Media Yells “Cut!” When Trump Forgets His Lines and Says Something Anti-War

Trump Media Feature photo

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When it comes to substantive issues thatthe elite all agree on (such as foreign policy), there is little to no pushback against the president, excepting when he utters statements that are read as critical of war and militarism.

Trump has greatly expanded the U.S. role in the Middle East, announcing his intention to supply Saudi Arabia with over $100 billion in new arms and reversing previous decisions stopping the sale of laser-guided bombs that have reduced Yemen to rubble. He also vetoed a bipartisan resolution aimed at ending the U.S. role in a near genocide that threatens to kill nearly 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations. Trump also made the decision to drop the MOAB — the Mother of All Bombs, the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used — on Afghanistan in 2017 (to applause from the media).

He also continuously threatens enemy states with nuclear annihilation (in gross violation of the UN charter). In 2017 he told North Korea that he would “totally destroy” the country with “fire and fury” while earlier this year he promised Iran that he would bring about “the official end” if it crossed America’s path.

Trump has also conducted a worldwide campaign of economic war against the U.S.’ official enemies, increasing devastating sanctions against the people of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Nicaragua. And Trump’s sanctions against Venezuela have killed at least 40,000 people since 2017, according to a report from the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy Research. The United Nations notes that the sanctions are designed to hit the poor and most vulnerable, with an (American) Special Rapporteur who visited the country likening them to a medieval siege and describing them as a “crime against humanity”.

While many portrayed Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, as the real architect of the violence, the president revealed that Bolton was actually a moderating voice on Cuba and Venezuela, while he [Trump] favored even more direct action.

 

An anti-war war hawk?

That is why Trump’s recent statements on the Middle East were all the more surprising. Defending his surprise decision to withdraw from fighting in Syria, he argued that the U.S. “should never have been in the Middle East in the first place,” claiming “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”

But the president went even further, offering a serious analysis of the costs of America’s overseas operations. “The United States has spent eight trillion dollars” on war in the region, he declared on Twitter; “Going into the Middle East is the worst decision ever made in the history of our country. We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, weapons of mass destruction. There were none!”

What was most shocking of all in this uncharacteristic bout of honesty was that Trump discussed the human cost of war, something rarely mentioned in corporate media. “Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side,” he added.

His comments elicited a storm of outrage on social media from the professional liberal “resistance,” apparently more angry that he said the quiet part loud than about the millions of dead people. Political satirist Jeremy Newberger claimed he had been brainwashed by Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and asked him “did you consider putting a big bow on Syria when you decided to gift it to Putin?” Meanwhile, former British Member of Parliament turned professional #Resistance grafter Louise Mensch slammed the president: “TRAITOR! The women of the YPG are DYING at your hands as YOU let ISIS take Raqqa! You SURRENDERED TO RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM!” she responded, in an eclectic mix of capitalized and non-capitalized words.

Liberal-skewing media was barely any slower in lining up shoulder to shoulder with traditional conservatives in opposing Trump’s anti-war intimations, giving pro-war criticisms of Trump from prominent Republicans like Lindsay Graham, Nikki Haley and Liz Cheney full coverage.

NPR, CNN and the New York Times all dedicated significant resources to reporting the condemnations of Trump’s tweets, the latter’s editorial board asking “Does Donald Trump [even] know what his Syria policy is?” The Washington Post claimed that Pentagon officials were “struggling” to explain Trump’s “abandonment of the Kurds and kowtowing to Turkey,” claiming national security aides were mobilizing to “repair the damage” Trump caused. An MSNBC segment headlined “Donald Trump betrays American allies” insinuated that Trump’s decision to pull away from Syria was due to his business deals in Turkey, reminding viewers of Trump Tower in Istanbul. Esquire Magazine claimed that his actions were something “only a twisted, compromised mind could concoct.”

NYTIMES Trump Syria

The New York Times dedicated significant resources to condemnations of Trump’s tweets

But it was The Hill that most accurately summed up the tone of the media. Pulling out of the Middle East is “impulsive, strategically vapid and morally obtuse” according to opinion contributor Will Marshall. On the topic of “endless wars” he said:

 It’s time to retire this mindless trope. U.S. forces aren’t engaged in the Middle East because Americans are addicted to war or the trappings of superpower status. They are fighting mainly to contain the very real threat of Islamist terrorism.”

Marshall continued to explain that it has been nearly 75 years since Japan surrendered, and the U.S. still has tens of thousands of troops occupying the country. This, for him, was a good thing, because they were there “to preempt threats to our homeland, deter aggression and protect America’s far-flung interests. Their mission is counterterrorism.” Thus, it seems that the liberal resistance to Trump is strongest when he begins to shift, however minutely, to a more anti-war position.

 

Our underfunded Military Industrial Complex

It was a similar story last year, when in December Trump took to Twitter to declare the $716 billion military budget he had previously approved “crazy,” fueling speculation that he might attempt to reduce the already enormous amount the U.S. spends on war — damn near as much as all other countries combined.

Then, as now, corporate media almost uniformly condemned the idea. The Washington Post described a reduction in military spending as “suicide,” claiming the U.S. is in the middle of a “full-blown national security crisis.” The crisis, according to its source, was that it could no longer be sure of victory in a war against Russia in the Baltic or against China in the South China Sea. Why it is crucial that the U.S. should be able to destroy other nuclear-armed countries on the other side of the world was not explained.

Other outlets followed suit. Forbes Magazine began its article with the words, “The security and well-being of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades.” Bloomberg recommended a consistent increase in military spending of three to five percent above inflation for five to ten years. The Wall Street Journal was even more blunt: “Don’t Cut Military Spending Mr. President,” its headline read.

