay in US/Russia relations, as Washington's neocons peddled the false line that "Russia invaded Ukraine" to cover up for the fact that it was the US government that had meddled in Ukrainian affairs. The coup was bloody and divisive, resulting in a de-facto split in the country that continues to the day. Ukraine did not flourish as a result of this neocon scheme, but has in fact been in economic free-fall since the US government installed its preferred politicians into positions of power.

You don't hear much about Ukraine these days because the neocons hate to talk about their failures. But the corruption of the US-installed government has crippled the country, extreme nationalist elements that make up the core of the post-coup elites have imposed a new education law so vicious toward an age-old Hungarian population stuck inside arbitrarily re-drawn post-WWI borders that the Hungarian government has blocked Ukraine's further integration into NATO, and a new "Maidan" protest has steadily gathered steam in Kiev despite Western cameras being uninterested this time.

Fortunately Donald Trump campaigned on and was elected to improve relations with Russia and end the Obama Administration's neocon-fueled launch of a new Cold War. He raised eyebrows when he directly challenged the neocon shibboleth -- amplified by the mainstream media -- that Russia was invading Ukraine. But candidate Trump really blew neocon minds -- and delighted voters -- when he said he was looking into ending US sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama and may recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Which brings us back to Wess Mitchell. Certainly President Trump, seeing the destruction of Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland's anti-Russia interventionism, would he finally restore a sane diplomat to the position vacated by the unmourned former Assistant Secretary. Would appoint someone in line with the rhetoric that landed him the Oval Office. Right?


If anything, Wess Mitchell may well prove to be Victoria Nuland on steroids. He was co-founder and CEO of the neocon-dominated Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Mitchell's CEPA is funded largely by the US government, NATO, neocon grant-making mega-foundations, and the military-industrial complex. The "think tank" does the bidding of its funders, finding a Russian threat under every rock that requires a NATO and defense industry response -- or we're doomed!

Mitchell's CEPA's recent greatest hits? "The Kremlin's 20 toxic tactics," "Russian disinformation and anti-Western narratives in Romania: How to fight back?," "Winning the Information War," "Alliances and American greatness," "Russia's historical distortions," "What the Kremlin Fears Most," and so on. You get the idea. The raison d'etre of the organization founded by the new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia is to foment a new (and very profitable) Cold War (and more?) with Russia.

Last month, CEPA put on its big conference, the "CEPA Forum 2017." Speakers included central European heavy hitter politicos like the president of Latvia and also Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe, who gave a talk on how "the unity of the NATO Alliance" is "what Russia fears the most." The grand event was funded, as might be expected, by war contractors Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin. But also, surprisingly, significant funding came from the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban, who is seen as somewhat of a maverick in central Europe for refusing to sign on to the intense Russia-hate seen in the Baltics and in Poland.

The no-doubt extraordinarily expensive conference was funded by no less than three Hungarian government entities: the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC, the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group. Again, given Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's reputation for bucking neocon positions vis-a-vis Russia it is surprised to see the virulently anti-Russia CEPA conference so awash in Hungarian taxpayer money. Perhaps there is something to explore in the fact that the recently-fired Hungarian Ambassador to Washington,Réka Szemerkényi, was recently named executive vice president of CEPA. Hmmm. Makes you wonder.

But back to Mitchell. So he founded a neocon think tank funded by a NATO desperate for new missions and a military-industrial complex desperate for new wars. What about his own views? Surely he can't be as bad as Nuland. Right? Wrong! Fortunately Assistant Secretary Mitchell is a prolific writer, so it's easy to track his thinking. In a recent piece for neocon Francis Fukuyama's American Interest, titled "Predators on the Frontiers," Mitchell warns that, "From eastern Ukraine and the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, large rivals of the United States are modernizing their military forces, grabbing strategic real estate, and threatening vulnerable US allies."

Mitchell continues, in a voice right out of the neocon canon, that:
By degrees, the world is entering the path to war. Not since the 1980s have the conditions been riper for a major international military crisis. Not since the 1930s has the world witnessed the emergence of multiple large, predatory states determined to revise the global order to their advantage—if necessary by force.
We are on a path to war not seen since the 1930s! And why are our "enemies" so hell-bent on destroying us? Because we are just so isolationist!

Writes Mitchell: "Over the past few years, Russia, China, and, to a degree, Iran have sensed that the United States is retreating in their respective regions..."

We are "retreating"? 

So what can we do? Mitchell again does the bidding of his paymasters in advising that the only thing we can do to save ourselves is...spend more on militarism:
The United States should therefore enhance its nuclear arsenal by maintaining and modernizing it. It needs to sustain a credible nuclear extended deterrent at a time when revisionist states are gradually pushing their spheres of influence and control closer to, if not against, U.S. allies. Moreover, it should use the limited tactical nuclear weapons at its disposal and seed them in a few of the most vulnerable and capable frontline states (Poland and Japan, for instance) under “nuclear sharing” agreements.
There is our new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia. Our top diplomat for Europe. The only solution is a military solution. President Trump. Elected to end the endless wars, to forge better relations with Russia, to roll-back an "outdated" NATO. President Trump has replaced Victoria Nuland with something far more dangerous and frightening. Heckuva job, there, Mr. President!]]> Fri, 03 Nov 2017 22:59:36 GMT
Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act Hijacked by Neocons William J. Murray

The Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2017 (HR-390) which passed in the House without one dissenting voice and was supported by many relief agencies and social conservative organizations, has been transformed by Senator Corker into a Russia-bashing neocon bill that has little to do with genocide or with aid of any kind to victims of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Senator Corker, who authored the sanctions bill against Russia earlier this year, has crossed out every single line of the simple anti-genocide language in HR- 390 authored by Congressman Chris Smith.  He has transformed it into legislation to establish a worthless commission called the “Syria Study Group.” This “group” is tasked with furnishing a final report by November 30th, 2018.

Corker’s “substitute language” is more than four times longer than the original bill.

Senator Corker’s version of HR-390 would direct the “Syria Study Group” to “review the current situation with respect to the United States military and diplomatic strategy in Syria, including a review of current United States objectives in Syria and the desired end state in Syria.”

The Group is then to “develop recommendations on a military and diplomatic strategy for the United States with respect to the conflict in Syria.”

