Whether Clinton or Trump, Tensions Will Escalate with China and Russia Under Next U.S. President

Jerri-Lynn here: There are many reasons to despair at the choice US voters face in tomorrow’s election. The danger that either candidate will goad Russia or China, without respect to consequences, is perhaps the most immediate and frightening. While many media hounds chase the false scent of alleged Russian manipulation of Trump, the election, and Wikileaks, to name just a few of the crazy allegations being discussed, this more serious threat has not been pursued nearly as vigorously.

In this Real News Network interview, journalist John Pilger and TRNN’s Paul Jay discuss why the very real prospect of another World War is not taken seriously by the US media. Pilger argues that whoever is elected, tensions with China and Russia will escalate. I tidied up the rush transcript as best I could. Please excuse any remaining errors.

PAUL JAY, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’’m Paul Jay.

In a few days, Americans are going to decide who the next President of the United States is going to be. Of course, this is an issue of global concern, given that the United States considers itself hegemon of the world and acts that way. What will be the difference perhaps is the foreign policy of the next President, whatever it is, Clinton or Trump. Based on what we’’ve seen the last few years and how does one assess all of this? I think we’’re assessing the degree of danger to the world. There doesn’’t seem to be any other measurement here.

Now joining us to discuss all of this is John Pilger. John joins us from London. John is an award- winning very celebrated filmmaker and journalist. His films have been broadcast on major broadcast platforms and channels around the world. His latest film is The Coming War on China, which will be released in December. Thanks very much for joining us John.

JOHN PILGER: You’’re welcome.

JAY: So as I said in the opening, it’’s a kind of a question of who is more dangerous. There does’n’t seem to be any question. I think in most thinking people’s minds that one way or the other, US foreign policy is going to be dangerous for people of the world, particularly in the Middle East but not only. What is your assessment in this moment?

PILGER: Well it’’s always dangerous. I sometimes think that it’’s extraordinary I’’ve gotten to this stage in life and I haven’’t been blown up by US foreign policy. But so we all of us outside the US quake before a US election. That said, the US isn’’t run by presidents, it’’s run by a vast national security machine and that hasn’’t changed in the last 15 years or so. I think the other 2 candidates. One is clearly a rogue candidate and that’’s Donald Trump and the other, Hillary Clinton, is the candidate of this vast national security machine.

I think what’’s been a pity for all of us outside the United States and indeed for all Americans, is that the hysteria over Donald Trump has obscured the fact that Hillary Clinton may well turn out to be one of the more dangerous presidents, assuming she does win as the polls suggest, though she may not of course. Because she is the president. She is almost the embodiment of a status quo that since 9/11 has left us all in a very precarious state. It’’s left the Middle East in a precarious state. But above all, it’’s brought us to the brink of some kind of very serious confrontation with Russia and the taunting of Russia, the intimidation of Russia is now unabated and just over the horizon there is a similar baiting of the other great nuclear power, China.

Now this issue which of course amounts to the prospect of another world war, even another nuclear war, have not been touched on.

Well they have been touched on. Ironically in the first debate, Donald Trump was asked about this and he said words to the effect, words that I would not go nuclear. I would not do a first strike. This was’n’t used. It was’n’t published.
Now I would’’ve thought for whatever it’’s worth, he might not have meant it. Trump says a lot of things he does’n’t mean. Contradicts himself. But I would’’ve thought that difference between Trump and Clinton on the issue of nuclear war, of war and peace was pretty critical. At least an issue to be debated. But it wasn’’t.

JAY: Yeah, the American media is totally involved in this salacious part of Trump’’s history and as usual, not very interested in any issues of polices of substance. You can find things on both of these candidates that would give one the chills. Starting with Trump, the great danger of Trump is that it won’’t be President Trump, it will be President Pence. Pence has been asked who he’’s going to model his Vice Presidency after and he says Cheney and in terms of foreign policy outlook, there seems to be no difference between him and Cheney.

