Trump and the American Decline

The fury over President Trump’s behavior and the hysteria over Russia are concealing the more significant long-term erosion of U.S. global influence from endless wars in the Mideast, observes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

By Graham E. Fuller

President Trump’s ignorant, oafish and crude foreign policy style rivets our attention, arouses our indignation. But the drama of the diplomatic mayhem he wreaks while traveling abroad also distracts from recognizing more serious underlying problems of U.S. policy — deep negative trends that predate Trump.

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Brussels, Belgium for their fourth stop on their maiden trip abroad. President Trump met with leaders from around the world before the NATO Summit in Brussels. (White House photo)

Focusing on Trump’s latest crude pronouncements encourages the soothing belief that these current dilemmas are all his doing. In other words, if we didn’t have Trump, the U.S. would be back in the comfortable saddle as world’s acknowledged, respected, indispensable leader.

The sad fact is, we can vent our anger as we like, but the old days just aren’t coming back. It would indeed be a huge relief to be able to attribute our current foreign policy mess to the incompetence of one individual.

President Obama posed the reverse problem: his intelligent, gracious, sophisticated and knowledgeable style lulled us into believing that all should be well on the foreign policy front with the right guy in charge. But in reality the gratifying nature of Obama’s style too, concealed on numerous fronts the critical issues he failed to address or incorrectly addressed.

Trump’s outrages are too numerous to deal with in one piece; here I’d like to focus specifically on the recent brouhaha over NATO and questions about Trump’s alleged destruction of America’s “reliability” as a partner in Europe. Let me suggest a few key, perhaps contrarian, propositions of my own, drawn from my perspective as a former “sovietologist,” and student of Russian culture and affairs.

I write this too, with overwhelming concern for the unprecedented binge of American hysteria — there is no other word for it — over Putin and Russia’s place in the world.

The words of Soviet expert on American foreign policy, Georgi Arbatov, to an American diplomat upon the collapse of the USSR, come back to haunt: “We are going to do a terrible thing to you, we are going to deprive you of your enemy.”  Indeed the U.S. has been thrashing around ever since.

So, Trump has bluntly called upon the E.U. to shoulder a greater share of the burden in NATO’s upkeep. He is not wrong. Indeed, the E.U. very much should take far more responsibility on issues of global security — but not so much financially, but by determining, on its own for a change, what it perceives to be its own security problems and how to manage them.

Europe’s View

In today’s post-Soviet world the reality is that most of European political culture no longer instinctively shares the American perspective on global affairs. The U.S. is increasingly driven by a security- and military-dominated approach to handling international crises. This trend towards the militarization of American foreign policy has been growing by leaps and bounds, particularly since 9/11. America excels at “threat perception,” it’s what keeps U.S. think tanks and arms industries in business.

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

Let’s take the proposition one step farther. Despite the many shrill voices in Washington, Russia simply cannot be taken as “the greatest threat to American security and welfare.” Non-stop American wars and their consequences are the greatest threat.

Washington’s choice of primarily military means to handle contemporary radical trends in Muslim societies has not only failed to solve them, but has demonstrably exacerbated them. We are fighting on more fronts against radicalized Muslims than ever before.

Yet these multiple simultaneous American wars bleed the budget, usurp funding for social infrastructure, maintain a culture of fear, and stimulate the growth of the security state. And yes, it’s gotten worse under Trump.

Just look at the costs. The U.S. suffers from the most massive gap between rich and poor of any country in the developed world. This gap not only produces economic hardship, but corrodes social unity, stimulates anger, bitterness, divisiveness and feeds the paranoid attitudes that are directly responsible for electing Trump in the first place.

There is no sign that the insatiable American embrace of non-stop war is slackening — on the contrary. New crises emerge everywhere; there is virtually no area of the world left that does not at some point require “urgent American leadership” to preserve American “vital interests.”

But this perspective of what constitutes the “vital interests” of the West is no longer widely shared in Europe. And it is simply extraordinary that there is zero discussion anywhere in U.S. election campaigns or in the MSM to challenge the military budget.

Nor for most of Europe is Russia anywhere remotely the greatest challenge to their security and welfare. Massive refugee flows, immigration and their resulting domestic tensions, costs of refugee absorption, and even Muslim extremism are the true challenges.

Can we really believe that American military intervention in the Muslim world over the past few decades — resulting in the killing of at least two million Muslims — has not created profound ground for the ongoing backlash?

E.U. Priorities

Beyond security issues, the E.U. also urgently faces the need to reform its economic bureaucracy to more fairly and equitably address the economic and social problems of Europe. Here the E.U. places the highest priority on preserving domestic tranquility, even while the U.S. does not.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10, 2015, at the Kremlin. (Photo from Russian government)

Starving Europe’s social and economic budgets to support greater military expenditures is not productive. Europe knows that. Global security is better served by preserving Europe’s own economic and social order than by spending money on arming itself up at U.S. behest for some putative Russian military threat.

Let’s consider the Russian military threat. The U.S. military budget alone is greater than the combined budgets of the next eight military budgets combined (including Russia and China.) Russia is a poor country with a modest military budget. Numbers aren’t everything of course, and U.S. think tanks work overtime forging creative scenarios about how Russia can still actually defeat the U.S. in a European conflict — justifying ever greater U.S. military budgets.

But what do we think Russia is actually going to do? Invade Europe? In reality Russia does not threaten the E.U. in any serious respect, as most balanced European observers will admit. It’s interesting here to look at how many times Russia has actually invaded the West. Looks like twice in two centuries — and both times in direct response to European invasions of the Russian heartland.

The first occurred under the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s. Napoleon, as part of his campaigns to conquer most of Europe, foolishly invaded Russia in 1812. As the French were unable to get the strategically retreating Russian army to seriously engage militarily, even at the gates of Moscow, the Russians, aided by “General Winter” as Tolstoy puts it, chased Napoleon all the way back into Central Europe.

At that point the Russian army joined the grand European coalition against Napoleon in Europe. Indeed, Napoleon’s disaster in Russia was a turning point for the European war against Napoleon. The Russian army soon thereafter went back home.

The second Russian invasion of the West was in the late days of World War II. Here, as we know, Hitler fatally decided to invade Russia, where he spread destruction, starvation and death. The Soviet Union, at the staggering costs of upwards of 25 million Russians dead in the long war, eventually drove Hitler back into Germany.

