The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Undumbing Down "Progressive Realism"

    Response to "What is Progressive Realism" ["But the article was essentially about describing the differences between schools of thought while obviously giving evidence the author thought supported a different school than has predominated and was making a case for trying something different"]

    Robert Wright in the 2nd paragraph makes "realist" a synonym for Kissinger's cynical "realpolitik", thus loading any "realist" with the baggage of Kissinger's policies in Vietnam, turning a blind eye to disaster in Indonesia, et al. A rather tawdry piece of smear and false equivalency. (To be clear, the level of human carnage in SE Asia and the expulsion of Commusts from Indonesia was huge - incomparable to the tolls we've seen in Mideast conflicts the last 20 years.)

    But Wright pulls this off with a "Maybe McFaul had Kissinger in mind when he lamented the 'deaths and horrific repression' that past realists...." - or maybe McFaul didn't, and it's just Wright's fervent imagination leaping to smear by most distant association.

    Wright leaves out McFaul's key sentence, "Realism is an ideology that produced millions of deaths & horrific repression over the centuries." - an expression that might include Mao's "to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs", efforts to "civilize" "backwards people" around the world, accommodate slavery in a new Constitution, Bismarck's approach to Europe & treaties, et al. Certainly not honed in on 1 particular Secretary of State from our Nixon years.

    If this is Wright's "evidence" in "supporting a different school" (i.e. his version of "realists" before he trashes modern "progressive idealists", especially Biden appointees), he's off to a bad start. Note, the whole of McFaul's tweet:

    In the debate about the future Biden foreign policy Im seeing people self-identify as "progressive realists." Where are the "progressive idealists"? Or the "pragmatic idealists?" Realism is an ideology that produced millions of deaths & horrific repression over the centuries.

    — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) November 16, 2020

    It's obvious by paragraph #6 that the real target of this is to bash the choices of Blinken and Sullivan (and Obama in general) as blinkered idealists with blood on their hands. You'd think Neville Chamberlain would come up as such an idealist before 2 apparatchiks within a much more limited alliance, failed or not.
    As this piece progresses, we'll see that it's not really introducing a new framework, but using a purported framework to beat the old dead horse with once again. Let's take this framework 1 by 1:

    1) "Strategic humility" - Wright jumps to this, as if Obama had put boots on the ground first chance (something Putin did, by the way). Instead, he worked through EU & Arab alliances, as well as protecting civilian protesters with *NO FLIGHT ZONES* (the stratically humble winner of the Kosovo conflict and the maintainer of a peaceful status quo over Iraq during the 90's). And yes, he armed rebels, which is how we pushed the Russians out of Afghanistan *WITHOUT* confronting the $600 billion a year Soviet military's invasion directly.
    Did arming rebels in Syria work? undoubtedly no. Was Russia's propping Syria up (vs Yeltsin's relative acquiescence in Kosovo) a big differentiator? Certainly. As was the more entrenched state of Assad II, and the fact that European powers are less committed to non-European conflicts. And as barbaric as Serbs & Croats were in the 90's, compared to ISIS & other actors *this time* they behaved oddly a bit better. e.g. they still tried to hide their atrocities, whereas in Syria & Iraq & Afghanistan, they liked announcing them.

    "Still, the fact remains that the intervention produced much more death and suffering on all sides than ruthless suppression would have produced." - wow, that's a Kitty Genovese (debunked) framing all in itself. Actually it's partly dumb - the death and suffering was on the side of the Syrian people - European allies just had to deal with refugees, while Americans suffered not a whit, nor did Russians - they got a Mediterranean seaport out of it. Second, "humility" doesn't mean "inaction" - it means be careful & thoughtful exactly *BECAUSE* interventions aren't guaranteed to turn out well. And I can't think of a recent leader who exhibits caution and no-drama better than Obama, so what gives?

    The part on Libya seems upset that "humility" worked *too* well - that the no-flight airspace and support for rebels over the barbaric military dictator Qaddafi effectively derailed his sordid plans, and while I do have qualms about NATO seeming to overstep the compromise of their UN agreement, I'd like to see those formulated with a bit more attention to pertinent detail including the rapidly changing situation on the ground - specifically what that means for an agreed, condoned support effort without going back for new permission. But nowhere do I see any perspective of the Arab Spring - where Tunisian revolts were successful, where Egyptian repression was bloody but through our help peacefully transferred to caretaker and then a Muslim-led government that turned out to be much worse and chaotic than Mubarak. But so was Pakistan and then Pakistan-Bangladesh once the British left. So is South Africa after Mandela replaced De Klerk, and then a bunch of uninspired self-serving idiots replaced Mandela. So is Belgian Congo after Belgium quit/got pushed out. Does "progressive realism" now mean keeping dictatorships and caretaker colonialists in place, the old patronizing infantilist recipe?

    Whatever the case, the US didn't actively engage on the ground in Libya - they provided air & other support to local actors. But just as Milosevic largely kept a fractured Yugoslavian Balkans together, Qaddafi's brutal dictatorship kept ruthless splinter groups at bay, as did Hussein's strongarm control of Iraq, etc. - many of whom came out with his departure (presumably this would have happened with exile as well). So is the question whether we should have taken a *MORE ACTIVE ROLE* in Libya following Qaddafi's removal, rather than being shy & humble & distant? such as introducing EU-like laws & societal frameworks to guide a shattered already split nation into something more beneficial than factional chaos, providing peacekeeping forces? Maybe, maybe not - could be a bridge too far. But most Iraqis support pushing Israel into the sea - freedom doesn't equal good taste or wise choices by a long beleagoured populace. Caveat emptor.

    2) Cognitive empathy - oh my, a long section on being empathetic towards Putin's wishes in strong-arming Ukraine. I mean, Chamberlain was empathetic towards Hitler and his needs, and produced a brilliant peace for his time. I'd suggest rather than cognitive empathy, an awareness of the rights of states & peoples, some acceptance of larger caretaker influence without giving into brute colonialism, and more attention to basic human rights & self-determination and whatever economic development & education & other progressivism can bring to the table.

    I'm not sure what kind of "more orderly fashion" Wright sees Yanukovych being deposed with, but considering the corruption that his departure exposed, and that Yanukovych was actively under the patronage of a world superpower in directly working against the will of the people (joining the EU & the post-Soviet economy, not the NATO bit), it's hard to see why he wouldn't be treated as a traitor to non-Donbas Ukraine. Does "cognitive empathy" extend to the people of Ukraine themselves? Seems not. (Oddly, Wright then extrapolates to "Russia that justly meddled in the 2016 US election" - where I thought the official line was that "Russiagate" was a hoax made up by Democratic centrists & HIllary/Obama-lovers, and that some 300 pound kid on his mother's couch did it. Oh well, conflicting narratives, move on...)

    But Wright doesn't end there. He quotes: "China is a big country, and other countries here are small countries. Think hard about that." I think we're aware of that, what with China installing factories in its Muslim concentration camps, and using its "Belt & Road" initiative to try to get those ill-gotten products to market. And China bashing down protesters in Hong Kong. And China pretending it owns all the Pacific off of SE Asia and building up its fleet & fake islands to bolster those excessive claims. 

    But traditionally the US has pushed back against these excesses - even TPP was designed to bring *more* Pacific trading partners into the Asian mix, rather than the one dominated by China. Efforts to unpeg China's currency, to respect human rights, to respect intellectual property, lower pollution and greenhouse gasess, et al, have all been part of US diplomacy and economic policy, even as we work with China to produce much of the world's goods and services. It's obvious by now that we have limited abilities to tell China what to do - but it's important to keep trying to leverage what power & influence we have *for good*, not just for Ivanka's trademarks.

    Wright doesn't manage to dig into issues re: sanctions and US policy very well. Our approach towards Cuba is entirely driven by Conservative Cubans voting Republican living in Florida - yes, I'd love to influence that, but "meanwhile, back on Planet Earth..." Syria's sanctions started from its treatment of its own citizens under Assad's father, and got locked in when Assad Jr. had the choice during the Arab Spring of whether to open up or "doubling down" on repression. He chose to latch onto the past & new friendship with Russia, who brought us the destruction of Chechnya, the separatism of Georgia (Abkhazia & South Ossetia) and Donbas, and the renewed repression of his own dissenters. With friends like these...

    Venezuela sanctions are largely Maduro's meltdown after the death of the more capable and more admirable Chavez. Whether Chavez painted lipstick on a big, or truly did good things for his people, Maduro is inept, and let Venezuela's oil infrastructure collapse as the only real support for Chavez's social restructuring, and then largely playing a thug ruling by decree, and backed by the usual rogue states.

    Wright triumphantly exclaims: "Realists, in contrast, ask a simple question: Remind me what vital American interest is served by inflicting misery on a small faraway country in hopes that something magical will eventually happen?" - ha ha ha. Remind me what progressive ideal is served by ignoring an oil-rich country's descent into insolvency and despotic undemocratic means as a way of propping up a respected leader's pathetic successor, while the population largely goes hungry? While not perfect, Latin America is pretty much better off and more democratic and more caring for its people than in the 1970's. Venezuela being a huge exception. Realistically speaking.

    Iran is more complex, partly due to Israel's influence, partly due to our past behavior with Mossadegh - whatever worries about the communists were real or contrived, the realpolitik of backing the Shah's son who was somewhat forward looking, somewhat blind to social problems, and given to spying & torture by his Savak and then overthrown by a despotic fundamentalist mullah who committed more atrocities and brought Iran back to a medieval state. Our involvement with the Iran-Iraq War brings no accolades (though oddly we did supply Iran with weapons on the sly), and Iran's progress has been haphazard - partly progressive opening, partly populist & openly repressive, all with the continued oversight of the Mullahs. That Iran has continued its nuclear development on the sly, but is probably less capable at actually developing usable weapons than it pretends, continues to be food for Israeli & right-wing GOP paranoia, and frustration for those of us who'd like to see Iran warm up to say the EU and gradually thaw out of the Khomeini period. That's hardly "idealistic", and it doesn't rely on the fantasy of Putin's goodwill (ignoring Novichok poisonings & other tactics) or empathy towards his Iran ambitions.

    3) Anti-Manichaeism - here we draw a line between technology used to promote democracy and technology used to bolster totalitarianism. Image recognition of dissenters on the street should worry us, though we also see technology helping identify criminal rioters from the Capitol occupation. China's ubertech used to imprison Uyghurs and stifle debate is a horror, but so is Facebook's misuse of stolen personal data to promote one candidate over another & giving a party a leg up over another, and otherwise massively invading people's privacy on a daily basis. There's much movement to trying to break up America's techno-monopolists - I've gone from agnostic to pro, though concerned greatly about actual details - but there's still a big difference between actively trying to imprison millions from an ethnic minority & religion, vs trying to make a buck and so running over cultural norms and regulations. This is not a call to allow the latter - it's a call to take the former more seriously, *while* addressing the latter. But since China's a "big country" with big influence, it will still be hard to do - unless we line up good-willed allies to invoke humanitarian future-tech ideals and guidelines. Oddly, this is also "realist", not just "idealist", as it acknowledges compromises needed to develop & enforce those guidelines, much as the UN, WTO & other international bodies are flawed coalitions of member states with different attitudes & intentions.

    But what switch does Robert Wright come up with this time? Yes, another panic about a "Cold War" (slightly less drastic than invoking the usual "World War III" or "Nuclear War" whenever someone suggests that Russia shouldn't brazenly steal Crimea outside of world norms or limit Russia's aggressive & civilian-killing support in Syria). Because China can't possibly see the advantages of maintaining US outsourced manufacturing while limiting its mistreatment of its citizens? Are these the same people who said we shouldn't outsource because of poor working conditions in China, only to see standards of living rise hugely for most in China? "Realism" should deal with likelihoods and cause & effect, not just acceptance of the status quo and fear of moving past square one.

    Let's look at the problems he mentions:  "Pandemics" - the world just fast-tracked 2 mRNA vaccines and another more traditional one, thanks to advances in technology these last 50 years, plus the greater cooperation of individual, often selfish states in looking for mutually beneficial solutions to a crisis. Yay multilateralism!!! Yay "league of democracies"!!! Weapons proliferation? the greatest impediment to weapons proliferation is the rise of more democratic countries that see rogue weapons as only undermining the peace & shared economy that's decreased extreme poverty from 30% in 1989 to ~8-9% in 2019. Even China doesn't want weapons going to other countries these days - it's fully in charge of its Belt & Road initiative, and wants to maintain that power, even as it tries to expand economically in Africa et al. "Climate change"? the push is on for electric vehicles via US, Europe, Korea & Japan and especially China (now hosting Tesla, its own Nio, and several other large contenders). Other huge developments underway through new transformation in tech. Not fast enough for some of the destructive effects, but at least impressive human progress.

    Then Wright offers up this curious passage: "For every action there is a reaction. Almost inevitably, a 'league of democracies' would lead to a de-facto league of authoritarians—and to deep fissures between the two." Uh, here in the European Union, things are going pretty well - no big "league of authoritarians" popping up, even though populists come and go. Is it possible that some alliances *attract* new members and *promote* reforms among old adversaries? I'm not so much of an idealist to think it *has* to, but the EU started out as an industrial alliance of just 6 countries 70 years ago, and now has expanded to contain 27 plus 4 associates, including much deeper ties and cooperation, with some observation status and looser alliances from countries outside. Turkey's observer status has been derailed by Erdogan's military adventures abroad and repression strategies at home (egged on by Putin, perhaps), but for countries trying to break out of repression like Belarus it remains a reasonable goal, not an unreachable ideal - certainly not something to fight against unless your initials are V.P.

    It's odd that Wright then goes on to espouse issues like "arms control in space and cyberspace" while ignoring the recent Russian-backed internet hacks on SolarWinds and others - rather incredible. Seems a bit like looking for your lost keys under the streetlight - nice to talk about abstract things off in the distance, while ignoring critical ones close to home. China's already abusing use of AI & cyberspace, perhaps genetic engineering with its pioneering CRISPR work - shouldn't Wright mention that here, rather than an unstated aside?

    4) Okay, running out of gas - "Respect for international law". "if America had abided by international law over the last decades, mistakes like Iraq & Syria over the past couple of decades wouldn't have happened". Well, Hussein was hoping to invade Saudi Arabia. Sudan has gone from one humanitarian disaster to another without our help. Russia destroyed Chechnya over several years, and Afghanistan before. Iran put down its own protesters much like Syria started out when the US provided some arms to some rebels, plus Iraq's hunt for weapons of mass destruction wasn't exactly benign and unthreatening. Qaddafi was ready to wipe out Benghazi and the ethnically different east (Cyrenaica) when the US *partially* went by international law. The Congo held a civil war that killed 5 million around 1997-2002 along with vicious rape gangs, without our involvement at all. Osama bin Laden's justification for 9/11 (2001) and our subsequent rush to break up Mideast anti-American insurgencies was what exactly? Our breaking *which* international laws? Is inaction the only way to avoid "mistakes"? Can we guess what worse might have happened vs the paths we chose, and try to hone better decisions for the future?

    So who's being "idealistic" here? Al Gore proposed better international policing as a more appropriate & effective front prong to combat terrorism - it's not like half of us didn't try to elect him to handle it, being "progressive realists" under our own definition. (He was known as a pioneer for global warming, tackling problems with welfare as we knew it, expanding the Internet, et al., though undoubtedly some of his early solutions would look foolish looking back 20 years later, just like attempts to provide universal healthcare in 1994 weren't the pretties by today's standards - nor those from 10 years ago either).

    Note that Obama & *allies* that supposedly shifted to "unabashed" regime change which "entailed a cynical exploitation of international governance and a disingenuous invocation of international law" was done to do what, remove a true democrat, champion of the people, beacon of hope for pan-Arabism? Hardly - it was a military dictator in power since 1969 who was known for petty terrorist acts abroad and torturing his people at home, as humorously portrayed in Sacha Cohen's "The Dictator", not that murder should be funny (but the movie is). That Qaddafi tried to reform himself after 9/11 should be appreciated, but during the Arab Spring, people across the region were looking for a new direction and to right past wrongs. That the US should assist where possible in such a confused movement upending the status quo is *expected*, even though horridly complex and fraught with failure. We still admire France for assisting the colonists in the Revolution (even though it was self-serviing to their power structure at the time - but France soon adopted many of the same ideals). Idealism made real. Ignoring Rwanda still hits Hillary as a key moral failure and a major foreign policy mistake to inform later policy, even though we broke no international laws in avoiding it. Helping Poles in Solidarnost failed, but was a helpful failure that started to nudge the country and region towards freedom a decade later. Actions in Yugoslavia - diplomatic and military - helped ease the disintegration but imperfectly. Yet Soros' and some American assistance across East Europe helped them catch up from 40 years of a bleak Communist economy and legal system, as did the subsequent joining of the EU - certainly military measures are not the only way, but protecting the rest of Ukraine from Russian-supported troops in Donbas *did* ease that crisis (and didn't cause a World War, thank you very much), whether Putin's feelings were hurt or not. Obama taking out ISIS with a 5-nation mission was excruciating, but helped remove a horrid movement/ad hoc regime that he and Bush both had been blamed for allowing. Yet fixing your own mistakes doesn't buy so much praise from some - even though it's an important part of "realism".

    Did the NATO allies (not just US) overstep their UN mandate in Libya? a bit. But arguably not that much. And for not bad reasons. The background is it's hard to get some of the member states (Russia and China especially) to support any actions at all, and when they do, it's a halfway point to effective resolution. In Kosovo, Yeltsin dropped his troops into Prishtina to take the airport ahead of the allies - fortunately only a bit of posturing and buffoonery to make a show, rather than a serious disruption of peacekeeping efforts. With Putin, it's been much worse - including chemical weapons and attacks and the famed shootdown of the Malaysian airliner, despite the continued propaganda of Russia-aligned leftist rags, not to mention disrupted cyberwar that Russia launched into long before 2016, interfering in elections around the world.

    [analysis of stages of intervention and potential violations - somehow the authors don't see *all* as overstep: ]

    Wright waxes on about good intentions being "disciplined, subordinated to the imperative of building a true global community", but he ignores the flaws and evils and difficulties of that true global community. This is no cakewalk. Obsession over every failure, gleaning over every success, is a non-serious approach to creating a new framework to interact with an increasingly fast-paced interconnected world. It is also realistic to say the US has frequently been the leader in many positive movements, developments, & historical moments, including our leadership in WWII and the almost-lost Korean War, and like it or not, Reagan's leadership in standing up to Russia in Europe. But also our leadership in finance, when we drive the recovery, however flawed, from the 2008 crash. In tech, leadership in practical new approaches aka business models such as Uber and AirBNB and Facebook/Google marketing, or work models like Agile programming and Slack and Zoom, or confronting our social ills like racism publicly and working them out for all to see. We make mistakes, we break things, we build things, we're often full of shit, but we often - not always - put in the work to turn that shit into shinola.

    Even now, with our 4 year brainfart culminating in the riot at the Capitol, we get to see and show another common American phenomenon - how we somehow pull together to right the ship, start punishing those who need punishing, remove those who need removing, agreeing on new standards and solutions, but without the mass detentions and executions in football stadiums that scarred Latin America's 70's, the censorship that's tainted China's management of Hong Kong, the assassinations and baseless jailings that have become a signature of Russia's handling of dissidents. (Ignoring our poor showing at Gitmo, and our embracing of torture methods and juvenile but punishing harassment of detainees at its worst.)