The media’s deepest fears did not come to pass, however, as Trump committed to a massive increase to the military budget, up to $750 billion for this year, assuaging the media’s fears.

 

Liberals applauding war

In contrast, whenever Trump is at his most bellicose, media laud his bravery and leadership. Despite warning before his election that Trump was a dangerous fascist too erratic be allowed to control a nuclear arsenal, media overwhelmingly supported the president’s decision to bomb Syria, escalating a conflict that could have turned into a hot war with Russia. CNN host Fareed Zakaria was delighted by his decision: “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night,” he said on air.

Likewise, “resistance” media have given Trump considerable support in his attempt to force a coup in Venezuela, backing his puppet Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president. The New York Times claimed that Guaidó was “cheered on by thousands of supporters in the streets and a growing number of governments.” CNN (falsely) reported that there was a vast, popular movement behind him, as “Venezuelans took to the streets in nationwide protests.” CNBC did the same, noting there were “hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans” out on the streets, chanting together and waving national flags, demanding an end to Maduro’s “socialist government.” And all while downplaying or simply ignoring the catastrophic role U.S. sanctions are playing in the country.

For all the talk of an adversarial media standing up to an authoritarian like Trump, the reality is that the media have been selective about what to oppose him on. While they continue to mock him for his crude remarks or his mannerisms, when it comes to substantive issues that the elite all agree on (such as foreign policy), there is little to no pushback against the president, excepting when he utters statements that are read as critical of war and militarism. At that point media begin condemning him in unison, accidentally revealing their true agenda. To those who believe in an anti-interventionist foreign policy, the media’s resistance is useless.

Feature photo | President Donald Trump walks toward members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Andrew Harnik | AP

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress contributor as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

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معاهدة الصواريخ: آخر دوائر الاشتباك

أغسطس 3, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– أول الاستنتاجات التي يؤكدها اندلاع أزمة معاهدة الصواريخ الاستراتيجية والمتوسطة بين موسكو وواشنطن، هو السقوط المدوّي للنظريّة القائلة بأن كل اهتمام روسيا كان منصباً خلال العقدين الماضيين على كيفية التدخل في ملفات نزاعات إقليميّة سعياً للتحرّش التفاوضي بواشنطن والحصول على صفقة تعترف لها بدور ما وتمنحها بعض المكاسب. فالقضية في أزمة الصواريخ هي قضية روسية أميركية صرفة لا تتصل بطرف ثالث، كحال الأزمات الإقليمية. وهذا يعني أنه عندما تفتح هذه الأزمة، فيما لا تزال العناوين الإقليمية مفتوحة في أربع جهات الأرض، من أوكرانيا وكوريا الشمالية إلى فنزويلا وسورية وإيران، أن النزاع الأصلي الحاكم في العالم هو روسي أميركي، وأن كلاً من الطرفين يخوض حروبه عبر البحث عن تحالفات راسخة في خيار المواجهة مع الآخر، ولكن عينه على الطرف الآخر، وكيف يزداد قوة أو ضعفاً.

– هذا يجب أن يكون كافياً لطرد الفرضيات القائمة على مساومات يمكن أن تجريها موسكو على حساب مَن تحالفهم، بل ربما يكون العكس هو القائم، خشية روسية من تسويات منتصف الطريق التي قد يعقدها حلفاؤها، كما كان حال كوريا الشمالية في فترة، وكما أرادت واشنطن من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، لكن إيران فضلت مواصلة المواجهة مع واشنطن في سورية وفلسطين واليمن وسواها، عندما تثبتت من عزم موسكو على الاستمرار. وكانت التضحية بالاتفاق النووي ثمناً لا بد من دفعه على هذا الطريق المشترك الذي ترجم بالانتصارات المشتركة في سورية.

– في أزمة الصواريخ قضيتان يجب شرحهما، الأولى أن روسيا كانت مستعدة لمواصلة العمل بالمعاهدة شرط التزام أميركي حقيقي بمضمونها، لكن بدا واضحاً من ولاية الرئيس السابق باراك اوباما أن واشنطن عاجزة عن المضي قدماً فيه، بسبب ضغط جماعات الصناعات العسكرية لزيادة العقود مع الحكومة الأميركية وتضامن وزارة الدفاع وضباطها للخروج من المعاهدة، أو من آلياتها التطبيقية إذا صمتت موسكو على الخداع وقبلت مجرد الالتزام النظري، وهو ما كان مقبولاً لمدة في موسكو الضعيفة، لكنه ما عاد وارداً في زمن الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين، الذي قال مراراً إما التزام متزامن ومتوازن أو خروج من المعاهدة.

– الأمر الثاني في الأزمة هو ما بدا من توازن آخر في التهديدات المتبادلة، وهو يحدث لأول مرة منذ الستينيات في القرن الماضي وما عرف بأزمة خليج الخنازير حول كوبا بين موسكو واشنطن، ففيما تعلن واشنطن عزمها نشر صواريخ جديدة في الجوار الأوروبي لروسيا، ردّت موسكو بإعلان العزم على نشر صواريخ موازية في كوبا وربما أيضاً في فنزويلا.

أزمة الصواريخ هي آخر مساحات الاشتباك المفتوح بين موسكو واشنطن، بعدما امتلأت الجغرافيا ببؤر التوتر ودارت حرب العقوبات، ولم يتبقَ إلا الساحة الأصعب، وهي تعبير عن فرصة لا تزال مفتوحة للقوى التي ترغب بالتحرّر من الهيمنة الأميركية للاستثمار على موقع روسيا الحاسم في هذه المواجهة، حتى يتحقق التوازن المنشود على الساحة الدولية.

