The High Cost of American Hubris

Americans have paid a very high price for the Establishment’s imperial ambitions, a price passing a breaking point in blood and money, a problem that must be addressed with realism and humility, explains Natylie Baldwin.

By Natylie Baldwin

Although renowned political scientist John Mearsheimer does not consider himself to be an isolationist – a term which has acquired a negative connotation since WWII – his definition is illuminating as much for clarifying what the term does not mean as for what it does.

In America Unhinged, Mearsheimer writes: “Isolationism rests on the assumption that no region of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere is of vital strategic importance to the United States. Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

As Mearsheimer makes plain, isolationism does not constitute a lack of constructive engagement with the outside world, but a judicious engagement that eschews military action outside of defending the homeland.

At a time when Washington is experiencing the hubris of imperial overreach and the prospect of the eventual collapse that history shows is the inevitable endgame of all empires, it is time for concerned Americans across the political spectrum to begin to seriously consider what a new paradigm and policy platform representing sanity might look like.

It is in the U.S.’s long-term interests (as well as the rest of the world’s) to have stability. The bare minimum for stability is a lack of war.

As science writer John Horgan concluded in his book The End of War in which he undertook a scientific analysis of war via the study of history, anthropology, psychology and sociology, the old adage about justice being a prerequisite for peace is wrong. It is peace that is necessary for justice to take root. The violent, chaotic and wasteful conditions of modern war are not conducive to the pursuit of justice or human development.

Most Americans do not share the Neoliberal, Neoconservative, or Responsibility to Protect club’s messianic vision of an America that needs to recreate the world to fit some bastardized idea of imperial “democracy” that requires a Year Zero program to destroy the social, cultural and political foundations of target countries (see Iraq, Libya, and Syria).

The restoration of our democratic republic and the revitalization of our economy and society are intimately connected to pulling out of the militarist/imperialist projects that are killing our country, along with the casualties it is responsible for around the world. It was estimated last year by physicians’ groups that deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan from the U.S. “war on terror” (USWOT) are 1.3 million at the conservative end.

The predictable blowback from friends and family members of those decapitated and blown apart by drone strikes and indiscriminate bombings, as well as shootings by soldiers whose psyches have been warped by immersion in the hellhole of counter-insurgency wars that are unwinnable, should give all Americans serious pause in terms of rational problem-solving toward the goal of increasing the conditions for peace and stability.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

The casualties from the physicians’ groups does not even count the thousands dead in the Libyan civil war, precipitated by the US/NATO toppling of the Gaddafi government – a stable, secular government that had attained the highest standard of living in all of Africa – or our attempts to similarly support nihilistic jihadists who want to topple the Assad regime in Syria and the killing frenzy that has resulted in that country.

Other historians and political scientists, going further back in the American Empire’s reign, have estimated 20 million to 30 million people have perished as a result of Washington’s covert operations and overt military interventions that have occurred almost continuously since 1945.

Take a moment to let that really sink in. Each of those 20 million to 30 million was a living, breathing person who – like you and me – had hopes, dreams, fears and other people who loved them. With this track record, is it any wonder that the world views the U.S. as the biggest threat to world peace by a wide margin?

The Morally and Intellectually Bankrupt

The U.S. needs to take the lead on de-militarizing and using the freed-up focus and resources to begin engineering a soft landing for the inevitable imperial/economic decline that we are already experiencing. By any rational measure, our interventions have been disasters, creating more problems than they solve. There is a reason why we are known in other parts of the world as “The Empire of Chaos.”

We use our military to relentlessly kill and destroy because our political leaders no longer have the will or imagination to build something constructive. Militarism is the refuge of the morally and intellectually bankrupt.

With a Pentagon budget that comprises 54 percent of the discretionary budget – not counting the black budget expenditures of intelligence agencies estimated at an additional $52 billion annually — this is 4 percent more than 1990 levels – the time at which the late expert on the military industrial complex, Seymour Melman, made the following observation:

“The American ruling class, by 1990, has become a state/corporate managerial entity. Together they control the military-industrial complex. … The war economy, in the service of extending the decision power and wealth of America’s state and corporate managers, has been consuming the US civilian infrastructure. Roads, bridges, the water supply, waste disposal systems, housing, medical care facilities, schools are in disrepair from coast to coast.”

U.S. Marines patrol street in Shah Karez in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 10. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Storm)

U.S. Marines patrol street in Shah Karez in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Storm)

Currently, the number one spender on the military at approximately 50 percent of the world total, we are also set to spend $1 trillion on an updated nuclear arsenal, partly justified by a rivalry with the Russian Federation, a face-off that is recognized as largely contrived by those who have a true understanding of post-Soviet U.S.-Russia relations.

As a nuclear superpower that enjoys the protection of vast oceans on both its shores and relatively cordial relations with our neighbors to the north and south, the U.S. has not experienced a war on its soil for 150 years and the Civil War did not involve any foreign invasion.

Further, according to research last year by ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi, only two Americans died overseas in terrorist attacks outside of war zones and only 26 deaths occurred domestically from jihadist terrorism since 9/11 – averaging less than two deaths per year. If we add to that the deaths from the attacks in San Bernadino and Orlando, the total is 91. This is fewer than the number of victims of domestic terrorists.

So how does a virtually non-existent threat of invasion or the issue of terrorism justify billions of dollars wasted on militarism, thousands of deaths and injuries of American military personnel and millions more non-Americans (mostly civilians), and loss of civil liberties? Where is the logic and conscience in this equation?

Given the fact that Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have reached out repeatedly since 2000 to cooperate toward the resolution of security issues that would include and respect everyone’s interests on the greater European continent, coupled with the fact that any terrorist threat from Middle East jihadists has been greatly magnified, if not initiated, by Washington’s militarist policies in that region, it is safe to say that our country’s policymakers have the capability to greatly minimize what little foreign threat there may be to the U.S. through a shift in policy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

It is incumbent upon the U.S. to make this shift as its policy actions over the past 25 years have created or exacerbated the worst problems of instability in the international arena. Moreover, these policies have done so by running up an astronomical debt to foreign countries that the policies are now working to antagonize.

U.S. policymakers have done all this at the expense of the well-being of the majority of Americans by wasting huge sums of money that could be used to improve our D+ level infrastructure, to raise our medical standards from the bottom of the industrialized world and to address the true unemployment rate of 23 percent.

Costs of US Imperialism and Militarism

Military Bases and Blowback 

The U.S. currently has hundreds of military bases on every continent except Antarctica, costing $250 billion annually to maintain. Ironically, these bases tend to create the need for still more bases. They promote resentment in areas where American GI’s live in pampered bubbles, located on prime real estate, and in culturally divergent ways relative to the natives.

