Trump Is Fighting For His Life

By Philip Giraldi

May 16, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  President Donald Trump is not exactly known for his self-restraint. The recent firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey was not handled with any delicacy and has unleashed a firestorm of criticism coming from across the political spectrum. And since Comey’s abrupt dismissal the backstabbing has become even worse, with many coming around to the view that Trump is actually crudely threatening Comey over the issue of what might or might not have been said at dinners and meetings between the two men.

What exactly drove the firing at this time remains somewhat of a mystery though the media has been quick to link it directly to Trump’s reported anger at the seemingly endless investigation into his Administration’s possible ties to Russia, an investigation that nominally Comey headed as FBI Director. But that explanation somehow makes no sense as even a white-hot Trump would have realized that getting rid of Comey would only make the Russiagate problem worse as everyone would assume cover-up and would come after the White House with even greater intensity, which is precisely what has happened. Was Trump dumb enough to dig himself into a deeper hole? Possibly, but it seems unlikely.

What is real, however, is that constant innuendo means that anti-Russian hysteria has been mounting, including completely speculative pieces wondering whether the entourage of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had sought to sneak a recording device into the White House during last week’s visit.

And what if there really is a conspiracy against Donald Trump being orchestrated within the various national security agencies that are part of the United States government? The president has been complaining for months about damaging leaks emanating from the intelligence community and the failure of Congress to pay any attention to the illegal dissemination of classified information. It is quite possible that Trump has become aware that there is actually something going on and that something just might be a conspiracy to delegitimize and somehow remove him from office.

President Trump has also been insisting that the “Russian thing” is a made-up story, a view that I happen to agree with. I recently produced my own analysis of the possibility that there is in progress a soft, or stealth or silent coup, call it what you will, underway directed against the president and that, if it exists, it is being directed by former senior officials from the Obama White House. Indeed, it is quite plausible to suggest that it was orchestrated within the Obama White House itself before the government changed hands at the inauguration on January 20th. In line with that thinking, some observers are now suggesting that Comey might well have been party to the conspiracy and his dismissal would have been perfectly justified based on his demonstrated interference in both the electoral process and in his broadening of the acceptable role of his own Bureau, which Trump has described as “showboating.”

Two well-informed observers of the situation have recently joined in the discussion, Robert Parry of Consortiumnews and former CIA senior analyst Ray McGovern of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern has noted, as have I, that there is one individual who has been curiously absent from the list of former officials who have been called in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. That is ex-CIA Director John Brennan, who many have long considered an extreme Obama/Hillary Clinton loyalist long rumored to be at the center of the information damaging to Team Trump sent to Washington by friendly intelligence services, including the British.

Ray suggests that Brennan and also Comey may been at the center of a “Deep State” combined CIA-NSA-FBI cabal working to discredit the Trump candidacy and delegitimize his presidency. Brennan in particular was uniquely well placed to fabricate the Russian hacker narrative that has been fully embraced by Congress and the media even though no actual evidence supporting that claim has yet been produced. As WikiLeaks has now revealed that the CIA had the technical ability to hack into sites surreptitiously while leaving behind footprints that would attribute the hack to someone else, including the Russians, it does not take much imagination to consider that the alleged trail to Moscow might have been fabricated. If that is so, this false intelligence has in turn proven to be of immense value to those seeking to present “proof” that the Russian government handed the presidency to Donald Trump.

Robert Parry asked in an article on May 10th whether we are seeing is “Watergate redux or ‘Deep State’ coup?” and then followed up with a second Piece “The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate” on the 13th. In other words, is this all a cover-up of wrongdoing by the White House akin to President Richard Nixon’s firing of Watergate independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox and the resignations of both the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General or is it something quite different, an undermining of an elected president who has not actually committed any “high crimes and misdemeanors” to force his removal from office. Like Parry, I am reluctant to embrace conspiracy theories, in my case largely because I believe a conspiracy is awfully hard to sustain. The federal government leaks like a sieve and if more than two conspirators ever meet in the CIA basement it would seem to me their discussion would become public knowledge within forty-eight hours, but perhaps what we are seeing here is less a formal arrangement than a group of individuals who are loosely connected while driven by a common objective.

Parry sees the three key players in the scheme as John Brennan of CIA, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and James Comey of the FBI. Comey’s role in the “coup” was key as it consisted of using his office to undercut both Hillary Clinton and Trump, neither of whom was seen as a truly suitable candidate by the Deep State. He speculates that a broken election might well have resulted in a vote in the House of Representatives to elect the new president, a process that might have produced a Colin Powell presidency as Powell actually received three votes in the Electoral College and therefore was an acceptable candidate under the rules governing the electoral process.

Yes, the scheme is bizarre, but Parry carefully documents how Russiagate has developed and how the national security and intelligence organs have been key players as it moved along, often working by leaking classified information. And President Barack Obama was likely the initiator, notably so when he de facto authorized the wide distribution of raw intelligence on Trump and the Russians through executive order. Parry notes, as would I, that to date no actual evidence has been presented to support allegations that Russia sought to influence the U.S. election and/or that Trump associates were somehow coopted by Moscow’s intelligence services as part of the process. Nevertheless, anyone even vaguely connected with Trump who also had contact with Russia or Russians has been regarded as a potential traitor. Carter Page, for example, who was investigated under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant, was under suspicion because he made a speech in Moscow which was mildly critical of the west’s interaction with Russia after the fall of communism.

Parry’s point is that there is a growing Washington consensus that consists of traditional liberals and progressives as well as Democratic globalist interventionists and neoconservatives who believe that Donald Trump must be removed from office no matter what it takes. The interventionists and neocons in particular already control most of the foreign policy mechanisms but they continue to see Trump as a possible impediment to their plans for aggressive action against a host of enemies, most particularly Russia. As they are desirous of bringing down Trump “legally” through either impeachment or Article 25 of the Constitution which permits removal for incapacity, it might be termed a constitutional coup, though the other labels cited above also fit.

