America’s Putin Derangement Syndrome

Exclusive: The mainstream U.S. media blames Russian President Putin for pretty much everything – from the Mideast mess to Europe’s disorder to the U.S. elections – but the reality is quite different, notes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

Last week as Donald Trump was preparing to take office, The New York Times — reeling from Trump’s interview in which he said he didn’t “really care” if the European Union holds together and described NATO as “obsolete” — declared that “the big winner” of the change in U.S. presidents was Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Why? Because Putin “has been working assiduously not just to delegitimize American democracy by interfering with the election but to destabilize Europe and weaken if not destroy NATO, which he blames for the Soviet Union’s collapse.” And based on what Trump has been saying about the alliance and the E.U., it appears that, as of noon on Friday, Putin has a co-thinker in the White House.

The Times may be right about Putin coming out on top, but its bill of indictment against him is over the top. The Russian president is not working to delegitimize America democracy – the U.S. is doing the job just fine on its own – and he’s not destabilizing Europe either since the forces undermining the E.U. are essentially generated by the West (traceable to the austerity medicine administered after the 2008 financial collapse and to the refugee flows created  by the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and the “regime change” project in Syria, none of which were initiated by Putin).

But the Times is entirely correct in pointing out that Putin is now riding high. He has a friend in Washington, he’s calling the shots in the Middle East, and it looks like he’ll soon be in a position to hammer out a rapprochement with Europe. So the big question facing the world is: how did he do it?

The answer is not by blackmailing Trump, hacking the Democratic National Committee, or any other such nonsense put out by disappointed Clintonites. Rather, Putin prevailed through a combination of skill and luck. He played his cards well. But he also had the good fortune of having an opponent who played his own hand extremely poorly. Russia won because America lost.

Years from now, as historians gather to discuss the great U.S. foreign-policy debacles of the early Twenty-first Century, they’ll have much to debate – the role of oil, Zionism and Islam; the destabilizing effects of the 2008 financial meltdown; and so forth. But one thing they’ll agree on will be the impact of hubris.

The U.S. emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall as history’s first “hyperpower,” a country whose military strength dwarfed that of the rest of the world combined. It celebrated by engaging in a series of jolly little wars in Panama, the Balkans, and the Persian Gulf that seemed to confirm its invincibility. But then it made the mistake of invading Afghanistan and Iraq and found itself in serious trouble.

What Went Wrong?

Historians of the future will also no doubt agree that Obama might have averted catastrophe if he had decisively broken with Washington’s pro-war foreign-policy establishment. Plainly, a change of course was urgent if catastrophe was to be avoided. But the more realistic among them will note that any such correction would have been both difficult and disruptive. It would have meant abandoning some allies and hammering out new relationships with others, changes that would have elicited howls of protest from Washington to Riyadh.

President Barack Obama waits backstage before making his last address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 20, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

So Obama, an ardent compromiser by nature, decided to fine-tune the existing policy instead by shifting from the direct military intervention of the George W. Bush era to more indirect means. This was an understandable reaction to the excesses of the previous administration, but it only made matters worse.

Exhibit A is Syria, the great bleeding wound in the side of the Middle East. After calling on Bashar al-Assad to step down in August 2011, Obama could conceivably have followed up by sending in hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to throw out the Baathists and install a pro-American regime in their place. None of Washington’s allies would have objected.

But since any such adventure was unthinkable in the wake of Afghanistan and Iraq, he opted for something more oblique. He ordered the CIA to begin working in secret to support the anti-Assad forces and sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to persuade such “Friends of Syria” as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to back up the insurgency with money and arms.

Most of the foreign policy establishment agreed. After all, Israel, Turkey and the Gulf kingdoms were of one mind that Assad should go, as were the intelligence agencies back home in Washington. As long-time Syria watcher Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma observed, the Assad government had long been in America’s crosshairs:

“Syria … had been an enemy since opposing the United States’ decision to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Thus, Washington supported several coup d’états in Syria beginning in 1949. When successive coup attempts in 1956 and 1957 failed, Damascus veered squarely into Moscow’s sphere of influence, never to come out of it. Syria’s military is entirely armed and trained by Russia. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Syria since the 1970s. For its part, Syria has consistently supported America’s enemies: Hezbollah, Palestinian groups, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. To add insult to injury, Assad actively opposed America’s occupation of Iraq.”

Digging Deeper

Yet the more the Obama administration tried to make its strategy work, the more it fell prey to a fatal contradiction. The reason was simple. Obama claimed to favor a democratic solution, yet the people he counted on to impose it, i.e. the Gulf kingdoms, are the most autocratic states on earth. The more money and aid they channeled to the opposition, therefore, the more undemocratic it became.

Secretary of State John Kerry with Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., during the general debate of the General Assembly, Sept. 20, 2016 (UN Photo)

Although the White House continued to cling to the myth of a “moderate” insurgency, it soon became obvious that the worst barbarians – bigoted Sunni fundamentalists, head-chopping “Takfiris,” even outright cannibals – were in control.

Warning flares went up but were ignored. In August 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency reported that the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and assorted Salafists were “the major forces driving the insurgency” and that their aim was to foment an anti-Shi‘ite sectarian war and establish a “Salafist principality in Eastern Syria,” the same area where Islamic State would establish its caliphate two years later. Yet the administration refused to adjust its strategy.

In October 2014, Vice President Joe Biden complained in a talk at Harvard that America’s Gulf allies “were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war” that “they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” (Quote starts at 53:25.)

Obama’s response was to order him to telephone various Gulf leaders and apologize for telling the truth.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks to pro-rebel Syrian exiles last September were even more revealing. In the course of a 30-minute meeting at the United Nations, he volunteered that the U.S. goal was not to combat Islamic State as had been long claimed. Rather, it was to use ISIS (also known as ISIL and Daesh) to put pressure on Assad and force him to accede to a pro-U.S. government.  Referring to Putin’s decision to intervene in Syria in November 2015, Kerry said:

“The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger. Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth, and that’s why Russia came in, because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad. And we know this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage [and] that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, he got … Putin in to support him. So it’s truly complicated.” (Quote starts at 26:10.)

Using the Terrorists 

The remarks, the subject of a misleading New York Times article by Anne Barnard and a smart analysis by longtime U.N. correspondent Joe Lauria, sums up all that was self-defeating about the Obama administration’s strategy. While the U.S. claimed to oppose ISIS, it was in fact happy to use it as a lever to pry Assad from power.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

While the official line was that Russia only intervened to prop up Assad, Kerry freely admitted that the chief reason was to prevent ISIS from marching into Damascus. One could reasonably conclude from Kerry’s comments that Russia was more interested in combatting Islamic State than the U.S. was (although the opposite claim was often made by the Times and other mainstream news outlets).

Somehow Kerry had gotten it into his head that after pummeling Assad to the floor, ISIS would then politely step aside to allow pro-U.S. moderates to take over. The idea is every bit as delusional as George W. Bush’s belief in 2003 that he could romp into Iraq with 380,000 troops, smash things up a bit, and then go home, confident that a compliant pro-U.S. regime would maintain order in his absence. Rather than acceding to Kerry’s request, ISIS would no doubt have told him to get lost and taken power itself.

If so, the consequences would have caused even the most sang-froid realists to shudder in fear. “Were ISIS to have ensconced itself in Damascus,” observes Landis, “Lebanon would surely have fallen and Jordan would’ve been up against it.”

Saudi Arabia, already the sick man of the Middle East, would also have come under threat. Instead of a million refugees streaming toward Europe, there would have been five or ten times that number. Is this really what Obama wanted? It’s hard to believe, yet that’s precisely what his policies were leading to.

Although Obama predicted that Putin would find himself in a Vietnam-style “quagmire,” Putin was careful to limit the operation and avoid making promises he couldn’t keep. Even The New York Times was impressed by Putin’s calculated actions.

