The Banality of Good pt. 7: Global Tribes vs. National Pride

February 05, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

If global capitalism is a problem, we may have to consider the idea that equality within borders is a possible answer.

If global capitalism is a problem, we may have to consider the idea that equality within borders is a possible answer.

Global Tribes vs. National Pride

Clara:   I have just been reading a Canadian Jewish news bulletin and all the tribal features are there: the community life with kosher catering, the private Sunday schools with their curriculum of Jewish culture, Judaism and the Holocaust, the comment on why we shouldn’t sympathize with Palestinian children and the trip for adolescents to Israel where each of them is supposed to find out ‘what Israel means to me’.

In my opinion one of the flaws of biologically oriented identity politics is the belief that ‘the differences between the respective identity groups are bigger than the differences within the group’ as the ‘Saker’ defines ‘racism’. I am not sure that supporting Israel’s politics is really in the best interests of all the Canadian (US-American, British or German) Jews or even in the best interests of the Israelis themselves. But as members of the tribe they are all on board of the same ship.

Is that what you mean when you argue that identity politics are a tool of globalization and that  the ‘identitarian tribes’ are used to support Neocon / Zionist policies?

Gilad: It is actually simpler than that. The emergence of more and more ghetto walls between us the people dismantles our ability to fight for our universal needs, let alone see the universal for what it is. In the name of diversity, we create a fragmented human landscape that is blinded to its fragments.  This tribal construct is indeed ideal environment for Neocons, mammonites as well as our compromised politicians.

Clara:   In ‘The wandering who’ you write that compassion has evaporated in Jewish thinking. I often feel it is the same in Germany: we do not sympathise with the Greek people and their poverty in connection with the introduction of the Euro, we think they ought to be punished for ‘being lazy, living above their means and not doing their homework’. The same goes for the poor in our country. And we mourn the victims of terrorism in Germany and France but we are not really interested in the terror victims in St Petersburg, Beirut or the terrible suffering in Yemen. And the one time our politicians seemed to show compassion by opening the borders for refugees, the many Germans who, like myself, welcomed that chance had to realize the double standards which were behind it: supporting the wars and economic policies that caused people to leave their homes and not adequately addressing the social and security problems the influx of refugees caused at home.  

Does this lack of compassion have to do with the ‘incapability of mourning one’s own fate’ we mentioned in the beginning of our conversation and which seems to be a common feature in Jewish and German mainstream thinking?

Gilad: The lack of compassion is a symptom of chosenness and exceptionalism . Chosenness and exceptionalism are indeed attached to Jewishness but not only. It is hardly a secret that the selfish manner of thinking is embedded in capitalist thinking. The next question you may want to ask yourself is what is the connection between Jewish culture and capitalism. This is obviously a loaded question that has many answers. Marx believed that the two were intrinsically tied. Werner Sombart agreed with Marx. Max Weber didn’t.  My point, as always, is that we must be able to discuss these matters in the open.

Clara:   I agree, and it is actually a kind of selective compassion with double standards. But there is also the aspect of collectively getting stuck in the victimized self-image connected with identitarian world views.
Anyway, let’s be a bit more specific here. In a talk you gave in Berlin you said that for example the international feminist movement was used to promote wars for the rights of Muslim women. And just recently Angela Jolie posed for NATO exactly for that reason. You also gave the example of gay rights. When it comes to attacking Russia, gay activists from many countries show their concern about gay rights there. So we are led from one fragmented campaign to the other and forget about more important issues.

But what is the alternative? In that talk you seemed to argue that we should return to think in terms of national interests instead. You seem to want to replace the concept of ‘identitarian tribes’ by returning to the idea of strong national states and fixed borders. Isn’t that a very dangerous right-wing concept? Doesn’t that lead to new chauvinism, the persecution of ethnic minorities and more?

Gilad:  This is a good question. To start with, I am not a political activist. I do not offer solutions or alternatives. As mentioned before, I am a philosopher, I am refining questions rather than repeating readymade answers.  I indeed often argue that if global capitalism is a problem (and it is a problem), we may have to consider the idea that equality within borders is a possible answer. Now, let’s talk about Nationalism and National States. I contend that Nationalism isn’t necessarily a problem unless celebrated on the expense of others. In the 1940’s people and nations were minced in the name of lebensraum, in the Neocon dominated global universe we do the same in the name of Coca-Cola, Gay-Rights and fake democracy. I argue, therefore that ethical thinking which is basically an Athenian aspired domain is the remedy.   

Clara:   If there is a definition of left wing, it is concern for social issues and anti-imperialism. Many people argue that politics addressing these issues need a strong national state, i.e. Bill Mitchell  (fiscal policies), Paul Steinhardt (social welfare policies – paywall) and Professor Michael Hartman (national elites are still strong). While others advocate ‘more EU’ to address social issues on an international level, these people claim that such a project is bound to fail, even if tried which currently is not really the case; the EU is not a social project. The right wing parties want ‘less EU’ as well, but tend to support neo-liberal policies.
But again – slippery grounds – people quickly ‘stone you’ when you start talking about the role of the national state. When Sarah Wagenknecht from the Left Party criticized Merkel’s open-border policy, she was accused of socializing with the right-wingers from AfD.

Often accusations of working together with right-wing people (Nazis!) replace an open exchange of argument. I think this is a dangerous development.

