How We Got Donald Trump, (And How We Might Have Avoided Him)

 

How We Got Donald Trump

(And How We Might Have Avoided Him)
shutterstock_107269241

 

The present arrives out of a past that we are too quick to forget, misremember, or enshroud in myth. Yet like it or not, the present is the product of past choices. Different decisions back then might have yielded very different outcomes in the here-and-now. Donald Trump ascended to the presidency as a consequence of myriad choices that Americans made (or had made for them) over the course of decades. Although few of those were made with Trump in mind, he is the result.

Where exactly did Trump come from? How are we to account for his noxious presence as commander-in-chief and putative Leader of the Free World? The explanations currently on offer are legion. Some blame the nefarious Steve Bannon, others Hillary Clinton and her lackluster campaign. Or perhaps the fault lies with the Bernie Sanders insurgency, which robbed Clinton of the momentum she needed to win, or with Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, and Low Energy Jeb, and the other pathetic Republicans whom Trump trampled underfoot en route to claiming the nomination. Or perhaps the real villains are all those “deplorables” — the angry and ignorant white males whose disdain for immigrants, feminists, gays, and people of color Trump stoked and manipulated to great effect.

All such explanations, however, suggest that the relevant story began somewhere around June 2015 when Donald Trump astonished the political world by announcing his intention to seek the presidency. My aim here is to suggest that the origins of the real story are to be found much earlier. The conditions that enabled Trump to capture the presidency stemmed from acts of commission and omission that occurred well before he rode down that escalator at Trump Tower to offer his services to the nation.

Here’s the sad part: at each step along the way, other alternatives were available. Had those alternatives been exercised, a Trump presidency would have remained an absurd fantasy rather than becoming an absurd and dangerous reality. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Vietnam War or 9/11, Trump qualifies as a completely avoidable catastrophe with roots deep in the past.

So who’s at fault? Ultimately, we — the American people — must accept a considerable share of the responsibility. This is one buck that can’t be passed.

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

So what follows is a review of roads taken (and not) ultimately leading to the demoralizing presidency of Donald Trump, along with a little speculation on how different choices might have resulted in a decidedly different present.

1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. As the Cold War wound down, members of Washington’s smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet’s sole superpower, liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere. There would be no way except the American Way. In fact, however, the passing of the Cold War should have occasioned a moment of reflection regarding the sundry mistakes and moral compromises that marred U.S. policy from the 1940s through the 1980s. Unfortunately, policy elites had no interest in second thoughts — and certainly not in remorse or contrition. In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the “indispensable nation.” In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul. When, in due time, Donald Trump announced his intention to dismantle the establishment that had presided over those failures, many Americans liked what he had to say, even if he spoke from a position of total ignorance.

1992: President H. Ross Perot. In the first post-Cold War presidential election, H. Ross Perot, a wealthy entrepreneur and political novice, mounted an independent challenge to the Republican and Democratic nominees. Both parties, Perot charged, were in bed with lobbyists, insiders, and special interests. Both were enthusiastically presiding over the deindustrialization of a once dominant American economy. The rich were getting richer, the national debt was growing, and ordinary citizens were getting screwed, he contended. His charges were not without merit. Yet when Perot lost, Washington was back to business as usual. We cannot know what a Perot presidency would have produced. Yet such a victory — the American electorate, in effect, repudiating the two established parties — might have created powerful incentives for both Republicans and Democrats to clean up their acts and find ways of governing more effectively. Had they done so, Trump’s later vow to “drain the swamp” of corruption and self-dealing would have been beside the point.

1993: Gays in the Military. Bill Clinton ran for the presidency as a centrist. Even so, once elected, he immediately announced his intention to remove restrictions on gays serving in the armed forces. This was, to put it mildly, anything but the act of a centrist. Outraged senior military officers made clear their intention to defy the new commander-in-chief. Although Clinton quickly backpedalled, the episode infuriated both cultural traditionalists and progressives. Within 20 years, a different generation of senior officers decided that gays serving in the military was no big deal. The issue instantly vanished. Yet the controversy left behind a residue of bitterness, especially on the right, that worked in Trump’s favor. Had the generals of 1993 suppressed their insubordinate inclinations, they might have ever so slightly turned down the heat on the culture wars. When the heat is high, it’s the tub-thumpers and noisy haranguers who benefit.

1998: The Lewinsky Scandal. When President Clinton’s sexual encounters with a young White House intern became known, Hillary Clinton stood by her man. The first lady’s steadfast loyalty helped her husband avoid being thrown out of office, providing cover for other feminists to continue supporting the president. Imagine if she had done otherwise, declaring his conduct unacceptable. The pressure on him to resign coming from those who had been among his strongest supporters would have been intense. This much is certain: had evidence of infidelity, compounded by prior allegations of abuse toward women, forced President Clinton from office, Donald Trump would never have had a chance of being elected president. In all likelihood he would never even have considered running.

2000: Cheney Picks a Veep. When George W. Bush wrapped up the Republican nomination in 2000, he tagged Dick Cheney, his father’s defense secretary, with the task of identifying a suitable running mate. After surveying the field, Cheney decided that he himself was the man for the job. As vice president, Cheney wasted no time in stacking the upper ranks of the administration with likeminded allies keen to wield American military muscle to smite “evil-doers” and expand America’s empire. Bush had promised, if elected, to pursue a “humble” foreign policy and forego nation-building. Had he not surrounded himself with Cheney and bellicose companions like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, he might possibly have stuck to that course, even after 9/11. Instead, urged on by the uber-hawks in his own administration, he embarked upon a misguided “Global War on Terrorism.” No single action played a greater role in paving the way for Donald Trump to become president.

2000: The Supremes Pick a President. If, in choosing a president on our behalf, the Supreme Court had given the nod to Al Gore instead of George Bush, might they have averted that never-ending, never-contracting war on terrorism? No doubt the 9/11 attacks would still have occurred and some U.S. military action would have ensued. But Gore did not share the obsession with Saddam Hussein that infected members of the Bush-Cheney axis. Arguably, a President Gore would have been less likely than President Bush to insist on invading a country that had played no part in the al-Qaeda conspiracy. Had the U.S. not embarked upon a preventive war against Iraq — had this Original Sin of the post-9/11 era not occurred — a Trump presidency would have been far less likely.

2003: Congress Rolls Over. To its perpetual disgrace, Congress assented to Bush’s demands to invade Iraq. It did so less because its members, including presidential aspirants like Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, were persuaded that Iraq posed a threat to national security (it did not) than because they sought to insulate themselves from the political consequences of opposing a president hell-bent on war. For decades, Congress had allowed presidents to encroach upon its constitutional responsibility to declare war, but this would be the last straw. Supine legislators became complicit in a disaster that to this day continues to unfold. A Congress with gumption might have averted that disaster, recovered its cojones, and left us with a legislative branch willing and able to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.

