Archive for the ‘JOHN CHUCKMAN’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN INHUMANITY ON HARSH DISPLAY – SANCTIONS ON VENEZUELA AND IRAN IN THE MIDST OF A FRIGHTENING PANDEMIC – MEMORIES OF MADELEINE ALBRIGHT AND THE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DEAD KIDS IN IRAQ – AMERICA’S MEDAL OF FREEDOM AND ORWELL’S PARTY SLOGANS IN 1984   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ALBA CIUDAD IN ANTI-EMPIRE

 

“Maduro Says It Costs Venezuela Triple to Buy Virus Test Kits Due to US Sanctions

“Calls on Washington to drop sanction so they can go and buy what’s needed”

 

Nothing better reveals America’s worst character than its behavior towards Iran and Venezuela at a time of great hardship.

It indeed does bring back thoughts of dear old Madeleine Albright, a genuinely hateful creature, speaking callously about the tens of thousands of dead children in Iraq.

By the way, she received the Medal of Freedom just like Joe Biden, who perhaps got it for his advocacy of America’s industrial-scale extrajudicial killing operation or perhaps his glorious work in Ukraine or his enthusiastic support for invading Iraq and killing a million people.

If ever there were something totally misnamed, it is the Medal of Freedom.

The name quite literally has the character of one of Orwell’s Party slogans in “1984.”

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE INORDINATE INFLUENCE OF “THE ISRAEL LOBBY” WITH WESTERN GOVERNMENTS RESULTS FROM THE INTERACTION OF TWO CIRCUMSTANCES – WESTERN GOVERNMENTS, ESPECIALLY THE UNITED STATES, HAVE PUT MONEY AT THE VERY HEART OF NATIONAL POLITICS AND JEWISH CITIZENS ENJOY AN ABOVE-AVERAGE RATE OF SUCCESS IN BUSINESS AND THE PROFESSIONS OWING TO NATURAL TALENT AND HARD WORK – EFFECTIVE CONSTANT ISRAELI MEDDLING IN WESTERN POLITICS JUST FALLS OUT OF THOSE CONDITIONS – IT REQUIRES THE ATTENTION OF LEGISLATORS TO CORRECT BECAUSE IT HAS RESULTED IN DANGEROUS AND UNFAIR SITUATIONS RANGING FROM THE BLOODY NEOCON WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE COMPROMISE OF ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS AT HOME AND ABROAD   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP GIRALDI IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“It poisons everything it touches”

 

“A recent article by Philip Weiss on the Mondoweiss website… details how the vast sums of money raised by both Democratic and Republican Jews has distorted American politics since the time of President Harry S. Truman. He describes how president after president has backed down versus Israel when confronted by Jewish power and observes that ‘This is not just a domestic political question, it’s a foreign policy problem.’”

 

In any discussion of the influence of money in politics, it is important to remember that we have no democracies in the Western world, despite constant references to them. We have nothing even seriously approaching democracy anywhere in the West. Of course, the very word “democracy” implies certain kinds of equality among citizens, something we simply do not see.

We have governments wrapped in various representative democratic theatrical costumes, from parliamentary to congressional, all of which, in fact, are highly responsive to wealth and plutocratic interests, both corporate and personal. Those with more money have more influence in all our societies, always, except in times of extraordinary stress, as during revolutions.

I hardly think the case even needs to be made that wealthy corporations and individuals are especially well served by Western governments.

Their favorable treatment stems both from a belief that it is good for the country’s economy and its international competitiveness, but also from the certainty that it is good for the campaign war chests of the political parties and individual politicians involved.

This is very apparent in the United States where the Congress has often been sarcastically described as “the best that money can buy” and where the Supreme Court has ruled that “money is free speech” when it comes to politics.

Now, it seems also unnecessary to argue the fact of Jewish success in our economies. The number of successful businessmen, large and small, and professionals, of every description, is quite remarkable, their numbers well out of proportion to the numbers of Jewish people versus other groups. A source of pride and achievement, surely.

I believe that easily observable fact is explained by higher-than-average native intelligence plus a group cultural dedication to education and willingness to work hard with strong natural drives for success. All fine qualities.