The rationale Trump haters have fabricated is simple: the president and his team colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 election in his favor, which, if true, would provide grounds for impeachment. The driving force, in terms of the argument being made, is that removing Trump must be done “for the good of the country” and to “correct a mistake made by the American voters.” The mainstream media is completely on board of the process, including the outlets that flatter themselves by describing their national stature, most notably the New York Times and Washington Post.

So what is to be done? For starters, until Donald Trump has unambiguously broken a law the critics should take a valium and relax. He is an elected president and his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama certainly did plenty of things that in retrospect do not bear much scrutiny. Folks like Ray McGovern and Robert Parry should be listened to even when they are being provocative in their views. They are not, to be sure, friends of the White House in any conventional way and are not apologists for those in power, quite the contrary. Ray has been strongly critical of the current foreign policy, most particularly of the expansion of various wars, claims of Damascus’s use of chemical weapons, and the cruise missile attack on Syria. Robert in his latest article describes Trump as narcissistic and politically incompetent. But their legitimate concerns are that we are moving in a direction that is far more dangerous than Trump. A soft coup engineered by the national security and intelligence agencies would be far more dangerous to our democracy than anything Donald Trump can do.

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Shambolic Doings in Washington: ‘The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted’

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FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence.

By Philip Giraldi

There remains one good thing to say about Donald Trump: he is not Hillary. The boneheaded cruise missile attack in Syria would have occurred even earlier under President Rodham Clinton and there would undoubtedly be no-fly and safe zones already in place. Oh, and Ukraine and Georgia would be negotiating their entries into NATO to make sure that old Vlad Putin would be put on notice and understand that the days of namby-pamby jaw-jaw-jaw that characterized the Obama Administration are now ancient history.

Apart from that, I can only observe dumbstruck how yet again a candidate promising peace and dialogue could be flipped so quickly. Or maybe he never believed in anything he said, which is perhaps more to the point. Be that as it may, we now, after only ninety days in office, have a neo-neocon foreign policy and the folks clustered around their water coolers in the Washington think tanks are again smiling. And as the ruinous Syrian civil war continues thanks to American intervention, there are probably plenty of high fives within Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu government. Bibi again rules the roost.

The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted to hear Donald Trump’s latest factually exempt voyage into the outer reaches of the galaxy regarding Iran. Or perhaps The Donald is only having continuing digestive problems dealing with “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” when dining with mortified Chinese leader Xi Jinping while simultaneously launching cruise missiles intended to send a message to Beijing’s ally Russia. It is inevitably Iran’s turn for vilification, so Trump, while conceding that the Iranians have been compliant with the nuclear weapons agreement they signed, also felt compelled to add that they continue to be a threat and have not entered into the “spirit” of the pact. Apparently the spirit codicil was somehow left out of the final draft, an interpretation that will no doubt surprise the other signatories consisting of Russia, China and the European Union.

To make its point that Tehran is somehow a cheater, the White House has ordered a 90 day review of Iran policy which will empower hardliners in that country in upcoming elections as well as nut cases like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on this side of the Atlantic. Iranian opposition groups like the terrorist Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) are already rising to the challenge by floating phony intelligence while Graham is currently advocating a preemptive attack on North Korea, conceding that it would be catastrophic for every country in the region while noting smugly that the carnage and destruction would not reach the United States. Too bad that Pyongyang’s fury cannot be directed straight to Graham’s house in South Carolina.

Graham is reportedly a good dancer and multitasker who can pivot back to Iran effortlessly as soon as Pyongyang is reduced to rubble, so those who want to deal with Iran sooner rather than later should not despair. As things continue to go south nearly everywhere, tension in the Middle East will no doubt lead to a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Persian Gulf that will require yet another ham-handed show of strength by the United States of Amnesia. There will be a war against Iran.

There have been a couple of other interesting stories circulating recently, all demonstrating that when Benjamin Franklin observed that we Americans had created a republic, “if we can keep it,” he was being particularly prescient. Robert Parry has observed that all the fuss about Russiagate is misleading as the only country that interferes with the political process in the U.S. persistently and successfully while also doing terrible damage to our national security is Israel. He wonders when we will have Congress convening investigative commissions to look into Israel-gate but then answers his own question by observing that it will never happen given who controls what in the United States. “No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate,” he concludes, but it is interesting and also encouraging to note that some Americans are actually starting to figure things out.

Continued here

The Global War on Terror…

…or is it a global war of terror?

[ Ed. note – Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams discuss the war on terror in the context of a recently-published article by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi. Each year the US State Department publishes a report on terrorism that is basically a country-by-country review of terrorist incidents and also of efforts being made to combat terrorism. But of course the State Department has its own political biases on this subject, and, rather pointedly, seems oblivious to the fact that the US itself is now widely regarded as the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Giraldi gets into the nuts and bolts of this in his article (see below) while Paul and McAdams provide some interesting commentary on it all. You will also find a brief introduction written by McAdams. All of this comes one day after the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov and the truck-ramming of a crowded market in Berlin. Astoundingly, it is being reported today that the German police have released the suspect they initially took into custody, citing insufficient evidence. According to RT, Berlin Police Chief Klaus Kandt said authorities simply aren’t sure if the Pakistani man they arrested shortly after the attack was actually the driver of the vehicle. “As far as I know it is in fact uncertain whether that really was the driver,” Kandt said–which of course begs the question: if they are “uncertain” whether the Pakistani man was or wasn’t the driver, which would suggest at least the possibility that he was the driver, then why did they let him go?

The insanity of the German government seems to know no bounds. The country’s predominantly open-door policy on immigration exacted a considerable toll, triggering an almost unprecedented crime wave, yet German politicians, at least within Angela Merkel’s own party, seem incapable of issuing anything more than tepid platitudes. In the wake of yesterday’s truck attack, Merkel ally Horst Seehofer said the country needs to “rethink and reshape” its immigration policy. In the wake of the killing of a dozen people–carefree holiday shoppers doing nothing more than browsing through a Christmas market–one would expect that perhaps Seehofer might wish to do more than simply “rethink” things, but apparently this is not the case. What is of course clear to most of us, if not the average German politician, is that the global “war on terrorism” is not exactly what it is purported to be–and that someone, or a group of someones, is waging a global war of terror, one that is aimed, ultimately, at us all. Giraldi doesn’t come right out and say this, but it can be inferred from the information he presents. The terrorists have been defeated in Aleppo. And Terrorism, Giraldi correctly points out, is a “dying” industry–yet clearly somebody is keeping it on life support, giving it blood transfusions, and pumping oxygen into it. ]

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Global War on Terrorism: Are We Winning?

