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من محمد مرسي إلى إيمانويل ماكرون فأنجلينا جولي

من محمد مرسي إلى إيمانويل ماكرون فأنجلينا جولي

ناصر قنديل

-صمّمت المخابرات الأميركية خططها للسيطرة على العالم على قاعدة إدراك أهمية وجود أنظمة حكم تابعة في البلدان ذات الأهمية الكبرى في الجغرافيا السياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية. وقد اتسمت هذه الخطط في مرحلة الحرب الباردة مع الاتحاد السوفياتي بالاستناد إلى الانقلابات العسكرية والحكومات العسكرية الديكتاتورية، كما كان حال معظم أنظمة شرق آسيا وأميركا اللاتينية وأفريقيا التي حظيت بالدعم الأميركي والتي شكّل سقوط نظام الشاه أول مؤشرات أفول نجمها، وشكل انهيار تركيا تحت قبضة العسكر الضربة القاضية لها، وجاء لجوء واشنطن إلى تغيير آخر الحكام الموالين لها من نتاج هذه الحقبة في بلدان الشرق الأوسط عبر ما سمّي بالربيع العربي.

-يعترف كبار مهندسي السياسات في المخابرات الأميركية بالتضادّ الأخلاقي والقيمي بين النموذج الذي تستطيع واشنطن حمايته والدفاع عنه، وبين الأنظمة الموالية لها. كما يعترفون بأنّ قضايا الاستقلال الوطني تشكّل نقطة الضعف التي تصيب الأنظمة التابعة بمقتل. وقد اشتغل مفكرو ومهندسو السياسات على ابتكار صيغ لتفادي هذا التضادّ من جهة، وذلك المقتل من جهة أخرى، آخذين بعين الاعتبار ما قدّمته تجارب الثورات المناهضة لهم أو حالات النهوض المواجهة لسياساتهم. ويقع النموذجان الإيراني والكوبي على الضفة الأولى والنموذجان الصيني والروسي على الضفة الثانية.

-يسلّم المهندسون بأنّ تلافي التضادّ وتجاوز العقدة شبه مستحيلين، لأنهما من شروط الاستراتيجية. فلا مناص من أن تكون هذه الأنظمة مخادعة لشعوبها وأن تكون تابعة لواشنطن، ولذلك توجّهوا للاشتغال على مراحل تشتري الوقت والحقب والأجيال، بدلاً من الوقوع ضحية بحث عقيم عن حلّ سحري لمعضلة بنيوية لا حلّ لها. وهذا التوجّه يستند إلى مفهوم نظري عنوانه استبدال القيم الثابتة التي تقاس عليها علاقة أنظمة الحكم بشعوبها بتسويق قيم جديدة وجعلها معياراً يترسّخ تدريجياً في عقول الشعوب وقلوبها ووجدانها، وتحرير المشهد المحيط بها من المعيقات التي تعيد تظهير المعايير المتجذرة تقليدياً، ليتمّ القياس على القيم الجديدة وتفوز الأنظمة التي جرى تصنيعها وفقاً لمقاساتها ومعاييرها.

-تحتلّ البلاد العربية موقع المركز في الاهتمامات الأميركية لكلّ الأسباب الجيوسياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية، وقد توقفت أمامها كلّ الدوائر المعنية في واشنطن من تقرير الطاقة الصادر عن الكونغرس في العام 2000، إلى تقرير لجنة العراق عام 2006 وكلّ منهما حاز شراكة وقبول نخب الحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي، وأغلب من تولّوا بالتتابع مناصب هامة في الدبلوماسية والمخابرات طوال نصف قرن.

-المرحلة الأولى التي وضعتها الدوائر الأميركية في حسابها كانت مرحلة الإخوان المسلمImage result for ‫الرئيس مرسى واردوغان‬‎ين، والعثمانية الجديدة، كتعبير عن محاكاة وجدان جمعي ثقافي عقائدي وسياسي، تمثل تركيا حزب العدالة والتنمية مركز قيادته. وكانت سورية الحلقة المركزية لقياس نجاح وفشل هذه المرحلة، بعدما مثل وصول محمد مرسي لرئاسة مصر ذروة النجاح في هذا المشروع. وظهر من التجربة أنّ القوى التي استنهضها هذا المشروع لقتاله في سورية ترتبط بصورة رئيسية بمصدر قيمي شديد القوة ينبع من وهج القضية الفلسطينية، والذي يبقى رغم العصبيات الطائفية والمذهبية مصدر تأثير كبير في صناعة الاصطفافات والتوازنات. ومن دون إيجاد أمل بحلّ هذه القضية لن يسحب فتيل الاصطفاف والتفجير الناتج عنه حولها، ولن يكون متاحاً إضعاف مصادر قوة الجبهة المناوئة وتجريدها من تفوّقها القيمي، وخوض الصراع حول منظومة قيم مستحدثة.

فلولا فلسطين لتحوّل حزب الله وإيران بنظر السوريين إلى مكوّن طائفي مجرد، ولولا فلسطين لأمكن الرهان على منافسة الرئيس السوري انتخابياً بمرشحين ليبراليين يحظون بدعم الغرب، ولولا الصراع المفتوح مع «إسرائيل» لأمكن حصار حزب الله وسلاحه في لبنان، ولولا الصراع حول فلسطين لصار الحلف الخليجي «الإسرائيلي» مقبولاً ومطلوباً لدى شرائح عربية واسعة، وفقاً لحصيلة التقييم الأميركي.

-سقوط نسخة الإخوان المسلمين التي كان مقدّراً لها شراء ربع قرن من السيطرة على الشرق الأوسط لم يدفع مهندسي المشاريع في واشنطن لإلقاء أسلحتهم، بل لتصميم وبرمجة صيغة جديدة، قوامها التركيز على حلّ للصراع العربي «الإسرائيلي» يوفر أمن «إسرائيل»، ويمكن توفير تغطية عربية وفلسطينية لتسويقه، ثم تسويق نماذج للحكم تستوحي الليبرالية وقيمها، يكون عنوانها شباناً في مقتبل العمر، يتمتعون بوجوه يافعة وملامح جادّة ويحملون قصة نجاح شخصية وصعود سريع إلى الواجهة وسيرة مغامرة، ويجيدون المخاطبةأنجلينا جولي في يونيو 2014 عبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، وتقنياته الأشدّ عصرنة وحداثة ويشكل الرئيس الفرنسي الجديد إيمانويل ماكرون النسخة الأولى من هذا الجيل، الذي يسعى محمد بن سلمان للتدرّب على مقتضياته ومعه جملة من جيل القادة الذين يقعون في دائرة الرهانات الأميركية في لبنان والبلاد العربية.

وتشكل الحقبة التي تليه أو تجاوره حسب المقتضى، حقبة المرأة الشابة الجميلة الساحرة القوية المثقفة، الإنسانية والمهتمّة بقضايا الفقراء والمشرّدين والضحايا، نموذج تتقدّمه أنجلينا جولي، وأخريات يجري تدريبهنّ على خوض غمار هذه التجارب من العرب وغير العرب.