This “Study Group” will have eight members appointed for the “life of the group.” The selection process could not be more complex, and is designed to slow down the establishment of the group and to hold up any true investigation that would bring about results.  Here are the required members:
One member appointed by the chair of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate; One member appointed by the ranking minority member of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate; One member appointed by the chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; One member appointed by the ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; One member appointed by the chair of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives; One member appointed by the ranking minority member of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives; One member appointed by the chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; One member appointed by the ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
Then of course there are co-chairs, plus the involvement of appointed advisors or “liaisons.”The Corker language states that the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Director of National Intelligence must each designate an officer as a “liaison” to the Group.

This will be a full-time endeavor for the assigned members, and office space will be required as well as communications equipment. Of course, “fact finding tours” will be needed, probably to interview “refugees” now living on the French Riviera.  And all of this will be done with smoke and mirrors, since the bill requests no funding for the “Syria Study Group” or any other aspect of the work mentioned in the new language proposed by Senator Corker for HR-390.

The final section – Section 13 states: “No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act. This Act shall be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized and appropriated.” In other words, money – lots of it-- must be taken out of other government entities’ existing budgets.

The original purpose of HR-390 author Congressman Chris Smith was to bring aid as quickly as possible to the victims of genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State. It required no additional aid, just redirected some existing aid to serve the victims of genocide first. Also, the original text of HR-390 would place the victims of genocide in the front of the line for immigration to the United States – something that would cost no additional money, just change procedures in the existing system.  Under the Obama Administration, Sunni Muslims from Syria were at the front of the line, with Christians rarely included. 

Most of the new language substituted by Senator Corker concerns the Syrian government, Russia and Iran -- with little mention of the victims of genocide which include Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims. The Shia Muslims are now totally excluded because of Senator Corker’s love for Saudi Arabia and to honor the Kingdom’s desire to eradicate Shia Islam from the face of the Earth. Iran, being Shia Muslim, is of course singled out for blame in a civil war actually begun with Saudi Arabian cash and weapons.

The only mention of humanitarian assistance comes in Section 7, subsection c which states:

“The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development are authorized to provide assistance, including financial and technical assistance as necessary and appropriate, to support entities described in subsection (a)(4) that the Secretary and the Administrator determine have access, and are capable of effectively managing and delivering such assistance, to the individuals and groups described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of such subsection.”

Note the last line which states that the groups and individuals are described in paragraphs (1) and (2). Those are to be determined by the Secretary of State with the help of the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence among others.

In earlier sections of the bill most of the blame for the ongoing genocide in Syria and Iraq is cast upon Russia which has only been involved for the last two years of the six-year civil war, and has not been involved in Iraq at all. In Section 3 (a) 7 the Corker version of the bill states as fact the “Widespread and systematic attacks on civilians, schools, hospitals, and other civilian infrastructure, in violation of international humanitarian law, continue in Syria, in particular as a result of the actions of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian supporters.” These accusations are in fact not proven at all.

Throughout Section 3 and other sections of the new text of HR-390 most atrocities in Syria are blamed on the current secular government and their allies including Russia and Iran. Never mentioned is the funding of the original Sunni Muslim uprising against the secular government of Syria by Saudi Arabia. At no point in the new HR-390- text are the arms supplied by Saudi Arabia mentioned. The purpose of the Saudi arms supplies (which were facilitated by the CIA) to the Sunni rebels in Syria had the goal of establishing a Sharia compliant Islamic State not much that different than the one proposed by the terror group Islamic State (ISIS).

The original purpose of HR-390 was to aid the victims of Islamic State genocide … but Senator Corker’s version of the bill, probably with the input of Senators McCain and Graham, downplays aid and focuses on military and economic measures. In the Corker version, the Defense Department and the national security agencies play a large part.

This bill is part of the ongoing anti-Russia hysteria on Capitol Hill, with the added anti-Iran hysteria being pumped out of the White House. Some of the conclusions and assumptions in the bill are baseless. The bill for example presumes that the prison system run by the Assad government somehow led to the genocide of Christians. In reality, the greatest number of ISIS fighters in Syria have never been Syrian; Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of jihadi fighters; the number two supplier of fighters is Jordan.

The “revolt” against Syria’s secular government is about religion, not repression. The Sunni Muslims of Syria, aided by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim Gulf States, sought to establish a Sharia compliant Syria that would have oppressed Christians and other minorities.

HR-390 is no longer an anti-Genocide bill … it has become an anti-Syrian government, anti- Russia, anti-Iran bill that actually downplays the Islamic State. The Islamic State (ISIS) becomes just a sideshow in this new bill, something for a commission to look at while condemning Syria, Iran and Russia.

As this new commission or “Study Group” chugs along eating up money over the next couple of years the United States will continue to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia to drop on schools, hospitals and funerals in Yemen. The disgusting human rights record of Saudi Arabia will be ignored in favor of arms sales, despite the fact that the royal family of Saudi Arabia makes President Bashir Assad of Syria look like someone who should receive an award for humanitarianism.

Reprinted with author's permission. 

William Murray is Chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition]]> Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:34:37 GMT
Spies, Hollywood, And Neocons Team Up To Create New War Propaganda Firm Caitlin Johnstone

“We have been attacked. We are at war.”

So begins a video released today by The Committee to Investigate Russia, an organization founded by When Harry Met Sally director Rob Reiner and neoconservative senior editor of The Atlantic David Frum. The video, which stars Morgan Freeman and is rife with patriotic images of American flags, soldiers and bald eagles, continues as follows:
Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge. Taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-Soviet Russia, and becomes president. He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy: the United States. And like the true KGB spy he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins.

We need our president to speak directly to us and tell us the truth. We need him to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office and say, 'My fellow Americans. During this past election, we came under attack by the Russian government. I’ve called on Congress and our intelligence community to use every resource available to conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly how this happened.'

The free world is counting on us for leadership. For 241 years, our democracy has been a shining example to the world of what we can all aspire to. And we owe it to the brave people who have fought and died to protect this great nation and save democracy. And we owe it to our future generations to continue the fight.
Wow. There’s a lot going on there.

Firstly, the establishment narrative that Russia used cyber warfare to hand the election to Donald Trump remains wholly unsubstantiated and riddled with gaping plot holes that the US intelligence community has yet to address; there is currently no publicly available evidence whatsoever that the Russian government did what Morgan Freeman tells us it did, let alone that Donald Trump was involved in it. The Russian hacking narrative is getting flimsier by the day, with the assertion that WikiLeaks is a Kremlin proxy being sorely weakened just today by a new leak drop on Russian surveillance activities, which itself comes on the back of an extensive amount of critical Russia-related leaks that the transparency organization had already published.

Establishment loyalists only believe the Russian government hacked the Democratic party and gave its emails to WikiLeaks because pundits, politicians and celebrities have been saying this happened in an authoritative tone, not because there’s any publicly available evidence for it. In a post-Iraq invasion world, this is simply unacceptable.

