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10 June 2015


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Would you say this template fits what happened after the first Gulf War with the encouraged-then-abandoned Iraqi resistance, in that the "encouragers" were overruled near-freelancers? Could you recommend any info on that subject?


there are others here who are better qualified to respond to that question.


CP and MS2

What you have descried is the functioning of part of what I have described as "The Borg." There are government parts of the collective as well but much of it is made you as you describe it. In Iraq, the "encouragers" of Sunni tribal resistance to AQI arose in the field among Green Berets and marines in the field. When it became aware of that The Borg abandoned their efforts in favor of their theory of sovereign state construction on a social basis that would encourage revolution across the ME. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

"Obama is facing in this prmanent foreign policy establishment with its burrowed members in the bureaucracy (think Nuland) a force that is to be reckoned with. To overcome them will require political will. Will he expend the political capital needed?"

He has no intention of overcoming them. He is one of them.


ex-PFC Chuck

IMO Obama wishes to retain his integration into The Borg. The post 2016 benefits of doing so will be enormous. pl


There is an interesting analogue to this, on the opposite side of the globe. A close friend of mine is an American academic based in Taiwan, and he has been disillusioned about the American myth of "soft power" after having seen the PRC soft power in action there. Because the economic and other opportunities for being on good side of Beijing is so great, among the political and business elites in Taiwan, any view that may be seen as unpleasant by the powers-that-be on the mainland side is quietly but thoroughly muffled and suppressed, not by overt repression necessarily, but subtly, unofficially, and "softly." It is not necessarily through Beijing's direct involvement that these voices are being suppressed, but by deliberate choice by the Taiwanese who want to be friends of PRC (i.e. who may not even be Beijing's allies...yet).

One might wonder about how the American soft power is being projected in various parts of the world: yes, there are many who wish to be Washington's friends. Washington is full of self-righteous kool aid drinkers who know what the "right answer" to everything in the universe are, and in many cases, willing to fund and support those who are willing to kowtow to their views and apply them everywhere in the world. So we have many scoundrels, crooks, and opportunists who take Washington's dime to muffle their conveniently anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-evirnonment, anti-women, or anti-Gay (or whatever else that flies in the face of Western morality) enemies. With so many different independent actors on the American political scene with resources to become involved (e.g. Boehner and the Congressional Republicans showing up the White House by inviting Netanyahu), the opportunities for foreign self-proclaimed do-gooders are enormous.

This strikes me as far worse than an actual well-organized conspiracy. It ensures that U.S. will decidedly lose the means to strategically influence what actually does take place in its name, on its resources, in foreign lands, at considerable detriment to the overall U.S. interests.



The Church Commission and the post 9/11 IC reforms have reduced CIA to an agency that has no authority in the rest of the IC. DoD in the environment of war (under an AUMF) simply ignores CIA most of the time. CIA continues to theoretically operate drone attacks in places not covered by AUMFs. In fact, USAF actually operates the drones in these areas as well under CIA legal cover. In the area of clandestine HUMINT CIIA is now far surpassed by DIA Defense HUMINT which continues to operate effectively in spite of CIA efforts to block that in Congress. We don't need CIA. It is surprising how many journalists continue to believe CIA PR. pl


@CP - "just may get us all into an escalation towards war between NATO and Russian."

Would there be any unity in a NATO that drifts towards war???



Well said. In addition, the State Department conducts a great percentage of the USG's open source- as well as closed source- collection and research on foreign governments. It is its job to know what is going on in other countries and who the potential leaders are and what are their positions on issues.


France and Germany are less than thrilled, but the eastern states rally scared around the US, with the Brits following the US lead.

I wouldn't call that unity, but there may develop be momentum that may pull or drag France and Germany along.

I view the appointment of a pathological russophobe like Shaakashvili as governor of Odessa with concern. What an odd story by the way: Shaakashvili by accepting forefeited his Georgian citizenship to the delight of his old party there. Also, he was apparently seen a week ago or so riding bicycle in Brooklyn. Anyway, IMO the idea is to have him there to cause trouble for Russia and Russians.

I heard Stephen F. Cohen recount the impression of a Russian acquaintance from Odessa that for Russians the city starts to feel like Ukrainian occupied.


Generational Wealth Creation I think it is called these days. See the The Clintons. It won't stop--the billions gained-- the First Lady from giving speech after speech about how 'yo man, I'm from the Hood too!..and how bad do they treat us, but we keep steppin forward!'

New meaning to "keep your eye on the prize."



Let's not exaggerate. DIA also relies on a lot of open source material in analysis. pl


@CP good piece. You missed a few "unofficial" or "international" NGOs that are part of the game. The NATO lobby Atlantic Council is very much engaged in the Ukraine issue and it has deep connection into various European media. Amnesty International Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders are also part of the club. There is a revolving door between those organizations and the State Department. See for example here:

ex-PFC Chuck

I couldn't agree more. See entry under "Bill Clinton."


