MCViewPoint

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Posts Tagged ‘China’

US Military Patch Depicts Drone and Skull Over China – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on September 30, 2020

War boosting.

https://news.antiwar.com/2020/09/29/us-military-patch-depicts-drone-and-skull-over-china/

US Airmen conducting drills with MQ-9 reaper drones in California this month have been sporting patches that depict a drone and a skeleton over a red silhouette of China.

The new patches suggest that the Air Force’s drone operators are preparing for war with China. According to Air Force magazine, the drills started on September 3rd at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California, and will end on September 29th.

The drills joined three MQ-9’s with the Navy’s Third Fleet, which deploys submarines, strike groups, and other vessels and aircraft in the eastern Pacific. US Air Force C-130s are also taking part in the drill, along with personnel from the US Marines Corps.

The reapers carried out airstrikes during a mock amphibious assault on San Clemente Island off of California’s coast.

“It’s a demonstration of our capability to rapidly move the MQ-9 anywhere in the world, to unfamiliar locations, and then get out and show the operational reach capabilities of the MQ-9,” US 29th Attack Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Brian Davis told Air Force.

The MQ-9 Reapers are a staple of US bombing campaigns in the Middle East and North Africa. Chinese state media suggested the Air Force could be preparing for an assault on Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea

Be seeing you

 

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666,666,666 Immigrants – Taki’s Magazine – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2020

Now Democrats envision using immigration to alter the racial balance to achieve perpetual one-party rule.

One obvious problem with this plan, however, is that all the immigrant ethnicities would then turn on each other in a struggle to control the capital of the world. Why compete with the United State militarily if you can use your co-ethnic immigrants to simply subvert the USA from within (such as this week’s example of an immigrant NYPD officer arrested for spying for China on Tibetan exiles), especially if Washington were so foolish as to invite in two-thirds of a billion immigrants?

https://www.takimag.com/article/666666666-immigrants/print

Center-left Vox pundit Matthew Yglesias’ new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger is actually two contradictory polemics. The book is both a sensible call for making family formation more affordable for younger Americans, and a demented demand for tripling the population of the United States (currently one-third of a billion) via immigration, thus ruining the chances of tens of millions of actual Americans to afford marriage and children.

There’s really no way to reconcile Yglesias’ two requests:

—We should figure out smart ways to make life a little less stressful for Americans so they can have children as well as careers; and

—We should also encourage the rest of the world to crowd into the U.S. and horn in on the birthrights of American citizens.

Yglesias’ main argument for adding 666,666,666 immigrants is that this would help us compete with populous China.

In short, Yglesias seems to imply, America must invite the world in order to invade the world.

Just think of the possibilities! If we had two-thirds of a billion more immigrants, we could conscript a humongous army and militarily conquer the world…which would finally give us some place to dump all the teeming masses of immigrants.

Seriously, Yglesias argues, we couldn’t have won WWII or the Cold War without a big population.

Of course, mid-20th-century USA was far more unified, due to the immigration shutdown in the 1920s that wisely ruled that no interest groups would be allowed to use immigration to change the country’s ethnic balance. Hence, the political system was more cooperative and functional than today when Democratic pundits like Yglesias’ partner at Vox Ezra Klein alternate between boasting that immigration will bury whiteness and complaining that whites are paranoid about being replaced.

Now Democrats envision using immigration to alter the racial balance to achieve perpetual one-party rule.

One obvious problem with this plan, however, is that all the immigrant ethnicities would then turn on each other in a struggle to control the capital of the world. Why compete with the United State militarily if you can use your co-ethnic immigrants to simply subvert the USA from within (such as this week’s example of an immigrant NYPD officer arrested for spying for China on Tibetan exiles), especially if Washington were so foolish as to invite in two-thirds of a billion immigrants?

 

Germany would have liked to do that using German immigrants in 1917, but the self-righteous WASP ruling class proactively crushed any German-American resistance with heavy-handed assimilation methods, such as banning Beethoven concerts.

But these days the Chinese are slowly learning how to play the White Guilt card against America. In an era when extirpating the vanishing phenomenon of White Privilege obsesses the American establishment, it’s inconceivable that we would take effective steps to Americanize the tens of millions of new Chinese immigrants. Always remember, diversity is our strength! Foreigners are who we are.

So, how American are these One Billion going to be?

“‘In short, Yglesias seems to imply, America must invite the world in order to invade the world.”

The Democrats haven’t dreamed up any strategy for keeping their United States of Diversity from turning into a circular firing squad other than to scream ever harder at white men as the designated scapegoats.

Indeed, one reason for this summer’s mania over whites supposedly oppressing blacks is because blacks vaguely realize that the white man’s days are numbered due to immigration. Once the immigrants take over, nobody will take seriously anymore African-Americans’ sad stories about George Floyd, redlining, and Emmett Till. So blacks had better guilt-trip whites fast into making expensive concessions because the next rulers of America sure aren’t going to fall for black tears.

 

One phenomenon that is readily apparent in this book is that progressives are getting more ignorant about recent history as their movement has become more obsessed with the white man’s crimes of the increasingly distant past.