Gilad: Again, you are pointing at the Jerusalemite tendency, that tyranny of correctness that dictates a manner of speech, a pattern of ‘correct’ thinking, newspeak. Orwell recognized that that tendency is inherent to Left politics which is fascinating considering the Athenian dialectic nature of Marx thinking. We are living in an upside down world –The anti Fascist are often intrinsically fascists. The anti Zionists are mostly AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists) and the Athenians who see it all are castigated subject to constant abuse. Yet, the people are not buying into that reality. Brexit proves that Brits want to see a change. Trump won because Americans are frustrated (surely, they are more frustrated now).  Far from being surprising the popularity of Corbyn in Britain and Sanders in the USA can be realised as a similar symptom of frustration with the current identitarian dystopia. Both leaders are nostalgic anti identiatrian characters.  The meaning of it is simple. We are moving into a realm that transcends beyond left/right banal binary. To be in time is to grasp the post political condition.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

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The Banality of Good Pt. 5 – Pre TSD, Zionism and Empire

February 01, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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 By Clara S and Gilad Atzmon

Clara:   After having read Exodus as a teenager I was convinced that after the Holocaust finding a new home in Israel and fighting anyone who threatened their existence was quite an understandable reaction of the Jewish people.

Gilad: Do you mean killing Arabs and taking their land in the name of Jewish suffering?  If this is what you mean, you should bear in mind that Arabs and Palestinians in particular had nothing to do with Jewish suffering. In fact, in Palestine and in the Arab world Jews were living in peace and harmony with their Muslim and Christian neighbours.

As I explained before, with a manifestation of Pre TSD the so-called ‘victims’ envisage an imaginary hostile reality. The only way to prevail is, to act first, to fight anyone who might be in the way. Next we see the erection of ghetto walls, the prospect of peace and harmony evaporate. In short, welcome to the contemporary dystopia.

Israelis today, for instance, are genuinely tormented by a future nuclear conflict with Iran.  Yet, instead of resolving this volatile situation trying to calm the tension, Israeli politics and Jewish Lobby activity actually escalate this tension. The reality on the ground is devastating. The entire region is under a threat of a war that can easily deteriorate into a nuclear conflict.

Zionism was initially a promise to ‘civilize’ the Diaspora Jews by means of ‘homecoming.’  We, I include myself in order to simplify the argument, were supposed to evolve into ‘people like all other people.’ This surely meant living in peace with our neighbours. This project clearly failed.

We are told by most anti Zionists that Zionism hijacked Judaism. I believe that the facts on the ground suggest that it is (almost) the other way around.

Zionism that was initially an anti Jewish movement (some would say anti-Semitic) was hijacked by Jewishness (as opposed to Judaism). It was once again the chosenness (Jewish exceptionalism) that abolished the initial affinity towards the universal. It was Jewishness that guaranteed that Israelis would be unlike any other people. It was Jewishness that retained chosenness at the core of the Zionist thought.  By the way, this exceptionalist shift within early Zionism was subject to a vivid debate.

Clara:   Wasn’t Einstein still an old-school Zionist, when he wrote to Chaim Weizmann in 1929 that if Jews could not coexist peacefully with Arabs, “then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering?”

 Gilad: Indeed and this is the crux of the matter. Einstein realised already in 1929 that hostility towards the indigenous is sadly embedded in Jewish culture. Einstein could see as early as 1929 that the Zionist movement was already making the Palestinians into the new Goyim.  This was probably devastating for him and it clearly produces a devastating understanding of the Jewish continuum.

 Clara:   You argue that it has basically been the belief in their chosenness which has led to the many disasters in Jewish history.

Now this is not a Jewish ‘speciality’. I have always been wondering how Europeans (and later US-Americans as well) felt entitled to conquer the world, to take the land, exploit the resources and manpower, impose their culture and religion on foreign peoples and killing them when they were in the way. This feeling of racial and cultural superiority has always puzzled me. And it wasn’t and isn’t only greed. Many of us were and are true believers in the mission of promoting ‘western values’ all over the world be it for religious or secular reasons. And even those of us who are critical of what is going on still tend to display a kind of colonialist attitude. I admit I have been asking myself more than once ‘What is it in Christianity and western culture as a whole that has made it so disastrous for the world?’

Gilad: Let us closely examine the notions of chosenness. To start with chosenness is not necessarily a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing when you celebrate your chosenness on the expense of the other.  For orthodox Jews Judaic chosenness is interpreted as a moral burden. It is the duty to serve the world with an exemplary ethical behaviour (please do not ask me how many orthodox Jews follow the above). While in Judaism chosenness can be interpreted as a moral duty, in secular Jewish culture it is often realised as a sense of exceptionalism that is racially oriented. The Zionists, for instance, believe that they can ‘return’ to a land after 2000 years and to reinstate their Biblical reign of power. Let me assure you, not many Italians claim for acres in Britain based on the Roman’s reign in the land more or less around the same time. But the anti Zionists are following exactly the same path. The Jewish pro Palestinian activists do believe that they are in a very special position within the Palestinian Solidarity Movement. They are the ones who give the rest of us a “kosher stamp.“ The Jewish anti Zionists have in practice established a realm of Jewish privilege at the core of the discourse that is set to fight the supremacist abuse invoked by their brethren.   I came to the conclusion that Jewish ID politics is basically a collection of different ideas that facilitate self love.

However, you are correct. European colonialism, Slavery, British imperialism and contemporary Ziocons are all forms of chosenism. The problem that we face with Zionism or Israeli brutality is that it celebrates that form of exceptionalism in front of our eyes, yet, we can’t really talk about it.

