Category Archives: History

The Collapse of The Enlightenment, by Paul Rosenberg

August Comte came up with a philosophical inversion that eventually short-circuited the Enlightenment. From Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

We are watching the Enlightenment collapse before us in real time. I’ll be fairly brief in my explanation of why this is so and how it came about, but it strikes me as something we should understand.

Bear in mind that what remains of the Enlightenment is collapsing for structural reasons. I haven’t formed this discourse around political or academic theories, I’m basing it on facts and direct observations. Obviously I’m simplifying (one can’t write history any other way), but minus the inevitable exceptions and complications, this is what happened and what is happening.

How The Enlightenment Gained A Structure

The Enlightenment began with a collection of outsiders studying science. They had little backing and few credentials. In fact, the motto of the first group (that became The Royal Society) was Nullius in verba: “Take nobody’s word for it.” There was a lot to like in the early Enlightenment, and it led to a long string of crucial discoveries.

About halfway through its run, however, at about 1750 AD, the Enlightenment took a dark turn. Rather than working to discover what was right, it began to fixate on what was wrong. That is, the leading voices of the Enlightenment left off building and moved into tearing things down.

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A Russian Class in Geopolitics 101, by Robert W. Merry

The US regards the entire North and South American continents as its sphere of influence, yet asserts the right to park itself and its allies on Russia’s doorstep. From Robert W. Merry at theamericanconservative.com:

Whether in Ukraine or Georgia, Vladimir Putin’s actions shouldn’t come as a surprise to an aggressive United States.

Suppose China formed a provocative alliance with Mexico and began building military bases and stationing troops near the U.S. southern border. Now suppose it lured Cuba also into its new hemispheric alliance and imperiled U.S. control over its Guantanamo naval base on that island. What would happen? Almost inevitably, the result would be war because America would never allow such a potentially hostile entrenchment within its sphere of influence.

That’s essentially the question Russia faces as America and NATO continue to flirt with the notion of pulling Ukraine into the Atlantic alliance (and Georgia too when circumstances seem right). And Russia’s answer is essentially the same: It will not allow that to happen. Any nation has a fundamental need to fend off potential threats from within its neighborhood and hence to maintain protective spheres of influence. The University of Chicago’s John J. Mearsheimer calls this “Geopolitics 101.”

Yet America’s foreign policy leaders seem to have skipped that class. Not surprisingly, President Biden has slipped right into lockstep with his predecessors since taking office, declaring what America will and will not accept within Russia’s sphere of influence, where U.S. meddling has been a hallmark policy for years. Speaking on the seventh anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, Biden declared, “The United States does not, and will never, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts. We will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine.”

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Afghanistan’s Victory Over the United States, by Jim Bovard

Afghanistan’s elections are just as crooked as the US’s. The US has succeeded in making Afghanistan not safe for democracy but for the Taliban. From Jim Bovard at libertarianinstitute.org:

Acrimony and recriminations continue to swirl around the 2020 presidential election. Three out of four Republicans believe that there was “widespread fraud” in the election, while Democrats have sought to turn criticisms of the election into a “Big Lie” heresy against democracy. Senior congressional Democrats are pressuring the nation’s largest cable providers to cease carrying conservative networks such as Fox News that raised too many questions about Biden’s victory.

What could possibly go wrong with sweeping the 2020 election controversies under the rug? Clues can be found in a recent report, “Elections: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan,” produced by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). That report contains more wisdom than will be found in President Trump’s idiotic tweet in December: “A young military man working in Afghanistan told me that elections in Afghanistan are far more secure and much better run than the USA’s 2020 Election.”

Actually, “Afghan democracy” is one of the most brazen shams of U.S. foreign policy in this century. Since the U.S. invasion in 2001, the federal government has spent more than $600 million to support elections and democratic procedures in Afghanistan (part of the $143 billion the U.S. spent there for relief and reconstruction there). Hamid Karzai, the smooth operator who the Bush administration installed to rule Afghanistan after 9/11, won a rigged 2004 presidential election. President George W. Bush boasted during his reelection campaign, “Afghanistan has now got a constitution which talks about freedom of religion and talks about women’s rights…. Democracy is flourishing.” A few years later, Karzai won support from fundamentalist voters by approving a law entitling a husband to starve his wife to death if she refused his sexual demands.