2003: GM Kills the EV1 Electric Automobile. In the 1990s, General Motors produced the first viable electric car. Drivers loved it, but GM doubted its potential profitability. Shareholders were more likely to make money if the company focused on manufacturing vehicles powered by gasoline engines. So in 2003, GM executives killed the EV1. The effect was to postpone by at least a decade the development of a mass-produced electric car. Had GM persisted, it’s just possible that the EV1 might have jump-started the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy and offered humanity a leg up on climate change. Instead, politicians spent years bickering about whether climate change was even real. More than a few Republicans made political hay by denouncing those waging a “war on coal” or inhibiting crucially needed oil exploration — bogus charges that Trump adroitly exploited for his own purposes. Perhaps if the EV1 had fulfilled its potential, anyone mounting a presidential campaign while denouncing global warming as a hoax would have been laughed out of town instead of capturing the White House.

2009: Obama Bails Out Wall Street. President Obama entered the Oval Office with the U.S. economy in free-fall. His administration took prompt action to prevent systemic collapse — that is, it bailed out Wall Street. Meanwhile the little guy got clobbered, with millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes. A billionaire complaining about the system being “rigged” might otherwise have tested the outer limits of irony, but for Donald Trump the government’s handling of the Great Recession was a gift from the gods.

2010: Presidential Twitter Accounts. Huge numbers of Americans have willingly surrendered their lives to social media. I’m guessing that there are more vegans and curling aficionados in the United States today than there are non-subscribers to Facebook. So it was perhaps inevitable that politicians would hoist themselves onto the social media bandwagon, keen to use direct, unmediated electronic communications as a way of mobilizing their followers. Yet the resulting impact on American politics has been entirely negative. The space available for reasoned exchanges has shrunk. Political discourse has become increasingly corrosive, its apparent purpose less to inform than to obfuscate, trivialize, and create division. This development was probably inevitable and will no doubt prove irreversible. Even so, it was not inevitable that the presidency itself should succumb to this phenomenon. In 2010, when Barack Obama “made history” by sending the first presidential tweet, it was as if the Pope had begun spending his idle hours hanging out at some corner saloon. Even if only in barely measurable increments, the dignity and decorum associated with the presidency began to fade and with it the assumption that crude or boorish behavior would automatically disqualify someone for high office. Donald Trump, a first-class boor and maestro of Twitter, was quick to take notice.

2010: Mitch McConnell Chooses Party Over Country. With the nation still in the midst of a devastating economic crisis, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell declared on behalf of his party that the denial of a second term to President Obama was “the single most important thing we want to achieve.” To hell with the country, the GOP wanted Obama gone. McConnell’s troops fell obediently into line and the last vestiges of bipartisanship disappeared from Washington. Of course, the president won reelection in 2012 anyway, but in effect McConnell refused to recognize the result. So when Obama exercised a president’s prerogative to nominate someone to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, McConnell ensured that the nominee would not even receive the courtesy of a hearing. An environment rife with hyper-partisanship presented the perfect situation for a political outsider skilled in the “art of the deal” to offer himself as the antidote to persistent gridlock. Congratulations, Mitch! You won after all!

And So…?

It’s time to look in the mirror, folks. Blaming Trump for being Trump simply won’t do. Like Lenin or Franco or Perón or dozens of other demagogues, Trump merely seized the opportunity that presented itself. Our president is a product and beneficiary of several decades worth of vainglory, cynicism, epic folly, political cowardice, missed opportunities, and a public not given to paying attention. In present-day Washington, no one can deny that the chickens have come home to roost. The biggest fowl of them all has taken up residence in the White House and, in a very real sense, we all put him there.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author, most recently, of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

Advertisements

The chaos the USA has caused in Ukraine

Hundreds of far-right vigilantes sworn in to ‘enforce Ukrainian order’ on Kiev’s streets (VIDEO)  

Hundreds of far-right vigilantes sworn in to 'enforce Ukrainian order' on Kiev's streets (VIDEO)

Hollywood’s Dangerous Afghan Illusion: “Charlie Wilson’s War”. Legacy of the late Robert Parry

Source

Robert Parry, editor and publisher of Consortiumnews.com, passed away on January 27th.

The Global Research team pays tribute to Robert Parry and his unwavering commitment to independent and honest journalism. His legacy will live.

On January 1st, I sent a short note to Robert Parry. Today our thoughts are with Robert Parry and his family. 

Robert Parry was a powerful voice, incisive in his analysis of complex foreign policy issues, with a longstanding commitment to peace and social justice.  

To consult  The Robert Parry Archive of articles posted on GR, click here. 

Below is Robert Parry’s incisive and timely April 2013 article on Hollywood’s slanted interpretation of the Soviet Afghan war.  The US supported “Freedom Fighters” were Al Qaeda. The Afghan Mujahideen were jihadist mercenaries recruited by the CIA. It was all for a good cause: destabilize a progressive secular government, occupy and destroy Afghanistan, undermine the Soviet Union.

“Reagan’s pet “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan as in Nicaragua were tainted by the drug trade as well as by well-documented cases of torture, rape and murder.”

Robert Parry’s Legacy is Truth in Media!  

At this juncture in our history during which independent media is threatened, Robert Parry lives in our hearts and minds. 

Michel Chossudovsky, January 29, 2018

**

A newly discovered document undercuts a key storyline of the anti-Soviet Afghan war of the 1980s – that it was “Charlie Wilson’s War.” A note inside Ronald Reagan’s White House targeted the Texas Democrat as someone “to bring into circle as discrete Hill connection,” Robert Parry reports.

Official Washington’s conventional wisdom about Afghanistan derives to a dangerous degree from a Hollywood movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which depicted the anti-Soviet war of the 1980s as a fight pitting good “freedom fighters” vs. evil “occupiers” and which blamed Afghanistan’s later descent into chaos on feckless U.S. politicians quitting as soon as Soviet troops left in 1989.

The Tom Hanks movie also pushed the theme that the war was really the pet project of a maverick Democratic congressman from Texas, Charlie Wilson, who fell in love with the Afghan mujahedeen after falling in love with a glamorous Texas oil woman, Joanne Herring, who was committed to their anti-communist cause.

However, “Charlie Wilson’s War” – like many Hollywood films – took extraordinary license with the facts, presenting many of the war’s core elements incorrectly. That in itself might not be a serious problem, except that key U.S. policymakers have cited these mythical “facts” as lessons to guide the current U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan.

The degree to which Ronald Reagan’s White House saw Wilson as more puppet than puppet-master is underscored by a newly discovered document at Reagan’s presidential library in Simi Valley, California. I found the document in the files of former CIA propaganda chief Walter Raymond Jr., who in the 1980s oversaw the selling of U.S. interventions in Central America and Afghanistan from his office at the National Security Council.