The climax came some 14 months later when Syrian government troops, backed by Russian airpower, finally drove Al Qaeda and its supporters out of their East Aleppo stronghold. Recognizing that the writing was on the wall, Turkey effectively switched sides, patching up relations with Moscow and engaging in joint bombing forays against rebel forces inside Syria. The Kurds, reliant on U.S. backing, were left dangling in the wind. So were the pseudo-moderates of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army.

Why Putin Won

This is why Putin came out on top: not because he’s a latter-day Svengali manipulating candidates and overturning elections, but because U.S. policy was leading to disaster and no one else was in a position to clean up the mess. In Kerry’s conversation at the U.N., the Secretary of State conceded that once Putin opted to intercede, there was little the Obama administration could do.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Instead of negotiating, he [Assad] got … Putin in to support him,” Kerry said in obvious frustration. After stumbling into Russia’s checkmate, the Obama administration could do little but fume from the sidelines.

At a White House press conference a few days after the Russian intervention, a reporter asked why the U.S. had allowed itself to be out-maneuvered. The response, which went on for a good five minutes or so, was pure Obama – charming, humorous, yet almost eerily detached. America is strong, he said: “…we’re the strongest advanced economy in the world … our approval ratings have gone up, we are more active on more international issues and forge international responses on everything from Ebola to countering ISIL.”

But Russia, he continued, is weak: “their economy’s contracting four percent this year. They are isolated in the world community subject to sanctions applied not just by us but by what used to be some of their closest trading partners. Their main allies in the Middle East were Libya and Syria … and those countries are falling apart. And he’s now just had to send in troops and aircraft in order to prop up this regime at the risk of alienating the entire Sunni world.”

In other words, Obama was saying that Russia is a loser; its friends are losers; and it was foolishly plunging into Syria in a last-ditch effort to bolster a loser who was clearly in his death throes. Obama thus ignored his own role in destroying Libya and Syria or provoking a confrontation over the eastern Ukraine. He refused to consider how his own policies were making matters worse and worse or why Putin felt he had no alternative but to step in after all.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Russia is the dominant power in the Middle East at the moment – apart from Israel, that is – while the U.S. is in disarray as a dangerous rightwing buffoon ensconces himself in the White House. The Democrats should take a long hard look in the mirror if they want to know who the real loser is. But they won’t. They prefer to blame Putin and Russia.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

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85 comments for “America’s Putin Derangement Syndrome

  1. exiled off mainstreet
    January 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    The commentary itself is the last word on these issues. It is the best summary I have seen. The blue lines are particularly good. Putin didn’t work to delegitimize US democracy, the US regime did so itself, and the forces undermining the EU are generated by the west, austerity and streams of refugees caused by yankee sponsored wars of aggression in the Middle East. The US role in the creation and usage of ISIS is also effectively discussed, as is Putin’s successful response. We’ll see if we are emerging from the miasma created by the ruling power structure or if it is too powerful to be removed.

    • Drew Hunkins
      January 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      ” and the forces undermining the EU are generated by the west, austerity and streams of refugees caused by yankee sponsored wars of aggression in the Middle East.”

      Bingo. Spot-on.

    • Kiza
      January 24, 2017 at 8:05 am

      Sorry friends, but I have to disagree with you. This article says many correct things, but also some which show that Daniel lost his bearings.

      Exhibit A: “Russia won because America lost.”
      What is a win and what is a loss? Would another 1/2 million dead Syrians have been declared a win for US? If America (he means US) was on the wrong path, is it not positive that it did not reach its goal? How has Russia won in Syria, by preventing Syria turning into a completely failed state of constant murder, rape and pillaging, just like Libya before? Well, maybe one could say that it was a moral achievement. But for every sane US person, the likely outcome in Syria should be a win too.

      Exhibit B: “Syria has consistently supported America’s enemies: Hezbollah, Palestinian groups, and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
      What? Since when are these three US enemies? Since Ziocons declared them so? Is this acceptance that all goyim US people are the cattle of the Ziocons? What have the Palestinians done to the US people and what has the US Government done to the Palestinians? Who has attacked who? Who has vetoed all the resolutions which could have saved millions of lives in ME, the Palestinians?

      I know somebody will say that Daniel was debating the points of the US establishment from its point of view. But once an author does not clearly and definitely distance himself from this point of view, he has already enslaved himself to it. I hate to type this, but the kind of debate in this article can exist only in the US. This is because the discourse in the US media is so off the rocker, so extremist and so nuts, that even an author who tries to criticise it looks a bit like all three. In other words, I read this article as Dr Lazare’s prescription of Advil for the US society’s suffering Meningitis.

      Any foreigner could tell you that these days NYT is not worth using as a paper substitute in outdoor toilets, let alone being worth criticising.

      • John Hawk
        January 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

        …yes, I picked up on the same inconsistencies in this essay. Those who have not studied the history of the Middle East and of Islam in all its variations, are at a serious loss of intellectual honesty when they accept opinions which are mere suppositions.

      • Gregory Herr
        January 24, 2017 at 7:23 pm

        I think helping the Syrian people fight the unspeakable is most definitely a moral issue. Certainly the state of Russia has an interest in regional stability and the curtailment or elimination of terrorism. And it is in the interest of the Russian state to take some steam out of the hegemonic drive toward eliminating all perceived obstacles to full spectrum dominance before it’s too late. So Putin rightly has taken action in Syria (at invitation) with national interests in mind. But also, my best guess is that Putin, as a human being aside from his presidential obligations, sees helping Syrians from a moral perspective as well.
        Your comment, Kiza, is a needed reminder about “winning & losing” and how we play the game.

        • Kiza
          January 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm

          Gregory, not being about “winning & losing” is exactly the point I was trying to make, thank you for getting the essence of my rambling comment.

          The attitude in the US public discourse reminds me of the Hunger Games: those whose stomachs are full (District One) could never understand those whose stomachs are empty (the rest of the World). In the public discourse, the detachment from peoples’ suffering, plus the projection of all evil into foreigners (e.g. Russia, Iran etc) and their “Hitler” leaders, makes US capable of any crime against humanity and limitless oppression. Then even the well intentioned people, such as Daniel, appear to speak/write just like a softer version of the oppressors. We should incinerate the memes of NYT, NPR, PBS and other MSM and start thinking afresh, not to criticise and tweak the existing public discourse on its fringes and keep straightening the frills on it as if this was going to make much/any difference.

    • Bianca
      January 24, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Agree 100%. The last sentence is the definition of the American dillema. Globalism defined by Western supremacism in global financial and security architecture is fighting even the most modest attempts of change. Witnessing the left-right imperial coalition is the sight to behold. While always believing that the progressive people would see the light one day — I had to finally accept that it cannot happen. Progressivism became just as ossified as the imperial thinking of John McCain. Completely losing touch with the reality, living within their ideological constructs, and capable of seeing solutions only within the same constructs. Trump’s Foreign Policy Strategy document — many still refusing to admit that there is one — defines the nation/state as the fundamental unit of international relations. Not supranational unions, borderless caliphates, or transnational trade legislation and judiciary. If ideology is taken away from the discourse –which is very hard today, we will not be talking of democracy, autoritarianism, dictatorship, monarchy — but accept the differences, value the stability, security of population, and the maintenance of peace. Peace is a catalyst of economic development. I am concerned that the ideology will prevent making changes in the concept of global security that would abandon the unrealistic concept of NATO based world order, and include Russia and China in shouldering the burden. Rather then being annoyed at Russia’s trespassing in the ME, it is an opportunity to restructure the global security burdens. So we look forwad not just cleaning up our mess. Yes, Trump needs to deal with a great deal of bilateral problems with China and Russia. But hopefly, it can have the time and energy to look past those.

  2. Vera
    January 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Just keep blaming others and never search fault in oneself. This is an art.

    • David Nelson
      January 24, 2017 at 12:23 am

      and a sickness

  3. Zachary Smith
    January 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Speaking now as a barely-informed person thousands of miles away, I believe the author forgot to mention that US support of the crazy ISIS fighters was directed at not only the states he mentioned, but also Russia, China, and Turkey. That Turkey “switched sides” may be in part related to that nation’s late discovery of the danger. Russia has on the order of 20 million Muslim citizens, and a triumphant ISIS would have worked out very well for Hillary and Victoria Nuland.