-مََن يتفرّس وجوه نجوم صاعدة بسرعة ويطرح صعودها الكثير من الأسئلة، يستطيع أن يكتشف الكثير من الأجوبة.

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Why the West will never either defeat or forgive Russia

 

Historically, Russia has always fought intuitively for the survival of all mankind. Of course, the events do not always look this way. But whatever they look like, this huge country has repeatedly rebuffed the most powerful forces of evil which were becoming a threat to the very existence of our planet.

By Andre Vltchek

During the Second World War, the Soviet (mostly Russian) people sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children for the sake of the victory over Nazism. No other country in the modern history has ever had to go through such hardship.

Right after this victory Russia, along with China and Cuba, launched the most incredible and noble project of all times: the systematic destruction of the Western colonialism. All over the world the oppressed masses rose up against the European and North American barbarity, and the Soviet Union was ready to become a beacon of hope for them, to provide them with substantial financial, ideological and military aid.

As the oppressed and disadvantaged nations, one after another, gained their independence, in all the capitals of the Western world there was growing hatred of the Soviet Union and the Russian people. After all, the looting of “non-white” continents was considered a natural right of the “civilised world”.

In the USA and Europe such words as “colonialism” and “imperialism” very quickly acquired a negative connotation, at least, outwardly. So demonising the Soviet Union (leaving alone attacking it) for supporting the struggle for liberation on all the continents would have been counterproductive. Instead, there were developed theories about the “Empire of evil”.

Russia has always been an “obstacle”. This enormous country has been preventing brutal plans of Washington, Berlin, London and Paris. Plans of controlling and plundering the entire world.

However, the more noble the deeds are, the dirtier the attacks on them become.

Russia has always been known for its incredible ability to mobilise its forces, to throw all its resources to achieve a single, deeply humanistic and moral, goal. In its struggle there has always been something sacred, something high and extremely important.

‘Arise, the great country, arise to fight to death!’. This is how begins one of the greatest patriotic songs of the World War II. When Russia is fighting, it is only the victory that is important for it. The victory at any cost.

Russia was destined to fight for the fate of the entire world. If you do not believe in fate, you’ll never understand the famous “Russian soul”. It is not about a religion, as for the most part Russia is anarchist and atheistic. But it believes in destiny and accepts it.

Besides, in most cases, Russia hardly had a choice. It was the end of mankind that was an alternative to the victory.

So, when the very existence of the world was under threat, Russia always rose – fierce and frightening but, at the same time, incredibly beautiful in its anger and determination. It fought with every handful of its land, with every heart of its people. And it almost always won. But it did so at a terrible price – having buried millions of its sons and daughters, and having plunged itself into the sea of ​​unimaginable sorrow and pain.

Moreover, there never was anyone nearby to comfort it. While the fires were still raging, while the faces of mothers and wives who had lost their close ones were still wet with tears, the country already was being spat upon, mocked and humiliated by the treacherous Western regimes and their propaganda.

Its heroism was belittled, its victims were mocked. It was alleged that its millions who had given their lives for mankind had actually died for nothing.

In exchange for its heroism Russia has never asked for anything, except for two basic things: recognition and respect. And yet, it has never received either.

Now Russia is rising again, it is beginning the epic struggle against the ISIS, a monstrous parody of the Muslim faith, created and armed by the West and its regional mean hangers.

Russia was forced to act. After all, who else could have done it? After centuries of the Crusades and barbarian colonialism of the West there is almost nothing left of the Middle East, one of the cradles of our civilisation. The Middle East, plundered and humiliated, has turned into a mosaic of miserable client states standing in service of the West. Tens of millions have been killed. All that could have been looted has been. The socialist and secular governments have been pressed to the wall and overthrown.

I have worked a lot in this region and can attest that, perhaps, with the exception for Africa, there is no greater victim of the West’s greed and barbarism in the world.

Syria and Iraq, two desperate, long suffering, mortally wounded countries, appealed to Russia for help. And it agreed to provide it.

Oh yes, I can already hear the cacophony of shrieks about the ‘Russian interests’ and ‘spheres of influence’, coming from Europe and the North America. Because there is nothing sacred in the West. There can not be anything sacred there. Because everything there is tainted with grim sarcasm and nihilism … If the West behaves like a thug, the picture of the rest of the world should also be drawn in the same colours. After all, the West has neither allies nor feelings. Only interests. It is not my idea, it was said to me over and over again when I was living and working in the destroyed parts of Africa.

But I do not care what they say in Paris and Washington. What matters is what they say in Iraq, Syria and Libya. And I will explain to you how things are there: if you go to the barber and say that you are Russian, the people will rise, hug you and weep.

Russia will never attack other countries, but if it comes under attack itself, its fury can be terrifying, especially during a war. ‘Who comes to us with a sword, shall perish by the sword!’, said the Novgorod prince Alexander Nevsky in the XIII century.

The recent incident with the Russian bomber that was shot down over Syria by the Turkish Air Force increases the risk of a wider regional war. Turkey, a NATO member country, is spreading terror all over the region: from Libya and Somalia to Iraq, Syria and its own Kurdish territories. It is torturing people, destroying a lot of them (including journalists), robbing millions of their natural resources and dissipating (mostly with Qatar’s money) the most extremist Islamist teachings.

I met Recep Tayyip Erdogan many years ago, in the early 1990s in Istanbul when he was still the mayor of the city, and I was “licking my wounds” after the publication about the West systematically destroying Yugoslavia.

‘Do you speak Turkish?, he asked me once.

‘Not very well,’ I replied. ‘Just a little’.

‘But you know perfectly well how to pronounce the name of our party!’, he exclaimed. ‘This proves how important we are’.

From the very first meeting I realised that he was an aggressive villain with delusions of grandeur and the inferiority complex. And yet, I had no idea that he would go so far. But that is exactly where he has gone. And because of it millions of people are suffering all over the region.

Now he has shot down the Russian bomber and invaded Iraq.

Turkey has repeatedly fought with Russia and almost always lost. Moreover, in the period between the two world wars it was able to survive only with the help of the Soviet Union. So, it should have twice thought over the next step.

Russia does not just “wage wars”. Its struggle for the survival of mankind is nothing but a work of art, poetry, a symphony. It’s hard to explain but it’s true. Everything is intertwined there.

To meanly shoot down the Russian Su-24 is the same thing as to spit on the graves of 25 millions who died in the Second World War. It is a disgusting and stupid move. In Russia people do not act like this. In Russia, if you want to fight, you fight face to face with your adversary.

But if you kill like a coward, if you invade devastated neighbouring countries, one day it can be not the Su-24 that you will see in the sky, but heavy bombers.

Russia can not be defeated. There are many reasons for that. One of them is very pragmatic: it is a nuclear superpower. Another is that Russia usually fights for a just cause. And it does it with all its might and with all its heart.