PILGER: Well, what’’s the difference between any of them frankly? I mean neocon is a terrible word but it describes them all. Trump is perhaps more interesting because he seems to have upset all the establishment. The CIA wants him beaten, the Pentagon wants him beaten, the State Department wants him beaten, even his own party wants him beaten. I mean something recommends him and just his enemies do. So, whether there is a difference I think there’’s a difference of that much. I do emphasize this, that as you mentioned all these salacious stories about Trump but you know what do people want? Do they want to hear salacious stories or do they want to hear about the prospects of war and peace? Do they want to hear about whether we’’re entering an extremely dangerous period in relation to Russia or not?

These issues have not been addressed and I don’’t think there’s any doubt that Clinton who has very unusually named a cabinet already in a sense and a very good article by one of the independent journalists in Washington, Gareth Porter, listed these people and they’’re all war hawks. And she said it in the last debate. I’m going to have a no-fly zone in Syria. That means attacking Russian planes.

JAY: I think there’’s no doubt whichever of these people get elected president, in spite of Trump’’s rhetoric and if you look at what Pence says, I think both Clinton and I will say a Pence Trump, and I put Pence first because I think that’s the more likely scenario, are going to be looking for provocations with Russia. Both Clinton and Pence are using Russian rhetoric to try and engage but using more than rhetoric. There’’s this very interesting WikiLeaks that I don’’t think has received nearly enough attention which shows something about the State Department under Clinton’’s mentality.

It said in the WikiLeaks that it’’s not said who it’’s to or from but when I asked some of the people we know who have some expertise in this, they say it sounds like a State Department briefing. It says to get the Israelis in support or not in active opposition to the Iran deal we need to get rid of Assad. And essentially– and one assumes the reason for getting that will please Israel is to undermine Hezbollah– but it kind of shows what drives a lot of State Department thinking and I don’’t think it’’s a big stretch to think it drives Clinton thinking.

PILGER: Yeah, well, she hasn’’t hidden it. She’’s had an obsequious relationship with Israel– it’s well known. Her tough talking, her militarist talking, is all out there in the open. She’’s made it clear that she’’s going to face off Vladimir Putin. She’’s going to talk tough to the Chinese. As a kind of insanity about all this. I mean US foreign policy is actually run in a straight line since 1945. But it’s become more extreme in the last 10-15 years. That’’s what worries most of us outside the United States and ought to worry those of you in the United States that it’’s become so extreme now. So extreme that the prospect of an accidental war at the very least. Here we are at centenaries of the first world war where all the lessons of there are glaring out at us of not quite accidental war. Intended war that lit up and became a slaughter partly by accident. I don’’t for a moment think that this verbose provocateur who is currently the Defense Secretary, Mr. Carter, who is forever shouting his militarist slogans around the world. I don’’t for a moment think that he actually wants nuclear war. But he sure is trying to bring it on. I’’ve never known anything quite like his constant aggression. And this campaign of sending out these admirals and generals. Like Admiral Harry Harris in the Pacific speaking like Lord Palmerston in the 19th century. You know how much he runs from the world. You know what you say from Bollywood to Hollywood. You know these rather absurd people but with very great power.

JAY: The overall agenda of American dominance I don’’t think changes much between the various administrations or parties. But do you not think sometimes individual and specific agendas within the complexity of the America elites plays a role? I’’ll give you a couple examples. First of all, Cheney clearly drove the Iraq war. John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent said there was a morning meeting with the heads of all the major agencies and top Pentagon officials in the year leading up to the Iraq War and that that completely quite out of the ordinary, that morning phone call was chaired by Dick Cheney. And that in that phone call, and Kiriakou was apparently on it sometimes with some of the CIA people, most of the heads of agencies, most of the officialdom of the military complex were against invading Iraq. Cheney actually threatened these people saying resign or do what you’’re ordered to.

There are times when specific agendas can take hold. Like for example the people I guess that what the Real News, they heard us talk about Project for New American Century often enough. The very far right type of agenda. The other one where I think it did make a difference is if you look at the Obama-McCain election. This is not to say Obama has not been aggressive and has not committed war crimes because he has. On the other hand, this is John ‘Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran’ McCain and Obama does make a deal with Iran. I mean there are differences within these corridors of power which are sometimes important are there not?

PILGER: Obama decided not to attack Iran. I don’’t know about making a deal with Iran. They decided not to attack Iran. Attacking Iran would’’ve been a disaster of course for the people of Iran and in the Middle East. But it would’’ve also been a disaster for the United States.