    So Putin had at least one more compelling motive to “do something” in Syria than all the obvious ones.

    • Kiza
      January 24, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Good point.

      However, I wonder what would have happened to Israel after ISIS replaced Al Assad in Damascus? The new Muslim Extremist neighbours, who just deposed a secular leader and are not famos for long-term gratitude, what if they turned around and became a nuisance for the “only democracy in the ME”? Would Israel have to deal with them or the US? Who would have to spend the next couple of tens of trillion dollars for the next 50 years of war? Whose blood would the ME sands be soaking? Who would supply US with the credit card to put more debt on (the world reserve currency credit card is maxed out already)?

      • Joe
        January 24, 2017 at 11:25 pm

        Kiza,

        ISIS and Al Qaida may say a lot of things about infidels and massacre heretics left and right, but their relationship with the Zionists is one of comfortable cohabitation and even alliance.

        • Kiza
          January 26, 2017 at 3:03 am

          Dr Frankenstein’s own creation turned on its master/creator, did it not? Eventually, even the current borders of Israel, not to mention the borders of the Greater Israel, could find themselves in the way of the expanding Caliphate. In politics, past favors are quickly forgotten, only the reality on the ground matters. Do you really think that ISIS could not bite the hand of The Creator?

      • Jean Luc
        January 30, 2017 at 4:05 am

        @kiza,
        I wonder if realy, ISIS will harm or attack Israel. In all cases ,Al Qayda has been helped by furnishing israeli arms ans djihadists treated by israeli military hospitals in the Golan and even filmed together in the presence of the prime minister Netanyahou coming to thank them for what they do in Syria!!. Usually, we don t murder the hand giving us to eat and also to kill other syrians! If ISIS would like to sign its death, it will attack Israel. Is there any difference between AL Qayda/ISIS/FSA-ASL, I dont never think that…In fact , there is one big “non-difference” that all work for the Multi-Nationals, pro-terorist countries (france, USA and Israel..)and NATO…

  4. WG
    January 23, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Let’s all agree to wait until Trump enacts terrible policies before we call him names. Actions clearly speak louder than words, just look at the vast gulf between Obama’s rhetoric and results.

    In other news, today Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the US from the TPP. Clearly he’s a buffoon…

    • Bill Bodden
      January 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Let’s all agree to wait until Trump enacts terrible policies before we call him names.

      In the meantime, let’s not forget the more egregious of his statements.

    • Bill Cash
      January 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Bernie had a lot more to do with killing TPP than Trump. Trump just piled on. He wouldn’t care which way it went but wants to be on the side that looks good

      • Michael Hoefler
        January 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm

        He sure did! Thank you for stating it.

      • Miranda Keefe
        January 23, 2017 at 7:33 pm

        Bernie was against the TPP from day one.

        BUT SO WAS TRUMP.

        This rabid anti-Trump fervor is getting insane.

        Oppose him when he does bad stuff.

        Support him when he dies good stuff.

        But now even those who agree with him on something good he does still have to frame it as opposing him.

        He became president because he was more believable in the Rust Belt than HRC in his opposition to the TPP. That isn’t taking the credit of something Bernie did. You’re confusing HRC with him on this.

        We must stand against any attempts by the NeoLiberal cabal of using anti-Trump fervor to recruit those who should resist unfair trade deals in their plot to impose them on us.

  5. Bill Bodden
    January 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    The problem with being the most powerful nation is that it never has to say it is sorry. That leads to a much bigger problem – never having to face reality. To find national leaders as doltish and as barbaric as the recent crop in charge of policy for the U.S. and its closest allies you would have to go back to the First World War when generals ordered their troops to do the same thing day after day despite getting the same tragic results each time – thousands of men ordered out of the trenches to face certain death to gain a few yards of territory that they would lose a few days later. The eventual tally of men and women who died in vain was in the millions.

  6. January 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    One objection ” A Buffoon in the White House.” I look at what the guy said while trying to get elected, and in just three days after his inauguration he is doing just what he said he would do. I see the main stream press is denouncing all that as ” Populism” But populism means the vast majority of Americans support these policies. In short it is what the average American wants and is only not wanted by the 1/10th of 1% that owns the USA,

    So far he is reopening the NAFTA, dropping out of the TTP, getting rid of the Affordable health Care act( remember primiums when up over 100% just this year) and contrary to the corporatist aims to turm the USA into a third world country has an America first declared policy.

    If you remember Obama dropped all his campaigne promises the minute after his inauguration. he never closed Guantanamo. And although he continued to pronounce that the USA was a country of Laws, he never procecuted the criminals that okayed and committed torture. he doubled down on America´s wars, and started some new ones, he put Wall Street Insiders in charge of the economy they had just blown to pieces, In short he was just more of the same old, same old and Americans hated him for it. Clinton was going to be more of the same only much, much more dangerous, she was going to start wars with Russia and China. So looking at the disasters of the last 30 years, both domestic and foreigne , will Trump be any more of a Buffoon that the leaders of the recent past administrations. I think not. The US will be no worse off because it is hard to see where they can go from here that would be worse. Is that why they were pushing so hard for war with Russia and China? To take the American eyes off the ball, and to hide the fact that they had so mismanaged the country. The US needs to go in a different direction, Trump may just be the guy who will get it started down that road.

    • James van Oosterom
      January 23, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Ahh… After re-reading the article I find the unsubstantial and sophomoric redundancy has been deleted, prompting me to upgrade the piece from B to A-.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      January 24, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Actually, the only person Obama’s “justice” department punished was Mr. Kiriakou, the man who disclosed the existence of the torture program, not the torturers. Obama’s record as a serial drone killer and his role in the destruction of Libya, which I admit he only entered into after major persuasion from Hillary the Harpy, earns him the status of unindicted war criminal.

  7. Jane
    January 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Jjanejj

  8. Anon
    January 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    It would be useful to have a full analysis of the causes of US warmaking in the Mideast, whether it is primarily zionist and Saudi campaign bribes, or whether there really are significant numbers of deluded Christian fundamentalists who really think that JC’s ethnic origin forces them to kill millions to allow Israel to steal Palestinian land, or deluded others who think that the Palestinians really owe something to Jews who did not suffer in WWII, all of whose survivors have passed away, or deluded others who think that anyone whose ancestors passed through the Mideast during the last million years (which includes everyone on the planet) has a present right to an empire there, and to conquest by genocide?

    In short, is it Jewish campaign bribes, Jewish media control, Jewish propaganda warfare and infiltration, or something else?
    Obviously there is no anti-Jewish sentiment here, as many are fine people, but not those engaged in this treason against the US.

    • Bill Bodden
      January 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      It would be useful to have a full analysis of the causes of US warmaking in the Mideast,…

      The first incentive was oil, then serving as a tool of the Zionists engaged in pursuit of establishing a greater Israel. In this instance, “greater” refers to geographical territory and not to any noble purpose.

    • David Nelson
      January 24, 2017 at 12:37 am

      The Zionists and Saudis fund the think tanks and provide talking points, but they are details to be replaced when and if the need arises. The ideology of American hegemony underwrites the “weapons and war economy” and the dynamic between the two is the cause of this insanity.

      • Anon
        January 25, 2017 at 7:48 am

        I wonder whether the MIC (wanting endless cold war and GWOT) and zionists (wanting free wars for Israel) are the main advocates of hegemony. If the Sunnis and Shiites resolved their needless differences, which Israel has long sought to aggravate and are never discussed in the zionist mass media, there would be no cause for an Israel/Saudi alliance.

        I see no instance of hegemonic ambitions among the people of the US. We buy the resources we need from whomever has them, we have not attempted to take and hold new territory for more than a century, and our wars of aggression are always secret or on false pretexts to fool the people. The hegemonists are oligarchy opportunists without much public support. Their propaganda of protecting women and children or promoting democracy is obviously false, as they have zero record of humanitarian programs and invariably overthrow democracy and kill women and children by the millions.