For example, in arguing that supply and demand doesn’t apply to immigration economics, Yglesias asserts that the ending of the bracero program for importing Mexican migrant farmworkers in 1964 had no impact on wages. In reality, this liberal triumph (set in motion by Edward R. Murrow’s 1960 Harvest of Shame muckraking documentary) allowed Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers union to emerge in 1965 as a potent force for higher wages in California’s fields.

Liberals used to know about Cesar Chavez. Now, apparently, they don’t.

Similarly, Yglesias devotes seven pages to the tedious academic dispute over economist David Card’s study that showed that wages in Miami did not drop after the May 1980 Mariel boat-lift of Cuban refugees into the city increased the labor supply.

But he never mentions what I’ve been rudely pointing out to economists since 2006. Miami simultaneously received one of the most potent economic stimuli ever: the 1980–1984 cocaine trafficking boom made world-famous in Scarface and on Miami Vice. Economic studies require that “all else be equal,” but nothing was ever equal to Miami’s cocaine bubble during Card’s study.

Surprisingly, Yglesias returns time and again to the nagging problem that more immigrants equal more greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, most progressives have simply ignored the mathematical inevitability that increasing the U.S. population by importing poor people will increase climate-change emissions.

Americans pump out about four times as much carbon emissions per capita as even car-crazy Mexicans, and ten times or more as much as a typical Third Worlder. So if Americans currently contribute 14% of the world’s greenhouse gases, tripling the population through immigration would, if the immigrants assimilate economically, increase global emissions by about 25%, which to Vox readers ought to sound like the end of the world. The author labors mightily but can’t overcome this simple arithmetic.

On the other hand, Yglesias barely deigns to acknowledge that massive immigration would almost certainly worsen inequality, which is why billionaires tend to be so enthusiastic for it.

The better part of One Billion Americans is about how to reverse the declining fertility of American citizens. It’s not as complete as Jonathan V. Last’s 2013 book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting, but offers a good start on the subject.

The total fertility rate for American women was dropping even during the Trump Boom before the pandemic, down to a below replacement rate of 1.72 children per woman in 2018. And yet when asked how many children they’d like to have, women and men both average about 2.6.

Clearly, America is suffering from economic, political, and cultural problems that are keeping Americans from achieving parenthood to the extent that they would prefer.

The most obvious reason American fertility is below replacement level is one that Elizabeth Warren pointed out in her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap: The traditional basics of American middle-class family life—a house with a yard in a satisfactory public school district—have grown increasingly expensive.

Why? Because supply has not kept up with demand. Read the rest of this entry »

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US Intelligence: If Trump Wins Russia Did It, If Biden Wins It Was China And Iran – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on August 12, 2020

Mass media throughout the western world are uncritically passing along a press release from the US intelligence community, because that’s what passes for journalism in a world where God is dead and everything is stupid.

What this completely unsubstantiated narrative means, of course, is that no matter who wins in November America’s opaque government agencies will have already primed the nation for more dangerous escalations against countries which have resisted being absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. If Trump wins we can expect his administration to continue its escalations against Russia in retaliation for its 2020 “election interference”, and if Biden wins we can expect his cabinet of Obama administration holdovers to ramp up escalations against China in the same way while Joe mumbles to himself off to the side as his brain turns to chowder.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/08/08/us-intelligence-if-trump-wins-russia-did-it-if-biden-wins-it-was-china-and-iran/

Back in April I said “China’s gonna be so surprised when it finds out it interfered in the November election.”

Now three months ahead of schedule China is already getting its surprise, alongside fellow unabsorbed governments Iran and Russia.

Mass media throughout the western world are uncritically passing along a press release from the US intelligence community, because that’s what passes for journalism in a world where God is dead and everything is stupid.

The press release, from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and authored by National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, claims that Russia wants Donald Trump to win re-election in November and is pushing to advance than goal, while China and Iran are doing the same with Joe Biden.

China

“We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection,” the press release reads. “China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”

Russia

“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,’” the press release claims. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

Iran

“We assess that Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections,” says the press release. “Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content. Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”

What this completely unsubstantiated narrative means, of course, is that no matter who wins in November America’s opaque government agencies will have already primed the nation for more dangerous escalations against countries which have resisted being absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. If Trump wins we can expect his administration to continue its escalations against Russia in retaliation for its 2020 “election interference”, and if Biden wins we can expect his cabinet of Obama administration holdovers to ramp up escalations against China in the same way while Joe mumbles to himself off to the side as his brain turns to chowder.

There is never a legitimate reason to believe any unproven claim made by unaccountable spook agencies about US-targeted governments, but even if everything in this press release were true it’s an incredibly stupid thing to care about. The influence that Russia, China or Iran could exert over public opinion in the United States is a tiny fraction of that which is exerted by the unaccountable US billionaire media every single day, which already has its own factions pushing for Biden over Trump and Trump over Biden. Adding some foreign social media operations into the mix would change literally nothing.

