It’s unknown whether any of the people tearing down Washington’s statues have a better idea than he did about how to conduct US foreign policy. Certainly the people who are actually conducting US foreign policy don’t. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, unkindly characterized the foreign policy establishment in Washington, D.C., as “the Blob.” Although policymakers sometimes disagree on peripheral subjects, membership requires an absolute commitment to U.S. “leadership,” which means a determination to micro-manage the world.
Reliance on persuasion is not enough. Vital is the willingness to bomb, invade, and, if necessary, occupy other nations to impose the Blob’s dictates on other peoples. If foreigners die, as they often do, remember the saying about eggs and omelets oft repeated by communism’s apologists. “Stuff happens” with the best-intentioned policies.
One might be inclined to forgive Blob members if their misguided activism actually benefited the American people. However, all too often the Blob’s policies instead aid other governments and interests. Washington is overrun by the representatives of and lobbyists for other nations, which constantly seek to take control of US policy for their own advantage. The result are foreign interventions in which Americans do the paying and, all too often, the dying for others.
The problem is primarily one of power. Other governments don’t spend a lot of time attempting to take over Montenegro’s foreign policy because, well, who cares? Exactly what would you do after taking over Fiji’s foreign ministry other than enjoy a permanent vacation? Seize control of international relations in Barbados and you might gain a great tax shelter.
US intelligence agencies didn’t buy the Bountygate story, but the New York Times did. From Gareth Porter at thegrayzone.com:
Another New York Times Russiagate bombshell turns out to be a dud, as dodgy stories spun out by Afghan intelligence and exploited by the Pentagon ultimately failed to convince US intelligence agencies.
But a closer look at the reporting by the Times and other mainstream outlets vying to confirm its coverage reveals another scandal not unlike Russiagate itself: the core elements of the story appear to have been fabricated by Afghan government intelligence to derail a potential US troop withdrawal from the country. And they were leaked to the Times and other outlets by US national security state officials who shared an agenda with their Afghan allies.
In the days following the story’s publication, the maneuvers of the Afghan regime and US national security bureaucracy encountered an unexpected political obstacle: US intelligence agencies began offering a series of low confidence assessments in the Afghan government’s self-interested intelligence claims, judging them to be highly suspect at best, and altogether bogus at worst.
The War Party has both Democrats and Republicans, and so it’s not surprising that some Republicans, who’ve never liked Trump but like war, are backing Joe Biden. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
The 2020 election campaign is likely to get much uglier before November 3rd. Both parties face internal wars that will shape future U.S. foreign policy.
In Democratic primaries younger progressive candidates continue to challenge establishment paladins. And leading members of the bipartisan War Party continue to fall. The latest Bigfoot loss appears to be Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Out will go a reliable hawk and Israel ally, replaced by a younger member critical of endless war and lawmaking for foreign interests. Engel’s loss also could result in a committee leader more skeptical of reflexive intervention.
Unfortunately, no such ferment is happening within the more reliably hawkish GOP congressional caucus. Other than a few outliers such as Sen. Rand Paul, Republicans are not just avowed interventionists but genuine warmongers. For instance, in 2017 Sen. Lindsey Graham lightheartedly dismissed the possibility of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula as being “over there” rather than “over here.”
However, insufficient enthusiasm for war might cost President Donald Trump some traditional GOP support. Although John Bolton said he is not prepared to vote for Joe Biden – apparently economic and social issues matter too much to Bolton – some Republican hawks are turning to the presumptive Democratic nominee. Indeed, a new SuperPAC, “43 Alumni for Biden,” is set to launch, supposedly backed by “hundreds” of George W. Bush (the 43rd president) appointees. They emphasize foreign policy.
A fine chronicle of the US government’s long and inglorious history in Afghanistan, from Scott Ritter at consortiumnews.com:
The story of the alleged “bounty scheme” grew up in the context of top U.S. brass blaming Russia for America’s defeat in Afghanistan, says Scott Ritter.
On the morning of Feb. 27, Beth Sanner, the deputy director of national intelligence for mission integration, arrived at the White House carrying a copy of the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), a document which, in one form or another, has been made available to every president of the United States since Harry Truman first received what was then known as the “Daily Summary” in February 1946.
The sensitivity of the PDB is without dispute; former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer once called the PBD “the most highly sensitized classified document in the government,”while former Vice President Dick Cheney referred to it as “the family jewels.”
The contents of the PDB are rarely shared with the public, not only because of the highly classified nature of the information it contains, but also because of the intimacy it reveals about the relationship between the nation’s chief executive and the intelligence community.
“It’s important for the writers of the presidential daily brief to feel comfortable that the documents will never be politicized and/or unnecessarily exposed for public purview,” former President George W. Bush observed after he left office, giving voice to a more blunt assessment put forward by his vice president who warned that any public release of a PDB would make its authors “spend more time worried about how the report’s going to look on the front page of The Washington Post.”
Sanner’s job was the same for those who had carried out this task under previous presidents: find a way to engage a politician whose natural instincts might not incline toward the tedious, and often contradictory details contained in many intelligence products. This was especially true for Donald J. Trump, who reportedly disdains detailed written reports, preferring instead oral briefings backed up by graphics.
As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald notes, both parties advancing the amendment cited in their arguments the completely unsubstantiated intelligence leak that was recently published by credulous mass media reporters alleging that Russia has paid bounties to Taliban fighters for killing the occupying forces in Afghanistan. Yet another western imperialist agenda once again facilitated by unforgivably egregious journalistic malpractice in the mass media.
