US foreign policy
Ce qui suit a été publié sur Twitter par le journaliste de la Stalker Zone, Ollie Richardson (@O_Rich_). Les commentaires entre […] sont les miens.
Je vois encore souvent la Russie critiquée, pour n’être pas intervenue lors des évènements, en Ukraine, il y a quatre ans. Cette critique suit toujours la même forme, sans que soit proposée une alternative, ou si une alternative est proposée, d’une naïveté incroyable.
Le problème principal: ces critiques supposent un scénario non-existant, où l’Ukraine serait la seule source de conflit géopolitique. Bien sûr, si l’Ukraine était la seule source de conflit, une solution serait beaucoup plus facile à identifier. Mais la réalité est différente.
Le second problème est l’ignorance du fait que les évènements de 2014 en Ukraine ont été la culmination de cent ans d’histoire. En fait, il est légitime d’affirmer, en gros, que tout ce désastre était déjà prévisible du temps de la République Populaire Ukrainienne.
Le troisième problème est de croire que les évènements se suivent en série, plutôt que de se produire en parallèle, c’est à dire qu’au départ d’un évènement dans un pays, il s’en suit que les évènements en cours dans d’autres pays s’arrêtent, temporairement ou indéfiniment. Il y a suffisamment d’explications scientifiques qui montrent que cette hypothèse est erronée.
Le quatrième problème est le manque de compréhension, en général, que la Russie d’aujourd’hui est construite sur les fondations de l’URSS. Prétendre séparer les deux périodes, comme si elles n’étaient pas connectées, contribue à une approche à la fois idéaliste et mentalement étriquée.
Pour en arriver maintenant au coeur du sujet: en 2014, les USA lâchent sur l’Ukraine quelque chose qui avait déjà forme et énergie. Les idées anti-soviétiques avaient déjà été promues dans les années 90, grace à Gorbachev et Yeltsin. Cette base était alors établit.
Dans les années 90, dans l’ouest de l’ Ukraine, vous pouviez déjà être attaqué pour porter un ruban de Saint-George. Bien sûr c’était encore bien différent de ce qui se passe aujourd’hui, quand vous pouvez être légalement abattu pour la même raison, mais les symptômes étaient identiques.
Au même moment le gouvernement ukrainien se dirigeait vers une politique multi-vectorielle, pour être à la fois pro-US et pro-Russe. C’est Kuchma qui développa cette approche, qui mit le pays sur la route des évènements de 2013/2014. Dès 2013 les US avaient déjà établit leur réseau de NGOs [en Ukraine].
La formation de ce réseau avait en fait commencé pendant la 2e guerre mondiale, avec comme stade précurseur la formation de l’ UPA/OUN [organisations nationalistes]. Il est vital de comprendre que les US avaient déjà une main-mise solide sur l’ouest de l’Ukraine, bien avant l’effondrement de l’URSS.
La tâche était toujours d’injecter [le même procédé: création de “NGOs” et préparation d’un soulèvement armé] en Russie. Yeltsin fit de son mieux pour dépecer le pays, mais le KGB finit par identifier les principaux points chauds du complot US, et agit à temps pour neutraliser les menaces les plus dangereuses (Putin y fut engagé.)
Donc pour la CIA c’était le retour au départ, puisque ni l’Afghanistan, ni Grozny, ni la Géorgie, ni les “révolutions multi-couleurs” en Lettonie/Biélorussie/Arménie n’avaient réussit, et le moment était donc venu de jouer la carte de l’Ukraine. Le réseau NGO attira la Galicie [partie de l’Ukraine historiquement et politiquement hostile à la Russie] vers Kiev, et le reste est déjà de l’histoire. Et c’est exactement au moment de la fuite de Yanukovych et de la césure des élites, que la Russie aurait du intervenir, à croire ses détracteurs. Il y avait un autre problème: le réseau US NGO [dans ce cas les organisations soi-disantes d’opposition au gouvernement syrien, et, en fait, les terroristes] était sur le point de prendre Damas.
Ainsi, en 2014, la Russie est attaquée dans deux directions, la Syrie et l’Ukraine. A en croire ses détracteurs, la Russie aurait du envahir l’Ukraine et repousser la junte. Ceci avant le commencement de l’ATO [l’opération “anti-terroriste” déclenchée par la junte contre le Donbass.] Imaginons que la Russie envoie ne serait-ce qu’un char de l’autre coté de la frontière…
Où cela aurait laissé la Russie en ce qui concerne le droit international? Qu’est-ce que Moscou pourrait espérer, alors que l’histoire montre que démarrer une guerre est facile, mais la terminer est très, très difficile? La Russie doit-elle commencer à tuer ses fils, car les Ukrainiens sont en fait des Russes?
C’est précisément là que la logique fallacieuse des détracteurs est apparente. Les US sont en Ukraine pour une seule raison: pour attirer la Russie, et, en attendant, pour le pillage. Les US veulent à tout prix que la Russie tue des Ukrainiens, n’importe quel Ukrainien.
Les US veulent cela au point d’aider à provoquer la Russie pour qu’elle franchisse la frontière: l’ATO. Ils veulent que Moscou détruise la nation Russe de ses propres mains. Il n’y aurait pas de victimes américaines, le complex militaro-industriel y aurait bon compte, il suffirait d’un seul crime de guerre de la part de Putin.
Et alors, que cela fait non seulement de Putin, mais de la Russie dans son ensemble? Après tout, si la Russie envoie ses chars en Ukraine en 2014, le seul résultat serait du sang, et encore plus de sang. La Russie commettrait des crimes de guerre hideux, et le tribunal de La Haye préparerait le dossier.
Vous vous rappelez de la Yougoslavie, comment Milosevitch fut attiré dans le conflit, et comment cela s’est terminé. Les détracteurs ont-ils appris quoi que ce soit? Ainsi, Putin, qui sait exactement ce que les US veulent, utilise leur énergie à ses fins propres: les accords de Minsk.