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

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July 13, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

It appears that the information revolution is redefining cultural aspirations at a time when mass production has become a concave-convex supernova offering everybody (in theory) the right to ‘have everything’, regardless of the cost to fellow beings or to nature itself.

In the West, free enterprise had become an object lesson in short-sightedness and purblind avarice, suggesting that it’s time to revisit an age-old conundrum; the conflict between capitalist expediency and enlightened social wellbeing. Having successfully focused consumers on the many ways in which self-gratification can be experienced, the consumer-economy, committed to seducing the somnambulant among us, while turning a blind eye to the damage that comes with gauche and expedient ways of can-do-ness, suggest that collectively, we in the West have become befuddled pilgrims in a vainglorious journey to nowhere.

In the West we live in a world where militarism and the production of arms has come to represent the pulse of capitalism. The journey that began at the tribal level has moved through a succession of capitalist incarnations to become the singular purpose of investment-capital and a business model in every respect. As it was never intended to be an exercise in creating homogeneous wellbeing…socialism… this model remains as the one best suited to the elites who manage money. Not surprisingly, the rest is history as they say. The story of capitalism’s right-of-passage towards its colonial adventures and onwards into its imperial hegemonic phase is one of bloody-mindedness.

Until recently in the West, it was the growth of personal wealth and middle-classness that underpinned the reality of ‘collective-individualism’…an oxymoronic capitalist state of mind that encourages wealth accumulation. Skills effecting upward mobility were highly sought after. The desire to embrace cultural norms that defined progress as freedom to enjoy lifestyles enhanced by copious amounts of disposal income, soon became everyone’s dream.

So, when the economy lost it’s bearing in the heat of the bizarre excesses leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, ‘collective-individualism’ was left to pick up the pieces. Struggling with the legacy of a febrile narrative that served the interests of Wall Street, middle-classness lost some of its shine. The market had spoken, the individual was merely a unit in a bourse that had little time for niceties or human fallibility. Banking had become a low feeder-operation where the devil would take the hindmost.

It was the banking crisis of 2008 that revealed how ‘collective-individualism’ had become merely an adjunct of Wall Street’s insidiously covert private-banking system. Having cocooned itself in the system, the banking establishment managed to present itself as the face of liberal democracy…albeit pseudo… for the purpose of gratifying its own insatiable appetite. As a result of the 2008 debacle, fake-expertise-babble was required to disguise the signs of senescence now appearing in a banking system sliding toward obsolescence.

With the emergence of bureaucratic capitalism in China, the monumental task of moving countless tens of millions of people out of poverty was commenced and the results have been spectacular. Along with this operation came the realization that proportionality should be the linchpin for securing the principles of collective enterprise. The words Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong spoke in 1927 at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” were replaced by notions of incremental change occurring for the betterment of the entire community.

Using the resources of the state to improve the wellbeing of the many would mechanically elevate the population to a level of heightened social order. By any measure, a great awakening had occurred…an age-old trading culture had reassembled its resources in order to find common cause. Through the medium of central planning, the path toward achieving internal hegemony reappeared in a distinctly Confucian way.

With an agenda designed to eliminate poverty by utilising the collective potential of the state to solve problems, statistics suggest that a modicum of proportionality has already been achieved within China’s sovereign territories and that plans are on track to achieve what the revolution sent out to do. Namely, a way of floating all its boats…one billion and a quarter of them…on the rising tide of a renascent imagination collectively focused on technological ascendancy.

Alert to the potential within the Chinese tech garden to achieve yet another Spring and Autumn period, the core interchangeable elements of Confucianism, collectivism and hegemony militate to emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

History shows us that the Chinese city of Guangzhou (Early Modern Guangzhou) represented the reference point that enable one to understand the changing context of Sino-foreign economic and cultural relations in the nineteenth century. A great trading city that would ultimately reconstitute itself as a commercial centre for maritime exports and debut as post-modern Guangzhou. It was always the city that identified China as a maritime trader surfing the waves of silk road opportunities. Unlike most European nations, its expansionism was benign. It never went into the business of exporting armaments or colonizing the natives along its trade routes.

From the traditional trading posts in Quanzhou and Guangzhou, to the modern treaty ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shanghai, to the contemporary metropolis Hong Kong and Taiwan and special economic zones in Shenzhen and Pudong, southern coastal cities in the last five hundred years and beyond have connected China to the outside world and the global economy. Throughout this time, China never sought to colonise its neighbours or occupy continents or countries across the globe…trading remained its modus operandi…and besides, Confucius the thinker, never confused occupation or dominance with the Chinese notion of hegemony!

Conversely, the colonial West’s predilection for gunboat diplomacy and stand-over tactics produced an entirely different trading model. With the advent of the industrial revolution in Europe, sorties of the ‘dalek’ kind…robotic incursions into exotic lands for the purpose of procuring the resources and territories belonging to people of colour became the norm.

It was as though the industrial revolution had spawned a concept of superiority that ultimately resulted in the white race distilling a notion of its own exceptionality that would justify its own work-ethic as proof of its right to exploit people whose appearance did not please their albino imagination. In the succeeding centuries, the march of the ‘daleks’ would in effect enslave, slaughter and exploit non-white peoples with impunity, all the while deluding themselves that their actions were progressive…a code word for exploitation…and justifiably, the ‘white-man’s-burden’…a program adopted in support of their assumption that the non-white peoples were inferior.

