Sunday 23rd of January 2022

america is back: some people are gonna to die...


We know what keeps America safe at night — rough men on the walls stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm, duh. But what about Canada? Or say, Cambodia or Bolivia?



This is by way of trying to figure out why Joe Biden bombed Syria and derailed the resumption of the Iran nuclear accord, and why he has called off, delayed, or stalled further withdrawals from the places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria along the bloody trail of the old Global War of Terror. Canada (along with Cambodia, Bolivia and most others) never sent any of their rough men to most of those places to begin with, absent Afghanistan where some Canadian forces were deployed until 2014, a long 7 years ago. The peak was only about 2,000 soldiers anyway. Canada maintains a handful of small foreign outposts, mostly to handle logistics. They’re not fighting anyone anywhere.



The U.S. famously has some 800 bases strewn around the globe, with troops in 150 countries, and boasts its special forces during any given week are deployed in 82 nations. Many of those Sneaky Pete’s are killing people in those places without the knowledge of the “host” country. Last year they operated in 72 percent of the nations on this planet, including 13 African nations. Can you name them? Why were Americans risking their lives in Burkina Faso? So we can sleep better?



Few expected much from Joe Biden foreign policy wise, and he has delivered. About a month into office he bombed Syria. The ostensible justification was the target was not “Syrian” but 22 people associated with Iran. Militias in Iraq allegedly under Iran’s control killed an American contractor in Erbil so the bombing in Syria was retaliation for that. This was not only supposed to be a legal, moral, and ethical act by the Home of Democracy (c), it was supposed to have accomplished something toward Americans being safer. It did not; a U.S. airbase in Iraq was rocketed a few days later.



Imagine Chinese aircraft flying halfway around the world and killing 22 people in Detroit in retaliation for something that happened in, wherever, Thailand. That OK? Whatever nations are looking to China for “leadership” (one of the things Biden was to restore after Trump broke it) might not be sure. China is an interesting example, because they did not retaliate against the United States for bombing their embassy in the former Yugoslavia in 1999. As in 1988 when an American cruiser shot down a civilian Iran Air flight, killing all 290 people on board, Washington just said it was a mistake so no retaliation was necessary. The world is encouraged to accept America alone does bad things for good reasons. Or no reason at all. Talk about uniqueness.



If I thought like a Canadian, I would find it difficult to understand why the U.S. has to fight everyone. It is very hard to imagine America has enemies who need killing in 72 percent of the nations on earth. Or maybe not — after decades of invading, bombing, and regime changing, maybe they really do hate us. The relationship between the U.S. bombing people and people not caring for the U.S. seems unclear to Joe Biden and most of his predecessors, however.



Thinking like an American, the ostensible reason for all this bombing seems to be Hitler. He’s why we couldn’t support Trump’s nuclear diplomacy with North Korea and no other president has even tried for 20 years, and why Biden seems reluctant to revive the Iran nuclear accord. In 1938 olde timey British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain got hoodwinked by Hitler. No American president wants to be Neville Chamberlain. So every bad guy in the world, whether Slobo Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad, the cabal that runs Iran, Hugo Chavez, Castro even dead, is Hitler.



It follows every friction point is Munich 1938 and the only way to deal with it without appearing Chamberlain-level weak is to attack just one more country. When actual fighting cannot be on the table, presidents are content with crippling sanctions, a kind of economic Guantanamo, as have been in place against Cuba since about when the Beatles first came to America, before that with North Korea, and since roller disco was popular in the case of Iran.



It works for us, at least as far as politicians are concerned. They don’t look like Neville Chamberlain. They hardly ever suffer any consequences. There is absolutely no demanding of accountability (the new Washington watch word) for any act of war committed by any American president, including those who lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and created a global torture system the actual Hitler would have been happy to have franchised. Foreign policy in general is not a constraint on policymakers, because most of the public doesn’t care about it (quick, find Burkina Faso on a map.) Those that do care usually are pretty supportive of America’s wars, love the troops and all that. Washington and the media help out, spending most of a decade messaging “we have to be at war” post-9/11 for example, and that poo stain doesn’t wash out easy. The thing that finally turned the country against the Vietnam War, the draft of nice white middle class kids, is gone. Also gone are the waves of body bags, as much of modern killing is death from way above.



