When US and Israel gassed civilians

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As Trump administration and Zionist regime continue to act outraged over Syrian army and Nazi army gassing their own innocent people – despite the fact that no evidence exists to support their ridiculous claims. They’re ignoring the fact that both US administration and the Zionist regime had used chemical weapons on their own citizens as well as on civilians in foreign lands – crimes which have been documented.

CIA declassified 1980s documents reveal that during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. US intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent supplied by the US and UK to Saddam regime.

According to FBI files made public recently, the government agency used poisonous gas at the WACO compound of the so-called Davidians Seventh Day Adventists in February 1992 – killing 86 people including 17 children.

The Jewish Army has tested chemical weapons on Palestinian civilians including children and people living in the neighboring countries. The Jewish-controlled media suppressed 2009 UN report which had accused Jewish army of conducting illegal white phosphorous missile attacks on unarmed civilians, including a UN relief compound set up to shelter and provide medical attention to Palestinian refugees during Israel’s war on Gaza Strip in 2008-09.

In the 1960s, the Zionist regime murdered 100,000 Shepardic Jews used as guinea pigs for testing affects of nuclear radiation.

During both World Wars, the Western countries deployed chemical weapons on large scale. United States used chemical weapons on Iraqi civilian during the 1991 and 2003 invasions. Iraqi forces used Western-supplied mustard gas and nerve agents against Kurdish residents of Halabja, in Northern Iraq, in 1988.

During Vietnam War (1955-73) American forces not only helped South Vietnam to rain down chemical weapons on civilians and combatants alike but is thought to have dumped 20m gallons of chemicals itself.

America killed hundreds of thousands Japanese civilians with Napalm from 1944-1945.

St Louis, Missouri, is a predominantly poor and black neighborhood. For many years it was used by the US Army Chemical Corps for secret experiments to see how chemical particles dispersed in the atmosphere.

The US-NATO forces are accused of using poisonous gas against Taliban fighters in 2009.

Saudi Arabia is using the US-supplied white phosphorus against civilians in Yemen right now.

Tear gas is internationally recognized as a chemical weapon. But US police have used it to suppress protests for decades. It was used on Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2011. Recently, though the vast majority of protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrations in Standing Rock, North Dakota, were peaceful, law enforcement sprayed them with the chemical weapon, anyway.

It’s worth noting the US renounced chemical weapons in 1969 and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention in 1975.

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US Has Killed More Than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War II

Global Research, April 01, 2017
Popular Resistance 27 November 2015

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First published in November 2015

After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated “war on terrorism.”

But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.

The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial.

US Military © AFP 2015/ Noorullah Shirzada / FILES

This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.

The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.

But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.

The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.

To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation. They had to make decisions about other things such as finding lost loved ones, whether to become refugees, and how to survive.

And the pain and anger is spread even further. Some authorities estimate that there are as many as 10 wounded for each person who dies in wars. Their visible, continued suffering is a continuing reminder to their fellow countrymen.

It is essential that Americans learn more about this topic so that they can begin to understand the pain that others feel. Someone once observed that the Germans during WWII “chose not to know.” We cannot allow history to say this about our country. The question posed above was “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” The answer is: possibly 10,000.

Comments on Gathering These Numbers

Generally speaking, the much smaller number of Americans who have died is not included in this study, not because they are not important, but because this report focuses on the impact of U.S. actions on its adversaries.

An accurate count of the number of deaths is not easy to achieve, and this collection of data was undertaken with full realization of this fact. These estimates will probably be revised later either upward or downward by the reader and the author. But undoubtedly the total will remain in the millions.

The difficulty of gathering reliable information is shown by two estimates in this context. For several years I heard statements on radio that three million Cambodians had been killed under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. However, in recent years the figure I heard was one million. Another example is that the number of persons estimated to have died in Iraq due to sanctions after the first U.S. Iraq War was over 1 million, but in more recent years, based on a more recent study, a lower estimate of around a half a million has emerged.

Often information about wars is revealed only much later when someone decides to speak out, when more secret information is revealed due to persistent efforts of a few, or after special congressional committees make reports

Both victorious and defeated nations may have their own reasons for underreporting the number of deaths. Further, in recent wars involving the United States it was not uncommon to hear statements like “we do not do body counts” and references to “collateral damage” as a euphemism for dead and wounded. Life is cheap for some, especially those who manipulate people on the battlefield as if it were a chessboard.

To say that it is difficult to get exact figures is not to say that we should not try. Effort was needed to arrive at the figures of 6six million Jews killed during WWI, but knowledge of that number now is widespread and it has fueled the determination to prevent future holocausts. That struggle continues.

The author can be contacted at jlucas511@woh.rr.com

37 VICTIM NATIONS

Afghanistan

The U.S. is responsible for between 1 and 1.8 million deaths during the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, by luring the Soviet Union into invading that nation. (1,2,3,4)

The Soviet Union had friendly relations its neighbor, Afghanistan, which had a secular government. The Soviets feared that if that government became fundamentalist this change could spill over into the Soviet Union.

In 1998, in an interview with the Parisian publication Le Novel Observateur, Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to President Carter, admitted that he had been responsible for instigating aid to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan which caused the Soviets to invade. In his own words:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. (5,1,6)

Brzezinski justified laying this trap, since he said it gave the Soviet Union its Vietnam and caused the breakup of the Soviet Union. “Regret what?” he said. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?” (7)

The CIA spent 5 to 6 billion dollars on its operation in Afghanistan in order to bleed the Soviet Union. (1,2,3) When that 10-year war ended over a million people were dead and Afghan heroin had captured 60% of the U.S. market. (4)

The U.S. has been responsible directly for about 12,000 deaths in Afghanistan many of which resulted from bombing in retaliation for the attacks on U.S. property on September 11, 2001. Subsequently U.S. troops invaded that country. (4)

Angola

An indigenous armed struggle against Portuguese rule in Angola began in 1961. In 1977 an Angolan government was recognized by the U.N., although the U.S. was one of the few nations that opposed this action. In 1986 Uncle Sam approved material assistance to UNITA, a group that was trying to overthrow the government. Even today this struggle, which has involved many nations at times, continues.

U.S. intervention was justified to the U.S. public as a reaction to the intervention of 50,000 Cuban troops in Angola. However, according to Piero Gleijeses, a history professor at Johns Hopkins University the reverse was true. The Cuban intervention came as a result of a CIA – financed covert invasion via neighboring Zaire and a drive on the Angolan capital by the U.S. ally, South Africa1,2,3). (Three estimates of deaths range from 300,000 to 750,000 (4,5,6)

Argentina: See South America: Operation Condor

Bangladesh: See Pakistan

Bolivia

Hugo Banzer was the leader of a repressive regime in Bolivia in the 1970s. The U.S. had been disturbed when a previous leader nationalized the tin mines and distributed land to Indian peasants. Later that action to benefit the poor was reversed.

Banzer, who was trained at the U.S.-operated School of the Americas in Panama and later at Fort Hood, Texas, came back from exile frequently to confer with U.S. Air Force Major Robert Lundin. In 1971 he staged a successful coup with the help of the U.S. Air Force radio system. In the first years of his dictatorship he received twice as military assistance from the U.S. as in the previous dozen years together.

A few years later the Catholic Church denounced an army massacre of striking tin workers in 1975, Banzer, assisted by information provided by the CIA, was able to target and locate leftist priests and nuns. His anti-clergy strategy, known as the Banzer Plan, was adopted by nine other Latin American dictatorships in 1977. (2) He has been accused of being responsible for 400 deaths during his tenure. (1)

Also see: See South America: Operation Condor

Brazil: See South America: Operation Condor

Cambodia

U.S. bombing of Cambodia had already been underway for several years in secret under the Johnson and Nixon administrations, but when President Nixon openly began bombing in preparation for a land assault on Cambodia it caused major protests in the U.S. against the Vietnam War.

There is little awareness today of the scope of these bombings and the human suffering involved.

Immense damage was done to the villages and cities of Cambodia, causing refugees and internal displacement of the population. This unstable situation enabled the Khmer Rouge, a small political party led by Pol Pot, to assume power. Over the years we have repeatedly heard about the Khmer Rouge’s role in the deaths of millions in Cambodia without any acknowledgement being made this mass killing was made possible by the the U.S. bombing of that nation which destabilized it by death , injuries, hunger and dislocation of its people.

So the U.S. bears responsibility not only for the deaths from the bombings but also for those resulting from the activities of the Khmer Rouge – a total of about 2.5 million people. Even when Vietnam latrer invaded Cambodia in 1979 the CIA was still supporting the Khmer Rouge. (1,2,3)

Also see Vietnam

Chad

An estimated 40,000 people in Chad were killed and as many as 200,000 tortured by a government, headed by Hissen Habre who was brought to power in June, 1982 with the help of CIA money and arms. He remained in power for eight years. (1,2)

Human Rights Watch claimed that Habre was responsible for thousands of killings. In 2001, while living in Senegal, he was almost tried for crimes committed by him in Chad. However, a court there blocked these proceedings. Then human rights people decided to pursue the case in Belgium, because some of Habre’s torture victims lived there. The U.S., in June 2003, told Belgium that it risked losing its status as host to NATO’s headquarters if it allowed such a legal proceeding to happen. So the result was that the law that allowed victims to file complaints in Belgium for atrocities committed abroad was repealed. However, two months later a new law was passed which made special provision for the continuation of the case against Habre.

Chile

The CIA intervened in Chile’s 1958 and 1964 elections. In 1970 a socialist candidate, Salvador Allende, was elected president. The CIA wanted to incite a military coup to prevent his inauguration, but the Chilean army’s chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, opposed this action. The CIA then planned, along with some people in the Chilean military, to assassinate Schneider. This plot failed and Allende took office. President Nixon was not to be dissuaded and he ordered the CIA to create a coup climate: “Make the economy scream,” he said.

What followed were guerilla warfare, arson, bombing, sabotage and terror. ITT and other U.S. corporations with Chilean holdings sponsored demonstrations and strikes. Finally, on September 11, 1973 Allende died either by suicide or by assassination. At that time Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State, said the following regarding Chile: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” (1)

During 17 years of terror under Allende’s successor, General Augusto Pinochet, an estimated 3,000 Chileans were killed and many others were tortured or “disappeared.” (2,3,4,5)

Also see South America: Operation Condor

China An estimated 900,000 Chinese died during the Korean War.

For more information, See: Korea.

Colombia

One estimate is that 67,000 deaths have occurred from the 1960s to recent years due to support by the U.S. of Colombian state terrorism. (1)

According to a 1994 Amnesty International report, more than 20,000 people were killed for political reasons in Colombia since 1986, mainly by the military and its paramilitary allies. Amnesty alleged that “U.S.- supplied military equipment, ostensibly delivered for use against narcotics traffickers, was being used by the Colombian military to commit abuses in the name of “counter-insurgency.” (2) In 2002 another estimate was made that 3,500 people die each year in a U.S. funded civilian war in Colombia. (3)

In 1996 Human Rights Watch issued a report “Assassination Squads in Colombia” which revealed that CIA agents went to Colombia in 1991 to help the military to train undercover agents in anti-subversive activity. (4,5)

In recent years the U.S. government has provided assistance under Plan Colombia. The Colombian government has been charged with using most of the funds for destruction of crops and support of the paramilitary group.

Cuba

In the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on April 18, 1961 which ended after 3 days, 114 of the invading force were killed, 1,189 were taken prisoners and a few escaped to waiting U.S. ships. (1) The captured exiles were quickly tried, a few executed and the rest sentenced to thirty years in prison for treason. These exiles were released after 20 months in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine.

Some people estimate that the number of Cuban forces killed range from 2,000, to 4,000. Another estimate is that 1,800 Cuban forces were killed on an open highway by napalm. This appears to have been a precursor of the Highway of Death in Iraq in 1991 when U.S. forces mercilessly annihilated large numbers of Iraqis on a highway. (2)

Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)

The beginning of massive violence was instigated in this country in 1879 by its colonizer King Leopold of Belgium. The Congo’s population was reduced by 10 million people over a period of 20 years which some have referred to as “Leopold’s Genocide.” (1) The U.S. has been responsible for about a third of that many deaths in that nation in the more recent past. (2)

In 1960 the Congo became an independent state with Patrice Lumumba being its first prime minister. He was assassinated with the CIA being implicated, although some say that his murder was actually the responsibility of Belgium. (3) But nevertheless, the CIA was planning to kill him. (4) Before his assassination the CIA sent one of its scientists, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, to the Congo carrying “lethal biological material” intended for use in Lumumba’s assassination. This virus would have been able to produce a fatal disease indigenous to the Congo area of Africa and was transported in a diplomatic pouch.

Much of the time in recent years there has been a civil war within the Democratic Republic of Congo, fomented often by the U.S. and other nations, including neighboring nations. (5)

In April 1977, Newsday reported that the CIA was secretly supporting efforts to recruit several hundred mercenaries in the U.S. and Great Britain to serve alongside Zaire’s army. In that same year the U.S. provided $15 million of military supplies to the Zairian President Mobutu to fend off an invasion by a rival group operating in Angola. (6)

In May 1979, the U.S. sent several million dollars of aid to Mobutu who had been condemned 3 months earlier by the U.S. State Department for human rights violations. (7) During the Cold War the U.S. funneled over 300 million dollars in weapons into Zaire (8,9) $100 million in military training was provided to him. (2) In 2001 it was reported to a U.S. congressional committee that American companies, including one linked to former President George Bush Sr., were stoking the Congo for monetary gains. There is an international battle over resources in that country with over 125 companies and individuals being implicated. One of these substances is coltan, which is used in the manufacture of cell phones. (2)

Dominican Republic

In 1962, Juan Bosch became president of the Dominican Republic. He advocated such programs as land reform and public works programs. This did not bode well for his future relationship with the U.S., and after only 7 months in office, he was deposed by a CIA coup. In 1965 when a group was trying to reinstall him to his office President Johnson said, “This Bosch is no good.” Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann replied “He’s no good at all. If we don’t get a decent government in there, Mr. President, we get another Bosch. It’s just going to be another sinkhole.” Two days later a U.S. invasion started and 22,000 soldiers and marines entered the Dominican Republic and about 3,000 Dominicans died during the fighting. The cover excuse for doing this was that this was done to protect foreigners there. (1,2,3,4)

East Timor

In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. This incursion was launched the day after U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia where they had given President Suharto permission to use American arms, which under U.S. law, could not be used for aggression. Daniel Moynihan, U.S. ambassador to the UN. said that the U.S. wanted “things to turn out as they did.” (1,2) The result was an estimated 200,000 dead out of a population of 700,000. (1,2)

Sixteen years later, on November 12, 1991, two hundred and seventeen East Timorese protesters in Dili, many of them children, marching from a memorial service, were gunned down by Indonesian Kopassus shock troops who were headed by U.S.- trained commanders Prabowo Subianto (son in law of General Suharto) and Kiki Syahnakri. Trucks were seen dumping bodies into the sea. (5)

El Salvador

The civil war from 1981 to1992 in El Salvador was financed by $6 billion in U.S. aid given to support the government in its efforts to crush a movement to bring social justice to the people in that nation of about 8 million people. (1)
During that time U.S. military advisers demonstrated methods of torture on teenage prisoners, according to an interview with a deserter from the Salvadoran army published in the New York Times. This former member of the Salvadoran National Guard testified that he was a member of a squad of twelve who found people who they were told were guerillas and tortured them. Part of the training he received was in torture at a U.S. location somewhere in Panama. (2)

About 900 villagers were massacred in the village of El Mozote in 1981. Ten of the twelve El Salvadoran government soldiers cited as participating in this act were graduates of the School of the Americas operated by the U.S. (2) They were only a small part of about 75,000 people killed during that civil war. (1)

According to a 1993 United Nations’ Truth Commission report, over 96 % of the human rights violations carried out during the war were committed by the Salvadoran army or the paramilitary deaths squads associated with the Salvadoran army. (3)

That commission linked graduates of the School of the Americas to many notorious killings. The New York Times and the Washington Post followed with scathing articles. In 1996, the White House Oversight Board issued a report that supported many of the charges against that school made by Rev. Roy Bourgeois, head of the School of the Americas Watch. That same year the Pentagon released formerly classified reports indicating that graduates were trained in killing, extortion, and physical abuse for interrogations, false imprisonment and other methods of control. (4)

Grenada

The CIA began to destabilize Grenada in 1979 after Maurice Bishop became president, partially because he refused to join the quarantine of Cuba. The campaign against him resulted in his overthrow and the invasion by the U.S. of Grenada on October 25, 1983, with about 277 people dying. (1,2) It was fallaciously charged that an airport was being built in Grenada that could be used to attack the U.S. and it was also erroneously claimed that the lives of American medical students on that island were in danger.

Guatemala

In 1951 Jacobo Arbenz was elected president of Guatemala. He appropriated some unused land operated by the United Fruit Company and compensated the company. (1,2) That company then started a campaign to paint Arbenz as a tool of an international conspiracy and hired about 300 mercenaries who sabotaged oil supplies and trains. (3) In 1954 a CIA-orchestrated coup put him out of office and he left the country. During the next 40 years various regimes killed thousands of people.

In 1999 the Washington Post reported that an Historical Clarification Commission concluded that over 200,000 people had been killed during the civil war and that there had been 42,000 individual human rights violations, 29,000 of them fatal, 92% of which were committed by the army. The commission further reported that the U.S. government and the CIA had pressured the Guatemalan government into suppressing the guerilla movement by ruthless means. (4,5)

According to the Commission between 1981 and 1983 the military government of Guatemala – financed and supported by the U.S. government – destroyed some four hundred Mayan villages in a campaign of genocide. (4)
One of the documents made available to the commission was a 1966 memo from a U.S. State Department official, which described how a “safe house” was set up in the palace for use by Guatemalan security agents and their U.S. contacts. This was the headquarters for the Guatemalan “dirty war” against leftist insurgents and suspected allies. (2)

Haiti

From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was ruled by Papa Doc Duvalier and later by his son. During that time their private terrorist force killed between 30,000 and 100,000 people. (1) Millions of dollars in CIA subsidies flowed into Haiti during that time, mainly to suppress popular movements, (2) although most American military aid to the country, according to William Blum, was covertly channeled through Israel.