In time, institutional racism would achieve the kind of value an asset might have in a bourse. The concept of democracy would be privatised in accordance with the wishes of those who were there to do the thinking for all those of a lesser stripe. Patriotism would become a mantra of majestic proportions in the West to assure white people that they were on the winning side of history. Proof of same would be diligently manufactured. Strangely, Western powers who imagined they owned ‘democracy’ felt the need to garrison the globe with 800 military bases, fearing that those ‘others’ may have sovereign economic models of their own they might wish to develop.

In fact, disproportionality had reached such levels of lethality that the doyens of liberal democracy became citizens of cloud-cuckoo-land in possession of a foreign policy committed to kneecapping…sanctioning… other nation’s economies if they didn’t do what they were told to do. China in moving to re-embrace the “maritime silk road” once again, soon became the fly in the competitive ointment. Westerners, as heirs to the traditional colonial trading-throne decided that carrying a big ballistic stick was the only way to do business. Alarmed at seeing how China could engage in trade without threatening its clients, it chose the American way of doing business. In true American style, the military budget was given a massive blow job.

In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex. Before and during the Second World War, American industries had successfully converted to defence production as the crisis demanded, but out of the war, what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions emerged. Eisenhower had no need of a crystal ball to see where the emerging disproportionality would lead his country to. His fear, rightly, was that disproportionality of this kind would ultimately obfuscate the principles of the Democratic Republic of America.

Had he lived to see the colossal damage his country wrought on the Middle East he would have understood that a permanent armaments industry must do what a permanent armaments industry must do…use and sell what they produced in order to justify their budget.

What Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to as a permanent armaments industry could equally be applied to the permanent propaganda industry that has overtaken America. Together, these two industries have created a narrative for Americans to reassure them that a system based on might, is right for them. By every measure, the fourth estate and the fourth-of-July have synthetized into a narrative that is big on self-adulation.

On the occasion of the most recent fourth-of-July parade, the presence of Apache attack helicopters, ballistic missiles, M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and F-22 Raptors were assembled to reinforce the notion that corporate-capitalist-democracy existed to deliver a patriotic narrative capable of turning the key that could unlock the potential of the American psyche and find greatness by shoving its hardware and unique ideas of identity into the face of all and sundry.

As the fourth of this and that got under way, it became ever more evident that America’s unique identity possesses an internal form of hegemony seeking greatness through strictly military means. After military might was chosen as the path to dominance and greatness, America developed external hegemonic programs to curtail un-American activities such as Iranian Mullahs imagining that they can export oil to whomever they choose to, or China and Russia talking multilateralism, or Venezuela resisting imperial vassalage…or just about anything that moved, squeaked, farted or failed to avow the American way of doing business. Non-compliance would be met with sanctions or military invasion.

On the occasion of the recent fourth-of-July celebrations, Donald Trump (dealer extraordinary) stood before the statue of Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate his ability to wind up the patriotic narrative; he spoke thusly; “As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,” said he, “ Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told…The Story of America.”

But strangest of all were the ‘daleks’ flying overhead and the steel-clad ‘daleks’ rumbling past on terra firma for the purpose of bonding the vast gathering of patriotic stalwarts in hegemonic unity. The crowd, agog with admiration for the men and women flying overhead in their wonderful flying machines were proud to witness the “The American Story” in all its first-hand glory. Most noticeably, they were indifferent to the fact that the things they found admirable in this show of strength were designed to annihilate people. They were no less enamoured of the wet pointy cone bits of the ballistic missiles…glistening like killer-candy… as they were rained upon.

All in all, “The Story of America” reverberates across the globe as the story of meaty stealth. Its true colours were made available for all to see, or for anyone with the nous to join the dots… message delivered; American style hegemony is great for boys with schizoaffective disorders and the lethal toys that find them.

As America-the-circus moves into election mode its military arrive here in Australia to set up a military base in Darwin. As few…if any…of their political clowns will broach the subject of their lethal foreign policy, why should anyone in their right mind welcome one of their bases here? As for now, better we wait until Uncle Sam creates a peace bureau and sends an emissary of a different stripe to us.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

Monsters Walk the Earth. Why These Three Countries Are the Real Troika of Evil

By Philip Giraldi

June 28, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  There are monsters among us. Every day I read about an American “plan” to either invade some place new or to otherwise inflict pain to convince a “non-compliant” foreign government how to behave. Last week it was Iran but next week it could just as easily again be Lebanon, Syria or Venezuela. Or even Russia or China, both of whom are seen as “threats” even though American soldiers, sailors and marines sit on their borders and not vice versa. The United States is perhaps unique in the history of the world in that it sees threats everywhere even though it is not, in fact, threatened by anyone.

Just as often, one learns about a new atrocity by Israelis inflicted on the defenseless Arabs just because they have the power to do so. Last Friday in Gaza the Israeli army shot and killed four unarmed demonstrators and injured 300 more while the Jewish state’s police invaded a Palestinian orphanage school in occupied Jerusalem and shut it down because the students were celebrating a “Yes to peace, no to war” poetry festival. Peace is not in the Israeli authorized curriculum.

And then there are the Saudis, publicly chopping the heads off of 37 “dissidents” in a mass display of barbarity, and also murdering and dismembering a hapless journalist. And let’s not forget the bombing and deliberate starving of hundreds of thousands innocent civilians in Yemen.

It is truly a troika of evil, an expression favored by US National Security Advisor John Bolton, though he was applying it to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, all “socialist” nations currently on Washington’s “hit list.” Americans, Saudis and Israelis have become monsters in the eyes of the rest of the world even if in their own minds they are endowed with special privilege due to their being “Exceptional,” “Chosen by God” or “Guardians of Mecca and Medina.” All three countries share a dishonest sense of entitlement that supports the fiction that their oppressive and often illegal behavior is somehow perfectly legitimate.