So, in societies where politics are heavily influenced by money – and I really cannot think of any where that is not the case – why would it be a surprise, or in any way controversial, to say that Jewish people, out of proportion to their number, are influential?

It would seem to me to follow just as sunset follows sunrise.

After all, is anyone in any way surprised, or insulted, by the obvious fact that people of no means have no influence, none at all, their only political role being fleetingly to be appealed to for a vote every few years, and that appeal generally not even in person but by means of advertising?

And please note, even the advertising needed to do that, with all its ancillary research and marketing functions, costs serious money on a national scale.

In large countries, just sheer brief access to people holding high office is mainly determined by influence and wealth, and given the political system that we have, I don’t see how it could be otherwise. It is a form of social/political triage.

The fact shouldn’t be a point of envy or hatred either, because it is meaningless to have such feelings about natural outcomes of a given set of circumstances.

However, the unique reality of Israel, an organized state which claims to represent only one group of people, Jewish people, and employs many avenues of influence, does considerably alter the naturally occurring political situation.

It is a state with all the tools of intrusive intelligence services and with immense diplomatic privileges and access. It is also very heavily armed, giving it weight in international affairs it would not possess otherwise. And it tends to be supported, naturally enough, by most Jewish citizens in any country.

Having all the powers of an organized state behind one group of citizens in many different countries considerably distorts things, both realities and perceptions. It also becomes a source of common distress and frustration when that state is seen to be so patently unfair to millions of non-Jews who fall under its rule, as is very much the case for Israel.

To be fair and to be perceived as fair, Israel would actually have to go out of its way, maintaining a strictly hands-off, proper diplomatic behavior, to avoid trying to influence affairs in other countries, but we can all see that it does not do that.

It literally does the opposite frequently, actively trying to influence what laws and policies are adopted, as well as sometimes entering directly into partisan political matters, as it has done both in the United States and in Britain.

Just a few notable examples include efforts to see legislation equating criticism of the state of Israel with the prejudice of anti-Semitism, something that is patently unfair and untrue. We also see heavy efforts for legislation to curtail the rights of citizens to protest the state of Israel’s behavior with peaceful boycotts, activity that was key to ending apartheid in South Africa decades ago.

And we see various direct meddling by Israeli officials in politics abroad, as recently by Israel’s Prime Minister libelling the leader of Britain’s Labour Party. He was joined by some other Israeli officials, too.  And Israel directly interferes in foreign policy at times, as in the recent launching of all-out American economic war with serious military threats against Iran, a country which has broken no laws and started no wars.

Indeed, the source of many accusations around “anti-Semitism” isn’t actual prejudice – although that is often blurred by lobbyists and special-interest leaders. It is the natural human emotional disturbance millions feel over the glaring injustice of a national state and its efforts to evade all responsibility for that injustice.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BIO-WEAPONS – EXPLORING A BIT OF THEIR HISTORY – PROBLEMS USING THEM – THE NATURE OF WAR AND THE PEOPLE WHO WAGE IT – HATRED MAKES PEOPLE IRRATIONAL AND WE HEAR A LOT OF PRETTY INTENSE HATRED THESE DAYS COMING FROM THE UNITED STATES   2 comments

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY THE SAKER IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“Looking at the Military Aspects of Biological Warfare”

 

Not the clearest article, but an important fact stands out for me: bio-weapons are rather unpredictable. Just shifts in the wind, for example, can represent a problem.

Were they more predictable, I think it likely the US would have used them a good deal in all its colonial wars since the end of WW II. Other states, too. Britain, the Soviet Union, and still others are known to have worked with such weapons.

Fear of attribution in such dark matters might play a role in prevention. But it sure didn’t in the use of napalm or white phosphorus or cluster bombs or Agent Orange or fire-bombing or nuclear weapons – all of which have been openly used with no apologies. The Pentagon has embraced landmines too.

The US certainly has developed and kept bio-weapons in the recent past. Remember the anthrax attack and scare of 2001? That was military-grade anthrax.

It is claimed that the US did use some kind of bio-weapon in North Korea and perhaps in the adjoining area of China during the Korean War. I’ve seen references to that several times in the past.