At the time that Chalmers Johnson wrote The Sorrows of Empire in 2004, the Department of Defense (DOD) publicly acknowledged 725 bases around the world, although there were understood to be significantly more due to secrecy and various means of obscuring the presence of a military installation by using euphemisms in different documents (e.g. in connection with Israel).

Despite the official tally by the DOD having dropped somewhat in recent years, there are undoubtedly many more bases now with the accession of nine more countries to NATO, along with bombing campaigns extended to several more countries and covert military operations expanded into numerous others as well as the proliferation of smaller “lily pad” style bases.

As Chalmers Johnson wrote (p. 152): “There is something else at work, which I believe is the post-Cold War discovery of our immense power, rationalized by the self-glorifying conclusion that because we have it, we deserve to have it. The only truly common elements in the totality of America’s foreign bases are imperialism and militarism – an impulse on the part of our elites to dominate other peoples largely because we have the power to do so, followed by the strategic reasoning that, in order to defend these newly acquired outposts and control the regions they are in, we must expand the areas under our control with still more bases.

“To maintain its empire, the Pentagon must constantly invent new reasons for keeping in our hands as many bases as possible long after the wars and crises that led to their creation have evaporated. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee observed as long ago as 1970: ‘Once an American overseas base is established it takes on a life of its own. Original missions may become outdated but new missions are developed, not only with the intention of keeping the facility going, but often to actually enlarge it.’”

Billions of dollars are spent annually on constructing and maintaining these bases just in the Middle East where estimates of the number of military bases in Afghanistan alone had ranged up to 411 at one point. Bases in this region are mostly on behalf of the goal of protecting Persian Gulf oil supplies. Indeed, $40 trillion is estimated to have been spent on this over the past 40 years.

This begs a couple of questions: (1) wouldn’t it be cheaper and more humane to simply invest in energy efficiency and renewables that would create American jobs? (2) or, how about just paying a fair market price for these fossil fuels?  Regardless of any particular regime’s rhetoric against the U.S. or the West, they’d still want to make money at the end of the day. Not to mention, we’d be supporting the concept of markets, which we claim to hold in such high esteem as to border on the religious.

Moreover, as Michael Scheuer, former CIA specialist on the Middle East for 22 years, argues persuasively, one of the primary reasons that young Muslim males in the region are motivated to blow themselves up in terrorist actions against the U.S. is due to the presence of American military bases on sovereign and Muslim lands. Virtually no Muslims – no matter how radical – are motivated to commit such acts because of the way we live within our own borders. 

American Victims of Empire

Over 7,000 American military personnel have lost their lives so far in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, 56 percent of veterans are receiving treatment with the VA, half have applied for permanent disability and a third are being treated for PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression. Some 250,000 have suffered a traumatic brain injury and close to 2,000 have had limbs amputated. Approximately 175,000 veterans are 70 – 100 percent disabled. It is estimated that care and compensation for veterans of these wars over the coming decades will reach $1 trillion.

The overall cost of these wars is projected to be $6 trillion, enough for every American household to receive $75,000. Although, military investment does produce some jobs, investment in other sectors of the economy, like healthcare, would produce far more.

According to geopolitical analyst, Conn Hallinan, “We spend more on our ‘official’ military budget than we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development combined.”

In fact, if that $6 trillion spent on wars in the Middle East was to be invested in projects that improved Americans’ lives, we could achieve the following and still have some left over:

  1. Completely upgrade our ailing infrastructure ($3.6 trillion);
  1. Invest the upfront costs to implement the Stanford University plan for 100 percent renewable energy in the U.S. by 2050, creating almost 6 million jobs over 40 years in the process ($350 billion*);
  1. Expand Medicare to cover all Americans ($394 billion);

4 Double the salary of all high school teachers ($80 billion)

Instead, we have the budgetary sinkhole that has become the security state; simultaneously, our politicians have implemented major tax cuts for the wealthy.  The result over the past 15 years is that we have witnessed the largest transfer of money upward to the wealthiest segment of our society.

Four hundred Americans now have more wealth, totaling $2 trillion, than 50 percent of all Americans combined. We have also officially become an oligarchy, where only corporations and the super wealthy are able to influence policy.

What are the implications of this chasm in socioeconomic equality in terms of America’s security?

Inequality and Domestic Security

In their seminal 2009 bookThe Spirit Level:  Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett explain their findings from years of research on social inequality and its relationship to the security of societies.

Based on studies of the wealthiest nations (market democracies), societies that have greater disparities of wealth – and, hence, social status – tend to experience lower levels of well-being and stability as indicated by the following criteria: 1) lower levels of trust among members of society, 2) higher rates of mental illness and addiction, 3) lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates, 4) more obesity, 5) lower children’s educational performance, 6) higher teenage births, 7) more homicides, 8) high incarceration rates, and 9) less social mobility.

These trends held regardless of the overall wealth of the societies involved.  More equality made between 3 and 10 times a difference in well-being and social security when comparing the market democracies of the world.

Let’s look at how the U.S. rates on these criteria:

1) Only 1/3 of Americans trust others, according to a 2013 AP-GfK poll

2) The U.S. has the highest rate of mental illness, including addiction, in the world (WHO)

3) Life expectancy for the U.S. is 26th out of the 36 OECD nations, while the U.S. also has the worst infant mortality rate in the West (CDC)

4) According to a study published by The Lancet in 2014, the US is the most obese nation on the planet

5) The U.S. ranks 36th in the world for educational performance

6) The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world (CDC)

7) The U.S. ranks first in homicide rates in the western world and seventh for the entire world

8) The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth, both in terms of the per capita rate and the overall number of people locked up

9) A child born into poverty in the U.S. today has a 33 percent chance of moving up the socioeconomic ladder, compared to a 50 percent chance in 1946

As it turns out, America is indeed exceptional, but not in the way President Obama would like everyone to believe.

Wilkinson and Pickett also found that, although the poorest of the population reaped the most benefits from equalization measures, the entire population benefited to some degree from more equality. Furthermore, it was recognized that past a certain level, increases in material gain did not produce more happiness or well-being among people. In other words, once a person’s basic needs were satisfied comfortably, there was a law of diminishing returns for acquiring more wealth or material goods.

Another point that was made by the authors was that societies did not need to follow only one model to achieve more equality. What mattered was that there were effective mechanisms of some kind in place to facilitate more equality in a society. At the time of the book’s publication, there were two models recognized among the market democracies: the Scandinavian model of social welfare programs provided by the state and the Japanese model that encouraged less disparity in incomes between different levels of society, obviating the need for many state welfare programs.

For example, as of 2013, American CEO’s made 354 times as much as the average worker, whereas Japanese CEO’s made only 67 times as much as the average worker.

Solutions to the Problems

Money Out of Politics

In 2014, Princeton Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page published a study in which they determined, through quantitative analysis of 1,779 policy issues, that average Americans and organizations representing the interests of average Americans have virtually no influence over public policy at the national level.