    The best thing about recent events is Democrats and some Republicans even is we didn't panic - we organized, we used the laws effectively, we came prepared, we communicated. From a splntered chaotic Democratic field a year ago at the start of a pandemic, we circled around an effective if not completely charismatic figure that seemed the best to carry us forward, and we persisted through setbacks, including organizing to win the Senate in a final tense 2-seat runoff in a typically racist and backwards-feeling southern state. Maturely pushing back against the immature ravings that took the Capitol - a symbolic folly more than an effective attack on US democracy. Going into Trump's 2nd Impeachment today - as much to show it still matters, whether he's almost out the door, as any actual effect.

    There's more than enough Progressive Realism around - even from those like Biden who aren't *that* progressive, but are realistic enough to manage and ally themselves with those who are, similar to the coordination and cooperation of Pelosi and The Squad, even without "the numbers". I keep repeating, wars are way way down from past decades and from WWII era. Poverty has been largely constrained and decreased through economic growth and better distribution. Medicine has made some pretty impressive jumps lately. Tools to combat global warming are coming around. Social advances like better support for women in work and politics is coming about. It's unrealistic to think all this will happen in a moment. But it's visible, and tangible. Realistically, there's a lot to be done to improve our lot. Some idealism is needed, especially to identify goals, reachable or not, and then a lot of practical effort to make it happen, with the inevitable resistance and the mistakes that come with doing difficult things. We can live with that. We can grow with it too.


    After your bloopus maximus there can be no doubt that you will invent a reason to apply anything to anything and pretend you have made a legitimate point. In this case a reporter for the Murdock owned Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, posted a push tweet to an article on the WSJ by two other reporters who work for the Rupert Murdock owned WSJ. The WSL headline says:

     SolarWinds Hack Leaves Market-Sensitive Labor Data Intact, Scalia Says

    Public can be confident in information from department’s statistical arm, labor secretary says

    [Don't worry, there is more innuendo to come.] The totally useless tweet by Volz says that the Trump appointed Secretary of labor Eugene Scalia, son of Anthony, and prominently known in his former job as a corporate lawyer who had a record of arguing against worker's rights, says everything is okay at his roost after the Solar Winds hack which, he says, is a"serious episode" but no data was "lost or corrupted."  What can anybody learn from this which would have anything to do with Robert Wright’s definition of Progressive Realism and why he thinks it would be a better political philosophy of international relations? And, regarding whatever subject the tweet does apply to, why should anyone expect the other people mentioned, who work at the place mentioned, for the owner mentioned, to give them information they could have confidence in? I don’t subscribe to the WSJ and could only get the Headline and first few paragraphs so I did not read it all. Did you read it or only the tweet and does it actually offer anything remotely on point?

    Unlike you, i sometimes post things that aren't dour going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket prognostications. I mentioned SolarWinds in this piece, and needed a place to drop this tweet, nothing more. It's important I'd the Russians *didn't* disruot data with their hacks.

    But I guess you have nothing to say about my comments re your Progressive Realism article. Totally lame - you only like posting stuff w/o critique. "Stand back and admire in awe". Whatever, at least it got me to write something lengthy instead of just analyzing tweets as they say.

    I first posted the article “What is Progressive Realism” at “In the News”  

    You commented and here, for the record, is the entirety of your original response there and my response to yours . 

    Perpetrators of Syrian deaths

    Reply  by PeraclesPlease on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 12:52pm

      a) Which part of defending civilians in Benghazi do you agree with, and which was over the line, and b) does going over the line invalidate the need to protect civilians from a stated massacre?

      c) Putin spent a decade pushing the rights of Ukraine's minority Russian-speaking population over that of the majority, including setting up his corrupt puppet as President, poisoning an opposition leader, and holding the country hostage to gas payments and cutoffs in winter. At what point is self-determination a right, and not just an irritation to your traditional imperialist colonizer?

      d) Manafort ran a slime campaign against Timoshenko that helped with her imprisonment, as immoral as his work for Trump. Do you approve, or how should this info inform the story of Ukraine? (The authors ignore her claims that last minute electoral changes set up the 2010 for mass cheating, and she never accepted the results - did you know that?)

      e) does it matter that Assad killed all those people in Syria thanks to our diplomatic pressure, it is it all out own blood on hands, even after Obama?

      f) how many years does Russia get to determine Ukraine's politics (100 post-Wall?) or is this a permanent situation by being a neighbor of a "big country"? Does the US get to claim such rights too, or are its actions in Nicaragua and Venezuela and Cuba under a different code?

      Reply  by PeraclesPlease on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 5:22pm

        But the article was essentially about describing the differences between schools of thought while obviously giving evidence the author thought supported a different school than has predominated and was making a case for trying something different.  You seem offended that such thought could be suggested, much less promoted, at dagblog. That is real fucked up.  by A Guy Called LULU on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 12:05am   End of original back and forth.

        Then you understandably separated yourself from that response which quickly scrolled away and started this new blog on the subject where you try to make some sense.  

        Each segment of your original response is a loaded accusatory rhetorical question and none are directly responsive to the article I posted by Robert Wright and so I ignored them and later when you complained in a comment on another unrelated subject that I had not responded to your comment I told you why I had ignored what you had said. The last two questions you ask there do not even make any sense. 

        Moving on to this blog by you where you make some dumb mistakes while claiming to undumb Wright’s piece. 

        Robert Wright in the 2nd paragraph makes "realist" a synonym for Kissinger's cynical "realpolitik", thus loading any "realist" with the baggage of Kissinger's policies in Vietnam, turning a blind eye to disaster in Indonesia, et al. A rather tawdry piece of smear and false equivalency.

        Here is the paragraph you refer to starting with his quote of McFaul.

        “In the debate about the future Biden foreign policy I’m seeing people self-identify as ‘progressive realists’,” he [McFaul] tweeted.  This term bothered McFaul. After all, in foreign policy circles, “realism” has long signified a strict focus on national interest, with little regard for the welfare of people abroad. The famously pitiless Henry Kissinger called himself a realist. Maybe McFaul had Kissinger in mind when he lamented the “deaths and horrific repression” that past realists had countenanced and then asked plaintively, “Where are the progressive idealists?

        Wright is clearly making the distinction between “Realist”, “Progressive Realist”, and “Progressive Idealist”. You make the same mistake about Wright that AA, as I recall, did twice about me when she said that a view I had put forth marked me as a Realist and therefore I was aligning myself with Kissinger. Wrong! Wright too makes it very clear that he is not the kind of realist that Kissinger is. There is no sign that Kissinger has a scruples, or a conscience, or for that matter that the undead prick even has a heartbeat. 

        A few lines down you say:

        If this is Wright's "evidence" in "supporting a different school" (i.e. his version of "realists" before he trashes modern "progressive idealists", especially Biden appointees), he's off to a bad start. Note, the whole of McFaul's tweet: 

         Wright describes himself as a Progressive Realist.  It is those that McFaul wishes for and describes as “Progressive Idealists” as well as the traditional realists like Kissinger that Wright distinguishes himself and his political philosophy from. He goes on to criticize what he calls the progressive idealists, and explains why he gives them that moniker as exemplars of a foreign policy which he would like to see changed.  It is McFaul who synonymizes realists as a whole, " ["Realism is an ideology that produced millions of deaths & horrific repression over the centuries." ] as opposed to progressive realists, as the ones responsible for so much death and destruction. It is McFaul who equates realists with Kissinger's despicable baggage.

        Wright: “Speaking as a progressive realist, let me first say that the answer to that question [The question being; where are the progressive idealists?] is easy. “Progressive idealists” are everywhere! 

        If by that term you mean left-of-center people who wax idealistic about America’s global mission—who think our foreign policy should emphasize spreading democracy and defending human rights abroad—then “progressive idealists” pervade liberal foreign policy circles and will be running the show in a Biden administration. Tony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s picks for secretary of state and national security adviser, are progressive idealists.” 

        You say

        It's obvious by paragraph #6 that the real target of this is to bash the choices of Blinken and Sullivan (and Obama in general) as blinkered idealists with blood on their hands.

        Well, they do have blood on their hands, it comes with the territory, but the amount certainly varies with various policies. Here is Wright's longer analysis and grading of Blinken. Readers can decide if Wright unfairly ‘bashes’ him or if he gives a reasonable and fair account of his working history and what can be expected of him going forward when he gives him a grade of C minus. As a bonus, here is a link to his grading of William Burns, Biden's appointee for head of the CIA. He gets an A minus which is some indication that Wright is not out just to bash Biden’s picks but is actually attempting to make reasonable and informed arguments.  





        1) i did not "understandably separate myself" from my prior comments/questions - i waited for you to answer them, as relevant followups to issues that came out of the article. I'm not "offended" at a new school of thought, but an old appeasement school barely pretending to be "new" merits response. Somehow you didn't find any of my first questions worthy of addressing. They are not "loaded" - they are valid questions when for example Wright asserts the US shouldn't act like a "big country", but Russia can understandably keep manipulating it's ex-Soviet possessions. Given your interest in Latin America even moreso.

        2) the blood-on-hands sets the tone for Wright - "all these flawed people left masses of blood - I'm here to do it moral/clean". I grew up in a place where calling your opponents pig fuckers was obligatory, so I recognize the device. In this particular case, referring to Kissinger's "realpolitik" AND progressive idealists' blinkered bloody aporoach. A lot of lead up and boilerplate just to attack 2 nominees (Blinken and Sullivan) under the pretense of a "framework" (new! Improved! progressive realism!) that glosses over so much contradictory and lacking.

        (McFaul seems to be proposing idealism-informed policy like RFK's "i look at things and think what could be" ambition, rather than accepting that France and Germany will always be fighting over Alsace-Lorraine, and Kings & Dynasties are the rightful order of things. The "centuries" that Wright omits certainly alters the sense if such a short tweet.)

        3) But again instead of answering, you point me to another article to see how bad Blinken is. But my objections aren't just about whether Blinken's worthy - they're about the meat and contentions of the whole article, this framework itself - Humility and whatnot. While Hillary is scarred by Bill's inaction in Rwanda, I'm scarred as much by the death of 5 million in the Congo in a war that took place just 20 years ago that most people have never heard of even as they were getting their internet on. (Plus i live in the European Union where we have peaceful multilateral cooperation plus self-interest that Wright suggests isn't possible in a "realist" world). Yet here's a framework that doesn't address either, nor China's new! improved! heinous awful treatment of Uyghurs or even its own people in Hong Kong. So what *does* this framework give us? And why should I care about Wright's grades of people if his framework searches for the keys under the streetlamp rather than where they were lost? (while *the future* and our changing challenges doesn't get much air time here)

        Wright proves himself an asshole with his review/"grading" of Blinken, saying things like "implies" to put words/meaning in his mouth (eliding over Blinken's criticism of mistakes in Iraq to "imply" Blinken must be supporting any he didn't mention), and assessing him on *Biden's* vote on the Iraq War (an advisor doesn't control his boss's vote, Biden had proposed a more restrictive war resolution, the war didn't start until 5 months later *AFTER* approval had gone to the UN Security Council, and Hussein resisted inspections, and finally with enough multilateral threats Hussein started cooperating in earnest 3 months later). As always, the left ignores that even the chief weapons expert Hans Blix was convinced *UNTIL JAN 2003* that Hussein was hiding WMD production (not nukes), and it was only cooperation in the last 2 months that convinced him otherwise - so what was Biden to think Oct 2002 without UN inspector boots on the ground? Much of what Wright cites as "proof" of his grading Biden are comments made by Bernie & his campaign manager *in the middle of an election campaign*, when evaluations are bound to be slanted to draw the most blood, rather than a fair & balanced assessment.
        Here's Blinken's longer piece for the Brookings Institute - try to find the part that makes Blinken a wanton "interventionist" unworthy of being in the new administration, vs. someone who sees the US needing to take part in global events in various ways with limits on its power & designs. Wright tars Blinken for saying "Kim Jong-un 'at best acts impulsively, and maybe even irrationally'" - as

        “a disappointingly shallow understanding of North Korea.” The casual attribution of irrationality to foreign leaders often generates popular fear that can lead to war, and it often raises the question that Blinken’s version of it raises here: If the leader in question is so irrational, how has he managed to stay in power...

        Of course Kim Jong-un might stay in power by feeding his nephew to dogs and having people assassinate another relative with poison in the Phillipines, along with other gross domestic acts of terror and perverse control (having bikes ride through rice paddies with signs to promote particular policies) that us in the 21st Century might think of as a bit bizarre, and maybe a tad "impulsive" or "irrational"?
        When it comes to "cognitive empathy", it's largely the left thinking how much we should suck Putin's dick - yes, Blinken gets points from Wright for appreciating Putin can feel threatened (stroke stroke), but loses points for not swallowing in full the Russian's point of view - that NATO should jump into the Atlantic/give up and go back to America, and every time the left calls attention to any pro-active US measures as "risking war", often of the nuclear type, end of humanity & life as we know it, and other typical scares: "The casual attribution of irrationality to foreign leaders often generates popular fear that can lead to war" - here toned down a bit, but did Putin worry about the war that supplying Russian-speakers in Donbas and stealing both Crimea and the Azov Sea or bombing Syrian civilians and using chemical weapons might cause? oh yeah, all accusations against Russia are defacto "vicious rumors" and debuked by Consortium & VIPS "experts".
        Lulu notes Wright's grade for Burns to show he's fair & not an overly hard grader, but Burns wins points for thinking NATO shouldn't cover Europe's ex-Iron Curtain states (how ya gonna keep the Russian troops on the farm once they've invaded gay East Berlin/Warsaw/Prague/Budapest?), and that China's taking over the South China Sea "djudicatory mechanisms outlined in the Law of the Sea Convention" - China must love the fuck out of that, because it keeps building new islands and new warships and intimidating its SE Asian neighbors while taking advantage of talk-talk-talk, just like talk has done nothing to stop China's imprisoning and putting forced labor on its Muslim citizens. So a do-nothing foreign policy gets an A-, a thoughtful balanced and comprehensive approach to global policy gets a C-. Not hard to see what's going on.
        Does Wright even *have* a grade for Putin? Or is it just an automatic Gold Star?


        First, Lulu above refers to a post he made in the "In The News" section but doesn't link to it. To minimize confusion, THAT IS HERE

        However his links to NONZERO.ORG are no longer working because the site is not working anymore. What a surprise, NOT

        A lot of Lulu's favorite sites which he would post long polemic tomes from, and after which he would argue the rest of us needed to read lest we have no "balance" are no longer working because they have been found to be pro-Russian propaganda machines or wells of misinformation. What a surprise, NOT

        There's a difference between facts and propagandistic polemics and the latter are not worth spending a lot of time on. What a surprise. NOT

        Not one American soldier has died in the Ukraine war. What a surprise, NOT.

        Anthony Blinken is not a warmonger. Putin is a warmonger. What a surprise. NOT

        Here's someone I would like to see guys like Lulu argue with, YES. (Not the least of which because I would like to see how he would react to so much crap about how he needs to read long worthless polemics and propaganda)

        I hope Ukrainians learn the lessons Syrians had to against Russia fast. Never reveal the locations of shelters for women and children, field clinics or breadlines. Russia will target them first. Don’t reveal the locations to the UN. Russia will access them, and target them first.

        — Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) March 16, 2022

        They will not spare your children, they will target them first. Syrians have lived through 8 years of this already.

        — Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) March 16, 2022

        Oz is a British-Lebanese freelance conflict journalist & filmmaker. Interested in human rights. Currently reporting from Ukraine.

        I would also love to see more guys like Lulu make statements like Franklin's here:

        I am utterly ashamed of myself for not understanding that this was happening in Syria. Utterly and completely ashamed.

        — Franklin M Gauer III (@PirPiraan) March 16, 2022

        But instead, a lot of them just disappear.


        Ok, but did you see this? Just askin' to make sure

        Secretary of State Pompeo Leaves No Bridges Unburned

        On the way out the door, the Trump administration is trying its utmost to make things difficult for Joe Biden.

        By The Editorial Board @,  Jan. 14, 2021

        No, hadn't. Lock em all up. All this posturing as "patriots" and they spend all their energy fucking with the country and it's clgivernment, sabotaging like Putin could only dream. And the "Progressive Realist" didn't even address that US foreign policy has been a whipsaw of countervailing GOP & Dem urges, to play roughshod and hardball in one hand, clean things up and be humanitarian on the other,  And now it's criminal extortion and mutual conspiracies and burn it all down spitefulness. Maybe they can remove Pompeo's security clearance after this, but there's so much a clusterfuck, every recourse seems pathetic and ineffective.

        yet another asshole move



        A few weeks ago you were posting the smarmy Saagar bashing on Aaron Rupar for wondering why Ro Khanna was going on Laura Ingraham to validate her nuttery. Now she's posting that the Capitol riots were caused by BLM/antifa infiltrators, and that voluntary Covid measures work as well as mandatory distancing. You want us to watch another bullshit program? From which you'll refuse to answer questions? Too fucking weird.

        I don't care what you watch. I didn't link to Ingraham, you did. Ropar praised Obama and several other ranking Democrats for having the sense and courage to go on Fox. He only made a partisan stink about Ro Khanna, who did not validate Ingraham's nuttery when, as a Democrat that didn't totally follow the DNC Party line he went there and made his case.  But, you didn't watch the Rising video and regardless you know that it is bullshit? Too fucking weird.  But hey, rave on. Revel in your ignorance. 

        I know that CNN’s Anderson Cooper described John Sullivan as a “left-wing activist” which he is not. He is an anarchist instigator. The Washington Post, described him as a “liberal activist”. Politifact referred to him as a “left-wing activist.” Fox News dedicated an entire article to Sullivan’s presence at the Capitol, describing him as an “anti-Trump activist” with close ties to Antifa and BLM. Trump legal counsel and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani took to Twitter to highlight Sullivan’s role in the riot, calling him a “suspected BLM activist.” In case you might be wondering what case was actually made which you confidently smeared , my link to Rising showed the NYT putting out bullshit then trying to downplay their mistake which is pissing off NPR affiliates, but you slam it without even knowing what the evidence is. Brilliant! There are some news and commentary sites that do a better job than others. 




        Why the fuck would I watch anything you post when you don't respond to any questions?
        But yeah, I watched "Rising", and had a "who cares?" feeling because I stopped paying attention to ISIS after the US-led offensive drove them out of Mosul in 2017, before The Caliphate aired. Sure, sometimes NYT gets things badly wrong. Though Ingraham gets them wrong consistently (and Saagar was praising Ro Khanna going on her show for some reason, while Rupar was saying he didn't know if it was good or bad, but that it might be bad - and I was just showing the kind of craziness she's up to. Note, she's not just saying Sullivan is BLM - she's saying the whole riot was BLM/Antifa. Huge difference.).
        But why do you think we should give Putin a green light in Donbas and Syria and Libya and Montenegro and even Venezuela, and then the US shouldn't do whatever in Libya and Yemen and what not? As just one of many contradictions you seem to have, along with Wright ("Cognitive Empathy" is fine for Putin & Xi, not for the US? Why in particular?)

