Gaius Publius: Blowback, Money and the Washington War Party

Yves here. The opening section of this post covers ground that will be familiar to most Naked Capitalism readers. Have faith, this sets up a discussion of new issues, namely, the false premises driving the operation of the war party.

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. Originally published at at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.

U.S. prisoner at Abu Ghraib in Iraq

In a provocative piece called, “Blowback — the Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home to Roost,” David Stockman asks, in effect — “Does America have the wars it seeks and deserves?”

Whatever your answer might be, or mine, I think Stockman’s answer is Yes, and he details that answer in an excellent looking-back and looking-forward essay about the U.S. and its Middle East “involvement.” I have excerpted several sections below, but the whole is worth a full top-to-bottom read.

Before we turn to Stockman’s points, though, I just want to highlight two semi-hidden ideas in his essay. One is about money. What Stockman calls the “War Party” in Washington is really the bipartisan Money Party, since the largest-by-far pile of cash looted from the federal budget (in other words, from taxpayers) goes to fund our military and its suppliers and enablers. Which means that most of it is stolen and diverted in some way. Which means that those who do the stealing have a lot of “skin in the game” — the game that keeps the money flowing in the first place.

Recall that what’s now called the Money Party was what Gore Vidal called the “Property Party”:

“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat.”

Which means the Washington War Party is a bipartisan gig. Thus our bipartisan wars, which for Stockman answers the first part of the imputed question above. Yes, America does have the wars it seeks.

But that’s just the first part — what about wars it “deserves”? Do Americans really want these wars? Does the D.C.-based “war party” have popular backing? You’ve probably guessed the answer just reading the news, but for the most recent, post-Paris evidence, consider this:

Exclusive: After Paris, Americans want U.S. to do more to attack Islamic State – poll

A majority of Americans want the United States to intensify its assault on the Islamic State following the Paris attacks, but most remain opposed to sending troops to Iraq or Syria, where the militant group is based, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

The poll makes clear that Americans don’t want to send in troops (yet), at least most don’t. But that just means we’re happy with more bombs, drones and missiles fired into streets and villages filled with potential “collateral damage” — also knows as victims,  also known as “future U.S.-hating terrorists.”

If the American war-making machine, both the in-government part and the out-of-government part, wants these wars … and if the American people want our war machine to prosecute them … well, these do seem to be wars that America both seeks and, sadly, deserves — because frankly, it doesn’t fall to me to say my fellow Americans shouldn’t have what they seek.

To be clear — I believe my fellow Americans should not have what they seek when they seek their own suffering and pain. I have that great a sense of compassion. But I would not say that, any more than I would say to my drunken uncle, “Time to stop.” He’s not going to stop, so why spend time asking him? It won’t hurt less to watch, whether you ask or not.

But you and I, we can talk about the truth. And the truth is, all of our Middle East involvement is a deadly exercise, deadly to us — and it will end in tears, our own. Now Stockman to say why.

Blowback & the Washington War Party’s Folly

I called Stockman’s essay a look back as well as a look forward. The look back produces this (Stockman’s emphasis):

Exactly 26 years ago last week, peace was breaking out in a manner that the world had not experienced since June 1914. …

As it turned out, however, there was a virulent threat to peace still lurking on the Potomac. The great general and president, Dwight Eisenhower, had called it the “military-industrial complex” in his farewell address, but that memorable phrase had been abbreviated by his speechwriters, who deleted the word “congressional” in a gesture of comity to the legislative branch.

So restore Ike’s deleted reference to the pork barrels and Sunday afternoon warriors of Capitol Hill and toss in the legions of beltway busybodies that constituted the civilian branches of the cold war armada (CIA, State, AID etc.) and the circle would have been complete. It constituted the most awesome machine of warfare and imperial hegemony since the Roman legions bestrode most of the civilized world.

In a word, the real threat to peace circa 1990 was that Pax Americana would not go away quietly in the night.

Yes, there was a day, in the lives of many of us in fact, when peace threatened to break out. But that didn’t last long:

Needless to say, the sudden end to 20th century history posed an existential threat to Imperial Washington. A trillion dollar complex of weapons suppliers, warfare state bureaucracies, intelligence and security contractors, arms exporters, foreign aid vendors, military bases, grand poobahs and porkers of the Congressional defense committ[e]es, think tanks, research grants and much more——were all suddenly without an enemy and raison d’etre.

