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Racism, Propaganda And Wars
« Reply #255 on: November 02, 2017, 02:19:09 AM »
https://popularresistance.org/newsletter-racism-propaganda-and-wars/

Racism, Propaganda And Wars
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Newsletter Africa, AFRICOM, BDS, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Palestine, Peace, Racism, Wars and Militarism, White Supremacy
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, www.popularresistance.org
October 29th, 2017


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This week, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which promoted giving Palestine to the Jewish people, will be celebrated in London. Around the world, there will be protests against it calling for Britain to apologize for the damage it inflicted. Students from the West Bank and Gaza will send letters to the British government describing the negative impacts that the Balfour Declaration, and the Nakba in 1948, continue to have on their lives today.

As Dan Freeman-Maloy describes, the Balfour Declaration is also relevant today because of the propaganda co-existing with it that justified white supremacy, racism and empire. British imperialists believed that democracy only applied to “civilized and conquering peoples,” and that “Africans, Asians, Indigenous peoples the world over – all were … ‘subject races,’ unfit for self-government.” That same racism was directed at Jewish people as well. Lord Balfour preferred to have Jewish people living in Palestine, away from Britain, where they might serve as useful British allies.

In the same time period, Bill Moyers reminds us in his interview with author James Whitman, the  laws in the United States were viewed as “a model for everybody in the early 20th century who was interested in creating a race-based order or race state. America was the leader in a whole variety of realms in racist law in the first part of that century.” This includes immigration laws designed to keep “undesirables” out of the US, laws creating second class citizenship for African-Americans and other people and bans on interracial marriage. Whitman has a new book documenting how Hitler used US laws as a basis for the Nazi state.

1bds

Injustice is legal

The US government and its laws continue to perpetuate injustice today. For example, contractors who apply for state funds to repair damage from Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson, Texas, are required to declare that they do not participate in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) movement. And Maryland Governor Hogan signed an executive order this week banning any state contractors from participating in the BDS movement, after local activists defeated similar legislation for the past three years.

Participation in boycotts should be protected under the First Amendment, as the right to protest Israeli apartheid should be. But, that right may also be taken away. This week, Kenneth Marcus was made the top civil rights enforcer at the Department of Education. He runs a group called the Brandeis Center for Human Rights, which actually works to attack individuals and groups that organize against Israeli apartheid on campuses. Nora Barrows-Friedman writes that Marcus, who has been filing complaints against pro-Palestinian student groups, will now be in charge of investigating those cases.

Dima Khalidi, the head of Palestinian Legal, which works to protect pro-Palestinian activists, explains that in the United States, “talking about Palestinian rights, and challenging Israel’s actions and narrative, [open] people up to a huge amount of risk, attacks, and harassment – much of it legal in nature, or with legal implications.” These attacks are happening because the BDS movement is having an impact.

This is just one obvious area of injustice. Of course there are others such as immigration policies and travel bans. And there are racist systems in the United States that are not based in law, but are enshrined in practices such as racially biased policing, slave-wage employment of prisoners and the placement of toxic industries in minority communities. The Marshall Project has a new report on racial bias in plea bargains.
In considering why “the public is quiet” about the United States’ unending wars, the New York Times (10/23/17) fails to examine the failure of leading media outlets to actually oppose these wars.

In considering why “the public is quiet” about the United States’ unending wars, the New York Times (10/23/17) fails to examine the failure of leading media outlets to actually oppose these wars.

War propaganda

The media, as it did in the early twentieth century, continues to manipulate public opinion to support military aggression. The NY Times and other mass, corporate media have promoted wars throughout the history of US empire. From the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ in Iraq to the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam and all the way back to ‘Remember the Maine’ in the Spanish-American War, which began the modern US Empire, the corporate media have always played a large role in leading the US into war.

Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) writes about a recent New York Times Op Ed: “Corporate media have a long history of lamenting wars they themselves helped sell the American public, but it’s rare so many wars and so much hypocrisy are distilled into one editorial.” Johnson points out that the New York Times never questions whether wars are right or wrong, just whether they have Congressional support or not. And it promotes the “no boots on the ground” view that it is fine to bomb other countries as long as US troops are not harmed.

FAIR also points out the media’s false accusation that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile there is silence about the secret Israeli nuclear weapons program. Iran has been compliant with the International Atomic Energy Agency, while Israel has refused inspections. Eric Margolis raises the critical question of whether the Trump administration put the interests of Israel, which opposes Iran, before the interests of the US when he refused to certify the nuclear agreement with Iran.

North Korea is a country that is heavily propagandized in the US media. Eva Bartlett, a journalist who has traveled to and reported extensively about Syria, recently visited North Korea. She presents a view of the people and photographs that won’t be found in commercial media, which give a more positive perspective on the country.

Sadly, North Korea is considered to be a critical factor in the US effort to prevent China from becoming the dominant world power. Ramzy Baroud writes about the importance of a diplomatic solution to the conflict between the US and North Korea because otherwise it will be a long and bloody war. Baroud states that the US would quickly run out of missiles and then use “crude gravity bombs,” killing millions.

The recent re-election of Shinzo Abe heightens conflict in that region. Abe wants to build up Japan’s small military and alter its current pacifist Constitution so that Japan can attack other countries. No doubt, the Asian Pivot and concerns about tension between the US and other countries are fueling support for Abe and more militarization in Japan.

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US aggression in Africa

The US military presence in Africa came into the spotlight this week with the death of US soldiers in Niger. Although it was heartless, perhaps we can be grateful that Trump’s gaffe with the newly-widowed Myeshia Johnson at least had the impact of raising national awareness about this secretive mission creep. We can thank outlets such as Black Agenda Report that have been reporting regularly on AFRICOM, the US Africa Command.

It was a surprise to many people, including members of Congress, that the US has 6,000 troops scattered in 53 out of 54 African countries. US involvement in Africa has existed since World War II, largely for oil, gas, minerals, land and labor. When Gaddafi, in Libya, interfered with the US’ ability to dominate African countries by providing oil money to them, thereby freeing them from the need to be indebted to the US, and led the effort to unite African countries, he was murdered and Libya was destroyed. China also plays a role in competing with the US for African investment, doing so through economic investment rather than militarization. No longer able to control Africa economically, the US turned to greater militarization.

AFRICOM was launched under President George W. Bush, who appointed a black general to lead AFRICOM, but it was President Obama who succeeded in growing the US military presence. Under Obama, the drone program grew in Africa. There are more than 60 drone bases that are used for missions in African countries such as Somalia. The US base in Dijbouti is used for bombing missions in Yemen and Syria. US military contractors are also raking in huge profits in Africa.

Nick Turse reports that US military conduct an average of ten operations in Africa daily. He describes how US weapons and military training have upset the balance of power in African countries, leading to coup attempts and the rise of terrorist groups.

In this interview, Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaks about the long and brutal US history in Africa. He concludes:

“Washington must close down its bases, drone stations, airstrips, joint military operations, consulting projects and training programs with all African Union member-states. None of these efforts have brought peace and stability to the continent. What has happened is quite the opposite. Since the advent of AFRICOM, the situation has been far more unstable in the region.”

War who pay, who dies, who profits

Building a global peace movement

The insatiable war machine has infiltrated all aspects of our lives. Militarism is a prominent part of US culture. It is a large part of the US economy. It cannot be stopped unless we work together to stop it. And, while we in the US, as the largest empire in the history of the world, have a major responsibility to act against war, we will be most effective if we can connect with people and organizations in other countries to hear their stories, support their work and learn about their visions for a peaceful world.

Fortunately, there are many efforts to revive the anti-war movement in the United States, and many of the groups have international ties. The United National Anti-War Coalition, World Beyond War, the Black Alliance for Peace and the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases are groups launched in the past seven years.

There are also opportunities for action. Veterans for Peace is organizing peace actions on November 11, Armistice Day. CODEPINK recently began the Divest From the War Machine Campaign targeting the five top weapons-makers in the US. Listen to our interview with lead organizer Haley Pederson on Clearing the FOG. And there will be a conference on closing foreign military bases this January in Baltimore.

Let’s recognize that just as wars are waged in order to dominate regions for their resources so that a few may profit, they are also rooted in white supremacist and racist ideology that believes only certain people deserve to control their destinies. By linking hands with our brothers and sisters around the planet and working for peace, we can bring about a multi-polar world in which all people have peace, self-determination and live in dignity.
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How America Spreads Global Chaos
« Reply #256 on: November 03, 2017, 01:53:30 AM »
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/30/how-america-spreads-global-chaos/

How America Spreads Global Chaos
October 30, 2017
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The U.S. government may pretend to respect a “rules-based” global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is “might makes right” — and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.


Air Force F-105s bomb a target in the southern
panhandle of North Vietnam on June 14, 1966.
(Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)”


As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America’s international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA’s support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

The critical “lesson of Vietnam” was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War.  “At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing,” Barnet wrote, “It has become an impractical means of political domination.”

Losing the war in Vietnam was a heavy blow to the CIA and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and it added insult to injury for every American who had lost comrades or loved ones in Vietnam, but it ushered in more than a decade of relative peace for America and the world. If the purpose of the U.S. military is to protect the U.S. from the danger of war, as our leaders so often claim, the “Vietnam syndrome,” or the reluctance to be drawn into new wars, kept the peace and undoubtedly saved countless lives.

Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA’s politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country’s credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States.

Ironically but predictably, the U.S.’s aggressive and illegal war policy has finally provoked a real military threat to the U.S., albeit one that has emerged only in response to U.S. war plans. As I explained in a recent article, North Korea’s discovery in 2016 of a U.S. plan to assassinate its president, Kim Jong Un, and launch a Second Korean War has triggered a crash program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could give North Korea a viable nuclear deterrent and prevent a U.S. attack. But the North Koreans will not feel safe from attack until their leaders and ours are sure that their missiles can deliver a nuclear strike against the U.S. mainland.

The CIA’s Pretexts for War

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty’s book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty’s book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.


CIA seal in lobby of the spy agency’s headquarters.
(U.S. government photo)


Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years.

Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq.

CIA in Syria and Africa

But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant. In late 2011, after destroying Libya and aiding in the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi, the CIA and its allies began flying fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey and infiltrating them into Syria. Then, working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Croatia and other allies, this operation poured thousands of tons of weapons across Syria’s borders to ignite and fuel a full-scale civil war.


U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as
they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left),
whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in
a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]


Once these covert operations were under way, they ran wild until they had unleashed a savage Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra, now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), spawned the even more savage “Islamic State,” triggered the heaviest and probably the deadliest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and drawn Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Kurdish militias and almost every state or armed group in the Middle East into the chaos of Syria’s civil war.

Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their operations across Africa, the U.N. has published a report titled Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment, based on 500 interviews with African militants. This study has found that the kind of special operations and training missions the CIA and AFRICOM are conducting and supporting in Africa are in fact the critical “tipping point” that drives Africans to join militant groups like Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.

The report found that government action, such as the killing or detention of friends or family, was the “tipping point” that drove 71 percent of African militants interviewed to join armed groups, and that this was a more important factor than religious ideology.

The conclusions of Journey to Extremism in Africa confirm the findings of other similar studies. The Center for Civilians in Conflict interviewed 250 civilians who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya for its 2015 study, The People’s Perspectives: Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict. The study found that the most common motivation for civilians to join armed groups was simply to protect themselves or their families.

The role of U.S. “counterterrorism” operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the “global war on terror,” would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective.

“The more intimate one becomes with this activity,” Prouty wrote, “The more one begins to realize that such operations are rarely, if ever, initiated from an intent to become involved in pursuit of some national objective in the first place.”

The U.S. justifies the deployment of 6,000 U.S. special forces and military trainers to 53 of the 54 countries in Africa as a response to terrorism. But the U.N.’s Journey to Extremism in Africa study makes it clear that the U.S. militarization of Africa is in fact the “tipping point” that is driving Africans across the continent to join armed resistance groups in the first place.

This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale.

Taking on China

What seems to really be driving the CIA’s militarization of U.S. policy in Africa is China’s growing influence on the continent. As Steve Bannon put it in an interview with the Economist in August, “Let’s go screw up One Belt One Road.”


Then-Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon
speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action
Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.


China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business.”

China is too powerful and armed with nuclear weapons. So, in this case, the CIA’s job would be to spread violence and chaos to disrupt Chinese trade and investment, and to make African governments increasingly dependent on U.S. military aid to fight the militant groups spawned and endlessly regenerated by U.S.-led “counterterrorism” operations.

Neither Ledeen nor Bannon pretend that such policies are designed to build more prosperous or viable societies in the Middle East or Africa, let alone to benefit their people. They both know very well what Richard Barnet already understood 45 years ago, that America’s unprecedented investment in weapons, war and CIA covert operations are only good for one thing: to kill people and destroy infrastructure, reducing cities to rubble, societies to chaos and the desperate survivors to poverty and displacement.

As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world’s wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others.

But if that is the only “significant national objective” driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike.

Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty’s analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA’s role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy.

The Three Scapegoats

In Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he named North Korea, Iran and Venezuela as his prime targets for destabilization, economic warfare and, ultimately, the overthrow of their governments, whether by coup d’etat or the mass destruction of their civilian population and infrastructure. But Trump’s choice of scapegoats for America’s failures was obviously not based on a rational reassessment of foreign policy priorities by the new administration. It was only a tired rehashing of the CIA’s unfinished business with two-thirds of Bush’s “axis of evil” and Bush White House official Elliott Abrams’ failed 2002 coup in Caracas, now laced with explicit and illegal threats of aggression.


President Trump speaking to the United Nations
General Assembly on Sept. 19, 2017.
(Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

How Trump and the CIA plan to sacrifice their three scapegoats for America’s failures remains to be seen. This is not 2001, when the world stood silent at the U.S. bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It is more like 2003, when the U.S. destruction of Iraq split the Atlantic alliance and alienated most of the world. It is certainly not 2011, after Obama’s global charm offensive had rebuilt U.S. alliances and provided cover for French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Arab royals to destroy Libya, once ranked by the U.N. as the most developed country in Africa, now mired in intractable chaos.

In 2017, a U.S. attack on any one of Trump’s scapegoats would isolate the United States from many of its allies and undermine its standing in the world in far-reaching ways that might be more permanent and harder to repair than the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to “make the economy scream” in preparation for the 1973 coup. But the solid victory of Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party in recent nationwide gubernatorial elections, despite a long and deep economic crisis, reveals little public support for the CIA’s puppets in Venezuela.