Clara:   So the real tragedy is that, if Israel’s enemies united and if they defeated the country, all the fears would come true – the self-fulfilling prophecy of a new ‘Holocaust’, which could have been prevented by true ‘self love’, learning from the past and making peace in time.

Gilad: I feel very comfortable with that. Israel defines itself as the Jewish State. If we want to grasp the actions of Israel, its lobbies and world Jewry we must dig into the meanings of Jewishness and Judaism, we must ask who are the Jews. We must delve into Jewish culture and ideology. We should become familiar with Jewish survival strategies.

Clara:   Speaking of unveiling Jewish lobbies: You have just mentioned contemporary ‘Ziocons’. What or who do you mean by that?

 Gilad: Zioncons are those Neocons who send young American and Brits to die for Zion in the name of Coca Cola.

Clara:   For Zion? They fought/fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, some in Syria, it’s an empire of more than 760 military bases worldwide …

 Gilad:   Pretty much so. Zionism is no longer a geographically limited nationalist ideology. I often argue that the Neocon school points at a clear global shift from ‘a promised land’ to ‘a promised planet.’

Clara:   So that without the Neocons the state of Israel would not be so strong and powerful, look at Trump’s support of making Jerusalem the capital of Israel? And without the support and lobbying of rich and powerful Zionists the Neocons couldn’t control US-American politics the way they do?

 Gilad:  I wish I could say that. As I write these lines I read about Bibi Netanyahu successful visit in India. Israeli strategists know that America is on its way down. They are already zigzagging their way into the corridors of power of the new emerging powers. Russia, India and China.

Clara:   At one point you ask in ‘The Wandering Who’ (p.25, kindle edition) „How did America allow itself be enslaved by ideologies inherently associated with foreign interests?” Another one of your ‘anti-Semitic’ sayings.

 Gilad: Indeed this silence of American political establishment, media and academia demands our intellectual attention. I often argue that Jewish power is the power to suppress discussion on Jewish power. I believe that the 1st step in the right direction is to unveil the meaning of this power, to grasp that which they work hard to conceal and suppress.

Clara:   Could we see the Neocons and the Zionists as two not necessarily very brotherly siblings with similar mindsets working together against a multipolar world? A world where nations solve their collisions of interests in peaceful negotiations with respect to international law? A world where the people living in a country are more important than the wish to control some distant part of the world or the supposed interests of Israel? I have found that for many issues I am concerned with I have to talk about the American Empire. But since the Neocon –dominated Empire is entangled with Zionism, and because Jewish elites are mixed up not only with Israeli politics but with the politics of Empire, criticising these kinds of policies is still very difficult: as soon as you touch Jewish or Israeli influence the question of being a Nazi or an anti-Semite lingers behind every corner. It is hard to think straight in such an environment!

Gilad:  Once we break out of the tyranny of correctness we grasp that Neocons are practically Ziocons, in other words, the Neocons and the Zionists are one. Why is it so difficult to discuss it? Because Jewish power is the power to silence criticism of Jewish power.  Jewish power is maintained by the so called ‘Left’ (new Left really) I will prove it to you. Who was it who tried to silence you recently when you questioned the campaign against Atzmon, was it the Zionist federation, the Israeli embassy? Not really, it was the so-called  ‘lefty’ Rubikon and the ‘anti’ Zionist Elias Davidsson. Let me tell you, we are now very close to the bone.  A continuum has been established.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

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The Banality of Good pt.3 – Revising History

January 28, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Photo: Enno Rueter

Photo: Enno Rueter

 Revising History

By Clara S and Gilad Atzmon

Clara:   You are quoted as saying: “I think that Israel is far worse than Nazi Germany”.

Gilad: My comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany was limited to a discussion on collective accountability in democratic vs. authoritarian regimes. I argued that since Israel defines itself as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ its barbarian policies reflect on the Israeli society as a whole, something that can’t be said about Nazi Germany. Once democracy is abolished, collective accountability is removed!

 Clara:   Obviously literature dealing with the question ‘what is it in German history that has led Germans into two disasters in the 20th century?’ could fill a lot of library shelves.

For years we were taught that World War I was the Germans’ fault alone, now we know that it was more complicated. And the collective accountability of the Germans of that time and consequently the accountability of Germany as a nation for everything that happened in World War II is still presented as fact in a host of films supporting the narrative of the unique German guilt and explaining it with Hitler’s and the Germans’ dangerous ideology and madness alone.

Now you argue that this narrative is not valid because Nazi Germany was not a democracy. 

Gilad:  This is true.

Clara:   I can see your point. While we have to accept the fact that unbelievable atrocities actually did happen and our parents were involved, we also have long discovered that Hitler was supported by a majority of the national elites. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that there were powerful interests behind the national-socialist project, not only those German people who happily cried ‘Heil Hitler’ and were indoctrinated by the Nazi education system.

Besides, Hitler kicked out the very people in his movement who took the word ‘socialist’ seriously, at an early stage of his ‘reign’.
And there’s another thing: the Germans 
couldn’t have sustained the war as long as they did without the help from foreign, especially US-American, bankers and industrialists. We have also found out that the western allies would have loved to see Germany destroy the Sowjetunion before being defeated herself. 

Gilad:  I must admit that the carefulness that I hear in your voice and the manner in which you describe an historical chapter that happened more than 70 years ago, suggests to me that instead of talking about the past, we better discuss the fear of talking about the past.  What are we afraid of? What are you afraid of? Who plants this fear in us and why? What method was used to plant this carefulness? And obviously who benefits from us being afraid to look back?