Secondly, as the press release itself acknowledges, the US is openly pushing regime change in Iran. It is already engaging in various acts of economic warfare against all three of the named governments, and it openly interfered in Russia’s elections in the nineties to a far greater extent than anything it has even accused Russia of doing. The US government’s own data shows that it is the very worst election meddler in the world by an extremely wide margin, which would make it a perfectly legitimate target for election interference by any nation on earth.

Lastly, the dumbest thing about believing foreign nations are interfering in American democracy is believing America has any democracy to interfere with. The integrity of US elections ranks dead last among all western democracies, public opinion is constantly  which has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo which keeps them rich and powerful, and it’s a  where both  advance the same establishment agendas.

Imagine believing that foreign leaders are looking at the dumpster fire that is the United States and thinking “I know how we can hurt them! We’ll sow division by saying mean things about their presidential candidates on social media!”

It’s the dumbest thing in the world. Yet all the establishment narrative managers are jumping on this intelligence community press release as a real thing that we should all be excited about.

All this hand-wringing and arm-waving about foreign interference on social media comes as social media itself makes policy changes to ensure that only western governments are allowed to conduct propaganda on its platforms, with Twitter instituting a new policy of labeling accounts from unabsorbed governments as “state-affiliated media” while placing no labels or restrictions on any accounts with extensive western government ties.

The overall message in all this is that only western government agencies and oligarchs may conduct propaganda on those who live in the US-centralized empire. It should enrage us all that these unaccountable abusers feel so entitled to insert their rapey fingers in our minds and manipulate how we think, act and vote that they get all chest-thumpy about the idea of anyone else getting a word in edgewise. They do this because they understand that whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and there is no amount of evil they won’t do to ensure that they continue to control the world.

The reason sociopaths are able to insert themselves so easily into positions of power and influence in human civilization is because highly manipulative people with no empathy quickly learn that society is dominated by narrative, while the rest of us do not understand this. This must change before we will be able to create a healthy world.

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Huawei, Tik-Tok and WeChat, by Larry Romanoff – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on August 11, 2020

That part is okay, but how can the CIA and NSA approach Huawei and ask the company to build back doors into its equipment so the US can spy on China – among all other countries?

https://www.unz.com/lromanoff/huawei-tik-tok-and-wechat/

First, let’s dispel the combined notion that China spies on everyone and the US spies on no one. There is so much public evidence to destroy both these assertions that I won’t bother repeating them here. I will however remind readers that a few years ago China more or less banned Windows 8 from the country because it was discovered that the O/S had a built-in NSA back door.[1] It seems that Germany reported on this first, but the devastating proof was at an IT conference where a Microsoft executive was interrupted during a speech with precisely this accusation.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] He did not deny it because the person making the accusation was the person who discovered it and had with him the proof, but refused to discuss it and changed the subject.

But this is hardly news. Forty years ago it was proven that all Xerox copy machines delivered to foreign embassies and consulates in the US were “espionage-ready”.[10][11] Also, for at least 20 years, and perhaps much more, it was common knowledge that when any foreign embassies, consulates, banks and other corporations ordered computers and similar hardware from US suppliers, those shipments were intercepted by UPS, delivered to the CIA and/or NSA for installation of “extra” hardware and software before delivery to their destinations. This was one of the confirmations by Edward Snowden.[12][13][14][15] Any search on this will give you millions of hits unless Google chooses that moment to lose its memory.

Huawei

Trump’s problems with Huawei are twofold. The most obvious is that China is eating America’s lunch when it comes to innovation and invention and Trump would like to slow this down by destroying Huawei and is clearly making every possible effort in this regard, including bullying and threatening half the known world against using Huawei’s products. But this is the small part of the problem; the real issue is espionage. There is no practical value in disputing the assertion that Cisco and other American hardware and software firms install back doors to all their equipment for the convenience of CIA and NSA access. But suddenly Huawei is replacing Cisco and those other American firms with its better and less expensive equipment.

That part is okay, but how can the CIA and NSA approach Huawei and ask the company to build back doors into its equipment so the US can spy on China – among all other countries? There is no solution to this problem other than to trash Huawei’s reputation by accusing it of being an espionage threat and having the company’s equipment banned. And this applies not only to the US, but to the entire Five Eyes Espionage Network, involving the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.[16] Briefly, this was set up to break laws while pretending no laws were being broken. It is generally against the law for a government to spy on its own citizens, but that law doesn’t apply to a foreign government. So Canada spies on Australian citizens and sends the information to the Australian spooks who can claim they did nothing wrong. Rinse and repeat. The sad part is that the “intelligence” received is usually of little interest to the four minor participants but all of it is shared with the US who are frothing to spy on the entire world and to take possession of “every communication” of every kind in the entire world. Thus, it isn’t sufficient to ban Huawei only from the US because this company’s equipment would castrate the NSA’s effort in the other four nations. Thus, US bullying to ensure each of its five eyes is Huawei-free. And that’s the entire story, like it or not.

