Yuri is a big guy, and he has an intimidating stare, which is
something I’d expect from a former KGB agent. Right now, he’s toasting the USA
across my dining room table.
“I am very impressed with America, especially Kennedy Space Center”, he explains. “The
people of the USA and the people of Russia are much alike, but I think the
people of America have had it easier.”
Of course, looking at my country strictly through a 20th and
21st century lens, he’s right. We’ve had it pretty easy, for the most part. But
the pioneers? Not so much. Still, no
people on earth have suffered so much as the Russian Slavs; first at the hands
of the Bolsheviks, then at the hands of the Nazis. Before that, they were
targets for the Vikings and Mongols.
“Here’s to your President, Mr. Donald Trump!” He raises his
glass again. “May Russia and America become friends. We have much in common”.
We do indeed. We are both (largely) European peoples. We have
both suffered from Islamic terrorism. We
are both (nominally) Christian countries. We have both been heavily influenced
by a Zionist cabal whose mission is to undermine our culture. We are both rich
in natural and human resources. We both fought on the same side in WWII. And we
both have fearful arsenals of nuclear weapons.
Yet, despite all of these shared traits, values, and history, we
frequently find ourselves on opposite sides of a new Cold War. It seems every
day that the news media is trotting out some new atrocity or affront that the
Russians are supposed to have committed. We have magazine covers demonizing the
country’s President, Vladimir Putin, and we hear constantly from so-called
“experts” about the threat Russia poses to the USA.
But is any of this true? It seems to me that, when you dig a
little deeper, what you’ll find is an American superpower drunk with the idea
of exceptionalism, a dangerous lie that has crept into the national lexicon
lately courtesy of the neocons that still control our country.
There is no corner of the globe, it seems, where we do not deem
that we have “vital national security interests”, whether it be in the far
flung reaches of the Arctic Circle, the windswept deserts of the Middle East,
or the cold and craggy peeks of Korea. Go anywhere on earth, and there is the
American Globocop: spying, probing, threatening, cajoling…we spend more than China, Russia,
and the next 9 countries on defense combined, yet apparently that
still isn’t enough for these bedwetters to feel “secure” at night.
Well, I am a man, and I don’t need to attack people I don’t know
for reasons only Israel and the MIC understand to sleep peacefully at night. I
am perfectly comfortable with the idea that, come what may, the goings-on in
Kandahar need have no impact on my little life here in Florida unless the
NeoCohens keep kicking the Afghan hound just for fun. Nor do I see the need, as
President Trump has observed, to pay for Europe’s defense…or Japan’s…or anybody
else’s for that matter. I would greatly prefer that America do what Washington
and Jefferson advised…mind our own business,
Of course, the Indispensable American also told us to avoid
deficit spending and that a belief in God was a necessary component of a
republic, but we didn’t listen to him about any of that, either. Look how far
that’s gotten us now…we no longer believe in Jesus Christ, but we DO worship a
That god is secular, it is multicultural, it is omnipresent, it
is insatiable, it is totalitarian, and it slithers into our lives through our
TV’s, our workplaces, our schools, our courts, and our social media…and, oh, by
the way, it is also evil. But let’s not let that get in the
way of our Facebook friends, shall we? Nor should we worry about money,
because “deficits don’t matter”. ”Laissez
les bon temps roulez!” We are New Orleans writ large now, and we shall come to
a similar end; not under water, but inundated nonetheless…by a flood of debt.
Nor should we feel the need to uphold “democracy” in
Mesopotamia, or to keep a corrupt chocolate king in
charge of Ukraine, or, most of all, to support an indispensable “ally” like
Israel, which has done nothing more than use us like a cheap whore. And who can
blame them, when every time Bibi shows his face our Kongress applauds his
latest atrocities with a standing ovation? We
actually deserve to be used. We practically beg for it. The Founding Fathers
would be appalled at how small we’ve become.
I had hoped that, based on his public rhetoric, President
Trump would be a reasonable man and negotiate with Putin as an equal
partner. I had even gone so far, at one time, as to think he might
cultivate Russia as an ally. That is one of the primary reasons I voted for
him. Like many Americans, I have no issue with the Russians, and recognize the
insanity of baiting a bear of a country with as many nuclear weapons as we
have, especially when, in reality, they should be our natural allies.