Clara:   Those are some really good questions to ask. Disturbing questions, too. One thing is that even though Nazi Germany was not a democracy, I wouldn’t want to let every German of the time off the hook. There is such a thing a personal responsibility. And a lot of Nazis did not take it. On the contrary – in Western Germany they were to be found in a lot of powerful positions and others went straight to the USA.

Gilad: I totally agree here. Rather than collective responsibility we are talking about personal accountability. This principle wasn’t really applied after the war, neither by West Germany, the USSR or the Americans.
Clara:   But I guess the big fear is that for a lot of people questioning the narrative means justifying Hitler and the Nazis, which means that, if we go on doing that, we will soon have a ‘4th Reich’. Never trust a German. Racist exceptionalism and ‘Weltherrschaft’ are part of their DNA.

And there are that kind of right-wing Germans, I do not want to be found ‘in bed’ with, who are revising history and demanding free speech with the aim of making Germany great again by expelling foreigners and burning their homes.

Gilad: I do understand what you are saying. I am not impressed at all by many so-called ‘revisionists’ who actually happen to be as dogmatic as their foes and actually prefer to dictate their own narratives. Therefore, I am not for ‘revisionists’, I am for revisionism. For history reinstating itself as a dynamic and elastic realm as opposed to a fixed dogma. Needless to mention that I reject all forms of bigotry and violence.

Clara:   Something which seems to frighten certain people. But I must admit that I felt quite offended when I was called a potential Nazi for demanding to take your ideas seriously and not just dismiss you as a dangerous ‘Holocaust denier’. 

Gilad: I guess that you are referring above to Rubikon’s Jens Wernicke and Elias Davidsonwho worked hard to defame me yet did little but exposing themselves for what they are for real. I sadly must point out that their kind of behaviour is exactly the type of Nazi authoritarianism we were set to oppose. It is pretty amusing to find out that the so called ‘anti Nazis’ perform some of the most problematic Nazi symptoms. But it is hardly surprising. The Anti Fascists are often operating as AFF-Anti Fascist Fascists. The same can be said on anti Zionists, most often they perform the AZZ tactics. They are nothing but Anti Zionist Zionists.  

Clara:   I don’t think that anti-Semitism is part of my DNA. I would like to understand what really made the Nazis great and investigate whether it is true that we are on the way to a new fascist regime and especially new pogroms against Jews, as some people seem to fear when they watch the rise of right-wing populist parties. I have the impression that, if there is a group of people in contemporary Germany, it is not the Jews but the Muslims. And this enemy has been systematically established in the media since 9/11.

Gilad: That is exactly part of my ‘affair’ with the Holocaust and with the past in general. I insist that history is the attempt to narrate the past as we move along. History is a revisionist adventure, and at the core ethical thinking for revising the past offers an opportunity to envisage a better future.  In the open I am against all history laws.  I oppose the Holocaust or any other chapter in the past becoming a religion, a dogma. Living in Europe for more than two decades I am really upset by the emergence of such history laws.

Clara:   You are talking about a Holocaust religion or dogma. What do you mean by that?

Gilad: It is a fixed narrative like that lost all elastic and dynamic qualities. It is there to sustain the primacy of Jewish suffering and European guilt. However, the problem is that this primacy has matured into a pretext for global conflicts with no end. Look at Palestine. Look at the Neocon wars: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran. Once again we do not think in ethical terms. We dismiss the universal appeal. My point is clear and simple. If the Holocaust is the new religion, then let me be an atheist.

Clara:   So would you argue that the ‘Holocaust religion’ is the origin of Israeli Pre TSD you talked about at the beginning of our conversation?

Gilad: … not at all. Pre TSD is embedded in the Jewish thinking. Here is an old Jewish joke for you:

A Jewish telegram: ‘Begin worrying, details will follow …’. And it is far from being a Jews only affair. Anglo America post 9/11 politics is similarly sustained by self inflicting terror – We are tormented by phantasmaic  prophecies and work hard to make these prophecies being fulfilled.

Clara:   We are walking on extremely thin ice here. Anyone who dares to touch the official Holocaust narrative is easily accused of being a Holocaust-denier, which is against the law not only in Germany. You obviously do not deny the Holocaust; as you have explained, you reject its function as justification of current policies and politics. Everyone who really reads your books or listens to your interviews can easily find that out. Besides, you have not been found guilty of such a crime by a German court.

Gilad: Not only I wasn’t found guilty, I have never been questioned by a single law enforcement authority worldwide about anything I have ever said or written. My activity is well within the boundaries of the law, in your country and every other country. My books are available world-wide including in Germany and Israel. However, I better mention it once again. I am not fearful of the past, including my own past being questioned or revised.

Clara:   Still, you are accused of ‘Holocaust denial’, a reproach which has been used to discredit journalists, i.e. KenFm, or a whole movement, i.e. ‘Friedenswinter’ (a German peace initiative started in 2014) and everyone who is in contact with those accused.

I think there are very powerful interests behind this. Promoting peaceful relationships with Russia, criticizing the wars Germany is supporting world-wide and from our territory, i.e. by allowing the US to operate their drones from the airbase Ramstein, provokes quite heavy negative reactions from those in power. There is a strong connection between revising the Holocaust history and questioning current German politics. Unfortunately those who try to split the critical movement have been quite successful.