Secondly, the assertion that America is currently at war with Russia is horrifying, and if Americans start swallowing this disgusting propaganda there’ll be no public outcry if the US really does enter into actual warfare with the only other nuclear superpower on the planet. The evidence-free assertion that America has “been attacked” is plainly geared to elicit a fear response from the video’s intended audience and manufacture support for counter-attacks and/or dangerous new cold war escalations.

Third, a blatant war psy-op advanced by Bush-era neocons bitching about the Russian government using propaganda is hilarious.

Fourth, the notion that “the free world is counting” on the US for leadership is moronic flag-waving, chest-pounding B.S. I assure you that the free world is not counting on any such thing. The idea that America is destined to occupy a dominant role in world affairs is an integral part of neoconservative PNAC doctrine, which posits that its victory in the Cold War means history has selected the United States to hold a unique position of leadership over the rest of the world. Most US military aggression since the end of the Cold War can be seen as a nonstop global disruption campaign to prevent the rise of another rival superpower like the Soviet Union, and the neocons have been responsible for spearheading this initiative.

David Frum, author of President George W. Bush’s infamous “Axis of Evil” talking point, is a notorious neoconservative who has been pushing for war at every opportunity for nearly two decades. He is an unforgivable bloodthirsty psychopath, and everything he touches is cancer.


In addition to Reiner — a virulent #Resistance Clintonist and Russiagate conspiracy theorist — Frum’s advisory board for his new Committee to Start World War Three includes PNAC signatory Max Boot, who has relentlessly pushed for increased US military aggression throughout his entire career, and who once called in plain English for America to “unambiguously to embrace its imperial role.”

There’s also former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has on more than one occasion voiced blatantly racist opinions about the nefarious genetic predispositions of the entire population of Russia. This eugenicist bigot’s handful of hand-picked analysts were behind the conclusions drawn in the intelligence community’s official statements regarding the alleged Russian election interference, forming both (A) the basis for the false narrative that there is unanimous consensus within the intelligence community about Russian hacking and (B) the foundation for the entire Russiagate conspiracy theory.

Also on the advisory board are Norman Ornstein of the neocon think tank American Enterprise Institute and conservative never-Trump pundit Charlie Sykes, who laughably just used the term “strange bedfellows” in reference to the idea of neoconservative Democrats working with neoconservative Republicans to advance their common goal of endless war.

As viscerally disturbing as it is to see the actor who played God conducting a brazen psy-op on the American people, it is already a well-documented fact that the CIA, the NSA and the Pentagon have been balls deep in Hollywood for decades. They’re just being more blatant about that collaboration now.

As Noam Chomsky puts it:
Control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward: a despotic state can control its domestic enemies by force, but as the state loses this weapon, other devices are required to prevent the ignorant masses from interfering with public affairs, which are none of their business…the public are to be observers, not participants, consumers of ideology as well as products.
Don’t let them control your mind. Fight the propaganda machine, disrupt their craven agendas, and wake up the others.

Reprinted with author's permission from Support Johnstone's writing here.]]> Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:27:53 GMT
Nikki Haley Meltdown: Assad Must Go...and War With North Korea! Daniel McAdams

There must be something about being named US Ambassador to the UN that brings out the inner mass murderer in people. Madeline Albright famously admitted that she thought 500,000 dead Iraqi children due to US sanctions was "worth it." John Bolton never met a disagreement he didn't want to turn into a war. Samantha Power barked about human rights while her Administration's drones snuffed out human life in unprecedented numbers. The real "butcher of the Balkans" Richard Holbrooke sold the Yugoslavia war on lies. John "Death Squad" Negroponte sold the lie that Saddam Hussein needed to be killed and his country destroyed for democracy to flourish, and so on.

Considering how many millions of civilians have been killed on the war propaganda of US ambassadors to the UN, perhaps the equivalent of another Holocaust could have been avoided if Ron Paul's HR 1146 has passed 30 years ago.

But nothing could have prepared us for Nikki "Holocaust" Haley, who has thundered into the Trump Administration as US Ambassador to the UN despite hating Trump and Trump hating her. Why would President Trump pick someone for such an influential position despite her being vocally and publicly opposed to the foreign policy that provided the margin of victory for him? We can only guess. Was Trump lying on the campaign trail? Possibly. Does he not bother to notice that he has surrounded himself with people who are deeply opposed, at the DNA level, to the policies he ran and won on? Seems more likely. As Johnny Rotten famously ended the Sex Pistols run, "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

In fact yes. One-time top Trump supporter Ann Coulter today Tweeted the question "is there anyone out there left who doesn't want Trump impeached?"

Coulter meant the wall or something else, but she could just as well have been complaining about the foreign policy about-face. Trump ran as a Ron Paul Republican, he governs as a George W. Bush Republican. Cheated? Yes, once again.

Which brings us back to the odious Nikki Haley. Today she no doubt thought she was being clever Tweeting in response to the predictable fact that yet another round of sanctions against North Korea did not result in Kim Jong-Un doing a Gaddafi suicide knife dance, that since the sanctions destroying the North Korean economy -- such as it is -- have not resulted in Kim's surrender it was time to hand the matter over to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Said US top UN diplomat Nikki: "We cut 90% of trade & 30% of oil. I have no problem kicking it to Gen. Mattis because I think he has plenty of options."

We killed their trade, we destroyed their oil imports and still they have the nerve to defy us and not time for World War Three! That's Nikki. No foreign policy experience beyond the fetid breath of the neocon "experts" whispering in her all-too-willing ear.

But Nikki was not done today. After threatening a war on North Korea that would likely leave ten or more thousand US troops dead, hundreds of thousands of South Korean civilians dead, and maybe another million North Koreans dead, she decided to opine on the utterly failed six year US regime change operation in Syria. Today, as Deir Ezzor has finally been liberated by the Syrian government from the scourge of ISIS, Nikki Haley chose to go on record defending ISIS and al-Qaeda by repeating Obama's line that Assad must go.  

Ponder this for a minute: Assad has just defeated ISIS in Deir Ezzor. ISIS is the reason the US has invaded Syrian sovereignty and initiated military action. Yet according to Nikki Haley Assad's reward for wiping out ISIS is that he must be deposed -- presumably in favor of US-backed rebels who have been in bed with ISIS for six years!

Is Nikki Haley pro-ISIS? Is she pro-al-Qaeda? Is she evil or just stupid? 

You decide.