The handwritten note to Raymond appears to be initialed by then-National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane and instructs Raymond to recruit Wilson into the Reagan administration’s effort to drum up more Afghan war money for the fiscal 1985 budget. The note reads:

“Walt, Go see Charlie Wilson (D-TX). Seek to bring him into circle as discrete Hill connection. He can be very helpful in getting money. M.” (The notation may have used the wrong adjective, possibly intending ”discreet,” meaning circumspect and suggesting a secretive role, not “discrete,” meaning separate and distinct.)

Raymond appears to have followed up those instructions, as Wilson began to play a bigger and bigger role in unleashing the great Afghan spending spree of 1985 and as Raymond asserted himself behind the scenes on how the war should be sold to the American people.

Raymond, a 30-year veteran of CIA clandestine services, was a slight, soft-spoken New Yorker who reminded some of a character from a John le Carre spy novel, an intelligence officer who “easily fades into the woodwork,” according to one Raymond acquaintance. But his CIA career took a dramatic turn in 1982 when he was reassigned to the NSC.

At the time, the White House saw a need to step up its domestic propaganda operations in support of President Reagan’s desire to intervene more aggressively in Central America and Afghanistan. The American people – still stung by the agony of the Vietnam War – were not eager to engage in more foreign adventures.

So, Reagan’s team took aim at “kicking the Vietnam Syndrome” mostly by wildly exaggerating the Soviet threat. It became crucial to convince Americans that the Soviets were on the rise and on the march, though in reality the Soviets were on the decline and eager for accommodations with the West.

Yet, as deputy assistant secretary to the Air Force, J. Michael Kelly, put it, “the most critical special operations mission we have … is to persuade the American people that the communists are out to get us.”

The main focus of the administration’s domestic propaganda was on Central America where Reagan was arming right-wing military juntas engaged in anti-leftist extermination campaigns. Through the CIA, Reagan also was organizing a drug-tainted terrorist operation known as the Contras to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

To hide the ugly realities and to overcome popular opposition to the policies, Reagan granted CIA Director William Casey extraordinary leeway to engage in CIA-style propaganda and disinformation aimed at the American people, the sort of project normally reserved for hostile countries. To oversee the operation – while skirting legal bans on the CIA operating domestically – Casey moved Raymond from the CIA to the NSC staff.

Raymond formally resigned from the CIA in April 1983 so, he said, “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this.” But from the beginning, Raymond fretted about the legality of Casey’s involvement. Raymond confided in one memo that it was important “to get [Casey] out of the loop,” but Casey never backed off and Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss well into 1986.

It was “the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in,” Raymond shrugged during a deposition given to congressional Iran-Contra investigators in 1987. Raymond offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic politics “not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat.”

Raymond also understood that the administration’s hand in the P.R. projects must stay hidden, because of other legal bans on executive-branch propaganda. “The work down within the administration has to, by definition, be at arms length,” Raymond noted in an Aug. 29, 1983, memo.

As one NSC official told me, the campaign was modeled after CIA covert operations abroad where a political goal is more important than the truth. “They were trying to manipulate [U.S.] public opinion … using the tools of Walt Raymond’s trade craft which he learned from his career in the CIA covert operation shop,” the official said.

From the NSC, Raymond organized inter-agency task forces to bombard the U.S. public with hyped-up propaganda about the Soviet threat in Central America and in Afghanistan. Raymond’s goal was to change the way Americans viewed these dangers, a process that the Reagan administration internally called “perception management.”

Scores of documents about this operation were released during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987, but Washington-based journalists never paid much attention to the evidence about how they had been manipulated by these propaganda tactics, which included rewarding cooperative reporters with government-sponsored “leaks” and punishing those who wouldn’t parrot the lies with whispering campaigns in the ears of their editors and bureau chiefs. [See Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

Even after the Iran-Contra scandal was exposed in 1986 and Casey died of brain cancer in 1987, the Republicans fought to keep secret the remarkable story of this propaganda apparatus. As part of a deal to get three moderate Republican senators to join Democrats in signing the Iran-Contra report, Democratic leaders dropped a draft chapter on the CIA’s domestic propaganda role.

Thus, the American people were spared the chapter’s troubling conclusion: that a covert propaganda apparatus had existed, run by “one of the CIA’s most senior specialists, sent to the NSC by Bill Casey, to create and coordinate an inter-agency public-diplomacy mechanism [which] did what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might do. [It] attempted to manipulate the media, the Congress and public opinion to support the Reagan administration’s policies.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Iran-Contra’s Lost Chapter.”]

Raping Russians

Hiding the unspeakable realities of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan was almost as high a priority as concealing the U.S.-backed slaughter in Central America. Reagan’s pet “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan as in Nicaragua were tainted by the drug trade as well as by well-documented cases of torture, rape and murder.

Yet, Raymond and his propagandists were always looking for new ways to “sell” the wars to the American people, leading to a clash with CIA officer Gust Avrakotos, who was overseeing the Afghan conflict and who had developed his own close ties to Rep. Charlie Wilson.

According to author George Crile, whose book Charlie Wilson’s War provided a loose framework for the movie of the same name, Avrakotos clashed with Raymond and other senior Reagan administration officials when they proposed unrealistic propaganda themes regarding Afghanistan.

One of Raymond’s ideas was to get some Russian soldiers to “defect” and then fly them from Afghanistan to Washington where they would renounce communism. The problem, as Avrakotos explained, was that the Afghan mujahedeen routinely tortured and then murdered any Soviet soldier who fell into their hands, except for a few who were kept around for anal rape.

“For Avrakotos, 1985 was a year of right-wing craziness,” Crile wrote. “A band of well-placed anti-Communist enthusiasts in the administration had come up with a plan they believed would bring down the Red Army, if the CIA would only be willing to implement it. The leading advocates of this plan included Richard Perle at the Pentagon. … [NSC aide] Oliver North also checked in briefly, but the man who set Avrakotos’s teeth on edge most was Walt Raymond, another NSC staffer who had spent twenty years with the CIA as a propagandist.

“Their idea was to encourage Soviet officers and soldiers to defect to the mujahideen. As Avrakotos derisively describes it, ‘The muj were supposed to set up loudspeakers in the mountains announcing such things as “Lay down your arms, there is a passage to the West and to freedom.”’ Once news of this program made its way through the Red Army, it was argued, there would be a flood of defectors. …

“Avrakotos thought North and Perle were ‘cuckoos of the Far Right,’ and he soon felt quite certain that Raymond, the man who seemed to be the intellectual ringleader, was truly detached from reality. ‘What Russian in his right mind would defect to those fuckers all armed to the teeth,’ Avrakotos said in frustration. ‘To begin with, anyone defecting to the Dushman would have to be a crook, a thief or someone who wanted to get cornholed every day, because nine out of ten prisoners were dead within twenty-four hours and they were always turned into concubines by the mujahideen. I felt so sorry for them I wanted to have them all shot.’