Now, though, due to the media-inspired Russophobia gripping the
Beltway, and Trump’s own apparent capitulation to
that atmosphere of mistrust and hate, I am reduced to merely hoping we can
avoid a war with them. That’s admittedly setting the bar pretty low,
but unfortunately that’s what we’ve come to in these dark days, where the
(((usual suspects))) are busily at work sabotaging any and every effort at
normalizing relations between our countries.
Oh, well. At least I can hold my head up and say I didn’t
deliberately sacrifice my vote for nothing more than the ephemeral dreams of a
“global economy” and the “American exceptionalism” that the Hildebeast
(Clinton) was incessantly touting, and which Trump consistently opposed. That is
why I chose Trump. That, and the idea that countries actually do have
borders that should not be open to every Guatemalan fruit picker who wants to
suck the life out of the welfare teat. At
the very least, though, I did not want to have our country incinerated due to
the hubris of a lunatic Commander in Chief.
Low expectations? Maybe- but the electoral choice was an
easy one, what with the Democrats practically foaming at the mouth over the
“Russiagate” hysteria and tripping over themselves to allow another 10 million
illegals to become citizens. And why not? To them, each
freshly-minted campesino americano represents one more
homegrown slave laborer that will always reliably vote for more free shit-at
the expense of me and the other “Deplorables” who
pay for it.
But even if Trump were to magically establish cordial dealings
with Russia and somehow stem the brown tide surging up from the continental toilet, he
cannot fix the insanity and godlessness that has enveloped and strangled us
culturally. No, those problems are much more deeply rooted, going back at
least to 1934 when the Zionist Frankfurt school movedto the United States, and perhaps as
early as 1913 when the
Federal Reserve was created.
Thus, I can agree with my new friend Yuri that we are a lot like
Russians in many ways. The Russians were fooled by the Bolsheviks over a
century ago, and they’re still paying the price for that mistake today. Yet
there are signs that Russia has finally thrown off that yoke.
The Orthodox Church is resurgent there,
and Vladimir Putin, who converted to the Faith at great personal risk while
still working for the KGB, is intent on making sure that the evil spell Holy
Russia fell under is broken for good. You’d think we’d learn from that, but we
have our own Bolsheviks in charge now, and, curiously, many sport the same
surnames. Sure, they’ve since morphed into neocons, but the agenda remains the
La plus ca change-or, should I say Nazdarovya? I
started this article with a toast, after all…:)
The new unilateral sanctions by
the United States against Iran, Russia and Syria add to the previous actions
concerning the same three targets. They now form the most unforgiving embargo
in History. The way in which
they have been organised is illegal according to the definition of the Charter
of the United Nations – these are weapons of war, designed for killing.
his visit to Moscow on 8 November, ambassador James Jeffrey was tasked with
explaining the current US obsession with the expansion of Persian influence in
the Arab world (Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen). Washington
now wishes to formulate this question in geo-strategic rather than religious
terms (Shiites/Sunni), while Teheran is organising its national defence around
forward posts composed of Shiite Arabs.
then considered the possibility of negotiating on Teheran’s behalf for the
easing of unilateral US sanctions, in exchange for its military withdrawal from
Syria. President Vladimir Putin confirmed his proposition, not only for his US
opposite number, but also for the Israëli Prime Minister, during their meeting
in Paris on 11 November for the celebrations marking the centenary of the end
of the First World War .
He attempted to convince the
Westerners that Russia alone in Syria was preferable to the Irano-Russian
tandem. However, he could not guarantee that Iran would have sufficient
authority over Hezbollah – as both Washington and Tel-Aviv pretend – to be able
to order it to withdraw also.
only answer, nine days later, was to announce the eleventh series of unilateral
sanctions against Russia since the beginning of August. This was accompanied by
a ridiculous speech according to which Russia and Iran had together organised a
vast plot aimed at maintaining President Assad in power and expanding Persian control
in the Arab world.
rhetoric, which we believed had been abandoned, assimilates three states (the
Russian Federation, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran)
as machines in the service of three men (Bachar el-Assad, Ali Khamenei and
Vladimir Putin) who are united by the same hatred of their respective peoples.