By Daniel McAdams

The US State Department comes out yearly with its list of “state sponsors of terrorism,” but to many people overseas it is the US government itself that is a main sponsor of terrorism overseas. The US president claims the right to attack suspected terrorists in any corner of the globe at any time. The current US president has conducted thousands of drone strikes against countries with whom we are not at war, with an estimated 90 percent of strikes not hitting the intended target. The US government ships weapons to groups in places like Syria where it knows they will end up in the hands of al-Qaeda and ISIS. So perhaps US foreign policy is not tackling terrorism, but in fact perpetuating it. More in today’s Liberty Report (see video above).

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Some Perspectives on the War on Terror

By Philip Giraldi | The Unz Review

The twenty-first century, at least up until this point, might well be described as the age of the terrorist. Even though most Americans and Europeans rank terrorism as low among their concerns, the repercussions when a terrorist attack does take place are greatly magnified by the sheer horror associated with the mass killing of innocent people going about their daily lives.

There are a couple of annual reports that look at terrorism as a global phenomenon. The best known is the U.S. State Department’s Annual Country Reports on Terrorism that comes out in the Summer and covers the previous year. It is mandated by Congress and is largely based on Embassy and intelligence community sources.

The Country Reports purports to be an objective review of the year’s terrorist incidents as well as an overview of some of the players to include a discussion of “violent extremism” issues region by region and country by country. It is a valuable resource which provides considerable information on the various militant groups and the crimes attributed to them as well as their involvement globally. But it is nevertheless a government document. The Obama Administration definitely has had a point of view on what constitutes terrorism and how to deal with it based on how the White House would like to frame things from a political perspective. The section on Afghanistan, for example, implicitly makes a case for a more robust American role in the conflict engulfing that country.

I often find that how something is described or even ignored just as important as what is revealed. There is, for example, a section of the report identifying State Sponsors of Terrorism, a status that brings with it various sanctions. It would be difficult to find a section that is by definition more hypocritical as many would certainly consider Washington the leading practitioner of state sponsored terror with its claimed authority to go after militant targets anywhere at any time. The 2015 report names only Iran, Syria and Sudan as state sponsors even though Damascus and Tehran are more often than not on Washington’s side, heavily engaged in fighting ISIS, which the U.S. government in its own reporting clearly identifies as international enemy #1. Regarding Sudan, the report states that it is no longer in the supporting radicalism business while earlier annual reports actually commended it for helping international efforts against terrorists yet it remains on the list, apparently because several individuals close to the White House do not like its government very much and have written scholarly articles attacking its president.

The numbers in the Country Reports tell us something about the impact of terrorism. Deaths attributed to people who might be regarded as terrorists is certainly a huge global problem with the State Department report recording nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks producing 28,000 deaths worldwide in 2015. But the mayhem is very much concentrated in countries that are gripped by what might reasonably be termed civil war, to include Syria, Iraq, and Somalia. Several other countries with high levels of “terror” deaths, to include Nigeria and Pakistan, are engaged in bloody regional conflicts over economic issues fueled by anti-central government sentiment, not exactly civil war but something close to it.

American victims are a lot harder to find. The State Department report, which is only about acts of terrorism overseas, identifies 19 American citizens as victims of terror for the year 2015. Eight of the deaths were in Afghanistan, one in Syria and one in Somalia, all of which can be regarded as war zones. Three were in Jerusalem and on the Israeli occupied West Bank, a region also suffering from endemic violence, killing two American visitors plus a settler who held dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship.

Twenty-two more Americans were injured in terrorist incidents worldwide in 2015 and there were no reported kidnappings during the year. Though I in no way wish to minimize the killing of anyone in a criminal act, which terrorism is, the death and injury toll hardly constitutes a major international threat and I am sure that many more Americans are killed every year “overseas” in traffic accidents while vacationing. The report clearly suggests that international terrorism is an enemy that is largely ineffective at least in terms of being able to do direct damage to the United States, its citizens or its other interests.

A second terrorism report is prepared by the highly reputable Institute for Economics and Peace, which is based in Australia. It’s Global Terrorism Index, currently in its fourth edition, has just come out and it differs from the State Department report in that while it covers 2015 in some detail it is also progressive, meaning that it incorporates new information on terrorist activity into observations derived from reporting that covers 16 years, since 2000. Its overview information itself derives from a large terrorism data base, consisting currently of records relating to 150,000 incidents, maintained at the University of Maryland. As a result, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is sometimes more useful than the State Department if one is seeking to identify long term trends.

One might conclude that what we call terrorism is quite simply warfare by other means and it might not even be useful to try to define it in a distinctive fashion. The GTI report basically confirms the State Department Country Reports on numbers and places where terrorist attacks take place, adding that more than 93% of all reported incidents occur in countries that are already internally extremely repressive or unstable while more than 90% take place in countries engaged in external violent conflicts. Fewer than .5% of terror attacks are in countries that have neither internal or external issues. The most afflicted countries are Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. Three out of the five have experienced direct U.S. military interventions while Pakistan has been under intense pressure from Washington to “do something.” In other words, terrorism deaths occur most often in places where a state of acute internal repression or even civil or external war exist and the role of the U.S. military as an accelerant for instability should be regarded as a given.

