Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: KILLING WOMEN AND CHILDREN – THE ORWELLIAN MEANING OF “FREEDOM” IN AMERICA.   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DANIEL LARISO IN CHECKPOINT ASIA

 

“Empire’s Sanctions Are Now Driving Venezuela Toward Famine

“The country grows only a third of its food, and oil sanctions will cost it 94 percent of what it spent on imports last year”

 

It’s terrible, but of course it is nothing new for America.

It hurts and kills women and children in a number of places, by one means or another. Sanctions always hurt the defenseless. That’s just how they work.

Yemen. Syria. Iran. Libya. Somalia. Gaza (where it does nothing to rein-in the vicious settlers of its Mideast colony).

I’m sure the child victims of massive American bombing in Vietnam and in North Korea numbered in the tens of thousands.

And recall the ghastly horror of Iraq in the period after the First Gulf War and before the final invasion.

There were Madeleine Albright’s unforgettable Nazi-like words in a television interview when asked about the thousands of kids dying in Iraq under an extreme American embargo, “We think it’s worth it.”

You know, she was awarded the “Presidential Medal of Freedom” for her distinguished efforts at the State Department, like Vice president Joe Biden, whose big achievement was getting America’s industrial-scale extrajudicial killing program going.

“Freedom” has a genuinely Orwellian meaning in the United States.

Posted July 16, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: STILL MORE REVELATIONS IN LEAKS FROM THE CONFIDENTIAL NOTES OF BRITAIN’S RECENT FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES – MORE CHARACTERIZATIONS OF TRUMP BUT I THINK THEY CONTAIN A SERIOUS MISJUDGMENT ABOUT TRUMP’S MOTIVES CONCERNING IRAN   2 comments

John Chuckman

COMMENT ON STILL MORE LEAKS FROM FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR KIM DARROCH’S CONFIDENTIAL NOTES TO HIS GOVERNMENT

 

We have today yet more revelations in leaked documents written as advisory notes to the British government by Sir Kim Darroch, its recent former Ambassador to the United States.

Darroch called Trump’s tearing-up of the Iran nuclear agreement an act of “diplomatic vandalism.” Now, that is a characterization completely on the mark. It is difficult to see what anyone would even find objectionable in it, beyond the fact of its being leaked by someone unknown.

After all, every government in Western Europe and other major states like Russia and China and major world organizations publicly expressed their opposition to Trump’s rash action. All agreed that Iran had kept to its commitments and that the agreement had worked well for about four years.

Darroch went on to explain that tearing up the agreement was done to spite his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Yes, there is no question Trump has been out to destroy or undo everything that he can that was ever done by Barack Obama. He literally hates the man. We’ve seen that in a number of matters, including Obamacare.

But there is another reason for Trump’s dangerous blundering in Iran, a far more powerful one, one completely ignored by Darroch. I’ll come back to it after a few more words about Trump’s loathing for Obama.

I do believe Trump’s hatred for Obama is deeply tinged with racism. I can see no other explanation for it. There simply are no genuine liberal qualities in Obama for anyone on the political right to dislike, but there is the glaring fact of his being the first black president.

No one, examining the record of Obama’s eight years as president, can sensibly accuse him of being a liberal. In anything, except in the occasional vacuous and soon forgotten political speech. I know the Alt-right press regards Obama as a liberal, one of the most hated ever, but it’s a silly accusation from some extreme people. And that crowd, if you read through their stuff on the Internet, oozes with racism.

Obama led eight years of ugly American colonial wars, from invading Libya to getting the endless horrors of Syria going. From secretly supporting a coup to overthrow Egypt’s first-ever democratic government, one to which Israel had taken serious objection, to staging a coup against an elected government in Ukraine and pitching that country into turmoil, including civil war, all for the sake of intimidating Russia. From increasing ugly pressures on Venezuela to starting the tanks rolling up against Russia’s borders, there is no liberalism to be found in Obama’s activities abroad.

At home, we find the same thing. How can a man be regarded as liberal who passed no significant social legislation? And he did absolutely nothing to help his own people, the people to whom he appealed in the rhythms of a black preacher reciting the slogan, “Yes, we can!” He did nothing for the squalid, broken-down realities of vast stretches of urban America. His Obamacare legislation was a nasty, confusing, corporate-serving piece of work that a liberal can find just as hateful as a right-winger.