It ignores the massive popular support they enjoy, while the United States are
profoundly torn apart.
can leave aside the stupid assertion that Russia is aiding and abetting the
conquest of the Arab world by Persia.
to the US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, who presented the
unilateral US sanctions on 20 November, they do not form the economic section
of the present war, but are intended to punish the « atrocities » committed by
these three « régimes ». However, on the verge of winter, they mostly concern
the supply of refined petroleum to the Syrian people so that they may light
their homes and keep warm.
not necessary to specify that the three states targeted deny the « atrocities »
of which they are accused, while the United States pursue the wars that they
started in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
US sanctions were not decided by the United Nations Security Council, but by
the United States alone. They are illegal in international law because in order
to make them lethal, Washington is attempting to force third-party states to
associate themselves with the motion, which constitutes a threat to the states
targeted and therefore a violation of the United Nations Charter. The United
States have the sovereign right to refuse to enter into commerce with other
states, but not to exercise pressure on third-party states in order to harm
their targets. At one time, the Pentagon claimed that inflicting damaging
treatment on a particular nation would lead its people to overthrow its
government. That was also the theoretical justification for the bombing of
Dresden during the Second World War and the endless embargo against Cuba during
the Cold War. However, in the space of 75 years, this theory has never,
absolutely never, been verified by the facts. Now the Pentagon is considering
using detrimental treatment against a nation as a weapon of war like any other.
Embargoes are designed to kill civilians.
The ensemble of systems currently used against Iran, Russia and Syria
constitute the most gigantic siege system in History . These are not economic measures, but –
without any possible doubt – military actions implemented in the economic
sector. In time, they will probably lead to a division of the world into two
parts, just as in the period of USA-USSR rivalry.
Mnuchin insisted at length on the fact that these sanctions were aimed above
all at the interruption of the sale of hydro-carbons, meaning depriving these
countries – mostly exporters— of their main financial resources.
The mechanism described by
Steven Mnuchin is as follows:
Syria is presently unable to
refine petrol since its installations were destroyed either by Daesh or by the
international Coalition’s bombing raids against Daesh.
For the last four years, Iran
has been supplying refined petrol to Syria in violation of previous unilateral
US sanctions. This petrol is transported by Western companies working for the
Russian public company Promsyrioimport. This company is paid by the private
Syrian company Global Vision Group, which is itself financed by the Iranian
company Tabir Kish Medical and Pharmaceutical.
Finally the Global Vision
Group transfers a part of the money it receives to Hezbollah and Hamas.
Mnuchin doesn’t bother with long explanations. As far as he is concerned, Syria
is criminal state and Russia is its accomplice, while Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas
are all « terrorists ». This is the most important point, the word that cancels
French proverb assures that « When you want to drown your dog, you claim it has
rabies ». So there’s no point expecting logic in Secretary Mnuchin’s answer to
President Putin’s proposition of mediation.
the United States are withdrawing their troops from the conflicts in which they
were engaged, and replacing them with mercenaries on the ground (the jihadists)
and economic sanctions, the modern version of the medieval siege.
 Although during the Middle Ages,
Christianity accepted wars between the Catholic sovereigns, it condemned
military actions against civilians. In the 13th century, the Catholic Church
therefore condemned all sieges when they concerned not only soldiers but also
populations. This ethic has remained that of the Holy See until today. For
example, Pope John-Paul 2 opposed the United States when they applied economic
sanctions against the Iraquis during the reign of Saddam Hussein. His
successor, Pope Francis, remains silent on this question.
intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace
Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in
daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last
two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
articles on Voltaire Network may be freely reproduced provided the source is
cited, their integrity is respected and they are not used for commercial
purposes (license CC BY-NC-ND).
At the end of the second World War, filmmaker John Huston got a
commission from the US Army to produce a documentary of new treatments for
psychiatric casualties of the war. This occurred when experimental treatments
such as hypnosis or injections of sodium pentothal were being introduced into
psychiatric therapy. The army wanted to produce the
film to show off these promising new treatments, rather than to illustrate the
psychological trauma of soldiers due to what we now recognize as Post Traumatic
Huston titled his film Let
There Be Light, and it opened with a statistic that
likely would have shocked the American public:
20% of all battle casualties in the American Army during World War II were of a
This statistic is followed by a brief explanation of the film’s
“The special treatment methods shown in this film, such as
hypnosis and narco-synthesis, have been particularly successful in acute cases,
such as battle neurosis. Equal success is not to be expected when dealing with
peacetime neuroses which are usually of a chronic nature.”