        Crippling US sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act are decimating war-ravaged Syrian civilians, are illegal, and should be lifted, the UN Special Rapporteur on sanctions says.

        I'm glad Grayzone, Aaron Maté and the woman from Belarus have time to focus on ending sanctions for Russian allies (see other recent articles on Alena Dlouhán). Hey, wasn't it June 2016 that the Russians met with the Trump campaign in Trump Tower to see about ending sanctions? 5 year anniversary coming up. Guess that Trump presidency wasn't as useful as Vlad hoped, but still, a lot of milestones.

        Historical Aaron Maté takedowns. But hey, he might be right this time, no?
        Why's it so hard to source someone with some credibility (unless it's dodgy info/opinions that needs certifying?)
        What would Sputnik say...
        @emptywheel aaron mate - Twitter Search / Twitter

        Your  total acceptance of all-things-Marcy and total dismissal of Mate’ is ridiculous. He is far from being a hack as you have asserted.  Wheeler made many conclusions based on unverified allegations. Mate’ said so and as time went on she got cranky about it. The Meuller Report that she was so confident would verify everything she had supposed and convinced herself of would verify everything she had come to believe turned out not to do so. Mate’ said so, they went  back and forth about it, and she has been bitter towards him ever since.  Neither Wheeler or Mate’ are perfect but Mate’ plays much closer to the traditional journalistic standard of being sceptical of assertions which are not proven, especially ones that fit a propagandistic narrative spread by entities known to dissemble and lie in order to manufacture consent for otherwise unsupportable policies.  He has been more accurate than Wheeler by far on the subjects they disagreed on. 

         By the way, did we ever find out who Marcy Wheeler turned in to the FBI and if so did we learn that outing that source was justified? That is not a rhetorical question. I looked for a while and did not find an answer.  

        An  example from 2017 of their interaction before the Meuller Report was released. 








        Another from 2018:




        Not sure exactly what you expected me to take away from the GPS Fusion interview, or your opinions on Marcy's thoughts there. I don't think Mate's observation that Papadopoulos didn't get a job with the Trump campaign & administration deserves excessive significance - Roger Stone worked on the outside, as did Manafort after a short bit, as did Flynn, and a number of *IMPORTANT* hangers-on. Those that didn't get hired didn't exactly go away either. And what's this story of Putin being in Athens at the same time as the PM and Papadopoulos - do we know if or if not some arrangement & discussion related to the campaign & Russian business?
        Anyway, a lot of these details came out in the Mueller Report, various 302s & other FOIA'd info.

        Playing the useful idiot, are we? Marcy turned in someone DM'ing her and bragging, not a *source*. Glenn fucking Greenwald could never get this distinction right either.

        Did you see Buzzfeed's recent dump of Flynn 302's with all his lies to Mueller's team? Yet you keep repeating Marcy's full of shit and Maté more balanced (posting a 3-year-old video, LoLZ) while ignoring info that ls come out since bolstering the case even more (what *was* Team Trump doing meeting the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016? Is there really any question about that (Magnitsky/Ukraine Sanctions), despite the transparent lies over it? Why did Trump campaign head Manafort give Kilimnik polling info on PA/MI/WI/MN in Aug 2016? Another mirage? Why was Roger Stone talking with and meeting Julian Assange in the months around the DNC hack and the Wikileaks drip drip drip email drops?  Why did Flynn lie about calling Kislyak from his hotel in the Dominican Republic (on a non-secure phone - great move for an NSA) and then lie about calling Trump to discuss?

        Note that Marcy insisted for quite some time that much of the Steele Report was deflecting and/or confusing *disinformation*, not accurate intel.

        But you'll contend Maté had it all much better cuz

        traditional journalistic standard of being sceptical of assertions which are not proven, especially ones that fit a propagandistic narrative spread by entities known to dissemble and lie in order to manufacture consent for otherwise unsupportable policies.

        Beautiful, Lulu the Noam Chomsky freedom fighter comes out. So hacking the Democratic election strategy and leaking other hacked emails to *manufacture dissent* is better than consent over your disapproved policies? Was it ok for Fox and Wikileaks/Assange to publicly lie over and over about Seth Rich's death to influence one election, and then embargo the huge legal settlement until after the *next* election to support their preferred candidate? That's your kind of journalism?


        Playing the useful idiot, are we? Marcy turned in someone DM'ing her and bragging, not a *source*. 

        There is no particular reason I would suggest listening to this link titled, "Marcy Wheeler On Reporting Her Source To The FBI" in its entirety, but just the first one minute of it will show the interviewer use the word "source" to refer to the person Marcy turned in four or five times. No correction, she just responds. Later she uses the word 'source' herself to refer to her  'source'. 

        Playing the useful idiot, are we?    What do you mean 'we', Kemosabe?

        Here's here original detailed reveal in mid-2018. I'll find the later clarification (where the difference between a "source" i believe came out)

        Ah, here's next part:

        So far, three links under discussion. First your from 2018 in which the only pertinent thing I see is the line: " I had concrete evidence he was lying to me and others, including but not limited to other journalists:. That sure sounds to me like he was a source to more journalists than just Marcy.  Next came mine from June, 2019 in which everybody was happy calling the perp the "source". Then your second which is from October 2020. I read about half and skimmed the rest and did not see anything that supports your claim. Obviously you can paste your evidence if I just missed it.  

        Marcy never agrees to the term "source" in her interview - she simply tells her version of things, and she says "journalistic relationship" in discussing Phil. Someone popping in and giving dodgy psychotic lying info is not specifically a journalistic "source", even though there may be some ethical approaches on how to treat such a person - even if you feel your life is in danger, as Dr. Wheeler apparently felt. How to treat info from said person is a minefield. (If they're actively deceiving you for their own unknown, quite likely illegal purpose involving foreign intelligence services and campaign crimes, what exactly is the journalistic obligation?)

        In whatever case, theres enough detail to know that she didn't just unthinkingly toss a source overboard (unlike how The Intercept screwed Reality Winner, an actual vulnerable and naively honest source). 

        Here's some of the craziness about Glenn's double standards that likely inform your interest in this case:

        And this is where the published  evidence lay in knowing Russia was behind the hacks *over 4 years ago*, even before Comey, then Mueller investigated and Barr shut it down, long before Maté was explaining away why *the top leadership of the Trump campaign would all gather in a conference room in Trump Tower on the off chance that a Russian lawyer who came to talk about abortions actually had some dirt/oppo research on Hillary*, 2 weeks after Trump won the nomination and prepared for the generals.

        Marcy never agrees to the term "source" in her interview - she simply tells her version of things, and she says "journalistic relationship" in discussing Phil. Phil is not the one Marcy agrees is her source that she felt obligated to report on to the FBI. 

        Marcy Wheeler is a lawyer as well as a journalist. When speaking of legal issues she uses precise language as is necessary and proper in legal discourse. As you pointed out, every time Mate’ said “collusion” she instantly corrected him. When Kulinski referred multiple times to the alleged perp as a “source” she did not in any way indicate that the alleged perp was not a source or that their relationship was somehow different than that of him being a source. She never corrected that description of her and his relationship but in fact used it herself in the same friendly interview. 

        I'm fine with having intelligent discourse, even if I disagree. [PP on 1-19-21 to Aaron Carine]]

        That is an ironic and rather humorous claim in this very comment thread where, among many other examples of contrary evidence, one of your unfounded assertions quickly devolves to the point of calling Robert Wright an “asshole” because he accurately describes Blinken”s professional history and suggests that his history gives an indication of what we can expect of him going forward and you call me a “useful idiot, a derisive, politically loaded  McCarthyism slur, for pointing out an obvious incorrect statement by you in your defense of all-things Marcy that you cannot bring yourself to admit was a mistake, at best.  How, in describing where on the political spectrum a person lies, would terms like “leftist ,“right wing”, “left wing”, “centrist”, “nationalist”, etc, etc, etc, ever have credence or any use intelligent discourse if not because their history had made the terms applicable? 

        So rather than fucking around with whether Marcy agreed to "source" by not denying it, whatever "source" vs "journalistic relationship" changes

        1) did you read the 2 fucking Emptywheel articles?

        2) did you more or less understand her concerns about "Phil" and why she notified the FBI? If not, why not? Where's her ethical breach to someone she didn't promise specific confidentiality to as a source relationship would?

        You posted 2 Aaron Maté interviews of Marcy. 

        3) what of any significance did you agree or disagree with what she said?

        4) why in particular do you think Maté made a better argument?

        5) why do you think Maté's view of Russiagate as nothing special holds up after 3 1/2 years of Mueller reports, Senate Intelligence and Jason Leopold FOIA dumps (plus seeing Barr misleadingly spin results in public, and Flynn + Stone's antics at trial, and Manafort's reneging at trial, Butina's conviction, and Trump's behavior with Ukrainian President, GA secretary of state, and pushing backers to riot last week)?

        Try answering those for a switch to "intelligent discourse"

        As for Marcy, she's pretty consistently clear and understandable

        Still no answers, eh?

        Meanwhile, "Russiagate" lives on, a real thing.

        At some point witness testimony has to count for something, no? Even to Aaron Maté.

        Lulu, what do you think Marcy said in her interview with Aaron Mate,
        and why do you think the 2 volume Mueller Report didn't show anything?
        Are you aware of Mueller's teams, and what Barr shut down after Trump
        fired Whitaker (the temp head of DoJ)?
        Getting Mate to not say "collusion" (a legally meaningless word) was quite a battle.
        Here's a team description:
        Mueller Frees Up the Troll Team | emptywheel
        Why do you seem to believe Barr & his version, even after discovered how
        badly he tried to spin the Mueller Reports before forced to release them?
        Doesn't that imply some kind of conspiracy in itself?
        Have any documents that Jason Leopold freed up through FOIA in the 3 1/2
        years since this interview had any effect on your thinking about the cases?
        How about the convictions and plea agreements (and subsequent self-serving pardons?)

        3 1/2 years later, when we've gotten witnesses of Trump extorting the head of Ukraine to find (invent) dirt on Biden, and an hour Trump call with the Georgia secretary of state asking them to make up votes for Trump, and you're still going with Maté's contention that Trump was just trying to listen to a Russian offer, rather than chasing down dirt such as what Stone, Manafort and Assange helped with?

        While I was amazed there's a permanent rapporteur to argue against all sanctions under Unilateral Coercive Measures the previous one Idriss Jazairi seemed to provide a more diverse diagnosis of the situations while appreciating these unilateral sanctions were there usually for some kind of justified reason, even if effects had to adhere to some international laws and norms:

        The current Rapporteur seems to focus a lot on shutting down Magnitsky Act sanctions and intimations that all sanctions are harmful and wrong, largely unsurprising from a Belarusian with presumed loyalties, though to be fair, Covid pandemic ups the negative effects of any sanctions regimen, especially on civilians.


         The current Rapporteur seems to focus a lot on shutting down Magnitsky Act sanctions and intimations that all sanctions are harmful and wrong, largely unsurprising from a Belarusian with presumed loyalties, ... ...

          Regardless of what you think she intimates about “all sanctions”, her report is about one set of sanctions which are killing people for no good purpose that I can see and which are against international law and U.S. law based on the Constitution which says that  treaties entered into by the U.S. become the law of the land. Just above you provide a link where the Belarusian people are admired for their peaceful protest among other qualities apparently inherent in them but you intimate that there is something wrong with the Belarusian U.N. Special Rapporteur’s “presumed loyalties”.  My presumption is that she is reporting factually on the subject she was appointed to report on. If she does have a bias against starving people and depriving them of medicine, I do not hold that against her. 

          though to be fair, Covid pandemic ups the negative effects of any sanctions regimen, especially on civilians.

        Yeah, no shit, good of you to mention that it is good to be fair, maybe even to be fair beyond in comments, maybe to actually be actionably fair to a destitute population caught up in a geo-political shit storm worsened by a pandemic on top of the malnutrition and other deadly diseases caused by that shit storm. Negative effects is a pretty vanilla description of the shit falling on millions of people in Yemen.   

        So let Assad & Putin treat a population like shit for decades, but the only thing that matters to you is owning the US. Chemical attacks? Must be false flag. Tell me how the US was responsible for Trump's father. The use of weapons is ok when Russians are supplying separatists in Donbas with them or using against civilian infrastructure in Syria, - but no good when used against Houthas in Yemen cuz that's Americas fault. Never a debate about *why* Magnitsky Sanctions exist. Fine for Russia to rip off a piece of Georgia here, Crimea there... But unfair for the US to push back. The letter of international law is critical for America to follow... but not so much for Russia to adhere to, boys being boys...

        PS - I assume the Rapporteur from Belarus got her position as sponsored by Security Council member Russia (that's how UN appointments work, right?) to push back endlessly against any sanctions that hurt Russia or ally. The protesters have been trying to get Lukashenko out for 6 months for stealing the election. Putin's been backing him the whole time. I don't know why you "presume" Russian backed office holders are always "reporting factually", since Russia was trying to influence our elections over sanctions and other bitterness 5 years ago. For some reason you never seem to consider Russia's biases in Ukraine, Belarus, the UN, Syria, LIbya, Venezuela... 

        Here's those  Russian hacker spy groups at work again - you could be British for all your crickets, eh? What do you presume about *their* intentions? And what do you think of Assange continually lying about Seth Rich's death now that Fox had to pay out bigly for the lie being completely without basis? Assange assured us it was True. Instead, both he and Fox were covering for Russia - why's that?

         It seems to me that things in Libya are much worse than they were under Qadaffi. I doubt our reasons for overstepping were good ones. Sidney Blumenthal sent an e-mail to Hilary Clinton listing France's reasons for intervening in Libya. They weren't humanitarian; they were old fashioned realpolitik ones. I doubt the other participants were more idealistic than the French.

         If by inaction we mean staying out of wars I think that is a good way to avoid mistakes. With the possible exception of the war with ISIS(which I didn't support) every American war after World War II was a catastrophe.

        How was the Korean War or Gulf War I a "catastrophe"? How about the overflights of Iraq during the 90's? The aerial campaign in Kosovo? Arming the Mujahedin in Afghanistan largely let us defeat the Soviet military without a shot, freeing a half billion people. 

        And is our answer to the Arab Spring "screw you, you people need strongmen to control you, so we're not going to lift a finger or get involved"? That's what Wright suggests - let the Assad's and Putin's and Qaddafis have their way. I know Libya is a mess, but is that our only takeaway?

        And why were you against taking in ISIS? Leaving ISIS in control is equivalent to leaving Libya as it is or worse - yet you (we) think we made a mistake in Libya leaving it in such chaos.

          Well, the Korean War cost at least 2 million lives, a lot of them civilians. A heavy price to pay for keeping South Korea from going Communist. Also, they could have ended the war in 1950, after repelling the commie invasion. Instead, they invaded North Korea and caused it to drag on for over two and a half more years.

         We could have accepted Saddam's offer to withdraw from Kuwait, but Mr. Bush really wanted war.

          In Kosovo we made the ethnic cleansing worse, killed civilians, opened the door to the revenge killings of a thousand Serbs(which Nato forces permitted) and violated international law. Imho, not a triumph.

         I'm unhappy with the war with ISIS cuz it cost a lot of lives, many of them civilians(I doubt ISIS itself would have killed so many if there had been no war),and I doubt it makes any moral difference whether Syria is ruled by ISIS or Assad. But I'm not absolutely certain about it; the cost of an ISIS victory also would have been high.

        I don't know if it was worth keeping Qaddafi from having his way when things are worse for Libya now. The intervention was also of doubtful legality(the United Nations may have violated its own charter).

        Awful of us to not accept invading armies' conditions, especially when they're already defeated. You could blame the Soviet Union for not freeing its temporary wards in Asia and East Europe, or the Chinese for jumping into the war after the UN had recovered from near-catastrophe and was trying to reunify as per end-of-war resolutions. (Since Korea wasn't an active war participant, there was no good reason to split it with the Soviet Union in the first place, unlike Germany and Austria.)

        The Kuwait article says right up front that they don't know if this offer was for real, and that they considered it and other options.

        Whatever. Sometimes bad things happen trying to repel horrid people/hordes. Guess fighting back in WWII was even a Místek - Hitler wouldn't have been that bad to *most* of us. Ppl still survive in N. korea as well. "Let's not turn this rape into a murder" hardly sounds like a successful foreign policy strategy, but I'm already out of fucks for the day, so will leave it there.

        I could say some things, but if you're willing to leave it here; I will too.

        I'm fine with having intelligent discourse, even if I disagree. Still, the idea of leaving South Korea in North Korean-like deprivation for 70+ years seems a rather unsavory outcome to accept. At what point is mass death for some worth freedom for others who would be tortured and abused for decades otherwusllise? If never, it's an invitation for barbarism just beneath the level of what?

        PS - right now over 1 million Uyghurs are imprisoned and forced into prison factories, perhaps way more. What is the threshold  when military action is justified? Or as long as they're gainfully employed/getting 30 cents an hour and not beaten/crippled too bad, it's all cool?

         Remember that for much of those 70 years South Korea was also a dictatorship. I would say that there has to be many more people liberated than people killed for the war to be justified, because I think life counts for more than liberty. My--quite arbitrary--rule is that if the dead are soldiers there should be 21 times as many liberated as killed, if a lot of civilians are killed it should be 42 times as many. But, of course, everybody will have their own figure; it's not a mathematical problem with an "objective" solution. I think it also matters that they had already gotten them out of South Korea by Oct., 1950; and could have ended the war then.

        You seem to be the type of person who would be good at the trolley problem


        But you see God had the same problem - once ppl thought it unreal, just a simulation, they started not taking it seriously. So he had to up the pain level and realism in the atrocities. We just don't learn out lesson(s) otherwise.

        War was not ending by Oct 1950. They would just regroup and try again.

            I think they had been decisively beaten. I doubt they would have attacked again after it had been demonstrated that they weren't a match for the United Nations.

        You should read a book about the Korean War, come back and tell us what you learned, it's clear you know virtually nothing about it.

         Me or Peracles? What did I get wrong?

        You can play what-if with history, but assuming North Korea would have taken defeat (without surrendering) and left things as-is seems one of the least likely scenarios. Guess for a Chinese/Soviet-backed effort to push out the UN within the year anyway. (How were things going in East Europe Oct 1950? Vietnam? Indonesia? Tibet and Xinjiang? This wasn't done in a vacuum. The allies *did* misread China and intelligence means missed a huge troop buildup just a few miles from their positions - denoting much Chinese skill and limits to 1950 surveillance abilities. Oh, and then there's "what did South Korea want to do?" since they were part of the game (and rightful owner a of the peninsula, not Russia and China).

        I don't think Kim was making a case for MacArthur's attempt to conquer North Korea. His alternative scenario is better than what actually happened(a much longer and bloodier war). I don't think North Korea would have had a higher living standard than South Korea; South Korean capitalism was a much more efficient system than communism.  Anyway, it looks like this is going to go on forever, so I'll give Peracles the last word.

        Pass. Happy Biden/Harris day

        4 hours. This is almost like Xmas.