But for Russia, the planet Earth would no longer exist. At least, in the form we are used to seeing it in. The West and its Christian fascist states would fully control the world. And they would treat “sub-people” like animals (even worse than they are doing now); there would be no boundaries, no limits to theft and destruction.

The so-called “civilised world” (the one that builds its theatres and schools on the bones of the others) would, without the slightest resistance, go to the full control over our planet.

Fortunately, Russia exists. And it can not be defeated. No one will ever manage to do it. And that is why the West will never forgive it for standing up for the poor and oppressed.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and  “Fighting Against Western Imperialism.  Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear“. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Posted January 24, 2016

Pravda

 

Robert Kennedy Jr: “Syria Is Another Proxy Oil War”

RSFP

by 

Robert Kennedy Jr. has bravely exposed how the Syrian invasion by the Trump administration is yet another proxy oil war. 

According to an astonishing essay written 6 weeks before the gas attack on Syrian citizens, Kennedy explains how the US funds and manages ISIS in order to destabilize the region with the aim of ultimately taking control over the oil supply in the region.

Ecowatch.com reports:

The fossil fuel industry’s business model is to externalize its costs by clawing in obscene subsidies and tax deductions—causing grave environmental costs, including toxic pollution and global warming. Among the other unassessed prices of the world’s addiction to oil are social chaos, war, terror, the refugee crisis overseas, and the loss of democracy and civil rights abroad and at home.

As we focus on the rise of ISIS and search for the source of the savagery that took so many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology and focus on the more complex rationales of history and oil, which mostly point the finger of blame for terrorism back at the champions of militarism, imperialism and petroleum here on our own shores.

America’s unsavory record of violent interventions in Syria—obscure to the American people yet well known to Syrians—sowed fertile ground for the violent Islamic Jihadism that now complicates any effective response by our government to address the challenge of ISIS. So long as the American public and policymakers are unaware of this past, further interventions are likely to only compound the crisis. Moreover, our enemies delight in our ignorance.

As the New York Times reported in a Dec. 8, 2015 front page story, ISIS political leaders and strategic planners are working to provoke an American military intervention which, they know from experience, will flood their ranks with volunteer fighters, drown the voices of moderation and unify the Islamic world against America.

To understand this dynamic, we need to look at history from the Syrians’ perspective and particularly the seeds of the current conflict. Long before our 2003 occupation of Iraq triggered the Sunni uprising that has now morphed into the Islamic State, the CIA had nurtured violent Jihadism as a Cold War weapon and freighted U.S./Syrian relationships with toxic baggage.

During the 1950’s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers rebuffed Soviet treaty proposals to leave the Middle East a cold war neutral zone and let Arabs rule Arabia. Instead, they mounted a clandestine war against Arab Nationalism—which CIA Director Allan Dulles equated with communism—particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative Jihadist ideologies which they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism. At a White House meeting between the CIA’s Director of Plans, Frank Wisner, and Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, in September of 1957, Eisenhower advised the agency, “We should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect.”

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949—barely a year after the agency’s creation. Syrian patriots had declared war on the Nazis, expelled their Vichy French colonial rulers and crafted a fragile secularist democracy based on the American model. But in March of 1949, Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwatili, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. In his book, Legacy of Ashes, CIA historian Tim Weiner recounts that in retaliation, the CIA engineered a coup, replacing al-Kuwaiti with the CIA’s handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, 14 weeks into his regime.

Following several counter coups in the newly destabilized country, the Syrian people again tried democracy in 1955, re-electing al-Kuwatili and his Ba’ath Party. Al-Kuwaiti was still a Cold War neutralist but, stung by American involvement in his ouster, he now leaned toward the Soviet camp. That posture caused Dulles to declare that “Syria is ripe for a coup” and send his two coup wizards, Kim Roosevelt and Rocky Stone to Damascus.

Two years earlier, Roosevelt and Stone had orchestrated a coup in Iran against the democratically elected President Mohammed Mosaddegh after Mosaddegh tried to renegotiate the terms of Iran’s lopsided contracts with the oil giant, BP. Mosaddegh was the first elected leader in Iran’s 4,000 year history, and a popular champion for democracy across the developing world. Mosaddegh expelled all British diplomats after uncovering a coup attempt by UK intelligence officers working in cahoots with BP.

Mosaddegh, however, made the fatal mistake of resisting his advisors’ pleas to also expel the CIA, which they correctly suspected, and was complicit in the British plot. Mosaddegh idealized the U.S. as a role model for Iran’s new democracy and incapable of such perfidies. Despite Dulles’ needling, President Truman had forbidden the CIA from actively joining the British caper to topple Mosaddegh.

When Eisenhower took office in January 1953, he immediately unleashed Dulles. After ousting Mosaddegh in “Operation Ajax,” Stone and Roosevelt installed Shah Reza Pahlavi, who favored U.S. oil companies, but whose two decades of CIA sponsored savagery toward his own people from the Peacock throne would finally ignite the 1979 Islamic revolution that has bedeviled our foreign policy for 35 years.

Flush from his Operation Ajax “success” in Iran, Stone arrived in Damascus in April 1956 with $3 million in Syrian pounds to arm and incite Islamic militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to overthrow al-Kuwatili’s democratically elected secularist regime. Working with the Muslim Brotherhood, Stone schemed to assassinate Syria’s Chief of Intelligence, its Chief of the General Staff and the Chief of the Communist Party and to engineer “national conspiracies and various strong arm” provocations in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan that could be blamed on the Syrian Ba’athists.

The CIA’s plan was to destabilize the Syrian government, and create a pretext for an invasion by Iraq and Jordan, whose governments were already under CIA control. Roosevelt forecasted that the CIA’s newly installed puppet government would “rely first upon repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of power.”

But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers. The soldiers reported the CIA’s bribery attempts to the Ba’athist regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy taking Stone prisoner. Following harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised confession to his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA’s aborted attempt to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government.

The Syrian’s ejected Stone and two U.S. Embassy staffers—the first time any American State Department diplomat was barred from an Arab country. The Eisenhower White House hollowly dismissed Stone’s confession as “fabrications and slanders,” a denial swallowed whole by the American press, led by the New York Times and believed by the American people, who shared Mosaddegh’s idealistic view of their government.

Syria purged all politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed them for treason. In retaliation, the U.S. moved the Sixth Fleet to the Mediterranean, threatened war and goaded Turkey to invade Syria. The Turks assembled 50,000 troops on Syria’s borders and only backed down in the face of unified opposition from the Arab League whose leaders were furious at the U.S. intervention.

Even after its expulsion, the CIA continued its secret efforts to topple Syria’s democratically elected Ba’athist government. The CIA plotted with Britain’s MI6 to form a “Free Syria Committee” and armed the Muslim Brotherhood to assassinate three Syrian government officials, who had helped expose “the American plot.” (Matthew Jones in The ‘Preferred Plan’: The Anglo-American Working Group Report on Covert Action in Syria, 1957). The CIA’s mischief pushed Syria even further away from the U.S. and into prolonged alliances with Russia and Egypt.