Maintenant l’UE et les US sont tenus par la decision du Conseil de Sécurité, et ne peuvent pas fuir et laisser tomber l’Ukraine comme un jouet dont on ne veut plus. Ils ont à faire face à ce Frankenstein nazi qu’ils ont créé, tout en savant très bien qu’il est empoisonné. En même temps que Minsk, Putin fait autre chose.
En 2011 la Russie savait qu’intervenir en Libye aurait résulté en échec. Le Ministère de la Défense et leurs ordinateurs ont conclue: attendez, et frapper les US en Syrie.
Cela s’est traduit par un succès à 100%. Pourquoi? Parce que la Russie a été invitée en Syrie par son gouvernement. Et cela est une chose que les US ne peuvent pas changer. Et en un clin d’oeil le “couteau de l’armée suisse” fut déployé (S-400, Sukhoi, Pantsir S1, Tupolev etc.)
Rappelons que ceci a lieu au même moment où la Russie supporte le DPR/LPR [les républiques du Donbass] au mieux de ses possibilités, sans être attirée en Ukraine par les US. Autrement dit, la Russie frappe les US au coeur en Syrie, et immobilise le front parallèle en Ukraine.
Je ne mentionnerai pas Strelkov [volontaire Russe au Donbass, commandant les forces anti-Kiev à Slaviansk, au début de l’ATO], mais ce n’est pas une coïncidence que le Département d’État aime faire se louanges, et que ses patrons aime visiter la capitale [?] de la cinquième colonne en Russie. Ses actions heureusement échouèrent à attirer la Russie en Ukraine.
La Russie doit-elle être condamnée pour les cent mille victimes de la guerre du Donbass? Non, parce que si elle était intervenue de la manière voulue par ses détracteurs, ce nombre serait probablement autour d’un million, ou plus. Obama réussit à faire ce que nul autre président n’avait pu faire:
Enfoncer une cale dans la nation Russe, qui continue à saigner jusqu’à ce jour. Des Russes tuent des Russes au Donbass, partout en Ukraine, tous les jours. Chaque mort des forces armées ukrainiennes ou des milices du Donbass, est une victoire pour les US.
Mais pour la Russie envoyer ses blindés à Kiev n’est pas la solution, parce que la Russie se comporterait alors comme les US (Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Japon etc.) raisonnant avec ses poings. Ce n’est pas la méthode Russe, comme l’armée rouge l’a si bien démontré.
On dit en sport que l’offensive gagne les matchs, mais la défensive gagne les tournois. Dans ce cas, S-400 plus les accords de Minsk conduiront à la victoire. Kiev respectent-ils les accords de Minsk? Non. Était-ce l’intention des signataires qu’il en soit autrement? Non.
Merkel, Hollande, Putin et Poroshenko, tous savaient qu’il n’y aurait pas de cessez le feu. En réalité, le but de ce document était de ralentir l’escalation, parce que l’Ouest avait besoin que les évènements de Syrie rattrapent ceux de l’Ukraine pour compenser la perte de Debaltsevo/Ilovaisk [défaite de l’armée ukrainienne au moment des négociations de Minsk]
La triste réalité est que l’Ukraine avait [tot ou tard] à faire face aux actions des UPA/OUN dans les années 40, à Volyn et Babi Yar [massacres de juifs et de partisans.] Il lui appartenait de résoudre ce problème, et les US pointaient cette bombe à retardement dans la direction de Moscou. Seuls les Ukrainiens eux-mêmes peuvent résoudre le dilemme.
Et c’est pourquoi les US investissent autant dans les media ukrainiens et les NGOs, pour empêcher la solution ukrainienne du problème, et empêcher le changement de la trajectoire centenaire et suicidaire vers la destruction commencée par les Petliura et Skoropadsky [politiciens ukrainiens au temps de la révolution russe]
Le temps démontrera que l’immobilisation du front ukrainien par la Russie, sa neutralisation comme arme des US, l’encouragement aux élites et bandéristes à s’entre dévorer, était le seule solution pour pouvoir sauver la nation Russe.
C’est pourquoi Putin insiste sur l’unité de l’Ukraine, avec les républiques du LPR/DNR continuant de faire partie de la structure interne de l’Ukraine sous un statut spécial: les NGO US et les bandéristes ne doivent pas avoir droit d’entrée dans la Fédération de Russie, et Moscou doit prouver à l’Ouest comment fonctionne le Droit International.
Lorsque les critiques de Moscou se font de nouveau entendre, puisque, apparemment, bombarder Kiev ou quelque sorte d’intervention doit arriver, la question s’impose: pouvez vous proposer une autre solution compatible avec les réalités des Relations Internationales à notre époque?
La réponse est d’habitude bal-bla-bla. Deux règles d’or: si vous n’êtes pas capable de faire un meilleur travail, fermez la! Si vous n’êtes pas engagés dans ce jeu, 2+2 devient soudainement 5.
Traduction française: Honoré Dupuis, qui porte la responsabilité pour toute erreur d’interprétation.
1. I am still seeing criticism of Russia for the fact that it didn’t “intervene” in events in Ukraine 4 years ago. The criticism always follows the same pattern, whereby no alternative is proposed, or in the event that one is proposed, it’s incredibly naive.
2. The main problem: the criticism is made in the framework of a non-existent scenario, where Ukraine was the ONLY source of tectonic shifts. Of course, if Ukraine was indeed the only source of conflict, a solution would be much easier to point at. But the reality is different.
3. The second problem: Ignoring the fact that the 2014 events in Ukraine are the culmination of 100 years (at least) of previous events. In fact, it is quite possible to say that, roughly speaking, this whole mess was possible to predict already at the time of the UNR (*).