Reportedly, governments after the second Duvalier reign were responsible for an even larger number of fatalities, and the influence on Haiti by the U.S., particularly through the CIA, has continued. The U.S. later forced out of the presidential office a black Catholic priest, Jean Bertrand Aristide, even though he was elected with 67% of the vote in the early 1990s. The wealthy white class in Haiti opposed him in this predominantly black nation, because of his social programs designed to help the poor and end corruption. (3) Later he returned to office, but that did not last long. He was forced by the U.S. to leave office and now lives in South Africa.

Honduras

In the 1980s the CIA supported Battalion 316 in Honduras, which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of its citizens. Torture equipment and manuals were provided by CIA Argentinean personnel who worked with U.S. agents in the training of the Hondurans. Approximately 400 people lost their lives. (1,2) This is another instance of torture in the world sponsored by the U.S. (3)

Battalion 316 used shock and suffocation devices in interrogations in the 1980s. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves. Declassified documents and other sources show that the CIA and the U.S. Embassy knew of numerous crimes, including murder and torture, yet continued to support Battalion 316 and collaborate with its leaders.” (4)

Honduras was a staging ground in the early 1980s for the Contras who were trying to overthrow the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. John D. Negroponte, currently Deputy Secretary of State, was our embassador when our military aid to Honduras rose from $4 million to $77.4 million per year. Negroponte denies having had any knowledge of these atrocities during his tenure. However, his predecessor in that position, Jack R. Binns, had reported in 1981 that he was deeply concerned at increasing evidence of officially sponsored/sanctioned assassinations. (5)

Hungary

In 1956 Hungary, a Soviet satellite nation, revolted against the Soviet Union. During the uprising broadcasts by the U.S. Radio Free Europe into Hungary sometimes took on an aggressive tone, encouraging the rebels to believe that Western support was imminent, and even giving tactical advice on how to fight the Soviets. Their hopes were raised then dashed by these broadcasts which cast an even darker shadow over the Hungarian tragedy.“ (1) The Hungarian and Soviet death toll was about 3,000 and the revolution was crushed. (2)

Indonesia

In 1965, in Indonesia, a coup replaced General Sukarno with General Suharto as leader. The U.S. played a role in that change of government. Robert Martens,a former officer in the U.S. embassy in Indonesia, described how U.S. diplomats and CIA officers provided up to 5,000 names to Indonesian Army death squads in 1965 and checked them off as they were killed or captured. Martens admitted that “I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.” (1,2,3) Estimates of the number of deaths range from 500,000 to 3 million. (4,5,6)
From 1993 to 1997 the U.S. provided Jakarta with almost $400 million in economic aid and sold tens of million of dollars of weaponry to that nation. U.S. Green Berets provided training for the Indonesia’s elite force which was responsible for many of atrocities in East Timor. (3)

Iran

Iran lost about 262,000 people in the war against Iraq from 1980 to 1988. (1) See Iraq for more information about that war.

On July 3, 1988 the U.S. Navy ship, the Vincennes, was operating withing Iranian waters providing military support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. During a battle against Iranian gunboats it fired two missiles at an Iranian Airbus, which was on a routine civilian flight. All 290 civilian on board were killed. (2,3)

Iraq

A. The Iraq-Iran War lasted from 1980 to 1988 and during that time there were about 105,000 Iraqi deaths according to the Washington Post. (1,2)

According to Howard Teicher, a former National Security Council official, the U.S. provided the Iraqis with billions of dollars in credits and helped Iraq in other ways such as making sure that Iraq had military equipment including biological agents This surge of help for Iraq came as Iran seemed to be winning the war and was close to Basra. (1) The U.S. was not adverse to both countries weakening themselves as a result of the war, but it did not appear to want either side to win.

B: The U.S.-Iraq War and the Sanctions Against Iraq extended from 1990 to 2003.

Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and the U.S. responded by demanding that Iraq withdraw, and four days later the U.N. levied international sanctions.

Iraq had reason to believe that the U.S. would not object to its invasion of Kuwait, since U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had told Saddam Hussein that the U.S. had no position on the dispute that his country had with Kuwait. So the green light was given, but it seemed to be more of a trap.

As a part of the public relations strategy to energize the American public into supporting an attack against Iraq the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. falsely testified before Congress that Iraqi troops were pulling the plugs on incubators in Iraqi hospitals. (1) This contributed to a war frenzy in the U.S.

The U.S. air assault started on January 17, 1991 and it lasted for 42 days. On February 23 President H.W. Bush ordered the U.S. ground assault to begin. The invasion took place with much needless killing of Iraqi military personnel. Only about 150 American military personnel died compared to about 200,000 Iraqis. Some of the Iraqis were mercilessly killed on the Highway of Death and about 400 tons of depleted uranium were left in that nation by the U.S. (2,3)

Other deaths later were from delayed deaths due to wounds, civilians killed, those killed by effects of damage of the Iraqi water treatment facilities and other aspects of its damaged infrastructure and by the sanctions.

In 1995 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. reported that U.N sanctions against on Iraq had been responsible for the deaths of more than 560,000 children since 1990. (5)

Leslie Stahl on the TV Program 60 Minutes in 1996 mentioned to Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think is worth it.” (4)

In 1999 UNICEF reported that 5,000 children died each month as a result of the sanction and the War with the U.S. (6)

Richard Garfield later estimated that the more likely number of excess deaths among children under five years of age from 1990 through March 1998 to be 227,000 – double those of the previous decade. Garfield estimated that the numbers to be 350,000 through 2000 (based in part on result of another study). (7)

However, there are limitations to his study. His figures were not updated for the remaining three years of the sanctions. Also, two other somewhat vulnerable age groups were not studied: young children above the age of five and the elderly.

All of these reports were considerable indicators of massive numbers of deaths which the U.S. was aware of and which was a part of its strategy to cause enough pain and terror among Iraqis to cause them to revolt against their government.

C: Iraq-U.S. War started in 2003 and has not been concluded

Just as the end of the Cold War emboldened the U.S. to attack Iraq in 1991 so the attacks of September 11, 2001 laid the groundwork for the U.S. to launch the current war against Iraq. While in some other wars we learned much later about the lies that were used to deceive us, some of the deceptions that were used to get us into this war became known almost as soon as they were uttered. There were no weapons of mass destruction, we were not trying to promote democracy, we were not trying to save the Iraqi people from a dictator.

The total number of Iraqi deaths that are a result of our current Iraq against Iraq War is 654,000, of which 600,000 are attributed to acts of violence, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. (1,2)

Since these deaths are a result of the U.S. invasion, our leaders must accept responsibility for them.

Israeli-Palestinian War

About 100,000 to 200,000 Israelis and Palestinians, but mostly the latter, have been killed in the struggle between those two groups. The U.S. has been a strong supporter of Israel, providing billions of dollars in aid and supporting its possession of nuclear weapons. (1,2)

Korea, North and South

The Korean War started in 1950 when, according to the Truman administration, North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25th. However, since then another explanation has emerged which maintains that the attack by North Korea came during a time of many border incursions by both sides. South Korea initiated most of the border clashes with North Korea beginning in 1948. The North Korea government claimed that by 1949 the South Korean army committed 2,617 armed incursions. It was a myth that the Soviet Union ordered North Korea to attack South Korea. (1,2)

The U.S. started its attack before a U.N. resolution was passed supporting our nation’s intervention, and our military forces added to the mayhem in the war by introducing the use of napalm. (1)

During the war the bulk of the deaths were South Koreans, North Koreans and Chinese. Four sources give deaths counts ranging from 1.8 to 4.5 million. (3,4,5,6) Another source gives a total of 4 million but does not identify to which nation they belonged. (7)

John H. Kim, a U.S. Army veteran and the Chair of the Korea Committee of Veterans for Peace, stated in an article that during the Korean War “the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy were directly involved in the killing of about three million civilians – both South and North Koreans – at many locations throughout Korea…It is reported that the U.S. dropped some 650,000 tons of bombs, including 43,000 tons of napalm bombs, during the Korean War.” It is presumed that this total does not include Chinese casualties.

Another source states a total of about 500,000 who were Koreans and presumably only military. (8,9)

Laos

From 1965 to 1973 during the Vietnam War the U.S. dropped over two million tons of bombs on Laos – more than was dropped in WWII by both sides. Over a quarter of the population became refugees. This was later called a “secret war,” since it occurred at the same time as the Vietnam War, but got little press. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Branfman make the only estimate that I am aware of , stating that hundreds of thousands died. This can be interpeted to mean that at least 200,000 died. (1,2,3)

U.S. military intervention in Laos actually began much earlier. A civil war started in the 1950s when the U.S. recruited a force of 40,000 Laotians to oppose the Pathet Lao, a leftist political party that ultimately took power in 1975.

Also See Vietnam

Nepal

Between 8,000 and 12,000 Nepalese have died since a civil war broke out in 1996. The death rate, according to Foreign Policy in Focus, sharply increased with the arrival of almost 8,400 American M-16 submachine guns (950 rpm) and U.S. advisers. Nepal is 85 percent rural and badly in need of land reform. Not surprisingly 42 % of its people live below the poverty level. (1,2)

In 2002, after another civil war erupted, President George W. Bush pushed a bill through Congress authorizing $20 million in military aid to the Nepalese government. (3)

Nicaragua

In 1981 the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza government in Nicaragua, (1) and until 1990 about 25,000 Nicaraguans were killed in an armed struggle between the Sandinista government and Contra rebels who were formed from the remnants of Somoza’s national government. The use of assassination manuals by the Contras surfaced in 1984. (2,3)

The U.S. supported the victorious government regime by providing covert military aid to the Contras (anti-communist guerillas) starting in November, 1981. But when Congress discovered that the CIA had supervised acts of sabotage in Nicaragua without notifying Congress, it passed the Boland Amendment in 1983 which prohibited the CIA, Defense Department and any other government agency from providing any further covert military assistance. (4)

But ways were found to get around this prohibition. The National Security Council, which was not explicitly covered by the law, raised private and foreign funds for the Contras. In addition, arms were sold to Iran and the proceeds were diverted from those sales to the Contras engaged in the insurgency against the Sandinista government. (5) Finally, the Sandinistas were voted out of office in 1990 by voters who thought that a change in leadership would placate the U.S., which was causing misery to Nicaragua’s citizenry by it support of the Contras.

Pakistan

In 1971 West Pakistan, an authoritarian state supported by the U.S., brutally invaded East Pakistan. The war ended after India, whose economy was staggering after admitting about 10 million refugees, invaded East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and defeated the West Pakistani forces. (1)

Millions of people died during that brutal struggle, referred to by some as genocide committed by West Pakistan. That country had long been an ally of the U.S., starting with $411 million provided to establish its armed forces which spent 80% of its budget on its military. $15 million in arms flowed into W. Pakistan during the war. (2,3,4)

Three sources estimate that 3 million people died and (5,2,6) one source estimates 1.5 million. (3)

Panama

In December, 1989 U.S. troops invaded Panama, ostensibly to arrest Manuel Noriega, that nation’s president. This was an example of the U.S. view that it is the master of the world and can arrest anyone it wants to. For a number of years before that he had worked for the CIA, but fell out of favor partially because he was not an opponent of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. (1) It has been estimated that between 500 and 4,000 people died. (2,3,4)

Paraguay: See South America: Operation Condor

Philippines

The Philippines were under the control of the U.S. for over a hundred years. In about the last 50 to 60 years the U.S. has funded and otherwise helped various Philippine governments which sought to suppress the activities of groups working for the welfare of its people. In 1969 the Symington Committee in the U.S. Congress revealed how war material was sent there for a counter-insurgency campaign. U.S. Special Forces and Marines were active in some combat operations. The estimated number of persons that were executed and disappeared under President Fernando Marcos was over 100,000. (1,2)

South America: Operation Condor

This was a joint operation of 6 despotic South American governments (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) to share information about their political opponents. An estimated 13,000 people were killed under this plan. (1)

It was established on November 25, 1975 in Chile by an act of the Interamerican Reunion on Military Intelligence. According to U.S. embassy political officer, John Tipton, the CIA and the Chilean Secret Police were working together, although the CIA did not set up the operation to make this collaboration work. Reportedly, it ended in 1983. (2)

On March 6, 2001 the New York Times reported the existence of a recently declassified State Department document revealing that the United States facilitated communications for Operation Condor. (3)

Sudan

Since 1955, when it gained its independence, Sudan has been involved most of the time in a civil war. Until about 2003 approximately 2 million people had been killed. It not known if the death toll in Darfur is part of that total.

Human rights groups have complained that U.S. policies have helped to prolong the Sudanese civil war by supporting efforts to overthrow the central government in Khartoum. In 1999 U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) who said that she offered him food supplies if he would reject a peace plan sponsored by Egypt and Libya.

In 1978 the vastness of Sudan’s oil reservers was discovered and within two years it became the sixth largest recipient of U.S, military aid. It’s reasonable to assume that if the U.S. aid a government to come to power it will feel obligated to give the U.S. part of the oil pie.

A British group, Christian Aid, has accused foreign oil companies of complicity in the depopulation of villages. These companies – not American – receive government protection and in turn allow the government use of its airstrips and roads.

In August 1998 the U.S. bombed Khartoum, Sudan with 75 cruise míssiles. Our government said that the target was a chemical weapons factory owned by Osama bin Laden. Actually, bin Laden was no longer the owner, and the plant had been the sole supplier of pharmaceutical supplies for that poor nation. As a result of the bombing tens of thousands may have died because of the lack of medicines to treat malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. The U.S. settled a lawsuit filed by the factory’s owner. (1,2)

Uruguay: See South America: Operation Condor

Vietnam

In Vietnam, under an agreement several decades ago, there was supposed to be an election for a unified North and South Vietnam. The U.S. opposed this and supported the Diem government in South Vietnam. In August, 1964 the CIA and others helped fabricate a phony Vietnamese attack on a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin and this was used as a pretext for greater U.S. involvement in Vietnam. (1)

During that war an American assassination operation,called Operation Phoenix, terrorized the South Vietnamese people, and during the war American troops were responsible in 1968 for the mass slaughter of the people in the village of My Lai.

According to a Vietnamese government statement in 1995 the number of deaths of civilians and military personnel during the Vietnam War was 5.1 million. (2)

Since deaths in Cambodia and Laos were about 2.7 million (See Cambodia and Laos) the estimated total for the Vietnam War is 7.8 million.

The Virtual Truth Commission provides a total for the war of 5 million, (3) and Robert McNamara, former Secretary Defense, according to the New York Times Magazine says that the number of Vietnamese dead is 3.4 million. (4,5)

Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia was a socialist federation of several republics. Since it refused to be closely tied to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it gained some suport from the U.S. But when the Soviet Union dissolved, Yugoslavia’s usefulness to the U.S. ended, and the U.S and Germany worked to convert its socialist economy to a capitalist one by a process primarily of dividing and conquering. There were ethnic and religious differences between various parts of Yugoslavia which were manipulated by the U.S. to cause several wars which resulted in the dissolution of that country.

From the early 1990s until now Yugoslavia split into several independent nations whose lowered income, along with CIA connivance, has made it a pawn in the hands of capitalist countries. (1) The dissolution of Yugoslavia was caused primarily by the U.S. (2)

Here are estimates of some, if not all, of the internal wars in Yugoslavia. All wars: 107,000; (3,4)

Bosnia and Krajina: 250,000; (5) Bosnia: 20,000 to 30,000; (5) Croatia: 15,000; (6) and

Kosovo: 500 to 5,000. (7)

NOTES

Afghanistan

1.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p.135.

2.Chronology of American State Terrorism
http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_
terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

3.Soviet War in Afghanistan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan

4.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.76

5.U.S Involvement in Afghanistan, Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in Afghanistan)

6.The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, Posted at globalresearch.ca 15 October 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html

7.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p.5

8.Unknown News, http://www.unknownnews.net/casualtiesw.html

Angola

1.Howard W. French “From Old Files, a New Story of the U.S. Role in the Angolan War” New York Times 3/31/02

2.Angolan Update, American Friends Service Committee FS, 11/1/99 flyer.

3.Norman Solomon, War Made Easy, (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) p. 82-83.

4.Lance Selfa, U.S. Imperialism, A Century of Slaughter, International Socialist Review Issue 7, Spring 1999 (as appears in Third world Traveler www. thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Century_Imperialism.html)

5. Jeffress Ramsay, Africa , (Dushkin/McGraw Hill Guilford Connecticut), 1997, p. 144-145.

6.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.54.

Argentina : See South America: Operation Condor

Bolivia

1. Phil Gunson, Guardian, 5/6/02,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/archive /article/0,4273,41-07884,00.html

2.Jerry Meldon, Return of Bolilvia’s Drug – Stained Dictator, Consortium,www.consortiumnews.com/archives/story40.html.

Brazil See South America: Operation Condor

Cambodia

1.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/ .

2.David Model, President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and the Bombing of Cambodia excerpted from the book Lying for Empire How to Commit War Crimes With A Straight Face, Common Courage Press, 2005, paperhttp://thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Nixon_Cambodia_LFE.html.

3.Noam Chomsky, Chomsky on Cambodia under Pol Pot, etc.,http//zmag.org/forums/chomcambodforum.htm.

Chad

1.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 151-152 .

2.Richard Keeble, Crimes Against Humanity in Chad, Znet/Activism 12/4/06http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=11560&sectionID=1).

Chile

1.Parenti, Michael, The Sword and the Dollar (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1989) p. 56.

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 142-143.