Even though the psychiatric profession was still years away from
naming PTSD, the idea of “battle neurosis” wasn’t exactly new. In
World War I, soldiers called it “shell shock.” In the first edition of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the term “gross stress
reaction” was defined similarly to what the third edition would refer to, not
yet hyphenated, as “posttraumatic stress disorder.” But to the wider public,
Huston’s “battle neurosis” did not enjoy the ubiquitous acknowledgement that
PTSD receives today.
Thus, even though the film was
intended to optimistically showcase the new treatments that had not been
available to soldiers of previous wars, the initial viewings proved that the
audience takeaway was not so positive. Huston
unintentionally followed in the footsteps of Upton Sinclair. In writing The
Jungle in 1904,
Sinclair described the horrid (and fictionalized) conditions of the Chicago
meatpacking industry, hoping to inform the American public about the worker’s
plight. Instead, he only generated concern about the meat readers were eating,
prompting him to famously say “I aimed at the public’s
heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.” Huston’s Let There
Be Light similarly missed its mark. Instead of documenting the
uplifting trend of new treatments for psychiatric casualties of war, he
exposed the horrible reality of psychiatric trauma that war imposed on
Huston spent two months filming the documentary in the Mason
General Hospital. He used “long takes” to film the documentary, making it clear
that the soldiers’ recounted experience was not deceptively edited. The
soldiers housed at Mason General were, as the documentary’s narrator describes
the casualties of the spirit, the troubled in mind. Men who are
damaged emotionally. Born and bred in peace, educated to hate war, they were
overnight plunged into sudden and terrible situations. Every man has his
breaking point. And these, in the fulfillment of their duties as soldiers were
forced beyond the limit of human endurance. . . .
Here are men who tremble, men who cannot sleep. Men with pains
that are nonetheless real because they are of mental origin. Men who cannot
remember. Paralyzed men whose paralysis is dictated by the mind. However
different the symptoms, these things they have in common: unceasing fear and
apprehension, a sense of impending disaster, a feeling of hopelessness and
For many non-combatants who were aware of the physical injuries of
war, this was a new kind of suffering.
But the dramatic narration is not what made the documentary so
concerning. The first interview shows a mumbling soldier, smoking a cigarette
and never making eye-contact, relating his near-death experience. When the
psychiatrist asks “where were you when the planes came over,” the soldier
answers, “I was in a hole.” Then he looks up, as if at the planes that had been
in the sky at the time, prompting the doctor to ask, “Do you know where you
are?” Other soldiers cried as they related their experiences. This
was not the portrait of the American soldier that the United States government
had been advertising to the public.
The first soldier treated in the film was paralyzed, but with no
physical injury to explain it. The narrator explains that he is suffering from
a “conversion hysteria,” as he is carried in to the room by two orderlies who
have each of his arms draped over their shoulders. His
paralysis is, the documentary explains, “purely psychological.” The
doctor treated the soldier with Pentothal, experimental and new at the time of
the film, while a psychiatrist talked to him about his battlefield experience.
The treatment worked, and the soldier walked, though the narrator qualifies the
scene by saying that “the fact that he can walk now does not mean that his
neurosis has been cured.” Instead of providing audiences
with good feelings about the new treatment methods, the scene compelled people
to ask what horrors, exactly, were young men going through to trigger
psychosomatic paralysis in the first place?
Another soldier suffered from amnesia. The narrator explains, “This
man does not even remember his own name. A shell burst in Okinawa wiped out his
memory. The experience was unendurable to his conscious mind, which rejected
it, and along with it, his entire past.” This time, the
doctor treated him with hypnosis, another experimental treatment that some
psychiatrists had recently started to employ. After putting the soldier into a
hypnotic sleep, the doctor prompted him to speak about the experience in
Okinawa. The soldier trembled visibly as he related the battlefield horror that
triggered the amnesia. When he was pulled out of the hypnosis, the documentary
shows that the treatment worked: “Under the guidance of the psychiatrist, he is
able to regard his experience in its true perspective as a thing of the past,
which no longer threatens his safety. Now he can remember.” Again, instead of
viewing this scene as a hopeful demonstration of new treatment, audiences
wondered what hell could produce such psychological trauma to begin with.
