Thursday 23rd of September 2021

it's far fetched... but is this fellow the "penguin"?


Here comes the next instalment of chapter 23 of The Age of Deceit, presented as a different post.

The economic, political and security strategy that the United States has pursued for more than seven decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike, is today widely questioned by large segments of the American public and is under attack by leading political candidates in both parties. Many Americans no longer seem to value the liberal international order that the United States created after World War II and sustained throughout the Cold War and beyond. Or perhaps they take it for granted and have lost sight of the essential role the United States plays in supporting the international environment from which they benefit greatly. The unprecedented prosperity made possible by free and open markets and thriving international trade; the spread of democracy; and the avoidance of major conflict among great powers: All these remarkable accomplishments have depended on sustained U.S. engagement around the world. Yet politicians in both parties dangle before the public the vision of an America freed from the burdens of leadership.

What these politicians don’t say, perhaps because they don’t understand it themselves, is that the price of ending our engagement would far outweigh its costs.

With these last magic words, Robert Kagan reinforces the hubris that keeps the Empire alive.

Kagan of course is the other half of the Project for A new American Century, now morphed into the glorious FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative) which is an aggressive think tank designed to encourage (advise) the US government make other nations tighten their butt in fear or in debt of the USA. If you don't salute, you will be economically destroyed or bombed. Europe, Iraq, and a host of minor Latin America countries have been targeted. Russia is on top of the list of targets and Ukraine is a big chunk of the former Eastern Block being slowly imported into the US Empire, with bribes, pats on the back and other corrupt incentives. Europe is being used to achieve the US aim against Russia through NATO and other crap.

The way the threats are made range from the very subtle including economic "gifts" or agreements such as dreadful TTiPs designed to favour Yamerika, to the not so subtle. The end argument is "we won't defend you against the Russians if you don't let us screw you". It's simple. Straight to the point. And look at our glorious Empire army doing manoeuvres in your flat country...

Hidden destruction include currency manipulations, secret offers of cash (Greece) and, discounts and goods devised to divided countries and break alliance of countries, such as the EU. Rome did the same, including the surface warfare. 

This is why the threat to bring the UK from a "favourite son" status, down to the bottom of the pile, is made to prevent Brexit. This is not an idle threat done in jest. It's a real threat. So far, we should know the UK has served the US far more than it has served Europe.  The UK has been the eyes and bully boy of the US in Europe. Would I still be a Yourpean, I would push for Brexit. Good bye... But I don't know anything.

Robert Kagan writes a monthly foreign affairs column for The (Washington) Post, and he is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (another red-neck spiritual centre). Kagan served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988. Now, as soon as one mentions the word "senior", one has to show respect despite the subject being an ultra right-wing loony, a ratbag and a politically incontinent, like old Gus here. Hey, I could be bullshitting to defend my position...

Don't you be fooled by the bon-vivant (fat barge-arses) appearance of Kagan and Kristol. They are rabid neo-cons who will send you and your fit young men to war, with well-crafted bullshitic arguments. It is their specialty.

Here we have to also look at Breitbart News. No only this news service does a total disservice to humankind, it's bent by neoconism. But more so than meet the eyes. Imagine that Donald Trump is thinking that Putin is a great bloke like "himself"... Boom. You've got a problem if you're a neocon supporting Trump... And Trump wants to reduce the American's influence on the rest of the planet. Is this for real or is this a con to capture a few extra vote from the other mediocre side? According to Donald, should you need US help, you have to pay cash, he says. For a neocon, this is a bit too frank. It's quite a novel way to express the hidden neoconic views. As every Neocon knows, the "Empire is always paid" for its services, in whatever kind — petrol, gas, cheap goods, and curtsies so low they kiss your arse. 
The "Administration" itself is not directly rewarded for spending most of the average moron taxpayers' cash on armaments and conflict management, but the "American" multinational enterprises ALWAYS benefit from the costly US military interventions by a) providing equipment that goes boom thus becomes in need of "perpetual" replacement and b) collecting the spoils of war — including more of the average public taxpayer's cash used to pay for "privatised reconstruction programme" in the country that's just been destroyed. This is where honest auditors discover massive wastage in the billions — that is to say that most of the programmes will never be finished, will always need more cash — as this cash disappears in secret untraceable beefy American corporations' pockets. Nothing new.
So at this early stage of the new game, it's only a question of being too obvious with the semantics — except for Trump wanting to befriend Putin. 

Enters Breitbart.
Beitbart is not new to setting up schemes to embarrass people: played a central role in the 2009 ACORN video controversy, which resulted in the reorganization of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), as well as its loss of private and government funding. Breitbart contributor Hannah Giles posed as a prostitute fleeing an abusive pimp and seeking tax and legal advice while James O'Keefe, another contributor, posed as her boyfriend. They clandestinely videotaped meetings with ACORN staff who "gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income."

Andrew Breitbart paid Giles and O'Keefe $32,000 and $65,000, respectively, to film, edit and blog about the videos. Giles paid $100,000 and O'Keefe paid $50,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by former ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera regarding the videos.

So we know that Breitbart News is ready to play dirty and commit undercover crime, not that the next episode is a set-up, nor dirty, but it played against Trump's love of Putin quite like a charm:

On March 11, 2016, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields (a Breitbart scribe) filed a battery complaint against Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, alleging that Lewandowski had grabbed her and bruised her while she was attempting to ask a question at an event. After claiming that Breitbart's management was not sufficiently supportive of Fields, Breitbart's editor-at-large Ben Shapiro and Fields resigned from Breitbart. A Breitbart article published on March 14 accused Shapiro of betraying Breitbart's readers; the article was subsequently removed from the Breitbart website. Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak apologized for writing the article, saying he had done so in an attempt to "to make light of a significant company event." The website's spokesperson Kurt Bardella also resigned following the incident, objecting to the company's handling of the incident and its favorable coverage of Trump. By March 14 several top executives and journalists at Breitbart had resigned complaining that "...Breitbart’s unabashed embrace of Mr. Trump, particularly at the seeming expense of its own reporter, struck them as a betrayal of its mission."