3.Moreorless: Heroes and Killers of the 20th Century, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte,

http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/pinochet.html

4.Associated Press,Pincohet on 91st Birthday, Takes Responsibility for Regimes’s Abuses, Dayton Daily News 11/26/06

5.Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000), p. 18.

China: See Korea

Colombia

1.Chronology of American State Terrorism, p.2

http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html).

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 163.

3.Millions Killed by Imperialism Washington Post May 6, 2002)http://www.etext.org./Politics/MIM/rail/impkills.html

4.Gabriella Gamini, CIA Set Up Death Squads in Colombia Times Newspapers Limited, Dec. 5, 1996,www.edu/CommunicationsStudies/ben/news/cia/961205.death.html).

5.Virtual Truth Commission, 1991

Human Rights Watch Report: Colombia’s Killer Networks–The Military-Paramilitary Partnership).

Cuba

1.St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture – on Bay of Pigs Invasionhttp://bookrags.com/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion.

2.Wikipedia http://bookrags.com/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion#Casualties.

Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire)

1.F. Jeffress Ramsey, Africa (Guilford Connecticut, 1997), p. 85

2. Anup Shaw The Democratic Republic of Congo, 10/31/2003)http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/DRC.asp)

3.Kevin Whitelaw, A Killing in Congo, U. S. News and World Reporthttp://www.usnews.com/usnews/doubleissue/mysteries/patrice.htm

4.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p 158-159.

5.Ibid.,p. 260

6.Ibid.,p. 259

7.Ibid.,p.262

8.David Pickering, “World War in Africa, 6/26/02,
www.9-11peace.org/bulletin.php3

9.William D. Hartung and Bridget Moix, Deadly Legacy; U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War, Arms Trade Resource Center, January , 2000www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/congo.htm

Dominican Republic

1.Norman Solomon, (untitled) Baltimore Sun April 26, 2005
http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/history/2005/0426spincycle.htm
Intervention Spin Cycle

2.Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Power_Pack

3.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 175.

4.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.26-27.

East Timor

1.Virtual Truth Commission, http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/date4.htm

2.Matthew Jardine, Unraveling Indonesia, Nonviolent Activist, 1997)

3.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

4.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 197.

5.US trained butchers of Timor, The Guardian, London. Cited by The Drudge Report, September 19, 1999. http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/indon.htm

El Salvador

1.Robert T. Buckman, Latin America 2003, (Stryker-Post Publications Baltimore 2003) p. 152-153.

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 54-55.

3.El Salvador, Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador#The_20th_century_and_beyond)

4.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.

Grenada

1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p. 66-67.

2.Stephen Zunes, The U.S. Invasion of Grenada,http://wwwfpif.org/papers/grenada2003.html .

Guatemala

1.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/

2.Ibid.

3.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.2-13.

4.Robert T. Buckman, Latin America 2003 (Stryker-Post Publications Baltimore 2003) p. 162.

5.Douglas Farah, Papers Show U.S. Role in Guatemalan Abuses, Washington Post Foreign Service, March 11, 1999, A 26

Haiti

1.Francois Duvalier,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Duvalier#Reign_of_terror).

2.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p 87.

3.William Blum, Haiti 1986-1994: Who Will Rid Me of This Turbulent Priest,http://www.doublestandards.org/blum8.html

Honduras

1.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 55.

2.Reports by Country: Honduras, Virtual Truth Commissionhttp://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/honduras.htm

3.James A. Lucas, Torture Gets The Silence Treatment, Countercurrents, July 26, 2004.

4.Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson, Unearthed: Fatal Secrets, Baltimore Sun, reprint of a series that appeared June 11-18, 1995 in Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, School of Assassins, p. 46 Orbis Books 2001.

5.Michael Dobbs, Negroponte’s Time in Honduras at Issue, Washington Post, March 21, 2005

Hungary

1.Edited by Malcolm Byrne, The 1956 Hungarian Revoluiton: A history in Documents November 4, 2002http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/index2.htm

2.Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia,
http://www.answers.com/topic/hungarian-revolution-of-1956

Indonesia

1.Virtual Truth Commission http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.

2.Editorial, Indonesia’s Killers, The Nation, March 30, 1998.

3.Matthew Jardine, Indonesia Unraveling, Non Violent Activist Sept–Oct, 1997 (Amnesty) 2/7/07.

4.Sison, Jose Maria, Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia, p. 5.http://qc.indymedia.org/mail.php?id=5602;

5.Annie Pohlman, Women and the Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966: Gender Variables and Possible Direction for Research, p.4,http://coombs.anu.edu.au/SpecialProj/ASAA/biennial-conference/2004/Pohlman-A-ASAA.pdf

6.Peter Dale Scott, The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-1967, Pacific Affairs, 58, Summer 1985, pages 239-264.http://www.namebase.org/scott.

7.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.30.

Iran

1.Geoff Simons, Iraq from Sumer to Saddam, 1996, St. Martins Press, NY p. 317.

2.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html.

3.BBC 1988: US Warship Shoots Down Iranian Airlinerhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/default.stm )

Iraq

Iran-Iraq War

1.Michael Dobbs, U.S. Had Key role in Iraq Buildup, Washington Post December 30, 2002, p A01 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52241-2002Dec29?language=printer

2.Global Security.Org , Iran Iraq War (1980-1980)globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm.

U.S. Iraq War and Sanctions

1.Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time (New York, Thunder’s Mouth), 1994, p.31-32

2.Ibid., p. 52-54

3.Ibid., p. 43

4.Anthony Arnove, Iraq Under Siege, (South End Press Cambridge MA 2000). p. 175.

5.Food and Agricultural Organizaiton, The Children are Dying, 1995 World View Forum, Internationa Action Center, International Relief Association, p. 78

6.Anthony Arnove, Iraq Under Siege, South End Press Cambridge MA 2000. p. 61.

7.David Cortright, A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions December 3, 2001, The Nation.

U.S-Iraq War 2003-?

1.Jonathan Bor 654,000 Deaths Tied to Iraq War Baltimore Sun , October 11,2006

2.News http://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.html

Israeli-Palestinian War

1.Post-1967 Palestinian & Israeli Deaths from Occupation & Violence May 16, 2006 http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2006/05/post-1967-palestinian-israeli-deaths.html)

2.Chronology of American State Terrorism

http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

Korea

1.James I. Matray Revisiting Korea: Exposing Myths of the Forgotten War, Korean War Teachers Conference: The Korean War, February 9, 2001http://www.truman/library.org/Korea/matray1.htm

2.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 46

3.Kanako Tokuno, Chinese Winter Offensive in Korean War – the Debacle of American Strategy, ICE Case Studies Number 186, May, 2006http://www.american.edu/ted/ice/chosin.htm.

4.John G. Stroessinger, Why Nations go to War, (New York; St. Martin’s Press), p. 99)

5.Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, as reported in Answers.comhttp://www.answers.com/topic/Korean-war

6.Exploring the Environment: Korean Enigmawww.cet.edu/ete/modules/korea/kwar.html)

7.S. Brian Wilson, Who are the Real Terrorists? Virtual Truth Commissonhttp://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/

8.Korean War Casualty Statistics www.century china.com/history/krwarcost.html)

9.S. Brian Wilson, Documenting U.S. War Crimes in North Korea (Veterans for Peace Newsletter) Spring, 2002) http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

Laos

1.William Blum Rogue State (Maine, Common Cause Press) p. 136

2.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

3.Fred Branfman, War Crimes in Indochina and our Troubled National Soul

www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2004/08/00_branfman_us-warcrimes-indochina.htm).

Nepal

1.Conn Hallinan, Nepal & the Bush Administration: Into Thin Air, February 3, 2004

fpif.org/commentary/2004/0402nepal.html.

2.Human Rights Watch, Nepal’s Civil War: the Conflict Resumes, March 2006 )

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/28/nepal13078.htm.

3.Wayne Madsen, Possible CIA Hand in the Murder of the Nepal Royal Family, India Independent Media Center, September 25, 2001http://india.indymedia.org/en/2002/09/2190.shtml.

Nicaragua

1.Virtual Truth Commission
http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.

2.Timeline Nicaragua
www.stanford.edu/group/arts/nicaragua/discovery_eng/timeline/).

3.Chronology of American State Terrorism,
http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html.

4.William Blum, Nicaragua 1981-1990 Destabilization in Slow Motion

www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/Nicaragua_KH.html.

5.Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_Affair.

Pakistan

1.John G. Stoessinger, Why Nations Go to War, (New York: St. Martin’s Press), 1974 pp 157-172.

2.Asad Ismi, A U.S. – Financed Military Dictatorship, The CCPA Monitor, June 2002, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives http://www.policyaltematives.ca)www.ckln.fm/~asadismi/pakistan.html

3.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p.123, 124.

4.Arjum Niaz ,When America Look the Other Way by,

www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=2821&sectionID=1

5.Leo Kuper, Genocide (Yale University Press, 1981), p. 79.

6.Bangladesh Liberation War , Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War#USA_and_USSR)

Panama

1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’s Greatest Hits, (Odonian Press 1998) p. 83.

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p.154.

3.U.S. Military Charged with Mass Murder, The Winds 9/96,www.apfn.org/thewinds/archive/war/a102896b.html

4.Mark Zepezauer, CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.83.

Paraguay See South America: Operation Condor

Philippines

1.Romeo T. Capulong, A Century of Crimes Against the Filipino People, Presentation, Public Interest Law Center, World Tribunal for Iraq Trial in New York City on August 25,2004.
http://www.peoplejudgebush.org/files/RomeoCapulong.pdf).

2.Roland B. Simbulan The CIA in Manila – Covert Operations and the CIA’s Hidden Hisotry in the Philippines Equipo Nizkor Information – Derechos, derechos.org/nizkor/filipinas/doc/cia.

South America: Operation Condor

1.John Dinges, Pulling Back the Veil on Condor, The Nation, July 24, 2000.

2.Virtual Truth Commission, Telling the Truth for a Better Americawww.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/condor.htm)

3.Operation Condorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor#US_involvement).

Sudan

1.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p. 30, 32,34,36.

2.The Black Commentator, Africa Action The Tale of Two Genocides: The Failed US Response to Rwanda and Darfur, 11 August 2006http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/091706X.shtml.

Uruguay See South America: Operation Condor

Vietnam

1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine:Common Courage Press,1994), p 24

2.Casualties – US vs NVA/VC,
http://www.rjsmith.com/kia_tbl.html.

3.Brian Wilson, Virtual Truth Commission
http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/

4.Fred Branfman, U.S. War Crimes in Indochiona and our Duty to Truth August 26, 2004

www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=6105&sectionID=1

5.David K Shipler, Robert McNamara and the Ghosts of Vietnamnytimes.com/library/world/asia/081097vietnam-mcnamara.html

Yugoslavia

1.Sara Flounders, Bosnia Tragedy:The Unknown Role of the Pentagon in NATO in the Balkans (New York: International Action Center) p. 47-75

2.James A. Lucas, Media Disinformation on the War in Yugoslavia: The Dayton Peace Accords Revisited, Global Research, September 7, 2005 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=
viewArticle&code=LUC20050907&articleId=899

3.Yugoslav Wars in 1990s
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_wars.

4.George Kenney, The Bosnia Calculation: How Many Have Died? Not nearly as many as some would have you think., NY Times Magazine, April 23, 1995

http://www.balkan-archive.org.yu/politics/
war_crimes/srebrenica/bosnia_numbers.html
)

5.Chronology of American State Terrorism

http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/
ChronologyofTerror.html.

6.Croatian War of Independence, Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_War_of_Independence

7.Human Rights Watch, New Figures on Civilian Deaths in Kosovo War, (February 7, 2000) http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/02/nato207.htm.

An American Century of Carnage

Global Research, March 31, 2017
TomDispatch.com 28 March 2017

[This essay is adapted from “Measuring Violence,” the first chapter of John Dower’s new book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two.]

On February 17, 1941, almost 10 months before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Life magazine carried a lengthy essay by its publisher, Henry Luce, entitled “The American Century.” The son of Presbyterian missionaries, born in China in 1898 and raised there until the age of 15, Luce essentially transposed the certainty of religious dogma into the certainty of a nationalistic mission couched in the name of internationalism.

Luce acknowledged that the United States could not police the whole world or attempt to impose democratic institutions on all of mankind. Nonetheless, “the world of the 20th Century,” he wrote,

“if it is to come to life in any nobility of health and vigor, must be to a significant degree an American Century.” The essay called on all Americans “to accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world and in consequence to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such measures as we see fit.”

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States wholeheartedly onto the international stage Luce believed it was destined to dominate, and the ringing title of his cri de coeur became a staple of patriotic Cold War and post-Cold War rhetoric. Central to this appeal was the affirmation of a virtuous calling. Luce’s essay singled out almost every professed ideal that would become a staple of wartime and Cold War propaganda: freedom, democracy, equality of opportunity, self-reliance and independence, cooperation, justice, charity — all coupled with a vision of economic abundance inspired by “our magnificent industrial products, our technical skills.” In present-day patriotic incantations, this is referred to as “American exceptionalism.”

The other, harder side of America’s manifest destiny was, of course, muscularity. Power. Possessing absolute and never-ending superiority in developing and deploying the world’s most advanced and destructive arsenal of war. Luce did not dwell on this dimension of “internationalism” in his famous essay, but once the world war had been entered and won, he became its fervent apostle — an outspoken advocate of “liberating” China from its new communist rulers, taking over from the beleaguered French colonial military in Vietnam, turning both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts from “limited wars” into opportunities for a wider virtuous war against and in China, and pursuing the rollback of the Iron Curtain with “tactical atomic weapons.” As Luce’s incisive biographer Alan Brinkley documents, at one point Luce even mulled the possibility of “plastering Russia with 500 (or 1,000) A bombs” — a terrifying scenario, but one that the keepers of the U.S. nuclear arsenal actually mapped out in expansive and appalling detail in the 1950s and 1960s, before Luce’s death in 1967.

The “American Century” catchphrase is hyperbole, the slogan never more than a myth, a fantasy, a delusion. Military victory in any traditional sense was largely a chimera after World War II. The so-called Pax Americana itself was riddled with conflict and oppression and egregious betrayals of the professed catechism of American values. At the same time, postwar U.S. hegemony obviously never extended to more than a portion of the globe. Much that took place in the world, including disorder and mayhem, was beyond America’s control.

Yet, not unreasonably, Luce’s catchphrase persists. The twenty-first-century world may be chaotic, with violence erupting from innumerable sources and causes, but the United States does remain the planet’s “sole superpower.” The myth of exceptionalism still holds most Americans in its thrall. U.S. hegemony, however frayed at the edges, continues to be taken for granted in ruling circles, and not only in Washington. And Pentagon planners still emphatically define their mission as “full-spectrum dominance” globally.

Washington’s commitment to modernizing its nuclear arsenal rather than focusing on achieving the thoroughgoing abolition of nuclear weapons has proven unshakable. So has the country’s almost religious devotion to leading the way in developing and deploying ever more “smart” and sophisticated conventional weapons of mass destruction.

Welcome to Henry Luce’s — and America’s — violent century, even if thus far it’s lasted only 75 years. The question is just what to make of it these days.

Counting the Dead

We live in times of bewildering violence. In 2013, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” Statisticians, however, tell a different story: that war and lethal conflict have declined steadily, significantly, even precipitously since World War II.

Much mainstream scholarship now endorses the declinists. In his influential 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker adopted the labels “the Long Peace” for the four-plus decades of the Cold War (1945-1991), and “the New Peace” for the post-Cold War years to the present. In that book, as well as in post-publication articles, postings, and interviews, he has taken the doomsayers to task. The statistics suggest, he declares, that “today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’s existence.”

Clearly, the number and deadliness of global conflicts have indeed declined since World War II. This so-called postwar peace was, and still is, however, saturated in blood and wracked with suffering.

It is reasonable to argue that total war-related fatalities during the Cold War decades were lower than in the six years of World War II (1939–1945) and certainly far less than the toll for the twentieth century’s two world wars combined. It is also undeniable that overall death tolls have declined further since then. The five most devastating intrastate or interstate conflicts of the postwar decades — in China, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and between Iran and Iraq — took place during the Cold War. So did a majority of the most deadly politicides, or political mass killings, and genocides: in the Soviet Union, China (again), Yugoslavia, North Korea, North Vietnam, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan/Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, and Cambodia, among other countries. The end of the Cold War certainly did not signal the end of such atrocities (as witness Rwanda, the Congo, and the implosion of Syria). As with major wars, however, the trajectory has been downward.

Unsurprisingly, the declinist argument celebrates the Cold War as less violent than the global conflicts that preceded it, and the decades that followed as statistically less violent than the Cold War. But what motivates the sanitizing of these years, now amounting to three-quarters of a century, with the label “peace”? The answer lies largely in a fixation on major powers. The great Cold War antagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union, bristling with their nuclear arsenals, never came to blows. Indeed, wars between major powers or developed states have become (in Pinker’s words) “all but obsolete.” There has been no World War III, nor is there likely to be.

Such upbeat quantification invites complacent forms of self-congratulation. (How comparatively virtuous we mortals have become!) In the United States, where we-won-the-Cold-War sentiment still runs strong, the relative decline in global violence after 1945 is commonly attributed to the wisdom, virtue, and firepower of U.S. “peacekeeping.” In hawkish circles, nuclear deterrence — the Cold War’s MAD (mutually assured destruction) doctrine that was described early on as a “delicate balance of terror” — is still canonized as an enlightened policy that prevented catastrophic global conflict.

What Doesn’t Get Counted

Branding the long postwar era as an epoch of relative peace is disingenuous, and not just because it deflects attention from the significant death and agony that actually did occur and still does. It also obscures the degree to which the United States bears responsibility for contributing to, rather than impeding, militarization and mayhem after 1945. Ceaseless U.S.-led transformations of the instruments of mass destruction — and the provocative global impact of this technological obsession — are by and large ignored.

