Tag Archives: US Interventionism

Ten Years Since Beginning of Failed Regime-Change Operation Against Syria, by Paul Antonopoulos

When does a long war become a forever war? A decade seems like a good dividing line. From at antiwar.com:

The initial coalition against Syria has collapsed, with Turkey frustrated over the U.S.’ sustained support for the Kurds and the Arabs pivoting back to Syria.

On this exact day ten years ago, NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey and Israel began a coordinated campaign of regime change against President Bashar al-Assad and the destruction of Syria. This has led to the death of over 500,000 people, millions of refugees, destroyed infrastructure and an economy in crisis. Despite numerous political maneuvers, this alliance against Syria catastrophically failed and could not achieve regime change. Not only did Assad survive the onslaught, but the geopolitical situation dramatically changed as a result.

Each aggressor had its own ambitions in Syria but was united in the goal to achieve regime change. Thanks to the contributions made by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the Syrian government survived the coordinated aggression. Whilst NATO and Turkey continue to insist on regime change, Arab states, most prominently Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, were forced to normalize their relations with Syria to counter the growing threat of Turkish expansionism and influence into the Arab World that they had not anticipated when they decided to destroy Syria ten years ago.

Although a U.S.-dominated unipolar system was consolidated with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s 2008 intervention to defend the de facto republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia against NATO-encouraged Georgian forces was the first sign of an emerging multipolar system. A multipolar system, where there is a more equal distribution of power compacted into spheres of influence, was strengthened whilst the US could only helplessly watch as Russia successfully defended South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a region that falls under Moscow’s sphere of influence.

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U(nspeakably) S(adistic) Foreign Policy, by Sheldon Richmond

It’s hard to see the nobility of US intentions when you’re just a poor, innocent peasant and you run the risk every day that US bombs or bullets might kill you. From Sheldon Richmond at antiwar.com:

If you had set out to construct a foreign policy designed to impose indescribable suffering on millions of innocent people around the world, you’d have a tough time coming up with anything more systematic and effective than U.S. foreign policy. An inventory of US direct military and covert operations, aid to savage governments and murderous “rebels,” and economic sanctions would easily lead one to think that the architects of this constellation of policies aimed to inflict death and maximum pain on innocent bystanders. It has been one series of crimes against humanity.

That would be an oversimplification of course. Clearly, the makers and executors of those policies have not merely aimed to inflict such suffering on innocents. Larger geopolitical goals have always been in play. But that by no means mitigated the results, which have been foreseeable and avoidable. Besides, the geopolitical goals are themselves to be condemned, seeing as how they flow from US rulers’ “exceptional nation” zeal to shape the world according to their idea of what’s good.

Nor does it help to point out that the foreign regimes and other targets of US policy have often perpetrated unfathomable brutality against innocents. The fact is that US intervention predictably enlarges local and regional violence by orders of magnitude. So other people’s crimes are no excuse for US piling on.

Over many years, from Latin America to Africa, the Middle East, and throughout Asia, US policymakers have imposed great hardship in a variety of forms: open combat through invasion and occupation, covert activities, and aid to allied repressive governments and insurgent groups aiming at regime change.

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Consent That’s Manufactured By Propaganda Is Not Informed Consent, by Caitlin Johnstone

Informed consent and fraud are mutually exclusive. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

A new Twitter post by Secretary of State Tony Blinken reads as follows:

“We will never hesitate to use force when American lives and vital interests are at stake, but we will do so only when the objectives are clear and achievable, consistent with our values and laws, and with the American people’s informed consent – together with diplomacy.”

Like pretty much everything ever said by Blinken, and indeed by every US secretary of state, this is an absolute lie.

Firstly, US military force is never used to protect “American lives” in modern times, unless you count the lives of US troops and mercenaries in foreign lands they have no business occupying in the first place. The US military is never used to defend American lives against an invading enemy force; that simply does not happen in our current world order. It is only ever used to protect the agenda of unipolar planetary domination, which would be the “vital interests” which Blinken obliquely refers to above.

Secondly, Blinken’s claim that the Biden administration will never use military force without “the American people’s informed consent” has already been blatantly invalidated by Biden’s airstrikes on Syria last month. The American people never gave their consent to those airstrikes, informed or uninformed. A nation the US invaded (Syria) was bombed because troops are being attacked in a second nation the US invaded (Iraq) on the completely unproven claim that a third country against whom the US is currently waging economic warfare (Iran) supported those attacks. At no time were the people asked for their consent to this, and at no time was any attempt made to ensure that they were informed of the situation before it happened.

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The Blob is Addicted to Overseas Interventions, by Doug Bandow

An excellent analysis of the hubris that permeates American foreign policy, by Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

Whichever party wins elections, the foreign policy establishment will find a war to get involved in and a means to justify it.

Aerial view of the Pentagon. (By Jeremy Christensen/Shutterstock)
 

Since the end of the Cold War there have been few external constraints on U.S. foreign policy. The Soviet Union’s collapse left America as the unipower. “What we say goes,” declared President George H.W. Bush. Washington’s foreign policy establishment, later termed “the Blob,” saw an opportunity to transform the world.

