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13 July 2010


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clifford kiracofe

"to take back control of their destiny"

I do not expect this in what remains of my lifetime.

Prof. Hobson long ago described the condition of Imperial Britain in which a cosmopolitan elite gained state power and used the machinery of the state for its own interests. This was/is an arrangement into which certain of the older families were drawn by marriage, financial inducements, and other methods.

As one analytic approach, we might also consider Pareto's classic "circulation of elites" concept and modify it to reflect present circumstances. Thus, we might observe the movement of a "predatory elite" into positions of power in the US over the past century and, in so doing, displacing and coopting a faction of the remaining "traditional elte."

War is a profitable business for those commercial and financial interests servicing the war as predatory elites know well. Some elements of the the remaining traditional elite can be coopted into a pro-war stance out of pecuniary interest. There are always the Alcibiades type of military "leaders" to be found, particularly in a corrupted society where virtue is not a "social value." Loyalty to the state does not exist in rootless and predatory elements in their fully realized cosmopolitan perspective, does it?

Profit is the thing, avarice is the driver, corruption is the method.

Certain elites know quite well the British imperial and colonial experience. But the empire was profitable indeed to some, was it not? Thus others bleed not those insiders profiting handsomely from the hubris and naivete of those doing their bidding.

As I have remarked before, Bin Laden, etal. can really start their retirement planning as it appears the US has been lured into their trap for some years to come and is bleeding at quite a good clip these days.

"War without end, Amen" [irony, no disrespect to the Liturgy intended]


From "the trinket-laden general," who wages war by "magical" means, to its supremely depressing but perceptive "war without end" finale, this piece perfectly sums up the tragedy of current "bi-partisan" American foreign policy.


Afghanistan will cost less in 2010 than the mortgage interest deduction. Now, the mortgage interest deduction is abysmal public policy under which the working class and homeowners in moderately priced areas subsidize debt for the wealthy and in high-priced areas. But it's not going to bleed the country dry.

DoD overall, of course, already rounds up to $1T, and that's real money. To the extent this war contributes to that misallocation of capital, you're right. However, that story dates back before Ike. In it, Bin Laden and Afghanistan are shiny baubles.

It's the men behind the curtain on whom I focus.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Professor Kiracofe,

I would say that the Empire and colonial experience were profitable to the British as a whole. Colonialism, combined with industrialization, produced a vast increase in wealth , employment, and growth of the middle class between the accession of Queen Victoria and the Edwardians. The huge toe-stub of The Great War ended all that. Perhaps the Boer War was the beginning of the end.

I agree with FB Ali's underlying theme, that miltarization constitutes a drain (overhead) on the economy of a nation. As you both point out, this benefits some to the detriment of the nation as a whole. The whole GWOT/Long War could and should have been largely waged against al quaeda by police methods. One can only conclude that we must get rid of this huge security apparatus. It is driving the train ever deeper into FB Ali's metaphorical tunnel.


Clifford Kiracofe

"the new global crises"

Brig. Ali, yes, and this would lead to the issue of analyzing how predatory elites will move through this to their own profit.

The present and coming financial-economic storm is not easily halted and will no doubt deepen.

Thus we could expect some elites to prepare by moving out of notional financial instruments (abstractions like "derivatives" and other paper) into hard tanglible assets so as to weather the storm.

An analysis of present trends of ownership in the global mining sector and other natural resource sectors, water, agricultural land and the like is warranted. One does here about recent Rothschild moves in the mining sector, for example.

Patrick Lang


Yes. Our military expense is foolishly high. It is is eating the country alive. pl

William R. Cumming

PL! Question when did the paradigm partisanship should stop at the waters edge become obsolete in your opinion? Or did it ever end?