4. The third problem: Thinking that events happen in serial, and not in parallel. I.e., the start of processes in one country mean that processes in other countries stop, either temporarily or indefinitely. There are enough scientific paradigms to expose this hypothesis’ flaws.
5. The fourth problem: A general lack of understanding that Russia today is built on the foundations of the USSR. Attempts to try to separate the two periods as if they aren’t connected contribute to both idealistic and narrow-minded thinking.
6. Now onto the crux of the matter: In 2014 the USA unleashed something in Ukraine that was already formed and energised. Anti-Soviet ideas were already being pushed forward at the time of the awful 90’s thanks to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. The groundwork was being established.
7. In the 90’s in Ukraine you could be harassed for displaying a St. George’s Ribbon in Western Ukraine. Of course, it’s not at all like it is today, where you can legitimately be killed, but the signs were there all the same. And at the same time…
8. …the Ukrainian government was working it’s way towards a multi-vector policy of being both pro-US and pro-Russia. It was Kuchma who cemented this path, which set the country on the way to the events in 2013/2014. By 2013 the US had already established its NGO network.
9. The process of forming this network actually began during WW2 and the initial stage was the formation of UPA/OUN. It’s vital to understand that America already had a tight enough grip around Western Ukraine long before the collapse of the USSR. The task was always…
10. … about injecting it into Russia. Yeltsin tried his best to cut the country up, but in the end the KGB managed to learn where the main hotspots of US activity were, and acted in time to neutralise the most dangerous threats (Putin was involved in this).
11. So for the CIA it was back to the drawing board, because Afghanistan didn’t work, Grozny didn’t work, Georgia didn’t work, colour revolutions in Latvia/Belarus/Armenia didn’t work, so it was time to play the Ukraine card. The US NGO network pulled Galicia…
12. …towards Kiev, and the rest is history. And it is exactly at the time of Yanukovych fleeing and the split in the elite forming that, according to the blamers of Russia, that Moscow had to act. But there is already a problem: the US’ NGO network was about to take Damascus.
13. So, in 2014 Russia is being attacked from two main directions – Syria and Ukraine. According to the blamers, Russia had to enter Ukraine and push the junta back. This is before the start of the ATO. Now let’s imagine that Russia sends just 1 tank over the border…
14. Where does this put Russia in terms of International Law? What does Moscow hope to achieve now, because history shows that starting a war is quite easy, but ending one is very very very difficult? Russia should start killing its own people (Ukrainians are factually Russians)?
15. And it is precisely here that the logical fallacy of the blamers comes to the surface. America entered Ukraine with only 1 purpose: to draw Russia in, and to plunder what it could whilst it waited. USA so badly wants Russia to kill Ukrainians, any Ukrainian will suffice.
16. America wants this so bad that it even helps to provoke Moscow into crossing the border – the ATO. It wants Moscow to destroy the Russian nation with its own hands. No US troops will die, the MIC will make money, America is gasping for just one war crime by Putin.
17. And at this point, what does this make not only Putin, but Russia as a whole? After all, if Russia sends tanks into Ukraine in 2014, the only result would be blood, blood, and more blood. Russia would be committing gross war crimes, and the Hague would be prepping a case.
18. Remember Yugoslavia? Remember how Milošević was baited into conflict? How did it end? Do the blamers not learn anything? So, Putin, knowing exactly what it is that the US wants, used the US’ own energy against it – Minsk Agreements.
19. And now the EU and US are tied to the UNSC, and can’t simply flee and drop Ukraine like an unwanted toy. They must face the nazi Frankenstein project they created, knowing very well that it’s a hot potato. At the same of the 2015 Minsk Agreements, Putin did something else.
20. Russia knew that entering Libya in 2011 would result in defeat. The MoD has supercomputers with terabit memory, and it can compute whole libraries of info in parallel per second. The algorithm said: Wait until later. I.e. Hit the USA in Syria.
21. The success rate was 100%. Do you know why? Because Russia was invited by Assad into Syria legally. And this is the one thing that the USA could never compensate for. And in the blink of an eye, the Swiss army knife was deployed (S-400, Sukhoi, Pantsir S1, T90, Tupolev etc).
22. Remember that all of this is happening AT THE SAME TIME that Russia is supporting the DPR/LPR to the best of its ability without being drawn into Ukraine by America. I.e. Russia hits the heart of the US in Syria, and freezes the parallel front in Ukraine.
23. I won’t go into the topic of Strelkov, but it’s no coincidence that the US State Department likes to praise him, and that his sponsors like to visit the 5th column capital of Russia. His actions didn’t manage to pull Russia into Ukraine, thankfully.
24. Is Russia to blame for 100,000 people dying in Ukraine because of the war in Donbass? No, because if it had “intervened” in the way that the blamers would’ve wanted, the figure could possibly be 1,000,000+. Obama managed to do what no other President could do to Russia…
25. He drove a wedge into the Russian nation, which continues to ooze out blood to this day. Russians are killing Russians in Donbass and all over Ukraine, every day. Every killed UAF or NAF soldier is a victory for the USA.
26. But Russia sending tanks to Kiev isn’t the answer, because then Russia would be behaving just like the US (Iraq, Vietnam, Afghan, Japan etc) – thinking with its fists. This is NOT the Russian way, as the Red Army so very well demonstrated.
27. It is said in sports that offence wins games, but defence wins championships. And in this instance, S-400 + Minsk Agreements = victory. Does Kiev abide by Minsk? No. Was it ever intended by all signatories for it to be otherwise? No.
28. Merkel, Hollande, Putin, & Poroshenko all knew that there would be no ceasefire. In reality, this document was about slowing down processes, cos the West needed events in Syria to develop and catch up with the events in Ukraine to compensate for Debaltsevo/Ilovaisk cauldrons.