I don’t know, but the US was certainly utterly ruthless in that war. Three years of carpet-bombing killed one-fifth of the country’s entire population, and that’s a number from a Pentagon source.

Of course, that hellish experience has a lot to do with North Korea’s sacrificing a great deal to develop nuclear weapons and its not wanting to give them up.

The US Cavalry is said by some sources to have used small-pox laden blankets, given as gifts, in its Indian Wars of the 19th century. I don’t know whether that is proved, but the Cavalry did many other ruthless acts, including the wiping out of entire villages.

I tend to be a stickler for proof, so when I read an article like Philip Giraldi’s recent one on who made coronavirus, I am very interested but take no position. That was a superb article, by the way.

When it comes to matters of war, I think we always have to keep in mind that wars and the people who run them are not rational. So, the use of bio-weapons may not be precluded by rational considerations about their predictability and spread.

Not only are a fair number of psychopaths (eg, Curtis LeMay) and extreme narcissists (eg, Douglas MacArthur) involved in the military, but just hate itself is a form of temporary insanity.

Giraldi gave the excellent example of the Stuxnet computer virus, a very dangerous weapon believed developed by the US and Israel. It was used against Iran, and it leaked out to other places, creating some serious hazards (There has been considerable speculation that the escaped Stuxnet virus contributed to the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power station). Clearly, the warlords hating Iran didn’t care.

It is an odd coincidence that a group of American military had visited the region of China where coronavirus broke out, and you certainly can understand some Chinese being very suspicious about it.

Some pretty vicious hatreds pour out of the US anymore towards China and Russia and Iran.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THINK TANKS RIGHTLY CALLED “FRONTS” BY A WRITER – A WORD MUCH USED IN THE COLD WAR FOR INSTITUTIONS THE FBI THOUGHT COVERTLY SPONSORED BY THE SOVIETS FITS WELL THESE AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS SPONSORED BY AMERICAN WEALTH – WHAT THEY DO – THE HUGE ELECTROMAGNETIC CLOUD OF ADVERTISING AND PROPAGANDA IN WHICH WE ARE IMMERSED   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP GIRALDI IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“Old Ideas in New Bottles

“A new front group preaches restraint while embracing interventionism” [Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft]

 

It is interesting that Philip Giraldi calls American think tanks “fronts.”

That was a term much used during the Cold War for various organizations around the world regarded by the FBI or CIA as covertly sponsored by the Soviet Union.

It works well for American think tanks, which I’ve traditionally referred to as “propaganda mills.”

Of course, that is really the job of any of them, getting out propaganda and disinformation under the guise of disinterested analysis by experts.

The experts are often given high-blown academic-sounding titles, as Senior Fellow, and an effort is made to keep the tone and appearance of an academic campus.

But the papers, books, films, and speeches of any of them are anything but disinterested. They always have a bias, with each of the many such organizations specializing in a subject or range of subjects of concern to its chief wealthy sponsor or sponsors.

I don’t understand the gullibility of Americans on the matter of think tanks.  Many seem to believe that extremely wealthy people are supporting genuinely neutral analysis just for the public good. Commercial news sources – as television and radio stations and others – frequently cite think-tank output as though it offered facts. Of course, the various news media are getting free “filler” for their programs while effectively serving as megaphones for the institutions. Their citations also tend to reinforce the authority of think tanks.

Seems a naïve belief, but this is America we are talking about, the land of P. T. Barnum, Madison Avenue, and Wall Street. Why would anyone believe that extremely wealthy individuals and organizations would fork over millions of dollars a year just to advance human knowledge? Even when wealthy people do pay for a genuine academic facility or library, they want it named after themselves.

And a really ugly truth in America is that many “real” universities now are much engaged in the same business, either through an institute of some kind or more generally with the many rules and restrictions put on publication of controversial matters.  The practices exist because they are profitable and to avoid offending some donor or donors.

America, where people are, for their entire lifetimes, submerged in a kind of electromagnetic cloud of advertising and propaganda of all descriptions. From selling Twinkies and military recruitment to hamburgers and candidates for office. Americans, who believed well after the terrible invasion of Iraq that they just hadn’t yet found where Saddam hid all those “weapons of mass destruction,” or, years after the holocaust of Vietnam, that the communists were still hiding American prisoners of war somewhere for some unknown dark purpose.