The CIA has successfully discredited the Venezuelan government through economic warfare, increasingly violent right-wing street protests and a global propaganda campaign. But the CIA has stupidly hitched its wagon to an extreme right-wing, upper-class opposition that has no credibility with most of the Venezuelan public, who still turn out for the Socialists at the polls. A CIA coup or U.S. military intervention would meet fierce public resistance and damage U.S. relations all over Latin America.

Boxing In North Korea

A U.S. aerial bombardment or “preemptive strike” on North Korea could quickly escalate into a war between the U.S. and China, which has reiterated its commitment to North Korea’s defense if North Korea is attacked. We do not know exactly what was in the U.S. war plan discovered by North Korea, so neither can we know how North Korea and China could respond if the U.S. pressed ahead with it.


North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.


Most analysts have long concluded that any U.S. attack on North Korea would be met with a North Korean artillery and missile barrage that would inflict unacceptable civilian casualties on Seoul, a metropolitan area of 26 million people, three times the population of New York City. Seoul is only 35 miles from the frontier with North Korea, placing it within range of a huge array of North Korean weapons. What was already a no-win calculus is now compounded by the possibility that North Korea could respond with nuclear weapons, turning any prospect of a U.S. attack into an even worse nightmare.

U.S. mismanagement of its relations with North Korea should be an object lesson for its relations with Iran, graphically demonstrating the advantages of diplomacy, talks and agreements over threats of war. Under the Agreed Framework signed in 1994, North Korea stopped work on two much larger nuclear reactors than the small experimental one operating at Yongbyong since 1986, which only produces 6 kg of plutonium per year, enough for one nuclear bomb.

The lesson of Bush’s Iraq invasion in 2003 after Saddam Hussein had complied with demands that he destroy Iraq’s stockpiles of chemical weapons and shut down a nascent nuclear program was not lost on North Korea. Not only did the invasion lay waste to large sections of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of dead but Hussein himself was hunted down and condemned to death by hanging.

Still, after North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, even its small experimental reactor was shut down as a result of the “Six Party Talks” in 2007, all the fuel rods were removed and placed under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the cooling tower of the reactor was demolished in 2008.

But then, as relations deteriorated, North Korea conducted a second nuclear weapon test and again began reprocessing spent fuel rods to recover plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

North Korea has now conducted six nuclear weapons tests. The explosions in the first five tests increased gradually up to 15-25 kilotons, about the yield of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but estimates for the yield of the 2017 test range from 110 to 250 kilotons, comparable to a small hydrogen bomb.

The even greater danger in a new war in Korea is that the U.S. could unleash part of its arsenal of 4,000 more powerful weapons (100 to 1,200 kilotons), which could kill millions of people and devastate and poison the region, or even the world, for years to come.

The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction.

China has proposed a reasonable framework for diplomacy to address the concerns of both sides, but the U.S. insists on maintaining its propaganda narratives that all the fault lies with North Korea and that it has some kind of “military solution” to the crisis.

This may be the most dangerous idea we have heard from U.S. policymakers since the end of the Cold War, but it is the logical culmination of a systematic normalization of deviant and illegal U.S. war-making that has already cost millions of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in Century of War in 1994, “options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles.”

Demonizing Iran

The idea that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program is seriously contested by the IAEA, which has examined every allegation presented by the CIA and other Western “intelligence” agencies as well as Israel. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed many details of this wild goose chase in his 2011 memoir, Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times.


Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the
completion of an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear
program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of
the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear
engineer. (Iranian government photo)


When the CIA and its partners reluctantly acknowledged the IAEA’s conclusions in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ElBaradei issued a press release confirming that, “the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.”

Since 2007, the IAEA has resolved all its outstanding concerns with Iran. It has verified that dual-use technologies that Iran imported before 2003 were in fact used for other purposes, and it has exposed the mysterious “laptop documents” that appeared to show Iranian plans for a nuclear weapon as forgeries. Gareth Porter thoroughly explored all these questions and allegations and the history of mistrust that fueled them in his 2014 book, Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, which I highly recommend.

But, in the parallel Bizarro world of U.S. politics, hopelessly poisoned by the CIA’s endless disinformation campaigns, Hillary Clinton could repeatedly take false credit for disarming Iran during her presidential campaign, and neither Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump nor any corporate media interviewer dared to challenge her claims.

“When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb,” Clinton fantasized in a prominent foreign policy speech on June 2, 2016, claiming that her brutal sanctions policy “brought Iran to the table.”

In fact, as Trita Parsi documented in his 2012 book, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy With Iran, the Iranians were ready, not just to “come to the table,” but to sign a comprehensive agreement based on a U.S. proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010. But, in a classic case of “tail wags dog,” the U.S. then rejected its own proposal because it would have undercut support for tighter sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. In other words, Clinton’s sanctions policy did not “bring Iran to the table”, but prevented the U.S. from coming to the table itself.

As a senior State Department official told Trita Parsi, the real problem with U.S. diplomacy with Iran when Clinton was at the State Department was that the U.S. would not take “Yes” for an answer. Trump’s ham-fisted decertification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA is right out of Clinton’s playbook, and it demonstrates that the CIA is still determined to use Iran as a scapegoat for America’s failures in the Middle East.

The spurious claim that Iran is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism is another CIA canard reinforced by endless repetition. It is true that Iran supports and supplies weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both listed as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. But they are mainly defensive resistance groups that defend Lebanon and Gaza respectively against invasions and attacks by Israel.

Shifting attention away from Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other groups that actually commit terrorist crimes around the world might just seem like a case of the CIA “taking its eyes off the ball,” if it wasn’t so transparently timed to frame Iran with new accusations now that the manufactured crisis of the nuclear scare has run its course.

What the Future Holds

Barack Obama’s most consequential international achievement may have been the triumph of symbolism over substance behind which he expanded and escalated the so-called “war on terror,” with a vast expansion of covert operations and proxy wars that eventually triggered the heaviest U.S. aerial bombardments since Vietnam in Iraq and Syria.


President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting
the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman
Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009.
(White House photo)


Obama’s charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budget of any president since World War Two.

But Obama’s expansion of the “war on terror” under cover of his deceptive global public relations campaign created many more problems than it solved, and Trump and his advisers are woefully ill-equipped to solve any of them. Trump’s expressed desire to place America first and to resist foreign entanglements is hopelessly at odds with his aggressive, bullying approach to every foreign policy problem.

If the U.S. could threaten and fight its way to a resolution of any of its international problems, it would have done so already. That is exactly what it has been trying to do since the 1990s, behind both the swagger and bluster of Bush and Trump and the deceptive charm of Clinton and Obama: a “good cop – bad cop” routine that should no longer fool anyone anywhere.

But as Lyndon Johnson found as he waded deeper and deeper into the Big Muddy in Vietnam, lying to the public about unwinnable wars does not make them any more winnable. It just gets more people killed and makes it harder and harder to ever tell the public the truth.

In unwinnable wars based on lies, the “credibility” problem only gets more complicated, as new lies require new scapegoats and convoluted narratives to explain away graveyards filled by old lies. Obama’s cynical global charm offensive bought the “war on terror” another eight years, but that only allowed the CIA to drag the U.S. into more trouble and spread its chaos to more places around the world.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is winning hearts and minds in capitals around the world by calling for a recommitment to the rule of international law, which prohibits the threat or use of military force except in self-defense. Every new U.S. threat or act of aggression will only make Putin’s case more persuasive, not least to important U.S. allies like South Korea, Germany and other members of the European Union, whose complicity in U.S. aggression has until now helped to give it a false veneer of political legitimacy.

Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler’s Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction.

Americans had better hope that we are not so exceptional, and that the world will find a diplomatic rather than a military “solution” to its American problem. Our chances of survival would improve a great deal if American officials and politicians would finally start to act like something other than putty in the hands of the CIA.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.
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Giving the Game Away
« Reply #257 on: November 12, 2017, 03:06:29 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/10/giving-the-game-away/

November 10, 2017
Giving the Game Away

by Paul Street


Photo by The U.S. Army | CC by 2.0

It doesn’t take much, just a sentence or a turn-of-phrase, sometimes even just a word or two, to give the game away.

“Homeland Defense”

Take these words that became ubiquitous among U.S. media and political elites referring to the United States of America in the wake of 9/11: “the homeland,” “defense of the homeland,” “homeland defense,” “homeland security.”

This omnipresent “homeland” rhetoric is profoundly nationalistic, authoritarian, and imperial.  There’s a Germanic, blood and soil feel about it: a sense that U.S.-Americans connection to North America below the Canadian line (plus Alaska and Hawaii) is rooted in race, ethnicity, and ancestry.  At the same time, it carries an implicitly imperial vision of the United States’ global place and role. There’s normal “defense” – “defense” of areas beyond our borders in alien regions we control and dominate – and then there’s defense of us proper: the home-/father-land.

“The American People’s” Declining Empire?


Another example comes from the conclusion of distinguished U.S, policy historian Alfred W. McCoy’s brilliant and dazzlingly original new book In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (see my New York Journal of Books review of this study here). On the next-to-last page of this important volume, McCoy writes that the likelihood of the U.S. avoiding dramatic and rapid imperial decline (empires generally fall quickly, McCoy notes) over the next two decades is very low since, “the American people, blinded by decades of historically unparalleled power, cannot or will not take the steps to slow the erosion of their global position” (emphasis added).

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  McCoy’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in geopolitics, the history of Empire, U.S. foreign policy/imperialism, and the shape of the future (likely to be influenced by Washington’s decline and Beijing’s rise, as McCoy shows).  Still, the 25 words I just quoted reveal a significant flaw in his approach.  Strangely enough for a book published by a socialist-run press, In the Shadows is devoid of class analysis.  Surely, the author knows that “the American people” don’t make U.S. foreign (or, for that matter, domestic) policy.  Only a relatively tiny slice of elite capitalist and professional class people do that (see Laurence Shoup, Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014 [Monthly Review Press, 2015) and Bastiaan Van Apeldoorn and ‎ Naná de Graaff, American Grand Strategy and Corporate Elite Networks: The Open Door since the End of the Cold War [Routledge, 2015]).

An intimately related deletion in McCoy’s book is any discussion of how and why the decline of the American Empire might be a good thing for ordinary people at home as well as abroad.  As Noam Chomsky noted in the late 1960s, “The costs of empire are in general distributed over the society as a whole, while its profits revert to a few within.” The so-called “defense” industry – the highly profitable and powerful corporate wing of the “military-industrial complex” that Dwight Eisenhower left the White House warning Americans about – is largely missing in McCoy’s volume. Certainly, McCoy knows that the Pentagon System functions as a great form of domestic corporate welfare for high-tech “defense” firms like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon – this while it steals trillions of dollars that might otherwise be spent meeting social and environmental needs at home and abroad. It is a significant mode of upward wealth distribution within “the homeland.”

(The biggest costs have fallen on the many millions killed and maimed abroad by the U.S. military and allied and proxy forces in the last seven decades and before. Oddly enough, the criminal and immoral nature of that ongoing slaughter never seems to get the recognition and denunciation it deserves in In the Shadows of the American Century, which ends by giving strange praise to “the American almost-century since 1945” for supposedly advancing “the rule of law, the advance of human rights, the spread of democracy” and “relative peace.” Seriously?)

“Pragmatist” Clinton Democrats vs. “Ideologue” Sanders Democrats

Another example of giving the game away in few words came two nights ago when the liberal-elitist “Inside Elections” political analyst Stuart Rothenburg spoke on the “P”BS NewsHour. “The Democrats as a party,” Rothenburg told NewsHour host and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member Judy Woodruff, “are divided between the Bernie Sanders wing and Hillary Clinton wing, the pragmatists and ideologues.”

For Rothenburg, the Clinton wing members are the “pragmatists,” the realistic adults who want “get things done” (one of the great neoliberal president Obama’s favorite phrases and claims). The Sanders folks are “ideologues,” a pejorative term meaning people who are mainly about ideology and who are carried away by their own flighty and doctrinal world view.

This was a slap (an ideological one I might add) at the more progressive and social-democratic faction of the Democratic Party – a blow masquerading as “objective” and detached political analysis.

What is an “ideologue”? According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, it is “an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic” (emphasis added). Merriam Websters calls and ideologue “an impractical idealist…an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology” (emphasis added).

“Ideologue” was Rothenburg’s sophisticated way of saying “fuck you, excessively left progressives” to the considerably more youthful constituents of the Democratic Party who want to win office and govern in (imagine) some kind of decently democratic accord with majority progressive public opinion.

And, by the way, do the corporate (Obama-Clinton-Schumer-Pelosi) Dems have and get carried away by an ideology, an ideological world view, even a doctrine? Of course they do.  It’s called neoliberal capitalism, with a heavy and related overlay of U.S. imperialism. You might also call it, following the left historian Nancy Fraser, “progressive neoliberalism.”  As Fraser explained in (unfortunately) Dissent Magazine after Donald Trump’s election last January:

    “In its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end ‘symbolic’ and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives…Progressive neoliberalism developed in the United States over the last three decades and was ratified with Bill Clinton’s election in 1992. Clinton was the principal engineer and standard-bearer of the ‘New Democrats,’ the U.S. equivalent of Tony Blair’s ‘New Labor.’ In place of the New Deal coalition of unionized manufacturing workers, African Americans, and the urban middle classes, he forged a new alliance of entrepreneurs, suburbanites, new social movements, and youth, all proclaiming their modern, progressive bona fides by embracing diversity, multiculturalism, and women’s rights. Even as it endorsed such progressive notions, the Clinton administration courted Wall Street. Turning the economy over to Goldman Sachs, it deregulated the banking system and negotiated the free-trade agreements that accelerated deindustrialization. What fell by the wayside was the Rust Belt—once the stronghold of New Deal social democracy, and now the region that delivered the electoral college to Donald Trump” (emphasis added).

I don’t think it’s too much to describe the reigning corporatist-imperialists atop the Democratic Party as ideologues: doctrinal adherents of neoliberalism (“progressive” or not) and imperialism.