Gilad: If they were successful, they wouldn’t react in panic as they do. They are in the wrong side of history and they know it. An adequate study of WWII within the historical context of English Speaking empire will reveal that those who burned Hamburg, flattened Dresden and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki have continued doing the same thing in Korea and Vietnam. They kept supporting Israel’s expansionist program, they brought total destruction on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran seems to be next. An appropriate historical discussion will detect an institutional negligence of human life at the core of Anglo American politics.  The Holocaust together with German guilt are there to prevent us from witnessing the crimes that are committed in our names in front of our eyes. For the Americans and Brits it is much easier to build Holocaust museums instead of looking back at slavery or the crimes of the empire, especially because these crimes are far from being resolved yet.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, 

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk). 

SouthFront & The Saker video

February 02, 2018

Original video: https://southfront.org/end-wars-cheap-us/
Original article: http://thesaker.is/the-end-of-the-wars-on-the-cheap-for-the-united-states/
Many thanks to “RS” for redacting the original article for this video!

Now that the Neocons have hamstrung Trump, and with Trump’s planned impeachment and removal from office still in the future, the world must deal with the dangerous decline of the USA-led power bloc, because the Neocons are back in power and will do anything to reverse this trend. It is obvious that the only “solution” that the Neocons see is to trigger another war. So the question is: “Whom will they  strike?”

If the Neocons are out of touch with reality, then everything is possible, even nuking Russia and China. While not dismissing the Neocons’ capacity for violence, it is equally pointless to analyze clearly irrational scenarios, given that modern deterrence theories assume “rational actors” and not madmen running amok.

Assuming a modicum of rational thinking remains in Washington, DC, if the Neocons launch some extreme operation, somebody in the corridors of power will find the courage to prevent it, as Admiral Fallon did with his “Not on my watch!” comment which possibly prevented an attack on Iran in 2007. But the question remains: where could the USA-led power bloc strike next?

The Usual Scenario

The habitual modus operandi is: subvert a weak country, accuse it of human rights violations, impose economic sanctions, trigger riots and militarily intervene to defend “democracy”, “freedom” and “self-determination.” That’s the political recipe. Then there is “the American way of war,” i.e., the way US commanders fight.

During the Cold War, the Pentagon focused on fighting a large conventional war against the Soviet Union that could escalate into nuclear war. Nuclear aspects aside, such a war’s conventional dimension is “heavy”: large formations, lots of armor and artillery. Immense logistical efforts on both sides are required, which would consequently engender deep-strikes on second echelon forces, supply dumps and strategic infrastructure, and a defense in depth in key sectors. The battlefield would be hundreds of kilometers deep on both sides of the front line. Military defenses would be prepared in two, possibly three, echelons. In the Cold War, the Soviet 2nd strategic echelon in Europe was in the Ukraine! — which  inherited huge ammo dumps from Soviet times, so there has been no shortage of weapons on either side to wage the Ukrainian civil war. With the Soviet Union’s collapse, this threat rapidly disappeared. Ultimately, the Gulf War provided the US military and NATO one last, big, conventional war, but it soon became clear to US strategists that the “heavy war” era was over and that armored brigades weren’t the Pentagon’s most useful tool.

So US strategists, mostly from Special Operation Forces, developed “war on the cheap.” First, the CIA funds, arms and trains local insurgents; next, US Special Forces embed with the insurgents as front line soldiers who direct close support aircraft to strike enemy forces; finally, enough aircraft are deployed in and around the combat zone to support 24 hour combat operations. The objective is to provide overwhelming firepower advantage to friendly insurgents.

US and “coalition” forces then advance until they come under fire and, unless they rapidly prevail, they call in airstrikes which result in a huge BOOM!!! – followed by the enemy’s annihilation. The process repeats as necessary for easy, cheap victories over outgunned enemies. The strategy is enhanced by providing the insurgents with better gear (anti-tank weapons, night vision, communications, etc.) and bringing in Pentagon or allied forces, or mercenaries, to defeat really tough targets.

While many in the US military were deeply skeptical, Special Forces dominance and the temporary success of “war on the cheap” in Afghanistan made it immensely popular with US politicians and policy advocates. Moreover, this “cheap” warfare resulted in very few American casualties, with a high degree of “plausible deniability” should something go wrong. The alphabet soup agencies loved it.

But the early euphoria about US invincibility overlooked three very risky assumptions about “war on the cheap”:

First, it required a deeply demoralized enemy who felt that resistance to the USA was futile, because even if the US forces were initially limited in size and capabilities, the Americans could always bring in more forces.

Second, it assumed total battlefield air superiority by the US, since Americans prefer not to provide close air support when they can be shot down by enemy forces.

Third, it required local insurgents who physically occupy and control territory.

But none of these assumptions are necessarily true, and even better said, the USA-led power bloc has  run out of countries in which these assumptions still apply.

Let’s take a closer look.

Hezbollah, Lebanon 2006

This war involved Israel, not the USA, but it nicely illustrates the principle. While superior Hezbollah tactics and battlefield preparation played important roles, and Russian anti-tank weapons permitted Hezbollah to destroy the most advanced Israeli tanks, the most important result was that a small, weak Arab force showed no fear whatsoever against the supposedly invincible Israeli military.

British reporter, Robert Fisk, was the first person to detect the implications of this change. Fisk observed that in the past Arabs were intimidated by Israeli military power, that if the IDF crossed the Lebanese border, for instance, that Palestinians fled to Beirut. However, beginning with the 2006 Israeli assault on southern Lebanon all of that changed. A small, “outgunned” Arab force was not afraid to stand its ground and fight back against the IDF.