Tik-Tok

Tik-Tok is nothing of consequence, except that it is in direct competition with similar American platforms and has proven too popular and too competitive to be permitted to survive. This is just a cheap, below-the-belt and illegal-as-hell shot at China. No threat, no nothing. However, as with all similar IT products and platforms it contains much personal information especially useful for marketing, which has so far been the private property of people like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Thus, Trump kills two birds with one stone: either simply kill Tik-Tok on some trumped-up accusation (if you’ll excuse the expression) of espionage, or force a sale to an American company. Either way, China loses massively while the political oppression and marketing value of that personal information remains safely in trusted American hands.

WeChat

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John Pilger: Another Hiroshima is Coming, Unless We Stop It Now

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

“No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said The New York Times front page on 13 September, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”

https://www.mintpressnews.com/john-pilger-another-hiroshima-is-coming-unless-we-stop-it-now/270039/

By John Pilger

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukaemia.

“No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said The New York Times front page on 13 September, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.

“I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”.

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America’s war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target – China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

“Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Nothing was done.

The US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb”.

Stimson’s foreign policy colleagues — looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it — made clear they were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.

The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshalls. It was here that the United States exploded the world’s first Hydrogen Bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered “unsafe” on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.

I trekked through the jungle to the concrete bunker where, at 6.45 on the morning of March 1, 1954, the button was pushed. The sun, which had risen, rose again and vaporised an entire island in the lagoon, leaving a vast black hole, which from the air is a menacing spectacle: a deathly void in a place of beauty.

The radioactive fall-out spread quickly and “unexpectedly”. The official history claims “the wind changed suddenly”. It was the first of many lies, as declassified documents and the victims’ testimony reveal.

Gene Curbow, a meteorologist assigned to monitor the test site, said, “They knew where the radioactive fall-out was going to go. Even on the day of the shot, they still had an opportunity to evacuate people, but [people] were not evacuated; I was not evacuated… The United States needed some guinea pigs to study what the effects of radiation would do.”

Like Hiroshima, the secret of the Marshall Islands was a calculated experiment on the lives of large numbers of people. This was Project 4.1, which began as a scientific study of mice and became an experiment on “human beings exposed to the radiation of a nuclear weapon”.

The Marshall Islanders I met in 2015 — like the survivors of Hiroshima I interviewed in the 1960s and 70s — suffered from a range of cancers, commonly thyroid cancer; thousands had already died. Miscarriages and stillbirths were common; those babies who lived were often deformed horribly.

Unlike Bikini, nearby Rongelap atoll had not been evacuated during the H-Bomb test. Directly downwind of Bikini, Rongelap’s skies darkened and it rained what first appeared to be snowflakes.  Food and water were contaminated; and the population fell victim to cancers. That is still true today.

H Bomb Marshall Island

I met Nerje Joseph, who showed me a photograph of herself as a child on Rongelap.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums – CounterPunch.org

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2020

It is customary for the political rhetoric to get heated during a presidential campaign, which will find Donald Trump and Joe Biden vying for honors in the field of national security and militancy, but there should be some balance and context from the mainstream media.  The increasingly hard line of the Washington Post on the competition with China, Russia, and Iran suggests that the political contenders will be goaded—and not ameliorated—by the nation’s key newspapers.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/10/the-washington-post-and-its-cold-war-drums/#gsc.tab=0

The Washington Post has taken its Cold War campaign against China, Russia, and Iran to a new level.  In the Sunday edition of its Outlook section, the Post gave front-page coverage to long articles by former ambassador Michael McFaul and former New York Times’ writer Tim Weiner to trumpet Russia’s “constant aggression” and its “brutal Cold War rules.”  There was no hint whatsoever of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to improve Russian-American relations over the past two decades, and no suggestion that the actions of the United States over the past 25 years have significantly contributed to the poor state of relations between Moscow and Washington.

The companion pieces have supportive titles, which suggests an editorial decision to express an authoritative point of view.  McFaul’s article is titled “Trump always finds a way to let Putin win….”, and Weiner’s screed follows with “….even when Russia plays by brutal Cold War rules.”  Their joint thesis is a simple one: Donald Trump’s complacency has enabled President Putin’s “litany of belligerent acts.”  Neither writer notes U.S. actions over the past quarter-century that have worsened the international environment and helped to create a  revival of the Cold War.  Indeed, they absolve the last four American presidents of any responsibility for the current state of affairs, ignoring their actions that have been consistent with Cold War policymaking.  Is anyone going to address the importance of restoring a Russian-American dialogue revolving around arms control and disarmament as well as Third World conflict resolution?

McFaul’s article is particularly interesting in view of his role as the architect of President Barack Obama’s “reset” policy toward Russia, his standing as one of the leading scholars on post-communist Russia, and his appointment as the first non-career diplomat to be U.S. ambassador to the Kremlin.  His two-year tour was hardly a success as McFaul, only several days after his arrival in Moscow, chose to invite a number of organizers and prominent participants in the anti-Putin protest movement to the U.S. embassy.  McFaul immediately became an Internet celebrity in the tight-knit world of Russian opposition, which demonstrated a lack of awareness of Russian political sensitivities, particularly if the Obama administration was genuinely trying to “reset” relations.