The Pragmatic Illusion

The tendency of the reigning Democrats to mask their ideological commitment to the U.S. corporate, financial, and imperial state as non-ideological and even anti-ideological “pragmatism” predates the neoliberal era, of course.  As the New Left political scientist Bruce Mirroff noted in his forgotten classic study Pragmatic Illusions: The Presidential Politics of John F. Kennedy (1976), the liberal icon JFK lined up consistently on the conservative, power-friendly side of each of what Dr. King called “the triple evils that are interrelated”: racism (deeply and institutionally understood), economic exploitation (capitalism), and U.S. militarism. More than a decade before neoliberal Democrats emerged to explicitly steer the Democratic Party to the corporate center, JFK’s declared sympathies for the poor and working class took a back seat in his White House to “the real determinants of policy: political calculation and economic doctrine.”

Political calculation “led Kennedy to appease the corporate giants and their allies in government.”  Economic doctrine “told [JFK] that the key to the expansion and health of the economy was the health and expansion of those same corporate giants.” It call happened under the cloak of non-ideological “pragmatism.” “The architects of Kennedy’s ‘New Economics,’” Mirroff wrote, “liked to portray it as the technically sophisticated and politically neutral management of a modern industrial economy. It is more accurately portrayed as a pragmatic liberalism in the service of corporate capitalism” (emphasis added).

The regressive nature of JFK’s “New Economics’ was cloaked by his occasional, much-publicized spats with certain members of the business community (the executives of U.S. Steel above all), his repeated statements of concern for labor and the poor, and his claim to advance a purely “technical” and “pragmatic” economic agenda that elevated “practical management” and administrative expertise above the “grand warfare of ideologies.” It’s an old and ongoing story in corporate-managed states.

The Smear Explained

Meanwhile, do the Sandernistas have a strong “pragmatic” “get things done” dimension?  Absolutely.  Indeed, their hero is way too “pragmatic” and compromising  – I would say too cowardly and/or too imperialist – for my “ideological” (and moral and practical) taste when it comes to the U.S. war machine, which Bernie can’t seem to meaningfully critique even as it sucks up trillions of taxpayer dollars his progressive domestic policy agenda requires.

What was Rothenburg’s snooty smear of the Democratic Party’s Sanders wing all about? He was commenting on Tuesday election results that suggest a considerable leftward shit in U.S. public opinion and voting behavior: the resounding gubernatorial victories of Democrats Ralph Northam and Phillip Murphy in Virginia and New Jersey, respectively, along with numerous lopsided Democratic victories in state legislative and local municipal races  across the country – including victories by a significant number of candidates openly aligned with Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).  This has sparked the Democratic Party elite, Rothenburg’s crew, to defend the neoliberal doctrine against the progressive, more left-leaning wing in the Democratic Party.  As the World Socialist Webs Site explained:

    In the face of these indications of a general shift to the left in popular sentiment, the predominant response within the Democratic Party establishment is to call for the party to move even further to the right. Douglas E. Schoen, a former pollster for President Bill Clinton and author of Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence, wrote in a post on The Hill website that Northam had rejected the ‘brand of liberal progressive politics as that promoted by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.’ He continued: ‘Democrats in particular must continue to embrace the policy alternatives and centrist positions that propelled Northam’s success.’…The Washington Post editorialized: ‘The triumph of Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in Virginia’s gubernatorial election Tuesday was a victory of decency, civility and moderation… Despite some flirtation with a $15 minimum wage and a few other populist stances during the spring Democratic primary, when he faced and vanquished a leftist challenger, his campaign generally avoided appeals to the Bernie Sanders-inspired extreme of his party’s base.’

Elite class privilege must be defended at all costs inside the Inauthentic Opposition Party (as the late Sheldon Wolin aptly described the dismal Democrats).  That’s why Stuart Rothenburg called the Sanders wing “ideologues.”

Speaking of giving the game away, that’s what the Democrats have been doing for the Republicans for years. If they listen to creeps like Doug Schoen and Stuart Rothenburg in coming months, they will (with all due respect for last Tuesday) do it again in 2018 and 2020.

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Re: Giving the Game Away
« Reply #258 on: November 12, 2017, 05:55:37 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/10/giving-the-game-away/

November 10, 2017
Giving the Game Away

by Paul Street

Extraordinary article.

I first came across mention of McCoy's book, that Street uses as a jumping-off point, in his interview with Jeremy Scahill on Intercepted.
Well worth a listen if you are the kind of person who consumes such things.

https://theintercept.com/2017/07/22/donald-trump-and-the-coming-fall-of-american-empire/
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Extremists hit mosque in N. Egypt
« Reply #259 on: November 25, 2017, 12:17:29 AM »
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/international/2017/11/extremists_hit_mosque_in_n_egypt

Extremists hit mosque in N. Egypt
Bob McGovern Saturday, November 25, 2017


Abdallah Abdel Nasser, 14, receives medical treatment at Suez Canal University hospital in Ismailia, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, after he was in injured during an attack on a mosque. Militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the Sinai Peninsula, setting off explosives, spraying worshippers with gunfire and killing more than 200 people in the deadliest ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Credit: Associated Press

RUSH TO HELP: An attack on an Egyptian mosque killed at least 235 worshippers. Victims were carried away from the scene following the bombing and shooting.
WRECKAGE: A damaged car at the site of the Egypt Sinai mosque bombing yesterday.
RUSH TO HELP: An attack on an Egyptian mosque killed at least 235 worshippers. Victims were carried away from the scene following the bombing and shooting.
AL ARISH, EGYPT - NOVEMBER 24: People gather at the site of the Egypt Sinai mosque bombing in Al-Arish, Egypt on November 24, 2017. The death toll from a bomb that went off outside a mosque in the city of Al-Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula following Friday prayers has climbed to a whopping 235, according to official sources. At least 109 others were injured in the blast, which occurred in the citys Al-Rawda neighborhood. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Sheikh Sulieman Ghanem, 75, receives medical treatment at Suez Canal University hospital in Ismailia, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, after he was injured during an attack on a mosque. Militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the Sinai Peninsula, setting off explosives, spraying worshippers with gunfire and killing more than 200 people in the deadliest ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Relatives of Sheikh Sulieman Ghanem, 75, center, surround him as he receives medical treatment at Suez Canal University hospital in Ismailia, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, after he was injured during an attack on a mosque. Militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the Sinai Peninsula, setting off explosives, spraying worshippers with gunfire and killing more than 200 people in the deadliest ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)


Militants armed with guns, rockets and grenades carried out the deadliest-ever attack in Egypt yesterday by Islamic extremists, slaughtering dozens of people at a mosque in a savage assault that an expert says will likely prompt a massive government crackdown.

“There is already a widespread counterinsurgency going on in the region, and there is no doubt that will be ramped up,” said Peter Krause, an international security professor at Boston College. “There could also be more repressive measures against other Islamic parties. Suffice to say, there will likely be a massive military crackdown.”

The attack occurred in a dangerous portion of the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. The militants targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam that are considered heretics by some Islamic militant groups.

“The hardcore jihadis don’t consider them to even be Muslims,” Krause said. “One of the reasons they attack a group like this is that they consider them to be nonbelievers.”

The attack in the town of Bir al-Abd left at least 235 people dead and more than 100 wounded, according to the state news agency.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi vowed that the attack “will not go unpunished” and that Egypt would persevere with its war on terrorism. But he did not specify what new steps might be taken.

President Trump took to Twitter to condemn the attacks.

“Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt,” he wrote. “The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”
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The Egyptian military and security forces have already been waging a tough campaign against militants in the towns, villages and desert mountains of Sinai, and Egypt has been in a state of emergency for months.

In yesterday’s assault, the militants descended on the al-Rawdah mosque in four off-road vehicles as hundreds worshipped inside. Officials cited by the state news agency MENA said the attackers blocked off escape routes with burning cars before firing rocket-propelled grenades at the house of worship.

The news agency said the attackers then shot attendees as they tried to run from the building.
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Global Security: Is it Possible and How?
« Reply #260 on: December 02, 2017, 03:26:17 AM »
https://orientalreview.org/2017/11/29/global-security-possible/

 Cold War 2.0
Global Security: Is it Possible and How?


Written by Vladislav B. SOTIROVIĆ on 29/11/2017
More in Cold War 2.0:

    Disarmament
    Nuclear disarmament is unthinkable until trust is restored between Russia and the US
    26/10/2017
    The Infowar Attack Against Azerbaijan Is Because Of Geopolitics, Energy, And “Israel”
    16/09/2017
    Russian and Armenian presidents after talks in Moscow, March 2017
    Russia’s New Thinking Towards Armenia And Azerbaijan: An “Obstructionist” vs. An “Integrationalist”
    15/09/2017

The fundamental aim of the text below is to deal with the concept and models of global security as one of the crucial topics of global political studies. We have to keep in mind that a term and notion of security usually imply a kind of sense of protection and safety from different possible harms coming from „outside“. Therefore, it can be generally acceptable and understandable that the states want to protect their own territories by expanding great resources in making their territorial safe. Security topics are of very different kind, ranging from the causes of conflict between states to deterioration in the global climate or women’s rights in global politics. The question of Security Studies as an academic discipline within the scope of Global Politics has been the subject of much debate and one of the most prosperous ways to deal with global security is firstly to analyze different standpoints which are existing within the research discipline. The article, in one word, will try to provide the readers with a basic approaches in the academic field of Security Studies with some necessary personal remarks by the author.
The Conception of a System

The conception of international systems of states is crucial as an explanatory mechanism of both global politics and global security models. However, in order to understand international systems of states firstly the very notion of a system itself has to be clarified and defined. In this context, it can be said that „a system is an assemblage of units, objects, or parts united by some form of regular interaction“.[1] Any system is necessarily constructed of different members on micro and macro levels which are interacting between themselves from horizontal and vertical perspectives. The member units of a system are of different size, capacity, potentials, wealth, might and therefore of different positions regarding the decision making procedure and especially power.

For the reason that member units of a system are constantly interacting with each other either from horizontal or vertical perspectives, it is quite natural that in the case of a change in one unit the reactions to such change are expected by other units. The most expressed examples are arms race, seeking for balance of power, making political-military blocs with other units or even in the most drastic cases, committing aggression on the member unit. Any system with its member units has a tendency to regulate the relations between them and to try to respond by different means if those relations are changed at the expense of the hegemonic unit(s) of the system. It can exist at the same time two or more systems which are separated from each other by regulating boundaries, but different systems very often collaborate across the boundaries, for instance, in the areas of economy, knowledge or technology exchange as it was the case during the Cold War era (1949−1989). Finally, one system can break down for any reason what means that necessary changes within the system were not achieved in order to save it (for instance, the case of the Warsaw Pact in 1990−1991). Subsequently, instead of the old system a new system can emerge or the member units of the old system can be simply absorbed by another one as it happened, for example, with the majority of the Central and South-East European states after the Cold War.
International Systems of States

It is very difficult to fix the exact date when global system of international relations (IR) and therefore global security models started to work for the very reason that the process of globalization occured over many centuries.[2] However, the modern European system of IR can be traced back up to the time after the 1648 Westphalian Peace Treaty, while the process of globalization of international systems of inter-states relations started to work from the first half of the 19th century.

International systems of inter-states relations and global security became after the WWII investigated as academic subjects within the framework of World Systems Theory (WST) which recognizes that the states are historically playing the fundamental role in IR and they will do that in the future as well as but the systems of relations of (nation)-states have to be understood and put in the context of global unity rather than conflicts besed on realizations of different national interests. What the theoreticians of WST suggest is that the most meaningful system of global security has to be based on the world system but not on nation-states system. Therefore, they believe that international cooperation and order will replace international conflicts and anarchy. However, behind WST is basically hidden a system of Capitalist World-Economy (CWE) which is advocating ideology of globalization as a new form of the Western global imperialism based on the international division of labor. Thus, according to CWE, the whole world is divided into three labor and economic zones: the core-states (the Western developed mature economies); the periphery-states (mainly ex-colonies from Africa with still underdeveloped economies); and the semiperiphery-states (mainly East-European ex-socialist states and Middle-East oil-riched states with rising economies and growing infrastructure). The essence of WST/CWE is that a globalization has to function in full benefit of the core-states which are fully exploiting the periphery-states with a semiperifery states as a buffer between core and periphery segments of the world economy which are partially exploited by the core-states (by financial and economic means). In one word, WST/CWE is trying to legitimate existence and functioning of global Western capitalism and its exploitation of the rest of the world by promulgation of globalization ideology.[3] However, the liberal ideology of globalization is advocating in reality the global process of (pervasive) American Westernization from all points of view – from cultural, economic or political to the issues of values, tradition and customs.[4]

Historically, there were three fundamental types of international systems or relations between the states as the crucial actors in global politics even today: 1. Independent; 2. Hegemonic; and 3. Imperial.[5]

The Independent State System (ISS) is composed by the states as political actors and entities in which each of them claim to be independent that means both autonomous and sovereign. The fundamental feature of such state, at least from the very theoretical point of view, is that it has right and possibility to make its own foreign and domestic policies out of any influence or dependence from the outside. The ISS presupposes that the state, territory and its citizens are under full control and governance by the central state authority and that the state borders are inviolable from outside. In other words, any outside actor is not eligible to interfere into domestic affairs of the state which can be governed only by one „legitimate“ authority that is internationally recognized as such. An independent state has to be and autonomous that means (as it ment at the time of the ancient Greeks wherefrom the term comes) that the legitimate state authorities are adopting their own law and organizing the state activities, political and other types of life of the society according to it but not according to the imposed law, rules or values from the outside. States had to be equally treated and understood in regards to their claims to independence, autonomy and sovereignty regardless of the very practical fact that not all of them are of the same power, capabilities and might.[6]

The Hegemonic State System (HSS) is based on an idea of a hegemon and hegemony imposed by a hegemon in IR what means that one or more states (or other actors in politics) dominate the system of IR or/and regional or global politics. A hegemon is fixing the standards, values and the „rules of the game“ and having direct influence on the politics of the system’s members like, for instance, the US in the NATO’s bloc.

There are three possible types of HSS in global politics:

    Unipolar (or Single) hegemony, when a single state is dominant as it was the case with the US immediatelly after the WWII.
    Bipolar (or Dual) hegemony, when two dominant states exist in global politics as it was a case during the time of the Cold War (the USA and the USSR).
    Multipolar (or Collective) hegemony, when several or even many states dominate international relations like during the time after the Vienna Congress in 1815 (Russia, Austria, Great Britain, France and Prussia).

In practice, in any of these three HSS, lesser powerful actors may interact their powers, but they have to get a permit by the hegemon for such action. In HSS, usually domestic affairs of the states are left untouched by the hegemon, while their forreign affairs are strictly under the hegemonic controll.

