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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign policy’

The insane neoconservatives who control US foreign policy are leading us to nuclear war

Posted by M. C. on June 24, 2022

The insane neoconservatives who control US foreign policy are leading us to nuclear war

Russia will never trust the West again – Kremlin. 

Clarification: In this article I write that under the neoconservative Wolfowitz Doctrine of US hegemony, “the Kremlin has two choices. Russia can surrender its sovereignty or Russia can destroy the West. Russia has no other alternative. The entire world needs to understand this.” I am not advocating that Russia destroy the West. I am simply pointing out that for three decades the West has confronted Russia with this limited choice. Putin himself has complained about it over and over. I find it astonishing that the Western “foreign policy community,” whatever that is, has permitted a policy that corners a powerful nuclear power such as Russia in this way. And it continues. Now we have Lithuania blocking Russia’s access to part of Russia. This is insanity. This is confirming Russian conclusions that only force can constrain the West.

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NATO Engaged in Direct Aggression Against Russia

A wider war is Washington’s goal

Paul Craig Roberts

As I have many times written, the Kremlin’s Ukraine operation cannot be limited. Washington will not permit it to be limited. Washington has already widened the conflict, and is now widening the conflict further. The insane Jewish neoconservatives who have control over US foreign policy have prevailed on tiny, helpless Lithuania to violate the agreement with Russia for the provision of Kaliningrad and has received a Russian ultimatum. The moronic State Department spokesman Ned Price dismissed the ultimatum as “bluster.” The White House idiot says Washington backs Lithuania. In other words, Washington is egging on a wider war.

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America’s Exceptional Amnesia (About Those War Criminals…)

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2022

The question now for U.S. government officials such as Secretary of State Blinken, who has shunned negotiation for months, is this: Why allow the destruction of any more human lives and property in Ukraine before agreeing to sit down and talk? Blinken may believe that dead Ukrainians are a small price to pay for U.S. foreign policy objectives, but the victims would surely disagree,

by Laurie Calhoun

The top-ranking U.S. diplomat, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, recently denounced Russian president Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, which has resulted in a marked uptick in the usage of that term throughout the media. Putin decided to invade Ukraine in February 2022 and has killed people in the process. That’s what happens when leaders decide to address conflict through the application of military force: people die. The U.S. government has needless to say killed many people in its military interventions abroad, most recently in the Middle East and Africa. Yet Americans are often hesitant to apply the label war criminal even to figures such as George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, whose Global War on Terror has sowed massive destruction, death, and misery, adversely affecting millions of persons for more than twenty years.

Nor do people generally regard affable Barack Obama as a war criminal, despite the considerable harm to civilians unleashed by his ill-advised war on Libya. “Drone warrior” Obama also undertook a concerted campaign to kill rather than capture terrorist suspects in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen, with which the United States was not at war, and he armed radical Islamist rebel forces in Syria, which exacerbated the conflict already underway, resulting in the deaths of even more civilians. Obama’s material and logistical support for the Saudi war against the Houthis in Yemen gave rise to a full-fledged humanitarian crisis, with disease and starvation ravaging the population.

Moving a bit farther back in time, U.S. citizens and their sympathizers abroad typically do not affix the label war criminal to Bill Clinton either, despite the fact that his 1999 bombing of Kosovo appears to have been motivated in part to distract attention from his domestic scandal at the time. The moment Clinton began dropping bombs on Kosovo, the press, in a show of patriotic solidarity, abruptly switched its attention from the notorious “blue dress” to the war in progress. Throughout his presidency, Clinton not only bombed but also imposed severe sanctions on Iraq, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of civilians died of preventable diseases.

Despite knowing about at least some of the atrocities committed in their name by the U.S. government (torture, summary execution, maiming, the provision of weapons to murderers, sanctions preventing access to medication and food, etc.), many Americans have no difficulty identifying Vladimir Putin as a war criminal while simultaneously withholding that label from their own leaders. Viewed from a broader historical perspective, none of this may seem new. During wartime, much of the populace dutifully parrots pundits and politicians in denouncing the foreign leaders with whom they disagree as criminals, while supporting the military initiatives of their own leaders, no matter what they do. Is the use of the term of derogation war criminal, then, no more than a reflection of the tribe to which one subscribes?

All wars result in avoidable harms to innocent, nonthreatening people: death and maiming, the destruction of property, impoverishment, psychological trauma, and diminished quality of life for those lucky enough to survive. Given these harsh realities, some critics maintain that all war is immoral. But morality and legality are not one and the same, for crimes violate written laws. In the practical world of international politics, what counts as a criminal war has been delineated since 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations, which Putin defied in undertaking military action against Ukraine.

According to the U.N. Charter, to which Russia is a party, any national leader who wishes to initiate a war against another nation must first air his concerns at the United Nations in the form of a war resolution. The only exception admitted by the U.N. Charter is when an armed attack has occurred on the leader’s territory, in which case the people may defend themselves, on analogy to an individual who may defend himself against violent attack by another individual in a legitimate act of self defense. Barring that “self-defense” exception, the instigation of a war by a nation must garner the support of the U.N. Security Council, the permanent members of which have veto power over any substantive resolution. Putin knew, of course, that the United States would veto any Russian resolution for war against Ukraine and so did not bother to go to the United Nations at all.

