Trump Confronts New McCarthyism

President Trump has hit back forcefully against the New McCarthyism, including a stunning rebuke of Sen. John McCain for fanning a New Cold War with Russia and risking World War III, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

The original McCarthyism of the early 1950s appeared with the consolidation of the Cold War. It was a witch hunt over supposed communist subversion of America’s democratic institutions. It was all about the Red Menace and the Russians are coming. Today’s New McCarthyism grew with the onset of a New Cold War and also has been about the Russians, especially the vilification of Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

This anti-Russian hysteria reached a point of near absurdity in the last days of the Obama Administration with its trust-us allegations that the Russians defeated Hillary Clinton by releasing some emails showing how the Democratic National Committee sabotaged Bernie Sanders and other emails revealing what Clinton had told Wall Street banks but didn’t want the voters to know. If you noted that Clinton had previously blamed her defeat on FBI Director James Comey for reopening and re-closing the investigation into her use of a private email server, you risked being labeled a “Putin apologist” or a “Kremlin stooge.”

Of course, the anger toward anyone who resisted the “Russia-did-it” conformism did not come from nowhere. One can trace the current hostility to dissenters against U.S. foreign policy back to the presidency of George W. Bush when he gutted the Bill of Rights in promulgating the Patriot Act with almost no public challenge. In the post-9/11 climate – when any resistance to Bush’s edicts was regarded as close to treason – many of us became uneasy while talking politics on the phone or looking up certain topics on the Internet or taking books out of the library.

This intimidating surveillance did not go away when the Democrats retook the White House and Congress in the 2008 elections, but we stopped thinking about it because supposedly the “right people” now held the levers of power and surely wouldn’t repeat the abuses of Bush-43. However, not only did the surveillance state consolidate its powers under Barack Obama but the former constitutional lawyer sharply escalated the legal persecution of whistleblowers who dared give the American people a look behind the curtain.

Obama’s unprecedented assault on government transparency was compounded by the liberal-chic contempt meted out to anyone who questioned the wisdom of imposing “liberal values,” “human rights,” and “democracy promotion” on countries around the world. “Political correctness” dominated not only domestic U.S. debates but also the formulation of foreign policy.

Vladimir Putin was viewed as a retrograde force in the world, in part, because he aligned himself with Russia’s conservative social values and because he fell short of an ideal notion of what liberal democracy is supposed to be. The fact that the U.S. government also was falling far short of those standards – from ordering targeted assassinations with minimal due process to imprisoning patriotic whistleblowers – was largely ignored by an Obama Administration that saw itself as too wonderful to have flaws.

Blacklisting Dissent

So, when the U.S. confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbas began in the summer of 2013, those of us who did not accept what was becoming the Washington Consensus, which held Putin to blame for everything, began to see ourselves as dissidents in the Soviet sense or at least in the manner of the old McCarthy era. In effect, we were blacklisted, largely excluded from publication in the professional journals, not to mention mainstream print and broadcast media. On campus, we mostly kept our mouths shut fearing for our jobs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Russian government photo)

In the narrow, but politically important field of Russian studies, just how bleak the times had become was revealed in the December 2015 “Christmas issue” of Johnson’s Russia List, an important daily digest of expert and generalist writings about Russia which contained a 40-page propaganda barrage against Putin and his ill-begotten country. But the content of that daily issue merely reflected what was entering the editor-publisher’s in-basket each day. Still, the silence of dissenters should not be confused with agreement.

For all his blustery and egotistical faults, Donald Trump has punched huge holes in the dominant neocon ideology that underlay the Washington Consensus on foreign policy during the presidencies of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Trump’s tweets and campaign messages asked, aloud and repeatedly, what could be wrong with the United States getting along with Russia and cooperating on common interests, starting with a joint campaign against ISIS.

Yet, Trump’s rejection of Washington’s foreign-policy orthodoxy went beyond relations with Russia; Trump was questioning the consensus on how America has conducted its role as global leader and he was challenging the arrogance of intervening in other nations’ affairs, whether by finger-waving lectures or various regime-change schemes.

As noisy and messy as Trump’s political approach has been – with a number of unnecessary diversions and self-inflicted wounds – there is a significant and “revolutionary” side of Trump’s approach. It represents a potential reordering of the two major political parties, a revamped struggle for power within the Right-Left dimension.

He restated this “revolutionary” aspect of his foreign policy in his Inaugural Address when he renounced the idea of endless interference in other countries’ politics and a return to the traditional role of America as an example, not an interventionist. This was an in-your-face condemnation of most of those sitting beside and behind him on the rostrum who favored a “values-based” foreign policy, globalization and American exceptionalism.

Taking on McCain

From the Oval Office, Trump has continued his frontal assault on this foreign-policy orthodoxy with his closely watched and disputed tweets. Much ridicule has been directed at Trump for ruling by tweets since they often reveal a lack of intellectual depth and his facile narcissism. But what they lack in refinement, Trump’s tweets make up for in feistiness and courage.

Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

For instance, in a Jan. 30 tweet, Trump urged Republican neocon Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to “focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III” [emphasis mine]. This was, in its own way, as significant as the pithy and devastating rebuke issued by attorney Joseph N. Welch to Sen. Joe McCarthy on June 9, 1954, after McCarthy attacked the patriotism of a young Army lawyer: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Welch asked.

In a way, Trump’s reference to the behavior of McCain and Graham, running around the world advocating for one war after another, including a military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia, was as precise and cutting as Welch’s putdown of McCarthy. In doing so, Trump broke the decades-long taboo on criticizing McCain despite his behavior as a loose cannon on the deck of foreign affairs, especially during the Obama years.