Defeating the Nazis

Russia was more responsible than any other country for the devastation of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. And Western allies gave maximum support to the Red Army’s offensive against Hitler. Trouble was, after driving the Germans back to Germany, Soviet forces didn’t go back home. Stalin occupied all of Eastern Europe (and Karelia) subjecting it to harsh Russian communist control and ideology for over 40 years.

American and Soviet troops symbolically shake hands across the Elbe River on April 25, 1945, in the final days of World War II in Europe.

These events represent the two extraordinary circumstances of Russian invasion of the West. These conditions are not readily replicated.

For sure, Russia has played its part over the past two centuries in numerous small military engagements around its periphery as part of the endless European Great Power struggles for spheres of influence. But the same has been true of every single major Western power fighting battles in its periphery over the years, including the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Turkey and others. It is never comfortable for a small state to live next to a great power anywhere.

Europe, by dint of proximity and experience, knows and understands Russia well. Germany above all is the one major power that will always bear the primary responsibility for handling the Russian account in Europe; Russia and Germany after all are the two major powers of Central and Eastern Europe. Here Germany remains knowledgeable and sober-minded.

Since the fall of the ideological empire of the Soviet Union large segments of German public opinion are uncomfortable with American policies designed to push NATO up to the very gates of Russia. Such acts are viewed as highly provocative intrusion into an area of traditional Russian sphere of influence.

Indeed, Germany’s last Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier recently spoke out against what he saw as “provocative” NATO exercises near the Russian border in the Baltics.

Yet Washington seems hard-wired to deprive Russia of its sphere of influence anywhere it can, all the while finding it unacceptable that any power should challenge, anywhere, the American sphere of interest. Indeed, the U.S. has been obsessed with Russia for over two centuries, especially on the religious, cultural and ideological level. (See the NYT book review of a deeply insightful book The American Mission and the ‘Evil Empire’” by David S. Foglesong.)

Holding Down Russia

Thus Washington persists in its own strategic view in which there can be no win-win with Russia. (Trump actually spoke of trying to improve relations, only to unleash the full wrath of the U.S. security establishment upon his head. Trump’s own unorthodox approach has not helped.)

Jets flyover NATO Headquarters, where NATO members gathered for a meeting on May 25, 2017, in Brussels. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Maintenance of overwhelming U.S. power and strategic global reach — “full- spectrum dominance” in Pentagonese — is the American strategic goal. But that is not the European goal or the European perception of a future world order.

Europe is far more readily willing to deal seriously, for example with Cuba, Iran, Palestine, China and Russia, among others. And Europe has been severely damaged by U.S.-sponsored regime change wars in the Middle East — witness Muslim terrorism and refugees.

Europe is also well aware of how the balance of world influence has gradually been shifting against the U.S. (although certainly not in military terms). Europeans do not applaud this change as such, but understand that the rise of other world powers represents future geopolitical reality.

Thus, Europe, from its own perspective, is ironically in a much healthier position if it now does assume primary responsibility for its own security in managing the European political, economic, and social relationship with Russia.

Once the Cold War was over NATO essentially had become Washington’s chief instrument for exerting dominant control over European security policy. That situation increasingly tallies less with European strategic perceptions.

Trump’s crudeness thus finally provided the tipping point for new and long overdue E.U. thinking about the European-Russian relationship under the new world realities. NATO officials of course will never see it that way. But this European reality will not likely be reversed by any U.S. president.

And Europe is acutely aware that Putin’s policies in Europe will directly reflect U.S. policy steps against him. Russia is Russia; neocon fantasies about “solving the problem” by getting rid of Putin is bereft of any geostrategic or historical understanding of reality. In a similar vein Europe does not wish to buy into a confrontational position with China in Asia.

This is not to say that there will not be occasions for some kind of joint Western military presence to possibly bolster unstable situations in different parts of the world down the road. But if Europe is to be enlisted into military operations elsewhere in the world, Europe will have to decide independently where and how its interests dictate.

America’s genius has always lain in its soft power, a commodity that sadly seems in increasingly short supply.

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is “Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan.” (Amazon, Kindle) [This article first appeared at www.grahamefuller.com at http://grahamefuller.com/trump-blundering-into-european-truths/. ]

84 comments for “Trump and the American Decline

  1. Ron Cober
    June 18, 2017 at 14:29

    It should read OBAMA and the American decline. He is the perpetrator.

  2. Sleepless In Mars
    June 9, 2017 at 01:34

    It is possible to hold a faith with enough confidence to believe that what should be rendered to God does not need to be decided and collected by Caesar.

    343 U.S. 324-325

    It’s a salad coup.

    Leeks are cooler than onions. Get the Russian dressing pouring for a Trump salad and stick a fork in him, he’s done. We’ll have weeklyleeks and bigger pots of green than we think we need to get started. Farm is going to have a field day with it. America is back in green or black depending on your operations.

    To cut out Russians: Welzel, Karin. “Catalina dressing substitutes for Russian in recipe”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 21 November 2016.

    Keep the cats happy and away so the mice can play.

  3. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 8, 2017 at 14:39

    :- questions and answers — A reflection from Comey hearings
    With Trump it’s either bow down or bend over

    Trump Jr’s remark; http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Will-Trump-Tweet-During-James-Comey-Hearing-427208411.html

    Is Trump a man in search of a new world monarchy?

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      June 8, 2017 at 14:56

      for the record –

      Trump and the American Decline
      -vs. Make America Great Again

      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/05/trump-and-the-american-decline/#comment-265566

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      June 8, 2017 at 15:13

      & last but not least,
      “What do you think our country is so innocent?”
      (Trump)
      ::
      Was that is a rhetorical question to be fluffed over as a madman’s blurb?
      Or an invitation to recognize an awful truth about “america the beautiful” ?
      ::
      “There’re none so blind as those who Will Not See. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”
      Jonathan Swift

      Reply

      Stiv
      February 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm
      God bless, Robert. What drug are you on?

      If you’re expecting anything out of Trump along the lines of “Truth”, you’ll have a long long wait. Like maybe on his death bed…in a Citizen Kane moment…He’ll utter ” I was a fraud all along”.

      The constant shilling for Trump is incredible.