Further, Obama also did almost nothing to reform a financial system badly in need of reform, a system that had created a disastrous world-affecting financial crash. He signed off on all major military and security legislation. He actually started the shameful American system of extrajudicial killing abroad by hi-tech drone. And it was under Obama that the secretive NSA began expanding into an information-sucking monstrosity with its new constellation of secret buildings packed with super-computers and spying on literally everyone and everything.

Trump’s activities in Iran are about Israel’s interests, as they are communicated and pressed through the many channels of the American Israel lobby. Trump felt afraid and vulnerable about the future of his office at one period, and he turned to some extremely wealthy American oligarchs for support and money. These were men whose most burning concern is Israel, and several of them are on intimate terms with Netanyahu.

I am sure Trump got the support he sought, but all such support comes at a price. Trump’s price is readily seen in a whole series of acts, from putting the American Embassy into Jerusalem to recognizing Israel’s illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights. From appointing a series of extremely ideologically committed men, genuinely fanatical men, like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to important posts to slashing support for a number of organizations whose work in any way supported the Palestinians.

It’s been a dramatic wave of events over a short period, and they reflect no authentic interests of the United States, and they certainly have nothing to do with Obama. They all increase tensions and hostilities and commit the United States to ignoring the rule of law. Matters in Iran are part and parcel of that activity.

Netanyahu has made years of insane claims about Iran and the security of Israel, all of them groundless, none of them supported by any evidence, and, indeed, in a number of cases, being directly contradicted by solid evidence. But he just continues his harangues and crusade against a country that has started absolutely no conflicts in its modern era, a fact, as it happens, totally the opposite of Israel’s own record of close-to continuous war.

Netanyahu has long wanted Iran to be hurt or reduced for the temerity of having some influence in the Middle East. Israel wants all of that influence with no one around to in any way oppose or question it. Netanyahu was intensely busy in just the same way during Obama’s time, but Obama ignored him, which is the only way he ever achieved the nuclear agreement.

Netanyahu also, like Trump, has a deep dislike for Obama. He showed this openly a number of times, coming close to expressions of public contempt. I assume his hatred is based on Obama’s ignoring him over Iran largely, although racism, too, could well play a role. Netanyahu’s Israel has been extremely hostile to black Jews from Africa and to black refugee claims. Netanyahu actually had a scheme to bribe some distant African states to take refugees off Israel’s hands.

At any rate, the shared distaste for Obama only makes the same years-old job of selling the threat Iran is supposed to represent, and there’s no need to sell it to those American oligarchs to whom Trump desperately turned for political help. They are onboard with about every outrageous claim Netanyahu ever made.

We should note that that nuclear agreement was signed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and the United States – plus Germany and the European Union. They all still strongly support it, except, of course, for Donald Trump’s United States. Everyone, except Netanyahu’s Israel and Trump’s United States, agrees that it is a solid agreement and that Iran has conscientiously followed its obligations. All international technical experts and inspectors support that view too.

But along comes Trump suddenly to toss the agreement to the wind, ignoring everyone else. The only people with input and support for his rash behavior are Netanyahu and Trump’s American oligarch political supporters, close friends of Netanyahu.

Essentially, what we have is a man, Trump, who, in the interest of his campaign war chest for the 2020 election or against any attempt at his impeachment before that, is putting the entire world at risk of a serious war. He is threatening and economically crushing a law-abiding nation of more than eighty million souls for no other reason. Millions of ordinary Iranians are hurt by his severe and unwarranted sanctions. As is always the case with sanctions, they hurt mainly ordinary people. They are a blunt instrument, much like massive bombing.

Posted July 14, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHAT EVERY CANADIAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CANADA’S FOREIGN MINISTER, CHRYSTIA FREELAND – AND WHAT JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S SAD LEGACY AS PRIME MINISTER WILL BE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT ON WHAT EVERY CANADIAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHRYSTIA FREELAND

 

The following recent revelations are things of which every Canadian should be aware:

 

‘The US State Department boasted in a declassified memo in March 2017 that Canada had adopted an “America first” foreign policy.

‘The cable was authored just weeks after the centrist government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Chrystia Freeland as foreign minister.

‘The State Department added that Trudeau had promoted Freeland “in large part because of her strong U.S. contacts,” and that her “number one priority” was working closely with Washington.’

 

While I hadn’t seen the reference before, I had concluded as much just from the actions of Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau, but there is nothing quite like cold, hard facts from an important source.