Behaving as if he had won rather than lost the 2008 election, McCain has traveled to such hot spots as Syria, Georgia and Ukraine with the goal of making U.S. foreign policy in the field, urging militants onward into violent clashes with their own governments or pushing U.S.-client states into conflicts with their neighbors.

Trump began his challenge to McCain during the campaign when he publicly questioned the “war hero” status of the Arizona senator by rhetorically asking in what way spending years in captivity as a Vietnam prisoner of war made McCain a war hero.

McCain took his revenge shortly before the inauguration when he informed the press that he had just handed over to the FBI for follow-up a dubious report generated by a former British intelligence agent accusing Trump of being vulnerable to Russian blackmail because of alleged cavorting with prostitutes during a visit to Moscow years ago.

To stymie any new détente with Russia, McCain also introduced a bill in the Senate calling for new and  expanded sanctions against Russia. So, the White House tweet was a direct challenge to McCain for his actions that Trump warned were inviting World War III. In doing so, Trump is at least prying open space for a fuller debate about U.S. foreign policy and the wisdom of neocon interventionism.

So, notwithstanding all the self-righteous exclamations before media microphones by Establishment figures from both parties over the foibles of this populist president and notwithstanding the shouting in the streets by demonstrators, it appears that the President is advancing via his tactic of frontal attack.

A week ago, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump’s bellwether choice to oversee a new foreign policy, was confirmed by the Senate to the surprise and pleasure of those of us who had kept our fingers crossed. It is too early to say how or why Trump won this test of strength. But initial fierce opposition from ranking Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio was beaten back.

Now, the question is whether Tillerson and Trump’s other foreign policy appointees can achieve genuine change in the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

89 comments for “Trump Confronts New McCarthyism

  1. AP
    February 14, 2017 at 08:52

    Put out the words;

    • Alex Patterson
      February 14, 2017 at 08:58

      Rather fast, on the evidence for the validation of the legitimate use of these -isms, on the evidence of that heithened state of activity by the two individuals, and in the sincere and honestly fortheight justification of the good of of state for real and actual discourse.

  2. Ten Count
    February 14, 2017 at 07:05

    Not so fast. Michael Flynn apparently set up for removal. Could be Step 1 of separating the President from his pre-inauguration inner circle. This takes out a significant player who is not a subscriber to the insider consensus on foreign policy. The idea is to surround Trump with people more in line with insider consensus on foreign policy, I suspect Pence is in on it. Trump probably lacks the interest or energy to be fully hands-on with foreign policy so if the traditional conservatives can arrange to have their people in charge of filtering and framing Trumps information they can greatly increase their leverage.

    It was too optimistic to hope that Conservative establishment would live with some of Trumps bolder foreign policy departures in as the price for getting one or more conservative SC Judge, a flurry of tax cuts & deregulation and an Iran policy in line with Israel’s wishes.

  3. Henk
    February 12, 2017 at 14:27

    Right so,Sir!

  4. Joel Walbert
    February 12, 2017 at 05:53

    “It was a witch hunt over supposed communist subversion of America’s democratic institutions”

    What you mean supposed? Is it not painfully obvious today that he was absolutely correct?

  5. CitizenOne
    February 11, 2017 at 22:37

    The United States has for decades used the boogeyman of Russian Communism to instill fear in the population. McCarthyism was just a small episode although much publicized which places a capstone on the heights that xenophobic anti communism can achieve in the popular media. No doubt the reason for the much covered McCarthy witch hunts was due to the fact that McCarthy was going after Hollywood personalities and that has a direct effect on controlling the media. As one Hollywood actor said, it is not that they hate us because we are liberal, they hate us because we have access to the media. Essentially, Hollywood actors have the ability to go off the reservation and speak their minds in a setting where they have the microphone. Think of the “outbursts” at celebrity galas about the Trump administration. Obviously there is a great need for those who want to own the microphone to disparage and damage the reputations of anyone with access to the microphone who is not on the official list of approved narrators of current events. It is an easy matter to own the press. It is a commercial entity and has intrinsic capitalist motivations and can easily be enlisted to be a staunch ally of those who need to demonize Russia and Communism. It is quite a more difficult task to change hearts and minds of independent individuals. Because brainwashing citizen actors in Hollywood is an impossible task, it then becomes necessary to undermine them. The task of undermining their credibility is the task of the media owners and the government and it becomes very important since they likely cannot be controlled.

    What we have witnessed in recent history goes far beyond McCarthy and his star chamber. We have witnessed a decades long campaign from the right wing to demonize Hollywood actors as lunatics, conspiracy theory supporters, gullible, hypocritical, liberal lunatic leftists, communists, America haters, traitors etc.

    The decades long approach is a rational plan to deal with people who have access to the media microphone and who also have independent and often intellectual and well reasoned positions. By conducting a decades long propaganda war against Hollywood the establishment and the media have firmly placed the image of anyone in Hollywood that dares to speak out as a communist, lefty, socialist, traitor, un-American, hypocrite etc.

    There is a lot at stake for the power establishment. They have managed to build a Military Industrial Complex designed to make them all billionaires with a tax payer funded budget that is more than the combined military budgets of the next seven biggest foreign national military budgets in the World combined.

    The United States spends twice what China spends and ten times what Russia spends. Creating a continuing need to manufacture reasons to elevate our astronomical military budget higher and higher every budget cycle requires two things.

    1. They need enemies galore
    2. They need to demonize and marginalize anyone who is opposed to further increases in military spending.

    Donald Trump has become their new focus.

