The Nature of Foxes

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Wed Feb 14, 2024 3:47 pm

The Age of Zugzwang
The Merciless Grip of Geostrategic Logic

BIG SERGE
FEB 13, 2024

Image
Pieces Moving

Note: I apologize in advance for the potentially rambling nature of this piece, which is something of a stream of consciousness geostrategic meditation. It’s possible that this is too abstract to be interesting. If so, please berate me in the comments.

I am a great lover of chess. While no more than a middling player myself, I am endlessly entertained by the seemingly countless variations and strategic contrivances that the world’s great players can create from that same, familiar beginning. Despite being an old game (the rules that we know today emerged in 15th Century Europe), it has resisted the enormous amount of computing power thrown at it in recent years. Even with powerful modern chess engines, it remains an “unsolved” game, open to experimentation and further study and contemplation.

One chess adage, which I learned early at my childhood chess club, is that one of the biggest advantages in chess is to have the next move - a sort of cautionary lesson to avoid being overly cocky before your opponent has a chance to respond. A little down the road, however, you learn about a concept that inverts and perverts this aphorism: something which we call Zugzwang.

Zugzwang (a German word that literally means “move compulsion”) refers to any situation in chess where a player is forced to make a move that weakens his position, such as a king that is backed into a corner to escape from check - each time he moves out of check, he moves himself closer to checkmate. More simply put, Zugzwang refers to a situation where there are no good moves available, but it is your turn. If you find yourself staring at the board, thinking that you would prefer to simply skip your turn, you are in Zugzwang. But of course, you cannot skip your turn. You have to move. And no matter what move you choose, your position gets worse.

mack442@fastmail.com
password
mack442@fastmail.com
Subscribe
This idea of having no good options while being compelled to act has become a motif in the enfolding era of geopolitical flux. Actors around the globe find themselves in situations where they are compelled to act in the absence of good solutions. Zbigniew Brzezinski famously wrote of geopolitics as analogous to a chessboard. If that is indeed the case, there now comes a time for choosing which pieces to save.

Jerusalem
It is almost impossible to find a dispassionate analysis of the Israeli-Arab conflict, simply because it sits directly upon a concatenation of ethno-religious fault lines. Palestinians are the object of concern for many of the world’s nearly two billion Muslims, particularly in the Arab world, who tend to view Gaza’s suffering and humiliation as their own. Israel, on the other hand, is a subject of rare agreement between American evangelicals (who believe that the nation state of Israel has relevance to Armageddon and the fate of Christianity) and the more secular American governing blob, which treats Israel as an American outpost in the Levant. To this, we can add the emerging religion of anti-colonialism, which views Palestine as something like the next great liberation project, akin to ending apartheid in South Africa or Ghandi’s campaign for Indian independence.

My goal is not to convince any of the aforementioned people that their views are wrong, per se. Instead, I would like to argue that, despite these many powerful emotional-religious currents, much of the Israeli-Arab conflict can be understood in fairly mundane geopolitical terms. Despite the enormous psychological stakes that billions of people have in the subject matter, it still unfolds itself to a relatively dispassionate analysis.

The root of the problems lay in the peculiar nature of the Israeli state. Israel is not a normal country. By this, I mean neither that it is a special, providential country (as an American evangelical might say), nor that it is a uniquely wicked root of all evil. Rather, it is extraordinary in two important ways that relate to its function and geopolitical calculus, rather than its moral content.

First, Israel is an Eschatological Garrison State. This is a particular form of state which perceives itself as a sort of redoubt against the end of all things, and accordingly becomes highly militarized and highly willing to dispense military force. Israel is not the only such state to have existed in history, but it is the only obvious one extant today.

A historical comparison may help explain. In 1453, when the Ottoman Empire at last overran Constantinople and brought an end to the millennia-old Roman imperium, early medieval Russia found itself in a unique position. With the fall of the Byzantines (and the previous schism with western papal Christianity), Russia was now the only Orthodox Christian power remaining in the world. This fact created a sense of world-historic religious siege. Surrounded on all sides by Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Turko-Mongol Khanates, Russia became a prototypical Eschatological Garrison State, with a high degree of cooperation between Church and State and an extraordinary level of military mobilization. The character of the Russian state was indelibly formed by this sense of being besieged, of being the last redoubt of authentic Christianity, and the consequent need to extract a high volume of manpower and taxes to defend the garrison state.

Israel is much the same, though its sense of eschatological terror is of a more ethno-religious sort. Israel is the only Jewish state in the world, founded in the shadow of Auschwitz, besieged on all sides by states with which it has fought several wars. Whether this justifies the kinetic aspects of Israeli foreign policy is not the point. The simple fact is that this is Israel’s innate self conception. It is an eschatological redoubt for a Jewish population that sees itself as having nowhere else to go. If one refuses to acknowledge the central Israeli geopolitical premise - that they would do anything to avoid a return to Auschwitz - one will never make sense of their actions.

However, the Eschatological-Garrison nature of the state is not the only way in which Israel is abnormal. It is also quite unusual in that it is a Settler-Colonial State in the 21st century. Israel maintains hundreds of settlements in soft-annexed territories like the West Bank, which are home to half a million Jews. These settlements constitute an effort to demographically strangulate and assimilate Palestinian lands, and cannot be described as anything other than settler-colonialism. Again, all sorts of religious arguments will fly as to whether this is justified or not, but the reality that all must acknowledge is that this is not normal. Denmark does not have colonies. There are no Danish villages being built in Northern Germany to extend Danish rule. Brazil does not have colonies. Neither does Vietnam, or Angola, or Japan. But Israel does.

Image
IDF on the move

Thus, Israel unfolds according to unique geopolitical logic because it is a unique state, having both an Eschatological-Garrison and a Settler-Colonial nature. The viability of the Israeli project depends on the ability of the IDF to maintain powerful deterrence and protect Israeli settlements and settlers from attack. This fact creates a sense of asymmetric vulnerability for Israel.

“But Serge, you erudite rascal”, I hear you say. “Aren’t you using overly wrought geopolitical jargon to obfuscate the issue?” Yes, but let me explain. A security asymmetry exists in Israel because the IDF needs to maintain massive full-spectrum overmatch over its adversaries, both in conventional war against state actors *and* a preclusive defense that can effectively filter against low intensity non-state actors. Israel’s security situation has been built on the back of overwhelming victories over surrounding Arab states - the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and so forth, but it also needs to constantly filter and defend against low intensity attacks. The viability of Israel’s settler project is guaranteed only by IDF overmatch and the threat of punitive attacks.

More importantly, the IDF must not only maintain overmatch in high-intensity warfare (wars with neighboring states), but it must also efficiently filter against low-intensity threats like episodic rocket attacks and cross-border incursions by Hamas. The viability of Israeli settlements depends particularly on the latter, made possible by Israeli intelligence, a dense surveillance system, and physical barriers.

An analogy may be useful.

Did you know that the Roman Empire did not defend its borders? It may sound strange, but it is true. Particularly in the high days of the Julio-Claudians (from Augustus to Nero), Rome had fewer than 30 legions, the deployment of which left vast gaps in the border which were bereft of Roman troops. So, how did the Empire stay safe?

In the first century, Rome was faced with a Jewish revolt in its province of Judea. At the height of its powers, Rome never faced a genuine threat from the Jewish rebels, and several years of counterinsurgency saw the movement largely stamped out. By late 72 AD, the Romans had a few hundred rebels trapped in a hilltop fortress at Masada. The rebels had limited supplies. It would have been a trivial thing for Rome to leave a detachment to besiege the fortress and wait for the defenders to surrender. But that was not the Roman style. Instead, an entire legion was committed to build an enormous ramp up the side of the hill, which was used to haul huge siege engines up the slope and smash the fortress open.

Why? For Rome, this seemingly oversized force commitment (an entire Legion to dig out a few hundred hungry Jewish rebels) was worth it, because it maintained the widespread fear that any attack, any disobedience against the Empire would bring an enormous hammer down. “Cross us, and we will hunt you down and kill you.” In a sense, the excessive force commitment was the point, and served as a conspicuous display of military profligacy. Rome was able to secure the borders of an enormous empire for centuries with shockingly low force generation by maintaining the threat of overmatch, and reliably (we might say excessively) punishing those who either invaded or rebelled. In the case of the 1st Century Jews, their temple was destroyed, much of Jerusalem was wrecked, and their leadership was devastated and scattered.

Ironically, Israel now finds itself in a situation similar to their former Roman overlords, needing to maintain full spectrum overmatch and the political will to wield their power punitively in order to sustain deterrence and protect their settler project. Much like 1st Century Rome, Israel perceives that its capacity to interdict low intensity threats has been called into question by Hamas’s strategic surprise in October, and like Rome the IDF is attempting a display of conspicuous military profligacy.

That is why, on October 7, Israel found itself in Zugzwang. It had to move, but the only move available was a massively destructive invasion of the Gaza Strip, because Israeli strategic logic dictates an asymmetric response. Hamas’s attack necessarily triggered a ground invasion and concordant air campaign with the ostensible goals of eliminating the organization, despite the obvious certainty that would cause mass casualties in Gaza and abnormally high losses among the IDF. This is a highly populated, densely settled area full of civilians with nowhere to go. Any Israeli response was bound to kill and wound large numbers of civilians, but the necessity of a response is dictated by the nature of the Israeli state.

Image
Eschatology

Ultimately, I have always believed that there is no durable solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict short of military victory for one side or the other. Neither a two-state nor a one-state solution is viable given the current construction of the Israeli state and its ideological content. A one-state solution (which gives citizenship to Palestinians within the Israeli polity) is unlikely to satisfy anyone, but would be particularly abhorrent to the Israelis who would correctly perceive it as the de-facto surrender of their state via demographic overwhelming. A two-state solution would require an Israeli strategic retreat from its settlements. In short, any of the potential diplomatic arrangements constitute Israeli strategic defeat, and can only come about once Israel has actually suffered such a strategic defeat on the battlefield.

So, Israel’s blood is up. Within the peculiar parameters of Israeli strategic logic, it must smash Gaza by military force or else face the irretrievable discreditation of the IDF’s deterrence, and in turn the collapse of the settler project. Either the capacity of the Palestinians to offer low-intensity threats will be shattered, or the population will flee into the Sinai. Probably, for Jerusalem, it does not matter much which.

Ultimately, foreign observers must understand that the Israeli-Arab conflict is practically predestined by the peculiar nature of the Israeli state. As both an Eschatological Garrison state and a Settler-Colonial enterprise, Israel is unable to relate normally with the Palestinians (who do not have a state at all), and the only way out of the jam is either an Israeli strategic defeat or the shattering of Gaza. This is not a puzzle with a clean solution.

Washington and Tehran
Concurrent with the collapse of the temporary stable state in Israel, the United States faces an unraveling of its position across the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria. This, perhaps even moreso than the Israeli predicament, represents an idealized example of geopolitical zugzwang.

To begin, one must understand the strategic logic of American strategic deployments. America has made generous use of a strategic deterrence tool colloquially known as the Tripwire Force. This represents an undersized, forward deployed force located in potential conflict zones with an eye to deterring war by signaling a commitment to respond. The classic example of the tripwire force was America’s minuscule deployment in Berlin during the cold war. Far too small to derail or defeat a Soviet offensive (and indeed, conspicuously so), the purpose of the American Berlin garrison was, in a sense, to offer themselves up as potential casualties, denying America any political latitude to abandon Europe in a conflict. American forces in South Korea serve a similar purpose: since in North Korean incursion into the South would necessarily kill American troops, Pyongyang understands that it would be ipso facto declaring war on the United States along with the South.

On the whole, the tripwire force is a useful and well established tool in strategic deterrence, utilized by both the United States and the Soviet Union (as in its deployments in Cuba) throughout the cold war.

Today, the United States adopts a similar strategy in the middle east, in relation to Iran. America’s strategic goals in the Middle East are actually not particularly complex, though they are often made to seem this way simply by the fact that the American foreign policy complex is both bad at and uninterested in explaining itself.

The American strategic goal, in a few words, is to conduct area denial and prevent Iranian hegemony in the middle east. This, in turn, is an extension of the broader American grand strategy, which is to prevent the preeminent or potential regional hegemons from consolidating positions of domination in their regions: Russia and Germany in Europe, China in East Asia, Iran in the Middle East. The geopolitical story of the modern world is one of triple containment by the United States, using an array of regional satellites, proxies, and forward deployments. Because Iran is the only state in the Middle East with the potential to become a regional hegemon, it is the object of American containment.

America’s lingering deployments in places like Iraq and Syria therefore ought to be understood primarily as efforts to disrupt Iranian influence and offer forward deployment to combat Iranian militias (these deployments are themselves necessary because American adventurism throughout the last two decades created vacuous Trashcanistans in Iraq and Syria that are vulnerable to creeping Iranian influence). They can be understood as a form of tripwire force that also has limited operational value.

Unfortunately, the United States has discovered the limits of these skeletal forward deployments. The American presence across the region is too small to credibly deter attack, but large enough to invite it.

Image
Immunity to Deterrence

The problem, very simply, is that the standard American toolbox is relatively useless for deterring Iran and its proxies, for a variety of reasons. The standard American reprisal for attacks on its facilities and personnel - air strikes - have little deterrent value against irregular combatants who are both willing to take casualties and mentally acclimated to a long struggle of strategic attrition and survival. Iran and its proxies have long time horizons that are resistant to short, sharp rebukes.

Furthermore, Iran and its allies thrive in conditions of governmental disorder, inuring them to America’s capacity to smash up states (creating what I call trashcanistans). Creating a trashcanistan can be strategically useful in many circumstances - by intentionally creating a failed state, a vacuum of disorder can be created on the enemy’s doorstep. In the right circumstances, this is a potent lever for creating geostrategic area denial. In Iran’s case however, failed (or at least, destabilized centers) create vacuums for which Iran is the most natural fill. This is why America’s geopolitical shooting spree across the Middle East has coincided with decades of steady growth in Iranian influence.

All that is to say, America’s levers in the Middle East do not pose a credible deterrent to either Iran or its proxies. This is being demonstrated in real time, with American displays of force flatly failing to curb Iranian activities. American bases have endured relentless rocketry attack by Iranian proxies (attacks that have killed American soldiers), and the Ansar Allah movement (the Houthis) continue to obstruct shipping in the Red Sea despite a limited air campaign. In a geostrategic environment where deterrence is no longer credible, tripwire forces (like the American bases at Al-Tanf and Tower 22) cease to become deterrents at all, and become mere targets. Furthermore, the death of American soldiers no longer inspires public outrage and war fever the way it once did. After decades of wars across the Middle East, Americans are simply habituated to hearing about casualties in places that they have never heard of and do not care about. Thus, as both a geostrategic and a domestic-political instrument, the tripwire is busted.

Once again, our good friends the Romans provide an instructive analogy.

In the first years of the 2nd Century (roughly 101-106 AD), the great Roman Emperor Trajan conducted a series of campaigns which conquered the independent polity of Dacia. Though Putin’s interview with Tucker Carlson perhaps did much to normalize verbose historical digressions, we will steer clear of the particularities of the Dacians’ Indo-European origins and simply say that Dacia should be thought of as Ancient Romania. In any case, the great Trajan conquered Dacia and added vast, populous new provinces to the Empire. Yet this conquest was understood as a sign of Roman weakness. How? Why?

For centuries, Rome had indirectly controlled Dacia as a sort of client-proxy kingdom on its borders, kept in line with punitive expeditions and the threat that they posed. On occasions where the Dacians behaved in a way problematic to Rome (such as raiding into Roman territory or becoming too independent or assertive), Rome would make punitive attacks, burning Dacian villages and often killing Dacian chieftains and kings. By the first century, however, Dacia had become increasingly powerful and politically consolidated, and Rome felt compelled to act more aggressively. In short, Trajan had to conquer Dacia - a militarily expensive and complicated campaign - because Rome’s deterrence was vanishing, and the threat of limited punitive forays had become ever less frightening to the Dacians.

This is a classic example of strategic paradox. An evaporating strategic advantage undercut Rome’s deterrence, forcing it to adopt a much more costly and expansive military program to compensate for its gnawing weakness. The paradox here is that the conquest of Dacia was an impressive military feat, but one which was made necessary by collapsing Roman deterrence and intimidation. If Rome had been stronger, it would have continued to control Dacia through indirect (and cheaper) methods, which did not require permanently stationing several legions there. It was a great victory (which did bring about many tangible benefits to the Empire), but in the long run it represented an undeniable contributor to Roman overstretch and exhaustion.

We see a similar dynamic at play in the Middle East, where America’s falling deterrent powers may soon force it to take more aggressive measures. This is why those voices calling for war with Iran, as deranged and dangerous as they may be, are actually keyed in on a crucial aspect of America’s strategic calculus. Limited measures no longer suffice to intimidate, which may leave nothing in the stable except the full measure.

