The West’s Deadly Mideast Fantasies

Exclusive: Madness or at least self-deception now dominates the West’s approach to the Middle East, with ostensibly rational leaders like Barack Obama and Francois Hollande fueling public hysteria about terrorism and pursuing “regime change” strategies proven to fail, as Mike Lofgren explains.

By Mike Lofgren

Around the time of the 2003 Iraq invasion and the silliness of “freedom fries” (served in the cafeterias of the House office buildings at the behest of ostensibly adult members of Congress), it was possible to believe that the nations of Europe were more sane about world events than panicked, suggestible Americans.

Then as now, the American public and particularly its overclass of politicians, media personalities, and think-tank commandos lurched drunkenly between chest-beating hubris about American military invincibility and the craven fear of small children listening to ghost stories. We were omnipotent, but somehow the faceless terrorists were as well.

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (Photo credit: United Nations.)

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (Photo credit: United Nations.)

Six decades ago, American journalist Garet Garrett diagnosed this bipolar syndrome as the characteristic behavior of a militaristic empire: “a complex of fear and vaunting.”

The Madrid train bombings of 2004 seemed to be evidence that Europeans were more level-headed. Despite 191 deaths, Europeans did not succumb to panic and turn their civic spaces into locked-down garrisons. Life went on, with people unterrorized and refusing to grant criminals the moral victory that comes when a society acts intimidated.

That was over a decade ago. Perhaps it was the successive shocks of the 2008 financial crisis, the euro currency crisis, the Greek crisis, the Ukraine crisis, and the refugee crisis that weakened the resistance of European governments and publics to contagious hysteria. The November 2015 Paris attacks (which killed fewer people than the Madrid bombings) have ignited a mental agitation equivalent to what Americans have been suffering under since 9/11.

After the attacks, French President François Hollande “declared war” on the so-called Islamic State, thereby granting it de facto nation status: the same strategic error that George W. Bush committed with respect to Al Qaeda after 9/11. In Belgium’s capital, fittingly the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, ordinary social life ground to a halt.

European and American attitudes appear to have converged. A decade ago, Americans were panicked over fantasies about yellowcake, aluminum tubes, and mobile biological warfare vans, but relatively indifferent to the Madrid attacks. Part of this was the natural belief that carnage in foreign countries is less alarming, but also the fact that the incumbent President Bush was the standard bearer of the persons most likely to become terrified and blame the President for whatever misfortune occurred in the world. They couldn’t very well scapegoat their own hero without suffering serious cognitive dissonance, so we heard not a peep from them.

Accordingly, “Bush’s brain,” Karl Rove, successfully waged the 2004 presidential campaign on the premise that Bush had “kept us safe,” insinuating against all reason that 9/11 was a harmless mulligan that that in no way reflected on the President’s competence. Madrid was never a political issue; neither the Democrats nor the media raised it in a fashion that could negatively implicate Bush.

The Paris attacks, by contrast, have generated a major inflection point in the 2016 presidential campaign. GOP presidential candidates now talk about registering Americans by religion and bringing back torture. Sen. Marco Rubio sees the Paris attacks as a positive development insofar as it allows him to talk about being a foreign policy tough guy instead of being compelled to explain his shaky personal finances. A sitting member of Congress, Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, has accused President Obama of having “stood up for ISIS.”

One might have thought that the president of France would come here and tamp down the panic-mongering and cheap political theater. It is, after all, the expected role of worldly and cynical Europeans to admonish Americans when their panic-mongering becomes embarrassingly silly. But no.

Hollande’s and Obama’s joint White House press conference of Nov. 24 was marked, once they performed their required denunciation of ISIS, by the French president’s curious obsession with overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We should make no mistake about it all the talk from Western governments about a Syrian political “transition,” or suggestions that Assad “must go,” amounts, in the middle of a bloody civil war, to saying that Assad must be violently deposed.

Hollande has entered the same cloud cuckoo land inhabited by Bush when the latter, in the wake of Al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington, claimed that the best way to defeat the religious fanatics of Al Qaeda was to invade the secular state of Iraq. Deposing Assad, the principal military opponent of ISIS, would be as monumentally idiotic as if the United States, on entering World War II, decided the most expeditious manner of conquering Nazi Germany would be to defeat Stalin’s Red Army.

