Morality of Empire

 

The missile strikes in Syria were a joke.

Western officials claimed the 105-missile attack, including on a scientific research and development center in the capital of Damascus’ Barzeh district and two facilities nearly the city of Homs, had crippled Assad’s chemical weapons abilities.

The attack wasn’t really about chemical weapons at all. In fact, there’s a strong case to be made that the chemical attack was fabricated. Instead, the attack was an attempt to disable the Syrian air force by destroying its airports. It failed and now the Pentagon is hiding this failure by claiming that all its cruise missiles hit the undefended targets some of its missiles reached.

Here’s what the military experts at Sic Semper Tyrannis, have to say about the West’s cruise missile diplomacy.

“Do not believe a word you have heard from the Pentagon and the White House about the “success” of the cruise missile strikes on Friday last. A fraud is being perpetrated on the American people and the world at large. Frankly, General Mattis and General Dunford have dishonored themselves by going along with this charade.”

The martial exercise was not just about a purported chemical weapons attack in Syria. Let’s be honest, Trump and the mandarins of US foreign policy could care less about dead Arab children. The problem goes much deeper.

The US empire is running into post-primacy faster than anticipated, and Russia, due to geographical, historical, cultural and military factors, is today the objective leader of the worldwide resistance to the Empire. Hence, Russia-gate.

In my opinion, the US empire is in steep decline because the US maintains a very unique empire based on greedy/ideology. As a nation of hustlers, that’s just how we roll.

However, this greedy/ideology is really starting to bite us in the ass. We are ruled by fools, where the pursuit of profit interferes with competent empire management. The way in which our feral elite thought they could “manage” China, offers a useful testament to this greedy/ideology. Our leading lights, while recognizing China as a long term adversary, couldn’t pass up the chance to offshore US industry to China, largely to destroy American unionized labor and increase shareholder value and executive compensation. Except, now China is seen as an existential enemy. Recently, Trump launched a trade war with China as the enormity of the blunder becomes clear.

Even worse, the ceaseless demonization of Russia and China has brought the two together, violating the maxim about uniting enemies. Even the Machiavellian ghoul Henry Kissenger understood this and sought to keep Russia and China divided during the Cold War. Presently, Russia and China are working together on the One Belt One Road project in central Asia, that promises to be a game changer  Add the Petro-Yuan to the equation and you have the emergence of a new Eurasian model which threatens to make the US corporate empire irrelevant.

Most of this starts with the basics. Not only does the US not have anything remotely resembling a consistent foreign policy, it does not even do diplomacy. The Department of State does not deal with diplomacy simply because the US leaders don’t believe in diplomacy as a concept. They simply issue threats, like UN Ambassador Nikki Haley openly declaring at a UNSC meeting that the US is willing to ignore the decisions of the UNSC and act in complete violation of the UN Charter.

Despite the enormity of their failure, the managers of the US corporate empire do have at their disposal the worlds best propaganda system. However, this system has limits. The reason that the corporate media works so hard to manufacture support for war because they still require that consent from the American people.

Meanwhile, there is a brewing dissatisfaction. Indeed, for the last two elections Americans have clearly voted for a different foreign policy. First for Hope and Change, where they voted for Obama as a turn from the disastrous foreign policies of George W. Bush, and now Make America Great Again, where Trump supporters voted to end these disastrous wars of empire that are sending their kin home in body bags.

The reason for the lack of change can be attributed to the bi-partisanship of empire, and to the suppression of the discussion of the morality of the empire by the feral elite that directly benefit from this empire. It’s pretty simple: America is now involved in so many wars in so many different places, and there exists such an overwhelming bipartisan consensus that involvement in these wars is necessary and to the US advantage, that to confront the morality of our militarism honestly would require an almost total overhaul of America’s role in the world.

It’s beyond time for an overhaul.

