Archive for the ‘HILLARY CLINTON’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME NEW OBSERVATIONS ON THE DEATH OF JEFFREY EPSTEIN – WHY I BELIEVE IT LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO HAVE KILLED HIMSELF – WHAT THIS DEATH SCREAMS TO US ABOUT THE STATE OF AMERICA   2 comments

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Epstein jail death: One of people watching disgraced financier not a proper prison guard, says report”

 

I think Jeffrey Epstein’s death tells us better than many events we’ve seen – and we have indeed seen many – just how utterly corrupt the American establishment is.

It’s of the nature of, but even goes beyond, such known matters as Hillary Clinton’s stealing the 2016 Democratic Party nomination or the murder of young Party worker, Seth Rich, a crime never even adequately investigated by authorities.

Likely the highest-valued prisoner in America manages to be killed inside a secure federal prison.

As one sharp comment said, the case resembles Lee Oswald’s getting shot by Jack Ruby.

Yes, it does.

Ruby – a small-time violent hoodlum-enforcer, originally from Chicago, and someone identified by witnesses both as being seen with Oswald before the assassination and as stalking him at police gatherings during the brief period between his arrest and murder – managed to kill Oswald, certainly the most important prisoner in the America of his day, right in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters.

And look at how that killing was never adequately explained, just as the President’s assassination was never adequately explained.

As Lord Acton long ago so accurately observed, absolute corruption follows from absolute power, and I think we can agree that in a number of spheres America’s power establishment today wields close to absolute power.

Look at its bloody, bloody record abroad. In a dozen lands. Why would anyone think it should somehow be different at home, especially where the establishment’s very authority is threatened?

I don’t believe for a moment Epstein committed suicide. As one comment accurately stated, even the bed sheets in that prison are made of special paper. Hanging yourself is impossible.

Anyway, the man’s entire personality speaks against the idea of suicide. Although the mainline press keeps telling us about how people accused of such matters as pedophilia do commit suicide, I seriously doubt that Epstein thought of himself as a pedophile for even a moment.

This is not some twisted little man with a dirty secret he can share with no one.

He was not alone in his activity, ever. He always had people around him, and notably Ghislaine Maxwell, supporting him, actively assisting him, providing kind of a demi-monde family which could only validate what he did. No one he knew would ever use that term “pedophilia.”

And then there were all those famous people who shared his passion. Do you think the likes of Bill Clinton or Britain’s Prince Andrew or Alan Dershowitz or, as heavily rumored, Tony Blair, or, as I much regret to learn, George Mitchell, ever used the term “pedophile” about themselves or those they socialized with?

No, of course not, so Epstein, quite apart from his own extremely positive ego, was literally inoculated against the kind of psychology some in the mainline press unthinkingly try to pass off on us.

And all this is all even truer if he was in fact, as has been forcefully and knowledgeably suggested, working for a state security service in a honey-trap, sexual-compromise operation to secure future influence over notable people, something giving his work the highest imprimatur of official support and approval, even a sense of distinguished service.

We have an interesting new article from the New York Times by James B Stewart concerning his own ninety-minute meeting, of about a year ago, with Epstein.

He had asked Epstein for an interview because he heard Epstein was working with Tesla on financial matters. Well, Epstein stayed clear of that topic. And, as it turned out, much of what Epstein talked about proved rather vague and unspecific. To my mind, that tended to support questions about Epstein being a genuine financier type.

But he was sure ready to brag about how many celebrities he knew and how much he knew about their sex lives and drug habits.

A couple of new names came up, Saudi Arabia’s bloody Crown Prince, who apparently made many visits to Epstein just as Bill Clinton did, and Woody Allen.

Epstein proudly spoke about having sex with young girls, saying it had been a common practice in history. He saw it as being no more wrong than homosexuality, something which was also illegal in many parts of the world. Again, then, the notion of a pedophile’s suicide-prone psychology, being peddled by some of the mainstream press, is just false.

Epstein gave Stewart the impression of an energetic, rather charismatic person. Epstein enjoyed his notoriety, saying that while it made him taboo in some circles, it encouraged the people he socialized with to confide in him, feeling their own sins and secrets were rather small compared to what Epstein was noted for.

I’ve taken an interest in the story and made a number of observations, and likely will continue doing so. Readers may enjoy:

 

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/john-chuckman-comment-jeffrey-epstein-kills-himself-just-as-the-fun-of-revelations-was-about-to-begin/

 

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/john-chuckman-comment-more-intriguing-bits-on-jeffrey-epsteins-suicide-in-custody-an-excellent-piece-by-philip-m-giraldi/

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AN EXCELLENT SUMMARY-AND-SURVEY PIECE BY ANALYST PHILIP M GIRALDI, A MAN WHO INTIMATELY KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND INTELLIGENCE MATTERS, ABOUT JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S “SUICIDE” – MORE INTRIGUING BITS FROM OTHER SOURCES   2 comments

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP M GIRALDI IN SOUTHFRONT

 

“JEFFREY EPSTEIN RIP: BUT MANY MORE QUESTIONS REMAIN TO BE ANSWERED”

 

https://southfront.org/philip-m-giraldi-jeffrey-epstein-rip-but-many-more-questions-remain-to-be-answered/

 

Just an excellent summary and survey of the many issues around the case.

If someone can die under the circumstances Epstein did – a very high-profile person under supervision in a jail and after a previous effort – then there seems little reason for optimism about the case being meaningfully carried on or any new revelations coming.

The rot at the top of America’s power establishment – the result of its wielding close to absolute power for so very long – is yet again revealed, and yet again, the revelation will likely lead nowhere.

Lead nowhere, as with Seth Rich. Or Loretta Lynch. Or the DNC. Or Hillary Clinton. Or Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Or John Brennan. Or James Comey. Or 9/11. Or, indeed, John Kennedy.

Here are two additional facts I’ve just learned from separate sources about the Epstein matter.

One, he was in solitary confinement. For what possible reason? He was the kind of prisoner who was no danger to anyone else. And what happened then with the regular checks that are supposed to be part of solitary confinement in any modern prison?

Two is the fact that, apparently, weeks ago, Epstein told his jailers that his life was in danger, that there were people who wanted to kill him.

And where is the surveillance video that is just a normal part of any modern institution?