McFaul’s article is totally one-sided.  He argues that “Trump has received nothing” from Moscow despite his concessions to the Russian president, citing “no new arms-control treaty, no help in deal with worsening relations with Iran.”  But it was Trump who backed away from arms control and disarmament with Russia, abrogating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and walking away from the Outer Space Treaty.  Conversely, it is Putin who is trying to get back to arms control negotiations, particularly to extend the New START Treaty, which expires in January 2021.  Moreover, it is Putin who supports the Iran nuclear accord, and nowhere does McFaul explain what Russian leaders could possibly do to reverse the damage that the Trump administration has done to relations with Iran as well as to political stability in the Persian Gulf.

Weiner is welcome to his opinion that the CIA’s covert action in Afghanistan was the “last great battle of the Cold War,” but the Russians have dealt with genuine facts for the past 25 years that point to U.S. responsibility for the current disarray in Russian-American relations.  In the 1990s, it was the United States and President Bill Clinton who decided to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, bringing former Soviet republics into NATO, a betrayal of commitments that President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker gave to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze not to “leap frog” over Germany in order to go into East Europe.

President George W. Bush went one terrible step further by bringing former Soviet republics into NATO; it took German Chancellor Angela Merkel to get him to stop flirting with membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Merkel convinced Bush that introducing Ukraine and Georgia to NATO would violate Putin’s red line regarding NATO membership.  Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland used her cell phone to discuss specific individuals who would be in the government or out.  When the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine told Nuland that the European Union would have problems with her intervention, she replied “Fuck the EU.”  The Kremlin intercepted the call and had a field day spreading the news.  The Russian actions toward Ukraine and Georgia that McFaul and Weiner cite were, in fact, a response to U.S. manipulation of the politics and policies of both nations, which followed Putin’s red-line warnings to the United States.

One of the most severe moves reminiscent of the Cold War was President George W. Bush’s abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.  It was noteworthy that John Bolton served in influential administration positions in 2002 and 2019, when the ABM Treaty and the INF Treaty, respectively, were abrogated.  Bush followed up the abrogation with another offensive maneuver, the deployment of a regional missile defense in Poland and Romania, claiming the defense was designed to counter a possible attack from Iran.  This made no sense at the time, and even less sense during the Obama administration when the Iran nuclear accord was completed.  Not only has Donald Trump demonstrated no interest in the importuning from Putin regarding the need to return to disarmament negotiations, he has created a Cold War-like Space Force and suggested that U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Germany might end up in Poland.  McFaul needs to reconcile the fact that additional U.S. forces will be sent to Poland with his notion that “Trump always finds a way to let Putin win.”

It is customary for the political rhetoric to get heated during a presidential campaign, which will find Donald Trump and Joe Biden vying for honors in the field of national security and militancy, but there should be some balance and context from the mainstream media.  The increasingly hard line of the Washington Post on the competition with China, Russia, and Iran suggests that the political contenders will be goaded—and not ameliorated—by the nation’s key newspapers.

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. and A Whistleblower at the CIA. His most recent book is “American Carnage: The Wars of Donald Trump” (Opus Publishing), and he is the author of the forthcoming “The Dangerous National Security State” (2020).” Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

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Gordon Chang: TikTok Has Been Caught Twice ‘Surveilling iPhone Users… This Is Not a Theoretical Concern’

Posted by M. C. on July 9, 2020

This is a surprise?

It just shows people are still too stupid to tape over their face facing device cameras.

Other government besides China’s spy on US citizens. As Edward Snowden has made clear.

https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2020/07/08/gordon-chang-ban-tiktok-app-surveilling-iphone-users-china/

by Robert Kraychik

TikTok should be banned from the U.S. given its role in surveilling Americans, said Gordon Chang, Daily Beast columnist and author of The Great U.S.-China Tech War, offering his comments on the Wednesday edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight.

TikTok is a social media mobile app for sharing short videos. It was developed and is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance.

Chang stated, “There are two reasons to ban TikTok and other Chinese apps from the United States. One of them is spying … and TikTok has been caught spying as recently as ten days ago by Apple, which pointed out that for the second time, TikTok was surveilling iPhone users. So, this is not a theoretical concern.”..

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How Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich – The American Prospect

Posted by M. C. on July 7, 2020

There is no Biden Doctrine. “He’s not a guy who knows history. He’s not a guy who is intellectually curious,” said Emma Sky, who advised the U.S. military in Iraq. “It’s all about personal relationships.” Those close bonds may cloud his judgment. He has expressed “love” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even after he had defied the Obama administration and stood by the late Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as he assaulted protesters. In effect, Biden’s foreign policy is a blank slate, onto which often-conflicted advisers from the traditional national-security establishment will project actual policies.

https://prospect.org/world/how-biden-foreign-policy-team-got-rich/

by

They had been public servants their whole careers. But when Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, two departing Obama officials were anxious for work. Trump’s win had caught them by surprise.

Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda had reached the most elite quarters of U.S. foreign policy. Aguirre had started out of school as a fellow in the White House and a decade later had become chief of staff to U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. Chadda, who joined the Pentagon out of college as a speechwriter, had become a key adviser to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in even less time. Now, Chadda had a long-shot idea.

They turned to an industry of power-brokering little known outside the capital: strategic consultancies. Retiring leaders often open firms bearing their names: Madeleine Albright has one, as do Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. Their strategic consultancies tend to blur corporate and governmental roles. This obscure corner of Washington is critical to understanding how a President Joe Biden would conduct foreign policy. He has been picking top advisers from this shadowy world.

More from Jonathan Guyer

At the outset of a new administration, high-ranking officials often join one of a dozen such firms, which are surprisingly bipartisan in their makeup, to help companies navigate the areas where their relationships give them power. The model was pioneered by Henry Kissinger, who through Kissinger Associates represented American Express and Coca-Cola, among other banks and transnationals. In Beijing, Washington, and developing countries, strategic consultants help corporations manage tricky regulations, potential crises, and new markets. Their behind-the-scenes work in world capitals can look a lot like lobbying.

The problem for Aguirre and Chadda was that neither young man was a marquee name. Chadda realized that the latest crop of senior officials hadn’t yet started their own named consultancies. “The thought for us was to build a living and breathing platform, with those who are enthusiastic about serving again,” he said. Staying up late one night, they drafted a plan and came up with the first target they would pitch.

Michèle Flournoy had served as undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012. Both Aguirre and Chadda had known her well in the Obama administration. Since leaving office, she’d spent several years in consulting and was hitting her stride. With Flournoy as senior adviser, Boston Consulting Group’s defense contracts grew from $1.6 million in 2013 to $32 million in 2016. Before she joined, according to public records, BCG had not signed any contracts with the Defense Department.

Flournoy, while consulting, joining corporate boards, and serving as a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, had also become CEO of the Center for a New American Security in 2014. The think tank had $48 million on hand, and defense contractors donated at least $3.8 million while she was CEO. By 2017, she was making $452,000 a year.

If a Democrat were to win office, she would likely become the first woman defense secretary. She had considered an offer to serve as deputy to Trump’s first secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, but ultimately withdrew from the vetting process and stuck to consulting. “That’s more of a labor of love,” she told me. “Building bridges between Silicon Valley and the U.S. government is really, really important.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Washington Complains: China is Doing What We Always Do! | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 20, 2020

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

America will be sorely disappointed if it believes it can convince—or compel with money and threats—its allies into following whatever policies it promulgates. Joining an American campaign against China looks suicidal to Seoul.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/washington-complains-china-is-doing-what-we-always-do/

Beijing is using threats and aid to pressure other governments to toe the line. Wherever did they get that from?

In a new official strategy of confrontation against the People’s Republic of China, the Trump administration has announced its intention “to compel Beijing to cease or reduce actions harmful to the United States’ vital, national interests and those of our allies and partners.”

Explains the strategy paper:

Given Beijing’s increasing use of economic leverage to extract political concessions from or exact retribution against other countries, the United States judges that Beijing will attempt to convert [One Belt One Road] projects into undue political influence and military access. Beijing uses a combination of threat and inducement to pressure governments, elites, corporations, think tanks, and others—often in an opaque manner—to toe the CCP line and censor free expression. Beijing has restricted trade and tourism with Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, and others, and has detained Canadian citizens, in an effort to interfere in these countries’ internal political and judicial processes.

All true. But which government pioneered the use of economic resources to reward and punish other nations? Hint: it was not China.

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

In contrast, governments that have crossed Washington have lost money. In 1956, the Eisenhower administration punished Egypt’s Nasser government by revoking its offer to finance the Aswan High Dam. In 1990, Secretary of State James Baker told Yemen’s UN ambassador, “that was the most expensive no vote you ever cast,” after he voted against the UN Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

Washington has also used trade barriers to reward and punish other states. The U.S. embargoed Cuba six decades ago, and has since applied secondary sanctions that have hit other nations as well. The use of financial sanctions has become Washington’s modus operandi.

Indeed, the Trump administration has dramatically escalated economic warfare, applying “maximum pressure” to Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, hitting Cuba, Russia, and Syria with multiple new penalties, threatening to sanction Europeans if they try to avoid Iranian restrictions, and targeting Germany’s Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline to Russia. The White House treats sanctions as the default response to governments that resist Washington’s dictates.

All of these measures were imposed “in an effort to interfere in [other] countries’ internal political and judicial processes.” In fact, despite Washington’s fervent objections to Russian election meddling in 2016, the U.S. has intervened in more than 80 democratic elections in other nations, including the 1986 presidential contest in Russia.

Yet although America remains number one, China’s economic clout is significant, including with important countries such as South Korea. Indeed, without any sense of irony, Matthew Ha of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently expressed concern that China was thwarting U.S. pressure on Seoul to follow Washington’s policies. For instance, Beijing “launched an economic warfare campaign that cost South Korean companies operating in China at least $15.6 billion in losses” because the Republic of Korea deployed the THAAD missile defense system.

