Pattern Recognition

 

William Gibson writes dystopian science fiction, where he imagines the future by closely studying the present. In his post 9/11 novel Pattern Recognition, he discovers that the present is just as weird and dystopian as any future he might imagine.

I’ve realized I do something similar in my own writing except rather than imagining a dystopian future I recognize patterns to try and make sense of our dystopian present.

The dystopian present is increasingly visible under our system of financial-monopoly-capitalism: more and more low-wage, high surveillance jobs, rentier-centric housing costs, student loan payments, and ever-escalating health care costs, which for most Americans translates into a system of unending precarity. And that’s before getting to radical climate-change. Or, as Gibson calls it, Jackpot.

With regards to climate-change, I’ve long recognized that the patterns of our political-economy would preclude meaningful action until it was too late. Neoliberalism, with an ideology that there’s no such thing as society that the market should be sacrosanct with government limited to guaranteeing contracts and providing security, almost guarantees that there won’t be any meaningful action. Furthermore, the inequality that neoliberalism engendered meant that the losses from radical climate-change would be borne disproportionately by the lower-classes, something Gibson and I both agree has always been the elite endgame.

Jackpot, indeed.

Pattern recognition also allowed me to understand Trump’s surprise election and the elite freak-out that ensued. Recognizing the patterns of the US empire, especially since the demise of the Soviet Union, I could confidently predict the deep state’s antipathy towards Trump for his temerity to suggest better relations with Russia and an end to the normative regime-change wars. The  point of Russia-gate, Ukraine-gate and the present impeachment circus was always to  make it impossible for Trump to change major policy trajectories especially in foreign policy. A main issue here is the reorientation of the U.S. military complex and its NATO proxies from the war of terror towards a direct confrontation with main powers like Russia and China.

Comprehending the kayfabe that’s become our political process was possible through the process of pattern recognition. The election of Trump has only made this dynamic more obvious. For instance, the Democrats and so-called #Resistance regularly claim that Trump is a Russian-Nazi dictator, or something. (It’s kind of hard to make any historical sense of this pejorative since the Hitler and the Nazi’s fought a vicious war against the Soviet Union, but the #Resistance doesn’t strike me as particularly bright). Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that when push comes to shove on the important things, like economics and foreign policy, the Democrats are totally down with what Trump is doing, and that the opposition is selective and designed to mislead their supporters.

For instance, imagine that President Trump spent his phone call with the Ukrainian president threatening to withhold military aid unless the Ukrainian government agreed to use the money to purchase weapons from a US manufacturer. Does anyone seriously think that foreign service professionals and deep state operatives would be so shocked and offended by Trump’s request that they would launch efforts to impeach him? Would Congress view this as “high crimes and misdemeanors” or applaud Trump for carrying out one of modern presidents’ supposedly most important jobs — acting as salesmen for the American military-industrial complex?

Then, there’s the recent release of the Afghanistan Papers and their revelations by the Washington Post. What’s more shocking than the corruption revelations is the fact that the story was brought to you by the Washington Post, a neocon-centric paper owned by Jeff Bezos, that’s never met a war they didn’t love. After all, by Post’s own admission it both sought and published the Afghanistan Papers in order to take a swing at Donald Trump. According to the Post it went down this path in 2016 initially seeking documents on Michael Flynn, who was then part of the Trump campaign, after receiving a tip that he’d made some juicy statements about the war in Afghanistan to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). They then made the decision to publish the papers now rather than waiting for its legal battle for more information to complete because Trump is currently in the midst of negotiating with the Taliban over a potential troop withdrawal.

I’m sure the fact that the Trump administration just chose Microsoft over Amazon (owned also by Jeff Bezos) for a juicy military contract had no bearing whatsoever on the decision by the Post to publish this expose now.

The curious case of warrantless spying that’s been a reality since 9/11 offers a good beginners overview of kayfabe recognition. Many Democrats who claim that President Trump is a secret Putin-spy, a fascist and completely mentally unhinged are ok-dokey with him continuing to conduct warrantless surveillance on every American. For instance, while the corporate media has been fixated on the carefully orchestrated impeachment drama that continues to monopolize headlines, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law legislation extending three key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which had been set to expire on December 15, 2019.