Readers might enjoy:

 

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/john-chuckman-comment-jeffrey-epstein-kills-himself-just-as-the-fun-of-revelations-was-about-to-begin/

 

AFTERNOTES:

Other sources contradict the report of solitary confinement.

Epstein is said to have been put on “suicide watch” after the first “attempt.” That apparently requires having a cellmate and having guards check frequently around the clock.

But he was removed from “suicide watch” two weeks before his death, a move requiring the signature of a prison psychologist and the warden. Resources are tight, and it is reasonable to try minimizing the cost of “suicide watches,” but, still, here was a case with an actual recent “attempt.”

As far as guards checking frequently, the prison was shorthanded with guards working mandatory overtime.

Epstein apparently was put into a cell with another inmate, but the other inmate was transferred and not replaced. So, he was alone.

I have seen no explanation for the lack of a video record.

Someone quite familiar with that prison, a person with a criminal background, said the cells contain literally nothing that could be used for suicide. Even the bed sheets are made of special paper.

You would have to obtain anything of that nature from outside, but that would not be difficult since many important prisoners receive things they are not supposed to have by bribing staff.

In reading the mainline press, one senses an effort to avoid the many controversial associations with this case. There is a frequent pooh-poohing of “conspiracy theories,” something hardly convincing.

Since procuring and exploiting underage girls is already an extremely sensitive and attention-getting topic, it is easy to blur over other matters.

The mainline press insists on calling Epstein a billionaire and financier, assertions for which there appears to be no solid evidence. Again, a convenient blurring device.

And of course, unexplained large amounts of money always are viewed as extremely suspicious matters by intelligence services.

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHAT THE CURRENT SCANDALS IN WASHINGTON MEAN – UGLY HABITS OF BOTH PARTIES IN AMERICAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS HAVE TAKEN HOLD IN THEIR OWN CAPITAL – A DANGEROUS MAN AND HIS DANGEROUS OPPONENTS – MONEY, THE MIDEAST, AND WORLD STABILITY – LAST DAYS OF ROME?   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT ON THE STILL-SWIRLING SCANDALS AROUND AMERICA’S 2016 NATIONAL ELECTION

 

While I am not a political partisan of any party, I believe there can be little doubt that important American agency heads and senior Democratic figures plotted along several lines either to discredit Trump before the election or to deprive him of office after the election.

He was viewed as a political outsider, a maverick, an unwelcome, intrusive figure whose entrance on the national stage might upset a lot of people’s relationships and plans. And it didn’t help that he was a rude and awkward man, given to expressing himself at times in words you might expect to see scratched inside a stall door at a public toilet.

All indications suggest that Obama – the always-smiling but taciturn and secrecy-embracing Obama, his record on whistleblowers and leakers as well as his eight-year record of bombing countless people demonstrating him as being quite ruthless – led this effort, closely allied with Hillary Clinton, the woman, we know from documents, who cheated repeatedly in the Democratic primary campaign to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

These are ruthless people, although most of the public is not used to thinking of American political figures in that way. It is a hard thing perhaps for ordinary Americans to absorb the idea that their own country, “sweet land of liberty” as it’s termed in the national theology, is run along lines, not of respect for democracy and rule of law, but of what is sniggered at in Third-world lands.

The totality of the Democrats’ efforts – consulting with discreditable people abroad, paying an ex-spy to create a false dossier on a political candidate, spying on a political campaign, making outrageous public charges, and still other acts – does seriously flirt with subverting democracy and Constitutional government, and that actually approaches the definition of treason.

However, I cannot find myself entirely outraged by the dark series of events because, for me, Trump’s own behaviors are so outrageous and extremely dangerous that they tend to overshadow what the others did. I don’t exonerate them, but we are now faced with terrifying new dangers both to peace and to the health and stability of the world’s economy.

And it is not to be said that the Democrats understood and anticipated such developments and are at least to be partly excused for that reason. No, indeed, they very much contributed to bringing it all on.

The Democrats’ activity reflects the heightened sense of privilege and exceptionalism we now see in so many – indeed in most – of the words and deeds coming from Washington. America’s establishment has comfortably assumed a belief in its being God’s contemporary chosen people, or, in the outrageously self-serving words of Madeline Albright, the “indispensable nation.” Well, considering yourself as indispensable and chosen by God has always had some terrible consequences for those wielding great power. We have the eloquent testimony of Shakespeare’s tragedies and histories to just that effect.

Trump was targeted because he was something of an outsider, someone who hi-jacked, in effect, one of the two old-line political parties, depriving other establishment figures, old-line Republicans like the Bushes or Romneys, of a nomination that “should” have belonged to one of them.

That sense of things does come with something of a threat to the prevailing system of the American power establishment, a system where both parties, no matter what their campaign words, always end by closely supporting the American plutocracy, its empire, and all of the agencies of government concerned with maintaining and extending the empire, especially the Pentagon and the CIA. Even a suggestion that an outsider might represent a threat to that established order was enough to drive a number of insiders to distraction.

Normally, those who challenge the establishment in any fashion are simply allowed to say their piece while being largely ignored by the press and other politicians, having few of their words reach most Americans, as well as suffering the tremendous impact of a campaign-finance drought, those funds always overwhelmingly being gifts from the wealthy. Tulsi Gabbard is the best contemporary example of that approach. There have been others, people with various points of view, from Ralph Nader to Ron Paul.

But a unique set of circumstances in 2016, enabled an “outsider” to get inside under the edge of the big-top tent and assume a position at center ring under the spotlights. The main contributing circumstance, I believe, was the nature of the Democrat’s own candidate, Hillary Clinton, a woman who inspires a great deal of fear and hostility, both outside and inside her own party. But the Democrats were stuck with her because her husband, Bill, has been the key link for years in a supply chain of large campaign-fund donors. No one ignores money in American politics. Had someone else run, most of these events likely would not have happened, and Trump would not now be President.

The new dangers to peace to which I referred can also be at least partly attributed to the work of the Democrats and their senior agency heads. Here is the reason. Trump felt seriously threatened at various points, as we know from reports. One of his ways of dealing with the threat was to approach some powerful and influential people for support and money, people whose primary focus was not the American political establishment but Israel.

The money would provide a war chest for the 2020 election campaign as well as against the threat of a costly impeachment. We’ve only learned recently from an analysis of old tax records that Trump is far less wealthy than anyone had imagined, having been burdened with huge debts for years.