You know this story celebre. You would have expected this complaint from a Democrat journalist being molested by Trumps' entourage — or at least an attack on a fair FOX news Journalist like Megyn Kelly. But you did not ask the right questions. Trump has been being attacked by the right-wing press because "he should not be there in the popular Republican stakes." But not by Breitbart... So was Michelle Fields an innocent bystander who got discreetly enticed by the other right-wing nut press to press charges (which got dismissed for lack of "evidence"...) to embarrass Trump, the Breitbart golden boy?

The right wing press' golden boys Cruz and Rubio were supposed to be leading this glorious race. All this cash from Right wing donors being wasted. Mind you I believe the Koch brothers have been holding on tight to their own cash while waiting to see who floats and sinks in this turdy pond.

But here we should ask what is going on? Michelle Fields complains about Trump's manager. Fields is somewhat furious that she is not supported by her own management. Executives editors resign from Breitbart... Wow! What does this mean? The online magazine is an ultra-right wing outfit that does not care much about such incident, as an attempt to "to make light of a significant company event".

Is it because the public outrage is going to damage Trump for the battery complaint by a woman? or is there other darker issues at play? Still supporting Trump? This is where disinformation comes in and calculation of percentages. Here the whole thing is to give Trump something to think about. Is the whole affair an unfortunate incident that has upset the apple cart?

Ms Fields is not new to controversy either. A deal can be made. Breitbart still supports Trump, but Trump tones down his love of Mr Putin? As the Breitbart Big Journalism tells us:

Our goal at Big Journalism is to hold the mainstream media's feet to the fire. There are a lot of stories that they simply don't cover, either because it doesn't fit their world view, or because they're literally innocent of any knowledge that the story even exists, or because they are a dying organization, short-staffed, and thus can't cover stuff like they did before.

So even Breitbart tells us that journalism is dying. A poke in the eye of the Big News... The only way "news" can be delivered is through full-frontal propaganda online. 

Is Breitbart caught in its own web? And some of its journos aren't prepared to do the hard yards for Trump, who to say the least is starting to sound like a Democrat crab while la Clinton has always been looking like a small Republican hawk? It's confusion all around. Meanwhile, none of this things matter, as long as the narrative is maintained: "we are the good guys, Russia is the bad guy"... Even Trump's love for Putin is mitigated enough to maintain the subconscious premise in our brain that should push come to shove, we could even have a tiff, like a war without any regrets, against our "friendly" ruskies.

And Obama follows the script:

Keep in mind that I have always been skeptical about Mr. Putin's actions and motives inside of Syria," Obama explained. "He is, along with Iran, the pre-eminent backer of a murderous regime that I don't believe can regain legitimacy in his country, because he has murdered a lot of people," the president said

Yep, the tone is maintained. Obama is a guy we don't really like (if you're a neocon) but he says the right thing. He is of course as hypocritical as the previous prez but he's smarter, as he does not involved US troops in this little war in Syria — apart from CIA operatives. Not so much controversy. He delegates the fighting to terrorists ("moderate" allies of Al Qaeda and Al Nusra, who are a notch down from ISIS) that maintain the crap in Syria. Hey, NO American soldiers dies. Nearly 5000 did in Iraq. 

Obama "would like" peace in Syria soon, so the Saudis can start building their gas pipeline to bypass Russia's near exclusive gas supply to Europe. He wants Assad gone in order to give Syria away to the Sauds, like a dad giving his daughter away at a rape party, for cash. 

Obama had to realise a long time ago that this was not going to happen anytime soon, but he still is maintaining appearances and grinds away and grinds away diplomatically and with cash and with his terrorists... The Ruskies are in the way... We're going to crank up our encircling of the Ruskies who aren't doing favours and curry to the Empire.

The Yanks might have to send commandoes into the night, but they won't tell us. The Russians would be alert to the possibility of such capers, which has been done before. The US bombed Gaddafi so many times, he had to live in a tent that got moved from place to place, until the Americans had to get some loony religious mobs to do the job for them. Osama Bin laden big mistake was to believe he would be safe in one of these Taliban "compounds" that are made of mud walls.

Meanwhile the US spends an enormous amount of cash to weaponise. So does NATO. So does the Russians and the Chinese. Weapons drive the world economy that would be completely sunk, with interest so low, they are zero. Zero is not a good investment unless you can still play the currency  and derivative markets — markets that are too big for ordinary punters like you and me. We're going backwards, but still burning more cheap fossil fuels in the process. Everyone is preparing for war. The "Penguin" and the "Joker" are winning the information deceit.

Russia has apparently overtaken the US as the world biggest exporter of wheat... Hum...


war is not a game...

NATO has begun its Anaconda-16 war game, calling for the largest assembly of foreign forces in Poland since World War II.

On Monday, NATO launched its largest war game in decades, near the Russian border, as part of what analysts call the "summer of provocation," a bid to reignite the Cold War intended to force Moscow to starve its domestic economy to ramp up its military to meet a growing external threat.

The war game, titled Anaconda-16, will take place in Poland ahead of next month’s NATO summit in Warsaw, where officials are expected to approve permanent troops to be stationed in the country and throughout eastern Europe, to combat what they consistently refer to 'Russian aggression.'

The 10-day military exercise calls for the participation of some 31,000 NATO troops and thousands of military vehicles, in what will be the single largest movement of foreign forces inside of Poland since World War II, rehashing painful memories for many Russians.  