It was a huge change. What Hezbollah achieved in 2006 is now repeated in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere. The fear of the “sole superpower” is gone, replaced by a burning desire to settle the score with the USA-led power bloc and its occupation forces.

Hezbollah also proved another very important thing: the winning strategy against a superior enemy is not to protect yourself against his attacks, but to deny him a lucrative target. Put simply: “a cammo tent is better than a bunker.” The more academic way to put it is: “don’t contest your enemy’s superiority – make it irrelevant.”

In retrospect, the most formidable weapon of the USA-led power bloc was not the nuclear bomb or the aircraft carrier, but a huge public relations machine which for decades convinced the world of US invincibility, superior weapons, better trained soldiers, more advanced tactics, etc. But this is total nonsense – the US military is nothing like the glorified image projected to the world! When did the US last win a war against a capable adversary? The Japanese in WWII?

Russian Operation, Syria 2015

The Russian operation in Syria was neither a case of “the Russians are coming” nor “the war is over.” The Russians sent a very small force, This force did not so much defeat Daesh as change the war’s political context. The Russians made American intervention much harder politically, and also kept them from waging “war on the cheap” in Syria.

The Russians deployed to Syria without the capabilities which could deny American use of Syrian air space. Even after the Turks shot down the Russian SU-24, the Russians only deployed enough air-defenses and air superiority fighters to protect themselves from a similar Turkish attack. Even today, if the Pentagon decided to take control of Syrian airspace, the Russians don’t have enough air defenses or combat aircraft to deny Syrian airspace to the Americans. Such an attack would come with very real American political and military costs, true enough, but the realities of modern warfare are such that the tiny Russian air contingent of 33 combat aircraft (of which only 19 can actually contest the Syrian airspace: 4 SU-30s, 6 SU-34s, 9 Su-27s) and an unknown number of S-300/S-400/S-1 Pantsir batteries cannot defeat the combined air power of CENTCOM and NATO.

The problem for the Americans is a matrix of risks, including Russian military capabilities, but also  the political risks of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. Not only would that further escalate the totally illegal US intervention, it would require a sustained effort to suppress Syrian, and potentially Russian, air defenses; that is something the White House will not do right now, especially when the results of such a risky operation remain unclear. Consequently, the Americans only struck sporadically, with minimal results.

Even worse, the Russians are turning the tables on the Americans and providing the Syrians with close air support, artillery controllers and heavy artillery systems, including multiple-rocket launchers and heavy flamethrowers, all of which are giving the firepower advantage to the Syrians. Paradoxically, the Russians are now fighting a “war on the cheap” while denying this option to the Americans and their allies.

Good Terrorists, aka “FSA”, Syria 2017

The Free Syrian Army’s main weakness is that it doesn’t physically exist! Sure, there are plenty of FSA Syrian exiles in Turkey and elsewhere; there are also many Daesh/al-Qaeda types who try hard to look like FSA; and there are scattered armed groups in Syria who would like to be “the FSA.” But the FSA was always a purely political abstraction. This virtual FSA provided many useful things to the Americans: a propaganda narrative, a pious pretext to send in the CIA, a fig leaf to conceal that Uncle Sam was militarily allied with al-Qaeda and Daesh, and a political ideal to try to unify the world against Assad’s government. But the FSA never provided “boots on the ground” like everybody else: Daesh and al-Qaeda, the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah, the Turks and the Kurds. But since the Takfiris were “officially” the USA’s enemy, the US was limited in the support given to these Wahabi forces. The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah were demonized, so it was impossible to work with them. That left the Turks, who had terrible relations with the USA after the US-backed coup against Erdogan, and the Kurds, who were not eager to fight and die deep inside Syria and who were regarded with great hostility by Ankara. As the war progressed the terrible reality hit the Americans: they had no “boots on the ground” with which to embed their Special Ops or to support.

A case in point is the American failure in the al-Tanf region near the Jordanian border. The Americans and Jordanians invaded this desert region hoping to sever the lines of communications between the Syrians and Iraqis. Instead, the Syrians cut the Americans off and reached the border first, rendering the American presence useless. It appears that the Americans have given up on al-Tanf, and will withdraw and redeploy elsewhere in Syria.

So Who Is Next – Venezuela?

History shows that the Americans have always had problem with their local “allies”. Some were pretty good (South Koreans), others less so (Contras), but US use of local forces always has a risk: the locals often have their own agenda and soon realize that if they depend on the Americans, the Americans also depend on them. Additionally, Americans are not well known for having good “multi-cultural sensitivity and expertise.” They are typically not very knowledgeable about their operating environment, meaning that US intelligence usually becomes aware of problems way too late to fix them (fancy technology can’t substitute for solid, expert human intelligence). The US failure in Syria is an excellent example of this.

Having identified some of the weaknesses of the US “war on the cheap” approach, let’s examine a vulnerability matrix for potential target countries:

Notes: “demoralized enemy” and “air superiority” are guesstimates; “boots on the ground” means an indigenous, combat force in-country (not foreign troops) capable of seizing and holding ground, and not just small insurgent groups or political opposition.

By these criteria, the only candidate for US intervention is Venezuela, where successful US intervention would require a realistic exit strategy. But the US is already overextended and cannot afford to bog down in an unwinnable war. While the Venezuelan opposition could provide “boots on the ground,” the Venezuelan pro-American forces lack the capabilities of the regular armed forces or the Leftist guerrilla groups who tolerated the Chavez-Maduro rule, but who retained their weapons “just in case.” As for terrain, while Caracas might appear relatively “easy” to seize, the rest of the country is more difficult and dangerous. As regards staying power, while Americans like quick victories, Latin American guerrillas have repeatedly proven that they can fight for decades. Therefore, while the USA is probably capable of invading and ravaging Venezuela, it is likely incapable of imposing a new regime and controlling the country.