Continuities in American-style “warfighting” (a popular Pentagon word) such as heavy reliance on airpower and other forms of brute force are downplayed. So is U.S. support for repressive foreign regimes, as well as the destabilizing impact of many of the nation’s overt and covert overseas interventions. The more subtle and insidious dimension of postwar U.S. militarization — namely, the violence done to civil society by funneling resources into a gargantuan, intrusive, and ever-expanding national security state — goes largely unaddressed in arguments fixated on numerical declines in violence since World War II.

Beyond this, trying to quantify war, conflict, and devastation poses daunting methodological challenges. Data advanced in support of the decline-of-violence argument is dense and often compelling, and derives from a range of respectable sources. Still, it must be kept in mind that the precise quantification of death and violence is almost always impossible. When a source offers fairly exact estimates of something like “war-related excess deaths,” you usually are dealing with investigators deficient in humility and imagination.

Take, for example, World War II, about which countless tens of thousands of studies have been written. Estimates of total “war-related” deaths from that global conflict range from roughly 50 million to more than 80 million. One explanation for such variation is the sheer chaos of armed violence. Another is what the counters choose to count and how they count it. Battle deaths of uniformed combatants are easiest to determine, especially on the winning side. Military bureaucrats can be relied upon to keep careful records of their own killed-in-action — but not, of course, of the enemy they kill. War-related civilian fatalities are even more difficult to assess, although — as in World War II — they commonly are far greater than deaths in combat.

Does the data source go beyond so-called battle-related collateral damage to include deaths caused by war-related famine and disease? Does it take into account deaths that may have occurred long after the conflict itself was over (as from radiation poisoning after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or from the U.S. use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War)? The difficulty of assessing the toll of civil, tribal, ethnic, and religious conflicts with any exactitude is obvious.

Concentrating on fatalities and their averred downward trajectory also draws attention away from broader humanitarian catastrophes. In mid-2015, for instance, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the number of individuals “forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations” had surpassed 60 million and was the highest level recorded since World War II and its immediate aftermath. Roughly two-thirds of these men, women, and children were displaced inside their own countries. The remainder were refugees, and over half of these refugees were children.

Here, then, is a trend line intimately connected to global violence that is not heading downward. In 1996, the U.N.’s estimate was that there were 37.3 million forcibly displaced individuals on the planet. Twenty years later, as 2015 ended, this had risen to 65.3 million — a 75% increase over the last two post-Cold War decades that the declinist literature refers to as the “new peace.”

Other disasters inflicted on civilians are less visible than uprooted populations. Harsh conflict-related economic sanctions, which often cripple hygiene and health-care systems and may precipitate a sharp spike in infant mortality, usually do not find a place in itemizations of military violence. U.S.-led U.N. sanctions imposed against Iraq for 13 years beginning in 1990 in conjunction with the first Gulf War are a stark example of this. An account published in the New York Times Magazine in July 2003 accepted the fact that “at least several hundred thousand children who could reasonably have been expected to live died before their fifth birthday.” And after all-out wars, who counts the maimed, or the orphans and widows, or those the Japanese in the wake of World War II referred to as the “elderly orphaned” — parents bereft of their children?

Figures and tables, moreover, can only hint at the psychological and social violence suffered by combatants and noncombatants alike. It has been suggested, for instance, that one in six people in areas afflicted by war may suffer from mental disorder (as opposed to one in ten in normal times). Even where American military personnel are concerned, trauma did not become a serious focus of concern until 1980, seven years after the U.S. retreat from Vietnam, when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was officially recognized as a mental-health issue.

In 2008, a massive sampling study of 1.64 million U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq between October 2001 and October 2007 estimated “that approximately 300,000 individuals currently suffer from PTSD or major depression and that 320,000 individuals experienced a probable TBI [traumatic brain injury] during deployment.” As these wars dragged on, the numbers naturally increased. To extend the ramifications of such data to wider circles of family and community — or, indeed, to populations traumatized by violence worldwide — defies statistical enumeration.

Terror Counts and Terror Fears

Largely unmeasurable, too, is violence in a different register: the damage that war, conflict, militarization, and plain existential fear inflict upon civil society and democratic practice. This is true everywhere but has been especially conspicuous in the United States since Washington launched its “global war on terror” in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Here, numbers are perversely provocative, for the lives claimed in twenty-first-century terrorist incidents can be interpreted as confirming the decline-in-violence argument. From 2000 through 2014, according to the widely cited Global Terrorism Index, “more than 61,000 incidents of terrorism claiming over 140,000 lives have been recorded.” Including September 11th, countries in the West experienced less than 5% of these incidents and 3% of the deaths. The Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, another minutely documented tabulation based on combing global media reports in many languages, puts the number of suicide bombings from 2000 through 2015 at 4,787 attacks in more than 40 countries, resulting in 47,274 deaths.

These atrocities are incontestably horrendous and alarming. Grim as they are, however, the numbers themselves are comparatively low when set against earlier conflicts. For specialists in World War II, the “140,000 lives” estimate carries an almost eerie resonance, since this is the rough figure usually accepted for the death toll from a single act of terror bombing, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The tally is also low compared to contemporary deaths from other causes. Globally, for example, more than 400,000 people are murdered annually. In the United States, the danger of being killed by falling objects or lightning is at least as great as the threat from Islamist militants.

This leaves us with a perplexing question: If the overall incidence of violence, including twenty-first-century terrorism, is relatively low compared to earlier global threats and conflicts, why has the United States responded by becoming an increasingly militarized, secretive, unaccountable, and intrusive “national security state”? Is it really possible that a patchwork of non-state adversaries that do not possess massive firepower or follow traditional rules of engagement has, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared in 2013, made the world more threatening than ever?

For those who do not believe this to be the case, possible explanations for the accelerating militarization of the United States come from many directions. Paranoia may be part of the American DNA — or, indeed, hardwired into the human species. Or perhaps the anticommunist hysteria of the Cold War simply metastasized into a post-9/11 pathological fear of terrorism. Machiavellian fear-mongering certainly enters the picture, led by conservative and neoconservative civilian and military officials of the national security state, along with opportunistic politicians and war profiteers of the usual sort. Cultural critics predictably point an accusing finger as well at the mass media’s addiction to sensationalism and catastrophe, now intensified by the proliferation of digital social media.

To all this must be added the peculiar psychological burden of being a “superpower” and, from the 1990s on, the planet’s “sole superpower” — a situation in which “credibility” is measured mainly in terms of massive cutting-edge military might. It might be argued that this mindset helped “contain Communism” during the Cold War and provides a sense of security to U.S. allies. What it has not done is ensure victory in actual war, although not for want of trying. With some exceptions (Grenada, Panama, the brief 1991 Gulf War, and the Balkans), the U.S. military has not tasted victory since World War II — Korea, Vietnam, and recent and current conflicts in the Greater Middle East being boldface examples of this failure. This, however, has had no impact on the hubris attached to superpower status. Brute force remains the ultimate measure of credibility.

The traditional American way of war has tended to emphasize the “three Ds” (defeat, destroy, devastate). Since 1996, the Pentagon’s proclaimed mission is to maintain “full-spectrum dominance” in every domain (land, sea, air, space, and information) and, in practice, in every accessible part of the world. The Air Force Global Strike Command, activated in 2009 and responsible for managing two-thirds of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, typically publicizes its readiness for “Global Strike… Any Target, Any Time.”

In 2015, the Department of Defense acknowledged maintaining 4,855 physical “sites” — meaning bases ranging in size from huge contained communities to tiny installations — of which 587 were located overseas in 42 foreign countries. An unofficial investigation that includes small and sometimes impermanent facilities puts the number at around 800 in 80 countries. Over the course of 2015, to cite yet another example of the overwhelming nature of America’s global presence, elite U.S. special operations forces were deployed to around 150 countries, and Washington provided assistance in arming and training security forces in an even larger number of nations.

America’s overseas bases reflect, in part, an enduring inheritance from World War II and the Korean War. The majority of these sites are located in Germany (181), Japan (122), and South Korea (83) and were retained after their original mission of containing communism disappeared with the end of the Cold War. Deployment of elite special operations forces is also a Cold War legacy (exemplified most famously by the Army’s “Green Berets” in Vietnam) that expanded after the demise of the Soviet Union. Dispatching covert missions to three-quarters of the world’s nations, however, is largely a product of the war on terror.

Many of these present-day undertakings require maintaining overseas “lily pad” facilities that are small, temporary, and unpublicized. And many, moreover, are integrated with covert CIA “black operations.” Combating terror involves practicing terror — including, since 2002, an expanding campaign of targeted assassinations by unmanned drones. For the moment, this latest mode of killing remains dominated by the CIA and the U.S. military (with the United Kingdom and Israel following some distance behind).

Counting Nukes

The “delicate balance of terror” that characterized nuclear strategy during the Cold War has not disappeared. Rather, it has been reconfigured. The U.S. and Soviet arsenals that reached a peak of insanity in the 1980s have been reduced by about two-thirds — a praiseworthy accomplishment but one that still leaves the world with around 15,400 nuclear weapons as of January 2016, 93% of them in U.S. and Russian hands. Close to two thousand of the latter on each side are still actively deployed on missiles or at bases with operational forces.

This downsizing, in other words, has not removed the wherewithal to destroy the Earth as we know it many times over. Such destruction could come about indirectly as well as directly, with even a relatively “modest” nuclear exchange between, say, India and Pakistan triggering a cataclysmic climate shift — a “nuclear winter” — that could result in massive global starvation and death. Nor does the fact that seven additional nations now possess nuclear weapons (and more than 40 others are deemed “nuclear weapons capable”) mean that “deterrence” has been enhanced. The future use of nuclear weapons, whether by deliberate decision or by accident, remains an ominous possibility. That threat is intensified by the possibility that nonstate terrorists may somehow obtain and use nuclear devices.

What is striking at this moment in history is that paranoia couched as strategic realism continues to guide U.S. nuclear policy and, following America’s lead, that of the other nuclear powers. As announced by the Obama administration in 2014, the potential for nuclear violence is to be “modernized.” In concrete terms, this translates as a 30-year project that will cost the United States an estimated $1 trillion (not including the usual future cost overruns for producing such weapons), perfect a new arsenal of “smart” and smaller nuclear weapons, and extensively refurbish the existing delivery “triad” of long-range manned bombers, nuclear-armed submarines, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

Nuclear modernization, of course, is but a small portion of the full spectrum of American might — a military machine so massive that it inspired President Obama to speak with unusual emphasis in his State of the Union address in January 2016.

“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth,” he declared. “Period. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined.”

Official budgetary expenditures and projections provide a snapshot of this enormous military machine, but here again numbers can be misleading. Thus, the “base budget” for defense announced in early 2016 for fiscal year 2017 amounts to roughly $600 billion, but this falls far short of what the actual outlay will be. When all other discretionary military- and defense-related costs are taken into account — nuclear maintenance and modernization, the “war budget” that pays for so-called overseas contingency operations like military engagements in the Greater Middle East, “black budgets” that fund intelligence operations by agencies including the CIA and the National Security Agency, appropriations for secret high-tech military activities, “veterans affairs” costs (including disability payments), military aid to other countries, huge interest costs on the military-related part of the national debt, and so on — the actual total annual expenditure is close to $1 trillion.

Such stratospheric numbers defy easy comprehension, but one does not need training in statistics to bring them closer to home. Simple arithmetic suffices. The projected bill for just the 30-year nuclear modernization agenda comes to over $90 million a day, or almost $4 million an hour. The $1 trillion price tag for maintaining the nation’s status as “the most powerful nation on Earth” for a single year amounts to roughly $2.74 billion a day, over $114 million an hour.

Creating a capacity for violence greater than the world has ever seen is costly — and remunerative.
So an era of a “new peace”? Think again. We’re only three quarters of the way through America’s violent century and there’s more to come.

John W. Dower is professor emeritus of history at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is the author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning War Without Mercy and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat. His new book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two (Dispatch Books), has just been published. This essay is adapted from chapter one of that densely annotated book. (Sources for the information above appear in the footnotes in that book.)

“Most of the World is Just Collapsing in Laughter” on Claims that Russia Intervened in the US Election

By Noam Chomsky

This interview took place at the University of Arizona, before a public audience, on February 2, 2017. I thank Marvin Waterstone for arranging the event, and Professor Chomsky, who approved this transcript for publication. The interview is presented in full, with only very slight editing for style. This interview originally appeared in the journal Class, Race, and Corporate Power. – D. Gibbs

March 05, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “DC” –  David Gibbs: The main issue on everyone’s minds is the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has emphasized the extreme danger that Trump poses, due to the augmented risk of nuclear war and uncontrolled climate change. After inauguration, the Bulletin’s metaphoric clock has been repositioned at two and a half minutes to midnight, with “midnight” signifying catastrophe. Do you agree with the Bulletin regarding the alleged dangers posed by the Trump presidency?

Noam Chomsky: One of the dangers is unquestionable. Of the two existential threats – the threats to the termination of the species basically and most other species – one of them, climate change, on that I think there’s no basis for discussion. Trump has been very inconsistent on many things; on Twitter he’s been all over the place, but some of it is very consistent. That is: Do nothing about climate change except make it worse. And he’s not just speaking for himself, but for the whole Republican Party, the whole leadership. It’s already had impact, it will have worse impact. We’ll talk about this next week, but if there are ways out of this, it’s going to be not easy.

With regard to nuclear weapons, it’s kind of hard to say. He’s said lots of things. As you mentioned, the national security experts are terrified. But they’re more terrified by his personality than by his statements. So if you read people like say Bruce Blair1 one of the leading, most sober, knowledgeable specialists, he says, look, his statements are all over the map, but his personality is frightening, he’s a complete megalomaniac. You never know how he’s going to react. When he learned for example that he’d lost the election by about three million votes, his instant reaction was insanity; you know, three to five million illegal immigrants somehow were organized in some incredible fashion to vote. On any little issue – Miss Universe, or whatever it may be – he’s completely unpredictable, he’ll go off into outer space. His guru Steve Bannon is worse, he’s much scarier. He probably knows what he’s doing.

Over the years, there’s been case after case when there were very narrow decisions that had to be made about whether to launch nuclear weapons in serious cases. What is this guy going to do if his vaunted negotiating skills fail, if somebody doesn’t do what he says? Is he going to say, “Okay we’ll nuke them? We’re done?” Remember that in any major nuclear war, the first strike destroys the country that attacks; it’s been known for years. The first strike of a major power is very likely to cause what’s called nuclear winter, leads to global famine for years and everything’s basically gone. Some survivors straggling around. Could he do it? Who knows.

Some of his comments can be interpreted as potentially reducing the threat of nuclear war. The major threat right now is right on the Russian border. Notice, not the Mexican border, the Russian border. And it’s serious. He has made various statements moving towards reducing the tensions, accommodating Russian concerns and so on. On the other hand, you have to balance that against expanding our nuclear forces, add to our so-called depleted military, which is already more powerful than the rest of the world combined; attack in Syria, send forces to Syria, start bombing. Who knows what could be next? Michael Flynn, national security advisor,2 [his reaction] to the Iranian missile test the other day was very frightening. Now the missile test is ill-advised, they shouldn’t have done it. But it’s not in violation of international law or international agreements. They shouldn’t have done it. His reaction suggested maybe we’re going to go to war in retaliation. Would they do it? If they did, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. Everything could blow up.

This crazy ban on the seven states, where we can’t accept immigrants, almost every analyst points out the obvious: It just increases the threat of terror. It lays the basis for terror. It’s just like the atrocities in Abu Ghraib and Bagram and Guantanamo. They’re the most fabulous recruiting techniques for Al Qaeda and ISIS. Everyone knows it. Now, you ban not the whole Muslim world. You ban seven states, seven states that have not been responsible for a single terrorist act. Those are the seven he banned. But, you leave the ones that really are responsible, like Saudi Arabia, which is the center for propaganda and funding and so on for radical Islamic Jihadism, well you can’t touch them because of business interests, also they have oil and so on and so forth. There’s actually an article in the Washington Post, I don’t know whether it’s tongue in cheek or not, which said the criterion for being on the list of banned states is that Trump doesn’t have business interests there. Maybe. But it’s this kind of wild unpredictability, megalomania, thin-skinned craziness that really has me worried, more than his statements. Now, on the climate change there’s just nothing to say, he’s perfectly straightforward.

Gibbs: Let us turn to the role of the media in reporting alleged Russian interference in the US electoral process. Mainstream journalists have called Trump a puppet of Russia, a modern version of the Manchurian Candidate. Others have criticized the media for accepting unsubstantiated claims about Russian influence, and reporting such claims as facts. Normon Soloman and Serge Halimi, for example, stated that press reporting on this issue amounts to a mass hysteria reminiscent of the McCarthy era, while Seymour Hersh called the media reporting on Russia “outrageous.”3 What is your view of this situation? 

Chomsky: My guess is that most of the world is just collapsing in laughter. Suppose all the charges are true, I mean every single one, it is so amateurish by US standards that you can hardly even laugh. What the US does is the kind of thing I described in Italy in 1948. Case after case like that, not hacking or spreading rumors in the media; but saying look, we’re going to starve you to death or kill you or destroy you unless you vote the way we want. I mean that’s what we do.

Take the famous 9/11, let’s think about it for a minute. It was a pretty awful terrorist act. It could have been a lot worse. Now let’s suppose that instead of the plane being downed in Pennsylvania by passengers, suppose it had hit its target, which was probably the White House. Now suppose it had killed the president. Suppose that plans had been set for a military coup to take over the government. And right away, immediately 50,000 people were killed, 700,000 tortured. A bunch of economists were brought in from Afghanistan, let’s call them the “Kandahar Boys,” who very quickly destroyed the economy, and established a dictatorship which devastated the country. That would have been a lot worse than 9/11. It happened: the first 9/11, it happened on September 11, 1973, in Chile. We did it. Was that interfering or hacking a party? This record is all over the world, constantly overthrowing governments, invading, forcing people to follow what we call democracy, as in the cases I mentioned. As I say, if every charge is accurate, it’s a joke, and I’m sure half the world is collapsing in laughter about this, because people outside the United States know it. You don’t have to tell people in Chile about the first 9/11.

