Official Washington’s Delusions on Delusions

Exclusive: Official Washington operates in its own bubble of self-delusion in which the stars of U.S. politics, policy and media don’t realize how the rest of the world sees their sociopathic behavior. This craziness is now reaching a crisis point on Iran and Russia, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The chasm between reality and the U.S. political/media elite continues to widen with Official Washington’s actions toward Iran and Russia making “the world’s sole remaining superpower” look either like a Banana Republic (on Iran) or an Orwellian Dystopia (regarding Russia).

On Iran and the international negotiations to rein in its nuclear program, the American people witnessed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu striding into the U.S. Congress like some imperial proconsul to deliver a faux State of the Union address that undermined the sitting U.S. president. Then, 47 Republican senators furthered Netanyahu’s intent to denigrate President Barack Obama by sending an open letter to Iranian leaders designed to prevent a deal.

Big Brother poster illustrating George Orwell's novel about modern propaganda, 1984.

Big Brother poster illustrating George Orwell’s novel about modern propaganda, 1984.

Yes, I know many Republicans and their overwhelmingly white “base” don’t consider the African-American Obama the legitimate President despite his two election victories. But never in American history has a major political party as brazenly challenged the constitutional authority of a sitting president to conduct foreign policy.

The letter to the Iranian leaders warned that once Obama is out of office in 2017, “the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.” In other words, the Republicans were telling Iran’s leaders that whatever they plan to sign with Obama and five other world leaders isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on.

This stunning congressional intervention into U.S. diplomacy was signed not just by a few backbenchers but by the Senate’s Republican leadership and several prospective GOP presidential candidates, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who had been viewed by some on the Left as well as the Right as a person who would not toe the Israeli line on Middle East issues.

This double whammy of Netanyahu’s extreme rhetoric on Iran and the Republicans’ extraordinary subversion of the Iranian nuclear talks left people around the world wondering whether the U.S. government had completely lost its bearings. Meanwhile, the U.S. news media continued veering off into its own Bermuda Triangle.

What is particularly striking about this current moment is how the madness that permeates the U.S. government equally pervades the mainstream U.S. media, which is now incapable of covering major international events except through the lens of State Department propaganda, a situation that has reached extreme levels in the reporting on the Ukraine crisis.

The only filter that the MSM can place on the events in Ukraine is one endlessly vilifying Russian President Vladimir Putin. Though this technique of personalizing foreign policy disputes has become standard operating procedure for the U.S. press corps think of Daniel Ortega, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Viktor Yanukovych, etc. the U.S. media’s “group think” on Russia may even surpass those earlier examples.

Plus, nothing from the Ukraine crisis can ever be blamed on the U.S. government, even though Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland helped orchestrate the violent coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected government in February 2014 and threw the nation of 45 million people into a bloody civil war.

Everything must be blamed on Putin and any alternative analysis, recognizing another side to the story, must be dismissed as “Russian propaganda.” [See, for instance,’s “NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine.“]

‘Russian Propaganda’

On Monday, the Washington Post delivered what could become a textbook case of journalistic self-delusion noting that the Russian people have developed an intensely negative view of the United States but only because the Russian media portrays the U.S. government in a hostile way.

The Post article by Michael Birnbaum blamed the collapse of U.S. popularity on “furious rhetoric [that] has been pumped across Russian airwaves a passionate, conspiracy-laden fascination with the methods that Washington is supposedly using to foment unrest in Ukraine and Russia.”

Citing recent polling, the article noted that more than 80 percent of the Russian people hold negative views of the United States. But that couldn’t be because of American behavior! No, it’s impossible that anyone looking at the U.S. today could possibly find anything to criticize! It had to be Putin’s fault, spreading spurious criticism of the U.S. via Russian media. Or as the Post put it:

“Fed by the powerful antagonism on Russian federal television channels, the main source of news for more than 90 percent of Russians, ordinary people started to feel more and more disillusioned [about the U.S.]. The anger seems different from the fast-receding jolts of the past, observers say, having spread faster and wider.”

The article quoted Lev Gudkov, director of the polling firm Levada Center, explaining: “This anti-Western propaganda radically changed the atmosphere in the society. It has become militarist.”

