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17 April 2014

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Robert Kenneth Chatel

Thank you for this, Brigadier FB Ali. It provides some of the background I have wanted to try to dredge up from my reading over the past many years, especially the claim in regard to "creat[ing]our own reality" among those who signed on to the PNAC and have attempted to shape the world into their vision over the past two generations plus of my life. (I was born in 1949.)

William R. Cumming

FB Ali! Thanks for this excellent post. If the USA had indeed constructed its FP over the last two and one/half decades as this post credits it it would be more accurate IMO.

But what I actually see in American FP in that time is great carelessness and ignorance. That has resulted in the fastest dissipation of soft and hard power in world history except when a Great Power suffered actual military defeat.

The ignorance of a ruling class in the USA since Eisenhower when more time has past will reveal a country largely led by men [and some women] who were totally self-deceptive of themselves and place in history.

IN MANY MANY WAYS THE USA IS THE ACCIDENTAL GREAT POWER OF ALL TIME BUT FEW UNDERSTAND THE UNDERPINNINGS OF THAT ACCIDENT!

I believe that Putin has both the time and patience to almost totally reveal and destroy the shadow of American power and he is not the only person capable of that accomplishment! Merkel, e.g., listens to the bleats of American power and then skillfully works around it.

Will

it's fake- haha. but "grotesque" Kerry and Nuland determined to get mileage out of it
"Flier calling on Donetsk Jews to register now widely seen as fake Ukrainian city's separatist leader, whose alleged signature is on document, says he never signed it; ADL 'skeptical of fliers' authenticity.'"
http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.586174
Haaretz is the Israeli newspaper of record.

readerOfTeaLeaves

All,
FWIW, the nakedcapitalism.com blog has an interview with US economist Michael Hudson that raises red flags about the information that Americans have [not] received regarding the events in Ukraine.
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/ukraine-obama-channeling-cheney.html

The Guardian is now reporting diplomatic progress (since Hudson's interview), but Hudson's remarks are still relevant. In a fairly short period, the Guardian article had 1521 comments, and counting.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/17/ukraine-crisis-agreement-us-russia-eu

Assuming that even half of what Hudson relates is accurate, it's a reasonable guess that the US dollar will not be the reserve currency much longer. That, at least, would be a manageable problem.

Thanks to SST and FB Ali for an informative, nuanced explanation of what might be driving Putin's views on recent events.
Much appreciated.

Dubhaltach

Note to William R. Cumming:

That has resulted in the fastest dissipation of soft and hard power in world history except when a Great Power suffered actual military defeat.

Emphasis added by me. Being forced to run away from a country you've illegally invaded on the basis of a pack of lies comes under the heading of "actual military defeat". This was the country that Paul Bremer expected to be so similar to a colony that there was no effective difference. He openly boasted about his plans for Iraq to a group of Cincinnati businessmen as this report from the Cincinnati Business Courier of Feb 25, 2003 makes plain:

"We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost," Bremer said

Full report here: Homeland security adviser speaks to local business leaders - Cincinnati Business Courier

Instead of a colony ("almost") what America got was a defeat. Having your forces ground down, your economy ground down, the last shreds of your credibility ground down, and being unable to get any of the puppet governments you installed to sign your Status of Forces Agreement, counts as a defeat. Having to withdraw your forces when you didn't want to withdraw them is a defeat.

William Herschel

Korea is a divided country. Vietnam is Communist. Afghanistan is a corrupt murderous frontier that supplies the great part of the world's heroin. Iraq is a dangerous anarchy. Libya is a dangerous anarchy. Syria is in a cataclysmic civil war. Egypt is an economic basket case. Ukraine is an economic basket case.

The United States is like the resident who was attempting to assist a senior surgeon in the operating room. At last, the surgeon turned to him and said, "Son, if you're ever in the woods and you see me rasslin' a bear, help the bear."