So just like the old CIA disinformation man who once spoke of sitting down to his “mighty Wurlitzer,” its keys representing the various cooperating commercial publications, to get “something out there,” think tanks represent another approach to doing the same thing.

The “fake news” controversy in recent years and “fact checking” operations suggest how thickly clouded over things have become, for they themselves are just new kinds of flim-flam intended to misguide or confuse. Everyone of almost any consequence in America is engaged in selling you something. Only the individual, and with considerable effort, can sort his or her way through it all.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE PREVALENCE OF LYING IN AMERICA – A RATHER BOY-SCOUT APPROACH TO IT INSPIRES A RESPONSE – THE COUNTRY RESTS COMFORTABLY IN A VERY THICK WEB OF LIES COVERING ITS CONTEMPT FOR RULE OF LAW AND RUTHLESSNESS – IT NEVER ADMITS THE HORRORS IT INFLICTS ON OTHERS – DETAILS OF RECENT UGLY WORK IN UKRAINE AND VENEZUELA AND IRAN – BUT THE CLAIM IS ALWAYS MADE TO BE WORKING FOR HIGH PRINCIPLES – WHY IT CANNOT BE OTHERWISE – THE VALUES YOU CULTIVATE WITH PLUTOCRACY, MILITARISM, AND EMPIRE   2 comments

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY LAWRENCE DAVIDSON IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

“The Cultural Problem of Cheating & Lying”

“This is not just a lesson for parents, schools, the courts, and the marketplace. It is also a necessary lesson for our politics. But we have not managed to come up with a way to vet our leaders so as to assure their long-term honesty and integrity — a process we have been searching for since the time of Plato. Nonetheless, we should try harder…”

 

Yes, indeed, but I do find the piece weak and rather squishy, avoiding as it does the real source of the problem and putting things into philosophical terms of a search for ways to insure truth in American politics and in the wider society. It actually gets quite preachy, but preaching doesn’t change the real political economy of a huge state, and, indeed, I think it effectively offers a kind false hope to hide behind.

A little like the people in America who periodically stand in a crowd on a hillside with their arms outstretched in a kind of supplication, waiting for the Second Coming. They are sincere, to be sure, I have no doubt, but their efforts are utterly pointless since they ignore science and the realities of the human condition.

There are bricks-and-mortar causes for the ailments of American society, and if you refuse to deal with those, you are in a very real sense lying to yourself and just adding to the total volume of American lying.

Given America’s empire and the vast and costly military/security services supporting it, I don’t think there is any option but for leaders to lie, and doing so almost continuously. The emergence of American plutocracy, which is what the empire serves, and money-driven politics at home are at the heart of the problem.

Can America’s leaders in Washington openly admit that they are starving children and depriving the sick of medicine in Iran and Venezuela and were working to do the same in Bolivia and still other places?

Even the ugliest, most powerful government officials or the plutocrats they serve do not happily take public credit for such grim acts. So, lying and cheating just become built into the society at the highest level. Almost everyone, no matter how malevolent their intentions and actions, wants at least a veneer of respectability, credit for worthy motives. Only the genuine psychopaths, of which America has more than a few in powerful positions because they are useful, are likely to want such credit, much like credit for scalps on display.

So, destroying someone else’s elected government invariably is transformed into fighting for democratic values. Venezuela’s unelected Guaido, absurdly swearing himself in as President without ever running for election and financing his activities with American intelligence agency funds as well as American-appropriated Venezuelan national assets, becomes the hope for democracy over the party of twice-elected Maduro and his thrice-elected predecessor, Chavez.

Again, except for the scalphunters, who would want credit for shutting down Venezuela’s electricity grid several times so that millions of poor ordinary people likely lost the food in their fridges? And many life-sustaining machines stopped working?

Such are the realities of empire. And there are just so very many examples, the story of Ukraine being a prominent and tragic one in recent years.