If we are to have any hope of doing so we’re going to have to put aside  partisanship. No more team red or team blue. Those artificial constructs allow the feral elite to divide and rule. Instead we’re going to have to make alliances across those lines in the pursuit of an anti-empire foreign policy.

We don’t have much time.

Update: Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets), details the malign influence of the neocons on US foreign policy.

“I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government’s ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump’s approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time?”

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It must be a coincidence

 

It must be a coincidence that every time Trump or someone in his administration talks about leaving Syria there’s a chemical weapons attack.

On Saturday, April 7, video and stories claiming a chemical weapons attack in Douma were broadcast. The US State Department immediately declared that “the Assad regime must be held accountable” and Russia “ultimately bears responsibility” for it.

However, there’s been no investigation and the claims of an attack come from the usual propagandistic suspects. The evidence consists of statements and videos from the White Helmets, and Syrian American Medical Society. Both organizations receive significant funding from the US and British governments and are not neutral aid organizations. They both call for US intervention in Syria.

From the way back machine we recall that one year ago, in April 2017, there was another so-called chemical weapons attack, at Khan Sheikhoun, that was blamed on the Syrian government. This so-called attack brought Trump’s cruise missile fusillade, causing the corporate media to go into an orgasmic rapture. What so remarkable is that immediately before the 2017 chemical incident, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said U.S. policy was no longer focused on getting Assad out.

Now we have the incident in Douma. The armed opposition, i.e. al Qaeda, is in retreat. They are losing the war and are desperate. They have tried since 2012 to pressure the U.S. and NATO to intervene directly on their side.

Going further, the rebels have access to chemical weapons in East Ghouta and they have a powerful motive to stage a false flag attack, to incriminate Syria, and by extension Russia.

These so-called chemical attacks are not occurring in a vacuum. Since Trump’s surprise victory there’s been a very determined campaign to demonize Russia.

It’s coincidental that the very same thing happened with the questionable attack in Britain.

Days after an alleged poisoning of an ex-spy in Salisbury, the UK’s Foreign Office was telling reporters that Russia would be held responsible. Anyone who questioned such proclamations was branded unpatriotic. Now, we learn that laboratory forensics had still attached no such culpability, while there’s been a plethora of contradictory theories about what happened and how.

In the homeland, Mueller’s raid of Cohen’s office has liberals in thrall.

However, I find the timing of Mueller raiding Trump’s personal lawyer’s office more than a little suspicious, coming as it did right after the Syria announcement. Perhaps the deep state is trying to send a message?

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to observe that strange things are happening in the Beltway as various factions vie for control.

One faction, composed of the intelligence agencies, the neoconservative wings of the Democratic  and Republican parties, and the corporate media, has been consistently hostile towards Trump’s call for a less interventionist foreign policy and detente with Russia. The reason for this, I’m convinced, is that behind the scenes, there is an entrenched foreign policy establishment determined to maintain and reclaim U.S. unilateral “leadership” of the world. Right now they are freaking-out because the U.S. is losing influence, prestige and power around the world.

Now they want to attack Syria, and by extension nuclear-armed Russia.

God help us all.

Update: Caitlin Johnstone’s on the same page:

“So quick recap:

One year ago, the Trump administration transgressed establishment Washington orthodoxy by asserting that it was no longer pursuing regime change in Syria as a priority. Days later, there were contested reports of a sarin gas attack in Idlib province which killed dozens of civilians. This was immediately responded to by a missile strike on a Syrian airbase without any investigation. After the strike, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was trotted out, saying that removal of Assad had just become a US priority.

Flash forward to this year.

Two weeks ago, Trump was openly talking about wanting to get US troops out of Syria “like, very soon,” as soon as 48 hours by some reports. As we all know, this was followed by another disputedreport of a chemical attack on civilians, which was followed by another military strike on the Syrian government. And, just today, none other than Nikki Haley was trotted out to inform us that US troops will be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future.”

 

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Deeper Malady

 

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago. We would do well to reflect on a speech he gave exactly a year before his death.