29. The very sad fact is that Ukraine was destined to face what it did (via UPA/OUN) in 1950’s in Volyn and Babi Yar. It was destined to resolve this problem, and the US aimed this ticking time bomb in the direction of Moscow. ONLY Ukrainians can resolve these processes.
30. And thats why the US invests so much in Ukrainian media and NGOs – to stop Ukrainians from resolving this problem and changing the 100-year- old course towards doom, initiated by people like Petliura and Skoropadsky.
31. Time will show that Russia’s strategic freezing of the Ukrainian front, neutralising it as a US weapon, encouraging the process of the elites and banderists devouring each other, was the sole solution to the problem of preserving the Russian nation.
32. And this is why Putin insists on Ukraine remaining intact (LPR/DPR remaining inside the structure of Ukraine but with special status): the US NGO network and banderist remnants mustn’t be allowed to enter the RF, and Moscow must show the West how Int Law works.
33. When the criticism of Moscow starts to sound again, cos apparently bombing Kiev and/or “some kind of intervention” had to happen, the next logical question is “can u propose another solution that actually correlates with the realities of International Relations at the time?”
34. Tumbleweed usually ensues. Two golden rules: if you can’t do a better job, it’s better to keep quiet; if you have no ‘skin in the game’, 2+2 suddenly becomes 5. Fin.
— Ollie Richardson (@O_Rich_) November 27, 2017
A magisterial analysis of events by Ollie Richardson, writer at the stalkerzone.org
(*) UNR: Ukrainian National Republic
Those who ignore history are bound to repeat the same mistakes…
On 7 November 2017, the administration of the US President issued a statement with the lurid title “National Day of Victims of Communism”. However, it was unclear whether the “national day” was American or Russian. Nevertheless, it was very significant that the White House couldn’t ignore the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which the entire planet observed over the past few days. At the same time, it seems that American politicians still have a weak knowledge of history and geography. In Washington, they live in an artificial world, in which America represents everything good, and Russia is the embodiment of evil.
Outrageous unsubstantiated allegations and outright lies fill this document. Full of the baleful spirit of the Cold War, the White House talked about “the dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with freedom, prosperity, and respect for human life”. Meanwhile, even Russia’s enemies recognise that the seven decades…
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It has not been a good Summer over here, with many trips we did not wish for, and few moments of inspiration on the writing front. And those news… Seeing clearly through the mass of lies, fake facts, false flags and other turpitudes of the neocon/neo-liberal media requires constant attention, and more than a critical eye.
As the US presidency under Donald Trump sank further into the sulfur of the neocon swamp, amid force applauds from the worse in US politics, we wondered what could be left of free-will for the man who defied the said swamp, not that long ago. With his clear-eyed advisers gone, who really now would explain to the president the realities of the world? Listening to outrageous statements about Iran and Korea, and the continuation of Obama’s shitty wars via proxies, drones and SOF, who could doubt that the generals are in charge?
Which takes us to Syria, where the battle front brings now the government forces and their allies closer and closer to the truth, which they no doubt have known all along: that “terrorism” was a mask, that there is no such thing as “ISIS” (or whatever) but an army of thugs, gangsters and murderers, set up, funded and armed by the US, under cover of an alleged “opposition” to the “regime”, to perpetuate their permanent attack on the last secular state in the Middle-East. The episode of the attack against the Syrian army and a small unit of Russian military police in Idlib, from positions held by Al-Nusra and the US SOF, the release by the Russian MoD of aerial photographies showing US armour and transport, in an area allegedly held by “ISIS”, and the absence of any evidence of fighting or air attack in the area, are a clear indication of the permanent intentions of the US government (or whoever is really in charge in DC). We knew from the very beginning of the Russian Airforce onslaught on “ISIS”, that the said “ISIS” appeared then remarkably untouched by the so-called anti terrorism coalition: oil quietly flowing from the stolen oil fields of Iraq and eastern Syria, to Turkey, installations in perfect order, after two years of alleged bombing by the said coalition etc. A sham. With the dismantling of “ISIS” and affiliated murderers, there is little doubt that what will be left, is the original sin: US SOF and gangs of thugs, armed and trained by them (“SDF”), from the very start of the conflict in occupied Iraq. No surprise that the Iraqi Kurds, allies of the US during the invasion of Iraq, are now calling their bluff: they want their independence, promised at the time to ensure their loyalty.
This is where the crunch lies: in the arc Turkey – Northern Syria – Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. Is there any valuable comparison there with the Balkan situation pre-1914?
So, Germany just had general elections. The German system, its constitution and electoral laws, are without comparison elsewhere in the European Union. This is a federal system, where general elections (for the Bundestag, federal parliament) do not lead to an overall majority, without the formation of some coalition. Hence the debates, started even before official results were known, and behind the door negotiations that will last for weeks. Two notable facts: many voters deserted the parties (CDU/CSU and SPD) of the now dead “great coalition”, and the rise of the nationalist AfD. Nonetheless Mrs Merkel will still be Chancellor (head of government), and changes in Foreign Policies (NATO, Ukraine, Russian sanctions, Afghanistan) are unlikely in the medium term. But there is some hope that, with a real opposition in the Bundestag, assuming a likely CDU/CSU – FDP – Grün coalition, there may be some scope down the line.
On Sunday, the Berlin marathon was run on the wet streets of the capital. Heroic African runners won the race. The skies are grey.
During the Age of Trump, Year One, a single word has emerged to capture the essence of the prevailing cultural mood: resistance. Words matter, and the prominence of this particular term illuminates the moment in which we find ourselves.
All presidents, regardless of party or program, face criticism and opposition.Citizens disinclined to support that program protest. Marching, chanting, waving placards, and generally raising a ruckus in front of any available camera, they express dissent. In normal times, such activism testifies to the health of democracy.