JAY: As the Iraq War was.

PILGER: He decided not to attack them. So yes, but Obama has run probably more wars simultaneously than any other president. He’’s run probably the most comprehensive terror campaign in his drone warfare of assassination. You know we can sit here and say that one is slightly better.

JAY: I would’n’t even use the word better. I would say in specific circumstances.

PILGER: I was searching. I was going to say less insane than the other. Sure. But in the end, here we are in 2016 in a presidential campaign and I’ve covered 4 US presidential campaigns and I thought no you could’n’t have Nixon as president. Well looking back on Nixon compared with some of the others who have come since, maybe a little less insane there. I don’’t know. But here we are in 2016 with this political freak show in the United States that spells great danger for all of us.

JAY: John talk a little bit about the film you’re working on and why you think there’s such a looming confrontation with China, what’’s driving it?

PILGER: Well it’’s not what I think. The evidence is very clear. I mean Obama, the one who’’s done the deals, he’s announced that he went to Australia in 2011 and announced what was known as the pivot to Asia and that was the deployment, the transfer of almost two-thirds of US naval forces into the Asia Pacific region by the year 2020. And at the moment there are 400 US bases ringing China. They start in Australia and they go all the way through Asia, up through the Pacific, Korea, Japan, across Eurasia, Afghanistan, India. If you look at them on a map, you can understand why the Chinese have apparently changed their nuclear policy to a first strike policy. They never had that. They used to keep the missiles and warheads separate. They don’’t anymore.

In the informed literature, the Journal of Concerned Scientists and there have been a number of articles that have described in some detail how the Chinese have changed their nuclear profile. They’re worried. I was there not long ago and I spoke to a number of strategists and people are worried– rather confused actually– but worried and some of them are quite angry. The whole building of air strips on the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea was a defensive move. Last year the United States conducted possibly the biggest naval exercise in history. Talisman Saber in which it rehearsed a blockade across the Malacca Straits through which comes 80% of China’’s oil and its raw materials.

The Chinese understand all of this. They know all of this. If it’’s not explained to us through our media, they certainly know about it. This kind of provocation against China has been almost, I would’n’t say a sideshow but it’’s another chapter. The first chapter of course is the provocation of Russia. And that is probably the most dangerous. Does anyone in the United States know what the Russians are thinking? What people in Russia are thinking? That they’’re having civil drill exercises. What the Russian press is saying? What people think about this?

There is a sense in much of Russia that the United States is about to attack them. This is very, very dangerous because it puts a country in a defensive position, and that’’s when accidents can happen. There is no debate about this in what is it? Constitutionally the free-est place in the world, in the United States? Nothing. Read the New York Times for the last couple of days. It’’s become a sort of Cold War propaganda sheet. Stories that are clearly nonsense.

JAY: The objective seems to be one would think to weaken Putin but if anything’’s going to strengthen Putin it’’s this kind of threat that creates an increased amount of nationalism and such.

PILGER: Well I don’’t know if it will strengthen Putin at all. I don’’t know enough about Russia. But the little I do know suggests that Putin is one of those who is always talking about being a partner of the United States. He does want to be a partner. He sees Russia’’s future in Europe. There are others in Russia who have had enough of the talk of partnership and who drink in a deep well of Russian nationalism and Russian memory of all their great invasions of their country. So, I don’’t know whether it strengthens Putin or not. Perhaps it does’n’t. Whatever it is, it’’s dangerous.

JAY: You mean in other ways it could be strengthening far more nationalists and fascistic forces that could actually-

PILGER: Well not fascistic. In fact, there are plenty of fascists in Ukraine. You would’n’t know that reading the US press. There was a coup in 2014. Fascist led. Paid for by the United States. The truth of that is inverted and it has Russia invading Ukraine. I mean couldn’’t make it up but that’’s the received wisdom. Now I’’m not sure about the fascistic elements in Russia but there could be militarist elements and there could be those in the very powerful national security sector in Russia that say we have to prepare and they are preparing of course. Their weapons industry has been developing in a very sophisticated way in the last few years. Their air defenses and so on. But this is all war preparation. You know whether it’’s Clinton or Trump it’’s deeply worrying and deeply disturbing when reckless politicians like Hillary Clinton can stand up and beat every war drum that is put in front of them. That’’s reckless.