        If Santa had armed insurrectionists as enemies.

        Elvis has left the bunker.

        "We will be back in some form"

        Towering words from our former ShapeShifter-in-Chief

        Was this a response to Arnie, aka TerminatorNext?

        Inauguration reading & viewing guide

         (2 hour countdown)

        All Quiet on the Eastern Front

        Quietly Floats The Don

        For Whom the Bells Toll

        Mr and Dr Smith Go to Washington

        Huckleberry & Flynn

        One Flew Way Over the Cuckoo's Nest

        Bury My Party at Wounded Me

        A Confederacy of Dunce Confederates

        The Red Hats Discouraged

        The Gripes of Rats

        The Untalented Mr. Lindsey

        Far from the Enmaddened Crowd


        Little House on the Prayer Ring

        Steal This Vote

        Gone with the Swindle

        Of Mice and Mental


        None Dare Call It Reason

        Foxy Clown

        A Hundred Years of Platitude

        Cry the Beleaguered Country

        Around the World in 80's Craze

        Retro Man

        It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (still)

        The Adderall's Family

        Downed by Law

        The Grifters (The Defector's Cut)

        Breakfast Epiphanies 

        Again, by what authority should the UN leave a temporary partition permanent, and leave a whole half a nation essentially imprisoned? Comparing the South Korean dictatorship with the north's is vastly unfair, and that dictatorship was removed what, 40 years ago? Meanwhile North Korea's dystopian situation continues with not much end in sight.

        The description of the war above the 38th is pretty intricately written compared to usual Wikipedia

         Even if I thought we had the right to conquer North Korea, and I doubt we did(didn't we think it was wrong for Kim Il Sung to try to unite the peninsula by force) doing it was a bad idea, since it caused the war to drag on for another 33 months of carnage, and we still didn't conquer North Korea.

        Hindsight. Kim Il Song *did* unite the peninsula by force, coming within a few square miles of pushing southern troops and the UN into the sea. Thinking after that scare and heavy work getting back to the 38th, the UN troops would just return to the status quo before the invasion, "let's just start over*"? Had they stayed away from the border with China, *maybe* it would have been over quicker. Carnage by Oct 1950 was already pretty huge (concerns about flattening cities were pretty minimal at that time). But still, look at the freaks who run North Korea still, and tell me that was acceptable as the status quo, even with the big chance they'd overrun the south soon? (you lament the southern dictatorship, but one big reason they had it was a military state was natural as a response to threats from the North. De-escalating over time allowed democracy to grow)

        The widely worshipped by the anti-communist right, and flagrant egotist General MacArthur invaded North Korea, not "they".

        He was such an untouchable hero that shortly after he was relieved by Truman in early 1951, and it was already abundantly clear his management of Korea was a fiasco due to the advance to the Chinese border, he was yet lauded by the public in the largest ticker tape parade in NYC history on April 20.

        Coincidentally, in the same edition reporting the enormous parade, was a NYT report based on the transcript of what MacArthur told Truman in late 1950 during the early days of the Korean War as US troops were rapidly and dangerously pushed up to the Chinese border due to orders from MacArthur.

        NYT Wayback Machine April 21, 1951, note the front page headline:

        Saturday, April 21, 1951


        and the Pulitzer Prize piece on MacArthur's discussions with Truman on Wake Island just prior to the Chinese assault in November, 1950, as US troops reached the Chinese border:



        WASHINGTON, April 20 - Six months ago on Wake Island, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, according to Administration records made at the time, expressed doubt that Red China would intervene in Korea and was so confident of victory that he offered what he regarded as his best troops, the United States Second Division, for service in Europe...

        And, of course, the Republican Party attacked Democrats and Truman as a Communist agent/appeaser for not going to war with China as MacArthur had desired.

        meanwhile in the real current world of today, this minute:

        we're no longer this hegemon that everyone's obeying or fearing, we're a frigging mess.

        psst, guys: Yemen involvement done, kaput IN VERY SHORT ORDER

        Thank God.

        — Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) January 20, 2021

        just a suggestion to move on to to a classic like perhaps: how many angels can fit on the head of a pin?


         I hope he will, but I wouldn't start celebrating yet. Obama told us he would get us out of Iraq, but it was nearly three years before he did. Biden might take his time too.

        This current transition feels un-Obamaish so far. I mean that in a good way. Never liked the careful parsing so much.

        promise kept; current headline @ WaPo: U.S. ending support for Saudi-led war in Yemen

        President Biden is announcing an end to U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen and a freeze on troop redeployments from Germany, reversing two Trump administration policies that the new president sees as out of step with American values.

        By Anne GearanJohn Hudson and Missy Ryan1 hour ago

        more confirmation on Yemen:

        You could invite David Ignatius to come to your discussion but for now all you got it this op-ed:

        you asked a rhetorical a while back on some thread or another along the lines of "what is a neoliberal anyways"?

        there a lot of classic screed against neo-liberals in this piece, takes me back:

        Somehow David Sirota has aged well. And the Dems come out weirdly arcane, tinkering around the edges.

        this stuck as really pegging the "neo" thing well like I never thought of before-both neo-liberals and neo-conservatives are policy wonks,  and the paleos are just politicians who know the memes and vague promises their voters want to hear while letting lobbyists do the actual legislating (right and left and inbetween--activist groups of all kinds are lobbyists or hire them, including if it's like for a cure for Hogdkins Disease,. taxation, or urban planning or AIPAC or moms against drunk driving)

        Maybe a good example of the new I.R. dynamic, I note there's a possible genocidal situation developing in Ethiopia (with Eritrea and UAE supposedly complicit), and E.U. and the U.S. has spoken out, but Canada apparently has not, for reasons I admit I have not read up on,

        so #TrudeauActNow is trending on Twitter

        couple of the tweets where I got the gist

        The US says it’s directly “pressed senior levels of Eritrea’s gov’t to immediately withdraw its troops from…Ethiopia" amid the unjust #WarOnTigray When will @Canada take the same action? #TrudeauActNow #TigrayGenocide @JustinTrudeau @MarcGarneau @BobRae48

        — Meaza (@meazaG_) January 31, 2021

        DAY 89

        @JustinTrudeau Canadian government should put more pressure on the Ethiopian government to stop its unjust never-ending war on its own region. The man-made humanitarian catastrophe is unprecedented. Canada has to take a firm stance similar to the US & EU.#TrudeauActNow

        — - SAVE TIGRAY (@Tseday) January 31, 2021

        Emma Ashford (who is Senior Fellow @ Atlantic Council among other things you can find on her Twitter page)

        interestingly points out one way we are still very "special"

        and throws in some other things while she's at it


        another new paradigm news item:

        more new world:

        the White House Press. Sec. on it, believe it or not:

        Me-ow. Jen, where's the unity?
        And policy meetings for info gathering rather than shoving a backroom decision down someone's throat or a show horse? I don't know how much of this we can take.

        Oops, She did it again. Why *is* the President eating breakfast when there's a pandemic and global warming?

        Support the space troops Jen - who else is gonna man the lasers?

        Bonus - Matt Gaetz gets jizzie over Marjorie Greene whatever. Tasteful, Matt, truly tasteful.

        OIC now you were entranced by that Fox news video as well blush Just came here to share another of fans of Jen's communication skills, it's a good one:

        Stop it, Jen! You're killing me!

        4 years of angst & tears, and you think we can switch to Comedy Central on a dime? I've got to prepare my belly muscles.

        Sorry, i was insensitive

        The great realist thinker Hans Morgenthau stated that a fundamental ethical duty of the statesman is the cultivation of empathy: the ability through study to see the world through the eyes of rival state elites. Empathy in this sense is not identical with sympathy. ... ... This kind of empathy has very valuable consequences for foreign policy. It makes for an accurate assessment of another state establishment’s goals based on its own thoughts, rather than a picture of those goals generated by one’s own fears and hopes; above all, it permits one to identify the difference between the vital and secondary interests of a rival country as that country’s rulers see them.

        More "let Russia have its old empire" argument. What could be more Realpolitik - ignore Russia's invasion of Afghanistan, splitting Poland with Hitler, imprisoning East Europe for 40 years, starving millions of Ukrainians, massive gulag prison camps and Beria's reign of informants and terror under Stalin - Russia has hundreds of years of deep cultural concerns based on colonialism spread across 11 time zones (mostly Turkic/Persian/Mongolian/indigenous/Slavic peoples, never fear - not anyone we really care about) - why won't we leave them alone? They have strategic interests too!!! Nowadays they hardly invade anyone - just hack them and an occasional Novichok poisoning or fall from a balcony. We should give credit where credit's due, unlike this ungrateful Belarusians - saved from awful EU socialism.

        What could be more Realpolitik ...   Your rejection of realpolitik is clear. What is the name of the foreign policy school of thought that you support and how is it superior?

        Hm, Golden Rule + international accords + "don't do evil" meets "continual improvement/continual deployment", "stand up for justice & freedom" and "don't let the perfect be enemy of the good"? See for example "European Union", despite its faults, just in case you thought I was being too idealistic. (see "Brexit" for a good example of over estimating one's own abilities, but note that the EU is a bit trapped from being too involved in needed exercises of force, lest it endanger its own internal coalitions)

        I mean, when Yugoslavia and Bosnia were self-destructing, the EU stepped in to try to stop the fighting, to normalize. What's Russia do in Chechnya? Brutalized the region *twice* (second time under Putin). Putin used radiation poisoning on the opposition candidate in Ukraine's 2004 election - how's that for expressing "sphere of influence", like jailing Navalny this week for missing a court date while in a coma after Putin tried to assassinate him. Real Fucking Politics, dude - that's why Belarus is in the streets *6 months* already to recognize Svietlana, the woman who really won the corrupt election (after Lukashenko, Putin's butt buddy and co-keeper of the Soviet flame, imprisoned & sidelined her husband).

        Image below highlights danger of crossing Putin. Google Magnitsky as well, and then tell me why we need to respect Russia's "interests" in former occupied countries? Which other colonizing force to you forgive so well? Shouldn't Mongolia get dibs on half of Asia? Macedonia should own Iran, right? Why shouldn't Belgium keep being consulted on all matters Congo, and the Dutch manage Indonesia? Highly bizarre for a guy who's heavily influenced by US 70s behavior in Latin America in rejecting colonialism, yet continually backs a Colonialist power like Russia. 

        Be careful crossing Putin's puppet
        Be careful crossing Putin's puppet

         That is a long winded response which avoids being an answer. If you use a term like realpolitik to describe a school of thought in a way that is derisive to it and any of its adherents you should, IMO, declare in similar shorthand what school you belong to that you believe is better.  If there is no term such as neocon or liberal or paleocon etc, that you can comfortably align yourself with because they, like all political philosophies conjured in a disparate and complicated world have shortcomings that you would not want to defend, your political philosophy still needs some shorthand moniker to play the put-em-in-a-box and then kick-the-box name-game fairly. How about “adpolithoc”?

        It is bullshit to try to put me on the spot as if it is up to me to defend everythingor anything Russia ever did or that anyone should be able to justify everything Russia or any other country, including America for that matter, did in their history before they are justified in writing or posting a well reasoned article that argues that we, the U.S.A., should change our international stance 'today' regarding the world as it is 'today' and why that is so. The simple answer to "why" is that it our current stance is unsustainable. 


        Our current stance is very sustainable - your stomping your feet over and over again and quoting Putin ass-kissers doesn't change that. We won the Cold War, we'll win the Cyber War, and yes, we've brought down our military expeditions/quasi-adventurism hugely, so we're doing great there - the only real problem is we stopped playing *some* role as the world's policeman, so the assholes are largely running amok (though aside from China and Uyghur camps, so far not as bad as it used to be).

        A name, a school? "Common fucking sense and self-preservation" - I'm sure it's on everyone's lips at Foggy Bottom.

        Lulu uses "Realpolitik" derisively, but PP can't. (check back all those Kissinger refs)

        Lulu can point to articles clamoring for Russia to have it's safe space, but it's not fair to make Lulu defend "all" (read "any") of Russia's actions. (Corollary: but must justify any and all US actions and side effects of any American decision)

        And yet again you didn't address a *single* substantive point I made, just back hand waving for the judges, looking for some clever fancy name of a school of foreign policy thought that justifies obfuscation and inaction and backing away from any involvement.

        Quite the Calvinball you have there. What's Putin gonna do with Trump gone? Must tear you up to see us returning to treaty obligations.


         Lulu uses "Realpolitik" derisively, but PP can't. (check back all those Kissinger refs)

        You can use whatever derisive term you choose and whenever you choose and in regard of anyone you choose.  You would seemingly be crippled in your discourse without a heavy helping of them. You introduced the term “realpolitik” derisively in this thread.  This will be at least the third time I have distinguished my political beliefs, which largely fit the appropriate term, “Realism”, from the Realpolitik of Kissinger and any others of his ilk. Yes, I have used and will continue to use whatever derisive term, and there are a great many of them, that I feel apply to the undead murderous scumbag Kissinger. 

        Realpolitik is related to, but different from, Realism.   And no, whenever I suggest that I do not agree with an action of our government or suggest something I think they should do, I do not feel any follow-up obligation to go through a long laundry list of what-about- Russia questions and answer them all and am certainly not obligated to justify all Russian actions, actions which I do not support and have not supported, every time you throw up such a list as an ad hominen strawman Gish gallop trail of misdirection. Trying to understand why and how Russia, or any country including ours, can be expected to react to a challenge is one thing.  Supporting the action is something completely different.


        Your links expect us to tiptoe around Russia's needs/wants, while denying our own interests. I just point it out. There's probably a good name fore it like "appeasement", "withdrawal", "self-denial", "slow suicide" or something. I just try to get specific in Russian behavior towards it's neighbors and own citizens that might not warrant all that freedom and selfishness. You think it misdirection. I think it security and good neighbors policy. Anyway, this has gotten boring - you're not actually interested in discussing anything in your links, just a fatherly "hey guys, digest this and get back to me". Always tons on how unfair my style is - never ever anything on actual points. Quite the philosopher.

        Lecture: Cold War Broadcasting and Its Lessons for Countering Russia's Disinformation under Putin

        The cold war was notable for disinformation from all sides(there were more than just two, I think).

        So you're comparing imprisoning all of East Europe for 40 years (including tanks in Budapest in Prague, military clampdown of Solidarnost  in Poland, the heavy occupation of East Germany), the inability of citizens to cross the border, and all the lies that went with it like how bad the west was doing, vs. what US disinfo?
        What groundbreaking heartwrenching lie(s) did we tell about the Soviet Union that justifies this Whataboutism?
        The Soviets didn't just ban Sozhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago - they banned something as anodyne as Dr. Zhivago. They banned The Beatles. Sure, we have some well-documented ones like with Mossadegh - while the Russians still have most of their historical vaults off-limits. Folks have noted that we largely won the Cold War not through military strength, but through openness and speed and flexibility of information.

         Against Soviet control over Eastern Europe we have to set the U.S. sponsored bloodbaths in Central America, the CIA's overthrow of Mossadegh, Allende, and Arbenz, the invasions of Grenada and Panama, Washington's complicity in the slaughter in East Timor, and perhaps Israel's invasions of Arab countries. It should also be noted that in the earlier period of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe Western nations held much of the world under colonial rule. Perhaps Soviet foreign policy was a little worse, but I don't see much basis for regarding our side as the good guys.

        I mean come on - I was a college student once too. But Russia had military "advisors" in Grenada building a military airstrip - just off oil rich Trinidad & Venezuela.
        Panama - what do you know of Noriega?
        I already said Mossadegh was iffy. Allende? really? he was a stupid overidealistic fucktard elected with only 36% of the vote but then dancing with the Russians in Moscow begging for support. Of course we'd be stupid to let Russia set up in Chile, just like letting Che Guevera export revolution to all of Latin America was a no-go. Do I have to argue why?
        East Timor - well, even Gusmao now says he understands the West's posture towards his group, that the Marxist thing was a phase for them to grow through, & then they became more adult. But here's the reform that the West does: Does Russia do that? China?

        Effects of the Dili Massacre[edit]

        The Dili Massacre on 12 November 1991 was a turning point for sympathy for pro-independence East Timorese. A burgeoning East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States. After the massacre, the US Congress voted to cut off funding for IMET training of Indonesian military personnel. However, arms sales continued from the US to the Indonesian National Armed Forces.[21] President Clinton cut off all US military ties with the Indonesian military in 1999.[22] The Australian government promoted a strong connection with the Indonesian military at the time of the massacre, but also cut off ties in 1999.[23]

        Demonstration against Indonesian occupation of East Timor, Perth, Australia, 10 September 1999.

        The Massacre had a profound effect on public opinion in Portugal, especially after television footage showing East Timorese praying in Portuguese, and independence leader Xanana Gusmão gained widespread respect, being awarded the Portugal's highest honour in 1993, after he had been captured and imprisoned by the Indonesians.

        Australia's troubled relationship with the Suharto regime was brought into focus by the Massacre. In Australia, there was also widespread public outrage, and criticism of Canberra's close relationship with the Suharto regime and recognition of Jakarta's sovereignty over East Timor. This caused the Australian government embarrassment, but Foreign Minister Gareth Evans played down the killings, describing them as "an aberration, not an act of state policy". Prime Minister Keating's first overseas trip was to Indonesia in April 1992 and sought to improve trade and cultural relations, but repression of the East Timorese continued to mar co-operation between the two nations.[24]

        But you don't mention Suharto, who was largely a *Dutch* colonial independence problem, yet the Dutch were gone by then - Suharto killed about half a million, imprisoned about 1 1/2 million. East Timor was a combined residual leftover problem of Holland and Portugal - *NOT* the US - much like Burma was left without its promised referendum after the British withdrawal, so settled into its 70 years of dictatorship. We actually aren't all-powerful.
        Israel "invading" Arab countries - uh, the big one was under the British, thanks. While I'm not the most sympathetic towards Israel's treatment of Arab citizens and occupied lands and neighbors, certainly there's not a lot of sympathy for Syria, nor Lebanon either. Egypt post-Nassar seemed to finally figure it out.
        ANyway, I'm bored. Maybe some Central American stuff can be explained, but enough already.

         I think you do have to argue why we had the right to overthrow Allende. If he was friendly with the Soviet Union I don't see that as an excuse. Did the Soviets have the right to overthrow people for being friendly with the U.S.?  He may have gotten only 36 percent of the vote, but that was a plurality so he was a lawful president, unlike our boy Pinochet. It seems strange to complain that I didn't mention Suharto when we were the ones who backed him(with a relatively small amount of military aid). The U.S. government does sometimes repent of its evil deeds, which is a good thing, but I don't know if I'd make too much of that. It doesn't wipe away the blood. You may not admire Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, but Israel did attack them in 1956, 1967, and 1982.

        Uh, what game was Nasser playing in 1956, backed by Soviet arms? Or trying to close the straits in '67? I mean, international politics is strategic and rife with danger. I don't think we much had control of Israel in 1967, just struggling to keep the top on. I'm not a big Menachem Begin fan, so I'll give you 1982. And Indonesia - like a bit of arms sales meant we controlled the situation? Yet wouldn't Russia be responsible then for 1956? Or it only applies one way?