      Certainly, some of your points ARE credible and I also need to thank you for some of the information you’ve provided over the years. And your VIEWPOINTS ( this is NOT news ) are generally in the right vein. I just wish you’d get off this broken record. I believe ( or maybe it’s just wishful thinking…yea, that’s what it is ) that the ONLY hope is with the NSC and maybe some of those generals know we’re headed in the wrong direction and will guide Trump towards making some moves towards a less belligerent stance in foreign policy. Nah…war means JOBS! And we have ” Deconstruction of the Administrative State”! So many things to destroy, so little time… ;>/

      Anyways, he’s certainly burned his “truth card” already. He would know it if it hit him. And I’m pretty sure it will.

      Reply

      Stiv
      February 24, 2017 at 12:57 pm
      Make that ” he wouldn’t know it if it hit him”

      Reply

      J’hon Doe II
      February 24, 2017 at 2:05 pm
      Stiv:

      This seems a shallow POV as it hits many talking points of the ‘now’ commentary and buries the significance of “WE’RE NOT SO INNOCENT”.

      Does our exceptionalism Allow us to bypass an authentic investigation of The Horrible Record of our severe punishment of human beings across all spheres of the globe for still-consuming Centuries?

      – Is life the hysteria of Soldering On while expecting to die-at-any-moment?
      Must we continue hiding the truth of our past and present annihilations?

      are we actually selling body-parts of aborted babies?
      did we bring this research over via nazi-era science/testing?
      Pictures of human skeletons piled in ditches paints morbidity
      in white-bonepiles of insane probings in-search-of eternal life.
      This by men who attained to Control the World
      by Authority of an demonic Quest to Own/Control all Life.
      ::
      “The thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy…”

  4. Gerbil
    June 7, 2017 at 17:21

    “Yet Washington seems hard-wired to deprive Russia of its sphere of influence.”

    Also known as sovereign nations owing nothing to Russia or its sphere of influence. That line of argument was stale the minute it was first uttered. If they want to join NATO, that is their right and ours to help make it happen.

  5. Bob
    June 7, 2017 at 13:42

    Does anyone seriously believe that the US is not hacking Russia, and everyone else?

    • Realist
      June 7, 2017 at 15:35

      Of course not. Any so-called “evidence” of Russian hacking was undoubtedly planted there by way of CIA hacking.

    • June 9, 2017 at 13:24
  6. Sleepless In Mars
    June 7, 2017 at 13:27

    I wish I could do more. In the middle of a new winery purchase for my better half.

    Hope this helps.

    Truly the eye was.. ..made to cast a lineament, a conducting wire between the most heterogeneous things. Such a wire, of maximum ductility, should allow us to understand, in a minimum of time, the relationship which connect, without possible discharge of continuity, innumerable physical and mental structures.. ..the key (of the mental prison, ed.) lies in a free unlimited pay of analogies.. ..one can admire today a canvas signed by Gorky, ‘The liver is the Cock’s Comb’, which should be considered the great open door to the analogy world.

    Introduction to the exhibition of Gorky’s first show’, Julien Levy Gallery’, March 1945; as quoted in “Arshile Gorky, – Goats on the roof”, ed. by Matthew Spender, Ridinghouse, London, 2009,

    I’m thinking some goats might like the vineyard.

  7. Herman
    June 7, 2017 at 09:59

    Its complicated. We have been pouring money into European economies through NATO since the end of World War II. European leaders don’t want to lose that largesse. America is also viewed as a trading partner and they don’t want to lose that. Some may feel a little uneasy about the Russian bear, especially since he has been provoked by hostile American behavior. What seems to be missing is the implications of standing with us against Russia if the cold war turned hot. It is Europe who would be hurt the most, perhaps catastrophically. But that is out there, it is not now. Nor does the possibility that normalizing relations with Russia may actually benefit their economies, offsetting any losses they perceive from distancing itself from our belligerent behavior. Once again, a crazy world.

  8. Sleepless In Mars
    June 7, 2017 at 09:52

    “The State always moves slowly and grudgingly towards any purpose that accrues to society’s advantage, but moves rapidly and with alacrity towards one that accrues to its own advantage; nor does it ever move towards social purposes on its own initiative, but only under heavy pressure, while its motion towards anti-social purposes is self-sprung. ”

    The press is a kind of peace corp with profits. OCB guy called. Says Trump crimes aren’t crimes of passion. Love is a battlefield. Have a good one.

  9. Sleepless In Mars
    June 7, 2017 at 07:18

    OCB Leaks

    Vince claims that this Comey is no lamb that’s going to keep silent. Bill Miller will get the goods on the Russians. Believe you me.

  10. Eddie
    June 6, 2017 at 23:35

    ” if we didn’t have Trump, the U.S. would be back in the comfortable saddle as world’s acknowledged, respected, indispensable leader.
    …. It would indeed be a huge relief to be able to attribute our current foreign policy mess to the incompetence of one individual.”

    I found this couple of sentences especially resonant because all the Dems outrage at Trump implies that ‘Oh, IF Hillary had been elected, everything would’ve been different’, but there’s no good reasons to believe that it’s true. First off, it’s a lot deeper than JUST the POTUS. With a majority of Repubs in the House, Senate, de-facto Repub Supreme Court, majority of governorships, majority in state legislatures, and just about everywhere else, plus right-wing talk radio/TV/newspapers, how would even a Hillary Clinton make any headway even IF she was truly opposed to their programs? We saw what happened to Bill Clinton when he came up against the same opposition… he quickly rolled over, ‘triangulated’ the progressives, and signed-off on odious legislation like the repeal of Glass-Steagal, the Tele-Com ‘reform’ bill, the ‘Welfare Reform Act’, etc, and bombed the Balkans and a legitimate drug warehouse in Sudan to prove how ‘tough’ he was.

    As I read more US and world history, I’m starting to wonder if maybe Trump DOES represent the attitudes of the majority of the US citizens better than we’d like to admit…? While I’m not ready to say that I entirely believe that, it’s getting harder to look elsewhere for the reasons.

  11. Dennis W Rowntree
    June 6, 2017 at 15:57

    Good article – I agree with it entirely.

  12. mrtmbrnmn
    June 6, 2017 at 15:27

    You write:

    “Washington’s choice of primarily military means to handle contemporary radical trends in Muslim societies has not only failed to solve them, but has demonstrably exacerbated them. We are fighting on more fronts against radicalized Muslims than ever before.