Trump got what he wanted, increasing his sense of security, but the price demanded saw him give away things in the Middle East that were not his to give and begin a seriously threatening campaign against Iran, a country which Israel detests but one which had followed the letter of the law scrupulously in its multi-party nuclear agreement as well as being a country which has started no war in its modern history, despite having had a vicious war launched against it in the 1980s. Its record in wars and strife, despite the rhetoric of Trump or Bolton or Pompeo, compares immensely favorably with those of the United States and Israel.

The new dangers to economic stability are largely Trump’s work, his constant noisy haranguing, his many threats, his arbitrary imposition of large new tariffs, and his creation of an entire new branch of public service, one dedicated to illegally sanctioning people all over the world. I say “illegally” because all of the sanctions represent efforts to enforce American law on other people, ignoring the rule of law in other countries and ignoring virtually all international law and diplomatic protocol.

But while Trump is particularly rude and loud about the way he approaches other countries, the essence of what he tries to do is supported quietly by the American establishment, all of them from both parties. Big matters such as the rise of China and new relationships between Germany and Russia have been establishment concerns for decades. They foreshadow the emergence of a brave new world order, one very much not welcomed by America’s establishment.

The American establishment dreads its relative decline in importance to the world’s economy and its geopolitics. So, they appear, all of them, willing to support, at least for now, Trump’s crude efforts to extract concessions from countries like China by methods which really do reflect traditional mafia methods of gaining footholds in other people’s businesses, with “offers they can’t refuse.”

In the 1950s and 1960s Chicago where I grew up, restaurants and other businesses periodically burnt down for no explained reason. It was widely understood that it was the price of having refused to cooperate with “The Outfit,” to pay the required fees for services such as “protection,” that they offered.

So, we have an extremely complex and devious situation in Washington. Senior members of one major party came close to treason in their opposition to a newcomer. However, at the same time, the newcomer has proved himself so destructive in world affairs, in matters of trade and war, that some might almost be tempted to say that the efforts by Democrats and their senior agency heads were warranted.

But no reasonable person can say that. Rule of law is civilization’s greatest founding principle. Take that away, and you have the rule of the strongest, but it so happens that that is something both parties have long worked towards in America’s foreign affairs. There’s nothing of law or principle involved in any of America’s long string of colonial wars and coups and interventions since the end of WWII. They all involved forcing others to do as they were told. They all involved breaking innumerable laws and conventions and treaties. And they involved a great deal of killing and destruction. Now, that same long-accustomed approach has found a home at the very center of American power in Washington.

We were all treated to the most arrogant display of power and abuse and contempt for law with recent events in Venezuela. It’s never been so plainly on display, almost resembling the free summertime performance of a play in a neighborhood city park, even though it represented immoral and illegal practices America has used many times, perhaps with variations, such as more killing, here or there – in Ukraine, in Cuba, in Chile, in Guatemala, in Iran, in Nicaragua, and in other places. Maybe it is just a reflection of the incompetence of those in charge today that we saw the failed efforts so plainly, but that is just the kind of thing immense and unwarranted arrogance produces, a bizarre belief that if you say something should happen, it must happen.

The center of the American empire is in an unprecedented tangle of downright criminal behavior and fears, on all sides, and represents the greatest possible danger both to the world’s peace and its economic stability. I do not see how it all can end well, even if this or that particular crisis is diffused.

It really does remind one of tales of the last days of Rome, but if you find that an excessive comparison, there’s no escaping the fact that what we are seeing is the close-to-absolute corruption that accompanies close-to-absolute power.

 

Posted May 25, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON A COMMENT CALLING AMERICAN POLITICIANS OMAR AND TLAIB “WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING” – YOU CANNOT EXPECT COMPLETE HONESTY FROM ANY U.S. POLITICIAN – AFTER ALL WE ARE SPEAKING ABOUT THE CAPITAL OF AN EMPIRE, NOT 1960s SWEDEN – THE REALITIES OF LIBERALISM IN AMERICA   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ITEM IN MOON OF ALABAMA

 

“There are freshmen from Michigan and Maryland in Congress who recently made some news with comments about the Zionist lobby. Some anti-imperialists and progressives lauded them for their efforts and defended them against attacks. But these are wolfs in sheep clothing.

“Rep. Ilhan Omar: ‘The people of Syria revolted against Assad’s repressive dictatorship 8 years ago today, demanding a more just and free government. Peace loving people around the world stand in solidarity with them in this struggle!’

“Rashida Tlaib: ‘The anniversary of the uprising against the oppression in Syria was yesterday. We must recognize the struggle of those who organized and stood up against injustice. It is my hope that we can see a Syria that is truly free one day.’”

 

I like Ilhan Omar for speaking out on Palestine, just as I like Tulsi Gabbard’s efforts to understand the ugly war in Syria. I admire them both for public courage.

But, please, this is America we are talking about.

To expect anyone in American politics to come along with completely fresh and informed and honest views is just dreaming.

Just as with Bernie Sanders’ so-called socialism or, indeed, anything at all about Sanders.

He’s a distinguished-looking bag of hot air.

He showed everyone what he was made of in his confrontation with the woman who plainly stole the nomination from him, Hillary Clinton.

He’s never been a strong voice against global empire, against the secret terror of the CIA, against the vast intrusions of the NSA, or against the monstrous waste and mass killing of the Pentagon.

And then we have that thoroughbred phony, Elizabeth Warren, making precious little noises all the time about progressive matters while voting for hateful defense and security budgets and never opposing all those wars and offering us in speeches smatterings of the establishment’s poison about Iran.

I’ve said it many times. There are no liberals, genuine liberals, in the United States, at least not in any positions of authority or influence. Not one in the national government. Not one in charge of a major news source. None guiding the nation’s great institutions and foundations and education establishments.

America is about empire and the wars required to sustain it, and that is pretty much it. The rest is elaborate window dressing, theater, playacting. Empires do not get built and maintained and expanded by nice guys, and the resources constantly pouring into empire leave no room for great human or humane efforts.

Another thing I’ve said many times is that you can have either an empire or a decent country, but you cannot have both. America made its choice, long ago.