Anna-Marina

The events in Ukraine from the Russian perspective. What time we live in when a former KGB colonel makes more sense than the supposedly democratic US State Dept.?
http://en.ria.ru/politics/20140417/189252781/Putins-QA-Session-2014-Crimea-Ukraine-Gas-Foreign-Policy-and.html

Stephen Cohen's addressing Obama's lying is plain frightening. At least with baby Bush there was a hope that the grave mistakes were the result of stupidity and ignorance. Not anymore. We face the predatory policy of grabbing other people' natural resources for the benefit of the faceless financial-military-corporate complex, human decency and lives be damned.
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/17/we_are_not_beginning_a_new

steve

William R. Cumming:

At some point, I have to ponder whether US foreign policy is truly based on "carelessness and ignorance", or rather the chaos that ensues is actually a goal, benefiting someone?

Of course, it's always a good bet that "carelessness and ignorance" is the beginning and end of the matter, and no need to delve further.

steve

Anna-Marina:

Thanks for the link to the Stephen Cohen.

Of note is one thing he said regarding Obama's statements on Ukraine yesterday in a CBS interview:

"You left out one thing that he said which I consider to be unwise and possibly reckless. He went on to say that Russia wouldn’t go to war with us because our conventional weapons are superior.

That is an exceedingly provocative thing to say. And he seems to be unaware, President Obama, that Russian military doctrine says that when confronted by overwhelming conventional forces, we can use nuclear weapons. They mean tactical nuclear weapons.

I don’t think any informed president, his handlers, would have permitted him to make such a statement. In fact, depending on how far you want to take this conversation about the Obama administration, I don’t recall in my lifetime, in confrontations with Russia, an administration—I speak now of the president and his secretary of state—who seem in their public statements to be so misinformed, even uninformed, both about Ukraine and Russia."

William R. Cumming

Agree! And arguably any military outcome should not be labeled victory or defeat until a decade has passed from the end of hostilities.

THERE IS NO DOUBT IMO THAT US INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ SHOULD BE LABELED IN DEFEAT COLUMN!

Bandolero

FB Ali

Thank you for this post remembering Putin's 2007 Munich speech. For those who don't remember that important speech, here is the full text in English:

http://archive.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2007/02/10/0138_type82912type82914type82917type84779_118123.shtml

I would summarize this speech with two central quotes. Relatively at the beginning of the speech Putin said:

"One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this?"

And at the end of his speech he said:

"... we would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all."

What is inbetween these two qoutes I would call details, laid out by Putin very frank and blunt.

FB Ali, what I tend to disagree with you is this your half sentence:

"Putin’s outburst in Munich in 2007" ... seems to have shocked many in the West."

As I understand later references from the Russian leadership to Putin's 2007 speech in Munich, the Russian leadership felt shocked that there was - what they perceived so - almost no reaction in the West regarding Putin's 2007 speech in Munich. The Russian leadership felt the US was continue with the strongly unilateral behaviour in world affairs Putin which Putin criticised so bluntly.

What is happening now in Russia, take the multi billion Dollar measure to upgrade the Russian army as a prime example, is in my opinion a result of this Russian feeling.

FB Ali

That was a quote from the Murphy article, not my formulation.

I would tend to agree with you that the West, and especially the US, seems to have paid no attention to either Putin's 2007 speech or any of his subsequent ones. That may well be because they know that their own speeches are all window dressing and PR, and believe all speeches by leaders everywhere are of the same kind.

Another sign of a significant IQ deficiency.

William Herschel

This goes directly to my fundamental attitude toward this "crisis": what the hell is going on?

I don't believe in conspiracies. I don't believe that some secret society is running the earth. But when I see (because I went to the CBS site and watched Obama say this... sporting his American flag lapel pin) Obama say such a thing, I get the same feeling I have gotten full blast when I read Higgins and Kristof in the Times: there is a force at work that is experiencing an hysterical fit of rage against Putin, a force that can control the entire Western media and governments. And I don't think anyone can offer an alternative explanation. I very much wish they could. I hope I'm nuts.