The scam here is that Democrats are alleging abuse of Presidential power, while simultaneously reauthorizing warrantless power to spy on citizens that no President should have.

Some fierce ideological struggle.

I could go on but hopefully you recognize the pattern.

What all of these examples show is a pattern of behavior that’s furthering our dystopian present and guaranteeing a dystopian future.

I don’t need science fiction to imagine it.

 

 

 

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Lab Rats

 

When I was growing up the Cold War against the Soviet Union was driven by conservatives, who were convinced that communism was an existential threat to capitalism and indeed the American way of life.

These days the Cold War 2.0 has been supercharged by liberals who believe that their bête noire–Donald Trump–was installed via Russian machinations.

There’s a reason for that. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, much of the Democratic Party, (which has largely become the political party of wealthy, liberal professionals), has become dangerously suffused with the kind of unthinking Russophobia that throughout earlier decades had characterized the GOP.

And since 2016, the Russophobia has gone into hyperdrive along with a liberal bellicosity that if wasn’t so tragic it would be darkly comedic. These days liberals oppose any foreign policy decision simply because Trump proposes it. Withdraw from Syria? Seek a peace settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan or a deal with North Korea? Most liberals look at these quite sensible proposals not on their merits, but simply on the basis that Trump has made them–and instantly rail against them, usually with some sort of reference to the evil Putin’s malign intention.

Even worse is that liberals have bought into the narrative that the military/intelligence bureaucrats who make up the national security establishment, know best. Though President Trump’s promises to end wars and question expensive alliances were quite popular with the electorate, in the view of many in the national security establishment, elections do not bestow constitutional legitimacy, and that “the adults” will make foreign policy, thank-you-very-much.

The impeachment hearings over Ukraine are a case in point. Witness after witness has made the bizarre claim that Ukraine is a “frontline-state” crucial in the struggle against Russian aggression and that Trump, by withholding anti-tank missiles, was threatening US national security. Here’s just a small taste of the cray-cray from Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor. We need to arm Ukraine “so they fight the Russians there and we don’t have to fight them here” and we remain “that shining city on the hill.”

Delusional doesn’t even quite capture this mindset.

In a different time, a liberal opposition movement might be raising concerns of its own about war-profiteering phone calls; or the merits of fueling a war on the borders of the world’s other top nuclear power; or doing so in a way that arms and empowers far-right forces incorporated within the Ukrainian military. Instead, Democrats have been enlisted to champion that proxy war and the coffers of the military firms that profit from it.

I think it’s a feature rather that a bug but the first Cold War and now Cold War 2.0 allows the military/industrial/complex (MIC) to organize the US economy in ways that are detrimental to the vast majority of Americans. The Raytheons, Boeings, Lockheed Martins, Northrup Grumman’s? They just love the prospects of the profits that Washington’s forever wars can keep on bringing.

I wonder, in fact, if MIC profits aren’t truly the reason for the impeachment proceedings?

In closed-door testimony, Pentagon official Laura Cooper revealed that concern about the frozen military funding arose after the defense department heard complaints from the funding’s prime beneficiaries: weapons manufacturers. After mid-August, Cooper said, “various folks in the Department started to get phone calls from industry”—the military industry that wanted its weapons purchased. “All of these US firms that were implementing [the weapons sales to Ukraine]—they were getting concerned,” Cooper added. So was the US Chamber of Commerce, which called her as well.

The corporate media has played a huge role in fueling the Russophobia. They’ve told us repeatedly that it’s important to avoid “fake news”, Russian media or conspiracy theorists. We must only trust those reputable news outlets who tell us that neoliberalism is working fine, that US foreign policy is perfectly sane, and that Donald Trump is a secret Manchurian-candidate controlled personally by Vladimir Putin.

Fake news, indeed.

The difference between the old Soviet or East German state media and our modern corporate media is that in state media the government controls what information the public is given about what’s going on in the world in order to prevent political dissent, whereas in the corporate media this is instead done by 6 media corporations that are owned by billionaires. Any attempt to understand the world which fails to take into account the fact that extremely powerful people are pouring massive amounts of money and resources into manipulating your understanding of the world will necessarily result in a distorted worldview.

In my opinion, it’s been a vast open-air experiment in social manipulation.