But that is the official Syria policy of the United States, France, Britain and the other Western powers. Having whipped up public hysteria about jihadist terrorism (a scourge exacerbated by the West’s own previous military interventions), the finest minds of our NATO governments now propose to defeat it by overthrowing one of the few secular regimes in the Middle East, where Christians and other religious minorities have been protected.

Bashar al-Assad is likely a gangster. But when has that ever been a characteristic disqualifying one to be a partner of the United States government? Sisi of Egypt, Erdogan of Turkey, and the bloodstained tyrants who run Saudi Arabia are all members in good standing of the Washington Consensus. If Assad has signed his death warrant, it is because of his failure to sign onto that consensus, rather than any concrete misdeeds.

Assad has been content to rule his country and he makes no claims of universal jurisdiction based on some obscure religious hallucination. Who do Parisians or Londoners or New Yorkers believe is going to bomb their metro, underground or subway, or shoot up their restaurants: Assad or ISIS?

Yet surrealistically enough, members of the French media at the press conference, making overt political statements dressed up as questions, pressured the two heads of state for a timetable for getting rid of Assad. (The European media, it appears, have become as shallow and uninformed as the American media, and are complicit in the derangement raging throughout the West).

Assad knows what is in store for him should Western desires prevail: the grisly fates of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi illustrate what “regime change,” Western style, entails. And one would have thought we might have learned from both misadventures that deposing a secular dictator does not bring Jeffersonian democracy in its wake.

The core of any sensible grand strategy is to reduce the number of your enemies while increasing the number of your allies, and to end a conflict on favorable terms that do not give rise to future conflict. Both the United States and Europe have declared ISIS to be a grave, existential and imminent threat. In so doing, they have incited fear in their publics and increased the potential of a domestic right-wing extremist backlash.

Yet these powers simultaneously pursue a senseless strategy designed to multiply the number of enemies not only the Assad regime, but Russia and Iran and all but guarantee strategic failure against the ostensible grave threat of ISIS. Dumping Assad all but assures that Syria in the long term will either be run by Islamist extremists or dissolve into an anarchic no-man’s land like Libya, regardless of Western fantasies about a “moderate” Syrian opposition.

It is said that the sleep of reason breeds monsters. On both side of the Atlantic, the monster of unreason has crawled out of the political id and is controlling foreign policy.

Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback in August 2013. His new book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, will be published in January 2016.

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29 comments for “The West’s Deadly Mideast Fantasies

  1. Banger
    December 9, 2015 at 9:58 am

    All of this nonsense about terrorism is about the struggle for power between numerous contending gangs in the West who use the mechanisms of state power. There is, today, virtually nothing left of national interest or patriotism other than as ideas on which to whip up feeling among the hopelessly and deliberately ignorant masses who know nothing and want to know nothing about the world around them. We are witnessing the failure of the Enligthenment project, aka, modernism as we devolve (or evolve) into the pure world of power-politics. In other words the constraints of reason, of honor, of virtue are no longer present in most of the West in the general population so why should we expect it in the assortment of gangsters who are today’s ruling elites. Not to say there aren’t good and decent folks in the general population and the elites its just that they are not that important. The situation, for anyone who has any genuine sense of morality, is completely hopeless. We will continue to drift on the grand wreck of a civilization created by better people and hope for miracles–since I believe in miracles I rest easier than most.

  2. December 9, 2015 at 3:31 am

    When one of the numerous Western-set-up dictators starts becoming a little too independent, a little less the Uncle-Tom they had agreed to be, then it’s time to label them no longer “one of our allies” in the Middle East, but a “brutal dictator”. The (brutal) friends and allies of yesterday are the “monstrous rulers” that must be toppled and bombed today, along with million of civilians. The war criminal and monster of yesterday that used chemical weapons his people (Assad) becomes a possible “partner” and not so bad after all if the West doesn’t like the Islamic State. And what, mind you, is the difference between Saudi Arabia and this Islamic State? There is nothing that the Islamic State does that Saudi Arabia doesn’t do at a much larger scale.

