JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICA SHOULD PREPARE FOR A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THIS ELECTION, NO MATTER WHO WINS – A BIT ON THE CANDIDATES’ POLITICAL RECORDS – A WORD ON KAMALA HARRIS – TRUMP BACK TO TALKING AGAINST WARS AND THE MILITARY BUT IT MEANS NOTHING BEYOND A PITCH FOR VOTES – HIS ACTIONS OVER FOUR YEARS HAVE IN FACT SET THINGS UP FOR BIG NEW WARS – BIDEN HAS NEVER OPPOSED WARS OF ANY DESCRIPTION, EVEN THOUGH HE, LIKE TRUMP, WAS NEVER IN THE MILITARY – BIDEN HAS MADE TERRIBLE STATEMENTS AFFECTING MILLIONS IN VENEZUELA AND PALESTINE AND IRAN – DEMOCRATIC PARTY TALK ABOUT A NEW PROGRESSIVE AGENDA IS JUST EMPTY ELECTION TALK USING POOR OLD BERNIE SANDERS AS A CHEERLEADER – BIDEN IS A “GOVERNMENT SERVICE “LIFER,” SHARING THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM WITH THE GHASTLY LIKES OF MADELEINE ALBRIGHT AND HENRY KISSINGER   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT – AMERICA SHOULD PREPARE FOR A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT, NO MATTER WHO IS ELECTED

 

Apart from his reported abusive and politically-damaging comments about soldiers being “suckers” and “losers,” Trump has been making new noises about wars and the military, obviously trying to tempt back anti-war voters, people not otherwise attracted to him, people who supported him in 2016, helping give him the edge in key states. But in almost four years of waving his arms and spluttering, Trump has succeeded nowhere in making serious military reductions. He has made a couple of adjustments so he can talk in terms of bringing troops home.

The adjustments hardly mean anything compared to his happily approving massive budgets for the Dark State – the Pentagon and security services. Nor do they compare with his massive sales of weapons into politically fragile regions like the Middle East, making bad situations worse. He shares with most of the Washington establishment the belief that lots of weapons can change things for the better. It is the kind of faith you expect from the center of an empire, but it is entirely false.

Of course, Trump and the rest of Washington’s establishment are only too happy to see billions of dollars in weapon sales, a fact which tends to overshadow any claims about being motivated by sound policy. Historians have demonstrated how states armed to the teeth are indeed a cause for great wars, not a preventative measure. That was very much the case for WWI, as European powers stood bristling with weapons and great standing armies. Much like a pile of tinder and firewood waiting for a spark. The same can be said for America’s post-WWII military monstrosity. All it has done is engender wars simply by its being there, ready to use by vain and ambitious leaders.

But Trump’s pro-war efforts go much farther than big budgets and weapon sales. He is on very friendly and encouraging terms with some of the Middle East’s most terrible characters – Saudi Arabia’s murderous Crown Prince, Israel’s war criminal Prime Minister, and Egypt’s reigning Field Marshal, among others.  He still keeps troops where they are not wanted by local governments, as in Iraq and Syria, and he does so ultimately to please the imperial ambitions of Israel. There is no other genuine reason. That is hardly anti-war in any sense of the word, Israel having been at the very center of efforts for the Neocon Wars which have seared the region like unquenchable grassfires for two decades. And those are in addition to Israel’s own almost continuous attacks on all of its neighbors. Of course, encouraging Saudi Arabia to make a hell of Yemen represents the same kind of effort.

The surprise troop reduction in Germany is not part of anti-war thinking, not at all. It is, first and foremost, intended as an insult to Chancellor Merkel, whom he intensely dislikes, as he noticeably dislikes virtually all powerful, intelligent women. (Note his recent outburst that the idea of Democrat Kamala Harris becoming President was “an insult to our country.”) But it is something more too. It is a redeployment, and a dangerous one. Troops going to Poland as part of the change, going closer to the heart of Russia, are nothing less than a threat, and that is just how Russia sees them. There is no peaceful intention in that, not at all. It is just part of the general effort to re-create in Europe what existed before the Soviet Union collapsed, but even more so with new NATO states, new weapon systems, and heavy armor right next against the Russian border.

About two thousand troops are leaving Iraq. This comes seventeen years after the illegal invasion of the country. It reflects less an American initiative than a compromise with the Iraqi government after it recently asked the United States to leave entirely. The majority of American troops will remain there, under the excuse of fighting ISIS, but for the real purpose of intimidating Iran.

It does appear that several thousand troops will be leaving Afghanistan. For nineteen years the United States has been killing people there, having spent hundreds of billions of dollars doing so, yet still the Taliban controls major parts of the country, and Trump’s effort at withdrawing involves a deal directly with the Taliban and not with the country’s formal government, pretty much an admission that the entire effort for nineteen years had little point. And it does seem likely – after the final phase of his withdrawal, which, if it does take place, won’t be for more than a year – that the government set up by the United States will fall to the Taliban, leaving the country right where it was twenty years before. A remarkable achievement.