To be sure not all Americans, Saudis or Israelis are individually monsters. Many are decent people who are appalled by what their respective governments are doing. Saudi citizens live under a despotism and have little to say about their government, but there is a formidable though fragmented peace movement in slightly less totalitarian Israel and in the United States there is growing anti-war sentiment. The discomfort in America is driven by a sense that the post 9/11 conflicts have only embroiled the country more deeply in wars that have no exit and no end. Unfortunately, the peace movement in Israel will never have any real power while the anti-war activists in America are leaderless and disorganized, waiting for someone to step up and take charge.

The current foreign policy debate centers around what Washington’s next moves in the Middle East might be. The decision-making will inevitably involve the US and its “close allies” Israel and Saudi Arabia, which should not surprise anyone. While it is clear that President Donald Trump ordered an attack on Iran before canceling the action at the last minute, exactly how that played out continues to be unclear. One theory, promoted by the president himself, is that the attack would have been disproportionate, killing possibly hundreds of Iranian military personnel in exchange for one admittedly very expensive surveillance drone. Killing the Iranians would have guaranteed an immediate escalation by Iran, which has both the will and the capability to hit high value targets in and around the Persian Gulf region, a factor that may also have figured into the presidential calculus.

Trump’s cancelation of the attack immediately produced cries of rage from the usual neoconservative chickenhawk crowd in Washington as well as a more subdued reiteration of the Israeli and Saudi demands that Iran be punished, though both are also concerned that a massive Iranian retaliation would hit them hard. They are both hoping that Washington’s immensely powerful strategic armaments will succeed in knocking Iran out quickly and decisively, but they have also both learned not to completely trust the White House.

To assuage the beast, the president has initiated a package of “major” new sanctions on Iran which will no doubt hurt the Iranian people while not changing government decision making one iota. There has also been a leak of a story relating to US cyber-attacks on Iranian military and infrastructure targets, yet another attempt to act aggressive to mitigate the sounds being emitted by the neocon chorus.

To understand the stop-and-go behavior by Trump requires application of the Occam’s Razor principle, i.e. that the simplest explanation is most likely correct. For some odd reason, Donald Trump wants to be reelected president in 2020 in spite of the fact that he appears to be uncomfortable in office. A quick, successful war would enhance his chances for a second term, which is probably what Pompeo promised, but any military action that is not immediately decisive would hurt his prospects, quite possibly inflicting fatal damage. Trump apparently had an intercession by Fox news analyst Tucker Carlson, who may have explained that reality to him shortly before he decided to cancel the attack. Tucker is, for what it’s worth, a highly respected critic coming from the political right who is skeptical of wars of choice, democracy building and the global liberal order.

The truth is that all of American foreign policy during the upcoming year will be designed to pander to certain constituencies that will be crucial to the 2020 presidential election. One can bank on even more concessions being granted to Israel and its murderous thug prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bring in Jewish votes and, more importantly, money. John Bolton was already in Israel getting his marching orders from Netanyahu on the weekend and Pence was effusive in his praise of Israel when he spoke at the meeting in Orlando earlier in the week launching the Trump 2020 campaign, so the game is already afoot. It is an interesting process to observe how Jewish oligarchs like Sheldon Adelson contribute tens of millions of dollars to the politicians who then in turn give the Jewish state taxpayer generated tens of billions of dollars in return. Bribing corrupt politicians is one of the best investments that one can make in today’s America.

Trump will also go easy on Saudi Arabia because he wants to sell them billions of dollars’ worth of weapons which will make the key constituency of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) happy. And he will continue to exert “maximum pressure” on Iran and Venezuela to show how tough he can be for his Make America Great audience, though avoiding war if he possibly can just in case any of the hapless victims tries to fight back and embarrass him.

So, there it is folks. War with Iran is for the moment on hold, but tune in again next week as the collective White House memory span runs to only three or four days. By next week we Americans might be at war with Mongolia.

Philip Giraldi is Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. A former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. 

Towards a Culture of World Peace

Global Research, May 16, 2019

The following text was presented at the closing session of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations, programme organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing, May 15-16, 2019

***

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. A culture of war and military conquest is upheld. War is presented to public opinion as a US-NATO peace-making endeavor which will ultimately result in the spread of Western democracy.

Military intervention not to mention “economic warfare” (including sanctions) are routinely upheld as part of a humanitarian campaign.  War has been granted a humanitarian mandate under NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

Culture which is the theme of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations (Beijing, May 15-16, 2019) is of utmost importance in resolving conflicts within and between nations. Culture defines perceptions and understanding as well as dialogue and diplomacy.

In this regard, “Towards a Culture of World Peace” constitutes a commitment to Human Livelihood. It is  an initiative  which consists in confronting the discourse in support of  war and military intervention emanating from NATO and the Pentagon. It requires reviving a Worldwide anti-war movement, nationally and internationally as well as establishing a resolve by the governments of sovereign nation states to reject this Worldwide process of militarization.  

The contemporary US-NATO “culture of war” (which has its roots in European colonial history) constitutes an obvious obstacle and impediment to the Dialogue of Civilizations and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013. 

The culture of peace is universal. It is shared by people and nations Worldwide. Today’s “culture of war” is a US hegemonic project predicated on the creation of conflict and divisions within and between countries. It is this (unilateral) project of global warfare which is intent upon destroying civilization.

“The culture of peace” which was addressed by President Xi Jinping in his opening address of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, constitutes an important instrument which has a bearing on broad geopolitical, economic and strategic relations. The procedure consists in ultimately confronting and dismantling “the culture of war”  which has a pervasive impact on the human mindset. 

