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02 April 2015

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BabelFish

'Bombing John' Bolton is also in the daily US Naval Institute daily news feed.

http://news.usni.org/2015/04/01/former-u-n-ambassador-bolton-sanctions-wont-stop-iranian-nuclear-program?utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=bc41cfa26b-USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dd4a1450b-bc41cfa26b-230407953&mc_cid=bc41cfa26b&mc_eid=92be829f50

Ryan

CP,

But according to the doctrine of "American exceptionalism" when we do it it is for the greater good. The US only engages in acts of war only for altruistic reasons and never for a geopolitical or financial advantage.

Seriously, I take your points. It has been a mantra for as long as I can remember that only a wartime president can be a great president. Reagan would be the exception here, Grenada notwithstanding.

The examples you provided are guilty of what they accuse others of, an aggressive pursuit of warfare as a means to accomplish some strategic objective. The only difference between what they advocate and push in congress and the Germans is the Germans did have some legitimate complaints. If the US finds itself in a war with Iran I hope one day an outraged public might not only hold these criminals to account for this, but all the other criminals going back to Serbia. If these same people are going to holler about the Nazis, Hitler and Munich they should be held to the same standards. I would take it a step further. Their scibblers in the media who are spreading lies like Bill Kristol deserve the same fate as Julius Streicher who was sidelined throughout WWII. The allies hanged him.

The go back to the beginning of your piece I see the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Interesting to note that the president at that time was Calvin Coolidge, who in my opinion was the best president of the 20th Century. I miss someone like "Silent Cal".
========

Now, let me ask you or anyone else this question, please?

How much truth is to this claim that Assad was building a nuclear reactor in eastern Syria? No evidence other than a couple of grainy photos have been provided and I don't trust the people making this claim.

I've always figured that what was going on out there had something to do with chemical weapons, maybe an upgrade for the older Scuds to carry them.

oofda

Virtually all of the U.S. politicians calling for war with Iran are Republicans- they give no thought to the costs of such a war, both human and in dollars and material. They simply talk about bombing, with absolutely no consideration of what the Iranians would do in return. A war with Iran would make the Iraq war seem like a cakewalk. Plus, if the U.S. instigated such a war, we would not have the assistance of countries that worked with us in the Iraq war(s). Iran is larger and more populous than Iraq- and we would have significant logistical problems. And how would we pay for such a war- taxes would have to be raised- unlike in Afghanistan and Iraq. Keep in mind that such a war would be conducted for the 'benefit' of Israel -but if we bombed Iran, Israel would receive a devastating attack. These pols give no thought of what such a war would do to the United States, nor Israel, which seems to be more important to them.

Babak Makkinejad

CP:

Agree that they are nuts.

But the defeating silence from European Law-and-Order Union is also noteworthy.

William R. Cumming

IMO the Iranian military and nuclear effort is largely underground [built by German contractors] and largely immune to US or Israeli air strikes.

turcopolier

CP

Seems to me that Jefferson was a great president. What was his war, the Barbary Pirates? pl

confusedponderer

He'd be the exception then.

I used the phrase tongue in cheek since it appears to reflect conventional wisdom. In saying that I lean on Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.:

"Of national crises, war is the most fateful, and all the top ten save Jefferson were involved in war either before or during their presidencies. As Robert Higgs has noted, five (Polk, Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Truman) were commanders-in-chief when the republic was at war, and four more (Washington, Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Eisenhower) made pre-presidential reputations on the battlefield..."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/choice2004/leadership/schlesinger.html

Matthew

CP: Have you considered the domestic angle? In the United States, it is very difficult to change anything. We have settled customs and beliefs and powerful domestic lobbies. Consequently, our politicians, neutered domestically, try to project power internationally. Add to this the effect of drones, bombing countries without effective airforces, etc., and this call to arms carries little direct cost to our politicians.

Finally, never underestimate how much power the defense industry has in the United States.

Without war, what is a President's legacy? Filling in potholes? Improving warning labels on product packaging?

Did any politician get a statue for doing that?

William R. Cumming

Have any Presidents donned a uniform in their role as CINC? Explanations?

ex-PFC Chuck

WRC:
To my knowledge no president has ever donned a uniform while in office and serving as CINC. In view of the USA's tradition of military deference to civilian authority (that's not to say more than one president has on occasion felt constrained by subtle and not so subtle pressure therefrom) I think (hope?) that if a president ever did so s/he would face very damaging backlash.

shepherd

WRC,

Though Washington is often depicted in full dress uniform leading troops in the Whiskey Rebellion, he actually set the opposite example and custom, always wearing civilian clothes while in office.

sleepy

oofda:

"Virtually all of the U.S. politicians calling for war with Iran are Republicans"

Hillary, Obama, and Ashton Carter have advocated the use or threat of force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Imho, those views are prohibited under Kellogg-Briand as discussed above and constitute waging war for strategic purposes, every bit as much as the positions of John Bolton and John McCain.

robt willmann

confusedponderer,

Why did Germany join in the illegal war against Serbia / Yugoslavia, a stunt pulled off by Bill and Hillary Clinton without even trying to get a fraudulent authorization to use force from the U.S. Congress. Predictably, the "World's Largest Crime Scene" -- as the propaganda said Serbia murdered thousands in Kosovo -- turned out to be the Big Lie, and the FBI packed up and went home. Was Kosovo a member of NATO?