The 1990s featured military interventions in the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti, Panama, and Iraq. All were unnecessary wars of choice, though Panama was close geographically and hosted the important Panama Canal. Iraq’s conquest of Kuwait unsettled the Mideast, but less than had other conflicts, such as the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. Overall, these interventions had only modest consequences for the U.S. All were limited, imposed minimal direct costs, and came to an expeditious end. No one spoke of “endless wars.”

However, the 9/11 attacks triggered a dramatic transformation of U.S. foreign policy. Although President George W. Bush had campaigned for a “humble foreign policy,” he delivered a toxic mix of arrogance, hypocrisy, sanctimony, and incompetence. In Afghanistan he turned a counterterrorism mission against al-Qaeda and the Taliban into endless nation-building.

Much worse, he invaded Iraq—which had no WMDs, as he had falsely claimed—triggering a devastating sectarian war. Thousands of allied troops were killed; tens of thousands were injured; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed; millions were displaced; trillions of dollars were wasted. Religious cleansing destroyed the indigenous Christian community and was followed by devastating attacks on other faith minorities, such as the Yazidis. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was loosed, mutating into the even more destructive Islamic State.

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Endless Interventionist Clichés: Washington’s Bipartisan War Party is Never at a Loss on Why War Is Necessary, by Doug Bandow

The War Party has never seen a war it didn’t like, and always has a glib explanation of why the war being fought with other people’s money and lives is vital, crucial, essential, etc. to America’s “interests.” From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Starting last Spring the coronavirus pandemic kept me at home, encouraging me to watch webinars. Many webinars. Washington, D.C.’s gaggle of think tanks have filled online space with seemingly endless discussions of what to do about the world. With an emphasis on do.

Members of the infamous Blob, the Washington foreign policy establishment, bridle at criticism of their uniformity of views. Why, they insist, they argue about everything. Like whether we should sanction a country before bombing it. Whether the post-invasion occupation of a nation will require 50,000 or 100,000 troops.

Whether the U.S. should remove a government from power or merely create a “political process” that ensures its departure. Whether American officials should limit themselves to being hypocritical or whether it is okay for them to be sanctimonious as well. And whether rejecting just one of Washington’s righteous demands is a casus belli, or at least two denials are necessary.

Absolutely, there is an incredible diversity of views within the Blob.

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Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism, by James Bovard

Barack Obama embraced US interventionism and war as fervently as any neocon. From James Bovard at consortiumnews.com:

The former president’s deception and warmongering killed the “hope and change” he promised on the campaign trail, writes James Bovard.

President Barack Obama saluting coffins of dead U.S. soldiers returned from Afghanistan to Dover Air Force Base, Aug. 9, 2011. (White House/Pete Souza)

Americans are sickened of an “idealism that is oblique, confusing, dishonest, and ferocious,” as H.L. Mencken wrote a hundred years ago. Though Mencken was condemning President Woodrow Wilson, the same verdict could characterize the legacy of former president Barack Obama.

Obama is now on a book tour issuing calls for honest government, civic virtue, and similar tripe. But Obama did more to discredit idealism than any president since Wilson.

A dozen years ago, Americans were enthralled by the newly elected president from Illinois. After the deceit and demagoguery of the George W. Bush era, Obama’s first presidential campaign with its “Yes, We Can” motto swayed Americans that he could personally restore the moral grandeur of government. Its idealism was epitomized by the famous “Hope” campaign poster that practically deified the candidate.

Shortly before his first inauguration, Obama announced, “What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed.” After Obama’s inaugural address, the media rejoiced as if a new age of political idealism had arrived.

Practically the entire world joined the race to canonize the new president. Less than 12 days after he took office, Obama was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — which he received later that year. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared at a White House state dinner, “We warmly applaud the recognition by the Nobel Committee of the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision.” Shortly after receiving the Peace Prize, Obama announced he would triple the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Peace Prize helped insulate him from criticism as he proceeded to bomb seven nations during his presidency.

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A Long-Forgotten CIA Document From WikiLeaks Sheds Critical Light on Today’s U.S. Politics and Wars, by Glenn Greenwald

Barack Obama was a great salesman for the warfare state and perpetual wars. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The Agency knew that their best asset for selling their wars was Barack Obama — the same reason so many in the security state were eager to get rid of Donald Trump.

(Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The first time I ever wrote about WikiLeaks was back in early 2010, when the group was still largely unknown. What prompted my attention was a small article in The New York Times which began this way:

To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.

The NYT explained that the Pentagon had prepared a secret 2008 plan in which they plotted how to destroy WikiLeaks, including by purposely leaking to it false documents with the hope that the group would publish the fakes and forever obliterate their credibility — a dastardly scheme which was ironically leaked to WikiLeaks, which promptly posted the document on its website.