Charles

PL has drilled into us that theres a lot of stupidity, ignorance and ego at play and that massive secret world driving conspiracies are not our forte notwithstanding our penchant for them..

On the other hand, per cui bono, one could note that the cost of foreign chaos and kinetic FP is always booked immediately, usually to the public accounts, and increasingly paid to the private sector.

VietnamVet

Anna-Marina. Thanks.

Professor Cohen makes sense. I saw him on Weekend NewsHour at the beginning of the crisis. I haven’t seen him since until this internet clip. Corporate Media and PBS have gone into full war propaganda mode.

Why are our leaders telling us lies? Why are they avoiding discussion of the consequences of the outbreak of war between nuclear powers? Is the end game destabilization of Russia and China?

One conclusion is that this is due to uninformed President and Secretary of State who don’t know what they are doing. Another possibility is that the 0.01% Deep State has seized control of the government and the benefits to them of being able to exploit the whole world without rules or regulations outweighs any possible risks from killing all the inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere.

If the Geneva settlement for Ukraine collapses, blame the Deep State.

Anna-Marina

Unfortunately, your intuition could be true. The same rage, unreasonable like a child's tantrum, was demonstrated against Snowden.
Sokurov, a Russian creator of movies about Lenin and Stalin said these two "Leaders" were not born as some special sadists and murderers but that they were allowed by the system to do what they wanted to do.
Today, the greatest enemy to humanity is unaccountability of the high-level administrators, hence the environmental catastrophes and the predatory wars for other people's mineral resources.
The unaccountability of the top decision-makers was the birthmark of the authoritarian Soviet system; the same terrible disease has been destroying the United States. Note that only those who expose the betrayal of the US Constitution have been punished.
The buyers of the US government have lost their sanity and their actions can only lead to societal demise, along with making the planet uninhabitable.

William R. Cumming

Agree!

William R. Cumming

Agree!

fanto

VV "Is the end game destabilization of Russia and China? "
I begin to suspect that it is a game between China and USA to destabilize Russia; the US is supposed to do the dirty work for China, so China can have more leeway in the Far East of Siberia, and the american bonds - otherwise cheap paper - is the currency we will pay for the budget deficits and our living beyond our means and for our military industrial complex.

VietnamVet

fanto,

I am not so sure, not yet. The only reason to pivot towards Asia is China.

As one who lived in S.E. Asia, the most chauvinistic people I’ve met are Chinese. If China ends up ruling the world it will be because they bought it. Perhaps the next generations of Americans will kowtow to China but I think we’d rather downsize to a North American regional power; after all, everyone is chauvinistic to a degree.


William R. Cumming

Steve! Have you heard the term "the Deep State"?

William R. Cumming

Very interesting comment!

Bandolero

All

I just read in the Washington Post a couple of interesting sentence:

"Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday. ... The strongest impetus, he said, is not even Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, but President Vladimir Putin’s bald lies about Russian actions there and his exposition of a new doctrine allowing Russia to intervene in any country where Russian-speaking populations are, in Russia’s judgment, under threat. This poses a potential danger to the Baltic nations, which are members of NATO, and even more to Moldova, Belarus and central Asian nations that are not, he said."

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/04/18/u-s-ground-troops-going-to-poland-defense-minister-says//?print=1

As I read this it sounds like that the Polish DM thinks NATO is doing a military build-up on it's eastern borders to defend, among others, Belarus against the Russian military. As both, Belarus and Russia, are members of the CSTO, I would find that quite odd, to say the least.

steve

"Note that only those who expose the betrayal of the US Constitution have been punished."

I graduated from law school in the 70s. If anyone--rightwing or leftwing, student or professor--had claimed that the US president could unilaterally intercept all electronic communications without a warrant or could order the killing of a US citizen without due process, that person would have been hooted out of the classroom.

I have no idea how con law is taught now, nor any idea what the constitution as interpreted means anymore.

steve

Regarding Obama's statement, does he really think that the US military has the present capability to engage in a conventional land war with Russia in Ukraine, regardless of the assumed "superiority" of our weapons?

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