According to the delightful Victoria Nuland, a high State Department official who was overheard at the time, America spent five billion dollars on the coup in Ukraine, doing absolutely nothing for Ukraine’s people, overthrowing an elected government, and indeed wrecking the country in many ways. All done just to threaten the security interests of Russia along a huge border. Needless violence and intimidation, with plenty of killing along the way.

Parts of Ukraine seceded under the unpleasant language and cultural policies of the coup-installed government, and I think it pretty unlikely they will ever return. Thousands died in an unnecessary civil war over the matter. Great numbers of people sought work in other parts of Europe as the Ukrainian economy literally collapsed under a corrupt and incompetent American-installed administration.

Versions of neo-Nazism now openly flourish in Ukraine because the groups’ capacity to intimidate the government is useful in preventing any turning back to rational policies. Such groups, some subsidized by the State Department or American security services, threaten the government into not making reasonable concessions for peace.

Incidentally, Joe Biden, in his then role as presidential proconsul to Ukraine, assisting the coup government in getting things right – “right” meaning the way America wants them – was photographed warmly shaking hands with the commander of one such group, the Azov Battalion, a group whose marches much resemble those of Hitler’s Brownshirts of the 1930s.

The post-coup Ukrainian military demonstrated gross incompetence. Despite its far greater numbers and resources, it had poor leadership and lack of motivation and managed only to kill thousands of civilians in breakaway Eastern Ukraine. Its efforts to draft soldiers in Western Ukraine to send to fight in Eastern Ukraine resulted in embarrassingly high levels of running from the draft.

And all the previous coup government leader, Poroshenko, could talk about was how the Russians were invading and how brave Ukrainian soldiers were preventing Europe from being invaded. Absolutely absurd stuff, but our press and politicians credited it as truth. Somehow, with all such claims, the hi-tech, unarguable evidence of America’s fleets of spy satellites and sophisticated radars just manages to disappear. America would in fact know in a heartbeat if Russia invaded Ukraine, and it would not sit silently watching it happen.

So, we not only have thick clots of lies, we have the government of the United States treating us all as though we were totally ignorant of the realities of around-the-clock surveillance.

Perhaps the most grotesque aspect of Ukraine’s post-coup military operations was the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, either in error or deliberately, an event which launched an industrial-sized cover-up with a shameless investigation which never even bothered to collect all the evidence, pieces of the plane and contents still being easily discovered in the region where it crashed. If you study the case, there are many powerful reasons for believing the Ukrainian military shot down the airliner with fighter planes, but imagine the risk to America’s five-billion-dollar coup investment if the truth had been broadcast right away? So, years of throwing dust in people’s eyes began, and now the matter is almost forgotten. And, again, no American satellite images or radar tracks were ever produced.

We have ugly stunt after ugly stunt – such as the infamous Skripal Affair of two years ago in Britain – done merely to hurt the interests of those America does not like. Truth is impossible, and the lying goes beyond all normal bounds to become a massive network of distortions, all dutifully attested to at the highest levels of government and by the corporate press which of course always serves the government which has so regulatory powers over it.

It was after all, Hitler himself in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf, who propounded the concept of “the Big Lie.” It proved a highly successful idea, and tyrants and seekers-after-power have never stopped employing it since.

That is the very nature of empire, and there is no escaping it. It is impossible to behave the way America does and not lie about it, massively and continuously.

I’ve said it many times, but there’s no shame in repeating such an important truth: you can either have a decent country or you can have an empire, but you cannot have both.

The infrastructure of empire is built on threats, oppression, subversion, coups, dishonesty, and no shortage of violence.

And there is always an underlying assumption that a relatively small number of people in the United States are somehow entitled to tell the other more than 95% of humanity how they are to run their affairs. Are you not implicitly lying about your democratic and human-rights values when you do that? Of course, it isn’t America’s roughly 5% of the world’s people making the claim, it’s a tiny fraction of that, the highly privileged.

There’s no way the establishment politicians in Washington – including the best Congress money can buy – can one day just take a kind of Boy Scout Oath to reform things. Believing that goes beyond naïve to asinine.

Fundamental change is required – including basic matters like a tax structure which supports the creation of plutocracy and the grotesque role of money in politics – but I don’t think Americans are prepared to undertake it, and perhaps they are not even able to do so, given the establishment’s powerful tools of self-defense.