Gibbs: One of the surprises of the post-Cold War era is the persistence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other US-led alliances. These alliances were created during the Cold War mainly or exclusively for containing the claimed Soviet threat. In 1991, the USSR disappeared from the map, but the anti-Soviet alliance systems persisted and in fact expanded. How do we account for the persistence and expansion of NATO? What in your view is the purpose of NATO after the Cold War?

Chomsky: We have official answers to that. It’s a very interesting question, which I was planning to talk about but didn’t have time. So thanks. It’s a very interesting question. For fifty years, we heard NATO is necessary to save Western Europe from the Russian hordes, you know the slave state, stuff I was taking about. In 1990-91, no Russian hordes. Okay, what happens? Well there are actually visions of the future system that were presented. One was Gorbachev. He called for a Eurasian security system, with no military blocs. He called it a Common European Home. No military blocs, no Warsaw Pact, no NATO, with centers of power in Brussels, Moscow, Ankara, maybe Vladivostok, other places. Just an integrated security system with no conflicts.

That was one. Now the other vision was presented by George Bush, this is the “statesman,” Bush I and James Baker his secretary of state. There’s very good scholarship on this incidentally. We really know a lot about what happened, now that all the documents are out. Gorbachev said that he would agree to the unification of Germany, and even adherence of Germany to NATO, which was quite a concession, if NATO didn’t move to East Germany. And Bush and Baker promised verbally, that’s critical, verbally that NATO would not expand “one inch to the east,” which meant East Germany. Nobody was talking about anything farther at the time. They would not expand one inch to the east. Now that was a verbal promise. It was never written. NATO immediately expanded to East Germany. Gorbachev complained. He was told look, there’s nothing on paper. People didn’t actually say it but the implication was look, if you are dumb enough to take faith in a gentleman’s agreement with us, that’s your problem. NATO expanded to East Germany.

There’s very interesting work, if you want to look into it by a young scholar in Texas named Joshua Shifrinson, it appeared in International Security, which is one of the prestige journals, published by MIT.4 He goes through the documentary record very carefully and he makes a pretty convincing case that Bush and Baker were purposely deceiving Gorbachev. The scholarship has been divided on that, maybe they just weren’t clear or something. But if you read it, I think it’s quite a convincing case, that they were purposely setting it up to deceive Gorbachev.

Okay, NATO expanded to East Berlin and East Germany. Under Clinton NATO expanded further, to the former Russian satellites. In 2008 NATO formally made an offer to Ukraine to join NATO. That’s unbelievable. I mean, Ukraine is the geopolitical heartland of Russian concern, quite aside from historical connections, population and so on. Right at the beginning of all of this, serious senior statesmen, people like Kennan for example and others warned that the expansion of NATO to the east is going to cause a disaster.5 I mean, it’s like having the Warsaw Pact on the Mexican border. It’s inconceivable. And others, senior people warned about this, but policymakers didn’t care. Just go ahead.

Right now, where do we stand? Well right at the Russian border, both sides have been taking provocative actions, both sides are building up military forces. NATO forces are carrying out maneuvers hundreds of yards from the Russian border, the Russian jets are buzzing American jets. Anything could blow up in a minute. In a minute, you know. Any incident could instantly blow up. Both sides are modernizing and increasing their military systems, including nuclear systems.

So what’s the purpose of NATO? Well actually we have an official answer. It isn’t publicized much, but a couple of years ago, the secretary-general of NATO made a formal statement explaining the purpose of NATO in the post-Cold War world is to control global energy systems, pipelines, and sea lanes. That means it’s a global system and of course he didn’t say it, it’s an intervention force under US command, as we’ve seen in case after case. So that’s NATO. So what happened to the years of defending Europe from the Russian hordes? Well, you can go back to NSC-68,6 and see how serious that was. So that’s what we’re living with.

Right now the threat to our existence is Muslim terrorists from seven states, who have never had a single terrorist act. About half the population believes that. I mean you look back at American history and American culture, it’s pretty striking. I mean this has been the safest country in the world forever, and the most frightened country in the world. That’s a large part of the source of the gun culture. You have to have a gun when you go into Starbucks, because who knows what’s going to happen. It just doesn’t happen in other countries.

There’s something deeply rooted in American culture. You can pretty much identify what it was. You take a look at the history. Remember, the US is not a global power until pretty recently. It was internal conquest. You had to defend yourself against what the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, an enlightened figure, called the attacks of the “merciless Indian savages,” whose known way of warfare was torture and destruction. Jefferson wasn’t a fool. He knew that it was the merciless English savages who were carrying out these acts. That is in the Declaration of Independence, recited piously every July Ffourth, the merciless Indian savages with no reason at all were suddenly attacking us. I mean, you can imagine the reasons. That’s one. Also you had a slave population, you had to protect yourself against them. You needed guns. One consequence of that was in southern culture, possession of a gun became kind of a sign of manhood, not just because of slaves but other white men. If you had a gun, you’re not going to push me around. You know, I’m not one of those guys you can kick in the face.

There was another element, which was kind of interesting. In the mid to late nineteenth century, the gun manufacturers recognized that they had a limited market. Remember that this is a capitalist society, you’ve got to expand your market. They were selling guns to the military. That’s a pretty limited market. What about all the rest of the people? So what started was all kinds of fantastic stories about Wyatt Earp and the gunmen and the Wild West, how exciting it was to have these guys with guns defending themselves against all sorts of things.

I grew up in that, when I was a kid. My friends and I used to play cowboys and Indians. We were cowboys killing the Indians, following the Wild West stories. All of this combined into a very strange culture, which is frightened. You look at the polls today, I think half the population supports this ban on these dangerous immigrants who are going to come in and do something, who knows what. And meanwhile the countries that really have been involved in terrorism, they’re out. It’s kind of like I think it was Oklahoma banning Sharia law. Now there’s probably fifty Muslims in Oklahoma, and they have to ban Sharia law, you know. This terror which is all over the country is constantly incited. The Russians were part of NSC-68, is a dramatic case. And that case, like most propaganda wasn’t totally fabricated. The Russians were doing a lot of rotten things, you can point to them. But the idea that if you consider what Hans Morgenthau called “I called abuse ofe reality,” the picture of the world was almost the opposite of what they presented. But somehow this sells and is continually repeated, at least in this kind of situation.

Gibbs: During the Cold War, the political left generally opposed military intervention. After 1991, however, the anti-interventionist movement collapsed and in its place has emerged the idea of humanitarian interventionism, which celebrates intervention as a defense of human rights. Military actions in the Balkans, Iraq, Libya have all been presented as acts of humanitarianism, which aimed to liberate oppressed peoples, and these interventions were at least initially popular among political liberals. Proposals for augmented US intervention in Syria often invoke the humanitarian principle. What is your view of humanitarian intervention?

Chomsky: Well, I don’t quite see it like that. Now, if you look back to the anti-intervention movements, what were they? Let’s take the Vietnam War – the biggest crime since the Second World War. Those of you who are old enough will remember what happened. You couldn’t be opposed to the war for years. The mainstream liberal intellectuals were enthusiastically in support of the war. In Boston, a liberal city where I was, we literally couldn’t have a public demonstration without it being violently broken up, with the liberal press applauding, until late 1966. By that time there were hundreds of thousands of American troops rampaging in South Vietnam. South Vietnam had been practically destroyed. The leading, the most respected Vietnam historian, military historian Bernard Fall7 – he was a hawk incidentally, but he cared for the Vietnamese – he said it wasn’t clear to him whether Vietnam could survive as a historical and cultural entity under the most massive attack that any region that size had ever suffered. He was talking about South Vietnam, incidentally. By that time, we did begin to get some protests. But not from liberal intellectuals; they never opposed the war.

In fact, it’s pretty dramatic when you get to 1975, very revealing, the war ends. Everybody had to write something about the war, what it meant. And you also had polls of public opinion, and they’re dramatically different. So if you look at the writings of intellectuals, there are two kinds. One said, l“Look, if we fought harder we could have won.” You know, the stab in the back. But the others, who were way at the left, people like Anthony Lewis of the New York Times, way out in left stream, his view in 1975 was the Vietnam war began with blundering efforts to do good. But by 1969, it was clear that it was a disaster, that was too costly to us. We could not bring democracy to South Vietnam at a cost that we were willing to accept. So it was a disaster. That’ is the left extreme.

Take a look at public opinion. About 70 percent of the population, in the polls, said the war was fundamentally wrong and immoral, not a mistake. And that attitude lasted as long as polls were taken in the early ‘80s. The pollsters don’t ask reasons, they just give numbers. So why did the people think it was fundamentally wrong and immoral? The guys who ran the polls, John E. Rielly, a professor at the University of Chicago, a liberal professor, he said what that means is that people thought too many Americans had beenwere being killed. Maybe. Another possibility is they didn’t like the fact that we were carrying out the worst crime since the Second World War. But that’s so inconceivable that wasn’t even offered as a possible reason.

Now what happened in the following years? Well, I think that among the educated classes it stayed the same. You talk about humanitarian intervention, it’s like Vietnam was a humanitarian intervention. Among the public, it’s quite different. Take the Iraq War, , it’s the second worst crime after the Second World War. It’s the first time in history, in the history of imperialism, there were huge demonstrations, before the war was officially launched. Actually it was already under way. But before it was officially launched, there were huge demonstrations everywhere. I think it had an effect. The public still was split.

And [after Vietnam] the type of interventions that are carried out are designed so as not to elicit public reactions. In fact, it was stated early in the first Bush [presidency], Bush I, in one of their documents they pointed out in the future, US wars are going to be against much weaker enemies. And they have to be won quickly and decisively before a popular reaction develops. And Iif you take a look, that’s what’s done. Look at Panama, for instance, over a couple of days; and Kosovo, no American troops. You wrote a great book about it.8 But I’m not convinced that it’s different from what it was.

Gibbs: With the end of the Cold War, there has been a decline of activism in the US and elsewhere around the issue of nuclear disarmament. Once again, this state of affairs differs from the period of the Cold War, when there was a mass movement that opposed nuclear weapons – recall the Freeze movement from the 1980s — but this movement largely disappeared after 1991. The danger of nuclear war remains as high as ever, but there is little public engagement on this issue, it would seem. How would you explain the disappearance of the anti-nuclear movement?

Chomsky: Well that’s absolutely right. The peak of anti-nuclear popular activism was in the early ‘80s, when there was a huge movement. And the Reagan administration attempted decided to defuse it and partially succeeded, by presenting the illusion of Star Wars, SDI, that somehow we’re going to eliminate nuclear weapons. The Reagan administration picked up the rhetoric of the anti-nuclear movement; they said “Yyeah, you’re right.” We have to eliminate nuclear weapons. And the way we’re going to do it is by having SDI, TStar Wars, the Strategic Defense Initiative, which prevent nuclear weapons from impacting. Well, that did defuse the movement.

And whthen the Russians collapsed, and it looked like as if maybe we can reduce the nuclear tensions. And for a while they actually were reduced. There was a reduction of nuclear weaponsreally were reduced on both sides. Various steps were taken. Nowhere near enough, but some of them were taken.

On the other hand, it’s very important to understand the official position of the United States. You should read it. So in 1995, this is Clinton, a very important document came out, still classified, but large parts of it were declassified. It’s called “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence.”9 What does post-Cold War deterrence mean? Deterrence means use of nuclear weapons. This was released by the Strategic Command, which was in charge of nuclear weapons planning and running nuclear weapons. I wrote about it when it came out and have been writing about it since. . Since then, I’ve never seen a reference to it. But it is an amazing document. Here’s what it says basically: It says we have to maintain the right of first strike, the right of the first use of nuclear weapons, even against nonnuclear powers. Nuclear weapons, they point out, are really constantly used, because they cast a shadow over other military actions. In other words, when people know we are ready to use nuclear weapons, they’re going to back off if we do something aggressive. So basically, nuclear weapons are always being used.

Now that’s a point that Dan Ellsberg has made for years. He said it’s kind of like if you and I go into a grocery store to rob it, and I have a gun. The guy may give you the money in the cash register. I’m using the gun even if I don’t shoot. Well that’s nuclear weapons — essential to post-war deterrence — they cast a shadow over everything. Then, it goes on to say that we must present a national persona of being irrational and vindictive, because that’s going to terrify people. And then, they’ll back off. And this is not Trump, this is Clinton. It’s not Nixon, you know. We have to be irrational and vindictive, because that’s going to frighten people. And we have to maintain this for years. And then we’ll be able to carry out the actions that we want to carry out.

That’s our nuclear weapons strategy, as of the early post-Cold War years. And I think this is a real failure of the intellectual community, including scholarship and the media. It’s not like you had headlines all over the place. And it’s not secret, the documents are there. And I think that’s probably the right picture. You know, people talk about Nixon’s “madman theory.” We don’t really know much about that. It was in memoirs, by somebody else.10 But this is real. This is the real mad man theory. We have to be irrational and vindictive, so people don’t know what we’re up to. This is not Trump and Bannon, it’s from the Clinton era.

Gibbs: I think we have time for one more question. In popular discussion, the phrase “national security” has come to mean security against military threats almost exclusively. This narrative downgrades the significance of nonmilitary threats, such as climate change, antibiotic resistant bacteria, or viral epidemics. It would seem that there is an imbalance between perceived military threats, which receive overwhelming governmental funding and press attention on the one hand, and nonmilitary threats, which receive relatively little on the other hand. How do we account for the apparent overemphasis on military threats?

Chomsky: Well [with] military threats, you can see them actually, you can imagine it. People don’t think about it enough. But Iif you think about it for a minute, you can see that a nuclear attack could be the end of everything. These other threats are kind of slow, maybe we won’t see them next year. Maybe the science is uncertain, maybe we don’t have to worry about it. Climate change is the worst, but there’s others.

Take pandemics. There could easily be a severe pandemic. A lot of that comes from something we don’t pay much attention to: Eating meat. The meat production industry, the industrial production of meat, uses an immense amount of antibiotics. I don’t remember the exact figure, it’s probably like half the antibiotics. Well antibiotics have an effect: They lead to mutations that make them ineffective. We’re now running out of antibiotics that deal with the threat of rapidly mutating bacteria. A lot of that just comes from the meat production industry. Well, do we worry about it? Well, we ought to be. You go into a hospital now, it’s dangerous. We can get diseases that can’t be dealt with, that are moving around the hospital. A lot of that traces back to industrial meat production. These are really serious threats, all over the place.

Take something you really don’t think about: Plastics in the ocean. I mean plastics in the ocean have an enormous ecological effect. When geologists announced the beginning of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, humans destroying the environment, one of the main things they pointed to is the use of plastics in the earth. We don’t think about it, but it has a tremendous effect. But these are things you don’t see right in front of your eyes. You need to think about them a little, to see what the consequences are. It’s easy to put them aside, and the media don’t talk about them. Other things are more important. How am I going to put food on the table tomorrow? That’s what I’ve got to worry about, and so on. It’s very serious, but it’s hard to bring out the enormity of these issues, when they do not have the dramatic character of something you can show in the movies, with a nuclear weapons falling and everything disappears.

Notes

1 For the recent opinions of Princeton University nuclear weapons specialist Bruce G. Blair, see Blair, “Trump and the Nuclear Keys,” New York Times, October 12, 2016.

2 Note that Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security advisor on February 13, 2017, several days after this interview took place

3 See Solomon, “Urgent to Progressives: Stop Fueling Anti-Russia Frenzy,” Antiwar.com, December 21, 2016, http://original.antiwar.com/solomon/2016/12/20/urgent-progressives-stop-fueling-anti-russia-frenzy/; Halimi, January, 2017, ; Jeremy , “Seymour Hersh Blasts Media for Uncritically Reporting Russian Hacking Story,”

4?: The End of the Cold War and the US Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4, 2016.

5 On George F. Kennan’s warning about the dangers of NATO expansion, see Thomas L. Friedman, “Foreign Affairs: Now a Word from X,” New York Times, May 2, 1998.

6 Here, Chomsky references the National Security Council memorandum NSC-68, one of the key documents of the Cold War. This document was the topic of Chomsky’s lecture, which preceded the interview. The document text is now fully declassified and available online. See “A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68,” April 14, 1950, made available through the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/coldwar/documents/pdf/10-1.pdf .

7 Regarding Bernard Fall’s writings on Vietnam, see Fall, Last Reflections on a War. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967.

8 The book Chomsky references with regard to the Kosovo intervention is David N. Gibbs, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009.

9 This e full text of this declassified document is now available online. See US Department of Defense, Strategic Command, “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” 1995 [no exact date indicated], made available through provided by the Federation of American Scientists, Nuclear Information Project,http://www.nukestrat.com/us/stratcom/SAGessentials.PDF.

10 The idea that President Richard Nixon subscribed to a “madman” theory of international relations first appeared in the memoir by former Nixon aide H. R. Haldeman, in Haldeman and Joseph DiMona, The Ends of Power. New York: Times Books, 1978, p. 98.

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From Kissinger’s Playbook: Flynn is Gone, His Russia Policy Lives On

Amid demonstrations against his first choice, President Donald Trump named Lieutenant General Herbert McMaster, whose book claiming the US was too soft on Vietnam is now required reading for US officers, as his new national security advisor this week.

McMaster’s appointment came after Michael Flynn, Trump’s original choice, was forced to resign earlier this month after it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador back in December.

The Washington Post revealed that these conversations, which occurred before Flynn had taken up his government role, had involved discussions of US sanctions on Russia. Such a discussion not only broke the “one president at a time” protocol – that members of an incoming administration should not discuss policy with foreign powers, but also flatly contradicted his own earlier denials, made to both Pence and to the FBI.