“The meeting [with Raymond’s team] went very badly indeed. Gust [Avrakotos] accused North and Perle of being idiots. … Avrakotos said to Walt Raymond, ‘You know, Walt, you’re just a fucking asshole, you’re irrelevant.’”

However, as Crile wrote, Avrakotos “greatly underestimated the political power and determination of the group, who went directly to [CIA Director] Bill Casey to angrily protest Avrakotos’s insulting manner. The director complained to [CIA operations official] Clair George, who responded by forbidding Avrakotos to attend any more interagency meetings without a CIA nanny present. …

“Avrakotos arrived for one of these White House sessions armed with five huge photographic blowups. … One of them showed two Russian sergeants being used as concubines. Another had a Russian hanging from the turret of a tank with a vital part of his anatomy removed. … ‘If you were a sane fucking Russian, would you defect to these people?’ he had demanded of Perle.

“But the issue wouldn’t go away. Perle, Raymond, and the others continued to insist that the Agency find and send back to the United States the many Russian defectors they seemed to believe, despite Avrakotos’s denials, the mujahideen were harboring. …

“It had been almost impossible to locate two prisoners, much less two defectors. The CIA found itself in the preposterous position of having to pony up $50,000 to bribe the Afghans to deliver two live ones. ‘These two guys were basket cases,’ says Avrakotos. ‘One had been fucked so many times he didn’t know what was going on.’”

Despite this knowledge about the true nature of the Afghan “freedom fighters,” the Reagan administration – and the “Charlie Wilson’s War” moviemakers – concealed from the American people the inhuman brutality of the jihadists who were receiving billions of dollars in U.S. and Saudi largesse. The movie depicted the Soviet soldiers as sadistic monsters and the mujahedeen as noble warriors, just as Ronald Reagan and Walter Raymond would have wanted. (Raymond died in 2003; Reagan in 2004; the movie appeared in 2007.)

But the Reagan administration did calculate correctly that Wilson from his key position on a House Appropriations defense subcommittee could open the spigot on funding for the Afghan muj.

Learning Wrong Lessons

While it’s not unusual for Hollywood to produce a Cold War propaganda film, what was different about “Charlie Wilson’s War” was how it was treated by Official Washington as something close to a documentary. That attitude was somewhat a tribute to the likeable Tom Hanks who portrayed the womanizing and hard-drinking Charlie Wilson.

Yet, perhaps the biggest danger in viewing the movie as truth was its treatment of why the anti-Soviet jihad led to Afghanistan becoming home to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorists in the 1990s. The movie pushed the myth that the United States abruptly abandoned Afghanistan as soon as the Soviet troops left on Feb. 15, 1989.

All across Official Washington, pundits and policymakers have embraced the lesson that the United States must not make that “mistake” again – and thus must leave behind a sizeable force of U.S. troops.

For instance, the New York Times’ lead editorial on May 1, 2012, criticized President Barack Obama for not explaining how he would prevent Afghanistan from imploding after the scheduled U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014, though the Times added that the plan’s “longer-term commitment [of aid] sends an important message to Afghans that Washington will not abandon them as it did after the Soviets were driven out.”

The abandonment myth also has been cited by senior Obama administration officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as they explained the rise of the Taliban in the mid-1990s and al-Qaeda’s use of Afghanistan for plotting the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

In late 2009, Defense Secretary Gates reprised this phony conventional wisdom, telling reporters: “We will not repeat the mistakes of 1989, when we abandoned the country only to see it descend into civil war and into Taliban hands.” However, that narrative was based on a faux reality drawn from a fictional movie.

Gates knew the real history. After all, in 1989, he was deputy national security adviser under President George H.W. Bush when the key decisions were made to continue covert U.S. aid to the mujahedeen, not cut it off.

The truth was that the end game in Afghanistan was messed up not because the United States cut the mujahedeen off but because Washington pressed for a clear-cut victory, rebuffing Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s proposals for a power-sharing arrangement. And we know that Gates knows this reality because he recounted it in his 1996 memoir, From the Shadows.

The Real History

Here’s what that history actually shows: In 1988, Gorbachev promised to remove Soviet troops from Afghanistan and sought a negotiated settlement. He hoped for a unity government that would include elements of Afghan President Najibullah’s Soviet-backed regime in Kabul and the CIA-backed Islamic fundamentalist rebels.

Gates, who in 1988 was deputy CIA director, opposed Gorbachev’s plan, disbelieving that the Soviets would really depart and insisting that – if they did – the CIA’s mujahedeen could quickly defeat Najibullah’s army.

Inside the Reagan administration, Gates’s judgment was opposed by State Department analysts who foresaw a drawn-out struggle. Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead and the department’s intelligence chief Morton Abramowitz warned that Najibullah’s army might hold on longer than the CIA expected.

But Gates prevailed in the policy debates, pushing the CIA’s faith in its mujahedeen clients and expecting a rapid Najibullah collapse if the Soviets left. In the memoir, Gates recalled briefing Secretary of State George Shultz and his senior aides on the CIA’s predictions prior to Shultz flying to Moscow in February 1988.

“I told them that most [CIA] analysts did not believe Najibullah’s government could last without active Soviet military support,” wrote Gates.

After the Soviets did withdraw in February 1989 – proving Gates wrong on that point – some U.S. officials felt Washington’s geostrategic aims had been achieved and a move toward peace was in order. There also was mounting concern about the Afghan mujahedeen, especially their tendencies toward brutality, heroin trafficking and fundamentalist religious practices.

However, the new administration of George H.W. Bush – with Gates moving from the CIA to the White House as deputy national security adviser – rebuffed Gorbachev and chose to continue U.S. covert support for the mujahedeen, aid which was being funneled primarily through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the ISI.

At the time, I was a Newsweek national security correspondent and asked my CIA contacts why the U.S. government didn’t just collect its winnings from the Soviet withdrawal and agree to some kind of national-unity government in Kabul that could end the war and bring some stability to the country. One of the CIA hardliners responded to my question with disgust. “We want to see Najibullah strung up by a light pole,” he snarled.

Back in Afghanistan, Najibullah’s regime defied the CIA’s expectation of a rapid collapse, using Soviet weapons and advisers to beat back a mujahedeen offensive in 1990. As Najibullah hung on, the war, the violence and the disorder continued.

Gates finally recognized that his CIA analysis had been wrong. In his memoir, he wrote: “As it turned out, Whitehead and Abramowitz were right” in their warning that Najibullah’s regime might not fall quickly. Gates’s memoir also acknowledged that the U.S. government did not abandon Afghanistan immediately after the Soviet departure.

“Najibullah would remain in power for another three years [after the Soviet pull-out], as the United States and the USSR continued to aid their respective sides,” Gates wrote. Indeed, Moscow’s and Washington’s supplies continued to flow until several months after the Soviet Union collapsed in summer 1991, according to Gates.