Policy is dictated by large corporations, the super wealthy and the organizations and lobbyists who represent them, mostly due to the huge sums of money they are able to contribute, directly or indirectly, to political campaigns.

To end this institutionalized bribery, money must be removed from politics. A constitutional amendment must be passed to clarify once and for all that corporations are not human beings and that money is not speech.

There are significant efforts underway for such an amendment. Move to Amend is working toward pressuring Congress to introduce and pass such an amendment; while, Wolf PAC is an organization working to get enough state legislatures to call a constitutional convention to introduce and pass an amendment.

Media outlets that rent out our public airwaves for profit must provide free air time to election candidates, eliminating the need for candidates to buy advertising.

Reign in the Military Industrial Complex

During WWII, Senator Harry Truman presided over the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, which investigated waste, inefficiency, and war profiteering. When Truman received word that a company might be engaged in such behavior, he would drive out and pay surprise visits to the company. He would investigate aggressively and, according to The Nation, his work prompted President Franklin Roosevelt to support increasing “the excess profits tax to 90% and charg[ing] the Office of War Mobilization with the task of eliminating illegal profits.”

The Pentagon, which can’t pass an audit and can’t properly account for billions of dollars over the years, also routinely does business with defense contractors that have the most fraud and misconduct claims against them, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and KBR.

An independent commission should be impaneled to investigate war profiteering, waste, fraud and misconduct. The commission should have the authority and expectation to act on its findings rather than just issuing a report that will be ignored. An attitude that corporations that intentionally commit fraud and misconduct in relation to military contracts as well as lobbying to have American troops put in harm’s way for wars that have nothing to do with defending the homeland would be considered unpatriotic at best and treasonous at worst. Political lobbying by military contractors should be outlawed and military personnel should go back to providing services for themselves such as cooking meals, cleanup and latrine duty.

A moratorium should be placed on any new military bases or expansion of existing ones. Gradual dismantling of military bases should follow based on the criteria of the necessity of defending the homeland. Simultaneously, there should be a halt to NATO expansion.

The U.S. should work with Europe and Russia toward a new, inclusive security architecture for Europe where the U.S. is a partner, not a dominator. This would eliminate the pretext of the U.S. needing to provide the majority of Europe’s security.

The operations portion of the CIA should be dissolved as well as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Both of these organizations have a documented history of being too vulnerable to abuse by the Executive Branch outside of its constitutional mandate.

The money and arms faucet to Israel needs to be turned off. Washington should make it clear to Tel Aviv that Israel will no longer be indulged like a spoiled child with no responsibilities. The baton needs to be passed to other institutions and nations to broker a peace plan between Israel and Palestine. Russia, China, the U.N. or a combination thereof would be in a better position to do so.

A Peace Dividend for the U.S.

The money saved from the above measures could fund a New Deal type program to invest in renewable energy, obviating the “need” for wars over access to oil and gas, shipping lanes and pipelines. It could also provide other basic social infrastructure that would raise the American standard of living equivalent to the rest of the Western world.

We could also incentivize the re-industrialization of our economy toward the self-sufficient production of essential goods. Funding and tax policies could facilitate local food production and manufacturing. This would encourage food security, jobs that cannot be outsourced, increased environmental accountability and fair trade focused on surplus and non-essential goods.

Conclusion

These are all policies that traditional Burkean conservatives and green-minded progressives can agree on: anti-imperialism, more economic self-sufficiency, energy independence, restoration of civil liberties and an end to corporate crony capitalism and its buying of the political system.

We must accept the fact that we are one country among many – a country that can still be a great nation – but we are not exceptional and we are not God. Such a belief stems from a cultural narrative deeply rooted in the particular brand of Calvinist/Puritan Protestantism that shaped the U.S. from its pioneer days. It has expressed itself through Manifest Destiny in the 19th century, “Leader of the Free World” against the “Evil Empire” in the 20th century, and the Exceptionalist/Indispensable Nation of the 21st century.

Most Americans will accept stepping down off this messianic pedestal if they have gained the true confidence that an increase in their standard of living would provide and if they are not manipulated and fed a constant diet of propaganda by politicians and corporate media on behalf of the interests of a craven and militaristic oligarchy.

Instead, Americans and their leaders would be working together to implement practical and concrete policies to improve Americans’ lives and foster the cooperation and stability in the international arena that will translate into genuine long-term security for the US.

Space must be provided for other regions and multilateral institutions to figure out how to restore stability. The rest of the world can figure out how to solve their own regional problems and govern themselves if given the space to evolve toward this goal. The world will not fall apart if the U.S. pulls back, gets its own house in order and endeavors to lead by example.

  *$350 billion was figured by taking the high end annual estimate for National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s “80% renewable by 2050,” adding on an additional 20% and multiplying by 35 years.

Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. In October of 2015, she traveled to 6 cities in the Russian Federation and has written several articles based on her conversations and interviews with a cross-section of Russians.  Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Consortium News, Russia Insider, OpEd News, The New York Journal of Books, The Common Line, Santa Fe Sun Monthly, Dissident Voice, Energy Bulletin, Newtopia Magazine, and the Lakeshore. She blogs at natyliesbaldwin.com. [An earlier version of this article first appeared at OpEd News}

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63 comments for “The High Cost of American Hubris

  1. Sally Snyder
    August 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Here isn an interesting look at the connection between American spending on drone warfare and lobbying:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/07/american-taxpayers-and-their-investment.html

    The payoff for defense lobbying is massive and is largely why the United States is constantly on a war-footing.

  2. J'hon Doe II
    August 26, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you so much Ms. Baldwin for stacking all these facts and truth before our smug and misinformed citizenry. You’ve ‘taken us to the woodshed’ with a loving hand. The facts presented here may be denied or ignored, but for any who relish the power of truth (reality), your piece is a Godsend.

    Again, thank you, so very much.

    May We Somehow Find Peace.

  3. Erik
    August 26, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    All very true. It is the infantile bully-boy who rises to control big business, and comes to control mass media and elections, the tools of democracy. The right-wing revolution has made the US an empty suit of armor, blundering madly around the globe.

    If the US had spent its pointless military expenditures since WWII on humanitarian assistance, it would have lifted half the world from poverty. If it had thereby built the roads, schools, and hospitals of the developing world, it would have no organized enemies, and would have truly achieved an American century.

    The US needs constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited registered individual contributions, and to improve checks and balances, but without those tools of democracy we cannot get those protections.

    The US people are tyrannized to fear the least nonconformity, and lack the courage of the farmers and woodsmen who established the nation. They cannot debate on mass media nor elect those who represent them. Educators and activists gamble that the People can still be led to assemble the shreds of power that remain to them into a new revolution. We must oppose oligarchy with all our efforts and all that we have.