      • Jean Luc
        January 30, 2017 at 4:09 am

        Why today Trump does not accept muslim people coming from Syria or Iran who never have attacked september 11 th?Why he does not attack the real murders of september 11th who are his friends and Obam s friends too, the Saoudis?

    • Brad Owen
      January 24, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      The causes of U.S. war-making in the M.E. is a very long and convoluted story. Primarily it has to do with the many European Empires (descendants of the Roman Empire in one way or another) finally gaining the upper hand over the various Muslim Empires (in late 18th/early 19th centuries) that had harried them since Roman times, that stretched across North Africa (Roman provinces), made inroads into Spain, Portugal, bits of France and Italy (Roman Provinces), the several Nations of the Balkan Peninsula(Roman Provinces), the loss of Turkey itself (Roman Province) and Constantinople (capitol of Eastern Roman Empire). Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Germany, all had a piece of Africa and M.E., but the French and British had the lion’s share of Empire. Portugal was the last European Nation to give up its’ colonies Angola and Mozambique in 1975 (after losing to liberation armies aided by Cuba’s army). Not sure when Spain relinquished Spanish Sahara). Anyway, Empire-ism, although formally quit in post-WWII years (into the 50’s and 60’s), never stopped; it just went covert and financial, and actually “viral” (as in parasitic viruses using host’s own bodily substances against itself). Now the British Empire has always had designs on recapturing its’ rogue break-away colony USA (with the help of plenty of wealthy, powerful, home-grown Tories who never wanted to be anything more than, privileged, loyal royalist subjects managing their piece of British Empire for The Crown). They finally succeeded in reclaiming USA for the Empire. It took from the death of FDR to the Clinton admin to seal the deal. The overall objective is to forestall any rise of a rival power center( such as a new Muslim Empire empowered by secular modernity), keep the real estate and its’ resources for Western use. They find it a useful tool to insert a zionist/jewish colony in the midst of “hostile territory” to justify “coming to the rescue” of it, thereby accomplishing the mission of forestalling any rise of a Muslim Empire. USA wealth and troops and weapons are utilized for maintenance of this combined/covert Western Empire (at great and crushing expense to the citizens and Nation of USA, thereby forestalling any future moves to Declare independence from the strait jacket of Empire in favor of our own National development and raising of living standards, hence all the hysteria about Trump’s “make America great again, and America First, and buy American and hire American” and so on). THIS, IMO, is what has really been going on over the last couple of centuries.

      • Anon
        January 25, 2017 at 7:32 am

        Thanks, Brad, I have read some history of North Africa and Mideast colonies and early 20th century UK scheming to get oil. Although I have heard these theories, I have not yet seen evidence of these:
        1. that the small UK oligarchy controls the nouveau riche US oligarchy (despite shared greed and anti-democratic views), which seems not to really care about UK’s fears of continental chesspieces Russia and Turkey and Afghanistan, despite neocon propaganda,
        2. that the US cannot buy oil like other countries without Mideast alliances (eg. Iraq now selling it competitively despite the war vs. early US/UK attempts to steal it as in Iran 1953),
        3. that Truman intended anything but getting zionist campaign bribes by strong-arming the newly-formed UN to create Israel (we already had deals with the Saudis and still had lots of Texas oil), or
        4. that Israel ever did anything good for US relations with oil states, or does anything positive for the US in the present.

  9. Sam F
    January 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    The anti-Russia insanity came straight from the oligarchy mass media. There are almost none of the old USSR-haters around from the cold war. This is strictly more anti-socialism propaganda, completely unrelated to any US security interest, and serving absolutely no one at all but oligarchy.

    If the oligarchy had not bought out the Dems and been exposed for treason, we would not have heard the blame-Russia insanity.

    Anything anti-Russia, anti-socialist, anti-union, etc. comes directly and solely from the oligarchy traitors who have overthrown democracy in the US in a right-wing counter-revolution, and should be put up against the wall in Guantanamo.

  10. January 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    There have been demonstrations against wars, global warming, the greedy of 1% elite, racism, fascism, discrimination, fracking and many other things. And the greater majority of middle class liberals stayed at home, or looked the other way. Many cheered as Iraq was devastated by US and NATO bombs only for the country to be destroyed and become a breeding ground for terrorism. They whooped as Osama bin Laden was murdered and his body was dumped in the sea, instead of being captured and interrogated for all the information he must have had. They hooted as Gaddafi was sodomised and Libya was bombed killing thousands, all in the name of humanitarian aid. They sat at home and watched on TV as the country fell into the hands of terrorists, warlords and mafias, who set about slaughtering more Libyans than Gaddafi ever could have. The list goes on, Ukraine, Honduras, Syria all destroyed in the name of bringing ‘democracy’ to countries that had more freedom and security before being liberated by American and European bombs, and terrorist groups armed and funded by the West.

    But US votes in a president middle class liberals don’t like and suddenly they are on the streets in their thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, baying for impeachment. That’s their idea of democracy? The reaction is not dissimilar to that of spoiled brats being told they can’t have anymore candy before dinner. Strangely enough, there seem to be hardly any police officers kitted out as robocops threatening demonstrators with nightsticks, CS gas, tasers and rubber bullets, from behind body-length plastic shields. Wonder what might’ve happened had a couple of hundred native Americans decided to demonstrate peacefully in Washington DC to stop their sacred land being violated before the election.

    • Litchfield
      January 23, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      Very good points.
      It is hard to take these protests or the protesters seriously.
      As was Obama, Hillary would have been given an ad feminem pass, regardless of what she did.
      We would have been stuck with Nenderthal Powers, Rice, Nuland, et al. forever. AARRRRRGH.

      Please, Daniel Lazare, cut out the seemingly obligatory “buffoon in White House” add-ins. They mar otherwise good analysis with knee-jerk obeisance to delegitimizing memes.

      TPP dead: Check.
      Nuland out: Check.
      Powers out: Check.

      That’s good enough for me for day 3.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      January 24, 2017 at 3:20 am

      How much of this is a Soros-paid effort? The “media” has also been spearheading this faux “left” effort on behalf of the outgoing fascist deep state.

    • Curious
      January 24, 2017 at 3:49 am

      Brian, I mean no disrespect to you or your post as I find agreement with most of the content. What baffles me these days though is the linguistic breeding ground we are in today. You use the word “liberals” and talk of “they and “them” but you could have just as easily said Hillary Clinton. She was one of the driving forces of this bloodshed, and yet you composite her sick mind with “liberals” in general? I know plenty of hard core Christian Conservatives who cheered the war, and wars in the Middle East with many hoping it will bring a quicker return of Jesus.
      So, briefly, let me say that the term “liberal” makes no sense, as is the term “conservative” these days. If one were to look up ‘liberal’ in the dictionary I think one could hardly oppose the meaning. So, we have a world of buzz words, brands, taunts, and colloquialism that don’t make room for cogent thought. If a person could define ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ for those of us who don’t use brand or labels, that would help. I couldn’t help but see the ‘conservatives’ rooting for the war in Iraq, and many still think war and bombs are the best option we have as a nation. Many in the US are so proud of the billions, and into the trillions spent on our aggression rather than defense of this nation, and don’t connect the dots to understand our aggression is what is enhancing the defense dept budget. In any case, I agree with a lot of your comments, but I would just drop the buzz words of “they “them” and “liberals” in general. We should get out of the world of black and white and see the colors.

      • Tully
        January 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm

        Maybe Brian is meaning the “faux liberals” that Chris Hedges often talks about.

        • Tully
          January 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

          Bryan, apologies for having misspelled your name.

      • John
        January 25, 2017 at 2:55 am

        You seem to be of the opinion that liberal and conservative are the only options, and therein lies the problem.

        Do you think Phil Oakes was singing “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” from a conservative viewpoint?

        I would agree, however, that, as used in common parlance, “Liberal” is meaningless in the US. The British seem to have a better understanding of the term, as they recognize Reagan as the consummate Liberal.

        “Liberal” and “Capitalist” are synonyms, whereas “Conservatives” tend to prefer Feudalism. Both are very much right-wing ideologies.

