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18 February 2017

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Peter in Toronto

It appears that the Deep State is intent on conducting it's broad foreign policy objectives regardless of who happens to be in the White House. They've deposed Flynn, and arguably reigned Trump in, leaving him with few allies to reform the bureaucracy and plot the new course.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think we're seeing the limits of the real power of the institution of POTUS.

Sam Peralta

TTG

Trump was back in campaign mode today in Florida and really hitting back on the media. Maybe that is the first step. To completely discredit the Borg media that is a big purveyor of fake news. Considering the anti-Russia hysteria it is probably most sensible for him to work behind the scenes to put together a deal with Putin that could be solidified when they meet.

I will not under-estimate Trump. I recall the media stories on how his campaign was in chaos and disarray. I also recall all the polls consistently showing how he could not win the electoral college. I also recall the constant attacks on his personality, behavior, temperament, etc. Yet, he connected to Joe6Pac and pulled that astounding electoral victory.

wisedupearly

Trump's relationship with and selection of Pence is rather strange given his criticism of Trump prior to the election. How detailed were Trump's orders to Pence re. political statements in Europe?

J

With Kissinger being a mouthpiece for the Borg, curious how Trump changed his tune on some key items 'after' his meeting with Kissinger. Did Kissinger threaten Trump unless he complied with the Borg? Damn sure looked like it. And I'm not the only one who noticed it.

Cee

TGG,

I hope your assessment how Trump is proceedly is correct. He shouldn't turn his back on Pence for one moment.

Some good news. I see that one of HRC's boys is gone after some leaking at the meeting.


http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/white-house-nsc-aide-craig-deare-dismissed-235175

Deare comes to the post with a checkered record of support for and involvement with some of the Western Hemisphere’s most notorious human-rights abusers.

He’s a central figure in former Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin’s request for a Department of Defense inspector general’s investigation into what role the U.S. Southern Command’s William Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies played in the 2009 military coup in Honduras.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article132999944.html#storylink=cpy

Fredw

In my calmer moments, I hope that this is all about bringing "the spooked herd of Europeans" into a more realistic view of their own interests and responsibilities for the future of Europe. They can't just assume that the US will take on all the responsibilities and costs of their security. I approve of "spooking" them a bit. In my less hopeful moments I wonder how much of this is calculation and how much is and how much is just an export of administration infighting onto an international stage. It is not clear that the various policy ideas are part of any coordinated plan.

Fred

You left out Senator McCain. His speech was a real piece of work. Apparently it was the immigrants who came accross open borders who made western civilization, everyone else was just holding up progress.

turcopolier

TTG

Lavrov seemed pretty clear to me in saying that the "post cold war era is over." I would take it from that that the fences are going back up unless there is a private signal from the WH. In the context of a Resistance seeking grounds to impeach POTUS as a traitor and spy this is not likely to happen. It is striking that McCain is always strident against any policy of relaxation of tensions. IMO he has some mental problem and never got over his defeat in running for president. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Kissinger expounds a widely held theory of international relations based on balance of fear, also known as balance of power. It is a consistent theory and the only theory in town. And he keeps on referring to the European Historical experience.

I think that theory is not a complete theory; it cannot explain the break-down of the Peace of Vienna and the subsequent World War I.

Furthermore, in places such as the Persian Gulf and Far East it fundamental assumption of Peace through Balance of Power is not applicable since there is no local power to counter Iran or China. In such cases, that theory suggest an off-shore balance be brought in, in both cases the United States - which, in my opinion, only aggravates the local situations as the midgets start having orchids and the local powerful state starts balancing against US.

What is need is the development of Peace Interest; that is, conditions under which Peace would always be the more attractive option.

David Lentini

Maybe even Trump now realizes the depth of anti-Russian hysteria here and in Europe and has decided to proceed slowly and slyly in his shock therapy for Europe and his pragmatic outreach to Russia.

I hope so too, and won't be too surprised if this is the case. Trump is not the fool so many like to think he is; he's shown quite often that he's crazy like a fox. During the campaign, he could be direct to make clear the real threat from the truly crazy Hillary. Now, he has to play both sides of the street as he works to forward his policies. The question is whether he's keeping Putin informed enough to keep the lid on.


I'm more concerned with the stepped up aggressive rhetoric towards Iran and the continuing coddling of the Saudis.

Agreed. But when I think of the decades of coddling that started with FDR, I have to keep in mind that we can't just flip a switch. I suspect that we can't go forward until the intelligence agencies (especially the CIA) and State have been cleared of at least the major Saudi agents and sympathizers.

Valissa

Great comment! Especially your last sentence, which bears repeating.

"What is need is the development of Peace Interest; that is, conditions under which Peace would always be the more attractive option."

A main reason why the Democratic party has been losing members the past 8 years (to 3rd parties or to non-voting or simply declaring themselves to be an Independent instead of a Democrat) is the party's increased devotion to war and loss of interest in peace as a goal.