But if she is not removed from office soon, she will be leading perhaps a million people to their graves.]]> Sat, 16 Sep 2017 00:06:57 GMT
Neocon Creep Karen Kwiatkowski

Those of us who closely observed, and tried to stop, the neoconservative takeover of the Presidency, and the nation’s security and intelligence leadership between 1999 and 2004, may have thought it was so well publicized and so destructive that it couldn’t happen again.

Others, while blaming the Bush and Cheney crowds for bringing cavalier interventionist chickenhawking perspectives into the White House, figured that at least it wouldn’t happen again with an outsider like Mr. Trump.

Still others, falsely believing that the eight Obama years were years of neoconservative silence, may have thought, given Trump’s non-interventionist America First campaign last year, that at least neoconservatism wouldn’t be the main thing they’d need to worry about.

These days, most everybody is wrong when it comes to politics in the US.

The neoconservatives have already crept into key parts of the national security state decision-making process.

As pointed out by The Guardian recently, we are seeing pressure from US political appointees on the intelligence agencies to produce data to support interventionist decisions already made. Honest men and women are again retiring and leaving their positions, rather than participate in the politicization of US intelligence.

The layman, perceiving the United States to be a democratic republic and a force for peace and goodwill around the world, may wonder why war decisions would be made before the intelligence case supporting those decisions had been put forth. But those less trusting souls, here and around the world, perceive correctly that the United States is a military corporate machine, and those who control its foreign policy not only get the chance to play war around the world, but to alter and create markets for goods and services, markets from which these individuals directly and indirectly benefit. Crony capitalism is far too kind a label for this system; it is very nearly the fascist-elitist Mafiosi-style kidnapping of the powerful and dangerous structural organs of a great empire.

When I mention fascist, many will think I am speaking of Mr. Trump himself. But he is far less fascinated by the sweet promises of a fascist state than have been most modern presidents, FDR, the Bushes, and Obama included. Elitist? Surely I am speaking of Mr. Trump again – but no, he is a striver, and a builder, a man who takes public pride in his straightforward and simplistic manner, and is deeply despised by the US elite for that reason, among others. When I mention mafias, I don’t mean the New York mob that all builders and politicians in that city must deal with, but rather a certain private and clannish criminality, where threats, blackmail and deadly force are used, and the limelight is avoided.

But enough silliness. Let’s talk about who is doing what and where, in the Trump White House, eight months into what had been a very promising presidency – for those who hate the centralized warfare welfare state circa 2016.

Last fall, I observed reports of specific neoconservatives positioning themselves for places throughout the new Trump administration. Rest assured, these emplacements were already fixed for the expected Clinton win, but late in the race, signs of neoconservative bet-hedging were seen. Woolsey was one such potential appointee. Then, radio silence.

After the election, there was a lot of exposure of Trump’s advisors, and the ever-present focus on something – anything – about Russia. I was happy to see General Flynn out regardless of the reason, but for every sacrificed appointee and advisor we found out about, it was those waiting in the wings we should have been screaming about.

Just like a cheap horror flick, the audience is advising the next hapless victim to “Look behind you!” or  “Get out now!” to no avail. The script is written.

It is interesting that National Security Advisor McMaster is credited for changing the President’s mind on Afghanistan. Was the reversal in Trump’s thinking a ploy to gain time, a nod to the fantasy that this is a winnable war? Is he now convinced that the mineral, gas, and a strategic location for strikes against all other enemies makes Afghanistan a good occupation? Or was it a deal with the CIA and the money laundering global banks to keep the opium supply stable?

McMaster conducted a devastating study of politicization of war, and was passed over for flag officer twice before finally being promoted above Colonel. He is rather a remarkable intellect, but he is perhaps human, fallible. But there’s more.

Throughout the intelligence and strategic advisory arms of the federal government, key names are popping up as new appointees, many of them awaiting new clearances.  The inner circle of Trump advisors includes not just Betsy DeVos in the education propaganda department, but DeVos’s brother Erik Prince of Blackwater, Xe and Academi fame. Now owned by Constellis, the security services firm is bigger than ever, and Erik Prince has been advising the president, although according to him, not effectively. The sure to fail “new” policy in Afghanistan is already being blamed on McMaster and the generals.  Hold that thought.

Richard Perle is reportedly ensconced in the Pentagon again, and neoconservative advisors like Paul Wolfowitz, who “might have had to vote for Hillary”, and a host of other interventionist chickenhawks may be found in the American Enterprise Institute lineup, incidentally including Erik Prince’s brother-in-law, Dick DeVos as an AEI Trustee, along with Dick Cheney and others. Wayne Madsen also wrote about the neoconservative invasion into the Trump administration back in November. The only bright side of the story, as it unfolded, was that someone or some thing in the administration was pushing back – and some dangerous advisors like General Flynn were eliminated.

But the urge to shape and control US foreign and war policies is strong in neoconservative circles. The critiques from the AEI stable of advisors and op-ed writers alone on a Presidency under constant attack from the domestic left and a generally neoconservative TV, radio and print media, can be very effective. The center and left leaning thinktanks in D.C. all embrace aggressive interventionism abroad, and advocate for it.

Meanwhile, the neoconservative war drums beat steadily, messaging each other and any who care to listen, like those infamous aspens in the letters of Scooter Libby. No one is calling out the cowards for what they are. War profiteers and globalists, they are just about back in power, and they have a long-term strategy that both enriches them and keeps them out of prison. We are not hearing enough about them, and in an age where 25 percent of the population doesn’t remember 9/11, a far smaller percentage remembers how the neoconservatives deceitfully engineered Iraq and Libya and Syria.

We might hope that the context of Trump’s Afghanistan speech contained the makings of a deal with the warfare establishment, one where clear parameters of success were outlined, and the ball will be in Trump’s court when they come back within months asking for more money, more troops, more time, and lowered expectations.

But given what we are seeing and what we all know about how policy is made, the neoconservative strategy in Washington is proceeding apace, with a B-team at the ready, including at the very top of the political food chain. It may be that we can begin the official autopsy of the Trump promise to his America First, non-interventionist, hopeful beyond hope supporters – and it is not because Mr. Trump’s instincts were wrong, but rather because he had no idea how the swamp operates and what was at stake for its reptilian inhabitants.

Am I suggesting that Trump will be taken down, and replaced by a neoconservative compliant elite government, one that will put the hammer down both at home via a militaristic surveillance state, and abroad in expanded war, leading to an America even the modern pessimists cannot imagine?  I only know what I read in the papers.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Sat, 02 Sep 2017 16:58:08 GMT
With New DC Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons Glenn Greenwald

One of the most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country’s most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current president.

