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07 June 2015


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I am not so sure it will be the US that makes a mistake and creating a dangerous situation. The Bear is getting rather frisky in the Baltic Sea now, which may result in both Finland and Sweden joining NATO. There are such discussions and debates going on right now. All driven by Russian actions.

Russia has created a trade zone of their own. Maybe EU should talk directly to them and propose agreements? Ukraina (The Edge) is a borderland and thus an area of contention. The area between France and Germany was also for quite some time and was fought over, over and over. Until it stopped.

The largest assets the US have are financial regulations and the US Navy protecting sea lanes. There can be some picking and choosing in both areas.


I am in total agreement with Col. Lang's warnings about an incident in the Levant/Mediterranean region. While Kiev holds the potential to be a new Sarajevo, the complex alliances and double-crossing in the Levant, the evolving Sunni versus Shia conflict, stoked by the new Triple Entente of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, is a further factor of irrationality. The United States is still laying claim to a "Grand Coalition of the Willing" to fight Islamic State advances in Syria and Iraq, but in reality, the GCC states are backing jihadists from the Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) and the Saudi's latest creation, the Army of Conquest. Our allies are backing our declared most dangerous enemies, and choose instead to focus on war with Iran and Syria and Iran's surrogates, including Hezbollah and the Shia militias in Iraq. It is all madness, and reflects the kind of flight-forward irrationality that was behind the Japanese action against Pearl Harbor. The final piece of this insane landscape fell in place when Israel and Saudi Arabia chose to announce their engagement last week--because of their common enemy Iran.

Russia has strong vested interests in this Levant situation, and is engaged in another complex and unsatisfactory relationship with the United States. President Obama and Chancellor Merkel snubbed Putin by not inviting him to the G-7 summit, which was a serious missed opportunity to deescalate the crisis. That one sane move--inviting Putin--could have been a benefit in reducing the tensions in both the Eastern European front and in the Levant.

The hardline anti-Russia radicals in Ukraine, like the Right Sector, are aligned with the Chechen Sunni jihadists, so it is not even easy any longer to fully separate out the Eastern Europe dangers from the Levant dangers. All adds to the increasing prospect of a miscalculation into general war.

ex-PFC Chuck

Erdogan's AKP lost its majority in the Turkish parliament.


"imagined proofs of masculinity" will go into immediate rotation. Brilliant. The machismo is most prevalent in those who have risked the least.


In the larger sense a positive development, but I am afraid perhaps destabilizing in the short term?

Kim Sky

thank you very much for taking on this journalist journey!!!!




If one takes Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld's view on world peace. It's the nukes.

Germany would lose a conflict with France everytime due to the lack of nuclear weapons. And with nukes Germany would also lose but they would take France with them in the grave.


"The factors that have brought along the long peace have been hotly debated. Personally I believe that ninety percent or more or the credit belongs to nuclear weapons and the fear they inspire. To be sure, the weapons in question could not prevent all forms of war. There have been plenty of those, and quite a few are ongoing even at this moment. They did, however, prevent its most important and most deadly forms, namely those waged by important states against each other."


"President Obama and Chancellor Merkel snubbed Putin by not inviting him to the G-7 summit, which was a serious missed opportunity to deescalate the crisis."

I still remember when he had to sit on his own like a naughty little boy. I deeply dislike these group dynamics. Was that Brisbane. I forget.

For now they seem to have decided that G-7 represents values, Western values. Well, the WOT was meant to spread that in the ME at the point of a gun.


Modern Diplomacy: The Art of Only Talking to Your Friends. See http://rt.com/op-edge/265651-g7-russia-putin-fear/


"the Marxist notion of war as a conspiracy to seize and exploit resources "

I don't think that is a Marxist notion. It is just a description of colonial wars. Indeed such (expensive) wars were justified with the argument that the conquered riches would be a win for the homeland.