Until a genuine peace movement arises, with a significant percentage of citizens involved from all political parties, why should any politicians care about peace? Except in the abstract. It's not profitable to them or some of their big donors.

Can a BIG narrative be spun about how the Empire will be stronger due to more peace and less war? And will the Borg participate in that narrative? A look at the history of previous empires and the elites that run them indicates this is unlikely.

Cee

Fred,

Enjoy

http://theduran.com/mccain-phoned-russian-pranksters-pretending-ukrainian-pm-video/

http://theduran.com/top-3-lies-told-insane-mccain-munich-security-conference/

Clonal Antibody

This highlights very clearly how elected politicians and political appointees are often really captives of the "bureaucracy" and its wants and desires. The elected politician is often clueless about the actual lay of the land, and can often be conned into adopting policies that are contrary to the best interests of their constituents. The British comedy "Yes Minister" followed by its sequel "Yes Prime Minister" while portrayed as a farce, is in fact often real, and deadly serious.

So unless the politician is strong willed, has good advisers outside the bureaucracy, and is willing to "drain the swamp" by actual firings and criminal prosecutions, nothing will actually change. I do not know where Donald Trump lies wrt this. It is still early.

Valissa

I don't. And it's not my job to figure it out. There's a reason I left the Dems years ago and became non-partisan/anti-partisan. I tried the whole netroots strategy of "more and better Democrats" from 2005-2008. Observed the netroots was completely impotent to change the direction of empire, and those that made it to the top of the netroots almost all sold out for "access."

For a time I thought maybe a new political party that was antiwar and anti-corporate would be more effective. There have been numerous attempts to start third parties and there are a number of small 3rd parties floating around that have zero political power. The Greens and Libertarians are the largest of those, but the hold of the duopoly is strong, as are the lifelong allegiances many people have to their political tribe.

Becoming a student of history turned me into a realist. If you can show me an example of a previous empire where the peaceniks were able to rise up and stifle the imperial urge I'd love to see it.

Outrage Beyond

One certainly wonders if Pence will be on the ticket next time around.

Sam Peralta

Trump has demonstrated through the campaign that he can and does fire even his top managers. Second, he has been consistent about a few things during and after his campaign. One of those is that it would be beneficial to have a positive arrangement with Russia, even while acknowledging that it would be more politically expedient to take a tougher stance.

He is strong willed and while the Borg media loves to play him as a buffoon, I think he is much more street smart than he is given credit.

While the IC & the military may try to roll him, like they were successful with Obama, his instincts and personal convictions may provide the necessary brakes. At the end he knows that nothing will change as far as the Borg media & punditry attacks are concerned as well as the fifth column in the bureaucracy and the warmongers in both parties. He's gonna have to be in campaign mode, directly rallying his voters throughout his term.

Valissa

To be clear james, I said a peace movement would need to arise. I did not mention a political party in conjunction with that. I think it needs to be unaffiliated with any political party... for any remote chance of success, it would need to be a single issue movement, IMO.

turcopolier

James

ok. You are james2 pl

Valissa

"And Britain did semi-voluntarily relinquish its empire after WWII."

Yes, but not because of antiwar protestors or a peace movement, IMO. Not completely sure, but I think the costs of two world wars in a relatively short period of time (plus loss of colonies) had a hugely negative effect on British Empire's ability to sustain itself financially.

I read Overthrow a few years ago. Just because a particular president resists a particular effort to get involved in a particular war doesn't say anything about the overall longer term trends. All presidents make decisions about where in the world to use/deploy the military or CIA based on many factors. Sometimes public pressure has a big impact on a particular decision, but I maintain that the overall trend of empire is not much effected.

Eisenhower famously gave his warning about the military-industrial complex, yet he was very much enthusiastically a part of multiple efforts to overthrow the Syrian government of his day with the support of the very same M-I complex he later chided. Ultimately he was forced to back out of his Syrian plans, but that was because of the successful efforts of Syrian and Russian intelligence services. Had nothing to do with US citizens protesting against it or any peace movement.

For a good overview of the long term evolution of war and how humans have dealt with it, I highly recommend "War in Human Civilization" by Azar Gat.

https://www.amazon.com/War-Human-Civilization-Azar-Gat/dp/0199262136/
[from a comment by K. Kehleron January 4, 2007] "This treatment of the history of war and warfare, or 'human belligerency' as Gat puts it, would overwhelm the non-specialist (it clocks in at about 820 pages**), if it weren't for the author's ability to synthesize material, sum up scholarship and, last but not least, write some of the clearest and most lucid prose I've seen in the social sciences in ages. He makes forays into evolutionary theory, state formation, antiquity, technology and the rise of science, prehistory, the transition to agriculture, democratic peace theory, etc. The chapter on tribal warfare (in Agraria and Pastoralia, as Gat puts it) is -- as the saying has it -- worth the price of admission alone. His careful demolition of radical Rousseauist idealism is equally fascinating, but he is no simplistic, knee-jerk Hobbesian."