    And, as we have been watching, should any civilian try to flee the horror inflicted on them by these wars, there’s a nice door ready to be slammed on their faces by most of the West, most notably France. And then they are surprised when the blood spatters on their faces through some “terrorist” attack. I just heard a news report that the number one reason given for the French who voted for the FN (hard right) in a post-voting poll in France was… “immigration”.

    Nicely, there was also this: David Cameron reported to police as a ‘war criminal’ for bombing Syria | UK Politics | News | The Independent.

  3. BaldurDasche
    December 7, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Another fantasy is that of ‘the Mall’.

    Like the advanced states of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates – the air conditioned experience of ‘real freedom’ that conspicuous expenditure brings, is the paradigm for what a successful ‘makeover’ of the middle east looks like. After all, there is a cultured counterpoint to blood crazed ‘Musplophats’ and their constant beheadings. It’s a family of royals, or oil tycoons dropping in on the malls and marts that make things great. In mufti when not at home – cultured civilized Omars who love us for our concierge service.

    One shining example, for so few other ‘re-civilizations’ really got off the ground, was a Mall for the Kurds in Erbil , where Bulgari and Hermes vie for room with extra ammo for imported Euro weapons. A few bad days could turn that into a Donetsk Airport’.

    Watch for Caesar’s Palace ‘nudes of All Nations Revue’ at the Green Zone ennertainment complex in Baghdad, once the bad guys stop the shooting.

  4. Deal with it!
    December 5, 2015 at 7:37 am

    As an Olde European, I frankly am not panicked. I see the braying politicians (on whom I wish no good things) doing their braying and losing no time shifting freshly printed Euros (yay. hidden taxes!) to well-connected industrial and personal interests as well as pleasuring the US for entirely unclear reasons (it’s frankly pavlovian, if not freudian) … but that’s standard operating procedure around here.

    I one wants to play with empire one had better be able to take a few hits. If one prefers internal immobilisme and the economic stagnation that comes with the french-style authoritarian and now totally dysfunctional welfare state one should be ready for both right-wing votes, decay and dissent in the “cités”.

    13/11 NEVAR BAGUETTE!!

  5. Mark Thomason
    December 3, 2015 at 11:55 am

    While true, this is unchanged for decades.

    Obama failed to challenge the national security state that runs wars. Whatever his reasons, he told voters he’d change things, and he didn’t. They still run the show, and in the same way they always have.

  6. Abbybwood
    December 3, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Odd, isn’t it that a mere six years ago John Kerry and his wife were in Damascus dining with Mr. Assad and his lovely wife:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10283045/John-Kerry-and-Bashar-al-Assad-dined-in-Damascus.html

    The obvious question is, “When did Mr. Assad go from being our good friend where Bush reportedly renditioned detainees to Syria for questioning and enhanced interrogation (torture), to the guy who “has to go”? And WHY?!

    There is a solid, logical and truthful answer to these questions.

    Anybody care to take a stab at them?

    • December 3, 2015 at 9:21 am

      I also wondered about these renditions to Syria because of alleged “enhanced interrogation,” but after revelations about torture in Guantanamo, Bagram Airbase, Abu Ghraib, and black sites in Poland, Romania, and on Navy vessels, I came to the conclusion that US personal are perfectly able to enhance the interrogations (meaning enhancing the pain) to whatever level deemed as necessary and that renditions to Syria were merely a tactical move to distract and divert.

      It also could be that in some cases it was a repatriation of Syrians with a terrorist background who were wanted by the Syrian authorities.

    • Evangelista
      December 3, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Abbeywood,

      Solid, logical and truthful answer No. 1: Elected President of Syria Dr. Bashar al Assad has not gone anywhere since the Kerrys dined with him in Damascus, except, if I remember correctly, to the United States for a holiday, in 2009, which may, however, have been shortly before, instead. At that time Syria’s ‘turn’ had not yet come in the progressive destruction of neocon assigned ‘States That Must Go For Israel’ (or states that were to go for supporting Palestinian opposition to Israeli bulldozing — the other two prijmary offenders of which were Qaddafi’s Lybia and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) and so Dr. al Assad was still on good terms with israel’s noecon-ruled proxy Torpedo-State, the United States.