The third type of IR, the Imperial State System (ImSS), existed from the ancient time (Assyria, Persia, Macedonia, Rome) and has been dominant in Europe, North Africa and Asia in the Middle Ages (the Frankish, Holy Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman or Habsburg empires). The essence of empire as a system is that it is composed of separate societal, ethnic, national, linguistic or/and confessional parts which are associated with regular interaction. However, within such multistructural imperial framework, it is a regular practice that one unit dominates over others by imposing over the rest its own political supremacy. The rest of the framework units have to accept such reality either by force or by interest while a political supremacy by one (ruling) part can be accepted by the others either implicitly or explicitly.[7] However, the question arises what is a difference between the Hegemonic and the Imperial State System as these two systems seems to be very similar if not even the same? Nevertheless, the fundamental difference is that a dominant unit of an empire is much more able to manage other subjects of the state system in comparison to HSS and especially to force them to work for the central authority (tax collection, recruiting people for the imperial army, appointing local political client leaders, etc.). The empires are usually created and enlarged by military conquest, but also they can be militarily destroyed from the outside or disappear due to the inner revolutions followed by civil wars.
Security Dilemma and Global Security Models

Security dilemma is based on an idea that security is a goal for which states struggle and compete between themselves. In principle, the states have to look for their own protection, especially in an „anarchical“ world system in which does not exist any supranational authority (like the UNO or OEBS, for instance)[8] to be capable to impose and/or to ensure regional or global order of IR. In practice, traditionally, the states in order to achieve their security goals were striving for more and more power for the reason to escape the impact of the power and foreign policy of other states especially of the neighbors as the European history clearly shows. However, such practice in turn makes the other states or other actors in IR to feel themselves more insecure and therefore it encourages them to be prepared for the worst scenario (conflict, aggression, war). As any state cannot ever feel entirely secure, the security competition among the states is endless process that is resulting in constant power rising. In other words, the security dilemma provokes a policy to firm security of a (nation)state which has a direct effect of threatening other states or actors in IR and, thereby, provoking power (usually military) counter actions. This endless process is in fact decreasing security for all states especially if we know that in many cases offensive (imperialistic) foreign policy is justified by national arming by „defensive“ weapons (the case of the US, for instance).

Global security as a concept has to be essentially founded on the idea of human (individual and group) security. However, IR in practice are based on the right to self-preservation of the states (i.e., of their political regimes and social elites in power). This idea is born by Englishman Thomas Hobbes (1588−1679) who argued that the right to self-preservation is founded on a natural law, requiring at the same time a social harmony between the citizens and state authority. Therefore, global security has to be founded primarily on the concept of (a nation)state security as the states are a natural form of political associations by the people and still are the fundamental actors in IR. The idea is that, presumably, both individual and civil rights of the citizen would be effectively secured only if the individual consented to the unchecked power of the state ruling elite. Therefore, it can be concluded that a modern philosophy of state totalitarian regimes is de facto born by Th. Hobbes.

Based on Th. Hobbes’ security philosophy, states will stress the necessity of social collectivisation for the protection of their security interests – it is how the concept of Collective Security (CS) was institutionalised as a mechanism that is used by the states in one bloc not to attack or proclaim the war to other states within the same bloc of coalition.[9] The member states of the same bloc accept the practice to use their collective armed forces and other necessary capabilities in order to help and defend a fellow member state in the case of aggression from outside. Such „defensive“ collective action has to continue until the time when „aggression“ is reversed. The essence of such concept, therefore, is a claim that an „unprovoked“, aggressive attack against any member of an organization is going to be considered as an attack on all member states of that organization. In practice, any really provoked attack of aggression can be easily claimed as „unprovoked“ as it happened, for instance, with the case of Pearl Harbour in 1941 as we know today that the US regime did everything to provoke „unprovoked“ Japanese action on December 7th. Nevertheless, while the concept of CS became the tool to count state aggression, it left very open question of how best to promote the individual or group (minority) security.[10]

It has to be clarified that the very idea of human security is not opposing concern of national (state) security’s requirement that state is in obligation to protect its own citizens from the aggression from the external world, i.e. by a foreign actor. The human security idea argues that the most important focus of security has to be put on individual not on the state, but the state has to protect all its citizens as the protection umbrella from the outside threat. This approach takes an individual-centred view of security that is a basis for national, regional and finally global security. In essence, protection of human (individual and group) rights is giving the main framework for the realization of the concept of human security that advocates „protection against threats to the lives and wellbeing of individuals in areas of basic need including freedom from violence by terrorists, criminals, or police, availability of food and water, a clean environment, energy security, and freedom from poverty and economic exploitation“.[11]

The chief purpose of collective security organization is to provide and maintain peaceful relations within the bloc which is composed of sovereign states but dominated by a hegemon. The concept of CS has declared as a main task to maintain peace between the key actors in IR that practically means the states, but in practice the real purpose of CS system is just to maintain peace and order among the members of the system, however not between the system and the rest of the world. The best example of CS system today is the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) which is not of any kind of global security bloc but rather only political-military alliance that is primarily serving the US national interests (global imperialism) across the globe. Nevertheless, the practical implementation of the concept is fluctuating between two models:

    Traditional and more realistic model of Balance of Power.
    A new post-Cold War and more utopian model of World Government.

The idea of CS is for sure very attractive for the academics as it seeks to bring about important benefits of a „global government“, but without altering the fundamental essence of the traditional state system of anarchy. The concept of CS from global perspective, therefore, means a „system of international security under which all states agree to take joint action against states that attack“.[12] Anyway, formally, the concept of CS wants to apply a set of legally established mechanisms which are designed to prevent possible aggression by any state against any other state at least without the formal permission by the UNO.[13]
Three Possible Models of Global Security

Different theorists explain in different ways by using different arguments the benefits or disadvantages of one of three possible global security models: Unipolar, Bipolar or Multipolar. Debates are basically going around the arguments which one of these three models is the most stable and above all most peaceful in comparison to all other models.[14]

Those who advocate the Unipolar Security Model (USM) claim that this model gives the most security guarantees as in this case there is simply one power (state) to be in a position of a dominant actor in global politics having a role of a global hegemon or world policemen. It is a belief that world politics can be mostly peaceful if there is a single dominant state that is strong enough to enforce peace as a global hegemon. The hegemon is going to be so powerful that no any other global actor can challenge its superiority in world affairs and IR. This model of global security was adopted by the US administration immediately after the Cold War and mainly was advocated by Zbignew Brzezinski, who was trying to lay down academic foundations of the American hegemonic position in global politics which had primary goal to destabilize, dismember and finally occupy Russia for the sake of free of charge exploitation of her natural resources according to the Kosovo pattern from June 1999 onward. If the US administration succeeds in realization of such goal, the global geopolitical game over the Eurasian Heartland would be finally resolved in the favor of Washington.

The NATO was, is and going to be from the very beginning of its existence (est. 1949) the fundamental instrument of the US policy of global hegemony concept that is known also as Pax Americana. Up today, the NATO remains the most powerful military alliance in the world that was allegedly established “…to provide security for Western Europe, NATO became an unprecedented peacetime alliance with a permanent secretariat and a military headquarters that represents the US commitment to deter Soviet aggression”.[15] However, the very existence of the NATO after the dissolution of the Soviet Union clearly proves that the ultimate goal of its creation and functioning was not “to deter Soviet aggression” while its (only eastward) enlargement from 1999 onward indicates that in fact Russia was, is and going to be the chief object of the fundamental point of the NATO’s policy of the US expansionism and global hegemony. The 1998−1999 Kosovo War, in which the NATO’s forces became deeply engaged for the first time after its establishment in 1949, marks the beginning of the direct US policy of brutal and open gangsterism (at least) after the Cold War on the global level of IR and world politics.[16]

The USM is necessarily founded on an idea of hegemony in global politics. The word hegemonia comes from the ancient Greek language (as many other words used today by the Western academic world) with authentic means of “leadership”. In IR, a notion of a “hegemon” is used as a synonym for “leader” or “leading state” within the system (bloc) composed by at least two or several states. However, the bloc member countries have to establish and maintain certain relations between themselves what practically means that one of member states became de facto a hegemon within the whole bloc concerning decision making policy and procedure (for example, the USA in the NATO, the USSR in the Warsaw Pact or Germany in the EU). A leadership or hegemony within the system implies certain degree of order, collective organization and above all hierarchy relationships between the members of a system. However, political hegemony in IR does not exist by itself as it is a phenomenon which exists within some interstate system, that is itself the product of specific historical, political, economic, ideological or other circumstances. All hegemonic states within the system enjoy “structural power” which permits the leader to occupy a central leading position in its own created and run system. All other member states are collaborators to the leading role of the hegemon expecting to get a proper reward for their service. On the other hand, a hegemon has to mobilize its own economic, financial, technical, political, human and other resources in order to perform a role of a leader and, therefore, this is why only some (rich) states have a real potential to be hegemons (like the USA in the NATO, for instance).

The USA is today the world’s most powerful and imperialistic single state ever existed in history. Washington is after the WWII using the NATO as a justification of its global hegemonic designs and the American ability and willingness to resume a hegemonic role in the world are of the crucial importance of IR, world order and global security. In principle, majority of studies dealing with hegemony and imperialism point to the British 19th century empire and the US empire after the WWII as two most successful hegemonic cases in world’s political history.[17] Both of these two empires formally justified their policy of global imperialism within the framework of the concept of USM.

Probably the most important disadvantage of USM is that a unipolar world with a strong global hegemon will all the time tempt either one or several powers to try to challenge the hegemon by different means. This is basically an endless game till the hegemon finally lost its position as such and the system of security became transformed into a new form based on a new security model. That is exactly what happened with the Roman Empire as one of examples of USM.

Nevertheless, in the unipolar system, a hegemon faces few constraints on its policy, determines rules of game in global politics and restricts the autonomous actions by others as it was exactly the case by the US as a “world policemen” at the time of the New World Order in 1990−2008.[18] But on the other side, such hegemonic position and policy of terrorizing the rest of the world (or system) provokes self-defence reactions by others which finally results in the change in the distribution of power among the states (or actors) that can be a cause of war on larger scale of intensity and space. For the matter of comparison, the US hegemonic, Russophobic and barbaric global policy at the time of the post-Cold War New World Order can at the end cause a new world war with Russia (and probably China) as the Peloponnesian War (431−404 BC) was caused by the hegemonic policy of the Athens which provoked the fear and self-defence reaction by Sparta.[19]

The champions of the Bipolar Security Model (BSM), however, believe that a bipolarity of global politics could bring a long-time peace and world security instead of USM. In the case of BSM, the two crucial powers in the world are monitoring each other’s behavior on global arena and therefore removing a big part of the security uncertainty in world politics, international relations and foreign affairs associated with the possibility of the beginning of war between the Great Powers.

A Multipolar Security Model (MSM) looks like as the best option dealing with the prevention of war and protecting global security as a distribution of power is as much as “multi” there are lesser chances for outbreak of the war between the Great Powers. In essence, MSM can moderate hostility among the Great Powers as they are forced to create shifting alliances in which there are no permanent enemies. Nevertheless, for many researchers, MSM is in fact creating a dangerous uncertainty for the very reason as there is a bigger number of the Great Powers or other powerful actors in world politics.
Conclusion

The academic research field of Security Studies is of extreme complexity ranging from the standpoint that these studies should have a narrow military focus as the fundamental security threat to the territorial integrity of states comes during times of conflict to the view that individuals are the final research object of the studies but not the states themselves. Therefore, many academics focus their research on global security basically on human emancipation which is usually understood as achieving wide scope of freedoms – both individual and group.[20] They argue that academic discipline of Security Studies should focus on them but not on the security of the state.

Finally, there are many arguments over what the research and referent object of Security Studies has to be, whether military power is fundamental for state security, who is going to be mainly responsible for providing security or what the studies as academic field have to consider as its research subject matter and focus. The fundamental aim of this article was to present the main route through the (mine)field of Security Studies as an academic research discipline.

References:

[1] Karen A. Mingst, Essentials of International Relations, Third edition, New York−London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, 81.

[2] On globalization of world politics, see (John Baylis, Steve Smith, Patricia Owens, The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Seventh edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

[3] On world-system, see more in (Alvin Y. So, Social Change and Development: Modernization, Dependency, and World-System Theories, Newbury Park−London−New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1990; Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction, Fifth edition, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007).

[4] Jeffrey Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics, New York: Routledge, 2013, 715. In one word, WST conceptualizes global order to be structured into developed, underdeveloped and intermediary states and economic systems.

[5] Paul R. Viotti, Mark V. Kauppi, International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy, Identity, Fourth Edition, Upper Saddle River, New Jersay: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009, 40.

[6] Sovereignty means that one state (or political territory) has its own government (political rulling establishment) which has both full authority over its own claimed administered territory and the rights and possibility of membership of (at least some) the international political community. However, there are many examples of the so-called “quasi-sovereign states” (like Kosovo, North Cyprus, Transnistria…). On the issue of „quasi-sovereign states“, see (Cynthia Weber, Simulating Sovereignty: Intervention, the State, and Symbolic Interchange, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

[7] Martin Wight, Systems of States, Leicester, UK: Leicester University Press, 1977, 6.

[8] Supranational means to be above the sovereign state or “over the nation”.

[9] However, this mechanism is not providing absolute security within the same bloc as the case of Italy and Austria-Hungary showed in 1917.

[10] According to the 1994 Human Development Report (an annual publication of the UNDP), human security is composed by the next seven elements: 1. Economic security or freedom from poverty; 2. Food security or access to food; 3. Health security or access to health care and protection from diseases; 4. Environmental security or protection from environmental pollution; 5. Personal security or physical safety from torture, war, and drug use; 6. Community security or survival of traditional cultures and ethnonational groups; and 7. Political security or protection against political oppression (Martin Griffiths, Terry O’Callaghan, Steven C. Roach, International Relations: The Key Concepts, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008, 147).

[11] Richard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2012, 578.

[12] Richard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2012, 574.

[13] However, this concept lost its moral ground in 1999 when the NATO made an aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days without a resolution by the UNO launching the “illegal war” on a sovereign state (Пјер Пеан, Косово: „Праведни“ рат за стварање мафијашке државе, Београд: Службени гласник, 2013, 95−105 [translation from the French original: Pierre Pean, Sébastien Fontenelle, Kosovo: Une Guerre „Juste“ pour Créer un Etat Mafieux, Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2013]).