As it has happened, Imperial Washington did find its necessary enemy in the rise of so-called “global terrorism”.

But the everlasting truth is that the relative handful of suicidal jihadi who have perpetrated murderous episodes of terror like 9/11 and this weekend’s carnage in Paris did not exist in November 1989; and they would not be marauding the West today save for the unrelenting arrogance, stupidity, duplicity and mendacity of Imperial Washington.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Stockman says plainly:

That the middle east and the Arab/Islamic world in particular is now a burned out zone of failed states and an incubator of barbaric religious and sectarian fanaticism is because Imperial Washington made it that way.

It did so under the banner of two stunningly false predicates. …

Those “false predicates” are as illuminating to consider as they are surprising.

Is the U.S. Military the Cure for High Oil Prices?

The first false predicate is one that goes back to Henry Kissinger, that the Fifth Fleet, guarding the Persian Gulf, is necessary to free the world from high oil prices.

One of these was the long-standing Washington error that America’s security and economic well-being depends upon keeping an armada in the Persian Gulf in order to protect the surrounding oilfields and the flow of tankers through the straits of Hormuz.

That doctrine has been wrong from the day it was officially enunciated by one of America’s great economic ignoramuses, Henry Kissinger, at the time of the original oil crisis in 1973. The 42 years since then have proven in spades that its doesn’t matter who controls the oilfields, and that the only effective cure for high oil prices is the free market, not the Fifth Fleet.

Every tin pot dictatorship from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to Saddam Hussein, to the bloody-minded chieftains of Nigeria, to the purportedly medieval Mullahs and fanatical Republican Guards of Iran has produced oil—-and all they could because they desperately needed the revenue.

For crying out loud, even the barbaric thugs of ISIS milk every possible drop of petroleum from the tiny, wheezing oilfields scattered around their backwater domain. So there is no economic case whatsoever for Imperial Washington’s massive military presence in the middle east, and most especially for its long-time alliance with the despicable regime of Saudi Arabia [emphasis Stockman’s].

There’s much more about this, going back to our 1953 CIA coup against Iran’s democratically elected leader Mosaddegh, which “installed the monstrous Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne and thereby inaugurated 25 years of plunder and Savak terror.” Stockman then ably traces the history through the First Gulf War to today.

If you read this section, note that the justification for the First Gulf War, and indeed for the existence of the “state” of Kuwait itself, makes no sense. A taste: “Kuwait wasn’t even a country; it was a bank account sitting on a swath of oilfields surrounding an ancient trading city that had been abandoned by Ibn Saud in the early 20th century.”

The bottom line about “high oil prices” is this — because every greedy SOB sitting on an oil field wants to monetized it, the market will float on a sea of oil and never be starved of it. For a climatologist, that’s a disaster, but for oil prices, not so bad. It’s why oil — not gasoline, but oil — is so cheap today. The Saudis won’t, or can’t, stop selling it, nor can anyone else (like ISIS).

Is Regime Change in America’s Best Interest?

The second predicate Stockman fingers as a perp in our constant addiction to Middle East adventurism is the (hubristic, in my view) belief that regime change is in our best interest:

Right then and there came the second erroneous predicate. To wit, that “regime change” among the assorted tyrannies of the middle east was in America’s national interest, and that the Gulf War proved it could be achieved through a sweeping interventionist menu of coalition diplomacy, security assistance, arms shipments, covert action and open military attack and occupation.

What the neocon doctrine of regime change actually did, of course, was to foster the Frankenstein that became ISIS. In fact, the only real terrorists in the world which threaten normal civilian life in the West are the rogue offspring of Imperial Washington’s post-1990 machinations in the middle east.

While that may seem obvious, Stockman includes a stunning particular, the fact that the remnants of the out-of-work Saddam-era Iraqi officer class, and countless others, were being actively radicalized by the U.S. itself:

[E]ven as Washington was crowing about the demise of Zarqawi, the remnants of the Baathist regime and the hundreds of thousands of demobilized Republican Guards were coalescing into al-Qaeda in Iraq, and their future leaders were being incubated in a monstrous nearby detention center called Camp Bucca that contained more than 26,000 prisoners.