      Solid, logical and truthful answer No. 2: Ex-senator Kerry, in the years since did go somewhere: To becoming United States Secretary of State. This occurred after Syria’s ‘turn’ to be destroyed for Israel’s ‘security’s’ sake came.

      Solid, logical and truthful answer No. 3: Solid, logical and truthful answer No. 1: Elected President of Syria Dr. Bashar al Assad has not gone anywhere. The damn Doctor was popular with Syrians, and remained so, and even with Syria prostrate remains so. He must have some bedside manner, he must, being able to convince his people it wasn’t him trying to poison them, and that if he is bombing them at all it is barrelly bombing, especially compared to the United States, whose massive bombings of Da’esh have seemed to hit more Syrian infrastructure than Da’ esh (except when the bombings are with Toyotas and TOWs and such like).

      Solid, logical and truthful answer No. 4: Being an Adminstration politician in a Zion Corporation controlled government, e.g., the United States’ present one, is a lot like being an actor in a Broadway play: You want your job, you follow the script, you act your part, you follow your Directors’ directions. Don’t matter if you’s John Kerry or Barack Obama or even a lowly mainstream-media ‘news’ reporter, columnist, pundit, or whatever; you do what you’re told, or you’re out of your job. You go off-script, like the Froggy-guy Hollande has a couple times, getting too friendly with that Russian loose-cannon, Putin, you get reminded; something happens on your watch, and you know it’s your fault,and you get the black-eye for it. you are pushed to repress and oppress and it’s you get the blame for the doing. They don’t go so far as to open your back and put a record-box in so you can only say “Assad must go!” and sing “Barrel bombs keep falling on their heads”, and that only when your string is pulled, but that’s mostly because no one has yet survived being opened for the insertion.

      Solid, logical and truthful answer No. 5: Elected President of Syria Dr. Bashar al Assad has still not gone anywhere. And worse, with that damned nation of loose-cannons, Russia wangling an invitation from him as head of the Syrian state to come help safeguard Syria’s sovereignty, and then putting on a show that makes the bombings by the United States and its coalition look like the work of a pack of cross-eyed moles who just took up aviation, and enabling his Syrian Army (whose sodiers are predominantly Sunni-Muslims, who, according to the neocon-script are not supposed to be fighting for him) to begin whipping through the Da’esh like a tornado going through a flock of chickens, unless some drastic means is found to somehow flatten totally and completely and beyond redeeming all of Syria, all of Syria’s army, Assad, himself and the Russians, too, Assad is going to be, when the dust is settling, The Hero Who Saved Syria and absolutely impossible to get rid of. Worse yet, with the style Assad employs it is all but certain he will defer the ‘hero’ title to the Syrian Army, who fought in the trenches and so probably end up installed in regional history.

      In the way of solid, logical and truthful answers, the five above generate an additional question: What’s a political-parrot puppet-politician to do when all he has is a shredded script and a cliff where his stage was supposed to be? Asking such a one to act like a statesman is the equivalent to asking a ‘blow-up Gretchen doll (the home-front equivalent) to get up and make breakfast…

    • Baldur Dasche
      December 7, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Let’s not forget that Assad was basking in the afterglow of being a ‘valiant ally’ in the first war of civilization against Saddam. Syria had the temerity to join a coalition that even Israel and Iran wouldn’t touch. Ghaddafi joined, too. So much for friendship.

  7. Christopher C. Currie
    December 2, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Instigating foreign “regime changes” to serve the financial interests of US corporations (rather than the interests of US citizens in general) has been a “cornerstone” of US foreign policy for at least a century already, and the consequences for the people in those countries has nearly always been DEVASTATING BLOODY! US-sponsored “regime change” efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Syria, and the Ukraine are just the latest examples bloody consequences of this morally depraved US foreign policy.

    Bernie Sanders appears to be the only presidential candidate who would effectively END that morally depraved foreign policy which in this century alone has cost Americans many TRILLIONS of their taxpayers Dollars and tens of thousands of Americans killed or seriously wounded!