Following the second Syrian coup attempt, anti-American riots rocked the Mid-East from Lebanon to Algeria. Among the reverberations was the July 14, 1958 coup, led by the new wave of anti-American Army officers who overthrew Iraq’s pro-American monarch, Nuri al-Said. The coup leaders published secret government documents, exposing Nuri al-Said as a highly paid CIA puppet. In response to American treachery, the new Iraqi government invited Soviet diplomats and economic advisers to Iraq and turned its back on the West.

Having alienated Iraq and Syria, Kim Roosevelt fled the Mid-East to work as an executive for the oil industry that he had served so well during his public service career. Roosevelt’s replacement, as CIA Station Chief, James Critchfield attempted a failed assassination plot against the new Iraqi president using a toxic handkerchief. Five years later the CIA finally succeeded in deposing the Iraqi president and installing the Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq.

A charismatic young murderer named Saddam Hussein was one of the distinguished leaders of the CIA’s Ba’athists team. The Ba’ath Party’s Interior Minister, Said Aburish, who took office alongside Saddam Hussein, would later say, “We came to power on a CIA train.” Aburish recounted that the CIA supplied Saddam and his cronies a “murder list” of people who “had to be eliminated immediately in order to ensure success.”

Critchfield later acknowledged that the CIA had, in essence, “created Saddam Hussein.” During the Reagan years, the CIA supplied Hussein with billions of dollars in training, Special Forces support, and weapons and battlefield intelligence knowing that he was using poisonous mustard and nerve gas and biological weapons—including anthrax obtained from the U.S. government—in his war against Iran.

Reagan and his CIA Director, Bill Casey, regarded Saddam as a potential friend to the U.S. oil industry and a sturdy barrier against the spread of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Their emissary, Donald Rumsfeld, presented Saddam with a pair of pearl-handled revolvers and a menu of chemical/biological and conventional weapons on a 1983 trip to Bagdad. At the same time, the CIA was illegally supplying Saddam’s enemy—Iran—with thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to fight Iraq, a crime made famous during the Iran Contra scandal. Jihadists from both sides later turned many of those CIA supplied weapons against the American people.

Even as America contemplates yet another violent Mid-East intervention, most Americans are unaware of the many ways that “blowback” from previous CIA blunders has helped craft the current crisis. The reverberations from decades of CIA shenanigans continue to echo across the Mid-East today in national capitals and from mosques to madras schools over the wrecked landscape of democracy and moderate Islam that the CIA helped obliterate.

In July 1956, less than two months after the CIA’s failed Syrian Coup, my uncle, Senator John F. Kennedy, infuriated the Eisenhower White House, the leaders of both political parties and our European allies with a milestone speech endorsing the right of self-governance in the Arab world and an end to America’s imperialist meddling in Arab countries. Throughout my lifetime, and particularly during my frequent travels to the Mid-East, countless Arabs have fondly recalled that speech to me as the clearest statement of the idealism they expected from the U.S.

Kennedy’s speech was a call for recommitting America to the high values our country had championed in the Atlantic Charter, the formal pledge that all the former European colonies would have the right to self-determination following World War II. FDR had strong-armed Churchill and the other allied leaders to sign the Atlantic Charter in 1941 as a precondition for U.S. support in the European war against fascism.

Thanks in large part to Allan Dulles and the CIA, whose foreign policy intrigues were often directly at odds with the stated policies of our nation, the idealistic path outlined in the Atlantic Charter was the road not taken. In 1957, my grandfather, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, sat on a secret committee charged with investigating CIA’s clandestine mischief in the Mid-East. The so called “Bruce Lovett Report,” to which he was a signatory, described CIA coup plots in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at face value, their government’s denials.

The report blamed the CIA for the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root “in the many countries in the world today.” The Bruce Lovett Report pointed out that such interventions were antithetical to American values and had compromised America’s international leadership and moral authority without the knowledge of the American people. The report points out that the CIA never considered how we would treat such interventions if some foreign government engineered them in our country. This is the bloody history that modern interventionists like George W. Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio miss when they recite their narcissistic trope that Mid-East nationalists “hate us for our freedoms.”

The Syrian and Iranian coups soiled America’s reputation across the Mid-East and ploughed the fields of Islamic Jihadism which we have, ironically, purposefully nurtured. A parade of Iranian and Syrian dictators, including Bashar al-Assad and his father, have invoked the history of the CIA’s bloody coups as a pretext for their authoritarian rule, repressive tactics and their need for a strong Russian alliance. These stories are therefore well known to the people of Syria and Iran who naturally interpret talk of U.S. intervention in the context of that history.

While the compliant American press parrots the narrative that our military support for the Syrian insurgency is purely humanitarian, many Syrians see the present crisis as just another proxy war over pipelines and geopolitics. Before rushing deeper into the conflagration, it would be wise for us to consider the abundant facts supporting that perspective.

In their view, our war against Bashar Assad did not begin with the peaceful civil protests of the Arab Spring in 2011. Instead it began in 2000 when Qatar proposed to construct a $10 billion, 1,500km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.

Note the purple line which traces the proposed Qatar-Turkey natural gas pipeline and note that all of the countries highlighted in red are part of a new coalition hastily put together after Turkey finally (in exchange for NATO’s acquiescence on Erdogan’s politically-motivated war with the PKK) agreed to allow the US to fly combat missions against ISIS targets from Incirlik. Now note which country along the purple line is not highlighted in red. That’s because Bashar al-Assad didn’t support the pipeline and now we’re seeing what happens when you’re a Mid-East strongman and you decide not to support something the US and Saudi Arabia want to get done. (Map: ZeroHedge.com via MintPress News)

Qatar shares with Iran, the South Pars/North Dome gas field, the world’s richest natural gas repository. The international trade embargo, until recently, prohibited Iran from selling gas abroad and ensured that Qatar’s gas could only reach European markets if it is liquefied and shipped by sea, a route that restricts volume and dramatically raises costs.

The proposed pipeline would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the U.S. Central Command’s Mid-East headquarters.

The EU, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, was equally hungry for the pipeline which would have given its members cheap energy and relief from Vladimir Putin’s stifling economic and political leverage. Turkey, Russia’s second largest gas customer, was particularly anxious to end its reliance on its ancient rival and to position itself as the lucrative transect hub for Asian fuels to EU markets. The Qatari pipeline would have benefited Saudi Arabia’s conservative Sunni Monarchy by giving them a foothold in Shia dominated Syria.

The Saudi’s geopolitical goal is to contain the economic and political power of the Kingdom’s principal rival, Iran, a Shiite state, and close ally of Bashar Assad. The Saudi monarchy viewed the U.S. sponsored Shia takeover in Iraq as a demotion to its regional power and was already engaged in a proxy war against Tehran in Yemen, highlighted by the Saudi genocide against the Iranian backed Houthi tribe.

Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In Putin’s view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally.”

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Mid-East and the world. Israel also was understandably determined to derail the Islamic pipeline which would enrich Iran and Syria and presumably strengthen their proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.

Bashar Assad’s family is Alawite, a Muslim sect widely perceived as aligned with the Shia camp. “Bashar Assad was never supposed to be president,” says journalist Sy Hersh. “His father brought him back from medical school in London when his elder brother, the heir apparent, was killed in a car crash.”

Before the war started, according to Hersh, Assad was moving to liberalize the country—“They had internet and newspapers and ATM machines and Assad wanted to move toward the west. After 9/11, he gave thousands of invaluable files to the CIA on Jihadist radicals, who he considered a mutual enemy.”

Assad’s regime was deliberately secular and Syria was impressively diverse. The Syrian government and military, for example, were 80 percent Sunni. Assad maintained peace among his diverse peoples by a strong disciplined army loyal to the Assad family, an allegiance secured by a nationally esteemed and highly paid officer corps, a coldly efficient intelligence apparatus and a penchant for brutality which, prior to the war, was rather moderate compared to other Mideast leaders, including our current allies.

According to Hersh, “He certainly wasn’t beheading people every Wednesday like the Saudis do in Mecca.” Another veteran journalist, Bob Parry, echoes that assessment. “No one in the region has clean hands but in the realms of torture, mass killings, civil liberties and supporting terrorism, Assad is much better than the Saudis.”

No one believed that the regime was vulnerable to the anarchy that had riven Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. By the spring of 2011, there were small, peaceful demonstrations in Damascus against repression by Assad’s regime. These were mainly the effluvia of the Arab Spring which spread virally across the Arab League states the previous summer. However, Huffington Post UK reported that in Syria the protests were, at least in part, orchestrated by the CIA. WikiLeaks cables indicate that the CIA was already on the ground in Syria.

But the Sunni Kingdoms wanted a much deeper involvement from America. On Sept. 4, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing that the Sunni kingdoms had offered to foot the bill for a US. invasion of Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad. “In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing, the way we’ve done it previously in other places [Iraq], they’ll carry the cost,” he stated. Kerry reiterated the offer to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27): “With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the costs of [an American invasion] to topple Assad, the answer is profoundly Yes, they have. The offer is on the table.”

Despite pressure from Republicans, Barrack Obama balked at hiring out young Americans to die as mercenaries for a pipeline conglomerate. Obama wisely ignored Republican clamoring to put ground troops in Syria or to funnel more funding to “moderate insurgents.” But by late 2011, Republican pressure and our Sunni allies had pushed the American government into the fray.

In 2011, the U.S. joined France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and England to form the “Friends of Syria Coalition,” which formally demanded the removal of Assad. The CIA provided $6 million to Barada, a British T.V. channel, to produce pieces entreating Assad’s ouster. Saudi intelligence documents, published by WikiLeaks, show that by 2012, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were arming, training and funding radical Jihadist Sunni fighters from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere to overthrow the Assad’s Shia allied regime. Qatar, which had the most to gain, invested $3 billion in building the insurgency and invited the Pentagon to train insurgents at U.S. bases in Qatar. U.S. personnel also provided logistical support and intelligence to the rebels on the ground. The Times of London reported on Sept. 14, 2012, that the CIA also armed Jihadists with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons from Libyan armories that the agency smuggled by ratlines to Syria via Turkey. According to an April 2014 article by Seymour Hersh, the CIA weapons ratlines were financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The idea of fomenting a Sunni-Shia civil war to weaken the Syrian and Iranian regimes so as to maintain control of the region’s petro-chemical supplies was not a novel notion in the Pentagon’s lexicon. A damning 2008 Pentagon funded Rand report proposed a precise blueprint for what was about to happen. That report observes that control of the Persian Gulf oil and gas deposits will remain, for the U.S., “a strategic priority” that “will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

Rand recommends using “covert action, information operations, unconventional warfare” to enforce a “divide and rule” strategy. “The United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch a proxy campaign” and “U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the sustained Shia-Sunni conflict trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world … possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

WikiLeaks cables from as early as 2006 show the U.S. State Department, at the urging of the Israeli government, proposing to partner with Turkey, Qatar and Egypt to foment Sunni civil war in Syria to weaken Iran. The stated purpose, according to the secret cable, was to incite Assad into a brutal crackdown of Syria’s Sunni population.

As predicted, Assad’s overreaction to the foreign made crisis—dropping barrel bombs onto Sunni strongholds and killing civilians—polarized Syria’s Shia/Sunni divide and allowed U.S. policymakers to sell Americans the idea that the pipeline struggle was a humanitarian war. When Sunni soldiers of the Syrian Army began defecting in 2013, the Western Coalition armed the “Free Syrian Army” to further destabilize Syria. The press portrait of the Free Syria Army as cohesive battalions of Syrian moderates was delusional. The dissolved units regrouped in hundreds of independent militias most of whom were commanded by or allied with Jihadi militants who were the most committed and effective fighters. By then, the Sunni armies of Al Qaeda Iraq (AQI) were crossing the border from Iraq into Syria and joining forces with the battalions of deserters from the Free Syria Army, many of them trained and armed by the U.S.

Despite the prevailing media portrait of a moderate Arab uprising against the tyrant Assad, U.S. Intelligence planners knew from the outset that their pipeline proxies were radical jihadists who would probably carve themselves a brand new Islamic caliphate from the Sunni regions of Syria and Iraq. Two years before ISIS throat cutters stepped on the world stage, a seven-page Aug. 12, 2012 study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), obtained by the right wing group Judicial Watch, warned that thanks to the ongoing support by U.S./Sunni Coalition for radical Sunni Jihadists, “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (now ISIS), are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

Using U.S. and Gulf State funding, these groups had turned the peaceful protests against Bashar Assad toward “a clear sectarian (Shiite vs Sunni) direction.” The paper notes that the conflict had become a sectarian civil war supported by Sunni “religious and political powers.” The report paints the Syrian conflict as a global war for control of the region’s resources with “the west, Gulf countries and Turkey supporting [Assad’s] opposition, while Russia, China and Iran support the regime.”

The Pentagon authors of the seven-page report appear to endorse the predicted advent of the ISIS caliphate:

“If the situation continues unravelling, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime.” The Pentagon report warns that this new principality could move across the Iraqi border to Mosul and Ramadi and “declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

Of course, this is precisely what has happened. Not coincidentally, the regions of Syria occupied by ISIS exactly encompass the proposed route of the Qatari pipeline.

But then in 2014, our Sunni proxies horrified the American people by severing heads and driving a million refugees toward Europe. “Strategies based upon the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend can be kind of blinding,” says Tim Clemente, who chaired the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force between 2004 and 2008 and served as liaison in Iraq between the FBI, the Iraqi National Police and the U.S. Military. “We made the same mistake when we trained the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The moment the Russians left, our supposed friends started smashing antiquities, enslaving women, severing body parts and shooting at us.”