Conclusion – Afghanistan 2001-2017

Afghanistan is often called the “graveyard of empires,” and Afghanistan may well become the graveyard of the “war on the cheap” doctrine, which is paradoxical since this doctrine was initially applied in Afghanistan with apparent success. Remember the US Special Forces on horseback, directing B-52 airstrikes against retreating Afghan forces? Sixteen years later, the Afghan war has dramatically changed and 90% of US casualties come from IEDs, all the efforts at a political settlement have failed, and victory and withdrawal appear completely impossible. The fact that the USA has now accused Russia of “arming the Taliban” is a powerful indicator of the USA-led power bloc’s desperation. Eventually, the Americans will leave, totally defeated, but for the time being all they will admit to is: “not winning.”

Here’s the dilemma: with the end of the Cold War and Post Cold War, complete US military reform is long overdue, but also politically impossible. The present US armed forces are the bizarre result of the Cold War, the “war on the cheap” years and failed military interventions. In theory, the US should adopt a new national security strategy and a military strategy that supports the national security strategy, and then develop a military doctrine which would produce a force modernization plan incorporating all aspects of military reform, from training to force planning to deployment. It took the Russians over a decade to do this. It will take the Americans at least as long. Right now, such far reaching reform seems years away. Garden variety jingoism (“We’re number one!!”) and deep denial rule the day. As in Russia, it will probably take a truly catastrophic embarrassment (like the first Russian war in Chechnya) to force the Pentagon to face reality. Until then, the ability of US forces to impose their domination on countries which refuse to surrender to threats and sanctions will continue to degrade.

So is Venezuela next? Hopefully not. But if so, it will be one very big mess with much destroyed and little achieved. The USA-led power bloc has long been punching above its weight. Prevailing against Iran or North Korea is clearly beyond current US military capabilities. Attacking Russia or China would be suicidal. Which leaves the Ukraine. The US might possibly send some weapons to the junta in Kiev and organize training camps in the western Ukraine. But that’s about it. None of that will make any real difference anyway, except further aggravate the Russians.

The Russians have succeeded in turning the course of the civil war in Syria with what was an extremely small, if highly skilled, task force.  Now, for the 2nd time, President Putin has announced a major withdrawal of Russian forces.  In contrast, the thoroughly defeated US has not only claimed the credit for defeating ISIS for itself, but has ostentatiously failed to make any announcement about a withdrawal of its own, completely illegal and mostly useless, forces from Syria.  Will they ever learn from their own mistakes?

The era of “wars on the cheap” is over. The world is a different place than it was. The USA has to adapt to this reality, if it wants to retain some level of credibility; but right now it does not appear anybody in Washington, DC is willing to admit this. As a result, the era of major US military interventions might well be coming to an end, even if there will always be some small country to “triumphantly” beat up.

The good news about the Trump Presidency: stupid can be good!

January 11, 2018

The good news about the Trump Presidency: stupid can be good!

[Note: This column was written for the Unz Review]

Just a few days shy of the one year since the inauguration of Donalt Trump as President of the United States I think that it would be reasonable to say that pretty much everybody, besides the Neocons and a few unconditional supporters, is now feeling quite appalled at what the past year brought to the USA and the planet. Those who hated Trump don’t hate him any less, while those who had hopes for Trump, such as myself, now have to accept that these hopes never materialized. I think that if we imagine a Hillary Presidency then the word “evil” would be a good way to describe what such a Presidency would most likely have been like. Likewise, if I had to chose a single word to describe the Trump Presidency, at least so far, I think that this word should be “stupid”. I won’t even bother, as I had initially planned, to list all the stupid things Trump has said and done since his inauguration (those who think otherwise might as well stop reading here). I will say that it gives me no pleasure writing this because I also had hopes that Trump would fulfill at least some of his campaign promises (even though most of my support for him was based on the fact that he was not Hillary who, I still believe, would have brought the USA and Russia to war against each other). Furthermore, each time I recall Trump’s inauguration speech I have this painful sense of a most important and totally missed opportunity: to finally restore the sovereignty of the USA to the the people of the USA and to return to a civilized and rational international policy. Alas, this did not happen and that is a reality we have to accept and deal with.

I also want to clarify that when I say that the Trump Presidency can be best summed up with the word “stupid” I don’t just mean The Donald himself. I mean the entire Administration (I don’t mention Congress, as Congress as been about stupid for as long as I can recall it). If you wonder how I can call an entire administration “stupid” even though it is composed of often brilliant civil servants, lawyers, academic, technical specialists, etc I will simply reply that I don’t judge an administration by the resumes of those working for it, but simply by its output, what it actually does. If what this administration produces is a lot of stupid, then this is a stupid administration.

Stupid can mean a lot of different things. For example, it can mean stupid threats against North Korea. That is a very frightening kind of stupid. But there is also a very good kind of stupid. For example, I think that the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a wonderful kind of stupid which I warmly welcome.

Why?

Because it is the kind of stupid which tremendously weakens the AngloZionist Empire!

