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Posts Tagged ‘Blowback’

Responsible Statecraft – An appreciation: Chalmers Johnson’s writings on American empire

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2020

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/04/12/an-appreciation-chalmers-johnsons-writings-on-american-empire/


Richard Drake

It has been nearly ten years since Chalmers Johnson died, and twice that long since the publication of “Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.” That Johnson’s condemnation of American imperialism originated in a conservative political and philosophical tradition makes him a somewhat unusual figure. Such viewpoints more characteristically come from the left than the right. The “Blowback” series, eventually comprising three volumes, remains a prime source for understanding the motives of American foreign policy in the Trump era and merits a retrospective appreciation.

A longtime political science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Johnson was one of that institution’s most publicly visible conservatives during the anti-war protests of the 1960s. In “Blowback,” Johnson described himself as an Eisenhower Republican. He had believed in America’s anti-communist Cold War mission. After serving as a naval officer during the Korean War, he earned graduate degrees in political science at Berkeley and became a leading expert on China and Japan at his alma mater. He performed consulting work for the CIA where the term “blowback” was used to refer to unintended consequences of government policies.

Only after the end of the Cold War did Johnson begin to question the assumptions of the American foreign policy he had served in and out of uniform. He had understood the need for a far-flung American military presence to oppose the murderous tyranny of the Soviet Union. Why even after the Soviet Union had disappeared, however, did the United States continue to maintain an ever-increasing network of military bases? In “Blowback,” he set out to find answers to this question.

Johnson began with a confession. Although abysmally ignorant about the dysfunction and oppression in communist societies, the Berkeley radicals had understood the nature of American capitalism better than he had. American foreign policy did make sense only in the light of economics. During the Second World War, the United States had taken the lead in creating the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as the financial means of creating a global capitalist order. To defend that order, an American empire of military bases would ring the globe. Everything everywhere would be a concern of the United States in its self-appointed role as the guardian of the status quo. The Soviet Union had been more a pretext than a reason for these worldwide operations, as the continued existence of an American empire of bases after the Cold War made manifest.

Keeping a lid on the cauldron of international problems stemming from a world order in which billions of people lived on less than two dollars a day and whole cultures suffered from the resentments of ethnic or religious marginalization would have the United States perpetually on the march fighting endless wars. This would be one form of blowback. Terrorism would be another. Read the rest of this entry »

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America Has Come Full Circle in the Middle East – Defense One

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2020

In US interventionist foreign policy circles this is considered progress.

Eisenhower hastily convened a meeting with his top national-security advisers on the day of the Iraqi king’s downfall. John Foster Dulles, a consummate Cold Warrior and the U.S. secretary of state at the time, argued that a failure to heed Chamoun’s call would signal to the Soviets that the United States wasn’t ready to take risks for its allies, and would thus mean “the decline and indeed the elimination of our influence—from Indonesia to Morocco.”

More than half a century later, the future of the United States’ military presence in the Middle East is once again up for discussion, as Iraq calls on the U.S. to end its roughly 5,000-strong troop presence in the country and Trump struggles to remove American forces from Syria and Afghanistan as well. U.S. politicians are now grappling with the possibility of a post-American period in the region.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/01/america-has-come-full-circle-middle-east/162655/?oref=d-river

“We are opening a Pandora’s Box,” Dwight Eisenhower warned when he ordered the first U.S. combat mission in the region. Little did he know how right he would be.

In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in.

A year earlier, in the context of the emergent Cold War and fading British and French power in the region, Dwight Eisenhower had articulated and received congressional approval for what became known as the Eisenhower doctrine. The United States had for the first time staked out national interests in the Middle East—oil, U.S. bases and allies, Soviet containment—and declared that it was prepared to defend them with military force.

Sixty-two years before President Donald Trump dispatched a drone to Baghdad to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, this is how American combat missions in the post–World War II Middle East began.

Eisenhower felt compelled to issue his doctrine following a showdown over the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, an Arab nationalist whom U.S. officials perceived as allied with the Soviet Union. The U.S. president had pledged to honor requests for American military assistance by countries facing aggression from proponents of “international communism.”