The entire atmosphere of the place, the education system, the press, the churches, the politics – all immersed and saturated in war and the drive for empire with little room for other values. It can be seen and heard and felt in a thousand details.

What could be more blatantly unfair and anti-democratic than what we see being done to Venezuela today? Yet, where are the American voices against their government’s open use of threats and terror? The politicians? The editors? The great university heads? The church leaders?

Some might claim an excuse over events in Syria because many facts about responsibility for that set of atrocities remained well hidden for a long time. Many facts remain hidden still, despite our learning a good deal here and there.

But here, in the case of Venezuela, we see daily the blunt face of fascism telling people who they should vote for, who should swear himself in as President, who should control the country’s assets, and destroying the national power grid, an act of terror which undoubtedly killed and injured many and destroyed what was in the fridges of literally millions of the most ordinary people.

Why isn’t anyone shouting at the top of their lungs?

All this done by men who say they respect democracy and human rights and expect to be respected in the world as leaders.

You know, Hitler gave one of the great speeches about peace, not long before he started a new war. It was reported by that great journalist and chronicler of Nazi Germany, William Shirer.

And, under the Nazis, Germany had some window dressings of progressivity, various socialistic measures, if you will. It even sometimes held plebiscites.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: REFLECTIONS ON PUTIN AS A LEADER AND ON THE WORLD SITUATION IN WHICH HE WORKS   1 comment

John Chuckman

REFLECTIONS ON PUTIN AS A LEADER AND ON THE WORLD SITUATION IN WHICH HE WORKS

[Note to readers: this long piece really is more an essay than a comment. But I have not gone through the effort I always used to do of submitting it to a list of publications. Instead, I’m just posting it here, and I will post it also on my companion site for political essays. I do think it makes some important and timely observations.]

 

There is an immense amount of criticism of Putin, especially coming from America, most of it empty criticism which ignores realities and genuine analysis. For the more thoughtful, it represents only the stink and noise of propaganda, and not honest criticism in its true sense at all.

In politics, and especially in the direction of a country’s foreign affairs, there are certain behaviors and ideas and attitudes which mark out a person as exceptional. I think there can be no doubt, Putin is just such a person, and I am very much inclined to say, the preeminent one of our time. Frankly, compared with Putin’s skills, Donald Trump comes off as a noisy circus act, a sideshow carnival barker, and not an appealing one. He has an outsized impact in the world only because he represents the most powerful country on earth and has embraced all the prejudices and desires of its power establishment, not because of the skilfulness of his actions or the insight of his mind. Obama made a better public impression, but if you analyze his actions, you see a man of immense and unwarranted ego, a very secretive and unethical man, and a man who held no worthy ideals he promoted. He was superficial in many things. And he was completely compliant to the power establishment, leaving no mark of his own to speak of.

Putin is a man who advocates cooperation among states, who argues against exceptionalism, who wants his country to have peace so that it can grow and advance, a man lacking any frightening or tyrannical ideologies, a man who invariably refers to other countries abroad, even when they are being uncooperative, in respectful terms as “our partners,” a man who knows how to prioritize, as in defense spending, a man with a keen eye for talent who has some other exceptional people assisting him – men of the calibre of Lavrov or Shoygu, a man who supports worthy international organizations like the UN, a man who only reluctantly uses force but uses it effectively when required, a highly restrained man in almost everything he does, a man who loves his country and culture but does not try foisting them off on everyone else as we see almost continuously from American presidents, a man with a keen eye for developing trends and patterns in the world, a man with an eye, too, for the main chance, a man whose decisions are made calmly and in light of a lot of understanding. That’s quite a list.

The differences between recent American leaders, all truly mediocre, and Putin probably has something to do with the two counties’ relative situations over the last few decades. After all, if the support isn’t there for someone like Putin, you won’t get him. Russia’s huge Soviet empire collapsed in humiliation in 1991. The country was put through desperate straits, literally its own great depression with people begging or selling pathetic trinkets on the streets. And America made no real effort to assist. Indeed, quite the opposite, it kicked someone who was down and tried to shake all the loose change from his pockets. Out of Russia’s desperation came a man of remarkable skills, a rather obscure figure, but one who proved extremely popular and was obviously supported by enough powerful and important people to employ his skills for the county’s recovery and advance.

And he showed no weakness or flinching when dealing with some of the extremely wealthy men who in fact became wealthy by strippEVERYWHERE IN RUSSIA IMPORTANT PROJECTS ARE UNDERWAY,ing assets from the dying Soviet Union, men who then also used their wealth to challenge the country’s much-needed new leadership. He was, of course, excoriated in the United States, but to the best of my understanding, he did what was necessary for progress. The results are to be seen in a remarkably revitalized Russia. Everywhere, important projects are underway. New highways, new airports, major new bridges, new rail lines and subways, a new spaceport, new projects and cooperative efforts with a whole list of countries, new efforts in technology and science, and Russia has become the world’s largest exporter of wheat. Putin also has committed Russia to offering the world grain crops free of all GMOs and other contaminants, a very insightful effort to lock-in what have been growing premium markets for such products, even among Americans.

The military, which badly declined after the fall of the USSR, has been receiving new and remarkable weapons, the products of focused research efforts. New high-tech tanks, artillery, ships, and planes. In strategic weapons, Russia now produces several unprecedented ones, a great achievement which was done without spending unholy amounts of money, Russia’s military budget being less than a tenth that of the United States. Putin’s caution and pragmatism dictate that Russia’s first priority is to become as healthy as possibly, so it needs peace, for decades. Few Westerners appreciate the devastating impact of the USSR’s collapse, but even before that, the Soviet empire had its own slow debilitating impact. Russia’s economic system was not efficient and competitive. The effects of that over many years accumulated. The USSR always did maintain the ability to produce big engineering projects such as dams and space flight, but it always was sorely lacking in the small and refined things of life that an efficient economy automatically sees are provided.