At the Riverside Church, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, King portrayed the war in Vietnam as an imperial one, prosecuted at the expense of the poor. Vietnam, he said, was “the symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit,” and, if left untreated, if the malady continued to fester, “we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

This speech, which has been dropped from the more conventional memory of King civil-rights activism, was intensely controversial at the time, angering enemies and supporters alike. Many of his close personal aides felt that he shouldn’t have given it.

The reason for the hostility was the same then as it is now. King made the connection between foreign and domestic policies, drawing clear the inexorable ties between domestic policy and unjust aggression abroad.

This link should not be surprising. Everyone from Eugene Debs, to Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have known you cannot sustain freedom at home in a global context shaped by militarism, unchecked corporate power, and empire.

In our present milieu it’s much easier to blame Trump, or liberals, or gun lovers, or Russia, or hippies wanting to get high.

However, King’s words were prophetic. “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”

US citizens, under the spell of American-Exceptionalism, reject this verdict. They believe that the US is the benevolent hegemon busy spreading freedom and democracy. Even with the ending of the first cold war there has been remarkably little debate over the American empire. Both Republicans and Democrats tout this state of affairs as the naturally occurring inherent goodness of American imperial power.

I believe that this turn to reactionary politics is in large part because voters have lost confidence in our leaders’ ability to tell the the truth about the costs incurred maintaining the far-flung empire. Because of their ignorance of our foreign policy these same voters are lured by demagogues. Panic creates the longing for a strong leader.

Trump’s conservative populism also benefits from the political/economy of empire. In the Riverside speech, King made implicit the connection between the US empire and the neoliberal economic policies that have only become more pronounced since his death.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society,” he said. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

While liberals want to hear the civil-rights message in King’s speeches, they refuse to examine the foreign and domestic policies of empire that he condemned. They champion Barak Obama, who they depict as a clear contrast to Donald Trump. “When orange-faced Trump proclaims Make America Great Again, he’s declaring war on the progressive America that Barack Obama began laying the groundwork for.”

But, is Trump really that different from Obama?

Instead, I would argue that for all his charm, Obama was a much more capable steward of empire than the boorish Trump. Obama continued the same militaristic policies as Bush, but in a way that made it easier for Americans to ignore. Drone-strike assassinations and employing terrorist proxies as cut-outs rather than frontal assaults. Regime change instead of invasions.

The policies of violence and control remained consistent.

And Trump supporters. How can we reconcile Trump’s Make America Great Again with his determination to vastly expand the US military, whose mission is a violent maintenance of empire?

Could it be that the deeper malady King referred to inspires the present day gun violence and opioid overdoses? Where do you think these teenage school shooters get the idea that violence might be the solution? Or our neighbors who gaze at America’s savage imperial actions and medicate away the pain?

Is not Russia-gate, at its very essence, a way for the deep state to maintain a violent imperial presence in the face of Trump’s call for a less interventionist foreign policy and detente with Russia?

King ended his Riverside speech with words that are just as powerful today.

“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.”

 

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I am the Walrus

 

The non-stop demonization of Russia has achieved its desired outcome–a new cold war with Russia. This comes as the US empire enters post-primacy and desperately seeks a major new conflict to maintain its dominance and forestall the rise of a multipolar world.

Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous gambit.

Foremost Russian scholar, Professor Stephan Cohen says that in this climate there is no one to halt the dangerous slide towards nuclear war.

“There is no one today. Only the Schumers and the Pelosis. And they have become with this Russia gate stuff, claiming that Putin attacked America and it was like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I mean I never call people names, but this is warmongering. That’s exactly what it is. If you claim Russia attacked America, the assumption is we have to attack Russia. And we’re talking about nuclear war potentially. So what kind of political leadership is, we have descended into a morass of degraded commentary on Russia that has never even when the Soviet Union existed, even during the worst days of the Cold War, we didn’t have this kind of discourse.”

Russia-gate also canceled out Trump’s call for a less belligerent foreign policy and a new détente with Moscow. Indeed, the chaos in in White House since Trump’s inauguration can be seen as a struggle for control over US foreign policy. The deep state, led by the CIA, has successfully brought Trump to heel, forcing him to nominate one crazy neocon after the other in a desperate attempt to prove that he’s not Putin’s bitch.

First Trump fired Rex Tillerson, and nominated Tea-bagger Mike Pompeo to replace him as Secretary of State. Then Trump advanced torture advocate Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo as CIA director. And now Trump has named psychopath John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor.

Democrats rather than decrying Bolton for his bat-shit crazy views instead accused him of being a Kremlin agent.“John Bolton once suggested Russian hack of DNC may have been a false flag operation by Obama Administration,” fretted lead Democratic Russia-gater Adam Schiff.

You can’t make this shit up.

The addition of Bolton is hardly surprising in this climate. Liberals have been mainstreaming neocons since Trump’s election, welcoming crazies like Bill Kristol, David Frum and Max Boot into their McResistance fold.

“One of the most amazing outcomes of the Trump administration is the number of neo-conservatives that are now my friends and I am aligned with,” MSNBC pundit Joy Reid openly admitted in an interview last year. “I found myself agreeing on a panel with Bill Kristol. I agree more with Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, and Max Boot than I do with some people on the far left. I am shocked at the way that Donald Trump has brought people together.”

These are the very same neocons in think tanks and the media who pushed for the invasion of Iraq and subsequently have suffered no consequences. They’ve kept their jobs or been promoted.

If anyone wants to know why I have come to loath liberals, this is a good place to start.

Fuckers!

One might reasonably assume that Russia-gate proponents are actually angry because Trump has had the temerity to try to improve relations with Russia. In fact, it’s more than a little suspicious that when Trump  attempts a sensible policy–like a less belligerent foreign policy–he gets assailed by the same actors that castigate him when he does something stupid. This leads one to the conclusion that unless Trump is launching cruise missiles he cannot please the pro-war Beltway insiders.

The actors behind Russia-gate are playing with fire. Lies about the Russian government and Putin should be taken very seriously. They are war propaganda and they are meant to get public support for military action against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Furthermore the campaign against Russia appears to be a case of projection. It’s extremely hypocritical to blame Russia for meddling when the US, since WWII, has carried out invasions, bombings, overthrowing governments, occupations, assassinations of political leaders, and rigging elections in numerous countries around the world.

The appointment of John Bolton to be National Security Advisor makes abundantly clear that we’re not close to being done.

I am the walrus.

Goo goo g’joob.

 

 

 

 

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Heck of a job Brownie

 

If you wonder why America is in terminal decline, look no further than the lack of accountability.

Not for us, silly. Under the regime of neoliberal-flavored-austerity there’s extreme accountability. Fuck-up and you’ll be living in a van down-by-the-river.

No, I’m talking about America’s elite.

I touched on this lack of accountability in my last post, where Bush and his happy band of neocons, after destroying Iraq and murdering millions, never faced justice.

It was explained away and everyone moved on. The corporate media never raised a stink precisely because they’d been such fervent cheerleaders. If they did discuss it, pundits described the invasion of Iraq as an honest mistake with the US flubbing its noble efforts to introduce democracy to a indifferent population.

This account is bullshit.

As Rolling Stone’s gonzo journalist, Matt Taibbi says. “The invasion was no mistake, and nobody above the age of eight believed the WMD story. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. We all knew what was going on. Far from being an error, the war was a perfect expression of everything we stood for then, and still stand for now.”

Bygones.

Now, by all accounts, Bush has settled into a comfortable retirement and his second career as an artist. He recently appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show to promote his book of paintings.

Condoleezza Rice is a political science professor at Stanford, busy shaping tender young minds.

Ditto for torture rationalizer John Yoo, lecturing as a Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Yoo, if you’ll recall, was one of the key formulators of the outrageous legal opinions that justified the Bush administration’s use of torture.

The most interesting member of the gang–Karl Rove–was something of the mastermind. After all, his moniker was Bush’s Brain. A famous exchange between journalist Ron Susskind and Rove summed up the attitude of the Bushies. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” 

While Rove was wrong about a great many things and indeed helped drive the US empire into a ditch he was absolutely prescient about elite impunity.

In fact, President Obama, after campaigning on bringing the perpetrators to justice, backtracked. In a later speech describing his lack of action he perfectly encapsulated elite impunity, citing what he called “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards”.

I wish I could tell you that the Bush administration was an aberration. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the Bush administration that’s been allowed to skate.

After the Wall Street crash, the bankers that wrecked the economy and destroyed untold lives were bailed out and allowed to keep their bonuses rather than being arrested and jailed.

Once again Obama intervened and made absolutely sure that no one was held accountable. On 27 March 2009, Obama assembled the top executives of the bailed-out financial firms in a secret meeting at the White House and he assured them that he would cover their backs; he promised “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks”.

Do I detect a pattern?

It’s not just Obama.

Neither political party nor the press has had the temerity to ask a simple question about our never-ending War-on-Terror. Why has our vaunted military–the finest fighting force everbeen unable to win any of these conflicts? Does lack of success have something to do with our military brass failing upwards, transitioning from leadership to Lockheed/Martin or Raytheon?

What about our intelligence agencies in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures? It turns out that in the aftermath of 9/11, they authorized a sweeping surveillance program here in the homeland, capturing the phone conversations and emails of millions of Americans without our consent or knowledge. This disclosure was after senior intelligence officials and current liberal hero James Clapper openly lied to congress about the existence of the vast extralegal spy regime.

Again, bygones.

The upshot is that our elite have been able to make their crimes vanish from the legal, economic and moral process. Whatever crimes you commit, whether wars, invasions, torture, murder, fraud, theft–if you’re a member of the elite, you’re given a pass. To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, who famously described taxes as only for the little people. Crimes are only for the little people.

And, here we are.

The abandonment of the rule of law by our elite has been corrosive. In my opinion it was a huge contributing factor in the election of Donald Trump, who described the invasion of Iraq as a mistake.

Liberals take satisfaction that Trump is an aberration. He isn’t. He’s the logical outcome of elite impunity.

In the disastrous wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bush inadvertently exposed the curve that our elite are graded on when he told his FEMA director–“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.“.

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War is a Product

 

Fifteen years ago our neocon-foreign-policy elite sold us a war based on fraudulent intelligence. They acquired much of this intelligence through torture. Saddam Hussein was accused of having weapons of mass destruction. He had none. Iraq was illegally attacked and invaded regardless on the basis of a pack of lies. Now US oil companies have what they coveted all along. It wasn’t a mistake or blunder. It was a war crime.

We should never forget this.

The US architects of war were hardly subtle about their plans. In September of 2002, White House chief of staff Andrew Card explained why the Bush administration didn’t make the case for the second Gulf War during the summer. ”From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

Not when Americans are still at the beach, or busy barbecuing in the backyard. No, any advertising campaign for a new product would be much more effective once Americans were back to work or school and paying attention to the idiot box.

Indeed, the big advertising campaign would commence in ernest in the autumn of 2002, with Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld all making appearances on TV through the winter. Colin Powell made his infamous case in front of the UN in early February of 2003, and the rest of the administration made a big push on TV during sweeps week. Bombs started falling on Iraq starting March 20, 2003.

Jeffrey St. Clair, describes how Bush and his neocon minions closed the sale. “Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don’t explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.”

I still marvel at the propaganda operation that was waged on the American people. At the time I was already up to speed on the alternative reality presented through the Internet, and remember being mystified that anyone could believe the blatant pro-war propaganda.