That U.S. commitment was tested when insurrectionist Iraqi army officers executed their country’s last king, the Western-friendly Faisal II, in Baghdad in the summer of 1958. Camille Chamoun, the Christian leader of Lebanon and an opponent of Nasser, asked for American aid against the backdrop of the coup in Iraq and looming civil war in his own country. (The revolution in Iraq had little connection to Nasser, but the U.S. didn’t initially grasp that.) In keeping with the grand domino theorizing of that period, U.S. officials worried that if they didn’t act decisively, U.S. partners such as Lebanon and Jordan would be next to fall to Nasserite nationalism and, by extension, Soviet communism.

Eisenhower hastily convened a meeting with his top national-security advisers on the day of the Iraqi king’s downfall. John Foster Dulles, a consummate Cold Warrior and the U.S. secretary of state at the time, argued that a failure to heed Chamoun’s call would signal to the Soviets that the United States wasn’t ready to take risks for its allies, and would thus mean “the decline and indeed the elimination of our influence—from Indonesia to Morocco.” In a calculation that has been turned on its head today, the president maintained that “to lose this area by inaction would be far worse than the loss in China, because of the strategic position and resources of the Middle East.” His team insisted that the U.S. was on sound footing to intercede militarily in another country’s civil war, because Lebanon’s president had invited them in, a poignant point to read today as Iraqi officials seek to kick the U.S. military out of the country in retaliation forSoleimani’s killing. As for intervening in Iraq as well, Eisenhower, a celebrated World War II general who was typically cautious about taking military action, dismissed the notion as unworkable. In an illustration of just how new all this was to Americans, Eisenhower’s speech announcing the operation included a geography lesson, noting that Lebanon was “a small country, a little less than the size of Connecticut” and that Iraq was “nearby.” He was also mindful of the risks. “I realize we are opening a Pandora’s Box here,” a jumpy Eisenhower told Britain’s equally nervous prime minister on the eve of deploying the Marines to Lebanon.

The episode and its aftermath are essential to understanding how the United States went from being deeply apprehensive about getting involved militarily in the Middle East to conducting more military interventions there than in any other region in the world. The trajectory of U.S. involvement is one of American leaders gradually putting stock in their ability to achieve their objectives through discrete military action and then investing everything in costly military misadventures, to the point that we’ve come full circle: The American public and its leaders are profoundly ambivalent about even limited and critical missions, such as the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Even in 1958, now-familiar patterns of military intervention in the Middle East were evident. Though he advocated for a troop deployment to Lebanon, for example, Dulles warned that the United States was entering a situation in which “it will be easy to get ourselves involved, and very hard to get out.” Then, as now, military inaction was equated with the United States renouncing its interests in the region. “We must act [in Lebanon], or get out of the Middle East entirely,” Eisenhower told his aides, presenting a stark choice that Trump is surely acquainted with. Then, as now, the White House debated whether it needed congressional authorization for its combat operations. Then, as now, U.S. leaders offered the public misleading justifications for their use of force; Eisenhower greatly inflated the situation in Lebanon to be about avoiding another world war by refusing to appease the Soviet Union, when it mostly had to do with internal Lebanese politics.

Despite Eisenhower’s soaring rhetoric, the actual U.S. objective was narrow in scope: to prop up a friendly government. And that goal was achieved with surprising ease. Dulles had predicted that the military intervention would generate blowback, such as an oil crisis as Egypt and its ally Syria retaliated against commercial infrastructure, or “a wave of anti-Western feeling in the Arab world.” Yet when hundreds of U.S. marines came ashore in Beirut on July 15, 1958—backed up by three aircraft carriers and dozens of warships in the Mediterranean Sea, plus the threat of the U.S. deploying nuclear weapons from Germany—they were greeted merely by sunbathers and vendors on the beach. U.S. diplomats soon negotiated a political settlement that eased Chamoun out of power. American forces, eventually numbering in the thousands, left the country in October after suffering only one fatality, from sniper fire, during the three-month deployment. They got in easily, they stabilized the situation, and they got out easily.

More than half a century later, the future of the United States’ military presence in the Middle East is once again up for discussion, as Iraq calls on the U.S. to end its roughly 5,000-strong troop presence in the country and Trump struggles to remove American forces from Syria and Afghanistan as well. U.S. politicians are now grappling with the possibility of a post-American period in the region.

Though Eisenhower and his advisers couldn’t have known it at the time, their swift, successful operation would prove the exception rather than the rule. “Subsequent American combat missions in the Middle East would not be so lucky or so cost-free,” Bruce Riedel, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, has written. “The wars in Iraq have now seemingly become endless.”