And so, America faces Zugzwang. As yet it appears that the traditional American toolbox has little to no deterrent value, and American bases around the region appear to be more like targets that tripwires. Similarly, the limited air campaign against Yemen does not appear to have meaningfully degraded Houthi willingness or capability to attack shipping. A recent decapitation strike against the Kataib Hezbollah group - on paper an impressive demonstration of American intelligence and strike capability - led only to another violent outburst against the Green Zone in Baghdad. More broadly, a surge in American strategic deployments (both in the form of a reinforced ground presence and the arrival of naval assets) did not appear to meaningfully deter the Iranian axis.

America soon faces the prospect of a difficult choice, between strategic retreat or escalation. In either case, a skeletal tripwire deployment in the region becomes obsolete, and America must either get out or go in deeper. This is why there are now alarms flashing in the foreign policy blob, who fear an American withdrawal from Syria, alongside ever more deranged calls to “bomb Iran." That’s Zugzwang: two bad choices.

Kiev
Finally, we come to the European front, where the United States faces a difficult choice. America’s strategic premise in Ukraine was put in serious doubt by two important developments over the past year. These were 1) the abject failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, and 2) Russia’s successful mobilization of both additional manpower and its military industrial complex, despite an attempted strangulation via western sanctions.

Suddenly, the idea of America conducting an asymmetric weakening of Russia seems increasingly shaky, since it is now both highly doubtful whether Ukraine can retake meaningful territories and apparent that the Russian military is on track to emerge from the conflict both larger and significantly battle hardened from its experiences. Indeed, it now appears that the most important results of Washington’s Ukraine policy have been to reactivate Russian military production and radicalize the Russian populace.

Now, Washington faces a choice. Its initial preference was to backstop the Ukrainian military with lower cost material (old Soviet bloc inventories from Eastern European NATO members and available surpluses of western systems), but this has now clearly run its course. Efforts within the NATO bloc to expand production of key systems, like artillery shells, are largely stalled, with the Pentagon quietly downsizing its production targets as time goes on. Meanwhile, a consensus has emerged that Russia’s efforts to ramp up weapons production have been remarkably successful, with the Russian industrial complex enjoying a significant advantage in both total output and unit cost of key systems.

So, what to do?

The west (by which we really mean America) has three options:

Taper off support for Ukraine, in effect conducting a strategic retreat and writing off Kiev as a doomed geostrategic asset.

Maintain support along the current lines, aiming to sustain a modicum of baseline AFU combat power, which keeps Ukraine on a life support drip as they suffer strategic exhaustion.

Massively ramp up support for Ukraine through a wholesale military industrial policy, in effect partially transitioning the west to a war footing on behalf of Ukraine.

The issue here is that Russia has a head start in transitioning to a war economy, and has little difficulty selling that choice to the populace because the country is, in fact, at war. Russia enjoys significant advantages, such as a lower cost structure and more compact supply chains. In an election year, with a growing portion of both the electorate and the congress appearing weary of hearing about Ukraine, it is difficult to imagine the United States committing to a de facto economic restructuring and disruptive war economy on Ukraine’s behalf. In fact, there now appears to be growing alarm that military aid from the United States might be cut off altogether, with the latest aid package appearing unlikely to pass the house amid the latest border security imbroglio.

And so America faces Zugzwang in Ukraine. It can choose to go all-in, but this means both selling a disruptive breakneck rearmament to the American public in peacetime, *and* gambling on a faltering piece in Kiev (which is now facing a command shakeup and yet another shattered defensive stronghold in Avdiivka). Strategic retreat in the form of abandoning Kiev may make the most sense from a pure cost-benefit perspective, but there are undoubtedly prestige factors at play. Walking away from Ukraine entirely and simply leaving it to be steamrolled would be seen, and rightfully so, as a Russian strategic victory over the United States.

Image

That leaves the third door, which is the sort of drip feed of aid that maintains the perception of American support for Ukraine, but offers no real prospect of Ukrainian victory. This is a cynical play, which props the Ukrainians upright for a slower death for which they themselves can be held accountable - “we never abandoned Ukraine, they lost.”

No good options? That’s zugzwang.

Conclusion: Go In or Get Out

The basic geostrategic problem facing the United States (and its ectopic paramour, Israel) is that the ability to conduct asymmetrically inexpensive countermeasures has become exhausted. The US can no longer prop up Ukraine with surplus shells and MRAPs, nor can it deter the Iranian axis with reprimands and air strikes. Israel can no longer maintain the image of its impenetrable preclusive defenses, upon which its peculiar identity depends.

That leaves the difficult choice between strategic retreat and strategic commitment. Half measures no longer suffice, but is there will for a full measure? For Israel, which has no strategic depth and a unique world-historic self conception, it was inevitable that commitment would be chosen over strategic withdrawal (which in their case is much more metaphysical than purely strategic, and amounts to the deconstruction of the Israeli self conception). Thus, the immensely violent Israeli operation in Gaza - an operation that could never have gone any other way, given the density of the population and its eschatological meaning.

America, however, has a great degree of strategic depth - the same strategic depth which allowed it to withdraw from Vietnam or Afghanistan with few meaningful ill effects on the American homeland. The possibility most certainly remains for a prosperous and secure America long after withdrawing from Syria and Ukraine. Indeed, the famously chaotic scenes of frantic evacuation from Saigon and Kabul represent remarkably clearsighted moments in American foreign policy, where realism prevailed and losing chess pieces were left to their fates. This is cynical, of course, but that is the way of the world.

This is a standard motif of world history. The most critical moments in geopolitics are generally those where a country faces the choice between strategic retreat or full commitment. In 1940, Britain faced the choice between accepting Germany hegemony on the continent or committing to a long war which would cost them their empire and lead to their final eclipse by the United States. Neither is a good choice, but they chose the latter. In 1914, Russia had to choose between abandoning its Serbian ally or fighting a war with the Germanic powers. Neither seemed good, and they chose the latter. Strategic retreat is hard, but strategic defeat is worse. Sometimes, there are no good choices. That’s Zugzwang.

https://bigserge.substack.com/p/the-age-of-zugzwang

*****

Will NATO be dismantled? Interview on India’s WION television channel



I am honored that India’s premier English language international broadcaster WION sought my comments on the present scandal surrounding Donald Trump and non-fulfillment by the U.S. of Article 5 obligations to assist NATO member states in case of Russian attack. My interviewer was Shivan Chanana, Anchor and Producer at WION, who had probing questions of great value.

I tried to make plain in the interview that Trump is intent on the break-up of NATO for reasons that make sense to those of us who had the good fortune to listen a couple of years ago to the late Russian politician, founder and long-time chairman of the center-right LDPR party. Vladimir Zhirinovsky explained at the time why and how Russia, with a defense budget ten times smaller than the US, could pull ahead of the US in developing and deploying state of the art strategic nuclear weapons systems.

And since then, the standing of Russia’s conventional forces has also caught up with and moved ahead of the States. The ongoing war in Ukraine has demonstrated that Russia is the world’s biggest producer of artillery shells and is equipping its armed forces with the latest generation field weaponry, reconnaissance and strike drones, electronic warfare gear and much more. Whereas just a few years ago Russian military planners were certain they could not match NATO on the field of battle with conventional arms and would have to go nuclear should there be a hot war, today Russian generals are satisfied that their conventional forces are more than a match for NATO even with full U.S. participation. We see the proof daily in Ukraine.

Zhirinovsky told us the reason. With its vast network of overseas military bases built to ensure U.S. global hegemony, the U.S. military budget of 800 billion to 1 trillion dollars, as he said with a bit of humor, ‘goes to buy toilet paper’ for those bases and to fight hot wars in places that have no strategic value to the States instead of developing and fielding weapons systems to match its peers Russia and China.

One might look still further and remark on the corruption in the U.S. military procurement system from interaction with private for-profit manufacturers who lobby Congress on their own behalf using retired generals and Pentagon officials. But that source of reduced efficiency in spending is a topic for another day.

To the question of what relations between Russia and the United States will become if Trump wins the November elections, I had the opportunity to deliver an answer that I have mulled for some time. Despite his own words on the campaign trail in 2016 and despite the false accusations raised by Hilary Clinton of complicity between Trump and Putin ahead of the elections, once in the Oval Office Trump was no friend of Russia and the countries’ bilateral relations went from bad to worse. In this interview I argue that the greatest contribution to Russian-American relations is being made by Trump precisely now when he is acting as a private person to influence Congress to stop funding the war. Once in office, he will be subject to constraints imposed by those elites whom Putin mentioned in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson.

I will say no more in this introduction. I do hope that readers will open the link and hear the 12 minute interview

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2024

Transcript below provided by a reader

Shivan Chanana: 0:00
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it’s a block of 31 members, mostly Western Nations. It’s essentially a security alliance, and if you attack one NATO member, you face the wrath of them all. Now former US President Donald Trump made remarks on NATO which have caused quite a stir. Trump in a recent speech said that he would encourage Russia to do whatever they wanted to NATO members who had not met their financial obligations. What are these financial obligations, and what’s the true cost of US protection under the NATO alliance? To talk more on this, to understand this better, we are being joined by Dr Gilbert Doctorow, who is an international affairs analyst, author and historian, joining us from Brussels. Very welcome to WION, sir. Wanted to get your understanding, what– get your thoughts on this. What are these financial obligations that Trump is referring to here?

Doctorow: 00:52
The obligation that he has in mind is a two-percent contribution, two percent of GDP contribution to defence by each of the member states. This was a big talking point, going back to the Obama years. But when Trump was in power, he was very aggressively making these demands, and it is now being raised again in his campaign speeches.

Chanana: 1:17
Doctor, I also wanted to understand– would you like to say something else?

Doctorow: 1:22
Yes, in addition to that, the reality is that because of the technical conditions of US-supplied weapon systems, particularly jets, the NATO member countries that are taking on US armaments, that is nearly all of them, are obliged to take on whole systems that effectively marginalize their own defence Industries.

Chanana: 1:51
Umhm. Just wanted to take this a little further: this two percent of the GDP that you just mentioned — and of course that is mentioned very much there for all the nations in the west who are part of this alliance — is it mandatory or is it voluntary for them to be paying this up to the US?

Doctorow: 2:09
Well, it’s not stated in the in the charter of NATO, but as a matter of policy over the years, the member states have been required to make such a contribution. In fact, at present day, all of the major West European members of NATO do not meet that level, aside from the UK. And those few states that meet the two percent requirement are huddled on the eastern border of NATO, that is to say, Baltic states, Finland and Poland. But the rest of Europe is under that limit, and there are good reasons for it.

Chanana: 2:51
When we talk about the Baltic states, of course they are facing Russia head-on. Do you feel that is probably one of the reasons why they don’t want to cut back on the two percent that is expected of them, to be spent on defence equipment which mostly comes from the US?

Doctorow: 3:07
The Baltic states all together have a population of perhaps three million people. When you look at them and say– and take them as a guide to what NATO [is] doing, we are really speaking about the tail wagging the dog. That they would be concerned about Russia, because they’re on the frontier, is obvious. But they should be more concerned, because of the way they have been flouting international law and EU standards in their treatment of their Russian-speaking minorities.

Chanana: 3:40
So when a nation becomes a part of NATO, Trump used the word, that they need to pay up to get US protection. Is this some kind of protection money, in a way, that is expected from all these nations, which Trump is kind of hinting at that he will be pressing down on this if he comes to power? And there’s a good chance he might just.

Doctorow: 4:03
I think we have to look beyond his words. The intent is to break up NATO. And because it is virtually impossible for the major powers in the west to reach the two percent target, given that they so de-industrialized and so marginalized their own defence industries, that the procurement is not workable to reach this kind of funding level. The intent of Trump is to break up NATO, for very good reasons. He is not a madman, and if we have a bit of time to discuss it this morning, it would be fine.

Chanana: 4:43
Mr Doctorow. I want to also understand from you, now if Trump comes to power this year, where do you see Russia-US ties heading? And will his presidency possibly bring a rift among NATO States if, as you mentioned, he’s wanting to bring a divide here and kind of break it up? Because it has been there since 1949. You really feel it can happen in Trump’s term if he comes to power this time?

Doctorow: 5:06
I think the– Mr Trump as a private citizen is doing more to end the war in Ukraine than Mr Trump as a future president could be able to do. By his political stance and rallying the Republicans to refuse to fund the war in Ukraine, he is accelerating the end of the war and saving lives on all sides, in a way that is very little appreciated by the media, and certainly not the broad public. This is not a madman. This a man who knows very well what he wants to do, and has in mind what he failed to do in his first presidency.

Chanana: 5:49
Doctor, you mentioned something very interesting here: that, you know, of course he does not want to continue with the wars there. Trump in as many words has mentioned that he needs just 24 hours to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict which has been going on. I wanted to just understand this from the Russian perspective as well. If Trump comes to power this year, where do you see Russia and US ties heading from here?

Doctorow: 6:12
Nowhere. Mr Trump during the presidency introduced severe sanctions, did confiscations of Russian assets and was no friend to Russia. He had a smiling mis– smiling summit with President Putin. They– he said things which alarmed the US press, because he did, he accepted Putin’s versions of the MH17 downing and so forth. But that was all just for public relations. The reality is that the US-Russian relations deteriorated very sharply under Trump. I wouldn’t wait to see his new presidency.

What he’s doing right now is more important than anything that he could do once he comes to the Oval Office. He is stopping the war, not because he has an agreement, a handshake with Putin, but because of what he’s doing to prevent further funding. And, as I say, this is not arbitrary. The breakup of NATO is not an arbitrary. It has to do with the whole concept of the US defence. US defence now is based on hundreds of military bases around the world and engagement which– engagement in armed conflict in many regions where the United States does not have a national interest.

7:37
If that means that the vast majority of US funding for defence goes to buying toilet paper for military bases around the world — as Mr Zhirinovsky, a Russian politician, once said with humor but with reality — and it is going to hot wars. It is not going to building US defence capability in terms of new… arms systems that would be on a level with what the Russians have now developed. So there is a logic to this all.

Chanana: 8:07
I want to come back to the two things that you mentioned. One is the breakup of NATO. And before that, I just want to also get your thoughts again on this: that Mr Trump is able to do more for the situation as of now as a citizen then he will be able to in case he becomes president again. Can you elaborate a little more on that?

Doctorow: 8:25
I think that– I’d like to make a reference to the famous Tucker Carlson interview with Putin a few days ago, in which Mr Putin said that it’s not the personalities of the person who sits in the Oval Office that counts. It’s what the elites think and are doing. Right now, Mr Trump is not hemmed in by elites. He is his own man, and therefore he is speaking and acting in a much freer way than he will be able to do if he comes to the the Oval Office again.

Chanana: 9:02
And when we talk about NATO, or rather the breakup of it as you mentioned, if Trump comes back, do you feel the breakup of NATO is imminent within his system?

Doctorow: 9:13
Well, nothing– you don’t sink a ship the size of NATO in one day, but it will be on a downward slope towards extinction. The United States Congress has passed legislation disallowing a president to break up NATO, but effectively, Mr Trump can make NATO unworkable. And I think that would be his aim: to withdraw American support and to redirect the funds for defence to where they can really help the United States equal its peers, Russia and China, in terms of new weapon development and implementation.

Chanana: 10:00
So if it was to distance itself from the NATO alliance– or do you feel NATO cannot survive without the US presence? Do you feel NATO can still survive if US is no longer there?

Doctorow: 10:12
No, NATO can’t survive without US presence. That is a given. Major broadcasters this morning have already put on air the conclusion that it will take 10 years for Europe to become self-standing in defence. The whole defence industry in Europe has been so wound down since 1991 that it is, that the countries here are unable to put together a force that has any weight to it without US participation.

Chanana: 10:51
Dr Doctorow, if NATO is dismantled, do you feel European– the defence industry in several European nations, that’ll also flourish and the US will also gain advantage from it? And if yes, then why? If you can elaborate on that.

Doctorow: 11:07
The defence industry will have to be revived in Europe from its rather pitiful state today, over a period of years, as let’s say, 10 years. That can happen. Why not? This– but the most important thing will be the political re-engagement with Russia. The– staring Russia in the face and being disarmed, as Europe is today, and not having confidence in US support, Europe will necessarily have to find some accommodation with Russia, in which case the importance of NATO itself will decline in a precipitous way. NATO has been revived — after going through several different reinventions of its purpose — it has been revived as an anti-Russian block. If Europe faces the fact that it cannot stand up to Russia and it has to find some accommodation, then the logic of NATO will dissolve.