Here’s part of a quote from a U.S. military officer who visited Camp Bucca (emphasis mine):

“You never see hatred like you saw on the faces of these detainees,” [former US Army officer, Mitchell] Gray remembers of his 2008 tour. “When I say they hated us, I mean they looked like they would have killed us in a heartbeat if given the chance. I turned to the warrant officer I was with and I said, ‘If they could, they would rip our heads off and drink our blood.'”

What Gray didn’t know — but might have expected — was that he was not merely looking at the United States’ former enemies, but its future ones as well. According to intelligence experts and Department of Defense records, the vast majority of the leadership of what is today known as ISIS, including its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, did time at Camp Bucca. …

Camp Bucca was an American terrorist factory. America has a number of terrorist factories around the world.


A U.S. terrorist factory in Cuba (source)

Note that this isn’t an indirect connection to current ISIS leadership, but a direct one. These men aren’t connected with current ISIS leadership. They are current ISIS leadership. Stockman discusses how L. Paul Bremmer, Bush’s “proconsul” in Iraq, threw them out of work when he disbanded the Iraqi army (almost on day one), guaranteeing an era of Shiite revenge-taking against Saddam’s former Sunni-led secular regime. These men were the victims of both U.S. punishment and Shiite vengeance. They were, and are, also well trained military leaders. Not the best combination, if you’re interested in a peaceful outcome.

Why Are We Fighting in Syria?

Which leads to the last piece of this puzzle. ISIS — for now, but not forever — occupies the terrorized towns of Sunni Iraq, kept there because we keep them supported and in power with our relentless hate-inducing attacks. But why are we in Syria? The answer has to do with, yes, our addiction to “regime change,” but also our “friends” in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It turns out that what we want isn’t what they want. Are they helping us, or are we helping them?


The newly proclaimed Islamic State also filled the power vacuum in Syria created by its so-called civil war. But in truth that was another exercise in Washington inspired and financed regime change undertaken in connivance with Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The latter were surely not interested in expelling the tyranny next door; they are the living embodiment of it. Instead, the rebellion was about removing Iran’s Alawite/Shiite ally from power in Damascus and laying gas pipelines to Europe across the upper Euphrates Valley.

I’m afraid this not end until the major players stop financing and prosecuting it — meaning us.

How Will This End?

It’s easy to see that this ends in either of two ways. It will end when we stop sending money and arms into the region — i.e., when we impoverish our wealth-drunk arms industry and starve the fighting — or it will not end.

Which means, it will lead to continuous tears, American ones. And when, again, you factor in the continuing spiral toward chaos guaranteed by continuing global warming, we may look back and say, “Paris was our generation’s Sarajevo.” It’s hard to stop a war when only a nation’s people don’t want it. It’s almost impossible to stop a war when the people unite with the wealthy to promote it.

Which brings me to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, war, and speeches each gave recently. But that’s for later.

(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. If you’d like to help him, click here. This page also lists every progressive incumbent and candidate who has endorsed him. You can adjust the split in any way you wish.)

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  1. econundertow

    Israel also has a part in this.

    Libya/Qaddafi, Syria/Assads, Iraq/Saddam, all sworn enemies of Israel, all turned inside out.

  2. James Levy

    I no longer believe that in most cases good arguments trump bad ones. I now believe that most people change their minds when bad arguments get stale and no longer seem to be of any use. We live in a world where billions of people think God will get angry with you if they eat a BLT, or that all the evil things you do are forgiven if you just believe in Jesus, or that cows are the reincarnated souls of your ancestors.

    Americans have faith in force and violence because force and violence have been extraordinarily good to them. They all know on some deep level that we are kings here and the Indians a tiny marginalized minority because we had more force and knew how to apply it better and more consistently. Grabbing this underdeveloped continent by force made us masters of the world. We can destroy any nation we like any time we like. That’s heady, and it derives from our near-monopoly on global force projection. We’re going to have to sell an entirely new set of values, and repudiate a whole set of old ones, before the rational measures outlined in this article can even start to take hold.