In June 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to disarm the ‘Russian aggression’ talking point disseminated by neoconservative Beltway think tanks, pointing to the absurdity of Russia instigating a war against NATO member states.

"I think that only an insane person, and only in a dream, can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO," said Putin, adding, "I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia."

Regardless of the motives, the escalation of a NATO military presence close to Russian borders has reached a fever pitch, with the US establishing a missile-defense system in Romania and undertaking the development of a separate missile shield in neighboring Poland.

Beyond attempting to strangle Moscow’s nuclear deterrent, the Obama administration has also increased Pentagon spending in countries neighboring Russia by four-fold.

The Obama administration is not alone in its efforts to increase a rhetoric of threat. In recent months Poland has called for an influx of US troops and military aid, citing concerns that Russia may seek to invade. Germany has agreed to dispatch troops into the country for the war game, marking the first time that German soldiers have entered Polish territory since the Nazis used it as a route to invade the Soviet Union.

On Monday, Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with security analysts Daniel McAdams and John Wight to discuss the latest round of provocations on Russia’s border, and whether NATO war hawks seek more violence.

What is the purpose of the Anaconda-16 War Game?

"Well this is a series of so many NATO exercises on Russia’s borders during the summer, you can call it the summer of provocation," said McAdams. "This is the largest of the military exercises, and is the largest movement of foreign forces within Poland since World War II, so that is very significant and it is all being sold to everyone else as a protection against Russian aggression."

"In reality, it is NATO troops that are outside of Russia’s borders and it is absolutely a provocation, another step in trying to poke Russia in the eye," explained the security analyst.

Is Poland important to the United States strategically?

"Poland is massively important because of the historical enmity between the Poles and Russia along with the location," explained John Wight. "Daniel is absolutely right in calling this the summer of provocation, what we are witnessing is the recrudescence of the policy of containment that was devised after the Second World War."

"Containment, however, is a bit of a misnomer because it isn’t a policy of containment, it is a policy of aggression designed to surround Russia politically, economically, and ultimately militarily, in order to keep Russia’s government paranoid and to apply pressure on Russia to cause it to implode internally," said Wight, explaining the existential threat that Moscow faces from US-led saber rattling.

Is Russia a counter-hegemonic force against the United States?

"I wouldn’t say that Russia set out to be counter-hegemonic, but certain events have taken place," suggested McAdams. "You know the famous Putin speech where he essentially said ‘We’ve had it, we’ve had enough, and we’ve taken it for a number of years,’ and this was right before Russia accepted Syria’s invitation to put down the jihadists."

"I believe Russia has been pushed into this position, but if you talk about the early dates of the Obama administration, there was still this idea of resetting relations," said McAdams. "Instead, what happened in the Obama administration, and it happens in every administration, in which the neocons swoop in and take over foreign policy."

"You have people like Victoria Nuland who served Dick Cheney prior to President Obama. What on earth were they thinking by allowing somebody like this to have control of power, somebody who is a member of the Kagan neocon crime family, as the wife to Robert Kagan. This is how the neocons do it and they swallowed the Obama administration like a cancer that keeps growing," stated the security analyst.

"The neoconservatives now have control of Obama’s Russian policy and I think they are pushing us towards World War III," asserted McAdams.

Read more:

a planet marching to the tune of stars and stripes...


Phantom dangers, imperial networks: How Pentagon sees the world

Published time: 22 Jun, 2016 13:45
The world is threatened by Russia, China, Iran, North Korea – and oh yes, Islamic State – and its only hope is America, backed by loyal allies all over the globe. That is the vision the Pentagon chief has painted, with President Hillary Clinton in mind.

US Defense Secretary Ashton “Ash” Carter outlined his view of America’s strategic challenges at a conference hosted by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) on Monday in Washington, DC. While the Pentagon chief said he would be “extremely careful not to comment on the election,” the content of his presentation very clearly favored the establishment line that has been embraced by Clinton and threatened by Donald Trump’s calls to put “America first.”

‘America First’: #Trump lays out foreign policy vision in Washington speech

— RT (@RT_com) April 28, 2016

While Trump has been critical of US involvement around the globe, Carter argued that America is the “underwriter of global security” thanks to its “long-time network of allies and partners in every corner of the world.”

That is no exaggeration. As of Monday, the US had 187,000 troops deployed in 140 countries, according to Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley. Note, also, that the US Department of Defense has carved up the world into six “combat commands.” So busy is the Pentagon occupying the world, the US government had to set up a separate Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

As the “quintessential example of nations working together, and networking together, to respond to security challenges,” Carter named NATO, the US-dominated military alliance established in 1948. Not only did the US not dissolve this alliance at the end of the Cold War, it is currently trying to establish something like it in East Asia, judging by Carter’s presentation.

NATO and other “networks” of US allies around the globe are based on principles, standards and ideals, the Pentagon chief argued, citing as examples “resolving disputes peacefully” and “ensuring countries can make their own security and economic choices free from coercion and intimidation.” One ought to ask the people of Serbia or Libya, or Turkey’s Kurdish subjects about NATO’s proclivity for peaceful resolution of disputes.

As for the security and economic choices, look what happens to countries that choose differently from Washington’s desires – from Yugoslavia (now former), Libya (now chaos), and Syria (now a ruin) to Ukraine, where the government that chose good relations with Russia was overthrown in a coup and replaced by Nazis who sent tanks to crush dissent. But no, those are democratic reformers, and the resistance to their “anti-terrorist operation” is really “Russian aggression,” as Carter keeps repeating in hopes of precluding rational thought.

You see, when NATO masses an armada off the Russian coast or along the Russian border, that’s “deterrence” and defense and “underwriting security,” but when Russian planes fly over those ships or hover a hundred miles off the coast of California, that’s “unprofessional behavior” and “aggression.”