LeaNder

cp, you leave out the Iraq war as precedence. So it feels to me this a bit of distraction.

I am no expert on matters but aren't we seeing at least in a limited sense a repetition of activities towards Iraq. Sanctions, as a result multitude of innocent victims, distrust (suspected cia operators ...), the claim of failed controls with at lease one prominent dissenter, and then a war, supposedly against Islamist terrorism.

Ideologically speaking: "drying out money sources", or state sponsors of terrorism. Never mind allegations or rumors against Iraq over the centuries in this context. I don't remember they were prominent in the discourse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Blix#CIA_investigation

Fact is, ironically enough, the possession of atomic weapons seems to be the best self-defense. Of course we are not allowed to talk about that.

Valissa

Matthew, so true! The fact that US presidents have much more power in dealing with international issues than in domestics ones is something that George Friedman of STRATFOR often mentions. This is due to the way the presidents powers are delineated in the constitution as well as the nature of the bureaucracies involved.

On top of all this, the US is the planetary hegemon (aka Pax Americana) and wants to stay #1. Most US citizens also want their country to be #1, and I think most people don't want to think about what it takes to stay #1. Certainly whenever I try and tell anyone I know about the ugly underside of American hegemony, they either don't want to hear about it OR they go on and on with diatribes against the other political party (because it's always the fault of "the other"). It is human nature for one to think of their own "tribe" (nation, culture, religion, political party, etc) as the best and most honorable, regardless of the actual truth of matters.

I think the best one can hope for is to push back against the worst excesses through targeting specific policy areas for improvement and through educating at least some of the public about other options (such as pl does on this blog). General complaints about the US as an "evil warmongering empire" are pretty useless.

Babak Makkinejad

That is all fine by why does El Paise publish the same garbage?

Babak Makkinejad

Good, so now you are learning to admit that you are living under the nuclear security blanket of US and are enjoying all its benefits.

All the while telling other people how to live secure lives...

dilbert dogbert

Please someone remind me of the folks who were actively supporting bombing Pakistan's and India's nuke facilities. If we were not being hysterical about them why are we hysterical about Iran? The World Wonders.

dilbert dogbert

Ironically enough the possession of atomic weapons seems to make the possessor a target.

confusedponderer

Leander,
the focus is on Iran because this can still be averted if sanity prevails.

The earlier manifestations of the exceptional affliction have already happened with all their detrimental side effects.

But they are not forgotten. Kosovo, Iraq and Libya were all wars of aggression. Neither the NATO mandate, nor the weasel wording about serious consequences nor the 'no fly zone' was a mandate to start bombing/invading either country.

confusedponderer

robt willmann,
in autumn 1998 Schröder's center-left coalition made the decision to join the Kosovo war. They were newbies then, who had just entered into office. I recall that Fisher wrote that the US left him something like 15, 30 minutes to deliberate whether it was yes or no. The pressure was intense.

Ther decision was the turning point in German foreign policy.

Before that German policy made a distinction between peacekeeping (blue helmet stuff) and peacemaking (armed intervention). Germany was in that sense non-internventionist before that point.

Schröder, so to speak, 'normalised' Germany‘s military role in geopolitics to the standards of the peer powers UK and France. It was, in a sense, the 'coming of age' of the 68er crowd, at Serbia's expense: With bombing Kosovo Germany became 'a normal country again'.

The staunchly pacifist Greens in Schröder's coalition were opposed to that, and the resulting discontent almost broke the coalition. Schröder succeeded to push through a positive vote for German intervention in Kosovo. Schröder considered to be "really a social breakthrough" (lefties being for war, too!) represented by both the Red-Green active collaboration and by the approval for German military intervention, for humanitarian reasons.

I recall vividly the SPD secretary of defence Sharping getting caught lying on TV, showing year old aerial photography from Bosnia as 'evidence' for Operation Horseshoe. The man is in my memory forver tarred by that.

Well, though Operation Horseschoe was a fraud, it didn't matter because Kosovo was already independent when it came out and the mass graves, much like WMD some years later, proved to be elusive.

I never bought in to the NATO mandate for Kosovo war (not that it matterd) on legal grounds:

I didn't see, and still don't, how a NATO mandate could replace a UN mandate. There was nothing in international law to suggest that. Thus, Kosovo set a destabilising precedent.

The Kosovo war was possible only because one of the UNSC powers was the driving force in this, and ensured that there would be no UNSC sanctions or resolutions against it. It was 'might makes right'.

Babak Makkinejad

EU was helping US make Europe safe for democracy.

What we have in Bosnia is a ward of NATO and in Kosovo a ward of EU.

Both wards are corrupt and criminal but admitting to the reality and futility of it all would be impossible.

Babak Makkinejad

The sanity did not prevail in 1980 when Iraq invaded Iran.

Nor when Iraq was using poison gas against Iraqi Kurds and Iranian soldiers.


May be that was when UN died.

Babak Makkinejad

It might be a religious thing....

confusedponderer

Well, it appears an agreemnent has been reached between the US and Iran.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/2/iran-us-allies-strike-agreement-nuclear-deal/

Let's keep our fingers crossed. If the US cease and desist from sabotage, it may just work. We will see.

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