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.
Russia has caused every US problem, including the US failure to elect Hillary Clinton, since Vladimir Putin became Russia’s leader. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
Washington again becomes hysterical
There is particular danger at the moment that powerful political alignments in the United States are pushing strongly to exacerbate the developing crisis with Russia. The New York Times, which broke the story that the Kremlin had been paying the Afghan Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers, has been particularly assiduous in promoting the tale of perfidious Moscow. Initial Times coverage, which claimed that the activity had been confirmed by both intelligence sources and money tracking, was supplemented by delusional nonsense from former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who asks “Why does Trump put Russia first?” before calling for a “swift and significant U.S. response.” Rice, who is being mentioned as a possible Biden choice for Vice President, certainly knows about swift and significant as she was one of the architects of the destruction of Libya and the escalation of U.S. military and intelligence operations directed against a non-threatening Syria.
The Times is also titillating with the tale of a low level drug smuggling Pashto businessman who seemed to have a lot of cash in dollars lying around, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan is awash with dollars and has been for years. Many of the dollars come from drug deals, as Afghanistan is now the world’s number one producer of opium and its byproducts.
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.
A non-standard look at the American Revolution from Gary North at lewrockwell.com:
I did not celebrate the Fourth of July today.
This goes back to a term paper I wrote in graduate school. It was on Colonial taxation in the British North American Colonies in 1775. Not counting local taxation, I discovered that the total burden of British imperial taxation was about 1% of national income. It may have been as high as 2.5% in the southern Colonies.
In 2008, Alvin Rabushka’s book of almost 1,000 pages appeared: Taxation in Colonial America (Princeton University Press). A review published in the Business History Review summarizes the book’s findings.
Rabushka’s most original and impressive contribution is his measurement of tax rates and tax burdens. However, his estimate of comparative transatlantic tax burdens may be a bit of moving target. At one point, he concludes that in the period from 1764–1775 “the nearly 2 million white Colonists in America paid on the order of about 1% of the annual taxes levied on the roughly 8.5 million residents of Britain, or 1/25th in per capita terms, not taking into account the higher average income and consumption in the Colonies” (p. 729). Later he writes that on the eve of the Revolution, “British tax burdens were 10 or more times heavier than those in the Colonies” (p. 867). Other scholars may want to refine his estimates, based on other archival sources, different treatment of technical issues such as the adjustment of inter-Colonial and transatlantic comparisons for exchange rates or new estimates of comparative income and wealth. Nonetheless, no one is likely to challenge his most important finding: the huge tax gap between the American periphery and the core of the British Empire.
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?
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.
Most Americans don’t know much about the Korean War, but it was an important chapter in US history and remains important today. From Brett Wilkins at antiwar.com:
For a brief moment in the summer of 1945 there was joy in Korea. Koreans, who had suffered tremendously during half a century of brutal Japanese occupation and World War II, celebrated what they believed was their liberation by victorious US and Soviet forces. Full of hope for a future free of foreign rule, they proudly declared their independence; however, Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur announced that the US and the USSR would be occupying – and dividing – the entire Korean peninsula. Adding insult to injury, vanquished but no less vicious Japanese forces would be employed to violently repress dissent.
Like so many other imperial endeavors, the division of Korea along the 38th parallel was an exercise in arbitrariness and utter disregard for the wishes of the people it affected. The United States, which claimed to champion freedom, denied it to the people of Korea, who very quickly realized that they were merely trading one occupying empire for another. A survey of Koreans in the summer of 1946 found that 77 percent preferred socialism or communism while only 14 percent favored capitalism. However, the US backed the right-wing dictatorship of Syngman Rhee, a conservative Christian and staunch anti-communist who ruled the South with an iron fist. By early 1950 there were more than 100,000 political prisoners in the South. Summary executionsof leftists, both real and imagined, claimed tens of thousands of lives as the South’s police state reign of terror rivaled the worst outrages of the communist North, which was unifying under the former anti-Japanese guerrilla leader Kim Il-sung.
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