And then there is the global U.S. led war on terror, which costs upwards of hundreds of billions of dollars a year and has not actually eliminated any terrorist group while serving as a recruiting poster for assorted radical wannabes. It has also killed, by a very conservative estimate, 1.3 million people. Relying on overwhelming conventional military force and air power, the U.S. can always prevail either on the battlefield or against a radical group that seeks to hold on to territory that it is occupying, but unless Washington is prepared to remain indefinitely it cannot change the dynamic in a country or region that is unstable. Indeed, armed intervention itself followed by staying in place to nation build might actually be counterproductive if one looks at the examples of Afghanistan and Iraq as a U.S. presence frequently inhibits a possible political settlement. When the foreign security presence departs, sooner or later a dissident group will inevitably appear to fill the void. Based on the State Department and GTI reports one has to question a counter-terrorism strategy that has cost cumulatively trillions of dollars to combat an enemy that only rarely can project its power and that normally is only dangerous in the short term and in the immediate area in which it operates.

I have been reading various reports on terrorism for many years now and my firm impression is that the international terrorist threat, as poorly defined as it is, has actually been receding as more and more governments actively seek to eliminate militants in their midst even as fewer states are willing and able to provide them with either assistance or a safe haven. ISIS, the du jour terrorist threat, sought to establish a new territorial state, a Caliphate, but is currently facing complete defeat in Libya, Syria and Iraq. Terrorism is a “dying” industry in every sense of the word and while the U.S. government should take every reasonable step to protect American citizens the key word must be “reasonable.” A global anti-terror Crusade led by the United States is not a reasonable response, nor is it necessary as terrorist groups always eventually fade away due to their own internal contradictions and the intense hostility of the host country and neighbors. It is time to declare the war on terror finished, move on, and bring the troops home.

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Update: For an additional perspective on this issue, people might want also to read “Welcome Home ISIS! The Obama Administration’s Plan to Reintegrate Foreign Terrorist Fighters.” The article, by Dr. John Andrew Morrow, cites a policy briefing entitled “Returning Foreign Fighters,” published by the Brookings Institute in August of 2015, that apparently now has been adopted as official US policy. In May of 2016, Morrow reports, the State Department and US AID published a “Joint Strategy on Countering Violent Extremism” which calls for “the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals caught in the cycle of radicalization to violence…back into society.” Morrow’s commentary is available here.

Forget Russia — The Real Threat to America comes from israel and the israel Lobby

Forget Russia — The Real Threat to America comes from Israel and the Israel Lobby

How Russia is pilloried
while real news about Israel goes unreported

By Philip Giraldi

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“We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”
— Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001


The drama surrounding allegations that the internet is awash with “fake news” is being promoted by the so-called mainstream media which certainly has a lot to answer for when it comes to producing material that does not pass the smell test.

Does the name Judith Miller ring any bells? And the squeaks of rage coming from the U.S. Congress over being lied to is also something to behold as the federal government has been acting in collusion with the media to dish up falsehoods designed to start wars since the time of the Spanish-American conflict in 1898, if not before.

The fake news saga is intended to discredit Donald Trump, whom the media hates mostly because they failed to understand either him or the Americans who voted for him in the recent election. You have to blame somebody when you are wrong so you invent “fake news” as the game changer that explains your failure to comprehend simple truths. To accomplish that, the clearly observable evidence that the media was piling on Donald Trump at every opportunity has somehow been deliberately morphed into a narrative that it is Trump who was attacking the media, suggesting that it was all self-defense on the part of the Rachel Maddows of this world, but anyone who viewed even a small portion of the farrago surely will have noted that it was the Republican candidate who was continuously coming under attack from both the right and left of the political-media spectrum.

There are also some secondary narratives being promoted, including a pervasive argument that Hillary Clinton was somehow the victim of the news reporting due specifically to fake stories emanating largely from Moscow in an attempt to not only influence the election but also to subvert America’s democratic institutions.

have observed that if such a truly ridiculous objective were President Vladimir Putin’s desired goal he might as well relax. Our own Democratic and Republican duopoly has already been doing a fine job at subverting democracy by assiduously separating the American people from the elite Establishment that theoretically represents and serves them.

Another side of the mainstream media lament that has been relatively unexplored is what the media chooses not to report. At the present moment, it is practically obligatory to slam Russia and Putin at every opportunity even though Moscow is too militarily weak and poor to fancy itself a global adversary of the U.S. Instead of seeking a new Cold War, Washington should instead focus on working with Russia to make sure that disagreements over policies in relatively unimportant parts of the world do not escalate into nuclear exchanges.

Russian actions on its own doorstep in Eastern Europe do not in fact threaten the United States or any actual vital interest. Nor does Moscow threaten the U.S. through its intervention on behalf of the Syrian government in the Middle East. That Russia is described incessantly as a threat in those areas is largely a contrivance arranged by the media, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and by the White House. Candidate Donald Trump appeared to recognize that fact before he began listening to Michael Flynn, who has a rather different view. Hopefully the old Trump will prevail.

Blaming Russia, which has good reasons to be suspicious of Washington’s intentions, is particularly convenient for those many diverse inside the Beltway interests that require a significant enemy to keep the cash flowing out of the pockets of taxpayers and into the bank accounts of the useless grifters who inhabit K-Street and Capitol Hill. Neoconservatives are frequently described as ideologues, but the truth is that they are more interested in gaining increased access to money and power than they are in promulgating their own brand of global regime change.

There is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government. That country is, of course, Israel.

And that assessment of Israel and what damage it does regarding what most Americans would regard as genuine national interests is most definitely not reported, revealing once again that what is not written is every bit as important as what is. I would note how what has recently happened right in front of us relating to Israel is apparently not considered fit to print and will never appear on any disapproving editorial page. Just this week the Senate unanimously passed an Anti-Semitism Awareness bill and also by a 99 to zero vote renewed and strengthened sanctions against Iran, which could wreck the one year old anti-nuclear weapon proliferation agreement with that country.

The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is intended to give the Department of Education investigatory authority over “anti-Jewish incidents” on America’s college campuses. Such “incidents” are not limited to religious bigotry, with the examples cited in the bill’s text including criticism of Israel and claiming that the holocaust was “exaggerated.” It is a thinly disguised assault on the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is non-violent, does not criticize Jews as a religion or ethnicity, and is actually supported by many Jewish Americans who are concerned about Israel’s apartheid regime.