The other reasons Joe Biden bombed Syria are equally familiar and equally false. We have backed away from “we need to protect the oil” since the first Bush Gulf War in 1991 though the phrase had a good run. Still out there is some version of “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.” No one has invaded the U.S. since 1812, and when push came to shove on 9/11 a bunch of guys with box cutters worked around the $305.4 billion 2001 military budget. People on the left used to talk about “The American Empire” but even that has turned out to be pretty weak; we don’t imperially profit by raping conquered lands as a proper empire does. Where is our Raj? Our Opium War? Our rubber plantations and breadfruit farms? America got no oil from Iraq and no minerals from Afghanistan.



We instead mostly wreck places (Libya and Vietnam come to mind) and then abandon them, or grab a little land for yet another overseas base. Americans sometimes talk like it’s all a great game of Risk, but war to simply grab resources and territory isn’t how things have worked for a long time. Other justifications? Ask any still living Iraqi how “spreading democracy” worked out. Stopping various genocides comes up from time to time, though when a real one came along in Rwanda the U.S. wasn’t up for it. And, oh yeah, Biden is the leader of the free world. Was there a vote, because if so it’s likely Andrea Merkel would have won. Did American get tasked by all other good countries to protect them, as if Canada couldn’t build a nuke if it wanted one and who is threatening them anyway? The Canadian military could invade Burkina Faso if they wished to. They just don’t wish to.



The fall back justification since 1945 has been the myth that the U.S. is engaged in some global muscle-tussle to be the most powerfulist place. It used to be just Russia, but lately China seems to be the one we imagine challenging us everywhere while still owning the largest foreign share of American debt and making nearly everything sold in our stores. When was the last time China shot at us, never mind invaded us? Some may even remember we already defeated globalist Russia once before (Google “the Cold War, we won.”)



Military spending does absorb over half of the federal government’s discretionary budget, meaning more money is spent on the Pentagon than on schools, infrastructure, climate, research, and diplomacy combined, so that may also have something to do with all this. Fun fact: in addition to leading the world in bombing, America is also the leading global arms dealer.



Most of Joe Biden’s foreign policy team are brutalist left-overs from the Obama administration, the one that invaded Libya and set the ball rolling in Syria and Ukraine. They’re needed in 2021 about as much as mimes at a funeral. Head of the gang is Victoria Nuland, who worked to start her own war in Ukraine a few years ago. Supporting her are Tony “Global Policeman” Blinken and Susan Rice, she of invading Libya fame.  Maybe they and the others of the Class of 2016 will finally have those full-on wars  have always wanted but a stronger president like Obama sort of resisted. Bloody Nuland says more wars are basically a requirement. She co-wrote an article titled “Superpowers Don’t Get To Retire,” proclaiming “there is no democratic superpower waiting in the wings to save the world if this democratic superpower falters.” With policy friends like this, it’s clear why Biden bombed Syria and will do more of that kind of thing as opportunities arise.



“America is back,” Biden bleats at every opportunity. What that means America is back to business as usual, and that means people abroad are gonna die. Blame Canada.




Read more:



See also:


From Afghanistan to Niger, the “new normal” of American warfare shows no signs of changing course under President Biden and his hawkish national security team. In this episode of “The Marc Steiner Show,” combat veteran and writer Danny Sjursen issues a dire warning about American military policy.

Tune in for new episodes of The Marc Steiner Show every Friday on TRNN


---------------- assangeassange  

the lithium conspiracy?...

Allegations suggesting that the 2019 coup in Bolivia was organized to gain access to the country's rich lithium reserves are not new. When Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted "We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it" last year, many, including Morales, saw the post as proof that the goal of the coup was to gain control of the lithium output.

The United Kingdom supported the 2019 coup in Bolivia to secure access to the country's massive lithium deposits for the sake of British companies, an investigative report by Declassified UK claims.

According to the findings, the UK Foreign Office and British Embassy appeared to have financed an optimisation of the "exploitation" of Bolivian lithium deposits by an Oxford-based company, Satellite Applications Catapult. The report outlined that the project rapidly moved on shortly after former Bolivian president Evo Morales was forced to resign.

Funding 'Exploitation' of Lithium Deposits

According to the report, shortly after the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) fully authorised the lithium project on 25 November 2019, the UK Foreign Office transferred £33,220 (some $46,000) to Satellite Applications Catapult, in a “programme spend” payment.

In March 2020, the UK Embassy then reportedly cooperated with the interim government's Ministry of Mining to organize an "international seminar" for over 300 officials from the global mining sector, in which a company called Watchman UK, a Foreign Office's partner, was brought in offer “creative solutions”  to get local indigenous communities to work in the mines.

Declassified UK described what it claims to be "a long courtship" by the UK toward the Morales socialist government over the country's lithium reserves. Particularly, the report outlined efforts to connect the so-called "lithium triangle" between Argentina, Chile and Bolivia with the London Metal Exchange.