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Trading with the Enemy: An American Tradition

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2022

Large numbers of deserting sailors, furthermore, left to join the merchant marine for large-scale smuggling and trade with the enemy. New York City was a lively center for deserting sailors, and New York merchants systematically hid the sailors from the British troops. The British compelled their return in 1757 by threatening to conduct a deliberately brutal and thorough house-to-house search, and to treat New York as a conquered city. British troops were quartered upon New York against the vehement opposition of the citizens they were supposedly “protecting.” In Philadelphia, pacifist mobs repeatedly attacked recruiting officers and even lynched one in February 1756.

Murray N. Rothbard

During the French and Indian War (1754–1763), Americans continued the great tradition of trading with the enemy, and even more readily than before. As in King George’s War, Newport took the lead; other vital centers were New York and Philadelphia. The individualistic Rhode Islanders angrily turned Governor Stephen Hopkins out of office for embroiling Rhode Island in a “foreign” war between England and France.

Rhode Island blithely disregarded the embargo against trade with the enemy, and redoubled its commerce with France. Rhode Island’s ships also functioned as one of the major sources of supply for French Canada during the war. In the fall of 1757, William Pitt was told that the Rhode Islanders “are a lawless set of smugglers, who continually supply the enemy with what provisions they want…”

The Crown ordered royal governors to embargo exports of food and to break up the extensive traffic with the West Indies, but shippers again resorted to flags of truce and trade through neutral ports in the West Indies. Monte Cristi, in Spanish Hispaniola, proved to be a particularly popular intermediary port.

The flags-of-truce device particularly irritated the British, and the lucrative sale of this privilege—with the prisoners’ names left blank—was indulged in by Governors William Denny of Pennsylvania and Francis Bernard of New Jersey. French prisoners, for token exchanges under the flags, were rare, and therefore at a premium, and merchants in Philadelphia and New York paid high prices for these prisoners to Newport privateers. The peak of this trade came in 1759, for in the following year, with the end of the war with New France, the Royal Navy was able to turn its attention to this trade and virtually suppress it.

However, in the words of Professor Bridenbaugh, “Privateering and trade with the enemy might have their ups and downs … but then as now, government contracts seemed to entail little risk and to pay off handsomely.”1 Particularly feeding at the trough of government war contracts were specially privileged merchants of New York and Pennsylvania. Two firms of London merchants were especially influential in handing out British war contracts to their favorite American correspondents.

Thus, the highly influential London firm of John Thomlinson and John Hanbury (who was deeply involved in the Ohio Company) received a huge war contract; the firm designated Charles Apthorp and Company its Boston representative, and Colonel William Bayard its representative in New York.

In addition, the powerful London merchant Moses Franks arranged for his relatives and friends—David Franks of Philadelphia, and Jacob Franks, John Watts, and the powerful Oliver DeLancey of New York—to be made government agents, New York, furthermore, was made the concentration point for the British forces and the general storehouse of arms and ammunition, thus permitting “many merchants to amass fortunes as subcontractors if they enjoyed the proper family connections.” By 1761, however, all the great ports in America were suffering badly from the severe dislocation of trade wrought by the war.

Smuggling and trading with the enemy were not the only forms of American resistance to British dictation during the French and Indian War. During the French wars of the 1740s, Boston had been the center of violent resistance to conscription for the war effort, an effort that decimated the Massachusetts male population. During the French and Indian War, Massachusetts continued as the most active center of resistance to conscription and of widespread desertion, often en masse, from the militia.

Thomas Pownall took over as governor of Massachusetts in early 1757, and cracked down bitterly on Massachusetts’ liberties: he sent troops outside Massachusetts without Assembly permission, threatened to punish justices of the peace who did not enforce the laws against desertion (hitherto interpreted with “salutary neglect”), and threatened Boston with military occupation if the Assembly did not agree to the arrival and quartering of British troops. In November, English recruiting officers appeared in Boston, and the Assembly and the Boston magistrates forbade any recruiting or any quartering of troops in the town. Pownall vetoed these actions as violations of the royal prerogative, especially in “emergencies.”

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Sanctions Set America on the Path to War, Claiming Lives with No Benefit

Posted by M. C. on February 10, 2022

Rather than leading to a peaceful resolution of tensions, sanctions have the opposite effect. Countries are often hesitant to make concessions in exchange for sanctions relief as the US has proved to be an unreliable negotiating partner, backing out of deals with North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya. 

by Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter

Sanctions have quickly become the foreign policy establishment’s favorite tool. Blacklisting governments opposed to the empire’s agenda allows for politicians to look tough on ‘evil regimes’ while stopping short of the type of warfare that is largely opposed by the American people. 

US leaders present sanctions as a low-cost option to punish bad actors and give oppressed people a chance to rise up. However, the results are almost always the opposite. 

The Cuban embargo presents the best empirical evidence of the failure of sanctions. Though the blockade just celebrated its 60th anniversary, the Castro government remains in power, serving only to increase the country’s poverty, not its freedom. While Joe Biden campaigned on rolling back the Donald Trump-era restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba, he has so far failed to live up to that promise and is likely to pass the blockade onto his successor. 

Further, Cuba presents a perfect example of the hypocritical demands Washington attaches to its sanctions. As the US says Cuba must free its people to access the world economy, it continues to run a lawless torture prison on the island, largely filled with innocent Muslims. 