When ISIS’ “Jihadi John” began murdering prisoners on TV, the White House pivoted, talking less about deposing Assad and more about regional stability. The Obama Administration began putting daylight between itself and the insurgency we had funded. The White House pointed accusing fingers at our allies. On Oct. 3, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden told students at the John F. Kennedy, Jr. forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard that “Our allies in the region are our biggest problem in Syria.” He explained that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad” that they had launched a “proxy Sunni-Shia war” funneling “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons to Jihadists of the al-Nusra front and al-Qaeda”—the two groups that merged in 2014 to form ISIS.

Biden seemed angered that our trusted “friends” could not be trusted to follow the American agenda. “ISI[S] is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion,” declared Obama, disassociating himself from the Sunni rebellion, “which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.” As if to demonstrate their contempt for America’s new found restraint, our putative allies, the Turks responded to the U.S. rebukes by shooting down a plane belonging to our other putative ally, the Russians—probably to spoil a potential deal between Russia and the U.S. that would leave Assad in power.

Across the Mid-East, Arab leaders routinely accuse the U.S. of having created ISIS. To most Americans immersed in U.S. media perspective, such accusations seem insane. However, to many Arabs, the evidence of U.S. involvement is so abundant that they conclude that our role in fostering ISIS must have been deliberate. On Sept. 22, 2014, according to the New York Times, Iraqi leader, Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told Baghdad demonstrators that “the CIA created ISIS.” Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bahaa Al-Araji, echoed al-Sadr’s accusation. “We know who made Daesh,” Iraq’s Treasury Secretary, Haidar al-Assadi, told the Digital News Aggregate, “The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States, and the United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State.”

In fact, many of the ISIS fighters and their commanders are ideological and organizational successors to the Jihadists that the CIA has been nurturing for 30 years. The CIA began arming and training the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in 1979 to fight the Soviets. Following the Soviet withdrawal, the CIA’s Afghan Mujahedeen became the Taliban while its foreign fighters, including Osama bin Laden, formed Al-Qaeda. In 2004, then British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that Al-Qaeda took its name—meaning “database” in Arabic—from the voluminous CIA database of Jihadists—Mujahedeen foreign fighters and arms smugglers trained and equipped by the CIA during the Afghan conflict.

Prior to the American invasion, there was no Al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Bush destroyed Saddam’s secularist government and his viceroy, Paul Bremer, in a monumental act of mismanagement, effectively created the Sunni Army, now named ISIS. Bremer elevated the Shiites to power and banned Saddam’s ruling Ba’ath Party laying off some 700,000, mostly Sunni, government and party officials from ministers to school teachers. He then disbanded the 380,000 man army, which was 80 percent Sunni.

Bremer’s actions stripped a million of Iraq’s Sunnis of rank, property, wealth and power; leaving a desperate underclass of angry, educated, capable, trained and heavily armed Sunnis with little left to lose. General Petraeus’ decision to import dirty war tactics, including torture and death squads, from the CIA’s El Salvador conflict in order to shock and awe the Sunni resistance, instead ignited a shockingly bloody spiral of sectarian violence that devolved quickly into escalating atrocities topped finally by the Sunni Army signature head cutting. The Sunni insurgency named itself Al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI).

Beginning in 2011, our allies funded the invasion by AQI fighters into Syria. In June 2014 having entered Syria, AQI changed its name to ISIS. According to the New Yorker, “ISIS is run by a council of former Iraqi Generals … many are members of Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’ath Party, who converted to radical Islam in American prisons.” The $500 million in U.S. military aid that Obama did send to Syria almost certainly ended up benefiting these militant Jihadists. On Sept. 16, 2015, incredulous senators from the Armed Services Committee listened to U.S. General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, explain that the Pentagon had spent $500 million to train and arm “moderate” insurgents in Syria and had only “four or five reliable moderate fighters” to show instead of the promised 5,000. The remainder apparently deserted or defected to ISIS.

Tim Clemente told me that the incomprehensible difference between the Iraq and Syria conflicts are the millions of military aged men who are fleeing the battlefield for Europe rather than staying to fight for their communities. “You have this formidable fighting force and they are all running away. I don’t understand how you can have millions of military aged men running away from the battlefield. In Iraq, the bravery was heartbreaking—I had friends who refused to leave the country even though they knew they would die. They’d just tell you it’s my country, I need to stay and fight,” Clemente said.

The obvious explanation is that the nation’s moderates are fleeing a war that is not their war. They simply want to escape being crushed between the anvil of Assad’s Russian backed tyranny and the vicious Jihadi Sunni hammer that we had a hand in wielding in a global battle over competing pipelines. You can’t blame the Syrian people for not widely embracing a blueprint for their nation minted in either Washington or Moscow. The super powers have left no options for an idealistic future that moderate Syrians might consider fighting for. And no one wants to die for a pipeline.

What is the answer? If our objective is long-term peace in the Mid-East, self-government by the Arab nations and national security at home, we must undertake any new intervention in the region with an eye on history and an intense desire to learn its lessons. Only when we Americans understand the historical and political context of this conflict will we apply appropriate scrutiny to the decisions of our leaders.

Using the same imagery and language that supported our 2003 war against Saddam Hussein, our political leaders led Americans to believe that our Syrian intervention is an idealistic war against tyranny, terrorism and religious fanaticism. We tend to dismiss, as mere cynicism, the views of those Arabs who see the current crisis as a rerun of the same old plots about pipelines and geopolitics. But, if we are to have an effective foreign policy, we must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.

It’s the only paradigm that explains why the GOP on Capitol Hill and the Obama administration are still fixated on regime change rather than regional stability, why the Obama administration can find no Syrian moderates to fight the war, why ISIS blew up a Russian passenger plane, why the Saudi’s just executed a powerful Shia cleric only to have their embassy burned in Tehran, why Russia is bombing non-ISIS fighters and why Turkey went out of its way to down a Russian jet. The million refugees now flooding into Europe are refugees of a pipeline war and CIA blundering.

Clemente compares ISIS to Colombia’s FARC—a drug cartel with a revolutionary ideology to inspire its foot soldiers. “You have to think of ISIS as an oil cartel,” Clemente said. “In the end, money is the governing rationale. The religious ideology is a tool that inspires its soldiers to give their lives for an oil cartel.”

Once we strip this conflict of its humanitarian patina and recognize the Syrian conflict as an oil war, our foreign policy strategy becomes clear. Instead, our first priority should be the one no one ever mentions—we need to kick our Mid-East oil jones, an increasingly feasible objective, as the U.S. becomes more energy independent. Next, we need to dramatically reduce our military profile in the Middle East and let the Arabs run Arabia. Other than humanitarian assistance and guaranteeing the security of Israel’s borders, the U.S. has no legitimate role in this conflict. While the facts prove that we played a role in creating the crisis, history shows that we have little power to resolve it.