The third and final treatment demonstrated in the film was given
to a patient with a severe stutter. He did not stutter before
facing combat in France. Like the paralyzed patient, he was treated with
Pentothal, and afterwards he became emotional from the success. “I can talk. I
can talk! I can talk! Listen, I can talk! Oh God, listen, I can talk!” he
yelled, as the doctor tried to ask questions. When he finally calmed down, he
was able to recount his experience facing German artillery, which he came to
associate with the “ss” sound, leading to the development of his debilitating
The soldier’s joy at the successful treatment did not explain,
for audiences unfamiliar with such psychological phenomena, how such a problem
could manifest. In all three cases of treatment, Huston
believed he was showing the world the tremendous breakthroughs of psychiatric
medicine, but instead, he showcased the horrors of war, without even having to
visit a battlefield. The documentary ends with uplifting
scenes from treated soldiers kissing their wives and enjoying a game of
baseball, but these were not the images that viewers kept with them. Instead,
they remembered the psychosomatically paralyzed soldier being carried into a
room, the trembling amnesiac, and the incommunicable stuttering of a
psychologically damaged man.
Few people saw the film before the army decided to prohibit Huston
from making it available to the public. The
justification was that the film was a violation of soldiers’ privacy, but this
was a ridiculously flimsy claim. Not only did the army not concern itself with
soldier privacy when it commissioned the documentary, but the soldiers
themselves were knowingly and consensually filmed. Huston, for his part, never
bought the army’s excuse. In his autobiography, An Open
Book, he said “I think it boils down to the fact that they wanted to
maintain the ‘warrior’ myth, which said that our Americans went to war and came
back all the stronger for the experience, standing tall and proud for having
served their country well.”
Huston’s film was not the only such source of information that was
kept from the public. Roy Spiegel and John
Grinker’s breakthrough study Men Under Stress,
which also looked at the psychological consequences of war, was allowed to
circulate only among military psychiatrists and lawmakers for years, with
original copies stamped “Secret” by army archivists, before it was eventually
allowed to be published for the public.
PTSD was first given its modern name in 1978. After
World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, the psychological trauma of war had
become increasingly visible to the public, and with it, the military was taking
heat for allegedly ignoring the problem. In 1980, vice-president Walter Mondale
gave the order to allow the public release of Let There
Be Light, but with modern advances in filmmaking technology and the
expanding knowledge of PTSD, the documentary did not have the powerful effect
it had in the 1940s, when it was originally produced. How much of an effect
Huston’s documentary would have had on the public support for the wars in Korea
and Vietnam remains only a matter of historical conjecture.
Donald Trump’s recent statement on the Jamal
Khashoggi killing by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince might well be considered a
metaphor for his foreign policy. Several commentators have suggested that the
text appears to be something that Trump wrote himself without any adult
supervision, similar to the poorly expressed random arguments presented in his
tweeting only longer. That might be the case, but it would not be wise to dismiss the document as merely
frivolous or misguided as it does in reality express the kind of thinking that
has produced a foreign policy that seems to drift randomly to no real end, a
kind of leaderless creative destruction of the United States as a world power.
Palmerston, Prime Minister of Britain in the mid nineteenth century, famously
said that “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have
permanent interests.”The United States currently has neither real friends nor
any clearly defined interests. It is, however, infested with parasites that have
convinced an at-drift America that their causes are identical to the interests
of the United States. Leading the charge to reduce the U.S. to “bitch” status,
as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has artfully put it, are Israel and Saudi
Arabia, but there are many other countries, alliances and advocacy groups that
have learned how to subvert and direct the “leader of the free world.”
memo on the Saudis begins with the headline “The world is a very dangerous
place!” Indeed, it is and behavior by the three occupants of the White House
since 2000 is largely to blame. It is difficult to find a part of the world
where an actual American interest is being served by Washington’s foreign and
global security policies. Indeed, a national security policy that sees
competitors and adversaries as enemies in a military sense has made nuclear
war, unthinkable since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, thinkable once
again. The fact that no one is the media or in political circles is even
talking about that terrible danger suggests that war has again become
mainstreamed, tacitly benefiting from bipartisan acceptance of it as a viable
foreign policy tool by the media, in the U.S. Congress and also in the White
of the world where American meddling coupled with ignorance has produced the
worst result is inevitably the Middle East. Washington has been led by the nose
by Israel and Saudi Arabia, currently working in sync, to have the United
States destroy Iran even though the Iranians represent no threat whatsoever to
Americans or any serious U.S. interests. The wildly skewed view of what
is taking place in that region is reflected in Trump’s memo in the first paragraph,
“The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody
proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile
attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping
up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own
citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and
other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with
great force, ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Death to Israel!’ Iran is considered ‘the
world’s leading sponsor of terror.’”