    Yet these multiple simultaneous American wars bleed the budget, usurp funding for social infrastructure, maintain a culture of fear, and stimulate the growth of the security state. And yes, it’s gotten worse under Trump.

    Just look at the costs. The U.S. suffers from the most massive gap between rich and poor of any country in the developed world. This gap not only produces economic hardship, but corrodes social unity, stimulates anger, bitterness, divisiveness and feeds the paranoid attitudes that are directly responsible for electing Trump in the first place.”

    ==============

    This is the business plan of Rogue Nation. Not a bug. Mission accomplished!! Alas!

  13. Jessejean
    June 6, 2017 at 15:11

    I still say that even with this article and all your insightful comments, that this is just a diversion, set up for us by the corporate power structure that will do anything to get us to “look, look, over there!” And not look at the soul less, empty eyed corporate masters that dominate every aspect of our lives. Corporations were the yuppies’ wet dream and they’ve spent 35 years deifying them, until Hillary’s use of ” look over there” technique exposed her corporate emptiness for all (but Rachel Maddow) to see. It’s a failed technique. Let’s not let the damn Dems continue to use it, even against T-rump.

  14. evelync
    June 6, 2017 at 13:26

    “We are going to do a terrible thing to you, we are going to deprive you of your enemy.”

    hah hah hah……

    and I’ll add to that some unspoken thoughts-
    “We are going to do a terrible thing to you, we are going to deprive you of your enemy” ….who you’ve used very well indeed to fan Cold War hysteria, lasso your youth into tragic wars, divert your resources from structural and social needs at home into what Eisenhower called the MIC, enriching the war profiteers at the expense of your own people and wreaking havoc and destruction without much to show for it.

  15. Zhu
    June 6, 2017 at 07:42

    Sounds about right to me.

  16. Sleepless In Mars
    June 6, 2017 at 04:45

    Batman is dead!

    Democracy is The Tyranny of The Minority!
    Source: “Profile Page: Anarky”, page tagline, DCU Heroes – Secret Files and Origins #1, February 1, 1999.

    “Batman’s misguided. He fights the results of crime, but not the causes. He takes on individual cases… but he fails to see the wider picture!”
    Anarky

    OCB has an open case on Trump and Russia. Look at the wider picture.

  17. roksob
    June 6, 2017 at 00:09

    A thoughtful piece that had my full agreement until the last sentence…. “America’s genius has always lain in its soft power, a commodity that sadly seems in increasingly short supply.” Here I found myself wondering just what world you have been living in. “Soft Power”? How could you possibly make such a statement when for so long, needless and punitive warfare has been the lifeblood of the US state if not the American people?

    • Nancy
      June 6, 2017 at 10:48

      I think he’s referring to the insidious actions of the CIA during the Cold War, using outfits like the US Agency for International Development to influence and infiltrate third world governments to gain control of their resources.
      It’s certainly nothing to be proud of!

  18. Joe L.
    June 6, 2017 at 00:09

    For me, with these endless wars of aggression and decades of overthrowing countless countries for American interests – I think America’s decline or fall might not be a bad thing for the world. Though my deepest wish is that with the fall of the American Empire that it will mark the end of Empires in general.

  19. Typingperson
    June 5, 2017 at 20:52

    Very informative piece, G. Fuller. Thanks!

    One thing you did not mention is that E.U. sanctions on Russia, which dutifully copy U.S. sanctions, are just as bad for the E.U. people as they are for Russia. Cut off mutually beneficial trade with Russia, their vast Eastern neighbor. Wondering how long they will last? ???

  20. Pft
    June 5, 2017 at 18:16

    Fuller is one of the architects of our policy using Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and to destabilize and break up the Middle East, Balkans and Chechnya.

    Europe knows what would happen to them if they ever tried to break off from NATO. The muslim immigrant herd in their backyard is a timebomb waiting to go off, and you know who can ignite it. Before every election it seems there is an attack designed to influence election results (shades of Operation Gladio).

    Europeans seem no smarter than Americans and not much better than countering the propoganda. Historical amnesia renders both incapable of seeing through the Matrix and both groups are far too comfortable to want to do anything about it even if they could.

    Russia alone is no threat. The danger to US hegemony is a strong China-Russia-Iran alliance so efforts are underway to undermine these relationships. Russia is the most vulnerable since we have good penetration of their central bank and media and other aspects of society through disgruntled oligarchs. Putin is elected and will be out of office soon. Its a long game but once Russia is under control Iran will follow with only China standing. China will be entirely at our mercy for Oil at that point and Planet Earth will fly the red, white and blue.

    • June 5, 2017 at 18:57

      Putin is going nowhere fast. Even when his presidential term is over, he’ll be there a long time because the Russian people want him there a long time. Not one of the 3 countries you list as coming under control of America will happen. And the worst thing that is happening to my Great Mother is the American flag, a sign of depravity and worldwide ecological and life atrocities. The sooner the American flag disappears from the planet, the sooner the planet and all life on it will have a chance to survive.

    • David Smith
      June 5, 2017 at 22:36

      Mr. Watson, your website is awesome.

    • turk151
      June 5, 2017 at 19:10

      “Fuller is one of the architects of our policy using Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and to destabilize and break up the Middle East, Balkans and Chechnya.”

      It is perplexing, perhaps this is as close to mea culpa as we will ever get from our intelligence services.

    • June 9, 2017 at 13:22

      The commenters seem oblivious. What’s the use?

  21. June 5, 2017 at 18:13

    I was just reading yesterday that the US has far more homelessness than Russia has, and the drug addiction problem here is also far greater than Russia’s. For all the touting about wealth in the US, poverty has increased at a scandalous rate. Remember John Edwards’ “Two Americas”? And it has continued to get worse. A friend of mine who experienced an abusive childhood and became a Kerouac sort, going on the road in early years, always said that “poverty is a state of mind”. I’m sure he’s not the only one to say that.