          We didn't control Indonesia, but giving them arms made us complicit. I don't think Nasser's closure of the straits justified Israel's attack, especially when Nasser was taking steps for a diplomatic solution. In 1956 Israel was complaining about fedayeen raids, but the bloodshed on the border wasn't one way. Israel basically started it by shooting unarmed refugees trying to return home. Also, dealing with the fedayeen raids only required occupying the Gaza Strip, not the Sinai. Eisenhower rescued Egypt from the Anglo-French-Israeli assault, which I'll concede is a difference between him and Khrushchev.

        Pretty sure Nasser wasn't seeking a solution, more like a way to win.

        Empathize with East Europe

        China has frequently used multilateral organizations as a tool to advance [its] economic, national security, and foreign policy interests at the expense of other countries’ peace and prosperity, respect for human rights, and the rules-based international order," a State Department spokesperson said.

        Chris Cocker defends Britney in original "Leave X Alone" meme (as bastardized in image above), now galvanized in #FreeBritney movement and ironically promoted in new documentary. Is Britney the new Michael Jackson (sans paedophile tendencies), held captive by those whod like to monopolize her prolific cash earnings, even as she shows herself amazingly at peak of her game?

        Francisco Toro is a Venezuelan political commentator and contributing columnist for Global Opinions. He is chief content officer of the Group of 50.

        I found this a helpful reminder that even though countries have a habit of staying around, empires come and empires go. In 1904, for example, when we were just a babee:

        On this day in 1904, the Empire of Japan launches a surprise attack on the Imperial Russian fleet at Port Arthur touching off 575 days of war.

        — Military History Now (@MilHistNow) February 8, 2021


        an "undumbing" thread on Syria:

        Thank you - i do get tired of arguing the basics, back in the dorms...

        and since some people seem to be concerned about interfering with citizens of other countries who have the agency to solve their own problems and make their own choices, here's a little story about how much agency they got in Syria right now:

        Wait, where's the hate US angle? Or at least "both sides do it"

        “Sometimes tears come streaming down my eyes without me noticing. I feel helpless, and I start to think, I have to do something. I have to act. Enough with this endless humiliation.” Ghiyath is one of millions of Syrians now queuing daily in areas under regime control for bread, sugar, rice, diesel and cooking gas, suffering from shortages of basic necessities and a sharp rise in food prices.

        As hunger worsens, regime cronies continue to flaunt their wealth. Yet the millions of Syrians residing under regime control have remained quiet. Despite expectations by some in Syria, Syrians grit their teeth and continue to bear the unbearable. Ghiyath explains why: “The moment I start thinking [about revolting], the images of Caesar appear before me,” referring to tens of thousands of photos smuggled out of Syria by a defector known as Caesar who documented over 11,000 political prisoners killed by torture, disease, or starvation in regime prisons. “It’s as if each photo is etched in my memory, how frail their bodies looked, where they were wounded. I imagine what would happen if I screamed, cursed the regime, and revolted. They would arrest me, maybe even take my wife and rape and torture her in front of me.” This brings any thoughts of revolting to an end. Instead, to relieve the pain, he sometimes laughs, then cries, then talks to himself, quietly, so others don’t hear what’s on his mind. He’s not the only one, Ghiyath explains: “People are not crazy, but they talk to themselves in line. Better than speaking up and ending up tortured in detention.”

        If only ISIS had won and instituted their freedom friendly regime on Syria I guess things would be so much better.. With the  material support ISIS got from the United States, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan, and more, we should expect much better by now. Don't give up hope though, all is not lost. Yet. Your same source in a rundown of ISIS in 2020 says ISIS made gains last year then concluded ironically that; "A strong U.S. military presence in these areas is the only way to counter this resurgence".  

        Tee hee, been waiting for you - the Lulu alternate universe, US always wrong quagmire. I'm sure there's a fact in there. Good thing we spent a year destroying the forces we supposedly built up.


        Here's some of the bangup work from your buddi s at Global Security (Covid's fake, really the flu) (North Korea would be wonderful if not for the US) (Kier Starmer is a deep State shill, Corbyn was fantastic) (Pfizer/Moderna vaccines cause blood clots,  brain inflammation, heart attacks) (masks and vaccines violate Nuremberg principles)

        And so on.

        Your VIPS buddies and their allies seem to have move on to new fertile turf.

        PS - the US basically destroyed ISIS Iraq in Obama's last year thru a 5-nation coalition, but Trump then let them regroup. So oddly, military power *can* lower ISIS' threat. Who'd a thunk it?

        PPS - Tim Anderson , another stellar choice of fact and opinion (note the last item is 3 years after Anderson's article on how the US built up ISIS - unimpeachable sources, eh? Goodfellas!

        Tim Anderson (born 30 April 1953)[1] is an Australian academic and activist. He was a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney (until early 2019)[2] and the author of several books on independent development and anti-imperialism. In 1979, he was convicted and imprisoned for an alleged Ananda Marga conspiracy to murder a National Front leader Robert Cameron,[3] but was pardoned in 1985 after an inquiry.[4] In a linked case in 1990 he was convicted for ordering the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing and sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, but was acquitted on appeal in 1991.[5] He subsequently became active in prisoners' rights and civil liberties groups, and has been involved with international solidarity and civil rights campaigns. He has worked as an academic since the early 1990s.

        He was suspended from his post at the University of Sydney in early December 2018 for "serious misconduct" and subsequently terminated. In 2019 The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) joined Anderson in a Federal Court action against Anderson's dismissal.[6]

        Your response is emblematic of the nature of your most common attack mode when you cannot respond coherently with any rebuttal using pertinent facts. The immediate subject is ISIS and how the U.S. and other of its allies supported ISIS when regime change in Syria was the intention and the use of a terrorist group proxy was the tactic. In this case you have stacked up a bunch of links to a site easily mocked, but which I have never used as a source, and which links are mostly about Covid 19 and none of which address the subject at hand.  This all under a claim that Global Research is composed of my "buddies" .  Serious question, PP:  WTF is wrong with you? 

        I have never before heard of Tim Anderson and have never used him as a verifying source either, but I read his wikipedia link anyway to see if it somehow applied. It appears that you just did a search for someone who criticized U.S. policy in Syria and had also got himself in trouble. He was later acquitted of all charges. From Wikipedia with my emphasis added:   

          Anderson was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, but was acquitted on appeal in 1991.[35] In directing an acquittal NSW Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said: "The trial of the appellant miscarried principally because of an error which resulted in large part from the failure of the prosecuting authorities adequately to check aspects of the Jayewardene theory. This was compounded by what I regard as an inappropriate and unfair attempt by the Crown to persuade the jury to draw inferences of fact, and accept argumentative suggestions, that were not properly open on the evidence".

        The judge could be talking about your too common style of argument as once again demonstrated here. Your imaginary crown has slipped some more, is it too heavy for you? Why don't you give it a rest?

        VIPS supposedly?

        Via AA, VIPs & QAnon

        (Thread: faves Larry Johnson & Ray McGovern make an appearance)

        Funny, looks to me that Team Biden is really behind the eightball if they are trying to influence something with lowly food aid:

        The coronavirus vaccine has become a new currency for international diplomacy. India, China, the U.A.E. and others are doling out donations in countries where they seek influence.

        — The New York Times (@nytimes) February 11, 2021

        Of course, he could be purposefully doing an "America first" thing? Eh? (wink wink..) Like the flight attendants used to say back in the old days when we flied, put on your own gas mask first before assisting:

        BREAKING: "We've now purchased enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all Americans," President Biden says after announcing the purchase of 200M more coronavirus vaccines (100M Moderna, 100M Pfizer).

        "We're now on track to have enough supply for 300M Americans by the end of July."

        — NBC News (@NBCNews) February 11, 2021

        message to Erdogan:

        just another example of how things really have changed, how we are no longer considered the big kahuna hegemon one must bow down to:

        We just have nukes - they have bone saws. Respect history and tradition. Medieval's back, babee!

        Note UAE was heavily involved in getting Trump elected, and have been coddled since. It'll be hard to get them to take their naps now.

        (I mistakenly thought the Salvator Mundi was part of the election grift, but it seems that bit of high dollar money laundering took place a year later) 

        GO MEDDLING!

        On that Syrian thing:

        Trump blocked critical gov intel functions

        Pootie must be distraught that now they'll start to work again.

        a scenario a lot like the Marshall Plan after WWII--where you either do the empire thing or gamble that you'll be able to handle the serious consequences:

        Thanks, Jake seems alright.

        Kind of odd to see him get a D+ on military, when his only boots on the ground were a very few in Syria, mostly for fighting ISIL (though Trump pushed US t oops in Syria more than Obama, and then did q yuck abandonment for Erdogan/Putin.

        Still not sure where you stand though - do you agree with Wright's ratings? In particular:

        1) do you want China taking over the "South China Sea"?

        2) should the US try to stop Uyghur work camps?

        3) was it ok for a US-led coalition to drive ISIL(ISIS) out of Iraq?

        4) was our involvement in the fall of The Wall ok, or an unnecessary provocation of Russia?

        5) is Assad an acceptable leader we should work with?

        6) should we accept Syria as part of Russia's sphere of influence, and withdraw to not provoke Putin's ire?

        As I see it, the D+ is rating is based on the difference between Sullivan’s actions and policies and Wright’s different beliefs about what our policies and actions should have been. I posted the article because I largely agree with Wright about what our country’s attitude and relationship policies to the rest of the world should be and because it told me more about Sullivan as an influential individual than I knew before, and something about what to expect from the Biden administration going forward based on the history of his appointees. 

        Your first paragraph puts events in a far too narrow and simplistic description to hold up as evidence that Sullivan’s role was either good or successful whether they were in fact good or successful or not. I believe the U.S. failed spectacularly in Iraq though several administrations. Regarding your list of questions:

        I think we can expect China to have approximately the same proprietary feelings about their coastal waters as we have of ours. If they expect that they might have to protect their interests militarily then I expect them to prepare to meet force with force. 

        If you can come up with a plan of action to improve the plight of the Uigurs I will answer whether or not I think it a good one. 

        Your phrasing assumes there is a simple answer to a question that is not about a simple situation. How did ISIS become a force needed to be reckoned with in Iraq in the first place?

        The wall was built by the Soviet Union in what had recently been Nazi Germany, a country which had invaded Russia and brutally cost the lives of twenty million+ Russians. The Soviet Union no longer exists. Russia is a different country in more ways than just by name. Germany is no longer Nazi Germany. Hitler is dead and the German people are determined that no clone of him raises from the dead. The wall no longer exists. 

        Assad seemed to have been acceptable to more Syrians than not. Trying to force his replacement has brought ongoing death to tens of thousands and ongoing misery to millions. Are we qualified and entitled to choose who leads any other sovereign nation whose government we dislike and just shrug off the results as good intentioned actions if our efforts lead to calamity? 

        Should everyone accept that our sphere of influence should encompass the entire planet and that every other country’s sphere of influence only goes to their border and that much only so long as we deem to allow it? 

         Do not expect any more response from me soon. I am still in Texas where I arrived from 1300 miles away, about a day after the roads cleared, to help care for my sister who had M.S. and was restricted to a bed with only the use of her right arm which allowed self medication with serious pain meds. A daily caregiver arrived almost forty eight hours late to find her in a dark freezing house and comatose after ODing. After emergency care she survived until two days ago after becoming coherent for a couple days and saying goodby.  Anyone agreeing with Sullivan that our first priority should be getting our own house in order, which includes fixing an electrical grid that doesn’t need hacking to fail, will have my support.


        1) i meant the Wall metaphorically as the Iron Curtain - the Wall being built in 1961-2?, so 16-17 years after that war, and certainly Bulgaria and Romania were not responsible for Hitler's actions. And the Wall was built as an act against the US and the west, not against West Germany per se. Still, you don't much answer whether our role in freeing the Iron Curtain and somewhat CIS was a good effort in our part.

        2) the ocean China's pursuing is far from "coastal waters" if you grab a map. Should we declare dominion over Kingston down to Aruba? At what point does Vietnam and Phillipines have a right to *their* coastal waters? (see below)

        3) we didn't start the Arab Spring. We did provide some rebel support in Syria and overflight protection in Libya, but movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Bahrain (+Algeria?)  appear largely home grown. 

        4) "Assad seemed to have been acceptable to more Syrians than not." Based on what? His father's "successful" dictatorship over the decades? Based on Russian support bombing civilians? You seem to accept the suffering and torture of tens of thousands of Syrians under 2 generations of Syrians as a-ok, somewhat like you dismiss the danger to civilians from Qaddafi's threats based on previous atrocities.

        Syrian torture: 

        5) Iraq - perhaps a better gauge is if you think Clinton's overflight and sanctions was a largely successful strategy (vs Iran-Iraq War in prior decade, or the boffed Iraq War in the following? Do you accept that Hussein was pursuing biochemical weapons along with rockets to carry them? (despite mixed results, and *not* so much nuclear weapons)? Was an invasion of Saudi Arabia something we should have protected against, especially in light of Hussein's invasion of Kuwait?

        Lulu, China vs India - what should Biden do?

        (China hacking the Indian electric grid as a form of pressure)

        Forward-looking thoughts, please.

        I was thinking about Texas the minute I saw that article, found it scary as hell, and about defense not offense. And I also thought of other stories about China already infiltrating other U.S. systems.

        This is exactly what we have a CIA for, they are supposed to find out what really happened and testity to the Executive and Congress what we need to protect ourselves. And this is also why one has allies that one can actually trust what they are telling you about what happened and you can work together to build a defense.

        But I would be willing to unfortunately bet our CIA is not up to the task, especially after many of the best ones may have left over Trump.

        for those who might not have access to the article I posted an excerpt here in In the News section.

        nice historical comparison, why a little foreign intelligence work here and there can end up being preventitive (or not) you never know:

        Sullivan on domestic renewal:

        For Mr Sullivan, the most pressing challenge was the turmoil within the U.S. itself.

        “It occurs to me something that Joe Biden has really reinforced for us, which is that foreign policy is domestic policy and domestic policy is foreign policy. And at the end of the day, right now, the most profound national security challenge facing the United States is getting our own house in order, is domestic renewal,” Mr Sullivan said.

        He described COVID-19, the economic crisis and “acute threats to our basic constitutional republic and “deep divisions” as domestic challenges facing the country.

        Investing in allies and re-establishing America’s place in multilateral forums like the World Health Organization and Paris Climate Accord were the next priority. Then the U.S. would be in a position to effectively deal with “the China challenge” , the climate crisis , the current and future pandemics and so forth, Mr Sullivan said.​biden-administration-will-build-on-the-quad-nsa-jake-sullivan/article33703671.ece

        Back to the knitting, get own house in order, then move forward.
        What's not to like?

        Below is the beginning of the thread about the Middle East being unimportant.

        this has always driven me nuts:

        I became an admirer of Yglesias for his insightful commentary 10 or 12 years ago when he was a frequent quest on Bloggingheads TV. This comment of his, if taken literally, is stupid. Does anyone here believe that Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen individually or as a group are "unimportant" to the U.S.? 

         I agree with the rest, especially regarding the region we actually live in. 

        So tell me which of  Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar i would miss (aside from Al Jazeera)?

        Your reply indicates that the countries you list do in fact have no importance to the U.S. and so I guess they could just disappear and we would never even notice. Presumably then, the countries you did not edit out of the list, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, do have some importance. A significant number of them have been considered to be of enough importance for us to bomb or for us to support others in bombing or otherwise attacking them. The most significant country of importance to us would definitely be Israel which virtually all our political leaders swear allegiance to. Is your response attempting to refute my claim that Yglasias made a stupidly wrong statement when he said all these countries are unimportant? 

        No, Tunisia, Yemen are unimportant as well. Biden's cutting off Saudis military support for messing with Yemen. Libya was pretexting civilians during the Arab Spring, which you keep forgetting. Syria somewhat. But no, we didn't support bombing Turkey, UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, Morocco,etc etc

        Considering your love for Putin, i don't expect you to agree we should focus on limiting the damage of Russia and China, contrary to Trump.

        You are just not capable of leaving off without a gratuitous slur, are you. 

        Well, i find Yglesias spot-on because we waste lots of time on the Mideast while ignoring the 2 powers with the most detrimental foreign policy, and ignoring the EU that has the most commonality with us and ability to expand positive behavior. So explain yourself then - what drives this need to focus on Syria and ignore say Germany? Netherlands? Doesn't Joe need to help make things right with Brexited UK? Europe's in crisis with Covid -what isn't there some coordination going on? Instead, what - Somalia maybe? Or let's waste a bunch of energy on North Korea, while ignoring Australia and Malaysia? None of it makes much sense.

        And yet when you come around to post, it's usually some weird "revelation" about Syria or something - finding we did something bad 6 years ago... Why?

        I don't think it's stupid at all. It's not about media coverage as you are apparently inaccurately reading it according to your own prism. It's about the army of think tankers and lobbyists that are in DC to affect US foreign policy. It's a statement informed by being part of DC political circle now for many years. It's also just a fucking tweet, and I read "Middle East" here as the Persian Gulf region and its sphere of influence, and not as all those names you took off a map being a geography stickler.

        That happened because of THE OIL Because if the U.S. supply of oil got fucked up, a lot of other stuff got fucked up too. Secondarily  because of the "Israel lobby" supported by many American citizens who think protection of Israel is a important principle of world policy. 

        That old oil issue has pretty much been ameliorated by the U.S. switching dependence to other sources. Which we should have done much earlier. The Israel situation is changing because of changing alliances with Israel and the potentates of the area switching from using them as a bete noire distraction for their more ignorant citizens from the fact of their mis-rule.

        But all those old lobbyists and think tankers are still hanging around and stressing "the Middle East". None of them are moving on. They have a vested interest in promoting their field of expertise.

        But way before Yglesias I thought all along there was too much emphasis on controlling and manipulating the situation in the area, it made for myopia and not seeing big picture. even before the internet, I learned to skip reading the reports in the NYTimes on Israel and Palestine because it was always the same fucking story for years, you missed nothing if you skipped it, if you came back to read months later, it was still the same thing. And I was always like: why the fuck is this so important when there's all this other shit going on the world?

        And guess what, later I found if the world shifts, "the Mideast" shifts too.


        P.S. furthermore, who are you to lecture about geographical designations?

        Algeria,Libya, Morocco,Tunisia = most people would consider these North Africa, not the "Mideast"

        THEN you throw in Turkey! = member of NATO. Therefore, a totally different realm of foreign policy. Not to mention as wikipedia entry begins  is a transcontinental country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia,  It is bordered on its northwest by Greece ... I can't imagine someone like Yglesias ever meaning Turkey when he says "the Mideast". Why do you, just because they got a lot of Muslims? That's pretty racist of you.

        However, the discussion has been helpful, in that there is one thing that what I consider your mistaken use of the term made me realize (as I was thinking of the Olttoman Empire and how in the 19th century it was considered the exotic "far east".)

         the term as we use it "The Middle East," it's not just about THE OIL, it also refers to the areas where the Bible stories occurred, it is THE HOLY LAND. We're so used to that, so ingrained, so a part of our culture, we don't even realize it any more. That's a major part of the equation, you know like Crusades/crusaders

        p.p.s. Turkey as part of "The Mideast", I still can't get over that.surprise Why not throw in Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia?