Yet these are not normal times. In the eyes of Trump’s opponents, his elevation to the pinnacle of American politics constitutes a frontal assault on values that until quite recently appeared fixed and unassailable. In such distressing circumstances, mere criticism, opposition, protest, and dissent will not suffice. By their own lights, anti-Trump forces are fending off the apocalypse. As in November 1860 so too in November 2016, the outcome of a presidential election has placed at risk a way of life.
The very word resistance conjures up memories of the brave souls who during World War II opposed the Nazi occupation of their homelands, with the French maquis the best known example. It carries with it an unmistakable whiff of gunpowder. After resistance comes revolution.
Simply put, Trump’s most ardent opponents see him as an existential threat, with the clock ticking. Thus the stakes could hardly be higher. Richard Parker of Harvard has conjured what he calls Resistance School, which in three months has signed up some 30,000 anti-Trump resistors from 49 states and 33 countries. “It is our attempt to begin the long slow process of recovering and rebuilding our democracy,” says Parker. Another group styling itself the DJT Resistance declares that Trump represents “Hatred, Bigotry, Xenophobia, Sexism, Racism, and Greed.”
This is not language suggesting the possibility of dialogue or compromise. Indeed, in such quarters references to incipient fascism have become commonplace. Comparisons between Trump and Hitler abound. “It takes willful blindness,” writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times, “not to see the parallels between the rise of fascism and our current political nightmare.” And time is running short. Journalist Chris Hedges says “a last chance for resistance” is already at hand.
In the meantime, in foreign-policy circles at least, a second, less explosive term vies with resistance for Trump-era signature status. This development deserves more attention than it has attracted, especially among those who believe that alongside the question that riles up the resistance—namely, what values define us?—sits another question of comparable importance: “What principles define America’s role in the world?”
That second term, now creeping into the vocabulary of foreign-policy specialists, is liberal, often used interchangeably with the phrase rules-based and accompanied by additional modifiers such as open, international, and normative. All of these serve as synonyms for enlightened and good.
So Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, describing what he refers to as the “twilight of the liberal world order,” worries about the passing of “the open international economic system the United States created and helped sustain.” Donald Trump’s misguided emphasis on “America First,” Kagan writes, suggests that he has no interest in “attempting to uphold liberal norms in the international system” or in “preserving an open economic order.”
Commenting on Trump’s Inaugural Address, Nicole Gaouette, CNN national-security reporter, expresses her dismay that it contained “no reference to America’s traditional role as a global leader and shaper of international norms.” Similarly, a report in the Financial Times bemoans what it sees as “a clear signal about Mr. Trump’s disregard for many of the international norms that have governed America as the pillar of the liberal economic order.” The historian Jeremi Suri, barely a week into Trump’s presidency, charges Trump with “launching a direct attack on the liberal international order that really made America great after the depths of the Great Depression.” At the Council on Foreign Relations, Stewart Patrick concurs: Trump’s election, he writes, “imperils the liberal international order that America has championed since World War II.” Thomas Wright, another Brookings scholar, piles on: Trump “wants to undo the liberal international order the United States built and replace it with a 19th-century model of nationalism and mercantilism.”
In Foreign Policy, Colin Kahl and Hal Brands embellish the point: Trump’s strategic vision “diverges significantly from—and intentionally subverts—the bipartisan consensus underpinning U.S. foreign policy since World War II.” Failing to “subscribe to the long-held belief that ‘American exceptionalism’ and U.S. leadership are intertwined,” Trump is hostile to the “open, rule-based international economy” that his predecessors nurtured and sustained.
Need more? Let Gen. David Petraeus have the last word: “To keep the peace,” the soldier-turned-investment-banker writes in an essay entitled “America Must Stand Tall,” the United States has established “a system of global alliances and security commitments,” thereby nurturing “an open, free and rules-based international economic order.” To discard this legacy, he suggests, would be catastrophic.
You get the drift. Liberalism, along with norms, rules, openness, and internationalism: these ostensibly define the postwar and post-Cold War tradition of American statecraft. Allow Trump to scrap that tradition and you can say farewell to what Stewart Patrick refers to as “the global community under the rule of law” that the United States has upheld for decades.
But what does this heartwarming perspective exclude? We can answer that question with a single word: history.
Or, somewhat more expansively, among the items failing to qualify for mention in the liberal internationalist, rules-based version of past U.S. policy are the following: meddling in foreign elections; coups and assassination plots in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Cuba, South Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, and elsewhere; indiscriminate aerial bombing campaigns in North Korea and throughout Southeast Asia; a nuclear arms race bringing the world to the brink of Armageddon; support for corrupt, authoritarian regimes in Iran, Turkey, Greece, South Korea, South Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil, Egypt, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and elsewhere—many of them abandoned when deemed inconvenient; the shielding of illegal activities through the use of the Security Council veto; unlawful wars launched under false pretenses; “extraordinary rendition,” torture, and the indefinite imprisonment of persons without any semblance of due process.
Granted, for each of these, there was a rationale, rooted in a set of identifiable assumptions, ambitions, and fears. The CIA did not conspire with Britain’s MI6 in 1953 to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected president just for the hell of it. It did so because shelving Mohammad Mosaddegh seemingly offered the prospect of eliminating an annoying problem. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson did not commit U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam because he was keen to fight a major ground war in Asia but because the consequences of simply allowing events to take their course looked to be even worse. After 9/11, when George W. Bush and his associates authorized the “enhanced interrogation” of those held in secret prisons, panic rather than sadism prompted their actions. Even for the most egregious folly, in other words, there is always some explanation, however inadequate.
Yet collectively, the actions and episodes enumerated above do not suggest a nation committed to liberalism, openness, or the rule of law. What they reveal instead is a pattern of behavior common to all great powers in just about any era: following the rules when it serves their interest to do so; disregarding the rules whenever they become an impediment. Some regimes are nastier than others, but all are law-abiding when the law works to their benefit and not one day longer. Even Hitler’s Third Reich and Stalin’s USSR punctiliously observed the terms of their non-aggression pact as long as it suited both parties to do so.