    • Abe
      December 2, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      You’re entitled to your view of Sanders, but reality speaks otherwise:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf2cCdgwgoM

      Sanders’ BFF, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are busy instigating “regime change” in Syria (ultimately targeting Iran) to serve the financial interests of US corporations and the hegemonic interests of Israel.

      Despite the occasional nebbish remark about the “depressing” situation in Israel-Palestine, Sanders has done nothing meaningful about it. He constantly parrots the propaganda line about “Israel’s right to defend itself”.

      Sanders would not end the morally depraved foreign policy of unconditional U.S. support for Israel, a policy that has cost America and the world dearly with no end in sight.

  8. Abe
    December 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    “The core of any sensible grand strategy is to reduce the number of your enemies while increasing the number of your allies, and to end a conflict on favorable terms that do not give rise to future conflict.”

    That is true, unless your goal is perpetual conflict for various profitable purposes (control of energy or mineral resources, disruption of “enemy” economies and trade routes, weapons sales to “allied” states, et cetera ad diabolicum).

    The U.S.-Israel alliance has created a veritable Empire of Chaos. Its grand strategy is nothing other than “endless war”. Vividly depicted by Orwell, its image is “a boot stamping on a human face — forever”. Of course, terror must be regularly applied to assure regime “stability” and “security”.

    • Mortimer
      December 2, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      The Amazing Warnings Of Benjamin Freedman
      2-17-3

      What do we face now? If we trigger a world war that may develop into a nuclear war, humanity is finished. Why might such a war take place? It will take place as the curtain goes up on Act 3: Act 1 was World War I, Act 2 was World War II, Act 3 is going to be World War III. The Jews of the world, the Zionists and their co-religionists everywhere, are determined that they are going to again use the United States to help them permanently retain Palestine as their foothold for their world government. That is just as true as I am standing here. Not alone have I read it, but many here have also read it, and it is known all over the world.

      Introductory Note: Mr. Freedman knew what he was talking about because he had been an insider at the highest levels of Jewish organizations and Jewish machinations to gain power over our nation. Mr. Freedman was personally acquainted with Bernard Baruch, Samuel Untermyer, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, and many more movers and shakers of our times.

      This speech was given before a patriotic audience in 1961 at the Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C., on behalf of Conde McGinley’s patriotic newspaper of that time, Common Sense. Though in some minor ways this wide-ranging and extemporaneous speech has become dated, Mr. Freedman’s essential message to us — his warning to the West — is more urgent than ever before.

      [ please enjoy & applaud this speech ]

      http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/israel/freedman.htm

    • Abe
      December 6, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Sorry, Mortimer and JWalters, your fetish for “Jewish machinations to gain power over our nation” will not find applause here.

      The links to Khazaria theory and Freedman’s rant have a distinct aroma.

  9. December 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    The author writes: “Bashar al-Assad is likely a gangster.”

    Normally I stop after reading such a statement but as the article is not too long I kept on to find out if this characterization of Dr. Bashar al-Assad was substantiated. It was not and the author in addition talked about the “Assad Regime.” I assume he meant the Syrian government under the elected President Bashar al-Assad.

    Other than smearing Bashar al-Assad and thereby supporting Western regime change propaganda, which most times relies on the demonization of unwanted political leaders, the article was a meaningless repetition of the usual talking points which just serve to distract and conceal what is really happening.

    • Lusion
      December 2, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      I have to agree – the slightly cautionary Assad is “likely” a gangster does not suffice any more.
      If you have your qualms with last year’s elections, it would be called for to elucidate these qualms, but otherwise to refrain from using the term “regime”.

      I tended to excuse this sort of thing as a way of hedging your bets, since most analysts can’t know first hand what Assad might or might not have actually done.
      But he did get elected, with a massive majority no doubt about that.
      It’s time maybe to dare taking a look at sites like this one:
      http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/2015/10/17/deconstructing-the-nato-narrative-on-syria/

      I say “dare”, because I believe there are good people in fear of becoming a “shill for Assad” if they ask too many questions, and who knows what else they might find out…
      It could always turn into Nietzsche’s abyss staring back at you, if you dare take a look.

      I love the way, Anne Rice had her Vampire Lestat put it:

      “Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.”