"Relationship with the Bolivian Lithium Company might also prove relevant as Bolivia becomes a supplier of lithium [a critical material] to the UK”, and referenced its “effort to connect Bolivia, Chile and Argentina (ie the Lithium Triangle) with the London Metal Exchange”, the UK government said on the efforts, according to the report.British Cybersecurity Efforts in Bolivia

Declassified UK laid out a timeline of the UK government allegedly pushing its cybersecurity efforts and investments in Bolivia over years, claiming that London brought into the country a company founded by the UK intelligence community, and "with close links to America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)".

Months before the 2019 coup, the UK reportedly financed a “major event” in La Paz on cybersecurity for financial institutions, bringing Darktrace, the company allegedly set up by MI5 and its signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, to deliver presentations on "adequate and state-of-the-art technology” to be used by Bolivian banks against cyber crime.

The outlet claimed that the UK facilitated data for an Organisation of American States (OAS) report on the 2019 election in Bolivia, in which claims of electoral fraud during the vote were raised. Later, according to Declassified UK, this report was debunked by independent researchers who referred to data obtained by The New York Times from the Bolivian electoral authorities.

UK Stance On Bolivian Coup

After the coup took place in Bolivia in November 2019, prompting Evo Morales to step down as president, the British Foreign Office released a supportive statement for a new interim government led by Jeanine Áñez - who later made way for Luis Arce to become president after a 2020 general election.

"The United Kingdom congratulates Jeanine Áñez on taking on her new responsibilities as interim President of Bolivia. We welcome Ms Áñez’ appointment and her declared intention to hold elections soon", the UK Foreign Office stated at the time.

Not everyone in the UK appeared to agree with this position, with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader at the time, condemning "this coup against the Bolivian people and [stands] with them for democracy, social justice and independence.”



Read more:



Jeanine Anez, who seized power in Bolivia as an interim president after the November 2019 ousting of then-president Evo Morales, has been arrested on suspicion of sedition, the new government has announced.

Anez's arrest warrant was issued by a court on Friday and was executed on Saturday morning, Minister of Government Carlos del Castillo announced on Twitter. He hailed the development as a step forward in giving the Bolivian people the justice they deserve.

Bolivian media showed images of the politician being taken into custody. Anez and other members of her government have been accused of sedition, terrorism and conspiracy over the way they took and held on to power.

#URGENTE#JeanineÁñez llegará a #LaPaz alrededor de las 3:15 y será presentada por el ministro de Gobierno, Eduardo del Castillo.(Noticia en proceso)#ATBDigital

— ATB (@ATBDigital) March 13, 2021


Meanwhile Anez denounced the Bolivian government, saying her arrest was “abuse and political persecution”, denying that a coup ever happened in the country.



Read more:





US cyber aggression...

The New York Times has recently reported that the United States was harbouring plans to carry out cyberattacks on internal systems of the Russian authorities within the next three weeks. It just so happens that the United States now announces acts of aggression in advance.

Of course, the Americans consider their actions to be a response to "Russia's aggression." In particular, US intelligence agencies hold Russia accountable for the hacker attack through SolarWinds software. It was allegedly launched in March 2020 and lasted for several months. The attack, as US officials claim, targeted US government agencies and more than 400 largest US-based enterprises.

As a matter of fact, the US authorities have not provided evidence to prove that Russian intelligence services were behind the attack indeed. Needless to say that such evidence will not be provided at all. As they say in such cases in Washington: "We just know it."

The New York Times assures that USA's "counterattacks" will not be evident, but the Russian leadership, intelligence services and the military will learn about them.

Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on March 9 that the Russian administration was worried about the information in the US newspaper.

Читайте больше на





Read from top.

the darkness of the new president...






Read from top.

bad biden...

The idea of American exceptionalism — namely that the U.S.  is a morally superior, unique and viscerally democratic nation — has guided U.S.  foreign policy since the country’s earliest days.

Its thoroughly realist international policies never justified such an exalted mantle. But the premise pervaded the foreign policy establishments and served interventionists well — from both political parties. The market economy — and expanding it and trade worldwide — drove this mission, which rationalized military interventions across the globe.

But, surely, after the four disastrous years of the Trump administration the U.S.  can no longer claim such a distinction, even in reduced dimensions. The U.S.  is quite obviously not an exceptional, viscerally democratic nation, but rather one flawed in many ways. It possesses a dangerous authoritarian streak that has deep roots in the population.