Justin Trudeau is a rather weak and inept leader, not overly bright, qualities he has demonstrated an embarrassing number of times. His success in the last national election depended on handsome looks, a smile, rather overly-precious Millennialist attitudes, and a famous name. Name recognition in politics is something as important as it is in sales of dish soap.

It didn’t hurt, too, that his main opponent was someone Canadians had grown pretty tired of after a long run, Conservative Stephen Harper, a man whose government was more right-wing than anything Canada experienced in its modern history.

Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, was one of the most memorable and independent-minded leaders Canada ever had, and, decades later, the name has resonance for many Canadians. A lawyer with a Jesuitical mind and a politician of many substantial achievements, including effectively opposing such terrible American policies as those against Cuba and that creating a holocaust in Vietnam.

There’s an old saying about strong fathers often having weak sons. I am not sure that I subscribe to it, but this is an instance that couldn’t be clearer.

Justin’s weakness means he depends a great deal on the unpleasant Freeland. She is definitely quite bright and far more hard-nosed than he is. He is photographed with her more than with any other minister. However, history is loaded with examples which tell us that brightness is no defense against evil.

It’s pretty obvious with every word coming from her mouth where her loyalties are, and they very much are not with the values that gave Canada its international reputation in the 20th century. The values of Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, Jean Chrétien, and Paul Martin have been put away in on the shelves of an unused closet to be forgotten.

After all, Freeland’s previous big job was as an editor for Reuters News Agency. That requires brightness, but it very much requires something else. Reuters had a reputation right through the Cold War of being in the CIA’s hip pocket, of being one of a number of journalistic outlets it used for “getting stuff out there,” the stuff being suggestions, slants, propaganda, and disinformation.

In those Cold War days, of course, “the stuff” was largely against the former Soviet Union, but do we observe in American society, and in that of Western Europe under America’s intense influence, any real change? They use different words now, but the intent is much the same.

The USSR and the Red Army and the Soviet Empire have long disappeared, so we don’t hear about “commies” and “Reds,” very common words in the 1950s and 1960s, but we still receive daily tales about Russian influence and Russian interference and even Russian aggression.

Russophobia has replaced the old anti-commie stuff, and how very easy it was to make the replacement. After all, America went through decades of what can only be called the bitterest, most hateful cult campaign during the Cold War, and nothing has ever been done to exorcise that awful spirit.

None of the accusations about Russia today ever come with evidence or even serious analysis. Indeed, sources of clear evidence are ignored. For example, no one in Washington has ever even tried to interview Julian Assange about where the 2016 WikiLeaks material on the Democratic Party came from.

We know from world-class experts outside of government that the material was not hacked, by Russia or anyone else, that it was a straightforward leak of copied material from someone with inside access. But what we hear from the corporate press and politicians are constant variations on the themes of Russian hacking and Russian interference in elections.

It’s especially annoying for those who make an effort to be informed because the accusation comes from the world’s greatest meddler in the affairs of other states, the United States, a nation which very much goes beyond simple meddling to open threats and violent overthrows and black operations regularly.

All of the Russia “stuff” represents a constant effort to “poison the well” of public opinion. There’s an old principle in political and corporate marketing, “Throw enough crap at the wall, and some of it will stick.” That, truly, is the level on which the capital establishment of the world’s most powerful country works. It’s pathetic and repulsive at the same time.

For America’s establishment, Russia has long represented “Carthago delenda es” simply because it was the only country capable of totally destroying the United States. China, with its new wealth and increasing military capacity has joined the same rank.

Well, if you have heard Washington on Russia or China or Syria or Venezuela or Iran or Saudi Arabia, there’s no need to waste time listening to Freeland. She is saying the same things, only with less bluster and overt harshness, a delivery calculated to appeal to another market segment, if you will.

It has been disturbing to see. I do blame Trudeau because he should have known he was too weak and lacking in hard skills to be a national leader when the Liberal Party insiders tried luring him from his previous career as school drama teacher with other stints as camp counselor and snow-board instructor.

He put off the decision a while, a fact which leads me to conclude he had his own private doubts, and how could he not, given the things we’ve seen, not just in foreign policy but in domestic affairs and horrific, embarrassing blunders on trips abroad, as on his one to India. He literally made a fool of himself.

But the Party insiders were determined to get him because of the magical name. They won him over and did win the election, but what a mistake. Here’s an example of a win in seats in Parliament which literally represents a loss for the nation.