A newly formed and, by all appearances, well-funded national security advocacy group, devoted to more hawkish U.S. policies toward Russia and other adversaries, provides the most vivid evidence yet of this alliance. Calling itself the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the group describes itself as “a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative” that “will develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions,” and also “will work to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.”

It is, in fact, the ultimate union of mainstream Democratic foreign policy officials and the world’s most militant, and militaristic, neocons. The group is led by two longtime Washington foreign policy hands, one from the establishment Democratic wing and the other a key figure among leading GOP neocons.

The Democrat, Laura Rosenberger, served as a foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and chief of staff to two Obama national security officials. The Republican is Jamie Fly, who spent the last four years as counselor for foreign and national security affairs to one of the Senate’s most hawkish members, Marco Rubio; prior to that, he served in various capacities in the Bush Pentagon and National Security Council.

Fly’s neocon pedigree is impressive indeed. During the Obama years, he wrote dozens of articles for the Weekly Standard — some co-authored with Bill Kristol himself — attacking Obama for insufficient belligerence toward Iran and terrorists generally, pronouncing Obama “increasingly ill suited to the world he faces as president” by virtue of his supposed refusal to use military force frequently enough (Obama bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries during his time in office, including an average of 72 bombs dropped per day in 2016 alone).

The Democrats’ new partner Jamie Fly spent 2010 working in tandem with Bill Kristol urging military action — i.e., aggressive war — against Iran. In a 2010 Weekly Standard article co-written with Kristol, Fly argued that “the key to changing [Iran’s thinking about its nuclear program] is a serious debate about the military option,” adding: “It’s time for Congress to seriously explore an Authorization of Military Force to halt Iran’s nuclear program.”

Fly then went around the D.C. think tank circuit, under the guise of advocating “debate,” espousing the need to use military force against Iran, spouting standing neocon innuendo such as “we need to be wary of the Obama administration’s intentions” toward Iran. He mocked Obama officials, and Bush officials before them, for their “obsession with diplomatic options” to resolve tensions with Iran short of war. The Kristol/Fly duo returned in 2012 to more explicitly argue: “Isn’t it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran’s nuclear program?”

Beyond working as Rubio’s foreign policy adviser, Fly was the executive director of “the Foreign Policy Initiative,” a group founded by Kristol along with two other leading neocons, Robert Kagan and Dan Senor, who was previously the chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. That group is devoted to standard neocon agitprop, demanding “a renewed commitment to American leadership” on the ground that “the United States remains the world’s indispensable nation.” In sum, as Vox’s Dylan Matthews put it during the 2016 campaign, “If you want a foreign policy adviser with strong ties to the neocon world, it’s hard to do better than Fly.”

When it comes to this new group, the alliance of Democrats with the most extreme neocon elements is visible beyond the group’s staff leadership. Its board of advisers is composed of both leading Democratic foreign policy experts, along with the nation’s most extremist neocons.

Thus, alongside Jake Sullivan (national security adviser to Joe Biden and the Clinton campaign), Mike Morrell (Obama’s acting CIA director) and Mike McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia) sit leading neocons such as Mike Chertoff (Bush’s homeland security secretary), Mike Rogers (the far-right, supremely hawkish former congressman who now hosts a right-wing radio show); and Bill Kristol himself.

In sum — just as was true of the first Cold War, when neocons made their home among the Cold Warriors of the Democratic Party — on the key foreign policy controversies, there is now little to no daylight between leading Democratic Party foreign policy gurus and the Bush-era neocons who had wallowed in disgrace following the debacle of Iraq and the broader abuses of the war on terror. That’s why they are able so comfortably to unify this way in support of common foreign policy objectives and beliefs.

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here.]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:17:57 GMT
Unhinged Neocon War Propagandist Uses the “N” Word on Television Thomas DiLorenzo like a Nazi sympathizer because Carlson opposes starting World War III with Russia.  (Carlson has teenaged sons, and is a little worried about the prospect of a World War III).

Carlson pointed out that Peters was one of the bloodthirsty neocon war propagadists who claimed that the invasion of Iraq would make the Middle East “safer and more peaceful” and who also pushed the lie about “weapons of mass destruction.”

Reprinted with permission from]]> Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:35:08 GMT
Ambassador Nikki Haley vs. President Trump Daniel McAdams

Donald Trump came to the White House with a reputation as a top notch businessman. He built an international real estate empire and is worth billions. He then went into reality television, where his signature line as he dismissed incompetent potential employees was, "you're fired!"

On Friday, President Trump held a long-awaited face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The meeting was scheduled to be a brief, 30 minute meet and greet, but turned into a two-plus hour substantive session producing a ceasefire agreement for parts of Syria and a plan to continue working together in the future. After the extended session, which was cordial by all accounts, President Trump said the meeting was "tremendous."

President Trump indicated that the issue of Russian interference in the US elections came up in conversation and that Putin vehemently denied it. It obviously was not a make or break issue in the conversation. President Trump's latest statement on the issue is that "we don't know for sure" who was behind any meddling.

Later on Friday, President Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said of the Syria agreement that, "I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria.”

On Sunday, President Trump Tweeted in praise of the Syria ceasefire agreement, adding that, “now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!”

It suddenly appeared that the current reprise of a vintage 1950s US/Soviet face-off in relations had turned the corner back to sanity. Perhaps we will be pulling back from the edge of WWIII with thermonuclear weapons!

Then President Trump's Ambassador to the United Nations, the notorious neocon Nikki Haley, showed up on the weekend talk shows.

To CNN's Dana Bash, she directly contradicted her boss, Donald Trump, and undermined his official position regarding Russian involvement in the US election.

Said Ambassador Haley of Trump's meeting with Putin:
One, he wanted to basically look him in the eye, let him know that, yes, we know you meddled in our elections. Yes, we know you did it, cut it out. And I think President Putin did exactly what we thought he would do, which is deny it. This is Russia trying to save face. And they can’t. They can’t. Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections.

As The Hill correctly pointed out, "Haley’s description runs counter to the versions offered by Secretary of State Rex TillersonRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Trump himself."

But Hurricane Haley was not finished. She poured ice water on President Trump's agreement with President Putin to work together on cyber-security, telling CNN, "[w]e can’t trust Russia, and we won’t ever trust Russia. But you keep those that you don’t trust closer so that you can always keep an eye on them and keep them in check.”