Long before the Trump fiasco, it should have been clear to anyone who studied U.S. foreign policy with a critical eye that this pretentious posturing was illusory. The U.S.  had racism written into its constitution and expanded its original borders by displacing and killing the native Americans who had lived there for centuries. More recently, the U.S. record is stained with human rights atrocities from Vietnam to Abu Ghraib.

What Now?

What now, then, if exceptionalism is no longer credible, will steer U.S.  foreign policy? So embedded is the exceptionalist mindset in Washington that there’s been no fundamental rethinking of it — at best a tinkering around the edges. President Joe Biden, an old-school Democrat, and his foreign policy team are similarly steeped in the creed, even if they now say the U.S.  should show a little more humility and work together better with other countries to achieve foreign policy goals.

The fact is that the Democrats have no strategy B – just A light.

The new secretary of state, Antony Blinken endorses a “slimmed-down exceptionalism,” according to one commentator.

In Blinken’s confirmation hearing, former Trump-loyalist Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared thoroughly pleased with Blinken’s responses to his questions.  But the Biden administration, he said elsewhere, wants to bring the U.S.  back to the world stage with such global issues as non-proliferation, Covid-19 and the climate crisis.

This might be commendable if it didn’t today sound farcical. A UN treaty outlawing nuclear weapons went into effect this year on Jan. 22, the Biden administration’s second day at work, and was endorsed by 50 countries. But neither the U.S.  nor any other of the world’s other nuclear powers signed it. As for Covid-19, why should the U.S.  lead the global battle against it when it itself is struggling with the world’s largest outbreak? And on climate policy, although Biden rejoined the U.S.  in the Paris climate agreement, it has a monumental challenge ahead of itself just catching up to the rest of the world on climate.

The fact is that the Democrats have no strategy B – just A light.

Transpartisan Consensus?

Very few of the Washington think tanks offer another route. A newish outfit, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, led by the well-known commentator Andrew J. Bacevich, proposes a so-called transpartisan foreign policy. It’s supposed to bridge both parties and offer building blocks for a foreign policy rooted in engaged diplomacy and regional dialogue, rather than repeated military interventions. The philosophy boils down to: shrink America’s global military footprint, reduce militarized relationships and swear off military interventions. At least that’s a start.

The president’s staff are all insiders. Considering their records on backing interventionist wars abroad, we’ll be very fortunate if they give us a slimmed-down exceptionalism.

The Quincy Institute, however, “doesn’t focus too much on how the U.S.  should positively engage the world, because that would strain the transpartisan consensus,” says John Feffer, director of the leftist Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). Of course, progressives on the left margins of the Democratic Party, such as Bernie Sanders and others, have ad hoc bits and pieces of policy ideas that encompass those of the Quincy program and offer a more positive view of global engagement.

No Break with Establishment

Sanders’ Middle East policy, for example, calls for conditioning aid to Israel on respect for human rights. The Biden administration could restart the provision of aid for Palestinian refugees, while enabling the Palestine Liberation Organization to reopen its mission office in Washington. There’s support for these measures among U.S. Democratic voters and left-wing congresspeople but Biden, thus far, has committed himself to none of it. On Yemen the new president seems inclined to end the war — by cutting Saudi Arabia off from weapons imports and intelligence — a demand made by Sanders and his allies in Congress.

IPS proffers a few ideas, too, like having the U.S.  join the UN and 140 world leaders and experts in devising a universally available, affordable and patent-free vaccine against Covid-19. And the U.S.  could really do something about the climate crisis by investing $200 billion in the Green Climate Fund, which finances climate protection in the developing world.

The U.S.  could call to life a “global social protection fund” that marshals global resources to meet the urgent needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. And as the world’s biggest spender on military hardware, the U.S.  could reverse the rise in global military expenditures by slashing $350 billion from the Pentagon budget and working with China and Russia to reduce global tensions.

Sensible proposals, all of them. But don’t expect the Biden administration to use the unique moment at hand to make a clean break with establishment foreign policy and start off it another direction. The president’s staff are all insiders. Considering their records on backing interventionist wars abroad, we’ll be very fortunate if they give us a slimmed-down exceptionalism.

Paul Hockenos is a Berlin-based author and political analyst. Among other media, he has written for The New York Times, CNN Opinion, Foreign Policyand Foreign Affairs. Paul served on the postwar missions in the Balkans and is the author of four books on European affairs.

This article is from International Politics and Society.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.



Read more:


Read from top:


Free Julian Assange NOW!!!!!

a momentary moneyed respite...


by Chris Hedges


The established ruling elites know there is a crisis. They agreed, at least temporarily, to throw money at it with the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 bill known as American Rescue Plan (ARP).