Since the Kennedy presidency, sanctions have been wielded against a long list of countries. The US is currently waging ‘maximum pressure’ campaigns against Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Syria, a blockade against Yemen and Cuba, a trade war with China, and additional penalties on various people in Russia, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa for assorted infractions of the US-enforced “rules-based international order.” Those policies have seldom had the intended result.

Not to be deterred by the decades of failures, the US government is seeking to ramp up its economic wars even further. 

For weeks, Senate leadership has been negotiating a sweeping bill that would target Russia’s economy. In describing the “Mother of all Sanctions” proposal to the Washington Post this week, Senate Democrat Bob Menendez salivated over the prospect of “devastating” Russia’s economy, saying “every Russian would feel it at the end of the day.”

A troubling aspect of this new bill is its attempt to tie future Russia sanctions to cyberattacks, with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy saying “If there were pre-invasion sanctions, they would be connected to Russian cyberattacks inside Ukraine.”

Of course, the US has wrongly attributed several ‘cyberattacks’ to Russia in recent years. 

Though economic sanctions lack the graphic violence of a bombing campaign, the US government is well aware of their cruel effects on impoverished people the world over. More than 100,000 children were killed as a result of penalties on Iraq in the 1990s, and ongoing sanctions continue to produce food and medicine shortages in Iran and Venezuela – where they’re estimated to have claimed tens of thousands of lives. 

In Yemen, meanwhile, the world’s most dire humanitarian crisis rages on thanks in no small part to a US-backed blockade of the country’s commercial ports. At least 377,000 people have died throughout the Saudi-US war there, many from deprivation.

However, freezing Afghanistan out of the world economy may be the most brutal example of US economic warfare. The UN is seeking billions in aid for Afghans and estimating that millions could starve to death because of destitution. A number of international officials have posited that the new Afghan government’s – yes, the Taliban – inability to access the international market and state bank accounts is a major cause of the suffering.

While there seems to be an obvious ethical issue with starving children to death, Murphy sees possible aid going to the Taliban as a bigger problem, arguing “There is, frankly, moral hazard in putting billions into Afghanistan right now.” Oddly, Murphy sees Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran as a “spectacular failure.”

Republican Senator Todd Young has echoed his Democratic colleague’s top concern regarding relief to Afghanistan: “the worst-case scenario involved would be if humanitarian aid were diverted from legitimate recipients towards the Taliban and [their] partners and terror.”

A typical trope used to justify sanctions or similar measures, including in the case of Afghanistan, is that the US must never do business with ‘illegitimate regimes.’ Republican Senator Rand Paul echoed that sentiment on The Hill’s ‘Rising’ show earlier this week, telling the hosts the Taliban is “not a legitimate elected government, no way in the world would I give them that money.”

Maybe the most cynical aspect of US sanctions is how they are presented to Americans at home – as targeted punishments for bad actions, often against those in senior government positions. US officials have framed international sanctions on North Korea, for example, as a means to deprive the country’s leaders of luxury goods – Hennessy cognac in the case of deceased ruler Kim Jong-il – in order to drive them to the negotiating table and ultimately free their people. Though penalties have remained in place for years, they’ve done little to shake Pyongyang’s totalitarian rule.

Think tank leaders – like FDD’s Mark Dubowitz – present sanctions as a “peaceful” alternative to hot war. In a recent Wall Street Journal analysis, he was quoted as saying: “After five or six years of significant sanctions relief, the Iranian economy would have recovered. They would have immunized themselves against our ability to use peaceful sanctions pressure in the future. The question was always not whether we were going to confront Iran. The question was whether we were going to confront Iran in a weaker or stronger position.”

Of course, this leads to another major problem with US sanctions: the demands made by Washington are often unrealistic. Dubowitz asserts that it is inevitable that the US will confront Tehran, but even Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett does not believe that Iran is going to move towards a nuclear weapon, with or without sanctions.

Rather than leading to a peaceful resolution of tensions, sanctions have the opposite effect. Countries are often hesitant to make concessions in exchange for sanctions relief as the US has proved to be an unreliable negotiating partner, backing out of deals with North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya. 

Unable to negotiate a way forward, frozen conflict has been created between the United States and a litany of ‘adversaries.’ After years of unproductive penalties, the hawks will claim the ‘peaceful’ option of sanctions has failed and the targeted regime is simply too unreasonable to be dealt with non-violently – as is increasingly the case with Iran. The long duration of sanctions allows DC’s foreign policy Blob to firmly establish narratives such as ‘Uyghur genocide,’ ‘Iran’s nuclear weapons program,’ and ‘Saddam’s WMDs’ into the American consciousness.

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Instead of Sharing Burdens, It’s Time for America To Start Shedding Burdens

Posted by M. C. on February 2, 2022

It is time to have these debates and begin reducing US ambitions, instead focusing on the interests of the American people while adapting policies to available resources.

by Doug Bandow

It is tough today to be a member of the Washington foreign policy establishment, called “the Blob” by onetime deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. Members of the Blob make, implement, and assess foreign policy. Their general shared objective is to run the world. Alas, nothing they do seems to be working very well.

Although they fight fiercely over influence, positions, and rewards, they even more resolutely work together to resist accountability. The Blob took America over a humanitarian cliff in the Iraq war, yet who among those responsible for years of brutal sectarian conflict, hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, millions of people displaced, and the destruction of historic religious minorities in Iraq alone paid a professional price for their grotesque policy malpractice?