  4. Zachary Smith
    August 26, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    In America Unhinged, Mearsheimer writes: “Isolationism rests on the assumption that no region of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere is of vital strategic importance to the United States. Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

    It may seem I’m nitpicking to focus on this part of the essay, but it really does irk me because Mearsheimer allows for no exceptions. This is simply unreasonable.

    In general terms though, I agree with the author. Successive US governments have simply gone mad, and it’s costing us – big time.

  5. Bill Bodden
    August 26, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    A key element in the problem outlined in this excellent essay is that the dominant players in US foreign and military policy are afflicted with hubris which, in turn, precludes the vital and sane ability to admit to having been wrong. A revolution is probably the only prospect for change to avoid what appears to be an inevitable American version of a classical Greek tragedy, but that is not likely to occur. If it did, our military would be used to crush it and the last vestiges of democracy in America.

    • August 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Find out we don’t need a commander in chief. Defeat Hillary and engineer a four year gridlock in the electoral college.

      Figure 30% for Greens, 25% for Libertarians, 22% democrats, 13% misc and 10% for iTrumpet.

  6. Abe
    August 26, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    “Syria’s conflict has escalated into dangerous new territory as Turkish military forces cross the Turkish-Syrian border in an attempt to annex the Syrian city of Jarabulus. The operation includes not only Turkish military forces, but also throngs of Western-backed militants who will likely be handed control of the city before expanding operations deeper into Syria against Syrian government forces […]

    }The plans laid by Washington and its regional allies seek to establish a buffer zone or ‘safe-haven’ within Syrian territory unassailable by Syrian forces from which Western-backed militants can launch operations deeper into Syrian territory. Currently, these operations are launched from Turkish territory itself.

    “With militants being incrementally pushed out of Aleppo and Syrian forces making advances everywhere west of the Euphrates River, it appears that the US is attempting to use Kurdish forces to annex eastern Syria while Turkey’s latest move is aimed at finally creating a long-desired northern safe-haven in order to prevent a full collapse of fighting within the country.

    “British special forces, meanwhile, are reportedly in southern Syrian attempting to carve out a similar haven for militants along Jordan and Iraq’s borders with Syria.

    “The participation of US airpower in the ongoing operation also makes clear the lack of strategic and political depth of US loyalty to its supposed Kurdish allies, a betrayal in motion even as Kurdish forces are being marshalled and directed against Syrian forces by the US in eastern Syria.

    “Plans for such safe-havens were disclosed as early as 2012, with US policymakers in a Brookings Institution paper titled, “Assessing Options for Regime Change,” stating (our emphasis):

    “‘An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under [Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s] leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.’

    “This is now precisely what is being created, starting in Jarabulus, and likely to extend westward toward Azaz, directly north of the contested Syrian city of Aleppo. Since 2012, various pretexts have been invented, abandoned and then revisited in order to justify a cross-border operation like the one now unfolding […]

    “In the aftermath of the July coup, many were hopeful Turkey would realign itself geopolitically and play a more constructive and stabilising role in the region.

    “Instead, while citing the threat of the Islamic State and Kurdish forces along its border, a threat that its own collusion with US and Persian Gulf States since 2011 helped create, Turkey has decisively helped move forward a crucial part of US plans to dismember Syria and move its campaign of North African and Middle Eastern destabilisation onward and outward.”

    Turkey Invades Northern Syria — Truth of Turkish “Coup” Revealed?
    By The New Atlas
    http://www.thenewatlas.org/2016/08/turkey-invades-northern-syria-truth-of.html

    • J'hon Doe II
      August 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks, Abe. None dare call it Genocide.

  7. August 26, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    A very Informative article.

    Will “God Bless America”?

    For the horrific wars that were planned
    And all the killing in many lands
    For destroying countries and cities too
    And all the victims of its many coups
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For watching Syria on hellish fire
    Was regime change its desire?
    For selling arms to despots and dictators
    And all the other evil creatures
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For its illegal invasion of Iraq
    And all the fallout from this attack
    Children contaminated with depleted uranium
    Was this a “gift” from America at the millennium?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For killing helpless children with drones
    Decimating their countries and destroying their homes
    Leaving any still alive horribly maimed
    Are the assassins who do this evil and insane?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    For also helping to bomb Libya
    And aiding Al-qaeda in Arabia
    Does America really bring “democracy”?
    Or has it become a powerful hypocrisy?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    Yemen is another country on fire
    America’s “allies” is the bombing choir
    Supported by Uncle Sam and others
    And starving people die and smother
    Will “God Bless America”?

    Will war crimes with its allies go unpunished?
    Is the rule of law and justice finished?
    Does anyone care about crimes against humanity?
    Are we in hands of a ruling insanity?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    Is the “land of the free” creating hell on earth?
    Is world war three awaiting birth?
    Or is killing, bombing, destroying, just Hysteria?
    Or should it be called a hellish Amnesia?
    Will “God Bless America”?

    [more info at link below
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/02/will-god-bless-america.html

  8. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    August 26, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Empires always end up in the garbage bag of history and the US is no exception…..the real question is “How much the rest of Humanity will suffer, till America is finally resting in the garbage bag of history?!”

    • Bill Bodden
      August 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Empires always end up in the garbage bag of history and the US is no exception…

      Unfortunately, it is the subjects of the empire builders who will occupy the crowded and austere garbage bag while the miscreant financiers, architects and enablers of this tragedy will survive in relative and guilt-free comfort.

    • nexusxyz
      August 26, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      The British in the face of a new reality and being bankrupt after two world wars disassembled their empire in a controlled way and went with the new reality – the new empire (US). The US, I think, is totally incapable of this type reform (as outlined in the essay) and accommodating other nations on equivalent basis.

      • Brad Owen
        August 27, 2016 at 7:54 am

        The Tory Empire is the Tory Empire. No disassembly occurred. Industrial management of The Empire was transferred to trusted, imperial Tories in America (Wall Street), with its’ huge labor force (civilian AND military). The financial headquarters of the World is still “The City”. New, stealthier Deep State methods were pioneered for management-of-Empire. These are sober-minded businessmen, going back to the time of Venice & Genoa; NOT ideologues (ideology is used merely as a marketing ploy). Who do you think built the mighty Chinese industrial juggernaut?…We did. An imperial decision was made to transfer industrial operations of the Empire to China, as our workers were getting “to uppity” (in the imperial mind). They deemed the Chinese communist party had the right “managerial atmosphere” to take care of industrial business and keep their workers in line. The Tory Empire is the 4th reincarnation of the Roman Empire (after the Romans, the Byzantines, the Venetians-transfering to the Anglo-Dutch). Even now, the UK is moving closer to alliance with China (probably to protect their “investment” for the Tory Empire…the people of USA & UK are of no concern to them at all…a Green/Labour alliance may have something to say about these matters, as per this essay. Remember Tianenmen Square.).