But the ARP will not alter the structural inequities, either by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour or imposing taxes and regulations on corporations or the billionaire class that saw its wealth increase by a staggering $1.1 trillion since the start of the pandemic.

The health system will remain privatized, meaning the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations will reap a windfall of tens of billions of dollars with the ARP, and this when they are already making record profits. The endless wars in the Middle East, and the bloated military budget that funds them, will remain sacrosanct. Wall Street and the predatory global speculators that profit from the massive levels of debt peonage imposed on an underpaid working class and loot the U.S. Treasury in our casino capitalism will continue to funnel money upwards into the hands of a tiny, oligarchic cabal.

There will be no campaign finance reform to end our system of legalized bribery. The giant tech monopolies will remain intact. The fossil fuel companies will continue to ravage the ecosystem. The militarized police, censorship imposed by digital media platforms, vast prison system, harsher and harsher laws aimed at curbing domestic terrorism and dissent and wholesale government surveillance will be, as they were before, the primary instruments of state control.

This act will, at best, provide a momentary respite from the country’s death spiral, sending out one-time checks of $1,400 to 280 million Americans, extending $300 weekly unemployment benefits until the end of August and distributing $3,600 through a tax credit for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 starting on July 1.

Much of this money will be instantly gobbled up by landlords, lenders, medical providers and credit card companies. The act does, to its credit, bail out some 1 million unionized workers poised to lose their pensions and hands $31.2 billion in aid to Native communities, some of the poorest in the nation. 

But what happens to the majority of Americans who get government support for only a few months? What are they supposed to do when the checks stop arriving at the end of the year? Will the federal government orchestrate another massive relief package? I doubt it. We will be back where we started. 


By refusing to address the root causes of America’s rot, by failing to pump life back into the democratic institutions that once gave the citizen a voice, however limited, and make incremental and piecemeal reform possible, by not addressing the severe economic and social inequality and dislocation that afflicts at least half the country, the anomie and ruptured social bonds that gave rise to a demagogue like Donald Trump will expand. The American empire will not staunch its disintegration. The political deformities will metastasize. 

When the next demagogue appears, and the Republican Party has banked its future on Trump or his doppelgänger, he or she will probably be competent. The Republican Party in 43 states has proposed 250 laws to limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting and mandate stricter ID requirements, as well as reduce the hours at voting sites and the numbers of voting locations potentially disenfranchising tens of millions of voters. The party has no intention of playing by the rules. Once back in power, cloaked in the ideological garb of Christian fascism, the new or the old Trump will abolish what little is left of democratic space. 

The established elites pretend that Trump was a freakish anomaly. They naively believe they can make Trump and his most vociferous supporters disappear by banishing them from social media. The ancien régime, will, they assert, return with the decorum of its imperial presidency, respect for procedural norms, elaborately choreographed elections and fealty to neoliberal and imperial policies. 



The Ongoing Trump Era


But what the established ruling elites have yet to grasp, despite the narrow electoral victory Joe Biden had over Trump and the storming of the capital on Jan. 6 by an enraged mob, is that the credibility of the old order is dead. The Trump era, if not Trump himself, is the future. The ruling elites, embodied by Biden and the Democratic Party and the polite wing of the Republican Party represented by Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, is headed for the dustbin of history. 

The elites collectively sold out the American public to corporate power. They did this by lying to the public about the consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade deals, dismantling welfare, revoking Glass-Stegall, imposing austerity measures, deregulating Wall Street, passing draconian crime bills, launching endless wars in the Middle East and bailing out the big banks and financial firms rather than the victims of their fraud. These lies were far, far more damaging to the public than any of the lies told by Trump. These elites have been found out. They are hated. They deserve to be hated. 


The Biden administration — and Biden was one of the principal architects of the policies that fleeced the working class and made war on the poor — is nothing more than a brief coda in the decline and fall, set against which is China’s rising global economic and military clout. 

The loss of credibility has left the media, which serves as courtiers to the elites, largely powerless to manipulate public perceptions and public opinion. Rather, the media has divided the public into competing demographics. Media platforms target one demographic, feeding its opinions and proclivities back to it, while shrilly demonizing the demographic on the other side of the political divide. This has proved commercially successful. But it has also split the country into irreconcilable warring factions that can no longer communicate. Truth and verifiable fact have been sacrificed. Russiagate is as absurd as the belief that the presidential election was stolen from Trump. Pick your fantasy. 



Transfer of Political Influence


The loss of credibility among the ruling elites has transferred political influence to those outside established centers of power such as Alex Jones, celebrities and those, such as Joe Rogan, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi who were never groomed by the media conglomerates.