To the contrary, they uniformly advanced professionally and continue to despoil the foreign policy debate, authoritatively pushing more interventions, commitments, and wars. The cost never seems to matter because others always pay.

Instead, Washington should be retrenching. America is under domestic siege, with widening political divides and uncontrolled government spending. Today policymakers are juggling at least four possible wars: Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. An outside observer could be forgiven for believing that Blob members have never heard of the concept of setting priorities. Everything is vital and we are a global power! The entire world must be brought under Washington’s, meaning the Blob’s, control. Onward, irrespective of cost and risk!

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America’s Foreign Policy Dilemma. A Dangerous Situation. The Risk of World War III is Real – Global ResearchGlobal Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Posted by M. C. on December 21, 2021

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

American foreign policy, wrapped up in hubris inside American exceptionalism, is incapable of recognizing a dangerous situation. 

And a dangerous situation is what we have.

The Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov speaking for the Kremlin has made it clear that Russia will tolerate no further movement of NATO toward Russia’s borders.

Russia has ruled out any possibility of the former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia becoming NATO members. If this red line is ignored, the consequences, Ryabkov said, “will be dire.” Russia will respond militarily, and the West, he said, will find it has undermined its own security, not Russia’s.

In other words, as the Kremlin sees it, the incorporation of Ukraine and/or Georgia into NATO is an unacceptable threat to Russian national security. Period. It is not negotiable.

In a rational world such an unequivocal statement by a preeminent military power with hypersonic nuclear missiles would be taken seriously.

But the Western World is no longer rational. It is a world drunk on arrogance. The NATO secretary replied to what is, in effect, an ultimatum from a nuclear power by rejecting out of hand that power’s security concern:

“Whether kii joins NATO is up to the bloc’s member states and its leadership, and Moscow doesn’t have input into the decision.” The idiot NATO secretary went on to boast, foolishly, that NATO was so little impressed with Russian objections that NATO was “already training Ukrainian troops and consulting with them, and are conducting joint exercises and providing military supplies and technology.”

So NATO, so drunk on exaggerated American military power, spit in the Kremlin’s eye

The White House spokesperson replying for President Biden and the National Security Council said Washington “will not compromise” on NATO expansion, adding that Washington won’t accept the idea of halting NATO expansion, despite what Russia demands.

In other words–be certain to understand this and its consequences–Washington’s position is that Russia has NO legitimate national security interests except as defined by Washington.

Here we have a highly dangerous situation. One power says you are treading on me and we won’t tolerate it; the other power says you have no say in the matter.

During the 20th century Cold War we Cold Warriors heard every word, every intonation of what the Soviets said. To risk nuclear war because some fool had wax in his ears or was feeling macho that day was out of the question. In those days there were departments of Russian studies in US universities that were not dependent on funding from the military-security complex. There was public debate. There was always an independent expert, such as Stephen Cohen, to remind everyone of how the Russians saw the situation.Russia Has Western Enemies, Not Partners

Today independent scholarship has disappeared. Russian studies programs in universities are Russophobic in keeping with their funding. As there are no objective scholars, there are no knowledgeable people in the US intelligence community. We can see this in the recent statement of Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan, who reports that US intelligence agencies believe that Putin is “giving serious consideration” to an invasion of Ukraine.

Washington has been saying this since 2014 when Washington overthrew the Russian friendly Ukrainian government hoping to seize in the process the Russian naval base in Crimea. It is a fixed message. There is no thought. Just repetition of propaganda. So we have a National Security Council incapable of nothing but the repetition of propagandistic slogans.

In effect Washington is already at war with Russia.

Meanwhile last Thursday evening, December 16, Washington and its neo-nazi Ukraine puppet decided to confirm Russian suspicions that Washington and Ukraine represent revanchist Nazism. Only two countries voted against the UN resolution condemning Nazism. Yes, it was the United States and Ukraine. The utter total stupidity of the US vote is extraordinary. That Washington supports Nazism is the last thing the Kremlin needed to hear.

My generation was the last generation in the West to be educated instead of indoctrinated, and even we were fed lies about World War I and World War II.

Subsequent generations are largely unaware that in German-occupied Western Ukraine large armies were organized and incorporated into the German army’s march into Russia. It was remnants of these “Banderas” (Stepan Bandera) that Washington used to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install an American puppet state on former Russian territory while the Kremlin, ignoring its backyard, was enjoying the Sochi Olympics.

The mistakes that people make have more to do with world history than any good decisions.

I am watching Washington, which I know so well from a quarter century of high level participation, make the mistake of a lifetime. The Washington regime is so full of arrogance that it is unable to comprehend that Russia has run out of patience.

The Russians see a real problem. All Washington sees is a propaganda opportunity. This is a situation that leads directly to Washington miscalculating. The miscalculation will be fatal.

Update to America’s Foreign Policy Dilemma 

In America Russophobia is running amuck.

The Propaganda Ministry repeats daily that Russia is on the verge of invading Ukraine.

The American people, long trained to regard Russia as the enemy, have heard the allegation so many times it has become a fact.

The arrogant Biden regime has rebuffed Russia’s security concern, and the Republicans are no better. Blind belligerence towards Russia is building as Republican senators add their voices to the propaganda that Putin intends to invade Ukraine and “rob the Ukrainian people of their sovereignty.”( Washington already did that when it overthrew the elected Ukrainian government in 2014 and established a puppet state in Kiev.)