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Biden’s Protection of Murderous Saudi Despots Shows the Hidden Reality of U.S. Foreign Policy, by Glenn Greenwald

Swear fealty to US “interests” and the US government will cozy up to you no matter how repressive and bloodthirsty your regime might be. From Glen Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

That the U.S. opposes tyranny is a glaring myth. Yet it is not only believed but often used to justify wars, bombing campaigns, sanctions, and protracted conflict.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (2nd R) welcomes then-US Vice President Joe Biden (C) at the Riyadh airbase on October 27, 2011 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

A staple of mainstream U.S. discourse is that the United States opposes tyranny and despotism and supports freedom and democracy around the world. Embracing murderous despots is something only Donald Trump did, but not normal, upstanding American Presidents. This belief about the U.S. role in the world permeates virtually every mainstream foreign policy discussion.

When the U.S. wants to start a new war — with Iraq, with Libya, with Syria, etc. — it accomplishes this by claiming that it is, at least in part, motivated by horror over the tyranny of the country’s leaders. When it wants to engineer regime change or support anti-democratic coups — in Venezuela, in Iran, in Bolivia, in Honduras — it uses the same justification. When the U.S. Government and its media partners want to increase the hostility and fear that Americans harbor for adversarial countries — for Russia, for China, for Cuba, For North Korea — it hauls out the same script: we are deeply disturbed by the human rights violations of that country’s government.

Yet it is hard to conjure a claim that is more obviously and laughably false than this one. The U.S. does not dislike autocratic and repressive governments. It loves them, and it has for decades. Installing and propping up despotic regimes has been the foundation of U.S. foreign policy since at least the end of World War II, and that approach continues to this day to be its primary instrument for advancing what it regards as its interests around the world. The U.S. for decades has counted among its closest allies and partners the world’s most barbaric autocrats, and that is still true.

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Biden Administers a Vaccine Shot to NATO, by Brian Cloughley

The NATOcrats are happy that the Biden administration appears unwilling to engage in any kind of constructive measures with China or Russia, but the rest of the world is not. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:

U.S. wants to continue confrontation with Moscow and Beijing, and has made sure it is keeping NATO firmly in its schemes to maintain world dominance.

On 19 February the new U.S. President, Uncle Joe Biden, gave a life-prolonging injection to the long-declining NATO military cluster by declaring the U.S. to be “fully committed to our NATO alliance.” He began his vaccination speech by announcing that “America is Back” and brought in Article 5 of the NATO Charter by saying his country has made an “unshakeable vow” to recognise that “an attack on one is an attack on all”, which is reasonable enough, even if such an attack is never going to be made by Russia or China, the two nations he declared to be the greatest enemies of the U.S. and Europe.

So Biden’s old-style New Cold War is upon us, and although he said the big priority was “modernizing our military capabilities while leading with diplomacy” it is obvious that while he’s certainly giving the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex their very own expensive booster jab, there isn’t anything remotely diplomatic about insulting and threatening other countries in a major speech to a military grouping whose leader and supporters are desperate for reasons — indeed any pretext — to justify its existence.

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Book Review: “Disintegration” by Andrei Martyanov, by The Saker

I read Andrei Martyanov’s book, The Real Revolution in Military Affairs, and it was excellent. I recommend it for anyone who wants to get past the US defense and foreign policy establishment’s blather. I’m looking forward to reading Martyanov’s latest when its available and The Saker’s review whet my appetite. From The Saker at unz.com:

This is the third book by Andrei Martyanov that I am reviewing, the first one was “Book Review – Losing Military Supremacy: the Myopia of American Strategic Planning by Andrei Martyanov”, while the second one was “Book Review: Andrei Martyanov’s The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs”. I also interviewed Andrei about this second volume here. The book I am reviewing today, “Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Collapse” can be pre-ordered from Clarity Press here and from Amazon here.

If the first two volumes mostly focused on issues of force planning and military power, this third volume addresses the wider context and shows example after example that the United States is not only failing at its attempts to remain a world hegemon, but the US is, in fact, in a process we could call “full-spectrum collapse” or, like Martyanov, simply “disintegration”. Specifically, the book looks into the manifestation of disintegration in the following spheres:

  1. Consumption
  2. Affluenza
  3. Geoeconomics
  4. Energy
  5. Making Things
  6. Western Elites
  7. Losing the Arms Race
  8. Empire Über Alles – Including Americans
  9. To Be or Not To Be
  10. Conclusion: Not Exceptional, Not Free, Not Prosperous – Not America?

These are tantalizing subject headings which I will not further describe because I really want to really encourage as many people as possible to read this book. Why?