        More evidence that Wikipedia gets a lot wrong, I guess. Yglesias could have said the Middle East is less important and could arguably been correct. I would have argued that the place/area/country more likely to explode in world shaking ways in the near future is pretty damned important and should be considered as such even if there are other areas he believes are of more concern in the long run.  I remain convinced that if we take Yglesias statement literally, the statement being that the Middle East is unimportant, his statement is stupid. 

        from yesterday:

        Tulsi Gabbard calls out the US dirty war on Syria that Biden, aides admit to.  

        "While Gabbard has been vilified for her stance on Syria, many top White House officials — including Joe Biden himself — have already acknowledged the same facts that she has called out ... ...

        Featuring clips from: Tulsi Gabbard, former Democratic Congressmember; President Joe Biden; Brett McGurk, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa; Martin Dempsey, former Joint Chiefs chairman; Rob Malley, Special Envoy for Iran; John Kerry, Special Envoy for Climate & former Secretary of State; former President Donald Trump; Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on Sanctions; Dana Stroul, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East; Vice President Kamala Harris. With evidence from these clips, Maté argues that Gabbard only stands apart in being wiling to criticize the facts of the situation.

        on that Kissinger thing:

        I always thought we could have managed invading Iraq with a plan how to occupy or just get out afterwards as anither option (i also largely justified it as "breaking up the table" from a bad pool game, which isn't quite in the United Nations rule book, alas), but 20 years on with all the brazen stupidity, i question whether we ever had it in us to invade sensibly. Bin Laden cold-cocked us, and we were punch drunk and seeing red for years, just couldn't get our wits back. Perhaps with a bigger Covid crisis at home (and abroad) we'll finally snap out if it and put away those "caravans" and "The Russians are Coming!" (the slapstick Zero Mostel movie, not the real threat) and deal with the world normal and even-keeled again.

        Americans put low priority on promoting democracy abroad

        BY BRUCE DRAKE @ Pew Facttank, March 2

        U.S. political leaders have long spoken of America’s commitment to democracy as pivotal to its role in the world, whether it was Woodrow Wilson declaring in 1917 that the U.S. must enter World War I to make the world “safe for democracy,” or George W. Bush saying, on his reelection in 2004, “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.”

        More recently, President Joe Biden told world leaders gathered virtually at the Munich Security Conference, “We must demonstrate that democracy can still deliver for our people in this changed world.”

        But in recent decades, promoting democracy in other nations has not been a top priority for the American public. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in early February found that just 20% of U.S. adults cited this as a top foreign policy objective, putting it at the bottom of the list of 20 topics polled....

        Read More →

        5 former OPCW officials join prominent voices to call out Syria cover-up.  Prominent signatories and five former OPCW officials are calling on the chemical watchdog to address the cover-up of its chemical weapons investigation in the Syrian city of Douma, and to hear out the dissenting scientists whose findings were censored.

        Russia-led campaign that claimed the UN weapons watchdog had manipulated evidence of a Syrian government chemical weapons attack has been dealt a blow by an official inquiry showing that two former employees hailed as whistleblowers had little direct access to the evidence and inflated their role.

        The independent inquiry commissioned by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) shows that one of the two had never been on the team investigating the April 2018 attack in Douma and the other was only on the team for a brief period.

        Both individuals, referred to in the report as Inspector A and B, may face legal action.

        More than 40 people were killed on 7 April 2018 in the town of Douma on the outskirts of Damascus. The town was at the time held by rebels but besieged by pro-government forces. Civilians claimed they were the victims of a chemical weapon attack.

        The assault prompted reprisal missile strikes on Syrian government targets by the US, Britain and France a week later, one of the few direct strikes on Syrian government assets in the nine-year civil war.

        Russia immediately launched a campaign, including bringing witnesses from Syria to the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to challenge the claim that chemical weapons were used.

        The charge that Russia permits, or covers up the Syrian president, Bashir al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, is one of the most bitter flashpoints between Russia and the west.

        Following the US strike, the OPCW set up a fact-finding mission to decide whether chemical weapons had been used, but not to attribute responsibility. It ruled in March 2019 that a banned toxic chemical containing chlorine was likely to have been used in Douma. The fact that chemical weapons were delivered through airstrikes effectively meant the OPCW believed the Syrian air force was responsible.

        Internal OPCW reports questioning whether chemical weapons had been used leaked last May, raising questions about manipulation of the OPCW by the west.

        But an OPCW inquiry into those leaks published on Thursday found the authors of the internal reports only had a minor supporting role in the Douma team.

        The OPCW chief Fernando Arias told OPCW states in comments published on Thursday that the two individuals were “not whistleblowers”. He said: “They are individuals who could not accept that their views were not backed by evidence.” He added that the two men breached their obligations to the organisation, saying their behaviour was even more egregious since they had manifestly incomplete information on the investigation.

        The official inquiry said: “Inspector A did not have access to all the documents, witness interviews, laboratory tests and analyses by independent experts.” It said he never wrote an official OPCW report, and only wrote a personal document created with incomplete information.


        NGOs demand France investigates Syrian regime's chemical weapons attacks -

        If the time-stamps are correct you took 13 minutes to digest a 25 minute video and then respond. Your response is to quote from a year old article in The Guardian. That article is dealt with in the video report and is shown to be biased towards transcribing the government position and also to leave out evidence which supports the Greyzone critical reporting and even critical reporting done by one of their own journalists.  A major point of the Greyzone article is pointing out that a very newsworthy story bolstered by a great deal of evidence is being mostly ignored by MSM. Are you suggesting with your response that the questions raised by Mate's reporting have been sufficiently covered and convincingly answered?  

        Fixed the time-stamps ;-)

        And so now, resulting from the "fix", we are in a time warp responding to a post which will not even go up for 40 minutes or so. Who says that news can't be fun. 

        David Sanger, cybermenace.

        interesting that at the same time that Nonzero is seeing a hawkish media menace, Judge Silberman of the DC circuit is seeing a liberal propaganda machine.

        "let's make a gentlemen's agreement with the guy who feeds radiation to opponents and hacked our last 2 elections"

        related hashtag currently trending: #​RootinForPutin

        Biden admin tense meeting with China is actually major news but is kind of being downplayed by the media espec. as there is tension about Asian-Americans within the U.S.--I haven't read up on it yet but I thought this was something worth sharing, saw retweeted by Branko Milanovic:

        here's one new op-ed on Biden China policy:

        cannot read this FT article, but tweet content is more along the same lines, and others should pick up on the story soon to clarify:

        Why surprising? Pushback on China/support if Taiwan was expected.

        I don't find it surprising. More like: proof of what I suspected, that what he was selling in his campaign was what he was really going to do. Not just the simplistic anti-Trump, that was the nice thing about him as a candidate; it is a partly a feature, not a bug, of his age: no more spinning just to look like the opposite of the other guy, no need to, you're going to die soon.

        Regarding the spat between Biden and Putin:


        I bet Rocket Man doesn't even get his usual blowjob. What are megalomaniac totalitarian leaders to do? Joe's just not playing the game right.

        NATO 2030: “We must stop this crazy train before it is too late!”

        Sigh, Montenegro - Russia interfering with their affairs, sitting on the Adriatic - "traditional Slavic partner"? Is this an excuse for everything? An air war against Milosevic's Serbia to protect a vast Muslim Albanian majority in a small region of Serbia from the atrocities Serbia had committed against Croats and Bosnians just a couple years before - and our big worry should be we embarrassed Yeltsin and the Russians 1500 miles away? The Russians who devastated Chechens in 2 verybugly "internal matters", the second under Putin - just after Kosovo?Enough where stealing a very Ukrainian Crimea 2 decades later is justified? (ethnically & linguistically quite Ukrainian even during the times when Russia controlled it, and the control during Soviet times archaic, but with actions like Stalin's Holodomor that killed 5-7 million or exiling Russian Jews to Siberia in the 30's, who would complain?)

        Thank you for at least publishing French text - much better than another podcast it video, but still, why do you always fret over Russia so, and not for Ukrainians, Syrian civilians, Albanians, ???

        basically this is the latest poop on all things concerning the "Israel lobby" and Biden admin:

        I read it like: how hawkish on Iran is enough? It's like there's like a hawish scale, and this guy is right at the fucking middle!

        U.S. foreign policy commentary on Iran-China news I just put on the global news thread:

        The penchant for telling Joe he has to do something stupid, quick & drastic continues unabated.
        Iran's not stupid - she's independent, and will stay so, the savviest of the Mideast countries.
        China's tried to bait in countries with Belt & Road, plus Africa initiatives etc - as the world gets tired of China's transparent attempts at control, is Iran going to suddenly turn stupid and work against its own interests?
        No, not really, This one's all about China buying Iranian oil - part of the price is to let China save a bit of face in its disastrous noncharm offensive (combined with yes, its origination of Covid, most accurately called the "Wuhan flu" despite protestations).
        So what's it all about, Alfie? Oil, as usual.
        My guess here is that China also wants to lock in shipments before the US *ends* sanctions on Iranian oil
        (maybe won't happen - still not sure what happens to Bibi, but this week he failed to get a majority for the 4th time - seems his grip on power & overall reputation are a bit tarnished).
        Anyway, Joe's in for 2 months - cut him a break. Covid & relief are all anyone really cares about, so not shooting himself in the foot over something largely irrelevant seems prudent. Of course then the media only has his dogs to talk about, but c'est la vie.

        There is good reason for the U.S. to reenter the Iran nuclear agreement on its original terms, IMO, and also reason to do it quickly.  It is far from obvious that to do so would be to do something stupid, quick & drastic.   Acting stupid, slow, and drastic by delaying reentry beyond Iran's upcoming election, and especially to delay by demanding new restrictions on the Iranians as a price for us acting as if a deal is a deal, jeopardize the chances of ending with any agreement at all and greatly increases the chance that radical hardliners prevail in Iran's election. 

        Jeopardize any agreement at all?

        Well, i guess we better move quick then.

        Because otherwise the Iranians are going to... do what again?

        Jeopardize any agreement at all?  Yes, I think the agreement could be saved but probably won't be and for reasons easily understood. 

         Well, i guess we better move quick then.  Depends on whether or not you feel the agreement is worth saving. I do.

          Because otherwise the Iranians are going to... do what again?  You tell me. Do you think that letting the agreement die would be a success, and if so, for who? Chaos theory might be considered when wondering about the answer to this question. I believe there are multiple triggers that could set off chaos in that part of the world that could play out in many possible ways. If it comes to it I believe Iran will fight back with great effect and with possibly, likely, catastrophic mushrooming direct results for large parts of the world.  

        So there's some doomsday scenario waiting, because Iranians aren't smart enough to know that Biden's likely a much more reasonable bargaining partner who'll probably arrange the renewal/end of sanctions over the next year? Let the agreement die? That seems quite unlikely under this administration, but in general nuclear agreements aren't quick matters, even if "just renewing", and there's prolly some effect from Israel's current leadership crisis, like it or not.

        Or as Joe would say, "Come on, man - I don't know where you guys are coming from"

        PS - North Korea just launched a nuke - do we drop everything and run to confront them as well? We are not the helicopter parents you're looking for.

        Biden met with Charles Michel and the EU Council yesterday:

        By Catherine Osborn, March 26. Catherine Osborn is the writer of Foreign Policy’s weekly Latin America Brief. She is a print and radio journalist based in Rio de Janeiro.

        Clinton was fucking impeached over a blowjob, Lulu - isn't that "paying a price"? Why can't idiots write simple by-the-numbers articles? Oh, because they're idiots. Is there a difference between deceiving Congress over disagreement over a policy goal (a few short years before Congreas abandoned it's oversight completely) vs deciding to go to war on made up facts? Or those vs a blowjob? (arguably Hillary paid more of a price for Bush/Cheney/Colin Powell lies about Iraq than they did, despite her not lying)

        Why did Fauci lie to the American public? Because the stupid fucking public elected a congenital liar as President (presuming not stolen) so pushing any piece of sane policy in the middle of a mismanaged pandemic meant gritting your teeth and cutting out part of your soul. *Trump* stole PPEs and mismanaged the Covid response, not Fauci, so cut Fauci some slack for working around all Franken's "Lying Liars..."

        BTW, what about liars about Syria? Did we just "Move On"?


         Clinton was fucking impeached over a blowjob, Lulu - isn't that "paying a price"? The "price" which the article claims politicians routinely avoid paying is a political price. Bill Clinton ultimately paid no political price and almost no social price. Nearly everyone who loved him before the revelations continued to do so after them. I think it is fair to measure the political price paid for an action and the lies told to cover it up or to enable it in the first place can be measured by the support a politician maintains after being caught in the lies.. You then immediately make a case that some lies are worse than others. No kidding? Really?  I do agree with you that telling lies to the entire country that justify going to war are more significant than lies about private consensual sex even if for most of our history such lies would ruin or at least damage, a politicians career. Of course you cannot miss in  your criticism of the piece an opportunity to defend the always-innocent-Hillary as a victim of lies [What? Are you suggesting that lies have victims?] even though she is not even mentioned in the article. Then you defend the lies told by Fauci as necessary and understandable because the American people are so stupid and so used to lying that they cannot handle the truth. Believing in the concept that a lie told to the entire country can be a 'noble' lie, even if it is a very common practice, is a Straussian concept which belies any confidence that democracy can work in the way that is claimed [by way  of an informed electorate choosing its leaders] but must be manipulated by wise men telling lies because the common man cannot handle the truth. Maybe Strauss is correct about this. I hope and believe that, for as long as I want our country to be a successful democracy, it is not correct and lies by politicians should be called out whenever discovered.

        And yeah, as you suggest, there have been plenty of lies told about Syria. You seem to suggest, in agreement with  almost everything I have seen regarding the English academic, that the professor should pay a price for his lies, if the allegations are proved to be correct, told in furtherance of wrongful actions. Why so in that particular case if none of the lies mentioned in the article are worthy of noticing and criticizing? 

        Clinton paid no political or social price? So he didn't have much of his agenda stalled, and didn't have to grovel for forgiveness to his colleagues, incl assholes like Joe lieberman, or be a laughingstock for jokes? Nor have to stay in the doghouse at home? I mean, that's just ahistorical. Of course the Republicans, who shut down govt, allowing Bill & Monica that alone time, overplayed their hand as usual so it backfired, but that doesn't mean Clinton had no political and social fallout. (why exactly did Counterpunch pick that as the 2nd item if not to give Clinton hatred/both sides do it a run?)

        A 2001 study by Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz attributes the Republican Party's poor performance in the 1998 elections to a public backlash against Republicans' handling of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.[3]

        Even years later he became a poster child for the #MeToo movement, with a number of people still insisting he should have resigned - hardly the revered status of the President during the prosperous 90s.

        Re: Fauci, he's an underling, less agency than a Colin Powell or Dick Cheney, just a hired hand trying to do his job despite the horrid lies hid boss and the whole administration were telling. He could have resigned and been replaced by someone's who'd tell bigger lies, or try to do his best. (Birx apparently did much worse with that ethical choice, tho i still don't totally blame her - if the majority of Americans are welcoming lies, it's hard to demand acts of conscious that ultimately may do more harm than stealthily finding other ways).

        Re: Hillary, she became the "conniving bitch staying in a loveless marriage just for political calculation" (also can count that as a social and political price for Bill), while re: the Iraq vote (for UN inspections specifically, allowing  but not demanding invasion for non-compliance), tell me *who* was tarred worse than her either for her vote or the invasion itself. I'll wait.

        Re: the Syria article, you seem to have ignored the description of the cottage industry of Syria chemical Truthers, likely set up as disinfo by Putin.

        I do not know of any action taken by Trump that you support more whole heartedly than you do the bombing of Syria in retaliation for the supposed chemical attack on Douma by the Syrian government. But, since you do you flail about in your reaction to any evidence that the justification was wrong for whatever reason. The U.S. has pushed hard to influence the OPCW ever since its first inspector-general failed to parrot the line pushed by Warhawks within the administration. 

         Bustani was appointed the first director general of the OPCW in 1997. His four-year term was due to expire in 2001. However, he was unanimously reelected to this position one year early, in May 2000 for a term of four years. Soon after, Bustani fell out of favour with the U.S., who began to lobby aggressively for his removal, in a campaign orchestrated by U.S. official John Bolton.[2] Finally, at Bolton's behest, a special meeting was held in The Hague on April 21, 2002. Following what are reputed to have been both secretive and tempestuous deliberations,[3] a vote was held, with Bustani's removal being carried by a vote of 48–7, with 43 abstentions.[4] This is thought to be the first time in history that the head of a major international organisation was removed during his or her term of office,[3] and the most bitter public campaign by the United States to force a senior international official from office since the Clinton administration blocked the 1996 reelection of U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali.[5] Five former officials from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have joined a group of prominent signatories to urge the OPCW to address the controversy surrounding its investigation of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

        Even if you choose to believe with conviction that the Syrian government attacked Douma with chlorine gas, do you really believe that this and extensive other reporting by Aaron Mate' was "set up" by Putin to push disinformation. Do you give no credence at all to the testimony of multiple members of the OPCW that question the organization's final report and how it was arrived at? Are they all Putin puppets too? Do you believe that the U.S. never uses its great power to strongly push various organization members to vote the way it wants them to? Do you think that the U.S. ever tries to cover up mistakes or deliberate malfeasance and so it is not even reasonable to consider whether it pressured the OPCW to support, after the fact, its excuse for bombing Douma? You should find another boogeyman to blame along with Putin, a single one cannot be responsible for everything that happens and which you disagree with. All the bad motives and resulting bad actions and bad results in the world cannot be centered on that one person even if he is guilty of many.


        Considering you had no trouble excusing the downing of the Malaysian airliner, or deflecting blame onto someone else, not sure you should be tossing so many stones.

        Bolton doesn't like someone in 2002 doesn't make them a hero in 2018. Sure, Aaron Maté and Glenn Greenwald get their kray-kray from more than just Putin. I certainly can't explain it all, including how being so wrong so often leaves one popular, but it's worked for Fox, it works for them.

        I never excused the downing of the Malaysian airliner. Saying I did is a lie. I questioned many of the poorly supported claims made by such as Bellingcat that instantly blamed Russia and did not seriously consider other possibilities.

         If you are saying Mate' is wrong and is often wrong you should give at least one if not several instances of where and how.

        So Russia gave Donbas separatists the gun that downed the Malaysian flight MH370?

        It is appropriate that you ended your reply wia question mark.

        Checking if we have a shared reality point yet.

        Seems you still don't like this question.

        I cannot figure what you are talking about. Can you?  What question? 

        You have commitment issues?

        Again, what point are you trying to make? Can you try to say it clearly?

        Do. You. Think. Russians. Gave. Donbas. Rebels. A Buk. Missile. To. Shoot. Down. MH370.

            I would bet that Russia in general and Putin in particular didn't have any part of shooting down MH370, but one can never be sure, especially if you believe that he is everywhere doing everything evil that is done almost anywhere,  but there are definitely some open questions about Putin's direct responsibility for the shoot down of Flight MH17. 