The Republicans want to rush $450 million more in weapons to “the brave Ukrainian armed forces.” And for good measure, the Republicans want to have Russia designated a terrorist state.

The Ukraine crisis is in part an armaments marketing program as the Republicans backing the bill are in tight with the military/security complex. But everyone is overlooking the effect on the Kremlin whose trust in Washington has reached zero on the scale.

Perhaps in preparation for what the Kremlin sees will be a showdown over Washington’s indifference to Russia’s security concern, the Kremlin has ordered two strategic nuclear missile forces to combat duty. Additionally, Russia has closed the northern sea route and deployed radio engineering regiments and electronic domes to jam US over-the-horizon radar. If US naval provocations continue in the Black Sea, Russia might also close the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, the neo-nazi Ukrainian battalions armed by Washington are escalating the situation with the Donbass Russians.

Washington is setting itself up for an embarrassing backdown or a major confrontation for which Washington holds few cards.

See also the following articles

The Biden-Putin Talk

Cuban Missile Crisis Redux  The original source of this article is Paul Craig Roberts

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‘Biden’s Numbers Tank…as US Rattles Sabers At Russia’ – Ron Paul’s 22 Nov Column

Posted by M. C. on November 23, 2021

The US media is, as usual, complicit in propagandizing the US population. Thus, Russia is said to be “massing troops near Ukraine” without the explanation that “near Ukraine” is actually within Russia. So Russia is threatening war by holding military exercises within its own borders, but the US is entirely peaceful when it sends warships thousands of miles away up to the Russian border.

Nov 22 – President Biden’s approval numbers are dropping like lead. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, only 36 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s performance as president. From Covid, to the economy, to foreign policy, Biden’s numbers are in the tank. Three out of four Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today.

Inflation is sky high, gasoline prices are higher than they’ve been since Obama was president, and the store shelves are empty just in time for Christmas. And the president’s illegal and immoral vaccine mandate may result in millions leaving their jobs rather than accept the experimental covid shots. That should do wonders for the “supply chain” problems in the US.

Biden’s ability to drag the economy back from the brink is very limited and the Democrat brand is looking more and more like poison as the US moves into mid-term election season.

That can be dangerous.

When presidents make war they find that political opposition dries up and the media rolls over in gratitude. Is Biden eyeing foreign action to bolster his sagging support back home?

Traditionally, progressives have been wary of aggressive US foreign policy, but four years of phony “Russiagate” lies has left a good deal of the political Left enamored with the CIA, FBI, and warmongering “woke” military officers like Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley. Many of them will likely cheer a military conflict.

When it comes to foreign policy, the Biden White House continues some of the worst policies of the previous Administration. The US continues to sail warships through the South China Sea and when such saber rattling provokes Chinese concern the Chinese are condemned as the aggressors.

Similarly, the US just sent warships into Russia’s backyard in the Black Sea to perform military maneuvers. Imagine Russian wargames off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico! And then the US Administration attacked Russia for “massing troops”… inside Russia!

The US media is, as usual, complicit in propagandizing the US population. Thus, Russia is said to be “massing troops near Ukraine” without the explanation that “near Ukraine” is actually within Russia. So Russia is threatening war by holding military exercises within its own borders, but the US is entirely peaceful when it sends warships thousands of miles away up to the Russian border.

On Friday the Russian military intercepted US warplanes reportedly just 12.5 miles from the Russian border. The US and NATO continue to deliver lethal weapons to the government in Kiev, which only embolden Ukrainian President Zelensky to ratchet up the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The US foreign policy and military establishment exist in an echo chamber. They believe their rhetoric that the rest of the world is eagerly awaiting its orders from Washington and that the US has the moral right – and the ability – to tell the rest of the world what to do. This sets the stage for a potentially catastrophic miscalculation in the US Administration. Already Russian President Putin complained last week that the US takes its “red lines” too lightly, no doubt referring to Ukraine.

Biden may be calculating that he needs a nice little war to boost back his numbers and rally Americans to his support. Like most everything else in this first year of the Biden Administration, it would be a terrible mistake. —
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Welfare Payments and Foreign Policy Fears Are the Only Things Holding America Together | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2021

A lopsided majority of 84 percent are sure a nuclear-armed Iran would be a grave threat to the US. It remains unclear why a nuclear-armed Iran should be any more of a threat to the US than a nuclear-armed Pakistan, yet such explanations are surely unnecessary from the point of view of the American foreign policy establishment. It’s a safe bet that few Americans are even aware that Pakistan is a nuclear state. Americans fear Iran because policymakers and media pundits have told them to be afraid.1

Ryan McMaken

In case you haven’t noticed, America is “deeply divided.” At least, that’s what a seemingly nonstop stream of headlines from major media sources would have us believe. “Trump Leaves America at Its Most Divided since the Civil War,” reads one CNN headline from earlier this year. Meanwhile, in his speeches from the first few months of his presidency, President Biden frequently claimed to be trying to restore national “unity.” More recently, the debate over vaccine mandates has prompted countless op-eds on how there are now “two Americas” or that differences in vaccination rates from state to state reflect a “deeply divided” America.

How deep are these divisions, really?