Right now, the Democratic Party is working to shut out Bernie Sanders, and it has already pretty much shut out Tulsi Gabbard, yet neither of those two admirable politicians is even advocating large-scale change. That’s a good measure of how risk-averse America’s establishment is.

The other half of America’s money-controlled political duopoly, the Republican Party, supports a foul-mouthed madman who brags about stealing. Why? Because he vigorously continues the good work of imposing America’s will on the planet, and he actively works to hurt those who are going to become important parts of a very different future, as China and Russia.

Well, I believe sadly that America is stuck right where it is until larger events overtake it and the now-emerging multi-polar world becomes the dominant reality.

MAGA will be seen as a museum relic, like some Shaman’s pathetic talisman, representing futile efforts by America to claw its way back to where it was seventy years ago, pretty much king of the world.

Either that, or it is not impossible at all for genuine widespread and destructive war to emerge from America’s present global hostilities almost everywhere.

After all, what do bullies do when their demands are ignored but start throwing punches or using a weapon?

Posted March 8, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WE KNOW THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT HAS PLOTTED AGAINST BERNIE SANDERS – BUT IT DOES NO GOOD TO RUN A CANDIDATE SUCH AS BIDEN WHO IS LIKELY TO LOSE TO TRUMP – IS THERE A SECRET PLAN CONCERNING A DIVIDED CONVENTION? – THE POSSIBLE ROLE OF THE MOST ADMIRED WOMAN IN AMERICA, MICHELLE OBAMA, WHO IS FAR MORE ELECTABLE THAN BIDEN   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CHECKPOINT ASIA

“If Trump could pick the Democratic Party nominee, he’d pick Biden”

I couldn’t agree more.

Biden is a man who is able to generate no excitement or enthusiasm. He’s a place-filler. And a very temporary-looking one, given both his age and feeble behaviors.

He’s also a man with a rather shabby political record. Everything from his lousy treatment of Anita Hill decades ago in the Senate Judiciary Committee to his advocacy with Obama for extrajudicial killing on an industrial scale by the CIA.

I just can’t imagine how they are going to prevent some aspects of his behavior in Ukraine from surfacing. Ukraine itself might have incentive for providing evidence to ingratiate itself with Trump.

At the very least, and something we know without additional evidence, Biden’s behavior as Obama’s proconsul to the new coup-installed government of Ukraine included effectively taking a large bribe, one in the form of the appointment of his son to a company director’s position.

His son, Hunter, was completely unqualified for the position. He had no industry contacts or influence. It was in an industry about which he knew nothing, and it concerned a country whose language he could not even speak. On top of all that, he had a record as a serious drug addict. He received, for years, an unheard-of salary (for directors of companies) of $50 thousand dollars per month.

Biden also has the same annoying tendency as Hillary Clinton of just suddenly blurting out some claim about his past that’s just complete fiction, as his recent claim about being arrested when trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison decades ago. It resembled Hillary’s proven-false claim about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia.

He has done that kind of thing many times over many years, including a story about being asked to award a Silver Star to a heroic soldier in Afghanistan, an event which never happened. Again, he claimed he always opposed the invasion of Iraq when just the opposite is the case, he is remembered as an enthusiastic supporter, and an early one.

That kind of story-telling isn’t about the forgivable failings old age. It represents an inherent mental or psychological problem, the need to present yourself to others as being at the center of events. It’s almost a version of Munchausen’s syndrome.

Apart from his quirks and shabbiness, his whole political career has been sitting-on-the-fence establishment, never having created anything new or valuable, but always looking for an opportunity to advance himself.

Add his newfound propensity, much commented on in the press, for making what do seem to be age-related errors and forgetfulness, such as the very recent introduction of his wife as his sister, and his nice smile just won’t do it.

The Democrats are desperate, and they’ve put themselves in that position. There can be little doubt the party bigwigs have worked hard to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders, a man who inspires much enthusiasm among voters, and especially young voters.

And they’re going to make the world desperate with four more years of the most remarkably ignorant and foul-mouthed man ever to be President.