This endeavour will not succeed through political rhetoric or a “war of words”.

It requires:

  • Translating the “culture of peace” into concrete actions at the geopolitical and diplomatic levels
  • Confronting media disinformation and war propaganda
  •  A cohesive anti-war movement at the grassroots of society (nationally and internationally)
  • An endorsement by the governments of sovereign countries, member states of the United Nations, namely a decisive inter-governmental rejection of the US-NATO “culture of war”, which is in blatant violation of the UN Charter.
  • The disbandment of military alliances, including NATO, which are supportive of global warfare.
  • The withdrawal of NATO member states and NATO partner member states from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • The adoption of a coherent and Worldwide disarmament programme coupled with major reductions in military spending.
  • The closing down of all military bases, some 800 US military bases in about 80 countries
  • The curtailment in the international trade of weapons
  • The restructuring of national economies with a view to downgrading and eventually closing down the war economy,
  • The reallocation of financial resources and tax revenues towards the civilian economy including social services.

So-called “Humanitarian Warfare”

The victims of U.S. led wars are routinely presented by the Western media as the perpetrators of war.

Realities are turned upside down. “War is Peace” said George Orwell. The Western media in chorus upholds war as a humanitarian endeavor. “Wars make us safer and richer” says the Washington Post.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down. Conceptualization is no longer possible. The consensus is to wage war.

The building of this diabolical consensus consists in the militarization of the “cultural industries”. The latter are supported by the US Department of Defense which allocates a large share of its budget to upholding the “culture of war”.

[T]he ideology of militarism pervades society, glorifying the US state’s use of violence not diplomacy to achieve security in a world divided between a righteous American “us” and an evil and threatening “them,” representing war as the first and most appropriate solution to every problem that vexes America, and reducing patriotism to unquestioning support for each and every incursion. (Tanner Mirrlees, The DoD’s Cultural Policy: Militarizing the Cultural Industries, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, October 2017)

In turn Hollywood in liaison with the Pentagon has endorsed the culture of war and violence:

“[The] Hollywood–Pentagon connection represents a key dimension of the military–entertainment–industrial complex, where a film is simultaneously being used as a tool for recruitment, military public relations, and commercial profit.

According to Tom Secker and Matthew Alford, “A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV”.

Meanwhile, the balance sheet of death and destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria is casually ignored. Civilians in war torn countries are “responsible for their own deaths”. This narrative pervades the Western media:  233,000 estimated deaths in Yemen since 2015, according to a recent United Nations report. 140,000 children killed. The media is silent: who are the war criminals?

Global Warfare

In September 2000, a few months before the accession of George W. Bush to the White House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published its blueprint for global domination under the title: “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”. This document which has a direct bearing on US foreign policy refers to America’s “Long War”

  • defend the American homeland;
  • fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
  • perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
  • transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs;”

“The revolution in military affairs” consists in developing advanced weapons systems as well as a new generation of nuclear weapons.

War Culture and Nuclear Weapons

The culture of war is marked by a radical shift in US nuclear doctrine. Starting in 2001, tactical nuclear weapons are heralded as “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”.  A new generation of  “more usable”, “low yield” tactical nuclear weapons (mini-nukes) was put forth. They are heralded as peace-making bombs.

The doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) which prevailed during the Cold War era has been scrapped. Under Bush’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) (endorsed by the US Senate in 2002), nuclear weapons are to be used on a “first strike” “pre-emptive basis”, as a means of “self-defense” against both nuclear and non-nuclear states.

This is an absurd and diabolical proposition which can only be sustained by misleading public opinion, i.e. by obfuscating the deadly impacts of  nuclear weapons. Moreover, while the US has waged countless wars in what is euphemistically described as “the post war era” (1945- present), the issue of “self defense” is erroneous: the national security of the United States of America has never been threatened.

While the US and its NATO allies have launched a military adventure which is sustained by the “culture of war”, the public is largely unaware that the use of these “more usable” nuclear weapons (with a variable explosive capacity between one third to twelve times a Hiroshima bomb) threatens the future of humanity.

There are powerful economic interests behind the culture of war: the oil industry, the military industrial complex, Wall Street. In turn, there are powerful lobby groups which influence US foreign policy. Dialogue and debate are required: It is important that these economic actors, including the weapons producers, be made aware of the inherent dangers of global warfare.

Financing the Culture of War

Trump’s 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program constitutes a financial bonanza for the defense contractors. US media reports suggest that the nuclear weapons program “makes the World safer”.

The “culture of war” sustains a unilateral build up of the weapons industry funded by US tax payers.  The culture of war has triggered mounting military expenditures to the detriment of the civilian economy. Total military spending worldwide was of the order of 1.8 trillion dollars in 2018. US defense expenditure was of the order of 649 billion, which represents 36% of Worldwide military expenditure (all countries) (SIPRI).

The Trump administration has supported a significant hike in defense, war and related “National Security” expenditures. The defense budget presented by the presidency to the US Congress for 2020 is of the order of  750 billion dollars, of which 718 billion will go to the Pentagon.

But this figure of 740 billion is in some regards misleading: Accounting for a massive US intelligence budget, Homeland Security, and related war expenses, the requested annual US National Security (War) Budget for 2020 is estimated to be in excess of 1.2 trillion dollars.

“There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought”  (See, William D. Hartung, Mandy SmithbergerBoondoggle, Inc.: Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget  May 10, 2019).

Compare the figures: The total individual tax revenues for 2020 are of the order of $1.82 billion. Total defense, national security, intelligence, “to make the World safer”, etc is of the order of $1.25 trillion (68.7% of the individual income taxes paid by Americans)

While the weapons industry is booming, the civilian economy is in crisis, civilian infrastructure and social services including medicare are collapsing. Eventually what is required are policy mechanisms for the phasing out of the war economy and the national security apparatus, while channeling resources into rebuilding the civilian economy. No easy task.

The cultural dimension is crucial. US policy-makers believe in their own propaganda. The “culture of war” often combined with twisted ideological and/or religious undertones, influences government officials involved in acts of war.

In 1945, President Truman intimated in the immediate wake of  the bombing of Hiroshima, that God stands on the side of “Us Americans” with regards to the use of nuclear weapons. “We pray that He [God] may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (August 9, 1945).

Hiroshima was designated as a “military base” in Truman’s historic speech on August 9, 1945. The stated objective of the Harry Truman was to “save the lives of innocent civilians”.

In the contemporary context, diplomatic relations and dialogue are at an all time low. At no time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis has the World been closer to the unthinkable: a global military conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons.

In this regard, what should be acknowledged is that US government officials in high office who decide upon the deployment and use of nuclear weapons do not have a full understanding of the consequences of their acts.

The Legacy of  History

The contemporary US-NATO “culture of war” has its roots in European colonial history. Starting in the late 15th Century, European colonization was invariably supported by military conquest, violence and political subordination. A colonial economy was established. “Western cultural values” and the language of the colonizers were imposed, civilizations were undermined or destroyed. The colonial system ultimately led to the establishment of hegemonic relations, leading up to the consolidation of the British empire in the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by US neo-colonial expansionism in the late 19th century and in the wake of World War I.

What is significant is that this culture of colonial violence inherited from the British empire has a bearing on the nature of  contemporary US foreign policy, which in large part is predicated on militarization at a global level. The US has currently more than 800 military bases in 80 foreign countries.

Many Asian countries which were the victims of US-led war, not only have military cooperation agreement with the US, they also host US military bases on their territory.

In South and Southeast Asia, European colonialism was marked by conquest coupled with the displacement of the pre-existing silk road trade relations.

Historically, China’s trading relations under the land and maritime silk roads were marked by dialogue and the extensive exchange of culture. China’s trade relations during the Antiquity and Middle Age extended into South and South East Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa and Western Europe. Starting during the Han Dynasty (207 BC- 220 AD), the land and maritime silk road played a key role not only in economic exchange between civilizations but also in the spread of social and cultural values.

In contrast to European colonialism, these relations largely respected the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries with which China was trading with. The silk road  trade did not  seek to impose or develop a dependent colonial relationship. The language of diplomacy was marked by the benefits of bilateral exchange.

Asian Culture and China’s Belt and Road

The mindset in Asian societies, which historically have been the victims of colonialism and US led wars is in marked contrast to the dominant “culture of war”.

The legacy of history prevails. While the “culture of war” characterizes America’s hegemonic ambitions modelled on the legacy of the British empire, China’s contemporary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)which consists in developing trade relations with a large number of partner Nations states, is largely committed to a “Culture of Peace”.

Most Asian countries have been the victims of Western colonialism starting in the 15th Century, the impacts of which have led to the destruction of the pre-existing maritime and land trade routes as well as the demise of cultural exchange.

And numerous countries in Asia and the Middle East extending from the Mediterranean to the Korean Peninsula have been the victims of US led-wars in the course of what is euphemistically called “the post war era”. Today most of these countries are partners of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

As we speak, the US is threatening Iran. Washington has announced the deployment of 120,000 US troops to be dispatched to Persian Gulf . Secretary of State of Mike Pompeo (who has little understanding of history and geography) has justified this deployment, while casually  referring to the “clash of civilizations”.

US led wars are intent upon destroying civilizations as well dialogue between sovereign nation states.

As we conclude this closing session of  the Conference on the Dialogue of Asians Civilizations in Beijing, let us endorse “the Culture of Peace” as a means to ultimately abolishing all wars.

*

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at crgeditor@yahoo.com

America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry? Trillions Down the Hole of Military Spending

Global Research, March 20, 2019

Post-WW II, America’s only enemies were and remain invented ones. 

No real ones existed since Nazi Germany and imperial Japan were defeated – none anywhere, clearly none today!

Yet the US consistently pours countless trillions of dollars down a black hole of endless waste, fraud and abuse – global militarism and belligerence supported by the vast majority of Republicans and undemocratic Dems, at the expense of world peace, equity and justice.

Trump regime director of trade and industrial policy Peter Navarro is a militant right-wing.

He’s part of the cabal in Washington, wanting US-controlled puppet rule replacing independent governments in China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and elsewhere.

He favors whatever it takes for the US to achieve dominance. The NYT gave him feature op-ed spaceto promote greater military spending at a time it should be slashed.

He lied claiming “(i)nvesting in the (defense) sector means more jobs at home and improved security abroad. He lied saying “(i)n terms of economic security, the Trump defense budget is helping to create good manufacturing jobs at good wages.”

He lied claiming increased “arms sales (abroad) not only help create good jobs at good wages in America…they also enhance America’s capacity to bolster and stabilize our regional alliances, even as they may reduce the need to deploy more American soldiers overseas.”

He lied saying “our defense industrial base (is) the unshakable foundation of both economic and national security.”

Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about military-industrial complex dangers went unheeded, saying:

“The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

He called it a “potential enemy of the national interest…a distorted use of the nation’s resources…fail(ing) to comprehend its grave implication…(affecting our) livelihood (and) the very structure of our society,” adding:

“Every gun that is made, every war ship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed.”

In an article titled “The War Business,” the late Chalmers Johnson said the following:

“(M)unitions and war profiteering have (become) the most efficient means for well-connected capitalists to engorge themselves at the public trough.”

“To call these companies ‘private,’ though, is mere ideology. (Weapons and) munitions making in the United States today (and related industries profiting from them are) not really private enterprise. It is state socialism,” adding:

“When war becomes the most profitable course of action, we can certainly expect more of it,” sacrificing a free society for private interests reaping short-term gains.

George Washington warned about “overgrown military establishments,” calling them “inauspicious to liberty.”

Perpetual wars now rage for illusory peace, what ruling authorities in Washington abhor – along with democratic governance they tolerate nowhere, especially at home.

US elections are farcical when held. With attribution to redoubtable activist Emma Goldman, if they changed anything, they’d be outlawed.

Economist, activist writer opponent of the military, industrial, security complex, Seymour Melman wrote extensively on the topic, dispelling state-sponsored/media promoted myths.

Discussing what he called “the Grip of a Permanent War Economy,” he explained the following:

“(A)t the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life (has been) shaped by our Permanent War Economy.” Its horrific toll includes:

  • a de-industrialized nation, the result of decades of shifting production abroad, leaving unions, US workers and communities “decimated;”
  • government financing, promoting and pursuing “every kind of war industry and foreign investing by US firms” – war priorities taking precedence over essential homeland needs;
  • America’s “permanent war economy…has endured since the end of World War II…Since then, the US has been at war – somewhere – every year, in Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the Balkans, – all this to the accompaniment of shorter military forays in Africa, Chile, Grenada, Panama,” and endless aggression in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, Yemen, Central Africa, and increasingly against perceived homeland threats;
  • “How to make war” takes precedence over everything, leaving no “public space (for) improv(ing) the quality of our lives;”
  • “Shortages of housing have caused a swelling of the homeless population in every major city (because) state and city governments across the country have become trained to bend to the needs of the military…;”

The nation’s deplorable state is characterized by growing millions of poor, disadvantaged, low income, uneducated, and “disconnected (people) from society’s mainstream, restless and unhappy, frustrated, angry, and sad;”

“State Capitalism” characterizes America’s agenda – partnering with business, running a permanent war economy for greater power and wealth, ill-served by pure evil leadership, at war on humanity at home and abroad.

US rage for global dominance comes at the expense of a nation in decline, lost industrialization, crumbling infrastructure, millions of lost jobs offshored to low-wage  countries, growing millions at home uncared for, unwanted, ignored, and forgotten to assure steady funding for bankers, warmaking, and other corporate predation – at the expense of ordinary people everywhere.

Melman explained that investing in domestic needs, developing the nation and its people, achieves a far greater bang for the buck than resources spent for militarism and warmaking.

They’re parasitic, unjustifiable, illegal, immoral, and eventually self-destructive – why the US has been in decline for decades while China, Russia, and other nations are growing and developing productively.

Unlike America’s permanent war agenda, wanting its will forcefully imposed on other nations, they wage peace and mutual cooperation with other nations.

Along with equity and justice for all everywhere, what’s more important than that!

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

FULL PRICE PLUS 50% OR MORE: TRUMP SEEKS FINANCIAL COMPENSATIONS FROM FROM NATIONS HOSTING U.S. TROOPS

South Front

09.03.2019

Full Price Plus 50% Or More: Trump Seeks Financial Compensations From From Nations Hosting U.S. Troops

The Trump administration is drawing up demands that Germany, Japan and eventually any other nation hosting US troops pay the full price of US soldiers deployed on their soil – plus 50% or more for the privilege of hosting them, according to multiple reports in US media citin various anonymous officials and ‘informed sources’.

According to repots, in some cases, nations hosting US troops could be asked to pay 5 to 6 times as much as they do now under the “Cost Plus 50” formula.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline. It’s called burden sharing. Also, more united. Dems & Fake News like to portray the opposite!

41.5K people are talking about this

“Trump has championed the idea for months. His insistence on it almost derailed recent talks with South Korea over the status of 28,000 US troops in the country when he overruled his negotiators with a note to National Security Advisor John Bolton saying, “We want cost plus 50.”

The president’s team sees the move as one way to prod Nato partners into accelerating increases in defence spending – an issue Trump has hammered allies about since taking office. While Trump claims his pressure has led to billions of dollars more in allied defence spending, he’s chafed at what he sees as the slow pace of increases.

“Wealthy, wealthy countries that we’re protecting are all under notice,” Trump said in a speech at the Pentagon on Jan 17. “We cannot be the fools for others.”

Officials caution that the idea is one of many under consideration as the US presses allies to pay more, and it may be toned down. Yet even at this early stage, it has sent shock waves through the departments of Defence and State, where officials fear it will be an especially large affront to stalwart US allies in Asia and Europe already questioning the depth of Trump’s commitment to them,” The Straits Times reported on the issue.

So far, Trump’s idea to raise funds from US allies have faced a large wave of criticism in the mainstream media. The common argument is that this move would demonstrate a lack of “commitment” to US allies in Europe and Asia. On the other hand, this move seems logical in the framework of the Trump-delcared strategy to strengthen the US national industry, including the military industrial complex. The Trump administration is not going to abandon US military infrastructure around the world, but it does not want to pay for it as much as it does.

From the European perspective, all EU nations, which have been for a long time exploiting the US military presence as a political tool to justiy a low-scale military spending, this could be seen as an “unfriendly” move. They get used to the fact that the US takes a military spending burden off their back thus buying their loyality.

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