    By trying to make peace with Russia Donald Trump now finds himself in the star chamber being attacked as a dupe for Russia and a Putin pet. He might as well be called a communist sympathizer. He is being bucketed in the same class of people like Hollywood actors who simply do not get why we are always trying to make enemies in the World to justify foreign aggression.

    It is all about how they take our tax dollars and scare us to death and use our fear to justify ever greater military budgets.

    To the extent that Donald Trump tries to restore some sanity to our craving for conflicts to increase government orders for more planes, bombs, missiles, tanks, ships and now drones and robots I applaud his conclusion that it is all leading to a bad end and we need to find reasons for economic cooperation which will generate wealth not military solutions to wealth.

  6. David
    February 11, 2017 at 19:37

    McCain and Graham’s original point was…

    “Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.”

    I’m not a fan of either McCain or Graham, but I agree with this statement.

    Trump’s response is an easy and unrelated jab, yet somehow Doctorow is claiming this stupid and childish response makes Trump some sort of anti-McCarthyist hero. Why? Because Trump is pro-Russian? Trump wants to ramp up military spending, and last I checked, is out to get China as much as the Washington Neocons are out to get Russia.

    I don’t know what ConsortiumNews’ deal is, but I’m out of here. I don’t know where I’m going, but hopefully there’s some media outlet out there that doesn’t pick-and-choose and twist stories around to fit whatever ideology they’re pushing for. I thought this was the place, but I was very mistaken.

    • MusicofE
      February 15, 2017 at 00:34

      Ironically McCain and Graham are responsible for many of those horrors, it is important to remember that.

  7. Mark Thomason
    February 11, 2017 at 13:09

    This has needed to be said. Our mainstream press is a major participant, not just politicians in DC.

    I can be put off by Trump, and still think this war mongering craziness is appalling. They only manage to show why we dodged a bullet when we avoided Hillary.

  8. JE
    February 10, 2017 at 20:35

    Trump nixes Elliot Abrams, transcript of Flynn phone call to Russian ambassador mysteriously leaks. Oh this is not over. Question for all investigative reporters: How much money is riding on regime change policies? It must be astronomical, backers on all sides.

  9. delia ruhe
    February 10, 2017 at 17:56

    Katty Kay was last night’s guest host of Charlie Rose (Charlie’s off having bypass surgery), and I can’t remember the names of her four guests (they haven’t yet appeared on the website), who were there on the topic of the Donald’s so-called foreign policy. I found the discussion quite interesting, although there were quite a few points I’d have liked to argue with. The guy who was commenting on the Trump-Putin part of the policy painted what I thought was a rather too paranoid position on Putin. (I think Katty called him something like ‘Melik’ and said he was Turkish.) He articulated the obligatory view on Putin’s dealings with Ukraine and the Crimea, and at some point even referred to Putin as “a monster” — which in my view was just a bit too over the top, as it immediately made me ask myself if Trump’s three predecessors were any less ‘monstrous’.

    Putin may be an unpleasant dude and in charge of a rather unattractive regime, but he’s on average similar to what is maybe the majority of his fellow heads of state: the ‘monstrosity’ of their acts may be different in kind but not all that different in degree, even if it is hard to imagine anyone topping BushCheney’s massive scale slaughter, torture regime, and outrageous abuse of the 9/11 trauma — all of which had a desensitizing effect on Americans, allowing Obama’s drone-murder program to proceed almost without criticism. While American hegemony is long past its shelf-life, I’m pretty sure the next winner of the Grand Strategy chess match won’t be much better (although he could hardly be much worse).

  10. February 10, 2017 at 14:31

    Thanks, Gilbert Doctorow, for very good article, and thanks to all Commenters, some who made me burst out laughing for their great metaphors! You’re right, we’re in for a stormy ride with maverick Trump, who knows hardly any history and I wonder what he knew of the Deep State before he started his bizarre tilt at its windmills? Although with Obama hidden harm was being done cloaked in lofty rhetoric, now it’s out in the open.

    Russia is Moby Dick for the entrenched status quo know-little members of Congress (Putin invaded Korea?! I just blanked on the name of the CA Rep who said that was grounds to impeach Trump.)

    The White House phone Comments line remains closed as it was during the last days of the Obama administration, and I wonder if anyone would read an email sent, anyway? I sent a message of concern about neocon Elliott Abrams being considered for Undersecretary of State. As Robert Parry wrote in preceding article, if one neocon gets in won’t be long others follow.

    From articles I have found on the web, it seems Putin is being conflated with the Russian Mafia, which I interpret as Putin being about in the analogous position as JFK was with the US Mafia. Whereas the Mafia over here has been defanged, the Russian Mafia is very much in power over there. Maybe Dr. Doctorow could enlighten us on that point? Russia was given the Shock Doctrine (detailed in Naomi Klein’s great book of that title) after the collapse of the USSR and Putin came in after Yeltsin’s damage, bringing Russia back to a significant world power. My question would be, what exactly is the role if any, of the Russian Mafia, in the workings of the Kremlin? The controversy of Paul Manafort as Trump’s campaign advisor appeared about business connections with Russian Mafia and Trump has business dealing with Russian business execs who may or may not be Mafia connected, so it’s obviously complicated and teasing out the truth takes someone who knows Russia. It’s clear that American journalists and legislators know very little about Russia and its history, for the most part.

  11. Ralph Metzner
    February 9, 2017 at 21:16

    At long last – a voice of sanity. For all his bluster and ego-mania has the common sense
    instinct of a business man who likes making deals and who understands that making or
    fomenting wars with other people or countries is not good for trade.
    It’s complicated because war is good for one kind of business – the weapons of war business,
    America’s biggest effort.
    But don’t we want our country to trade with others in other things besides weapons?
    And it’s only common sense that you don’t bait the Russian bear, by pushing troops and tanks
    right up to his borders. And the Europeans are understandably not happy about being again put right on the front
    lines of war games between US and Russia.