It is possible the Democrats have a secret plan here. A writer has suggested that Michelle Obama, who ranks in polls as the most admired woman in America – yes, she does outpoll Oprah – could be waiting in the wings to save a divided convention.

While she has no qualifications, she is likable and well-spoken and carries a last name that still has luster for some Americans. She might well be able to defeat Trump, who, after all, had no qualifications when he ran. And what a delicious irony that would be, because Trump loathes anything associated with Obama.

The truth is, although we like to fool ourselves into believing otherwise, qualifications and experience no longer matter that much for the office of American President. The Dark State calls the shots on all significant matters of foreign policy and empire, and the various key party leaders do the same on domestic issues.

There is little of consequence a modern American President can truly decide, but his tone and manner and those of his appointments still do mean something for international relations, which have reached their lowest point in history under Trump.

America already has had a few “talking head” Presidents, ones who sit at the Oval Office desk smiling, make speeches with someone else’s words on a teleprompter, and sign pretty much whatever paper is placed before them by one of the “heavies.” At least this one would have a pleasant smile, and many would be happy about a woman finally being elected, and a second black American to boot. It would be widely applauded, and America just doesn’t get any applause anymore.

The object of the whole effort is to get rid of Trump, and if Michelle Obama can do it, the Democratic establishment plots will have achieved something worthwhile. While I’m fond of Bernie, as I’ve said before, his domestic programs would never be enacted by the best Congress money can buy, and there is little anyone can do to alter the affairs of empire. Those matters really are in other hands, as Trump’s many ridiculous flip-flops about Syria amply demonstrated.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE RELATIVELY SHORT HISTORY OF THE MODERN NATION-STATE – MOST OF HUMAN HISTORY WAS DOMINATED BY POLYGLOT EMPIRES AND KINGDOMS – EARLY NATIONALISM PRODUCED DREADFUL RESULTS – A SITUATION IN AMERICA WITH UNMISTAKABLE FASCIST OVERTONES – DESPITE SETBACKS, LONG-TERM FUTURE OF “GLOBALISM” IS BRIGHT – UNAVOIDABLE POPULATION CHANGES AND MIGRATION COMING – ALL ESTABLISHED NATION-STATES ARE GOING TO LOOK AND SOUND DIFFERENT IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY GUILLAUME DUROCHER IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“Towards Expat Nationalism

“Technological and Psychological Factors for the Rise and Decline of the Nation-State”

 

It is good to keep in mind that the nation-state as we know it has no long history.

It is largely a creation of the 19th century. Many of the most familiar nations in Europe, for example, were created in that period – as Germany or Italy.

For most of history, we have had empires and kingdoms, large entities incorporating many kinds of people, such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Holy Roman Empire.

For a while, extreme nationalists demanded that a given nation-state was for people of a certain ethnic identity, speaking a certain language, maybe even having a certain look and religion. This perhaps reflected lingering attitudes and hostilities from having rebelled against an old declining multi-national imperial group.

That notion, taken to its extreme, assisted ultimately in the birth of monstrosities such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

For the most part, the advanced world has moved well beyond that narrow and dangerous concept.

Israel, of course, is one of the last in the advanced world we hear still talking that way, which is a source of concern for all liberal-minded people.

The United States right now is something of an exception. There are unquestionably fascist tones in America’s contemporary political rhetoric. It is really odd when you think about it, the country being based on immigration and having been a “melting pot.”

But it has long been an undercurrent in America. The Nazi Bund was a pretty large movement in America, for example. The great journalist and writer, William L. Shirer, said once that he thought America might be the first country to go fascist voluntarily. Of course, organizations like the Klu Klux Klan and various extreme militia groups have long histories. As do fraternal organizations whose membership requires being a descendant from some early group.

Just not that many years ago, a Spanish-speaking person did a translation of America’s national anthem, and a recording of it became popular. Instead of being proud about it, certain groups of Americans became furious. There were ugly words hurled around. Even a descendent of Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the “poem” in 1814 that would provide the words of the anthem, got quite huffy about anyone daring to sing it in Spanish. Ironically, as few Americans realize, the music to the anthem came from an old English drinking song.