N M Salamon

You are correct that DoD and cohort is eating your country alive. The complex has rising share of discretory spending, while health, education, police work, welfare et al has a declining share. This is known as ECONOMIC SUICIDE a la USSR [do recall that after the fall Health care also collapsed in the NEW Russia]

The powers to be [Petreus et al] are completely ignorant that the LONG WAR NEEDS oil, whose set to decline this year - and if Iran War, world production will fall below demand [presuming only loss of IRan's output and no other damage].

Instead of LONG WAR the USA should emulate EU as described by the citation below:


Please note that it will take a lot of fossil fuel to create sustainable other energy sources, be their solar, geothermal, tide/wave, wind or nuclear. AND ALSO WILL TAKE LOTS OF TIME. Wasting rate-earth metals, alloy metals and oil waging the LONG WAR will deduct from that available for the necessary transition.

Good luck in tryiong to stop the train to the next war.

clifford kiracofe

1. wcw,

the estimate for Iraq/Afghanistan is by some estimates is in the 3 trillion range. not sure how you define "bauble."

also, would be most intereted in any tips/insights on your methodology for following the "men behind the curtain."

2. wfpiii,

A good history of British "expansion" is Williamson's "A Short History of British Expansion" which ably takes us through the 17th and 18th centuries of "mercantile empire" quite well.

After 1763 we get some changes owing to the 7 Years War and then in the 19th still further changes.

For the 19th century,
you might consider the British seizure of Egypt in 1882 (and then Sudan) to satisfy the cosmopolitan bondholders in the UK an France, Rothschilds at the front etc. A, of course, matters of imperial strategy came into the picture as well with rivalries with the French and others indicated. One does need Uganda and so on, for example, to cover your bases with respect to the Nile River Valley watershed and issues such as the White and Blue Nile not to mention Lake Victoria.

[by the way, why ARE the Israelis and Zionists so focused on Sudan? and so friendly with Ethiopia, Uganda and etc...]

Then..... we get to the Boer War which Prof. Hobson so ably analyzes in various works. Here we are looking at the cosmopolitan mining interests and their cosmopolitan financiers. These interests had their "Neoconish" journalists and professors and so on backing the resource grab...

3. President Clinton left office with a budget surplus projected. This was vitiated (on purpose?) by the powers behind little Bush, the "Xanax Cowboy."

Ike reduced the defense budget and got us out of the war Truman and the proto-Neocons got us into much to the chagrin of Sen. Bob Taft and the conservatives of that day.

4. A careful read of Samuel Huntington's old "The Soldier and the State" (1957) is useful as context for the debate today between those advocating the Garrison State (and associated Imperium-domestic and foreign) and those resisting it.

Saeed Malik.

Thank you for another very perceptive piece by Brig Ali.
It is my prediction that war in Afghanistan will,in the foreseeable future,be a lesser problem, when Pakistan erupts. The immediate cause of this eruption might well be an Israeli/U.S strike against Iran. With an army already overstretched, fighting its own people, and the U.S stock among Pakistanis being what it is, it should be easily imaginable what such a strike would do to an army which is about 25% Shia. This could well be the straw that breaks the camel's proverbial back.
But should a strike against Iran not materialize, and one prays that it does not,Pakistan cannot escape the effects of the ravages of its own government, and the plunder they are subjecting the country to. Military operations in Swat and South Waziristan could only give tactical victories to the state. They could only buy time for the government to put its house in order and give good governance to its people.That has not come about. If anything anarchy has only increased, and hopes fallen. The U.S policy makers and media, after having slept on the issue of Karzai's corruption have finally woken up. They correctly assert that this corruption has a direct and negative influence on any chances of success for NATO operations in Afghanistan. But there is total silence about what is going on in Pakistan where the bottom is falling out. Soon we are liable to be in the same situation as USSR when, not too long ago, while its nukes and armed forces were still intact, the state ceased to exist. This can easily be predicted about Pakistan. This being so evident, the U.S silence regarding the gnawing corruption which is eating away at the very entrails of Pakistan is not just puzzling, it is ominous. More and more people are coming to the conclusion that perhaps the implosion of the state of Pakistan is the real objective of the U.S There seems to be no other explanation for this silence, keeping in view the conseques that amy follow.
Saeed A. Malik


Ever since the end of that war, they had been seeking to initiate another such open-ended conflict.