As Flynn had supposedly been one of the key “pro-Putin” figures in Trump’s administration, his removal has been interpreted by some as a victory for the anti-Russia “hawks” in the US foreign policy establishment. This is a misreading of the situation on two levels.

First, characterising members of Trump’s team as “pro-Russia” is incorrect; rather, they have, as Tom Hardy’s character in Taboo might put it, a “use” for Russia. Secondly, this plan for Russia is likely to remain intact regardless of Flynn’s removal – or McMaster’s well-publicised anti-Russia stance.

Befriending Russia to isolate Iran

Improving relations with Russia was only one of Flynn’s two major foreign policy obsessions: the other was “regime change” in Iran. In his 2016 book The Field of Fight, he wrote that “Iran has been a major threat to the US for decades due to its sponsorship of international terrorism – but the US has prioritised diplomatic relations over national security.” Instead, he argued, “the US must change course. These countries must be prepared to face military action.”

In fact, it is highly likely that the so-called “pro-Russia” position of Flynn, and indeed Trump, is part of a broader foreign policy initiative aimed ultimately at destroying Iran. The broad outlines of this position could already be discerned in the testimony Flynn gave to the Joint Foreign Affairs and House Armed Services Committee back in June 2015. Like so many now in Trump’s team, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the nuclear deal negotiated the year before.

“Iran represents a clear and present danger to the region, and eventually to the world,” he told the committee. When asked what he believed should be done about the prospect of Iranian nuclear development, he was unequivocal, replying that regime change in Tehran “is the best way to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons programme”.

The so-called ‘pro-Russia’ position of Flynn, and indeed Trump, is part of a broader foreign policy initiative aimed ultimately at destroying Iran

Since then, of course, Syria has taught the West a painful lesson about “regime change”, namely that Russia can make it extremely difficult.

Later in his testimony, Flynn argued that there was an “anti-US” alliance being developed between China, Iran and Russia: “Just look at the [Iranian] cooperation with North Korea, China and Russia. Connect those dots and you get the outline of a global alliance aimed at the US, our friends and our allies.” He continued: “Russian assistance is part of a broader pattern. After all, the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr is Russian-built, the two countries work very closely together in Syria, and Russia is providing Iran with an effective anti-aircraft system that could be deployed against any aircraft seeking to destroy the nuclear programme.”

The message is clear: if you want to attack Iran, you’d better break their alliance with Russia first. Michael Ledeen, who co-authored Flynn’s book, put it simply: “The issue is whether Putin is prepared to abandon Khamenei.” This is what those phone calls, and all Trump’s flattery of Putin, are really about: attempting to draw Russia away from its alliance with Iran (and China) – and ultimately to buy Russian acquiescence for the next war.

Adopting Kissinger’s playbook

The restoration of governmental authority in Syria currently underway, however, is not the first time that the US has suffered a military defeat at the hands of a foreign government supported by Russia. Nor is it the first time the US has responded to such a failure with a renewed attempt to split Russia from her allies.

In 1969, Richard Milhous Nixon became 37th president of the United States, and the fifth to lead US attempts to crush Vietnamese independence, inheriting a full-scale, and disastrous, military commitment. The Tet offensive the previous year had decisively blown apart the lie that the US was winning the war, and Nixon was elected on a promise to bring about “peace with honour”.

He would achieve neither, and in fact embarked on a massive escalation of the war, including a secret carpet bombing campaign in Cambodia, which led to famine and ultimately the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Yet the US’s ongoing defeat could not be abated. This led Nixon and his advisers towards a radical rethink of US strategy.

“By the time Nixon came into office,” wrote his own national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, “East-West relations were themselves in obvious need of reassessment.” Indeed, he said, the USA’s entire Cold War strategy “needed to be reconsidered in light of the trauma of Vietnam”.

The Vietnamese victory over the US was aided significantly by support, at different times, from both Russia and China, and Kissinger’s greatest fear was the restoration of “dreaded Sino-Soviet bloc … which had inspired so much fear in the 1950s.” He added that while it was “far from clear” that the USSR was “capable of realising so vast a project … what was obvious … was that the risk could not be run.”

“If the balance of power is taken seriously,” he continued, “then the very prospect of geopolitical upheaval must be resisted; by the time the change has occurred, it may well be too late to oppose it.”

The missing linkage

In today’s terms, this formula translates into two specific policy requirements for the US: 1) Russian-Chinese unity must be resisted and 2) Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East must be reversed (ideally, one presumes, before the recapture of Mosul by largely Iranian-allied militias solidifies such influence).

Like Trump and Flynn today, Nixon and Kissinger sought nothing less than the breakup of the non-Western alliance spearheaded by Russia and China that had stymied US attempts to destroy governments challenging their hegemony. And, like today, they believed US cooperation with Russia to be both possible and desirable for both parties.

Said Kissinger: “America needed breathing room in order to extricate itself from Vietnam and to construct a new policy for the post-Vietnam era, while the Soviet Union had perhaps even stronger reasons for seeking a respite.” In particular, “the idea was to emphasise those areas in which cooperation was possible, and to use that cooperation as leverage to modify Soviet behaviour in areas where the two countries were at loggerheads,” a policy that became known as “linkage”.

The linkage being sought today – the deal Trump wishes to make with Russia – is to use potential “cooperation” over Syria, Ukraine and sanctions as “leverage” to secure Russian acquiescence for renewed hostilities towards Iran and China.

With this in mind, it is particularly interesting to note Kissinger’s role in shaping Trump’s foreign policy today. Germany’s Bild newspaper reported in December 2016 that Kissinger was a key architect of Trump’s “rapprochement” policy with Russia, advising him to lift sanctions and recognise Russian ownership of Crimea. These will not be free gifts – reciprocity will be expected and demanded, and Trump is making it abundantly clear that he wants a free hand in confronting Iran and China.

The linkage being sought today is to use potential ‘cooperation’ over Syria, Ukraine and sanctions as ‘leverage’ to secure Russian acquiescence for renewed hostilities towards Iran

Furthermore, as journalist Nafeez Ahmed has noted, “Kissinger’s ‘unofficial’ advisory role in the Trump regime is solidified through the direct influence of one of his longtime acolytes, KT McFarland, an aide to Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration on the National Security Council from 1970 to 1976.”

McFarland was appointed by Trump as Michael Flynn’s deputy. Robert Harward, a former Navy seal, reportedly turned down the national security advisor post because Trump insisted that she stay on rather than allowing Harward to bring his own team.

In his book Diplomacy, Kissinger wrote that “Nixon had managed, despite the tragedy of Indochina, to maneuver his country into a dominant international position,” snatching a victory of sorts from the jaws of defeat, by playing Russia and China off against one another.

‘Russophobes’ are part of the plan

In this light, McMaster’s apparently conflicting views on Russia make sense. According to Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the defence and security affairs committee of Russia’s Federation Council, McMaster is a “100 percent hawk” on Russia.

This appears to contrast with Flynn’s approach, putting him closer to other so-called “Russophobes” in the Trump team, such as ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who told the Security Council last month that “Russian actions” in the Ukraine “demand clear and strong condemnation,” and Vice President Mike Pence, who condemned Russia at the recent Munich Security Conference.

Yet these figures and their threats are as much a part of the strategy as dangling the prospect of lifting sanctions. As Kissinger put it: “The statesman’s role is … to create a network of incentives and penalties to produce the most favourable outcome.”

To pull off his “deal,” Trump needs his “bad cops” just as much as he needs to flatter and offer inducements – to warn Russia of what they will be up against should they choose to ignore his overtures and maintain their existing alliances.

The question today is: will Russia snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Syria by allowing itself to be played off against Iran and China? The stakes could not be higher.

This article originally appeared on Middle East Eye.

Dan Glazebrook is currently crowdfunding to finance his second book; you can order an advance copy here: http://fundrazr.com/c1CSnd

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The Conservative Revolution: the “Left” Dilemma

January 31, 2017

by Iman Safi

Part II; The “Left” Dilemma:

(for part I, please see here)

To understand where the global “left”-“right” divides stands now, we must take a quick look at some key developments and join them together within the particular context sought; because the roots of this divide go back to the times during which the Western mind was in the process of choosing between such issues as succumbing to the Church versus liberation, monarchies versus progressive and democratic governments and science versus fiction.

A quick look at all the opportunities that people have had for awakening in the past reveals, without much effort at all, that they were virtually all quickly and swiftly hijacked by individuals and organizations seeking gain and mileage. One can perhaps understand why some people are driven by ego, others are lured by financial rewards, fame, power etc, and whilst it is not easy to “forgive” them, they are easier to forgive than those who meddle with people’s minds and replace their drive for enlightenment and knowledge by unsurmountable walls of ignorance, darkness, ill-defined destinations and even no destinations at all to aspire to reach.

Western Churches had for centuries controlled the minds of their flocks. As a matter of fact, the term “flock” is quite befitting, because they did regard them as mindless sheep. For many generations, they have told them what to believe in, how to think, what subjects to discuss and what to stay away from. They have even told them what to eat, when to eat, who and when to marry, and should one dare break those rules and commandments, he/she can face the pain of death.

Whilst this monstrosity is considered to be by-and-large a thing of the past in the Western/Christian World, it is still well and alive within some of the other communities and religions, and the new wave of terror under the guise of Islamic terrorism is only a manifestation of this phenomenon that it still thriving.

The age of awakening in Western Europe did not come from the Church that did not reform despite many claims to the contrary made by the mainstream Churches as well as some breakaway factions alike. The awakening was the result of the fact that the Western mind liberated itself from the yokes of the Church and instead of listening to the rhetoric of their priests telling them that they were born sinners and that they will burn forever in hell unless they obey their orders and directives, for a change, they were able to read the works of Spinoza, Descartes, Kant, and listen to the music of Bach and Beethoven and see the creativity of Da Vinci. The scientific revolution that ensued was a result of this liberation, and the Western mind had the opportunity to lead humanity and to prosper at all levels, and it did.

To the dismay of some Americans who believe that the American Revolution was the first such popular action against oppressive regimes, the mother of all revolutions was undoubtedly the French Revolution. This is because the French Revolution was the outcome of enlightenment and social awakening, spearheaded by Voltaire, Mollier, Rousseaux and not just a haphazard revolt related to tea trade tax laws. The French Revolution was in fact the inspiration that gave rise to Hegel and Marx, and in its demand for bread to feed the poor, an economic component was therefore added. Sadly, that awakening was not to last because when the Communist Manifesto was published, the European awakening was inadvertently ready to be hijacked and take a detour from its lofty philosophical spiritual sense and be replaced by financial pragmatism.

Backed by setting up economics as a “science”, in reality, Marx’s “historical materialism” was an indirect outcome of John Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, and became an uninvited de facto love-child, turned hijacker, of the awakening of the Western mind and the age of European enlightenment. But the “financial/economic revolution” was bound to fail because its approach and reach were not holistic, but at best practical. Somehow, Marx and Hegel have perhaps forgotten that man does not live by bread alone and that mankind seeks spirituality, even when it does not conform with rationality.

Speaking of rationality, we are now hitting a very sensitive chord. Institutionalized religions did not offer the Western mind any rationality at all, but that was only the beginning. However, even though the age of awakening based its doctrine on rationality and bolstered it with advances in science and medicine, the Western mind was only ready for a portion of it, and later on succumbed to financial pragmatism as lifestyle took precedence over the pursuit of knowledge. On the other hand, in Eastern Europe, the Communist takeover took the Eastern European mind into a seemingly opposing political ideology; Communism as opposed to Western Capitalism, but in spiritual, ideological and philosophical terms, they were not proverbial opposite sides of the same coin, but rather different corners of the same side of the same coin. However, the failure of Communism was evident with the demise of the USSR, but the demise of Capitalism continues to be met with total denial. That collapse is already here and upon us, but its acknowledgment is still in the making.

In between the demise of the influence of the Western Churches on Western masses and the rise of and fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the political notion of “right” and “left” emerged initially in the UK to later on move to the entire world.

The political “left” did not only offer its faithful followers the promise of change, but also the promise of liberation; both in body and in mind.

The right to have a job, fair wages, financial retirement security, medical care, free education, sick pay, maternity pay and similar rights were high on the agenda of the Eastern Communist bloc, and that was perceived as the global socialist “left”. On the other hand, in the Western version of the “left”, and in addition to the above, freedom of political expression and freedom of worship and other freedoms were added to the preamble. Some, indeed many Westerners, would argue that even though the “regimes” of Eastern Europe gave themselves the adjective of being “democratic”, they were very far from it, and use the examples of lifetime leaders like former Yugoslavia’s Tito and Romania’s Ceausescu as examples. In retrospect however, the Eastern European counter-argument is hardly ever heard in the West; and this is not the time and place to present it.

Either way, whether or not the “left”, in its ideal absoluteness, did reach power in either Eastern or Western Europe or not, it has not yet given any overwhelming evidence that it has furnished the promised Holy Grail of freedom and equality and all the minor promises that come with them.

The socialist “left” ideas perhaps reached their zenith when Castro and Guevara came to prominence. Guevara is still celebrated as a hero in the most unlikely places. T-Shirts bearing his portrait are even sold in NYC.

During the USSR era, any ideology that was remotely related to socialism was tagged by Western “regimes” as being Communist. Even speaking about and advocating social justice was a dangerous act in the United States, and immediately labelled one as a member of the infamous, illusive, perhaps fictitious “Un-American Activities Committee”. And whilst many socialist movements, both within the USA or outside it, had nothing to do with Communism per se, they were all made to be perceived as being Communist. That was the establishment’s method to portray them and present them.

It was within this atmosphere that the “left” thrived in Western Europe, but even the then very popular French Communist Party has distanced itself from the Communist version of the Kremlin. Nonetheless, socialist parties in Europe have made big gains and even reached the Élysée when Francois Mitterrand was elected as French President in 1981.

But even though the Western “left” tried to distant itself from the USSR, in the eyes of many, the two remained highly associated with each other. And when British unionist Arthur Scargill visited the USSR to spite Maggie Thatcher he made no apologies at all for visiting it, and thus endorsing it, and for this, among other things, he was seen as a so-called militant unionist. That aside, in the UK and Australia, the Labour/Labor parties are highly associated with trade unions and seek social justice, and this is why they have been identified as being on the “left”. And whilst the American Democratic Party could not be given a loud and clear “left” tag per se, the Labour/Labor parties across the Atlantic and the Pacific, respectively, found in it the natural political ally.

In theory, the demise of the USSR should have put the Western “left” at ease. After all, it meant that any argument based on the alleged association of the Western ”left” with the USSR has lost its foundation. But that demise should have also meant that the “left” had fallen under a new challenge; the challenge of reinventing itself as a stand-alone force for change for the better; in a manner that promoted justice and equality, not only domestically, but also globally.

In reality however, that process of rebirth was nothing short of being disastrous.

Without di-polarity, and for the first time since the partition of the Roman Empire, humanity found itself under a so-called New World Order in which the United States of America was the unrivalled leader of the world. Whilst no bans as such were imposed on “left” ideas and “left” parties in the West, the process of rebirth needed new ideas and new preambles. This required a new generation of leaders, but those leaders were not to be found.

To say that the Western “left” merged into the establishment would be an understatement. If anything, it underpinned the establishment’s position by setting itself up as one of its corner stones. In more ways than one, the “left” in the West did not only merge into the so-called “Imperial Empire” it was meant stand up against, but also became its face and organ. It was no longer a force for the kind of change that was initially promised and expected, and thus has inadvertently lost its stature and very definition of being “left”.

In the sequel article, we shall have a brief look at surrogate principles that the Western “left” conjured up seeking survival, and possibly in another sequel, project how those newly-adopted ideas are highly likely to lead to its removal from the throne that it has placed itself on for at least two centuries.

Part III; What’s Left of the “Left” in the “Left”:

A very brief and quick look at the post USSR Western “left” reveals that it did everything BUT stick to its original principles and ideals.

To elaborate, we must look at certain examples; beginning with the highly controversial subject of refugees. The “left” in the West continues to uphold the principle of aiding and welcoming refugees, and this is good and ought to be applauded. However, the “left” does not even seem to question how those refugees have become refugees in the first place! Whilst it is a fact that most refugees are in essence political refugees who have been displaced due to wars inflicted upon their countries, mostly seeking regime change, the Western “left” seems to turn a blind eye to this reality. Even worse, when the Western “left” gets democratically elected and assumes power, it does not try to reverse the course of events that create refugees.

It gets even worse. Take the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as examples. Both wars were initiated by the “right” wing Republican American President GWB. However, his partner in crime in Iraq was Britain’s Labour leader Tony Blair; who was meant to be from the Western “left”.

And whilst the Australian Labor Party (ALP) can hold its head high because it was an ALP Prime Minister (Gough Whitlam) who bailed Australia out of the infamous Vietnam War, other ALP administrations have followed the USA into wars without too many questions asked about their legitimacy and whether or not they conform with the foundations and principles upon which the ALP is based.

Such views and politics have nothing to do with the original “left” values of promoting freedom, supporting the oppressed and working towards social justice; none what-so-ever, and quite the opposite, if anything.

And even though APHEDA, an organization sponsored by Australian trade unions, supports and sponsors humanitarian projects in Palestine, the current ALP leader Bill Shorten has recently described Israeli PM Netanyahu as a friend.

The contradictions within the Western “left” are not the result of a deliberate attempt to create confusion, but rather the direct outcome of loss of identity and soul, and an inability to reinvent itself in the post-USSR New World Order era.

A proper reinvention process requires new ideas, but instead of undergoing a serious process of soul-searching, the Western “left” shopped around for existing populist issues to capitalize on.

For fairness, when the wider community develops and evolves in a manner that it advocates such issues as marriage equality, political parties will need to listen and respect the wish of the community that it is meant to uphold and attempts to govern. It was therefore a democratically and demographically-driven shift when Western “left” parties became advocates of gender equality at all levels, including marriage equality, and for listening to their constituencies, they ought to be applauded.