The new strategic weapons are an unfortunate necessity, but the United States threatens Russia as perhaps never before with the expansion of NATO membership right to the Russian border, something breaking specific American promises of years back. And it has been running tanks all over Europe and then digging them in them right at the frontier just to make a point. It has deployed multiple-use covered missile launchers not far from the border which may as easily contain offensive intermediate-range ground-to-ground nuclear missiles as the defensive anti-missile missiles claimed to be their purpose. And it has torn up one of the most important nuclear-weapons treaties we had, the INF Treaty, pertaining to intermediate-range missiles. Intermediate-range nuclear missiles based in Europe give the United States the ability to strike Russia with little warning, their ten-minute flight path compares to a roughly thirty-minute flight path for an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) coming from America. These are extremely de-stabilizing, as are the counter-measures Russia felt it must take, Russian intermediate-range nuclear missile aimed at European centers. Everyone eventually recognized that, and that’s why the treaty was successfully completed. Europeans appreciated no longer becoming the immediate battlefield in a nuclear war.

But relations with the United States now have entered a new world, and it is not a brave one. America’s power establishment has assumed new goals and priorities, and in those, Russia is not viewed well, despite its new identity as a nation ready to participate and peacefully compete with everyone, a nation without the kind of extreme ideology communism was, a kind of secular religious faith. Despite its readiness to participate in all Western organizations and forums and discussions, it is viewed with a new hostility by America. It is arbitrarily regarded as an opponent, as an ongoing threat. As I discuss below, America, too, has been in kind of a decline, and the response of its leadership to that fact involves flexing its muscles and extracting concessions and privileges and exerting a new dominance in the world, a response not based in economic competition and diplomatic leadership, a response carrying a great deal of danger.

And, very importantly, its response is one that involves not only bypassing international organizations, but, in many cases, working hard to bend them to its purposes. There are many examples, but America’s treatment of the UN has been foremost. It has in the recent past refused for considerable periods to pay its treaty-obliged dues until it saw changes it unilaterally demanded. It has dropped out of some important agencies completely, most notably UNESCO. In general, it has intimidated an international organization into better accommodating American priorities, including very much imperial ones opposed to what the UN is supposed to be about. And it has used this intimidation and non-cooperativeness to influence the nature of leadership at the UN, the last few Secretaries-General being timid on very important matters and ineffective in general. That’s just the way America likes them to be now. A harsh Neocon like Madeleine Albright won her government-service spurs at the UN by engineering the departure of an unwanted Secretary-General.

Promoting coups is not a new activity for the United States. There is a long postwar record, including Iran’s democratic government in the 1950s, Guatemala’s democratic government in the 1950s, and Chile’s democratic government in 1973. But the recent coup in Ukraine represented something rather new, a very provocative activity right on a major Russian border. It was also against an elected government and in a country which shares with Russia a history and culture going back more than a thousand years to the predecessor state of Kievan Rus. Yes, there are resentments in Ukraine from the Soviet era, and those are what the United States exploited, but the country was democratically governed. In any event, staging a coup in a large bordering country is a very serious provocation. You can just imagine the violent American reaction to one in Mexico or Canada.

The new, post-coup government in Ukraine also made many provocative and plainly untrue statements. The ineffective, and frequently ridiculous, President Poroshenko kept telling Europeans that Russian troops and armor were invading his country. Only his brave army was holding the hordes back. He was literally that silly at times. Of course, none of it was ever true. American spy satellites would quickly detect any Russian movement, and they never did. In an effort to put the wild claims into perspective, treating them with the contempt they deserved, Putin once said that if he wanted to, he could be in Kiev in two weeks. Undoubtedly true, too. Well, the statement was taken completely out of context, treated as a threat by America’s always-faithful-to-the-narrative press. Journalism in the service of government policy – all of it, from the most elevated newspapers and broadcasters to the humblest. And I think that nicely illustrates the absurdity of events in Ukraine and the way they have been used.

The United States paid for the coup in Ukraine. We even know how much money it spent, five billion dollars, thanks to the overheard words of one of America’s most unpleasant former diplomats, Victoria Nuland. The idea was to threaten Russia with the long Ukrainian border being put into genuinely hostile hands. Never mind that the government driven from office with gunfire in the streets from paid thugs was democratically elected. Never mind that many of the groups with which the United States cooperated in this effort were right-wing extremists, a few of them resembling outright Nazis, complete with armbands and symbols and torchlight parades. And never mind that the government America installed was incompetent, not only sending Ukraine’s economy into a tailspin but promptly igniting a completely unnecessary civil war.

The large native, Russian-speaking population (roughly 30% of the country) is completely dominant in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Those two regions partly turned the tables by seceding from Ukraine with its government which early-on worked to suppress historic Russian-language rights and carried on a lot of activities to make those with any Russian associations feel very unwelcome. It’s a deliberately provocative environment, and, as we all know from our press, not a day goes by in Washington without anti-Russian rhetoric and unsupported charges. While Washington greatly failed in this effort, it nevertheless succeeded in generating instability and hostility along a major Russian border. It also gained talking points with which to pressure NATO into some new arrangements.

In the case of Crimea, it is important to remember that it has been Russian since the time of Catherine the Great. It only was in recent history that Crimea became part of Ukraine, and that happened with the stroke of a pen, an administrative adjustment during the days of the USSR, the very USSR the people now running Ukraine so despise, rejecting almost everything ever done, except for the administrative transfer of Crimea apparently. Just one of those little ironies of history. The people who live in Crimea speak Russian, and they did not welcome the new Ukrainian government’s heavy-handed, nationalist, anti-Russian drive around Ukrainian language and culture, necessarily a narrow, claustrophobic effort since the late USSR was a multi-national and multi-lingual state, and given Crimea’s much longer-term history as part of Russia. Even during Crimea’s recent past as part of Ukraine, Russia continued to maintain, under lease, its major naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea, so the connections with Russia have been continuous.

In virtually every newspaper story you read and in places like Wikipedia on the Internet, you will see the word “annexation” used to describe Crimea’s relationship with Russia. It simply is not an accurate description, but its constant use is a very good measure of America’s ability to saturate media with its desired version of events. The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from an unfriendly new Ukraine, and they voted to petition Russia’s admitting them as part of the country. How can you call the results of free and open votes annexation? Well, only the same way you can tell the twice-elected President of Venezuela that he is not President and that another man, who did not even run in the election and administered the oath of office to himself, is the President. This is the kind of Alice-in-Wonderland stuff that comes as part of America’s new drive for dominance. It simply paints the roses red. What is claimed to have happened in Crimea provides the only support for charges of Russian aggression, the laying on of all kinds of sanctions, and running around all over Europe tearing up road surfaces with tanks. This is the atmosphere within which Putin must work, trying to maintain as many sound relationships with Europe as he can, and he actually has been quite successful. A number of prominent European politicians, especially retired ones who aren’t under the immediate pressures of politics and relations with America, have voiced support for Russia. Some have even visited Crimea by invitation and toured. And Russia’s major new gas pipeline into Europe, Nord Stream 2, proceeds despite constant American pressure against it. It is at this writing 70% complete. The Europeans cannot just abandon their long-term ally, the United States, even though I’m sure they understand the illusions and false claims of the current situation. The United States also retains considerable capacity to hurt Europe financially, so they rush into nothing, but I believe there can be no doubt that American words and actions have significantly weakened old and important relationships. No one likes being lied to, and they like even less having to pretend lies are truth.