In the years following the campaign in Lebanon, Iran underwent an Islamic revolution, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and violent Sunni Islamist movements rose up—all seismic developments that encouraged the United States to double down on its investments in the Middle East. By the ’80s, Washington had created a combatant command for the greater region and unveiled the Carter doctrine to defend Persian Gulf partners. The U.S. came to view Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq as its top threat after the Soviet Union collapsed, and George H. W. Bush’s carefully calibrated multinational military operations to reverse Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait arguably represented the height of U.S. military competence in the Middle East.

In the space of a decade and two Bush presidencies, however, the United States veered into a major debacle in Iraq. James Jeffrey, now Trump’s special representative for Syria, noted in a 2016 study that after the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush decided not to manage the challenges to U.S. interests in the region, as his predecessors had done for the past three decades, but to try to eliminate those challenges altogether. Through its post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and especially Iraq, the Bush administration attempted not only to root out hostile regimes but also to fundamentally remake the region in a manner consistent with U.S. interests and values.

Bush, of course, failed in spectacular fashion to achieve that transformation. Barack Obama, who ran for president in part to remedy those failures, mostly maintained America’s security architecture in the region and sought (largely unsuccessfully) to overhaul America’s role in the Middle East without resorting to military force. Trump, by contrast, has been willing to use limited military force, but has also demonstrated little interest in effecting any change in the region beyond retiring the United States as a security guarantor. Ultimately, he wants out.

And even if Trump doesn’t get his way entirely, he will undoubtedly seize on additional opportunities to reduce the American military presence in the Middle East, as fed-up Americans and progressive presidential candidates push in the same direction. When Eisenhower elected to open that “Pandora’s Box” back in 1958, his justification was that it would be “disastrous” if “we don’t.” Perhaps nothing signals the coming post-American era in the Middle East more than the fact that so many U.S. leaders these days fear the disastrous consequences of leaving the box open.

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Suez Crisis | Middle East [1956] | Britannica.com

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How Obama’s Mid-East Policy Led to Nazi Rebirth in Today’s Germany — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on January 31, 2020

Europe (and especially Germany) has been compassionate toward the refugees, and are now experiencing the political blowback, at home, from their admission of refugees from America’s foreign policy

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/30/how-obama-mid-east-policy-led-nazi-rebirth-germany/

 Eric Zuesse

On January 12th, Deutsche Welle (Germany’s public broadcaster like BBC, PBS, NPR, and RT) headlined “Mayor’s resignation highlights threat to German leaders: Arnd Focke, the Social Democratic mayor of a town in Lower Saxony, was regularly threatened by nationalists. Now he has resigned. Regional officials have repeatedly faced threats across Germany.” He quit for his safety, because carrying out Germany’s compassionate policies toward the flood of mainly Middle-Eastern refugees has produced a backlash that is becoming increasingly organized and dangerous to Germany’s democracy.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s policies in support of overthrowing secular governments (such as in Libya and Syria) in the Middle East, and his attempts to install there new governments — which were planned to be allied with the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family who own Saudi Arabia — caused the exodus, from those secularly-headed U.S.-attacked Middle-Eastern countries, of millions, some of whom live now in Germany and are not accepted there, for many of reasons, some valid and some invalid. The resulting influx of millions of culturally markedly different people has given rise to a rebirth of Germany’s Nazi movement.

Whereas Obama’s U.S., and especially now Trump’s U.S., has refused entry of refugees from these countries that America (by means of its tens of thousands of jihadist proxy-forces from around the world) invaded, Europe (and especially Germany) has been compassionate toward the refugees, and are now experiencing the political blowback, at home, from their admission of refugees from America’s foreign policy — a policy favoring dictatorial fundamentalist-Sunni Arab regimes, to overthrow secular governments in the Middle East.

How and why did this happen?

Muammar Gaddafi was a socialist who believed in spreading to the masses (instead of to foreign investors) the wealth from the nation’s oil and who consequently was rejected by the U.S.-and-allied aristocracies who control the private oil companies. Gaddafi was demonized by their governments and their media. After extensive planning by the CIA and associated coup-organizations, he was finally overthrown in an “Arab Spring” in 2011 and replaced by what they expected to be a re-privatization of Libya’s oil. Hillary Clinton proudly proclaimed, “We came, we saw, he died! Ha, ha, hah!” Europe gets the refugees.