      Sorry for my harsh words, but I believe it all too important to fool around with.
      And its late and I should hope “my” German Bundestag won’t authorize to join the international-law-violating madness in Syria with 1200 troops and uncountable military toys to fool about with in Russia’s face, but this hope is clearly delusional.
      Good night from Berlin.

      • Mortimer
        December 3, 2015 at 12:21 am

        Lusion: I love the way, Anne Rice had her Vampire Lestat put it:

        “Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on.
        To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind.
        The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.”
        .

        scheme or symptom ?
        prodrome or plot?
        procuratorial or perpendicular?
        stoicism or subterfuge?

        these divergent thoughts
        contemplate a possibility of
        the WW III proximity or was
        That what they had in mind?

        is this deadly Outbreak of
        Mass Destructive Ordinance
        another Final Solution type
        of search for Armageddon?

      • December 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

        The naivity displayed by British MPs voted to join in the bombing of the Middle East astounds me. It is quite clear this campaign has been sold as being against ISIS but in reality has Assad in the crosshairs.

        The removal of Assad is the most naive idea of all. The idea the entire Syrian Army is going to meekly lay down its arms, following any cessation of hostilities is fanciful in the extreme. Many will have no homes or families to go to as a direct result of Western interference. Even where they do, who will ensure they are not treated as war criminals by whichever psychopathic branch of heavily armed bandits happens to rule their hometown? We know they won’t be welcomed home as heroes by the most extreme of the bunch; we will just have to wait and see how the ‘moderate’ rebels treat them on their return. That will show those in doubt just how moderate they really are. I have the feeling a large number of soldiers will not want to risk it. And neither will many refugees who have fled Syria be too keen on returning.

        So what’s the plan there, Mr Cameron?

        This seems to be yet another piece of the jigsaw that doesn’t quite fit. According to wikipedia the Syrian Army comprises getting on for quarter of a million soldiers, even more when irregular forces are taken into consideration. Almost quarter of a million trained men, many of whom have been fighting for nearly five years. They don’t do ‘tours’ punctuated by home leaves; whatever R&R they might be granted is be just as likely to be in cities villages that are battle zones or bomb sites.

        The thought of more than a couple of hundred thousand battle-scarred soldiers on the streets with no work should terrify the Europe and the US, but nobody at the top seems to be giving it a thought. Just look what happened to the Iraq Army after its defeat for a good idea of what may be in store. Many of its soldiers are now fighting as members of ISIS and the ‘moderate’ rebels. In widening the conflict the West is just adding another army to the list of its enemies, only this one is much more professional than the others.

    • Tom
      December 3, 2015 at 5:27 am

      “Bashar al-Assad is likely a gangster” is sort of an appeasement tactic to draw in readers. What the author is saying is, look I am a reasonable person and these are my views. It is almost a mandatory tactic, used by many authors, which I believe like you is somewhat a futile exercise. The truth be known, the designation “gangster” could be applied to almost every world leader as easily as it is applied to Assad but lets face it, that is unlikely to happen, as Western Media has many constraints. Apart from that, I think the author has raised many valid points which cannot be ignored and has expressed views that you are unlikely to hear in other western media.

  10. Gregory Kruse
    December 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Mr. Lofgren comes uncomfortably close to including me in his assessments of “Americans”.

  11. Tom Welsh
    December 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Obama hasn’t just “stood up for ISIS”. He created it, funded it, armed it (still does!), trained it, and supported it. You may argue, plausibly, that these things were done without his knowledge or permission – but they are still his responsibility. As Truman honestly admitted, “the buck stops here” (in the Oval Office).

    Recently I have seen a positive outbreak of this exchange:

    A: “ISIS has no air force”.

    B: “Yes it does: NATO’s”.

  12. Lynne Gillooly
    December 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Oh, but what about those terrible barrel bombs!!
    It is sad that the American public is so easily manipulated. What frightens me the most is the combination of vilifying Putin at every turn and the possibility of a President Trump. If that happens we won’t need to worry about climate change.

  13. Abe
    December 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Turkey’s initiatives consistently display a bold and ruthless approach whether the Turkish state is functioning as an intermediary, a facilitator or as a provocateur.