Another voice cited by the Post was Maria Lipman, described as “an independent Moscow-based political analyst,” saying: “What the government knew was that it was very easy to cultivate anti-Western sentiments, and it was easy to consolidate Russian society around this propaganda.”

In other words, it wasn’t what the U.S. government has done around the world that has provoked this antipathy from the endless boasting about America’s “indispensable” and “exceptional” qualities to its destructive behavior, including spreading bloody havoc via “regime change” schemes in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.

And, it’s not that the U.S. government looks clownish when the majority party in Congress expresses doubts about global warming and other scientific judgments. Nor is it the continued examples of racism and the police shootings of unarmed blacks. Nor the global spying by the National Security Agency. Nor the national self-degradation when members of Congress behave like trained seals jumping up and down to applaud Israel’s Netanyahu.

No, the only reason that the Russian people look askance at the United States is that they are being deceived by the lying “propaganda” dictated by the evil Vladimir Putin. By contrast, the American people always get the straight story from their mainstream U.S. news media, the gold standard for the world!

Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media have taken on the characteristics of a male stalker who can’t understand why his female target finds him repulsive. It must be because someone is poisoning her mind with negative comments about his sterling personality. We now live in a system of delusions built upon delusions.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.


29 comments for “Official Washington’s Delusions on Delusions

  1. Chas Holman
    March 10, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    So let me get this right.. Some freshman Republican Senator with 7 weeks under his belt, takes the charge on the Senate and get’s all but 7 of his ideological GOTea ‘Rant-Wing’ brothers to sign a document, that they then take upon themselves to send to Iranian Leaders – Which warns them it is in their Nation of Iran’s best interest, to not trust any discussions they make with the Executive Branch of the United States..

    And this Freshman actually got all but 7 of his party.. 47 UNITED STATE SENATORS to go along with such an act of both back alley cowardice, and something akin to treason and fostering sedition.

    And the American people are supposed to be ok with that?

    • Charlene Richards
      March 11, 2015 at 1:07 am

      There is a petition over at site now with over 127,000 signatures demanding that these senators be brought up on charges of violating The Logan Act with their “letter” to Iran:

      Cannot WAIT to see the WH response since supposedly one is promised if a petition gets at least 100,000 signatures.

      I hope this petition gets a MILLION signatures!!!!

      • Gregory Kruse
        March 11, 2015 at 8:12 am

        The count is suspended at 136,000 because the site is being “maintained”.

        • Isadore
          March 11, 2015 at 8:02 pm

          It’s what facists do.

    • Michael
      March 11, 2015 at 10:23 am

      The Senator earned a merit badge by “authoring” the letter. The leadership couldn’t appear to initiate this but a newby could be the face. We are off the rails.

  2. Brendan
    March 11, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Even the USA’s usually compliant allies in Germany are starting to find the anti-Russia propaganda to be over the top, and also dangerous now that a new ceasefire has started to hold. In particular they are concerned by the unbelievable statements by General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe.

    “Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine”

    Der Spiegel reports on the reaction to Breedlove’s latest claims of Russia’s alleged military intervention in Ukraine:
    “German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn’t understand what Breedlove was talking about.”
    “… Over and over again, Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel?”
    “… But for months now, many in the Chancellery simply shake their heads each time NATO, under Breedlove’s leadership, goes public with striking announcements about Russian troop or tank movements.”
    “… Breedlove’s public appearances were an official item on the agenda of the North Atlantic Council’s weekly lunch meeting. Several ambassadors present criticized Breedlove and expressed their incredulity at some of the commander’s statements.
    “… The government in Berlin is concerned that Breedlove’s statements could harm the West’s credibility.”

    The American Breedlove seems like a loose cannon but Der Spiegel reports that he has been working hand-in-hand with the top US State Department official Victoria Nuland, who is another source of friction with Berlin. President Obama appears to doing nothing to control him either.

    At the recent Munich Security Conference, Breedlove and Nuland are said to have been coordinating the arguments that the US delegation would present for delivering weapons to Ukraine. Germany has not yet been convinced.