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Is Biden Reenlisting in the Forever Wars? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Forever wars are forever appropriations to big, politically powerful defense and intelligence contractors, which is why these wars never end. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Thursday, in its first military action, the Biden Pentagon sent two U.S. F-15Es to strike targets of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia just inside the eastern border of Syria.

The U.S. strikes were in retaliation for a missile attack on a U.S. base in Irbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, which killed a contractor and wounded a U.S. soldier.

“We’re confident that the target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

But Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy want to know where President Joe Biden got his authority to launch attacks in Syria, where there was no clear or present danger to any U.S. troops.

Days before the U.S. strike, Kataib Hezbollah issued a statement denying any complicity in the Irbil attack: “We absolutely did not target Erbil or the Green Zone and have no knowledge of the group that did.”

Iran has also denied any involvement in the missile attack on the Americans. On a visit to Baghdad, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called for an investigation as to who is initiating the attacks inside Iraq.

“We emphasize the need for the Iraqi government to find the perpetrators of these incidents,” said Zarif.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russian forces in Syria got only four or five minutes’ notice that U.S. planes were on their way to a strike.

Bottom line: Those conducting these attacks on U.S. bases and troops in Iraq, provoking American counterstrikes, seek to ignite a conflict between the U.S. and Iran, and its proxies in Iraq and Syria.

And they are succeeding.

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The Idea of Secession Isn’t Going Away, by Jose Niño

You can’t keep a good idea down. From Jose Niño at mises.org:

Secession is a four-letter word for the millions of Americans who have gone through the conventional educational pipeline that teaches them that the American state is indivisible and sacrosanct.

However, intellectually honest historians whose minds haven’t been warped by educational institutions know better than to dismiss secessionism as some nefarious activity that only treasonous Southerners of the Confederacy are capable of engaging in.

For all intents and purposes, the founding generation was secessionist. When they signed on to the Declaration of Independence, those who fomented the American Revolution were committed to liberating themselves from the grasp of the British Empire. Quite arguably the most important act of secession in human history, the revolutionaries’ successful efforts to secede from British rule had the whole world awestruck.

More importantly, it cemented the idea of political separation in the American political consciousness. Before becoming a state, Vermont went the extra mile after the thirteen colonies declared their independence, breaking free from New York and Great Britain and establishing itself as an independent republic in 1777. It would remain that way until 1791, when it ratified the US Constitution and joined the union.

Even during the ratification of the Constitution, many states feared the idea of a government that would become excessively centralized. So they had secessionist backup plans in case things got out of hand. In the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Tom Woods touched on how the New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia “explicitly reserved during the ratification of the Constitution the right to withdraw from the Union should it become oppressive.”

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Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible, by Philip Giraldi

Meet the new warmongers, same as the old warmongers. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

America Offers Warning to the World: War Is Health of the State and Death of Liberty, by Doug Bandow

The proponents of America’s perma-war cannot point to any successes the last 50 years, and these failures have come at tremendous cost. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The United States is the world’s most militarized and belligerent nation. Stating this reality shocks and outrages Washington policymakers. Yet the facts are incontestable, like the sun’s rise.

Last week the Biden administration ordered airstrikes in Syria against Iranian-backed forces. The attack was retaliation for a rocket assault on a U.S. base in Iraq. That event responded to previous US attacks in Iraq, including one which killed several local officials, along with Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani. Alas, the latest bombing won’t stop threats against Americans but will further entangle Washington in Mideast conflict.

The US military should not be engaged in combat involving any of these nations. Yet last week’s action was not unique. A new study from Brown University’s Watson Institute found that between 2018 and 2020 the US backed surrogate forces in combat in four countries, unleashed air and/or drone strikes in seven, engaged in combat operations in eight, undertook military exercises in 41, and participated in military training in 79. All of these were labeled “counter-terrorism” operations.

Washington’s endless “global war on terrorism” has been a notable failure, with ever-increasing terrorist threats attracting ever-expanding military action. US officials obviously have been much better at creating than eradicating terrorism. Which should surprise no one: al-Qaeda arose in response to Washington’s aggressive, militaristic policies, including America’s support for oppressive Arab regimes and Israel’s occupation over millions of Palestinians, military presence in Saudi Arabia, and attacks on Muslim-majority states. Although Americans typically view themselves as innocent Vestal Virgins circling the globe seeking to uplift the world, those suffering under US bombs often violently disagree.

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