        The post to which you responded could have used the term Democrat, however (rather than depending on an individual like Hillary, which would ignore that Obama, Bill, and yes, even Bernie and Carter, were all pro-war, pro-corporate, “neo-liberals”) as that whole branch of the Corporate Party are essentially the same, in effect.

        That post was obviously referring to the death of the anti-war movement once they became Obama’s wars, and therefore wars that they supported, rather than that they opposed, as they had done under W.

        I can understand using the words “they” and “them”, when referring to groups one does not self-identify as being part of. Some of us actually oppose war no matter whether it is a blue brand war or a red one. Some do so from the Right (i.e. Libertarian Capitalists aka the Libertarian Party in the US.) The (actual) Left generally opposes war, though it does support the underclass in the ongoing Class War (in which the underclass is acting in self-defense).

        Unfortunately, the actual left is largely disheartened, as they know that their actions will be ignored by the media. Instead of big marches, they grow gardens, and work on establishing things at the community level instead.

  11. January 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Why don’t people check and see who really are the people who have Putin’s American Derangement Syndrome? If I, as a former U.S. Naval Aviator, who flew up and down the far Eastern Russian coastline (1956-59) with Mig-17s on my wingtips (who could have shot me down ut didn’t), don’t have a problem with the Russians, why should they? I would say there is a false element that has interposed itself between reality and people’s view of it, i.e. a combination of a Zionist Neo-Con psychopathology arising out of an historic grudge against the Russian Czars (contraction of Caesar) for alleged “ill-treatment” joined at the hip with an obsession of the Military-Industrial-Security Complex for stirring up a bellicose atmosphere for the purpose of ramping up war profiteering.

    If I, as a former U.S.Naval Aviator

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 23, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Robert Keith as a veteran of the early 60’s I must say that my experience and frame are very similar to yours and that I agree with what you are saying. Further I have thought for a while now that if the US had viewed the post WWII Europe as an opportunity to competitively operate philosophy against philosophy (Poitical and Economic) the result would have led to much less violence at the very least and to better understanding overall. The decision to establish a “Cold War” has led us to this very spot.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      I as a one time enlisted man in our U.S. Navy I will salute you Sir for your honesty. Although, as you and I Sir both know how our ever eager warmongering media will never give you your turn to speak in their media, because for heavens sake you and I are not saying what ‘They’ think must be said. So good on you Sir for calling it like you see it. I’m proud to have served amongst others such as yourself….you are a good and truthful American ‘well done’ Sir! Joe

    • Kiza
      January 24, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Good suggestion. But you were lucky that blood did not start flowing, so that you kept your positive outlook.

      In addition to your suggestion to examine who in US suffers from PADS, it would be worth finding out who suggested that Putin blames NATO for the dissolution of Soviet Union. It probably came out of the same Dem propaganda lab as the claim that Putin hates Hillary Clinton because she was critical of his aggressive actions.

      I have been following Putin’s words in multiple languages (not in Russian unfortunately). I have never encountered one word of hate towards NATO, US or HRC. On the contrary, Putin has been constantly calling for detente and cooperative relationship of mutual respect. Therefore, the word “hate” used in the US and Western vassal country media is pure self-projection. From what I can tell, the Russian reaction to the Ziocon and Dem Putin and Russia tantrums oscilates between laughter and tired dismissiveness. To most, the Russian leadership does not even find worth responding (but the Westerners obviously lost any shame to be making such fools of themselves).

      Finally, apart from perhaps a few still living senior citizen Communists in Russia, nobody in Russia would blame NATO or US for the fall of the Soviet Union, I guarantee. Some people will say that there were great things in the Soviet Union (e.g. the first satellite orbiting the Earth, good education, good medicine etc), but the system was deeply flawed and it imploded on its own. Only, what the US Ziocons did with Yeltsin’s Russia after SU fell, this is a different story. Yet, the Russians do not hold a grudge and just want to be let alone to go about their business, just like the rest of the world – US, please get out of my soup! Putin and the Russian do not want to restore SU, at least not in the current timeframe, but any attacks on the Russian minority in the countries spun from the republics of the former SU could result in a conflagration, especially in the former pro-Nazi areas where millions of Russians were killed during WW2.

      • Stan Expat
        January 25, 2017 at 5:56 pm

        Kiza, I have been following Putin for years to hear what he really says as opposed to how his is imaged to have said. I am an American expat living in Russia for 15 years and find that if his talks, or speeches were printed with no name attached, the statements would be admired for realistic reasoned, measured comments that contrasted sharply from western weasel-word political speech. I have never heard him say anything that was hostile or anything other than reasonable and hard to fault in conclusions. I have also never heard him say something that turned out to be false. When comparing such “statesmen” like McCain or Obama, Putin is as if the lone adult in a kindergarten class. The improvement in all aspects of life, the courts, corruption, and personal security have been so dramatic that if a western leader had taken a country that was given to him as a collapsed basket case far worse than the US during the great depression, and in short order stabilized the economy, increased pensions and medical coverage, increased average income 10x in 8 years, paid off the national debt, put away a reserve fund of $650 billion just in time for the 2008 meltdown which kept property values up and employment high, with less than 4% unemployed. If any American president had made such dramatic changes for the good for the full range of economic and social classes they would be made King. Probably the closest might have been F. Roosevelt. It is really a pleasant place to live now, easier to start a business and make it self supporting in Russia right now than in the US. There is no homelessness and it has maintained the record of highest percentage of population with a university degree of any nation. Sure the economy is not as large as Germany or the US but the cost of living in low and there 70% own their homes free of any debt. A lot of of people are very happy Putin is president.

        • Kiza
          January 26, 2017 at 3:15 am

          Stan, I am surprised by the number of people in the US who still believe that Russia is in the state it was during Yeltsin’s years. This was the time when the US was an unopposed hyperpower of the World, so maybe it is more pleasant to live in the past. In the meantime, Russia has established a decent standard of living and the Chinese cosmonauts are regularly orbiting the Earth and getting ready to land on Mars. China has almost finished building the most elaborate and the fastest railroad network in the World. By fighting so many wars US is falling behind, whilst the rest of the World is pushing ahead. The past US leadership also completely failed to understand that US cannot take on both Russia and China at the same time and survive. But illusions are illusions.

  12. Geoffrey de Galles
    January 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    What the US simply can’t abide:-

    Russia has true culture and fine taste, including superb architecture and haute cuisine.
    The USA has Hollywood and any amount of ostentatious kitsch — also MacDonalds & KFC.

    Utterly bizarre:-
    That the exiled nightbird Snowden doesn’t make more of his good fortune. #GetALife

  13. bill
    January 23, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    so just how isnt Obama a war criminal?

  14. W. R. Knight
    January 23, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    “The Democrats should take a long hard look in the mirror if they want to know who the real loser is. But they won’t. They prefer to blame Putin and Russia.”

    You got that one right! The Democrats have joined the Republicans (and neocons) on foreign policy at the expense of a domestic policy that benefits the working class and the poor.

    As the author says “Russia didn’t win, America lost”. Likewise the Republicans didn’t win, the Democrats lost.

  15. Abe
    January 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    The late Sheldon S. Wolin, an American political philosopher and Professor of Politics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, is known for coining the term inverted totalitarianism.

    In Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008), Wolin described the arising of “a new type of political system, seemingly one driven by abstract totalizing powers, not by personal rule, one that succeeds by encouraging political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, that relies more on ‘private’ media than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda reinforcing the official version of events.”

    In an interview with journalist Chris Hedges after the start of Barack Obama’s first term as president, Wolin said that he did not expect much from the new Administration and that “the basic systems” of political power in the U.S. were going to “stay in place” unchallenged.