The Democratic Party, in an effort to curb the influence of the new centers of power, has allied itself with social media industry giants such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Patreon, Substack and Spotify to curtail or censor its critics. The goal is to herd the public back to Democratic Party allied news organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. But these media outlets, which in the service to corporate advertisers have rendered the lives of the working class and the poor invisible, are as reviled as the ruling elites themselves. 

The loss of credibility has also given rise to new, often spontaneous groups, as well as the lunatic fringe that embraces conspiracy theories such as QAnon. None of these groups or individuals, whether they are on the left or the right, however, has the organizational structure, coherence and ideological cohesiveness of radical movements of the past, including the old Communist Party or militant labor unions.



Emotional Outrage


They traffic in emotional outrage, often replacing one outrage with another. They provide new forms of identity to replace the identities lost by tens of millions of Americans who have been cast aside. This energy can be harnessed for laudable causes, such as ending police abuse, but it is too often ephemeral. It has a tendency to transform political debate into grievance protests, at best, and more often televised spectacle.

These flash mobs pose no threat to the elites unless they build disciplined organization structures, which takes years, and articulate a vision of what can come next. (This is why I support Extinction Rebellion, which has a large grassroots network, especially in Europe, carries out effective sustained acts of civil disobedience and has a clearly stated goal of overthrowing the ruling elites and building a new governing system through people’s committees and sortition.)

This amorphous, emotionally driven anti-politics is fertile ground for demagogues, who have no political consistency but cater exclusively to the zeitgeist of the moment. Many of those who support demagogues know, on some level, they are con artists and liars. But demagogues are revered because, like all cult leaders, they flout conventions, are outrageous and crude, claim omnipotence and disdain traditional decorum. Demagogues are weaponized against bankrupt well-heeled elites who have stripped the public of opportunities and identities, extinguishing hopes for the future. A cornered population has little left but hate and the emotional catharsis expressing it brings.

The engine of our emerging dystopia is income inequality, which is growing. This bill does nothing to address this cancer. The bottom 50 percent of households in 2019 accounted for only 1 percent of the nation’s total wealth. The top 10 percent accounted for 76 percent. And this was before the pandemic accelerated income disparity.

More than 18 million American depend on unemployment benefits, as businesses contract and close. Nearly 81 million Americans struggle to meet basic household expenses, 22 million lack enough food and 11 million say they can’t make their next house payment.

Only deep structural reforms accompanied by New Deal-type legislation can save us, but such changes are an anathema to the corporate state and the Biden administration. History has amply demonstrated what happens when income disparities of this magnitude afflict a country. We will be no exception. Lacking a strong left, the United States will in desperation embrace authoritarianism, if not proto-fascism. This will, I fear, be Biden and the Democratic Party’s real legacy.




Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show “On Contact.”


Read more:



Read from top.




incapable of winning wars...


After the tragedy of the Vietnam war and a defeat in Iraq, now Afghanistan is demonstrating us that the US is actually incapable of winning wars. As a matter of fact, every instance of US military aggression was triggered by the unparalleled self-confidence of American authorities, who were confident that they had the necessary military capacity to take on any enemy, nevertheless, history has clearly shown us that this was not the case.

In fact, most US military failures can be explained by a number of interrelated reasons. These are: the inability of Washington to understand the complexity of the country it invades and the region where this country is located; the failure to find trustworthy partners on the ground; the opposition of the population of a country the US invades, on top of Washington’s failure to fulfill the promises it would give to its voters when an invasion is declared. Even the former US secretary of defense Robert Gates openly admitted in his memoirs published back in 2014 that the US knows how to overthrow governments, but has no idea who to replace them with.

Hence, after World War II, the United States hardly scored any victories in any of the armed conflicts it fought in developing countries. At the same time, the frustration that arose as a result of the US military incursions, both in the countries that were invaded and in the US itself, led to the rapid decline of the US authority as a primary player on the international arena. As the continuing “allied relations” with individual countries that still support Washington’s interventionist aspirations, those can hardly be described as sincere, as it’s been demonstrated by the crisis of US military alliances in various regions of the world that has been taking place in recent years.

However, the guilty pleasure of profiting from unparalleled military spending that ruling Americans elites love to indulge in, constantly pushes the US towards new conflicts. It wasn’t a coincidence that not just Russia, but China as well were pronounced “opponents of the United States”, which leads to the mobilization of the military forces of NATO member states that are now preparing for a new war. Muscle-flexing in the form of military exercises and provocations along the borders of Russia and China have already become some sort of a tradition.