    “In Berlin, top politicians have always considered a common position vis-a-vis Russia as a necessary prerequisite for success in peace efforts. For the time being, that common front is still holding, but the dispute is a fundamental one — and hinges on the question of whether diplomacy can be successful without the threat of military action.”

    • Joe L.
      March 11, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Brendan, I think that Europe is coming to the realization that if a war were to breakout with Russia that they would be the first to be bombed, they would be the war field. I think Washington will push and push and push because they believe that they will not suffer any repercussions. Frankly, I hope that Europe starts to stand more on its’ own and ignore Washington’s dictates. I think it is sheer stupidity for NATO to move any closer to Russia and really it should be shrunken in my eyes. I also read an article in Der Spiegel, from a few years back now, that NATO broke their promise to Russia not to expand NATO westward or expand NATO in general.

      Der Spiegel: “NATO’s Eastward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?” (November 26, 2009):

      “On Feb. 10, 1990, between 4 and 6:30 p.m., Genscher spoke with Shevardnadze. According to the German record of the conversation, which was only recently declassified, Genscher said: “We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.” And because the conversion revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: “As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.”

      Shevardnadze replied that he believed “everything the minister (Genscher) said.”

  3. Joe
    March 11, 2015 at 7:50 am

    The education of most “educated” people in the US is merely technical: the read the MSM propaganda and never question whether a large paper or TV network would give them the truth. They will defend those sources without argument because they do not want the inconvenience of finding and evaluating other sources – the brand name will do. The mass media themselves have trained their audience in naivete. Lack of concern for truth parallels lack of concern for justice: they have what they want, so why bother with truth. And they will not have what they want if they question the worldview of their paymasters. So the economic tyranny of an unregulated economy drives political tyranny.

    The same cowardly groupthink is visible in organizations with minor purposes, even recreational clubs. Unvoiced policies become hidden agendas of the controlling group almost subconsciously, based upon shared interests. Facts are distorted by appointing “experts” who agree with the agenda. Those who question or move apart are thrown from the controlling group. Constituents who disagree are denounced.

    The most fundamental characteristics of leadership in democracy have not been learned or even discussed by those raised by the MSM controlled by economic concentrations. There is no effort to examine or even protect the divergent opinion, minority interest, or the motives and needs of opposing groups, because the controlling group does not value truth or justice. They live in a world insulated from truth by wealth and tacit agreement to ignore reality. Soon leader groups move to control all sources of expert opinion, and all means by which others might learn the truths they wish to ignore.

    It is now late in the demise of US democracy. Money concentrations control the selection and actions of nearly every elected official, judge, “expert” and news source. Steadily, the very last sources of contrary information and opinion are eliminated. Every possible means of opposition is eliminated. The interests of the people count for nothing, only the dynamics of the political gang. A tyranny for the ages has replaced democracy.

    • Ashen
      March 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Scary, isn’t it? As an academic scientist, I see this constantly among my colleagues. These people are brilliant but laser-focused on their own little corner of the world, and it couldn’t be easier for the media to shape their opinions on politics, current events, etc. just by framing them the right way. To a person they are smart enough to see right through this sort of thing, but they don’t even try to bring their critical thinking skills to bear, taking it as a given that major media outlets are reliable and truthful. Even worse, it is pointless to try and convince them otherwise, as they regard any such arguments as misguided, partisan, and/or unworthy of their attention. So even these people who spend their entire lives becoming experts and know what it takes seem think their views on politics, media, governance, economics, etc. are beyond question because they listened to NPR for an hour.

      Propaganda is amazing and multifaceted these days.

  4. Drew Hunkins
    March 11, 2015 at 8:53 am

    The Zionist power configuration in America is out of control. Obama, Kerry and Biden are only 90% subservient, which isn’t good enough! The ZPC demands 100% loyalty and genuflection from its lapdogs on capitol hill.

    • Bob
      March 11, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Good and accurate rant, Joe. The People are beginning to awaken from their “long slumber,” thanks to Gary Webb and Robert Parry. Let’s hope it’s not too late…

    • Lanny Cotler
      March 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Read all you can by Jeff Blankfort to backup what you say here, Drew. Blankfort is the most knowledgeable analytical historian on the subject of the middle east.