My point is not to charge à la Noam Chomsky that every action undertaken by the United States government is inherently nefarious. Rather, I am suggesting that to depict postwar U.S. policy in terms employed by the pundits quoted above is to whitewash the past. Whether their motive is to deceive or merely to evade discomfiting facts is beside the point. What they are peddling belongs to the universe of alt facts. To characterize American statecraft as “liberal internationalism” is akin to describing the business of Hollywood as “artistic excellence.”
“Invocations of the ‘rules-based international order,’” Politico’s Susan Glasser rightly observes, “had never before caused such teary-eyed nostalgia.” Whence comes this sudden nostalgia for something that never actually existed? The answer is self-evident: it’s a response to Donald Trump.
Prior to Trump’s arrival on the scene, few members of the foreign-policy elite, now apparently smitten with norms, fancied that the United States was engaged in creating any such order. America’s purpose was not to promulgate rules but to police an informal empire that during the Cold War encompassed the “Free World” and became more expansive still once the Cold War ended. The pre-Trump Kagan, writing in 2012, neatly summarizes that view:
The existence of the American hegemon has forced all other powers to exercise unusual restraint, curb normal ambitions, and avoid actions that might lead to the formation of a U.S.-led coalition of the kind that defeated Germany twice, Japan once, and the Soviet Union, more peacefully, in the Cold War.
Leave aside the dubious assertions and half-truths contained within that sentence and focus on its central claim: the United States as a hegemon that forces other nations to bend to its will. Strip away the blather about rules and norms and here you come to the essence of what troubles Kagan and others who purport to worry about the passing of “liberal internationalism.” Their concern is not that Trump won’t show adequate respect for rules and norms. What has them all in a lather is that he appears disinclined to perpetuate American hegemony.
More fundamentally, Trump’s conception of a usable past differs radically from that favored in establishment quarters. Put simply, the 45th president does not subscribe to the imperative of sustaining American hegemony because he does not subscribe to the establishment’s narrative of 20th-century history. According to that canonical narrative, exertions by the United States in a sequence of conflicts dating from 1914 and ending in 1989 enabled good to triumph over evil. Absent these American efforts, evil would have prevailed. Contained within that parable-like story, members of the establishment believe, are the lessons that should guide U.S. policy in the 21st century.
Trump doesn’t see it that way, as his appropriation of the historically loaded phrase “America First” attests. In his view, what might have occurred had the United States not waged war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and had it not subsequently confronted the Soviet Union matters less than what did occur when the assertion of hegemonic prerogatives found the United States invading Iraq in 2003 with disastrous results.
In effect, Trump dismisses the lessons of the 20th century as irrelevant to the 21st. Crucially, he goes a step further by questioning the moral basis for past U.S. actions. Thus, his extraordinary response to a TV host’s charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump retorted. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?” In offering this one brief remark, Trump thereby committed the ultimate heresy. Of course, no serious person believes that the United States is literally innocent. What members of the foreign-policy establishment—including past commanders-in-chief—have insisted is that the United States act as if it were innocent, with prior sins expunged and America’s slate wiped clean. This describes the ultimate U.S. perquisite and explains why, in the eyes of Robert Kagan et al., Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine, or Syria count for so much while American actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya count for so little.
The desperate exercise in historical revisionism that now credits the United States with having sought all along to create a global community under the rule of law represents that establishment’s response to the heresies Trump has been spouting (and tweeting) since his famous ride down the escalator at Trump Tower.
Yet in reclassifying yesterday’s hegemon as today’s promulgator and respecter of norms, members of that establishment perpetrate a fraud. Whether Americans, notably gullible when it comes to history, will fall for this charade remains to be seen. Thus far at least, Trump himself, who probably knows a thing or two about snake-oil salesmen, shows little inclination to take the bait.
Say this for the anti-Trump resistance: while the fascism-just-around-the-corner rhetoric may be overheated and a touch overwrought, it qualifies as forthright and heartfelt. While not sharing the view that Trump will rob Americans of their freedoms, I neither question the sincerity nor doubt the passion of those who believe otherwise. Indeed, I am grateful to them for acting so forcefully on their convictions. They are inspiring.
Not so with those who now wring their hands about the passing of the fictive liberal international order credited to enlightened American statecraft. They are engaged in a great scam, working assiduously to sustain the pretense that the world of 2017 remains essentially what it was in 1937 or 1947 or 1957 when it is not.
Today’s Russia is not a reincarnation of the Soviet Union; the People’s Republic of China is not Imperial Japan; and the Islamic State in no way compares to Nazi Germany. Most of all, United States in the era of Donald Trump is not the nation that elected Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower, not least of all in the greatly reduced willingness of Americans to serve as instruments of state power, as the failed post-9/11 assertions of hegemony have demonstrated.
The world has changed in fundamental ways. So too has the United States. Those changes require that the principles guiding U.S. policy also change accordingly.
However ill-suited by intellect, temperament, and character for the office he holds, Trump has seemingly intuited the need for such change. In this regard, if in none other, I’m with the Donald
But note the irony. Trump may come closer to full-fledged historical illiteracy than any president since Warren G. Harding. Small wonder then that his rejection of the mythic past long employed to preempt serious debate regarding U.S. policy gives fits to the perpetrators of those myths.
Andrew J. Bacevich is TAC’s writer-at-large.
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Austin Scott Introduce Legislation to End Illegal U.S. War to Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad
- November 19, 2015
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), both members of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced H.R. 4108, a bipartisan bill to end U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran, said the intent of the bill is to “Bring an immediate end to the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard explained,“The U.S. is waging two wars in Syria. The first is the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists, which Congress authorized after the terrorist attack on 9/11. The second war is the illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.