    Trump’s election was a seismic shock to expose deep rifts that were already developing in the American psyche. From the deceit of the Clinton administration to the messy and brutal years of Bush-Cheney, then to the final master of mendacity, Barack Obama, Americans have become acutely aware that “something is wrong in America”. Trump has brought that into sharp focus, and it’s preferable to getting business as usual with Clinton, penultimate female warmonger. So, it’s a difficult time, but I’m beginning to believe that eventually Russiagate will have to be given up by the “Democrazies”. The rest of the world actually respects Vladimir Putin for the intelligent leader he really is outside of the American demagogic paint-by-number portrait. America will continue to decline if it persists in delusion.

    • Typingperson
      June 5, 2017 at 20:37

      This. The disaster of Trump in no way makes me regret not voting for Hillary Clinton. (I did not vote for Trump either, btw. Bernie supporter who voted for Stein, just cause I vote.)

      The silver lining of the Trump egregiousness is that it unmasks the machinations of the so-called deep state / Powers that Be that are running this country. As well as the corruption of its servant and enabler, the Democratic Party.

      I am shocked, saddened and disillusioned at all my smart, socially liberal, well-intentioned, well-educated, financially secure, professional-class friends, colleagues, and FB aquaintances who have gone off the deep end, and are eagerly buying into the evidence-free Russia conspiracy nonsense. The same goes for many liberal journos whom I used to respect.

      They’ve all got their pink pussy hats on and are #Resisting, uncritically slurping up anti-Russian, pro-war propaganda from the USA spy agencies via WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, etc. in hopes of impeaching Trump. (And then we’d get Pence. Peachy!!)

      It’s been eye-opening. Sad!

      I view Trump as an inevitable, necessary devolution of the historical dialectic. Hegel would have a field day! But where will it lead? To enlightenment and reform, now that the USA deep state machinations are being exposed / laid bare as a result of their authoritarian, lying responses to the whacko challenges of Trump–or further disintegration? ???

    • backwardsevolution
      June 5, 2017 at 21:10

      Typingperson – “I am shocked, saddened and disillusioned at all my smart, socially liberal, well-intentioned, well-educated, financially secure, professional-class friends, colleagues, and FB acquaintances who have gone off the deep end.”

      These must be the types of people who are easily hypnotized. Black/white thinkers who conform well, follow orders, don’t think things through, believe what they’re told, possess no skepticism or doubt.

      Book smart maybe, but not wise.

      I feel your frustration. Same thing on my end.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 5, 2017 at 22:19

      These must be the types of people who are easily hypnotized. Black/white thinkers who conform well, follow orders, don’t think things through, believe what they’re told, possess no skepticism or doubt.

      Probably many of them are the type who gravitate towards people of a certain class that appeal to them regardless of their ethical and moral principles – or lack thereof. One of the most despicable and contemptible examples of this behavior came at the White House correspondents association dinner in 2004 when Dubya did a pathetic skit making fun of the non-existent WMDs that got the war on Iraq going and thousands of our military personnel killed and maimed physically and psychologically – not to mention death, destruction and displacement for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Scores of Washington’s elites laughed their asses off at this deplorable and moronic attempt at humor as if it was the funniest thing they had ever witnessed.

    • Eddie
      June 6, 2017 at 23:15

      Yeah Bill, but now ‘W’ is a ‘good guy’ because he’s painting pictures of some of the disabled veterans he created – – – that makes a phony war OK and everything’s copacetic.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 7, 2017 at 04:43

      Eddie – and these disabled veterans love him! Go figure.

    • Skip Scott
      June 6, 2017 at 10:48

      I think virtually every commenter on this site can empathize with your disappointment in your latte sipping friends. I think they may be well educated, and of the professional class; but they are not smart, and their financial security is most likely a temporary illusion. If we are to survive as a species we must learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world. Until the latte sippers come to realize this, they are living in a dream world.

    • newtonfinn
      June 6, 2017 at 12:00

      The current Russophobia of the well-educated that you lament is but the latest, most blatant manifestation of something I sadly observed in the 70s and 80s. Early boomers like me were on college campuses during the late 60s, seemingly on fire for social justice and committed to lifelong efforts to build a better world. Then one by one, not all but so many of us college “revolutionaries” eased our way into enticing and lucrative corporate and professional careers and, to put it bluntly, sold out everything we had passionately claimed to believe in. It was this silent but widespread betrayal of idealism by my generation that set the stage for Reagan and the rest that followed: plutocracy, perpetual war, and now Trump.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 7, 2017 at 04:50

      newtonfinn – exactly. Rapid inflation of the 70’s, increased competition, “greed is good” mantra, and it was off to the races! A self-centeredness took hold, materialism, retreating inward, a “look how much my house is worth now” type of thing.

      We lost sight of what was going on in government and the rest of the world. We didn’t notice that while we were having fun, we were being strangled.

    • cmack
      June 7, 2017 at 10:30

      tyuyping person,
      the head exploding on the left is a casualty of mass programming. as is most of the anti trump sentiment.
      what i find the funniest is that trump is actually the most left leaning candidate the right has had in years. i could give the reasons why i find this to be the case here but more heads would probably explode.

      and i would be labeled as a russian agent.

    • Skip Scott
      June 6, 2017 at 10:34

      God, I hope you’re right and the crazy Clintonites and the evil “Deep State” will eventually give up Russiagate, but every time I check in with the Nightly News (which I can’t stomach very often) I see them taking it to the next level. It is surreal and scary. The last time I noticed such a fevered pitch of propaganda was in the build up to the Iraq war, and we know how that turned out. Only this time it is more reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis under JFK with the Deep State itching for a nuclear war. Then we had JFK to save us. I doubt that the Donald is up to the task.

    • Dave P.
      June 7, 2017 at 00:50

      Skip: You are right. I am starting to feel a little queasy inside. This 24/7 Russia Gate hysteria on TV – CNN, MSNBC, and elsewhere – is being ratcheted up a few notches with every passing day. They – the Powers behind it – are not doing it for nothing. I am beginning to feel that these people are insane or something. You never know what they are up to. It seems like, they have taken care of Trump already. He looks scared at his appearances on TV.

    • Realist
      June 7, 2017 at 04:37

      Indeed, I think this recent frame-up by the feds of Ms. Reality Winner in a sting involving The Intercept, which at its core, like all the previous accusations against Russia, has no actual reality, no real concrete evidence, is just one more attempt to demonize the Russians and counter Putin’s interview with Megyn Kelly. One more time the public gets to hear that “intelligence agencies” have got the goods on Putin, and we know because this young woman, who hates Donald Trump with a purple passion, has leaked classified information from a federal agency. What could be more cut and dried? It’s just one of the convenient new realities* that Karl Rove bragged about creating at will so many years ago. They are still at it.