    • August 27, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Everything always ends up,in the dust bin of history. Many major empires,survived centuries, Rome, Byzantium and not to China. Much depends on the quality of the ruling elites within any empire and, at the moment, the American Empire is ruled by a leadership that is simply to corruptmtomsstain itself and thus the Empire will be short lived as long as the present regime is in power.

  9. Bill Bodden
    August 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Reign in the Military Industrial Complex

    “Reign” should be “rein” but the prescriptions proposed under this sub-heading are indisputably correct

  10. Joe Tedesky
    August 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    This excellent article by Natylie Baldwin should be published to the fullest, and start a conversation in America, which is well overdue for discussion.

    The other day I posted a link to a 2016 Inspector General for the DOD report, where the report claims that the DOD can’t account for 6.5 trillion dollars. Think about that for a moment. Consider the DOD budget is annually 600 billion dollars (giver or take a few billion). Okay, then how in the world does the DOD lose 6.5 trillion? I mean the DOD had to pay the troops, right? The DOD buys 19 million gallons of fuel a day, doesn’t it? Then there is the money they need to throw away on such projects as the F35, among many other boondoggle enterprises they waste money on. So, where does the 6.5 trillion dollars come from?

    Another thing worth wondering about is, how many veterans come home to serve on a local police force? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hiring a veteran to serve on my local police force, but please debrief them first. I mean it’s one thing that we now take policing lessons from Israel, but someone should at least tell the returning Vet that they are not serving in Iraq. Oh, while mentioning Iraq, could the Iraqi be upset with any mistreatment they encountered while America occupied their streets? Just asking.

    I’m leaving a link to something which Zbigniew Brzezinski recently penned. Let’s just say this, for Zbigniew this essay of his is something much different that what we are use to hearing coming out of him.

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/04/17/toward-a-global-realignment/

    • Erik
      August 26, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      There is a similar article on CounterPunch about his apparent reversal. I doubt that he is pulling a (Vietnam War DefSec) Robt. MacNamara late-life reflection on great personal errors, though: he is probably just backpedaling after the Turkey disaster to avoid being blamed. A few years after MacNamara’s initial book on this was published, he actually set up 1999 debates in Vietnam with Gen, Giap and other former opponents, encouraging them to admit misconceptions about the US, although far less serious. He even wondered prophetically whether the US was not getting into the same trap in misunderstanding Islamic states. The right wing simply disavowed him. I’d like to see Brezinski make such admissions, or Graham Fuller, if so much implicated as is reported.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 26, 2016 at 11:52 pm

        Here is Mike Whitney…

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/25/the-broken-chessboard-brzezinski-gives-up-on-empire/

        You know Kissenger had some doubt about intimidating the Russians. Now, with Zbigniew’s new outlook, my quess is the Kagan’s, Morell, Powers, Rice, and the 51 Anonymous Diplomates, will just shrug this somewhat different chess game of Brzezinski’s off as his just growing to old, and soft. Hey, it’s their turn for greatness, Zbigniew’s already had his turn, now it’s theirs and of course Hillary’s turn to complete the Rhodes (really Rothschild’s Zionist) plan to the fullest. I hope I’m wrong.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 27, 2016 at 1:19 am

        Erik, bringing up old somewhat repentant defense secretary’s is dead on. When 1999 rolled around the U.S. was at the top of its game, even with Clinton defense spending cuts the U.S. had gone across the finish line. What happened with McNamara in 99 probably happens more than we can recall at times. A lot of these people do better out of office than in. What concerns me more, is how when they finally do speak out having now acquired some wisdom (or fear of the here after) that any current Adminstration doesn’t pay attention to their wise elders when they speak, the truth. Bush ignored Scowcroft & Baker. No one paid any attention to General MacArthurs advise to get the hell out of Vietnam. The current NeoWarHog mentality that hovers over our U.S. Foreign Policy is what Eisenhower warned us about.

        Now, when Dick Cheney comes out denouncing the PNAC policy of 96 as a failed plan, well then that may be something to talk about. Don’t get me wrong moving Zbigniew over to the better, (not sure he’s ready for good, or greater column) that is a good thing, or better thing. In any case children should listen to their elders.

        Here’s something to hope for. What if Hillary were to get elected and then reject this Neocon H2P Zionist/Christian crazy ideology and go back to a Marshall ethos? If Hillary was to get that smart, and be a real leader (because that’s what we need) then that would be what the world has been waiting for. Her and the Donald could sit down with Vlad & Xi and that would work for me a wonderfully granted wish come true …but, first we need to alert the media and pitch the networks on how this new Hillary will be just like airing a Princess Diania Wedding everyday…think of the commercial time….. & then I suddenly woke up! As I dragged a comb across my head I looked up and saw how Russian bombs were killing Syrian babies, and how chaotic Hillary had a 12 point lead, instead.

        • Erik
          August 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          Funny that you say children should listen to their elders. I had the same thought while reading MacNamara. And why didn’t he listen to us children back then? Many seniors said much the same thing. It is individual hubris, the belief that a new method or system (the DOD computers of the 1960s whose capabilities would hardly make a thermostat today) would make a brilliant victory of ill-conceived militarism in the service of impossible and ill-defined policy goals. Much like Hitler’s belief that his invasion of Russia would be different from Napoleon’s. Now it is the US turn. We’re younger so we’re better, and our nation is powerful so it doesn’t have to be right. What could go wrong?

        • Gravedigger
          August 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

          It’s not Hillary, but the ones in the shadows pulling the evil witches strings you had better be concerned with. Hillary will probably end up staring in her very own version of weekend at Burnies by the looks of things.

      • Brad Owen
        August 29, 2016 at 7:06 am

        Probably just the sober re-assessment of a chess master: unipolar dominance of the World by the Tory Empire is not achievable at THIS time; a Multi-Polar approach must be pursued, and time spent “softening up” the Chinese, via the Anglo-Chinese Alliance, using its’ “Hong Kong asset” (Wall Street-of-the-East). The Tory Baton is being passed off from its’ Wall Street asset to its’ Hong Kong asset. The game continues…”don’t fret, it’s just business”.

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      August 26, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      The $600 Billion/Year Budget does NOT include war expenses…… plus Donald Rumsfeld said on September 10, 2001 that the DOD cannot find $2.3 Trillions (notice the date). The DOD has hired PRIVATE Defense Contractor to manage the so many PRIVATE Defense Contractors working for the DOD because it could no longer know which is doing what!!

      America for a long time has become a MILITARY MACHINE to police the whole world for the benefit of the REAL EMPIRE……which is the BANKING EMPIRE……….Take a U.S. dollar bill and look carefully at the top right of the “backside”…………use a magnifying glass if you need to. Then ask yourself “how did that symbol end up on this currency?”……..It is actually the symbol of the BANKING EMPIRE……Good Luck………..