It can't be ignored that hedge funds (sometimes run by western oligarchs) and industries played a big role in the Yeltsin era too. It's not just ideologues. In at least some cases, the ideology is just a mask.


Congratulations, cp, that was perfect.


I noticed that Vice News is running a piece where Ostrovsky says he collaborated with the Atlantic Council and bellingcat. I guess this could fall into the category of "sympathetic journalists (providing friendly coverage or joining the fight)" that cp mentions in this excellent post. Are they just sympathetic? There are recent examples of newly hatched western billionaires buying into the media business.

The explanation of ideologues and politicians using soft power via NGOs makes a lot of sense and a lot has been written about it in recent months (but not in the mainstream media, that I know of) but most of what I've read isn't as good as this post. What puzzles me is this -- how can we not notice that what happened in Russia in the 90s looked exactly like what corporate raiders did (and still do) to American companies with hostile takeovers and asset stripping? Instead of corporate raiding, what happened in Russia (and apparently in progress in Ukraine) looks like country raiding by the same people who amassed enormous wealth doing corporate raiding. That kind of greed for power and money is insatiable.

It's perfectly logical that they'd start with smaller companies, move on to very large companies, and then larger conquests. Entire countries, especially those that have a lot of public/shared assets, currencies. A massive challenge with a massive payoff and it seems logical that there would be a whole host of players, public and private, who would be interested and could benefit, at the expense of potentially millions of people who have no idea what's going on, are distracted by the complexity, the propaganda, cover stories and by the sheer chaos that takes over their lives. And now these country raiding challenges have ascended to such a level that the entire US, hell the whole planet, is at risk.

Ursa Maior


which eastern states? The medium power aspirant poles, the turncoat rumanians? Ah I almost forgot our baltic relatives who, on the other hand really have EVERYTHIng to lose. Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria are more than reluctant to 'goad the bear'.

No Sir, the recent radical liberal twist of the Obama administration gives us the chill. My country is not especially anti-gay,or anti semitic or whatever but Hungary started a couple of rebellions against major powers to defend its own values and interests. We were not afraid of the soviets, neither are we afraid from the US or the eurocrats. See ex Budapest Ambassador clearly over blown claims (Madame Ambassador by Eleni Koulanakis).


Conspiracy Theorist: USG supported both sides, creating chaos and striving to maintain a situation of "creative destruction". Instead of using "disruptive technology" (fashionable lingo in tech and med work) they used disruptive Jihad: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq . This happens both in soft power world as well.

Richard Armstrong

Bush 43 does sound rather Borg-ish, doesn't it.

ex-PFC Chuck

Gemini33: "What puzzles me is this -- how can we not notice that what happened in Russia in the 90s looked exactly like what corporate raiders did (and still do) to American companies with hostile takeovers and asset stripping?"

Economic historian Michael Hudson, now affiliated with the University of Missouri - Kansas City*, has addressed this issue in some of his writings, for example in his book "Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance." You can find his current writings at the New Economic Perspectives website.


Among the many flaws in the prevailing American philosophy about exercising power is the excessive confidence that it places in kinetic action - i.e. military force. That is most clearly evident in the several fronts of the GWOT where our approach invariably has been futile or counter-productive. Most have involved the use of force in one form or other to achieve regime change: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria and implicitly Iran.

The stated motive all these years has been to destroy al-Qaeda and to prevent the emergence of hospitable hosts for similar terrorist organizations. We have failed on all counts except for chasing classic al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. Let's consider an analogous case. China experiences a 9/11 type incident by a group of Uighurs based in Peru who have been welcomed by the Shining Path Group. Then try to imagine hundreds of thousands of PLA troops spending the next fifteen years rampaging around the Andes in hot pursuit, invading Chavez's Venezuela, bombing groups in Bolivia and Equator and spending a couple of trillion in the process. Imagine an elite team of Chinese Dolphins 6 criss-crossing Latin America cutting throats - and adopting as their signature weapon a Tang dynasty crossbow. Ridiculous? Well, let's look in the mirror



how a-propos, a hungarian talking about romanians. Trianon, always Trianon, now 95 years later.

Yes the "cordon sanitaire" seems necessary regardless of the issues "du jour"

Babak Makkinejad

And on top of that, Chinese would designate France - a core state of the European civilization - as the enemy of all things Oriental and in sore need of regime change - with the French Republic replaced by a People's Republic....

Babak Makkinejad


Outside of supplying emergency medical help and search for survivors, I do not see any need for NGOs.

I am not including PEN, Goethe Institute etc. which aim to introduce a host country to this or that country's culture.

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