“The war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria—which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world. Also, the war to overthrow Assad is illegal because Congress never authorized it.”
Congressman Austin Scott said, “Our primary mission should be the war against ISIS, al Qaeda, and radical Islamic extremists that have operations both inside and outside of Syria and Iraq. Those groups have carried out attacks on American allies, and are currently threatening attacks on our homeland. This represents a clear and present danger to our citizens, and I support eliminating these radical Islamic terrorists through any means necessary. Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “Here are 10 reasons the U.S. must end its war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad:
1. Because if we succeed in overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad, it will open the door for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic extremists to take over all of Syria. There will be genocide and suffering on a scale beyond our imagination. These Islamic extremists will take over all the weaponry, infrastructure, and military hardware of the Syrian army and be more dangerous than ever before.
2. Because overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad is the goal of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic extremist groups. We should not be allying ourselves with these Islamic extremists by helping them achieve their goal because it is against the security interests of the United States and all of civilization.
3. Because the money and weapons the CIA is providing to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad are going directly or indirectly into the hands of the Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaeda affiliates, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and others who are the actual enemies of the United States. These groups make up close to 90 percent of the so-called opposition forces, and are the most dominant fighters on the ground.
4. Because our efforts to overthrow Assad have increased and will continue to increase the strength of ISIS and other Islamic extremists, thus making them a bigger regional and global threat.
5. Because this war has exacerbated the chaos and carnage in Syria and, along with the terror inflicted by ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups fighting to take over Syria, continues to increase the number of Syrians forced to flee their country.
6. Because we should learn from our past mistakes in Iraq and Libya that U.S. wars to overthrow secular dictators (Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi) cause even more chaos and human suffering and open the door for Islamic extremists to take over in those countries.
7. Because the U.S. has no credible government or government leader ready to bring order, security, and freedom to the people of Syria.
8. Because even the ‘best case’ scenario—that the U.S. successfully overthrows the Syrian government of Assad—would obligate the United States to spend trillions of dollars and the lives of American service members in the futile effort to create a new Syria. This is what we have been trying to do in Iraq for twelve years, and we still have not succeeded. The situation in Syria will be much more difficult than in Iraq.
9. Because our war against the Syrian government of Assad is interfering with our being one-pointedly focused on the war to defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the other Islamic extremists who are our actual enemy.
10. Because our war to overthrow the Assad government puts us in direct conflict with Russia and increases the likelihood of war between the United States and Russia and the possibility of another world war.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “To destroy ISIS will take international alliances. If we are serious about defeating ISIS and solving the refugee problem, we’ll work in partnership with Russia, France, and anyone else who is serious about destroying ISIS and affiliated Islamic extremist organizations worldwide.
“The problem is, because the U.S. is trying to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and Russia is supporting the government of Assad, it is impossible for us to have an effective, cooperative relationship with Russia in our mutual fight against ISIS. Our focus on overthrowing Assad is interfering with our ability to destroy ISIS.”
“We must immediately end the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and ally ourselves with any countries willing to focus on destroying the Islamic extremists who pose a genuine threat to civilization,” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard concluded.
- House Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
- Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
- House Committee on Armed Services
- Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
- Subcommittee on Readiness
- Congressional Future Caucus (Founder and co-chair)
- Congressional Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus (Founder and co-chair)
- Diversifying Technology Caucus (Founder and co-chair)
- Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus
- Bipartisan Veterans Caucus
- National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus
- Congressional STEAM Caucus (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)
- Small Business Caucus
- Congressional India Caucus
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Photo: The Temple of Bel in Palmyra, which was destroyed by ISIL in August 2015, – Own work
HD – Guten Morgen Herr Doktor, and thank you again for agreeing to meet me for this interview. We know that you are at the moment extremely busy.
JG – Good morning Honoré. I like your use of “we”: do you mean you and your Jewish/American friends, or is it now the “royal We”?
HD – Nothing of the sort, I can assure you, merely a reference to friends who are interested in European politics as well. If I may, I will start with some preliminary questions.
JG – Ha ha… Be my guest, I will answer all intelligent questions!
HD – It has been now some years since your last interview in English (I recall it was with the magazine “Prospect”.) Since then tremendous events have shaken our world: the financial maelstrom of 2008, the wars in the Middle East, the war in the Ukraine. I would like to know your views on these developments, including the rise of the extreme right in Europe.
JG – Mm… I am a bit confused about what you and your estimated colleagues describe as the “far right”. From the perspective of someone of my age – and remember someone the Führer tasked explicitly to remove the bolsheviks from Berlin! – there is no national-revolutionary movement in Europe at present. There might be a slow and hesitant response of some sections of the people to the appalling situation created for workers the world over by Judeo-Capitalism, not a new story. We ourselves succeeded in our enterprise – after much work and sacrifices – because precisely of the mess caused by your masters after WWI. But I probably don’t need to remind you.
HD – Perhaps we could start with this then: what, in your view, is the root case of the crisis we are living through, particularly since the beginning of the banking crisis in the US.
JG – It has all been written long ago. Re-read Mein Kampf, or, even, authors on your side of the fence: there are some worthy lessons in Karl Polanyi, for example. By the late 60’s, Judeo Capitalism decided that enough was enough, they no longer needed gloves to exploit the people. The lessons of the 30’s, the long war, all was now forgotten, buried under the consumerism they had successfully promoted since the war. Within two decades the US and the UK deindustrialised, shipping workers jobs to Asia and other slave colonies. They evidently had prepared their plan carefully. Credit replaced decent wages: the bubble grew. The hyperfinancialisation that followed could only end up in disaster. Your mentor Mr Giovanni Arrighi explained all this superbly! So now the entire building is shaken to its foundation. Moreover the Eurasian continent is moving…
HD – Before we come to that, I must say I am very surprised to hear you quote Polanyi and Arrighi, Herr Doktor!