    For instance, it was at Erdogan’s insistence in 2008 that the Syrians reluctantly began tentative talks with Israel. A few years later, Turkey served as the conduit through which Jihadis, fresh from NATO’s successful expedition in overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi, were transported to Syria to wage the present insurrection against Assad’s government.

    The Turks cherish the idea of serving as the “ultimate energy bridge between east and west”, hence the proposition made to Assad prior to the conflict that he accede to a plan by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to build a natural gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey which would supply Europe with natural gas. The offer was made by Erdogan to counteract a plan to deliver Iranian gas to the same destination through a pipeline which would extend through Iraq and Syria. Assad rejected this offer.

    It sits on what is reputed to be one of the world’s largest water reserves and in 2014 did not hesitate to cut off the water supply to the River Euphrates by effecting a gradual reduction in the pumping of the river. This led to a drastic fall in the water levels of the man-made Lake Assad.

    More recently, Erdogan is using the plight of refugees from the war he has helped create in Syria as a bargaining chip to “re-energize” talks on Ankara joining the European Union as well as to ease visa restrictions for Turks visiting the bloc.

    Seeking the fracture of the Syrian state is a clear geo-political objective of Erdogan, and Turkey’s involvement in this endeavour fits neatly in with other nations with similar aspirations.

    The United States for one unveiled its ‘Greater Middle East Project’ during the administration of George Bush which proposed an overhaul of the political map of the Middle East of a kind not envisaged since the region was carved up between France and Britain, the victors of World War One.

    It was a plan which was a logical expression of the Wolfowitz Doctrine which called for the untrammelled use of American military might in shaping the post-Cold War geo-political landscape.

    Such thinking had been put to paper by a policy document prepared by the now defunct Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank which called on the United States to “challenge” regimes which were hostile to its “interests and values”. Among those on the list was the Syrian state.

    Syria was on the list of seven countries to be taken out over a five year period according Wesley Clarke, the retired US army general who had served as supreme commander of NATO.

    The balkanisation of the Middle East has always factored in the foreign policy objectives of the state of Israel. The policy plan devised by Oded Yinon in the early 1980s emphasized the vulnerability of multi-faith and multi-tribal Arab nations created by European imperial powers with Syria been assessed as “fundamentally no different from Lebanon except in the strong military regime which rules it.”

    The thinking behind A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, a policy document prepared in 1996 for Benjamin Netanyahu during his first tenure as Israeli prime minister was to work in concert with its allies Turkey and Jordan to “contain, destabilize and roll-back” those states posing threats to all three. The strategy as with the PNAC document specifically mentions the “weakening, controlling and even rolling back” of Syria.

    While the rejection of Turkey’s natural gas pipeline proposal may likely have played a decisive factor in turning Erdogan against Assad’s Syria, the insurrection was begun under the cover of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. Recruitment and financing of Sunni Islamist insurgents came from the Sunni powers of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

    Turkey – A Study in Geo-Political Malevolence
    By Adeyinka Makinde
    http://adeyinkamakinde.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/commentary-turkey-study-in-geo.html

  14. Lusion
    December 2, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Forensic psychiatry is exactly the correct lens to view Western politics through these days.
    The moneyed elites, their puppets in politics and the media have managed to maneuver millions of their citizens – and often themselves, too – into a sort of mass-psychosis.

    In-group members coming to consider some nations or groups, especially their own, as innately superior to others is a particularly dark side of the ensuing delusional thinking.

    The inability to stand in another’s shoes appears pervasive, empathic perspective taking is shunned and replaced with an “us versus them” mindset.
    Some mouthpieces of exceptionalism even seem to be oblivious to the bias and hybris they are displaying and spreading.

    So – who’ll administer the red pills?
    Consortiumnews is right at the forefront of the project of removing the “de” from Lusion!

  15. Mortimer
    December 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

    The end-time growth of Ashkenazi Power using US muscle… .

    http://www.khazaria.com/images/khazaria.gif

    • Mortimer
      December 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Among European Jews, Elhaik found ancestral signatures that pointed clearly to the Caucasus and also, but to a smaller degree, the Middle East.

      The results, said Elhaik, give sound backing for the rival theory – the “Khazarian Hypothesis.”