Recently, in a reckless new practice, American B-52s have been flying over Ukraine, practicing missile-launch runs towards nearby Russia. The slightest misunderstanding or miscalculation promises Armageddon. People who care about peace do not do such things.

Trump has killed a whole series of important treaties dealing with nuclear weapons, just as he is busy weaponizing space, something breaking still another treaty. These acts are threatening. They have nothing to do with reducing hostilities and opposing war.

While he has not started a new conventional war, he has come close, as with Iran, and his brutal efforts in Iran and Venezuela I think can best be understood as warfare, hybrid warfare. And just so, his constant hectoring and abuse of China. It is a form of warfare. His huge program of sanctions is definitely a form of warfare, and it is not free of death and injury. He has tried depriving tens of millions in Iran and Venezuela of earning a living and, even worse, depriving them of food and medicines and other necessities in a time of pandemic. His hellish “maximum pressure” philosophy – which strongly displays pride in muscular intimidation of others – almost suggests something like the days of the US cavalry giving Indigenous Americans blankets contaminated with small pox.

In sum, when it comes to all of Trump’s measures concerning arms and armies and war, I think it unmistakable that rather than ending wars or not starting new wars, he has set the stage for more and perhaps larger ones.

Biden is a “government-service lifer,” a disparaging term Republican Newt Gingrich liked using. No matter what you think of that language, his is not the kind of career that should spark any hopes for meaningful change, at home or abroad. He is an unimaginative man and one who has always gone along with the establishment crowd.

Right now, he and the Democratic Party are making big noises about how things will be different. They even had poor old Bernie Sanders telling us that Biden might be the most progressive President ever. That is just election blubbering, although I’ll credit Bernie Sanders with misguided hopes rather than dissimulation.

It has been reported that Biden spoke recently with important campaign donors who were concerned about the progressive sounds coming from the Democrats. He is said to have assured them that he will maintain the status quo.

In foreign affairs, Biden has already, almost unbelievably, attacked Trump for not having been tough enough in trying to destroy a twice-elected government in Venezuela. No, depriving that country’s people of electricity, of jobs, of food, and of medicine was not “tough enough.” Attempts to assassinate an elected president were not tough enough. Stealing assets held abroad was not tough enough.

Biden is committed to the concept that Trump is not going to “out-Israel” him, offering the bleakest possible outlook for millions of Palestinians Israel relentlessly abuses. And so, too, the prospects for eighty million Iranians who suffer like the Venezuelans simply because Israel wants to dominate the region.

Biden is a lifelong milquetoast political figure, getting by, very much, on a smile. If we can’t judge and predict from a career of more than fifty years in politics, then I don’t know how we ever can.

He is also one who has milked the political system, enriching himself and his immediate family members along the way, nothing at all unusual in American politics, but offering anything other than the promise of change. Interestingly, just like Trump, Biden is a teetotaller, people I’m by nature inclined to have a little doubt about. He is also someone who received a series of draft deferments during university, ending up on graduation getting an exemption for a medical condition, just as Trump did.

He is associated with not a single big idea or heroic political position. He goes along to get along. There is not a gene in his body having to do with great change, unless you are talking about the kind of vote-getting change like past legislation that put a great many more young men into prison. Young Black men.

His running mate, an intelligent and formidable personality, was closely allied with that “send ‘em to jail” approach. In America, there is a common general impression that most American politicians of color are on the Left end of the political spectrum, but that is not so, and it definitely is not so for Kamala Harris. She is solidly establishment and extremely ambitious as seen in the circumstances of her early rise to power, just as the younger Biden always was extremely ambitious. Reflect back on expectations for Obama, who is in character much along the lines of Harris. Many millions of Americans, who had read more into his smile and style of speech than was in fact there, were disappointed, both in domestic social matters and very much so in war.

When it comes to the military, Biden is a loyal trooper. He never opposed any of the Pentagon and CIA schemes for hurting other societies in order to benefit America’s establishment. That’s why he was given the country’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom, an award he shares with such luminaries as Madeleine Albright, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Donald Rumsfeld. The medal, in its political awards, not so much in the arts, is almost a guarantee of political dreariness and even revulsion. It perhaps should be renamed as the Order of American Empire.

 

NOTE

An interesting anecdote about the horrendous waste of America’s wars was revealed less than ten years ago. The troops’ quarters and facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq are air-conditioned, and the bill for providing that service in the middle of deserts was reported to be running at more than $20 billion a year, about the size of NASA’s entire budget.

Posted September 9, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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