Putin has been more cautious in the case of the secession of another Russian-speaking portion of Ukraine, an even larger one in population and in economic importance, the Eastern portion called Donbass. The people there declared two republics, Donetsk and Luhansk, and they petitioned to be admitted as part of Russia. But Russia does not officially recognize them although it has sent large volumes of aid as they were besieged by the new Ukrainian government. The government of Ukraine started a small civil war in the region. Russia supports the Minsk Accords, which it helped to write, accords to reunite the region with Ukraine but which require Ukraine to grant it a degree of constitutional autonomy to the region. This is a reasonable approach to ending the conflict, but it is not easy to implement. It is not something looked favorably upon by Ukraine’s right-wing extremists who push the government hard, having even threatened it at times. The entire business has been mired in difficulties from the start. Ukraine displayed remarkable military incompetence in this civil war against a much smaller opponent. It tried to increase the size of its forces with conscription in the West of Ukraine, but the number of no-shows and run-aways grew embarrassingly large. And, of course, none of this even needed to happen had the new government’s policies been sensible and fair in the first place. But you got no pressure from the United States over fairness. It is merely content to have caused a lot of difficulties on Russia’s border. And there is the matter of the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines’ Flight MH-17, which my study of the circumstances suggests unequivocally was an act by Ukraine, whether accidental or deliberate. The United States has pushed hard to have this blamed on Russia, so as to not discredit its installed Ukrainian government, but the facts, as we know them, simply do not support that conclusion. The United States has shamefully pressured a NATO member, Holland, not even a central party to the event, to conduct a long and tortoise-paced investigation of the crash. It has ignored key evidence, and all of its interim conclusions can readily be seen as couched in the kind of suggestive but inexact language criminal lawyers advise their clients to use in court. What we see in Ukraine, is government incompetence, almost uniformly in all its activities, and again there is no concern expressed by the United States about all the difficulties – economic, military, and social – its efforts have caused for the Ukrainian people.

Putin’s adroit handling of the coup in Ukraine, frustrating many of America’s aims without getting Russia involved in conflict, determined Washington to further stoke-up anti-Russian feeling in Europe. You must always remember that NATO does represent a vehicle for the peaceful American occupation of Europe, Europe being an important economic competitor and potentially a major world power. The obsolescence of the original arguments for NATO – the threat of the USSR and the massive Red Army, now both long passed into history – had the potential to see America eventually lose its occupying perch in Europe.

Russian-threat hype added force to recent efforts over the last decade and a half to have inconsequential new states admitted to NATO, some of them having the attraction of borders with Russia and lots of simmering old anti-Soviet hostilities. Certainly, countries like Estonia or Latvia bring neither military nor economic strength to the organization. Other small states, such as Slovenia or Slovakia or Montenegro just fill holes in the map of Europe, so NATO is a contiguous mass. The small states are in fact potentially a serious drag. But for America, they were attractive new members because they are so grateful about being asked “to play with the big boys.” Their votes as part of the organization effectively dilute the influence of the larger, older states, such as France or Germany, who sometimes disagree with the United States, and some of whom have been developing new relationships with modern Russia. The entire series of American activities in Europe after the disappearance of the USSR represents absolutely nothing constructive, indeed, quite the opposite.

As I mentioned, America, too, has been in a kind of decline, but absolutely nothing resembling what Russia experienced. America’s establishment has come to realize that over the last couple of decades it is in a relative decline. It went from producing, after WWII, about forty percent of what the world used to twenty-something percent, and all signs point to the trend continuing. America was waking-up from an extended fantasy – a period when fluffy notions like “the American Dream” were embraced as real, a period explained by the simple fact that after the war all of America’s serious competitors had been flattened. America was waking to a time when those competitors were coming back and a time when fierce new competitors were rising. The “Dream” part of the advertising slogan, “the American Dream,” became all too apparent.

During that period of unique prosperity and power following WWII, a good deal of America’s leadership became what people who have been given too much often tend to become, spoiled and corrupt, unable to make good decisions in many cases, indulging in god-like notions of the planet being run for their benefit, and always, steadily leaving behind their own people’s welfare for imperial concerns abroad. The entire ethic of the New Deal period evaporated, and by the 1990s, a Democratic President like Clinton could actually make a speech bragging about “ending welfare as we know it.”

The people who really run the country, its power establishment, fixed on a new strategy to address uncomfortable realities. That strategy involves using America’s still great military and financial power to dominate international affairs in a more obvious and palpable way than ever. Dominance became an openly-discussed theme, as it rarely was before, in the hope, over time, of squeezing concessions and advantages from others to regain or at least hold on to its global position. This is an openly aggressive posture that has been assumed. No more pretence of being a nice guy. And it was actively promoted by a new political faction in Washington, the Neocons, a group who share certain interests and see America’s use of power as serving those interests. They have been open advocates of using military force to get things you want, and they hold many important and influential posts. Perhaps their greatest common interest is the welfare of Israel, and they see an America perceived as aggressive best serving Israel’s security.

It is important to note that while Russia maintains excellent relations with Israel – Putin has been visited often by Israel’s Prime Minister – nevertheless, by virtue of its sheer size and geographical location and military power, Russia is seen as a barrier to America’s more unrestrained use of power. “Russia” is almost a dirty word for many of America’s Neocon faction and for many Israelis. Russia’s recent decisive assistance to Syria in fighting gangs of terrorists introduced and supported from outside was viewed about as negatively as is possible. That is war Israel wanted President Assad to lose, and it secretly gave a great deal of assistance to the terrorists. It was hoping to secure a permanent hold on the Golan, grab even another slice of Syria as a buffer for its illegal residents in Golan, all while seeing one of the region’s leaders it most dislikes eliminated. It worked closely in the effort with Saudi Arabia’s murderous Crown Prince, and America oversaw and encouraged all aspects of a dirty war to topple a legitimate government which has remained fairly popular with its people despite years of agonizing conflict and endless dishonest American claims about such matters as chemical weapons. Assad is seen as a defender of the rights of Syria’s diverse religious groups, including its many Christians.