      *”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality, and while you’re studying that reality?—?judiciously, as you will?—?we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. Russia has always been trying to conquer America and rule the world.

    • Skip Scott
      June 7, 2017 at 06:41

      I would say you are spot on with the sting on Ms. Winner. It is a shame for someone so young to be used for nefarious purposes. And of course, just like all the rest of it, there is no evidence; but it’s a “top secret” paper, so it must be true. I have noticed how all these MSM stories judiciously fail to mention the vault 7 releases that show the CIA can fake point of origin. Like Karl Rove said, they are creating their own reality.

    • Jessejean
      June 6, 2017 at 14:56

      Wow Jessica– you wield a mean phrase: “the final master of mendacity” made me spit my coffee.

    • Catcher in the Wild
      June 6, 2017 at 16:54

      Jessica, the last time I found you here I wanted to get in touch as I remember you also live in NH but my comment with email address for you was zapped. So I’m trying again: know that I live in “Salinger country”: Plainfield township with PO Box 396, Meriden 03770. Please send me (JR) a postcard so I can get in touch with you after I return in mid-June. I’m presently in Europe, Italy now Portugal, observing the scene as Fuller has written but from a different angle as a psychologist. I arrived in Italy the same day 5/19 as the Obamas who headed straight to Tuscany as guests of an American “friend”/campaign funder, who’d bought an abandoned medieval Tuscan village & transformed it into a luxury resort which can be had (the whole place) at a rate of $16,000/night for a minimum of 3 days…the “value” for some 6 days for the whole Obama entourage including some 60 security detail for Barack & Michelle’s “vacation”. That is…just in time for our former President/Emperor as empty suit to fly to Berlin to meet with Angela Merkel in Berlin with cameras flashing…apparently to serve as The Good ex-President in contrast with the current Bad One…the day before Merkel would be meeting with the latter in Brussels the next morning at the NATO meeting. My sense of this much publicized stunt was: this is what all of that “Hope & Change” Obama campaign rhetoric was about: uplift in status, wealth & power for the Obamas as seen now on this side of the White House revolving door & like the Clintons making the mo$t of it…at the expense of the rest of us who believed in & voted for him…even a 2nd time after he’d sold out to the health care industry, Wall St., the auto industry & perpetuated the wars & profits of the MIC. Meanwhile, I, too, hope that Europe gets its act & independence back from the “indispensable” Uncle Sam..but I read in yesterday’s El Pais (accent lacking, sorry Madrid) that Spain has knuckled under & agreed to buy Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 instead of Europe’s new fighter jet: 60 of them, which, 3 years ago were priced at $102 million apiece & double that for “logistical support”, not to mention $32,000/hour to fly…or some 6 billion euros & counting for 60 of this latest Pentagon boondoggle…before they even get off the ground. So it’s not European Independence Day here yet…

    • Realist
      June 6, 2017 at 17:39

      A day late in my response, Jessica, but that was such a powerful encapsulation of recent American history, especially your second paragraph.

  22. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 5, 2017 at 17:10

    Thanks for a clear view on Russia and Europe.
    As a person with a long experience of Russia, I agree with the message in the article. Russia’s area is twice that of the Us and Russia has a history of being invaded. The long borders require a defence of corresponding size , which inevitably is bigger than most of its neighbours ‘, Russia, if any country, know and fear the horrors of war, and the attitude of Russian officers is typically that they will not easily be provoked, but if provocation persists, they will react and know how to react. Compare the putsch in Kiev. It is ignorant to think that Russia would have reacted differently with another government, the events in Crimea were highly predictable and probably the duty of any Russian government.

    Hopefully the change hoped for in Europe will occur, a shift is in the air, but so is fear.

    • jo6pac
      June 5, 2017 at 17:23

      Thanks and hopefully Europe will throw Amerika under the wheels of the bus and go about their lives not under Amerikas thumb.

    • Typingperson
      June 5, 2017 at 20:03

      The USA isn’t going to reform from within. The deep state interests–MIC / war contractors, spy agencies, banks / Wall Street + Zionists–and the MSM propaganda organs like WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC that carry their water are too entrenched and powerful. And the American people are too clueless and incurious.

      The intervention will come–and is coming–from the rise of China, India, Russia, plus other countries like Iran and Brazil. And smaller powers like the Phillipines, where Duarte, also demonized as a wanton killer despot by the US–has said he’s throwing off the shackles of US colonialism and turning to China.

    • cmack
      June 7, 2017 at 10:25

      when asked about russian aggression a coulple of years ago, putin responded that russia has two military bases outside of it’s own borders. america has over 200…..
      who’s kidding who?
      nice to see a scandinavian that has not bought the russian invading any day now propaganda.

  23. J. D.
    June 5, 2017 at 17:09

    Yes, President Obama’s “intelligent, gracious, sophisticated and knowledgeable style” of weekly drone kill sessions, massive expansion of Bush/Cheney wars into the trashing of Libya and Syria and enhancement of the surveillance state, lulled many Americans to look the other way while crimes of Nuremburg proportions were committed on a daily basis.

    • Nancy
      June 6, 2017 at 10:33

      He was the “more effective evil” according to Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report, another great site.

    • Jessejean
      June 6, 2017 at 14:42

      Jd, good for you. Your comment sums up 8 years of OBusha perfectly, that lovable snake! I’d like to see us now start to remember Bush/Cheney’s dismantling of US values and how that led to Obusha and then trace that back to the true beginning of our demise–the corporate takeover of both our corrupt political parties. I know politics and Washington have always been a hotbed of corrupt practices but the complete silencing of decent people by both the media and corporate “Deciders” is ubiquitous and nearly complete.

    • Realist
      June 6, 2017 at 17:29

      Fascinating how Mr. Constitutional Law Professor (“I’m gonna close down Guantanamo”) Obama so quickly transmogrified into the completely ineffectual “We tortured some folks” guy with the “what do you expect me to do about it?” attitude. Lucky for his agenda that Mitch McConnell was always there to blame for being an obstacle. I mean it’s not like one should ever have expected Obama to vigorously fight for the principles he ran on, instead of looking for every opportunity to sell out in “grand bargains” that would diminish our freedoms and our safety nets. His act is exactly why Hillary lost that election–not because of any interference by the Russians–because people foresaw only four more years of the same… and worse. They feared not only weekly dronings, but daily tomahawkings and ultimately a barrage of nukings (no repetition required).