As we contemplate history, it’s breathtaking to consider the astonishing consistency with which virtually every violent intervention in the Middle East since World War II by our country has resulted in miserable failure. The long list of CIA and military adventures has each cost us dearly in national treasure, in liberty at home, in our moral authority abroad and in our national security. Without any memorable exception, every violent intervention has resulted in a catastrophic blowback far more costly to our country than any problems the authors meddling intended to solve. Our mischief has neither improved life in the Middle East nor has it made America safer.

A 1997 U.S. Department of Defense report found that “the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.” Let’s face it, what we call the “war on terror” is really just another oil war. We’ve squandered $6 trillion on three wars abroad and on constructing a national security warfare state at home since oilman Cheney declared the “Long War” in 2001. The only winners have been the military contractors and oil companies who have pocketed historic profits. We have compromised our values, butchered our own youth, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, subverted our idealism and squandered our national treasures in fruitless and costly adventures abroad. In the process, we have turned America, once the world’s beacon of freedom, into a national security surveillance state and an international moral pariah.

America’s founding fathers warned Americans against standing armies, foreign entanglements and, in John Adams’ words, “going abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Those wise men understood that imperialism abroad is incompatible with democracy and civil rights at home. They wanted America to be a “city on a hill”—a model of democracy for the rest of the world.

The Atlantic Charter echoed their seminal American ideal that each nation should have the right to self-determination. Over the past seven decades, the Dulles brothers, the Cheney Gang, the neocons and their ilk have hijacked that fundamental principle of American idealism and deployed our military and intelligence apparatus to serve the mercantile interests of large corporations and particularly, the petroleum companies and military contractors who have literally made a killing from these conflicts. It’s time for Americans to turn America away from this new imperialism and back to the path of idealism and democracy. We should let the Arabs govern Arabia and turn our energies to the great endeavor of nation building at home. We need to begin this process, not by invading Syria, but by ending our ruinous addiction to oil.


SOURCES:
by 
Submitted by 'The Old Sniper' 
Edited by SyrianPatriots
WarPress.info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/kennedy-on-oil-plot/
~

Establishment Struggles to Maintain Anti-Russian Narrative as the Ice Starts to Crack Under Them

Establishment Struggles to Maintain Anti-Russian Narrative as the Ice Starts to Crack Under Them

Establishment Struggles to Maintain Anti-Russian Narrative as the Ice Starts to Crack Under Them

As I have noted before in Strategic Culture Foundation, the infant Trump Administration is engaged in a life and death struggle with the Deep State, the mainstream media (MSM), all of the Democrats in Congress, and a lot of the Republicans too. One issue lies at the heart of the struggle: the determination of Trump’s enemies not to allow any sort of warming of ties between Washington and Moscow.

Day after day the MSM run story after story alleging, with no evidence whatsoever, that Trump is a puppet of Vladimir Putin, who stole our election to put Trump in the White House. Congressional hearings on «Russian interference» in elections in America – and France, Germany, and wherever else – have turned into a veritable Witches’ Sabbath of Russophobic hysteria and of the dangers of «populism» of the sort represented by Trump and Marine Le Pen.

Meanwhile, the other side of the crisis is starting to slip out of the anti-Trumpers’ control. In recent days it has become clear that Barack Obama’s former Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas admitted on TV to what amounts to knowledge of criminal leaking of classified information. Potentially even more damaging to the «soft coup» is the revelation that Obama’s former National Security Adviser Susan Rice – notorious for her lies about the 2012 Benghazi terror attack – was involved in the «unmasking» of Trump transition team names captured in intelligence surveillance. The MSM is panicking, insisting Rice did nothing wrong: don’t look behind that curtain, nothing to see here, just move along, folks…

That isn’t going to work. In coming weeks, we will start to get some answers. Who – which agencies, American or foreign like GCHQ – spied on Trump and his people? Whom were they surveilling, the Trump people directly or «only» the people the team were talking with, Russian or otherwise? Under what legal authority, if any, did the surveillance operate? What was done with the data, and to whom was it passed on – violating what laws?

Meanwhile, the more dignified elements of the Deep State pretend has nothing has changed. The ship of state sails majestically forward, no storm is on the horizon. The usual well-funded «experts» explain the world to us, and even honest and intelligent people are expected to nod deferentially and drink in great draughts of Establishment wisdom.

A case in point is the recent report of the über-Establishment Brookings Institution: «Putin’s no populist, but he can gain from populist movements worldwide». It can be summed up in two sentences: Putin is a scared little man fishing in troubled waters. Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing and needs to be careful not to give Putin an opening for mischief.

Frankly, it’s not the worst think tank analysis about Russia and America – almost anything from American Enterprise Institute or Heritage would be ten times worse. The Brookings report rests on a straw man, namely the issue of what constitutes «populism/populist» (used 38 times in the piece). The closest the authors come to giving us a definition is «uncontrollable political and economic forces for which no one was prepared». Whatever that means.

By that definition, «populism» never has existed and never can, except for very brief, unviable episodes. Its repeated use in the piece is a symptom of the progressive authors’ faith in the Bolshevik myth of spontaneous movements of «the people» (you know, like .05 percent of the population on the streets of Kiev, twice, counts as «the Ukrainian people have chosen to be part of Europe!»). That myth, closely linked to the myth of democracy (as wielded as a weapon by Western ideologues), is contrasted to the reality: the inevitability of oligarchy, in modern times usually plutocratic in nature. (Though not always. The USSR was an oligarchy but not based on wealth. Rather, membership in the ruling oligarchy temporarily gave one a semblance of wealth, unless and until your number finally came up.)

Brookings writes: «Last but not least, populists target the power of elite establishments. In Russia, Putin is the establishment». To be in power effectively is, ipso facto, to be the establishment. There are few ways an outsider can do that:

One, shoot the old establishment and create a new one (the Bolsheviks, again).

Two, give in and sell out to the establishment (what some on the left accuse Bill Clinton and Obama of doing, and what some hope, or fear, Trump may do).

Or, three, a hostile takeover: instill enough fear in the members of the establishment so they serve your purposes not theirs. That pretty much is what Putin did, in a pattern somewhat reminiscent of the centralizing monarchs of European absolutism of the 17thand 18th centuries, with the Russian oligarchs serving as poor stand-ins for the traditional nobility in the earlier era. The last seems the most prudent course, and probably what Trump is trying to do under somewhat different conditions.

Brookings disputes that Putin really wants to see populists elected in other countries:

«Contrary to popular belief, the Russian president is no fan of populism. His support for populist parties in Europe and the United States is simply opportunistic: he will seek to bolster their chances, if they can fracture support for mainstream parties that tend to view Russia as a threat and the transatlantic bond as vital for countering it. His support is a pure calculation in order to survive».

Well, that’s one way to put it. A less snarky way to say it would be that Putin prefers political forces in Europe and the US that are less hostile to Russia than those that are more hostile. How horrible!