JAY: Alright thanks very much for joining us, John.

PILGER: You’’re welcome.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

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  1. Richard

    Thank you, Jerri-Lynn. Great interview. It’s always worth listening to John Pilger, whenever and wherever he talks and about whatever subject. Riveting.

  2. Norello

    Observing this election it’s been surprising how the media laugh off and ignore any attempt by Trump and his surrogates suggesting Hillary will start world war 3. Given Trump’s history it’s impossible to believe he will stick to any of his promises, however Hillary appears eager to start a war. It’s unfathomable to me how future prospect of war is not the most important issue to the average person in the United States. There is such an easy case to make against Hillary and Trump seems unable or unwilling to do it. You would think Trump’s campaign would be airing an advertisement consisting of splicing together Hillary’s statements of supporting a no-fly zone in Syria then play a clip of General Dunford saying “Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.” The source of the General Dunford quote is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmE9Jj-rEVs

    1. Crazy Horse

      “Delusion is the opium of the people.”

      And on the topic of Pence’s idol Cheney and the influence one individual can have on the fate of the nation, consider this:

      All the physical evidence, testimony of individuals who were on the scene or directly involved, and logical analysis of known facts points to the official conspiracy theory (911 Commission Report) as being a fabrication to cover up what was a false flag staged event. If you analyze 911 as a crime scene and ask what individual uniquely possessed Motive, Means & Opportunity, Darth Cheney’s name certainly is at the top of the list.

      A President Trump will be as neutered and housebroken as Obama and Little Bush have been or he will simply be disposed of.

      What are presidents for anyway if not to play golf and read speeches from the teleprompter?

    2. Bev

      Only one candidate will de-escalate tensions with Russia and China, but how to overcome election fraud?

      Voting machines are still hacked. Voter suppression is still occurring, purging lists of LEGAL voters and tossing early and provisional ballots with hours long lines in minority precincts and 15 minute lines in others. Neither political party is discussing the correct problems, nor correct solutions, and so you have consider why would that be?

      For the future: Paper Ballots Hand Counted and Posted in Precinct in Public on Election Night. New Exit Pollsters. Green Party & Libertarian in debates.

      And get election rigger Jeffrey W. Dean to flip. We need our Democracy.

      Important video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fob-AGgZn44

      Fraction Magic – Detailed Vote Rigging Demonstration
      Bev Harris

      Q: Does Fraction Magic always use a USB?
      A: No. It can also be on the computer or use remote access

      Q: Who put it there?
      A: According to programmers and court testimony: a convicted felon; 23 counts on previous computer crimes.

      Q: Name?
      A: Jeffrey W. Dean. Previously employed by Bud Krogh, the former head of White House Plumbers unit under Richard Nixon.

      Jeffrey Dean put some other stuff in there too.

      It is not over.:
      Stand up.
      Let’s make it right.





      How to run, create ballots, and analyze exit polling to check truthfulness of ballot counts reported

      Remember many other, including your own, Board of Elections not giving a shi*. Check to see if your voting machines have the GEMS fractionalizing tool to steal elections:

      The Verifier – Polling Place Equipment in Illinois – 2016
      Polling Place Equipment

      Remember “3/5th of a person”? Well, now we’re casting 1/20th of a vote…!

      Fraction Magic – Part 1: Votes are being counted as fractions instead of as whole numbers
      By Bev Harris

      Ballot Images – A new way to verify that results are true
      By Bev Harris November 2, 2016

      Above is non paritsan. Below is partisan:

      Dr. Jill Stein ‏@DrJillStein
      #ElectionFinalThoughts Use your vote & bring friends. Let’s build a party for people, planet & peace over profit!

      A call to progressives: Help build and own the Green Party

      Dr. Jill Stein ‏@DrJillStein
      If you encounter trouble voting, please fill out the form on this page:


  3. EndOfTheWorld

    Pilger is correct that recently the prez has mainly just gone along with the defense establishment, but if anybody can shake things up, it’s Donald Trump. He doesn’t give Trump enough credit for being an anti- MIC figure. He and Bernie were the only candidates to basically admit that the Iraq war was a disaster.