    1. EoinW

      Europeans had faith in force and violence too. And they glorified their militaries like we do today. But in 1914 and 1945 they paid dearly for such faith. For countries like the US and Canada, we will not learn the same lesson until our own country lies in ruins.

      1. Gio Bruno

        …well, the ” middle class ” has discovered that “their” country IS very near ruins. (“American Dream” is not a reality, it’s a state of mind.) Dream On!

  3. cnchal

    . . .since the largest-by-far pile of cash looted from the federal budget (in other words, from taxpayers) goes to fund our military and its suppliers and enablers.

    It’s as if there were a cobra sitting on your head that would kill you, if you didn’t feed it rabbits and mice all the time.

    1. LizinOregon

      This is a mental picture I may never shed. I would also add to the cobra’s diet – all of the children.

  4. Eureka Springs

    Which brings me to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, war, and speeches each gave recently. But that’s for later.

    So we wont be discussing stopping this madness. Certainly not in earnest – with our vote. Chance of finding or creating a sincerely anti-war democrat is like the chance of finding a terrorist in Mayberry.

    Stockman makes many good points. But I would add in addition to ending manufacture of terrorism and wars along with ghastly amount of MIC expenditures, that we must refine definitions of war crimes (joining ICC – International Criminal Court would be a good start) and prosecute past, present and future crimes on a much stricter scale.

    1. Vatch

      For the record, here are some facts about votes by Bernie Sanders. Note that he was in the House of Representatives for many years before he became a Senator.

      His vote against the Patriot Act:

      His vote against the Iraq war resolution:

      Some of his criticism of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians:

      His votes against the insidious bankruptcy reform act (a separate topic, but it’s nice having a lot of this information in one place):

      1. Vatch

        A few more of Sanders’s votes.

        Against the original Homeland Security Act:

        His votes against the Patriot Act reauthorization of 2005:

        His vote against the USA “Freedom” Act of 2015 (really just more Patriot Act stuff):

  5. Old Hickory

    Recently, Paul Craig Roberts–like Stockman, another high-level staffer from the Reagan Administration (!)–made the arresting point that one of the worst things to happen to this country in modern times was the collapse of the USSR. That “war” kept the MIC from having the ability to charge out to seek “full spectrum dominance” or whatever the sicko phrase is.

  6. TedWa

    I would like to know who these people in these polls are and where are they located that they would want more blowback and would choose military might over diplomacy every time. How can these people be so unthinking about events and fearful when nothing is happening here in the states??
    Is America now the land of the unfree and cowards? Don’t people understand that what happened in Paris is blowback??

    “A majority of Americans want the United States to intensify its assault on the Islamic State following the Paris attacks, but most remain opposed to sending troops to Iraq or Syria, where the militant group is based, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.”

    1. TedWa

      Doing some research I see in a past Reuters poll about increasing military might in the ME, the poll was conducted among troops – who also did not want boots on the ground – but Reuters claimed it was a poll of “Americans” ie.. those not in servitude to the MIC. I can find no source for the polling, where, who etc.

      “The new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 60 percent of Americans think the United States should be doing more to attack Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL”. I just don’t believe it. If these people have no concept of blowback or increasing blowback, where are they?? I refuse to believe the general population is that sutpid after continuous war over the last 20 or so years has produced no real results.

      1. TedWa

        Okay, I did find Reuters Polls, excuse my rant – but it still doesn’t say who specifically was polled which still leaves room for doubt. It could have been active military or government employees. These polls are easy to fix to the desired outcome.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Often it’s folks with landlines, meaning white-haired geezers with little U.S. flags waving from the back windows of the Buick (or the golf cart, if they live in The Villages). Free golf for life!

        2. RBHoughton

          Reuters and AP run the printed news world. Their ideology is created in Washington DC and London. The company was recently sold to the Japanese, suggesting recognition that digital news sources are taking over the market for information.

          Its one of the few bits of good news we the people have to talk about – hail NC, hail TRNN, hail Alternet.

        3. Michael

          Most have no idea what ISIS is or who created it. I don’t think any one would know what Camp Bucca was in my Organic Chem class or Anatomy class.