Crile’s Account

And other U.S. assistance continued even longer, according to Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War. In the book, Crile described how Wilson kept the funding spigot open for the Afghan rebels not only after the Soviet departure in 1989 but even after the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.

Eventually, the mujahedeen did capture the strategic city of Khost, but turned it into a ghost town as civilians fled or faced the mujahedeen’s fundamentalist fury. Western aid workers found themselves “following the liberators in a desperate attempt to persuade them not to murder and pillage,” Crile wrote.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Robert Oakley began to wonder who were the worse bad guys, the Soviet-backed communists or the U.S.-supported mujahedeen.

“It was the leaders of the Afghan puppet government who were saying all the right things, even paying lip service to democratic change,” Crile reported. “The mujahideen, on the other hand, were committing unspeakable atrocities and couldn’t even put aside their bickering and murderous thoughts long enough to capture Kabul.”

In 1991, as the Soviet Union careened toward its final crackup, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved nothing for Afghanistan, Crile wrote. “But no one could just turn off Charlie Wilson’s war like that,” Crile noted. “For Charlie Wilson, there was something fundamentally wrong with his war ending then and there. He didn’t like the idea of the United States going out with a whimper.”

Wilson made an impassioned appeal to the House Intelligence Committee and carried the day. The committee first considered a $100 million annual appropriation, but Wilson got them to boost it to $200 million, which – with the Saudi matching funds – totaled $400 million, Crile reported.

“And so, as the mujahideen were poised for their thirteenth year of war, instead of being cut off, it turned out to be a banner year,” Crile wrote. “They found themselves with not only a $400 million budget but also with a cornucopia of new weaponry sources that opened up when the United States decided to send the Iraqi weapons captured during the Gulf War to the mujahideen.”

But even then the Afghan rebels needed an external event to prevail on the battlefield, the stunning disintegration of the Soviet Union in the latter half of 1991. Only then did Moscow cut off its aid to Najibullah. His government finally fell in 1992. But its collapse didn’t stop the war – or the mujahedeen infighting.

The capital of Kabul came under the control of a relatively moderate rebel force led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, an Islamist but not a fanatic. However, Massoud, a Tajik, was not favored by Pakistan’s ISI, which backed more extreme Pashtun elements of the mujahedeen.

Rival Afghan warlords battled with each other for another four years destroying much of Kabul. Finally, a disgusted Washington began to turn away. Crile reported that the Cross Border Humanitarian Aid Program, which was the only sustained U.S. program aimed at rebuilding Afghanistan, was cut off at the end of 1993, almost five years after the Soviets left.

Rise of the Taliban

While chaos continued to reign across Afghanistan, the ISI readied its own army of Islamic extremists drawn from Pashtun refugee camps inside Pakistan. This group, known as the Taliban, entered Afghanistan with the promise of restoring order.

The Taliban seized the capital of Kabul in September 1996, driving Massoud into a northward retreat. The ousted communist leader Najibullah, who had stayed in Kabul, sought shelter in the United Nations compound, but was captured. The Taliban tortured, castrated and killed him, his mutilated body hung from a light pole – just as the CIA hardliner had wished seven years earlier.

The triumphant Taliban imposed harsh Islamic law on Afghanistan. Their rule was especially cruel to women who had made gains toward equal rights under the communists, but were forced by the Taliban to live under highly restrictive rules, to cover themselves when in public, and to forgo schooling.

The Taliban also granted refuge to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, who had fought with the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets in the 1980s. Bin Laden then used Afghanistan as the base of operations for his terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, setting the stage for the next Afghan War in 2001.

So, the real history is quite different from the Hollywood version that Official Washington has absorbed as its short-hand understanding of the anti-Soviet Afghan war of the 1980s.

The newly discovered document about bringing Charlie Wilson into the White House “circle as discrete Hill connection” suggests that even the impression that it was “Charlie Wilson’s War” may have been more illusion than reality. Though Wilson surely became a true believer in the CIA’s largest covert action of the Cold War, Reagan’s White House team appears to have viewed him as a useful Democratic front man who would be “very helpful in getting money.”

Most significantly, the mythology – enshrined in the movie and embraced by the policymakers – obscured the key lessons of the 1980s: the dangerous futility of trying to impose a Western or military solution on Afghanistan as well as the need to explore negotiation and compromise even when dealing with unsavory foes. It wasn’t the mythical U.S. “abandonment” of Afghanistan in February 1989 that caused the devastation of the past two decades, but rather the uncompromising policies of the Reagan-Bush-41 administrations.

First, there was the ascendance of propaganda over truth. The U.S. government was well aware of the gross human rights crimes of the Afghan “muj” but still sold them as honorable “freedom fighters” to the American people. Second, there was the triumphalism of Gates and other war hawks, who insisted on rubbing Moscow’s nose in its Afghan defeat and thus blocked cooperation on a negotiated settlement which held out the promise of a less destructive outcome.

Those two factors – the deceit and the hubris – set the stage for the 9/11 attacks in 2001, a renewed Afghan War bogging down tens of thousands of U.S. troops, America’s disastrous detour into Iraq, and now a costly long-term U.S. commitment to Afghanistan that is expected to last at least until 2024. With a distorted account of “Charlie Wilson’s War,” Tom Hanks and Hollywood didn’t help.

[For a limited time, you can purchase Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush family for only $34. For details, click here.]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

The Arab Spring: Restoration, Repression & Regime Change

The Arab Spring: Restoration, Repression & Regime Change

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 22.01.2018 | WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

The Arab Spring: Restoration, Repression & Regime Change

The outbreak of mass protests in Tunisia this week comes on the seventh anniversary of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. This week, seven years ago, saw Tunisia’s strongman ruler Ben Ali fleeing for exile to Saudi Arabia. Before the month was out, Egypt’s longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak was also ousted. Back then, revolution was in the air and the region was convulsed with potential change. In many ways, arguably, it still is.

Seven years on it is appropriate that social protests have reemerged in Tunisia. That demonstrates the Arab Spring is still unfinished business. The potential change for full democracy did not occur back then, nor since. At least, not yet.

Tunisia was the first country where the uprisings in 2011 kicked off after a young street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolated in protest against poverty and state corruption. Today, protesters in Tunisia are still calling for liberation from political and economic oppression.

So, we may ask, what happened the Arab Spring and its promise for sweeping progressive change?

Before we review the momentous events, a note of clarification is needed. Back in the heyday of the Arab Spring some analysts posited that the social movements were part of a grand plan orchestrated by Washington to clear out despots who had passed their sell-by dates.

Authors like Michel Chossudovsky and William Engdahl were among those claiming a hidden hand from Washington as part of grand scheme. They point to communications between the State Department and certain protester groups, like the April 6 youth movement in Egypt, as evidence of a master-scheme manipulated from Washington. In that view, the Arab Spring was just another version of so-called Color Revolutions, which Washington did indeed orchestrate in other parts of the world, like Georgia and Ukraine in the early 2000s.