    • cmack
      June 7, 2017 at 10:22

      well said.

      funny thing about this article if you can get past that sentence about obama is that the author(another cia hack in the media) is trashing trump at the beginning of each point but then going on to say that what trump is doing is right. an over generalization yes but it boils down to the glaringly obvious.

      trump said we don’t need nato(well, not exactly….but i do). the fall of the soviet union proved that we don’t need nato. and the needless anti russian scapegoating that is being used to explain everything from the civil war in the ukraine to brexit, presidential elections here and in france and now the belligerence of qatar prove we don’t need nato.

      get rid of it already.

      and while they’re at it….can we freaking close all these us military bases around the world?

  24. Bill Bodden
    June 5, 2017 at 16:30

    President Trump’s ignorant, oafish and crude foreign policy style rivets our attention,

    In other words, Trump is continuing a long-standing American tradition that began with the importation of slaves, ethnic cleansing of the Native American nations, and other historical events too numerous to list in this comment.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 5, 2017 at 16:38

      Bill I always like how you often refer to our country’s 241 year old history, and just not dwell solely on the last six months. You have no doubt read my comments, where I say, that America should come to grips with itself, and confess to our country’s many historical wrongs in order to heal and go forward. Denying this is like our whole nation ‘kidding itself’. Nothing can or will get better until Americans realize just what wrong our nation has done. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be proud of the good that we can represent, or have represented, but I am saying that until we admit to ourselves how we have sinned as a nation, nothing will change for the good. We could start by holding our leaders to account for what wrong they have done on the world stage. Easier said than none, I know, but none the less this is what must happen.

    • Cal
      June 5, 2017 at 17:01

      ”….but I am saying that until we admit to ourselves how we have sinned as a nation, nothing will change for the good”

      Nations don’t sin, people sin.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 5, 2017 at 19:46

      Your right Cal, change ‘sinned as a nation’ to read ‘committed war crimes against humanity’ that works better.

    • Zhu
      June 6, 2017 at 07:48

      Americans are reared with a pseudo-religious approach to patriotism, Exceptionalism or the American Adam. Supposedly we are as flawless as Adam in the Garden of Eden, and therefore our rapes, tortures, mass killings, in places like Viet Nam, El Salvador, Iraq, don’t count, somehow. Or so we are taught.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 6, 2017 at 09:59

      Zhu & Cal it is incredible you two took so much from a single word such as ‘sinned’.

    • Realist
      June 6, 2017 at 17:11

      Yes, anything done in the name of “rugged individualism” is considered holy. It’s your god-given right to exploit and repress others, if you’ve got the power. Maybe it’s just how a motley collection of mongrels justify selfishness to each other, whereas in older more homogeneous cultures one is still considered to have obligations to family and society. I remember the Japanese prime minister trying to explain that American flaw to Richard Nixon, an impediment best kept in mind for our own good lest we become too full of ourselves and think we can solve our problems by nuking another people.

    • June 7, 2017 at 01:04

      Considering the way the Vietnamese, Salvadorans and Iraqi’s have treated their own citizens throughout history, my advice to you is get over your sanctimonious BS. Right or wrong, ALL nations, all countries, have blood on their hands. You might as well whine about water being wet, fire being hot, and rancid milk being smelly. Other than your own echo chamber, you need to do some serious objective research.
      You’ll find, (no doubt to your shock), that compared to every other country on earth, the USA is the most generous, the most charitable, and the most innovative nation on the face of the earth. Bar none. That isn’t from me being taught or indoctrinated. It’s called turning off the tv, and getting off my rear end to do the actual reading and research and bothering to ask questions in order to come to any sort of conclusion. I’ve been to 15 different countries in my travels, and I’ve found that even your most strident anti U.S. person spouting the most vitriolic anti U.S. rhetoric wishes they lived in the U.S. Maybe you can explain why that is, in between your brow beating and demands for mea culpas. Get over yourselves.

    • Realist
      June 7, 2017 at 03:45

      Yeah, Max Truth, I can explain it in one phrase: max money.

      People want to come here because this is where the loot is, whether it’s been created, earned, stolen, extorted or pirated from the far flung corners of the world. It’s not surprising that the people who most want to come here and grab for their piece of the booty are the most cunning and resourceful characters on the planet. “Freedom and democracy” are always a facile high-minded sounding reason. But, c’mon, we have a history, they are not dumb, and they understand gaining hand, using leverage, waving the American flag. They are probably the sharpest cookies in their own kitchen. And once they arrive here and get theirs, Jack, (should they be so lucky rather than fall prey to the rampant exploitation in a society with few rules except to benefit the rich) they will quickly join the ranks of all those folks who want to build walls and keep the riff-raff out. I have personally interacted with hundreds of professionals at the highest levels who have come to this country, mostly because they were on the make, not to join the most “generous and charitable” society on the planet–that’s bullshit you have fallen for in your naivete, but to further their own financial interests. I’ve heard them repeatedly lie to my face and misrepresent themselves on paper to get the visa and the position that they want, not because they were persecuted in their homeland. They were mostly privileged characters back on their own turf to begin with. They or their parents already had money and clout, but they thought they could get a lot more in a country full of dumb rubes like you. You couldn’t recognise the truth if it bit you in the ass. You are really dumb if you think anything is given away out of generosity or charity in this country with no strings attached. Better change your moniker to “Max BS.” Or, maybe you are simply shameless. Maybe it’s “Max Propaganda,” eh? Now you run along and get over yourself.

    • mike k
      June 6, 2017 at 11:30

      This article is a much needed dose of sanity in the craziness that has become American foreign policy. We Americans are so full of ourselves that we have lost all sense of the realities of other nations and cultures. We seem to think that everyone should dance to our tune, and any group that doesn’t is automatically an enemy. “You are either with us or against us” is the foundation for an attitude of universal American paranoia. The Russian boogie man and Islamic terrorism are fruits of this deranged thinking. As we strike out at our imagined enemies, we create new ones ad infinitum. A hostile attitude creates fighting, which we then blame on others. “They made us do it!” Our “Defense Department” is the most aggressive war making force on the planet. We have met our enemy, and guess who it is? Even a simple possum could figure that one out…..