NATO has spent the past 25 years marching East, gobbling up “states” carved out of the corpses of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union so that it is now literally sitting on Russia’s doorstep – yet in Carter’s upside-down universe, NATO is the one being threatened by “Russian aggression.”

Welcome to Pentagon logic, folks, the looking-glass world in which NATO destroying countries on a whim whenever US “non-governmental organizations” fail to overthrow their governments in color coups is considered upholding the “principled international order” while any resistance to such schemes is “aggression” or “malignant behavior.”

Lest you think I’m projecting the way Carter does, Russia was actually the first of the five “challenges” listed by the Pentagon boss in the CNAS address, followed by China, North Korea, Iran – and only then, as an afterthought, the so-called Islamic State (IS formerly ISIS/ISIL). Even when he got around to talking about the Middle East, Carter brought up Iran first. To him, IS is a cancer, with a “parent tumor” to be defeated in Iraq and Syria and “metastases” elsewhere, meaning that Washington sees the struggle against the faux-caliphate as never-ending. That’s bad news for victims of IS, but great news for the US “defense contractors” and their place at the taxpayer trough.

In September 2015, after a year of bombing by the US-led coalition – another one of Carter’s “networks” – IS was showing no sign of being even mildly inconvenienced. Russia’s modest expeditionary force was deployed to Syria in October, and had the head-choppers on the run within a month. But to hear Washington say it, Russia was actually ‘helping’ jihadists and bombing the ‘good democrats’ of the US-backed “opposition.”

Though many Americans – including Trump – said they were happy to see Russia decimated the terrorists, but US officials insisted on their fantasy that Russian strikes were either counterproductive, targeting civilians, or nonexistent. That’s because, according to the Pentagon, each regional network (there’s that word again) needs “a nation and a military to enable it” – meaning, obviously, the United States and definitely not Russia, China, or anyone else, ever.

Trump: ‘I want to get along with Russia’ (VIDEO)

— RT America (@RT_America) March 22, 2016

It is no accident that Carter gave this particular speech at CNAS. The think-tank created in 2007 has been the go-to source of foreign policy and security advice for the Obama administration – all of it in service of US global hegemony. Most recently, in March this year, CNAS published a pamphlet titled “Extending American Power: Strategies to Expand US Engagement in a Competitive World Order,” advocating pretty much what it says on the tin. One of its lead authors is Robert Kagan, co-author of the notorious 1996 “benevolent global hegemony” doctrine – and husband of Victoria Nuland, of Kiev cookies fame.

Nebojsa Malic for RT


Kagan... Read from top... Oh and yes, If my memory is correct, Victoria Nuland is a great friend of Hillary Clinton...

in the rear view mirror...


February 09, 2014 "Information Clearing House -  What is it about America's women diplomats? They seem so hard and cloned - bereft of any humanity or intelligence. Presumably, these women are supposed to represent social advance for the female gender. But, far from displaying female independence, they are just a pathetic copy of the worst traits in American male politicians - aggressive, arrogant and completely arrant in their views.

Take Victoria Nuland - the US Assistant Secretary of State - who was caught using obscene language in a phone call about the European Union and the political affairs of Ukraine. In her previous posting as a spokeswoman for the US State Department, Nuland had the demeanor of a robotic matron with a swivel eye.

Now in her new role of covertly rallying anti-government protesters in Ukraine, Nuland has emerged to sound like a bubblegum-chewing Mafia doll. In her leaked private conversation with the US ambassador to Kiev, the American female diplomat is heard laying down in imperious tones how a new government in Ukraine should be constituted. Nuland talks about "gluing together" a sovereign country as if it is a mere plaything, and she stipulates which members of the US-backed street rabble in Kiev should or should not be included in any Washington-approved new government in the former Soviet republic.

We don't know who actually tapped and leaked Nuland's private call to the US ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt. It could have been the Ukrainian or Russian secret services, but, regardless, it was an inspired move to reveal it. For the disclosure, which has been posted on the internet, lays bare the subversive meddling agenda of Washington in Ukrainian internal affairs. Up to now, the Americans have been piously pretending that their involvement is one of a bystander supporting democracy from afar.

But, thanks to the Nuland's foul-mouthed indiscretion, the truth is out. Washington, from her own admission, is acting like an agent provocateur in Ukraine's political turmoil. That is an illegal breach of international rules of sovereignty. Nuland finishes her phone call like a gangster ordering a hit on a rival, referring to incompetent European interference in Ukraine with disdain - "F...k the EU."

What we are witnessing here is the real, ugly face of American government and its uncouth contempt for international law and norms.

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read also:

Yesterday, (3 days ago) Politico reported that the Ukrainian Government worked to aid Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections. The actions taken by government officials included disseminating “documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”

Those documents implicated Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who worked as an adviser for now-ousted Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych. However, the concerns that the documents raised weren’t in fact over any quasi-Russian ties, though partisan reporting pushed his narrative. Rather, the documents raised the question of whether Manafort declared the income that he had received from the position. The Podesta Group, a lobbying firm co-founded by Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, also conducted work for Yanukovych. However, the Manafort narrative not only painted Trump as pro-Russian, but also provided the Clinton campaign with a smear campaign while reaffirming its stance against Russia. It was in Ukraine’s best interest to tilt the election in support of Clinton, who strongly advocated for providing Ukraine with military aid and financial support in order to fight Russian separatists in the country.

Politico noted that Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American working as a consultant for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), met with top Ukrainian Officials in Washington D.C. about forcing Manafort’s resignation in order to perpetuate the narrative that Trump is connected to Russia. Both Chalupa and her sister Andrea have strongly pushed the anti-Russian narrative on social media, in addition to advocating that the electors of the electoral college defect from Trump. The report added, “Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.”