Bashar al-Assad was similar, in those basics. During 2012, Obama was well-warned by U.S. intelligence — and even by the anti-Assad ‘rebels’ themselves — that if he tried to overthrow Assad, then the U.S. would need to be using proxy-fighters to do it, jihadists, under the direction of Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch al-Nusra, and he chose that option and left to the Saud family to choose whom to rule Syria in the aftermath. Consequently, the Saud family selected the individuals who were to ‘represent the rebels’ at the UN-sponsored ’peace’-talks to end the Syrian ‘civil’ war. It was all a set-up deal, by Obama and his foreign allies. Even the pro-Obama New York Times reported on 27 April 2013 that “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.” But still Obama insisted that “Assad must go.” (Though that was a common headline on news-reports about Obama’s position, he was too slick ever to utter that phrase: in his rhetoric he was the exact opposite of his successor, who continued Obama’s Syria-policy.) Conquering Syria for the Sauds to control was the aim. Europe has received the refugees from that U.S. decision, not only from the other ones, on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. By Europe’s siding with the United States, it has opted to side with the Sauds, and with jihadists, and, now, also with Nazis, and other racist-fascists.

Now that Trump has gone so far as to terminate Obama’s only good foreign-policy action, the JCPOA or Iran nuclear agreement, and to opt for war against Iran, the dangers to democracy in Europe could escalate even farther. But for some people, the rebirth of Nazism in Germany might be enough of a reason for Europe to reverse its foreign policies in fundamental ways.

 

© 2010 – 2020 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: U.S. Threatens Iraq That It Will Lose Access to Its Bank Account at the Federal Reserve

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2020

You can be sure that every country in the world will take notice of the threat.

When the move away from the dollar as a reverse currency begins in earnest, the flight from the dollar on foreign exchange markets will be fierce.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/01/us-threatens-iraq-that-it-will-lose.html

This is stunning news.

The Trump administration warned Iraq this past week that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out American forces following the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, according to Iraqi officials, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Here are the details via The Journal:

The State Department warned that the U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a move that could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy, the officials said.

Iraq, like other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as an important part of managing the country’s finances, including revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could restrict Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system and constricting a critical lubricant for the economy.

Bottom line: The U.S. continues to use the global dominance of the US dollar to bully countries that don’t fall in line with its demands.

You can be sure that every country in the world will take notice of the threat.

When the move away from the dollar as a re(serve)verse currency begins in earnest, the flight from the dollar on foreign exchange markets will be fierce.

And that is what economic blowback will look like: The crash of the dollar.

RW

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Pensacola: Blowback Terrorism The problem isn’t ‘radical Islam’

Posted by M. C. on December 9, 2019

Apparently the FBI brass considered this intelligence pure gold because they went on to use America’s interventionist policy in the Middle East as their main talking point when grooming and entrapping idiots by the hundreds into fake terrorism plots across the country since that time.

https://original.antiwar.com/scott/2019/12/08/pensacola-blowback-terrorism/

Florida Senator Rick Scott is lost in the dark. After Friday’s deadly Afghan war-style “green on blue” attack by a Saudi air force officer at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, the senator issued a statement calling the shooting an act of terrorism, and stating that this was the case, “whether this individual was motivated by radical Islam or was simply mentally unstable.”

First of all, “terrorism,” means the use of violence against civilians in order to provoke a political reaction. But these targets were all members of the U.S. Navy, not civilians. The three killed are Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters. This is a tragedy, but it’s not really terrorism.

Then again, of course, the real question about terrorism is not about the victims, but about the motives of the perpetrator, Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani. And here is where the Florida senator misses the point. The possibilities as he presents them are that the attack was motivated either by “radical Islam” or “mental instability.” But perhaps the perp’s belief in his religion hadn’t changed at all, in terms of degrees of devotion or in beginning to prefer a different, stricter Islamic doctrine. And maybe he wasn’t mentally ill either. After all, there was a shooting at the navy’s Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii the day before, and all indications are that that shooter’s motives were purely personal.

As long as the senator is speculating, why should religion or mental illness be considered the most likely explanations at all? Maybe al-Shamrani had gambling debts. Maybe he was blackmailed into it by an unknown party. (At least 10 other men were taken in for questioning, at least one of whom is alleged to have recorded the attack with his phone camera.) …

Maybe he was mad about American foreign policy.

That’s what he said his motive was: [Errors in original.]

“I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity. I am against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie, I see invasion of many countries by it’s troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.