    • Josh Stern
      February 9, 2017 at 22:29

      War & weapons are expensive & unproductive. The biz man who is not in the armaments, merc or military base construction, pentagon lobbying, or artificial prosthetics industries needs to be persuaded that borrow & spend fiscal stimulus by the Fed. govt. should be labeled as such and contributes a lot more long term benefit when spent on domestic infrastructure, user-driven education, or applied research.

  12. Realist
    February 9, 2017 at 20:39

    The entire establishment, including most notably the media, is tearing at Trump’s hide like a pack of ravenous hyenas, holding back on not even the most trivial of criticisms. If he wants to survive he has no alternative but to fight them back tooth and nail. He’s finished if he suddenly goes all docile and quiet, and reverts to dutifully carrying out Obomber’s bloody policies. The history books would view that with more disdain than if he had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the White House by jack booted thugs following orders from the Deep State.

    • MP
      February 10, 2017 at 10:49

      I’m far from being a member of the establishment and I’m no “fan” of the [purposely] incompetent corporate media, however, I can see that Trump is a willing participant in this charade; he is no victim. “The pack of ravenous hyenas” are those “former” members of Government Sachs, “ex” corporate Sr. managers, retired military brass, James Crow Jr. Esq., and the “new” aristocracy who round out the cabinet of the holier-than-thou plutocratic-oligarchy.

      Trump claims to be a member of their “cult” and his “tooth-and-nail” fight is among the worst of “political” performances that mirror the not-so-subtle “staging” by other GOP “leaders.” Pillaging and plundering public resources at home and abroad in order to benefit the wealthiest minority, while diminishing stability, human rights, civil rights and prosperity for the majority is their ongoing agenda.

      These dangerous people are in overdrive. WE the People, in the majority, will have to use all legal avenues of redress to stop them. They will continue to create so many enemies [left-right-and-center] that their cries of “the tyranny of the majority” will fall on deaf ears. They will have no one to blame but themselves. Blaming and shaming the poor and the “other” will be passe because there will be too many victims from all types of backgrounds.

      HIS-story was written by power, but technology will solve that problem. We are witnessing a theocratic fascist corporate coup. Wake UP!

  13. backwardsevolution
    February 9, 2017 at 20:27

    Gilbert Doctorow – just an excellent piece! Thank you.

  14. Josh Stern
    February 9, 2017 at 18:41

    One would think & hope that purely rational common sense would support the ability of anyone to take contrasting positions on 1) Comparison of US/Russia domestic policy, 2) Comparison of US/Russia military policy, 3) Comparison of U.S./Russia covert operations policy, and 4) U.S. politicians using false claims about any of the other categories to advance their own bogus or criminal agenda. Opposing 4) have nothing to do with the other 3) categories and they are all distinct from each other. When it’s normal to act as if nobody can even understand those distinctions then you know we are living in a spin world.

  15. Drew Hunkins
    February 9, 2017 at 17:23

    Trump’s like that old broken down clock on the office wall that no one relies on but is correct twice per day.

    “President Trump has hit back forcefully against the New McCarthyism, including a stunning rebuke of Sen. John McCain for fanning a New Cold War with Russia and risking World War III.”

    This is one of the very few pronouncements where Trump is right on target and deserves support from progressive populists. The other policy decision that was a splendid move on his behalf was his immediate vetoing of the TPP. The real estate mogul deserves support from any populist-progressive for these two fair minded executive decisions.

    Clearly there’s a slew of other policy proposals rumbling around the corridors of Trump Plaza that must be denounced, like his attempts to eviscerate the regulatory infrastructure protecting workers, consumers and the environment and his tax policies that will ultimately shift more of the burden onto the shoulders of us working people by slashing the rate the parasitic financial elite and corporate oligarchs ultimately pay.

    Target Trump with all the virulence we can muster but do recognize that a broken clock is correct twice per day.

    • MP
      February 9, 2017 at 19:12

      You are correct, Trump is an “old broken down clock.” How does one veto something that never made it to the floor? Thanks to the millions of “populist- progressives” and others who lobbied, protested, made phone calls, wrote letters and signed petitions against the TPP, the “Agreement” was DOA; it didn’t have the votes. It was in trouble before Trump announced his candidacy.

      Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch continues to be a reliable resource. Kevin Zeese is among the thousands of tireless organizers and activists.

      Btw, I doubt that many “populist-progressives” plan to board the Trump train. There are too many dark tunnels with missing tracks that will derail too many passengers while sending others over a cliff. Beware…

      • Drew Hunkins
        February 9, 2017 at 19:21

        I was using the term “veto” in a very generic way as in to torpedo the proposal or plan.

        • MP
          February 9, 2017 at 22:03

          “Torpedoed the plan” like a reality celebrity in front of the cameras without having a thorough understanding of what is really going on behind the scenes. He’s a boorish distraction. There must be a special benefits package as a reward for this performance.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 9, 2017 at 20:24

        MP – if you think that the TPP was dead in its tracks before Trump came to town, then I have some swamp land to sell you. Millions protested the banks being bailed out, but they were still bailed out. These guys do what they want, citizens be damned. Trump is to be commended for doing this. It is more than any other president has done in a long, long time.

        • Drew Hunkins
          February 10, 2017 at 11:29

          Excellent points backwardsevolution.