In addition to the Chalupas, the co-founder and CTO of Crowdstrike, the cyber security firm that the DNC hired to investigate the alleged hacks, Dmitri Alperovitch, also serves as a senior fellow to the Washington-based think tank Atlantic Council, which is an openly anti-Russian organization partly . The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, who also happens to be one of the most prolific donors to the Clinton Foundation. The DNC denied multiple requests from the FBI to access their servers, effectively forcing the FBI to rely on CrowdStrike’s assessment of the hacks.

The Atlantic Council has propagated anti-Russian sentiment and advocated for bolstering NATO forces in anticipation of a military conflict between with Russia long before Wikileaks released emails from the DNC and Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta. In 2013, the Atlantic Council awarded Hillary Clinton its Distinguished International Leadership Award. In 2014, the Atlantic Council hosted one of several events with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed in early 2014. In August, Politico reported that Donald Trump’s favorable rhetoric to Russia was concerning Ukraine.  The article stated, “Russia wants Trump for U.S. president; Ukraine is terrified by Trump and prefers Hillary Clinton.”

In response to their preferred candidate losing the election, Ukrainian officials are now scrambling to revert from their lobbying for Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently signed a $50,000-a-month contract with a lobbying firm to set up meetings with U.S. officials in the new administration. Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk wrote an op-ed on December 29 in the Wall Street Journal in which he argued that Ukraine needs make compromises to establish peace with Russia. After the election, reports surfaced that Pinchuk donated to Trump’s charity to try to gain the same favor and access that his donations to the Clinton Foundation afforded him. “The sole reason the Victor Pinchuk Foundation has reached out to President-elect Trump—as well as other world leaders—has been to promote strengthened and enduring ties between Ukraine and the West,” a spokeswoman for the Pinchuk foundation told ABC News.

While past elections in Ukraine have been viewed as proxy battles between the U.S. and Russia, it appears that the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. faced similar influence from two foreign countries attempting to influence an election outcome preferable to their own national interests.

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see toon at top

robbery under arms with a rubbery check (cheque)...

"A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia," according to the article. 

In his interview Sunday, Schiff acknowledged that if the substance of the article were true, it would be "problematic," but he argued that it is a completely different "scale."

He explained: "It would be problematic to get any kind of support from a foreign government. But again I think to compare the two is like a bit like comparing bank robbery with writing a check with insufficient funds. Both appropriate money from the bank improperly, but a very different degree of seriousness and involvement in the case by a foreign government."

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Yes, robbing someone of one million bucks with a fuddy-fake check (cheque) is less of a robbery than stealing $50,000 from the banks. Banks are sacred.

destructive program of the empire...


Years ago there was a plan, A Clean Break: Project for the New American Century (PNAC), to wreck the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians and to re-mold the Middle East. It first involved destroying Iraq, or in the discredited words of Paul Wolfowitz, “The road to peace in the Middle East goes through Baghdad.”

Destroying Syria was to be next. And then came Iran. In 2006, columnist Taki Theodoracopulos warned in The American Conservative of the “Clean Break” plan “to aggressively remake the strategic environments of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. As they say in boxing circles, three down, two to go.” Core promoters of the PNAC plan signed an open letter to then President Clinton calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. They were Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Elliot Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Zoellick and John Bolton, all solid members of the Neoconservative project.

In a short one minute video former NATO commander General Wesley Clark criticizes the plan as hatched to remake the Middle East.  Equally, it is important to remember that the chaos in Iraq (and Syria) was not unforeseen by those who promoted the American invasion. I reported in TAC in 2010 of neoconservative David Wurmser (subsequently Vice President Cheney’s principal advisor) forecasting “if Saddam Hussein were driven from power, Iraq would be ‘ripped apart by the politics of warlords, tribes, clans, sects, and key families,’ and out of the ‘coming chaos in Iraq and most probably in Syria,’ the United States and her principal allies, namely Israel and Jordan, could redraw the region’s map.” SeeAmerican Prospect, “The Apprentice.”

Of course, all this was years ago, but the plan remains, supported by many powerful American war interests. To find out who, just follow the money. It’s always a useful rule.

Trump has declared that Iran is violating its nuclear agreement although all the other signatories state that it is in compliance. Undermining the Iraq nuclear accord, first with Washington imposing tighter economic sanctions to bring about a pretext for attacking Iran, is now on the table as Washington’s next Middle East project.

However, the world is different from 20 years ago when the neocon plan was first hatched.  Firstly there is Iran’s agreement to dismantle its nuclear program. A CATO report details all the ways Iran has complied with the agreement including giving up its stockpile of enriched uranium, dismantling two thirds of its uranium enrichment centrifuges, allowing international surveillance and other measures limiting its actions for the next 10 to 25 years.

Washington is now finding it harder to force the Europeans to go along with re-imposing sanctions. China is much stronger and might take up the trade and giant oil investments which Washington could force European companies to forego. Iran has a vastly stronger missile program to retaliate against the U.S. Navy and nearby American air bases. Iran is three times as large as Iraq and far less subject to fractional internal ethnic divisions. The pro-Israel lobby is divided although big money American donors still want Iran’s destruction. North Korea’s nuclear and new missile technology make it harder for Washington to demand concessions, while at the same time reneging on its past commitments. America’s trustworthinessis already suspect from having attacked Libya after Libya gave up its nuclear program. And even in Washington there is new congressional resistance to the President’s ability to start new wars.

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bipolar US hubris...

Citing a May 14 article in the Washington Post by Brookings Institution neoconservative Robert Kagan, Beijing noted that modern DC diplomacy is now tracking along either of two foreign policy formats: as a post-World-War-II defender of the international order, or as an increasingly isolationist nation ditching the economic and military promises it made to its allies.