  5. Anonymous
    March 11, 2015 at 10:31 am

    This is a valuable article, but spoiled in a few words by the reference to “global warming and other scientific judgements,” providing the reason why I cannot forward it on.”

    It seems one must grab the “whole ball of wax,” or none.

    It really is logical for an intelligent mind to support the main thrust of this article, but still question the hysteria of AGW.

    • MarkU
      March 11, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      The greenhouse effect is real and has been known about for well over a century to my certain knowledge, it is measurable and closely calculable.

      Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, greenhouse gases trap heat (hence the phrase ‘greenhouse gases’)

      If more heat is being trapped then the temperature will be higher than it otherwise would have been.

      Human activity, mainly the unearthing and burning of carboniferous fossil fuels has increased the quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so we have increased the quantity of a potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Therefore we have increased the amount of heat trapped by the atmosphere, thereby increasing the temperature and in a measurable and calculable way.

      What part of this do you find difficult to understand?

      • hbm
        March 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm

        The part where Jesus comes back makes it difficult for him.

  6. Joe L.
    March 11, 2015 at 10:56 am

    For me, I think that if people realized our own history, the western history, then it would be really hard for people to support the stupidity that we are seeing in the western world and for us to throw stones. Ignorance is our biggest enemy. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and I think we need to realize that democracy, or democracy promotion, is an illusion. The US has overthrown democracies all over Latin America and installed dictators who brutalized their people but were supportive of the US government and US corporations. We can also look at examples such as the Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean between Africa and India. The US wanted a military base on this group of islands, Diego Garcia, and so Britain and that US had to get rid of the inhabitants of the islands. First Britain and the US cut off supplies to the islands, then they went to the islands and killed all of the islander’s pet dogs and then told the people of the islands that they would be next if they did not leave. The people were relocated to the slums of Mauritius.

    “War on Democracy” by John Pilger:

    “Stealing a Nation” by John Pilger:

    We must understand our own history in order to understand what is happening right now. As it is said, if we ignore history then we are doomed to repeat it. I think what we have seen in Ukraine is largely a repeat of the 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (same shooters on rooves blamed on the President, manipulation in the media, same US NGO’s funding opposition and protesters etc.).

  7. onno
    March 11, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    It seems that 2 Neocon, No-Brainers have taken control of US Foreign policy Nuland and NATO’s Breedlove. The scary part is that these people can manipulate Congress and the White House in their war-language and conspiracies. The lies by these people echoed by MSM propaganda are dangerous tools and financed by taxpayers money for cover-up’s, subversive activities, using CIA/Blackwater snipers to stir up the people and make sick promises that the West is paradise and waiting for you.
    The truth as we see today very clearly is that the Ukrainian people are taken for a ride into bankruptcy where their Kiev Neo-Nazi government is selling them out to Ukrainian oligarchs who are fighting each other to get a piece of the cake in East Ukraine where the oil/gas fields are. On top of that IMF and EU are draining UA of their resources and pushing inflation to 25% and more, while being forced to pay excessive prices for energy, cutting pensions, etc. while UA officials are spending more money that would envy former President Yanukovich.

    Ukraine has become the place for VULTURES like former German Chancellor candidate and foreign minister Peer Steinbrueck. And not to forget the son of VP Biden, Hunter and stepson of John Kerry, Devon Archer whose lucrative employment by oligarch, governor and criminal Kolomoisky’s Burisma Holdings Ltd assures them future billions of Dollars in profits. This is what the war in East Ukraine is all about, Kolomoisky and Ahmetov are both fighting (with their private armies about 2000 men each under Yarosh Right Sector and others) about territory in Donbass and have of course the support of Washington since a lot of money is involved and secondly a way to screw Putin since the pipelines are already in place.
    It would not be the first time that a war is started because of money and territory or in this case USA dominance in this part of the world.

  8. bobzz
    March 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Robert Parry: thanks for your reporting and just as much for not giving up the good fight.

  9. joe
    March 11, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Just because they say things that aren’t true doesn’t mean they believe them. “Delusion” requires that they are deluded.

    Malignant, sinister, imperial, unaccountable are all closer to the truth. They read scripts, but that doesn’t mean what’s actually happening is in accord with the propaganda.