        • MP
          February 10, 2017 at 14:05

          backwardsevolution – Sometimes it’s easier to fool those who fail to understand the nuances in language. That is how false advertisers capture their captive audiences. They rely on their members being guided by emotions, time constraints and short attention spans. WE the people are often vulnerable.

          After a while, these subtle forms of communications and manipulation become the norm; if left unchecked by the receiver, bad habits often follow. These “messengers” need malleable members to advance their narratives and agendas. People who are focused and those who rely on process and detail don’t make for good ratings and revenue. I repeat, We the People are susceptible. Being aware of these machinations is the first line of defense.

          Examine the differences between the following statements:

          “…dead in its tracks before Trump came to town.” vs. ‘It [TPP] was [in trouble] before Trump announced his candidacy.’

          This requires you to know the following:

          The history – Including bipartisan Support and activist Opposition
          The timeline of the negotiations
          The parties involved – politicians; hundreds of business groups and lobbyists; small fraction of consumer groups

          The content/details of the agreement – little-to-NO-transparency

          April/2015 – Sanders forces committee delay of Fast-Track – TPP

          April/2015 – Clinton and Sanders announce candidacies – TPP Trouble starts for Clinton because of Sanders’/voter opposition

          June/2015 – Trump announces candidacy – June/2015

          June/2015- House and Senate pass Fast-Track Authority along party lines – GOP sides with Obama – Democratic leadership, party membership and base voters vow to STOP TPP – Mobilization and Activism increase – Lawmakers who are up for re-election are targeted. GOP leadership stalls – makes excuses – plays blame game

          April/2016 Republicans stall – more excuses – admit they don’t have the votes.

          Headlines, sound-bites and opportunism have little to do with the truth. By no means is any of this over. With Trump, the Republicans, Government Sachs, the corporate cabal and other right-wing fanatics driving the people’s limo, we are headed for more financial roadblocks and another “crash.” We the People will, once again, be the biggest losers. The GOP will have no one to blame because this is their fleet.

        • jo6pac
          February 10, 2017 at 16:01
    • Litchfield
      February 9, 2017 at 21:54

      Shouldn’t it be easier to challenge Trump on domestic policy than on foreign policy?

      • rosemerry
        February 10, 2017 at 16:18

        The problem is that foreign policy is what can destroy the world if Mr T’s advisers have their way.

  16. Cal
    February 9, 2017 at 17:08

    Trump is right about McCain who is a runt psycho—read the below to see what people who were POWS with him and people who know him really think of him.

    John McCain: Make-Believe Maverick
    A closer look at the life and career of the candidate reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty

    • backwardsevolution
      February 9, 2017 at 20:14

      Cal – what a scathing review of John McCain. Thanks for the link. A very dangerous man who needs to be confronted. Good on Trump for doing it. I had also read this re McCain and the U.S.S. Forrestal:

      “McCain, when a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy was a Navy pilot (they call themselves aviators). July 29, 1967 while on the deck and in his plane on the carrier U.S.S. Forrestal he managed to screw up procedures (officially denied and covered up by him and the Navy and also even promoted on Wikipedia if you care to look–reason to follow). He did a smart ass punk attention getting trick by doing a “wet start” up of his jet.

      When a pilot wants to be a wise ass or show off, this type of engine start creates a large startling flame and lots of surprise noise from the rear of a jet engine on start up–this was no accident. This and the large subsequent electrical surge and apparent (incorrect and against policy) weapon arming (by the pilot) caused the launching of a powerful Zuni rocket across the carrier’s deck hitting other parked planes (photo below) that were packing 1,000 high-explosive pound bombs. The subsequent massive explosions, fire and destruction went several decks below and nearly sunk this major 82,000 ton U.S. aircraft carrier.

      This stunt and aftermath caused the death of 134 sailors…..”

  17. mike k
    February 9, 2017 at 15:52

    Captain Trump is heading his ship of State directly into a storm; and what results will unfold in the tumult and fury of the elements he is challenging is not possible to forecast. We must wait in anxious anticipation as this reckless and flawed man plunges us all into the maelstrom of his mad and improbable quest. Is he not Captain Ahab after all?

    • MP
      February 9, 2017 at 16:35

      Trump couldn’t set sail in a Sunfish on the Potomac.

      • mike k
        February 9, 2017 at 16:51

        Trump won the election. He has seized the helm. That he is incompetent to sail the seas he has launched his stupefied crew (us) upon is obvious but we are in for the ride like the crew of the Pequod. May God have mercy on all our souls!

        • MP
          February 9, 2017 at 17:49

          The plutocrats and oligarchs have seized the state and the pirates at the helm are overthrowing and pillaging with impunity. Some of the culprits claim to be acting in god’s name.

        • backwardsevolution
          February 9, 2017 at 19:45

          mike k – oh, come on, he’s what, three weeks into his presidency. If Hillary had won, the seas would have been on fire by now.

  18. February 9, 2017 at 15:42

    Interesting article at link below:
    “Iran Hawks Take the White House
    Inspired by fringe theories about Islamic civilization, Michael Flynn is leading Trump down a dangerous path.”
    By Philip Giraldi • February 9, 2017

    • MP
      February 9, 2017 at 16:21

      Trumps has his own demons.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 9, 2017 at 19:43

      Stephen – great article by Philip Giraldi. Let’s hope that Trump is strong enough and smart enough to head off people like Michael Flynn. Otherwise, Iran is a sitting duck, and I feel for the country. Flynn might have to be the first one to hear, “You’re fired!”

  19. mike k
    February 9, 2017 at 15:42

    There is a war going on inside Donald Trump. Who knows which wolf (or group of wolves) within him will speak or act at any given moment? (Cherokee tale)

    Trump’s pretended certainty is a cover for his actual uncertainty. The course of this inner conflict will determine Trump’s fate – and perhaps the fate of the world as well.