However, I underestimated the power of the corporate media.

Too many Americans believed the narrative about Saddam as an aggressor–brandishing WMD and palling around with Al Qaeda. The lies that were fed to the them were built on gullible, easily manipulated public opinion fanned by emotive outbursts from politicians and the media.

In the build-up to war with Iraq a decade and a half ago, there were those of us who pushed back on the politicized intelligence that the Bush administration was using to convince the American people of the need to go to war, but for the most part, the media and political establishment parroted these claims. Dissent was ruthlessly suppressed as the Dixie Chicks learned the hard way. It was a shameful period in our history.

Observing the way that liberals have lost their mind over Russia-gate, a similar pro-war ad campaign, it’s apparent that little has been learned. Right now, the neocons, who still control US foreign policy are busy demonizing Russia, and using the same playbook to sell the coming conflict to the American people.

As you might have noticed, the neocons still have tender plans for the Middle-East. Right now, they are hard at work drumming up support for an attack on Iran. Recently, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, where he laid out the case for war with Iran as if the invasion of Iraq never happened and America, in its role as the benevolent policeman walking the beat, has simply been negligent in its efforts to protect the region from the malign Persian influence. In an up-is-down kind of logic, Graham blames Iran, rather than the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, for the ongoing disaster in the region.

However, the invasion of Iraq was the chief cause of the ongoing turmoil in the Middle-East, opening up “the gates of hell”. We can see the smoking ruins, the ongoing violence, the mass displacement and the deaths that have resulted  from the invasion of Iraq. The accumulated evil of the invasion and destruction of Iraq is difficult to fully comprehend.

But rather than leading to substantive changes or reversals in U.S. policies, it’s like the invasion of Iraq never happened. The same cast of neocon-foreign-policy elite are busy plotting further conflicts, having easily overwhelmed Trump’s campaign promises of a non-interventionist foreign policy.

And, why not?

The most enduring legacies of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was that no one has been held accountable. Bush, and the members of his administration rode into the sunset. Mission Accomplished.

There has also been zero accountability for the corporate media stars who cheered on the invasion. In fact, as I’ve noted, being pro-war is great for your career, while being anti-war is guaranteed to deep-six your future in the corporate media.

It’s readily apparent that war is simply another product to sell.

And, business is good.

 

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Game Changer

 

The corporate media barely covered it but Russian President Putin’s recent speech was a wakeup call to our neocon-foreign-policy elite.

To understand the geo-political ramifications of this speech, I would recommend the excellent article entitled “The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems” by Andrei Martyanov who offers a superb analysis of what these new weapons mean.

Martyanov writes that, “Vladimir Putin’s March 1st, 2018 address to Russia’s Federal Assembly was not about Russia’s upcoming presidential elections, as many in the election-obsessed West suggest. Putin’s speech was about coercing America’s elites into, if not peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of a newly emerging world.”

This warning by Putin occurred against the backdrop of the non-stop Russia-gate hysteria raging in the US. The majority of Americans believe that Russia is the perpetrator of hostilities against the United States, mainly because the neocons and their corporate media handmaidens have promulgated the spurious claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections.

In my opinion, Russia-gate has been used by our neocon-foreign-policy elite precisely to manufacture public support for escalations against Russia to secure strategic regions and ultimately hobble the emerging Russia-China partnership. The elephant in the room is the American empire and the desperate attempts by the neocon foreign-policy-elite to maintain this empire as American economic and military strength ebbs.

A large part of why Russia-gate has gained such traction is that our corporate media fails to provide history or context. The end result is that most US citizens remain oblivious in our United States of Amnesia.

For instance, few people know that the US, under President George W. Bush, withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002. And recently, the US changed its nuclear posture from MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), to a policy of first use of nuclear weapons even in the event of a computer hacking attack.

But, guess what?