“Your decision-makers, the politicians, the lobbyists and the major corporations are the ones gaining from your foreign policy, and you are the ones paying the price for it.

“What benefit is it to the American people to suffer for the sake of supporting Israel?

“Do you expect to transgress against others and yet be spared retribution?

“How many more body-bags are American families willing to receive?

“For how long can the US survive this war of attrition?

“The US Treasury spend billions of dollars, in order to give Americans a false sense of security .

“The security is shared destiny

“You will not be safe until we live it as reality in pleastain, and American troops get out of our lands .”

No wonder American papers and news stations are so reluctant to quote the whole statement. For Republicans, Democrats, spies, soldiers, Zionists and their media myna birds, “Mohammed made him do it” is surely a preferable explanation to “Uh, this is all our fault.”

But al-Shamrani’s statement doesn’t have anything to do with “radical Islam.” (Notably, though Twitter deleted his statement, the replies remain, and seem to uniformly consist of denunciations of the attack and the attacker by other Muslims.) Whatever this man’s sect and degree of devotion, this attack was political. As others have noted, some of the phrases in the screed have been borrowed directly from Osama bin Laden and Anwar Awlaki’s statements (though so far he is said to have no established ties to terrorist groups.) This would include the reference to the “war of attrition” that bin Laden had wanted to initiate against the U.S. since the early 1990s. That wasn’t about radical Islam targeting unbelievers either.

It’s fighting them over there that causes them to fight us here. It always has been.*

The perpetrators of virtually every single terrorist attack against the U.S., beginning with Egyptian Islamic Jihad/proto-al Qaeda’s assassination of Rabbi Kahane in New York City in 1990, have cited their wanting revenge for, and desire to play a role in a war that the United States started here on Earth. Before September 11th, al Qaeda’s leaders cited the presence of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia which were being used to attack other Muslim countries such as Iraq, support for Israel’s occupations in Palestine and (then) Lebanon, support for Saudi kings and Egyptian military despots, theft of Arab oil resources at artificially low prices, and support for other nations’ oppression of Muslim minorities. The plan was to attack us to provoke an overreaction. As the great intelligence beat reporter James Bamford explained,

“Ayman al-Zawahiri argued that al-Qaeda should bring the war to ‘the distant enemy’ in order to provoke the Americans to strike back and ‘personally wage the battle against Muslims.’ It was that battle that bin Laden and Zawahiri wanted to spark [with the 9/11 attacks]. As they made clear in their declaration of war ‘against Jews and Crusaders,’ they believed that the United States and Israel had been waging war against Muslims for decades. Now their hope was to draw Americans into a desert Vietnam, with bin Laden in the role of North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh.”

Twelve years after the humiliation of “America’s mayor,” Rudy Giuliani by Rep. Ron Paul in a 2007 Republican Party presidential debate, when Paul explained the truth about the terrorists’ motives for attacking the United States, the argument has still not been won. That is, of course, because the same people who are responsible for these policies, including the government’s handmaidens in the major media, are the same ones in charge of diagnosing and confronting the problem now. But that’s just how it works. The worse they fail, the more job security they have in the future, at least until the trillions of dollars spent becomes too many and retrenchment becomes unavoidable.

But it’s no mystery. You could ask Robert Mueller, James Comey and the FBI about it. Their agent, James Fitzgerald, told the 9/11 Comission in long-since forgotten testimony about al Qaeda that,

“I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States.”…

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Saudi Bases and the Bin Ladens: A Love Story – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 28, 2019

Nothing would please the “three Bs” – Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and former National Security Adviser John Bolton – more than a US military strike on the Islamic Republic, cost and consequences be damned.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2019/10/27/saudi-bases-and-the-bin-ladens-a-love-story/

What is Trump really up to? It’s almost unknowable. At the same time that the president was pulling (some) troops out of Northeast Syria, giving an antiwar speech, and then sending other troops back into Syria to “secure the oil,” he also quietly sent another 1800 service members into Saudi Arabia. What little Trump did say about it consisted of a peculiar defense of his actions. Faced with the obvious question from a reporter: “Mr. President, why are you sending more troops to Saudi Arabia when you just said it’s a mistake to be in the Middle East?” Trump argued that there was no contradiction in his policy because, well, the Saudis “buy hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise from us,” and have “agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing to help them.” It seems the U.S. military is going full mercenary in the Gulf.