Human experience is dominated by mental narratives, so if you can control the dominant narratives in human society, you control human society itself. And, it’s not like our narrative managers are not skilled. They’ve deployed a toxic mix of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, with an all- encompassing surveillance state, a populace amused to death by their electronic gadgets and oligarchs implementing every propaganda technique ever conceived by Edward Bernays and the Creel Commission.

During the first Cold War they trained conservative rats to run through the Red-Scare maze, while with the Cold War 2.o, it’s the liberal rats turn to navigate the Russian “fake news” labyrinth. The new narrative is–be a good little liberal rat and embrace the worldview of the MIC, worship the CIA and FBI, and we’ll see what we can do about deposing the evil Orange-One.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Situational

 

I always thought that the war on terror was an artificial construct, put in place to continue using the military/industrial/complex as a way to organize the US economy after the fall of the Soviet Union. The whole thing seemed so obviously made up and darkly farcical, but with an institutional logic and momentum that made it unstoppable. It’s obvious, in retrospect, that terrorism has been a very useful boogyman used to scare the hell out of the American public until a new boogyman could be conjured up.

However, a nation consists of its laws. A nation does not simply consist of its situation at a given time. For instance, if an individual’s morals are situational, that individual has no morals. Likewise, if a nations laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and pretty soon isn’t a nation at all.

That is the essential problem with the war on terror developments since 9/11–the Patriot Act, torture, warrantless spying, etc. If we’re really so scared of terrorists that we’d be willing to dismantle that structures and laws that made America what it is, then what does that say about us as a nation? That’s the whole point of terrorism–to frighten a nation into abandoning the rule of law and becoming just like them. That’s why they call them terrorists. They use terrifying threats to get you to degrade your own society.

In an amazing bit of luck, the degradation of our society as a result of the war on terror has massively benefitted our elite. Furthermore, I’ve come to believe that the war on terror is about deeper issues than just creating a stop-gap enemy. Rather it’s a response to the crisis of late-stage capitalism, by our feral-elite, who’ve demonstrated through their actions that everything is situational.

To this casual observer it was always obvious that offshoring the US manufacturing base was a really bad idea. Of course, I’m stupid. I lost track of all the times I was lectured on the wonders of of “free trade”, or that “globalization” is inevitable, or that all of the middle-class manufacturing jobs would be replaced by shiny new “service jobs”, or that the low, low prices offered to consumers would more than make up for this epic dislocation.

It didn’t turn out that way, did it?

A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) details the fall in life expectancy in the United States from 2015 to 2017, a streak unprecedented in modern times. The interviews the New York Times did with the researchers of the JAMA study produced some revealing quotes. “The fact that it’s so expansive and involves so many causes of death — it’s saying that there’s something broader going on in our country. The history of when this health trend started happens to coincide with when these economic shifts began — the loss of manufacturing jobs and closure of steel mills and auto plants.”

And that whole Iraq invasion thingy. It was also blindingly obvious that the main benefactor of the destruction of Saddam Hussain and his Sunni, Baathist administration would be Iraq’s more dominant demographic–the Shia. And, further, that Iran would benefit in that their major regional enemy was destroyed.

If you wait the corporate media will eventually cough up the real story (on the 14th paragraph of the article). For example, the Intercept, in collaboration with the New York Times, recently put out an article demonstrating Tehran’s vast influence in Iraq and how the Iranians have been able infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic, and religious life.

Nobody saw that coming.

No matter. For the feral elite it’s all going according to plan.

 

 

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The Hate Machine

 

The corporate media manufactures consent by manufacturing hate.

We transitioned from Hope and Change to Make America Great Again, but very little has changed with the economic and foreign policies of the American empire. A lot of this is due to the fact that we’ve been herded into our own partisan enclosures where we’re encouraged to hate other Americans who have different political views than us but never the oligarchs and the technocratic elite who are responsible for the ongoing disasters.

The end result has been a toxic political discourse that is only interested in scoring points against the other side to validate our own anger and dispossession. It’s an oldie but goodie–divide and rule.