The Anti-Semitism bill makes Jews and Jewish interests a legally protected class, immune from any criticism. “Free speech” means in practice that you can burn an American flag, sell pornography, attack Christianity in the vilest terms or castigate the government in Washington all you want but criticizing Israel is off limits if you want to avoid falling into the clutches of the legal system. The Act is a major step forward in effectively making any expressed opposition to Israeli actions a hate crime.

And it is similar to punitive legislation that has been enacted in twenty-two states as well as in Canada. It is strongly supported by the Israel Lobby, which quite likely drafted it, and is seeking to use legal challenges to delegitimize and eliminate any opposition to the policies of the state of Israel.

As the Act is clearly intended to restrict First Amendment rights if they are perceived as impacting on broadly defined Jewish sensitivities, it should be opposed on that basis alone, but it is very popular in Congress, which is de facto owned by the Israel Lobby. That the legislation is not being condemned or even discussed in the generally liberal media tells you everything you need to know about the amazing power of one particular unelected and unaccountable lobby in the U.S.

And there is always Iran to worry about.

If the United States can successfully avoid a war with Russia, a conflict with the Mullahs could have major consequences even if the all-powerful U.S. military successfully rolls over its Iranian counterpart in less than a week. Iran is physically and in terms of population much larger than Iraq and it has a strong national identity. An attack by Washington would produce a powerful reaction, unleashing terrorist resources and destabilizing an economically and politically important region of the world for years to come. Currently, the nuclear agreement with Iran provides some measure of stability and also pushes backwards any possible program by Tehran to build a weapon. Iran does not threaten the United States, so why walk away from the agreement as some of Trump’s advisors urge? Or violate the agreement’s terms as the U.S. Congress seems to be doing by extending and tightening the sanctions regime with its just passed Iran Sanctions Extension Act?

Look no further than the Israel Lobby. Hobbling Iran, a regional competitor, is a possible Israeli interest that should have nothing to do with the United States but yet again the United States government carries the water for the extreme right wing Netanyahu regime.

Israel for its part has welcomed the Trump election by building 500 new and completely illegal settler homes in what was once Arab East Jerusalem. Trump has surrounded himself with advocates for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s expectation that he will have a free hand in dealing with those pesky Palestinians is probably correct. I would like to think that Donald Trump will unpleasantly surprise him based on actual American rather than Israeli interests but am not optimistic.

Indeed, deference to perceived Israeli interests enforced by the Israel Lobby and media permeates the entire American foreign policy and national security structure. Congressman Keith Ellison who is seeking to become Democratic National Committee Chairman is being called an anti-Semite for “implying U.S. policy in the region [the Middle East] favored Israel at the expense of Muslim-majority countries, remarks ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt described as ‘deeply disturbing and disqualifying.’” Donald Trump and his senior counselor Steve Bannon have also both been called anti-Semites and several other potential GOP appointees have been subjected to the media’s fidelity-to-Israel litmus test.

The recently nominated Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who can hardly be called a moderate when it comes to Iran, has also been labeled an anti-Semite by the usual players. Why? Because in 2013 he told Wolf Blitzer “So we’ve got to work on [peace talks] with a sense of urgency. I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and [because of this] moderate Arabs couldn’t be with us because they couldn’t publicly support those who don’t show respect for Arab Palestinians.”

Mattis continued, referring directly to Israeli apartheid: “I’ll tell you, the current situation is unsustainable … We’ve got to find a way to make work the two-state solution that both Democrat and Republican administrations have supported, and the chances are starting to ebb because of the settlements. For example, if I’m Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers to the east and there’s ten-thousand Arabs already there, and if we draw the border to include them, either [Israel] ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country.”

Mattis will no doubt be reminded of his remarks when he is up for Senate confirmation. A predecessor Chuck Hagel was mercilessly grilled by Senators over his reported comment that the “Jewish lobby” intimidates congressmen. But ironically nearly everyone who is not an Israel-firster who is involved in U.S. foreign and security policy knows that aggressive Israeli colonization of the Palestinian West Bank and its siege of Gaza contribute greatly to terrorism against the United States, since Washington is regularly blamed for enabling Netanyahu. When General David Petraeus said pretty much the same thing as Mattis back in 2010 he was forced to “explain” his comments, retract them and then grovel before he was eventually given a pass by the Lobby.

And there is considerable self-censorship related to the alleged sensitivity of “Jewish issues,” not only in the media. I recently attended a conference on the Iraq invasion of 2003 at which the role of Israel manifested through its controlled gaggle of American legislators and bureaucrats as a factor in going to war was not even mentioned. It was as if it would be impolite or, dare I say, anti-Semitic, to do so even though the Israeli role was hardly hidden.

Former Bush administration senior official Philip Zelikow has admitted that protecting Israel was the principal reason why the U.S. invaded Iraq and others have speculated that without the persistent neocons’ and Israel’s prodding Washington might not have gone to war at all. That is apparently what then Secretary of State Colin Powell also eventually came around to believe.

So let’s stop talking about what Russia is doing to the United States, which is relatively speaking very little, and start admitting that the lopsided and completely deferential relationship with Israel is the actual central problem in America’s foreign policy. Will the media do that? Not a chance. They would rather obsess about fake news and blame Putin.

Source

Russia urges ‘caution’ on UN’s Syria chemical weapons report, will talk to US

RT

Published time: 25 Aug, 2016 16:17

Residents flee after an attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria August 20, 2016. © Bassam Khabieh / Reuters


Russia’s UN envoy has called on the international community not to draw “hasty conclusions” from a year-long UN investigation that blames the Syrian government for carrying out two chemical weapons attacks in the past two years, and Islamic State for one.

“We shouldn’t come to hasty conclusions. We need to step very carefully here,” Vitaly Churkin told the Russian media in New York, saying Russia needs more time to study the 95-page report.

The UN Security Council-backed investigation was conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN’s Joint Investigative Mechanism, a body known as JIM that investigated nine separate chemical weapons attacks that had been previously verified by the OPCW.

 

© Stringer


All incidents occurred after 2013, when Syria handed over its chemical weapons arsenal to international monitors. In six instances, JIM was not able to definitively apportion blame, in two cases, in Idlib in 2014 and 2015, the report said that government forces had used chlorine gas – which was not removed in 2013 due to its civilian uses, but is forbidden on the battlefield. In one case, Islamic State appeared to have used mustard gas in Marea in August of 2015.