all of that is either patently untrue or grossly exaggerated, meaning that
Trump’s profoundly ignorant statement is remarkable for the number of lies that
it incorporates into 631 words which are wrapped around a central premise that
the United States will always do whatever it wants wherever it wants just
because it can. The war being waged by the Saudis against Yemen, which reportedly has killed as many as 80,000 children,
is not a proxy struggle against Iran as Trump prefers to think. It is naked
aggression bordering on genocide that is enabled by the United States under
completely false pretenses. Iran did not start the war and plays almost no role
in it apart from serving as a Saudi and Emirati excuse to justify the fighting.
Other lies include that Bashar al-Assad of Syria has killed millions of his own
citizens and that Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism. Quite the contrary is
true as the Saudis have been a major source of Islamic terrorism. And as for
Iran being the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” that honor currently
belongs to the U.S., Israel and the Saudis.
core of Trump’s thinking about Khashoggi and the Saudis comes down to Riyadh’s
willingness to buy weapons to benefit America’s defense contractors and this
one sentence: “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi
Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in
the region.” Yes, once again it is Israel pulling Trump’s strings, with Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading the charge to give Crown Prince Mohammad
bin Salman a pass on the gruesome murder of a legal resident of the United
States who, once upon a time, might have actually had the U.S. government on
reckless calibrations employed to set American policies in other parts of the
world are also playing out badly. Russia has been hounded relentlessly since
the 2016 election, wasting the opportunity to establish a modus vivendi that
Trump appeared to be offering in his campaign. Russian and American soldiers
confront each other in Syria, where the U.S. has absolutely no real interests
beyond supporting feckless Israel and Saudi Arabia in an unnecessary armed
conflict that has already been lost. There is now talk of war coming from both
Moscow and Washington while NATO in the middle has turned aggressive in an
attempt to justify its existence. The bilateral relationship between the U.S.
and Russia is now worse than it was towards the end of the Cold War while the
expansion of NATO up to Russia’s doorstep has threatened the Kremlin’s vital
interests without advancing any interest of the United States.
has become the longest war in U.S. history with no end in sight and China too
has seen what began as a dispute over trade turned into something more
vitriolic, a military rivalry over the South China Sea that could explode. And
North Korea? A love fest between two leaders that is devoid of content.
One might also add Venezuela to the list, with the U.S. initiating
sanctions over the state of the country’s internal politics and even
considering, according to some in the media, a military
the White House’s actions have one thing in common and that is that they do not
benefit Americans in any way unless one works for a weapons manufacturer, and
that is not even taking into consideration the dead soldiers and civilians and
the massive debt that has been incurred to intervene all over the world. One
might also add that most of America’s interventions are built on deliberate
lies by the government and its associated media, intended to increase tension
and create a casus belli where none exists.
So what is to be done as it often seems
that the best thing Trump has going for him is that he is not Hillary Clinton?
First of all, a comprehensive rethink of what the real interests of the United
States are in the world arena is past due. America is less safe now than it was
in 2001 as it continues to make enemies with its blundering everywhere it goes.
There are now four times as many designated
terrorists as there were in 2001, active in 70 countries. One would quite
plausibly soon arrive at George Washington’s dictum in his Farewell Address, counseling his
countrymen to “observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate
peace and harmony with all.” And Washington might have somehow foreseen the
poisonous relationships with Israel and the Saudis when he warned that “…a
passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.
Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary
common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing
into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in
the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or
George Washington or any of the other
Founders would be appalled to see an America with 800 military bases overseas,
allegedly for self-defense. The transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the
military industrial complex and related entities like Wall Street has been
catastrophic. The United States does not need to protect Israel and Saudi
Arabia, two countries that are armed to the teeth and well able to defend
themselves. Nor does it have to be in Syria and Afghanistan. And, by the way,
Russia is no longer the Soviet Union and NATO should be abolished.