    Jay made the mistake of attributing more power to Mike Pence than he will actually have in a Trump administration. Trump is letting Pence say what he wants, in an attempt to get some votes from the republican base. In one debate, Anderson Cooper tried to draw out the contradiction between what Pence was saying and what Trump was saying. Cooper was flustered when The Donald’s reply was basically he hadn’t talked to Pence, and didn’t know (or care, apparently) what he was saying. Trump has no reason nor inclination to let anybody push him around. He will be the boss, IMHO. I might be wrong. He might just say hell with it and play a lot of golf, but he could have done that in the first place without going through the trouble of getting elected prez.

    You could turn the argument on its head and say whoever is elected, the US will have to begin the painful process of drawing in its horns because it can’t defeat Russia or China militarily, let alone both simultaneously, and its generals all know that.

    1. nippersdad

      I have to disagree with your assessment re Pence. This has been my view, albeit a minority one, for some time now. Trump specifically said that he was looking for a VP that had the experience in Washington necessary to wield the instruments of power that he had little experience with. I don’t think he was lying about that. He knows the value of expertise, and is willing to defer to it.

      After all, you don’t think he does his own taxes? That he does his own structural analyses for all of those Trump towers? This would be no different, and it would allow him time to do what he does best; preen for the cameras. A more accurate parallel to the Bush II Administration would be hard to conceive of.

      1. Yves Smith

        Trump has repeatedly slapped down Pence when Pence has ventured to contradict a Trump position. I’ve seen this happen at least 4 times, and I don’t follow Pence at all closely.

  4. Northeaster

    In order for a full scale war, Killary Hillary & CONgress would need a Draft for a war on two fronts – not going to happen. Not with this crop of Millennials, and no matter how much propoganda is shoved down our throats. Don’t look for support from any Veteran from the past 25 years either, many of us are sick of it (war).

  5. Katharine

    Jerri-Lynn, there are never reasons to despair: that’s dangerous hyperbole. Anyone who ever went beyond flirting with the idea can tell you you don’t want to go there. If you read English lit, think Chaucer’s Pardoner, think Lear, and understand it’s not just good drama, it’s a horrible reality for those who go over that brink, and fearsome even for those who only approach it and pull back in time.

    There are surely reasons for grave concern, and for seeking new forms of constructive action, or renewing old ones that have been underutilized, but not for despair. If you lose the belief that something better is possible, you lose the capacity to produce it, and we can’t, individually or collectively, afford that.

    1. DJG

      + + + I tend to go by the saying, attributed to the Venetians or the Viennese (although the Venetians were in many much tougher scrapes): The situation is hopeless but not serious.

      Or as William of Orange put it:
      One need not hope to undertake, nor succeed to persevere.

      We are obligated to continue, as Samuel Beckett kept pointing out.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I disagree. There are many reasons to despair. But inaction is not an option. When you see a storm coming you can despair for the harm it will do to your fields and then shutter and board your windows, gather up your food, a barrel of fresh water, a lamp and spare oil and watch the horizon ready to move to shelter.

  6. BecauseTradition

    Haven’t we seen this plot before when the government-privileged banks screwed up the world economy and then we had a Great Depression and World War II?

    One would think that the elites this time would know that nuclear and biological weapons can kill them too and strive for peace but I’m not hopeful in that regard since:

    “… all those who hate me [wisdom] love death.” Proverbs 8:36

  7. Science Officer Smirnoff

    PILGER: “. . . The CIA wants him beaten, the Pentagon wants him beaten, the State Department wants him beaten, even his own party wants him beaten. I mean something recommends him and just his enemies do.”

    – The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Really? Nobody should let that pass.

    Ask the Poles whom to prefer, Hitler or Stalin?

    This non-truism was the faulty logic behind Bush-Cheney saying about Saddam and Al-Qaeda (“…they both hate us”) implying they must be allied against us.

    Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is just another enemy.