America is a big ship, and any big turns take a while to make. It is not only a big ship, but one whose controls are difficult to operate. It tends to do only ‘full steam ahead.”

America also has had a good streak of arrogance and self-importance since its heydays of the 1950s when it literally was king of the planet. Its assumption of what President Putin rightly calls “exceptionalism” does fit nicely with attitudes around extreme patriotism and xenophobia.

I think the conflict between Americans with fascist tones in their speech and others is not only just one more division in a country which has always been divided, in one way or another from its very beginning, but it reflects difference in ancestry of the population, as Northern Europeans versus Southern Europeans or Latins.

There can be no question that Trump represents those people. They make up a large part of his political base because he feeds them what they want to hear, often barely disguised hatreds and contempt for foreigners and for Americans who look different. Migrants of all kinds. Muslims. Hispanics. “Shithole countries” (his exact words) in general.

As far as talk of globalism goes, it is a very confused subject, the word almost taking on different meanings with different speakers.

Here are some fundamental realities that will determine the future of “globalism.”

The growth of international trade has been an immense benefit for many decades. The United States’ golden days of the postwar period were the result of it being a great supplier of goods to all corners of the earth. It was the only undamaged major nation, and it had invested hugely for war production.

As other nations recovered and changed and made brand new investments, the United States just naturally lost its special place. It also was encumbered by its own myths about itself. When its uniquely blessed period of opportunity in the world began to fade, those myths only dragged on its ability to adjust and re-invest and compete in a changing world. Americans at all levels of society really did believe they were the best at what they did.

I think Japan’s re-emergence was the first great shock to the American ego, but there have been others since, and the overwhelmingly big one has been the miraculous rise of China, something in fact, given China’s remarkable history, which should have been predictable. But you just don’t think clearly when you believe yourself indispensable to the world.

So, today, America is reduced to dishonest and dangerous tactics of every description to “re-claim” what it foolishly believes is its and its alone, the right to be number one in almost everything. Clearly, only a kind of religious or mystical belief could engender such an expectation.  Never mind about getting down to hard work and investing to be more competitive, investing in everything from better schools to national infrastructure. And better government, too. No, we’re Americans, we’re entitled.

Large trading blocs, like the EU and others, are powerful mechanisms for increased prosperity. They may have their temporary ups and downs, but they are not going away simply because the basic economic principles underlying them are real and powerful.

Advances in technology will only continue to make international trade easier and less costly, and they will do so at an increasing rate of change.

With growing international trade, there is a growing need for international organizations to support, protect, and govern with agreed rules. That, too, is not going away, despite the bellowing of people like Trump. Such organizations are suffering right now, but they will return with strength simply because they are genuinely needed.

Every bit of trade destroyed, as with Trump’s illegal sanctions and arbitrary tariffs and threats, makes the world a poorer place than it need be. That’s basic economic science. Those who argue with scientific principles are only howling and spitting against the wind. They will not be able to sustain their destructive effort for too long, and for that we should all be glad.

As far as population and migration go, every advanced country has arrived at a point where births minus deaths cannot sustain population. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon called demographic transition. From that point, only in-migration can sustain or increase population. With absolutely no in-migration, such a nation would actually see its population shrinking, and with no end to it.

The average number of live births a woman is expected to have over her reproductive life in any given society is called the fertility rate.

Advanced countries today have fertility rates on the order of 1.5 or so. Without in-migration, a fertility rate of 2.1 is required just to sustain a population, but you will not find that in any advanced nation. There are many reasons for that, including, importantly, young modern women pursuing rewarding careers.

So, in-migration must be a part of every healthy society in the future, and this necessarily means different kinds of people arriving on your shores.

That, too, is not something new. In the distant past, it took the form of mass migrations and conquests and was not driven by demographic change. In an old familiar society like Britain, one whose people have an image we all enjoy and assume to be enduring, we actually have a history of Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Norman French, and others creating the hybrid people we know.

Today, further change is underway in Britain as many people from former parts of the British Empire have established themselves there. And more migrants still will be needed since Britain’s fertility rate is too low to replace its population.

There’s just no avoiding the fact that in all traditional established states the future is going to look and sound different than what we have been used to.