If the United States were to withdraw
its military from the Middle East and the rest of Asia tomorrow, it would be to
nearly everyone’s benefit. If the armed forces were to be subsequently reduced
to a level sufficient to defend the United States it would put money back in
the pockets of Americans and end the continuous fearmongering through surfacing
of “threats” by career militarists justifying the bloated budgets.
that produce the peaceable kingdom? Probably not, but there are signs that some
in powerful positions are beginning to see the light. Senator Rand Paul’s courageous decision to place a “hold”
on aid to Israel is long overdue as Israel is a liability to the United States
and is also legally ineligible for aid due to its undeclared nuclear arsenal
and its unwillingness to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The
hysterical reactions of American Jews and Israel suggest that any redirection
of U.S. Middle East policy will produce a hostile reaction from the
Establishment, but even small steps in the right direction could initiate a
gradual process of turning the United States into a more normal country in its
relationships with the rest of the world rather than a universal predator and
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is
Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax
deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S.
foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157,
Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems that Saudi Arabia’s rulers murdered an opponent. The U.S.
media and political class is shocked,
shocked, to find that murder is going on in
such precincts. Who did they imagine the Muslim world’s leaders are?
our chattering class demands that President Trump do whatever it takes to make
sure that they do nothing like that again. Do what? Does anyone really think
that swapping sheik A for sheik B would improve their kind’s moral standards?
Do they have any idea of what keeps A on top of B, what it would take to switch
them, or what the repercussions would be in foreign policy? Are they naifs,
idiots, or are they just playing with foreign policy to make life a little
harder for Trump?
follows is politically incorrect information on what Saudi Arabia is, what role
it plays in American politics, and what it means for our foreign policy. Then,
I will suggest how American foreign policy from the Founding to around 1910
would deal with today’s Middle East.
Arabia’s rulers are a subspecies of the desert rats endemic in the region. The
ones on the cheese now are of the clan of seven sons out of old king Saud’s
favorite wife, Suda, and hence are known as Sudaris. The previous ruler,
Abdullah was the only son of another wife. When Abdullah’s birth-order turn
came, in 2005, he took the throne thanks only to having mobilized the national
guard of Bedouins for war against the national army (and everything else)
controlled by the Sudaris. Today, when you read about Mohammed bin Salman’s
“anti-corruption reforms,” you should know that they target primarily
Abdullah’s son and other relatives. In other words, what is going on, including
murder, is a purely dynastic power play. But that is Saudi Arabia’s nice side.
fundamental reality is that this is a slave society, (the Arabic word for black
man is the word for slave) which considers work something that inferiors do for
superiors, prizes idleness, and practices cruelty as a means of asserting
superiority. Everyone knows that women, treated as property, end up
disproportionately in the harems of the wealthy. But few stop to think that
this custom dooms the majority of Saudi men to lives without legitimate sex,
never mind families.
for who gets what, that comes strictly either from birth or from connections
with the powerful. Nor are the young clamoring for the kind of useful work that
would lift them up. They compete, all right, but for favor. Saudi students in
U.S. colleges—and even in military training programs—just don’t do their work.
A degree is a passport to a job which somebody else performs.
The ultra-puritanical Wahhabi sect, which authorized the House of Saud to take
power by murdering non-Wahhabis, is inexorably interwoven with the Saudi power
structure. No doubt, many believe its teachings. And yes, Wahhabis pay for
radical mosques throughout the world, America very much included. But
hypocritical corruption is at its core. Fly first class from Riyadh to Paris or
London. Watch the women with Burqas step onto the plane. Off comes the
headgear. On take-off, they doff the Burqas, revealing Dior fashions with
plunging necklines. And the booze flows.