**in reality only about 700 pages of reading, the rest is endnotes and bibliography.

Mark Logan

TTG,

Love the metaphor. Blazing Saddles is a treasure trove of humorous ones, but I'll suggest that Bannon is closer to being his Hedly LaMarr. It is he and his like minded Miller who have slipped badly written orders under his nose for signing...and thereby caused him trouble. Also drawn from that movie: Boy, is Bannon strict! He has been checking all appointees under the new cabinet members for any statements made which are critical of Trump and demanding all who have made such be fired. This too will likely cause trouble, however well it served to keep Abrams out of State.

I think there is an exploitable advantage for the Pence-led Borgists. Being experienced they are less likely to cause him trouble, and those who do will be the first he will feel a need to rein in or boot out.

Keith Harbaugh

You can read the McCain speech here:
Don’t Count America Out
speech by John McCain at the Munich Security Conference, 2017-02-17
https://medium.com/@SenatorJohnMcCain/dont-count-america-out-b009355ab990
It was covered by the Washington Post at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/17/john-mccain-just-systematically-dismantled-donald-trumps-entire-worldview/

That speech proves to me that McCain is either certifiably insane or a certifiable idiot.
The poor man doesn't have the slightest idea of what the West has been, historically.

Consider the following excerpt (with emphasis added) from McCain's speech:

The next panel asks us to consider whether the West will survive. In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year. If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.

This question was real, half a century ago, for Ewald von Kleist and the founders of this conference. Indeed, it is why they first started coming to Munich. They did not assume the West would survive, because they had seen its near annihilation. They saw open markets give way to beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism, and the poverty that imposed. They saw a world order fracture into clashing ethnic and nationalist passions, and the misery that wrought. They saw the rise of hostile great powers, and the failure of deterrence, and the wars that followed.

From the ashes of the most awful calamity in human history was born what
we call the West — a new, and different, and better kind of world order
… one based not on blood-and-soil nationalism, or spheres of influence, or conquest of the weak by the strong, but rather on universal values, rule of law, open commerce, and respect for national sovereignty and independence.
Indeed, the entire idea of the West is that it open to any person or any nation that honors and upholds these values.


...

[von Kleist’s generation] would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.

They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims.

The proper response to McCain's speech is to give a better definition of "the West".
Wikipedia provides some articles on that subject at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_culture
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Western_civilization
In fact, maybe McCain was too busy carousing at the Naval Academy to learn this,
but many used to call the West "Western Christendom".

McCain writes off all the glories and achievements of the West before 1945; rather, he denigrates that period.
This really illustrates the obsession with the Holocaust of our current "elite".

In my opinion, the real threat to what I consider the West is not nationalism, but immigration.

mike

Agree with your Bannon/Lamarr assessment.

Bannon's strategic initiatives cabal inside the NSC is one of the reasons Admiral Harward turned down the job as National Security Advisor. He is reported as telling a friend of his that he would have had no direct access to POTUS, but would have had to go though Bannon, plus he could not pick his own NSC team. Said the job looked to be a "sh!t sandwich".

Bannon and his group inside the NSC bring back some bad vibes. Bannon's group smells a lot like Wolfowitz'z 'Office of Special Plans' (OSP) that stovepiped raw Iraq info to the Bush WH without vetting. Or maybe Doug Feith's 'Office of Strategic Influence' that mislead US newspapers with false stories by planting them initially in foreign papers. An earlier version of 'fake news'

Sam Peralta

McCain is certifiably insane! I don't get what the people of Arizona see in this guy to keep re-electing him.

Rand Paul is spot on.

http://thehill.com/policy/international/320290-rand-paul-were-very-lucky-john-mccains-not-in-charge

“Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he’s got running with President Trump, and it should be taken with a grain of salt, because John McCain’s the guy who’s advocated for war everywhere,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“He would bankrupt the nation. We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge, because I think we’d be in perpetual war,” Paul added.

Sam Peralta

Bannon could turn out to be another Borgist just like Wolfowitz or Feith. OTOH, he could also turn out to be the Borg slayer. We don't know yet.

He's definitely being projected as the next Darth Vader in the media with many a breathless column, but, I really doubt he'll be another warmonger like Cheney, McCain, Hillary, Susan Rice and the rest of the Borg crew.

Cvillereader

Bannon may not be qualified to sit on the NSC, but by all accounts he is not a Borgist. The extreme attacks on him by the MSM should be evidence enough of that.

Curiously, there have been many recent efforts to link him to conservatives in the Vatican who gave voiced serious disagreements with many of the ideas put forth by the current Pope.

Something strange is afoot.

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