You see, with someone like Conservative Stephen Harper in office, we expect complete subservience to American interests, but the Liberal Party has long represented something else. A number of its more capable leaders have given Canadians something of which to be proud. But Justin Trudeau, and his Igor-like assistant, Chrystia Freeland, have suffocated that tradition.

Trudeau is likely to lose the next election in October, so frequent have been the scandals and embarrassments coming from his efforts to play leader. The Conservatives have no alternative who will change Canadian foreign policy, and our third major party, the NDP, which has sometimes come up with remarkable leaders, has let us down with an extremely weak choice.

So, the net effect of Justin Trudeau’s time in office will have been the removal of even a touch of independence in Canada’s foreign affairs, one of the substantial things his party represented for decades.

For those concerned about a world where one nation, one with less than five per cent of the world’s population, claims the right to tell almost every other nation and every international organization what it is to do, one that claims the right to apply its own domestic, narrow-interest legislation as though it had international legitimacy, one that even interferes at the level of telling other nations what to buy and where to buy it, it is distressing to have Chrystia Freeland representing Canada to the world.

Her behavior in office diminishes Canada and the fine reputation it enjoyed over much of the 20th century. And what can I say about the Prime Minister who put her in that position, one who frequently makes a public fool of himself while supporting her in activities like trying to help the United States overthrow a democratic government in Venezuela or echoing Washington’s ugly name-calling of Russia or Iran or getting Canada mired in a completely-avoidable ugly mess with China?

Posted July 14, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITAIN’S KIM DARROCH AFFAIR – A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TAKE – SOMETHING WHICH PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO OUR MANUFACTURED WORLD OF NEWS – DONALD TRUMP AS THE EMPEROR WITH NO CLOTHES ON   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CRAIG MURRAY IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

“The Simple Explanation for the Betrayal of Britain’s Envoy

“Craig Murray has a strong hunch about why someone would leak Kim Darroch’s scathing comments about Trump”

 

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/07/10/the-simple-explanation-for-the-betrayal-of-britains-envoy/?unapproved=374384&moderation-hash=9e2db8191c3309ba52faed708becf841#comment-374384

 

Very interesting little article.

The portrait here of Kim Darroch is so different than what we see in the mainline British press, it is actually a bit startling.

His newspaper portrait in Britain, at least in the press I read, is of an extremely able man, a classy diplomat.

But what we have here is a kind of British Trump, a crude loud-mouth and abusive man.

This is a terrific example of how a story can be made to appear almost unrecognizably different.

The truth? I am not sure when it comes to government and foreign policy anymore we ever get any truth.

Deception and misrepresentation are the norms simply because governments like those of the United States and Britain are engaged full-time in so many dark imperial projects all over the world.

The people never voted for much of what is being done in their name and might well not support much of it, if only they knew.

I’m afraid this is just one more fragment of evidence – along with such matters as what really has happened in Syria, what really is going on with Iran, why the United States never acts to rein in Israel and impose a fair settlement, day-and-night Russophobia, the assault on China, and so much more – telling us what a dreamworld we now live in. Perhaps “nightmare” is a more fitting word than “dream.”

Almost nothing in our press and from our politicians is real anymore. There’s an entire world of government activity that goes unreported and unexamined. If one insists on using the unattractive term “fake news,” – unattractive because of the class of people who regularly use it – its main application should be to Western governments.

Obviously, under such circumstances, references to “democracy” or even “democratic” are meaningless. The people are simply not aware of what their “elected” governments are doing.

Whatever Kim Darroch’s character really is and whatever the motivation for someone leaking his embarrassing past confidential observations of Donald Trump, the observations, of course, remain valid. We know that from the best possible source, our own regular observations.

Trump is indeed an emperor without any clothes. An embarrassingly obvious man in his words and acts. But, as with so many things in Washington, you are really not allowed to say that.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SHOCK AND AWE AND ENDURING SHAME – THE EFFORT TO RECLAIM THE MANY ANTIQUITIES LOOTED FROM IRAQ AFTER AMERICA’S INVASION – BUT MANY IRREPLACEABLE ANTIQUITIES FROM THIS CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION AS IMPORTANT AS ANCIENT EGYPT WERE DESTROYED TOO THANKS TO RECKLESS AMERICAN BEHAVIOR   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY RICHARD HALL IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Inside the hunt for Iraq’s looted treasures

“Decades of war and instability made Iraq a thief’s paradise”

 

I wish Wafaa Hassan the very best in her efforts to reclaim stolen antiquities. She seems extremely able and dedicated.