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 27, 2016 at 10:05 am

        Thanks for reminding us about 9/10/01 Rumsfeld, and thanks for your input. If you take into consideration the tax cuts for ‘the job providers’, the Fed and things like TARP, and all the rest of the reckless spending that goes on, well America is literally broke. The only thing that is keeping America going is the massive deficit spending and leveraging debt to the hilt of the world’s reserve currency, and the many sanctions being imposed on the selected many nations , and oh and don’t forget Israel’s cut….you get the picture.

    • Realist
      August 27, 2016 at 2:42 am

      I dunno. Seems like the same old Russophobic Zbig, when he says things like “[Russia] is pointlessly alienating some of its former subjects in the Islamic southwest of its once extensive empire, as well as Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia, not to mention the Baltic States.” Alienating them how? By existing?

      By saying “European steadfastness within NATO is essential to an eventually constructive resolution of the Russia-Ukraine crisis,” I’m sure he means Europe should turn a blind eye to Poroshenko’s flouting the agreements he signed to end Ukraine’s war of aggression in the Donbass and that Europe should keep the sanctions on Russia until they fall to their knees and kiss America’s ass.

      When he says, “Russia must…be discouraged from its reliance on the unilateral use of force against its own neighbors—notably Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic States,” I’ve gotta wonder if that “force” was something he envisioned in an alcohol-inspired dream. If he’s against “force,” what about all the American-employed force across the globe, especially in the regions he mentions. It was America that instigated Georgia and Ukraine to actually use force against ethnic Russians within their borders. It is America that is whipping up war fever in the Baltics. Or does Zbig actually believe his hallucinations of Russian tanks rolling across Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia because… because… well, just because.

      It’s almost comical the way old Zbig exaggerates the number of casualties caused by Russia in its misadventure in Afghanistan–greatly prolonged by Zbig himself through the creation of the Mujahedeen, and then absurdly low-balls the number of people left dead by American mayhem throughout the Middle East. The number of dead we left in the sands of Iraq alone vastly outnumber whatever body count the Russians left in Afghanistan and Chechnya combined. Now add to our total those slaughtered in Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and every village in Somalia and Pakistan that Obomber has droned.

      Yep, old Zbig is still quite the joker. Still trying to pull the wool after all these years. As the Polish kids on the sidewalks of Chicago used to say, Zbig is still full of gówno. (Yeah, I had to look that up on Google translate. I recollect it sounding more like “goovno.”)

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 27, 2016 at 9:56 am

        Realist, thanks, and for all what you said that is why I only moved Zbig over to the ‘better column’. It is never any different with these people, just when you think they said something good, and then you parse their words to fine in their clever way they just repackaged the old message with the same old outcome….death & more war.

      • Gregory Herr
        August 27, 2016 at 11:46 am

        I read Zbig’s piece also and thought it full of sh**. Thanks Realist for pointing this out.

        Also, from Zbig:

        “…the currently violent political awakening among post-colonial Muslims is, in part, a belated reaction to their occasionally brutal suppression mostly by European powers. It fuses a delayed but deeply felt sense of injustice with a religious motivation that is unifying large numbers of Muslims against the outside world; but at the same time, because of historic sectarian schisms within Islam that have nothing to do with the West, the recent welling up of historical grievances is also divisive within Islam…A comprehensive U.S. pullout from the Muslim world favored by domestic isolationists, could give rise to new wars (for example, Israel vs. Iran, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran, a major Egyptian intervention in Libya) and would generate an even deeper crisis of confidence in America’s globally stabilizing role.”

        He basically describes this “phenomenon,” as he puts it, of a new Middle Eastern political reality, as arising from historical grievances. I would point to many other more recent factors myself, including the deliberate instigation of sectarian division by the West and the deliberate managed chaos replete with terrorist mercenaries and societal destruction.
        And how Orwellian does it get when the instigation of wars, oops I mean Western “involvement”, must not be curtailed lest new wars ensue?

  11. John
    August 26, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    America is just an area of land that just happens to have an original “constitution for the people” Unfortunately that dream has died. The revolving door of all the governing systems of the great USA is “for sale”…..pay to play. The parasites have sucked the life out of everything…..everything that is “for the people”……It’s no longer America first….now it’s Israel first. How did that happen ? The pentagon is totally rogue as is also the CIA and FBI…..Right under your nose……

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 26, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Yes John I agree, much is disappointing, and our country’s future looks mighty dim for what that’s worth. But, just when I thought all has been loss for any further investment I see ‘BleachBite’. I’m not a qualified financial investment broker, and because of this lack of title I can’t recommend any investment tools for you to invest in…but, ‘BleachBit’ just may possibly be the next big thing, especially if Hillary takes the presidency. ‘BleachBit’ is the computer hard drive cleaning service that was employed by Hillary to clean her yoga, GrandChild, her BFF emails ramblings off of her home secure computers….sounds like ‘BleachBit’ is the next best thing. Read the link, it looks as though ‘BleachBit’ is bragging about it. Hey, it’s the same hard drive cleaner used by the United States of America’s Secretay of State. Once I can think of something on my computer I want to get rid of, I’m using it, how about you?

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-26/bleachbit-brags-about-wiping-clinton-servers-clean-it-stifles-investigation-hillary-

      • Realist
        August 27, 2016 at 2:57 am

        Fascinating, especially since the Justice Department claims it has not only the right to monitor and record your every use of electronic communication, including email, internet and telephone, but also has unlimited right to the contents of your hard drives. They claim you have no right to constitutional protection against any searches and seizures of these things, the 4th amendment not withstanding. Bet you didn’t see any of this coming when you were taught your Civics and said the pledge of allegiance every day in the 6th grade. These were the kind of things they supposedly did in the evil countries, like in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Maybe invest in a short-wave radio and whatever gadgets are needed to encrypt the signal if we are to continue these conversations post-Hitlery. Amazing how quickly “patriotism” can be transmogrified into totalitarianism, eh?

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

          The difference between what Hillary did, and if either of us did what she did, is ‘intent’. Our intent is bad so we lose and we deserve jail time, Hillary’s intent is exceptional thus she gets a get out of jail free card, and she wins. Apparently all men/women aren’t created equal, or at least equal when it comes to hard drives.

    • nexusxyz
      August 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Amusingly the CIA and the Pentagon appear to be supporting different head chopper factions in Syria that are at odds with each other. Even the US ‘deep state’ is incoherent.

      • Brad Owen
        August 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        Unless the objective is permanent turmoil to prevent stabilization & coalescing & development of a Muslim Empire on PanEuropa’s southern flank. I have no doubt nobody in American policy circles are making decisions based on American interests…we are just the soldiers for the Tory/PanEuropa Empire.

  12. Lux
    August 27, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Natylie Baldwin – Excellent article, with the exception of a couple of points. Most importantly, Israel. Without the US Israel has no chance in the Middle East. All of its neighbors with the exception of Jordan are unstable. Therefore, until the Islamic “way” of terrorism is reigned in, their will be no peace for Israel in the region.