    (Nor is this consideration for a Clinton presidency)

  8. DJG

    I’m reminded again of the obtuseness of our elites:

    PILGER: “Obama decided not to attack Iran. I don’’t know about making a deal with Iran. They decided not to attack Iran. Attacking Iran would’’ve been a disaster of course for the people of Iran and in the Middle East. But it would’’ve also been a disaster for the United States.”

    So Obama is considered the reasonable one because he decided not to attack a nation of 80 million, three times the size of France, with a history that goes back 7,000 years. Because they would have fought back?

    Maybe our elites think that the rest of the world is as passive as the U.S. populace and just as easily fooled.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Iraqis didn’t fight back in either war*, and the Libyans weren’t in a position to do so. The Pentagon as a group recognized missiles would start raining down on forward bases and ships from Syria and Hezbollah if they moved on Syria. The betrayal of Gaddafi (it was a betrayal) was a signal the U.S. has no interest in peace. Fighting back is the only rationale response.

      *Hussein withdrew in ’91, and enough high ranking Iraqis in 2002/3 operated under the assumption Americans would leave when they found no WMDs and put them in charge without the inner circle of Hussein thus more goodies to go around. They could have made us pay for every block. They didn’t.

      It is possible the elites believe in an inherent invincibility of special snowflake Americans.

  9. John Wright

    One important trend that may contribute to world peace, at least with respect to China, is the outsourcing of American electronics manufacturing to China/ East Asia.

    Many of the lower level electronic components are manufactured in Asia, and printed circuit assemblies usually will not work, as designed, if ANY parts are unavailable and can’t be loaded.

    A dominant semiconductor foundry- TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is based in Taiwan, an island which has long been desired by mainland China.

    With all the assembly plants in East Asia, just-in-time inventory in the USA limiting domestic buffer stock, decimated manufacturing in the USA and one can see the USA needs China to keep the electronics base of the USA economy going during a long term military conflict.

    This should give China some soft power, in restricting electronics goods supplied to the USA, that it can use in negotiating with the USA.

    Note, this could push the USA military planners to realize a long war will have support issues.

    The USA decision makers might then amp up the pressure for a short term and very devastating war.

    Potentially another “hard choice” for hawkish President Hillary Clinton.

    1. Punxsutawney

      A lot more than just low level electronics are being made in China at this point. From personal experience I know that we have shipped some of our critical high tech manufacturing there. For instance, Instruments that have more than one circuit board at 10k a piece.

      But this is one of the disconnects that I don’t get and seems totally insane to me. We ship them jobs, $, and manufacturing, but try to contain them and keep them weak at the same time. The only explanation I can come up with is that someone is making a bundle doing so. But an oh so dangerous game long term.

      1. Lord Koos

        If the USA really cared about “national security”, they would not have let US manufacturing collapse.

    2. Ranger Rick

      Strategic industries are still located at home. There are tons of Intel fabs in the US alone.

      Commodity electronics would suffer in a trade disruption with China, but the question you should ask yourself is “does this actually influence the economy one way or another?” Business exposure to Chinese manufacturing is likely correlated with negative or extremely small impacts on GDP.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        A while back it became evident China had a near corner on rare earth metals. Rare earth metals are critical for building displays — mostly produced in Japan and Korea — and displays are an important component in our military systems. Though it’s hard to tell without detailed inside information — all the indications were that DoD became aware of the problem after China threatened to cut off the supply of rare earth metals to Japan.

        As for commodity electronics counterfeit Cisco routers from China found their way into many “secure” government facilities a few years back as reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee investigating counterfeit parts and hardware finding their way into the DoD supply chain.

        I’ve been out of the loop several years now so maybe everything that was broken before is fixed. But I think John Wright has a valid concern — both wrt. to the military supply chain and the commercial supply chain.

        1. cnchal

          I’ve been out of the loop several years now so maybe everything that was broken before is fixed. . .

          The odds of that are zero.

          War with China is off the table. With a looming TV shortage, people would be in the streets, protesting. They have us by the balls.

        2. Lord Koos

          With the potential spying capabilities of “the internet of things”, it would be insane for any government agency to depend on China-made hardware.

      2. Punxsutawney

        When a couple of the items this company produces were intercepted on the way, or maybe they made it to Iran, a small army of FBI agents showed up at the company’s HQ. But it’s ok to make them in China now. Probably comparing apples and oranges, but still.