This author disagrees on what was the motive force behind the Arab Spring events. Admittedly, Washington did have a hand in the events, but more often this was reactionary, to curtail and divert the mass uprisings – uprisings which in this author’s observations were genuine popular revolts against the US and European-backed status quo serving international capital.

Instead of successful revolution, what happened the Arab Spring were three categories of reaction. Here we look at seven countries in the region to illustrate.

Restoration

Tunisians and Egyptians may have seen the backs of Ben Ali and Mubarak, but seven years on it is evident that the ruling system which both these strongmen oversaw has been restored. In Tunisia, the Nidaa Tounes party which Ben Ali patronized is in power as part of a coalition with the Nahda Islamist party. The ruling structure of crony capitalism remains in place. The government’s signing up to an IMF loan last year for $2.9 billion is conditioned on imposing harsh economic austerity cuts on the majority working-class population. The rule of international capital has thus been restored.

In Egypt, the Mubarak regime was restored through in July 2013. El-Sisi was a senior military holdover from Mubarak’s 30-year de facto dictatorship. Admittedly, Morsi’s ascent to power after Mubarak did not represent a pluralist democratic revolution. Morsi was beholden to the Muslim Brotherhood and his short-lived rule was associated with disturbing sectarian hostility. His government alienated secular Egyptian workers. Nevertheless, el-Sisi’s violent overthrow of Morsi can be seen as a reactionary restoration of the old regime. Like Tunisia, today Egypt resembles much of the status quo as before the 2011 uprisings.

Repression

Three countries illustrating this category are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. There were similar developments in other countries, such as Jordan, Oman, Morocco, but on a smaller scale.

After Ben Ali and Mubarak fled from power, the Arab Spring wave soon buffeted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. Like Tunisia and Egypt, those three countries were ruled by US-backed despots. If the whole regional ferment was somehow a devious plot to renovate the status quo by Washington, as some authors contended, then why didn’t the despots in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain succumb to the State Department’s “human rights” proxies?

This author was in Bahrain when its protests erupted on February 14, 2011. For almost one month, the Al Khalifa monarchial regime was reeling from mortal insecurity.

The protests were mainly led by the majority Shia population against the Sunni self-styled king. Their demands, as far as this author observed, were for a worker-dedicated democracy, not a sectarian Islamic-style revolution. Bahrain’s protests were brutally repressed with the invasion of Saudi troops in mid-March 2011. The Saudi repression had the full backing of the US and Britain since the island state was and is a key military base for those two powers in the geo-strategic Persian Gulf.

Similar protests were unleashed in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the oil kingdom’s Eastern Province where the mainly Shia population have been historically marginalized by the hardline Sunni House of Saud. The protests in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia continue to this day. But Washington and London, along with Western media indifference, have given political cover for the ongoing repression of these protests.

In Yemen, the story is slightly different, in that the protest movement emerging in 2011 actually succeeded in ousting the US-backed regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012. Saleh was sidelined in a stitch-up deal overseen by the US and the Saudis to be replaced by his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The latter was prescribed as a “transition president” but ended up delaying the handover of democratic power that the Yemeni people had demanded in 2011.

No doubt that was part of the cynical US plan to restore the old order. However, the Houthi rebels grew tired of the charade and ousted the lingering Hadi by force of arms in September 2014. The US-backed Saudi war on Yemen that started in March 2015 has ever since been aimed at repressing the Yemeni uprising in order to restore their puppet Hadi.

Regime Change

Libya and Syria represent a very different category of reaction – namely, an opportunistic regime change carried out by Washington, its European NATO allies and regional client regimes. In mid-March 2011, the US, Britain and France exploited a UN Security Council resolution under the pretext of “protecting human rights” to launch a seven-month aerial bombing campaign on Libya. That war crime resulted in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and his murder at the hands of NATO-backed jihadists. Gaddafi had always been an object for Western imperialist hostility. Under the cover of Arab Spring popular revolts, the US and its allies got their chance for regime change in Libya. But seven years on, the regime change has proven to be disastrous for the people of Libya, turning the once socially developed country into a failed state of jihadist-warlord chaos. Cruel poetic justice is that Libya has haunted Europe ever since with a migration crisis owing to NATO’s criminal sabotage of that country and turning the failed state into a gateway for millions of migrants from the African continent.

In Syria, minor protests in mid-March 2011 were hijacked by US and European-backed provocateurs similar to Libya which then turned into a full-blown war. As many as 500,000 people were killed in the nearly seven-year war which was waged by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and Turkey sponsoring jihadist mercenaries, who gravitated to Syria from dozens of countries around the world. The US-led regime-change plot to oust President Bashar Al-Assad failed mainly because Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah intervened with military support for the Syrian state.

However, the announcement this past week by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that American military forces are to expand their presence in Syria shows clearly that Washington’s audacious and criminal regime-change agenda persists.

Conclusion

The Arab Spring events in early 2011 were momentous. But seven years on, the progressive promise of the uprisings has yet to materialize. The recurrence of social protests in Tunisia this week is testament to the unfulfilled promise of democratic liberation for the mass of working people in that country and the wider region. The US and Europe had, and continue to have, a vested interest in maintaining the anti-democratic status quo in most of the region. The custodians of international capital managed to stymie revolution by a combination of restoration and repression. In Libya and Syria, the Western powers used the cover of the Arab Spring for opportunistic regime change with horrendous consequences.

Seven years on, the Arab Spring may seem to have been buried as a genuine popular revolutionary movement. But wherever the mass of people are oppressed by an oligarchic elite, hope for liberation will always spring eternal and is always a potential threat to the oppressors.

The Western powers may have partially succeeded in “managing” the Arab Spring. But the potential for revolt against the Western-backed capitalist order has not gone away. That potential is always there, even for an American or European Spring.

Comment

Readers are advised to check the the following posts, posted in 2012, exposing sectarian”Muslim” Brotherhood who hijacked the so-called “Arab Spring” missed a great chance to turn Arab’s people uprising into a second Arab Islamic revolution against the real ENEMY (Anglozionist Empire), because they thought to govern they have to please the Empire.

The events of the last five years have proved that I was right and on the right track. Moreover, old reader may remember my dispute with brother Daniel Mabsout on Syria, Egypt and the war on terror. Please also check:

Other Related Posts

Media Lies About Fake News

Eric Zuesse

A major new Gallup report that was issued on January 16th headlined “American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy” (it’s issued in conjunction with the Knight Foundation) and it finds that “Internet-only news websites” are the least-trusted of all newsmedia.

54% trusted “Your local newspaper.”

52% trusted “National network news.”

51% trusted “Major national newspapers.”

46% trusted “Cable news.”

38% trusted “News aggregators.”

36% trusted “Internet-only news websites.”