    The only way for Israel to have peace is for everyone on all sides to realize that there is no super race on this planet. To the Jews I say this – you are not superior. To the Palestinians and other Muslims in the region I say this – you are not without blame. All of you are wrong. Jerusalem does not belong to just some of you – Jerusalem belongs to all of God’s people – just as this planet belongs to God’s people – not only the elite who subjugate the masses through fraud and corruption while killing millions and driving other millions into legal slavery (to earn a living) and poverty.

    God does not condone violence against neighbors. Violence is always a last resort. All of you in the Middle East have, for far too long, viewed violence as the way of resolving conflict, but as Natylie has told you and as the US should know by now, violence only begets violence. In fact, violence is the way of the ignorant. So, if you don’t want God to view you as ignorant you need to stop the violence. Once you stop the violence – and this goes for the US too – you will be on the path toward understanding that their are no superior “messianic” people or races on this planet. We all die (most before the age of 100) because we are all flawed – and all of us are flawed in some critical way that cannot be helped without God. There are no medical “miracles” that will be allowed by God to make humans immoral at this point in time – or in the future – as long as the “status quo” continues.

    You should all know that by now, but by your actions, I see that you do not understand.

    By looking at the signs (that are everywhere – all the time), what you should understand by now is that the way of the sword and the gun are over.

    E Plurbius Unum – otherwise God will end the experiment for you. Be quiet and listen to the wind – it or your dreams will tell you what you need to know.

    The God of good of this Universe knows past, present, and future. And the rewards bestowed by that God are worthy of the love and respect you can show to your fellow man, and the anger you unveil through your words when you see injustice and war heaped like piles of dung on those that are suffering for the good of the few that, due to their evil, already have too much.

    Wealth is not the domain of the Godly. Wealth is the domain of the wicked. God will judge with the needle and the needle already has a thread.

    • Dennis Merwood
      August 28, 2016 at 2:49 am

      There are no ‘Gods”. And believing that there is one, and mine is more right than yours, IS THE PROBLEM.
      Surely we as humans can have all these positive thoughts that Lux expresses here without having to resort to having these fictitious God’s be our super-natural celestial dictator?

      • Dennis Merwood
        August 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

        ……..”God does not condone violence against neighbors”.
        Then why does he not stop it? He is all-powerful after all.

  13. Brad Benson
    August 27, 2016 at 7:30 am

    More from this author! This was a very well researched and superbly written article.

    • J'hon Doe II
      August 27, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Brad, check out her web site.
      http://natyliesbaldwin.com

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm

        J’hon, thanks for the link, I hold high value for sites like this.

    • August 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Brad.

    • jo6pac
      August 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      I agree and thanks for the link J’hon Doe II. They’re some great comments.

  14. John
    August 27, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Natylie, this is an excellent article, as you are obviously well researched, I must assume that you know that pretty much every recommendation you make is part of the Green Party US platform. Is there a reason for your decision to not mention Jill Stein’s candidacy here, as you are basically calling for exactly what she proposes?

    • August 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks, John. Actually, I have been a registered Green for many years and will be supporting Jill Stein in November. I was looking to write an article pointing out the problems and some possible solutions for people to consider, regardless of their political party identification. I have written other articles that address the candidates’ (mainly criticisms of Hillary Clinton’s Neocon) positions at my blog.

  15. August 27, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Tom Brokaw brought us the notion that the nation’s WWII warriors represented the greatest generation in our history. No doubt, his parents having been of that generation had something to do with his coming to that conclusion, but certainly that generation won that war and they managed to bring prosperity to a country and a world that had suffered through the depression. But the experiences of that generation made them a generations of enthusiasts for the military and for war and that generation was hugely influential in shaping popular attitudes through the end of the 20th century.

    Attitudes of the Americans can change pretty quickly, but on average they change at a slow pace. And perceptions of those attitudes by the nation’s leaders change at an even slower pace. While the population’s appetite for military adventures may finally have been depleted with the passing of that greatest generation, it probably will still be a few before those in the Washington bubble come to react to that new reality.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Paul reading your comment made me think of the pass. Like us baby boomer kids believing our dads and uncles fought alongside JohnWayne, and we were the good guys. Good when put against Hitler, but not so good when it came to a family in Hiroshima. Everyone wore a uniform, and a guy in uniform was so handsome that any redboooded America gal could not help but want to kiss him. Look at the movies made between 1940 and all the way to the Elvis era. Every night the tv stations signed off the aire with jets flying over church steeples while the National Anthem played proudly. Eisenhower warned us, but hardly anyone listened to the old soon to be leaving office grandfatherly president. With JFK’s murder, and soon to follow MLK, RFK, Macolm X, the assassination era kicked in with a vengeance which is still with us to this day, we all fell down. College deferments were canceled due to the draft, and our country needed it’s young to stop communist in Vietnam. Yeah, America loved it’s military so much that it spent it’s grand children’s future with it. This I’m sorry to say, will be our baby boomers legacy, and there’s nothing you can do about it…. Now, carry on!

  16. Michael Elvin
    August 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    “Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

    We can go further than that. Military conquest is mostly counterproductive. One can impose one’s rule by force, for so long as that force is actively applied. But force will never buy willing acquiescence, free of resentment. Once the boot is lifted from the neck, the vanquished have a way of biting one in the ass. Or, as it is occasionally put,

    “Be careful who you step on as you go up the ladder of life. You’ll be meeting those same people on your way back down.”

    • August 27, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      I totally agree, Michael. That’s what I was touching on in the conclusion – the nature of being a leader. One doesn’t earn a leadership position by hypocritically imposing his/her will at the point of a gun on others – that is a bully, not a leader. One earns a position of leadership by setting an honorable and successful example that people will want to follow.

  17. wobblie
    August 27, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    There will be no stepping off the pedestal so long as the masses accepts the ruling class.

    Individuals need to break themselves free.

    https://therulingclassobserver.com/2016/08/19/the-individual-among-us-part-ii/

  18. August 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    G’day Natylie & Consortium Readers,

    A timely and most welcome article whose wide ranging, well researched and clearly articulated themes as a writer are never far from my thinking about the Big Issues. In fact your piece has planted a number of seeds for me to consider exploring in future articles. As you know I was as impressed with as I was informed by your co-authored book Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard (readers: see link below), and this piece was at least up to the standard of that analysis and insight if not even more so. For those readers who have yet to read this excellent book, I cannot recommend it too highly.

    One final point: I’d like to echo the views of a couple of earlier posters, and say you need to (ahem) get out more! Meaning: Love to see and hear more from you.