    In Democracy Incorporated, Wolin reserved some of his most scathing critique for the Democratic Party:

    “The Democrats’ politics might be described as inauthentic opposition in the era of Superpower. Having fended off its reformist elements and disclaimed the label of liberal, it is trapped by new rules of the game which dictate that a party exists to win elections rather than to promote a vision of the good society. […]

    “Should Democrats somehow be elected, corporate sponsors make it politically impossible for the new officeholders to alter significantly the direction of society. At best Democrats might repair some of the damage done to environmental safeguards or to Medicare without substantially reversing the drift rightwards. By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes that the party can make their interests a priority, it pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system. […]

    “While the Republican Party is ever vigilant about the care and feeding of its zealots, the Democratic Party is equally concerned to discourage its democrats. […]

    “The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts points to the crucial fact that for the poor, minorities, the working class, anticorporatists there is no opposition party working on their behalf. […]

    “By ignoring dissent and assuming that the dissenters have no alternative, the party serves an important […] stabilizing function and in effect marginalizes any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans.”

    Wolin’s critique is confirmed by the “inauthentic opposition” marches and televised “revolution” surrounding the Trump inauguration. Of course, corporate media icons will be on hand to encourage “progressives” to “express” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9sSdhhJAKU

  16. Realist
    January 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Plain and simple bigotry, or hatred of the “other” has been the tried and true strategy for human leaders to get the rank and file behind them since our species came down from the trees. If the Russians had never existed someone else would be in their place. If they all board ships and head off to a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri tomorrow, someone will fill the void and become America’s new punching bag. Humans are so easily manipulated, and they never realise it. How much did you donate to the latest “cause” to hit you up? You should know that practically all of it went to “overhead.” At least you burned off some calories if you “marched” over the weekend.

  17. Gary Hare
    January 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Excellent analysis by Lazare! The analysis is so obvious that it is highly likely that even an outsider like Trump could understand it, and have the courage to do something about it. A successful businessman always looks for what is in it for the other side, rather than merely press on with what he wants. He can also appreciate when he is losing the deal. So Trump might have the ability to take a different, more pragmatic path. He is already wary of what the CIA, and other establishment figures, say and do. He is worth a chance.

    Obama’s words detailed by Lazare after Russia interceded in Syria are the perfect Obama legacy – self-delusion. But it is a self-delusion shared with most of the political class, and the mainstream media. You tell the masses every day how great, exceptional and indispensible you are, while at the same time as you ignore or misrepresent those facts that weaken the argument, and you finish up believing it all yourself, and having sheep as citizens.

    This is how young children often behave. Thank goodness the adversary, Putin, thinks and acts like an adult. And he has adults ably supporting him, like Peskov, Medvedev and Lavrov. Listen to them, and contrast the substance of their words with those of Kerry, Powers, McCain, etc. Chalk and cheese!

    • January 23, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      “Obama legacy – self-delusion”
      Not at all. Obama is an opportunist of the highest order. Obama legacy is made of war crimes and fraudulent promises. Nothing else. Obama was a loyal protector of oligarchy.
      He was and is a puppet with charms.

      • Litchfield
        January 23, 2017 at 11:14 pm

        And he and his family will certainly be rewarded. Beyond what he gets from taxpayers for having occupied the White House with his unappealing spouse and made a mess of American domestic and foreign policy.

      • Kiza
        January 24, 2017 at 9:25 am

        From Obama, I learned that it is possible to give a perfect speech without saying anything. Never was a better political orator completely void of meaning born.

  18. Antiwar7
    January 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    The quote from Obama listed in this article, “And he’s now just had to send in troops and aircraft in order to prop up this regime at the risk of alienating the entire Sunni world,” is one of the big lies in Obama’s response.

    Because, apparently, the vast majority of Syrian government (Assad’s) soldiers are Sunni. Most Sunnis in the world don’t want to live under the control of Sunni extremists.

    Just as I, a Christian, would never consent to be under the control of Christian extremists.

    • Kiza
      January 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

      But until a few days ago you lived under Jewish extremists: the Kagans, the Boltons, the Wolfowitzs etc etc.

      • John
        January 25, 2017 at 3:15 am

        And the Kushners?

        • Kiza
          January 26, 2017 at 3:16 am

          The Kushners are not extremists, at least not yet. If they become, I will gladly admit it.

  19. Linda Furr
    January 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Antiwar7 – thank you for this extremely telling information that Assad’s Syrian army is made up of a vast majority of Sunni – who we know are protecting their government from Sunni extremists. This is huuuuge!

  20. Gregory Kruse
    January 23, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve been a Democrat my whole adult life. When I look in the mirror, I see a person who believed what all the teachers were saying, that democracy is the best possible system of government, and that the US was a Democracy. This has never been true. The US has always been a Republic, and has always behaved like one. Every attempt by democrats to put their principles into practice has been opposed vigorously and diverted by Republicans who believe with their whole heart that democracy doesn’t work. Attempts to provide housing, provide real education, promote the general welfare, and put an end to racial injustice have been sabotaged repeatedly. We might as well scrap all those amendments to the Constitution since it was first ratified, because Republicans don’t believe in them. When the Clintons came up with their “3rd way”, it was the end of any pretension of democracy. They openly became Republicans too, but they still had to deal with the monstrosity of the national elections, so they still called themselves “democrats”. No. They aren’t. Donald Trump is a Republican who makes no bones about what he believes, and that is that minorities and poor people should not have the vote, that women shouldn’t be able to vote or get paid as much as men for the same work. If they should be so careless as to get pregnant, they should just have to bear it, even if the baby is the progeny of a rapist, or the fetus is not viable. The rules they will make and break in the next four years will be good for Republicans, but terrible for Democrats and all other people who are not white, rich, or heterosexual male. The man in the mirror looks sad, but oddly he bursts into laughter sometimes when he thinks of how badly he was fooled, how obvious the truth was, and how beautiful the truth is even when it’s terrifying.

    • Sam F
      January 23, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Yes, although I would say that the US is not a republic either, except under the definition of the Repubs. Democracy and republic both mean government by the people, one of Greek and the other of Latin derivation. But the Repubs must have a propaganda definition that means government by oligarchy, which was true only of former democracies corrupted by their predecessors. Ask a Repub sometime why he pretends to fear democracy, and he will say that it is “mob rule” but cannot think of an example. If he tries he will point to revolutions, knowing that those can establish any form of government, do not reflect the stable state, and are necessitated only by the prior form of government, not the democracy that replaces it.

      The Repub pretense of fearing democracy is the same as their pretense of fearing their self-fabricated foreign monsters like Russia – they are tyrants who destroy democracy as Aristotle warned, who must create foreign monsters to demand domestic power as false protectors, and to accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. They have used economic power to overthrow democracy, are traitors and enemies of the people, and should be prosecuted or treason.

  21. Bill
    January 23, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    The NY Times has bashed Russia and Putin endlessly. Now they state it as a fact that Russia interfered with the US election, also that Putin is evil and out to cause harm to the US. Most of the Democrats have swallowed this hook, line, and sinker. Anyone who disagrees with them is branded as a traitor. How are the Democrats going to react if Trump cuts a deal with Russia? It could include nuclear weapons reduction — will the Democrats declare that to be evil?

    • Sekhmetnakt
      January 23, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      The NYT and WaPo are both complete fake news agencys. People need to endlessly point out the fake news both have and continue to publish to discredit them until it takes. Repetition is all most morons understand, that’s why the Third Reich used it and their admirers in the corporate mainstream media outlets use it today, it is the only thing that works with idiots.

  22. Sekhmetnakt
    January 23, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    One has to wonder how much longer the neoliberals and neocons are going to keep blaming Russia for “election tampering” now that Obama in his last press conference stated that the evidence for that isn’t there.

  23. Herman
    January 23, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    “Obama could conceivably have followed up by sending in hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to throw out the Baathists and install a pro-American regime in their place. None of Washington’s allies would have objected.”

    Good grief. An otherwise informative article although you have to read between the lines, this kind of thought process has captured the thinking of Washington since Colin Powell employed it against Iraq after it went into Kuwait. What saved Powell is that we were smart enough then to stop. Yes, Obama could have swept into Syria, illegally of course, and still left Syria where Iraq and Libya are today. Then again, we could have pursued a policy that left Syria alone which was the right policy and all the death, destruction and refugees would not have happened.