Churkin said that the findings were notable, as “usually all blame gets assigned to the Syrian government.”

He also said that Russia will discuss the findings with the US at the next United Nations session in September.

“JIM was jointly set up by Russia and the US. It was a very complex process, and I have already spoken to [United States UN envoy] Samantha Power, who is currently on vacation. We agreed that as soon as she gets back, we will sit down and decide what we can do on the basis of this report.”

Samantha Power (R), the American ambassador to the United Nations talks to Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. File photo. © Andrew Kelly

Samantha Power (R), the American ambassador to the United Nations talks to Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. File photo. © Andrew Kelly / Reuters

‘Look in the mirror,’ Moscow tells Washington

In a related statement, Russia has bristled at a US call for it to step in and prevent the future use of chemical weapons.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Assad regime’s use of chlorine [gas] against its own people,” said a statement released on Wednesday evening by Ned Price, Spokesperson for the National Security Council.

“The United States will work with our international partners to seek accountability through appropriate diplomatic mechanisms, including through the United Nations Security Council and the OPCW. We urge all UN member states and parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, including Russia and Iran, to participate in this effort.”

Read more

An Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra fighter. © Hamid Khatib

In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the US“should concentrate on its own problems” before making any international appeals.

“They should take a look in the mirror, and do what they promised to do back in January: to separate the ‘loyal’ opposition from the terrorists. They are currently unable or unwilling to do so,” Lavrov said in a statement published on his ministry’s website.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi also urged refraining from harsh statements and waiting for the full report, which is to be released next week.

“I’d be very interested in seeing the sourcing of the information [in the full report] because too often in the past it turned out that the opposition sources have contrived information to make it look like the government was responsible for the attack and it turned out that this wasn’t the case,” Giraldi told RT.

Despite the US willing to put the blame for all chemical attacks on the Syrian authorities, the “relatively simple” chemicals used in the attacks are “as likely to be sourced to the opposition as they are to the government.”

There has been no let-up in fighting in Syria, where over 400,000 people have died as a result of the fighting since the conflict broke out in 2011.

The Russia-backed Syrian government, NATO and Saudi-supported “moderate” rebels, and radical Islamists are fighting for supremacy in the city of Aleppo, where up to 300,000 civilians remain trapped.

The UN has pushed for a weekly 48-hour truce in the fighting that would allow it to provide humanitarian relief, which has just been endorsed by Russia. According to the plan, food and supplies would be delivered simultaneously by internationally monitored vehicles to rebel and government-controlled areas.

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HATING ON TRUMP “COULD BE” ALL ABOUT ISRAEL

 Friday, 11 March 2016

ED Noor: Oh my, but the above image and that infamous “existential threat” theme they throw out is sending the entire Tribe into a frenzy. Like Putin, Donald TrumpSERIOUSLY threatens the ever-heavier threat of the NWO/JWO boot trampling upon the rights of every human being on the planet. But then, of course that certainly does make it all about Rothschildlandia Israel.

As I have said before, I am not a Trump fan particularly. Or was not until things began to heat up. If the Tribe is hating on him so maniacally, personal Jewish/Israel connections or not, Mr. Trump is disturbing their intensive long term agenda one hundred percent ~ right at a time when they cannot afford to fail. If, in the long run,Trump turns around and stabs the world with one thing or another, well, so be it. His opponents are guaranteed turncoats that live beneath rocks in murky places. Most folk seem ready to take their chances on Donald Trump when faced with the other despicable options on the presidential electoral palate.