[14] Security Studies as an academic discipline belong to a wider subject of International Relations (IR) that is the study of total political relations between different international actors but fundamentally between the sovereign states. The main concern of Security Studies is the global securuty and its maintainance (Peter Hough, Understanding Global Security, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2008, 2).

[15] Richard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2012, 345.

[16] As a direct result of the NATO’s aggression on Serbia and Montenegro in 1999, Kosovo became transformed into the American colony (see more on this issue in: Hannes Hofbauer, Experiment Kosovo: Die Rückkehr des Kolonialismus, Wien: Promedia Druck- und Verlagsges. m.b.h., 2008).

[17] For instance, Joshua S. Goldstein, International Relations, Fourth edition, New York: Longman, 2001, 92.

[18] A term New World Order is originally coined by the ex-US President George Bush Senior in 1991as a consequence of the First Gulf War in 1990−1991 when the US administration started its post-Cold War imperialistic policy of a global hegemon hidden behind an idea of globalization of liberal internationalism that was allegedly impossible without the US hegemonic role in world politics. Nevertheless, the concept of New World Order „…was short-hand for US policy preferences and further American imperialism“ (Jeffrey Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics, New York: Routledge, 2013, 712). Many academics and politicians have at the beginning hopes that New World Order will bring a better future in IR and global politics but very soon the idea became very criticized and, therefore, the idea lost any rational and moral background.

[19] Михаил Ростовцев, Историја старога света: Грчка и Рим, Нови Сад: Матица српска, 1990, 112−120; Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1999.

[20] Emancipation means, at least by the Westerners, the achievement of independence, i.e., ability to act independently. However, to be emancipated does not automatically mean that the individual is free of all obligations toward others including and those toward the state (military service, taxation…). It means only that the individual is free of those obligations which are considered to be oppresive or inhuman (slavery, serfdom…).
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We the Sheeple: the Blind Reading the Blind
« Reply #261 on: December 09, 2017, 12:52:06 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/08/we-the-sheeple-the-blind-reading-the-blind/

December 8, 2017
We the Sheeple: the Blind Reading the Blind

by Jason Hirthler


Photo by Daniel Lobo | CC BY 2.0

Shortly after the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, made a candid confession to the Army Times, “I’m running out of demons, I’m running out of villains. I’m down to Castro and Kim Il Sung.” Amid the general bonhomie of the military interview, Powell nicely encapsulated a central truth of empire: it doesn’t want peace. Never did. Imperialism, the monopoly stage of capitalism, is based on conquest. Peace is little more than an aftermath in the imperialist vision. It is the dusty rubble-strewn silence that descends on Aleppo when the jihadists have been bussed out. It is the silent pollution of the Danube when the NATO jets have flown. It is the quiet that settles on the Libyan square once the slave auction has concluded. Peace is an interlude between the birth of avarice and the advent of aggression. Little else.

If Powell confessed empire’s disinterest in peace, he also expressed the need of the imperials state for a steady supply of new enemies. Conflict is the lifeblood of imperial capitalism. It is how the ruling class further enriches itself. It is how the global elite expand their dominion over the planet. Those who will not pay tribute under threat of menace, must ultimately face the menace. But this truth, that the imperial state is the carmine tip of elite expropriation, must not be aired among the hoi polloi. It is the unseemly underbelly of power and if it were widely understood it would hack away the legitimacy of the state, which is only justified by its nominal commitment to the welfare of the nation. That claim only appears legitimate in the face of some grim and ghastly threat. Powell understood that with the nasty specter of the evil empire crumbling to ash on an Asian plain, a spine-chilling new antagonist would have to be invented to replace it.

Enter the specter of Islamic terror. Islamic terrorism is largely the product of American terror. It is wittingly conjured into being through our wanton destruction of Muslim societies. We did not attack Muslim nations in order to produce a new enemy. We attacked them to extend our control of natural resources, shape the trade routes of the future, and expand the reach of global capital. But the epiphenomenon of terrorism was both predictable and embraced as a casus belli. It is the hobgoblin used by ruling class media to frighten western populations into acquiescence with the west’s warlike vision for global hegemony.

But western populations have of late grown weary of the terrorist scourge and the endless storylines of restive migrants doing the dirty work of mysterious jihadists on the Disneyfied streets of western capitals. Jets into skyscrapers. Cars into crowds. Backpacks in corners of concert halls. High-rise shotgunners spraying bullets into public squares. Terror fatigue is spreading across a western world that could only sustain permanent stress levels for so long. Thankfully, for the managers of empire and its media flacks, a reborn Russian state, rising from the ashes of a capitalist looting spree, has provided a second narrative front in the war for the mind of the west. A different visage emerges. Not the bearded votary narrating a death wish to a shaky cam. But a Muscovite in a bespoke suit with a supercilious grin on his sly poker face. The optics are different, but in a media environment of constant overexposure, that is a good thing.

Both terrorism and a revanchist Russia represent figments of horror in the minds of western citizens. They are the bête noire with which we can shape our worldview and pepper our cocktail conversations. We do not realize that Islamic terror is largely a product of American terror. We do not see that American aggression provokes Russian self-defense. As such, these orientalist caricatures represent the hypocrisy of imperial neoliberalism, which is forever flying the false flag of economic justice and democratic freedom over its just-conquered capitals. Inhabitants of those broken cities know better, as their standard of living plummets and their dictators are replaced by juntas. They know the west is like Joseph Conrad’s sepulchral city, where an alabaster exterior hides a crypt of rotting flesh. That is the real vision that western media works so feverishly to disguise, one no sane person could stomach. That’s why the media must craft fresh Frankensteins at such a feverish pace. Fairy tales of secular missionaries bringing the gift of free-market democracy to the benighted tribes of the east.

Globalization and Its Discontents

The terminology of that fairy tale is telling. The term ‘globalization’ has been used as a portmanteau containing all of the sly nuance of neoliberalism. Globalization is the rush of capital into every conceivable crevice of the planet in search of profitable new ventures. Unfortunately, markets must be pried open with war when rhetorical picklocks don’t suffice. The term ‘humanitarian’ is the masque we now affix to the gruesome face of war whenever we must attack some recalcitrant socialist backwater. What we used to call a ‘civilising mission’ in Africa, we now call a ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the Middle East. Historians call that ‘progress.’

The effect of this noble-minded fustian is to pacify a population and to marginalize anyone who attempts to reveal the true character of imperial action. Who would oppose a globalizing force of open markets that promise to bring ‘developing’ and ‘emerging’ nations online and on par with our post-industrial west? Those who do can hardly explain the extractive nature of neoliberal globalization or its deindustrializing effect on developing economies before they are skewered by the flagbearers of humanitarianism. Who would deny the righteous cause of intervening to halt imminent genocide? One has barely called into question whether genocide is actually imminent before being fleeced by the rhetorical guardians of the west’s civilizing mission. The righteous R2P. One has hardly breathed a word of how the ‘war on terror’ is largely generated by the state terror we inflict on other nations before being rubber-stamped a traitor and told to leave the country (if you don’t like it).

The fable must be accepted. We are spreading freedom and equality. Simple as that. End of story. Say that the United States is the greatest counter-revolutionary force in the world, and be branded a traitor–by the counter-revolutionaries. Wherever democratic freedom rears its ugly head, you can be sure that U.S. media flacks, as well as special forces, drones, proxy terrorists, and battalions are on hand to crush what they claim to defend.

Softening the Blow

The fairy tales are told by the mainstream media, shamelessly so. The Wolf Blitzers of the world devote themselves to the slavish production of fresh threats. The liberal MSM is represented today by outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. These ciphers take the crude evasions of the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence agencies, and camouflage them. They dress them in muted tones that dampen the drama of blast craters. They massage the story to elide the facts that might produce introspection or taint the purity of our self-image. Self-criticism is inappropriate, but the righteous condemnation of other nations is a moral mandate. Print everything in classic fonts, with well-designed column widths, and add in world-class photography that turns ruination into artistic representation. This is the manna consumed by the acolytes of exceptionalism.

Nothing better embodies the empty ruse of liberalism than the bulky deadwood of the Times. There is of course the elitist coverage of mini-breaks in distant villas, where war-torn peasant societies repair their communities round a communal table. There are the heady profiles of the latest restaurant trends, where the bearded Brooklyn chef with neck tats touts his vegan currywurst to the gentrified hood. There is the fastidious theater review and the effusive real estate forecast. Filler aside, readers will be reminded that war is necessary when America wages it; globalization is inevitable when it means free markets, and free markets mean individual freedom; multiculturalism and mass immigration are desirable to all, irreversible, and a moral imperative; and inscrutable new alien threats are profiled with an Orientalist’s hopeful but ultimately worrisome and mystified gaze. Little mention is made of the fact that our conflicts are provably imperial resource wars; that in nearly every port of call our country wages counter-revolutionary battles that stifle liberation and independence; that globalization has wrecked the American standard of living through labor arbitrage and offshoring; that immigration ought not to be coupled with austerity unless the objective is race wars; that the lives of women, LGBTQ, and people of color are collateral damage in the crosshairs of empire; or that American capitalism has no interest in delivering jobs, living wages, or upward mobility to its extant population, let alone its newest members.

When these mostly taboo subjects are noted, they are presented as a perplexing side effects of a noble project of laissez faire globalization. They are unfortunate but must not be rashly addressed. Better to endlessly maintain the status quo as one wrestles with the philosophic implications of global capitalism. This was Obama’s favorite tactic. Open a dialogue, but don’t change anything important. This dissembling attitude was beautifully expressed in a recent Twitter thread which detailed seventy years of Times articles proclaiming a dizzying succession of reform-minded princes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the patriarchy’s misogynist grip on power is as firm as ever, as is Washington’s backing. The last post in that thread noted Thomas Friedman’s sycophantic paean to the new idol of Saudi imperialism, Mohammed Bin Salman, or ‘MBS’ to his fawning admirers. Friedman’s article was printed last week.

When not absorbing the high culture of the Times literary supplement, one finds the corporate liberal Democrat happily digesting bite-sized reports from the National Public Radio (NPR). Here the adherence to the state view is no less vigilant than in print. Thus when NPR interviews a CIA psychologist who tells us that whistleblowers are either psychopaths, narcissists, or lingering in some irresponsible adolescence, the “national security correspondent” fails to challenge these claims. And when Australian broadcasting interviews Hillary Clinton, it allows the venal egotist to smear WikiLeaks as a Kremlin tool and call Julian Assange a narcissistic opportunist without the slightest resistance. Questions about the shady dealings of the Clinton Foundation are feebly set aside at the merest sign of discomfort by Madame Secretary. And Times op-ed writers like Friedman can happily call for support of al Qaeda, destroying target societies, and cheerlead more global wage leveling by chastising workers for not falling in lockstep with the elitist program.

These are the signs of a dead discipline. The mainstream media is no longer adversarial. It takes the official story at face value. It has abdicated its proper role in a democratic society, which is partly why we are no longer a democratic society. As Princeton University has explained, we are effectively a plutocracy. Thanks to the MSM, though, most of us continue to believe the rhetorical platitudes of our corrupt leaders. Media is one of our numberless emasculated institutions, which are now authoritarian and warlike. (See liberal faith in the Mueller investigation, led by a neoliberal imperialist who fought to crush Vietnamese socialism and led the FBI, one of the most regressive and criminal organizations in the world.) Like readers who still place a naive faith in the government, MSM writers continue to believe they are doing independent journalism in the service of truth (“Democracy dies in darkness,” the Post implores us). But real journalism accepts nothing at face value. It is the Socratic voice that unsettles the consensus.

Bot Bylines

Instead of incisive journalism that digs, defies, and holds power to account, we get self-censoring media automatons pampering oligarchs and pretending that all good-thinking people care deeply about the state of the state. Listen to the soothing language of the New York Times on the supposedly earth-shaking Russian influence campaign on social media. It hits all the right notes without seriously challenging the narrative. Note how it bleeds concern. This kind of journalism is a palliative for the conscience of a liberal. Ah, the “thorny debates” inside Facebook, no doubt had “in good faith,” and subject to “fateful misunderstandings,” if Ken Burns were documenting it. “Executives worry” and there is considerable “hand-wringing” afoot in good faith efforts to wipe out “fake news.”

Even the protagonists of the story are usefully quoted. Facebook lawyers, commenting on the miniscule purchase of ads over a two-year period from accounts with even the most tenuous Russian connection, much of it after the election, much of it not even mentioning presidential candidates, and the creation of bots to grow click farms, recoiled in horror and called the knowledge “deeply disturbing” and “an insidious attempt to drive people apart.” This is theater for the masses. Cue the organ grinder.

The goal of this domestic conditioning is to remove the democracy from democracy. The objective is to create a hollow shell of a democratic society, representative on the outside, plutocratic on the inside. The marble tomb inhabited by necrosis. This is deliberate. Read Alex Carey’s Taking the Risk Out of Democracy for a nice overview of how America’s collective conscience has been shaped by corporate forces. Why? Because we are the enemy. The enemy is our freedom of thought and speech, because that is what inevitably leads to democratic, socialist, or communist change that benefit the people as a whole, not just the vanishingly small margin of corporate elites who promote and profit from war, conquest, and rule. The problem with democracy is that it isn’t very profitable for capital. Socialist countries tend to emphasize social services. It is extremely hard to make money delivering quality social services to the poor. Really, the only way to make money off of social services is to deliver inadequate social services to the middle class for extravagant fees. See Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act for a master class in this technique. Monopoly capitalism is incompatible with actual democracy. To the degree that a truly democratic society can have free markets, they must be strictly regulated, prevented from reaching monopoly status, and completely walled off from public institutions. Otherwise, they will cannibalize those institutions, reshaping them as rubberstamp organs of elite profit.