That said, moves of this nature lose any genuine intention behind them if and when not done in conjunction with other new moves and directions.

It would therefore not be too cynical to say that in this particular instance, ie the issue of LBGT rights, that Western “left” parties have simply jumped on an existing and popular band wagon.

Here, we must stop and remember that whilst the Obama Administration has approved marriage equality within the United States of America, it continued to endorse the Saudi Government that does not give women the right to even drive a car. Furthermore, that same administration has helped and abetted the Saudi regime in attacking and bombing Yemen and creating a human disaster and starvation that no one in the West, including the most “progressive” parties in the “left” are trying to put an end to; let alone seem to know about.

This is not to forget the support fighters associated with Al-Qaeda and ISIL in Syria and Libya have received from the USA and EU nations; including the so-called socialist “left” French Government of President Hollande. And when we make such exposures, we should not vindicate the Western “left” in opposition in nations like the UK, Australia and in the recent past in Canada.

There was not a word, not a whisper to stop the onslaught of those wars, and if anything, the West as a whole, either directly by the action of “left” governments or by the tacit support of “left” opposition, has been actively engaged in financing and supporting the most oppressive world regimes and helping finance, arm, and facilitate the activities of fundamentalist terror organizations.

And speaking of Obama, just by virtue of being a President from the Democratic Party, he was assumed to be from the “left” side of Western politics; and which admittedly is not as hawkish as the Republican Party. But one would wonder, in the true essence of the “left” philosophy, what was/is it exactly in Obama and the American Democratic Party that was/is remotely “left” in its ideals? After all, it was Democratic Presidents who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, started the Vietnam War and created Al-Qaeda. It was the Democratic Obama who led the EU to the brink of war with Russia over Ukraine; and ironically did so by supporting the ultra-right Ukrainian Neo-Nazis. How bizarre indeed!

Where is anything that can be even remotely referred to as “left” in these actions and endorsements?

It would be therefore fair to say that with the attempts to reinvent the “left” in the West, the original principles were cast away and fantasy that is very alien to the “left” doctrine seems to have taken precedence over genuine revolutions.

This is not a call to take arms and to go back to the days of revolutions. Humanity has had plenty of that already. But to honour the spirit of Guevara all the while helping the Saudis bomb Yemen and Al-Qaeda to destroy Churches in Syria is grossly hypocritical to say the least, and forms a blatant exposure of the rot and moral bankruptcy that seems to have overtaken Western “left” movements and governments.

Without giving a lesson in history, but when Angola was under attack, Castro sent troops to help; not for any gain for Cuba at all. Whether or not one endorses this action, but that was what a “revolutionary” leftist leaders who is true to his word was supposed to do, and certainly Castro epitomized this image. If we compare Castro’s action to current leaders of the “left”, it becomes therefore fair to say that issues such as global justice are no longer on the Western “left” agenda. If we go further and say that the Western “left” has directly and indirectly been involved in creating more global injustice, it then becomes imperative to concede that the Western “left’ has become a part of problem; not the solution.

So what is really left of the “left” in the “left”? One wonders.

In reality and practice, the “left” concept was reduced to only be contingent upon supporting such issues as gender equality issues and environmental awareness; but all with a huge taint of unrealistic political correctness that bogs it down and blinds its vision from focusing on other important issues.

Even when getting facts and having them laid out to members of the Western “left” on a silver platter, they do not seem to understand that, for example, one cannot only look at certain issues of social justice, whilst totally ignoring one’s country involvement in needless wars that are flooding the world with refugees.

What is also mind-boggling about the Western “left” is its love-hate relationship with mainstream media (MSM). They opt to disbelieve their tabloids and bulletins when they themselves are the victims, but the moment someone else gets his neck under the chopping board of the MSM, instead of putting two and two together and coming up with the conclusion that the MSM make lies not only about them, but also about others, instead of putting two and two together to end up with rational conclusions, they conveniently opt to adopt the easy way out and believe the lies about others whom they choose to dislike.

Where is the sense of fairness in this attitude? What happened to the aspiration for global justice?

Rather shamelessly, they are now crying tears of blood to see Obama finish his term, in a clear indication that they are either unaware of the carnage of his warmongering policy or that they know, but they don’t care. However, when one brings out the facts to them and shows them that Obama has created havoc in Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other corners of the world, and when one presents evidence about the tens of thousands of innocent people who perished as a result, they can no longer argue that they did not know. This is a serious indictment because it ultimately means that they have not only abandoned their lofty ideals of global justice, but also that they blatantly do not give much consideration at all to Libyan, Syrian and Yemeni lives. This makes them racists to the extreme, and they can jump up and down decrying the accusation, but their actions and inactions show their true colours.

In principle, to take the fight against global injustice and racism from the “left” would be tantamount to taking Jesus Christ out of Christianity. But try saying this to today’s alleged “leftists”.

What is most bizarre perhaps is the fact that the notion of speaking about reform with the western “left” is a taboo subject. This is quite oxymoronic to say the least. After all, the “left” is meant to signify reform, is it not? So, what is really and truly left of the “left” in the “left”?

Apart from the name tag, what is left of the “left” in “the Western left” and the “left” in general is a combination of remnants of old ideas mashed together with some new-age fantasies that only merge in minds that do not seem to be able to understand the concept of compatibility. This brings back the issue of rationality, and in this case, the lack of it. There is at best very little left about today’s “left” that is well and truly “left” in its core. It’s a muddled up world of juvenile-minded dreamers and screamers, figments of a bygone past, regressive mutants who seem to run more on superficial and distorted vision rather than principles and rationality.

The truth of the matter is that the “left” is dead, and it cannot be rebirthed; unless it admits its past and present failures and rebuilds itself on its original political doctrine with a clear understanding that its objective is to achieve justice and equal rights for all humans all over the world.

At the end of the day, politics is politics, and at best, it provides the right environment for human awakening. At best, it is the prerequisite and not the ultimate objective, and for this reason, it ought to be built on ethical foundations. For as long as this form of political and ethical rationality is not the corner stone of political activism that is meant to be part-and-parcel of human awakening, any journey with any other objective(s) will fail, and history is full of such examples, and all that humanity needs to do is to look back at its past failed steps to learn.

Part IV; The Seemingly Emerging New Left

In the absence of mainstream political movements pushing for change and reform, the human aspiration for change did not go away. Not even the Western Churches, with their former draconian punishments, were able to stifle humanity and prevent it from demanding awakening and better living conditions.

Demanding change is a part of human nature, and people do this at many levels and even when it comes to mundane things like rearranging their furniture. And whilst the bigger changes they seek and pursue do not always end up with positive outcomes, the desire for change does not go away.

And as the traditional Western “left” and “right” formed the establishment and ran it in accordance with electoral alternation, the differences between them shrank and continued to shrink.

They might have continued to differ on rather minor issues such as government funding of certain projects, where to drop taxes and where to lift them, where to prioritize public spending, their relationships with trade unions and other management issues, but on basic philosophical and doctrinal matters such as global justice, they became almost identical. Ironically, they are both in denial as to how identical they are, even though their constituencies keep telling them that they perceive them as being so.

They try hard to scorn each other and quarrel over petty matters in desperate attempts to recreate the schism that once separated them, but to no avail. If even the mighty Catholic Church reached a point in time when it was no longer able to fool people, they will need to acknowledge that their power of swaying opinion and fooling people will not work.

They conjure up all tricks to accentuate the little difference they have left between them, but they also often go back to adopt some former policies of their political foes. When the Australian Liberal Party was in opposition in the 1980’s, it vehemently fought the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) so-called “Option C” in which Paul Keating, the then treasurer, advocated the need for introducing a consumption tax. Yet, the Liberal John Howard’s Government was unapologetic when it introduced it nearly a decade later. That said, the ALP was also unapologetic when it voted against introducing it, even though it was originally an ALP idea.

Western voters grew increasingly dissatisfied with their political leaders, and the percentage of citizens who actually vote in countries in which voting is not compulsory is a simple reflection.

Even in a highly decisive and highly controversial election like the recent American presidential elections, 90 million eligible voters out of 231 million did not vote. This is nearly a whopping 40%.

This is democracy in action, and ironically in this instance, perhaps a reflection of the distrust of American voters in the version of democracy that the two-party system has been pushing down their throats for a very long time. Not even a rally like the Clinton-Trump battle was enough to motivate them.

That said, the 60% who did vote, voted with a loud and clear message; but are the major parties listening? One really wonders.

There was a major twist in this election. The Republican candidate Donald Trump has actually won the elections without the support of his party. As a matter of fact, many Republican heavy weights did not endorse him and made statements that they were not going to vote for him.

Against protocol, former President George Bush Senior did not even attend the inaugural ceremony.

It is not by accident that Trump is not liked either by his Democrat foes or by his supposed Republican “comrades”. After all, he has broken the mold and based his campaign on seeking change, the kind of change that neither party wants to address, let alone bring up.

What worries the Western “right” and “left” about Trump is the fact that he has seemingly created a new force in politics and managed to get in from an open window that they least expected and one previously unheard of; the window of the “Conservative Revolution”

The impact of the “Conservative Revolution” is perhaps not any less virulent in Western politics than the impact of the age of European enlightenment was on the Church. Only time will tell.

Would it be too immature and inconceivable to say that for the major Western political parties the worst is yet to come? A close-up look at them reveals that the Trump phenomenon is likely going to be the beginning of an avalanche that will politically sweep the West and push the reset button on its party-based infra-structure.

In the opening article titled “The Conservative Revolution”, and which was not meant to be an opening article per se but rather a stand-alone one, I expressed my views about how the move of the traditional Western “right” and “left” moved to the centre, and how in doing so, they created separate vacuums in the left and right, and which were filled by the Greens and Ultra-Right, respectively.

What is intrinsically pertinent is the fact that when people are denied the opportunity for change, they will find a way to seek it.

Traditionally, the drive for change came from below; from the masses. That was how the mother of all revolutions, the French Revolution, was created.

Traditionally also, the conservative reasoning behind maintaining the status quo came from above; if from authority itself (as in the case of France’s Louis the XVI), the social and financial upper crust, or both.

The financial divide had been a major driving force that divided the ‘haves and the have nots’; those who wanted change from those who resisted it.

However, as different contemporary ideologies – political, financial, doctrinal or otherwise – seem to stem from perspectives and objectives that are invariably partial in their views, selective in their outlooks, and primarily irrational in their rationales to varying degrees; they will always eventually fall down and crumble because they all have their own and specific Achilles heel, and their heels will all be struck once they run out of steam and luck.

Thus, what was seen as a triumph of Capitalism over Communism when the USSR crumbled was in reality a forerunner for Capitalism to come to terms with reality of the forthcoming demise of its own two-party system if not more.

There is undeniably a new and unprecedented political move on the rise in the West, and if the traditional custodians of alternating Western parties in power have an iota of rationality and long-term vision, they ought to stop and look at their own status quo, and at what size hole they have dug up in the middle of the path of their own political future.

In their denial to the proximity that was created by their bi-partisan agreement on major issues, little did they see that in doing so, they had signed a mutual death warrant for each other. Little did they realize that for them to be perceived to be on opposite sides, they needed to demonstrate that they were not only the opposite sides of the same coin, but opposite in every way that was related to their modus operandi. But they did not.

The masses do not go by what is dictated to them, and right or wrong, they will invariably go against the stream when they feel marginalized and ridiculed. If anything, the more they feel they have been marginalized and ridiculed, the more vehement they become in standing up against the offender. And if the offender is the authority, the more they will be inclined to revolt.

As the “left” is clearly no longer what it used to be, and as the “right” is losing more support from its traditional power base because it is seen as being almost identical to the “left”, the drive for change had to open up for itself a new window for self-expression.

This brings us back to the issue of human awakening.

Trump’s “Conservative Revolution” is ideologically and philosophically not in a position to offer humanity an enlightened alternative by any stretch of imagination.

That said, it is presenting a challenge, a real and significant challenge.

For the West in general and the United States in particular to ignore the events that led to the election of Trump as President would be foolhardy. To blame the happening on Russia is ridiculous and laughable.

At the present time, the West is no longer divided on the Cold-War-Take-One divide of Capitalism versus Communism. It is no longer divided on any remaining remnants of that divide that once distinguished “right” from “left” Western politics either.

At the present time, the political divide that separates the traditional major parties in the West is increasingly becoming one that is only seen in the eyes of those parties and their loyal voters. But it is not the loyal voters who decide who wins elections.

The swinging voters and those who do not vote, at least not on a regular basis, are indeed those who make that decision, and their decision is becoming more prominent.

With his business background, Trump may apply fiscal business pragmatism and run the USA as a business. Whilst this sounds like an abhorrent prospect, in reality, it may mean relief to millions around the globe who wish for a cessation of American attempts of further regime changes that serve them with American-style democracy, courtesy of B-52’s.

The “Conservative Revolution” is the slap in the face that both major parties in all Western democracies need and deserve to get. At best however, it cannot be expected to be much better than just that. It is inadvertently the emerging and still ill-defined force for change; ironically a “new left”; even though it does not bear any ideological resemblance to Guevara’s “left”, but rather just by definition of seeking change.

In reality, for as long as people continue to look at each other as groups and nations of conflicting interests, they will find a reason to quarrel. They will only stop once they see that what unites them is much stronger and much more profound, and they cannot and will not do this until they seek proper awakening; the kind of awakening that ancient Greek Philosophers and the European philosophers taught and sought. Religion was meant to be an awakening, but sadly it was hijacked by institutions, twisted, diverted and turned into a tool for suppression rather than liberation.

Will humanity employ the Trump election win as a precursor and a reminder and an incentive to go back to the roots of the age of awakening? This may sound like a huge and a far-fetched call, but in reality, awakening does not necessarily need a huge nudge for it to commence.

At the end of the day, and going back to basics mentioned in an earlier article in this series, meddling with the minds of people is a serious crime. Technically, it is not defined as a form of genocide. It is not; it is much more serious.

Politics and ethics should go hand in hand, and when they don’t, we see events akin to what humanity is experiencing now.

Humanity will survive and will bring out its best, and the best is yet to come.

At the end of the day again, darkness will never be able to overcome light any more than it can stop the light of a candle from breaking darkness and disabling its light from reaching huge distances. Such is the power of light over darkness, because no intensity of darkness can stifle a single humble candle.

And finally, at the end of the day, political movements, right, left, conservative revolutions or otherwise, including the multitude of religious factions and schools, none of them mean much at all, unless they offer humanity the real salvation it needs. And the salvation of humanity will not come from politics and politicians.

But if one looks at different versions of the definitions of salvation, defining salvation as an outcome of knowledge is a definition that cannot be surmounted except by those who prefer ignorance.

Part V; The Establishment Strikes Back

With the backlash to the election and inauguration of President Trump, we are witnessing unprecedented events indeed. Certainly, much of this is based on his controversial “Executive Orders”, and this is well expected; especially the one relating to visa restrictions and the trauma and anxiety it is causing. However, in a major twist of events, and among many other things, we see THE American President attacking the Western Mainstream Media (MSM) and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer warning them that they will be held accountable.

Just a very short time ago, Obama’s Press Secretaries Robert Gibbs and later on Josh Earnest were playing “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” with the same MSM; feeding each other with stories they both loved to hear and making conclusions that suited their “business” agendas.

For decades, the machine of the “establishment” has been none but the so-called “Deep State” represented by the White House, and it’s figurehead was none but the incumbent President whoever he was. Even the seemingly benign, humane and smiley Jimmy Carter was a part of that “establishment” and its “Deep State”, and so was the former President, who promised to be unlike any other; former President Obama, the suave-looking self-made African American with his eloquence, elegant wife and perfect looking family, the President who promised the earth to end up providing scorched earth, and instead of providing hope, millions across the globe looked forward to the day they gave him the title “former president”.

Of course, those shedding crocodile tears for the departure of Obama and rampaging the streets of America and the world do not know or care to know about the carnage the Obama administration has caused across the globe; because they have such a narrow agenda of interests, and because what they are trying to protect is not human rights and women as they proclaim, but certain privileges that they personally possess and only some Western women.

That infamous “establishment” is best described as a pyramid, an octopus if one wishes, but one with a virtually countless number of legs and tentacles, and they all feed off the figurehead, and the head does not only feed them, but offers them raison d’être, protection and all that they need for sustenance and continuity.

Just like Tolkein’s Orcs cling to Sauron and imbibe their life and existence from him, the satellite entities of the “establishment” have always considered the American President to be the apex of the pyramid, the symbol, the be-all-and-end-all being, a god, upon whom their very existence depended; even when they claimed otherwise.

So when the head of the “establishment” turns away from his minions, their struggle for survival kicks in, not only because they need to survive, but also because in his departure, they inadvertently become all what is left of the “establishment” and that for them to restore their might and glory, they will first need to make sure that the “establishment” must restore its own stature first, and for this reason, it ought to strike back; albeit at the head that is meant to be its own.

Thus far, Trump is keeping his election promises; and this is to the utter disappointment and shear horror to what is left of the “establishment”.

In all of their divisions, alliances, and private/personal aspirations, they had been hoping and praying that the moment he got elected he was going to renege on major election promises. He did not. They hoped that the moment he sat in the Oval Office he would then turn his back on his election promises, and thus far he hasn’t. This is not to say that he will not, but thus far, he hasn’t.

But unlike the Orcs who were engulfed into the fissures in the earth which were generated after Frodo destroyed the “ring”, what is left of the “establishment” did not, and was not expected to cease to exist the moment the head was no longer sitting on its shoulders. After all, some of the satellites of the “establishment” are much more intelligent and conniving than Orcs; even though at heart, there is little difference that separates them.

The intelligent ones are capitalizing on the principle of “controlled opposition”; a strategy they developed for other nations in the past, in nations they wanted to destabilize, and this had worked effectively in many places. Now, they are trying this technique at home, and thus far it is working.