How did you learn that Saddam Hussein was “only six months from developing a [nuclear] weapon”? It was from the U.S. President, and from all of the stenographic ‘news’media, which was all of them, but especially the most-trusted ones: newspapers, TV, radio, and magazines. They enabled George W. Bush to invade and destroy Iraq, and more.

How did you learn that Libya should be invaded? It was from the same ones. They enabled Barack Obama to invade and destroy Libya, and Syria, and more.

How did you learn that dictatorship ended in Ukraine in February 2014’s “Maidan revolution,” instead of that that democracy ended in Ukraine then, and that it was instead a U.S.-engineered coup d’etat which happened there, no authentic ‘revolution’ at all. And this major-media lie thus ‘justified’ and led to the destruction of Ukraine, by U.S. President Obama.

The fake ‘news’ that affected history the most came from newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. But the truth (such as you’ll see documented at those last links, the first of which is to a news-report which was produced by a lone individual from observers on the ground who had uploaded from their cellphones etc.) was available only at “internet-only news websites” — the type of sites that Americans respect the least.

Why do the public trust most the worst liars, the pumpers of the most viciously fake ‘news’? They do it because they’ve been taught to believe the most-successful newsmedia the most.

They’ve been taught that in order to be successful in newsmedia, the newsmedium needs to be reliably truthful, instead of to pump what the billionaires want you to think — to manipulate your mind and warp your view of reality the way they want.

All of those lies came from the owners and advertisers of the U.S. newsmedia and of the U.S. Government (which are the same owners and advertisers), the people who control the ‘best’ (i.e., worst) Government that big-money can buy — and does buy.

The only newsmedia that enable the reader to click onto a link and come directly (or at least indirectly) to allegations’ sources, are online news-sites that have the journalistic integrity to demand their writers to provide the links for all contentious allegations that are being made, so as to enable the reader to verify (or else invalidate — but the reader is doing this; no one is imposing such judgments upon the reader) what the allegation’s source is, and thus to evaluate it on his or her own. TV doesn’t do that. Radio doesn’t do that. Newspapers (even online ones) don’t do that. Magazines (even most of the online ones) don’t do that.

Why don’t they do that? TV, radio, and print media can’t. The bad online media don’t do it, because their owners don’t want to empower their audience; they want to persuade their audience to believe what the owners and the advertisers want them to believe.

That’s the way to success in the news-business: to shape the ‘news’ in order to fool the public in the ways that the owners and advertisers want the public to be fooled. It’s salesmanship; it is PR; and, in America — where it’s often taught in some of the same academic departments, “Communications,” which teach both PR and ‘journalism’ — it is the management of the public’s perceptions, in the ways that the owners and advertisers want.

And the only way to get around it is to click onto links and find out what the real story is. Any merely passive access to ‘news’ is simply an invitation to being fooled, being manipulated by wealthy people’s ulterior motives, which are very private.

This is how America has come to be the way it now is — increasingly private, decreasingly public.

Alastair Crooke to Al-Ahed: CIA, Mossad Stirred Up Iran Protests (Part I)

17-01-2018 | 14:31

Former British diplomat Alastair Crooke sheds light on recent regional and international events in an exclusive interview with Al-Ahed News.

Alastair Crooke

Let’s start with the events in Iran, do you see foreign intelligence hands behind what took place in Iran recently?

I think the Iranian prosecutor has said that Iran has definitively identified at least two hands behind it. One was an American and the other an “Israeli”. One a CIA officer and one a Mossad officer. I don’t say that I have any direct evidence, but I think that on the basis of the pattern and the way in which America has responded to this, it seems highly likely and it follows the pattern of what you would see in these interventions and is almost exactly the same as what we saw in 1953.Then the CIA paid people to smash shops and do violent acts in order to create a certain atmosphere, and I think it is certainly quite plausible the claims of Iran that indeed it was orchestrated from outside.

After what you just said, do you think that the strategy which will be pursued by the Trump administration – because of its anti-Iranian doctrine – will continue to be stirring riots or are we headed towards something bigger, possibly war?

Well first of all I think there are two things we have to acknowledge beforehand. The first one was that these protests in no way succeeded. What I mean is that it didn’t stimulate support and it didn’t generate a popular reaction at all. They were very limited, there were limited numbers. The pro-violent demonstrators were really quite insignificant in numbers in a country the size of 80 million people. The second thing we have to say is that the conditions from 2009 are completely different from what they are today. In 2009 there was a segment of the population, particularly in Tehran, who were surprised by the election outcome and there was a massive vote in northern Tehran for Moussawi as the president, and they couldn’t understand how Ahmadinejad had won the election and believed it had been stolen. And this was a cause, there was a real cause therefore.

So first of all it’s different from that period in 2009, but the other thing that is clear is that there was not support when the United States tried to take this and enlarge this at the United Nations in a resolution. Only two states supported the United States and the majority, including the European states, did not support it, and indeed even those who were partners of the US like France, criticized the American ambassador Nikki Haley saying we’re wasting the UN’s time and this is not appropriate to the UN and the UN is charged with dealing with threats to international stability and this is clearly not that.

So, I don’t think there was much support for this, and very clearly the Europeans have made a statement saying we want to keep the JCPOA and this (the recent developments in Iran) have got nothing to do with it. This may pull the Americans back because in the past they have relied heavily on being able to count on almost automatic support.

There are two things, I would say, which are that the domestic dynamics in the US mean that Americans may need a crisis – maybe a crisis or maybe a war – in order to resolve the polarization within its society and also to bring about the inflow of dollars that are necessary to finance its deficit.

So possibly we will see this escalate, the timing is such that North Korea might come to a head before Iran. But certainly there is this feeling in the white house amongst those who surround the president. There are strong differing views, but those who happen to be close to the president are in favor of escalation against Iran.

Since Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, has spoken about dramatically increasing the covert operations, that’s why I ask if it’s going to be and escalated CIA activity instead of all-out military warfare?

Yes, I think it will be escalated proxy war: CIA-covert Mossad-covert Saudi-covert operations against Iran, but also it will be financial war. And of course what happened when America decided to escalate against Iran in 2014 was essentially the sanctions: removing them from the Western banking system and the financial system.

So many of these protests and particularly their violent character was probably more likely designed to give a human’s rights pretext that would then allow sanctions, and it is the sanctions that they are looking to. The American narrative is that when the international financial system was closed to Iran, then Iranians went out of the banks and went into the black market in a desperate bid to buy dollars and that created a huge inflation in Iran and the inflation and the economic stress might have led to the collapse of Iran if it had not been for Obama who rescued them.

This is the narrative of the right – that Obama rescued them (Iran) from that by starting the JCPOA. So, I think the natural conclusion is that America will be likely to try to go back to the 2014 experience and use sanctions principally, of course to try and provoke Iran as well into what they would call human rights abuses by inciting violence within Iran, and of course when you have violent rioting security forces have to ultimately use some form of effective enforcement in order to stop the rioting and that could be portrayed as human rights abuses even if they are no different to the enforcement procedures that you see happening all the time in Europe at the moment.