          Most Americans do not realize that we are on the side of ISIS. That the US government arms ISIS via the Free Syrian Army. I doubt 5% of Americans know who the PM of Turkey is or that his son is the major benefactor of smuggled Syrian oil. Even if every time wasting app went away tomorrow people would still not find this information because it requires time and effort to wade through so much BS.

          I don’t even really know where to start with people who do not have an understanding of the Middle East. Everything I say sounds like a crazed conspiracy theory.

    2. jsn

      A great deal of this is in the phrasing of the poll questions: framed within the mainstream narrative, there are no other choices. TINA likes a very small Overton window.

  7. tongorad

    Three Days of the Condor (1975)

    Higgins: It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?

    Joe Turner: Ask them?

    Higgins: Not now – then! Ask ’em when they’re running out. Ask ’em when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask ’em when their engines stop. Ask ’em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won’t want us to ask ’em. They’ll just want us to get it for ’em!

  8. Ulysses

    This excellent post does a fine job– dissecting many of the most outrageous absurdities of how the Washington War Party has conducted business. Yet the greatest absurdity of all is that so many, here in the U.S., still believe that the MIC is under the civilian control of our elected government.

    Precisely the opposite has been true for a long time. As Frank Zappa pointed out: “Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” For decades, political battles inside the beltway have only been over what to do after the MIC has been given everything it could possibly want, and more.

    Now, the TPP/TISA/TTIP regime is being constructed– to ensure that nothing can be done against the interests of kleptocrats anywhere in the global economy, even outside of the war industry. Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Tech, and the FIRE sector are lining up to demand the same privileged treatment that the MIC has so long enjoyed.

    1. Brindle

      More Zappa—sounds like a description of neoliberalism:

      —“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”—

    2. jsn

      I expect that point is where the real friction will start: when the Global Corpocracy runs into the US MIC head on. After the Neoliberal plague hit Russia, Putin picked up the pieces by re-nationalizing the Russian MIC and tethering it firmly to central Nationalist authority.

      The Corpocracy is liquidating all real productivity under “public” ownership, that is to say anything traded on any of the Western stock exchanges is in some state of being liquidated to convert real wealth into portable money claims for the looters.

      We are approaching the point, if not already past it, when Russian missiles etc. work, while ours don’t. This hasn’t escaped the generals and the the active duty one’s won’t stand for it for ever while watching the bastards they’ve replaced feed at the Corporocratic troth.

  9. McKillop

    The people who gain employment through inflicting war upon us -must- “have something to do”. Think of the catastrophe if the rich and powerful needed to give up their wealth to buy “ploughshares”!
    The machine that kept the Iraqi military men in power and with prestige is similar to the machine that keeps people in the United States military and ‘quasi-military’ in power. What is a lowly soldier without the rank and activity given by the military? Someone unemployed or underemployed and striving to get by? Perhaps a dividend increase for those who own shares in the prison industry?
    What are the Kissingers and Rices, the Brennans and Kaplans and Neulands and generals and colonels without their influence past or present? Creatures too highly honoured and paid or war criminals receiving their just deserts.
    Canadians were not venerated as “warriors” (as in a comic book or video game) but rather honoured as citizens who ostensively served to defend; only recentlydid the government of Harper began to glorify the armed forces.
    From a necessary institution began his militarism, taken up by fools. Remembrance Day changed from an honouring of the dead who were sacrificed in a carnage that must not be forgotten in order to be avoided to an advocacy of folly and bleating threats of war.
    It’s said that those people who join the slaughter are ‘bored” or “unemployed”. imagine all of the unemployed people in the states if the machine stopped – and those made comfortable, cowering in their thinktanks and university presidencies and multiroomed homes!

  10. Steven

    **The “Executive Summary” got posted in the Comments under links. (it is NEVER my fault!) I have not idea where the body of the post ended up.**

    Executive Summary
    Unlike public sector Congressional pork barrel projects, when our Congress critters dispense money to crony capitalists under the cover of national security their actions are much less likely to be subject to public scrutiny.