    Greg Maybury
    Editor / Publisher
    poxamerikana.com

    Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated

    https://www.amazon.com/Ukraine-Zbigs-Grand-Chessboard-Checkmated/dp/0996174079

  19. August 27, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    This is such an excellent piece that puts the whole situation before us at least as far as politics. But, in my view, nothing can be done until we have a major cultural change in moving from the Culture of Narcissim to something healthier. Right now almost every major pup,ic and private institution is caught up in the culture of corruption that cannot be reformed only dissolved. I think your solutions are a bit facile–we are not even a remotely similar culture to the one Truman was dealing with. On a political level, the left must focus not on taking money out of politics but to start by making elections honest starting with de certifying the major political parties and creating a series of open runoff elections/primaries–had we done that Sanders would be our next President. But above all we need to see who the chief enemy is and that is the official press, i.e., the mainstream media. All fire needs to be directed at this institution that has done more to create this rotten system than all other industries combined. Finally, aside from working to preserve, protect and nurture your own communities, we must resist every element of the system to the degree possible by whatever means make sense by non-violent resistance and non-cooperation.

    • August 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      HI Chris, I agree that the media is a huge problem. One doesn’t do any significant work in the anti-war movement without realizing that the media is a major part of the problem. And, on a separate but related issue, the culture is really bad these days in the sense that so many of our movies, shows, and entertainment seek to get the audience to accept psychopathy, torture and militarism as compared to some movies and shows of the early 1960’s (e.g. the Twilight Zone, movies like Fail-Safe, etc.) that actually encouraged the audience to reflect on issues of war, technology, etc. Now it’s all gratuitous sex and violence to titillate rather than encourage reflection or questioning of anything.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 28, 2016 at 12:54 am

        Natalie Baldwin, excellent article. You mentioned movies and tv, would you also include music. I’m not with the young music scene, so I may not be up on current music themes. In the sixties we had a lot of pop rock and what was referred to as underground rock, that sang out a lot of lyrics promoting peace. In any case you are right, our whole media system is a corporate one, and that ain’t good. We need more smaller owned and independent businesses in general, but especially in the field of communications. Once again great article here, and hope to read more from you in the near future….peace! JT

        • John
          August 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

          Joe, there is LOTS of great music being made today, in basically every genre, that is at least equal to the music of the 60s. The problem is that it does not get any airplay. Since the Telocommunicantions Act of 1996, radio ownership has been consolidated by a handfull of companies (Cirrus, Clear Channel), and the DJs are usually handed a list of what they are supposed to play. Those few DJs that get a chance to choose what they play are given lists of what they cannot play, and are usually barred from playing anything not on corporate labels.

          That technology had evolved so that a musician can record and release their own music, and thus get all of the profit from their music (whereas a musician on a corporate label is lucky to get $.50 for each $20 CD) means that any self-respecting musician will have no reason to seek a corporate record contract.

          The problem, thus, is not a lack of good, revolutionary music, but that word of mouth is the only real way to know about it. There are, of course stylistic differences. For instance, Hip Hop has become the new Folk. However, Lowkey and Akala’s lyrics easily stand up against those of Dylan. (Heck, they stand closer to Shakespeare than Dylan).

          Though they do not get airplay, any Hip Hop fan that I have introduced to what is called “conscious Hip Hop” has ended up wondering why it is not more popular than the negative cRap being played on the radio. (Kropz, Immortal Technique, Disl Automatic, Caxton Press, Sole, Flobots, Broken Dialect, Shadia Mansour, People’s Army, Dead Prez, Rebel Diaz, Jaziri X, Brother Ali, DAM, and Lupe Fiasco also come to mind). As hip hop is the music of today’s youth, try introducing young people to these (and countless others that you will find as you explore from there).

          Outside of Hip Hop, Thee Silver Mount Zion (who are most definitely anti-Zionist), CocoRosie, Flaming Lips, Tom Morello (Night Watchmen, Rage Against The Machine), and Antony and the Johnsons come to mind.

          Ever major Corporate label is owned by or heavily invested in war profiteers.

          Commercial radio states openly that its mission is to provide effective advertising space to its customers, thus a teceptive audience is their product. An audience that is engaged or challenged by thoughtful music is not as receptive to advertising. Thus, it can only be expected that radio will only ever play mind-numbing drivel.

          • Joe Tedesky
            August 28, 2016 at 11:00 pm

            John thanks for filling me in on today’s music scene. You know what you brought up I kind of talk to my grandchildren about, and that is the way today our music is marketed to a niche audience appeal. When I grew up (before the invention of the wheel) way back in the fifties and sixties our radio stations and tv channels were much more diverse. We also had a small band width of channel/station reception. Although, we all watched the Ed Sullivan show, we all took away something different from one act from another act to enjoy. Our AM radio stations played a variety of tunes, and artist, ranging from pop rock,,country western, and easy listening, it was all there on one station. The result was, as a community where we all had some reference to the same thing where we could center our interaction with each other around, and I believe that was a good thing for us.

            Today we are all caught up inside our own private little bubble. Our politicians and the makers and shakers are also separated to a point that they don’t see the public, which they are suppose to represent. We in America have taken this corporatism to a terrible level of indifference. War profiteering is obscured with emotional patriotic rhetoric, and add enough of fear on top of that, well then nothing else matters but the false illusion of winning. Besides that, if you want to defend our nation from any real threats, then someone please quite picking on our non-enemies for crying out loud. A real good guy would only want more good guys to take up his cause, and that would be the way to defeating the real bad guys.

        • August 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm

          Thanks, Joe.

          • Joe Tedesky
            August 28, 2016 at 11:06 pm

            Your welcome Natylie, now write more articles for consortium.

      • August 31, 2016 at 8:18 am

        Yes!

  20. Peppermint
    August 27, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you Consortium News for your excellent work, and thank you Natalie Baldwin for clearly laying out “what ails us” as a nation. And thanks to all of the folks posting thoughtful comments and respectful replies. This site is one of the best on the internet.

  21. delia ruhe
    August 29, 2016 at 12:20 am

    “… average Americans and organizations representing the interests of average Americans have virtually no influence over public policy at the national level.”

    And so it’s hardly surprising that less than 50 percent of the electorate actually votes. Bernie’s effort to get his supporters to shift to Hillary, if only for the difference her winning would make in the Supreme Court doesn’t convince me that her nominees would be any more than centre-right at best. Besides, the Supreme Court gets more and more irrelevant, as individual states do things their own way, whether or not it conforms to federal law — because who can stop them?

    Bernie must have known that getting Democrats to incorporate his ideas into the party platform — and getting Hillary to pretend that he was changing her mind on some issues — was totally futile, as her current choices of people to work on her transition makes very clear. So I’m supposing that Bernie will have some future use for the proven futility of his struggle to have some influence on her with respect to policy.

    American elections have ceased to be entertaining. Now they’re simply depressing.

  22. LJ Smith
    August 29, 2016 at 6:54 am

    The scorched earth policies of empires past were regional. Today’s are global. We all are feeling the heat and had better wake up to that fact.

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