Chanana: 12:06
That was Dr Gilbert Doctorow, International Affairs analyst, author and historian, joining us from Brussels. Always a pleasure hearing from you, sir. Some very, very important remarks that you’ve made here, and of course we’ll get to know how this all plays out as far as NATO is concerned if Trump comes to power. And there’s a good chance he might just. Thank you so much for joining in.

Doctorow: 12:25
Thanks for the invitation.

https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2024/02/13/ ... n-channel/

Doctorow thinks Trump is smart, it's a petty bourgeois thing, cause Trump is rich...But if fact he is willfully ignorant and survives thru his inherited wealth which allows him to hire enough brain power to keep his boat afloat. For now....
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Sat Feb 17, 2024 3:04 pm

SCOTT RITTER: Mike Turner’s Folly
February 17, 2024

Rep. Mike Turner’s release of raw intelligence about a Russian satellite system has compromised U.S. intelligence including likely its sources and methods.

Image
Rep. Mike Turner (Tiana Williams/U.S. Air Force)

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

Earlier this week U.S. Representative Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio who serves as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, took the unprecedented step of making available a raw intelligence report to all members of Congress.

Turner issued a public statement which stated that the intelligence “contained information concerning a serious national security threat,” and requesting that President Biden “declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the administration, and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat.”

A day after Turner released his statement, White House national security spokesman John Kirby took to the podium to confirm that U.S. intelligence officials have information that Russia has obtained a capability that would enable them to attack U.S. satellites, but that this capability was not yet operational.

“First this is not an active capability that’s been deployed and though Russia’s pursuit of this particular capability is troubling, there is no immediate threat to anyone’s safety,” Kirby said. “We’re not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth.”

According to Kirby, the Russian anti-satellite capability is space based and, if deployed, would violate the 1967 international Outer Space Treaty, which both Russia and the United States, along with 128 other nations, are signatories to.

While Kirby refused to state whether the Russian capability was nuclear, the Outer Space Treaty specifically bans the deployment of “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” in orbit or “station weapons in outer space in any other manner.”

For its part, the Russian government has dismissed the talk of a new Russian space weapon as little more than a ruse intended to pressure the U.S. Congress to support aid for Ukraine (the U.S. Senate has approved a $64 billion aid package to Ukraine, but it is currently held up in the House of Representatives, where Speaker Mike Johnson has said it is “dead on arrival.”)

“It’s obvious that Washington is trying to force Congress to vote on the aid bill by hook or by crook,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said. “Let’s see what ruse the White House will use.”

US Satellite Project

While Turner is a staunch supporter of the aid package for Ukraine, the evidence suggests that his gambit regarding the release of intelligence about an emerging Russian anti-satellite capability has nothing to do with Ukraine, and everything to do with a new U.S. satellite system currently being deployed which serves as the foundation upon which the entire future war-fighting capability of the United States is built.

The United States currently maintains an array of satellites surrounding the earth that support intelligence collection, communications connectivity, navigation and guidance and control, without which the U.S. military would not be able to operate as envisioned in supporting the national security needs of the nation.

These satellites, however, are vulnerable to existing anti-satellite weapons possessed by several nations, including Russia and China, and possibly North Korea and Iran.

The U.S. military is rightfully concerned about the possibility that, in any future potential conflict, an enemy possessing anti-satellite capability will seek to destroy the existing U.S. satellites, effectively blinding U.S. forces and disrupting critical navigation and communication capabilities which help provide U.S. military forces with a technological superiority on the battlefield.

Enter the “Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture”, or PWSA, a program undertaken by the Space Development Agency to launch hundreds of networked satellites into low-Earth orbit. The satellites will support a wide variety of military missions, including data transmission, communications and ballistic missile warning and tracking.

The PSWA is mission critical to the success of the Department of Defense’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept, which as designed will “enable the Joint Force to use increasing volumes of data, employ automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), rely upon a secure and resilient infrastructure, and act inside an adversary’s decision cycle.”

Image
A SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Sept. 2, 2023. This mission carried the Space Development Agency’s second round of Tranche 0 satellites for its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). (U.S. Space Force/ Airman 1st Class Ryan Quijas)

The PSWA, which is anticipated to cost some $14 billion over the course of five years, will eventually include hundreds of optically-connected satellites divided into two basic categories.

The first provides “beyond line-of-sight” (i.e., over the horizon) targeting for ground and maritime time-sensitive targets, enabling supported units to detect targets, track them, and enable them to be destroyed. The second capability is similar to the first, but is designed to shoot down hostile missiles after they have been launched.

Twenty-eight PWSA satellites were launched last year — ten in March and 18 in June. On Wednesday — the same day Turner sent out his cryptic threat message — a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched out of Cape Canaveral in Florida carrying two more PSWA satellites.

While some media outlets — including The New York Times — believe that the connection between the PSWA launch and Turner’s decision to publicize Russia’s emerging anti-satellite capability is purely coincidental, there is an obvious cause and effect relationship that cannot be ignored that suggests otherwise.

First and foremost, the intelligence that Turner was referring to was not new, but rather familiar to the small circle of Representatives and Senators possessing both the security clearances and the need to know to access this information.

Moreover, this particular intelligence was scheduled to be discussed by the White House and the so-called “Gang of Eight” — the leaders of each of the two parties from both the Senate and House of Representatives, and the chairs and ranking minority members of both the Senate Committee and House Committee for intelligence — the following day, Thursday.

By making the issue public, Turner was clearly signaling his frustration over what he believed to be a lack of urgency on the part of both the White House and the Gang of Eight in addressing the emerging Russian anti-satellite capability.

The source of Turner’s frustration could logically extend to the Department of Defense placing so much emphasis on a multi-billion-dollar investment which appears to have been made moot by the Russian anti-satellite development.

The PSWA was designed to be invulnerable to existing anti-satellite weaponry, operating as it did in low-earth orbit and possessing sufficient redundancy along with the ability to rapidly replace any satellites that might cease to function or be taken out by adversaries.

However, current anti-satellite technology involves classic point-to-point interception technology that uses kinetic energy (i.e., direct impact) or explosions within the immediate proximity of the target to destroy the satellite. The “swarm of satellites” approach of the PSWA makes existing anti-satellite weaponry impractical when it comes to disrupting the operations of the PSWA.

The intelligence that Mike Turner is so interested in appears to relate to a Russian weapon designed to detonate a nuclear device in outer space. Such a weapon would destroy much of the PSWA network, immediately rendering impotent much of the U.S. military capacity.

Turner’s concerns didn’t center only on Russian capabilities, but also the Department of Defense insisting on continuing to develop and field the PSWA satellites even though Russia had invalidated the utility of the network in any future conflict involving Russia.

Outer Space Treaty

Image
Sculpture in garden of U.N. headquarters in NY or St. George slaying a dragon created from the shards of two dismantled nuclear missiles, a Soviet SS-20 and an American Pershing II, which were destroyed under the terms of the INF Treaty in 1987. Gift of the Soviet Union in 1990. (U.N. Photo)

The White House has indicated that it will be reaching out to the Russians about this new weapons capability. Given the existence of the Outer Space Treaty, the White House will more than likely accuse Russia of operating in violation of that treaty.

But the United States is not immune to criticism in this regard. Indeed, the Outer Space Treaty makes repeated reference to the “peaceful uses of outer space”, which suggests the “nonmilitary” use of space, or at least activities that reflect “nonaggressive” behavior.

The PSWA, operating as it does as the primary facilitator of the Department of Defense’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control strategy, is the literal manifestation of “military” use of space and/or “aggressive” behavior.

In short, the United States once again uses its treaty relationship with Russia to pursue the sustainment of unilateral military advantage as opposed to seek and maintain an environment conducive to peaceful coexistence.

Indeed, the Russians have hinted at this very position in a memorandum appended to a July 2021 report by the U.N. secretary general on reducing threats in outer space.

“At issue,” the Russian memorandum noted,

“is the development by certain States Members of the United Nations of a space-based missile defense system (including means of interception) and of means of unauthorized interference with orbital infrastructure facilities. The placement in orbit of a large constellation of small satellites also raises questions. There is a growing potential for these tools to be used to compromise the orbital objects of States Members of the United Nations. Furthermore, the mass deployment of such spacecraft hinders the ability of other States to safely launch space launch vehicles and does not contribute to the long-term sustainability of space activities.”

Russia sought new legal commitments and proposed “reaching a principled agreement on the prevention of an arms race in outer space and the preservation of outer space for peaceful purposes and introducing a complete and comprehensive ban on strike weapons in outer space and on any land-, air- or sea-based weapons designed to destroy objects in outer space.”

The United States, in keeping with its past practice of creating ambiguity regarding specificity when it came to international agreements, sought voluntary, non-legally binding “norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior” for space operations designed to complement existing international law, as opposed to creating a new body of binding legal obligations which might interfere with ongoing defense-related activities, such as the PSWA.

These competing diplomatic postures will more than likely be reflected in any future discussions that the United States and Russia have about this unfolding situation.

Future of Arms Control

Image
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at U.N. Security Council in September 2023. (U.N. TV Screenshot)

Pranay Vaddi, the special assistant to the president and senior director for arms control disarmament and nonproliferation at the National Security Council, noted in an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Jan. 18, that “arms control is and continues to be a cornerstone of international security, from a U.S. perspective.”

Russia, Vaddi said, sees “the idea of engaging with the United States on Strategic Arms Control, which they view as being on U.S. terms, as not in their interest if that conversation cannot include some of their other priorities as it relates to the map of Europe, Ukraine itself, and our policy towards Russia outside of arms control,” adding that the Russians have “linked kind of other politics to arms control in a way that has not been done in the post-Cold War era.”

Special assistant Vaddi isn’t wrong — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that Russia believes that current U.S. efforts to reinstate arms control is simply an exercise designed “to establish control over our nuclear arsenal and minimize nuclear risks for itself.”

The future of arms control, Lavrov noted, is contingent on “the West fully renouncing its malicious course aimed at undermining Russia’s security and interests,” altering its stated policy objective of achieving the strategic defeat of Russia in Ukraine.

Lavrov has taken umbrage over U.S. demands to resume inspections of Russian strategic nuclear sites under the provisions of the New START treaty, noting that the American position amounts to saying, “we have declared you an enemy, but we’re ready to talk about how we could look at your strategic nuclear arsenal again, that’s something different.”

Given that the U.S. has withdrawn from a multitude of Cold War-era arms control agreements, including the anti-ballistic missile treaty, the intermediate nuclear forces treaty, and the open skies treaty, and is seen by Russia as negotiating in bad faith the New Start treaty, it is only logical that Russia will look askance at any effort on the part of the U.S. to try to shield what is clearly a military-related activity (the PSWA) behind the outer space treaty.

In short, the prospects of any meaningful engagement between the U.S. and Russia over concerns about a nuclear anti-satellite weapons system still in the development stage is slim to none.

It is here that the folly of Turner’s gambit becomes clear. The U.S. intelligence picture of the emerging Russian nuclear-armed anti-satellite weapon was still in the developing stage. Indeed, the intelligence that Turner was seeking to have declassified has been described as “raw”, as opposed to finished analysis.

This implies that the sources and methods used to collect the intelligence in question would be obvious to all who had access to the intelligence.

While Turner’s statement did not contain anything specific in terms of the intelligence in question, it did set off a media firestorm which, given the realities of Washington, D.C., invariably leading to detailed disclosures which have more than likely compromised the source of the intelligence in question.

This means that at a time when U.S. policy makers require periodic updates as the status of the Russian weapon, the intelligence community is flying blind. This is the worst possible outcome, since now that intelligence has been politicized, it will require decisions to be made which will now have to occur in an informational vacuum.

Turner’s actions were irresponsible in the extreme, bordering on criminally negligent. At a minimum he should be stripped of his security clearances and expelled from the intelligence committee. At a maximum he should be prosecuted under the same legal doctrine that has put Julian Assange behind bars.

https://consortiumnews.com/2024/02/17/s ... ers-folly/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Tue Feb 20, 2024 3:34 pm

Image

The descent into Barbarism
By Prabhat Patnaik (Posted Feb 19, 2024)

Originally published: Peoples Democracy on February 18, 2024 (more by Peoples Democracy) |

IN The Junius Pamphlet written from jail in 1915, Rosa Luxemburg had said that the choice before mankind was between barbarism and socialism. Liberal opinion would contest this, arguing thatthe barbarism that marked the two world wars and the period in between was unrelated to capitalism; indeed the liberal tendency that comes to the fore under capitalism, it would claim, fought against the barbarism of that period. Capitalism, it would assert, has been characterised by the ascendancy of humane values to an unprecedented extent, as the post-war years have shown.

To talk about humane values coming to the fore under capitalism however is to ignore the phenomenon of imperialism altogether. The inflicting of famines in India under British rule are well-known: this rule began with a famine in Bengal in 1770 that killed ten million persons, a third of the populationofthe province, because of the rapacity of its revenue demands; towards the end of this rule there was yet another famine in Bengal in 1943 because of the utterly cruel war-financing policy pursued by the government that again killed at least three million persons. German rule in (today’s) Namibia had introduced death camps that exterminated large numbers of the tribal population and constituted the “models” for Hitler’s concentration-cum-death camps in the 1930s. Belgian atrocities in the Congo under Leopold’s rule involving the mutilation of human beings are too well-known and too gruesome to recount. And European settler colonialism in the temperate regions of the world eliminated local populations on a vast scale, herded those who survived into reservations, and took over their lands and habitats. One can go on with this litany of cruelty; what is important is thatthe motive forthis cruelty was plain material gain, which is what characterises capitalism.

It would of course be argued that loot and plunder have provided the motive for wars and conquests even earlier, long before capitalism came into being; so why should one drag capitalism into it? The answer is two-fold: first, all talk of capitalism advancing humane values, it follows, is just hyperbole; at best it is no better than what had preceded it. And second, loot and plunder of the earlier periods were very different from what happens under capitalism. The earlier loot still left something with those who were plundered, or at least allowed them to recoup their losses over time (even though this might invite further plunder later); but under capitalism there is a permanent expropriation of the oppressed.

Capitalism had projected this image of itself, as humane force that fought all barbaric tendencies, in the post-war period. Using in particular Hollywood movies, it sought to give the impression that the second world war was essentially a fight between western liberal democracy and fascism, and downplaying the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the war. As a result, the immense sympathy that had existed for the Soviet Union all over the world, including in the west, was systematically made to diminishamong the people of the advanced capitalist countries. They were given the impression that they were living within a humane system the like of which had never existed before. Rosa Luxemburg’s remark was portrayed as lacking any relevance, notwithstanding the Vietnam and other wars that marked the post-war period, not to mention the depredations of the CIA all over the world in effecting regime change and acts of terror during those years.

This illusion of capitalism being a humane force however is now over. The barbarity of capitalism is evident at present like never before, and the most heart-rending, the most incredibly cruel instance of it is the genocide of the Palestinians that is currently occurring with the combined blessings of all advanced capitalist countries. At least 28,000 of the civilian population have been killed, of whom almost 70 percent have been women and children; in fact more than 1,00,000 are missing, a large number of whom are believed to have been killed, taking the toll well above 28,000. Much of the population has been bombed out of their homes and even relief operations have been impaired with the UNRWA funding being suspended by the capitalist powers. The Economic and Social Commission for West Asia, a UN body, has called what is happening in Gaza the “deadliest 100 days in the 21st century”. We are in short witnessing a human catastrophe, which is unleashed by an utterly inhumane and aggressive Zionist regime with the active support of the big capitalist powers.

The aggressiveness of the Zionist State is so blatant that it even threatened the South African foreign minister with dire consequences for herself and her family, when South Africa went to the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide. The court upheld the substance of South Africa’s case, and asked Israel to desist from any genocidal actions, though it stopped short of ordering an immediate end to its war in Gaza. What was striking was that everyone of the advanced capitalist powers supported Israel, with the US calling the legal action “meritless”, and France and Germany arguing that accusing Israel of genocide is to cross a “moral threshold”.

What is striking is that as in 1915 when Rosa Luxemburg was writing, social democracy has been fully complicit even today in the barbarism of advanced capitalism. While ordinary people in the streets everywhere in the world have demonstrated in large and impressive numbers against Israeli aggression, the entire political establishment in the west from the extreme right to social democracy and the Greens, and even a segment to the left of social democracy (such as for instance Die Linke in Germany), has lined up behind imperialism and its protégé, Israeli settler colonialism.

Two questions immediately arise: how has imperialism become so emboldened as to reveal its barbaric self, despite the abhorrence towards this barbarism displayed by world public opinion, especially in the global south? And why has imperialism suddenly become so desperate that it needs to show its barbaric nature? The answer to the first question lies inter alia in the collapse of the Soviet Union and in general the socialist challenge. As long as the Soviet Union lasted, it had acted, at least in the post-war years, as a restraining influence on imperialist barbarism vis-à-vis the global south. The fear of socialism in other words had restrained imperialist barbarism, thereby in a sense vicariously vindicating Rosa Luxemburg’s assertion; that restraint is now gone.

The answer to the second question lies in the fact that the imperial order that had got destabilised earlier, had been made to yield to the drive for decolonisation and third world dirigisme, but had reconstituted itself through the imposition of the neoliberal regime, is again facing a mortal threat; and there is a vital difference between the earlier order and the present one, namely while the earlier pre-war order had been characterized by inter-imperialist rivalry, the present imperial order is characterised by a muting of rivalry and by an unprecedented unity among imperial powers, because it is presided over by international finance capital that does not want the world divided. The present order therefore has united global capital facing the working people of the world, not just the workers in the advanced capitalist countries but also the workers and peasants in the global south, all of whom have been the victims of this new imperial order.

This very victimisation of the world’s working people has produced a crisis for this imperial order, since it has kept down consumption in the world economy and thereby curbed the growth of markets and produced a crisis of over-production. Within the neoliberal regime itself there is no solution to this crisis, since State activism (in the form for instance of a fiscal deficit-financed increase in State expenditure) is anathema for neoliberalism. As a result, the working people of the world who were already victimised by globally united international capital are now being further victimised via unemployment, making the threat against the new order even more serious.

The crisis has produced fascist regimes within many countries; but it is also producing an acutely repressive global order where both fascist and non-fascist capitalist powers combine to suppress the working people both at home and abroad. There is no scope for any morality in this repression; barbarism is in full display and the capitalist powers stand together in defense of this barbarism, no matter which is the specific power perpetrating it.

https://mronline.org/2024/02/19/the-des ... barbarism/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Mon Feb 26, 2024 2:50 pm

War Is Bad for You — And the Economy
Posted on February 26, 2024 by Yves Smith

Yves here. William Hartung takes aim at the regular arms contractor claim, now a pet message of President Biden, that war spending helps the economy. Mind you, this assertion might not be as inaccurate as it is in the current US context if our arms contractors were not primarily in the pork business and the government engaged in more basic research with the potential for broader social uses, as it formerly did (see Mariana Mazzucato for details).

By <William D. Hartung. Originally published at TomDispatch

Joe Biden wants you to believe that spending money on weapons is good for the economy. That tired old myth — regularly repeated by the political leaders of both parties — could help create an even more militarized economy that could threaten our peace and prosperity for decades to come. Any short-term gains from pumping in more arms spending will be more than offset by the long-term damage caused by crowding out new industries and innovations, while vacuuming up funds needed to address other urgent national priorities.


The Biden administration’s sales pitch for the purported benefits of military outlays began in earnest last October, when the president gave a rare Oval Office address to promote a $106-billion emergency allocation that included tens of billions of dollars of weaponry for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. MAGA Republicans in Congress had been blocking the funding from going forward and the White House was searching for a new argument to win them over. The president and his advisers settled on an answer that could just as easily have come out of the mouth of Donald Trump: jobs, jobs, jobs. As Joe Biden put it:

“We send Ukraine equipment sitting in our stockpiles. And when we use the money allocated by Congress, we use it to replenish our own stores… equipment that defends America and is made in America: Patriot missiles for air defense batteries made in Arizona; artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country — in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas; and so much more.”

It should be noted that two of the four states he singled out (Arizona and Pennsylvania) are swing states crucial to his reelection bid, while the other two are red states with Republican senators he’s been trying to win over to vote for another round of military aid to Ukraine.

Lest you think that Biden’s economic pitch for such aid was a one-off event, Politico reported that, in the wake of his Oval Office speech, administration officials were distributing talking points to members of Congress touting the economic benefits of such aid. Politico dubbed this approach “Bombenomics.” Lobbyists for the administration even handed out a map purporting to show how much money such assistance to Ukraine would distribute to each of the 50 states. And that, by the way, is a tactic companies like Lockheed Martin routinely use to promote the continued funding of costly, flawed weapons systems like the F-35 fighter jet. Still, it should be troubling to see the White House stooping to the same tactics.

Yes, it’s important to provide Ukraine with the necessary equipment and munitions to defend itself from Russia’s grim invasion, but the case should be made on the merits, not through exaggerated accounts about the economic impact of doing so. Otherwise, the military-industrial complex will have yet another never-ending claim on our scarce national resources.

Military Keynesianism and Cold War Fallacies

The official story about military spending and the economy starts like this: the massive buildup for World War II got America out of the Great Depression, sparked the development of key civilian technologies (from computers to the internet), and created a steady flow of well-paying manufacturing jobs that were part of the backbone of America’s industrial economy.

There is indeed a grain of truth in each of those assertions, but they all ignore one key fact: the opportunity costs of throwing endless trillions of dollars at the military means far less is invested in other crucial American needs, ranging from housing and education to public health and environmental protection. Yes, military spending did indeed help America recover from the Great Depression but not because it was military spending. It helped because it was spending, period. Any kind of spending at the levels devoted to fighting World War II would have revived the economy. While in that era, such military spending was certainly a necessity, today similar spending is more a question of (corporate) politics and priorities than of economics.

In these years Pentagon spending has soared and the defense budget continues to head toward an annual trillion-dollar mark, while the prospects of tens of millions of Americans have plummeted. More than 140 million of us now fall into poor or low-income categories, including one out of every six children. More than 44 million of us suffer from hunger in any given year. An estimated 183,000 Americans died of poverty-related causes in 2019, more than from homicide, gun violence, diabetes, or obesity. Meanwhile, ever more Americans are living on the streets or in shelters as homeless people hit a record 650,000 in 2022.

Perhaps most shockingly, the United States now has the lowest life expectancy of any industrialized country, even as the International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that it now accounts for 40% of the world’s — yes, the whole world’s! — military spending. That’s four times more than its closest rival, China. In fact, it’s more than the next 15 countries combined, many of which are U.S. allies. It’s long past time for a reckoning about what kinds of investments truly make Americans safe and economically secure — a bloated military budget or those aimed at meeting people’s basic needs.

What will it take to get Washington to invest in addressing non-military needs at the levels routinely lavished on the Pentagon? For that, we would need presidential leadership and a new, more forward-looking Congress. That’s a tough, long-term goal to reach, but well worth pursuing. If a shift in budget priorities were to be implemented in Washington, the resulting spending could, for instance, create anywhere from 9% more jobs for wind and solar energy production to three times as many jobs in education.

As for the much-touted spinoffs from military research, investing directly in civilian activities rather than relying on a spillover from Pentagon spending would produce significantly more useful technologies far more quickly. In fact, for the past few decades, the civilian sector of the economy has been far nimbler and more innovative than Pentagon-funded initiatives, so — don’t be surprised — military spinoffs have greatly diminished. Instead, the Pentagon is desperately seeking to lure high-tech companies and talent back into its orbit, a gambit which, if successful, is likely to undermine the nation’s ability to create useful products that could push the civilian sector forward. Companies and workers who might otherwise be involved in developing vaccines, producing environmentally friendly technologies, or finding new sources of green energy will instead be put to work building a new generation of deadly weapons.

Diminishing Returns

In recent years, the Pentagon budget has approached its highest level since World War II: $886 billion and counting. That’s hundreds of billions more than was spent in the peak year of the Vietnam War or at the height of the Cold War. Nonetheless, the actual number of jobs in weapons manufacturing has plummeted dramatically from three million in the mid-1980s to 1.1 million now. Of course, a million jobs is nothing to sneeze at, but the downward trend in arms-related employment is likely to continue as automation and outsourcing grow. The process of reducing arms industry jobs will be accelerated by a greater reliance on software over hardware in the development of new weapons systems that incorporate artificial intelligence. Given the focus on emerging technologies, assembly line jobs will be reduced, while the number of scientists and engineers involved in weapons-related work will only grow.

In addition, as the journalist Taylor Barnes has pointed out, the arms industry jobs that do remain are likely to pay significantly less than in the past, as unionization rates at the major contractors continue to fall precipitously, while two-tier union contracts deny incoming workers the kind of pay and benefits their predecessors enjoyed. To cite two examples: in 1971, 69% of Lockheed Martin workers were unionized, while in 2022 that number was 19%; at Northrop Grumman today, a mere 4% of its employees are unionized. The very idea that weapons production provides high-paying manufacturing jobs with good benefits is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

More and better-paying jobs could be created by directing more spending to domestic needs, but that would require a dramatic change in the politics and composition of Congress.

The Military Is Not an “Anti-Poverty Program”

Members of Congress and the Washington elite continue to argue that the U.S. military is this country’s most effective anti-poverty program. While the pay, benefits, training, and educational funding available to members of that military have certainly helped some of them improve their lot, that’s hardly the full picture. The potential downside of military service puts the value of any financial benefits in grim perspective.

Many veterans of America’s disastrous post-9/11 wars, after all, risked their physical and mental health, not to speak of their lives, during their time in the military. After all, 40% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars have reported service-related disabilities. Physical and mental health problems suffered by veterans range from lost limbs to traumatic brain injuries to post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). They have also been at greater risk of homelessness than the population as a whole. Most tragically, four times as many veterans have committed suicide as the number of military personnel killed by enemy forces in any of the U.S. wars of this century.

The toll of such disastrous conflicts on veterans is one of many reasons that war should be the exception, not the rule, in U.S. foreign policy.

And in that context, there can be little doubt that the best way to fight poverty is by doing so directly, not as a side-effect of building an increasingly militarized society. If, to get a leg up in life, people need education and training, it should be provided to civilians and veterans alike.

Tradeoffs

Federal efforts to address the problems outlined above have been hamstrung by a combination of overspending on the Pentagon and the unwillingness of Congress to more seriously tax wealthy Americans to address poverty and inequality. (After all, the wealthiest 1% of us are now cumulatively worth more than the 291 million of us in the “bottom” 90%, which represents a massive redistribution of wealth in the last half-century.)

The tradeoffs are stark. The Pentagon’s annual budget is significantly more than 20 times the $37 billion the government now invests annually in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Meanwhile, spending on weapons production and research alone is more than eight times as high. The Pentagon puts out more each year for one combat aircraft — the overpriced, underperforming F-35 — than the entire budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, one $13 billion aircraft carrier costs more to produce than the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. Similarly, in 2020, Lockheed Martin alone received $75 billion in federal contracts and that’s more than the budgets of the State Department and the Agency for International Development combined. In other words, the sum total of that company’s annual contracts adds up to the equivalent of the entire U.S. budget for diplomacy.

Simply shifting funds from the Pentagon to domestic programs wouldn’t, of course, be a magical solution to all of America’s economic problems. Just to achieve such a shift in the first place would, of course, be a major political undertaking and the funds being shifted would have to be spent effectively. Furthermore, even cutting the Pentagon budget in half wouldn’t be enough to take into account all of this country’s unmet needs. That would require a comprehensive package, including not just a change in budget priorities but an increase in federal revenues and a crackdown on waste, fraud, and abuse in the outlay of government loans and grants. It would also require the kind of attention and focus now reserved for planning to fund the military.

One comprehensive plan for remaking the economy to better serve all Americans is the moral budget of the Poor People’s Campaign, a national movement of low-income people inspired by the 1968 initiative of the same name spearheaded by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., before his assassination that April 4th. Its central issues are promoting racial justice, ending poverty, opposing militarism, and supporting environmental restoration. Its moral budget proposes investing more than $1.2 trillion in domestic needs, drawn from both cuts to Pentagon spending and increases in tax revenues from wealthy individuals and corporations. Achieving such a shift in American priorities is, at best, undoubtedly a long-term undertaking, but it does offer a better path forward than continuing to neglect basic needs to feed the war machine.

If current trends continue, the military economy will only keep on growing at the expense of so much else we need as a society, exacerbating inequality, stifling innovation, and perpetuating a policy of endless war. We can’t allow the illusion — and it is an illusion! — of military-fueled prosperity to allow us to neglect the needs of tens of millions of people or to hinder our ability to envision the kind of world we want to build for future generations. The next time you hear a politician, a Pentagon bureaucrat, or a corporate functionary tell you about the economic wonders of massive military budgets, don’t buy the hype.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2024/02 ... onomy.html
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:42 pm

US Airman’s Shocking Death Means More Around the World Than in Washington: Daniel Welch
FEBRUARY 29, 2024

Image
Daniel Patrick Welch, writer and geopolitical analyst, US. Photo: PressTV.

American writer and political commentator Daniel Patrick Welch says the self-immolation of US Airman Aaron Bushnell shows the desperation of a people completely ignored by their own government.

He added that the isolation of the United States and Israel is a life-changing, time-changing thing.

Welch made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the Press TV website on Tuesday, after initially balking at the topic of the soldier’s death.

Welch said that the US media is not telling the truth about the death of the 25-year-old airman who set himself on fire outside the embassy of the Israeli regime in protest at Tel Aviv’s genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.

In a video, which was live-streamed on the social media platform Twitch on Sunday but was later removed, Bushnell, an active-duty member of the US Air Force, said “I will no longer be complicit in genocide.”

He was yelling “Free Palestine!” repeatedly, as he was going up in flames after setting himself on fire.

Following the incident, mainstream US media outlets came under scrutiny for their choice of headlines. The New York Times headline said, “Man Dies After Setting Himself on Fire Outside Israeli Embassy in Washington, Police Say.”

CNN: US airman dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy in Washington

BBC: Aaron Bushnell: US airman dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington

The Washington Post: Airman dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy in DC.

“When I was asked to be interviewed on the death of Aaron Bushnell, I was a bit reticent. I have been reticent to do interviews for a few months, because here in the Belly of the Beast it’s quite depressing, and feels almost hopeless,” Welch says.

This feeling didn’t last long, Welch says. “But enough of that. I’m an American writer, and he was an American boy—soldier—and his death is a result of actions of the American ruling class, as well as the conflagration to which he responded.”

It made sense that this point of view should be heard, especially given how tightly US media is controlled. “I’ll give an American perspective that is, I think, unique, in the sense that there are no more truthtellers among reporters and journalists,” he says.

“It is insane to be living in this environment and speak out in this vacuum.” Why does he call it a vacuum? “ I mean, the entire world knows what’s going on and is beginning to wake up in ways that they haven’t yet. And over here, it never reaches above a whisper. It is shocking.”

What is unique or specific about this death? Welch points out “It is also important to say that he was an American soldier. There is a way in which some people might be shocked, or think it is a little self-involved for Americans to mourn their own kids more than the tens of thousands that have been killed in Gaza in the past few months.”

But he is quick to correct that impression, adding “That is obviously not my point. What I mean is that it hits home in a slightly different way. He’s not my child. But he is a child.”

Aside from his political commentary, Welch has spent his career teaching and mentoring students who are faced with the choice of joining the US military, which is not a requirement unlike in most other countries. “I have not only encountered kids like this; I’ve raised kids like this. I’ve encouraged kids to explore their options, he says.

However, he has usually steered students away from this choice. “I’ve always been reticent to tell them to go to the military instead of going directly to college. I’ve always avoided advising kids to go on to a military career. But times change, and we live in a society that doesn’t pay for anything except through military service.”

Of course, Welch is talking broadly about his own history with students. “I don’t know his background, so I’m not talking specifically about this young man. But some of the kids that I have advised and a lot of the kids from poor and working-class families have no choices.”

They often choose enlistment, Welch points out because it is a sort of backdoor way to get government funding for pursuing their career aims. “There are few programs, there is no free education, there is no anything. There is no free anything like there is in every other industrial economy in the world. And so to have the opportunity to have a career via this option is a kind of blackmail by the ruling class. It’s a kind of way to get cannon fodder.”

Additionally, according to Welch, youth of this age are naturally questioning—and vulnerable. “I think the feeling of that age, that youth, that exposure—is mind-numbing. And mind-changing.

However, he says, he felt almost chagrined to hear Bushnell admit to being complicit in genocide. “I do think it is important to say that this kid isn’t any more culpable than you, or me, or anyone else who is paying taxes to this regime. Who is not occupying the halls of government? Who keeps voting? Voting?? For what?”

Welch scoffs at the notion that activism should be directed to the voting duopoly that seems designed to keep things exactly as they are. “To think that there is any political party that is any different than another party in order to put a stop to this wanton violence is…”naïve” is a lousy word to use. Because it’s deliberate. It’s cynical.”

Welch also cautions against what he calls the “nightmare” of putting words in the young man’s mouth, or authorities in questioning his mental health, and so on. “I also don’t want to speak for him. I don’t think that is appropriate either.

Bushnell said it himself. He said: “‘My name is Aaron Bushnell. I am an active duty member of the US Air Force, and I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what the people in Palestine have been experiencing at the hands of the colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal. Free Palestine.’”

This statement alone is a sort of clarion call that should speak for itself. “That also should set the record straight that this kid knew what he was doing. Obviously, the notion of taking one’s life is very extreme and very disturbed.”

Here again, though, Welch has to reflect on the depth of passion and hopelessness he felt in his activist youth. “But I also have to put that through my own sieve. When I came back, around his age, I think, from my stint in Nicaragua. I felt hopeless, I felt depressed, and when I heard the idiocy of people speaking, the complete lack of compassion, lack of understanding. And I was thinking of the babies, the hungry babies—the boys who had had their limbs blown off by CIA bombs. Talking to them in person the night before the vote. I got so angry and hopeless that I kind of withdrew.”

This is a lens we have to look through, he asserts. “I can sense this. I know. Obviously, we went through a whole generation of Vietnam, young men and women who had to go through that. It ruins lives on this end, as well as on the receiving end of all the bombs.”

But the chilling reality is that Americans are incredibly adept—shockingly so—at avoiding any discussion. “Now the problem is that no one talks about it. There is nothing in the morning news, in the local TV news—nothing at all. Really, since October 7, there is nothing that tells the truth. Even beyond the idea that saying 70 thousand wounded 30 thousand were killed in Gaza by the Occupation Forces of Israel—that is since October 7. Why? Why is this a magic date? It’s kind of like taking the baton from the runner on the Propaganda Team and carrying it through the rest of the race.”

“There is no magic,” Welch continues, “despite what the propaganda machine says. October 7? What about 1948? What about decades of occupation, colonization. And even now, the narrative of October 7 completely dismisses the lies that were told in the aftermath. The existence of the Hannibal Doctrine in the Israeli military is ruthless. Civilians don’t matter. Pro or con doesn’t matter. You just blow the crap out of everything. So that, of the initial killed, most were killed by Israeli fire. You can still blame an attacker. But again, you have to zoom out.”

World is rejecting US’ hegemony: Welch
The Arab League said on Monday that the failure to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has led to the current trend of savagery followed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

“This prolonged occupation is an affront to international justice,” Abdel Hakim El-Rifai, the 22 Arab-country bloc’s representative, told judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

“The failure to bring it to an end has led to the current horrors perpetrated against the Palestinian people, amounting to genocide.”

The ICJ entered its last day of week-long hearings upon a request from the United Nations.

Welch points to the larger picture of how the world is rejecting US hegemony. “What we get when we zoom out is that there is a world on fire. A world who sees what we are doing. South Africa took it to the ICJ. Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Brazil joined them. Even Japan and Spain have ceased sending arms.” But it’s not a done deal, he cautions.

“Still the US controls large swathes of governments. Governments, not people. I guess India has been sending drones that help kill people in Gaza—that is shocking and repulsive. But this is a life-changing, time-changing thing. It hurts that a young man thought that he could make people talk about it by giving up his life.”

Mainstream Western media and its controllers in government will try to shape the narrative, he asserts. “They are going die on the hill of not letting his name and voice speak. And that is shameful. But it is no more shameful than The Game—what is going on with this country? This ruling class.”

He sees no political solution existing in the current environment. “There is no difference in the parties. There is no one on either “side of the aisle” (because we seem to love British references so much). There is no one who tells the truth. And no one within the halls of power who is wedded to anything but the continuation of their own power.”

“Carter was right,” he says. Former president Jimmy Carter made it clear in his retirement that he though the US was no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy. “Carlin was right,” Welch adds, referring to American comedian George Carlin who often pilloried the US elites and the institutions and culture that produced them. “The Oligarchy is what it is.”

In the debate over whose voice matters, Welch cautions that the present is not always the last word, citing Irish rebel Robert Emmet, whose famous Speech From the Dock before his execution is still quoted two centuries later. “Robert Emmet spoke the truth from the dock, and his voice still echoes. We have to keep our heads down and keep speaking out. Keep speaking out. Forever.”

(PressTV)

https://orinocotribune.com/us-airmans-s ... iel-welch/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 09, 2024 3:21 pm

Coordinator For Sanctions From Hell Appointed to Head Spook Agency that Supports Color Revolutions
By Jeremy Kuzmarov - March 8, 2024

Image
Tamara Cofman Wittes [Source: ned.org]

She also aided in manipulation of Arab Spring protests.
Since the outbreak of the Ukraine War, the Biden administration has applied sanctions on more than 15,000 Russian entities and individuals, marking Russia as among the most heavily sanctioned countries in history.

One analyst has likened the sanctions to the “economic carpet bombing of Russia,” and another to a “weapon of mass destruction.”

The pretext has repeatedly been fraudulent, with the Russian government accused of things there was no proof it had committed. The explicit goal, outlined in a Hudson Institute report, is to destroy Russia’s economy and “prepare for the dissolution of the Russian state.”

The lead U.S. State Department coordinator for the sanctions, Tamara Cofman Wittes, is highly intelligent, with a Ph.D. in political science from Georgetown University.[1] However, in her institutional role, she is a monster.

The sanctions have caused grave hardship for ordinary Russians, though have failed to bring down Russia’s economy or inspire civil unrest in the way that was planned.

Image
[Source: sott.net]

Despite the policy failure, Cofman Wittes was recently appointed as the new head of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) effective March 15.

The NDI is largely funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA offshoot founded in the 1980s to support political propaganda and opposition movements in countries targeted by the U.S. for regime change. The NDI is one of the NED’s four core institutes which purports to support democratization efforts and political parties worldwide that correlate roughly with the ideals of the Democratic Party.

Until her death in 2022, Madeleine Albright, a neo-conservative protégé of Zbigniew Brzezinski[2] who, as U.S. Secretary of State in the late 1990s championed the NATO war in the Balkans and sanctions against Iraq that killed half a million children, served as NDI Board Chair.

The NDI’s Board of Directors includes Michael McFaul, a Ukraine War hawk who, as an NDI consultant in the 1990s, supported Boris Yeltsin, an autocrat who stormed the parliament and sold off Russia’s assets at pennies to the dollar to predatory capitalists while acquiescing to NATO expansion in Eastern Europe.

Image
Michael McFaul [Source: ndi.org]

The NDI Board also includes luminaries of the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party, like Stacey Abrams, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (AKA Wall Street’s think tank) and former Board member of the hawkish, CIA-linked Center for American Progress[3], and former DNC Chair Donna Brazile, a key purveyor of the Russia Gate hoax that helped mobilize public opinion in support of the new Cold War.

Image
Donna Brazile [Source: time.com]

Image
[Source: theorg.com]

Yet another member of the NDI Board is Maurice Tempelsman, a billionaire mining executive with deep CIA connections.

Tempelsman, Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s former lover, played a key role in the 1960s in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of Congo and overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, two giants in the Pan-African movement, and cultivated close ties with Africa’s most notorious dictator, Joseph Mobutu.

Image
Maurice Tempelsman [Source: en-academic.com]

Tempelsman’s presence on the NDI Board reflects the double standard of an organization that purports to be all about advancing democracy and human rights.

The NDI in fact has a long record of trying to sabotage socialist governments that strive to take control over their countries’ natural resources, equalize wealth and restrict foreign plundering.

In the late 1980s, the NDI participated in NED programs against the Nicaraguan revolution, and in the 2010s, supported opposition elements seeking to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist government led by Nicolás Maduro.

The NDI has further supported anti-China politicians in Taiwan like Tsai Ing-wen, backed a color revolution against China in Hong Kong, and played a role in the 2004/05 color revolution that unseated pro-Russian leaders in Ukraine, and 2014 coup that precipitated war with Russia.

Image
[Source: ndi.org]

In a statement of congratulations on Cofman Wittes’s appointment, NED CEO Damon Wilson stated that “Tamara is the right leader at an urgent time for our work….She is fiercely committed to supporting freedom. I’m eager to have her as a partner in renewing democracy around the world.”

But Cofman Wittes’s work in coordinating the Russia sanctions policy was antithetical to advancing freedom and democracy; rather, it is a cruel policy considered by the Russians as an act of war whose purpose is to impoverish the Russian people and undermine a sovereign government.

Cofman Wittes’s genuine commitment to advancing freedom and democracy around the world is further put into question by her involvement in the Arab Spring.

Image
Damon Wilson [Source: ned.org]

Image
Tamara Cofman Wittes [Source: state.gov]

According to her State Department bio, Cofman Wittes served from 2009 to 2012 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East during the Arab Spring uprisings.[4]

Geopolitical analyst William F. Engdahl has pointed out that the Arab Spring uprisings were secretly planned and financed by Washington and U.S.-financed NGOs.

Image
William F. Engdahl [Source: countercurrents.org]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a key figure along with her assistant Huma Abedin.

The NED played a key role by coordinating pro-democracy groups in Middle Eastern countries targeted for regime change and helping these groups to develop the technique of mob “swarming” like bees, and the use of Facebook and social media to steer protests.

Image
Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin, key architects of the Arab Spring. [Source: usatoday.com]

The goal of the U.S. was to remove archaic leaders and destabilize Middle Eastern countries with the hope of installing pro-U.S. leaders who would sell their oil resources to U.S.-based corporations.

In April 2011, The New York Times published an article by Ron Nixon titled “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings.” It emphasized that groups and individuals directly involved in the Arab Spring, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entesar Al-Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from the NDI along with its counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and Freedom House, a regime-change NGO funded by the State Department.[5]

Image
Member of the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, which received NDI funds. [Source: egyptianstreets.com]

Image
Entesar Al-Qadhi [Source: womenpeacesecurity.org]

In Syria and Libya, Arab Spring protests backed by U.S. agencies set the groundwork for military and covert military invasions that devastated those societies as the U.S. sought to replace nationalistic regimes, which sustained control over their countries’ economic resources, with hand-picked puppets.

In Egypt, where the Arab Spring started, the protests ultimately led to the ascendance of the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-U.S. dictatorship of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who appears to be even more brutal than Hosni Mubarak, the tyrant who was the target of the Tahrir Square uprising.

Image
Joe Biden shaking hands with Egyptian tyrant Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the background. [Source: egyptianstreets.com]

As a surrogate of Hillary Clinton and a long-time NDI board member, Cofman Wittes was clearly deeply involved in the State Department’s efforts to help manufacture astroturf protest movements feeding off legitimate grievances in the Arab Spring that could be manipulated by the U.S.

No doubt in her new role she will continue to perform the same tasks—in the Middle East as elsewhere.


1.Cofman Wittes has taught at the Center for Jewish Civilization, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy. ↑

2.Serving as National Security Adviser under Jimmy Carter, Brzezinski comes from a family of Russophobes. He was the architect of the U.S. strategy of arming the mujahadin in Afghanistan to bring down the Soviet empire, and consistently advocated for imperialist policies designed to weaken Russia and expand U.S. influence and power in the oil-rich Central Asian region. ↑

3.This Center for American Progress is said to have close links with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It was headed for a period by Neera Tanden, a Clinton loyalist and aide to Hillary Clinton who later served as a top adviser to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. In 2019, Tanden welcomed the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of being “the agent of a proto fascist state, Russia, to undermine democracy.” On foreign policy issues, Tanden has been described as “hawkish.” In September 2013, Tanden tweeted that “an unpoliced world is dangerous.” Abrams is a staunch supporter of Israel which contradicts her public image as a human rights advocate. ↑

4.In 2008, Cofman Wittes published a book with a foreword by Strobe Talbott, Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institute Press, 2008) arguing that the failure of the Bush administration’s “freedom agenda” should not hamper the U.S. commitment to wielding its power and influence in the Middle East on behalf of democratic reform. The book advocated for an expansion of U.S. military training, claiming that this training enhanced the professionalism of Arab militaries and their independence from political control, hence creating a more favorable climate for democratic development, which has been shown to be a dubious proposition. Characteristically, Cofman Wittes’ book omits any discussion of political-economy or imperialistic objectives that the U.S. may hold in the Middle East, such as controlling the region’s oil and keeping it out of the hands of rival powers, controlling sea lanes and world trade, and sustaining and/or expanding the U.S. military base network. ↑

5.This was according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks. ↑

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2024/0 ... volutions/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 18, 2024 8:38 pm

Image
Soldiers put concertina wire on a border fence near the Brownsville and Matamoros Express International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas.

U.S. imperialism creates refugees, then criminalizes them at the border
Originally published: Struggle-La Lucha on March 15, 2024 by Gregory E. Williams (more by Struggle-La Lucha) | (Posted Mar 18, 2024)

With Nikki Haley out of the race, Trump and Biden are officially facing off in a presidential rematch. Both of these deeply unpopular politicians are attempting to get ahead by scapegoating migrants and refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border. In dueling publicity stunts, they both went to the border on Feb. 29., hundreds of miles apart in Texas.

Despite the polarized rhetoric, there is little substantive difference between their approaches to immigration. Biden seeks to present himself as a uniter who can “reach across the aisle” and get the job done, courting a supposedly reasonable section of the Republican Party less beholden to Trump. Trump depicts Biden as overseeing an open-border policy.

The reality is that the Biden administration has continued many of the more repressive Trump-era immigration policies.

Biden was Obama’s vice president from January 2009 to January 2017. Immigrant rights groups labeled Obama the “Deporter in Chief,” having deported three million people by the time he left office. Ultra-bigot Ron DeSantis even used these facts to try to make himself look more vicious than Trump, saying that he would deport more people than Trump, whose deportation stats trailed Obama’s.

Immigration legislation has been held up in Congress for months as different factions fight over the exact ways to manage U.S. imperialism’s borders. The legislation has been tied to funding for U.S. proxies in Ukraine, for example, which some Republicans oppose.

They do not oppose Ukraine funding on anti-imperialist grounds but rather because they represent the interests of different factions of the bourgeoisie who want to emphasize different theaters of conflict. Both parties are still absolutely united on continuing the U.S.-Israeli genocide of Palestinians and provoking China, risking World War III.

The bipartisan bill that has been held up—the showpiece of Biden’s “reaching across the aisle”—would enact further violence against asylum seekers. The bill would institute a trigger mechanism to shut down the border if an average of 5,000 people per day in a given week (or 8,500 in a single day) attempted to enter the U.S. outside the woefully inadequate legal channels.

The bill would involve pumping billions more of our tax dollars into the border police apparatus at a time when Kellogg’s CEO is telling us to just eat cereal for dinner because food and everything else is so expensive.

Sources close to the Biden administration have said that Genocide Joe is considering executive action to implement aspects of the immigration bill, bypassing the congressional morass.

In a special congressional election in New York, Democrat Tom Suozzi just won the House seat formerly occupied by George Santos. He scored this victory by bashing immigrants, calling the situation at the border an “invasion,” in fascistic, dehumanizing language reminiscent of Trump.

Biden’s racist edge
Immigration was a focal point in Biden’s March 7 State of the Union address, which marks the beginning of his campaign in earnest. Biden used racist terminology, referring to human beings as “illegals.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene put on her own show—wearing a shirt that read, “say her name”—and disrupting Biden by yelling this slogan, which came from the Black Lives Matter movement. Greene and other Republicans are capitalizing on the tragic killing of 22-year-old University of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley. A Venezuelan national is being charged with the crime.

The Republican narrative, of course, is that this incident is part of an epidemic of immigrant crime and violence and that the Biden administration’s policies are too lax. The immigrant crime wave is a pure myth. Very good data has come from multiple studies showing that there is no correlation between crime rates and immigration.

Stanford University economist Ran Abramitzky has even found that, since the 1960s, immigrants are 60% less likely to be incarcerated than people born in the U.S.—and that’s not because immigrants are treated more lightly. If anything, the opposite is probably true, as immigrants are criminalized in every aspect of their lives.

Since Greene and others have chosen to use the phrase, “say her name,” we should note a huge, glaring difference between what she and her cohorts are doing and the BLM movement. While the immigrant crime wave narrative is a big lie, the constant murder of Black people by police is not. All the data backs this up.

Overall, the political situation for immigrants continues to worsen, with both parties relying on this tried-and-true method of dividing up the working class by pitting one group of workers against another.

Who are the migrants?
But who are the migrants, and why are they coming in increasing numbers? U.S. Border Patrol claims to have had a record-breaking 250,000 encounters with migrants at the southwest border in December 2023. Books have been written on this topic, but the short answer is that it is because of U.S. imperialism.

Forty-seven thousand Venezuelans were encountered in December. Washington has dealt Venezuela’s economy deadly blows for many years, with sanctions that have increased dramatically since the Obama years. On March 8, 2015, Obama signed Executive Order 13692, declaring Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

As with Cuba, the “threat” represented by Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution was simply that they pursued national sovereignty, making it more difficult for Wall Street to plunder the country’s natural resources and exploit the people; they were pursuing a non-capitalist direction. The Venezuelan people held on firmly to the gains they had made and resisted repeated Washington-backed coups, but the sanctions were devastating. The country’s economy contracted 24.7% between 2013-16.

Trump’s administration pursued a “maximum pressure” campaign, especially targeting Venezuela’s leading industry, oil and gas. As with all U.S. sanctions, from Venezuela to Cuba to Iraq, the goal was to immiserate the population, leading to social collapse. The Biden administration let up just a little bit when it comes to Venezuelan oil exports but is threatening to ramp up sanctions again.

In 2021, the largest proportion of migrants came from Honduras, some 200 families a day, according to Border Patrol. The Obama administration—remember, Biden was vice president—orchestrated a coup in Honduras in 2009, sending democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya into exile.

For years, the country was plunged into economic chaos and violence. Politically, Honduras is just now getting back on its feet, with progressive President Xiomara Castro being elected in 2022—much to the dismay of Washington.

The Border Patrol claims to have encountered 76,100 Haitians in the 2023 fiscal year. Haiti is in the news now because of the political and economic crisis following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. The bourgeois media typically depicts Haiti’s troubles out of context rather than talk about the history of colonialism and slavery and the U.S. imperialists’ domination of Haiti. The U.S. occupied Haiti militarily from 1915 to 1934.

SLL writer Stephen Millies says:

The super-rich have never forgiven the Haitian people for overthrowing slavery. More than two centuries of revenge followed with the U.S. military occupying Haiti for 20 years, followed by support for the Duvalier family dictatorship.

It was the CIA which was behind the coup that overthrew democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Trump called Haiti, which helped liberate Latin America, a ‘sh—hole country.’


Politicians like Trump and Biden orchestrate the poverty and violence that drive people from their homelands, and they repress them when they come to the U.S. out of desperation. Sanctions and coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Capitalist imperialism is a global system. Exploitation and oppression are structural. It is not defined by one policy or another.

But it is important that we grasp that it is the capitalist class—the filthy rich like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk—who create these inhumane situations to amass more wealth, that is, to accumulate capital. The politicians work for capitalists. Workers have no interest in upholding their system or going along with the scapegoating campaigns.

https://mronline.org/2024/03/18/u-s-imp ... he-border/

******

US cranks F-35 production in a losing race with China
US finally approves full-rate production of the advanced stealth fighter but the numbers gap with China will only grow

By GABRIEL HONRADA
MARCH 16, 2024

Image
An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) takes off during an Agile Combat Employment exercise on Eielson Air Force Base,
Alaska, July 13, 2021. Agile Combat Employment exercises ensure the 354th FW is able to deploy, disperse and maneuver combat capability to create dilemmas for near-peer adversaries. Photo: US Air Force / Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T Tamondong

The Warzone reported that the full-rate production decision came more than four years later than planned, with the primary reason for the latest holdup being delays with the Joint Simulation Environment tests.

Those tests, the source mentions, were finally wrapped up at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland last September. It notes that in the meantime, 1,000 F-35s have been built for the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and foreign customers.

The Warzone says that completed F-35s are being parked as soon as they come off the production line due to ongoing delays in the Tech Refresh-3 (TR-3) hardware configuration.

It notes that configuration underpins the F-35’s future capabilities, collectively known as Block 4, which will provide advanced new capabilities to the F-35 including much-expanded processing power, new displays, enhanced cooling, new Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), Distributed Aperture System (DAS) electro-optical sensors and a host of additional weapons.

The decision to move forward with full production, known as Milestone C, comes as the US military is not accepting new aircraft due to concerns about the status of Block 4 upgrades, seen as a cornerstone of the F-35’s future development potential.


William LaPlante, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, signed the memo approving the Milestone C decision, the report said.

China may be close behind in the advanced stealth fighter race. This month, The Warzone released recent images of China’s Shenyang J-35, indicating it could operate from its existing and future carriers including the Type 003 Fujian. The Warzone pictures reveal the aircraft’s underside, landing gear, and layout, all of which are similar to the F-35C.

The Warzone says the J-35 has long been linked to the People’s Liberation Army-Navy’s (PLAN) future catapult-assisted takeoff but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) carriers.

The report notes that the possibility of J-35s performing regular operations from Liaoning and Shandong aircraft carriers may make sense, as they would gain valuable experience and flight hours before the Fujian is fully ready.

Although the US has belatedly cleared the F-35 for full-rate production, it is unclear whether it will meet its production goals due to budget cuts that have resulted in reduced orders.

This month, Defense One reported that the US Air Force had been warned of cuts to purchases in its upcoming budget proposal due to reports that the service won’t be able to buy as many F-35s as originally planned.

Defense One mentions that the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) fiscal 2025 topline budget will be US$849.8 billion, about $10 billion less than forecast due to the US Congress’s cap on defense spending.

Defense One mentions that the cap has forced officials to cut the number of F-35 jets they buy next year from 83 to 70. As for other fighter types, Breaking Defense reported this month that the US Air Force would be receiving 18 instead of 24 F-15EX fighters, with overall cuts resulting in just 86 out of 107 fighter jets initially planned for acquisition.

Despite that, the 2025 cuts are at a level that the service can accept and will still allow progress on modernization, Defense One stated.

In contrast, China is progressing steadily with its 5th-generation fighter program, with the J-20 as its flagship project.

Image
China’s J-20 fighters fly in formation at an air show. Image: China Daily

Asia Times reported in February 2023 that China is set to surpass the US in 5th-generation fighter production, with its J-20 stealth fleet numbers expected to exceed the US F-22 inventory within this year.

F-22 production was stopped in 2011, with only 187 irreplaceable and increasingly obsolescent airframes built. In contrast, China may already have up to 200 J-20 fighters, based on serial numbers seen at the 2022 Zhuhai Air Show.

As of April 2022, the US has 450 F-35s but China’s J-20 production is gaining speed. China’s manufacturing techniques and jet engine technology have accelerated the production of the J-20, with China using world-class pulsating production lines to speed up fighter deliveries.

Asia Times reported in September 2022 that China’s fighter force may already have caught up with the US in the Pacific. The US has only 11 fighter squadrons in the Pacific, while it reportedly needs 13. Meanwhile, only three out of eight US fighter squadrons are transitioning to newer aircraft, resulting in a smaller, older and less capable fighter force.

China is estimated to have 1,800 fighters divided among its five theater commands organized into seven to ten fighter brigades, with three to six fighter groups having 30 to 50 aircraft.

Ideally, the US must maintain 134 modernized, well-equipped fighter squadrons and a production rate of 72 fighters per year to maintain combat capability while retiring older aircraft.

As to how America’s F-35 compares with China’s J-35, Joseph Trevithick notes in a July 2022 The Warzone article that the J-35 has a F-35-like front opening, an internally bowed canopy with an integral bulkhead at the rear and a rear canopy configuration similar to F-35A and F-35C variants.

Trevithick notes that the J-35’s canopy is less severely “bubbled” and blends more evenly with the airframe towards its rear.

He points out that the F-35, which is arguably the prototype for the J-35’s design, has a canopy configuration resulting from a design compromise to accommodate the lift fan and other unique elements found on the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL)-capable F-35B variant.

He also notes that the J-35 may have domestically-built WS-21 engines, with serrated exhausts to minimize its heat signature and other adaptations for a maritime environment.

As to how the F-35 and J-20 would face off against each other, Brent Eastwood notes in a November 2023 article for The National Interest (TNI) that the two stealth fighters would likely square off in a Taiwan Strait conflict.

Eastwood says that the F-25 has better stealth attributes than the J-20, with the latter being unable to see the former until a missile lock. However, he points out that while the J-20 is faster than the F-35, the Chinese jet does not have a cannon while the American one has better stealth characteristics.

He notes that pilot skills could determine who wins any dogfight.

https://asiatimes.com/2024/03/us-cranks ... ith-china/

******

Nima And Larry...

... on the fate of NATO.



But, of course, the release of GAO Report on F-35 is shocking, it is mind-boggling. If the situation with the new generation SSN(X) hasn't been enough, now the actual numbers on combat readiness of F-35 is a shock! https://www.gao.gov/assets/870/861566.pdf

Image

Good God! The USAF doesn't have the air force in effect. We knew F-35 was shit, but this--this is the greatest financial swindle in the history of combat aviation. Add here LCS clusterfuck, add here SMO and the "performance" of US-made weapon systems, and the picture which emerges... well, I am awe-struck with the scale of corruption, technological ineptitude and BS which permeates the whole system. It is a whole other level. Shocking still. I'll discuss this in my new video.

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2024/03 ... ry_17.html
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Tue Mar 19, 2024 2:17 pm

Why Did Obama, Trump and Biden Bend Over Backwards to Support Narco-Dictator Who Said He Would “Stuff Drugs Right up the Noses of Gringos”?
By Jeremy Kuzmarov - March 14, 2024

Image
Donald Trump and Juan Orlando Hernández. [Source: youtube.com]

The answer is capitalism: Hernández opened Honduras to U.S. investors who value profits over people, including the American people
On March 8, an American jury in Federal District Court found former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) guilty of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and possessing and conspiring to possess “destructive devices,” including machine guns.

A string of witnesses testified during the trial that Mr. Hernández’s political success was fueled by drug proceeds funneled to him by cocaine traffickers whom he treated as business partners.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Hernández received millions of dollars from trafficking organizations in Honduras, Mexico and elsewhere, including from Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo,” who was a Mexican drug lord and the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

In return, prosecutors noted that Mr. Hernández allowed vast amounts of cocaine to pass through Honduras on their way to the U.S. in what amounted to a “cocaine superhighway.”

Hernández had boasted that he wanted to “stuff the drugs right up the noses of the gringos.”

Image
Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (center). [Source: tunota.com]

Given Hernández’s explicit intent to harm American citizens revealed in these latter comments, one would think that the American government would have declared him to be a national security threat and try to isolate or undermine his regime through sanctions or some other means.

The U.S. applied sanctions to Nicaragua and Venezuela and other left-wing governments that threatened the exploitative practices of U.S. corporations. Hernández’s government, however, was right-wing and friendly to U.S. business interests, and so he was feted at the White House, praised by Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and lavished with foreign aid.

Image
Then-Vice President Joseph Biden embraces Juan Orlando Hernández in Guatemala City, February 2016. [Source: thegrayzone.com]

After Hernández signed a pact that gave broader leeway for the U.S. to deport migrants, then-President Donald Trump told Hernández: “I want to congratulate you and your country, and I want to tell you that you have done a fantastic job…My people working alongside you also tell us how much you love your country.”

Joe Biden was no better than Donald Trump. When Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) sponsored a bill in February 2021 imposing sanctions on Hernández for corruption and human rights abuses, and advocating the suspension of U.S. security assistance to Honduras and export licenses for coveted defense articles and munitions items sold to the Honduran police and military, Biden administration officials failed to support the bill—which lacked the numbers to pass—and refused to condemn the human rights violations carried out by U.S.-subsidized security forces in Honduras.

Image
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (left) speaks with then-Vice President Biden during a news conference in Guatemala City on March 2, 2015.[Source: npr.org]

Reuters reported that the U.S. government provided Hernández with more than $50 million in anti-narcotics assistance and tens of millions more in security and military aid during his presidency from 2014 to 2022.

Image
Obama and Juan Orlando Hernández [Source: actualidad.rt.com]

Millions of foreign aid dollars were channeled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was established in the 1980s to take over functions previously performed by the CIA. In 2018, the NED budget for Honduras was $735,124. Total U.S. foreign aid that year was $126.768 million.

Image
U.S. Army Sergeant Major Archie Smith (far left), Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element clinical operations, and Sergeant Major Shawn Carns (far right), JTF-Bravo Command Sergeant Major, pose for photo with Honduran Army service members during a Military Partnership Engagement in San Sebastian, Comayagua, Honduras, July 9, 2016. [Source: jtfb.southcom.mil.com]

The U.S. military, which stationed more than 1,000 troops at the Soto Cano Air Base,[1] had a particularly close relationship with Hernández’s Security Minister, Julián Pacheco Tinoco. He was a 1979 graduate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, with whom a Mexican drug trafficker, José Santos Peña, claimed to have met to discuss plans to move cocaine from Colombia through Honduras to the U.S.

Image
Honduran Security Minister Julián Pacheco prepares to conduct a press conference in Tegucigalpa, on March 7, 2017. [Source: theintercept.com]

In 2019, Hernández’s brother Tony, a congressman from 2014 to 2018 and associate of “El Chapo” was found guilty of importing nearly 200,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Many of the shipments were overseen by JOH’s chief of National Police, Juan Carlos Bonilla Valadares (aka “El Tigre”), whom Tony Hernández said was “very violent,” and “trusted with special assignments, including murders.”

Image
Tony Hernández [Source: theguardian.com]

Hondurans’ anger at American backing for Hernández’s venal regime was evident in 2019 when protesters set fire to the front gate to the U.S. embassy.

Ismael Moreno Coto, a Jesuit priest, told NPR in March 2021 that “Hernández has held onto power because he has support from Southern Command, the State Department and the White House.”

Image
Ismael Moreno Coto [Source: crcc.usc.edu]

Coming to Power on Heels of U.S.-Backed Coup
Hernández was described by journalist Dana Frank as a “formidable charmer” who “looked like he was born wearing a clean white shirt” but was really a “dangerous thug,”[2]

His rise to power resulted from a 2009 Obama administration-backed coup, which Hernández supported as head of the Honduran Congress.[3]

The target of the coup, elected President José Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009), had raised the minimum wage, increased teacher pay, opened the door to restoring the land rights of small farmers, and joined the Hugo Chávez-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which aimed to integrate Latin American economies independent of the U.S.

Image
José Manuel Zelaya [Source: lexpress.fr]

Miguel Angel, a political activist in his 20s who fled Honduras after the coup, told CovertAction Magazine that “Zelaya was the best president Honduras had ever had,” one who “followed through on his campaign promises.” The latter proved to be his undoing as the wealthy “didn’t like the fact that a man of power gave a plate of food to the poor.”

The wealthy favored Hernández more, as did U.S. leaders, because he moved to privatize state-run industry and open Honduras to private investment in line with the goals of the 2004 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which included a requirement that “labor practices do not disadvantage competition”—thus forcing Honduras’s government to cut the few protections, wages and benefits they provide to workers.

Image
Protest banner against CAFTA, which forced small and medium-sized Honduran producers of milk, corn and other products to compete with far more powerful U.S. agribusiness. According to an AFL-CIO delegation, “CAFTA only exacerbated the desperation and instability in Honduras.” [Source: citizen.org]

U.S. direct foreign investment in Honduras totaled over $2.42 billion in 2015 and more than 200 U.S. companies operated there in 2022, according to the U.S. State Department.

In July 2014, Obama and Biden invited Hernández and other Central American leaders to the White House to push the Alliance for Prosperity, a $1 billion investment in the region’s economic development and security assistance.[4] Dana Frank says that “this is the clearest marker of Biden and Obama saying we are going to pour money in and support this regime,” overlooking evidence of corruption.

Image
[Source: bookshopsantacruz.com]

Hernández’s push for privatization in the health care and education sectors prompted large-scale demonstrations against him that were suppressed by Honduras’s military police, which were trained by the FBI—another clear example of U.S. complicity in Hernandez’s human rights abuses.

Image
Protests against Hernández calling him a “narco-dictator.” [Source: telesurenglish.net]

The U.S. is a capitalist country that has always placed profits over people, and supported leaders like Hernández’s who are seen as better alternatives to the left.

Historically, the U.S. has preferred that its own allies control the drug trade, keeping the profits out of the hands of rivals and left-wing groups.[5]

If the U.S. favorite becomes a political liability because his corruption is exposed, then the U.S. may throw him under the bus—like they have now done with Hernández—but there will always be somebody else waiting in the wings.

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2024/0 ... f-gringos/

******

The US-Dominated International Order is Collapsing
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on MARCH 18, 2024
Lau Siu-kai

Image

History will prove that the Russo-Ukrainian war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were catalysts for paradigmatic changes in the international landscape and the driving force behind the eventual demise of the US-led “liberal international order.”

During the Cold War period after World War II, two “international orders” emerged in the world, namely the “socialist international order” led by the Soviet Union and the so-called “liberal international order” led by the United States. After the end of the Cold War, the “liberal international order” was the only international order in the world. Since then, the United States has continued to use coercion, inducement, and regime change to bring more and more countries into this dominant international order, which has led to many conflicts between the United States and other countries, particularly China and Russia. However, in the past decade or so, the “liberal international order” has increasingly become unviable and unsustainable. The reasons include the fact that more and more countries believe it is an unfair, inequitable, and unreasonable international order catering primarily to the interests of the West and that the United States itself often violates and distorts the “rules of the game” devised by itself.

From a historical perspective, the Russo-Ukrainian war and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are significant game-changing events that would bring about “tectonic changes” in the global political landscape that would, in turn, lead to the complete collapse of the “liberal international order” in different ways.

First, they verify that the United Nations, as the linchpin of the “liberal international order,” can no longer serve as an organisation for maintaining world peace and international order under the deliberate neglect, defiance, and disruption of the United States. The United Nations cannot act to avoid and end the Russo-Ukrainian war. Moreover, the United States blatantly vetoed most countries in the United Nations’ call for a ceasefire in Gaza. When the United Nations becomes an effete and ineffective international institution, the unilateral actions of the United States taken without the approval of the United Nations will increasingly lose the endorsement and goodwill of the international community, and the international order it leads will also lose legitimacy and support.

Second, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the United States not only condoned but even provided military and diplomatic support to Israel’s near-genocide atrocities against the Palestinian civilians in Gaza, most deplorably women and children. Israel’s actions in Gaza seriously violate and make a mockery of the “liberal international order’s” proclaimed respect for human rights and freedoms and the prohibition and condemnation of genocide. The United States and its Western allies disregarded Israel’s atrocities, which is entirely contrary to their position of severely accusing and condemning Russia for committing “war crimes” in the Russo-Ukrainian war. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has unmistakably and fully exposed the moral hypocrisy and double standards of the United States and the West. It has triggered intense anger and frustration in the international community and brought about the complete moral bankruptcy of the Western camp led by the United States. In other words, the “liberal international order” no longer has powerful moral moorings. Consequently, the “liberal international order” will continue to shrink as more and more countries are reluctant to imbue it with legitimacy. The United States’ global leadership position will also be seriously jeopardised.

Third, the Russo-Ukraine war proved that the “liberal international order” led by the United States is dangerously “expansionary” and “coercive” in nature, thus posing a clear and serious threat to world peace. The United States demands all countries participating in the “liberal international order” adopt Western political and economic models and values. It does not accept or tolerate the existence of other political and economic models and values. The eastward expansion of NATO promoted by the United States can be understood as a strategic plan to further expand the “liberal international order” in Europe to contain Russia and ultimately change its political and economic system in the Western direction. In a sense, the essence of the Russo-Ukrainian war can thus be understood as a “defensive” maneuver by Russia to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, security, and strategic autonomy. Since the continuous and reckless expansion of the “liberal international order” has triggered the Russo-Ukrainian war, and the scale of the Russo-Ukrainian war is likely to expand and pose a graver threat to world peace and development, other countries in the world will be increasingly dismissive of the “liberal international order.” A lot of countries are already deeply apprehensive about a devastating global war triggered by the United States’ dogged efforts at containment of China to make it a qualified member of the “liberal international order.” Global resistance to it is bound to grow day by day. Now, the United States is on the verge of failure in the Russia-Ukraine war, which is commonly seen as a “proxy war” between the United States and Russia. This will encourage and embolden more countries to resist the “liberal international order” in various ways in the days to come.

History will prove that the Russo-Ukrainian war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were catalysts for paradigmatic changes in the international landscape and the driving force behind the eventual demise of the US-led “liberal international order.” The Russo-Ukraine war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have already proven that the US-led international order cannot bring peace, development, fairness, and justice to the world; instead, it is becoming increasingly an impetus for instability and even war. The balance of power in the world is shifting irreversibly away from the West with the unstoppable demise of the “liberal international order.” Admittedly, the “liberal international order” may still exist in some form, but its prominent members will be mainly confined to the United States and some of its Western allies. Inevitably, with the gradual demise of the “liberal international order,” the world will experience a period of “international disorder” and the ensuing instability and uncertainty. However, in the past period, many non-Western countries, especially China, have begun to actively and urgently explore alternatives to the “liberal international order.” The Russo-Ukrainian war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will undoubtedly accelerate the pace of work in this area, eventually promoting the birth of a new, fairer, equitable, and reasonable international order that is conducive to world peace and development and respects the interests and needs of all countries.

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2024/03/ ... ollapsing/

*******

The More Thoroughly Exposed the CIA’s True Face, the Better
MARCH 16, 2024

Image
'Mother of all disorder.' A political cartoon depicting an octopus on a computer over the globe wearing a hat that says 'CIA,' along with a US flag. Photo: Liu Rui/GT

By Global Times editorial board – Mar 15, 2024

Reuters exclusively reported on Thursday [March 14] that, according to a former US official with direct knowledge of highly confidential operations, then-US president Donald Trump authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to launch secret operations on Chinese social media aimed at “turning public opinion in China against its government.” Many people don’t find this information surprising or even consider it “news.” The US is a habitual offender, using various covert means to foment “peaceful evolution” and “color revolutions” in other countries, with the CIA being the main force employed to this end. For other countries, the US’ pervasive influence is everywhere, visible and tangible, so there is no need for exposés.

We are still unclear what the specific purpose of the “former US official” was in leaking the information to Reuters. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment on the existence of the program, its goals or impact. A spokesperson for the Biden administration’s National Security Council also declined to comment, which means it was neither confirmed nor denied. The US intelligence community often uses a mixture of false and true information to create confusion, a tactic that was used on Edward Snowden. The Reuters report is valuable, but needs to be further processed to filter out the true and useful parts.

Firstly, this report carries a strong defense of US penetration into China. It portrays the proactive offensive of the US’ cognitive warfare against China as a passive counterattack against “cyber attacks” on the US from China and Russia. In reality, portraying themselves as the weak or victimized party and labeling their hegemonic actions as “justice” is a part of the US’ cognitive warfare against foreign countries.

One US official interviewed by Reuters even said it felt like China was attacking the US with “steel baseball bats,” while the US could only fight back with “wooden ones,” showing his exaggerated and clumsy acting skills. The US has never used a “wooden stick.” Over the past few decades, the CIA has overthrown or attempted to overthrow at least 50 legitimate international governments. There are also statistics showing that from 1946 to 2000, the US attempted to influence elections in 45 countries 81 times to achieve regime change. As a habitual offender of manipulating public opinions, the US has long established a series of tactics in its targeted propaganda, information dissemination, event creation, rumor fabrication, incitement of public opinion, and media manipulation. It constantly creates new tactics and uses new technologies according to changing circumstances. This is an open secret. The US dressing itself up as a “little lamb” only has a comedic effect, not a propaganda effect.

Next, as the US’ intervention and infiltration in other countries are covert operations, this disclosure provides an opportunity for the outside world to glimpse into the specific methods used by the US. For example, the whistleblower admitted that the CIA had formed a small team of operatives, using bogus online identities to spread damaging stories about the Chinese government while simultaneously disseminating defamatory content to overseas news agencies. This corroborates with previous statements by CIA Director William Burns, indicating increased resources being allocated for intelligence activities against China, once again confirming the existence of the US “1450” (internet water army) team targeting China.

The whistleblower admitted that the CIA has targeted public opinion in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific region, spreading negative narratives about the Belt and Road Initiative. This indicates that in the US-instigated propaganda war against China, the global public opinion arena, especially in “Global South” countries, is their main strategic target. Various “China threat” theories circulating in third-party countries, as consistently pointed out by China, are all being operated by the US intelligence agencies behind the scenes.

The US has never concealed its hegemonic aims, nor does it regard encroachment on other countries’ sovereignty as something to be ashamed of, which is even more infuriating than the hegemonic behavior itself. American economist Jeffrey Sachs criticized the CIA’s blatant violation of international law in his commentary last month, stating that it is “devastating to global stability and the US rule of law,” leading to “an escalating regional war, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and millions of displaced people.” He also criticized the mainstream American media for failing to question or investigate the CIA. In fact, far from acting as watchdogs, mainstream American media has served as an accomplice. How many rumors manufactured by the CIA have been spread through the mouths of mainstream American media? When did they reflect and correct themselves?

We also see that the intentions of the US intelligence agencies are even more sinister. As admitted in the revelations, they aim to force China to spend valuable resources in defending against “cognitive warfare,” keeping us busy with “chasing ghosts,” and disrupting our development pace. First of all, we appreciate their reminder. At the same time, we will not allow external factors to interfere with our strategic determination to manage our own affairs well. For China and the world, the more fully, clearly, and thoroughly the CIA exposes itself, the deeper people will understand its true nature, and the stronger their ability to discern the truth will become. Keeping the CIA busy to no end or failing in their attempts is the best preventive effect.

https://orinocotribune.com/the-more-tho ... editorial/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Tue Mar 26, 2024 2:02 pm

Deterrence By Savagery?

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

― Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996)


Western colonialism began in the fifteenth century and ended, with a few exceptions, in the mid of the 20th century. It was enabled by the development of technologies and fast population growth. The West then changed to a new model of ruling the world. It talked about human values and human rights and certain rules that would allegedly enable everyone to enjoy those.

The facade did not hold up well. The West, and especially the U.S., abused the 'rules based order' by circumventing international law whenever it did not fit its interests. It continued to apply 'organized violence' under dubious circumstances. The wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were supposed to demonstrate that the West would uphold whatever rules it claimed to exist. But the wars were lost and the U.S. had to retreat from them.

The war in Ukraine is only the latest but most obvious demonstration that the 'rules based order' no longer exists:

Over the past several decades, the United States has continually placed Moscow in a position either to accept the fait accompli of NATO expansion at the expense of Russian security interests, or to escalate with force and suffer the consequences of increased economic and political ostracization. This disincentive to avoid escalation has been effectively removed. Explicating the altered state of international relations is not cheerleading for the Russian position — although it may be treated as such by those who disingenuously present any realistic assessment of the situation as “appeasement” — but rather illustrating how Moscow has insulated itself from Western ostracization, thus changing the entire balance of power in not only Europe, but the world.
Now, it is Russia that has the West on the horns of a dilemma: It can either watch the Kremlin achieve its strategic objectives, guaranteed in a one-sided negotiated settlement or through the continued attrition of Ukrainian forces, or it can escalate with force. Putin’s statement regarding nuclear weapons was not mere rhetoric—it was the Russian president defining the limits of the current conflict from a position of authority.

Anything short of total Ukrainian victory is therefore an implicit admission that the “rules-based” economic and political order has been irreversibly altered.


This morning hypersonic weapons destroyed an SBU headquarter in Kiev just seconds after the air alarm was activated. Western air defenses had failed. Russia has destroyed the myth of the West's superiority in applying organized violence.

Others have taken note. The recent flare up in U.S. relations with Niger is a consequence of this:

The pressure brought to Niger reveals that Washington is supporting the war against Russia for reasons other than the right of Ukraine to choose its partners and join NATO, or that that right only applies when the partner being chosen is the United States and NATO but not Russia. The core principle, then, is not the right of a sovereign nation to choose its partner, but the right of a sovereign nation to partner with the United States.
The American attitude toward Niger and Russia reveals a second lesson. A key response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was to isolate Russia and reinforce the U.S.-led unipolar world. It has not worked.

The United States has expressed concern that the “Russian Federation is really trying to take over central Africa as well as the Sahel.” Thurston told me that the U.S. is “very worried about Russian influence throughout the Sahel, and it has a particular sting in Niger given the previous closeness of the relationship.”

He added that the United States “seems to regard competition with Russia in Africa as zero-sum; whereas, most African governments don’t see things that way.” And that is the hallmark of the emerging multipolar world that the U.S. is trying to hold back. Saudi Arabia has said “we do not believe in polarization or in choosing between sides.” India’s Minister of External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, in his book, The Indian Way, describes the new multipolar world as one in which countries deal “with contesting parties at the same time with optimal results” for their “own self-interest.”


Having lost its two main sources power, the rules based order as a (somewhat) soft power instrument and its military hard power superiority, the West is in need of a new instrument of deterrence, a new tool that allows it to press its interest against the will of other powers.

It found that in demonstrating utter savagery.

The war on Gaza, backed by the West, is a demonstration that the West is willing to cross all lines. That it will discard any nuance of humanity. That it is willing to commit genocide. That it will do everything to prevent international organizations to intervene against this.

That it is willing to eliminate everyone and everything that resists it.

Those nations who commit themselves to multi-polarity should steel themselves for what might be visited on them.

Posted by b on March 25, 2024 at 17:02 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2024/03/d ... .html#more
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 10694
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Nature of Foxes

Post by blindpig » Fri Mar 29, 2024 2:07 pm

Patrick Lawrence: Late-Imperial Duplicities
March 28, 2024

There is nothing new about lying to Americans to get the empire’s business done.

Image
U.S. President Joe Biden waving to the press pool at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in June 2023. (White House, Adam Schultz)

By Patrick Lawrence
ScheerPost

As I was saying to Diocletian over Prosecco just last week, it is hard to run an empire these days. You have to lie to people more or less incessantly to keep the troops minding the perimeter in supplies.

No falsehood is too preposterous to gain the public’s acquiescence. At times you have to deceive even the Senate.

“Ah, yes, the solons,” the old persecutor replied. “It is mere ceremony with them. You can keep the senators in the dark if protecting the arcana imperii requires it. They usually prefer this, indeed. As for the vox populi, one must occasionally feign to hear it, but there is no need to pay any attention.”

“Son of a bitch,” I exclaimed, quoting the current guardian of America’s imperial secrets. “You’ve got the Biden regime to a ‘T.’”

Did he ever, the crafty autocrat.

There is nothing new about lying to Americans to get the empire’s business done. It was 76 years ago last week that President Harry Truman won public acceptance for Washington’s endless postwar interventions in his famous “scare hell out of the American people” speech to Congress. It was 60 years ago this August that President Lyndon Johnson faked the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify sending ground troops to Vietnam.

As for cutting the dolts on Capitol Hill out of the loop, we have been talking about the imperial presidency since Arthur Schlesinger coined the term in the latter days of the Nixon administration.

Three-quarters of a century later, Joe “New Ideas” Biden has altered course not one minute on the policy cliques’ compass.

Weapons Shipments to Israel

It has been objectionable enough in many quarters that the Biden White House has sent two on-the-record shipments of weapons to Israel for use in its genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza since the Israel Occupation Forces — we’re renaming these barbarians — began their siege last autumn.

These were for $106 million and $147.5 million; in each case the administration invoked emergency authority to bypass the mandated congressional approval.

At this point, a decisive majority of Americans want President Joe Biden to force Israel to declare a ceasefire — which, as everyone knows, he could do in a trice.

In a poll conducted Feb, 27 to Mar. 1 for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, more than half of those surveyed thought the U.S. should stop all arms shipments to Israel — “no more U.S. money for the Netanyahu war machine,” as Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator, put it.

Image
March for Free Palestine and Ceasefire in Gaza in New York City on Oct 28, 2023. (Pamela Drew, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

But never mind the populus and never mind Congress. The former are to be ignored and there are various ways to circumvent the latter. The Washington Post reported in its March 6 editions that, as arms sales to the apartheid state grew more politically perilous, Biden’s policy people have covertly authorized more than 100 separate, under-the-radar shipments.

We do not know the value of these, but each has been small enough to require no legislative authorization.

No debate, no disclosure. We know about these transfers now only because regime officials told Congress about them in “a recent classified briefing.” Before that, Congress didn’t know anything about the shipments, either — although this seems highly unlikely. I do not see how Capitol Hill could be unaware of an op of this magnitude.

My surmise is that legislators were perfectly happy once again to surrender their responsibilities to the imperial presidency. That recent classified briefing made page one of the Post because this is the national security state’s way of easing the public into the picture.

These shipments are obviously counter to the spirit of the law, if not its letter. But no one in the administration has felt compelled to offer an explanation since the Post’s piece appeared, to say nothing of an apology for deceiving a public increasingly critical of the regime’s Israel policy. Congress has raised not the slightest objection — Congress, as in the 435 representatives and 50 senators elected and paid to represent your interests and mine.

Cut to historical flashback.

Diocletian’s reign, from 284 to 305 C.E., was noted for a few things. He executed thousands of Christians and burned a lot of churches while also seeing to numerous constitutional and administrative reforms intended to make the imperial throne more imperial.

The Roman Senate continued to convene in a building Diocletian fashioned for the purpose. But there were no more fictions or illusions attaching to its powers. One of his reforms was to make sure it had none in matters of state. The body once responsible for Roman law was down to housekeeping chores and sheer ritual.

Image
“Digital Creators” on a White House balcony waving Biden off to the U.S. Capitol for his State of the Union address to Congress on March 7. (White House, Carlos Fyfe)

We do not yet have official permission to conclude publicly that Ukraine has lost America’s proxy war with Russia — that remains among our Great Unsayables.

But we are allowed — encouraged, indeed — to talk about how desperately the Kyiv regime needs more American guns if it is to stop Russian advances and — I love this part — reverse them and win the war.

In the March 8 edition of Foreign Affairs, this headline: “Time is Running Out in Ukraine.” And this subhead, well-crafted to preserve the necessary degree of delusion: “Kyiv Cannot Capitalize on Russian Military Weakness Without U.S. Aid.”

You can read the rest of Dara Massicot’s essay here if you insist, but the display language as just quoted is what Foreign Affairs wants you to know, or think you know: The $60.1 billion in additional support the Biden regime proposes will save the day and Congress must stop blocking it.

This has become something like the running theme on Ukraine since the Council on Foreign Relations, which publishes Foreign Affairs, announced it a couple of weeks back.

Weapons for Ukraine’s ‘Stalemate’

It is now O.K. to suggest the conflict that has literally destroyed yet another nation and another people in the U.S. imperium’s cause has reached “a stalemate,” but only if it quickly follows that more weaponry is necessary to keep the thieves and neo–Nazis in Kyiv going.

Stalemates can be overcome, you see. You only get to lose once, at which point you don’t need more guns.

On March 14 The New York Times published “America Pulls Back from Ukraine” in its daily feature called The Morning.

“What the war may look like if Ukraine does not receive more U.S. support,” is the subhead this time. Same story: All will be lost if the U.S. does not send Ukraine more war matériel tout de suite. All can be gained if it does.

You know, it is one thing for a Dara Massicot to go on about the desperate need for the U.S. to ship Kyiv more weapons. That is her job at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and we can leave Ms. Massicot to her war-is-peace paradox.

It is entirely another for a New York desk reporter at the Times to do the same. As you read German Lopez’s “report,” keep in mind: You are not reading journalism. You are reading a clerk for the policy cliques normalizing the latter’s desire to resupply Ukraine as our incontrovertible reality.


Russian armored car and a column of self-propelled rocket launchers during the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. (Mil.ru, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

Sound journalism must have multiple sources, as any first-year J–school student can tell you. Lopez’s is a one-source story allowing of no other perspective on the war other than the official perspective as the Biden regime tries to shake loose the dough from Congress.

What is vastly worse, the one source Lopez quotes is not even the usual administration official who cannot be named because of the “sensitivity” of something or other. No, the source is “my colleague Julian Barnes, who covers the war.”

Wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wait. First, Julian Barnes does not cover the war. From the Times’ Washington bureau he covers what the regime wants the public to think about the war, full stop.

Second, where do the Times’ editors get off having one reporter quote another reporter as the authority in a story when the quoted reporter is lock-and-stock repeating — uncritically, without qualification, in roughly the same language — what the administration declares at every press conference concerning the Ukraine war and in every public statement?

“With an aid package, the Ukrainians will have a much better chance of solidifying their defenses, holding the line. And in some places, they may be able to retake territory,” Barnes tells Lopez. “So it falls on the U.S. to supply Ukraine.”

He’s an original thinker, our Julian. You have to give him this.

I have long speculated that the many Massicots, Barneses and Lopezes among us may get dressed every morning in the same locker room, so similar are the things they say.

I wondered this again when, a day after the Times piece appeared, The Washington Post published “U.S. anticipates grim course for Ukraine if aid bill dies in Congress.” I tell you, if you switched the bylines on the Times and Post pieces not even the reporters would notice.

These people are doing not more, not less than getting the imperium’s lying done for it. Three cases in point:

One, if U.S. weaponry is so critical to the war as is proclaimed, this is no longer Ukraine’s war, if ever it was. It is America’s, yours and mine.

Two, Ukraine has not stalemated the Russians. If Kyiv has not already lost Washington’s proxy war — my assessment — it is losing it in slow motion with no prospect of reversing this outcome.

Three, we have a lie of omission. The Biden regime has already allocated an all-in total of roughly $75 billion for the Kyiv regime’s war effort, according to figures Foreign Affairs published recently.

This equals Russia’s 2022 defense budget and compares with the $84 billion in Moscow’s 2023 budget — this before the $60.1 billion Biden now wants.

Given that the reported record indicates more than half of what the U.S. has already sent appears to have been either stolen or black-marketed, I have questions for Messrs. Barnes and Lopez and the squad of reporters the Washington Post bylined.

Where is the analysis here, if crooked pols and military officers are stealing aid Kyiv says it needs to fight Russian forces? Where is even a mention of this obvious factor in the course of the war?

Where are the editors in New York and Washington who should insist their reporters address this question? And if they can report that theft is not such a factor, where is your story telling us why all the thievery has not mattered?

There is one assertion in these pieces — finally, something — that distinguishes one from the others. The Post story, taking things further than the Times or Foreign Affairs, reports that “absent more American military support, ‘countless lives’ will be lost this year as Kyiv struggles to stave off collapse.”

This comes from the usual unnamed “senior official,” who tells the Post, “Here’s the bottom line: Even if Ukraine holds on, what we really are saying is that we are going to leverage countless lives in order to do that.”

Do we all understand? Ending support for a war that is already lost or is ineluctably headed that way will not save lives: It will cost lives. The interior logic here is that it is out of the question for Kyiv to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Moscow, as the Kremlin has proposed on numerous occasions.

This has long been advanced as another “normalized” reality. It is, once again, one thing for an administration official to make this repellent case and entirely another for reporters to repeat it uncritically.

The Biden regime is stuck this time having to deal with lawmakers tired of sending money to crooks. And the media clerks who are supposed to cover it are stuck lying to the public in the service of the regime’s case.

Are we surprised to read, here and there, that the policy cliques are already considering ways to circumvent Congress once again?

I am not.

https://consortiumnews.com/2024/03/28/p ... plicities/

******

Majority of Americans Would Not Serve in Event of Another World War

Robert Bridge

March 27, 2024

Western morale – as witnessed by the lack of desire to serve their countries in the event of another world war – has rarely been so bleak.

The majority of Americans say that another world war is at least somewhat likely to break out in the next 10 years, but most say they would not enlist to serve in combat or non-combatant roles if the United States were to be involved.

A new YouGov poll revealed that 22% of Americans believe it’s ‘very likely’ that there will be another world war within the next five to 10 years; 39% say it’s ‘somewhat likely.’ Broken down politically, one-third of Republicans believe it’s ‘very likely’ that there will be another world war in the next decade; 20% of Independents and 16% of Democrats agree with that statement.

Despite the United States and its NATO allies depleting their military supplies at a breakneck pace in a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, and Moscow displaying fearsome offensive powers, Americans still remain optimistic over any hypothetical war against Russia and China. If there were to be a world war in which the U.S. and their allies were fighting against Russia, China, or both, Americans are more likely to say that the NATO member states would win than to say they would lose.

However, the patriotic optimism quickly fades in the hypothetical scenario that pits both China and Russia — and their allies — against Western nations and their allies in a world war. Just 45% of Americans say the Western nations would emerge victorious, while 55 percent are of the opinion that a coalition made up of Moscow, Beijing and their allies would win.

In a similar YouGov survey conducted in the UK, just 21% of British adults believe that Western forces would lose to China, Russia, and their allies in the event of a world war.

Shockingly, if a global conflagration involving the United States were to break out, just 6% of Americans say they would enlist for military service, while 9% say they would not volunteer but would serve if called up, and 13% say they would not volunteer and would refuse to serve if called up. Meanwhile, a whopping 60% say the armed forces would not attempt to draft them due to age or disability. However, in the event that the U.S. finds itself under imminent threat of invasion, the percentage of people who would volunteer for military service increases to 16%. However, 47% say that even in such extreme circumstances, they don’t think the military would want them to serve due to age or disability.

“Americans are more open to the idea of serving in non-combat roles in the event of a world war,” says Jamie Ballard, a data journalist with YouGov. “19% say they would volunteer for this type of role; 12% would not volunteer but would serve if called up.

If the U.S. were under imminent threat of invasion, 26% would volunteer for non-combat service. 42% of Americans say the government would not want them for non-combat roles for reasons related to age or disability; 38% say the government would not want them to serve for these reasons even if the U.S. were under imminent threat of invasion.”

The survey comes at a time of heightened global tensions. Washington finds itself enmeshed in multiple conflicts, putting America on the precipice of war in multiple theaters. Aside from participating in a proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, Washington is embroiled in the Middle East where it is supplying Israel with thousands of missiles in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, the U.S. has conducted a bombing campaign against Iraq, Syria and Yemen, while three American soldiers were killed in Jordan earlier this year.

“Even within the halls of the White House, U.S. officials are concerned Biden’s Middle East policy could lead to a broader war with Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” writes Kyle Anzalone of the Libertarian Institute.

Meanwhile, Washington has moved forward with a military buildup in the Asia-Pacific, ratcheting up tensions with the communist states of North Korea and China.

In response to America’s reckless advances, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has carried out missile tests amid inflammatory rhetoric. At the same time, Beijing has responded to Washington’s support for Taipei and Manila with military drills in and around the Asian Pacific.

Most worrisome for the Washington policy makers is that while the prospects for another world war have never looked greater, Western morale – as witnessed by the lack of desire to serve their countries in the event of another world war – has rarely been so bleak.

https://strategic-culture.su/news/2024/ ... world-war/

******

Maneuver Theory and the Cold War
The History of Battle: Maneuver, Part 22

BIG SERGE
MAR 28, 2024

Image

American military supremacy is an article of faith for most Americans, granting the military a strong measure of resistance to the broad decay in the trust that people have in their public institutions. Congress, the president, courts, banks, and tech companies are all lousy and crooked in the eyes of most Americans, but the military, almost uniquely, retains the trust and support of the majority. The prevailing view remains that the American military is the best trained, most technologically advanced, most competently lead, and liberally equipped force in the world. America’s colossal defense budget is practically a point of pride.

America is, to be sure, one of the great martial nations of world history. It has generally won conventional conflicts, and won them big. It retains world leading capabilities in many domains, enormous power projection, and it produces exceptional fighting men. Where Americans go wrong, however, is taking this excellence to be a law of nature. An army is not a tiger, dictated by biology to be the largest, fastest, and most powerful predator in the world. It is, rather, an institution which evolves and learns over time, developing particular patterns of war-making which may or may not be well calibrated for particular operating environments.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, during that peculiar security condition that we call the Cold War, the United States Army underwent a roller coaster of institutional change - rapidly demobilizing after the defeat of Germany, coming aghast at its own unpreparedness in Korea, and cannibalizing itself in Vietnam. By 1970, the US Army was in a state of clear crisis, with its own senior leadership increasingly concerned about their ability to win a high intensity land war. From this crisis, however, the American land force began a climb back to the apex, with a radically revamped operational doctrine, new weapons programs, and an invigorated commitment to fighting an American brand of maneuver warfare.

<snip>

The difference between the pre and post World War Two American security dispositions could not have been more stark, therefore. While the pre-war army thought very little about continental warfare in a systemic or doctrinal way, the US Army in the Cold War was frequently preoccupied with theorizing about a future European war against the Soviet bloc. While prewar America was secure in its latent industrial power and the strategic depth provided by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, postwar America remained forward deployed in both hemispheres. Central European lands that had once been the stomping ground of Prussian and French armies now became an American security fixation.

Matters were further complicated by the entirely novel kinetic additive of atomic weapons, which gave frightening new capabilities and an uncertain use case. Throughout the cold war, both the USSR and the USA would be constantly assessing and reassessing both theirs and the other’s willingness to use nuclear weaponry, and this in turn fed assumptions about how a ground war in Europe would be fought.

America’s atomic monopoly did not last very long in absolute terms, but it nevertheless shaped the base of Cold War military thinking. In the years leading up to the Soviet Union’s first successful atomic test in 1949, there were many assumptions made about the security that the west could derive from the American nuclear monopoly (including, most fantastically, Bertrand Russell’s call for a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union). All of these assumptions were shattered by the speed at which the USSR was able to demonstrate its own atomic powers.

Paradoxically, however, the Soviet Union’s 1949 atomic test did not ameliorate Soviet insecurities in the short term. This was because, although the test was an important milestone and show of force, the USSR was not able to immediately convert the test into use-ready atomic weaponry. In fact, the Soviet Air Force did not take delivery of operational atomic bombs until 1954. This meant nearly a full decade of acute atomic vulnerability which strongly shaped Soviet strategic sensibilities.

The upshot of all this was that America’s atomic monopoly lasted much shorter than the United States had originally hoped and anticipated, but much too long for Moscow’s comfort. The security of the early atomic monopoly allowed the United States to rapidly demobilize its armies; simultaneously, the Soviet Union hoped to lean on vastly superior conventional forces as a counterposition to the American nuclear arsenal, and those same gargantuan conventional forces deepened the sense of crippling insecurity in Western Europe.

Image
1950’s Force Disposition in Europe

As previously mentioned, by the late 1940’s it was already clear that the limited WUDO alliance (comprised essentially of France, Britain, and the Low Countries) was simply too weak to present a credible opponent to the Soviet Union and the emerging Eastern Bloc. This sense of European insecurity only intensified between 1949 and 1951, with the successful Soviet atomic test, the victory of the communists in China, and the war in Korea. Any earnest attempt to contend with the Red Army would inevitably require the involvement of the United States.

Even with American involvement in European security via NATO (formed in 1949), there were a host of difficult and divisive issues to parse out. In contrast to the Russian perception of NATO as nothing but a tool of American foreign policy, the alliance’s early history was wracked with disagreements about how to ensure European security. First and foremost was the question of Germany’s role in Europe.

It was quite clear to many, particularly in America, that any credible European alliance would require the rehabilitation and integration of West Germany (formally the Federal Republic of Germany), which was formed in 1949 through the merging of the British and American occupation zones. Even after the trauma of the Second World War and the division of the country, West Germany was by far the most populous and potentially powerful country in Western Europe. It was also, rather obviously, likely to be the critical battleground in any future war with the Soviet Union. Therefore, the Anglo-Americans decided early on that the rehabilitation and rearmament of West Germany was critical for European security. This plan ran into vehement opposition from the French, who remained deeply resentful towards Germany and suspicious of any attempt to rearm them - one particularly bold French proposal even called for German infantry to be inducted into the European commands (in effect, preventing the West Germans from having any organic units higher than a battalion and subordinating them to French divisions).

In the end, it was clear that German manpower and resources would have to be fully leveraged, particularly in light of NATO’s preliminary goals of fielding a 50 division army in Western Europe. Therefore, as a sop to the French, the unification and rearmament of Germany was counterweighted by additional American deployments in Europe, as a gesture of America’s commitment to European defense and a guarantee that France would not soon find itself dominated once again by the Germans. The integrated NATO military command and preponderance of American influence ensured that German resources could be mobilized without granting West Germany any genuine strategic autonomy. Thus, the basic strategic arrangement of European security was established by the early 1950’s, with the first General Secretary of NATO, Lord Hastings Ismay, famously observing that NATO had been structured to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.” Notably, however, the item about “keeping the Americans in” was viewed not as an American attempt to maintain influence in Europe, but the other way around: Europeans feared being abandoned by the Americans and wanted to ensure an American commitment to European security.

Even with all of this diplomatic and geostrategic horse trading, however, the math of force generation was simply not in NATO’s favor. Even with plans to raise 12 German divisions, it was clear that NATO’s 1952 decision to field a 50 division force was simply unrealistic - particularly because western leadership was loathe to risk the fragile economic recovery of Western Europe by adopting a crash rearmament program. This was plainly evident to Dwight Eisenhower, with his intimate knowledge of the European theater, and when he became president in 1953 his national security team immediately began to implement a new defense posture that aimed to use atomic weaponry as a substitute for conventional ground forces in Europe.

In the mid 1950’s, therefore, NATO’s war planning (really, America’s) was built around a 30-division ground force which would be tasked with delaying and funneling Soviet forces into concentrated masses which would offer enticing targets for tactical (battlefield) atomic weapons, paired with a policy of so-called “massive retaliation”, which promised catastrophic atomic bombing of Soviet rear areas and cities. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, said in a public 1954 speech:

We need allies and collective security. Our purpose is to make these relations more effective, less costly. This can be done by placing more reliance on deterrent power and less dependence on local defensive power... Local defense will always be important. But there is no local defense which alone will contain the mighty land power of the Communist world. Local defenses must be reinforced by the further deterrent of massive retaliatory power.

Perhaps at this point an editorial comment is warranted. Our focus in this (very long) series of articles has been the history of maneuver in warfare. It would seem warranted to ask whether we’ve lost the plot here, with a very long digression into the early history of NATO and America’s nuclear use doctrine. This is fair enough. What we wish to establish, however, is that during the first decades of the Cold War American operational sensibilities were heavily predicated on the inevitability of atomic use, the application of atomic weaponry as a deterrent, and the battlefield uses of atomic weapons.

Image

(More at Paywall)

https://bigserge.substack.com/p/maneuve ... e-cold-war
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

Post Reply