    • MP
      February 9, 2017 at 16:19

      Trump is a bad actor who is doing a terrible job of pretending to be certain. He’s swimming with the sharks. What does he gain from being so exposed?

    • Felix Navidad
      February 9, 2017 at 18:50

      Trump needs an intervention by Oldman Coyote.

  20. John P
    February 9, 2017 at 15:40

    Yes there was and is a problem but read this group of articles and wonder where the heck are we going.
    If Trump goes after Iran for Bannon’s Holy war what are the Russians going to do ? Read some of Bannon’s past comments ! There are basket-cases in the Whitehouse today!

    From Robert Fisk’s auricle in the Independent:
    “But now the White House is making some Israelis deeply concerned. In an extraordinary attack, Bradley Burston of the leftist Haaretz newspaper has fired off a volley at the White House. “It’s an inconceivably scary thought,” he wrote this week, “that the Trump administration is simply winging it, breakneck, disrupting and detonating and taking America apart – and all of it without a plan. But here’s the even scarier possibility – that there is, in fact, a plan.”
    The plan, according to Burston, is a Holy War. “Donald Trump needs a war. But not just any war. He needs just the right global non-Christian, all-powerful, all frightening, non-white, non-negotiable enemy… And he needs a doomsday weapon he can rely on. As it happens, he already has one. It’s called Steve Bannon.” Burston has been combing through some of the nonsense spouted by Bannon at a Vatican conference in 2014.”

  21. Stiv
    February 9, 2017 at 14:48

    This is ridiculous, Courage? Feistiness maybe. You’re talking about a spoiled child ( I am not name calling…just saying what it is ) who will tantrum to have his way. That is not courage. Making a principled stand with all facts ( or proported facts….one needs to be informed enough to sort this out ) is courage. There’s none of that coming from Trump. Look at his cabinet…doubling down on dysfunction, and there was plenty of that already.

    Could someone look deeper into Tusi Gabbard please? There’s a story there, I’m willing to bet and it won’t be pretty..

    • John
      February 9, 2017 at 15:12

      Let’s see… Bernie Sanders surrogate. Went to Standing Rock in support of indigenous rights. Served in the military, then came back to promote peace and work against illegal wars of aggression. Went to Syria and talked to Syrians (who, although they may not like Assad, see him as a far better option than the headchopping cannibals supported by the US, Saudis, and Israelis to overthrow him).

      I can see why some people do not like her, though such people seem to not be very likeable themselves. This is why innuendo is their tactic to cast doubt upon her.

    • MP
      February 9, 2017 at 16:15

      Courage…Feistiness…Absolutely not! The plutocrats couldn’t have “installed” a better cast member to place in their “shark tank.” How will Trump benefit?

    • Ragnar Ragnarsson
      February 9, 2017 at 16:29

      “This is ridiculous, Courage?”

      Yeah, courage. Haven’t seen anyone else step up and confront these bastards, have you?

  22. Enquiring Mind
    February 9, 2017 at 14:12

    Doctorow writes about “supposed communist subversion”. Does he not consider the evidence about actual communists and their fellow travelers in government, as amply documented through numerous sources (see VENONA, et al)? His article is weakened by that bit of attempted ret-conning.

    • rosemerry
      February 10, 2017 at 16:14

      I hope this is a joke.

  23. February 9, 2017 at 13:47

    We are in a very uncertain situation. Much depends on which criminal gangs decide to align with Trump and what it will cost him. The gang that McCain represents is the worst faction hopefully it will be seen for what it is an existential threat for the human race.

    • Litchfield
      February 9, 2017 at 21:50

      ” Much depends on which criminal gangs decide to align with Trump and what it will cost him.”

      This is a very succinct way of putting it.

  24. February 9, 2017 at 13:33

    Must see link below, then ask who is really the “aggressors”?

    • backwardsevolution
      February 9, 2017 at 19:09

      Stephen – excellent link. Just look at those U.S./NATO bases surrounding Russia and Iran! Thanks, Stephen.

  25. February 9, 2017 at 13:26

    I believe the warmongers are determined to ignite World War Three. NATO has surrounded Russia, but claims are made that Russia is the “aggressor.” Ukraine and Iran are already in the warmongers sights. Saudi Arabia gets billions in weapons, and along with the “coalition” is bombing Yemen. Yet, the Saudis are reportedly funding terrorism along with their western “allies.” We are, I believe, in the hands of War Criminals that need to be arrested, but instead they run the system. This Gigantic Plot for wars is going to go nuclear. I hope I am wrong but Evil is in control.

  26. Mark Thomason
    February 9, 2017 at 13:25

    McCain lost because he was dangerous. He still is. That Trump is other dangers does not make the worst of McCain any better than it ever was.

  27. Brad Owen
    February 9, 2017 at 13:10

    I’m glad Trump’s pushing back hard at these war criminals (let’s call them what they are, NOT mongers, nor New McCarthyites). I hope he smashes them over the head with a two-fisted sledge hammer. We’re at the dawning of a new era of World cooperation like never before (what the U.N. was designed for, after the horrors of WWII), with nation-building and gigantic infrastructure projects the likes of which the World has never seen before. The war criminals can NOT be allowed to sabotage this opportunity, just because their investment portfolios have a “war face” and not a “development face”. They can no longer be allowed to pursue their sick imperial fantasies…there is enough brain-power in the world to make it possible for EVERYONE to live a decent, comfortable, secure life. We can even go to the Moon, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt to pick up any mineral resources we deem needful. We desperately need to free up the brain-power that is heavily invested in weapons and war-making (which is truly a pointless exercise that serves no useful purpose…the better statesmen of WWII new this truth; statesmen devoted to OLD EMPIRES closed their eyes to this truth, and planned Treason against humanity).