Well, there is no doubt that the divisions are nontrivial. In recent years, talk of secession has become more frequent and more urgent. For several years now, a quarter of Americans polled have claimed to support the idea of secession. In 2018, a Zogby poll concluded 39 percent of those polled agree that residents of a state should “have the final say” as to whether or not that state remains part of the United States. Nor are predictions of secession among Americans something reserved only for the distant future. In a 2020 poll, Zogby pollsters found that “[a] little over one-half of likely voters believe all 50 states will remain united under the Constitution five to ten years from now. In contrast, roughly one-quarter believe at least one state will secede from the union during the 2020s.”

These trends suggest a deterioration of national unity, to be sure. But has the movement toward disunity reached a critical point at which de facto political disunity results? If we’re not there yet, at what point will it be reached?

The answer is we still have a long way to go until we reach the point when US citizens will demand, en masse, political separation from Washington, DC.

This is because there are two important factors that continue to work in favor of a unified political system controlled by Washington. The first is the welfare state, and the second is American paranoia over foreign “enemies.”

Welfare Spending

With the advent of the New Deal in the 1930s, the federal government built a system of largesse that tied most Americans, at some point in their lives, to federal benefits through the Social Security system. Until that time, state and local governments in the United States had long employed a variety of poverty-relief programs. But after the 1930s, thanks to Social Security, Americans would look to the federal government for direct cash payments. Over time, of course, this would be greatly expanded with the invention of Medicare, and then Medicaid, and then again with the Bush administration’s immense expansion of Medicare with the prescription drug benefit.

Today, 69.8 million (one in five) Americans receive some kind of benefit through the Social Security administration. Sixty-one million Americans (18 percent) are on Medicare. An additional 72 million Americans are on Medicaid. (Preliminary data suggests total Medicaid enrollment surged to above 80 million during 2020.)

Indeed, the American welfare state is the largest in the Western world, by far. Most European welfare states, for example, “serve” populations that are small fractions of the size of the US’s population. While the US has 330 million people, Norway has 5 million. Switzerland has 8 million. Even the larger European welfare states—i.e., Italy with 60 million and Germany with 84 million—are mere fractions of the size of the US. 

The political effect of all this is to keep Americans tied to federal spending, thus contributing to political unity. For example, were a US state to contemplate secession from the US, it’s easy to imagine what would happen. The federal government would vow to cut off all Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security recipients from payments. Elderly voters would panic, demanding that no secession could be possible until they received assurances that they would somehow continue to receive “their” monthly welfare payments.

Essentially, the American welfare state functions as an enormous carrot to ensure that a sizable portion of the American electorate think twice before risking its access to the federal welfare trough.

We saw this phenomenon at work in Britain the run-up to the Scottish independence vote in 2014. It is likely not a coincidence that the over-sixty-five demographic constituted one of the largest anti-independence blocs. According to postelection polls, among those Scottish voters polled, a whopping 73 percent of voters over sixty-five reported voting no. For those under fifty-five, the no vote was closer to 50 percent. Fears over maintaining pension benefits from the central government in London likely were a significant factor.

Military Paranoia

A second major factor pushing the US toward continued political unity is the American tendency toward paranoia over perceived foreign threats. As the Old Right journalist Garet Garrett pointed out, Americans are routinely caught up in “a complex of vaunting and fear.” This is a complex in which Americans talk tough about being the most powerful nation in the world, yet they are also fundamentally fearful, sure that countless foreign powers are poised to attack the United States at any time.

We continue to see this today. For example, a July 2021 poll of Americans concluded “two-thirds of Americans believe Iran poses a threat to the U.S.” A lopsided majority of 84 percent are sure a nuclear-armed Iran would be a grave threat to the US. It remains unclear why a nuclear-armed Iran should be any more of a threat to the US than a nuclear-armed Pakistan, yet such explanations are surely unnecessary from the point of view of the American foreign policy establishment. It’s a safe bet that few Americans are even aware that Pakistan is a nuclear state. Americans fear Iran because policymakers and media pundits have told them to be afraid.1

Similarly, many Americans remain fearful over China. Gallup polls from earlier this year show Americans increasingly fear China, with 63 percent of Americans polled labeling China a “critical threat.”

Facts suggest China isn’t nearly as powerful geopolitically as today’s new Cold Warriors would have us believe,2 but the true extent of China’s power is a separate matter from what matters for domestic politics—the common perception among many Americans that China is immensely powerful.

These perceptions will continue to fuel the notion among many Americans that the American regime ought to pursue a goal of maximum geopolitical power. This means a continued preference for a unified American regime with enormous tax revenues and military spending.

In other words, fear of China and Iran, combined with the more practical desire for continued “free” money from the federal government, will continue to fuel opposition to any serious movement toward secession.

On the other hand, this is all true only in the short term. Over a longer time horizon, matters are far less certain. Should the US continue with its current policies of reckless deficit spending, the longer-term prognosis points toward insolvency, and a relative decline in federal power compared to state governments, which may find themselves picking up the welfare slack as the spending power of federal welfare payments declines thanks to a declining dollar.

We saw similar dynamics at work in the waning days of the Soviet Union. A bankrupt regime is a regime with declining legitimacy. In such a situation, it is also likely that domestic concerns would overwhelm geopolitical concerns, and the stage would finally be set for true de facto separatism in the US. But for now, this does not appear to be likely in the short term.