I do think, though, the writer’s sentence about “decades of war,” whether intended to do so or not, softens responsibility for what happened. It was right in the wake of the American invasion that the worst savageries swept Iraqi museums.

It was a time when normal Iraqi society and supervision of institutions had been scattered to the winds. Remember how the Pentagon promised that it would produce, “shock and awe” in Iraq? And it did, with no provision made to protect one of the world’s greatest collections of irreplaceable ancient treasures.

The mindless looting and destruction of Iraq’s antiquities was a highly disturbing addition to the invasion.

One of the things Saddam had been quite good at doing was preserving Iraq’s archeology and art. He made a huge state effort, and many wondrous ancient things were in Iraq’s museums and at its many preserved and restored ancient sites.

Iraq was one of the great early centers of human civilization, one just as important as ancient Egypt.

All of its surviving archeology and art had been cared for and organized to foster study and scholarship.

It was simply disgraceful the way the invaders allowed so many important things to be destroyed and stolen.

While the stolen items may be recovered eventually through the work being done in Iraq, the large amount of material wantonly destroyed cannot be. It truly smacked of “the barbarians at the gates.”

But then what can one say about an illegal invasion which ended up killing at least a million people and reduced what was in many ways the Arab world’s most advanced society to piteous ruins, ruins where clean water and electricity and employment would disappear for years.

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TURKEY’S PRESIDENT ERDOGAN – NOT YOUR EVERYDAY POLITICIAN – WHAT THIS NATO MEMBER IS DOING WITH HIS PURCHASE OF RUSSIA’S S-400 ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES AGAINST THE MOST STRENUOUS OBJECTIONS FROM WASHINGTON   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“Shocking: Perfidious Turks Stab US in Back to Buy S-400s, Join Belt and Road Initiative

“Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia”

 

Erdogan is quite the performer.

Tough, sticking to his principles, even though they may not always be the most admirable, and surprisingly open to new big initiatives.

I say “surprisingly” because there is also a definite unbalanced element in Erdogan’s make-up.

He can be hard to predict. And anyone who builds a one-thousand room palace, as Erdogan did, shows some eccentricity, although it could be argued that his massive palace represents a modern effort to do what France’s Louis XIV did at Versailles, bringing together in one spot all the powerful people under his very observant eye.

Often, history is made, great changes are achieved, by rather difficult people like Erdogan.

Erdogan, at least in part, is likely still reacting to that big, attempted coup. It knocked him off into new directions, and the expert, careful diplomacy and assistance of Russia and China are offering new opportunities.

I am pretty sure he privately holds the United States responsible for the coup, and I think that may be right, given many suggestive bits of evidence. Of course, as in all such matters, American intelligence would have worked diligently to cover its trail.

But America had the motivation and the connections and the opportunity – as, for example, in many important, high-level contacts with Turkish officials and military at the huge Incirlik Air Base – and, frankly, some of its responses after the events left a bit of lingering odor.

America seriously dislikes independent-minded heads of state, and that is just what Erdogan very much is, and in a large and strategically important country.

Erdogan’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system is a brilliant move. He gets a world-class air-defense system, he gets Turkish participation in future defense projects with Russia, and he waves a red flag right under Washington’s nose, effectively telling them “Tant pis!” – all while, I’m sure, chuckling and privately enjoying Washington’s squirming and efforts at maneuvering and fairly hollow threats.

Not too many leaders are capable of making such moves.

 

NOTE ON POSSIBLE AND PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN CONSIDERATIONS IN TURKEY’S PURCHASE OF RUSSIA’S S-400

I’ve learned the following from reading an interview with a man named Mark Sleboda, a Moscow-based security analyst. They are not widely-known facts but likely play into Turkey’s S-400 purchase.

During the Gulf War with Saddam Hussein, his French-made air defense system was shut down remotely. They can’t do that with a Russian system.

During the Turkish coup, air force pilots in Western fighters tried to shoot Erdogan. The Turkish Western-made air defenses wouldn’t work against their Western planes. A Russian air system would.

Turkey’s air force is one of the most Westernized parts of its military because it uses a lot Western equipment and receives a lot of training in the West.

The S-400 is a way to help protect against Erdogan’s own military.

And who ever knew that scoundrels like France could sell you a costly air-defense system and then switch it off when they wanted?