Complained Ha: “To placate China, Seoul eventually agreed not to deploy further THAAD systems, not to join a U.S.-led regional missile defense architecture, and not to form a trilateral U.S.-Japan-ROK alliance.” Moreover, claimed Ha, “due in part to concerns over Chinese retaliation, Seoul has not completely divested its telecommunications infrastructure from the Chinese company Huawei.” Further, “China’s hand is also evident in Seoul’s aversion to the U.S.-and Japan-led ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) initiative,” instead favoring its own policy directed at Southeast Asia.

If all this is due to a $15.6 billion hit, then Washington should take lessons. The Trump administration has caused economic damage to many countries, yet its wrecking-ball sanctions have so far failed in every case: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela all have refused to give into U.S. demands.

The president has been reduced to begging Tehran to negotiate, promising a better deal if it surrenders before November 3 to help his reelection prospects. Iran and Venezuela ridiculed Washington’s threats to interdict Tehran’s tankers. The communists still rule Cuba. Despite two summits, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is strengthening his country’s nuclear deterrent. No one believes that Russia will give up Crimea.

No doubt, South Korea worries about China’s clout, since the Chinese trade more with them than America and Japan combined. But Beijing is also a good excuse to resist U.S. demands seen as unreasonable, especially given that the current president is Moon Jae-in, a man of the left who has no natural affinity for President Trump.

China sees THAAD as part of a U.S.-directed containment system. And South Korea is not the only ally less than enthused by the administration’s demand to displace Huawei. These issues are about more than money. China will always be South Korea’s neighbor and has a long memory. The U.S.’s national government effectively bankrupt and beset with manifold other challenges, is not likely to stick around Korea forever.

The point is, contra Washington’s delusions, South Korean officials do not believe that taking part in an anti-China campaign serves South Korea’s interests. Ha writes: “Beijing’s sway over this key U.S. ally is especially risky amid growing Chinese aggression and competition with the United States. Most recently, Beijing pushed Seoul to bless China’s new national security law designed to crack down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Seeking to avoid conflict, Seoul took a neutral position, thereby undermining the protesters and revealing an alarming inability to support the liberal democratic values that underpin the ROK-U.S. alliance.”

What evidence does Ha have that Seoul wanted to join the complaint? Most of America’s European allies and Asian friends took similarly cautious positions. Even Tokyo ostentatiously refused to join America’s statement on Hong Kong, though the former now says it wants to take the lead on the issue at the next G-7 meeting, to uncertain effect.

Moreover, the U.S. routinely sacrifices other people’s democratic aspirations and human rights for policy ends. Without shame, the administration is assisting the brutally totalitarian and aggressive Saudi dictatorship as it slaughters Yemeni civilians and denies its own people political and religious liberty. Washington stands by as the Egyptian and Bahraini dictatorships brutally crush democracy activists and protesters.

Yet Ha demands action to push—or is that force?—South Korea onto the battlefield against China. He writes: “If its China strategy is to succeed, the Trump administration must counter Beijing’s attempts to undermine U.S. alliances.” Which requires that Washington “assuage ROK concerns about Chinese coercion by committing to proportionately punish China for any attempted coercion and to provide South Korea with immediate economic support to cope with Beijing’s retaliation.”

So Washington, the world’s chief proponent of economic warfare, is going to sanction another country because it organizes a boycott, cuts investment, or restricts trade to another country? And Washington, with a skyrocketing national debt, is going to create a new dole for wealthy countries like South Korea? Imagine the long line of claimants that will develop demanding compensation for following America! But what if Washington’s friends still balk at following U.S. dictates? Will America then sanction them, making them pay for their perfidy?

This bizarre strategy is doomed to fail. Despite Washington’s presumption that it speaks for the world, its allies often disagree. Seoul currently disputes American policy toward North Korea. Unsurprisingly, South Korean policymakers want to preserve peaceful, stable relations with both the U.S. and China.

“If we antagonize China,” observed Moon Chung-in, an adviser to South Korea’s president, “China can pose a military threat to us. Plus, China can support North Korea. Then, we will really have a new Cold War on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.” Of course, some Americans don’t care about the possibility of war “over there,” as Senator Lindsey Graham famously put it. South Koreans understandably see it very differently.

When I ask South Korean diplomats whether they are prepared to allow the U.S. military to use their bases against China in a war over Taiwan, they blanch. There ain’t no way their country is going to be turned into a battleground and made an enemy of the Chinese at Washington’s command.

Washington has enough problems dealing with China without creating a new battleground with little practical benefit to America. The U.S. already is running a trade war, seeking to force compensation for the COVID-19 outbreak, and threatening Chinese concerns with sanctions tied to Iran and North Korea.