    Political Stagnation
    It looks like the discussion is finally getting down to basics. Following 9/11 there was a brief, still-born public exploration of the question “Why do they (Arabs, Muslims, generically ‘terrorists’) hate us?” The ‘answers’ that actually made it into the main stream media back then, e.g. Fareed Zakaria and Newsweek, were almost as banal as G.W. Bush’s “They hate us for our freedoms.” Last September, Zakaria updated his speculation. You see “It’s not an Islam problem but an Arab problem. … Arab political decay. The central point of the essay was that the reason the Arab world produces fanaticism and jihad is political stagnation.” Because there are people out there who may actually believe this lame bullshit of Arab political stagnation we should perhaps explore the state of political progress in the West and particularly in the U.S. since the beginning of the 20th century.

    With the successful completion of the campaign against the indigenous population of North America, AKA ‘the closing of the frontier’ and the industrial transformation of the US economy, the opportunities for making money exploiting the world’s “laboring cattle” began to dry up. The children of this country’s Robber Barons, perhaps longing for security and protection from capitalism’s “creative destruction” or maybe because they just didn’t have the stomach for enforcing ‘labor discipline’ their progenitors did, turned their fortunes over to the country’s bankers and to Wall Street.

    It is difficult to continue making money making ‘things’ when the beneficiaries of advances in science and technology are reluctant to share the rewards with their “laboring cattle”. In the U.S. revolution was in the air in the immediate run up to WWI. Fortunately Europe’s ruling classes save the day by unleashing industrialized mass slaughter on each other. That global war and the one that followed gave American workers something to do for the next half century. Capitalism’s “creative destruction”, e.g. cars, radio and television, etc and FDR’s efforts to share the loot by implementing social ‘safety nets’ helped postpone the day of reckoning.

    But they also made it more difficult to make money by making ‘things’. Enter the Cold War and the follow-on Global War on Terror or whatever they call it these days. The Cold War was actually a full employment program – for money. Instead of raking rocks those willing to build bombs to discipline and, if necessary, destroy the “laboring cattle” beyond the country’s borders could still be generously rewarded by the powers that be here, AKA ‘the Congressional military industrial complex’. However, because the threat of death is not quite so in your face, control of money, i.e. access to the means of subsistence both within the country and beyond its borders, is a much more effective weapon than weapons that have become so destructive they can’t be used without bringing down the house.

    So this is the system of political economy that has been in place for roughly a century in the U.S. and throughout the West. Threatened first by mechanization and automation, by machines that can work and even ‘think’ (in a mechanistic fashion still) – and do the job better and more efficiently than “laboring cattle” and then by off-shoring, is it any wonder the West’s people feel under attack?

    Once again “why do they hate us?”

    1. Steven

      Is this Washington’s answer to Russia’s offer of cooperation in stopping ISIS? (Was Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the cockpit? )

      1. Gio Bruno

        No. This is what you get when your Alliance (NATO) has undisciplined members with ulterior motives (Erdogan). This mess (US created) gets worse by the day. And don’t expect Obozo to learn new tricks.

        1. EoinW

          Lucky you put Erdogan in brackets. I might have thought you were talking about the USA.

          Poor Putin. He wanted an anti-Hitler coalition and look what he got. Is it far fetched to imagine that had the current leadership in Washington been in charge in 1942 that the allies would have talked about defeating Germany while sending arms to the Wehrmacht so it could defeat the Soviets?

          1. Steven

            Actually, it kinda sorta did that. See Trading with the Enemy by Charles Higham. I remember reading somewhere in Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope that Munich was another one of those ‘oops’ moments in the history of Western diplomacy. The idea behind giving Hitler what he wanted was that it would turn him against Russia freeing the vast undeveloped expanses of godless communists and opening them for Western development. Gee! Why don’t the Russians trust the West?