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOMEONE PRAISES TRUMP FOR TALKING TO NORTH KOREA – TALK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES IS RARE FOR AMERICA – ITS RECORD IS GRIM – ORDERS THREATS AND BOMBS ARE PREFERRED MEANS OF COMMUNICATION – BUT TRUMP HAS FAILED IN NORTH KOREA – THEY’LL KEEP THEIR NUKES – TRUMP’S JUST SO ERRATIC AND INCOHERENT – AND AMERICA HAS PROVED IT DOESN’T KEEP ITS WORD WITH IRAN AND WITH EUROPE’S IMPORTANT INF TREATY – THE MIDDLE EAST’S MANY HORRORS COURTESY OF AMERICA – THE LONG DARK TALE OF AFGHANISTAN   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

“Trump’s direct engagement with North Korea is the first big idea on the file in decades

“Much as only President Nixon could go to China, perhaps only Trump could go to North Korea”

 

Concerning any international issue, it, of course, never hurts to talk.

But what seems so obvious and fitting a concept as talking has never really taken hold in Washington. Never.

Does America talk to Venezuela? Does America talk to Iran? Does America talk to Syria? Does it talk to Cuba? Does America talk to Nicaragua? Does it even talk much with Russia? Or China?

No, America seems to prefer shouting at people, telling them what it wants to see them doing, and very frequently, it threatens them.

It does that not just with its unilaterally-declared opponents – countries regarded as opponents for no other reason than that they follow their own national interests rather than putting America’s first – it does it also with friends and allies, countries like Germany or Turkey or the EU or India.

Such countries receive somewhat less harsh treatment, but they are told what they may buy and from whom, and they are told to enforce the American domestic laws called sanctions as though they had some international legitimacy beyond the threat of military force and financial blackmail used to enforce them, and they are just generally told what is expected of them in a great many matters.

It is arrogant and patronizing behavior, as any impartial witness may plainly see in an instant, but America is used to being arrogant and patronizing on a rather colossal scale, treating whole regions that way, the Middle East being a prime example where not one country does not receive orders and expectations from Washington.

We’re seeing a whole new round of arrogant and patronizing behavior right now with Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century” flim-flam marketing operation. The fate of millions of people, held for decades against their will by Israel, enjoying no rights of any kind, not even the right to secure home and farm ownership, and subjected to life-long abuse and harassment with check-points, passes, line-ups, and raids – all offered with a keen eye to making them so miserable they’ll want to leave – is somehow to be settled without so much as consulting them.

It is an operation in which tens of billions of phantom dollars (there being no actual funds held by anyone) from America’s Gulf State tyrant friends are supposed to generate, over a period of many years, a new Palestinian prosperity, without changing any of the realities which now keep Palestinians down.

An operation led by an extremely arrogant man whose very position reflects his father-in-law’s nepotism and distrust of outsiders plus an intimate friendship with the Palestinians’ most vindictive enemy, the current Prime Minister of Israel. Kushner is a man, moreover, possessing absolutely no suitable expertise, education, or experience, and a man who, early on, pronounced from on high that the Palestinians were in fact not ready to govern themselves. Sounds very promising, does it not?

Of course, a great irony of Washington’s ordering other countries about is that so often Washington’s orders are badly misguided and its expectations unrealistic. They prove to be damaging long-term because Washington simply does not understand local realities, realities that will still be there decades later. It refuses to do so if they don’t fit into Washington’s idea of how things should be. It is a form of madness. And of course, repeated enough times, it confirms the old saying about, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

There are many examples. Perhaps the most glaring is Afghanistan and a nearly twenty-year war against the Taliban that has utterly failed. Countless lives and huge amounts of wealth have been squandered on pointless destruction. America never has understood what the Taliban are. They are not “terrorists,” they are not outsiders imposing themselves on others, a role pretty much reserved for America itself. No, they are simply one of the natural divisions in the society. Expecting them to go away is like expecting Baptists or Democrats in America to go away.

And the Taliban had no role in 9/11. They gave refuge to a devout Muslim by the name of Osama bin Laden whose native country, Saudi Arabia, greatly disliked him. When the United States demanded his extradition after 9/11, the Taliban only asked for some evidence, providing credible evidence being a normal part of every proper international extradition request. The United States said no and shortly invaded the place. That is how much sense the war in Afghanistan made from the very start.