A real Marxist notion is that wars are inevitable in capitalism when the point of overproduction is reached. We are globally at that point. The economy is slowing everywhere. There is a huge overcapacity in various fields of production. There are two solution to this problem. Conquer new markets or destroy production capacity. There are no major new markets to conquer. Massive destruction of production capacity requires a big war.

Indeed World War I and II can be seen as such massive destruction of production capacities in Europe (and Asia). The U.S. gained in both of these wars as its capacity was untouched and after the wars it got rich and had the largest share of global GDP ever.

I am afraid that some U.S. (neocon) thinkers looked at that history and decided that a new big conflagration would be a plus for the U.S. Destroying production capacity in Europe and Asia would be bon for the (re-)industrialization of the U.S. So why not instigate some bigger wars?

There are no major new markets to conquer.



I used to teach Marxist/Leninist theory. Most colonial ventures after the age of mercantilism faded were essentially unprofitable from the metropole's commercial point of view. Want to debate that? pl


Strikes me as just plain dumb to seek to strangle Iran's economy.
At 75 million, a third of them young, well-educated, with pent-up demand, it is sheer lunacy to seek to isolate and destroy that potential in favor of an already over-saturated market of 7 million in the Levant.


"Most colonial ventures after the age of mercantilism faded were essentially unprofitable"

I agree. But Rumsfeld still ordered the oil ministry in Baghdad to be guarded while other ministries were left to be plundered. He seems to have believed in that Marxist conspiracy. So the observation(!) that some wars are waged to exploit resources still rings somewhat true. They may not be profitable for the whole metropole but for some of the people within the metropole they still are.

Anyway - I don't remember that being as central point in Marxism. Karl's theory of overproduction as cause for war is much more central to his arguments. Then again - I haven't read that much by or about him. Just some basics.


"But Rumsfeld still ordered the oil ministry in Baghdad to be guarded while other ministries were left to be plundered. He seems to have believed in that Marxist conspiracy. So the observation(!) that some wars are waged to exploit resources still rings somewhat true. "

I think you get it backwards.

Let me propose this: As far as the oil ministry was concerned, that was probably the one government entity the US thought worth saving since, according to Wolfowitz, the Iraqi oil revenue was to pay for reconstruction (and would alone suffice). So they were taking no chances there, while they would remake the est from a clean slate later anyway, so why bother while the Iraqis let steam?

The attitude with US politicos, to the extent that they are not cynical, that is my impression at least, is such that they think they are doing God's work, and that the spoils are predestinated.

You think the numerous American utterances post 9/11 and even today to the effect that 'they hate us because we're beautiful' was not heartfelt?

The extent to which US politicos are motivated by an American sense of mission of being tasked to remake the world in their own image (i.e. the ideology of American Exceptionalism) is IMO quite consistently underrated.



I am glad to see that we are in agreement. a book that dealt with the essential unprofitability of post mercantile theory colonialism was "The Two Vietnams" by Bernard Fall. In re the specific issue that you raise of US protection of the oil ministry at the fall of Baghdad to US forces, Rumsfeld had fought General McKiernan ruthlessly and persistently over the size of the US invading force. McKiernan was the ground force commander for the invasion. Rumsfeld wanted a very small ground force because, like his neocon masters, he thought that the Iraqis would welcome US invasion and occupation and he thought a large force was unnecessary. As a result the occupying force in Baghdad was too small to adequately secure all facilities. It was an essential of neocon belief about the occupation of Iraq that the expense of the war could be paid for by he Iraqis from the revived oil revenues. therefore the oil enterprise had a priority for protection. pl

The Beaver

Was it a snub?

same reaction on ABC news but NBC palyed it down last night.


Naive questions:

Who are the actual deciders who decide (give the GO command) these matters? Can you identify them? How many are there?

Are the above motives/rationales attributed by b, pl, cp mutually exclusive?

Consider adding "The Three Christs of Ypsilanti" to the reading list???



In the US system all the ultimate deciders are elected officials of the civilian government or in the case of Rumsfeld, a civilian nominated by POTUS and confirmed by the US Senate. pl

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