  11. ckimball

    ‘I would like to know who these people in these polls are……’
    I had a similar thought. What polls? Whose polls are these and
    who did they poll. But then I remember impressions which I filed away in my mind to try to understand the relevance to reality their impact created in me. Because at the time these impressions arrive starkly interrupting the pattern of my mode of being in my life as if
    interjecting an entirely new subject in the middle of a sentence.
    In the mid 1990s on my way to London, I spent some hours in the Denver airport. I like architecture, I like cultural differences, I like airports. So I was being a tourist. I can still feel the sense of spaciousness I felt under a high glass ceiling as I began walking around a second floor balcony lined with shops creating a glass lined corridor on my right and then on my left the open space before looking down to the ground. It was quiet and flooded with light and then before me was a life sized statue of astronaut J.L. Swigurt….but inexplicably I saw a Roman centurion and thought “I’m in Rome”.
    I was transfixed with the feeling and went to see the statue one other
    time. That was the beginning of my alertness to a major shift in my
    perspective. My personal bias as a solution to the funnel that we are
    being ushered into is that we as a culture should disconnect from all contact sports for two years. Disconnect from combative computer games beginning with packman or whatever it was it started with.
    And no wearing of camouflage clothes on public streets.
    Maybe then the mass awareness could look and feel and think under all the confusion, disillusion and consider how they want to be.

  12. RMO

    Funny, I could have sworn that Chavez became President of Venezuela via elections. Multiple times. Interesting that Stockman doesn’t include the Emir of Kuwait, the Shah or King Fahd on the list of dictators controlling states rich in oil.

  13. Foy

    Further on this topic, last week on the Sic Semper Tyrannis blog there was a post questioning what appears to be the inconsistent, nonsensical nature of US foreign policy interactions in the Middle East for the last few decades. Each intervention has inevitably multiplied the chaos rather fixed any problem.

    However “what formerly seemed nonsensical, suddenly seems consistent and intentional [if] the established strategy of the foreign policy of the United States is to create chaos to destabilize the world”, especially around the area known as ‘Mackinder’s Rimland’ which is approximately the area along Russia’s Eurasian border. Causing chaos in this region by its nature weakens Russia.

    The post is asking the question how much of this chaos is deliberate and how much is a result of incompetence in strategy and tactics. The post and the comments make for interesting reading.

    The question was summarised as follows:

    “Just trying to keep my scorecard straight. Let’s see. The Americans are using a Turkish airbase to bomb ISIS and protect our allies the Kurds.

    The Turks are bombing our allies the Kurds while we are using their airbase. The Americans are supplying human shields for terrorist in Syria who are being bombed by the Russians.

    On the Iraqi side, American air power is being used to protect and support the new Iranian puppet regime in Iraq installed by the Americans after the gulf war. The Mahdi army that we fought in Sadr City are now advanced element of the Iraqi army we are protecting.

    Officers of “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” the Iranians are standing next to Iraqi officers who are standing next to American officers all cooperating to kill ISIS soldiers who have been receiving weapons from Americans through American proxies we consider”moderate rebels”.

    Meanwhile, our “enemies” the Iranians are supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen while our “allies” the people who destroyed the trade centers have involved the U.S. in yet another unauthorized war by aggressively attacking the houthis who were helping the U. S. fight Al Queda in Yemen before .

    In the meanwhile “moderate rebels” are undoubtedly being furnished weapons capable of bringing down Russian war planes. So while Russia is bombing ISIS, we are encouraging our proxies to shoot down their planes.

    Will someone tell me whose side we are on today?”

    1. EoinW

      it’s simple, sort of. Clearly Russia, Syria, Iran, Hizbollah and the Shia militias in iraq are against ISIS. As for the rest of the players, can you trust any of them? Didn’t they give us 9/11? Didn’t they lie about Iraq WMD and Libyan No Fly Zones? Aren’t they supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine and, even worse, support every neo-Liberal economist on the planet?

      it’s a bit like being a citizen of Germany from 1933 to 1945.

    2. tegnost

      Two words
      Disruptive innovation
      (I knowww, you were thinking sh*t show, but that’s just a state of affairs description)
      Don’t like how it is? Break it
      It’s a control thing. Low grade manipulation, domestic violence stuff, that’s what we’ve been reduced to. Playing the petty against the petty, bribing your faves, and being ruthless.
      The question then becomes more complex when you add actors as you point out we now have with russia and this looks like a bigger than normal problem.

  14. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

    This article by GP was a breath of fresh air, and written so that I had no trouble in understanding
    it. It reminded me of Pogo’s saying, “We have met the enemy and it is we.”

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