Arabia is marvelously well-connected in America—and especially in Washington
D.C.—thanks to countless millions of dollars spread in all manner of ways to
any and all who might be useful to the Kingdom over decades. Between 1983 and
2005, as Saudi ambassador to the United States, and then as secretary general
of the Saudi National Security Council (where he managed the kingdom’s American
affairs), Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud did not let pass any occasion to get
to know and to invite and to gift. But vacations in Aspen or on the Riviera,
and fellowships and connections, are small stuff compared to the billion-dollar
bonds built with scores of American contractors and close friends of the very
powerful. The Saudis have been able to get away with whatever they wanted.
the aftermath of 9/11, not only did the U.S. government fly Osama bin Laden’s
family out of the country forthwith, it also flew out the Saudi consular
officials who had helped the hijackers. Sections of the 9/11 commission report
dealing with Saudi Arabia remain classified. Since the security camera photos
of the 19 Saudi hijackers do not match the names on their passports, to this
day, we still do not know their real identities. Nor has anyone investigated
whence came the money for the operation.
foreign policy has been far from U.S.-friendly. Until around 1990, it might
well have been described in one word: “pay.” Who? Anybody, to keep them from
making trouble for the Kingdom. Thus the Saudis were the Syrian Assad regime’s
main financiers. The money went to buy Soviet weapons. The same was true for
Egypt prior to 1979, after which the money went to buy U.S. weapons. The Saudis
paid most of the bill for Saddam Hussein’s war on Iran. And yes, they financed
the PLO until, in 1990, both the PLO and Saddam turned against them—which led
to firming up connections with the United States.
those connections did not prevent the Saudis from playing a double game during
the Iraq war—entirely understandable from the Saudi standpoint, but the
acceptance of which by the U.S. establishment proved its abysmal incompetence.
In short, the Saudis wanted above all to protect Iraq’s formerly ruling Sunni
minority. That is why they lobbied hard and successfully to turn the successful
U.S. invasion of March-April 2003 into the disastrous 2003-2010 U.S.
occupation. Worse, during that occupation, the Saudis were the principal
financiers of the Sunni war against U.S. forces, and the suppliers of most
the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran—effectively between the Muslim world’s
Sunni and Shia blocs, is the great issue in the Middle East.
Saudis rightly fear Iran. Make no mistake: Much as Iran rails against the Great
Satan, (America) and the Little Satan (Israel), Saudi Arabia is its chief
enemy. Whatever faults Iranian forces may have, whatever equipment they lack,
they are still superior to the Saudis. Most important, the Saudis and their
Sunni allies in the Gulf lord it over Shia minorities (in Bahrain they are the
majority) who look to Iran for relief. The Shia in Saudi inhabit the
oil-producing regions. The Saudis know how vulnerable they are. The United
States does not have to convince them to be anti-Iran. Since Iran is far more a
danger to them than to us, they will always be more anti-Iran than we.
do we have to treat them gingerly because they are the principal part of OPEC.
In fact, the world oil price is now set largely by American production. Much as
the Saudis would love to raise the price by cutting production, they know that
maximizing their income requires pumping as much as they can at whatever the
world price happens to be.
short, we owe them nothing.
relationship with Saudi Arabia should flow from our own needs—not theirs—based
on the realities of the region.
John Quincy Adams to whisper in Trump’s ear, he might well say the following:
Just as in 1823, when we premised our dealings with Europe by making clear the
contrast between the republican principles by which we live and those of
monarchical Europe, we should now draw a bright line between our way of life
and that of the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Now as then, this is primarily
for the American people’s benefit. Now as then, we cannot change others, but
must deal with them. We don’t have to like them, and they don’t have to like
us. Good diplomacy does not pretend. We will not lower ourselves to asking the
Saudis to pretend they have become liberals, nor fool ourselves into thinking
that they are on the way to doing so.
have some concurrent interests. Only some. And for our own different reasons.
And the concurrence is conditional.
are certain things we can and should do for the Saudis, mainly by limiting
Iran’s economy. But for us to do that, the price of oil has to be kept in an
acceptable range for a range of allies. Hence we must demand that the Saudis
cooperate. We can and should protect the Saudis against major Iranian military
moves, especially by providing better missile defense. But we are not going to
involve ourselves in trying to put down Shia revolts against Sunni hegemony. In
Syria, we have only two interests: limiting Iran’s reach to Israel and
safeguarding the Kurds. Any Saudi action that we judge non-supportive of these
interests will lead to a reduction of our support in other areas.
all, we realize that Saudi Arabia is even less a permanent fixture of the
international scene than the Soviet Union was. It is even more unstable.
Stabilizing it, saving it from the consequences of its congenital dynastic
wars, is beyond our capacities, as John Quincy Adams might have said. That is
why now, as in 1823, the essence of good American foreign policy is to be very
clear about our very few interests, to commit to those, and to let the rest of
the world fight their own battles.