As it is, democracy is merely the mask that disguises the engines of imperialism. It is useful in this regard because, unlike socialism, democracy makes no serious claims on the means of production. It depoliticizes the most political issue of all: economics. Thus the manufacture of enemies, job one for the ruling class media, always targets socialist-leaning nations that sense the need for economic justice alongside social justice. Even if they are mixed economies that provide space for open markets, like Venezuela. It makes no difference. We mustn’t tolerate the slightest majoritarian impulse in the economic arena. All such beliefs must be terminated. We must be refashioned as foot soldiers of exploitation. To this end, western propaganda outlets have made psychologist Erich Fromm’s warning sound less like prophecy than predestination, “The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots.”
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Jason Hirthler is a veteran of the communications industry and author of The Sins of Empire: Unmasking American Imperialism. He lives in New York City and can be reached at jasonhirthler@gmail.com.
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New World Disorder – The Next 20 Years: Hope or Despair?
« Reply #262 on: December 09, 2017, 09:43:10 AM »
http://truepublica.org.uk/global/new-world-disorder-the-next-20-years-hope-or-despair/

New World Disorder – The Next 20 Years: Hope or Despair?

New World Disorder – The Next 20 Years: Hope or Despair?

3rd May 2017 / Global

By Graham Vanbergen: There is no doubt that the world is facing a wave of unprecedented uncertainties from political and civil unrest, conflict and terrorism to seemingly never-ending financial turmoil, climate change, the struggle for resources and disruptive technologies. Like it or not, no matter where we are, we are living in a new world disorder.

But the big question is how will the world fare over the next twenty years or so amid a global environment that is changing and developing at an unrelenting pace. The greatest immediate tests are emerging from the transition of a disintegrating post-war political system that fostered a massively increased trade and cultural exchange system that is now driving change and increased tensions on the geo-political chessboard. At the same time we are distracted from the demise of our home planet, ravaged by the decades long effects of greed driven globalisation, the consequences yet to fully unfold.

Strategic Forecasting predicts that the European Union will not so much collapse but splinter into four distinct groups; Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and the British islands as relations break down and they become increasingly estranged from each other. It predicts that China will face political chaos as economic growth declines, that Russia will fall apart as it struggles to keep control of the worlds largest federation and that the U.S. will take a more isolationist stance.

I’ve spoken with some of the world’s foremost commentators as they reflect on the past and look forward on the current trajectory of political and economic fortunes for the next 20 years in the regions where they live or work in the Middle-East, America, Europe and Asia more widely and the results are more complex than Strategic Forecasting predicts.

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Newsweek headline: GAZA: One war, One family, five children, four dead.

First up is award winning British journalist Jonathan Cook  located in Nazareth, Israel. Known for his de-coding of official propaganda and outstanding analysis of events often obfuscated in the mainstream, which has made him one of the most reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East:

“Our increasingly globalised world means it is difficult – and probably unrealistic – to disentangle geo-strategic problems. Can the Palestinians’ hopes of living in dignity really be separated from what happens in Syria, Washington, Europe and Iran?

Two conflicting global trends will intensify over the next 20 years, and the fates of Israelis and Palestinians – and the rest of us – will hinge on how they play out.

The first is what might be termed the evolution of the “fortress state”, or the “homeland security” syndrome.

The elites in the most powerful states are moving into survival mode: externally against rival states as key resources deplete, and internally as resource shortages and climate change risk turning their own publics against them.

This requires a mix of outward belligerence and inward repression in which Israel already excels. State elites are likely to look to Israel for solutions based on its long experience of destabilising neighbours and using Palestinian areas as laboratories for experimenting in methods of subjugation, surveillance and control. This expertise could, in the words of Israeli analyst Jeff Halper, make Israel “indispensable” and provide it with continuing diplomatic and financial cover.

A second trend cannot be discounted, however. A globalised, interconnected world is one where information is much harder to control or suppress. The evident power of social media to bypass traditional media gatekeepers is already worrying these same elites. They are reacting, claiming that new media – rather than corporate and state media – are the purveyors of “fake news”.

The democratising role of social media is awakening larger sections of the population, especially the young, to the neo-imperial role of the US and its allies, to the inability of capitalism to address its own internal contradictions, and to key injustices, such as the case of the Palestinians. This trend will be hard to stop without overt censorship and repression.

The fate of the Palestinians will depend on the outcome of this wider clash: of the elites v’s the people. We see the first signs of this coming confrontation in the rapid growth of the international grassroots BDS movement – boycott, divestment and sanctions – and the backlash from western governments. They have quickly jettisoned their supposed commitment to free speech (remember Charlie Hebdo?) in favour of measures to suppress support for boycotts of Israel. The polarisation between leaders and led will intensify.

Despite all the evidence, I remain optimistic – both because that is my nature, and because history, however fickle, has a habit of eventually favouring those with justice on their side.”

 

Tony Blair’s letters to George W Bush promising to back US President ‘whatever’ – that led to the destruction of the Middle-East

Next is felicity Arbuthnot, a British freelance journalist who has visited, written and broadcast widely on Iraq, one of the few journalists to cover Iraq extensively even in the mid-1990’s during the sanctions and reported on the devastating effects that took place prior to America’s attack that killed over one million civilians:

“It is impossible, given the level of heartbreak and destruction wrought on the Middle East, not to be beyond all shame and mired in pessimism. From the religious zealots in Europe who launched eight major invasions, the Crusades, in the region, between 1095 and 1291 to “liberate” the Holy Land from the majority Muslim inhabitants, to the religious zealots led by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, in a second declared “Crusade” in 2003. It seems the lands of such an eye watering history of humanity, beliefs and wonders are never to be left to flourish amid the beauty and culture.

Fast forward to Winston Churchill who said of the Kurds and the inhabitants of Northern Iraq: “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare…. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” (War Office minute, 12th May 1919.)

Lawrence of Arabia meddled in the region on behalf of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Gertrude Bell, British spy amongst other things, it is forgotten, was busy creating the “New Iraq” after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In August 1921 she wrote with supreme patronisation: “We have finally crowned our little King.” He was not, of course, an Iraqi. Sykes-Picot redrew the borders, severing families and ancients bonds.

Oil was discovered and fast forwarding again, the Project for the New American Century and all the indescribable horrors that have befallen the region since, with further threatened, based on lie after lie, with the UN either ignored or near mute.

But in spite of all, there is perhaps still hope in a region of towering pride, culture, spirit and ingenuity. It was Paul William Roberts who wrote of Iraq after the 1991 decimation, a haunting tribute that equally applies from Tehran in the East to Palestine’s Jerusalem in the West:

“But for all the horrors, illegality, destruction, shame on the invaders and collective shame shared by so many, there is something Iraq will never lose”… the old people with resignation stamped across their foreheads, who can’t go on yet will go on; the young married couples who still hope for a better life yet don’t hope too hard lest it break their hearts, the countless unremembered acts of kindness and of love that fill desolate days, and I realise I would far prefer to be here than in any house where this war is justified. For it cannot be justified. But this region has always led to somewhere worth going. Baghdad is just as glorious in its ruin as it was in its glory, for something noble crawls from the rubble to spread golden wings in the light of dawn. The Gate of God opens wider.”

 

Climate Science predicts that climate change threatens water supplies, food prices, health and global security. By 2030 water stress will affect 47 percent of humanity.

John B. Cobb, Jr. is an American theologian, philosopher, and environmentalist described as one of the two most important North American theologians of the twentieth century:

Currently the threat of war between the United States and Russia is high.  Fortunately, the recognition of Mutual Assured Destruction may hold both powers back from the use of nuclear weapons unless one side thinks that some kind of first strike could prevent a response.  From time to time, continuous U.S. provocations of North Korea could start a nuclear war there that would be hard to contain.  These are the most immediate threats to human survival.

 I find myself assuming, without much justification, that our species will avoid this ultimate insanity, and concentrating on the threats that follow from the now well-known fact that our collective behaviour on the planet is unsustainable. 

That means that if we continue in the deep ruts we are now in, our current global civilisations will collapse, if not in war, then by famine and disease.  We are poisoning the ocean, the land, and the atmosphere.  We are exhausting or destroying the sources of fresh water. 

The battle of biochemistry against the evolution of new plant and animal diseases will not always be won.  Much of the best farmland will be lost to rising sea levels and spreading deserts.  Rising temperatures will make large parts of the planet uninhabitable. We will be more and more dependent on technology that will be more and more vulnerable.  Meanwhile the middle class is already disappearing, and the rich and powerful will exploit the poor more and more ruthlessly.  The poor will be less passive than in the past.  Their struggle to survive will include violent resistance to the violence of the powerful.  Population will plummet.  The remnant will fight over what is left.  The technology available for this fighting grows more and more comprehensively destructive.  Since we collectively have shown little willingness to change our ways radically, this seems to be the most probable scenario.

Accordingly, if I must choose between pessimism and optimism, I am a pessimist.  But I stand in a tradition that calls for us to trump pessimism with what we call “theological virtues.”  These are faith, hope, and love.  I live in hope.  Hope discerns hopeful developments here and there, new departures that, if pursued, could pull the world back from the brink.  It delights in the emergence, now and again, of leaders who, if followed, would bring about the needed changes.  It sees that history is unpredictable, full of surprises.  To love in the context of hope is to care deeply about the whole and do what we can to participate in promising breakthroughs.  It is also to generate what joy is possible in the here and now in acting for the flourishing of the whole.

 

Maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board, the Doomsday Clock is currently set at two and half minutes to midnight.

Andre Vltchek is a political analyst, journalist, author and a filmmaker. He has reported and filmed armed conflicts in every corner of the world, served as a Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute and is interviewed by major news and TV outlets across Asia for his incisive personal accounts:

Where do we go from here? The world seems to be heading towards the final showdown between the reactionary forces of the Western imperialism and those countries/nations that are determined to defend their rights to maintain their independent course, to protect their cultures and preserve interests of their people.

In a long term I remain very optimistic. In a short term, the confrontation may be inevitable, even brutal, but for more than five centuries, the world has been shouting in horror and pain, tormented by the Western colonialism and neo-colonialism. Most of the victims used to be invisible; they were suffering “somewhere there”, far away, where they “belonged”. Now people are refusing to suffer and to die in silence. They’d rather die standing, struggling, than to live in permanent agony and on their knees.

Powerful new media outlets, in Russia, Latin America, the Middle East and China are now confronting all orthodox Western mass media channels, challenging with determination and courage all official imperialist propaganda dogmas, while unveiling the devastation and killings caused by the Western imperialism in all corners of the globe.

Resistance is growing and the new coalitions are being constantly forged. It is definitely not good news for the West and for its collaborators. But it gives new hope to the rest of the world. I strongly believe that if left alone, the rest of the world would easily and quickly find the way to coexist peacefully, even to find solutions to many urgent ecological problems.

Without imperialism and savage capitalism, we would be already, for many decades, living in much gentler, peaceful and optimistic world.

There may have to be one more battle – a battle for survival of our human race. I only hope that if there has to be one, it would be the very last one: decisive and brief, with as little casualties as possible.

 

For the first time, the size of China’s middle class has overtaken America’s with 109 million which now accounts for a quarter of additional global consumption.

Jeff J Brown lives in China, he has been a speaker at TEDx, the Bookworm and Capital M Literary Festivals, the Hutong, as well as being featured in an 18-part series of interviews on Radio Beijing AM774, with former BBC journalist, Bruce Connolly:

China’s long march to postwar prominence began with communist liberation in 1949. Previously, life expectancy was only 35 years and literacy was 20%. It was brutally colonised, exploited and addicted to opium, principally by Britain and America. By the end of the Mao Era in 1978, life expectancy for one-fourth of humanity skyrocketed to +65 years and literacy to +70%. The CPC had melded China into a formidable agricultural, industrial, technological and military powerhouse to be respected, in spite of inhumane, Cuba-esque sanctions.

While the economy grew over 6%/year, the population doubled, so per capita, China was still consumer poor. Deng’s 1978 reforms were designed to keep China on its path of socialism, while profiting from market methods, to create the wealth needed to eventually transition into being a rich communist country.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has breathtakingly shattered almost every socioeconomic and trade record in the history of civilization. Over 90% of the world’s people brought out of poverty in the last 40 years are Chinese.

China is Earth’s biggest (PPP) economy, creditor, manufacturer, exporter and trader. There is no end in sight, as the CPC is on track to meet its 2049 centennial goal to be the rich, communist society the country’s constitution promises to deliver to its citizens. Unlike the West, China has done all this without occupying, colonizing and destroying other countries.

For 5,000 years, the Chinese have shown to have zero global imperialism in their DNA. For the sake of Earth’s survival into the 21 st century, we need to jettison 500 years of Western tyranny, war and genocide, for responsible and visionary global leadership. China’s proven record of win-win cooperation and social justice is a global model we can all benefit from. Time to jump aboard!

 

Noam Chomsky – “it’s disgraceful to keep Julian Assange holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy. I did visit him there once and in many ways it’s worse than imprisonment.”

Nozomi Hayase Ph.D., is a former WikiLeaks Central contributing writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency and the vital role of whistleblowers and cryptocurrencies.  She is also a member of the editorial board of The Indicter:

I am optimistic about the next 20 years, because we live in a world where now there is true investigative journalism. WikiLeaks opened a door for a future that can be envisioned by everyday people. This whistleblowing site that rose to prominence in 2010 with the release of the Collateral Murder video, provided an avenue for those with conscience inside institutions to come forward and reveal fraud and abuse of the powerful without fear of political retaliation. Through the method of transparency, WikiLeaks brought a new form of scientific journalism. By employing cryptography and creating a technical infrastructure that is decentralized, they innovated journalism in the age of the Internet and became a global 4th estate resilient to censorship.

For so long, the press, purported watchdogs for power has been co-opted through media consolidation and acting as gatekeepers. In the last 10 years WikiLeaks, with its perfect record of document authentication, liberated free speech from institutions that failed to protect it. When people are informed about real actions of governments, they can withdraw consent and chart a path for self-determination.

Those in power work in secrecy, manipulating perception to engineer people’s consent. From Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond to Edward Snowden, we have seen waves of contagious courage. Despite coordinated attacks, WikiLeaks stays strong and keeps publishing. I see tremendous hope in this growing network of people who have begun taking the reins of their own destiny.

 

Since the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, 65 parties in Europe rose to appose the union and the Euro, including UKIP who ultimately caused Brexit causing political chaos and fractured relationships in the 28 nation bloc. 

Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica Editor:

The transition from the evidently disintegrating post-war rules based system to a more complicated and international system that America and the West insist on leading will be messy – dangerous even in the years ahead. 

To date, the most powerful advocates and institutions to this system have made some disastrous decisions leading to increased tensions in almost every region of the world. The power brokers of the West are now facing an unprecedented challenge, particularly as rising discontent is gathering at an unstoppable pace within their own territories from disaffected but re-engaged citizens, much to the alarm of the ruling elite. Brexit, Trump, the elimination of the traditional establishment in the French elections and the rise of non establishment political  parties is evidence of the rapidly changing political environment we now face.