While I’ve noted that Trump’s recent antiwar remarks were profound – though largely unfulfilled – these words will amount to nothing if followed by a military buildup in Saudi Arabia that leads to a new, far more bloody and destabilizing, war with Iran. Nothing would please the “three Bs” – Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and former National Security Adviser John Bolton – more than a US military strike on the Islamic Republic, cost and consequences be damned.

It’s just that an Iran war isn’t the only risk associated with basing majority-Christian, foreign American troops in the land of Islam’s two holiest cities. And a brief historical review of US presence in Saudi Arabia demonstrates quite clearly the potential transnational terrorist “blowback” of Washington’s basing decisions. In fact, Trump’s latest deployment constitutes at least the third time the US military has been stationed on the Arabian peninsula. It’s rarely ended well, and, in a paradox stranger than fiction, often linked Washington and Riyadh’s dollars with the Bin Laden family. It’s almost enough to make one understand the propensity of some Americans to buy into some degree of 9/11 “truth.”

The strange saga began in the 1930s when a US oil conglomerate, Aramco, built a settlement at Dhahran in the desert near the little town of Khobar. Local workers did the construction, including a rather talented Yemeni bricklayer named Mohamed Bin Laden. Though illiterate and with only one eye, he and his brother then started their own construction company: Mohamed and Abdullah, Sons of Awadh bin Laden.” When, in 1945, the US military decided to lease a sizable air base at Dhahran, the Bin Laden brothers got the contract. The firm made a fortune on the American taxpayers’ dime. After that, the Bin Laden’s became the builders of choice for the spendthrift Saudi royal family, by then flush with oil profits.

Nonetheless, the devoutly Muslim Saudi people were horrified by the Western presence and the king ended the first US military lease in 1962. Still, the Bin Laden company continued to do business with the American government and corporate entities, so much so, in fact, that it retained an agent in New York City. After the elder Bin Laden died in 1967, his sons took over the family business. One, Osama, had a particular knack for construction.

He was also devoutly religious, and, despite his family business’ close connections with the Americans, virulently opposed to foreign intervention in the Greater Middle East. So, with tons of his firm’s heavy construction equipment in tow, he headed off to Afghanistan to fight with the mujahideen against the Soviet Army occupation of that country. Though he and his fellow Arab volunteers played only a small role in the Soviet’s eventual defeat, Osama Bin Laden dug tunnels, built roads, and crafted a genuine mountain base for his fighters in Afghanistan. He even named his new organization to direct the jihad Al Qaeda, or “the base,” and learned a life-altering lesson from the Soviet war. As he reflected, “The myth of the superpower was destroyed not only in my mind but also in the minds of all Muslims.”

Thus, when Saddam Hussein’s massive Iraqi Army swallowed up Kuwait and threatened the Saudi Kingdom in 1990, Bin Laden thought he could recruit a new mujahideen army and single-handedly defeat the invaders. He offered his services to the king, but was rebuked, in favor of an invitation to the US military to instead defend Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden never forgave the king or the American “occupiers” of his holy homeland. The American troopers flooded into a reopened base at Dhahran, the Iraqis were swiftly defeated by the US military coalition, Bin Laden later declared war on the United States, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Terror attacks on the Khobar Towers Air Force barracks, two US African embassies, and the Navy’s USS Cole followed, and then New York and Washington were struck in the worst terrorist incident in American History. Bin Laden got the war he sought, lured the US military into countless quagmires in the Mideast and, despite his eventual death at the hands of American Navy SEALs, succeeded beyond probably even his wildest imagination.

All that brief history ought to remind American policymakers and people alike of the inherent dangers of military basing in Saudi Arabia in this, the third, such instance. Washington, as has been proven time and again since the end of the Second World War, reaps what it sows across the world. So, when Trump’s latest addition to the tragic US history of building bases and stationing troops on the Arabian Peninsula backfires, when a new Bin Laden of sorts takes the war to a major American city, I’ll be one of the few voices saying I told you so…

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Trump, Saudis, money … and a murder. We need a new ...

 

 

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Progressive Foreign Policy Fails Again – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/09/james-ostrowski/progressive-foreign-policy-fails-again/

By

Note: This is an excerpt from their book, The Impeachment of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for High Crimes in Syria and Libya.