        Do. You. Think. Russians. Gave. Donbas. Rebels. A Buk. Missile. To. Shoot. Down. MH370.

           Answering your specific question, but about NH17 which I will assume you intended the question, the answer is no, I very strongly doubt that Putin dispatched anti-aircraft missiles to Donbas rebels for the purpose of shooting down NH17 or any other airliner carrying a load of  travelers from several different nations.  Did the missiles come from Russia? At some point, probably, but there are legitimate questions about , for instance, the "proof" of the details that Bellingcat supplied as to how and why they were there and about who pulled the trigger. 

        I am not suggesting in this response that Putin, because he has some unusual moral standards and limits for a world leader, is a person who is not capable of ordering an attack that would kill many innocent people. I firmly believe that he has done so. I do not have any way to know, nor do I have any reason to believe, that Putin is in a special class-of-one among significant world leaders in that way.  But, I do have reason to believe that Putin is not a stupid person. For Putin to have made the choice to send a missile unit well into Donbas for the deliberate purpose of, as you put it, shooting down a passenger airliner and with a plan for the shooters to then make a dash back to Russia via a convoluted course that was of a longer distance in Ukraine and through more populated areas of Ukraine than was necessary, [according to Bellingcat] all in a wild attempt to kill a bunch of people and get away with blaming it on the Ukraine coup government could only be seen, IMO, as an obviously very stupid decision. And so I doubt that that is anywhere near a valid description of what happened. Do you see any parallels to the Vincennes' shoot down of the Iranian airliner which killed 290 civilians? Who do you hold out as evil because of responsibility for that incident? The Captain who pulled the trigger got a medal for it. 

        I didn't say "Putin", so will try again.

        Do. You. Think. Russians. Gave. Donbas. Rebels. A Buk. Missile. With. Which. Donbas. Rebels. Shot. Down. MH17.

        Or simpler:

        Do. You. Think. Donbas. Rebels. Shot. Down. MH17. With. A. Buk. Missile.

        And you didn't say "with which the rebels shot down the airliner.".  You said exactly, " Do. You. Think. Russians. Gave. Donbas. Rebels. A Buk. Missile. To. Shoot. Down. MH370?"  Instead of saying "to shoot down' substitute instead "for the purpose of shooting down MH370" and the sentence asks the exact same thing as did the way you originally  phrased your question. What you originally said would make the shoot down a vile war crime in several ways whereas the wording you now substitute allows for the commitment of a stupid mistake when the action intended might well have been a defensible one, which it probably was.

        a) Do. You. Think. Russians. Gave. Donbas. Rebels. A Buk. Missile. With. Which. Donbas. Rebels. Shot. Down. MH17.

        Or simpler:

        b) Do. You. Think. Donbas. Rebels. Shot. Down. MH17. With. A. Buk. Missile.

        Do you agree with b? If so, do you agree with a?

        Maybe your new way of formatting your question helps to slow down your response in an attempt to match the speed you can think clearly, but you missed above where I already answered question (a).  My answer: "Did the missiles come from Russia? At some point, probably, [Russia claims theywere delivered in 1988] but there are legitimate questions about, for instance, the "proof" of the details that Bellingcat supplied as to how and why they were there and about who pulled the trigger."  

         Do you think that whoever fired the missile was intending to shoot down the airliner? If so, can you suggest a credible motive? What did they hope to gain? Do you believe that anyone thought it would be a smart thing to do? If so, who and why? Do you believe that anyone in Russia that had the position from which to plan and institute an order to send a missile unit to Ukraine for the purpose of deliberately shooting down a third country's passenger airliner would and could do so without Putin's knowledge and approval? Regardless who is responsible, is it the same crime whether or not the shoot down was an accident or deliberate? Do you agree with the Nuremburg court's declaration that the country responsible for starting a war is responsible for the crimes committed in that war? 

        Russian shill - brilliant.

        Tho yes, in the post-Hillary world there are more women who can be slandered and attacked unfairly. Can we ask if liars like Greenwald ever pay a social or political price?

        That is a lot of accusation, possibly true but with no supporting evidence provided. Too typical.

        Clinton still paying in 2006

        (the Great Ann Altgate "I am feminist, hear me slut/breastshame" roar heard round the blogworld)

        FBI (not known as notably progressive, just trying to follow what Congress says is the law):

        Iran says talks with U.S. to revive nuclear deal begin on ‘right track’

        Iran and the United States have not held direct talks, but Iran said initial meetings in Vienna on returning to the 2015 nuclear deal were “constructive.”

        By Anne GearanLoveday Morris and Kareem Fahim1 hour ago @

        Wait, Lulu said this was dead if we didn't rush in 2-3 weeks ago!?

        yup I knew it exactly where this story needed to be posted as soon as I saw it, so PP could do an "I told ya so."cheeky

        Set up like tee-ball, eh? Where are my dentures, i wanna get my teeth into this...

        But seriously - Trump had years to fuck things up, along with other weird leftovers of our political system. This dictating the speed it haste with which the whole ocean must be rolled back - especially with some tripwires to cause real or political damage. I think Jen Psaki was out yesterday telling people to just wait - do we have that life skill anymore? (and considering Lulu's politics, Putin must need this quick for some reason - didn't hear from Lulu when Putin, MbS & Iran were trying to pull off some multilateral Mideast nuclear overlordship - Guess priorities and liberalism are relative after all)

        While trying to find the Psaki thing, i noticed kid if ay Sekulow' (Trump pitbull lawyer) is humping some FOIA thing where Obama-Bidden didn't gasp divukge every last detail of sensitive Iran negotiations , and Jan, i mean Jen *knows* about it. Shocked, simply shocked. Is Lulu fluffing this bait? Who knows.

        Anyway, this is the climate Biden has to work in.

        In this case  you are once again being insulting to your own knowledge and perceptive ability   by mischaracterizing what I have said and then ridiculing that false characterization to the giddy delight of your caddy [sticking with your "teed-up" analogy]  who thinks your hitting into a sand trap is like hitting a hole in one in a par-four situation. 

          Did you, do you, think the Iran nuclear agreement was a good thing and do you think it would be good if it was reestablished? Do you think the U.S. had any pre-knowledge of, or participation in, or signed off on, the attack on Iran's nuclear facilities which took place since my last post where I said that acting quickly was important because there were many forces working against the U.S. reentering the deal like Biden said during his campaign that he intended to do? Does that 'act-of-war' crime, regardless the responsible party, help the chance of renewing the deal or hurt its chances? What do you think the chances are, right now, that the deal will be reestablished? Do you give a shit one way or the other? I do.

        I did a separate news post on the Natanz sabotage. Most experts I saw comment on the situation thought it gave the U.S. great leverage as far as the agreement and compromised Iran's leverage a great deal. I included some here

        Yeah, leverage is important. If we could just get a knee on the neck of  Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif or others of Iran's hierarchy maybe we would have the necessary leverage to CHANGE the DEAL that Obama spent so much political capital to accomplish. Otherwise, sticking to our word seems unlikely to any international follower of the news once again, even with Obama's vice now in charge. 

        my answer to your eternally negative surety about how nothing ever changes and Amerika is the evil empire at the heart of it all:

        Biden tells Americans ‘we cannot continue the cycle’ in Afghanistan as he announces troop withdrawal

        psst: The Afghanistan-Iran border is 921 km (572 mi) in length and runs from the tripoint with Turkmenistan in the north to the tripoint with Pakistan in the south....

        Could it be Iranians read the news and know about our internal politics? Or have heard of MEK?

        Ooh, Lulu the Seer, i ignore your greatness knowing that Israel (read Bibi especially) might resist an Iranian nuclear deal. Who else could have seen that coming? And a George Floyd ref to shove the shiv of "I told you so" in a bit deeper. You're right, Bidens been in almost 3 months now, he should've done more than just revive the vaccinations, gotten a huge relief package through Congress, set up a summit with Putin, sent notice to Palestinians that they're back in the game, launched a huge infrastructure initiative, restructured DoJ post-riots, announced unconditional exit from Afghanistan, and whatever else he's been dawdling with. I mean, by his 1st 100 days he won't have solved Mideast peace, how's that for sucky performance. American voters will want to know, "what did you do about Iran".

        yeah like doh, Bibi gives a flying fuck if the U.S. approves of anything he does for national security.

        (which brings to mind, after we elected Trump--Mr. Supremo at daily transactional behavioral changes--why would anyone, any single country, or any alliance--like NATO-ever bet again on the U.S. protecting them from anyone or anything? it's over)

         did anyone ever ask Lulu if he was an Israeli Jew, he would like Iran to have nukes? just wondering. No brainer: never again is their motto, they'll do what they feel they have to do, rest of the world be damned,.That's the price everyone has to pay for not rescuing them back then, just reality.

        related aside: astonishing example of the Israeli DRIVE TO SURVIVE at any cost: probably the first country in the world to reach herd immunity from covid. While the rest of the world dithered in various ways and lost millions of lives, they were driven. had eyes on the prize of staying small feat wtih many large hasidic or ultra conservative families being anathema to masks and immunization...

        yeah like doh, Bibi gives a flying fuck if the U.S. approves of anything he does for national security.

        Happy to see you acknowledge that the country we have sworn to protect regardless their actions and which we give billions to every year does not give a flying fuck about our foreign policy choices, and in this case the same choice  of our other significant allies, and is free to veto them whenever they do not perfectly align with their own. 

        Jesus, Lulu - welcome to the last 50 years.

        Welcome, PP, to the world of political discussion. What is your problem with me alluding to and describing things which have been happening, as you say, for a very long time? 

        Cuz we acknowledged our weird relationship with Israel a long time ago, but you make it sound like we've been in denial about it. Search "Peracles AIPAC" And you might find a few comments thru the years.

        good comments on thread, too

        Yeah, knowing when to go slow, when things aren't quite lined up right yet so pull back? Almost like driving 

        Iran being flexible behind closed doors and subtly intimating that in public as well

        more same on Iran talks:

        OPCW Coverup Challenged At U.N.   At UN, Aaron Maté debunks OPCW’s Syria lies and confronts US, UK on cover-up  



        Ooh, a UN Meeting - how impressive, how sexy. But wait, what is "Arria"?

        An "Arria formula" meeting is an informal meeting of members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which must be convened by a member of the UNSC in order for the meeting to take place.[1]

        So who was Maté's member? Oh, Russia. So Maté spoke for 25 minutes straight, unquestioned, while Russia seemed happy for him to repeat his conspiracy charges re: OPCW that serves Russia's interests. Meanwhile, Navalny aporoaches death with a hunger strike, and the Czechs kick out 18 Russian diplomats over those Salisbury Novichok killers bombing a Czech factory, to go along with Biden responding over Solar Wind. Has Aaron had anything to say about these current events, or he's too busy regurgitating 3-year-old Russia-friendly stories about a 4-year-old attack?

        Oh, apparently OPCW renewed its charges last week, so Maté has to get on hisnoushback:

        I expect that you are correct that Russia was the Security Council member that invited Mate'. Considering that they were no doubt aware of his previous reporting on the Douma I would hardly expect the U.S. or England or France to do so. That said, I could not find verification of that so maybe you could provide a link to verify it.

        So Maté spoke for 25 minutes straight, unquestioned, while Russia seemed happy for him to repeat his conspiracy charges re: OPCW that serves Russia's interests. 

        How do you know that Mate' was not questioned during the meeting? If you watched the video you know that there was at least one other witness, that being Colonel Wilkerson. I am betting that if anyone at the meeting had a rebuttal to anything presented that they had their chance to present it.  Mate's response in the most recent addition to your comment indicates that his presentation could have been challenged if anyone chose to do so. Russia seemed happy? Fair conjecture but how do you know what they expressed? If you have a link to the entire meeting please provide that link too. 

         Meanwhile, Navalny aporoaches death with a hunger strike, and the Czechs kick out 18 Russian diplomats over those Salisbury Novichok killers bombing a Czech factory, to go along with Biden responding over Solar Wind. Has Aaron had anything to say about these current events, or he's too busy regurgitating 3-year-old Russia-friendly stories about a 4-year-old attack? 

        Total misdirection which is not an admirable way to counter evidence which supports a conclusion you do not like to see but which is supported with facts and strong evidence. My comment begs a question, of course.  Did Mate' present facts and did he present any false information?  Maybe you can say what evidence he provided which can be debunked and what charge did he make that is not supported by that evidence? 

        Has Aaron had anything to say about these current events, or he's too busy regurgitating 3-year-old Russia-friendly stories about a 4-year-old attack?

        Do you suggest that there should be a statue of limits on the time it takes to show that an attack in which the U.S. alone [England and France did their part too] fired 76 missiles at various targets in Syria was based on false evidence?

        Maté: "i spoke to tht UN Security Council". Leaves off the special session, only to the Russian Security Council member. Didn't see Wilkerson. Only saw the Russians face for 2 secs, then Mate for 26 mins. Might as well have been a podcast, ceot Russia hearts Aaron. Yes, the intrigue of blowing up a Czech factory (2014) plus Bulgaria plus Novichok in Salisbury while wanting to be believed we're all nice and humanitarian, no tricks, in Donbass and Syria? And this is *1* attack on civilians Maté is focused on - there were dozens (hundreds?). All of Russia's shittiness unravels if Maté is right about 1 thing? He's already burned credibility by insisting Russiagate didn't happen, despite the conclusions of man's smarter and better connected than him. Including direct proof revealed this week that Kilimnik leaked 2016 polling data *directly* to the GRU. But hey, pump out that lone man conspiracy theory - Maté lied before, but unfair to keep calling him on it as more and more info comes out over the years? Are we still stuck in 2014 pretending the Ukrainians shot down that Malaysian plane, not Russian-backed guerrillas? Maté will keep on 1 item in a world overflowing with new crazy data, but someone pays him to be the dog with these 1 or 2 Russia-pleasing bones, and then the social media sites that amplify him (kinda like how Russia did it in. 2016 with Macedinian disinfo teams, eh? Oh, and more Russian intrigue election intrigue/hacking in 2020, but let's keep looking over there, at the bright shiny thing that Aaron's found, UN bad guys, American bad guys...

        Can you read a Human Rights Watch piece describing Russian and Syria displacing over a million Syrians?

        Hold a "special session" for that.

        Lulu, Russia OPCW scam burned?

        Such a small group with so much disinfo - but with 4 Russian embassies feeding you material, might keep up.



        What is this stupid shit, Lulu? The Syria scandal isn't the "new Iraq WMDs" because it's 3 years old, no one's going to attack Syria over it, it's largely treated as an internal matter like Hussein gassing the Kurda, and so many other reasons such as we're not going to war with Russia over Syria, unlike threats on Saudi Arabia in 2003. This dumbfuck general thinks getting rid of chemical weapons in Syria means they couldnt restock easily with chlorine, with which they do most of their attacks?

         Wikipedia: (btw, is HRW acceptable, or another corrupt org because Russia says so?)

        According to a February 2019 study by researchers at the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute, chlorine was used in 91.5% of chemical attacks since 2012.[4]

        In 2014, the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria concluded the use of chlorine was systematic and widespread, but the mission was not tasked with assigning blame.[5] The following year, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW-UN JIM) was established to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria.[5] The OPCW-UN JIM blamed the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad for the sarin attack in Khan Shaykhun, as well as three chlorine attacks.[5] They also concluded ISIL militants used sulphur mustard.[5] According to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, the Syrian government carried out 33 chemical attacks between 2013 and September 2018.[6] A further six attacks were documented by the Commission, but the perpetrators were not sufficiently identified.[6] According to HRW, 85 confirmed chemical attacks occurred between 21 August 2013 and 25 February 2018, and the Syrian government was responsible for the majority of the attacks.[7][8] HRW said the actual number of attacks was likely higher than 85.[7] According to a Global Public Policy Institute study, at least 336 attacks have occurred.[4] The report said 98% of these attacks were carried out by Assad's forces and 2% by ISIL.[4]

        The OPCW thinks Syria hid as much as *10%* of its sarin etc when it kind of declared Syria "clean" in 2016, but that still didn't include easy to make chlorine. 

        So if 92% if chemical attacks are chlorine, why do you keep posting deceptive mizherfuckers like Maté and this numbnut compromised general flaunting their highly flawed "analysis" and fronting for Wikileaks and Russia on shit we know isn't true, *even if* by some amazing chance Douma wasn't done ba Assad. *The bulk is*. With chlorine. On civilians. And we have a ton of evidence of Russia pulling false flag operations, mass atrocities, targeted radiation poisoning, blowing up arms factories (somehow nuclear facilities is on another plane), and so on. This general hasn't been there - he just "saw pictures". Brilliant.

        BTW, Hussein tried to keep his biochemical programs going (not terribly successfully) as well as illegally extending missile distance (more successfully) - the nuclear stuff was a red herring. Even Hans Blix thought Hussein had biochemical weapons until a couple months into inspections (with some weird cat and mouse games). So the US intelligence wasn't completely off base in it's admittedly limited assessment, even though Bush-Cheney-Powell and this general abused the limits of what was there (worse, because Powell and this general made their claims *after* 2 months of inspections, ig iring Blix's change of expert opinion due to facts on the ground).

        And again, the only import of Wilkerson speaking to Russia's UN Security Council rep *only*, billed misleadingly as "3 Stooges talk to the UN Security Council", is that Russia likes 2 Americans and 1 German supporting its line of propaganda in Syria. If the same guys "testified to the Security Council" about Russian assassins in Salisbury with Novichok, they'd twist it into just 2 tourists going to drink slurpie and visit the mall, while Chechnya would be cleansing the country if disruptive foreign elements. Putin must love such useful idiots.

        honest to god, this was the first tweet in my feed when I went over there:

        So if 92% if chemical attacks are chlorine, why do you keep posting deceptive mizherfuckers like Maté and this numbnut compromised general flaunting their highly flawed "analysis" and fronting for Wikileaks and Russia on shit we know isn't true, *even if* by some amazing chance Douma wasn't done ba Assad.

         Edit by underline of that paragraph by me to show the kind of illogical rant you resort to when the evidence points to a logical conclusion that you don’t like. Why, you ask, would we believe shit we know is untrue even if in the case actually in question it is shown to be true? If you are able to do so why don’t you make your own case about what they have actually asserted and show how they were deceptive, and wrong In their analysis. In what way was Mate’ being deceptive? In what way were the “mizherfucker’ and the “compromised general’ [actually a Colonel]  presenting flawed analysis? What evidence, what statement, made as fact before the U.N, by either of them can you show to be false or deceptive? Have you even figured out yet what the subject of the hearing was? It was not Russia. It was not about how evil Putin is. It was not Assad's many crimes. It was not the many other allegations of the use of gas in Syria. The subject is the integrity of one investigation of one incident where it appears that the OPCW was pressured to come up with an ex post facto justification for a military strike. The subject is the credibility of an important international organization in one particular case. Serious questions about that credibility have been raised by multiple persons directly involved in the investigation of the one particular case being reported by Mate'. The evidence and statements by these individuals who are well respected by their peers has convinced many of them who are now or were formerly a part of the OPCW, as well as many respected members of the international community who have considered the evidence, to call for a formal investigation. What is your problem with that? 