During one of her visits here in Germany Condoleeza Rice did an interview with DER SPIEGEL magazine. I think it was in 2004. Were she said exactly what you do. I don't have the exact quote but it sticked out to me at the time so much, that I probably won't ever forget it.

After 1989, she told the German audience, everyone in the States was wondering, who would be our next enemy now. Then 9/11 happened, and everyone knew.

It somehow sounded gleeful, peculiarly pleased about the chances offered by 9/11.


clifford kiracofe asks:

"[by the way, why ARE the Israelis and Zionists so focused on Sudan? and so friendly with Ethiopia, Uganda and etc...]"

The answer is, in my view, water and the White Nile project:


Israel has always had ambitions in the Nile water to solve its severe water scarcity. Dr. Elisha Kally, head of the Long-Range Planning Group of TAHAL 1964-1976, the Israeli water planning agency, stated ‘The Nile is the preferred foreign source for supplying the Gaza Strip with water because of physical and political reasons’ (Kally 1991-92).
Dr. Elisha Kally published a study in 1974 in which he argued for the feasibility of Nile water going to Gaza. He has repeated his arguments in subsequent reports and in his books, The Struggle for Water (2nd edition, 1978) and Water in Peace (1989). His 1986 paper includes a map which shows the El-Salam Canal (El-Salam in Arabic means ‘peace’) beginning near the mouth of the Nile, crossing the Suez Canal (through an underground tunnel), heading east across the North Sinai desert past El Arish and reaching Gaza and the Israeli National Water Carrier. The ultimate goal of the Northern Sinai Agricultural Development Program (NSADP), according to Dr. Kally, is to exchange ‘Egyptian water to the Israeli Negev in return for the Sea of Galilee water to the West Bank.’ The major component comprises the diversion of one per cent of the Nile water eastward 'to the Gaza Strip, to Israel's Negev and, under certain conditions, to the West Bank and Jordan as well' (p.66). Kally argues that the project would also be facilitated by current 'Egyptian plans to transport water to the Sinai Desert and to construct irrigation projects there ... The joint Israel-Egyptian project under discussion could thus comprise an expansion and extension of the Egyptian enterprise' (p.67) (Osman 1997; Al-Kattan 1998).
Sudan's Bashir is "in the way" of that project ...



If you're saying that the implosion of Pakistan is the U.S. objective, then what is the U.S. 'purpose' of such an objective? How will chaos benefit U.S.? Who will then assume control/ownership of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal if an implosion were to take place? India, the U.S., Israel, Russia, China? In such a vaacum, somebody will step in to secure Pakistan's nuclear cache.

What form of society standards will the citizens of Pakistan then seek after an implosion?

FB Ali

Saeed Malik is right: the situation in Pakistan is precarious. I have written about this several times here.

He makes another important point, namely, that a US/Israeli strike on Iran could well cause Pakistan to erupt. I have not seen this mentioned in the usual commentaries as a likely consequence of this possible (but increasingly more likely) event.

As he asks, would those shaping US policy be quite happy to see Pakistan collapse? Except that it won't. It'll get taken over by (political) Islamists, as I have been warning for a long time.

Maybe the Long War proponents wouldn't mind this at all!

clifford kiracofe


most interesting, not aware of that water project.

it also occurs to me that the international Zionist complex wants to bring down Sudan for the additional reason that this then threatens Egypt itself...as Egypt depends of course on the waters from the Nile Basin. As we note from a glance at the map, Khartoum stands where the two Niles merge.

A very well informed Egyptian friend, who had been a senior advisor in government circles, once explained to me his assessment of Israel's Sudan/Nile Basin strategy against Egypt reaching back into the 1950s. Thus Israeli interest in Ethiopia, Uganda, and etc.