America will be sorely disappointed if it believes it can convince—or compel with money and threats—its allies into following whatever policies it promulgates. Joining an American campaign against China looks suicidal to Seoul. Demanding that South Korea choose between Washington and Beijing could wreck the alliance. Right now, hubris poses a bigger threat than China to U.S. foreign policy.

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The NIH had 13 years to prepare for coronavirus but still didn’t

Posted by M. C. on June 2, 2020

Twelve and a half years ago, in October 2007, researchers at the University of Hong Kong published an article entitled “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection.” 
The same article points out that, in the time since the Hong Kong study emerged, the NIH spent millions on drunk monkeys, fat lesbians, television’s effects in Vietnam, soap operas for people with HIV, and querying whether alcohol drives stupid gambling decisions.
If there’s one thing the coronavirus experience has taught us, it’s that bureaucracies don’t function as well as they’re supposed to.  In New York, the bureaucracy opted to spend $500 million on illegal aliens instead of on ventilators.  Likewise, during the Obama administration, after the 2009 H1N1 epidemic, the Obama administration, despite warnings, never bothered to replenish stockpiles of N95.

It turns out now that the NIH was also doing the bureaucratic equivalent of twiddling its thumbs when it should have been acting to prepare America for the next pandemic.  It’s sheer luck — mixed in with Trump’s foresight about China and good management skills — that Johns Hopkins, in late 2019, ranked America as the best prepared country in the world for handling a pandemic.

Twelve and a half years ago, in October 2007, researchers at the University of Hong Kong published an article entitled “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection.”  The introduction, which looked back at SARS, described how China was a coronavirus Petri dish and warned that there could be a repeat of a SARS-style pandemic based upon Chinese food and lifestyle practices (emphasis added):

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is a novel virus that caused the first major pandemic of the new millennium (89, 180, 259). The rapid economic growth in southern China has led to an increasing demand for animal proteins including those from exotic game food animals such as civets. Large numbers and varieties of these wild game mammals in overcrowded cages and the lack of biosecurity measures in wet markets allowed the jumping of this novel virus from animals to human (353, 376). Its capacity for human-to-human transmission, the lack of awareness in hospital infection control, and international air travel facilitated the rapid global dissemination of this agent. Over 8,000 people were affected, with a crude fatality rate of 10%. The acute and dramatic impact on health care systems, economies, and societies of affected countries within just a few months of early 2003 was unparalleled since the last plague. The small reemergence of SARS in late 2003 after the resumption of the wildlife market in southern China and the recent discovery of a very similar virus in horseshoe bats, bat SARS-CoV, suggested that SARS can return if conditions are fit for the introduction, mutation, amplification, and transmission of this dangerous virus (45, 190, 215, 347). Here, we review the biology of the virus in relation to the epidemiology, clinical presentation, pathogenesis, laboratory diagnosis, animal models or hosts, and options for treatment, immunization, and infection control.

The National Institutes of Health is the government agency primarily responsible for biomedical and public health research.  After SARS and, again, after H1N1, the NIH, along with the CDC, should have been paying close attention to illnesses emerging in China and other third-world countries.

It’s important to note in this regard that China’s risky practices were not so esoteric that the NIH and CDC couldn’t reasonably have been expected to know about them.  In November 2017, two years before the coronavirus reared up in China, Smithsonian Magazine was asking, “Is China Ground Zero for a Future Pandemic?”  Although the article was concerned with diseases originating with birds, it still stated pertinent facts relevant to all animal-to-human viruses:

But China is uniquely positioned to create a novel flu virus that kills people. On Chinese farms, people, poultry and other livestock often live in close proximity. Pigs can be infected by both bird flu and human flu viruses, becoming potent “mixing vessels” that allow genetic material from each to combine and possibly form new and deadly strains. The public’s taste for freshly killed meat, and the conditions at live markets, create ample opportunity for humans to come in contact with these new mutations.

If the NIH wasn’t paying attention to China, what was it doing?  It was doing fun and trendy stuff, the bureaucratic equivalent of playing video games instead of working.  On Thursday, John Solomon published a scathing article about the NIH’s costly failures:

On a steamy summer day inside the lecture auditorium of the storied National Institutes of Health headquarters, Dr. Michael Bracken delivered a stark message to an audience that dedicated its life, and owed its living, to medical research.

As much as 87.5% of biomedical research is wasted or inefficient, the respected Yale University epidemiologist declared in a sobering assessment for a federal research agency that spends about $40 billion a year on medical studies.

He backed his staggering statistic with these additional stats: 50 out of every 100 medical studies fail to produce published findings, and half of those that do publish have serious design flaws. And those that aren’t flawed and manage to publish are often needlessly redundant.

The same article points out that, in the time since the Hong Kong study emerged, the NIH spent millions on drunk monkeys, fat lesbians, television’s effects in Vietnam, soap operas for people with HIV, and querying whether alcohol drives stupid gambling decisions.

The best thing that could come out of the coronavirus experience would be for the media to be permanently damaged and discounted.  The next best thing would be for Trump to have the wind at his back when he ultimately shrinks and revamps America’s overweight, lazy, expensive, and ineffective bureaucracy.

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