What happened in Libya and Syria is simply a manifestation of a very dangerous mindset known as progressivism.  Progressivism amounts to a blind faith that government force can improve any given situation.  It is usually associated with domestic policy but progressivism also operates in foreign policy. Progressives ignore costs and consequences.  Progressives plunge into situations they do not understand, heedless of the consequences.  When progressives fail, they invariably attribute the failure to not using enough government force.  Thus, Obama, explaining his failure in Libya, stated, “I think we underestimated . . . the need to come in full force.”[1]

Thus, it is not merely Obama and Clinton who need to be held responsible.  Their underlying ideology also needs to be called to account.  We need to impeach progressivism too lest that dangerous ideology leads us into an endless series of future foreign policy disasters as it has already led us into 100 years filled with them.

It is important to understand that a callous disregard of consequences is intrinsic to progressivism,[2] whether applied to domestic or foreign policy. One consequence of foreign intervention which the progressives utterly ignore is blowback in the form of terrorist attacks in direct retaliation against the intervention.  It is probably a Freudian slip that those who supported overthrowing Gaddafi and Assad were oblivious to the consequences as these men had few ties to terrorism in recent years.

Another consequence of war that is rarely discussed in advance is the legal risk of engaging in war.  When a state is attacked, it has the legal right to respond and defend itself.[4]  Such a response may include attacking any military facility in the attacking state. Obviously, any such attacks in modern war run the risk of civilian casualties.  Since this is rarely if ever mentioned by politicians, they apparently expect us to simply put all of this out of our minds.

What is truly revolting is this.  Obama and Clinton, who are protected by heavy security, have launched the United States into wars against parties likely to retaliate against innocent and vulnerable civilians, when the perpetrators of these illegal wars are utterly incapable of stopping such attacks or protecting such civilians.  The only legal remedy for such moral depravity is impeachment…

To sum up, progressivism fails in foreign policy for a number of important reasons. First, the progressives are pervasively ignorant about the countries they are invading and conquering. Second, such intervention fails to deal with the underlying causes of problems, usually being related to the preexisting culture and character of a people or the arbitrary borders into which disparate ethnic, racial and religious groups have been consigned. Third, such intervention sparks resistance and retaliation among the victims. Finally, such intervention usually results in unforeseen and unintended bad consequences.

Thus, the lesson of this book is not just that Obama and Clinton blundered by intervening into Libya and Syria but that, once again, progressives applied their utopian theory beyond the borders of the United States with the usual disastrous consequences.

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THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BEGAN KKK - KKK=11+11+11=33 DEGREE ...

One of the original progressives

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye Dollar, It Was Nice Knowing You! — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on July 5, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/07/04/goodbye-dollar-it-was-nice-knowing-you/

Philip Giraldi

 

Over the past two years, the White House has initiated trade disputes, insulted allies and enemies alike, and withdrawn from or refused to ratify multinational treaties and agreements. It has also expanded the reach of its unilaterally imposed rules, forcing other nations to abide by its demands or face economic sanctions. While the stated Trump Administration intention has been to enter into new arrangements more favorable to the United States, the end result has been quite different, creating a broad consensus within the international community that Washington is unstable, not a reliable partner and cannot be trusted. This sentiment has, in turn, resulted in conversations among foreign governments regarding how to circumvent the American banking system, which is the primary offensive weapon apart from dropping bombs that Washington has to force compliance with its dictates.

Consequently, there has been considerable blowback from the Make America Great Again campaign, particularly as the flip side of the coin appears to be that the “greatness” will be obtained by making everyone else less great. The only country in the world that currently regards the United States favorably is Israel, which certainly has good reason to do so given the largesse that has come from the Trump Administration. Everyone else is keen to get out from under the American heel.

Well the worm has finally turned, maybe. Even the feckless Angela Merkel’s Germany now understands that national interests must prevail when the United States is demanding that it do the unspeakable. At the recently concluded G20 meeting in Tokyo Britain, France and Germany announced that the special trade mechanism that they have been working on this year is now up and running. It is called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) and it will permit companies in Europe to do business with countries like Iran, avoiding American sanctions by trading outside the SWIFT system, which is dollar denominated and de facto controlled by the US Treasury.