So, there is a built-in powerful negative towards Russia in Washington power circles for which there is no clear possible remedy or correction, and, indeed, no matter how reasonably Putin behaves, his country faces this opposition. For some American politicians, and very notably Hillary Clinton, this has proved a handy tool, Clinton long having been a close-to fanatical supporter of Israeli interests. The fact has earned her a great deal of campaign funding and other support over the years. Clinton’s ego also just could not take the fact that she lost the election to the leader of “the deplorables,” as she once called Trump’s supporters, so in dark claims of Russian interference, supported by absolutely no proof whatsoever, she protects her ego. And long before election day, Clinton had a hand in exploiting attitudes about Russia in another way. She is known to have paid, at least in part, for the fraudulent Steele Dossier commissioned from an ex-British spy. It was used to try to discredit Trump over Russian connections.

This dislike for Russia by the Neocons and other boosters of resurgent American power really is what is at the heart of America’s current Russophobia obsession, not any threatening actions by Russia. It becomes a kind of vicious circle with new accusations piled on all the time by various actors each with their own motives, and it is clearly quite dangerous.

So, these are the positions of the two countries today, Russia having risen quite impressively from the depths under a remarkably able leader, extremely popular and well-supported by powerful elements of its society, versus America, now in a much different kind of decline than what Russia experienced, led by an establishment group with rather less-than-honorable intentions and with a political system virtually designed to produce no real leaders who might interfere with establishment plans.

Putin is further supported from the outside by the rising colossus of China, one of the great miracle stories of our time. In the past, the two countries have not always been friends, and America, in the time of Nixon, actually worked at playing one off against the other. But that is no more. The American establishment’s intentions for China are too clear. It is virtually reneging on many old promises such as those around Taiwan being an integral part of China, it is treating China as an unwanted competitor, accusing it of every nefarious activity you can think of to impede its economic progress and demanding trade concessions as though China had been an unfair competitor rather than just a new, more successful one. America is now attacking in every way possible – from questioning motives and methods to trying to generate opposition by participants – China’s unprecedented and magnificent global enterprise, the Silk Road Project, a project dwarfing the great canals of the past and destined to bring new prosperity to all participants through trade. It hardly represents a positive attitude to oppose and impede it.

Putin is exactly the kind of man to quickly recognize and embrace a project like that. Russia is also rushing to help China greatly increase its supply of natural gas from Siberia’s immense reserves in order to decrease its dependence on coal. The first great new pipeline is almost finished.

So, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, both highly intelligent leaders, have a great many weighty common interests in working together as never before. America’s new policies have been a driving force in bringing them together, and there is no reason to expect any diminishment of that force. Recent American international behavior requires others to accept what Putin likes to call America’s “exceptionalism,” its position first and above all other nations, its self-granted privilege of not having to play by the same rules as everyone else – its status of “the indispensable nation” as one of America’s more arrogant diplomats put it not very long ago – and it requires that from two major, proud, and ancient societies which cannot possibly grant it.

America’s dependence on its gigantic military and security establishment represents a serious long-term weakness in many ways, even though it provides the very foundation of the American establishment’s new strategy for dominance. Empires, after all, while benefiting the privileged segments of a society, are a drag on most of its citizens, depriving them of many benefits, including the simple, important benefit of good and caring national government. America spends more than ten times as much as Russia on its military. China, compared to not many years ago, has increased its military spending greatly, but for a country with such a huge economy, second only to the United States and likely to overtake it before long, it still spends less than a quarter of what the United States does. And America does not even have the money to pay for its atrociously large military. It borrows the money, and who do you think pays the stream of interest payments for those massive borrowings? You’d be right if you said all of its ordinary, tax-paying citizens without privileges. They also are “on the hook” for the ultimate negative economic consequences of all this debt and borrowing.

Of course, from a world perspective, America’s military represents an ongoing threat to peace and security, much the opposite of what is claimed for it inside the United States. Great standing armies have always represented threats, and here is the greatest standing army in history. Many historical analyses hold them largely responsible for such terrible conflicts as WWI (a war whose outcome made WWII inevitable also). When such power is at hand, the temptation to use it is constant, and its very presence distorts all attitudes and decisions. Many of America’s own Founders understood that, but it has been forgotten by the contemporary American establishment in its relentless pursuit of empire and influence.

Security expenses are hard to compare, so much is secretive, but the United States with its 17 separate national security agencies and such a vast enterprise as the NSA’s new archipelago of facilities stuffed with hi-tech gear and supercomputers which spy on and record every American plus others would put any other country out of the competition. Again, the demands of the American establishment utterly compromise the interests of the country’s own citizens at large. Indeed, now in security matters, ordinary Americans have been pretty much reduced to a herd, each with an identifying tag stapled to his ear.

Russia’s democracy may be quite imperfect, but America’s – what it had of one, it never from the beginning identified itself actually as a democracy – has been transformed into plutocracy with an elaborate window-dressing simulation of democracy, an arrangement in which the state’s resources are committed to its privileged class and the advance of empire. And, as I’ve written many times, you can have a decent country or you can have an empire, but you cannot have both.

 

RELATED PIECES WHICH MAY INTEREST READERS:

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/vladimir-putin-the-worlds-last-true-statesman/

 

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/john-chuckman-comment-how-american-politics-really-work-why-there-are-terrible-candidates-and-constant-wars-and-peoples-problems-are-ignored-why-heroes-like-julian-assange-are-persecuted-and-r/

 

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https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/john-chuckman-comment-some-fundamentals-about-the-american-empire-and-the-new-fervent-servant-it-has-in-trump-a-word-on-trumps-game-with-his-supporters/

 

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https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/how-america-screws-up-the-world-without-ever-letting-its-people-know-what-is-happening/

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/the-conquest-of-europe/

 

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A WASHINGTON SPECIAL PROSECUTOR’S APPOINTMENT, THE POSSIBILITY OF IMPEACHMENT, AND WHAT DRIVES THE WHOLE TRULY LUNATIC SPECTACLE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT WRITTEN IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Special prosecutor Robert Mueller ‘will take Donald Trump from frying pan to fire’ over Russia investigation”

 

Then there’ll be a mighty thin meal because there is no meat here. Not a scrap. None.