It is absolutely clear that hyper-neocon Nikki Haley has gone rogue and is actively undermining the foreign policy of her boss and President, Donald Trump. From her embarrassing, foaming-at-the-mouth tirades in the UN Security Council to this latest bizarre effort to sabotage President Trump's first attempt to fulfill his campaign pledge to find a way to get along better with Russia, President Trump's own Ambassador has become the biggest enemy of his foreign policy.

Surely the President -- who as an enormously successful businessman has hired and fired thousands -- can see the damage she is doing to his Administration by actively undermining his foreign policy. 

President Trump needs to reprise his signature television line. He needs to pick up the phone, ask for Nikki, and shout "you're FIRED!" into the telephone.

]]> Sun, 09 Jul 2017 20:41:02 GMT
Knock, Knock, Knocking on Insanity's Door Robert Wenzel

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, upped the ante in Washington’s rhetorical war with North Korea and its backers, warning Wednesday that Washington is prepared to halt trade with countries that do business with North Korea, and possibly use force if diplomacy fails to curtail Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, reports Foreign Policy.

But China, North Korea’s largest trading partner, and Russia hit back, voicing stern opposition to new international sanctions, and pressing the United States to resolve the crisis through renewed diplomatic talks. The exchange raised the prospect that Washington’s diplomatic gambit could end with a Chinese and Russian veto, painting Washington into a diplomatic corner with limited economic and diplomatic options, FP continued.

Speaking at an emergency session of the Security Council, Haley said that North Korea’s first successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile and other recent tests “are closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” to the nuclear standoff in east Asia.

The latest, longest-range test “requires an escalated diplomatic and economic response,” she said. The United States, she said, would introduce a resolution in the coming days to raise international pressure on North Korea.

“The world is on notice,” she told the 15-nation council. “If we fail to act in a serious way, there will be a different response.” The United States, she said, is “prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but prefer not to go in that direction.”

Haley said that she had spoken with President Donald Trump before the U.N. meeting about the possibility of imposing new trade restrictions on North Korea and its business partners.

“There are countries that are allowing — even encouraging — trade with North Korea in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” she said. “Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States. That’s not going to happen.”

She did not explicitly threaten to impose trade restrictions on China, but she noted that Beijing is responsible for 90 percent of North Korea’s trade. Russia has also reportedly been stepping up its trade relations with North Korea.

Yes, quite the strategy, attempt to muscle North Korea by isolating it even more or alternatively cut off trade with China and Russia.

“Much of the burden of enforcing U.N. sanctions rests with China,” she said. “We will work with China…But we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day.”

There is much more sanity from China and Russia.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, echoed Washington’s concerns about North Korea’s missile launch, calling it “a flagrant violation” of U.N. resolutions that flaunts the “will of the international community.

But he broke sharply with the U.S. on the response, saying that China is “firmly opposed to chaos and conflict on the peninsula. Military means must not be an option in this regard.”

A senior Russian diplomat, Vladimir Safronkov, used the meeting to promote a Russian-Chinese diplomatic initiative that would require as a first step that North Korea suspend its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests, while the United States and its regional allies halt large scale military exercises in the region. They also called on the U.S. and South Korea to halt the deployment of a missile defense system, known as THAAD, that they say threatens the strategic balance in the region.

“Any attempts to justify a military solution are inadmissible,” Safronkov said. “Any attempts to economically strangle North Korea are equally unacceptable….All must acknowledge that sanctions will not resolve the issue.”

In response, Haley took the floor to call on Safronkov to carefully consider its vote on the U.S. resolution.

“If you want to be a friend of North Korea, veto it,” she said. “But if you see this for what it is, which is North Korea showing its muscle, then you need to stand strong and vote with the international community to strengthen sanctions on North Korea. And if you chose not to we will go our own path.”

Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty.]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 21:40:23 GMT
Empire-Speak Jacob G. Hornberger

One of the most fascinating aspects of living under imperialism is the lexicon that this philosophy brings into existence. It’s called Empire-Speak. Given the complexity of this specialized language, it usually takes people years of education and training to master it.

One of the finest examples of Empire-Speak appeared last week in a Washington Post op-ed by Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who often appears as a commentator on Fox News. Krauthammer penned an op-ed entitled “The Great Muslim Civil War – and Us” that is an absolute masterpiece of Empire-Speak.

Comparing what is happening in the Middle East to Europe 1945, Krauthammer describes the “great Muslim civil war” that has enveloped the Middle East, which he writes, is “approaching its post-Islamic phase.” ISIS is about to be defeated on the battlefield, he writes, and the parties are now maneuvering, as they did after World War II, to “determine postwar boundaries and spheres of influence.” Once ISIS loses its hold on Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, “the caliphate dies.”

So does that mean that the Pentagon and the CIA can finally declare victory in the Middle East and come home after more than 25 years of warfare in the Middle East? Does that mean that there can now be a ticker-tape parade in New York City honoring the victorious American forces?

Are you kidding? As Krauthammer points out, all that has gone before is just “the end of the beginning.” Things are just getting started. After all, as Krauthammer points out, “At stake is consolidation of the Shite Crescent.”

Who would have known? I’ll bet that 99 percent of Americans haven’t even heard of the “Shite Crescent” or that it’s being consolidated. Thank goodness we have Krauthammer and other people well-versed in Empire-Speak to tell us about it.

According to Krauthammer, the world is witnessing a gigantic battle between Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims.

Leading the Shiite side is Iran. Combined with Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Hezbollah (“which Krauthammer labels the “tip of the Iranian spear”), this is the so-called “Shiite Crescent.” According to Krauthammer, it poses a “nightmare for the entire Sunni Middle East.”

On the opposing side of this gigantic battle are the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the United States. Needless to say, this is considered the good side of the war.

As I was reading through his op-ed, I kept hoping that Krauthammer would not omit one of my favorite terms in Empire-Speak: “the hegemon.” Isn’t that a great term? Whenever I hear an imperialist refer to the danger of the rise of a “regional hegemon,” I think of Transformers or Godzilla.

Krauthammer didn’t disappoint. He states that Syria is “the central theater of a Shiite-Sunni war for regional hegemony.” Moreover, Russia — yes, that Russia! — Krauthammer labeled “the outside hegemon.” OMG! Scary, right? Maybe even scarier than rise of communism and the Soviet Union, the two official enemies of the Cold War era.

What’s really going on here?

Krauthammer is simply preparing the American people for what lies ahead — more interventionism, more imperialism, more militarism, and more death and destruction at the hands of the US Empire. And, of course, more official enemies as old official enemies are defeated or disappeared.

You see, I bet you thought that once ISIS was defeated, the troops could finally be brought home and revel in their glorious victory. Sort of like “Mission Accomplished” after the US invasion of Iraq.