"It turns out there was a third option," however, according to Kagan, cited by China Daily.

"The United States as a rogue superpower, neither isolationist nor internationalist, neither withdrawing nor in decline, but active, powerful and entirely out for itself," the high-profile, former Republican Party member stated.

Noting only the recent disruptive Trump administration policy moves on Iran and trade, Kagan observed that the US leader was ignoring the current world order while viewing global opportunities through a narrow perspective of personal gain.

In referring to the US as a rogue nation, China Daily noted many historical examples of go-it-alone policies by Washington, including the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq under President George W. Bush; the sharp escalation of drone strikes under President Barack Obama; Trump's orders to attack Syria with cruise missiles in 2017 and again this year, and an ongoing US embargo against Cuba.

In observing that the US should be considered a rogue nation, Beijing also noted Trump's withdrawal from a host of other global alliances besides the 2015 JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, including quitting the UN Human Rights Council, dropping its membership in UNESCO, turning away from the 2016 Paris climate accord, deep cuts in legacy funding to the United Nations and the latest threats of additional tariffs on the imports of long-term allies.


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war forever...

The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World, Robert Kagan, Knopf, 192 pages

Robert Kagan is a formidable figure in our country’s foreign policy establishment. He has been at its center for decades, from working for Jack Kemp and Secretary of State George Shultz during the Cold War, to his emergence in the post-Cold War era as arguably the leading intellectual advocate for a foreign policy of “benevolent global hegemony”—what scholars call “primacy.” Unsurprisingly, he was a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a prominent early advocate for war with Iraq in the late 1990s, well before 9/11.

Today, Kagan is an influential scholar at the Brookings Institution, a columnist at The Washington Post, and a member of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Despite being known as a neoconservative, his appeal spans party and ideological divides. Indeed, Kagan’s 2016 support for Hillary Clinton showed his willingness to cross these divides himself in terms of electoral loyalties.

As a writer and public intellectual, Kagan has skillfully crafted historical narratives and strategic assessments supporting his overarching neoconservative vision for U.S. foreign policy. His 1996 Foreign Affairs article with Bill Kristol, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” still resonates today as a concise hallmark statement of that approach to America’s role in the world. With a long list of prominent books and articles following in that vein, it is little wonder that Andrew Bacevich called him “the chief foreign policy theorist of the neoconservative movement.”

Kagan’s newest book, The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World, fits nicely into his corpus. It is a spirited defense of the “American-led liberal world order” by one of its most cogent and articulate advocates. It is part curated history, part philippic for his preferred strategic vision for the United States. In this small volume, Kagan argues that the enlightened order America created after World War II has allowed for much progress in the world. But this order is not natural, and its great benefits have been “made possible by the protection afforded liberalism within the geographical and geopolitical space created by American power.” To Kagan, this liberal order is “fragile and impermanent,” requiring constant care by its architect and beneficiary, the United States. He sees the liberal order as being “like a garden, artificial and forever threatened by the forces of nature.” Thus “preserving it requires a persistent, unending struggle against the vines and weeds that are constantly working to undermine it from within and overwhelm it from without.” Otherwise, the jungle will “grow back and engulf us all.”

The problem with the book is its reliance on some questionable historical and contemporary assessments, not to mention that it fails to really make the case for the necessity and desirability of the liberal order in today’s world.

Kagan begins The Jungle Grows Back by noting that the last 70 years of peace, prosperity, and the expansion of democracy and respect for individual rights have been an exception to the historical norm. Far from being the natural course or inevitable, this progress required something special and unique: that a liberal democratic country like the United States, with so many geopolitical and economic advantages, rose to international prominence after World War II. Not only that, but, as Kagan argues, American leaders were willing to use their great power at this special moment in history to act differently and to create a new and unique world order.

Rather than merely defend its narrow national interests, the United States created a liberal international order that it would take responsibility for upholding and protecting. Kagan argues that this approach wasn’t, as some might argue, directed at the Soviet Union or anyone else in particular (though he admits the rise of the Soviet threat made it easier for Americans to accept it even as the strategy became more difficult to implement). Instead, “its chief purpose was to prevent a return to the economic, political, and strategic circumstances that had given rise to the last war.” Thus, Kagan believes this internationalist approach was rooted in a realism about the nature of geopolitics in the 20th century and a realization that the world was a jungle that required “meeting power with greater power.” American leaders had learned from World War II that they had to adopt a new approach to the world, one that created, in Dean Acheson’s words, “an environment for freedom.” To do otherwise would be to let disorder reign or for others to order the international system to the detriment of American interests and values.


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Kagan’s 2016 support for Hillary Clinton was mostly because HILLARY WAS IN FAVOUR OF WAR WITH EVERYBODY (China and Russia included), while Trump wanted to make "peace with Russia" — which was a contrick, possibly to get help from Putin to get him voted in instead of Clinton. Putin did NOT FALL FOR THE BAIT and would have known that any of these candidates WERE BAD NEWS. No Russian in government helped Trump get through.

forgetting the tomfoolery of the past...

Is it blatant dishonesty or a convenient bout of amnesia? It’s hard to tell. What I do know is this: the supposed American devotion to alliances, now being celebrated by those who deem the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis as heralding the end of Western civilization, is a load of malarkey.

The canonization of Mattis as a secular saint was underway in record time. In The New York Times, David Sanger describes Mattis as “the last senior official in the administration deeply invested in the world order that the United States has led for the 73 years since World War II, and the global footprint needed to keep that order together.” Here the tradition of Marshall, Acheson, and Kennan ostensibly ends and the precipice beckons.