President Trump’s war and foreign policy record is nothing to be proud of. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies at antiwar.com:
On June 13, President Donald Trump told the graduating class at West Point, “We are ending the era of endless wars.” That is what Trump has promised since 2016, but the “endless” wars have not ended. Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles than George W. Bush or Barack Obama did in their first terms, and there are still roughly as many US bases and troops overseas as when he was elected.
Trump routinely talks up both sides of every issue, and the corporate media still judge him more by what he says (and tweets) than by his actual policies. So it isn’t surprising that he is still trying to confuse the public about his aggressive war policy. But Trump has been in office for nearly three and a half years, and he now has a record on war and peace that we can examine.
Such an examination makes one thing very clear: Trump has come closer to starting new wars with North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran than to ending any of the wars he inherited from Obama. His first-term record shows Trump to be just another warmonger in chief.
The two alternatives presented in the title are not mutually exclusive. War has ushered in many a collapse. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:
International Man: While many have been distracted by the unrest in the US, tensions with China are soaring.
Recently, Beijing passed a national security law that would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. What comes next for US-China relations?
Doug Casey: I lived in Hong Kong, on and off, from 1985 to 2005. When I first moved there, it was a Chinese city, but there were a lot of Western expats.
When I returned most recently, it had transformed into a Chinese city with very few expats. They’d all gone to Singapore.
What’s happening in Hong Kong is unfortunate, but frankly, it’s none of our business. Unfortunate things are happening in a hundred places around the world. You just can’t solve other people’s problems for them, nor should you try. Nobody likes a busybody.
As I’ve said so many times in the past, the US government has got to stop sticking its nose in other people’s business. The US has been acting as the world’s self-appointed cop since at least WWII, as often as not stepping in on the side of the bad guys—whether it knew it or not— and bankrupting itself while making enemies in the process.
In the case of Hong Kong, my view is that the Beijing regime is totally wrong, but it would be a disastrous error for us to get involved.
The same goes for the South and East China Seas, which were in the news a few years back. The US is sending a bunch of aircraft carriers there to show the flag, which is dangerous and provocative and none of our business. Just as it would be none of China’s business if the US decided to make the Gulf of Mexico its own private backyard sea. Should China try to contest that? Should China step in if Mexico decided the Gulf is really its territorial water?
The fact is that Chinese and US businessmen get along just fine. If the Chinese prove to be unethical or dishonest, a US business should just stop working with the firm that cheats them. Why should the US government be involved?
There are similarities between pre-Civil War politics and today’s. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:
In 2013 historian and novelist Thomas Fleming, the author of more than fifty books including biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and histories of the two world wars, made a contribution to American Civil War history with A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. A kind of “disease in the public mind” that Fleming speaks of seems to have commenced a second wave that many fear may lead to a second civil war.
Fleming is perplexed that the United States was “the only nation in the world to fight a war to end slavery.” All other countries (Great Britain, Spain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, the Northern states in the U.S.), ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth century. He also does not believe that the average Confederate soldier fought to defend slavery since “a mere 6 percent of the total white population” of the South in 1860 owned slaves and there was no stake in the system for the other 94 percent.
So why was there a war, according to Thomas Fleming? First, there was an extreme “malevolent envy” of Southerners by the New England “Yankees” who believed they were God’s chosen people entitled to rule over not only America but the world. Today, such people would be called “neocons.” Southerners did not agree, obviously.
A bona fide collision between the US and China would be disastrous for both. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
As of this month, the United States is deploying three of its aircraft carriers simultaneously to patrol the Pacific in what is designed to be a clear threat to China. Each carrier strike group comprises destroyers, aircraft and submarines. The U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers in total.
Rear Admiral Stephen Koehler, director of operations at Indo-Pacific Command, is quoted as saying of the unusual deployment. “Carriers and carrier strike groups writ large are phenomenal symbols of American naval power. I really am pretty fired up that we’ve got three of them at the moment.”
Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, admitted that the operations were provocative, albeit suggesting that the reality was somehow a propaganda coup for Beijing. She said: “The Chinese will definitely portray this as an example of U.S. provocations, and as evidence that the U.S. is a source of instability in the region.”
Forget about Chinese “portrayal”. It seems plainly factual that Washington is ramping up belligerence and instability in the Pacific.
The unprecedented muscle-flexing by the U.S. comes at a time when political relations between Washington and Beijing have descended into a new Cold War. President Donald Trump is whipping up his support base with renewed racist slurs against China over the coronavirus pandemic. At recent rallies in Oklahoma and Arizona, the president has referred to the “Kung Flu” and a “plague” sent from China.
This is a pretty good catalogue of what’s wrong with the US. From Vasko Kohlmayer at lewrockwell.com:
The protests and riots that convulsed America in the last few weeks and our reaction to these events revealed something that many of us would prefer not to hear: our society is in the throes of profound existential crisis.
Evening after evening we watched as the marauding mobs laid waste to urban areas. Looting, pillage, arson, theft, beatings and killings took place on a scale not seen in generations. Downtowns of dozens of American cities were ripped apart by violence and parts of them burned and ravaged beyond recognition. Even as this brazen violence and criminal destruction were taking place in plain sight, the law enforcement was kept from doing its job. The police were forced to stand by and watch even while they themselves became targets of vicious attacks by the rioters. The destruction and damage wrought by the mayhemists will run into hundreds of billions of dollars, not to mention the psychological and moral trauma of many ruined lives. Sadly, most perpetrators will never be apprehended or punished for their crimes.
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