JG – You should not be. We, National-Socialists, have always known how to borrow from our enemies. In this case I don’t even see either of them as “enemies”. Simply they did not draw the end conclusions of their own analysis. For example, Arrighi could have drawn some useful insights from the demise of the British Empire, not just in terms of world-system, but indeed in terms of the ultimate failure of what you and your friends call “globalisation”.
HD – Very interesting… Coming to the Middle-East, what is your analysis of what has been happening since 2001?
JG – There are two root causes, that are closely intertwined. In one sentence: Israel, and the unsolvable Palestine issue, and the “Neo-Cons”, again to borrow your vocabulary. The Neo-Cons are an extension of the Israel lobby in the US. Iraq, Libya, Syria, all are pieces on the board the Jewish state’s game. I am not teaching you anything there. What is, perhaps, relative news to you (but not to us), is the (now) evident collusion of so-called traditional Arab countries, chiefly Saudi-Arabia, and Israel . But, remember, your friend Mr Roosevelt stopped in Ryad on his way back from Yalta – for a reason! So, what we had, in sequence, a provocation (the two towers), a mock, intractable conflict (Afghanistan), and then the beginning of the onslaught, Iraq. The chaos in Iraq was, for all intelligent observers, including ourselves, unavoidable, and deliberate. Saudi money and jewish expertise flowed in, to arm and train the so-called jihadists, and demolish whatever was left of nationhood in the region. The pooddle governments of France and the UK followed suite in Libya. It’s all very clear. The thinking was that no-one in the world could do anything about it.
HD – Until Syria… What do you think made the Russian Federation act?
JG – We have followed these events with great interest. You see, something your American friends still have not realised, is that Russia has got rid of bolshevism! Russia is reasserting itself, developing a web of alliances with those countries that will count in this and the next century. Russia was in no position to oppose the war to Iraq. Furthermore Mr Hussein was a US agent. But 2014 is not 2003: Mr Putin and his government have done some good work. Look at the statistics that matter: birth rate, industrial production, growth of the arm industry. There is no longer any reason for the US to continue pretending they are the one superpower! And then there is a simple fact, that we knew already when we planned Barbarossa: only the Eurasian landmass will survive absolute war.
HD – You mean nuclear war?
JG – Absolute war, generally, a nuclear engagement would not last very long. What matters is what would follow. We lost the war because Germany was too small. Just think of the combination of Russia and China, and a few allies. So, the bottom line is, that the US State Department and the Pentagon may rage and puff, but Syria is not Libya. From our viewpoint, the US Judeo-Capitalist nexus is on its way out. It will take time, and we are sure a lot more victims around the world. But time is against them. You reminded me of that interview with Prospect, I said it at the time: when we are back there won’t be a Soviet Union to save your bacon! Literally, there ain’t!
HD – Are you saying you are back?
JG – Not yet, but we will. And don’t mention to me those jerks in Kiev! We never trusted those guys, even when we were there in strength, liars and cowards, thugs, not soldiers! The Donbas and Crimea are different. We haven’t forgotten what it cost us to take Sevastopol!
HD – So what is next for the Ukraine?
JG – More misery in the short term. Although part of the US establishment wishes to disengage from the NATO fiasco – and let the German government get on with it – I doubt that Mr Trump will succeed in his bid. So we’ll have another four or even eight years of neocon nonsense. The situation in Eastern Ukraine will get worse, and at some point Russia may well intervene, not softly, but massively. They will show those clowns who really has control. But I may be wrong, there maybe some compromise. I know that our current government does not wish war! Just think about that: who really does?
HD – Hopefully no-one. I thank you again for your time Herr Doktor.
JG – My pleasure. I hope you are enjoying your stay in Berlin!
Photography: Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1968-101-20A, Joseph Goebbels Heinrich Hoffmann / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Lies upon lies, never to admit them, more lies covering old ones…
by Edward S. Herman, reposted from sott.net
Many well-qualified observers of the Bosnia wars were appalled at the biased reporting and gullibility of mainstream journalists.
The successful demonization of the Serbs, making them largely responsible for the Yugoslav wars, and as unique and genocidal killers, was one of the great propaganda triumphs of our era. It was done so quickly, with such uniformity and uncritical zeal in the mainstream Western media, that disinformation had (and still has, after almost two decades) a field day.
Mostar’s Ottoman-era bridge damaged by Croatian forces’ shelling
The demonization flowed from the gullibility of Western interests and media (and intellectuals). With Yugoslavia no longer useful as an ally after the fall of the Soviet Union, and actually an obstacle as an independent state with a still social democratic bent, the NATO powers aimed at its dismantlement, and they actively supported the secession of Slovenia, Croatia…
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Mr Gordon M. Hahn is a voice of sanity in the moronic cacophony of US foreign policy!
by Gordon M. Hahn
Western observers often use the term ‘Putin’s Russia’ in discussing developments in Russian politics, economics, society, and culture. This has become a ‘meme’ of sorts. Its use is usually an effort to imply the Russian political regime’s authoritarianism—relatively soft, in this author’s view—under Russian President Vladimir Putin. Raising the point of Putin’s authoritarianism in one’s work, preferably at the outset of any piece of writing, is requisite if one hopes to get published nowadays. The phrase ‘Putin’s Russia’ is often intended to lead the reader to make the inferences, such as ‘the Russia of Putin’, the ‘Russia that Putin controls’, ‘Putin controls Russia’, ‘Putin controls part (most) of Russian life’, or the preferable ‘Putin controls everything in Russia.’ However, but the real operational dynamic in the relationship between Putin and ‘his’ Russia is quite the reverse – ‘Russia’s Putin.’
Putin like most other Russians today…
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