The globalisation project is facing off against nationalism and protectionism headed up by populist movements, whilst traditional political power is being replaced by transnational social movements who increasingly dominate global politics – all of which adds considerable pressure to an already weakened structure. 

The worry is that America and its Western allies could do the unthinkable in a desperate attempt to regain economic and political control and attack its perceived opponents in a typically aggressive show of force with catastrophic consequences.

The big problem is that the American policed security order and European inspired legal order have both fractured at the same time with no real candidates to replace them, thereby, creating a void that could be filled with dangerous ideologies pushed by dangerous individuals.

As Antonio Gramsci wrote from his Roman prison cell just before the last world war: “Disorder, war and even disease can flood into the vacuum that forms when the old is dying and the new cannot be born” – these words are truly relevant today.

The next 20 years will be more than just challenging but from this new world disorder, as we peer over the precipice, we may see the birth of new human collaboration and collective participation as technology combined with a more enlightened generation strive for global peace – an ideology not tried before.

 

Peoples across the world are trying to wrangle free of globalisation, colonialism, imperialism and the inequality it delivers. From the aforementioned collective commentary it is clear that the immediate future may well be confrontational and certainly testing, be it from political strife, conflict, famine, poverty, climate change and the like but there is considerable optimism that from the very edge, humanity may just come to its senses, and as Nozomi Hayase rightly observes that there is “tremendous hope in this growing network of people who have begun taking the reins of their own destiny.”

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Remember the Balkans?
« Reply #263 on: December 11, 2017, 01:28:46 AM »
https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/12/remember-the-balkans/

Remember the Balkans?

by Radmilo Bozinovic / December 10th, 2017


“The Balkans” – this notion that signifies more a state of mind than geographic location, usually derisively associated with powder kegs, ancient hatreds and “Asiatic” primitivism “in the heart of Europe” – has long ceased to occupy the headline pole position of the Clinton era. Used since the 1990s mostly as code for the violent dissolution of former Yugoslavia and the various spillover effects regionally and beyond – the term and its theme have been since displaced by waves of other real (and some imaginary) news, only occasionally to briefly flash back through mainstream Western media. The recent flare with the final verdicts of the Hague tribunal (ICTY) – replete with the almost ritual hara-kiri of a convicted Croatian general in open court – is no different, as it will quickly fade back into apparent oblivion. However, this is a good opportunity to bring up some of the many lessons and occasional pointers still relevant today.

To clarify – this is not a requiem for the Hague kangaroo court, as many measured reviews of the subject have been done to date. Let’s simply summarize that this caricature of the Nurenberg war tribunal has failed miserably in its purported main goals of bringing truth, justice and reconciliation to an area in dire need of it, along with a greater accountability in world affairs. Quite the contrary: its glaring political dependence, selective local justice and, above all, complete blindness to any outside culpability – all have considerably set back these necessary processes. They will simply have to wait for some more dispassionate – and more autochtonous – vehicle for the dispensation of real justice. Likewise, a critical analysis of the South Slav national project – and specifically, of the post-WW II socialist, nonaligned Yugoslavia – is beyond the scope of this short note. Suffice it to say that this was a country of some relevance, warranting careful study that eschews glib and summary pronouncements. So, the main focus here is to briefly explore a couple of key issues going forward.

At first it is hard to see much hope in the post-Yugoslav wasteland: a familiar picture of dysfuntional banana-republics with corrupt quasi-democratically elected governments (fiercely nationalist locally, pliably globalist beyond), botched privatizations, plundered public assets, brain-drain exodus, rampant unemployment, torn safety nets…  Although Serbia fits well this general mold, there are important differences. Specifically, there is resistance to joining the EU – certainly on the demeaning terms of territorial dismemberment currently proposed, but increasingly in general as well – along with almost universal aversion to entering NATO, a declared military neutrality with refusal to participate in the anti-Russian sanctions regime, and an increasing openness to economic partnerships and investments from China, Russia, Gulf states etc. These are not policies that the Serbian power structure can abandon easily, regardless of outside pressure or its neighborhood with virtually universal membership (or aspiration) to both the EU and NATO, with Western-sponsored propaganda ceaselessly implying that resistance is futile: “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Many suspect that they would if they could – numerous WikiLeaks dispatches show regular promises made to US/EU interlocutors to that effect — except for the amorphous but ominous pressure of the Serbian body politic.

In many ways, this might appear paradoxical. In the aftermath of the wars, sanctions and international ostracism — followed by a disappointing “transition” and copiously aided in all that by Western propaganda outlets — the Serbian body politic at large has become mostly dispirited and apathetic. The collapse of the larger country at the dawn of the New World Order was never properly fathomed, the response mostly reactive and ambivalent, the disappointment of apparently lost (both shooting and information) wars quite thorough. An objectively most honorable collective history for much of the 19th-20th centuries gave way to bitter feelings of resentment, self-doubt and insularity.

Nonetheless, the Washington-Brussels-Berlin axis somehow failed to secure the needed coup de grace, with the requirement of Serbia formally abandoning its occupied Kosovo province in exchange for further EU accession steps never materializing – despite the fact that every Serbian government since 2000 has been anointed (if not effectively appointed) by Washington.  However, these politicians — and, in particular, the currently well-entrenched government of the (grossly misnomered) SNS Progressive Party — are generally well aware of the local “red lines” whose crossing could easily lead to loss of  the driving seat and associated privileges (not to mention some more vital values). Relatively calcified over the years, this state of affairs is unlikely to change without major shifts.

There have certainly been many objective outside factors from our century that may have contributed to this: from the 9/11/01 attacks, to the ensuing US-led military misadventures in Asia, the Great Recession, the irrevocable demise of the EU project (in its current form), refugee crises, the rebound of Russia and rise of China – to name but a few. Nevertheless, this is not an accident — there is a deeper historical logic to it all, in some ways related to the genesis of Yugoslavia itself — that might help explain it better (with possible elaboration to be left for another time).

The movement behind this process is admittedly messy — mostly intuitive, heterogenous and spontaneous. It lacks a real “vanguard”, claiming only token representation in the national parliament, with any attempts at better articulation and organization facing forceful discreditation methods by the government and its captive media. It frequently seems flirting dangerously close to the fringes of retrogressive movements that are no different than various chauvinistic counterparts regionally and in much of Europe. It often appears unaware of its natural allies in a broader struggle. Nonetheless — and this is important to understand — there is a real and progressive element here that must not be discounted. The reality is that the pulse of this broadly understood Serbian public opinion has, willy-nilly, informed key elements of its government’s policy for some time now, and remains the bulwark precluding this last East European domino to fall in line with basic imperial precepts. And while their exploits hardly make Western media headlines, the constant stream of sundry Eurocrat commissars and ministers, along with plenipotentiary DC apparatchiks — visiting Belgrade with various carrot and stick combinations — is pretty conspicuous and just as clearly indicates their staunch interest in addressing the issue on their terms.

The Serbian body politic was the backbone of a functional and prosperous Balkan federation once before, and it has the potential to be a catalyst for positive and unifying processes again. Of course, for this resistance to yield any broader anti-imperial fruit, a few more dots need be connected.  Likewise, there should be no illusions of this being an easy or straightforward process. For starters, some of the painful but required regional truth and justice issues from the opening paragraph are still ahead, and the many salutary lessons from Yugoslavia’s collapse will have to be understood better. Furthermore, a currently missing realization of the real common goals with other regional forces — for example, the Greek Left, most certainly including its KKE Communist Party — will have to emerge. However, the stakes are simply too high for this not to be attempted in earnest, loudly barking populist ruling regimes notwithstanding. The disillusionment among the masses in the rest of the Balkans is too high not to be harnessed. And history has repeatedly shown that once the globalist neoliberal “prosperity lifting all boats” narrative runs its local course, the choices become rather stark: either a nationally-aware but internationally-oriented progressive coalition, or the scourge of xenophobic reactionary demagoguery. Let’s hope for the former, with the metaphor of the Balkan Sprachbund prevailing over its derogatory tinderbox alternatives.


Dr. Radmilo Bozinovic is a computer professional who has worked in the Silicon Valley since 1988. During that time, he has also been involved in numerous public interest projects, ranging from serving on two non-profit boards, to improving language access in state courts and public education. A native of ex-Yugoslavia, he has actively worked to uncover the truth about its civil war and the foreign role played in its breakup, and other conflicts.
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #264 on: December 13, 2017, 08:31:32 PM »
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48406.htm
The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was

By Gabriel Rockhill

December 13, 2017

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a “loss of democracy” due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth—a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short—has succeeded not only in buying the label of “democracy” to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present). To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people.

Those who settled on the shores of the “new world,” with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning “the people,” was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called “founding fathers,” the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the “subordination” so necessary for politics. When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than “the filth of the common sewers” by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett.

The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves—meaning the overwhelming majority of the population—were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: “it is not a democracy.” George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as “a despotic aristocracy.”

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a “democracy,” there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term “democracy” to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of “Indian killer” Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a ‘democrat,’ he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term “democracy” came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos. Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary “democratic” publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a “democracy” because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country’s history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, “criminals,” minors, the “clinically insane,” political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite.

The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the “choice”—overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme—regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. “Multivariate analysis indicates,” according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination […], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy.”

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries.

The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau “extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the ‘New Left’ in general” (Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom, p. 22-23). Consider, for instance, Judi Bari’s summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: “From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing.” In the case of the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (AIM)—which were both important attempts to mobilize people power to dismantle the structural oppression of white supremacy and top-down class warfare—the FBI not only infiltrated them and launched hideous smear and destabilization campaigns against them, but they assassinated 27 Black Panthers and 69 members of AIM (and subjected countless others to the slow death of incarceration). If it be abroad or on the home front, the American secret police has been extremely proactive in beating down the movements of people rising up, thereby protecting and preserving the main pillars of white supremacist, capitalist aristocracy.

Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic. This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of “democracy” (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy). If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces—not those that have been deployed to destroy them—should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #265 on: December 13, 2017, 09:45:48 PM »
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48406.htm
The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was

I dropped this link on r/collapse earlier this afternoon.  It's currently ranked #1 with 93 upvotes.  :icon_sunny:

https://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/comments/7jmvw6/the_us_is_not_a_democracy_it_never_was/

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« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 09:53:59 PM by RE »
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #266 on: December 14, 2017, 08:02:42 AM »
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48406.htm
The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was

I dropped this link on r/collapse earlier this afternoon.  It's currently ranked #1 with 93 upvotes.  :icon_sunny:

https://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/comments/7jmvw6/the_us_is_not_a_democracy_it_never_was/

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This link has maintained its Number #1 position on r/collapse for 17 hours now, currently with 185 Upvotes.

r/collapse is one of the few Lefty dominated collapse websites, although you do have to put up with a lot of snarky millenials and a growing cadre of Nihilists & Misanthropes.

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Polls Increasingly Confirming that America Is a Dictatorship
« Reply #267 on: December 25, 2017, 01:43:50 AM »
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/12/24/polls-increasingly-confirming-that-america-is-a-dictatorship/

Polls Increasingly Confirming that America Is a Dictatorship
December 24, 2017 processing mats

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Gallup headlined on December 18th, “Americans View Government as Nation’s Top Problem in 2017”. Their report made clear that though this finding was unprecedented, it’s part of a longer-term trend, toward Americans naming America’s own “government as the most important problem facing the nation.” In a democracy, the public do not view the nation’s government to be (as in America) their enemy (which is the case if they view the “government as the most important problem facing the nation”). Americans increasingly view the Government as their enemy.

In a dictatorship, only the people who control the government are satisfied with the government; but, in a democracy, the public are satisfied with the government — or else that government will be replaced in elections by people who control the government and who do provide government that the public approve of. In the United States, we’re instead moving in the exact opposite direction: steadily going from one government to another, none of which wins the public’s approval; and the present American government winning the public’s approval even less than its predecessors did. This is not the situation that exists in authentic democracies. It’s what one expects to find in a country that’s ruled by a dictatorship. Dictators don’t need to worry so much about polls, because they don’t represent the public; they exploit the public — they use the public.

The only scientific study that has yet been done on the question of whether the U.S. is, in fact, run by a democratic government, or instead by a dictatorial one (specifically by an oligarchy, or a government that represents only the richest citizens), was published in September 2014, and it found clearly that the U.S. is definitely not a democracy, but the other type: that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy”, whereas “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy”; and, furthermore, that, “The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater” than their statistics indicate, because the researchers weren’t able to measure the impact that the super-rich have on policy, but only the impact that the rich have on policy (versus the impact that the total American public have on policy). The rich control America’s Government, but whether the richest do, wasn’t able to be researched, as of 2014.

This academic study’s scientific methodology was so good, so that no one, as of yet, in the more than three years since its publication, has been able to find any flaw in its data or methodology. Its headline, like its writing, was as dull as possible, “Testing Theories of American Politics”, and this (and especially its atrocious writing) might at least partially explain why America’s mainstream press overwhelmingly has ignored that seminal and landmark study in the social sciences, and especially has ignored that study’s enormous implications, regarding contemporary U.S. politics and government. (A vastly clearer presentation of that study, and of its findings, can be found here in this 6-minute video summary of it.)

Increasingly after that time, particularly after Donald Trump’s becoming U.S. President on 20 January 2017, polls are confirming strongly that what this scientific analysis said, describes, even more starkly than before, the American reality — that the U.S. federal Government now blatantly ignores public opinion, and is controlled instead only by the rich.

One example of this phenomenon was recently headlined by me “Poll: By 2-to-1, Americans Oppose Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem”, and it reported that in the only two published national polls in the U.S. that were taken prior to Trump’s announcement that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will be moved from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem — one having been a November 2017 poll of 2,000 Americans, published on December 11th, and the other being a September 2017 poll of 1,000 U.S. Jews — the overall U.S. public opposed any such move by 63% to 31%, and U.S. Jews opposed it by around similar percentages (though the polling-questions on the two polls differed significantly and therefore their findings are not directly comparable). Furthermore, that article also linked to another question which was included in the November poll, and which showed that only a minority of Americans — almost all of whom are Democrats — believe that Russia is a “foe” of the United States; and, of course, the U.S. federal Government (even the existing Republican one) does consider Russia, more than any other country, to be America’s foe; so, that, too, presents a stark contrast between the Government and its public.