America bombed the crap out of the country while its local ally, the clans of the Northern Alliance, traditional opponents of the Taliban, did most of the fighting on the ground. America terrorized countless towns and villages with heavily-armed patrols breaking into homes and removing the men for brutal interrogation, it installed another government, one from members of the Northern Alliance, no more admirable to Western eyes than the Taliban, and it committed, or allowed others to commit, a great many atrocities.

Along the way, in toppling the Taliban government, America released massive new waves of hard drugs into the world, drugs the Taliban had suppressed with its ban on growing opium poppies. The damage of that is felt to this day with large supplies lowering street prices and increasing addictions while urban gang wars are waged over turf, often making news of a weekend’s shooting toll in major American cities resemble reports from a war. A toll of as many as sixty or so shot in one weekend in Chicago, as just one example, has become common.

But did the United States defeat the Taliban? No, they remain a major player with whom the United States only now finally holds serious secret negotiations. Did they even capture bin Laden? No, he was finally murdered years later in Pakistan but even then, only because of a betrayal, not American military or intelligence skill.

Did the United States, after all of that, ever even prove to us that bin Laden was “the mastermind” of 9/11? No, it has never provided genuine evidence of anything, including what actually happened on 9/11. To this day, we honestly do not know. Yet none of that prevented it starting a long and unproductive war, a war it still has not extricated itself from.

(On 9/11 and the lack of any coherent explanation for it, see: https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/john-chuckman-comment-a-survivor-says-even-the-simplest-questions-around-911-have-not-been-answered-by-government-yes-and-some-disturbing-truths-around-those-events-the-saudi-arabian-nonsense/ )

Do we have some sense of déjà vu here, as in going back to the ten-year long mass slaughter in Vietnam which proved only that a poor but determined people can defeat the United States so long as it refrains from using atomic weapons? It certainly threw everything else it had at the Vietnamese, killing an estimated three million of them and leaving their country a nightmare of Agent Orange, landmines, and bomb craters.

That kind of ugly stuff unfortunately characterizes much of the foreign affairs history of the United States since WWII. One colonial war after another, and none of them achieving much except a great deal of death and destruction. Hatreds and hostilities on a grand scale serving no purpose other than to enforce America’s claim to the world that it is free to do as it damn well pleases anywhere.

There are lots of other examples. All the years of severe hostilities and genuine acts of terror against Cuba, and, more than half a century later, these are being stoked up yet again, Washington not able to absorb the fact that what people in other places want to do with their lives and resources may well be at odds with what America demands.

The seventy years of horror in Israel/Palestine provide another example. The United States could have put an end to all of that at any time by declaring proper borders and enforcing them, but it didn’t, and it still doesn’t. It just allows a long and destructive set of hostilities continue unimpeded, every once in a while, dabbling in some kind of silly “peace process” theatrics. In this case, America is involved through the American colonial identity of Israel and what it attempts to do in the Middle East. And America makes sure there are mountains of armaments to do it with.

For some reason Trump has chosen to talk to North Korea, but I’m not sure it has a great deal of meaning. After all, this is Donald Trump we are talking about here.

The same man leaked secret British diplomatic papers have just revealed is viewed as “inept,” “incompetent” and “erratic.” His policies towards Iran are actually called “incoherent.” I think we knew those things before the leak of state papers, but it is still nice to have confirmation.

I do think that apart from talking, Trump has totally failed in North Korea with what he originally aimed for, denuclearization. The North might make some concessions in exchange for American concessions, but it is not going to give up its nukes, and I think America’s establishment may be starting to understand that.

North Korea will not give up on its nukes, especially now that America is seen so clearly as a country which does not honor legal contracts, as in the glaring examples of tearing-up the Iran nuclear agreement and tearing-up the INF Treaty with Russia. That last is a terribly important treaty for Europe to avoid becoming the immediate battleground in a nuclear conflict. What incentive is there for a country like North Korea?

With its well-equipped army on the southern border and its regular war games and with nuclear weapons stashed in Japan and Guam, America represents a serious, ongoing threat to the North, and the North would be foolish to give up all its weapons. The United States has made no concessions to reduce the ever-present threat it represents while making all kinds of extreme demands.

Indeed, I think it is largely the credible nature of the North’s deterrent that saved it from Trump’s initial huge wave of gunboat diplomacy with aircraft carriers and nuclear bombers everywhere, just exactly what we now see arrayed against non-nuclear, law-abiding Iran.

Posted July 9, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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