  • 1. For more on nuclear proliferation, see Bertrand Lemennicier, “Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation or Monopoly,” in The Myth of National Defense: Essays on the Theory and History of Security Production, ed. Hans-Hermann Hoppe (Auburn, AL: Mises Institute, 2003), pp. 127–44; and Ryan McMaken, “Why No State Needs Thousands of Nuclear Warheads,” Mises Wire, Feb. 10, 2021.
  • 2. As Michael Beckley notes, “China may have the world’s biggest economy and military, but it also leads the world in debt; resource consumption; pollution; useless infrastructure and wasted industrial capacity; scientific fraud; internal security spending; border disputes; and populations of invalids, geriatrics, and pensioners. China also uses seven times the input to generate a given level of economic output as the United States and is surrounded by nineteen countries, most of which are hostile toward China, politically unstable, or both.” For more see Michael Beckley, “China’s Century?,” International Security 36, no. 3 (Winter 2011/12): 41–78.


Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power&Market, but read article guidelines first. 

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JFK — Accept Our Diverse World as It Is – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 23, 2021

“We must recognize that we cannot remake the world simply by our own command. … Every nation has its own traditions, its own values, its own aspirations. … We cannot remake them in our own image.”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Seven months after the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy, at American University, laid out his view on how the East-West struggle should be conducted to avoid a catastrophic war that could destroy us both.

Kennedy’s message to Moscow and his fellow Americans:

“If (the United States and the Soviet Union) cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.”

As George Beebe writes in his essay, “It’s a Big World: The Importance of Diversity in American Foreign Policy,” in the July National Interest, Kennedy later elaborated:

“We must recognize that we cannot remake the world simply by our own command. … Every nation has its own traditions, its own values, its own aspirations. … We cannot remake them in our own image.”

To Kennedy, a student of history, acceptance of the reality of a world of diverse political systems, many of them unfree, was a precondition of peace on earth and avoidance of a new world war.

Kennedy was asking us to recognize that the world consists not only of democrats but also of autocrats, dictatorships, military regimes, monarchs and politburos, and the goal of U.S. foreign policy was not to convert them into political replicas of the USA.

Kennedy was willing to put our political model on offer to the world, but not to impose it on anyone: “We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people — but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.”

The higher goal: “Preserving and protecting a world of diversity in which no one power or no one combination of powers can threaten the security of the United States.”

For JFK, national interests transcended democratist ideology.

He knew that throughout our history, we Americans had partnered with dictators, monarchs and autocrats when our interests required it.

The1778 alliance we forged with the French King Louis XVI was indispensable to the victory at Yorktown that ensured our independence.

Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I as an “associate power” of four great empires — the British, French, Russian and Japanese.

In World War II, we allied with Stalin’s Russia against Hitler’s Reich.

The South Korea we saved at a cost of 37,000 dead from 1950 to 1953 was ruled by the autocratic and dictatorial Syngman Rhee.

The thrust of Beebe’s article is that President Joe Biden, in defining the new post-Cold War era as featuring a new-world ideological struggle, between authoritarian and democracy, is misreading the conflict.

Said Biden, in his major foreign policy address during the campaign: “The triumph of democracy and liberalism over fascism and autocracy created the free world. But this contest does not just define our past. It will define our future.”

Biden’s Interim National Strategic Security Guidance fully embraces the same thesis of a new world ideological struggle:

“Authoritarianism is on the global march. … We must join with likeminded allies and partners to revitalize democracy the world over.”

Yet, neither of our great adversaries is preaching a global crusade to remake the world in its image.

Communist China does business with Japanese and American capitalists, with South and North Korea, with Arab monarchs and Israelis, with Europeans and Iranians, Africans, Latin Americans and Central Asians, without attempting to impose its system beyond its borders.

Consider Russia. President Vladimir Putin, it is said, is an autocrat.

But Putin’s interest in bringing home ethnic Russian kinfolk left behind when the USSR broke apart is a normal and natural expression of his people’s and his country’s national interest.

So, too, is Moscow’s effort at re-knitting relations with Ukraine and Belarus, the two nations with whom Russia’s ties are the oldest, closest and deepest, culturally and ethnically.

What Russia, a Black Sea power since the 18th century, is doing in Yalta and the Donbas is understandable from the standpoint of history, ethnicity and national interests.

The question is: What are we doing there?

When did Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia become our concerns?

Russia’s alarm at having the world’s largest military alliance, NATO, led by its former Cold War adversary, squatting on its front porch from the Arctic Ocean to the Baltic and Black Sea, is as understandable as is Putin’s impulse to push that alliance some distance away.

That is what any Russian nationalist ruler would do.

But when did relations between Belarus, Ukraine and Russia become the concern of the USA, 5,000 miles away?

Is Putin an autocrat? But so what?

When has Russia not been ruled by an autocrat?

From Peter the Great to Catherine the Great to Alexander I, Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II in 1917, Romanov czars ruled Russia. After 1917 came Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin.

During his speech at American University, Kennedy mentioned a crucial fact about the long history between Russia and America:

“Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other.”

Maintaining that 230-year tradition should be at the apex of our concerns, not how Vladimir Putin rules what is, after all, his country.

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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Two types of foreign policy

Posted by M. C. on July 7, 2021

Foreign policy aims at preventing conflicts with neighbors and developing their peaceful relations. However, Westerners have abandoned this objective to adopt the promotion of their collective interests to the detriment of other actors.

by Thierry Meyssan

Each century of international relations is marked by the initiatives of a few exceptional men. Their approach to their countries’ foreign relations is based on common principles.

Let us take as recent examples the cases of the Indian Jawaharlal Nehru, the Egyptian Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Indonesian Soekarno, the Chinese Zhou Enlai, the French Charles De Gaulle, the Venezuelan Hugo Chávez, and today the Russian Vladimir Putin or the Syrian Bashar al-Assad.

Identity or Geopolitics

First and foremost, these men sought to develop their countries. They did not base their foreign policy on a geopolitical strategy, but on the identity of their country. On the contrary, the current West considers international relations as a chessboard on which one could impose a World Order through a geopolitical strategy.

The term “geopolitics” was created at the end of the 19th century by the German Friedrich Ratzel. He also invented the concept of “vital space” dear to the Nazis. According to him, it was legitimate to divide the world into large empires, including Europe and the Middle East under German domination.

Later, the American Alfred Mahan dreamed of a geopolitics based on the control of the seas. He influenced President Theodore Roosevelt, who launched the United States into a policy of conquering the straits and transoceanic channels.

The British Halford John Mackinder conceived the planet as a main land (Africa, Europe and Asia) and two large islands (the Americas and Australia). He posits that control of the main land is only possible by conquering the great plain of central Europe and western Siberia.

Finally, a fourth author, the American Nicolas Spykman, attempted a synthesis of the two previous ones. He influenced Franklin Roosevelt and the policy of containment of the Soviet Union, that is to say the Cold War. It was taken up by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Geopolitics in the strict sense of the term is therefore not a science, but a strategy of domination.

Smart power

If we go back to the examples of the great men of the XX-XXI centuries who were acclaimed not only at home, but abroad, for their foreign policy, we see that it was not linked to their military capabilities. They did not try to conquer or annex new territories, but to spread the image they had of their own country and its culture. Of course, if they also had a powerful army -and therefore the atomic bomb- like De Gaulle and Putin, they could make themselves heard better. But that was not the main thing for them.

Each of these great men also developed the culture of his country (Charles De Gaulle with Andre Malraux). It was very important for them to magnify the artistic creations of their country and to weld their people around them. Then to project their culture abroad.

In a way, this is the “Smart Power” of which the American Joseph Nye spoke. Culture is worth as much as cannon as long as you know how to use it. Why doesn’t anyone consider attacking the Vatican, which has no army? Because that would shock everyone.


States are like the men who compose them. They want peace, but they easily make war on each other. They aspire to the application of certain principles, but sometimes neglect them at home and even more with others.

When the League of Nations was created at the end of the First World War, all member states were declared equal, but the British and the Americans refused to consider all peoples as equal in law. It was their refusal that led to Japanese expansionism.

The United Nations, which replaced the League of Nations after the Second World War, endorsed the equality of peoples, but not the Anglo-Saxons in practice. Today, Westerners create intergovernmental organizations on all subjects, for example freedom of the press or the fight against cyber-crime. But they do it among themselves, excluding other cultures, notably Russian and Chinese. They create these organizations to replace the United Nations forums where all are represented.

Let there be no mistake: it is perfectly legitimate, for example, to bring together the G7 to get along with one’s friends, but it is not at all acceptable to claim to define the rules of the world economy. What’s more, by excluding the world’s largest economy, China, from the meeting.

Law and rules

The idea of a legal regulation of international relations was pushed by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II. It was he who convened the International Peace Conference of 1899 in The Hague (Netherlands). The French radical republicans, led by the future Nobel Peace Prize winner Léon Bourgeois, laid the foundations of international law.

The idea is simple: only principles adopted in common are acceptable, never those imposed by the strongest. These principles must reflect the diversity of humanity. Thus, international law began with tsarists and republicans, Russians and French.

However, this idea was deviated with the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (self-proclaimed “sole legitimate decision-making center”), then with the Warsaw Pact. These two alliances (Nato from its creation, the Pact from the Brezhnev doctrine onwards) were nothing more than “collective defense arrangements intended to serve the particular interests of the great powers”. In this sense, they formally contravene the UN Charter. Hence the Bandung Conference (1955) during which the non-aligned countries reaffirmed the Hague principles.

This problem is resurfacing today, not because there is a new movement to escape the Cold War, but because the West wants to return to a Cold War against Russia and China this time.

Systematically, in all their final communiqués, the summits of the Western powers no longer refer to international law, but to “rules”, never explicitly stated. These rules, which are contrary to law, are enacted a posteriori as often as necessary by the West. They then speak of “effective multilateralism”, that is to say, in practice, of violation of the democratic principles of the UN.

Thus, while international law recognizes the right of peoples to self-determination, the West recognized the independence of Kosovo without a referendum and in violation of a Security Council resolution, but rejected the independence of Crimea, even though it had been approved by referendum. Western rules are “Rights à la carte”.

The West claims that every country must respect the equality of its inhabitants in law, but it is fiercely opposed to equality between states.

Imperialism or patriotism

The West, self-proclaimed as the “camp of liberal democracy” and the “international community,” accuses all those who resist them of being “authoritarian nationalists.

This leads to artificial distinctions and grotesque amalgams with the sole aim of legitimizing imperialism. So why oppose democracy and nationalism? Indeed, democracy can only exist within a national framework. And why associate nationalism and authoritarianism? If not to discredit nations.

None of the great leaders I mentioned was American or a follower. That is the key.Thierry Meyssan Translation
Roger Lagassé

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