To the wise and seasoned defense secretary, Sanger writes, “alliances were a force-multiplier.” To the foolish and impetuous commander-in-chief, “they are mostly a burden.” To drive the point home, Sanger recruits Robert Kagan, who obligingly chides President Donald Trump for treating allies as “freeloaders who can go to hell if they don’t get on board.”  

Treating allies with disrespect is no doubt a terrible thing. Yet not so very long ago it was Kagan and his fellow neoconservatives who were telling allies unwilling to get onboard to go to hell. The moment was the run up to the Iraq war. The George W. Bush administration was urging American allies to join our mission. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein would initiate a great crusade to democratize the Middle East. What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently failing to appreciate that Washington’s operative definition of ally is “we decide, you agree, photo op to follow,” the Krauts and the Frogs refused to go along. 

To which Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld replied: so what? In their view, allies were window dressing—nice to have if convenient, but utterly expendable if they dared to interfere with the exercise of American global leadership. Regarding Iraq, the Bush administration did not hide the fact that the United States would go it alone if necessary. “Coalition of the willing” was the phrase devised to gussy up what was little more than a policy of naked unilateralism. 

The Germans? Ingrates who had managed to forget their debt to the United States, dating from 1945 and continuing through the Cold War. And the French? “Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” Together the two European nations formed an “axis of weasel.” They could both go to hell.

As it actually took shape, the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld coalition of the willing consisted mostly of the United Kingdom, led into war by a prime minister subsequently derided by his own countrymen as George Bush’s “poodle.” Tagging along were various other military contingents, together mustering firepower roughly equivalent to that of the Joplin, Missouri Police Department. Not a lot of capability, but since the war was sure to end up as a great romp—or so its proponents believed—none of this was expected to matter. The mighty forces of the United States would make short work of anyone foolish enough to resist. The favored term was “cakewalk.”

As is so often the case in war, things did not go as expected, to put it mildly. The reckless U.S. invasion of Iraq set in train a sequence of events leading—wouldn’t you know it—to the election of a president promising to put “America First.” 

Donald Trump is a fool. Let there be no doubt on that score. But let there also be no confusion about how the United States got into the mess in which it finds itself today. Back in 2002 and 2003, various warmongers decided that noncompliant allies could “go to hell.” They got their wish and we live with the consequences.

Andrew Bacevich is TAC’s writer-at-large.

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bill kristol's leaky moral sewer...


ON MEMORIAL DAY weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., got into an online tussle about the Iraq War with Bill Kristol.

No one outside of the inner circle of the George W. Bush administration bears greater responsibility for the war than Kristol. He co-founded a think tank whose purpose was to make the case for war, wrote a book and dozens of articles calling for an invasion, and appeared constantly on TV explaining why it had to happen.

After Kristol attacked Sanders’s foreign policy acumen, Sanders asked him, “Have you apologized to the nation for your foolish advocacy of the Iraq war?” Here’s what Kristol said:


Nope. I dislike quasi-Stalinist demands for apologies. I've defended and will defend my views on Iraq, and Syria, and Milosevic, and the Soviet Union, and more, as you defend yours. How about a real debate on U.S. foreign policy--I'll ask for no apologies!--on a campus this fall?

Kristol’s response is particularly striking because on March 28, 2003, just 10 days after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq, he appeared on C-SPAN and made a great show of being “happy to be held to a moral standard” if his predictions about the war were wrong. Specifically, Kristol said, the grounds for war would be grievously weakened if Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction; or Iraqis did not treat the U.S. as a liberating force; or the U.S. did not leave behind a democratic government.

Of course, none of those things happened. Kristol’s entire performance that day was a masterpiece of prevarication and bad faith. But 16 years later, as seen in edited highlights below, his most egregious lie is his pretense that he would ever be willing to be held accountable for his actions.

I would be shocked if we don’t find weapons of mass destruction, and I think that is one of the main rationales for the war. … I expect us to find them and if we don’t find them, that would undercut in part the rationale for the war. … Obviously that would be a great blow if Saddam has not been developing weapons of mass destruction. …

I would agree that if after the war, we aren’t treated more or less as a liberating force, then that would also be a rebuke to the Bush administration and to those of us who counseled that this war was just and necessary. I accept the possibility that I’m wrong. …

We should follow through and be serious about helping the Iraqi people rebuild their country and about helping promote a decent and democratic government in Iraq. It would be a less morally satisfying and fully defensible war if we don’t follow through as we should. …

I’m happy to be held to a moral standard. I ask that it be a serious moral standard.


The death toll of the Iraq War is incalculable, both because the U.S. doesn’t care enough to count Iraqi deaths and because the dying isn’t over. The consequences of the war will reverberate throughout the Mideast and the world for the rest of our lives. What we can say is that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed.

We measure the number of American military dead more precisely: Almost 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq. The families of many of them were surely visiting their graves this weekend. All you need to know about Bill Kristol is that he spent that time proclaiming that we should not expect him to apologize for cajoling us into a war that created so many tombstones.


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What can you expect from a warmonger — except MORE WARS and MORE SHIT?

See: it's far fetched... but is this fellow the joker?

interview with the penguin...

Interview with Robert Kagan

Permanence of Liberal Democracy 'Is an Illusion'

Prominent U.S. conservative Robert Kagan warns that it is time for Europe to "grow up." In an interview, he talks about Trump's stance on foreign policy, the crumbling liberal democratic consensus and the precarious future of Germany and the EU.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Kagan, U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria had grave consequences: He opened the gate for a Turkish invasion into northern Syria, strengthened the influence of Russia and Iran and undermined the confidence of in the reliability of the United States. Do you think Trump knew what he was doing when he made his decision?

Kagan: I don't think he really was very concerned about what the consequences would be. Trump is operating on the assumption that the American people will be supportive of the idea of getting out of Syria regardless of the consequences. And he's probably right. At least I didn't hear a big public outcry.