Phillip Giraldi, the author of this piece, was a career CIA officer and head of station in several posts, and is still very much ‘plugged in’ with the US intelligence establishment,puts it in an indisputable nutshell.
By Philip Geraldi
March 8, 2016
Now we all know that many of those who are hating on Donald Trump are doing so because he is threatening the cozy-crony-politico-predatory-capitalist system that has made so many of them fat and rich. He is intending to break their rice bowls as the Chinese would put it or, in a more American vernacular, the gravy train might be ending. To be sure The Donald is warning that he will do just that, even if he will find in practice, if elected, that turning the ship of state around might well be a task beyond the ability of any aspirant to the presidency.
But while pure self-interest might well be driving many of the chattering nonentities that populate our congress and the senior political appointee ranks in government there is something nevertheless extraordinary in the level of venom and sheer hatred that is being spewed at random about a potential Trump administration. It is not uncommon to read or hear that Trump is seeking to overturn the Constitution of the United States and establish a dictatorship that will promote his allegedly warped views of what must be done to correct America’s domestic and foreign policies, suggesting that our form of government is so fragile that it can be subverted by one man.
The anger directed against Trump is unique, one might note, as it also includes demands to somehow overturn the popular will expressed in primaries and caucuses to obtain a candidate that is more in tune with what the Republican establishment is seeking to promote as the “national consensus.” That Trump is voicing an overwhelming American middle class perspective on the evils of mass illegal immigration matters not a whit to the Mandarins whose only concerns on that issue center on the availability of a supply of cheap labor to clean their McMansions and swimming pools.
The anti-Trump effort is being well funded, has included notable defections to the Democratic Party, has led to lists of Republican politicians who will not accept a Trump nomination or support a President Trump, and has even produced calls for a third party neo-Republican entity to run against him. Some other reactions are stupid, including Canadian neocon Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, calling for even more immigrants to the U.S., while talk radio extremist Glenn Beck has tweeted that if he had a knife and were able to get close to Trump he would have to keep on stabbing him.
To be sure, Trump has provided considerable fuel for the fire through his extraordinary ad libs about banning Muslims from the U.S., killing the families of terrorists and using torture. But mainstream politicians have already recommended and even done that much and more without the level of censure that Trump is receiving. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have engaged in widespread killing of civilians, torture and assassinating families of suspected militants, to include American citizens, without any of the invective being leveled at Trump.
Indeed, Trump would appear to have a more sensible foreign policy in mind, consisting of avoiding unnecessary wars and “regime changes,” honoring the multilateral negotiated agreement with Iran, engaging diplomatically even with heads of state that we consider to be adversaries and encouraging Russia to fight ISIS. His three current opponents have recommended “carpet bombing” areas controlled by ISIS, fusing Syrian sand into nuclear radiating glass, provoking wars with both Russia and China, arming Ukraine, punching Vladimir Putin in the nose and sending in thousands of American soldiers to the Middle East. They are not in the least bothered by fattening up the already fat national security state with trillions more dollars while domestic needs go unaddressed. So who is the crazy one?
But there is one significant difference between Trump and the “establishment,” be they Democrats or Republicans that has not been highlighted. I would suggest that quite a lot of the depth and intensity of what we are experiencing is actually about Israel. Trump is the first high level politician aspirant within living memory to challenge the notion that the United States must stand by Israel no matter what Israel does. Even while affirming his affection for Israel, he has said that Washington must be even handed in its efforts to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, implying that Tel Aviv might have to make concessions.
Trump has also added insult to injury by delinking himself from the blandishments of Jewish political mega-donors, who largely call the tune for many in the GOP and among the Democrats, by telling them he doesn’t need their money and can’t be bought. His comments have challenged conventional interest group politicking in American and have predictably produced a firestorm reaction in the usual circles.
Robert Kagan announced that he would be supporting Hillary, who famously has declared that she would immediately call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon taking office as a first step in moving the relationship with Tel Aviv to “the next level.” It is to be presumed that Kagan and his fellow neocons will be experiencing awelcoming vibe from at least some of the Democrats as the neoconservatives have always been liberals at heart on nearly all issues except foreign policy, rooted by them in the “unshakable and bipartisan bond” with Israel.
It is my opinion that the “I” word should be banned from American political discourse. Ironically, many American Jews are themselves uneasy about the place occupied by Israel in ongoing political debates, recognizing that it is both unhealthy in a democracy and reflective only of the extreme views of the hardline members of their own diaspora community. It is also unpleasantly all about Jews and money since the Republicans and other mouthpieces now piling on Trump are motivated largely by their own sinecures and the Sheldon Adelson type donations that might be forthcoming to the politically savvy candidates who say the right things about the conflict in the Middle East.
Slate’s Isaac Chotiner has noted a particularly odd speech by Senator Marco Rubio in which he spoke of his single electoral triumph in Minnesota before immediately jumping to the issue of Israel, as if on cue or by rote. It is a tendency that is not unique to him. I read through the transcript of the GOP debate that preceded Rubio’s sole victory, which in part reflected a competition to see who could promise to do most for Israel. Senator Ted Cruz stated that he “would stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel…and the alliance with Israel.” Governor John Kasich declared that he’s “been a supporter of Israel ~ a strong supporter of Israel longer than anyone on this stage.” Senator Marco Rubio indicated that “I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.” Ben Carson called Israel not only a strategic partner but also an element in America’s “Judeo Christian foundation” that can never be rejected.
Quite a few assertions about Israel made by politicians are, of course, nonsense. It is not in alliance with the United States and is not a democracy for starters, but the real question becomes why is Israel part of the debate at all? It is because of concerns that the deep pocketed donors like Sheldon Adelson will join his good friend Haim Saban in funding Hillary if candidates do not say what he expects to hear. Saban has referred toTrump as a “clown” and attacked him because he would be “dangerous for Israel.”
And then there is the recent attack of the Beltway Midgets, a “a strongly worded letter”orchestrated by Eliot Cohen, a former Condoleezza Rice State Department appointee whose attachment to Israel might well be regarded as demented, that attracted the signatures of more than one hundred self-described GOP foreign policy “leaders,” declaring that “We are unable to support a party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head.”
Quite a few of the signatories are well known neocons, including Max Boot, Robert Zoellick, Michael Chertoff, Eric Edelman, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Daniel Pipes, Michael Rubin, Kori Schake, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, Ray Takeyh and Philip Zelikow. Boot has vilified Trump as “emerging as the number one threat to American security.” All the signatories were passionate supporters of the Iraq War, which Trump has correctly disparaged as a catastrophic foreign policy failure, and all of them are describable as strong supporters of Israel.
The friends of Benjamin Netanyahu in the United States rightly fear that someday the American people and government will come to their senses and regard Israel as just another friendly foreign state, without any “special relationship” attached. To counter that possibility, the lashing out against any public figure who dares to criticize Israel is both immediate and visceral. Note, for example, the fate of former President Jimmy Carter who was virtually excommunicated by the Democratic Party after he condemned Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.
But what the neocon subset of Israel’s powerful lobby fears most is something quite different – becoming irrelevant. They have weathered being wrong about nearly everything but what they particularly fear is finding themselves without a major political party whose foreign policy they can manipulate because that would cut off their funding from defense contractors and pro-Israel zealots. They will have to give up the emoluments that they have accumulated since hijacking the GOP under Ronald Reagan. They might have to abandon their corner offices and secretaries and could even have to find real jobs. And what would the Sunday morning talk shows be like without the Cheshire cat grin of Bill Kristol?
The end of the hypocrisy driven neocon ascendancy in foreign policy will be welcomed by many. Dan McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute has described the Trump hating neocons as “…soft skinned and well-perfumed keyboard warriors who eagerly send America’s sons and daughters to be slaughtered in wars that achieve nothing but the ascendance of new ‘bad guys’ used to justify ever more wars. And all of it pays very nicely for them.” Exactly.
ED Noor: You can bet your booties this Kabbalistic Pulsa d’Nura Curse has been cast on Trump a few times already over the past few months.

Missing from the ‘State of the Union’

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by philip giraldi

january 19, 2016


I had expected that there would be little in last week’s State of the Union address about foreign policy as it is not an Administration strength, but, to my surprise, President Barack Obama gave it about eight minutes, a little over 1000 words. Governor Nikki Haley was, however, more detached from the issue in her rebuttal speech, stating only that “… we are facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since September 11th, and this president appears either unwilling or unable to deal with it.”