Any group that the U.S. security state includes on its “list of enemies” by virtue of publishing its secrets is one that is going to attract my interest, and likely my support. As a result — months before they made international headlines with publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and diplomatic cables from Hillary Clinton’s State Department — I immediately investigated everything I could about the group’s founding and mission; interviewed its founder Julian Assange; and urged readers to help support the fledging group, concluding that “one of the last avenues to uncover government and other elite secrets are whistle blowers and organizations that enable them. WikiLeaks is one of the world’s most effective such groups, and it’s thus no surprise that they’re under such sustained attacks.”

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America’s War on Terror Is the True Cause of Europe’s Refugee Crisis, by Patrick Cockburn

If you don’t refugees in your country, your government should stay out of theirs. From Patrick Cockburn at unz.com:

Desperate refugees crammed into cockle-shell boats landing on the shingle beaches of the south Kent coast are easily portrayed as invaders. Anti-immigrant demonstrators were exploiting such fears last weekend as they blockaded the main highway into Dover Port in order “to protect Britain’s borders”. Meanwhile, the home secretary, Priti Patel, blames the French for not doing enough to stop the flow of refugees across the Channel.

Refugees attract much attention on the last highly visible stages of their journeys between France and Britain. But there is absurdly little interest in why they endure such hardships, risking detention or death.

There is an instinctive assumption in the west that it is perfectly natural for people to flee their own failed states (the failure supposedly brought on by self-inflicted violence and corruption) to seek refuge in the better-run, safer and more prosperous countries.

But what we are really seeing in those pathetic half-swamped rubber boats bobbing up and down in the Channel are the thin end of the wedge of a vast exodus of people brought about by military intervention by the US and its allies. As a result of their “global war on terror”, launched following the al-Qaeda attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, no less than 37 million people have been displaced from their homes, according to a revelatory report published this week by Brown University.

The study, part of a project called “Costs of War”, is the first time that this violence-driven mass population movement has been calculated using the latest data. Its authors conclude that “at least 37 million people have fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the US military has launched or participated in since 2001”. Of these, at least 8 million are refugees who fled abroad, and 29 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have taken flight inside their own countries. The eight wars examined by the report are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, northwest Pakistan and the Philippines.

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Foreign Interventionism, 9/11, and the Perpetual War on Terrorism, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Ron Paul got booed in a presidential debate for suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were blowback for US interventions in the Middle East, but that was exactly what they were (if they weren’t a false flag, which is certainly a possibility). From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

With today being another anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it’s important to recall why it was that that deadly event came about.

No, the terrorists didn’t attack us because they hated our “freedom and values,” as U.S. officials and American interventionists claimed after the attacks. Instead, the attacks occurred in retaliation for what the U.S. national-security establishment, specifically the Pentagon and the CIA, had been doing to people in the Middle East prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Recall the Persian Gulf War in 1991, when the U.S. government intervened in a conflict involving their old partner and ally, Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. Iraq had gotten in a territorial dispute with Kuwait, which ended up with Iraq invading Kuwait.

U.S. officials felt that they could not let Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait to stand, which is somewhat strange given that the U.S. government supported Iraq when it invaded Iran in the 1980s. Without the congressional declaration of war the Constitution requires, the U.S. government went to war against Iraq, killing multitudes of Iraqi people in the process and wreaking untold destruction across the country.

During the conflict, the Pentagon ordered the destruction of Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants, after a study revealed that such destruction would help spread infectious illnesses within the Iraqi populace.

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The Irrational Logic of Leaving Troops in Iraq, by Bonnie Kristian

The case for leaving troops in Iraq is just as solid and air-tight as the cases for leaving troops in Afghanistan and Syria. The only way for outsiders to win in the Middle East is to stay out. From Bonnie Kristian at nationalinterest.org:

Prolonging U.S. military intervention is making it more difficult for Iraq to achieve stability and sapping American defense resources.

raq does not need “direct and military support, and support on the ground” from the United States, new Iraqi prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in an interview last week before his visit to Washington. His country might want U.S. “cooperation and assistance” at different levels in the future, Al-Kadhimi allowed, depending on “the changing nature of terrorism’s threat.” But the support he mentioned—military training and arms provision—would be a marked drawdown from the current U.S. role in Iraq.

American policymakers should take notice. After seventeen years of fighting, the war in Iraq is a demonstrable failure—and yet a failure with no end in sight.

The Trump administration has repeatedly promised to draw down the U.S. military presence in Iraq, but it’s not clear President Donald Trump really wants to leave. Apparently unguided by any coherent strategy, he threatens further escalation as easily as he condemns the initial invasion. His passion for ending “endless wars” is perhaps not all-consuming.

There are about five thousand American troops in Iraq now, basically the same deployment level as when this administration began. When the Iraqi parliament in January demanded all foreign troops leave their country, the administration rejected the request. “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how best to recommit to our strategic partnership,” said the State Department, “not to discuss troop withdrawal.”

This is unsurprising, as key administration advisers evince no urgency toward departure: the commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., is open about his belief that the United States should continue to occupy Iraq forever, perpetually on hand to combat remnants of the Islamic State or whatever group succeeds it. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday promised the U.S. military would be busy in Iraq for a long time to come, refusing to discuss the possibility of withdrawal, asking reporters “not to focus on that.”

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