In his new book–Hate Inc., gonzo journalist Matt Taibbi describes in great detail the process. Taibbi tells us that he had originally intended for Hate, Inc. to be an updating of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, which he first read thirty years ago, when he was in college. “It blew my mind,” Taibbi writes. “It taught me that some level of deception was baked into almost everything I’d ever been taught about modern American life…. Once the authors in the first chapter laid out their famed propaganda model, they cut through the deceptions of the American state like a buzz saw.” For what seemed to be vigorous democratic debate, Taibbi realized, was instead a big con. “A lot of very serious social problems (like the failure to stop mass fraud in the mortgage markets) have completely bipartisan roots, but in the press we regularly sell people on a simplified image of politics, of two parties in complete conflict about everything. If one of those sides was yours, you seldom saw it besmirched by criticism”.

For all that, however, the most salient difference between the news media of 1989 and the news media of 2019 has been the disappearance of the single type of calm and decorous anchorman, who appealed to a nationwide demographic, and his replacement with a talking head like Sean Hannity representing team red, or a talking head like Rachael Maddow cheerleading for team blue. “In the old days,” Taibbi writes, “the news was a mix of this toothless trivia and cheery dispatches from the frontlines of Pax Americana…. The news was once designed to be consumed by the whole house…. But once we started to be organized into demographic silos, the networks found another way to seduce these audiences: they sold intramural conflict”.

And in this new media environment of constant conflict, how, Taibbi wondered, could public consent, which would seem to be diametrically opposed to conflict, still be manufactured? “That wasn’t easy for me to see in my first decades in the business,” Taibbi writes. “For a long time, I thought it was a flaw in the Chomsky/Herman model”.

But what Taibbi learned from years in the trenches is that the corporate media has devised a highly-profitable marketing processes that manufactures fake dissent in order to preclude real dissent. And precluding real dissent is close enough to public consent to accomplish the task. In other words, the Herman/Chomsky model is still valid.

Manufacturing Consent was one of the most important books I read as a young adult. It has colored my worldview since in that I cannot watch CNN or read the New York Times without thinking about how they are manipulating their audience. And manipulate they do. I’m constantly amazed at how propagandized Americans are.

For instance, Americans live in a global-corporate empire that has perpetrated numerous wars of aggression. Its military occupies most of the planet. Its intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, etc.) operate a worldwide surveillance apparatus that can identify, target, and eliminate anyone, anywhere, often by remote control. Its propaganda network is all encompassing without any real way to escape its constant emotional and ideological conditioning. It’s telling that the most vigorous pushback came from liberals who were upset that Taibbi featured Rachael Maddow alongside Sean Hannity on the cover of Hate Inc.

The fact that our putative leaders and their corporate media lackeys don’t describe the US as an empire, and instead describe it as a “democracy,” doesn’t make it any less of an empire. The fact that the corporate media uses terms like “regime change” instead of “invasion” or “annexation” makes very little difference to its victims. Terms like “security,” “stability,” “intervention,” “regime change,” and so on are not meant for its victims. They are meant for us. To propagandize and to anesthetize us.

Lately, they’re doing away with subtlety and getting straight into what Orwell described in 1984 as the Two Minutes HateCNN published a fascinatingly manipulative and falsehood-laden article titled “25 times Trump was soft on Russia“, where they endlessly repeat the crazy idea that Trump is a Russian puppet. Meanwhile he has spent his administration escalating dangerous new cold war aggressions.

Maybe we’ve always been at war with Eastasia?

For the corporate hate machine facts are completely beside the point. The point is to propagandize Americans into supporting the system by keeping them in a state of constant hate and fear, preferably alone in front of their screens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outside Influence

 

Who gets to decide US foreign policy, the president or the deep state?

That seems to be the pertinent question that’s left unsaid in the whole Ukraine-gate impeachment drama.

Also unsaid by the corporate media is the essential Ukraine backstory which began with the US initiating the overthrow of its democratically elected President Yanukovych in 2014. The coup was part of NATO’s eastward expansion after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, contrary to oral agreements with Washington, London and Paris that, in exchange for allowing Germany to reunite and then join NATO, the Western powers vowed not to extend the alliance into the former Communist states.

The West lied. Precisely the opposite occurred. NATO, led by its sponsor, the US, moved relentlessly east. 

However, for Russia, the Ukraine coup and attempts to seize the Russian Black Sea naval base at Sebastopol in Crimea was a bridge too far.

I’ve long maintained that Russia-gate was instituted as a way to keep Trump from improving relations with Russia and to lock in a new Cold War. The recent testimony from deep state officials and the exposure of the so-called whistle-blower have only deepened my suspicions.

His identity should have been public knowledge weeks ago and yet it took Real Clear Investigations, an alt-news website to publicly reveal what has been well known within the  Beltway for some weeks.

The alleged whistle-blower is said to be a 33 year old CIA analyst by the name of Eric Ciaramella who was an Obama White House holdover at the National Security Council until mid 2017. Consequently, he has deep partisan ties to former vice-president Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice as well as the DNC establishment. It gets better. Ciaramella ran the Ukraine desk at the Obama NSC and had close association with  Ukrainian DNC hyper-activist Alexandra Chalupa, who was up to her neck in Russia-gate.

Then there’s the witnesses who are testifying against Trump. They strike me as Russophobes who favor military aid to Ukraine. They also appear to be State Department careerists who think they set U.S. foreign policy and resent the president for intruding upon them.

My favorite so far has been National Security Council staffer Lt. Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, the self-labeled no. 1 Ukraine expert at the National Security Counsel. Rather than providing expert advice, Vindman was concerned chiefly because arming Ukraine was not proceeding quickly enough to suit him, an extremely risky policy which has already created serious problems with nuclear-armed Russia. Vindman Even Testified He Advised Ukrainians to Ignore Trump.

Here he is in his own words. “A strong and independent Ukraine is critical to US national security interests because Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.… The US government policy community’s view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.” But, he continued, “outside influencers are promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to US government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined US government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.”

It’s almost a dark comedy. When I was an army paratrooper my commander was a Lt. Colonel. He commanded a battalion of airborne-infantry. He didn’t make foreign policies.

Vindman should be regarded as a manifestation of the deep state thinking that has brought so much grief to the United States over the past twenty years. Seen in that light, his testimony, wrapped in an air of sanctimoniousness and a uniform, should be regarded as little more than the conventional thinking that has produced foreign policy failure after failure.

This is what impeachment is about, not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost Ukraine, and Syria, Libya, Yemen, and other countries that the Obama administration succeeded in destroying.

Of course, the corporate media is to blame as well. It twisted the news so as to cheer on such misbegotten policies just as it cheered on the twin invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq by the Bush administration a dozen years or so earlier. This is why it’s furious with Trump for challenging the foreign policy establishment and why it now fills its pages with endless blather about quid pro quo’s just as it once did about Russian collusion.

Ultimately, Russia-gate was, and Ukraine-gate is, a struggle over policy.

What still amazes me is that in the age of Trump liberals have embraced the argument that having a deep state is a healthy part of American democracy in that it serves as a check or corrective element on a political system that has been corrupted and which no longer serves national interests. But that assessment surely might have been made before it became clear that many of the leaders of the nation’s intelligence and security agencies are no longer the people’s honorable servants they pretend to be. In fact, any examination of the ABC agencies that make up our intelligence community demonstrates that they serve the billionaire owners of America and not the citizens. These owners have succeeded in this deception by waging a vast covert operation, one that has conditioned the American public to believe that it’s the perpetual victim of foreign powers like Russia.

Trump is simply an outside influence.

Update:  “As it turns out, virtually the entire caste of whistleblowers and deep state testifiers now being called before the Impeachment Tribunal were in one way or another organized, financed or sponsored by the Atlantic Council.”

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Market Failure

 

I never though I would feel nostalgic for the Cold War but in retrospect it’s apparent that the contest between the two superpowers over which system delivered more comfort, freedom, and happiness to its citizens was a golden era.

For starters it was a time of significant social change. Many of our far-sighted leaders argued that racial segregation undermined the United States’ position in the Cold War, making capitalism look bad at home and abroad. Women’s rights also advanced due to the competition. The superior situation of women in the East Bloc was a constant and effective source of communist propaganda, which often drew interest from women in the western world. East German sexologists even found–and their government proudly boasted–that communist women had more orgasms than their luckless West German counterparts.

Our infrastructure and factories were modern and well maintained due to this clash of ideologies and worldwide competition over whose system of economic organization produced a better standard of living.

But the place where the average American benefited the most was in the wallet. The titanic clash of economic systems, with the threat of a communist revolution ever present, gave American workers more power to organize and demand better wages and benefits.

That was then. Now that our feral elite don’t have to worry about a communist revolution, conditions for workers suck. In fact, since the demise of the Soviet Union, wages and living standards throughout the West have stagnated, while what was once a fairly open and diverse economy of small shops and businesses has consolidated back to the way it was during the Robber-Baron era. Now our economy is dominated by monopolies and oligopolies ruled by billionaire plutocrats. Industry after industry–from media to airlines to insurance to hotels to social media to food–have become dominated by cartels of a small handful of companies.

In this sense, not only are billionaires a symptom of an absence of a healthy competitive economy, but they are also a cause of it: their taxes on other firms restrict growth and entrepreneurship, while their control over our government prevents change.

Going further, every billionaire is a market failure–a sign that competition has failed. In a healthy market economy there should be almost no extremely wealthy people simply because profits should be bid away by competition. In the textbook case of perfect competition there are no super-normal profits, and in the more realistic case of Schumpeterian creative destruction, high profits should be competed away quickly.

But, of course, in the US the notion of a free market is largely a propaganda construct. Thanks to Supreme Court decisions like Buckley v. Valeo, that equated money with free speech, billionaires are able to purchase our government. Follow up cases like 2010’s Citizens United decision have largely reduced democracy in the United States to its trappings. The public is engaged in a series of rather empty rituals.

I just finished reading Matt Stoller’s–Goliath–where he traces the history of American monopolies and the efforts to combat them. Stoller says that we’ve reverted to an economic system of monopolies due to the ideology of neoliberalism that’s been embraced by both parties. “It was a broad sweeping restructuring of our culture, the result of forty years of political choices, the same misfiring of institutions that led to the invasion of Iraq, and an endless series of gruesome social consequences. The men in suits told us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, just as they told us taxpayer-funded bank bonuses were essential to the economy…The bailouts from 2008 to 2010 were not intended to stop a depression, they were intended to stop a New Deal. And so they did.”

Like the invasion of Iraq, the Wall Street Crash and government response demonstrated that the neoliberal and neoconservative shibboleths endless promulgated were simply lies, told to justify political and economic decisions that had already been decided.

A great example of this elite cynicism was this interview that George W. Bush did with Fox News’s Bret Baier in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street Crash. Struggling to justify the massive economic interventions his administration had just engineered, Bush confessed. “I’m a free market guy, but I’m not gonna let this economy crater in order to preserve the free market system.” Indeed, in the aftermath of the crash, first the Bush, then the Obama administrations took decisive action to resuscitate the ancien regime. They pumped hundreds of billions of public dollars into the major financial companies, created trillions in new money, and, in some cases, took control of private and quasi-private corporations.

Since the demise of the USSR we’ve been told in no uncertain terms that there is no alternative to the wealthy and their technocratic minions controlling our lives. We decided as a society that it would be a great idea to allow financiers and monopolists to organize our economy. As a result, today we have a matrix of monopolies controlling our lives and manipulating our communities and politics.

But the idea that there’s no alternative has always been a lie. There has always been a choice to organize our economy in a different fashion.

It’s up to us.

 

 

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Ferocious establishment resistance

 

Why has Trump’s foreign policy been such a shambolic disaster?

Much of it is his own fault as he’s clearly allowed far to many neoconservative ideologues into his administration due to Israel-first campaign funders like Sheldon Adelson. As a businessman turned politician and Washington outsider, Trump also has been at the mercy of Beltway insiders who’ve advised him and helped him choose the members of his administration.

However, in this imperial capital, the voice of the interventionist prevails. The media, the foreign policy elite, the think tanks, the ethnic lobbies, the Pentagon, the State Department, Capitol Hill, are almost all interventionist, devoted to America’s endless regime-change wars.  Thus, despite Trump’s campaign pledges he’s faced ferocious establishment resistance.

Even the corporate media has  finally admitted to this open secret. Last week The New York Times published a remarkable piece that essentially acknowledged the existence of an American deep state and its implacable hostility to Donald Trump.

This dynamic goes a long way towards explaining the Trump administrations foreign policy schizophrenia. In a nutshell, Trump wants to keep his campaign promises to end America’s endless wars but the deep state is committed to keeping them going. Trump also campaigned on a platform of improved relations with Russia. Yet, three years after his election, no real improvement has materialized and, if anything, they have deteriorated.

I’ve always believed that Russia-gate has been, at its very essence, the deep state locking in a new Cold war against Russia despite Trump’s campaign rhetoric. The intention was to cripple Trump’s presidency. If they couldn’t remove him from office, they could at least ensure he played by their rules rather than follow through on wild promises to end the wars in Syria and Afghanistan and normalize relations with Moscow.

It turns out I was right.

After a lengthy investigation, evidence is emerging that Russia-gate really was a coup against Trump. Former CIA chief, John Brennan, set up a anti-Trump Task Force at the CIA in early 2016 with the blessings of Jim Clapper. According to former CIA case officer Larry C Johnson, “Brennan reportedly took it upon himself to recruit foreign intelligence organizations, such as MI-6, the Aussies, the Italians and the Israelis, to help in spying on Trump and his campaign. He sold it as a “counter-intelligence” mission citing his fear that Trump was a Russian puppet. And these foreign services agreed to help. But they did more than passive collection. They helped create and implement covert actions, such as entrapping Michael Flynn as a foreign agent and cultivating and ensnaring George Papadopoulos.”

If you depend on the corporate media for your news all this will sound bewildering. That’s because the corporate media has been working with the deep state to depose Trump.

It’s always helpful to review recent history, living as we do in the United States of Amnesia. Lets recall that Trump’s election sent a shock wave through the Democratic establishment and that there needed to be a reckoning. How could it happen? Was Hillary Clinton truly the “queen of warmongers” while too aligned with Wall Street as Bernie Sanders and his supporters alleged? And did the DNC sabotage Bernie’s campaign as a result of these criticisms?

Those were hardly the kinds of questions that Democratic Party leaders and corporate media wanted to put in the national spotlight. Instead, they quickly shifted the focus to Russia.

Within 24 hours of Clinton’s concession speech, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta “assembled her communications team” at the national headquarters in Brooklyn “to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up,” journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes report in their inside-story book Shattered. “For a couple of hours … they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

For the Democrats, the traumatic reality of Trump’s victory called for a serious and well-grounded investigation of the key factors that led to the catastrophe. Such an exploration might have critically assessed their abandonment of many working-class voters in their pursuit of moderate Republicans and upscale professionals. The elitism of the DNC and failure to put forward progressive policies like a truly single-payer health care system or examine their disastrous trade policies failed to ignite enthusiasm or inspire turnout from the working class. But instead of scrutinizing these failures the Democrats blamed Vladimir Putin and the Russians.

The corporate media was quickly onboard with the anti-Russia campaign, implicated as they were with the smears of Sanders and celebration of the Democrats as the party of wealthy professionals. After all, the corporate media is largely composed of wealthy professionals who are liberal on cultural issues.

The result has been 3 years of relentless Russia-gate, interrupted only briefly with the fundamentally dishonest Mueller Report, then reenergized with Ukraine-gate and the impeachment proceedings.

Just as a thought experiment for my liberal readers, lets reverse the actors. Imagine that when Obama was elected in 2008 office intelligence operatives in tandem with the corporate media came up with a narrative that Obama was a traitor, groomed since his childhood in Indonesia to be a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda. Nor only that but leaked intelligence reports suggested that Obama was secretly conspiring with Osama bin Laden and moreover they were gay lovers!

Crazy huh?

It pains me to spend all my time defending Trump but the thought of a deep state that has a veto over our chief executive terrifies me. I didn’t vote for Trump and I’m not a fan, but basically I think the behavior of his enemies has been much worse and much more dangerous for our republic. If a deep state is allowed to make its own policies against the will of the elected officials why should we bother with holding elections?

Our founders provided a way to deal with boorish presidents. Defeat them at the polling booth. If the Democrats are serious about deposing Trump they need to put forward a candidate that appeals to the millions of working class citizens who’ve been disenfranchised by both parties.

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