      Under this concept, eastern European Jews descended from the Khazars, a hotchpotch of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries AD and, influenced by Jews from Palestine, converted to Judaism in the 8th century.

      The Judeo-Khazars built a flourishing empire, drawing in Jews from Mesopotamia and imperial Byzantium.

      They became so successful that they sent offshoots into Hungary and Romania, planting the seeds of a great diaspora.

      But Khazaria collapsed in the 13th century when it was attacked by the Mongols and became weakened by outbreaks of the Black Death.

      The Judeo-Khazars fled westwards, settling in the rising Polish Kingdom and in Hungary, where their skills in finance, economics and politics were in demand, and eventually spread to central and western Europe, according to the “Khazarian Hypothesis.”

      “We conclude that the genome of European Jews is a tapestry of ancient populations including Judaised Khazars, Greco-Roman Jews, Mesopotamian Jews and Judeans,” says Elhaik.

      “Their population structure was formed in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga, with roots stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan.”

      Many things are unknown about the Khazars, whose tribal confederation gathered Slavs, Scythians, Hunnic-Bulgars, Iranians, Alans and Turks.

      But, argues Elhaik, the tale sketched in the genes is backed by archaeological findings, by Jewish literature that describes the Khazars’ conversion to Judaism, and by language, too.

      “Yiddish, the language of Central and Eastern European Jews, began as a Slavic language” before being reclassified as High German, he notes.

      Another pointer is that European Jews and their ancestral groups in the Caucasus and Middle East share a relatively high risk of diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

      The investigation should help fine-tune a fast-expanding branch of genomics, which looks at single-change DNA mutations that are linked with inherited disease, adds Elhaik.

      http://www.khazaria.com

      • Curious
        December 3, 2015 at 2:09 am

        Well, of course this will raise a hornets nest, especially with people who have little understanding of history.
        The vast majority of Jews derive from the Turkish-Mongol mixed people of the Khazar Kingdom of the 2nd to 10th centuries. DNA tests have proven this over and over again, and yet Bibi uses this politically motivated word to use as a weapon against anyone who even questions the motivations of Jews. Bomb a bunch of Palestinians, but it is anti-semetic to question their motivation. I would suggest that people who are intellectually curious about the migration of the Jews will research the fact that many, if not most Jews are not Semite, and it is Bibi who uses this politically charged word to defend the the violent and vulgar Zionist aggression with this politically tense and incorrect word Semite. Please check the migration, and the recent DNA tests which prove he and many others are not Semites. It’s time to to de-legitimize his political incorrectness.

    • Abe
      December 4, 2015 at 11:51 pm

      Netanyahu’s bursts of “anti-Semitic” coprolalia (compulsive utterance of inappropriate and derogatory remarks) are ridiculous.

      But the Israeli Prime Minister’s antics are no reason to import the equally ridiculous and notoriously “anti-Semitic” Khazaria theory into the discussion here.

      Unless, of course, you’re a Hasbara (Hebrew: הַסְבָּרָה‎ hasbará, “explaining”) propagandist troll attempting to derail the discussion at hand.

      Consortium News is often targeted by Hasbara trolls.

      Hasbara tactics of deception include:

      1) accusing anyone who offers legitimate criticism of Israel or Zionism of being “anti-Semitic”, and

      2) deliberately posting incendiary comments with links to “anti-Semitic” and “Holocaust denial” material. Posting irrelevant links to the Khazaria theory definitely falls into this realm.

      Hasbara smear tactics have intensified online due to ever-increasing Israeli military aggression and outright racism, as well as Israel’s collusion with the United States in regime change projects from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.

      Readers of Consortium News are alert to these deceptive tactics.

      There have been a number of efforts by international and governmental bodies to define “anti-Semitism” formally.

      The U.S. Department of State states that “while there is no universally accepted definition, there is a generally clear understanding of what the term encompasses.” For the purposes of its 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism, the term was considered to mean “hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.”

      In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now Fundamental Rights Agency), then an agency of the European Union, developed a more detailed working definition, which states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

      The European agency adds that “such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity,” but that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

      Criticism of particular Israeli actions or policies – even harsh and strident criticism or advocacy – in and of itself does not constitute “anti-Semitism”.

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