He rightly identifies the latter with globalist, anti-traditionalist, anti-national, anti-Christian, pro-jihad, pro-migration multicultural elites who are destroying their own countries, while the former are not just «populists» but patriots, whether they be American, French, English, Serbian, etc. Isn’t that what different countries are for?

Irony of ironies: when the Soviets used their proxy General Jaruzelski to crush Solidarnoszcz in December 1981, the Reagan administration aptly demanded the Soviets «Let Poland be Poland». Great idea! And let France be France, Germany Germany, America America, Serbia Serbia – and let Russia be Russia.

But somehow that’s bad. Russia must be America, or at least be Holland.

This week we’ll see if Washington will give permission for China to be China.

Does the Washington Establishment Seek War with Russia?

Global Research, April 02, 2017

Which does the Washington’s Establishment prefer: a U.S. President who wants to reach new agreements with Russia, or a U.S. President who wants to replace all of Russia’s allies?

What we’ve been having recently is solely Presidents who want to replace all of Russia’s allies — and they’ve been succeeding at that, so far:

They replaced Saddam Hussein.

They replaced Muammar Gaddafi.

They replaced Viktor Yanukovych.

They’re still trying to replace Bashar al-Assad, and also Iran’s leadership.

There still is question, however, as to whether U.S. President Donald Trump will continue this string; and many in America’s ‘news’media consider him to be too favorable toward Russia. The aristocracy own the few ‘news’media that have substantial audiences in the U.S., and their advertisers are also overwhelmingly owned by them; and the politicians’ campaigns tend also to be receiving most of their money from them; so, generally, it’s considered political suicide to buck what the few billionaires are rather united on in America, and what they seem quite united on right now is that Mr. Trump isn’t sufficiently anti-Russian.

For a government official in this country to view Russia as even potentially an ally instead of an enemy, is increasingly viewed as treasonous in America, and any contacts that Mr. Trump might have been trying to nurture so as to establish an alliance with Russia on anything — even merely an alliance against international jihadists — is being treated in America’s press as treasonous — as if Russia were still the entire U.S.S.R.; and communism were still a threat, and there still existed the Soviet Union’s military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, as being a counter-weight to America’s NATO alliance. But those assumptions about Russia are obviously false. So: do America’s billionaires still simply want to conquer Russia, instead of to be allied with it, even in that limited way, as a global alliance to crush jihadists? 

Does the Washington Establishment Seek War with Russia?

The newsmedia pick up from the Democrats and the other neoconservatives, and therefore Trump is being pressed hard on his being ‘Putin’s stooge’ or even ‘Putin’s Manchurian candidate,’ though the presumption in those statements is that Russia is doomed to be America’s enemy unless America outright conquers it — and this is a war-mongering and arrogant presumption for the U.S. government to be making about Russia, and it’s also very far from being a realistic assumption about Russia.

Will Russia tolerate having all of its allies overthrown by the U.S. (a project that the U.S. has already come close to completing)? How many more U.S. nuclear missiles will Russia accept being placed near and on its borders in formerly allied countries that now are in NATO — that are in the anti-Russia military club, but were formerly in the U.S.S.R., or else in its Warsaw Pact? If you were a Russian, would you now be scared?

Trump made clear during his campaign, that he wants to be allied with Putin’s consistent war against “radical Islamic terrorism” — no one can challenge that Putin has always, and consistently, been uncompromisingly determined to oppose that — never to arm nor train jihadists like the U.S. and its Saudi ‘ally’ the Saud family, do (in order to overthrow Russia’s allies).

So: which of the two is scary — the Hillary Clinton and John McCain crowd, the neocons, who dominate both Parties and want to crush Russia; or the few people in Washington who (at least until Trump became elected) were that crowd’s enemies? It’s looking like Trump has joined the neocons, after an election in which he was opposed by them.

As soon as Trump became elected, his fear of being dubbed ‘Putin’s stooge’ or ‘Putin’s Manchurian candidate’ caused him to appoint a national-security team who were hell-bent on replacing Russia’s remaining allies, Iran and Syria. But even this hasn’t been enough to satisfy the neocons who run both Parties, and the newsmedia. Trump has been trying to accommodate the people who are doing all they can to bring him down, but it doesn’t seem to be appeasing them. The Washington Establishment has terrified him away from his campaign promise of creating an alliance with Russia to cooperate together in wiping out jihadism — and jihadism is something that didn’t even exist in modern times until the U.S. and its Saud allies introduced it into Afghanistan in 1979 to overthrow the secular, Soviet-allied leader of that country, Nur Muhammed Taraki.

This joint effort with the Sauds created jihadism in the modern age. Zbigniew Brzezinski said of his and the CIA’s and the Sauds’ achievement, in a 1998 interview, “Regret what? 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?” It became the model for what they’re now doing to Syria (which is causing all those refugees into Europe). 

Trump had said that his top national-security priority would be against jihadism, not against Russia and its allies. But, so far, his foreign policy in this regard seems more like what had been widely anticipated in the event of a Hillary Clinton win. (Even Trump’s focus against “radical Islamic terrorism” is directed now almost exclusively against seven mainly Shiite nations that America’s Saudi allies — who are fundamentalist Sunnis and hate Shia muslims — despise. So: it’s no different from Hillary Clinton’s.

And two of those Shiite-run nations, Iran and Syria, are backed by Russia; so, Trump might just be continuing his predecessor’s pro-Saud policy there.) Yet nonetheless, the neoconservatives press on with investigations of whether Trump is a secret Russian agent. The leading headline in the Wall Street Journal on March 30th was “Trump’s Rapid Rapprochement Plans With Russia Fade” and the report noted that Trump’s appointees are advising him against any relaxation of the previous President’s anti-Russia policies, but failed to indicate that (with the exception of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson), all of them are long-committed neoconservatives and NATO enthusiasts. Either candidate Trump’s ameliorative statements regarding Russia were intended merely in order to win votes, away from the super-hawk Hillary Clinton, from some independents and Bernie Sanders supporters, or else Trump is very easy for the Cold War Establishment (the “neoconservatives,” today’s Washington Establishment in both Parties) to manipulate.

What does the Washington Establishment really want? What is their real demand? Putin’s head on a stake? Or. do they really want Trump’s head on a stake, for some entirely different reason? The motivations that they are stating for wanting to replace Trump by his Vice President, Mike Pence — a rabid neoconservative — don’t make sense; and, the ‘evidence’ they’re basing this campaign on, is, as of yet, after months of trying, still more smears than authentic evidence. And it’s based on false allegations regarding America’s and Russia’s respective involvements in Ukraine and in Syria. Clearly, there are ulterior motives behind this coordinated bipartisan lying campaign. And they seem to be winning — whatever their real motivations are.

Is this a palace coup? And, if so, what’s the real motivation for it? Why do they want Mike Pence to be the U.S. President? What’s their real goal in this bipartisan campaign to replace Trump with Pence?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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.)

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