The British realized this strategic connection back in the 19th century which led them on to their "Anglo-Egyptian Sudan" project to which their East African projects in Kenya, Uganda etc. were linked.

American military advisors to the Khedive (veterans of our Civil War/WBS both Yankee and Southern) realized all this before the British were able to remove the Khedive and seize Egypt.

In fact, one American general in the advisory group led by General Stone (West Point) was a pioneer explorer of the upper Nile area and on into the Sudan. I have reviewed General Colston's papers in this regard. I would note also that other American's in this advisory group were able to recon areas in the Lake Victoria region.

When the campaign against Sudan started, I immediately noticed that an entire phalanx of pro-Israel organizations were networked into the anti-Sudan lobby. For example:

Of course the Israeli strategic objective against Egypt in Sudan overlaps nicely with the strategic objectives of those who see themselves denying China access to African resources including the oil of Sudan and the Chinese concession which happens to run across and under part of Darfur. Small world, yes?

Somewhere gathering dust around my office is an old Brit colonial report on the management of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Indirect rule, run things through the local village elders and regional leaders, and so on...


Rice said about the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon: '"What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing -- the birth pangs of a new Middle East.', which was then ably savaged by Aasiv Mandvi on the Daily Show.

Mr. Langs asked the pertinent question:

I appeal to them to correct my ignorance and inform us of the specific advantage that the United States receives as a benefit of its alliance with Israel.

We have the advantage of their genius in advanced technologies? Their COIN experts instruct our people? They are holding the Arabs at bay? Tell me what the benefit is.
... I asked that some learned person among the contributors should tell us what material advantage the United States derives from the US/Israeli alliance. So far, there have been no replies to that request. Why is that? Is it an unworthy question?

I stumbled about a Krauthammer article on the 2006 Lebanon war, and I think in light of the question it is worth revisiting. Krauthammer wrote on August 4, 2006:
Israel's war with Hezbollah is a war to secure its northern border, to defeat a terrorist militia bent on Israel's destruction, to restore Israeli deterrence in the age of the missile.
Unlike many of the other terrorist groups in the Middle East, Hezbollah is a serious enemy of the United States. In 1983 it massacred 241 American servicemen. Except for al-Qaeda, it has killed more Americans than any other terror organization.

More important, it is today the leading edge of an aggressive, nuclear-hungry Iran.
America finds itself at war with radical Islam, a two-churched monster: Sunni al-Qaeda is now being challenged by Shiite Iran for primacy in its epic confrontation with the infidel West. With al-Qaeda in decline, Iran is on the march.
Hence Israel's rare opportunity to demonstrate what it can do for its great American patron. The defeat of Hezbollah would be a huge loss for Iran, both psychologically and strategically. Iran would lose its foothold in Lebanon. It would lose its major means to destabilize and inject itself into the heart of the Middle East. It would be shown to have vastly overreached in trying to establish itself as the regional superpower.

A war against Hezbollah today could serve the purpose of producing an answer to Mr. Langs question from a zio-con point of view. Krauthammer in 2006 formulated that quite clearly.


Hear, hear. Well Written.

The point for the citizens of the United States is the current federal government deficit is based on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush-era tax cuts and the economic downturn.

The Deficit Hawks that push raising the retirement age to 70 are actually mouthpieces for the War Lovers and the Wealthy who are stealing America’s pensions, wealth and even our lives from us. Putting the unemployed to work, taxing the wealthy and ending the wars are the solutions to America’s ills.


Major article on Afghanistan in New Statesman - we are losing. Worse than I expected.