    We could also have supported the most of the rest of the world in demanding the return of Golan Heights, our failure to do so letting the wounds fester.

    Putin has had the upper hand because he is smart and decisive and seems to call for a world order that has no place for bullies. His decisive moves when Georgia invaded Abkazia, when the Ukraine coup threatened access to their warm water port, and when Syria as a nation was about to disintegrate may have been cunning but they also headed off what could have been far more disastrous outcomes.

    It is hard to explain our own actions as smart, decisive or laden with good intentions for the people effected.

    • Kiza
      January 24, 2017 at 9:53 am

      A few days ago Denmark decided to send a contingent of its special forces into Syria, without Syrian Government permission. If it is any consolation, there are many scumbag countries among US vassals.

  24. CitizenOne
    January 23, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Spot on article. I could not agree more with the analysis of how democratic half measures designed to aid some terrorists to try to overthrow the Assad government was ultimately a great failure and a loss of innocent life. We cannot bring half a million people back from the grave. We cannot repatriate the millions who have been displaced. Anyone who thinks our actions have done everything to inflame terrorism rather than to fight it needs to look no further than Syria and Iraq.

    There was no coalition of the willing in Iraq. It was just Bush, Blair and the CIA. Now the brits have published their mea culpa with the Chilcott Report. That leaves Bush and the CIA. Then there was Hillary and Barak in Ukraine and Syria. Just us Americans unilaterally inciting regime change which is something the democrats criticized the republicans for back when it was republicans doing the “nation building” thing which Bush originally stated he was opposed to but then reversed course and attacked Iraq, again.

    It seems we have an itchier and more fickle trigger finger than Putin. It seems our itchy twitchy twisty turny trigger finger has gotten us in a lot of trouble. Perhaps that is how he won. Patience.

  25. January 24, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Thank you, Dan. This is a VERY good piece. ray

    • corey almanza
      February 2, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      thank you ray! your lectures have been a mind blowing experience for me and i consider you to be the hallmark authority on the sordid interventionist history of the us. you present your case with irreverent alacrity much in the style of michael parenti. you are a brave patriot!

  26. Knomore
    January 24, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Trump has his shortcomings but I both hope and believe that the people who are so roundly criticizing him, belittling him, making fun of him will have reason to eat those words at some point in the future. I might be totally wrong, but he’s a new face with new ideas, scrapped the TPP today and sent a force in to find out what’s going on at the CDC.

    But re BO’s midEast policy with respect to Syria and ISIS, it’s embarrassing to read what we’ve done there — and bone-chilling to remember how the US State Department refused to deal straightforwardly with James Foley’s family. I don’t believe for a moment that we’ve been told the truth about any of this. By now, we’ve learned that one of Obama’s principal talents is to lie with superb agility. I’ve heard that we created ISIS, but the fact is after producing so much mayhem in such a short period of time, what reasonable person would continue to believe that the US has any face anywhere, least of all in the Middle East. For those who think Trump is a buffoon, if that’s what he is, we most certainly deserve him.

  27. roksob
    January 24, 2017 at 2:44 am

    So if Trump is a dangerous right wing buffoon who clearly does not want to have a war with Russia, I guess that makes Obama an even more dangerous left wing buffoon.

    • John
      January 25, 2017 at 3:29 am

      Obama is a right wing buffoon as well.
      A Left Wing leader would have nationalized the banks, not bailed them out.

  28. John Rosso
    January 24, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Great analysis.
    However what seems to be missing in almost all cases is what Capitalism is all about. It’s about money, greed and wealth at everyone else’s expense as Adam Smith once stated. That’s the basics of all the problems in the world — even democracy hasn’t a chance under capitalism or why social democracy fails to work.
    JJR

  29. Carroll Price
    January 24, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Judging from Trump’s cabinet picks, Israel is still very much in charge of America’s foreign policy. As a result, you and I can forget about any serious moves in the direction of living in peace and harmony with the rest of the world.

  30. Rick Patel
    January 24, 2017 at 9:44 am

    USA, ever the Empire of Chaos, never caring about anything but corporate profits.

  31. V. P.
    January 24, 2017 at 10:13 am

    It’s a common trap to use a Presidents or Dictators name to assign blame or credit when they rely on and are influenced by so many behind the scenes in their cabinets, agencies, and by business interests backers. The later of which run the show.
    Thinking that a U.S. President runs a county is an absurd concept. Even that they, at least, greatly influence foreign policy is childish. They are a bought and paid for puppet like every one before them. On the other side of the coin a dictator has a similar group in power that he relies upon to control his country who must be appeased. To think otherwise means that these two men are capable of outsmarting the best strategists in the world. These strategists are either running or employed by Trillion & Billion currency corporations who’s domination over their home governments is obvious and who’s global growth / expansion would have made Caesar envious.

    If first instinct then is to defend yourself with the semantics of blanketing all of the above under the names of their Presidents for Journalistic shorthand that defense falls flat on it’s face from the evidence of the article providing – well, no evidence.
    The writer senses the lack of substance in the push to blame Russia to undermine the new Plutocratic administration but provides about as much proof as those he wishes to expose have. He hoped to make a common sense appeal but oddly channeled entrenched dogma.

    A simpler way to have achieved the results he desired would have been to enlighten the readers with the truth. The Saudis, whom the U.S. traditionally neutralize their rivals for, want a pipeline through Syria. Follow the money and Oil is the game.
    Here in the U.S. the Koch’s want the Keystone pipeline modified to increase capacity & shorten distance from their Canadian fields straight down to the Gulf, hence they poured 880 million plus into getting their puppet into office and more importantly their candidates into the senate and congress using Interstate Crosscheck of Voter Records in key states to ‘surprise’ everyone with election outcome.

    If the writer of this article wishes to flesh these motivations out then the ‘blame Russia’ game is put in perspective and properly explained as a symptom and a propaganda wedge tactic.
    (lol, when isn’t every country on the planet, especially the U.S., not spying / plotting / influencing every other country including their allies 24/7 365 days a year. Who had a direct hand in the financial collapse of the U.S.S.R.? )

    So much for being ‘Independent’ let alone for their being any Editor on staff present.

    • J'hon Doe II
      January 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      excerpt —

      Trump’s “Russia Connection”, Behind America’s Perpetual Wars

      By Prof. John McMurtry
      Global Research, January 20, 2017

      The War-Enemy Structure Built into American Culture

      We can see the Enemy-and-War structure built into America’s identity by the US national anthem itself.It hymns a war song of “the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air” It climaxes with “the blood [of the enemy] has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution” which “prove” the meaning of “her flag’.

      But where is this inner logic of the US war state decoded?

      In lucid-dream read, America the Good bombs and rockets the Enemy which is inherently Evil, both true by definition. The blood of the designated Evil Enemy must flow to cleanse the world of it. Rockets and bombs prove the flag and its meaning to exterminate the Enemy of the US with no moral criterion but this designation. .

      Illustration of the war hymn’s binding of the American people is not hard to find. Any elite athlete who does not put his hand on his heart to seal the meaning may be pilloried and ruined (as happened to Afro-American men with bowed heads and fists of solidarity with the oppressed in the 1968 Olympics). Before that, the most all-round achiever in American history – world renowned in sport, in law, in singing, in acting, in African linguistics – Paul Robson – was denied his freedom to leave and persecuted to death after he declined to declare the Soviet Union as evil.

      The circumstances reveal the absolute command of the Enemy construction by which Robson and countless other distinguished Americans were ruined. This all happened after Russia’s winning the war in Europe against the Nazis at the cost of 26 million lives, while known very rich Americans helped to build and weaponize Hitler’s war state, and never punished for it.

      In contrast, the allies Soviet Union was declared the Enemy right after Roosevelt’s death. His chosen ‘peace- president’ successor was falsely accused as a ‘communist’. The world had been at last in peace after Nazi surrender, but not the pro-Nazi American backers at the top of the money-war party led by David Rockefeller since. His prodigy Leo Strauss and Henry Kissinger have provided the rationales. US covert agents have ever since been seeking to destroy Russia in any form of sovereign economic independence and strategic power, and succeeded till Putin.