Obama made a number of points which illustrate his own inclinations regarding how to deal with the rest of the world. He emphasized that America, the “most powerful nation on earth,” must be the global leader, “…when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead. They call us.”

Regarding the major conflict zones, he observed that “In today’s world, we’re threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states. The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia. Russia is pouring resources in to prop up Ukraine and Syria, client states that they saw slipping away from their orbit.”

Obama added that “Both Al Qaida and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people… Our foreign policy has to be focused on the threat from ISIL and Al Qaida. We have to take them out. For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries…If this Congress is serious about winning this war and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, authorize the use of military force against ISIL.”

Concerning nation building, Obama opined that “We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis…even if it’s done with the best of intentions. That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. It’s the lesson of Vietnam. It’s the lesson of Iraq, and we should have learned it by now.”

And how to lead effectively? “On issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight. That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.”

A final State of the Union Address is more than most a political document, intended to establish a loose framework of success that will enable the president’s party to prevail in the next presidential election. This is why Obama, instead of addressing substantive issues in a serious way, gave time to the warm and fuzzy perspectives that will define the Democratic Party in national elections later this year. He touched on gay marriage, education reform, job growth, Obamacare, and on guns legislation, all of which are core issues for those who align with the Democrats. The reality of each of those alleged “successes” can, of course, be challenged as failures or even unconstitutional, but the highly structured and almost ritualistic annual presidential speech does not exactly present much of a debating society opportunity for the opposition party.

I have long thought that President Obama is basically a moderate politically speaking who is extremely cautious and disinclined to take any risks. He was, admittedly, elected president in spite of his having had no experience that qualified him for the office. His electoral success was due to a number of factors coming together, most notably a scary GOP candidate coupled with growing antiwar sentiment that was a reaction to the Bush regime’s muscular nationalism. Understanding that, Obama made some gestures that miscategorized him as a “peace” candidate and eventually earned him a Nobel Prize but he quickly surrendered his independence to the consensus driven advisers who were products of the groupthink that drives foreign policy in Washington. In short, he has received some very bad advice and the State of the Union Address inadvertently identifies just what is wrong with the way the Administration views itself within the context of the international community.

It is particularly odd to note the Obama contention that the United States must be the leader, which he cites several times. To a certain extent the claim is little more than self-satisfied preening, but it also goes along with the oft-stated contention that the US President is “leader of the free world,” an expression that Obama frequently uses. Unfortunately, there is no such mandate and it is likely that if an election were held many so-called allies would be reluctant to concede leadership to Washington. The claim that other nations clamor for American leadership is hokum. Germans, in fact, believe that the United States role in world affairs is essentially negative.

And the assertion that Washington is leading a coalition of 60 countries to fight ISIS is clueless, as the coalition is basically inert and toothless, having only acquired some momentum after the Russians intervened on behalf of Syria. Leading coalition partners, to include Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have all along been playing a double game, supporting ISIS more often than not while many other nominal allies have done little or nothing. And the moderate rebels that White House expects to one day raise the liberty cap over Damascus? They have disappeared.

Indeed, Obama’s view of the conflict zones appears to derive more from a cold war style Manichean mentality than from current realities. Russia is incorrectly seen as having “client states” while the ongoing violence in the Middle East is regarded as a process of going through “transformations” that are “rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.” That is a comment that could have been coined by George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice but it is self-serving misreading of reality intended to shift the blame for the anarchy in the region.

Ancient history does not explain the contemporary Middle East. Including the festering Israel and Palestine conflict, which has taken on its current form due to the connivance of Washington as Israel’s patron, all of the unrest in the region is quite plausibly a direct or indirect result of American missteps, starting with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 coupled with the attempts to destabilize and change regime in Syria that started in the same year, followed by the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011.

And Obama in his speech appears to want to up the ante, asking congress for war powers to get more deeply into the Syrian civil war. It contradicts his call for learning from past mistakes in Vietnam and Iraq and makes clear that the White House has not benefitted from hindsight as it intends to again repeat using military intervention as a foreign policy tool. It is also telling that Obama did not mention learning anything from the disastrous intervention in Libya, which, of course, occurred on his watch and that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The fact is that the Arab world was relatively stable even if it was not very free before the US sought fit to intervene in serial fashion after 9/11 and it would be nice if the president would just give that a nod, particularly as he went on to say that the United States should not seek to “take over and rebuild” every country that falls into “crisis.” As Obama has not hesitated to continue to do exactly that in Afghanistan with intentions to do likewise in Syria one has to question his perception of where the problem lies.

And finally, there is the question of what to do about terrorism. Describing ISIS and al Qaeda as major threats and the “focus” of US foreign policy gives the groups way too much credit and also enhances their appeal to young Muslim men who will no doubt be volunteering in droves as a response to the Obama message. The reality is that they are not a major threat and never have been and if US foreign policy is focused on them it is a bad misreading of what is important and what is not. Maintaining good working relations with adversaries Russia and China is far more important, as is increasing multilateral cooperation with friendly Asian rim nations and allies in Europe. Diplomacy is not just engaged in repressing bad guys, it is more so about building positive relations with friends and potential allies as well as bridges to opponents.

Foreign policy does not win or lose national elections but the diminished status of diplomacy over the past twenty years coupled with a basic incomprehension of what to do about the development of a multipolar world should be troubling for many Americans because the United States no longer operates in a vacuum. The perpetuation of myths that the US must lead and should take steps to correct the policies of other nations, to include engineering regime change, must be once and for all explicitly discarded. Obama could have called for something like that but he didn’t.

The United States of America does just fine when it minds its own business and seeks friendship with everyone, as President George Washington recommended in his Farewell Address. Even the so-called terrorist problem would be much diminished because, as Ron Paul has correctly observed, “they are over here because we are over there.” Unfortunately, an undoubtedly intelligent and seemingly well-intentioned man like Barack Obama has chosen to go with the Washington consensus rather than heed his own instincts, which is something of a tragedy as whoever succeeds him in office later this year is not likely to possess either of those virtues and will no doubt double down on “America the exceptional.”

Reprinted with permission from Unz Review.

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