DER SPIEGEL: Some influential Republican senators have sharply criticized Trump. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, even wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post that Trump had led the U.S. into a "strategic nightmare."

Kagan: Trump has responded to this by leaving a few American soldiers in eastern Syria. But by and large, the president does not believe that the Republican leadership holds any sway over Republican voters. Trump ran against the Republican Party in 2016, and he won. That's why he considers people like Mitch McConnell to be paper tigers

DER SPIEGEL: Yet it is now in the hands of the Republican party to end Trump's presidency prematurely. Republican senators must only vote with the Democrats for an impeachment. Do you think such an outcome is out of the question?

Kagan: Not completely. But if they do, the reason certainly won't be Trump's foreign policy. The Republicans will turn away from the president if they get the impression that in his insanity, he is dragging the party into the abyss. But we're not there yet.

DER SPIEGEL: The withdrawal from northern Syria was only one part of a larger promise by Trump to end the "endless wars" of his predecessors. Can Europeans fill the gap left by the U.S. in the Middle East?

Kagan: Maybe I missed something. But so far, I cannot see that Europeans are pushing to send soldiers to Syria.

DER SPIEGEL: German Defense Minister AnnegretKramp-Karrenbauer has proposed securing a protection zone in northern Syria with European troops.

Kagan: As much as I wish the Europeans were involved, I have great skepticism that they are truly capable of replacing the Americans. It starts with military logistics and materials, but it's also about more fundamental issues. Are the Europeans really ready to pay the moral price of becoming a military interventionist? Because that means killing people and also enduring innocent civilians dying because mistakes are made in every war. The Germans developed into a peaceful, civilian people after World War II. I do not think they want to bear this burden.

DER SPIEGEL: Is Trump right when he insists that the Europeans finally have to stand on their own two feet 70 years after the end of World War II?

Kagan: Trump is only saying what every American president has said since John F. Kennedy, which is we want a greater burden sharing on the part of Europe. But I think that where Donald Trump is wrong, and where he's different from other presidents, is that he wants to leave Europe by itself right now.

DER SPIEGEL: Why is he wrong?

Kagan: Over the course of decades, we told Germany: "We don't want you to be a normal nation. We want you to focus on peaceful growth, on your social well-being. We don't want you to spend 5 percent of your GDP on the military." So, for the United States to say: "We do want you to be a military power," well, I think that's a big gamble. The American role in the world was a critical part of establishing a peaceful Europe after World War II. The United States established the international trading regime, which has been important to European economic success. This regime is really in question, and also the fate of democracy as a common European ideology. One of the most important elements of the European project after World War II has been the suppression and control of nationalism. And we now see nationalism returning.

DER SPIEGEL: Trump is certainly not the only one who is responsible for this development.

Kagan: For a long time, we have been used to thinking that liberal democracy is the permanent condition of humanity. But that is an illusion. Liberal democracy always creates antibodies. The U.S. has played a key role in establishing the European democratic process, but for several years now, it has been pulling back from that role. Ever since the end of the Cold War, the American public has been increasingly questioning why they have to play this large role in the world. Why do we have troops in Europe? Why are the Europeans not taking care of themselves? After the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis, the discussion reached the tipping point. With Barack Obama and Donald Trump, we have had two presidents who considered it their job to pull America back from this role. Certainly, Trump is the more extreme version of that.

DER SPIEGEL: In a recent essay, you wrote that the German question will return if the U.S. is no longer willing to continue its engagement in Europe. Do you really think there is a danger of Germany once again becoming a threat to its neighbors?

Kagan: Up to the end of World War II, Germany always had the problem that it's too big for Europe. A key element of the European peace after World War II was the American security guarantee, which reassured all of Germany's neighbors that whatever else was going to happen, Germany would not become a danger again. That allowed Germany to have this great economic success without unnerving and frightening its neighbors. Once Germany was unified, it became the largest economy in Europe, the largest territory in Europe and the largest population in Europe. With that, of course, comes the potential of being the largest military in Europe. So it's not about the German character or anything.


Kagan: There are certain objective conditions that bring back the German question. You can already see the jealousies of other countries about Germany's dominance of the European economy and the resentment that that creates. If you pull the American engagement out of the equation, here's the scenario that I worry about: The neighbors of Germany could become sort of unmoored from NATO and maybe even from the EU. They will begin to look at Germany nervously and begin to undertake economic policies that are designed to break free of German hegemony. That will, in turn, create resentments in Germany. How long before you have a perfectly respectable German position that says: "Wait a second. We've got to start looking out for ourselves. Everybody else around us is looking out for themselves. Who is looking out for us?"

DER SPIEGEL: So in your view, the Europeans are eternal teenagers who start fighting as soon as America turns away.

Kagan: Grow up! That's fine! But I think you really have to be an unwavering optimist to believe that Europe will stay stable and peaceful without the support of the United States. You can't compare the EU of the late 1990s to the EU of today. There is the United Kingdom's departure from Europe. In the eastern parts of Europe, the once democratic governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have entered various stages of decent into illiberalism. And France is only one election away from a nationalist electoral victory.

DER SPIEGEL:Do you think it's possible that Trump will pull the U.S. out of NATO if he is reelected?

Kagan: I don't rule it out. But you know what? In a way, that's not the important question. Whether the United States formally pulls out of NATO or not, does anyone think we're as committed to NATO today as we were four years ago? The Poles are very funny to me because they believe that NATO could go away, but the U.S. commitment to Poland will survive. They think they can count on Donald Trump.

DER SPIEGEL: According to polls, a majority of American voters believe the country should prioritize its domestic political problems. That also seems to be a message that the Democratic presidential candidates have understood.


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