Think of the damage this truly stupid move did to not only the US international reputation (which indeed was already pretty close to zero even before this latest move) but also to the US capability to get anything done at all the the Middle-East. The military defeat of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan and the political defeat of the USA in Syria just needed a little something to truly make the USA irrelevant in the Middle-East and now, thanks to Donald Trump, this has now happened! Furthermore, there was a dirty little secret which everybody new about which has now become a public fact:

USA= ISRAEL & ISRAEL=USA

Again this is all very good. Even better is the fact that the only ones disagreeing with this would be Honduras, Guatemala, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Togo, Nauru and southern Sudan and, of course, Israel.

The US foreign policy has become so outlandishly stupid that even the most subservient US puppet regimes (say, the UK, Norway, ROK or Japan) or are now forced to condemn it, at least publicly. A lot of credit here goes to Nikki Haley who, following this catastrophic vote, decided to make things even worse by blackmailign the UN and all its member states. Finally, President Trump himself sealed it all by giving Nikki Haley’s speech a very public endorsement.

So stupid as this may have been, and stupid it really was, in this instance the results of this stupid were nothing short of a blessing for the Middle-East: even Hamas is now finally talking again with Hezbollah and Iran!

Just as we can sincerely thank President Obama for pushing Russia and China into each other’s arms, we can now all thank Nikki Haley and Trump for uniting the resistance to the state of Israel and the entire AngloZionist Empire. I can just about imagine the jubilation in Tehran when the Iranians heard the good news!

But good stupid does not stop here. The fact that the US elites are all involved in a giant shootout against each other by means of investigations, scandals, accusations, talks of impeachment, etc. is also a blessing because while they are busy fighting each other they are much less capable of focusing on their real opponents and enemies. For months now President Trump has mostly ruled the USA by means of “tweets” which, of course, and by definition, amounts to exactly nothing and there is nothing which could be seriously called a “US foreign policy” (with the exception of the neverending stream of accusations, threats and grandstanding, which don’t qualify). There are real risks and opportunities resulting from this situation

  1. Risks: when nobody is really in charge, each agency does pretty much what it wants. We saw that during the 2ndhalf of the Obama Presidency when State did one thing, the Pentagon another and the CIA yet another. This resulted in outright goofy situation with US allies attacking each other in Syria and Iraq because they all reported to different agencies. The risk here is obvious: for example, when US diplomats made an agreement with Russia in Syria, the Pentagon torpedoed the very next day by attacking Syrian forces. The recent attacks on the Russian Aerospace Forces base in Khmeimim (and the latest drone attack on that same base) would exactly fit that pattern. The Russians have been complaining for months now that the USA are “non-agreement capable” and this can clearly be a problem and a risk.
  2. Opportunities: when nobody is in charge then the AngloZionist Empire cannot really bring its full force against one specific target. This of a car or bus in which all the passengers are fighting each other for the control of the steering wheel. This is bad for them, but good for everybody else as the only place this car or bus is headed for is the ditch. Furthermore, since currently the US is, at various degrees, threatening no less than 9 countries (Afghanistan, Syria, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Turkey, Pakistan, China) these threats sound rather hollow. Not only that, but should the USA get seriously involved in any type of conflict with any one of these countries, this would open great opportunities for the others to take action. Considering how the US elites are busy fighting each other there and threatening everybody else there is very little change that the USA could focus enough to seriously threaten any of its opponents. But this goes much further than the countries I mentioned here. There is a French expression which goes “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” and this is what we might see next: more countries following the example of the Philippines, which used to be a subservient US colony and which now is ruled my a man who has no problems publicly insulting the US President, at least when Obama was President (Duterte seems to like Trump more than Obama). There have already been signs that the South Koreans are taking their first timid steps towards telling “no” to Uncle Sam.

I am not trying to paint a rosy picture of the situation which is bad, no doubt about that. Having ignorant fools in charge of nuclear weapons is not good, by definition. But I do want to suggest two things: first, that no matter stupid Trump is, Hillary would have been infinitely worse and, second, that there are also some good aspects to the current vacuum of power in Washington, DC.

If we can agree that anything that weakens the AngloZionist Empire is a good thing (including for the American people!), as is anything which brings its eventual demise closer, then there is a lot to be grateful for the past year. The Empire really began to crumble under George W. Bush (thanks Neocons!), and that process most definitely continued under Obama. However, Donald Trump is the one who truly given this process a tremendous acceleration which has, I think, brought it to a qualitatively new level. The risks ahead are still tremendous, but so far the Empire is losing and the Resistance to it is still winning. And that is a very good thing.

The Saker

Kosherising the 9/11 Truth Movement

‘Usual Suspects’ Behind Regime Change Operation Underway in Iran

Above and below are some very good reports from RT on the protests in Iran. The information presented strongly suggests that the usual suspects, as it were, are behind the unrest–i.e. the US and Israel. Obviously, you won’t see this type of reporting in the mainstream media, which of course is why RT is so despised by political elites in the West.

“Co-opting democracy for its own ends is a difficult habit (for the US) to break”

Trump administration established a “new center” within the CIA to work toward regime change in Iran. The CIA officer in charge of it is known by the name of “Dark Prince.” Meanwhile US media are cheering on the protests.

The “Dark Prince” epithet given to the head of the new CIA mission desk is reminiscent of Richard Perle, the Jewish neocon who led the Project for a New American Century and was a leading advocate for the war in Iraq. Perle’s nickname was “the Prince of Darkness.“

Will the regime change operation in Iran succeed? Or will it flounder into miscarriage the way the one in Syria has? My guess is it’s probably going to fail.

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