Furthermore, on December 14th, Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, the pollster Mark Penn, whom she had mis-cast into the role of her campaign’s strategist in 2008, headlined at The Hill, “Mueller, FBI face crisis in public confidence”, and he summarized numerous polls which were finding that whereas Americans overwhelmingly distrust President Donald Trump, Americans distrust even more the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that’s trying to find reasons to impeach and remove him from office. Americans are getting increasingly scared of their Government, and now distrust both sides of it.

Another addition to these polls that show America’s public to be ignored by America’s Government (other than for the public to be manipulated by means of the major newsmedia that the billionaires who control this Government own), was also issued on December 18th, and this poll was headlined “Half The Public Say Their Taxes Will Go Up Under GOP Plan”. It scientifically sampled 806 Americans, and reported that:

“Nearly half the American public (47%) disapprove of the tax reform bills passed by the Senate and House and just 26% approve. … Strong disapproval (35%) of the proposal far outweighs strong approval (13%). … In ‘swing’ counties where the margin of victory for either candidate was less than ten points, 30% approve of the plan compared with 38% who disapprove. … Many Americans see this bill more as an attempt by Republicans to gain a political victory and would rather see Congress scrap this plan and start over. … Half of the public (50%) predict that the federal taxes they pay will go up with the plan now under consideration by Congress. Just 14% say their taxes will go down. … The public was much more optimistic right before Trump took the oath of office in January. Back then, two-thirds expected that the middle class would benefit from the policies of a Trump administration.”

All polls show that the American public believe overwhelmingly that only the rich will benefit from the Trump/Republican tax-law changes. (If purely the long-term impacts, such as the resultant soaring public debt, are considered, then this perception, by the public, of the tax-law changes, is almost certainly accurate.) The blatancy with which U.S. federal policy violates what the polls show that the American public overwhelmingly want (such as reducing the federal debt), and imposes instead upon the public what they clearly don’t want (such as increasing that debt), is now stunning.

Such findings provide yet additional evidence that the far more extensively documented findings in the massive study “Testing Theories of American Politics” apply with special force today, probably even more so than they did in the period from 1981 to 2002, which was the period that that empirical study had examined in detail. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter expressed publicly on 28 July 2015 (even before Trump was President), that, “Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members.” He was stating what is, by now, an increasingly proven fact. America is a dictatorship.

However, current U.S. Government office-holders haven’t publicly expressed any such view, although the Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate whom Hillary Clinton ‘beat’ in 2016, Bernie Sanders, has come the closest to saying it.

It’s not even clear, however, whether a majority of Americans actually want a democratic government. On 9 September 2015, the YouGov poll headlined “Could a coup really happen in the United States?” (which question presumed that a U.S. coup hadn’t already happened, such as on 9 December 2000, or on 22 November 1963, though there is evidence that it happened in both cases), and YouGov reported that “when people are asked whether they would hypothetically support the military stepping in to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution, 43% of Americans would support the military stepping in while 29% would be opposed.” Perhaps many in that large 43% plurality of Americans were somehow blissfully ignorant that the American Government routinely not only was “beginning to violate” but routinely had been and were violating, the U.S. Constitution, such as by placing onto its Supreme Court, anti-Constitutional ‘Justices’ who arbitrarily label political money as “speech” that’s unlimitedly protected by the First Amendment, so that unlimited political spending by billionaires can effectively control the U.S. Government (such oligarchy as is now scientifically established to be the case), or by violating the Constitution in so many other ways, such as by simply not enforcing certain laws in certain cases, such as by refusing to prosecute the banksters whose frauds caused (and who profited from) the 2008 financial crash — they perpetrated a massive unpunished crime against the public, and this is supposed to be ‘democracy’. But regardless: a 43%-to-29% plurality of the nation’s public are so pro-military as to favor a U.S. coup under that vague condition; they would prefer the military, an intrinsically anti-democratic authoritarian institution, to take direct control over the U.S. Government — as if there could be some valid excuse for this intrinsically dictatorial institution to overthrow the established and supposedly legal government, and to replace it by one that’s not just supposedly, but blatantly, illegal to be in control of the Government. This would mean that America’s billionaires — people who already own and profit from the military’s weapons-making firms — will take control of America, even if they don’t already have control. They control the military-industrial complex, because they control the Deep State that, in any capitalist country, IS the military-industrial complex. They control the weapons-manufacturing firms such as Lockheed Martin, and also the megabanks, and the lobbying firms, and all the rest of the systematic corruption (the Deep State), which controls the U.S. government.

That same poll (question 13) also asked “Do you believe that the military has a duty to protect the Constitution against domestic enemies?” and 72% answered “Yes” and 12% answered “No.” Thus, by a 6-to-1 margin, Americans don’t know the difference between the function that the military and CIA are supposed to perform, versus the function that the police and the FBI and entire Justice Department are supposed to perform. As if that’s not frightening enough about America, Americans now support the nation’s military-industrial complex above all other institutions, public or private. The war-making institution isn’t used only for defense (though its PR euphemism is ‘the defense establishment’ and it should instead be called “the invasion-and-coup establishment”), but it is also — and now almost exclusively — used for invasions and coups that are based on lies (from ‘the defense establishment’, boosting their own business), such as invasions and coups against Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, and Ukraine 2014. Instead of despising that institution of conquest, Americans now admire it, above all others — and far above all the rest of the U.S. Government.

So: “Could a coup really happen in the United States?” A coup wouldn’t even be necessary in order to produce here dictatorship, which has already long existed in this country. And, while domestic spending is being slashed by the existing U.S. regime, military spending (which already is as large as the next ten largest national military budgets in the world) is soaring. Why would America’s generals want to perpetrate a coup? They’re already getting almost everything they want — and without the opprobrium they’d suffer from a coup. It would be plain stupid for them to do that. The very question which was asked in that poll was a bad joke, but a full 72% of the U.S. public not only didn’t ridicule the idea, but actually endorsed it. They endorsed what’s commonly called a ‘police state’, but which actually is a “military state” — rule by the military. Maybe that’s what we’ve already got. But, behind the military-industrial complex, stand the nation’s billionaires — the people who really run U.S. foreign policies. If that brute fact can’t become understood by the American people, then not only does democracy no longer exist in the U.S., but the basis to create (or restore) democracy here is likewise absent. Americans are big supporters of the military-industrial complex. The U.S. public have been deceived about what it is, and what it isn’t — so deceived, that they place it at the top, as the most respected of all institutions. How much more upside-down — black is white, white is black — like Big Brother’s “Newspeak,” could the U.S. public be duped to be, than that? If America’s invasion-and-coup institution is at the top, then why are all the others held in lower esteem than this — the most-corrupt of all institutions in America?


About the author

EricZuesse

ERIC ZUESSE, Senior Contributing Editor

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity. Besides TGP, his reports and historical analyses are published on many leading current events and political sites, including The Saker, Huffpost, Oped News, and others.
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Corruption is Legal in Amerika
« Reply #268 on: December 25, 2017, 02:15:57 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/5tu32CCA_Ig" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/5tu32CCA_Ig</a>
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Trump as Balfour
« Reply #269 on: December 26, 2017, 12:45:26 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/25/trump-as-balfour/

December 25, 2017
Trump as Balfour


by Vijay Prashad

In Hebron on December 7, over 20 Israeli soldiers arrested 14-year-old Fawzi Al-Junaidi, blindfolded him and marched him off to detention. The image of the arrest, the violence of it, startled many people. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned the arrest and said sharply: “Israel is a terrorist state. We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murder state.”

Erdogan was referring to the renewed controversy over Jerusalem. On December 6, President Donald Trump declared that the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To move the embassy suggests that Israel’s capital is no longer to be Tel Aviv but Jerusalem. This action is against long-standing international policy, which sees Jerusalem as an “international city”—one that would be governed by various parties to protect the city’s special status as home to major religious sites of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Trump’s statement on Jerusalem rattled Palestine, where the people have long worried about the seizure of East Jerusalem, which the United Nations deems to be part of Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the rest of the old city. Protests broke out in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and in the Gaza Strip. These were largely non-violent, a mirror of the frustration of the Palestinian people with the collapse of their national liberation project.

Dangerous escalation

On December 8, which was a Friday and therefore a day of prayer for Muslims, Israeli forces gathered in a show of force near the Al Aqsa mosque, revered by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam. Prayers went on as usual in the mosque, although the tension on the streets was palpable. It provoked protests from Palestinians in the city, who marched in small groups chanting: “Jerusalem is ours, Jerusalem is our capital.”

Israeli forces descended upon the demonstrations with ferocity. Israeli troops on horseback galloped down Salah Eddin Street in the old city, scaring passers-by. The soldiers smashed up shops and arrested men, women and children. The Red Crescent said that about 800 Palestinians had been injured and a handful, mostly in Gaza, had been killed. Israeli forces used a combination of rubber bullets and live fire in the West Bank and Jerusalem and air strikes against Gaza. Two days later, on December 10, an Israeli military vehicle ran over a five-year-old Palestinian girl in the city of Hebron, perhaps the tensest city in Palestine.

It was in Hebron that 14-year-old Al-Junaidi was arrested and detained. His uncle said that the boy had gone out to get medicine and food for his family. This young boy cares for his father, who had undergone surgery recently. The incident moved the uncle to say: “We are the children of Palestine. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine in the hearts and minds of our children. They will never be able to erase it.”

Wisam Hashlamoun, a Palestinian photojournalist, took the iconic picture of Al-Junaidi. About 50 Israeli soldiers attacked a group of Palestinian youths, Hashlamoun recounts. Al-Junaidi fell to the ground, sustaining a head wound. The soldiers “pulled him to his feet and encircled him”, which is the moment Hashlamoun photographed the boy. “It definitely didn’t occur to me that this photo would become a symbol,” Hashlamoun said. “I wanted to expose Israeli violence.”

Israeli state media concentrated on a few rockets fired into Israel from Gaza and the stabbing of an Israeli security guard at the entrance of Jerusalem’s bus station. These acts of violence were taken to justify the massive use of force by the Israelis against Palestinians—spurred on by Trump’s inflammatory declaration. It is inevitable that Palestinians will respond to the Israeli violence, which comes on top of the occupation that has lasted over 50 years. Little wonder that some Palestinians chanted: “We don’t need empty words. We need stones and Kalashnikovs.”

No wonder, too, that many world leaders—from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani—have called Trump’s statement a “dangerous escalation”. It will only create far more violence. The European Union and the U.N. have roundly condemned Trump’s statement.

Jerusalem as emblem

In 1947, the U.N. passed Resolution 181 which placed Jerusalem under the administration of the U.N. It was to be a city governed by a “special international regime”. The countries of the world recognised Jerusalem as a special place, precious to the major Abrahamic religions and located in the midst of tensions between the new state of Israel, exiled and occupied Palestinians and the neighbouring Arab states.

Over the years, the U.N. Security Council has voted seven times to condemn the Israeli 1980 Basic Jerusalem Law, which claims the city as the “eternal and indivisible” capital of Israel. The first of these resolutions, 478 in 1980, was passed unanimously, with an abstention from the U.S. But even former (and late) U.S. Secretary of State Edmund Muskie suggested that Jerusalem was a unique city. “We must share a common vision of that ancient city’s future—an undivided Jerusalem, with free access to the holy places for peoples of all faiths.” At the same time, the U.S. held that it had the right to have its embassy in Jerusalem. Any instruction from the U.N. to move its embassy, Muskie said in 1980, would not be binding.

The tone in the Security Council in 1980 was strongly against an Israeli annexation of Jerusalem. Pakistan’s then Ambassador to the U.N., Naiz A. Naik, said that as international pressure mounted against Israel, it had “revived with increased vigour the obsessive Zionist scheme to Judaise the Holy City of Jerusalem by destroying its historical personality and turning it into ‘the eternal capital of Israel’”. Israel’s then Ambassador to the U.N., Yehuda Zvi Blum, responded that Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel from its origin and that Israel would not honour any U.N. approach to the city. “Israel will not allow Jerusalem to become another Berlin,” Blum said, “with all that implies not only for the welfare of its citizens but also for international peace and security.”

Israel, with U.S. backing, ignored the U.N. It would, over the course of these past 50 years, gradually annex pieces of Jerusalem and weaken the Palestinian hold on the city. Land grabs in East Jerusalem came alongside the encroachment of Jewish settlers into and the expansion of the Jewish quarter in the old city. The attrition of Palestinian space in the city included the operation to destroy the Mamilla Cemetery, a site of immense importance for Palestinian history (“Grave Silence”, Frontline, February 21, 2014).

‘No, Mr Trump’

A week after Trump’s declaration, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., wrote a stinging open letter to him. “No, Mr Trump,” he wrote, “Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital.” His letter is a rebuke to Trump. “If you want to rectify your misbegotten and cavalier act,” he wrote, “you can issue a statement recognising the Palestinian state and its capital in East Jerusalem. Otherwise, forget whatever sweet words you blandish at us. Native inhabitants of what is called America have coined the phrase, ‘White man speaks with forked tongue’. We have known that phrase since 1917.” That this comes from the heart of the Saudi establishment says a great deal about the tensions in the region. Many suggest that Saudi Arabia is preparing a public diplomatic opening to Israel, although Trump’s action might have ended that possibility.

From Beirut, Lebanon, Syed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, called Trump’s statement the Second Balfour Declaration. The first Balfour Declaration was made by the then imperial power, Britain. It promised to seize Palestinian land and give it to European Jewish settlers; this would be an antidote to European anti-Semitism. Trump’s declaration, by the current imperial power, gives Israelis carte blanche to seize more Palestinian land. In both cases, Nasrallah said, no one spoke to the Palestinians. It is for this reason that Nasrallah called for an intifada—an uprising, the Third Intifada.

Trump’s inflammatory decision came just before he signed an extension that allowed the U.S. embassy to remain in Tel Aviv. The U.S. embassy will not move to Jerusalem for at least six months, when Trump will again have to revisit the twice-annual ritual in the U.S. for the President to sign this extension. It is unlikely that the U.S. will actually move its embassy. This seems more dangerous theatre than anything else. It is another of Trump’s mischievous political acts; he pleases his base, including conservative Christian evangelicals, and he creates news.

Meanwhile, in Palestine, children like Al-Junaidi suffer. It has been their lot for decades.
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