      The surprising fact is the total contradiction between the a-priori US assumption that it has a right to have its propaganda and agents at work over any borders up to Russia and beyond, but an equally fixed a-priori assumption that no other country has any right to circulate even true information about US politics within it.

      This is clear not only from the accusations against Russia’s interference in the election of Trump as US President, but from public debates from 1991 on within the US. They argue whether or not and how many US troops should stay in Iraq after eco-genocidal bombing of its public life infrastructures,. Or whether to bomb Syria again to give a message to Putin not to eliminate US assets there.

      On the other hand, an extended and still raging denunciation of Russia’s alleged “aggression against the US” and “interference in US elections” for Russia accessing, without proof and imputed to Putin, a DNC e-mail whose truth no-one questions. How can there be such extremist imbalance of moral and rational understanding which so completely erases others’ human rights up to war on their society’s very life bases and children, while absolutizing the rights of US and ally bombers to do all of this, and debate only whether it will work if they go on doing it.

      The US national anthem itself expresses the chosen-people’s right to kill others with no basis except that it is US doing it. The open logical spaces of this war hymn can include any nation or force as Enemy against it. The lines generically prescribe rocketing the Enemy to shed its blood. The compulsory song for all citizens to sing indicates no fault of the Enemy except being so designated.

      No benefit for anyone is indicated but that “the US flag is still there”.

      Yet everyone in the US must put his hand over his heart when the anthem is sung before any public event: most fiercely before the sabbath NFL Games in which the largest, fastest and most powerful violence of body against body collide with each other n accordance with detailed war-room plans. ‘The long bomb’, ‘sacking’ and ‘slashing up the center’ are favorite operations of the stadium-war spectacle. On Superbowl days of the Superpower’s favorite entertainment, army jets scream overhead to give US military signature to the meaning.

  32. polistra
    January 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Excellent article. I hadn’t realized the long background of our anti-Syria bias.

    Short version of the main theme: Putin is winning because he’s competent. He pays attention to facts. America is losing because we’re incompetent. We act purely on delusions.

  33. Stephen Nelson
    January 26, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Spot on with all you say –they never admit they were wrong also Bengazi was at the heart of this Clinton deals with ISIS Chris Stevens new about and he was sacrificed –where is this enquiry and when will the perpetrators be brought to justice Obama as promised.

    the best thing about your so-called buffoon is that he will try and negotiate with all enemies as well which we all thought Obama would , that was my hope and make the world a safer place but au contraire Obama leaves a nightmare for the buffoon .

    Stop provoking Russia , beat ISIS and try and help the countries US/EU affected stabilize Ukraine , Lybia, Iraq , Afghanistan and Syria with cooperating with Russia surely a good start to foreign policy !

  34. J'hon Doe II
    January 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    The Putin derangement syndrome is a replica of the Saddam derangement syndrome pretext for “Operation Iraq Liberation” – (O.I.L.).

    The John Nixon book, ” Debriefing the President” – now available – was published in London, Eng. – not the good ole USA. It exposes the CIA and Bush Administration as a cadre of vicious war mongering liars. The book is a must read for all who love truth,fact, and reality. A few redacted lines don’t disturb the flow of facts Mr. Nixon presents. A very important, revelatory documentation.

    ::

    The findings from Mr. Nixon’s interrogations of Hussein that cast doubt on the Bush administration’s original justifications for the war, Mr. Nixon says, were ignored by senior officials at the C.I.A. and the White House. “The policy makers at the White House and the leadership on the seventh floor at the C.I.A. didn’t want to hear that many of the reasons for going after Saddam were based on false premises,” he writes.

    Mr. Nixon’s most scathing criticism is reserved for the C.I.A, which he describes as a haven for yes-men excessively eager to please the White House. When he joined the C.I.A., Mr. Nixon says, he was told that analysts should “dare to be wrong” — in other words, be willing to take chances when the evidence called for counterintuitive reasoning. But he says experience taught him that the C.I.A. didn’t really reward out-of-the-box thinking. “As I found out in the Clinton, Bush and Obama years, the agency’s real operating principle was ‘dare to be right.’”

    Mr. Nixon, who left the C.I.A. in 2011 when, he says, the work no longer excited him, depicts a sclerotic agency not much different from the Agriculture Department or any other large bureaucracy, complaining that the agency “was governed by lines of authority that were often clogged by people who got ahead by playing it safe and who regarded fresh thinking as a danger to their careers.” Since he had to submit the book to the C.I.A.’s censors, he doesn’t identify the stultifying bureaucrats and timeservers, although he does reserve special wrath for one boss he names only as “Phil,” who, he says, “as a schmoozer, had few equals.”

    Mr. Nixon thoughtfully argues that the C.I.A.’s overeagerness to please the White House has led to a serious degradation in the quality of its intelligence. Virtually the entire analytical arm of the C.I.A. is focused on quickly pumping out short memos on the issues of the day that are immediately read at the White House. But the agency has largely abandoned its tradition of freeing up analysts to engage in deeper, long-term research. As a result, Mr. Nixon writes, few analysts at the agency now know very much about anything. “Expertise is not valued, indeed not trusted.”

    The C.I.A.’s brief memos have become like “crack cocaine for consumers of classified information,” Mr. Nixon says. It’s as if the C.I.A.’s analytical branch has been transformed from a college faculty into a cable news network.

    The trend toward quick-hitting but shallow intelligence reports — which other former C.I.A. analysts have also criticized in recent years, particularly since 9/11 — makes the agency much more susceptible to manipulation and politicization, and to repeating the kinds of mistakes it made when it inaccurately concluded that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

    When it came to Iraq, Mr. Nixon writes, the “agency slavishly sought to do the president’s bidding — as it usually does — in an effort to get a seat near the center of power and justify its budget. That was the institutional imperative.”

    Mr. Trump may soon test whether the C.I.A. has learned any lessons.

    Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein
    By John Nixon
    242 pages.

  35. BRF
    January 29, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Another loss by the American ruling class and its sycophants everywhere is to their prestige and image. There is no one, from the vilest dictator to the average man on the street anywhere that does not look on the actions taken as those of a war mongering bully of the most callous kind. The death and destruction so evidently caused by this class for their own gain has shown their hand and immoral being for all the world to see and it is not a pretty sight when you view the evil produced by naked greed without any thought whatsoever for the lives and well being of anyone but themselves.These western elites seek ever growing riches and unquestioned universal control at any cost to others lives or life support systems. Then we ask ourselves, ” Are these the type of persons we want to see taking control of the entire planet under what they have called their New World Order?” “I think not” would be the response of most normal human beings.This leads to the next set of questions. How do we stop them and what do we replace their system built for their own interests and end goal with?

  36. Terry
    January 30, 2017 at 3:59 am

    So why exactly is Donald Trump a right wing buffoon. He has understood everything that this article lays out for some time now. He knows that Putin was trying to clean up the mess that Obama -Soros and other globalists made. And now he is helping persecuted Christian refuges from Syria and other nations that Obama destroyed, to enter the U.S.. I as a Christian feel a lot safer with Putin and Trump in power. Even if Trump is not a true Christian, I think he knows that it is infinitely safer for his family to live in a majority Christian nation than a nation of Godless communist and Islamocommies.

  37. corey almanza
    February 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    i have been baffled by the breathtaking lock step putin bashing from the beginning. starting with the sanctions obamba put in place. it really hit home of course after the election. the way al gore rolled over in 2000 came immediately to mind. jim crow voter suppression laws in the major swing states put trump in the white house just as in 2000. and once again as with gore,not a peep from clinton. even my senator jeff merkley parroted the the same delusional party line! the biden and kerry comments i had not heard though.thanks so much for laying it out. scary situaton.

  38. corey almanza
    February 2, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    reading the ” devils chess board” to get some background. “all the shuas men” prompted me to learn about allen dulles and the history of the cia. american foreign policy reads like a crime novel!

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