The technique is based on conjuring up a populist issue that inflames emotions enough to mobilize people to take to the streets; if not more. We saw this technique work quite effectively in Egypt, Libya and other places. It almost succeeded in Syria.

Those monsters specialize in social engineering, and they capitalize on the goodness in humanity and the desire that good people have for making things better. So they flag huge issues such as liberty (as in the case of Egypt), dictatorship (as they did in Libya and Syria), and they find thousands upon thousands of youth rising up in defense of those principles.

They are playing similar cards now, but this time, they are doing this within the United States of America. They are using a number of anti-Trump trump cards; including misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia.

They are desperately striking back in a life-or-death attempt that can secure their survival. What is ironic about this “strike back” is that it is banking on a support base that is extremely diverse, or at best multi-based.

Throughout history, foot soldiers have either been forcefully drafted or mobilized by some human passion; and this takes us back to the issue of the genocidal concept of meddling with peoples’ minds. The foot soldiers therefore are not the ones to blame; not now, and not at the time when the Catholic Church mobilized waves upon waves of soldiers to take back the Holy Land from the Muslim infidels.

However, unlike the revolutionaries of Soviet and post-Soviet eras, unlike the Al-Qaeda and ISIS Jihadists, the foot soldiers of the post-Obama presidency era do not have any hierarchal foundation at all. They do not have neither a specific agenda nor leadership, neither a preamble nor a strategy, and above all, the diverse backgrounds they have beggars beliefs as to what unites them.

This is because those who move them and motivate them are similar to the former initial enemies of Syria who were only united by their hatred of Syria and her President. And now, the leaders of the protests of America, who are changing the protests into riots, are united by their hatred for Trump; full stop.

And speaking of those different backgrounds, here is an interesting list of those who are anti-Trump; both overtly and covertly. The list includes the “Deep State”, Soros and his NGO’s, Murdoch and his tabloids, the Neo-Cons, the Saudi Royal family, ISIL, and of course; the Western “left”. Need one list more?

Now here is the pertinent question to ask. How do the leaders of the Western “left” feel at ease being associated with those monstrous people and organizations? Do those alleged defenders of women actually know and worry about the fact that they are currently comrades in arms with the Saudi regime? This is the world’s most oppressive anti-women regime, a regime in which women are not only forbidden to vote, but they are not allowed to drive cars either.

And how about the association with Obama himself? The President who bombed more foreign nations than any other, the one who has caused global havoc and destruction? Are the people he killed less human in the eyes of the leaders of the Western “left”? Obviously, they are.

The demise of the Western “left” has to be first and foremost blamed on the demise of its leaders and think-tanks. After all, it is leaders who pave the way and set objectives and strategies to achieve them.

But the blame game has to turn inwardly at some stage, because individuals cannot blame others for all of their actions. They can blame them for misguiding them, but surely, those individuals must reach a point in time at which they must assume at least some responsibility and be able to do their own soul-searching.

Sadly, many leaders and foot soldiers of the Western “left” alike do not seem to be remotely close to the realization that they have failed their own doctrine.

By turning the blind eyes to global social justice, the leaders of the Western “left” have reduced the struggle for freedom and awakening to specific agendas only restricted to gender equality, LBGT rights and global warming issues; and no one was “allowed” to bring in any other subject. And what a short-sighted and moronic definition some of them have to gender equality! Rather than pushing for equality in its literal sense, they want to impose equal numbers of men and women in certain positions. Why do they want to take the suppression of women into another wrong twist? One wonders. Isn’t equality supposed to be meritorious in nature? And what if in a certain area there are more qualified women than men? Do we still need to have 50% male representation?

Such a vision of gender equality is very ill-conceived indeed, and does not serve women’s rights, not the least.

And how can the alleged protectors of women turn a blind eye to the sex slave industry inflicted upon the war-torn countries in which their nations, and even respected leaders, have poked their noses?

Yes, what about the sex slaves that Obama allowed to be bought and sold under his watchful eyes and tacit quietness? Syrian and Iraqi girls as young at 10 years old were bought by filthy old Saudi, Gulfie and Qatari pedophilic men as sex slaves. Where were Meryl Streep and Madonna? Don’t Syrian and Iraqi women, and young girls, deserve protection by those alleged protectors of women? Obviously not. We did not hear a single word, not a whisper from the hundreds of thousands of them.

The West, and its “left”, cannot hide and pretend that the slave industry took off after ISIL (its alleged enemy) took control after June 2014, as facts on the ground clearly indicate that the sex slave industry started very early in the mark at a time when the West fully and overtly endorsed all anti-government forces in Syria, at times when John McCain was visiting them and taking photoshoots with them, and at times when Australia’s then Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr was calling for the assassination of President Assad.

Does the Western “left” have any intelligence or sense of shame left in it at all?

The global “left” supporters are now up in arms, not because of Trump’s infamous grabbing quote, but because he has destroyed the “establishment”; their establishment, and they are fighting for the restoration of their stature.

And how does the woman who rose to infamy by parading in a vagina dress believe that she is presenting, upholding and protecting women? Is this how she regards women? As vaginas? This is the lowest, most demeaning and most appalling act of objectifying women that I have ever seen or expected to live long enough to see. To her I would like to say that to me, women are my late and beloved mother and grandmother, my aunts, my daughter, my wife, my daughters-in-law, my nieces, my cousins, my friends and their friends, my neighbours, and all other women that I know, respect and love. The women I do not know, when I need to communicate with them not knowing their names, I give them the respectful titles such as madam and the like. I do not see them as vaginas and they do not represent themselves as vaginas.

The demeanour of the vagina dress woman is far worse than Trump’s infamous grabbing statement, but yet, no one seems to be making any comments to condemn her. If anything, she seems to be seen as a heroine.

This woman is clearly a pervert of some sort, and social misfits like her know well that for decades now, they have decimated and destroyed what is known as the “good old values”, and they also know that there are millions upon millions of people across the globe who are sick and tired of their hypocritical antics. They know that the decent people of the world are growing impatient with their debauchery and despicable demeanour.

For decades, they have capitalized on the kindness and acceptance of the majority of people who have endorsed them, protected them, and accepted them. This is because it is the decent majority of people who are the true custodians of democracy and freedom of expression; not them. It is the efforts and sacrifices of the decent majority that resulted in the creation of those attributes in civilized societies; not theirs.

My animated outcry is that of an old leftie who feels that his movement has been hijacked. I feel that the leadership of the Western “left” has fallen off the track, they are not listening to their elders. They are either so politically unsavvy that they don’t know that they have fallen into the traps of the “establishment” they were meant to stand up against, or that they have been fooled to allow to be dragged into it unknowingly. Either way, they have given the reins to a bunch of brainless scavengers, mental retards who are true Fascists in every manner of thought and demeanour. And they are all striking back together, their establishment is striking back with them, because they know that they have been decapitated and that the rest of the world has had enough of them.

If I am sounding angry, it is because I have already lost my country of birth Lebanon and was driven out of it more than 3 decades ago because the progressive atmosphere and movements that I grew up among in the fifties and sixties were all replaced by fundamentalism and strife. In the last 5-6 years, I saw the same happen to my maternal Syrian cousins and family, and for the same reasons. An age of enlightenment was just beginning to dawn in the Middle East and was hijacked by the radical religious movements that swept and destroyed everything in their path.

And now, in my adopted homeland Australia, the country I love and dedicate my heart to, is slipping into an opposite but yet very similar radicalism. That was totally unforeseeable only a few years ago, and there is no force to blame but the “left” and how it allowed itself to morph from an impetus for moving forward to a step back into different forms of spiritual debasement and lack of concern for global justice and national sovereignty.

This may sound like an ultra-right propaganda, but in reality it is not. It is the “left” who has abandoned the principles of the true left and turned it from a force of change and liberation to a force towards breakdown of society and family values. If by endorsing those values and virtues I will be branded a right-wing zealot, then so be it, because as a die-hard true leftie, I do not see any association between my principles and values with what is left of the left in the “left”.

Is Vietnam Tilting Toward China?

Is Vietnam Tilting Toward China?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 21.01.2017

Is Vietnam Tilting Toward China?

Xuan Loc DOAN

When he traveled to China for a state visit in October 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was grandly received by Beijing.

Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), was treated much in the same manner during his official trip to China last week.

Yet, while Mr Trong’s visit was aimed at developing stronger ties with China, it does not mean that the communist leadership in Hanoi is pursuing a Duterte-like pivot to Beijing.

Closer ties with Beijing

Trong’s four-day trip, which started on January 12, was his first to China since being re-elected as the CPV’s leader at its 12th National Congress in January 2016 and his first foreign tour in 2017.

He went to Beijing with a high-ranking delegation that included four politburo members in charge of four important departments in Vietnam’s one-party regime – namely central propaganda, foreign affairs, national defense and public security.

During the visit, Hanoi and Beijing reached a wide range of agreements aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two ruling parties and the two communist neighbors in various fields and at many levels.

Trong’s outing was followed by recent notable trips to the Asian juggernaut by other Vietnamese top officials – including Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Dinh The Huynh, the CPV’s Permanent Secretary, in September and October 2016, respectively. Mr Huynh, an influential politburo member, is tipped to succeed Trong if the 72-year old leader chooses to step down in the near future.

All these journeys suggest Hanoi is attaching a greater importance to its cooperation with Beijing and adopting a more friendly posture toward the latter than about six or seven months ago. A combination of factor may contribute to this change.

One of these is the fact that China is Vietnam’s closest neighbor, sharing not only land and sea borders but also many political and economic similarities with the former. The world’s most populous country is also Vietnam’s biggest trading partner. Given all of these, coupled with Vietnam’s power asymmetry vis-à-vis its giant neighbor, for the country’s stability – and perhaps for the CPV’s survival – steadying its ties with Beijing is always a priority for Hanoi.

Chinese leaders’ current charm diplomacy is also influencing Hanoi’s posture. Mr Trong was the first foreign leader China received in 2017. He was given a red-carpet welcome upon his arrival at the Beijing International Airport and an official welcoming ceremony with full honors at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on January 12. Five of the seven members of the all-powerful Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC), including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, held talks with him.

Mr Phuc was given a similar treatment when he toured China last September.

The warm reception Chinese leaders extended to their Vietnamese “comrades and brothers” indicates that Beijing is also highly valuing Hanoi and its relations with the latter. This, in return, is increasing Vietnam’s trust – or at least, decreasing its mistrust – in Beijing and encouraging it to develop tighter ties with China.

It seems tensions and suspicion caused by China’s actions in recent years, notably its placement of its huge oil rig, HS-981, in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in 2014, have now eased.

Overt overtures made toward Beijing by several regional countries, particularly Malaysia and the Philippines, are another defining factor.

Last November, Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak made a six-day trip to China. During that visit, which was intended to elevate their relationship to “greater heights”, Kuala Lumpur and Beijing signed many new agreements, including Malaysia’s first major defense deal with China.

Two weeks before that, President Rodrigo Duterte also made a landmark trip to Beijing, where he eventually and solemnly announced his “separation from the US” and his “dependence” on China, after months of publicly denouncing Washington and praising Beijing.

Malaysia’s turn toward Beijing and especially the Philippines’ dramatic tilt away from its long-standing and most important ally to China’s orbit somehow influenced a rethink in Hanoi.

Like Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have outstanding territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. For years, they were among the region’s most vocal critics of their northern neighbor’s expansive claims and aggressive actions in this resource-rich and strategically vital water. They all favored multilateral approaches to the maritime disputes. Hanoi supported the Philippines’s South China Sea arbitration and welcomed its landmark legal victory against China last July.

Duterte’s wholehearted embrace of China, which resulted in his side-lining of the July ruling and agreeing to enter bilateral talks with Beijing prompted Vietnam to soften its posture and improve relations with China.

Last but not least, Donald Trump’s shock rise to the American presidency is also a key reason behind Hanoi’s current accommodating posture toward Beijing.

Under the Obama administration, Vietnam and America edged remarkably closer to each other. Their stronger ties were strengthened by – and manifested in – many key developments and agreements. Prominent among these are Mr Trong’s unprecedented trip to Washington in 2015, President Obama’s milestone visit to Vietnam in 2016, during which he officially ended America’s decades-old arms embargo on its former war foe, and Vietnam’s enthusiastic response to America’s Asia pivot and the US-led TPP.

Vietnam’s strong economic and strategic ties with the US have been in jeopardy following Trump’s election victory. Faced with the imminent collapse of the TPP and other uncertainties about America’s relations with Asia and Vietnam under Trump, Hanoi is relatively readjusting its foreign policy and improving its ties with Beijing can be seen as part of such recalibration.

But not a Duterte-like shift

Yet, while becoming more receptive to Beijing, Hanoi is not bandwagoning with the latter; and this is because of many reasons.

One of these concerns Vietnam’s economic imbalance with China. Though it has dropped recently, Vietnam’s trade deficit with the world’s second biggest economy remains enormous. According to its General Statistics Office (GSO), in 2016, Vietnam exported (US)$21.8 billion in goods to the world’s largest trading country and imported $49.8 billion from it. This means it had a trade deficit of $28 billion with China last year.

For years, Hanoi has asked Beijing to help balance the bilateral trade by creating better conditions for Vietnamese goods to enter the Chinese market. It is reported that in his talk with Nguyen Phu Trong, Xi Jinping promised that China will work harder to make the two countries’ trade relations grow faster and become more balanced.

Whether Vietnam’s companies and their goods are provided with a greater access to China following Trong’s visit remains to be seen. Yet, in any case, it will take years or decades, if ever, for Vietnam to balance its trade with China. For this reason – and in order to avoid economic overdependence on its giant neighbor and to sustain its economic development – Vietnam needs good relations with its other major trading partners, notably the European Union and the US, with which it has enjoyed a huge trade surplus in recent years. In 2016, Vietnam exported US$34 billion (in goods) to the EU, its third largest trading partner, and US$38.1 billion to the US.

As America is Vietnam’s biggest export market and second largest trader, while it is unclear how Donald Trump will view and approach his country’s relations with Vietnam, it is certain that Hanoi will try its best to sustain and improve its ties with Washington.

Another reason why Vietnam is seeking better relations with the US and other powers, including Japan and India, is its unresolved maritime disputes with China.

During Trong’s China visit, both sides pledged to manage maritime differences and avoid any acts that may complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea. Nevertheless, after “candidly” exchanging their views on issue, they could not yet accept each other’s main position.

According to a report by the VOV, Vietnam’s national radio broadcaster, in his talk with his Chinese counterpart, Trong “asserted Vietnam’s consistent stance of persistently dealing with the dispute in the East Sea [Vietnam’s name for the South China Sea] by peaceful measures in compliance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and with respect to diplomatic and legal processes.”

In contrast, as manifested by its vehement objection to the Philippines’ arbitration case, Beijing has stringently opposed any legal approach to resolve the disputes. Instead, it has forcibly insisted on bilateral negotiations.

Their joint communique mentioned neither of these two positions.

Given China’s expansive claims and its past and recent actions in the South China Sea, Vietnam does not expect – though it strongly hopes – that Beijing will willingly accept a peaceful solution to the dispute based on the principles of international law, including UNCLOS. That is why it has hedged – and continues to hedge – against any aggressive move by China by forging strong ties with global and regional powers, notably those that are also concerned about Beijing’s hegemonic ambitions.

This is supported by the fact that whilst Trong was holding talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing, in Hanoi Nguyen Xuan Phuc received John Kerry. The latter’s visit might not have a major impact on future US-Vietnam cooperation. Yet, in his talk with the outgoing US Secretary of State, the Vietnamese premier expressed his delight at achievements in US-Vietnam relations and Vietnam’s desire to reinforce bilateral ties. This shows the Vietnamese leadership really values its relationship with Washington.

Just a day after Trong returned from China, Hanoi received Shinzo Abe. In their separate meetings with the Japanese Prime Minister, the Southeast Asian country’s top four leaders – party chief, state president, prime minister and parliament chairwoman – all affirmed Hanoi’s desire to deepen economic and strategic ties with Japan. For his part, during this two-day visit, Mr Abe pledged to provide Vietnam with six new coastguard patrols. The patrol vessels, worth $338 million, were part of the $1-billion loan Tokyo offered Hanoi.

Vietnam-Japan relations have significantly advanced in recent years and this is mainly due to their shared concerns over China’s maritime ambitions and actions.

Such apprehensions have also brought Vietnam closer to India, China’s other key regional rival. Six months ago, before Phuc’s China trip, Hanoi hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During that landmark visit, the first official trip to Vietnam by an Indian prime minister since 2001, the two countries elevated their “strategic partnership” to “comprehensive strategic partnership” and New Delhi agreed to provide Vietnam with a $500 million defense loan.

All of these demonstrate that while it may prioritize relations with Beijing, Hanoi is also seeking stronger ties with other powers, notably the US, Japan and India, to counterbalance China, both economically and strategically. It is also evident that the Vietnamese leadership is not overtly leaning toward Beijing and submitting to the latter’s maritime position as President Duterte has done.

Following Duterte’s China visit last October, during which he publicly promised to shift his country’s allegiance from Washington to Beijing, some international relations experts, notably those from China, predicted that America’s other Asian partners, such as Vietnam, may follow suit.

Ahead of Trong’s visit last week, an article in the Global Times, a spin-off of the People’s Daily, the CPC’s mouthpiece, also suggested that the shift in diplomacy by the Philippine leader “sets a good example for the other Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.”

Judging by Mr Trong’s assertion of Vietnam’s maritime position in his talk with the Chinese leader and other diplomatic and strategic moves recently taken by Hanoi, it is apparent that Vietnamese leaders are not following Mr Duterte’s steps or “example”.

Instead, they remain firmly committed to their long-held foreign policy of independence, diversification and multilateralization that has enabled Vietnam to develop good – and generally fruitful – relations with many countries, including all the world’s major powers and the region’s countries.

atimes.com

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