Not so. Undoubtedly expressing the mindset of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the rest of the US national-security establishment, Krauthammer is telling us that unfortunately we cannot rest. We must continue to soldier on, presumably until the Shiite Crescent is defeated and the world is no longer facing the possibility of a rise of a “regional hegemon.” And don’t even think for a moment that once that is accomplished, the war will finally be over. It will simply spell the beginning of the end of the beginning.

As I stated soon after the 9/11 attacks, the “war on terrorism” is going to be just like the war on drugs, where every drug lord they kill or capture is soon replaced by dozens more.

The real problem is that the US Empire keeps running out of official enemies. If we go back to the maneuvering after World War II to which Krauthammer refers, we see US officials converting their World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, to a new official enemy, one that necessitated, they said, the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state.

As we all know, for the next 45 years the Cold War was a bonanza for the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.” Ever-increasing budgets and powers. The best part, for them, was that it was never supposed to end. The Cold War was supposed to go on forever because communism and the Soviet Union were supposed to go on forever.

But life can be cruel. In 1989, the Soviet Union suddenly and unexpectedly dismantled itself, declared socialism a bankrupt philosophy, and unilaterally declared an end to the Cold War, thereby depriving the US Empire of its big official Cold War enemy.

No problem. A new official enemy was soon announced: Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq and former partner of the US Empire (just like Stalin had been). Throughout the 1990s, Americans obsessed over Saddam Hussein and how he was coming to get us and the rest of the world with his WMDs.

To oust Saddam from power, the Pentagon and the CIA began wreaking death and destruction in Iraq, including 11 years of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

That led to terrorist blowback and a new official enemy: “terrorism,” which ultimately enabled US officials to invade Iraq and oust their official enemy, Saddam Hussein, from power, and install a new regime in Iraq, a Shiite Muslim regime.

Over time, the “terrorists” have morphed into “the Muslims,” which are now viewed as the new official enemy.

Which brings us back to Krauthammer’s op-ed. If the Muslims are the new official enemy, how is that the United States is on the side of the Sunnis in what Krauthammer describes as a giant Muslim civil war that is now supposedly taking place? Aren’t Sunnis Muslims too?

Hmmm. So does this mean that we are no longer supposed to focus on Muslims in general or even “radical Muslims” or “extreme Muslims” but instead on “Shiite Muslims” as the new official enemy?

Oh, another thing Krauthammer doesn’t make clear: If we are now battling the Shiite Muslims, why did the US government use its invasion and occupation of Iraq to install a Shiite regime there? And why is it that US troops have been killing and dying for some 14 years to preserve the existence of that Shiite regime? Why are they still doing so? Were Americans wrong to thank the troops for their service in Iraq by bringing into existence a regime that is now part of the “Shiite Crescent,” which, according to Krauthammer, is now facing us on the field of battle?

Boy, imperialism sure is hard to learn and comprehend. Just like Empire-Speak.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:55:53 GMT
Neocon Anne Applebaum: Give Me Money to Fight 'Russian Disinformation'! Daniel McAdams undefinedundefined

Neocon Anne Applebaum has never seen a bed she did not expect to find an evil Russian lurking beneath. More than a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, she cannot let go of that hysterical feeling that, “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!” In screeching screed after screeching screech, Applebaum is, like most neocons, a one trick pony: the US government needs to spend more money to counter the threat of the month. Usually it's Russia or Putin. But it can also be China, Iran, Assad, Gaddafi, Saddam, etc.

There is no doubt that Applebaum is a true believer that Putin wants to destroy our democratic institutions, but there is also a more pedestrian way to understand her endless obsession: it pays well to hype up big threats. In fact, according to a mandatory Polish government disclosure (her husband was Polish defense and foreign minister before being forced out in disgrace after an eavesdropping scandal), Applebaum has made out like a bandit for a humble journalist and think-tanker.

As I wrote when her scandal broke:
Interestingly, Applebaum demands transparency for everyone else while rejecting it for herself. A recent mandatory income declaration of her husband to the Polish government shows that her income has skyrocketed from $20,000 in 2011 to more than $800,000 in 2013. No explanation was given for this massive influx of cash, though several ventures in which she has a part are tied to CIA and National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated organizations. Could Applebaum be one of those well-paid propagandists about whom she complains so violently?
Applebaum's latest Washington Post column is guessed it: the danger of Russian disinformation! Here is a synopsis of Applebaum's latest Cold War 2.0 propaganda piece from this weekend:

1) The mainstream media has taken a beating. The old business model is no longer working. There are too many new sources of information available, which makes it harder for people to judge the accuracy of what they read.

My comment: Indeed, the US mainstream media no longer controls what we see, read, and think. Applebaum cannot stand that there are websites challenging the central neoconservative foreign policy paradigm. She hates organizations like the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (she even blocked us on Twitter!).

She longs for the days when you could only pick up a Washington Post or a New York Times and had no chance of discovering opposing opinions.

In other words, Anne Applebaum misses the Soviet-style monochrome media that she pretends to despise so much.

2) As a result of mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post losing their monopoly over shaping foreign policy opinion, as she writes: "authoritarian regimes, led by Russia but closely followed by China, have begun investing heavily in the production of alternatives." 

My comment: Applebaum is saying here that it's all our fault that the Russians are coming because as soon as the Internet and alternative news and analysis sites offered a point of view different from Applebaum's neocons, we played into the hands of the Russians by ignoring the Washington Post and turning to alternatives. If we had only kept our faith in the neocon worldview, the Russians would not be set to take us over.

3) This new Cold War is even worse than the old Cold War! Unlike back then, in the new Cold War, as Applebaum writes, "Russia does not seek to promote itself, but rather to undermine the institutions of the West, often using discordant messages."

My comment: Anne Applebaum offers no evidence or even clues to back her claim. But what she is saying is that by allowing voices to be heard that run counter to the Washington Post and neocon foreign policy paradigm, Russian-funded outlets like RT are seeking to sow "confusion" among Western listeners and viewers. Applebaum does not want us to be "confused" by messages that run counter to the neocon view of a US empire fighting endless wars against manufactured enemies. We would be far less "confused" if we would all just read Anne Applebaum and stop questioning the neocons!

4) Don't worry, this effort to sow confusion is being countered.

