Friday, November 30, 2018

Bolsheviks Tricked the Russians 100 Years Ago - the Same People Are Bamboozling Americans Today - John Freeman

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, in effect.
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 god.  
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 same.
La plus ca change-or, should I say Nazdarovya?  I started this article with a toast, after all…:)

When You Want to Sanction States, You Call Them « Terrorists » - By Thierry Meyssan

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.
For 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.
Moscow 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.
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Washington’s 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.
This 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.
We can leave aside the stupid assertion that Russia is aiding and abetting the conquest of the Arab world by Persia.
According 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.
It is 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.
The 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 [1]. 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.
Secretary 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. 
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Finally the Global Vision Group transfers a part of the money it receives to Hezbollah and Hamas.
This a cock and bull story :
- The international Coalition has the official objective of fighting Daesh. However, numerous testimonies over the last four years attest that it had alternatively bombed the Islamic state whenever it exceeded the zone which had been allocated to it by the Pentagon (the Wright plan), and that, on the contrary, it had parachuted weapons to Daesh in order to maintain its position in the specified area. The two entities worked together to destroy Syrian refineries.
- What is the purpose of implicating the Russian government in the transfer of petroleum from Iranian refineries towards Syrian ports?
- Why would Iran suddenly need Syria to transfer money to Hezbollah and Hamas?
- Why would Syria transfer Iranian money to Hamas while the Palestinian organisation – whose leaders are members of the Muslim Brotherhood – is at war with them?
Steven 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 out thought.
A 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.
Progressively, 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.
[1] 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.
French 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.
The 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).

Let There Be Light: The Documentary The Army Suppressed | Zero Hedge (War is hell for those who fight it!)

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 Stress Disorder.

Huston titled his film Let There Be Light, and it opened with a statistic that likely would have shocked the American public:
“About 20% of all battle casualties in the American Army during World War II were of a neuropsychiatric nature.”
This statistic is followed by a brief explanation of the film’s intended purpose:
“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 soldiers.
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 them,
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 utter isolation.
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 stutter.

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.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

US Foreign Policy Has No Policy - PHILIP GIRALDI - Why can't we just leave everyone alone?

President 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.

Lord 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.”

Trump’s 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 House.

The part 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, which reads:

“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.’”

Almost 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.

The 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 his side.

The 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.

Afghanistan 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 intervention.

All of 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 justification.”

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.

Will 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 bully.

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, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

What Is Saudi Arabia to Us? – By Angelo Codevilla

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?
Moreover, 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?
What 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.
Saudi 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.
The 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.
As 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.
Religion? 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.
Saudi 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.
In 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.
Saudi 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.
But 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 suicide bombers.
Today, 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.
The 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.
Nor 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.
In short, we owe them nothing.
Our relationship with Saudi Arabia should flow from our own needs—not theirs—based on the realities of the region.
Were 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.
We have some concurrent interests. Only some. And for our own different reasons. And the concurrence is conditional.
There 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.
Above 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.