      3. John Wright

        But are the Intel fabs process compatible with other important semiconductor fabs that might go down in a conflict?

        We got an indication of what might happen during the Fukushma accident.

        The semiconductor company Renesas, based in Japan, has microprocessors that are heavily used in automobiles. Small, cheap parts, but there are so many different variants in packages and functionality that a board design/code change might be necessary to substitute for a specific part. While other vendors make microprocessors, they are not directly interchangeable.

        At the time there was some fear that cars could not be shipped because not enough Renesas parts could be made/found in the supply chain.

        One PCB material vendor mentioned to the company I work at that there was a shortage of a particular kind of glass weave fiber used in their higher frequency material, simply because it was sole sourced in Japan and the glass ovens were kicked off line when the power grid collapsed in Japan.

        One would expect all military minded countries maintain a list of strategic manufacturing locations, both internal (to restrict export as necessary) and external to target for a military strike.

        Remember the destruction of the Norwegian heavy water facility to keep it away from the Germans in WWII?

        Here is a discussion of supply chain issues that give some summary of potential issues.
        It does not cover disruptions due to military actions.


        I still believe globalization has made military actions by the USA against technically advanced nations less likely. There may even be a supply chain reason that the USA chooses small less developed countries such as Iraq, Libya, Bosnia, and Syria to exercise its military might.

        A President HRC sabre rattling in Russia/Ukraine/Syria and China may be yet more evidence of her “bad judgment” that Bernie Sanders noted.

  10. Tones

    This headline is misleading and reflects the obvious thesis of the interviewer. What Pilger has to say is way more nuanced.

    1. Yves Smith

      Huh? This is Pilger very early in the interview:

      But above all, it’’s brought us to the brink of some kind of very serious confrontation with Russia and the taunting of Russia, the intimidation of Russia is now unabated and just over the horizon there is a similar baiting of the other great nuclear power, China.

      And Pilger’s big point is the national security apparatus largely calls the shots and operates pretty independent of Presidents.

      So the onus is on you to say why you regard the headline as misleading. I don’t see it.

      1. Tones

        My fault, that was a vague comment. And not an NC criticism since it wasn’t even your headline.

        True about Pilger’s big point. There is confrontation and the trajectory of national security activity maybe hasn’t changed with presidential elections. But the headline is different and reflects a point that is being made very aggressively by John Jay rather than Pilger, that both sides of this election will ultimately fall in line and take the adopt the same (passive or not) aggressive positions. Jay talks about Pence taking the drivers seat on national security and following Cheney’s example.

        Pilger seems to disagree on that point. He also calls Trump a “rogue” candidate and remarks that he’s “interesting” in the sense that he has such formidable enemies in the career nat security establishment. If the headline is to be believed, that the election won’t change anything, then why does that establishment oppose him so much? I think that there was more to Pilger’s big point and I wish that someone smarter than me would have written about it in that post.

  11. Denis Drew

    My view of the big world — foreign policy — is the Rick Steves, Anthony Bourdain outlook: middle class-workers of the world unite (or at least middle-classes): the people everywhere who (to borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton) work hard and play by the rules.

    There seems a commonality of outlook to be discovered from Russia to Turkey to Syria to anywhere. Somehow we (the middle class) people ought to be able to coordinate our countries’ interactions.

    Classically, middle classes — all the way from the Middle Ages — were the vanguard of democratization. No more Game of Risk mentality if they take hold.

    But, if you read Robert Frank’s timely tome, released in March, Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? you will learn that the Clintons’ and Obama’s missing empathy with the middle class goes deeper than just some cultural blindness from living too high up in the clouds (or too high on the hog) but that it is enforced with a deeply antagonistic to middle priorities view of life …

    … and cloudy elitist Hillary is not very likely to even see the middle-classes-of-the-world-unite approach as a promising way forward — indeed unlikely to be capable of seeing it is there at all.

    1. susan the other

      I’m no Hillary fan, but David Harvey related an interesting story about WJC’s frustration when first in office. He was told the reality of money – that its value had to be cautiously maintained or the vigilantes would destroy his chances of re-election. And WJC reportedly said, “you mean my chances of passing my programs and getting re-elected all rely on a bunch of fucking bond traders??” So Bill and Hillary learned to play nice with the bond traders and in the process they lost their soul. I’m beginning to see the problem.