The significance of the European move cannot be understated. It is the first major step in moving away from the dominance of the dollar as the world’s trading and reserve currency. As is often the case, the damage to US perceived interests is self-inflicted. There has been talk for years regarding setting up trade mechanisms that would not be dollar based, but they did not gain any momentum until the Trump Administration abruptly withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran over a year ago…

Indeed, the White House appears to be willing to engage in economic warfare with Europe over the issue of punishing Iran. The Treasury Department issued a statement regarding the Mandelker letter, saying “entities that transact in trade with the Iranian regime through any means may expose themselves to considerable sanctions risk, and Treasury intends to aggressively enforce our authorities.” Mike Pompeo also was explicit during a visit to London on May 8th when he stated that “…it doesn’t matter what vehicle’s out there, if the transaction is sanctionable, we will evaluate it, review it, and if appropriate, levy sanctions against those that were involved in that transaction. It’s very straightforward.”

It is perhaps not unreasonable to wish the Europeans success, as they are supporting free trade while also registering their opposition to the White House’s bullying tactics using the world financial system. And if the dollar ceases to be the world’s trade and reserve currency, what of it? It would mean that the Treasury might have to cease printing surplus dollars and the US ability to establish global hegemony on a credit card might well be impeded. Those would be good results and one might also hope that some day soon the United States might once again become a normal country that Americans would be proud to call home.

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Monopoly Fiat Money ? | 2012 Patriot

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Trump Just Rescinded Obama’s Order on Drone Strikes – The Atlantic

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2019

It is nevertheless disheartening––as a longtime critic of America’s program of lethal drone strikes––to assess the state of the policy debate in Washington, D.C.

It is felt in some corners that civilian deaths likely recruit more terrorists than are killed.

I wonder if the drone jockeys stationed mid-America even have a clue as to whom they are killing. I wonder what kind of people get satisfaction from a job like that. It is likely better not knowing.

At one point I read about discord among some drone pilots. Oddly that seems to have been squashed.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/trump-drone-strikes-order/584326/

After seven years spent presiding over many hundreds of secretive, extrajudicial CIA killings, President Barack Obama signed a 2016 executive order intended to increase transparency and reduce the “tragic” deaths of civilians. The order required the release each May 1 of the number of drone strikes undertaken by the United States “against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities,” along with “assessments of combatant and non-combatant deaths.”

In theory, the American public would finally know how many innocents were being killed outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, stoking anti-American sentiment and the possibility of blowback in multiple countries where no war was declared.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump rescinded that short-lived reporting requirement. As Charlie Savage observed in The New York Times, “Mr. Trump’s revocation of the disclosure rule amounted to a belated acknowledgment that his administration had already changed the Obama policy in practice: The director of national intelligence never put out a report about bystander casualties in 2017.” Although the Pentagon is still required by statute to disclose civilian casualties from its ongoing combat operations, Savage explained, that law doesn’t cover lethal CIA drone strikes…

The Democratic Party purports to regard him as a morally depraved, power-hungry opportunist who lacks wisdom, judgment, and restraint, rendering him unfit for high office. But it won’t push to strip him of the ability to unilaterally kill an indeterminate number of people in various countries where we are not at war.

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drone-strikes-Leaked-report-shows-high-civilian-death-toll-from-CIA-drone-strikes

 

 

 

 

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The Rutherford Institute :: Jackboots in the Morning: No One Is Spared From This American Nightmare |

Posted by M. C. on January 30, 2019

If you’re wondering why the Education Department needs a SWAT team, you’re not alone.

they always shoot the dogs first

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/jackboots_in_the_morning_no_one_is_spared_from_this_american_nightmare

By John W. Whitehead

This is jackboots in the morning. This is an American nightmare that they would arrest somebody like this.”—Judge Andrew Napolitano

The American Police State does not discriminate.

Whatever dangerous practices you allow the government to carry out now—whether it’s in the name of national security or protecting America’s borders or making America great again—rest assured, these same practices can and will be used against you when the government decides to set its sights on you.

We’ve been having this same debate about the perils of government overreach for the past 50-plus years, and still we don’t seem to learn, or if we learn, we learn too late.

For too long now, the American people have allowed their personal prejudices and politics to cloud their judgment and render them incapable of seeing that the treatment being doled out by the government’s lethal enforcers has remained consistent, no matter the threat.

All of the excessive, abusive tactics employed by the government today—warrantless surveillance, stop and frisk searches, SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, asset forfeiture schemes, private prisons, indefinite detention, militarized police, etc.—will eventually be meted out on the general populace.

At that point, when you find yourself in the government’s crosshairs…

Take Roger Stone, one of President Trump’s longtime supporters, for example. Read the rest of this entry »

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