How would you describe “Trump’s Middle East doctrine” if one can put it as such?

Trump’s Middle East doctrine. You’re right to say can you describe it as a doctrine. It is not exactly a doctrine, but it is essentially in one respect to do the opposite to what Obama did and in that way he has gone back to the old neocon formula which has been to embrace the Gulf states and the monarchs and the emirs of the region, and to categorize not only Iran but Hezbollah the Hashed Al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Units] and others as terrorist movements. In other words, to embrace entirely a particular regional viewpoint which sees the Sunnis as victims and the Shiite as the oppressors and the terrorists.

Before the elections Marco Rubio was labelled as the neocon and there were many neocons who were against Trump, people like Elliot Cohen, what made him shift to become or as you say embrace the neocon agenda?

We don’t know exactly why he went in this direction. There are a number of possible explanations, one is he has a very close connection to “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through his (Trump’s) son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has been the source of much of these problems in the Middle East. Through Kushner, Trump has had a huge input from Netanyahu who is well known, as well as his father before him, for hostility to Iran.

But I think also the White House has this hostility to Iran because particular officers around Trump like Mattis and Kelly and others, were in Iraq during 2003 and during that time have come into contact with “militia” who opposed them and who killed American soldiers, and they attribute all of that to Iran and do not conceive or do not confess that there was an Iraqi resistance and it was not something that was entirely an Iranian exercise.

Iran might have been partly involved but what you were dealing with was direct Iraqi resistance, just as we are seeing that the Iraqis have resisted against “ISIS” not on behalf of Iran or not mobilizing as Hashed because of Iran, but because of what has happened: the murder and killing of their sons and husbands in Mosul and the areas around Mosul.

But in Washington it’s understood that all of this mobilization in Iraq has nothing to do with the Martyrs going into the Mosque every day, Iraqi martyrs …Iraqi martyrs of the war against “ISIS”- (in Washington) they think it’s Iran. And they think that what happened in Iraq – the American failure in Iraq – was caused by Iran.

Do they really have this perception that Iran is behind it?

Yes, they have that perception and it’s fed to them and it is encouraged by the “Israelis” and by Saudi Arabia. Mohammad Bin Salman [MBS] is always saying that.

Rex Tillerson’s call on the Hashed Al-Shaabi actually gives credence to what you said-when he said the Hashed must go home.

Exactly. They believe this. A few days ago, the famous Washington Post correspondent David Ignatius rang up the 28-year-old ambassador in Washington for information about Iran. This is the extent of Washington’s understanding of the problem. So it’s not clear, is it deliberate? – Because in America there’s no constituency that views Iran favorably. The American military doesn’t, Trump’s base doesn’t, and they have all been conditioned to be hostile. So Iran is an easy target in the terms that no one will oppose you. It’s not an easy target in terms of doing military action, quite the reverse. Iran would present either America or “Israel” or both of them together with a formidable resistance to any attack on it. And I don’t think that either “Israel” or America would be anxious to put boots on the ground and to have a land war against Iran. So Iran is militarily strong, but it is weak in that it’s a very easy target to build up popular hostility and portray it as a terrorist state.

Source: Al-Ahed News

Obama called Libya a Sh*t Show, Trump called Haiti a Sh*thole, but the US ensured Both are True

Source

U.S. foreign policy decisions in both Haiti and Libya have been far cruder than the comments made by Presidents Trump and Obama

By Rachel Blevins | The Free Thought Project | January 12, 2018
haiti

The mainstream media is horrified by the idea that President Trump would refer to Haiti as a “Shithole” country—but they seem to have forgotten that President Obama referred to Libya as a “Shit show,” and that the United States has had a hand in ensuring that both countries continue to be plagued with problems.

The media launched a firestorm after a report from the Washington Post claimed that during a meeting with lawmakers in the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” 

The comment was reportedly in reference to a discussion on “protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.” Trump became “frustrated” with the lawmakers in the meeting, and proposed that the U.S. should prioritize immigrants from Norway, over countries such as Haiti, according to the report.

While mainstream media outlets were quick to criticize Trump’s comments on Haiti, they were not nearly as offended when reports claimed that Obama referred to the state of affairs in Libya after Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown as a “shit show” in March 2016

“We actually executed this plan as well as I could have expected: We got a UN mandate, we built a coalition, it cost us $1 billon—which, when it comes to military operations, is very cheap. We averted large-scale civilian casualties, we prevented what almost surely would have been a prolonged and bloody civil conflict,” Obama said. “And despite all that, Libya is a mess.”

At the time, Obama referred to the 2011 Arab Spring revolt as “a successful military intervention to aid rebels,” and claimed that it was only because of “the inaction of America’s European allies” that Libya turned into a “shit show.

However, it should be noted that just one month later, Obama admitted that invading Libya and overthrowing Gaddafi was the “worst mistake of his presidency.”

In the case of Haiti, while several people have come out in support, claiming that it is not the “shithole” Trump apparently claimed it is, the U.S. has had a history of involvement in the country that is even cruder than the term used by the current president.

After a catastrophic magnitude 7 earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, the Clinton Foundation went right to work raising more than $30 million for relief projects. But local residents claimed, “the projects never fully materialized while others point to luxury hotels that were allegedly constructed with relief funds in order to benefit the country’s ruling establishment.”

A report from 2015 noted that each year, the United States gives the United Nations more than $8 billion, and $3 billion of it is used to fund the group’s “peacekeeping budget.” However, the UN’s famous “Peacekeepers” have only created more devastation in Haiti, and even after they were exposed running a massive child sex ring, not one person was jailed. As The Free Thought Project reported in April 2017:

“After Haiti’s downfall from a tropical paradise resort destination, hundreds of children were left homeless and many of them without parents. This easy prey then attracted the world’s most vile predators. More than 300 children have come forward in the last decade with these claims and only a tiny fraction of those accused have ever faced any form of accountability.

One of the reasons these sickos aren’t charged is because when it comes to keeping its peacekeepers in check, the UN passes the buck. So, as reports of sexual abuse and child exploitation pour into the UN (2,000 over just the last 12 years), the countries sending troops either remain ignorant or deliberately refuse to hold these people accountable.”

The United States also has troops stationed in 53 out of 54 African nations, and after four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger in October, it left some asking the question, “Since when is the U.S. at War with Africa?”

Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul noted that this appears to be one more war the U.S. is fighting without approval from Congress—and it is a war that includes the presence of thousands of U.S. troops that occupy key points throughout Africa.

“Now, when the Pentagon and the administration have had some pressure on them, you know, instead of having 100 people there, they’re admitting we have 6,000 people in Africa, and they even put a number on it. They say ‘we have some military in 53 of the 54 countries in Africa.’ That’s pretty expansive,” Paul said.

 

%d bloggers like this: