Saturday 20th of July 2019

US diplomacy two speeds... bombs and psychopathic bluster designed to steal cash...

two speeds...


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented the adversarial style of the current US policy towards Moscow, saying Washington shows no intent of seeking compromise contrary to what diplomacy is supposed to be about.

“I don’t see anything coming from the US diplomatic corps except ultimatums and threats to impose sanctions unless the demands are met. All other tools have vanished from the arsenal of American diplomacy, and that is sad, the Russian minister said in an interview for an upcoming documentary, which was partially published by the ministry.

The sentiment came in response to the latest threats coming from Washington over Russian policies in Ukraine and Venezuela. Lavrov said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tones down his rhetoric when speaking directly to him, compared to his public statements on Russia, but the essence remains the same.

“When we talk on the phone… he speaks in a correct manner. Understandably, we disagree on virtually everything. And the threats are voiced all the time,” he said. “If you head a diplomatic agency, you are supposed to seek diplomatic solutions for various problems.”

When asked about US President Donald Trump recently ordering Russia to get out of Venezuela and whether he found such language acceptable, Lavrov said he didn’t discuss manners. Trump’s words were said in reaction to Russia sending some military personnel to the Latin American country under a long-standing agreement on defense cooperation.

The Russian minister suggested that the US should search for new approaches in its foreign policy.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/455195-us-diplomacy-threats-lavrov/

 

diplomacy


 

and congress too...

congress


murdoch 's WSJ places its noses where it shouldn't...

 

The US is fueling “the most open coup in history” in Venezuela, an American pundit told RT in response to a WSJ op-ed that beat the drum of interventionism by discussing how to get Russia out of Caracas and Maduro out of power.

A short but emotive editorial piece by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said President Donald Trump should not let himself be humiliated in our own hemisphere  by Vladimir Putin. The neocon paper was at their finest when they claimed Putin has built “a career of intervening abroad and seeing if the world lets him get away with it,” including in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria.

READ MORE: Venezuela regime-change champion John Bolton says US won’t tolerate foreign meddling in the country

This didn’t play well with some American pundits who offered a dissenting opinion. Georgia, where the US was encouraging the pro-Western government to start a war, and Ukraine, which saw the American-backed coup, were “Russian reaction to US action,” Daniel McAdams, Executive Director at Ron Paul Institute, told RT.

Moscow has reacted “when a US action has caused a Russian ally to come under some stress,” McAdams offered, adding, “the same is true in Syria.”

The US wants to overthrow Maduro, this is the most open coup in history, probably.

And on his part, the beleaguered Venezuelan president has asked for outside support which is natural with any government ally.

Why can’t a sovereign Venezuela ask assistance from its ally, why is sovereignty a one-way street when it comes to Washington?

Like many US mainstream media, the WSJ quoted Trump’s outburst in which he said that Russia must get out of Venezuela. In their view, the diatribe sounded “like an invocation of the Monroe Doctrine.”The doctrine allowed Washington to treat Latin America and the Caribbean as its “backyard,” invading an array of countries and supporting coups against unfriendly governments across the region.

Under the doctrine, the European powers should not seek new colonies in the Western hemisphere, but in exchange for that, “the United States pledged to not get involved in internal affairs of European countries,” McAdams explained.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/455246-wsj-venezuela-coup-russia/

 

 

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mr. president: close NATO for good...

 

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When Donald Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today, the president should give him a direct message:

The roster of NATO membership is closed. For good. The United States will not hand out any more war guarantees to fight Russia to secure borders deep in Eastern Europe, when our own southern border is bleeding profusely.

And no one needs to hear this message more than Stoltenberg.

In Tblisi, Georgia, on March 25, Stoltenberg declared to the world: “The 29 allies have clearly stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

As for Moscow’s objection to Georgia joining NATO, Stoltenberg gave Vladimir Putin the wet mitten across the face:

“We are not accepting that Russia, or any other power, can decide what (NATO) members can do.”

Yet what would it mean for Georgia to be brought into NATO?

The U.S. would immediately be ensnared in a conflict with Russia that calls to mind the 1938 and 1939 clashes over the Sudetenland and Danzig that led straight to World War II.

In 2008, thinking it had U.S. backing, Georgia rashly ordered its army into South Ossetia, a tiny province that had broken away years before.

In that Georgian invasion, Russian peacekeepers were killed and Putin responded by sending the Russian army into South Ossetia to throw the Georgians out. Then he invaded Georgia itself.

“We are all Georgians now!” roared uber-interventionist John McCain. But George W. Bush, by now a wiser man, did nothing.

Had Georgia been a NATO nation in 2008, the U.S. could have been on the brink of war with Russia over the disputed and minuscule enclave of South Ossetia, which few Americans had ever heard of.

Why would we bring Georgia into NATO now, when Tblisi still claims the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which Moscow controls and defends?

Are we not in enough quarrels already that could lead to new wars—with Iran in the Gulf, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Baltic and Black Sea, Venezuela in our own hemisphere—in addition to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia where we are already fighting?

Among neocon and GOP interventionists, there has also long been a vocal constituency for bringing Ukraine into NATO.

Indeed, changes in the GOP platform in Cleveland on U.S. policy toward Ukraine, it was said, were evidence of Trumpian collusion with the Kremlin.

But bringing Ukraine into NATO would be an even greater manifestation of madness than bringing in Georgia.

Russia has annexed Crimea. She has supported pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass who seceded when the elected president they backed was ousted in the Kiev coup five years ago.

Kiev’s recent attempt to enter the Sea of Azov by sailing without formal notification under the Putin-built Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and Crimea, proved a debacle. Ukrainian sailors are still being held.

No matter how supportive we are of Ukraine, we cannot commit this country to go to war with Russia over its territorial integrity. No Cold War president from Truman to George H. W. Bush would have dreamed of doing such a thing. Bush I thought Ukraine should remain tied to Russia and the Ukrainian independence movement was born of “suicidal nationalism.”

Trump has rightly demanded that Europeans start paying their fair share of the cost of NATO. But a graver question than the money involved are the risks involved.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has added 13 nations: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, and six Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro.

Also attending the NATO gathering in Tblisi a week ago were Sweden, Finland and Azerbaijan. Are these three also candidates for U.S. war guarantees?

The larger NATO becomes, the further east it moves, the greater the probability of a military clash that could lead to World War III.

Yet none of the nations admitted to NATO in two decades was ever regarded as worth a war with Russia by any Cold War U.S. president.

When did insuring the sovereignty and borders of these nations suddenly become vital interests of the United States?

And if they are not vital interests, why are we committed to go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia over them, when avoidance of such a war was the highest priority of our eight Cold War presidents?

Putin’s Russia, once hopeful about a new relationship under Trump, appears to be giving up on the Americans and shifting toward China.

Last week, 100 Russian troops arrived in Caracas. Whereupon, The Wall Street Journal lost it: Get them out of our “backyard.” The Monroe Doctrine demands it.

Yet, who has been moving into Russia’s front yard for 20 years?

As the Scotsman wrote, the greatest gift the gods can give us is to see ourselves as others see us.

------------------

Patrick Joseph Buchanan (November 2, 1938) is an American paleoconservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician, and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior advisor to U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and was an original host on CNN's Crossfire.

Pat sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996. He ran on the Reform Party ticket in the 2000 presidential election.

He co-founded The American Conservative magazine and launched a foundation named The American Cause. He has been published in Human Events, National Review, The Nation, and Rolling Stone. He was a political commentator on the MSNBC cable network, including the show Morning Joe until February 2012, and now appears on Fox News. Buchanan has been a regular on The McLaughlin Group since the 1980s. His political positions can generally be described as paleoconservative, and many of his views, particularly his opposition to American imperialism and the managerial state, echo those of the Old Right Republicans of the first half of the 20th century.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

 

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the voodoo zombie majik of NATO...


How do you know when a person is positively dead? Well, check for a pulse.

Walter Russell Mead checked the pulse of the Atlantic Alliance in a recent op-ed and concluded that NATO is dying. But Mead is wrong. NATO is simply a zombie periodically reanimated through various methods, usually voodoo magic.

Yet, reanimation has its limits. Even Zombies eventually die. With Georgia, a small state in the Caucasus Mountains that is wedged in between Russia, Turkey and Iran, lobbying hard to become NATO’s newest member, it’s useful to understand why.

When the life ran out of NATO with the demise of the Soviet threat, Sen. Richard Lugar was among the first to conclude in 1993 that NATO must go “out of area or out of business.” This proved to be a powerful infusion of voodoo magic that eventually took the form of  a U.S.-led NATO military intervention into the Balkans, which is where NATO sought to extend democracy at gunpoint to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo between 1994 and 1999.

Reanimation received a big boost with NATO’s 1994 “partnership for peace program.” Predictably, the Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and virtually everyone in Eastern Europe compelled to live under Soviet occupation after World War II lined up to become NATO partners. Why not? What East European State would not want a direct line to Washington, DC that promised military assistance against the Russian menace that all believed would inevitably return?

Domestic American politics also played its part. President Bill Clinton came out for NATO expansion during his campaign for re-election in October 1996. There was nothing sinister in it. Clinton was just cultivating the Polish and East European vote in the Midwest, stealing the issue from Senator Bob Dole who also ran on a NATO expansion platform.

Mysteriously, the promises given to President Mikhail Gorbachev by President George H. W. Bush, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Francois Mitterand, Chancellor Helmuth Kohl and their foreign ministers in 1990—not to expand NATO eastward; not to extend membership in the NATO alliance to former member states of the Warsaw Pact—were ignored.  Why was this important strategic commitment made by NATO’s key leaders to President Gorbachev ignored?

Well, in the 1990s, the Russian threat was nonexistent and there was no reason to suppose it would return. In addition, President Clinton and the Senators who were nominally in charge of overseeing the conduct of U.S. Foreign and Security Policy were mesmerized by the prospects of being on the right side of history and campaign donations.

Given the voracious appetite for cash in Congress the defense industries were clearly interested in NATO expansion and found ways to advocate for it. Weapons sales to East European nations invited to join NATO promised huge profits. Bruce Jackson, a Lockheed vice president from 1993–2002, rushed to set up the Committee to Expand NATO and reportedly used contributions from defense companies to lobby Congress for NATO expansion.

 

After 2001, just about anything could be and was characterized as an existential threat to the American People: Islamist Terrorism or the Global Caliphate, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and, by 2012, a resurgent Russia. Defense budgets rose and U.S. Forces were now in Africa, the Mideast, Asia and Eastern Europe. By the time President Obama completed his first term Moscow concluded that Washington’s expansion of the NATO Alliance combined with its open-ended presence in Afghanistan and the Near East was really a coordinated plan to make Russia's strategic situation untenable.

As George Kennan pointed out decades ago, the Russian sense of insecurity is profound. The Russian national temperament inclines to a siege mentality with a permanent enemy lowering beyond the walls. Right or wrong, President Vladimir Putin personifies this outlook.

 

President Putin tightened his grip on Russia’s 140 million citizens with laws and governance that offended Western sensibilities, but Putin’s policies arguably helped Russia to withstand the impact of damaging sanctions after its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula—a region that was under Russian control longer than Texas has been in the Union. Despite an economy that lags behind the Republic of Korea, a nation of forty-nine million, President Putin restored Russia’s military power and its national self-image to a formidable position.

Putin’s paranoia has led some observers to suggest that Putin is preparing Russia for a military showdown with the West. That’s an exaggeration, but it would be a mistake to doubt Putin’s resolve to protect Russia’s rights in its own hemisphere.

Now, Georgia is stepping up to join NATO. Georgia like Montenegro (and most NATO members) is in line to become another military protectorate of the United States, not an ally. Unless President Trump wants Moscow to conclude that Georgia will be a future platform for attack against Russia, Iran or another regional power, President Trump should just say “No!”

It’s time for the NATO zombie to expire. Charles De Gaulle was right, “England is an island and the United States is not in Europe.”

 

 

Read more:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nato-not-dying-it’s-zombie-497...

 

 

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Gus:

Methinks that a major breath of life was given to the NATO (OTAN) zombie by that little con-artist Sarkozy. He was a besotted USphile and when the "faultless god Obama" became "leader of the world", the French mood of the populace was conned to believe the USA had become a beneficial gut pill instead of a deadly disease under Bush. 

The French even became a major partner in bombing Libya to get rid of Gaddafi, who, as a nice guy, had financed some of Sarkozy's election coffers... Good reason to repay the guy with bombs, no?

 

 

 

a yankee zombie...

 

Sometimes they miss him, the old warrior. Jim Mattis was always a calming presence. A paternal glance, soothing gesture or brief remark from the former general and Pentagon chief, and Gavin Williamson, the British defense minister, would cool his jets. But, having resigned after a dispute with his president, Mattis wasn't present when NATO defense ministers met in Brussels in mid-February.

So there was no one to put the brakes on the young Briton as he spoke at a dinner at the alliance's headquarters. Williamson was demanding the partners actually spend more than the promised 2 percent of their gross domestic products (GDP) on defense. His tone was fierce. Two percent was the minimum, he said. "How can it be that other countries simply sit back and relax?" Williamson asked.

At the tables in the second row, where staffers are served a different meal than their bosses, pens frantically scratched across notepads. Williamson's tone was unusual for this circle; indeed, it was scandalous. The British defense minister was accusing allies of not making an effort. Everyone knew who he was referring to.

The official procedure of the evening demanded that the list of speakers be rigidly worked through. It took awhile for the German defense minister's turn to come. Unlike her colleagues, Ursula von der Leyen did not read from prepared remarks. "We're not sitting back and relaxing," she said. "We're working very hard to meet the targets, even though it's difficult politically." The others kept quiet. No one jumped to her defense like they usually would, people who attended the dinner would later report.

A Massive American Problem

That evening in February, von der Leyen got a small preview of what her counterpart at the German Foreign Ministry, Heiko Maas, could expect this week in Washington. The alliance will be celebrating its 70th anniversary, but at the moment, Berlin seems intent on spoiling the party.

"Is NATO dying?" Walter Russell Mead, a Wall Street Journal columnist recently wrote, before answering his own question: "The idea was once unthinkable, but after the German cabinet decided to keep defense spending as low as 1.25 percent of gross domestic product for the next five years, it has become unavoidable." Mead may be exaggerating, but he's got a point.

 

Read more:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/patience-wears-thin-among-ge...

 

 

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Critics of Gavin Williamson's approach to his Defence Secretary role have compared him to Private Pike, a hapless and immature character in the popular sitcom Dad's Army.

 

Although naive, Pike is aware something is going on with his mother and Wilson:

 

Pike: "By the time we finish supper, it's always so late, you never leave our house until after I've gone to bed and then you're back early for breakfast before I'm awake. But what I can't understand is that I never hear you leave at night and I never hear you come back in." 
Wilson: "Well I let myself in and out very quietly"
Pike: "You don't do anything else very quietly!"

bunching them together to declare war on the lot...

The American foreign policy Blob’s latest worry is that Venezuela’s radical leftist government is reaching out to the Middle East for support against growing pressure from Washington. 

Specifically, President Nicolás Maduro is reportedly trying to establish extensive political and financial links with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The latter has repeatedly condemned U.S. policy towards Maduro, and already appears to have shadowy economic ties to Caracas. There are indications that Maduro’s regime may be utilizing Hezbollah to launder funds from the illegal drug trade.

Washington’s fear is that lurking behind an Assad-Hezbollah-Maduro alliance is America’s arch-nemesis, Iran, which has close relations with both Assad and Hezbollah. Tehran’s apparent objective would be to strengthen the Venezuelan regime, boost anti-U.S. sentiment in the Western Hemisphere, and perhaps acquire some laundered money from a joint Maduro-Hezbollah operation to ease the pain of U.S. economic sanctions re-imposed following the Trump administration’s repudiation of the nuclear deal.

Although Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah remain primarily concerned with developments in their own region, the fear that they want to undermine Washington’s power in its own backyard is not unfounded. But U.S. leaders should ask themselves why such diverse factions would coalesce behind that objective.

t is hardly the only example of this to emerge in recent years, and the principal cause appears to be Washington’s own excessively belligerent policies. That approach is driving together regimes that have little in common except the need to resist U.S. pressure. Washington’s menacing posture undermines rather than enhances American security, and especially in one case—provoking an expanding entente between Russia and China—it poses a grave danger.

The current flirtation between Caracas and anti-American factions in the Middle East is not the first time that American leaders have worried about collaboration among heterogeneous adversaries. U.S. intelligence agencies and much of the foreign policy community warned for years about cooperation between Iran and North Korea over both nuclear and ballistic missile technology. During the Cold War, a succession of U.S. administrations expressed frustration and anger at the de facto alliance between the totalitarian Soviet Union and democratic India. Yet the underlying cause for that association was not hard to fathom. Both countries opposed U.S. global primacy. India was especially uneasy about Washington’s knee-jerk diplomatic and military support for Pakistan, despite that country’s history of dictatorial rule and aggression. 

Alienating India was a profoundly unwise policy. So, too, has been Washington’s longstanding obsession with weakening and isolating Iran and North Korea. Those two countries have almost nothing in common, ideologically, politically, geographically, or economically. One is a weird East Asian regime based on dynastic Stalinism, while the other is a reactionary Middle East Muslim theocracy. Without the incentive that unrelenting U.S. hostility provides, there is little reason to believe that Tehran and Pyongyang would be allies. But Washington’s vehemently anti-nuclear policy towards both regimes, and the brutal economic sanctions that followed, have helped cement a de facto alliance between two very strange bedfellows. 

Iranian and North Korean leaders have apparently reached the logical conclusion that the best way to discourage U.S. leaders from considering forcible regime change towards either of their countries was to cooperate in strengthening their respective nuclear and missile programs. Washington’s regime change wars, which ousted Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi—and the unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Syria’s Assad—reinforced such fears.

The most worrisome and potentially deadly case in which abrasive U.S. behavior has driven together two unlikely allies is the deepening relationship between Russia and China. Washington’s “freedom of navigation” patrolsin the South China Sea have antagonized Beijing, which has extensive territorial claims in and around that body of water. Chinese protests have grown in both number and intensity. Bilateral relations have also deteriorated because of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan and Washington’s growing support for the island’s de facto independence. The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has only added to the animosity. Chinese leaders see American policy as evidence of Washington’s determination to continue its status of primacy in East Asia, and they seek ways to undermine it.

Russia’s grievances against the United States are even more pronounced. The expansion of NATO to the borders of the Russian Federation, Washington’s repeated trampling of Russian interests in the Balkans and the Middle East, the imposition of economic sanctions in response to the Crimea incident, the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, U.S. arms sales to Ukraine, and other provocations have led to a new cold war. Russia has moved to increase diplomatic, economic, and even military cooperation with China. Beijing and Moscow appear to be coordinating policies on an array of issues, complicating Washington’s options

Close cooperation between Russia and China is all the more remarkable given the extent of their bitterly competing interests in Central Asia and elsewhere. A mutual fear of and anger toward the United States, however, seems to have overshadowed such potential quarrels—at least for now.

There even appears to be a “grand collusion” of multiple U.S. adversaries forming. Both Russia and China are increasing their economic links with Venezuela, and Russia’s military involvement with the Maduro regime is also on the rise. Last month, Moscow dispatched two nuclear-capable bombers to Caracas along withapproximately 100 military personnel. The latter contingent’s mission was to repair and refurbish Venezuela’s air defense system in light of Washington’s menacing rhetoric. That move drew a sharp response from President Trump.

Moscow’s policy toward the Assad government, Tehran, and Hezbollah has also become more active and supportive. Indeed, Russia’s military intervention in Syria, beginning in 2015, was a crucial factor in tilting the war in favor of Assad’s forces, which have now regained control over most of Syria. Washington is thus witnessing Russia getting behind two of its major adversaries: Venezuela and an Iran-led coalition in the Middle East.

This is a classic example of balancing behavior on the part of countries worried about a stronger power that pursues aggression. Historically, weaker competitors face a choice when confronting such a power: bandwagon or attempt to balanceagainst that would-be hegemon. Some very weak nations may have little choice but to cower and accept dependent status, but most midsize powers (and even some small ones) will choose the path of defiance. As part of that balancing strategy, they tend to seek any allies that might prove useful, regardless of differences. When the perceived threat is great enough, such factors are ignored or submerged. The United States and Britain did so when they formed the Grand Alliance with the totalitarian Soviet Union in World War II to defeat Nazi Germany. Indeed, the American revolutionaries made common cause with two reactionary autocracies, France and Spain, to win independence from Britain.

The current U.S. policy has produced an array of unpleasant results, and cries out for reassessment. Washington has created needless grief for itself. It entails considerable ineptitude to foster collaboration between Iran and North Korea, to say nothing of adding Assad’s secular government and Maduro’s quasi-communist regime to the mix. Even worse are the policy blunders that have driven Russia to support such motley clients and forge ever-closer economic and military links with a natural rival like China. It is extremely unwise for any country, even a superpower, to multiply the number of its adversaries needlessly and drive them together into a common front. Yet that is the blunder the United States is busily committing.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative, is the author of 12 books and more than 800 articles. His latest book is Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (2019).

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/putin-xi-assad-maduro-v...

 

 

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the "charitable" war industries...

 

Unlike a regular corporation, the corporations that manufacture and sell weapons to their government are virtually 100% dependent upon their government and its military allies, for their own success; their markets are only those governments, not individuals (such as is the case for normal corporations). 

Consequently, either their government will control them, and those firms won’t have any effective control over their own markets, or else those firms will, themselves, control their government, and thereby effectively control their markets, via the government’s foreign policies — not only via expanding its military alliances (those firms’ foreign markets), but via its designating ‘enemy’ nations that it and its ‘allies’ (those arms-producers’ foreign markets) can then use those weapons against. 

In countries such as the United States, arms-producers are benefiting and controlled by the country’s billionaires, instead of (as in Russia, for example) benefiting and controlled by the government. These totally profit-driven arms-producers need to have market-nations that are called ‘allied’ governments, but they also need to have some target-nations that are called ‘enemy’ governments, so as to ‘justify’ more arms-production by these firms, against which to use these weapons. Only in nations where arms-producers are privately instead of publicly controlled are the government’s foreign polices predominantly controlled by the country’s arms-producers. That’s the way it is in America.

The main ‘ally’ of the U.S. is the Saud family, who own the government of Saudi Arabia. As a recent debate-brief said, “The US has been the world’s leading exporter in weapons since 1990 and the biggest customer is Saudi Arabia. The U.S. sold a total of $55.6 billion of weapons worldwide, and in 2017, cleared $18 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia alone.”

Under Trump, those sales are set to soar, because on 20 May 2017 “U.S. $350 Billion Arms-Sale to Sauds Cements U.S.-Jihadist Alliance” — notwithstanding now the slaughter in Yemen and the slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi. Yet, Trump talks up his ‘humanitarian’ concerns for the people of Venezuela as ‘justification’ for his possibly invading Venezuela, and America’s military is preparing to do that.

The main and central ‘enemy’ of the U.S. is Russia’s government; and all of the other ‘enemies’ of America (the spokes of America’s ‘enemy’ wheel) are led by people — such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, Bashar al-Assad, Salvador Allende, Jacobo Arbenz, and Nicolo Madura — who are friendly toward Russia.

The objective here is to force other nations to join America’s anti-Russia alliances or else to face the consequences of a likely invasion or coup by America to overthrow and replace those leaders. Therefore, America targets all nations that are/were friendly toward Russia, such as pre-2003 Iraq, and such as pre-2011 Libya, and such as Syria, and such as pre-1973 Chile, and such as post-1979 Iran — all of America’s various target-nations, which are the authorized targets for America and its ‘allies’ to invade or otherwise regime-change (change from being a target, to becoming instead a new market).

In order for privately controlled arms-producers to thrive, there is just as much of a need for ‘allies’ as for ’targets’, because without targets, there can be no authorized markets, since every weapon is useless if it has no authorized target against which it may be used. There consequently needs to be at least one ‘enemy’ for any country whose arms-production is privately instead of publicly controlled. Both ‘allies’ and ‘enemies’ are needed, in order for America’s arms-makers to continue flourishing.

By contrast, in Russia, where each of the arms-producers is majority-controlled by the government instead of by private investors, each arms-producer exists only in order to defend the nation, there is no need for any ‘enemy’ nations, and the best situation for such a government is to the contrary: to have as many allies, or buyers of its country’s weapons, as possible (so that it will be as safe as possible), and as few nations as possible that are enemies. For such a country, there’s no benefit in having any enemies. America has publicly been against Russia ever since the end of World War II, and privately and secretly remains against Russia even after the Cold War ended on Russia’s side in 1991.

Whereas the billionaires who control America’s arms-makers profit from this military competition against Russia, the controlling interest in all of Russia’s arms-makers is Russia’s government, which simply suffers the expense of that competition and would greatly prefer to end that competition. It’s just a drain on Russia’s treasury. The profit-motive isn’t driving the arms-producers in countries that control their own arms-makers. The government leads the nation there, basically because the nation’s billionaires — even if they are minority stockholders of the armaments-firms — don’t. And the reason the billionaires don’t is that the arms-producers in Russia are controlled by the government, not by any private investors. 

Consequently, in countries that socialize arms-production, ‘humanitarian’ excuses don’t need to be invented in order to create new ‘enemies’. Instead, the goal is for the number of enemies to be reduced, so that the nation itself will be safer. Their arms-producers don’t need constantly to generate (by lobbying, media-propaganda, etc.) authorized targets (‘enemies’ such as Iraq, Syria, etc.), because such a nation, as this, has designed its system to be driven for protecting the public’s safety, and not for any investors’ profits.

If an armaments-firm, in such a nation, goes out-of-business, that’s entirely okay, so long as that nation’s safety isn’t being reduced by ending the firm. The international policy of such a country is totally different from that of a country in which arms-makers’ profits, and not the entire nation’s welfare, is in the driver’s seat regarding all foreign policies.

If arms-makers are being driven for profits, then target-nations are needed in order to expand profits so as to serve their investors. Such a country is run actually for its investors, not for its public. But if the arms-makers are being driven to serve the government instead of to serve private investors, the government is controlling the armament-firms. The nation’s safety is the objective in such a land, because increasing profits for private investors in its weapons-firms is not the company’s objective. Any profits to such investors, are then irrelevant to the government.

It’s truly sink-or-swim, for each of such a nation’s arms-makers — not socialism-for-the-rich, and capitalism (actually fascism) for the poor, such as is the case in the United States.

In a nation such as the United States, the constant need for new wars is being constantly driven by investors’ needs for expanding both markets and targets. And — since in the arms-making business, all of the markets are one’s own government, plus all of its allied governments (no significant consumer-business whatsoever, which is why such firms are fundamentally different from the firms in all other types of fields) — the government needs to serve its armaments-firms, because those firms are totally dependent upon the government, and upon its international diplomacy (to increase the sales of its armaments, and thereby to serve the billionaires who control the armaments-firms).

So: the government there naturally becomes an extension of its major “contractors” or armaments-firms. The politicians know this, though they don’t want to talk publicly about it, because they don’t want the voters to know who is actually in the driver’s seat. They know whom they are actually serving, which is the billionaires who control the armaments-firms. So: those politicians, whatever they might say in public (“America shouldn’t be the policeman for the world,” etc.), always actually vote to invade (Iraq, Syria, etc.), and to approve the first stage of any war, which is economic sanctions (such as against Russia itself, or Iran, or Iraq, or Syria, or Venezuela, etc.), and it’s always allegedly being done “to serve God, mother and country” at home, and “to expand freedom and protect human rights in that dictatorially ruled country” abroad.

This is basically the marketing campaign for the owners of the armaments firms. The winning politicians in such countries are the ones that those billionaires support. 

In such a country, it’s almost impossible for any politician who is competing for a national office to succeed who isn’t being funded by those billionaires. And, the billionaires’ ‘news’-media support only such candidates. That’s why there’s almost no possibility for an honest person to be elected (or appointed( to any national public office in the United States.

If a nation’s sole reason for producing weapons is in order to protect the public — a public purpose — then there is no reason for the government to lie so as to demonize foreign leaders such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Salvador Allende, Viktor Yanukovych, and Nicolo Maduro. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with how bad (or good) the demonized leader actually is.

Why does the U.S. government demonize those people, while simultaneously serving (if not actually installing) barbaric dictators such as King Saud, Augusto Pinochet, Castillo Armas, and the Shah?The publicly stated reasons are always ‘humanitarian’ (when not ‘national defense’ — and often, as in 2003 Iraq — both at once). The alleged purpose is to ‘bring democracy to the people there’, and to ‘protect human rights, which are being violated’ by ‘the dictator’ — but it’s actually in order to make suckers out of their country’s own population, so as to serve the billionaires whose income can’t be boosted in any other way than to turn ‘enemies’ (targets) into ‘allies’ (markets) — to conquer those ‘enemies’. 

This is just a marketing campaign, and the voters are not the consumers of these products, but they are instead merely the gulls who have to be fooled in order for those profits to keep rolling in, to the (usually) offshore accounts of those billionaires. This is not the type of socialism in which the government controls the economy, but instead the type of economy in which the economy — actually the billionaires who control the armaments-firms — control the government. This is why it’s “socialism for the rich and capitalism for everybody else.” (The term “fascism” can be used for that.)

This is the New America. And here is the New America Foundation, which is one of the many ‘non-profit’ PR arms of this new America. (That one represents mainly Democratic Party billionaires. Here is one that instead represents mainly Republican Party billionaires.) These are taxpayer-subsidized public relations agencies for their businesses. These individuals are exceptionally gifted businesspeople, because they deeply understand how to fool the public, and they understand that the public never learns and so history just keeps repeating itself, such as in 1953 Iran, and then in 1954 Guatemala, and 1973 Chile, and 2003 Iraq, and 2019 Venezuela, and so many others, ad nauseum. And it goes on and on, for decades if not forever.

But how can the world be protected from such countries? If there is not widespread public recognition that ‘permanent war for perpetual peace’ is a vicious lie, then can there be any other way to do it? Maybe not. Apparently, constant lying by the government and by its (i.e., by its billionaires’) media — and by all of its successful national politicians — is required in any such country.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/05/15/fake-humanitarianism-masks-murder-fo...

 

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an expensive toilet seat on parade...

For a country that spends such vast sums on its national security apparatus—many times more than the enemies that supposedly threaten it do—the United States has a strangely invisible military establishment. Military bases tend to be located far from major population centers. The Air Force’s vast missile fields, for instance, are hidden away in the plains of the northern Midwest. It is rare to see service uniforms on the streets of major cities, even Washington. Donald Trump did dream of holding a “beautiful” military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, complete with “a lot of planes going over and a lot of military might,” but the Pentagon nixed the scheme by putting out word that the extravaganza would cost $92 million. The estimate was surely inflated—­it was four times greater, in real dollars, than the price tag for the 1991 Gulf War victory parade—­suggesting that the military prefers a lower profile. It often takes an informed eye to appreciate signs of defense dollars at work, such as the office parks abutting Route 28 south of Dulles Airport, heavily populated with innocuously titled military and intelligence firms.

Largely out of sight, our gargantuan military machine is also increasingly out of mind, especially when it comes to the ways in which it spends, and misspends, our money. Three decades ago, revelations that the military was paying $435 for a hammer and $640 for an aircraft toilet seat ignited widespread media coverage and public outrage. But when it emerged in 2018 that the Air Force was now paying $10,000 for a toilet-seat cover alone, the story generated little more than a few scattered news reports and some derisive commentary on blogs and social media. (This was despite a senior Air Force official’s unblushing explanation that the ridiculous price was required to save the manufacturer from “losing revenue and profit.”) The Air Force now claims to have the covers 3-D–printed for $300 apiece, still an extravagant sum.

Representative Ro Khanna of California, a leading light of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who has spearheaded the fight to end U.S. participation in the Saudi war of extermination in Yemen, told me recently that he sees this indifference as a sign of the times. “There’s such cynicism about politics, such cynicism about institutions,” he said, “that the shock value of scandals that in the past would be disqualifying has diminished.” We were discussing another apparent defense rip-off, in which a company called ­TransDigm has been deploying a business model pioneered by the pharmaceutical industry. 

 

Read more:

https://harpers.org/archive/2019/06/the-pentagon-syndrome/

 

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the deception of aggression in peace...

 

by Stephen Lendman


Throughout the post-WW II era, US presidents endorsed peace while waging endless preemptive direct and/or proxy wars of aggression on one nation after another worldwide.

All US wars are based on Big Lies and deception because hard truths would show no just cause exists for attacking other countries. None since WW II ended threatened America.

None threaten it now - not Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, or nations the US attacked post-9/11.

Longstanding US policy calls for dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations. Peace and stability defeat its imperial agenda, why endless US wars rage with no near-term prospect for resolution, plans drawn to attack other nations when ordered.

Waging wars feed the US military, industrial, security, media complex, including Wall Street controlling the nation's money, the supreme power over all others. 

Corporate America profits hugely from endless wars of aggression, why they're waged, along with wanting all sovereign independent nations transformed into US vassal states.

On Memorial Day, the nation honors its war dead, ignoring the responsibility of its leadership for going to war for power and profits, not over threats to US security.

Since WW II ended, US military personnel sacrificed their lives and welfare for imperial conquest and plunder, an endless cycle of permanent wars on humanity.

Powerful interests want the world made safe for corporate America. Wars waged have nothing to do with humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, democracy building, or protecting the US from foreign threats - everything to do with advancing the nation's imperium and profit-making.

Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, a White House "proclamation on prayer for peace" was an exercise of mass deception, saying:

"...(B)rave Americans of every generation have given their last full measure of devotion in defense of our country (despite facing no foreign threats), our (fast eroding) liberty, and our founding ideals" by self-serving 18th century bankers, lawyers, politicians, merchants, slave traders, and others resembling what today we'd call a Wall Street crowd.

Honoring fallen warriors has nothing to do with what the White House called patriotism, what Samuel Johnson once called "the last refuge of a scoundrel."


Naked aggression against a nation threatening no one changed his life and countless others of his generation.

The same goes for many thousands of others involved in all US wars - physically harmed or disabled, affected by epidemic levels of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Earlier independent reports showed that nearly half of Afghan and Iraq war vets endure emotional and/or physical combat injuries, many maimed for life.

Other reports revealed that around two dozen US combat veterans commit suicide daily, consumed by unbearable trauma and emotional pain from what they endured in war theaters.

According to military.com, in 2018, "(t)he US military...experienced the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least six years."

"A total of 321 active-duty members took their lives during the year, including 57 Marines, 68 sailors, 58 airmen, and 138 soldiers."

The official numbers conceal what's unreported, a generation of US youths gravely harmed physically and emotionally from service in war theaters, suicides the tip of the iceberg.

It's the option for far greater numbers than the official few hundred, mostly post-combat service, countless numbers of vets unable to unjust to civilian life from what they endured.

Many deaths on active duty and back home aren't called suicides. Misreporting conceals the toll of wars on US military personnel.

Combat-related trauma is long-lasting, many suicide victims aged-50 or older. According to a Center for a New American Security (CNAS) report, veterans commit suicide every 80 minutes.

The study said "America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members. And as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow."

Many vets return home feeling helpless. Marine Corps vet Jason Christiansen watched his life unravel. "At one point, I was sitting there with a gun in my mouth," he said. A friend urged him to seek help.

The Veterans Crisis Line gets hundreds of thousands of calls. Most often, help from the Department of Veterans Affairs is too little, too late, US policymakers showing indifference to its youth sent to battle on false pretenses. 

As a 1950s vet, I personally saw the disturbing state of VA healthcare, including from conversations with Vietnam-era combat veterans getting sub-standard care.

It's because of inadequately funded/hard to navigate bureaucracy I experienced firsthand, why I long ago abandoned the VA as a source once free, then very cheap prescription drugs if available, my only occasional need. At times what I sought wasn't offered.

The White House "prayer for lasting peace...(for) a peaceful future in which the horrors of war are a distant memory" is belied by disdain for peace and stability by US policymakers - waging endless wars, dreaming of more.

In May 1950, weeks before Harry Trump's aggression against North Korea based on a Big Lie, a joint congressional resolution called on sitting US presidents to issue a prayer for permanent peace on Memorial Day annually.

On May 24, a White House statement said:

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer."

The hypocrisy of the above statement is glaring at a time endless US wars of aggression rage in multiple theaters against nations threatening no one.

Others could and no doubt will be launched ahead, part of Washington's permanent war on humanity, no end of it in prospect.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


See more at http://www.pravdareport.com/opinion/142433-trump_message/

 

 

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