    • February 9, 2017 at 13:45

      Trump has still not taken charge–the situation is still uncertain. Trump had to make certain deals with coup plotters. The Deep State, fortunately for Trump is in disarray or he would never have been able to take power. They still can control him–I’m not sure he has the smarts or emotional strength to counter the criminal gangs that make up the Deep State.

      • MP
        February 9, 2017 at 14:40

        …A sober thought…Thank You!

      • Brad Owen
        February 9, 2017 at 15:11

        What you say makes sense. That’s why I’ve said this whole campaigning season for election has the strong smell of “Coyote Trickster” about it: unlikely heroes, unlikely villains, nothing is straight-forward, many confusions, much dissembling, and many feints along the way, near impossible to forecast outcome.

    • arnie
      February 9, 2017 at 14:24

      please state your sources on: “going to the Moon, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt to pick up any mineral resources we deem needful”, capability..

      • Brad Owen
        February 9, 2017 at 15:06

        Follow China’s space program; Going to the Moon to mine/harvest H3 isotope to bring back home for use as fuel in a nuclear fusion reactor still in the planning stages, solving our energy problems for the next thousands of years. Now that is vision and a space program with a purpose, NOT some silly private-sector affair selling tickets to rich thrill riders. Fusion reactors will also enable engines for spaceships traveling at constant 1g acceleration to midpoint, then 1g decelleration to Mars for a trip of one week or so. Most of the info I’ve gotten from surfing the E.I.R. website over the years.

        • Brad Owen
          February 9, 2017 at 15:41

          Oh, I think I get your drift. I’m speaking in the present tense as if it’s already available…sorry. However, WHEN the brain-power of humanity is focused upon this mission, it’s already as good as accomplished…just a matter of a little passage of time, and lots of problem-solving and work.

          • Brad Owen
            February 9, 2017 at 15:43

            Problem-solving and work is the essence of being human.

          • arnie
            February 10, 2017 at 00:22

            thanks, I agree with you about our problem-solving solutions as for the future Aspirations.

          • Abbybwood
            February 10, 2017 at 06:57

            A major problem with “manned” flights into space (like going to the moon) is the intense radiation problem.

            I recently re-read Dave McGowen’s excellent “Wagging the Moondoggie” and am convinced that no humans ever “went to the moon”.

          • Brad Owen
            February 10, 2017 at 08:32

            to Abbywood below: while I don’t believe the radiation problem means instant death, it will probably become a problem for long-range travel and leaving the magnetospheric envelope surrounding Earth. Just another problem to be solved. Probably will need to generate force fields, sort of like Star Trek, to protect against long-term exposure to radiation…also, our very DNA may have some significant interfacing with Earth’s magnetosphere, which will also have to be duplicated on the spaceship, if this is the case. I’m no scientist and I hope I haven’t used terms wrongly, BUT I do have complete confidence in humanity’s problem-solving capabilities.

    • February 9, 2017 at 22:09


  28. Sally Snyder
    February 9, 2017 at 13:01

    Here is an article that looks at the last President of the United States that really understood Russia:

    • February 9, 2017 at 13:43

      Also the last President of the Republic. None of the Presidents, good and bad, are legitimate in my view because they are subject to the Deep State which officially took power when JFK was shot down like a mad dog in the street.

      • Bob Van Noy
        February 9, 2017 at 17:10

        I simply want to say that agree with both of you and thank you Sally Snyder for posting the link.

      • Litchfield
        February 9, 2017 at 21:46

        JFK was not anything like a mad dog in the street.

        And, he was shot down with malice aforethought as the culmination of a conspiracy that had been in the works for months if not, more likely, years.

    • Bill Bodden
      February 9, 2017 at 17:54

      Great link, Thank you, Sally

    • Gregory Herr
      February 9, 2017 at 22:49

      Thank you Sally. President Kennedy was admirable for his understanding, his scholarship was infused with insight and a fine sense of common humanity. Even more important than the content of his address at American University, one of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American President, is the fact that he meant it.

  29. Bill Bodden
    February 9, 2017 at 13:01

    “The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948]) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.” –

    • Taras77
      February 11, 2017 at 23:34

      Thanks for that-just saw your comment after I posted a question above re: Logan Act.

      Do you know what it has so rarely been applied, like almost never?

  30. Bill Bodden
    February 9, 2017 at 12:50

    One can trace the current hostility to dissenters against U.S. foreign policy back to the presidency of George W. Bush when he gutted the Bill of Rights in promulgating the Patriot Act with almost no public challenge.

    In “the world’s greatest deliberative body” the vote was 99 to 1. Senator Russ Feingold was the only senator with the integrity to oppose this travesty.

    • rosemerry
      February 10, 2017 at 15:44

      The USA PATRIOT Act was obviously written well before 9/11 conveniently terrified the “Reps” and senators to accept it without reading it .

  31. February 9, 2017 at 12:39

    Why is it seldom mentioned that Amy Klobuchar, Democratic senator from Minnesota, was with McCain and Graham? She also voted to seat Pompeo at CIA. Russia lost over 20 million of their citizens to WW2. They are not our enemy. The senators’ words in the Ukraine would be laughable if they weren’t so dangerous…removing Saddam has worked out so well. I would like Sen. Klobuchar to explain how fanning the flames of yet another war wherein other people’s children will be sent to die for morally depraved neocon imperial fantasies and freedom bombs will be dropped to liberate civilians from their lives is in the interest of the State of Minnesota, the US, or really any sentient being. America: the exceptional(ly violent) nation.

    • Bart in Virginia
      February 9, 2017 at 14:06

      We really do avert our eyes at times, don’t we? But, you go to war with the Senators you have, not the ones you would like to have, such as Paul Wellstone.

  32. February 9, 2017 at 12:09

    Thats okay because if they buck him too much they will be shown the door in short order. Trump is the Boss. His appointments can´t ever forget that or they will be out.

    • MP
      February 9, 2017 at 14:34

      Who are “they?” Which “appointments” will “the boss” be able to oust?

  33. Herman
    February 9, 2017 at 11:59

    It is extraordinary how Senators can run around the world not supporting US policy but making it by inciting audiences to violence against their list of enemies. How many years ago was it that Congressmen were guided by briefings from the State Department so that their remarks conformed to our foreign policy.

    McCain is a glaring example of the new modus operandi. In response to Tulsi Gabbards visit and findings on Syria, McCain excoriated her for taking to the man who killed 500,000 of his people. In a civil war no mean accomplishment since the number was greater than the total number of deaths. The same man, who along with Graham, sweeps through countries like Ukraine urging them to attack the Russians in Ukraine, and Ukrainian citizens. McCain who chortled bomb, bomb Iran to the delight of his audience. He does meet the definition of a useful idiot who does the bidding of the neocon cabal.

    McCain, of course, became a hero at a time American was searching for them. That the candidate Trump was close to the mark in describing his service does not excuse the mistake of saying it. It must be said, however, that whatever candidate and President Trump has to say, he is a maverick who threatens a lot of people and it is far more likely to be ridiculed than praised.

    • Litchfield
      February 9, 2017 at 21:42

      But isn’t there actually some law against “independent foreign policy” making?
      The president makes foreign policy. It is the province of the executive branch.
      Isn’t McCain actually guilty of something? You *can’t* legally run around the world promoting a foreign policy that in contrary to that of the commander-in-chief. Can you?
      Talking to people is not the same actually preaching and encuraging and even financing actions that are counter to official foreign policy. I think. Look how nuts people went when Trump called up a few heads of state to say ciao before the Inauguration. Where are those scolds when it comes to McCain?
      When does McCain get impeached for making an independent foreign policy?

      I hope Trump’s blast is just the opening shot of a longer fusillade against McCain and Graham.

      • rosemerry
        February 10, 2017 at 15:41

        I wondered that. I am not American, but remember that Australian politicians, even Opposition members, were not allowed to criticize government policy while overseas, which seems a good idea to avoid conflict. Of course, big brave McNasty never wants to avoid conflict and is always on the wrong side of any issue. Arizona must be asleep to keep voting him in.

        • Taras77
          February 11, 2017 at 23:30

          McCain is a disgrace and an embarrassment but psychopaths such as he have no shame, no compunction to say what is in his addled and fevered brain-I certainly do not know what the solution is as he has backers/handlers.

          I’m just curious as a question to the board here is what is the effect of the Logan Act, which is supposed according to my understanding, prohibit the conduct of foreign policy by anyone not authorized, only the President. I may have that a tad off but I believe the thrust is there.

          However, as I also understand, prosecution under the Logan Act is very rare and almost never happens-the reason is not clear to me.

  34. Frank Lambert
    February 9, 2017 at 11:32

    Gilbert Doctorow does his homework and gets to the core of the problem in a very astute manner. The question remains on whether Trump falls victim to the war-mongering new “McCarthyites” like McCain the Insane and Lindsey “smiling” Graham who is just as sinister.

    Too many genuine peace and justice advocates are supporting Trump for his campaign speeches, but when one looks at every Cabinet Post he has filled, they are all right-wing ideologues. ???

    Time will tell whether or not he is genuine in wanting to get along with Russia or succumb to the imperialist pressure of the Full Spectrum Dominance cabal.

    • February 9, 2017 at 13:40

      Trump was facing a coup had he not appointed who he appointed. The Deep State is in disarray and fighting a fierce take-no-prisoner fight within its ranks. There are, as far as I can see three or four factions contending and I have no clue where this will end. This is not CIA vs. Pentagon vs. State–this fight goes outside the limits of the official world–in short, this is a gang-fight and must be seen as that. It still has not been resolved which makes the national and international situation very precarious particularly should Ukraine, as seems likely, invade Novorussia before this fight is resolved. Even the Mighty Wurlitzer is up for grabs. God help us.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 9, 2017 at 18:06

        Chris Cosmos – “Trump was facing a coup had he not appointed who he appointed.” I believe you are correct here. And people think Trump is stupid? He knows exactly what he’s doing. Whether he’ll win depends on us. This really is a war between the McCain’s of the world and people who want peace.

      • Litchfield
        February 9, 2017 at 21:35

        What is the Mighty Wurlitzer?

        Regarding the rest of your post, I think you are probably right. And of course Doctorow is one of the best. So glad to see him here at Consortium News.

        The Deep State is in disarray, and we are seeing the signs of the thrashing on the surface of the water but not the fury beneath.
        What I would most like to understand (like probably 200,000,000 other observers) is whether Trump really believes what he is saying and doing regarding Israel, or whether he needs Israel in the fight against these other deep state actors. Also, whether his warlike cabinet are there to protect him from other forces and therefore he must let htem pursue some of their favorite belligerent hobbies.

        • backwardsevolution
          February 9, 2017 at 23:44

          Litchfield – good questions. I’d be interesting in knowing too.

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