Fire, hot pans, shouting, cooks sweating in a hot kitchen and absolutely nothing to prepare. That is the ridiculous spectacle we see right now in Washington.

Not everyone understands that impeachment is, in fact, a trial – a long, complicated trial involving some of the nation’s finest legal minds at work.

I know the United States does many questionable and even brutally- stupid things, but I do think bringing someone important to a trial, a guaranteed international spectacle, with absolutely no evidence of any kind, just a lot of shouting and accusations, is not one of them. It is a guaranteed formula for failure. Does any thinking person, not a rabid partisan, believe the United States or the world deserve that?

It cannot happen because even the guys doing all the shouting know that they have nothing in the prosecutor’s brief. However, the efforts and noise and groundless accusations can paralyze the government, blunt its efforts at any reasonable policy (such as, establishing a peaceful relationship with Russia). Of course, there are many other important matters, like the health of the entire Western economy, that the effort can also damage. An executive branch paralyzed by continuous and complete nonsense is dangerous for us all.

The politicians know they only have the accusations of angry partisans like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi plus the questionable assertions of Mr. Comey, an old Democratic Hillary partisan and a man who proved himself inept while in office if we are to believe that very same group of accusers – Hillary, Schumer, Pelosi, etc – by their own words of just months ago, all easily still found on the Internet.

Of course, the real danger here is the massive effort to undo a properly-conducted election. A great deal of that effort is coming from the security services, especially the CIA, including some former members of that dark organization.

They don’t like Trump because he, early on, disparaged their importance (as many of us feel is more than fitting) and they have willing helpers in the arrogant walking wounded of the Democratic Party who just cannot believe both that they lost the election and that they had an insider (almost certainly the late Seth Rich) leak the official secrets of their corrupt internal workings. Better to blame the Russians on all counts, and blaming the Russians does also help feed the new Cold War fires now raging in Washington, fires set alight by that smiling psychopath, Obama, with his destructive drives and policies in Europe.

After all, isn’t that the kind of thing the CIA does abroad, often work to unseat legitimate governments? It did so in Ukraine. It did so in Libya. It did so in Egypt. It is working at doing so in Syria. And it did so in many other places. Well, now, the ugly activity has come home to roost, the ultimate form of what security agencies call “blowback.”

America is in the process of tearing apart what very little legitimacy it has left as a democratic state, and millions stand around and cheer because they have been hyped day-and-night by our pathetic corporate media who never work to explain what really is happening anywhere, only passing on the re-written press releases of officialdom.

If you want an accurate perspective on the matter, we have Stephen F. Cohen, distinguished Princeton professor and a genuine expert on Russian affairs, someone who many times in past years was consulted by the American government itself, saying this:

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/stephen-f-cohen-assault-trump-presidency-greatest-threat-us-national-security-today/ri19860

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ANTI-TRUMP PROPAGANDA FROM JONATHAN FREEDLAND – THIS TIME TELLING AMERICA THAT THE ELECTION IS NOT JUST ABOUT THEM – INDEED IT IS NOT, BUT WHAT FREEDLAND REALLY IS SAYING IS SOMETHING FAR DIFFERENT: ON REFUGEES WALLS AND WARS   1 comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A VIDEO ARTICLE BY JONATAN FREEDLAND IN THE GUARDIAN

 

More propaganda from Jonathan Freedland – there really is no other word to adequately describe this verbal output short of an unfortunate bout of severe verbal diarrhea.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, Trump has said or advocated is not being done already in other places.

Immigrants? Look to your own Prime Minister for inspiration. He plainly just does not want them. Then look to Israel which takes only one kind of immigrant and no other. Walls? Israel has them going up in a number of places, and various states of Europe are building strong fences.

And speaking of immigrants, we have a flood of refugees today which is why fences are going up in Europe.

Why is that? Because America, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia five years ago make a decision they had no right to make: to seek to destroy the government of Syria and hurtle that beautiful, historic land into chaos, sending millions running for their lives.

There is no other explanation for the horrors we see than geopolitics over humanity and human rights and, yes, even democracy, because Assad has popular support in Syria and is a defender of religious rights.

And America, in consultation with Israel, has made what can only be termed Hitlerian decisions more than once, destroying a well-run society in Libya and utterly devastating Iraq.

And poor Egypt, finally free of a hideous dictatorship after thirty years, was quickly turned around, its young democracy destroyed, and is back saddled with dictatorship. Why? Bottom line is that Israel detested the democratic government of Egypt.

All of this was to create a cordon sanitaire for Israel and to eliminate rulers who looked to their own countries’ interests rather than toe the line of America’s authoritarian policies.

And what can we say of the country for whose benefit so much of this horror was launched? It builds walls everywhere, and on other people’s land. It destroys houses that have stood for centuries. It regularly just helps itself to parcels of other people’s land. It holds thousands as prisoners. It holds five million or so effectively in bondage with no rights, no votes, and no future.

This is what Mr Freedland effectively is defending.

It is simply a fact that Israel’s government intensely dislikes Donald Trump because it sees him as an independent decision-maker, and it is simply a fact that apologists for Israel now all work hard to bad mouth Trump. You can see it in American publications and in British publications like The Guardian, ranging from subtle to vitriolic attacks.

I actually dislike being put in the position of being a defender for Trump because he does not represent most of my views, but I do believe he could bring a desperately-needed fresh approach to foreign affairs. Sometimes it takes a bastard to get a vital job done.

As for Hillary, she is nothing less than a blood-soaked goddess of war, and Ted Cruz is a dishonest, insincere, and intensely unlikable man who frequently sounds like a salesman for Israel Bonds. You want more stupid war and destruction and refugees, you vote for either of them.

Trump may well prove an important agent of change, ushering the world into a new, more promising era, but of course the unspoken agenda for so many attacking him is that they like things just as they are. It is very much at least worth a try.