From The New Statesman:

"Now as then, the problem is not hatred of the west, so much as a dislike of foreign troops swaggering around and making themselves odious to the very people they are meant to be helping. On the return journey, as we crawled back up the passes towards Kabul, we got stuck behind a US military convoy of eight Humvees and two armoured personnel carriers in full camouflage, all travelling at less than 20 miles per hour. Despite the slow speed, the troops refused to let any Afghan drivers overtake them, for fear of suicide bombers, and they fired warning shots at any who attempted to do so. By the time we reached the top of the pass two hours later, there were 300 cars and trucks backed up behind the convoy, each one full of Afghans furious at being ordered around in their own country by a group of foreigners. Every day, small incidents of arrogance and insensitivity such as this make the anger grow."

Sidney O. Smith III

William Dalrymple wrote the New Statesman article. He also has authored, among many works, From the Holy Mountain as well as the Age of Kali.

My point: His insights are worth a look.


clifford kiracofe


Thanks for the heads up on the well written New Statesman piece.

As I have noted in the past, we do have serious historians and specialists in such matters here. In my visits to India over the past several years, I have heard quite a lot about all this from my military, diplomatic, and academic friends there. I must say they do express some wonderment at the stupidity of the political class of the US.

Our problem is that the political elites have no interest in hearing from authentic experts such as the gentleman who wrote this article. Still less do the political elites have any interest whatsoever in history foreign or our own.

Both those Afghan wars the writer cites were not unknown in the US during their day.

Our political elites have a globalist agenda and have a "foreign policy" (if one can call it that) which they are intent on implementing. It is an exercise in magical thinking with results easily predicted.

Those of us who spoke out publicly and wrote against the Iraq War in 2002 -- not to mention warning about problems with Afghan invasions -- did what we could but to absolutely no avail. My circle of friends and former colleagues knew the war was underway and that it had been considered favorably by the Bush inner circle (nicknamed the "Vulcan Group") while he was still in the candidate phase, well before his election in November 2000. Condi, the recording secretary of the Vulcans one can say, hinted at it in her January 2000 Foreign Affairs piece.

And now for the Iran War which, again, we hope does not come but...

Afghanistan? As Col. Lang has pointed out, some folks have a notion we will be there a long time for the Long War of the COINISTAS and other delusional types of which there are plenty "inside the Beltway" and on The Hill not to mention the Pentagon and White House.

Patrick Lang


Unfortunately, his family and the Campbells ran mine out of Scotland. pl


Yet another incisive (and sadly, therefore, depressing) piece, Furrukh. Would that it were otherwise but I think you've pretty much nailed it.

Whether the war's proponents in the US are profoundly cynical and self-interested, or whether they've bought their own pitch, the end result is likely to be much the same. I guess it's a mixture of the two.

Thanks, Walrus. Vignettes like this make the local dynamics so very real.

Sidney O. Smith III

Col. Lang

Just out of curiosity and if don't mind my asking, why would the Dalrymples and the Campbells want to “run your family out of Scotland”?

Doesn‘t Dalrymple come from a line of Catholics? Maybe his Catholicism comes down his mother’s side. I know he mentioned his Catholicism in his book the Holy Mountain but I cannot recall the specific details. I was too busy trying to keep up with his references to the Greek Orthodox Church as well as all those architectural terms. But what a book…

And it is interesting to note, at least to me, that his literary journey started when he took a vial of holy oil from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (this was the beginning of his book In Xanadu, which I have not read). Now that’s Catholic. Actually that Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian and I do like how the Greek Orthodox refer to the Holy Sepulchre as the Church of the Resurrection. They seem to know how to accentuate the positive, life over death and so on.

I assume Ireland was the destination for your family after leaving Scotland? I probably lean more towards the Irish than the Scottish, although it’s a very close call, yet another cognitive dissonance. I have not yet studied my Scottish lineage in detail although I did get half drunk at a Burns night in Atlanta a few years ago. I have no idea why I went, really not my scene. But a good time was had by all.

Patrick Lang


The Dalrymples and the Campbells were enemies of the Clan Donald in the 17th century. "Lang," in my family, is a sept of MacDonald.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is called "kaneesat al-qiyaama" (Church of the Resurrection) in Arabic as well. pl

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