Applebaum writes:
Some countries are waking up to this, especially those that have been hardest hit. The invasion, occupation and dismemberment of Ukraine in 2014 was preceded by a highly effective propaganda blitz that fomented confusion in Russian-speaking areas and blinded both Ukrainians and Westerners to what was really going on. In response, Ukrainian organizations such as StopFake began to expose and ridicule Russian propaganda.
My comment: She does not explain exactly what that "propaganda blitz" looked like. Was it the release of the tape of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland plotting the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Kiev? Well, according to Applebaum, at least the noble, independent NGOs are spontaneously springing up across Europe to counter this Russian propaganda blitz!

Except for one problem: The "StopFake" organization that she praises is not a grassroots Ukrainian organization as she would have us believe. In fact it's a George Soros astroturf organization, funded by his International Renaissance Foundation. In other words, "StopFake" is fake.

5) In fact, when it comes to funding, Anne Applebaum knows which side of her bread is buttered. As the Washington Post notes in the article's byline: "Anne Applebaum, a Post columnist, and Edward Lucas, a senior editor at the Economist, are this week launching a counter-disinformation initiative at the Center for European Policy Analysis, where they are, respectively, senior vice president and senior adjunct fellow."

My comment: Who funds the (Washington, D.C.-based) Center for European Policy Analysis? The United States Department of Defense and a handful of US defense contractors!

From their own website:
Recent donors to CEPA include:

Bell Helicopter
Chevron Corporation
Lockheed Martin Corporation
New Vista Partners
Raytheon Company
Sikorsky Aircraft
Textron Systems
The East Tennessee Foundation
The Hirsch Family Foundation
The Hungarian Initiatives Foundation
The International Visegrad Fund
The Poses Family Foundation
The Smith Richardson Foundation
U.S. Department of Defense
There are one or two surprises on the above list. The Hungarian government of Viktor Orban has been quite cautious about following the neocon line that any resistance to massive refugee inflows from the Middle East are signs of unforgivable xenophobia and that Russia and Putin must be resisted at all costs. In fact, Orban's opposition in Hungary is furious that he is not following the Russia-bashing neocon line. So why is the Hungarian government-funded Hungarian Initiatives Foundation backing Anne Applebaum's neocon initiative to demonize Russia? Good question. Maybe Fidesz supporters will want to ask their government why their tax money is going to such a worthless, anti-Fidesz cause.

6) And again on funding, we come to the crux of Anne Applebaum's problem: the US government does not spend nearly enough money creating its own propaganda to counter what she claims is Russian propaganda. They are outspending us and outmaneuvering us!

She writes:
There is no modern equivalent to the U.S. Information Agency, an organization dedicated to coping with Soviet propaganda and disinformation during the Cold War. Although there has been some extra funding for U.S.-backed foreign broadcasters such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , they cannot provide a complete response.
My comment: But that's not really true, is it? The idea that the US government is pinching propaganda pennies while the Russians are going in for the whole fake news hog is not backed up by those pernicious little things called facts. In fact, the Russian government spent around $300 million on RT in 2016. Compare that with the US propaganda arm, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, whose 2017 budget runs to $777.8 million dollars, or more than two and a half that of RT. And Congress just gave the green light to another $100 million to "counter Russian influence" in its stop-gap omnibus budget. We are out-spending them three-to-one. So why are we still "losing"?

Anne Applebaum is a bitter neocon. She is furious that people no longer read the Washington Post as the authoritative voice of US foreign policy. She has apparently made a tidy fortune warning us that the Russians are coming, but she wants even more. The Washington Post still views her as an expert, but the American people, as she herself complains, are no longer interested in her worn-out fantasies. She is buried in defense industry funded think tanks and she does the bidding of her masters. Every intelligent American reader should ridicule her as the propagandist she is.

As for Russian "propaganda," like everything else in that vast cornucopia now thankfully available for our consumption, we should read all we can while keeping our wits about us. There is no one authoritative, unbiased source of information. That we do know. But we also know that we are far more able to think for ourselves now that the neocon gatekeepers like Anne Applebaum have been defeated in the marketplace of ideas.]]> Mon, 08 May 2017 10:09:14 GMT
John McCain Blasts Trump White House for Allowing Assad to Stay in Power Alex Christoforou

Now that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Assad’s fate will be decided by the Syrian people and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, told reporters…“You pick and choose your battles. And when we’re looking at this it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out,” neocon Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went ballistic at the prospects of Assad staying is power.

McCain is visibly upset that the countless hours invested in building his ISIS army, is now crashing down in spectacular fashion. Maybe another trip to Syria, to have coffee with Al-Baghdadi, is in order for Senators McCain and Graham.

In a statement Thursday evening, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, blasted Tillerson’s and Haley’s comments.

McCain said in a statement…
I am deeply disturbed by statements today by our Secretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations regarding the future of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Their suggestion that Assad can stay in power appears to be just as devoid of strategy as President Obama’s pronouncements that ‘Assad must go.'

Once again, US policy in Syria is being presented piecemeal in press statements without any definition of success, let alone a realistic plan to achieve it.
McCain's rant was furious, saying the Trump administration’s statements could negatively impact the war against ISIS by casting doubt among US allies…like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who fund and support ISIS.
Such a policy would only exacerbate the terrorist threat to our nation.

Trying to fight ISIS while pretending that we can ignore the Syrian civil war that was its genesis and fuels it to this day is a recipe for more war, more terror, more refugees, and more instability.

I hope President Trump will make clear that America will not follow this self-destructive and self-defeating path.
McCain’s partner in "many a war crime," Senator Lindsey Graham, said that such comments would be “the biggest mistake since President Obama failed to act after drawing a red line against Assad’s use of chemical weapons.”

We are sure Assad finds McCain’s panic attacks amusing, as Syria and Russia continue to obliterate the US senator’s ISIS army.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.]]> Fri, 31 Mar 2017 15:48:01 GMT
Criticizing Neoconservatives and the Deep State is Anti-Semitic? Adam Dick

Kevin D. Williamson’s Sunday National Review editorial “Word Games” may lead readers to believe that people who criticize neoconservatives or the deep state are presenting anti-Semitic arguments or are anti-Semitic. The editorial does not conclude that all people who present such criticisms are anti-Semitic. But, a take-away for some readers will be that challenging the deep state or neoconservatives indicates a person is likely, or should be assumed to be, anti-Semitic.

People who have read Williamson’s editorial may further their education regarding neoconservatism and the deep state by looking to some of the plentiful anti-Semitism-free criticisms of neoconservatism and the deep state. In particular, they can read Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI) Chairman Ron Paul’s July of 2003 United States House of Representatives floor speech “Neo-Conned” and watch Paul and RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams’ February of 2016 Ron Paul Liberty Report interview with The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government author Mike Lofgren.
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