        Wilkerson says it's "preposterous" that Syria could have these chemical weapons, yet OPCW says Syria hid over 10% of its stockpile set to be destroyed. Wilkerson's only other real concrete point after "scads" of photos is that a guy next to a VX hole would die (Wilkerson wasn't on the ground - but I'll look for whatever photo off he's referring too). That's it, aside from crowing about "military professional", and not really specifying his own role in helping Colin Powell write his awful lies to the UN. As usual you post someone's video, don't say what's compelling, what you disagree with, but get upset when someone actually watches the turd and says it's a piece of shit, and then note hiw deceptive the titles of these pieces are. Yes, Wilkerson is concerned the other speakers were less concerned about the propaganda score over whether Douma was sexed up, and more concerned about Assad's total horrific actions towards chemical bombing tens of thousands of civilians in events that certainly aren't sexed up. Fancy that.

        Wilkerson says it's "preposterous" that Syria could have these chemical weapons, yet ... ...

        No, he did not,  Anyone interested in checking on your twisted recounting of what Wilkerson said and who has not watched the video can go to minute 4:55 of that video and see where he says specifically, regarding Syria having chemical weapons, that it is possible that Assad  “put some aside”.  Shortly after that he claims knowledge of some chemical weapons and says, referencing other claimed chemical attacks, that some of the claims made about serin or vx attacks were preposterous. That was part of what made him skeptical of, and look closely at, subsequent claims. Quite a few other sources with pertinent  knowledge have said the same.

         That's it, aside from crowing about "military professional", and not really specifying his own role in helping Colin Powell write his awful lies to the UN. 

        No, Wilkerson did not specify his own role in helping Colin Powell write his awful lies to the UN. but he has owned up to his role in many interviews and has  been as honest and forthright about it as anyone that I know of who had any effect on the our foreign policy. Far more so than scumbags like Max Boot and Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan who have not changed their views on the Iraq invasion or the lies that they pushed to promote it but have been presented here as people worth listening to with no pushback at all based on their history except for my own.


        Fuck me, buddy - you keep posting these jackoff videos with no transcript or subtitles.. at 6:15 the stupid fellow traveler Colonel says, "call me skeptical that the Syrian government used any chemical weapons of any consequence in Syria", ignoring tons of reported use. His whole schtick is "every state exerts pressure but US & UK the worst", "i was around and we got rid of Syrian weapons (did i tell you I'm a military professional?)", "this one incident Trump's everything else". All as just his fucking useless opinion, not adding anything concrete about the situation - did you get that? HE WAS AROUND IN 2013! NOT 2018! He looked at some pictures and drew a conclusion. Did you compare what he speculated with *5 detailed searchable Bellingkat documents*?

        BTW, if Wilkerson got so badly deceived and used when he was part of the DC/military power structure and had access to top level intelligence, why should he be more perceptive as an old man 20 years later largely out of the loop?

        "this one incident Trump's everything else".

        Of course not. Nobody with any sense is saying that this story trumps everything else and no fair reader of Mate's case and Wilkerson's opinions would be so stupid as to say they are suggesting anything like that.   And, Trump is another subject that this story is not about.

        All as just his fucking useless opinion, not adding anything concrete about the situation ...

        But plenty of strong evidence that clearly calls for an investigation has been presented which you reject out of hand.  

        HE WAS AROUND IN 2013! NOT 2018! He looked at some pictures and drew a conclusion. 

        The irony of your argument is funny.  Inspectors for the OPCW with the relevant expertise who were on site and collected evidence at the scene but had their evidence and conclusions pulled from the report are ignored and denied a voice in the report while others that were never in Syria wrote most of it. 

        Bellingcat gained notoriety and group-think credence, thus also his career jump from video game player to a well paid propagandist, by analyzing  information, mostly pictures in several important cases, and about subjects where he had no established expertise, from his desk in England.  

        1) autocorrect changesld trumps to Trump's - couldn't be effed to change it back

        2) OPCW member Henderson *wasn't* part of the FFM. Oops! Ignite all the rest of that bullshit.

        3) Bellingklcat used some elegant photo analysis. Mr. Military Professional just says he was looking at pics. And obviously digital analysis getting better year by year. Anyway, there are 5 Belling at documents - name 1 included data point you disagree with and why - and again, a ton more data there then Aaron Maté presented, yet you're all gushing over Aaron.

        Douma: Alex & Henderson (4parts) [Alex] [Henderson] [if this were fake, how was it done] [Hutchinson/Whelan timeline, the "political influence" that didn't bark] [addendum - OPCW's response to Alex/Whelan explaining flawed analysis, also noting Maté's ignorance of such letter]

        I suppose i should thank you, Lulu - these docs/photos & analysis and times of doc releases are much more informative than a few Aaron Maté spreadsheets with a 20-minute monologue, or Wilkerson blustering "preposterous" about a war site he hadn't even visited or a chemical disarming that was noted to be incomplete.

        Now, let's move on to Russian GRU blowing up weapons plants and poisoning arms dealers, shall we?

        Challenged on Syria cover-up, OPCW chief lies and US-UK-France evade.



        Maté cant save Syria, #SAD

        Canada speaks mind too (longer thread)

        Diplomat Hans von Sponeck calls out the OPCW’s “stonewalling and unacceptable smear tactics” [who would have guessed?] amid growing outcry over the Syria cover-up scandal. There is a transcript of prepared statement but in the video he goes on to make additional important points. 

        Hans von Sponek is a permanent dissident against anything the US or UK did in the Mideast going back decades. I'm afraid if that blanket viewpoint is your goal, I'm not going to be able to parse too many if his "important points". War is hell. Even sanctions are hell. That's the point - people sometimes don't move off the dime unless you make their life hell. And if they're awful characters you sometimes have to, or should, make them move off the dime.

        no more tippy-toeing around Turkish delusional mythology:

        I suffer from reverse Streisand Effects

        thanks for editing in her update

        Harris has been tasked with addressing Northern Triangle migration. She should ask some tough questions first.

        Op-ed by Colbert I. King @, April 20 

        [....] Harris said last week that she wants her first overseas trip to be to the Northern Triangle. But before Air Force Two lifts off, she ought to have clear in her mind how the United States became rooted in the turbulence of Central America.

        The vice president may well face a steep learning curve. I, however, humbly suggest that Harris gather together all of the self-styled National Security Council, State Department and Agency for International Development experts on the region, and demand an answer to one simple question: What in the hell happened to all the money?

        To explain: It’s no mystery why people risk their lives fleeing the Northern Triangle for the United States. The reasons have been documented and discussed for years: violence, poverty and unemployment, natural disasters and poor governance. And the United States has done more in response than hand-wringing and haranguing the governments. Money, lots of it, has been appropriated by Congress and spent by U.S. agencies on economic growth and social welfare programs in Central America. The aim has been to improve living conditions so that people would remain in the region rather than come here.

        Here are examples of various U.S. actions:

        • Congress appropriated more than $3.6 billion to fund a Strategy for Engagement in Central America program between 2016 and 2021. The money was supposed to strengthen rule of law, improve the administration of justice, promote economic prosperity, prevent violence and combat gangs, and empower youth and women.
        • In fiscal 2021 alone, U.S. funding amounted to $505.9 million.
        • Between 2013 and 2018, The U.S. Agriculture Department allocated $407 million to Central America to provide school meals, nutritional programs for women, infants and children, and to train and provide technical assistance to improve agricultural productivity.
        • The Obama administration asked for money to help the region in fiscal 2016, and Congress appropriated $750 million, requiring the countries to improve border security, combat corruption and address human rights concerns.

        What happened to it all?

        People — families and children, many unaccompanied — are still making the risky journey north. The desire for economic opportunity, unified families and freedom from violence are as strong a motive as 10 years ago.

        Harris ought not allow the experts to leave the room until she can, with her well-known prosecutorial approach, determine what U.S. assistance has contributed to the Northern Triangle. What has failed — and why?

        Harris’s advisers had better come up with some good answers. Biden has said he wants to send $4 billion to the Northern Triangle region to (drum roll, please) quash violence, curb corruption, reduce poverty and expand economic opportunities [....]

        King no longer want to share his photo on WaPo for some reason, so I looked it up, here it is from

        World police: Washington seeks to imprison foreign businesspeople for violating illegal US sanctions.

        Grayzone ignores OAS - regional self-control doesn't fit its narrative, prefers N. Korean angle.

        Scoop: Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice concerned about Afghan troop withdrawal

        By Alayna Treene @, 12 hrs. ago

        Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee they're worried about President Biden's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, with Rice suggesting the U.S. may need to go back, Axios has learned.

        Why it matters: The position puts two former secretaries of State — from the Obama and Bush administrations — at odds with one of Biden's most significant foreign policy moves to date.

        • The new president has vowed to complete the withdrawal by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack. U.S. forces were sent to Afghanistan by Rice's then-boss, former President George W. Bush, to destroy havens used by the attack's organizers.
        • Clinton and Rice offered their reactions during a members-only Zoom call Wednesday, two attendees told Axios.
        • Rice's office did not want to comment on a private briefing. Clinton's spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.


        Guess Kerry left out due to current position

        The GOP is so upset about Biden's radical agenda that 20 GOP senators just voted for Samantha Power to run USAID today. That's the same Samantha Power who illegally unmasked Americans to spy on the Trump campaign.

        What does the GOP stand for? Nothing.

        — Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) April 28, 2021

        Robinson is Newsmax's White House correspondent

        How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This is not the Onion, it is the SNL.

        Well now, it kind of reinforces the idea that, "the people most likely to put up with your bullshit aren't necessarily your friends". But if woke speak is what you want to hear, they'll give you woke speak in drives. Kinda like Firesign Theatre -"wanna hear me rap? I saw the best minds of my generation..."

        White Helmets corruption scandal deepens: Dutch government investigated parent organization for fraud, but covered it up.

        Syrian rescue work not for the faint of heart.

        We watch Trump put together $3.5 million of election donor money for the Capitol riots, Rudy take millions of taxpayer money to fund fishing expeditions in Ukraine and Pennsylvania and elsewhere,  Erik Prince illegally funded to incite rebellions around the world, and of course Putin's billions to prop up Syria.  So some guy who did some good skimmed a few hundred thousand. But let's focus down on 1 claimed chemical bomb and 1 $50k payment?  

        Worth reading the VolksKrant version rather than the Greyzone's Russian-tilted spin:

        Putin disappearance syndrome


        a reminder that in this day and age we don't have to have boots on the ground to intervene:

        that said


        that said there are all kinds of complicating factors, such as

        how things are going so far, this is not an idle prognostication


        Perceptive on press - this is your job - not enemy, but how your job frames things.

        just dumping this here in case it's helpful the next go round of links from old timey leftists (the kind like stuck under a rock since 2003) writing this or that screed on how the U.S. military is still a buncha right-wing jingosts:

        Remember, Trump tried to get the military to attack protesters in the summer of 2020.

        Milley shouted him down.

        — Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) June 25, 2021

        Also, this is a nice tidbit.

        Stephen Miller really is Wormtongue.

        — Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) June 25, 2021

        The main fear is that the next Republican president will just fire them all. I think people underestimate the extent to which we’ll be able to stop them.

        — (((David Shor))) (@davidshor) June 26, 2021

        and the times they are achangin....


        There are already, of course, among politicians and pundits and a variety of other idiots, fevered proclaimations that the U.S. must send a clear message/threat that any attack on the Kabul airport will be met with massive military reaction. And of course the threat must be cerdible they say, we must be willing to carry out the threat. They are fucking idiots that continue to display their fucking idiocy. The Taliban could shut down that airport at any time they choose to do so and we could not effectively retaliate against the force that did it.

         IMO, every soldier sent to protect that base until evacuations are completed merely adds to the number of people caught in an indefensible trap. What could we target that would significantly hurt the Taliban or would provide protection for the airport as a facility that could allow planes our to land and take off without the Taliban's implicit permission? The airport or the city of Kabul? What weapons would we threaten them with that they haven't alredy faced for years and how long would it take to gather them and get them in place? Can the U.S. soldiers on that little island round up enough up-armored vehicles from inside the airport to send a couple thousand of them into the city with an expectation that they could do anything useful to protect the airport? Could they even survive? Air support comes from far away and who would the aircraft target when it arrived, and where could the B-52's drop their carpet of bombs? On the city center which is three miles from the airport  and so close enough to hide and support the Taliban in positions they could hit the airport from? 

         That is not to say that the Taliban will spring the trap, I don't believe they will and fervently hope they won't, it is just to say just that they could and that, on the far end of the spectrum of possibilities, they could wipe out every single life within that airport perimeter if they chose to do so and there is nothing the U.S. could do in real time to stop the massacre from happening.  It seems to me that the Taliban have good pragmatic political reasons and probably the good sense, to stay a bit chill and let the transition to their government be as smooth and violence free as possible until the U.S. is out and the Taliban victory is consolidated.  After that, who knows, but we can be sure that  we will hear many terrible stories. 

         So, that is where we are at now but natually we, or at least some of us, ask: Could we have been somewhere different, somewhere better, if our actions had been guided by a different mind-set which had led to different policies? Maybe, maybe not, but I think it is worth thinking about. 

        Edited to ad the important word "not" to the last sentence of the first paragraph. 


        I hate to intrude in your fantasy football, but Carter's ploy brought down the $600 billion a year Soviet war machine, liberating East Europe and breaking up the Soviet Union, which way overshadows whatever dickishness the Taliban or even Al Qaeda have shown in the years since.

        Reagan for all his smug nastiness did actually show down the Soviets in Europe, opening the way for liberalization of Russia's hold on things and allowing Gorbachev to accept the fall of The Wall. Again, quite a big deal. Europe no longer has to worry about the Russian tanks coming through the Fulda Pass, for example.

        Do you see any irony in clelbrating us giving Russia its own Vietnam, Vietnam being our greatest military disaster to that point, but defending the U.S. for grabbing it right back and losing even more there [although probably not enough to completely break us] after that gift had broken Russia? 

        Well, i thought Bush a dumbass, and that we should have gone into Afghanistan after 9/11 and kicked ass and then left no later than 6 months with a caretaker government and a warning. But i did think the Iraq overflights under Clinton were a good compromise to keep Hussein in check without waging an "endless (and futile) war" of boots on the ground (ObL tricked us back in). So where did I "defend" what? If 4000 troops on the cheap could keep Afghan literacy high and levels of human rights reasonable, well go for it - we certainly piss away money on worse things. But no, Afghanistan's not important strategically.

        You ask, “Where did I defend what?” You defended going in to Afghanistan and kicking ass just like most Americans did.  You said that you thought that the dumbass Bush should have gone into Afghanistan after 9/11 and kicked ass. That sounds to me like defending  *going in*  after we had seen what happened to Russia.  You say that you  supported going in for six months of ass kicking and then getting out. I don’t doubt the first part but I also do not recall you agreeing with anyone who said repeatedly for the last twenty years that we should get the hell out . But, no snark intended, maybe I just don’t remember. Then you say that OBL tricked us back in to Iraq. Not to put too harsh a spin on it but that is a ridiculous statement. OBL, whose plan and its execution on 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq but it gave the war mongering neocons the “Pearl Harbor” moment they said would probably be needed to implement their  Project for the New American Century.  They jumped at the excuse to attack Iraq that they fabricated out of that 9/11 attack.  OBL didn’t drag us into Iraq. Or Syria. Or Libya. or ,,, ,,, . 

         And what’s this about?  "If 4000 troops on the cheap could keep Afghan literacy high and levels of human rights reasonable, well go for it ... ... ."   In what part of the entire 2 decade long debacle was it ever the case that even a far larger commitment of troops than 4000 could accomplish that?

        Last first - for 2020 we were down to 4000 troops. Non-Taliban still controlled most of the cities, where literacy was up near 50% or more, basic human rights (like for females) were ok in the cities. If that status quo could be maintained for another 20 years at minimal cost, might be worth it. Kick *that* can down the road. Cost-benefits analysis. $50 billion in prior years was too much, but maybe $10-20 billion/year worthwhile?

        First second - Taliban had sheltered Al Qaeda to attack the US - so yes, a punitive mission of less than 6 months with specific military/political objectives was well worth it - fuck Taliban, fuck Al Qaeda. I said that in 2001 and never stopped saying it.

        Third - ObL tricked "us" into a boots-on-the-ground presence in-region - both Iraq and Afghanistan. Since i didn't vote for Bush and thought the GOP stole the election in 2000, I'm rather pissed, and think Al Gore's recipe of mostly treating terrorism as an international policing matter was the unsexy but most effective approach, i consider the Neocon RoughRiders foray into terra incognita plain stupid, especially without a plan. I thought Obama giving his General David wasshisname political opponent (forget name) a gig "training the Afghan military" with always unicorn lying rates of success and then pushing the surge as very stupid. 

        As for Hussein, he *was* trying to reconstitute his long(er) range missiles and *biochemical* WMD program (not the nuclear one that Cheney trumpeted) to poor success, which our Hans Blix(sp?)-led UN inspectors discovered after 3-4 months discovered after we finally forced Hussein to cooperate under threat of force (AUMF 2002 as a reminder). He didn't like it, but he finally did - hooray.

        I always supported overflights and sanctions as a low commitment way of keeping Hussein in check (inflated Lancet reports of the humanitarian effects notwithstanding), but after 9/11 *maybe* that relatively "don't look too close" approach couldn't be justified anymore.

        And then March 2003, Bush/neocons used UN success as a pretext for failure and attacked anyway - without a plan, just "my best oil buddies and me". I have noted many times that Nixon brought US presence in Vietnam from 500,000 to near zero in 3 1/2 years but the left pummel his memory for dragging out the war, whereas under Obama we kept 100,000 in place for years while supposedly "disengaging" and "we'll step back as the step up" illusionary counting - the Afghans especially were never successfully trained. The Iraqis were always looking to bolster Shi'ite/Sunni Fighting.

        I *did* support Obama's work with a coalition to kill off ISIS (which Trump+Russia let slip away at the last moment but mostly was a great year's success). But elsewhere i don't think I ever said we shouldn't leave Afghanistan (and should have prepared a razor sharp entry & exit initially - see Peter Hopkirk, "The Great Game"). I don't think it was even that painful to leave until the last 4-5 years, but i haven't thought about it much - i never wanted us to stay, never thought us sustainable, thought it a huge money-and-soldiers-trap til *maybe* the last year.

        So no, just because I supported a reasonable quick retaliation for the 9/11 attacks that would keep Taliban from giving Al Qaeda full refuge to continue attacks, i never signed onto the full Neocon "nation building" game plan, thank you very much. I did suggest removing the Taliban leader, out in a replacement, warn him "fuck up and we'll be back" (but not permanently, just to do it again) and leave. Got a problem with that?

        very on topic and the Twitter thread has interesting comments as well:

        surprised to see Jeet Heer of The Nation pointing out "tone policing" by the review author tho! surprise

        No cold war with China over Africa under Biden:

        How often leftists couldn't respond to Puting because "it'll cause WWIII!" And thus WWIII starts in slow motion rl- a whimper? - rather than a Sarajevo outburst.

        Latest Comments