The Russians are aware. Just like they know that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO expanded eastward and now surrounds Russia with hostile NATO members. After promising Russian President Gorbachev that NATO would never “expand one inch to the east”, the US-led military alliance added 13 new countries to its membership. NATO forces now routinely conduct military exercises just miles from the Russian border while anti-ballistic missile systems surround Russia on all sides.

How could the Russians not take these measure as hostile? In fact, Putin was very clear: “You didn’t listen to us then, you will listen to us now”. After that he proceeded with what can only be described as a military-technological bitch-slap, the strategic ramifications of which are historic in nature. In fact, they are a game changer.

Here are the new weapons that Putin unveiled in his historic speech:

–The deployment of the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM with hypersonic maneuverable reentry vehicles

–The deployment of conventionally armed very long-range cruise missiles

–The deployment of a nuclear powered cruise missile with a basically unlimited range

–The deployment of a nuclear powered unmanned submersible with intercontinental range, very high speed, silent propulsion and capable of moving a great depths

–The deployment of the Mach 10 hypersonic missile Kinzhal with a 2000 kilometer range

–The deployment of a new strategic missile Avangard capable of Mach 20 velocities

The weapons systems that Putin announced demonstrate that our neocon-foreign-policy elite have been lying to us. According to these leading-lights, Russia is a basket case, whose economy is on life support, “a gas station masquerading as a country”. The new Russian weapons also demolishes another myth–that the US has better weapons because of our superior technology.

For those of us who’ve been paying attention, the myth of American technological superiority has been apparent for some time.

This brings us to the other elephant in the room–the military/industrial/complex (MIC).

57 years after Eisenhower’s famous speech it’s beyond obvious that the  US military/industrial/complex is concerned with profit not defense.  If the weapons systems don’t work as advertised–oh well. With cost/plus contracts there’s simply more money to be made upgrading said weapons system. At this point it’s probably safe to assume that rather than a bug, it’s a feature of the vaunted US weapons procurement system—delays and astronomical costs of US weapons, which, despite constantly being declared the “best in the world” are no such thing, especially for the prices charged.

Now, with Putin’s Sputnik moment, it’s apparent that Russian weapons rival or are superior to those made in the USA. For example, since WWII, US naval warfare doctrine has emphasized aircraft carriers as the primary means of power projection. For the MIC this carrier centric navy has been a stunningly profitable business operation. However, as Martyanov makes abundantly clear, one of the weapons that Putin revealed has the potential to re-write the rules of naval warfare for a fraction of the cost.

“While Western punditry was discussing all those exotic and, no doubt, stunning weapon systems designed for the delivery of nuclear weapons to any point on the globe with very high precision, many true professionals were gasping for the air when the Dagger (Kinzhal) was unveiled. This is a complete game changer geopolitically, strategically, operationally, tactically and psychologically. It was known for some time now that Russian Navy was already deploying a revolutionary M=8 capable 3M22 Zircon anti-shipping missile. As impressive and virtually uninterceptable by any air defenses the Zircon is, the Kinzhal is simply shocking in its capabilities. This, most likely based on the famed Iskander airframe, M=10+ capable, highly maneuverable, aero-ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers, carried by MiG-31BMs, just rewrote the book on naval warfare. It made large surface fleets and combatants obsolete. More specifically, no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter–all this without use of nuclear munitions.”

Unfortunately, I’m not sure our neocon-foreign-policy elite are capable of heeding Russia’s warning. For whatever reason, whether hubris, lack of military experience, or zero accountability within the Beltway bubble (where being pro-war is always a career enhancer), when one of their hare-brained schemes fails the neocons simply double-down.

They seem to be following the script. In the wake of Rex Tillerson’s firing and Mike Pompeo’s ascendance at the State Department, UN representative Nikki Haley has now specifically threatened Syria and Russia with attack if the Syrian government does not halt its offensive in East Gouta and the Yarmouk camp.

The Russians were quick with a response.

This could get really interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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