    You use the word “deluded” like a copout, like they aren’t criminals with deliberate agency. Like they don’t intentionally mislead at every opportunity. “Deluded” is a weasel word. Call it for what it is.

    • Daniel
      March 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      I have to agree. I come to this site daily for the indispensable reporting, to be sure. I cannot place too high a value on it. But there is shift that needs to occur, from calling our ‘leaders’ stupid, ignorant or deluded to acknowledging their behaviors, policies, etc. as deliberate acts – in their favor only and against all else. It all may seem deluded for it’s disconnect from the daily realities the rest of the world’s populations live with, but it only appears that way. They are deliberately destabilizing the world to their own betterment, with willful blindness to the massive suffering caused by their actions. Could there be any other explanation? Hard to see one.

    • hbm
      March 11, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      I agree. This needs to be done with no apologies and matter-of-factly.

      Perhaps their unconsciousness is real; perhaps it’s a game. Perhaps making it difficult to make that distinction is itself the game.

      All this is avoided if we simply hold them responsible and don’t apologize. Our motives are true, so why hesitate?

    • Joe B
      March 12, 2015 at 6:57 am

      While I agree as to readers who can see the motives, the moderate phrasing appears to have been chosen to avoid losing those who must yet be persuaded. They are discouraged by the imputation of bad motives as well as wrongful acts, and the audience is thereby limited. Those who steadfastly believe in the integrity of officials will nonetheless entertain the argument that mistakes have been made. Later, when they have begun to see the consistency of errors, they may also accept that bad motives were a cause. Until then, it looks like mere spite not arising from the issue at hand.

  10. Paul
    March 11, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Ditto what bobzz said.

  11. Anton
    March 11, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you Mr Parry for this very sharply observed article!

  12. Rob Roy
    March 11, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Daniel, I think you are right. It’s all explained in Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” and I’ve watched country after country succumb to the neo-liberalism so sold to the West by Milton Friedman. It’s deliberate and affects everyone in every country as those countries fall one by one to this economic philosophy. The Chicago Boys have been trained and sent forth to create the foment that is necessary to begin the destabilization which eventually leads to regime change, war, austerity and devastation, at the same time as the usurpation of education of children to create worker fodder for the 1% in this feudal system. (There is already six public military school for children in Chicago.) If we can’t stop TPP and TTIP we can put paid to all possibility of democracy anywhere. Beware the Bilderberg Group and BIS (Bank for International Settlements) whose websites look benign; they control all. Hope? People fighting back, such as Robert Perry, et. al.

    • Daniel
      March 12, 2015 at 10:54 am

      Thanks, Rob Roy. This site and a number of others offer the only havens for truth in reporting and a genuinely comprehensive view of world affairs. And is it any wonder that we have few sites like this, when our ‘leaders’ work overtime to sell nonsense to the masses and disguise their true intentions and consequences of their actions? I’m eternally grateful to Mr. Parry and his team for their commitment here, especially at a time when integrity such as theirs is ridiculed as often as possible by the high school clique that is the corporate-owned MSM. What is lost to the incurious is the truth about what our ‘leaders’ do and why. At least here, on this site, we have the opportunity to be informed, and to debate. That used to be a hallmark of the country, but our ‘leaders’ have done a great job of reinforcing mass ignorance, to their exclusive benefit. Painful to watch.

      • bobzz
        March 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        Yes, Daniel, and the reasons the powers that be do not shut down these truth giving down is: 1) not to draw attention to them, and 2) they know the sites do not get anywhere near the traffic they deserve. They are not a sufficient threat. But someday maybe… That is what keeps these guys going.

  13. Tom Welsh
    March 12, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    ‘…the Republicans were telling Iran’s leaders that whatever they plan to sign with Obama and five other world leaders isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on’.

    What is strange or unusual about that? It’s a universal truth. A monarch or dictator can make an agreement which at least has his or her personal honour behind it. But any treaty made by a democracy can always be rescinded or reversed after the next election or shift in the balance of power. And, of course, “gentleman’s agreements” like the undertaking given that NATO would not expand “one inch” East of the German border are worthless, if only because those who made them were not gentlemen.

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