With every day that goes by, Washington amasses an ever increasing number of American troops on Russian borders, with equipment that can only serve offensive purposes being transported to Eastern Europe. The New York Times has recently revealed, that the United States will not withdraw its troops from Germany, as was suggested by Trump, but instead it will only increase its military presence in this country. Five hundred more servicemen are going to be deployed to the US base in Wiesbaden. One of the units will have intelligence, cyberspace, and electronic warfare capabilities, while the other is tasked with improving multinational cooperation. During a visit to Berlin, the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, stressed that these forces will ” fight and win.”

At the same time, next fall, the US Armed Forces will start transferring its fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Europe for permanent deployment on the continent. This was revealed by NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, Tod D. Wolters during a hearing in the US Senate.

It’s clear that as the number of NATO and US troops on the Russian border keeps growing, this can only lead to yet another round of tensions.

Provocative flights in the Barents, Baltic and Black seas are becoming a regular and almost daily occurrence. Those flights are intercepted by Russian military aircraft. Recently, Washington has started drawing its allies into staging such provocations, hoping that when a shooting war is triggered, those allies would be used as cannon fodder. This notion can be exemplified by the use of Norway and its armed forces in the latest anti-Russian adventures of the Pentagon.

The recent agreement between the United States and Norway will expand military cooperation between the two countries, allowing the United States to build facilities on Norwegian soil to support its operations in the region, while US troops will receive “unhindered access” to any Norwegian military facilities. This agreement grants the Pentagon rights to build anything it wants across a number of facilities, namely the Rigge and Sola airfields, located near the southern coast of Norway, as well as the Evenes airfield and the Ramsund Naval Base, which are located above the Arctic Circle in the northern part of the country. The expansion of the military cooperation between the two countries comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and Europe, especially in the Arctic. The Norwegian air force regularly conducts exercises along with US fighters and bombers, with the latter being deployed to Norway for the first time.

As the Norwegian media emphasize, local population is alarmed by the government’s decision to allow the US to establish military bases in Norway. In their opinion, this is not an element of deterrence, but, on the contrary, a step towards a shooting war with Russia. The Norwegians recognize that the areas used by the US military are bound to become primary targets in the event of a military conflict between NATO and Russia, which will entail serious consequences for Norway itself. Instead, the sitting authorities have chosen to turn a blind eye to one of the cornerstone principles of Norwegian policy: no foreign soldiers are to be allowed on Norwegian soil!

The Norwegian publication Dagsavisen explicitly states that the so-called “reliable deterrence” on the part of NATO, which has granted itself an unlimited right to conduct offensive operations far beyond its limits, leads to new wars. This is a high-stakes game, and the recent steps has made the task of defending Norway, which until recently used to be primarily a national responsibility, albeit with the support of NATO, the duty of the United States. This seems to be a particularly risky decision, the publication argues, especially if one is to take a look at the recent presidents of the US.

However, the first American nuclear submarine will soon dock in the civilian industrial port of Tromso, Norway, after which such vessels will become a common occurrence there. According to the Norwegian VG, this issue has sparked great controversy among the local population, as many are critical of the idea of allowing US nuclear submarines in. At a public meeting, Norwegian defense minister Frank Bakke-Jensen announced that local authorities will have no oversight over the possible presence of nuclear weapons on board of American nuclear submarines, only referring to the Bratelli doctrine of 1975, which obliges all foreign warships arriving to Norway not to carry any nuclear devices.

After the US submarines were allowed to dock in Tromso, local authorities started distributing iodine tablets to kindergartens and schools “for preventive purposes”, trying at least in this way to ensure the safety of their citizens in the event of radioactive substances leakage. However, experts point to yet another danger: should US submarines are to carry nuclear weapons on board, they will immediately become primary targets for a retaliation strike.

A similar critical assessment of the US attempts to get other countries involved in its military adventures is expressed by the Swedish media. They, in particular, wonder why the giant NATO exercise Defender Europe 2021 is taking place very close to the borders of Russia, shouldn’t this bother anyone? NATO, led by the United States, has been conducting such exercises against the backdrop of its constant expansion eastward and Washington’s overt desire to encircle Russia. Some of the participating countries allow the US to deploy its troops closer and closer to Russia’s borders, and this clearly illustrates that NATO’s deliberate advance is a reality, and not some sort of disinformation of the “Russian propaganda”. And Sweden’s treaty with NATO on the deployment of troops, approved by the Swedish parliament in 2016, implies that the United States and NATO will be able to use Swedish territory to wage war on Russia. “It’s a shame that Sweden is following their lead,” notes the Swedish Proletaren.


Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.





Read from top.



"a project"...

Heela Najibullah: 'The US treated Afghanistan as a project'


In an interview with DW, the daughter of former Afghan president and socialist leader Mohammad Najibullah criticized the US approach toward peace in Afghanistan, saying the welfare of Afghans is not America's priority.


The security situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating amid the withdrawal of NATO troops from the country. The Afghan Taliban have intensified their attacks on government forces and have captured vast swathes of territory in the past few months.

A political settlement in Afghanistan seems unlikely at this point, with both the Taliban and President Ashraf Ghani's government blaming each other for the turmoil.

Heela Najibullah, the daughter of former Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah, spoke to DW about the current situation in Afghanistan in an interview with DW.

Mohammad Najibullah served as the leader of Afghanistan from 1986 to 1992, after which the Mujahideen took over Kabul. The former socialist president lived in the United Nations headquarters in Kabul until the Taliban captured the capital and killed him in the UN compound in September 1996.


Heela Najibullah was only 10 years old when her father became Afghanistan's president. She left the country in 1991 and is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland, where she is now a researcher and an expert on security and conflict resolution.

DW: The security situation is rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan. How are you looking at it?

Heela Najibullah: Afghanistan is a country at war, squeezed between different geopolitical interests. Since the start of the so-called peace talks between the US and the Taliban, and the Doha agreement, the violence, abuse of human rights, targeted killings of journalists, artists and political activists have increased. If the UN Security Council fails to reach a consensus on the political situation in Afghanistan, the future of the country and the region will be bleak, and the bloodshed will continue.

Why is the peace process not yielding results?

I believe the US-Taliban negotiations achieved its objective when the Doha agreement was signed last year. The aim of the deal was to ensure the exit of US troops from Afghanistan. The US approach was not inclusive; the US, which was a party to the conflict, sealed the agreement without considering the Afghan government's perspective.

Also, Washington did not care about the civil society perspective, women's rights, and demands of the Afghan war victims. Neither the negotiations process was transparent, nor was its outcome. All this made Afghans suspicious about the peace process.

We can conclude that the main purpose of the negotiations was the US withdrawal, not peace.


Will President Ashraf Ghani's government survive?

Whenever there is a regime collapse in Afghanistan, it has external links.

What are the main reasons behind the decades-long turmoil in Afghanistan?

During the Cold War, and later in the war against terror, big powers supported extremist groups and used religion as tool for geopolitical gains.

The Taliban were not allowed to participate as a party to the conflict in the 2001 Bonn conference. Instead, the West decided to invite the Mujahideen, whom it had supported during the Cold War. Afghanistan's leftist groups were also excluded from the conference.

In the Doha negotiations, US officials met with the Taliban and negotiated with them directly, without taking the Afghan government or the Afghan civil society representatives into confidence.

Lastly, Pakistan's continued double game has been a key factor behind the decades of turmoil in Afghanistan.

How can the Taliban be defeated if Islamabad continues to support them?

For the past two decades, Pakistan has harbored al-Qaida and Taliban members, but the US did not change its position toward Pakistan. It did not address the root cause of the war on terror.


Has the war on terror ended? If it has ended, then why are the Taliban still on the UN terrorist list? Why is Pakistan still hosting the Taliban and sending their leaders to negotiations with the US, Russia or China?

The Afghan political situation is also linked to current global affairs and changing alliances. China, the EU, India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Turkey have their own interests in Afghanistan. The international community must realize that four of these countries are armed with nuclear weapons. The instability in Afghanistan is a threat to world peace.

Do you think that Afghan communism, which your father advocated, could have resolved the current crisis?

The US and its allies have treated Afghanistan and its people as a project. Peace in Afghanistan was not a project for my father but rather a vision for his nation. He wanted peace, prosperity, and development for his country to ensure that extremism is not a threat to Afghanistan and the world. His government's National Reconciliation policy was comprehensive and inclusive.

My father had proposed an international conference on Afghanistan so that regional and global stakeholders could work together and put aside their differences. He wanted Afghanistan to be a neutral country that can live in peace with its neighbors.

But he was backed by the former Soviet Union. Can Afghans now expect a better future without a global power backing them?

Afghanistan needs to exist in the world as a sovereign nation, which can choose its own allies. It won't need the backing of a big power after it becomes a neutral entity, when its status is internationally recognized and respected by the UN Security Council and its members.

Heela Najibullah is an author and researcher, representing the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

The interview was conducted by Karlos Zurutuza.


Read more:


Read from top.