      1. susan the other

        not to beat a dead horse, so quick thing: was thinking last nite about money being a technology – the native Americans used perforated shells; all ancient people used trinkets; and the Chinese upon inventing paper realized it could be used as money too. Somewhere in the history of the manufacture of money gold intervened, “precious” metals (what an oxymoron) and things that people wanted to accumulate – things that were never money as we first understood it. I am indebted to you for some 30 shells because you sold me a thing I needed so I will sell you what you need.

    2. River

      Too bad all us middle/lower class folk around the world couldn’t get on social media and say to one another “Look we know our elites are by and large psychopaths. If it comes to war, no one shows up, no one pays taxes and no one mans the munitions factories. After all we’re the ones who pay for it”.

      Let’s just circumvent the whole power structure. Dare to dream I know.

    3. Lord Koos

      Thanks to the internet, people all over the globe are starting to connect, but a unified middle class would be the elites worst nightmare, I would think. They prefer us divided and easier to manage. I don’t think you can count on the billion Chinese to join in any middle class revolution, most are way too full of nationalist propaganda to realize that they have much more in common with workers in other countries than they do with their own elites.

  12. EoinW

    Forgive me if I’ve posted this previously. It is my sincere hope that both China and Russia begin using their soft power to derail the global economy if Clinton is elected. I’d say they have a window of opportunity to create an economic collapse which will distract the next president and her puppet allies in other NATO countries with domestic troubles. Sorry but if the neo-cons take complete control in Washington again(Clinton or Pence taking over from an assassinated Trump) the only way I see us avoiding WW3 is to destroy the ability of the US to start such a war. And the only chance of doing that is economic destruction leading to the loss of all credibility of the establishment. Then the 99% turn on them and will be so angry they won’t support any “wag the dog” scenario.

    Spitting into the wind? Or maybe just as realistic as thinking a shooting war with Russia will not go nuclear? Thanks for the memories folks!

  13. cnchal

    . . If you look at them on a map, you can understand why the Chinese have apparently changed their nuclear policy to a first strike policy. They never had that. They used to keep the missiles and warheads separate. They don’’t anymore.

    Their lies the real danger. Let’s hope one doesn’t go off in it’s silo by accident. We have to rely on Chinese concrete to contain the blast.

    1. susan the other

      supposedly back when we were plagued by broken arrows (when some mysterious signal was launching our missiles and we were running around trying to figure out how to stop them from going ballistic) a simple solution was implemented – just park a tank over the silo. China could do the same if their loaded missiles ever were accidentally switched to go.

  14. susan the other

    Thanks for Pilger. He speaks truth to “absurd people with very great power.” But speaking of political freak shows – he really should include Boris Johnson. When Pilger explains that our plot to contain China will be to blockade the straits of Malaca (sp?) it occurs to me that American ports from Mexico to Alaska could also be blockaded and then it begins to dawn on me that trade certainly fell off a cliff recently. When I read that we have moved tons of military materiel to Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean?) I think it’s too inconvenient for us to blockade China – can’t really get close enough to plug all the holes. Impossible. But there might be method here – get the military away from the US where it is vulnerable to siege. And it’s impossible to blockade Russia as well. We are idiots. We are isolating ourselves. Let’s hope the Venetian sentiment is correct (above link) that the situation is “hopeless but not serious.” My favorite new quote.

    1. nippersdad

      I think that is the point of the New Silk Road infrastructural projects that China has been engaged in for the past decade or so; to get their infrastructure away from areas within the US military’s reach. The Great Game was all about isolating Russia and China and keeping them at each others throats; the development of the BRICS is an effort to break out of that paradigm. War games in such scenarios that include a cooperative Russia, Iran and China always show an endgame with the US and Canada out here in a corner of the globe all by our lonesomes. Hence the encirclement.

      Unfortunately for the neocons, we are only five percent of the population and are the worlds’ largest debtor nation. It is unlikely that their little war games will go as planned, and their actions are only serving to speed up the process of Eurasian economic integration and cooperation.

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