    • Realist
      June 6, 2017 at 17:15

      Wow, I used that term “so full of ourselves” before reading your post, Mike. It must be glaringly obvious, though we choose to run from the truth.

    • Virginia
      June 5, 2017 at 18:28

      Ditto! It starts with admitting and regretting errors; then reformation; finally forgiveness and transformation — whether for one’s self or one’s country.

    • Typingperson
      June 5, 2017 at 19:50

      Yep. The whole entire country of USA needs to go to a big, group AA-meeting equivalent for war and global empire / hegemony addicts.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 5, 2017 at 23:12

      Hi my name is Joe, I have been attending these Thursday night meetings for the last thirty years, and I haven’t had a drink within the last two weeks….next!

    • Dave P.
      June 6, 2017 at 20:59

      Typingperson, your comment is humorous but very true. I would add to your excellent comment. The Ruling Establishment had been promoting this “Russia Paranoia” for almost a century now. These days it is on full steam 24/7. It seems to me,the country will need at least a million psychatrists working for a year to cure the population of the psychological trauma suffered from it.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 5, 2017 at 23:10

      Virginia you are right. I probably do get the country confused with myself. I just find it hard to change bad habits without some form of stopping long enough to see what destruction I have caused. Sorry if I sound like we are all in a church basement, but I sincerely think the U.S. Citizen must start hearing the truth, and dealing with reality for what that reality is. I also wish I could write better. Joe

    • June 7, 2017 at 01:29

      We already know what the truth is TypingPerson/Virginia/Joe. And tell us please, besides becoming a bunch of apologetic , hand wringing, ethno masochists, what do you propose besides us nobodies giving platitudes? And,
      “truth”, is subjective. Exactly who’s truth are you going to accept? Whats been done throughout history is done. We don’t owe the world squat. Not even an explanation. As a matter of fact, I believe the world still owes us. It’s lonely at the top, but it’s still better than being buried underneath the bodies that make the mountain that we all stand on top of.

    • Realist
      June 7, 2017 at 04:07

      Written like a true Nazi. I can see you revel in the genocide, enslavement, soulless exploitation, colonialism and expansionist wars perpetrated throughout the short violent history of this nation. So, no, I wouldn’t expect an apology from the likes of you. If I had the power to do more than speak on the problem, I would have you extirpated from society and locked away where you can do no more harm. That’s about what the world “owes” you. You do us one favor, however, with your words of hate: You remind us that danger is just as real from within this country as from without.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 7, 2017 at 09:26

      Max for all the wonderful things that make America great are not to found in our government. Yes Max the good is to be found in the everyday people. The people around me, the simple things they represent, and the good they do. On the other hand Max I have seen people in other countries, and found the more repressive the government the nicer the people. Max go ask the surviving crew of the USS Liberty how great our government is. Go ask a Dakota Access protester how smart our government is choosing oil over water. Max do you ever wonder how a U.S. Military person feels being sent on one deployment after another, and for what Max? Sorry Max, I’m as American as you, I just got tired of buying into all of those lies our politicians sell us.

    • Robert Bruce
      June 11, 2017 at 23:53

      Americans are too brain dead and arrogant to admit anything like that. And to be fair to us Americans, what other world powers ever came clean with their dirty laundry list? We have been brainwashed with decades of propaganda calling us the good guys, etc. More people are waking up, but a majority are still in the rah, rah, rah America mode no matter what our government does.

    • Robert Bruce
      June 11, 2017 at 23:49

      Any world power in world history has a rather nasty dirty laundry list of abuses/injustices that it is guilty of. It is just how is and always will be.

  25. Joe Tedesky
    June 5, 2017 at 16:29

    Seeing that picture of American GI’s shaking hands with their Russian counterpart reminds me of my Uncle Gil. Uncle Gil who normally didn’t talk much about his meeting up with the Russians during the end of WWII, because of the Red Scare and all the Cold War rhetoric which was going on in America in those days, said how he had admired these Russian soldiers, and believed that they weren’t any different from us. My uncle told me of how when he met with the Russians, and somehow through translators, and often by just these two strong allies trying to understand each other, he had found out how the average Russian was much like himself. These brave Russians had family, work, and their everyday life’s to fight for, and like my Uncle had said, that’s what we were all fighting to protect, and preserve.

    Trump may help end the American Empire, by his just being rude. I agree it took awhile for America to get to this point, and it would be careless and wrong to try and blame it all on Trump. Although, by his bombastic nature Trump seems to be ending a lot of relationships. I’m not sure that is all that bad considering how something in this hegemony driven warmongering nonsense has got to change.

    I also agree that America’s picking on Russia, is because the MIC will get a huge bump in it’s budget just because it’s Russia. America’s Military Industrial Complex needs an enemy, so why not Russia is their target. You would think that there would be a better way to make money.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 5, 2017 at 16:34

      … picture of American GI’s shaking hands with their Russian counterparts …

      Before that there was the Christmas Day truce at the beginning of the First World War.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 5, 2017 at 16:42

      Your right, that was another remarkable time. If you remember the officer core had a fit over that Christmas Truce. Can’t have that, but the embattled trench warfare soldiers did it regardless, and this is one of those moments that should be talked about more, when studying war. Thanks for the reminder Bill. Joe

    • Dave P.
      June 6, 2017 at 03:16

      Joe, your comments are heartfelt, and wise. I wish that somehow all Americans can read your comments.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 6, 2017 at 07:20

      Thank you Dave. I enjoy reading your comments too, and I have grown to look forward to reading everyone’s comments here on this site, but again I appreciate your praise. Joe

    • Realist
      June 6, 2017 at 04:29

      As the planet runs out of resources, including potable water, tillable soil, fossil fuels, metal ores, forest timber and the like, you would think that large technologically-advanced countries like China, the United States and all of Europe would like to remain on good terms with countries of abundance such as Russia, Canada, and Brazil so we retain access to these resources, unless the plan is simply to seize them all by force. Since Russia has nukes and plenty of them, that may not be feasible. China seems sensible enough to cooperate peacefully with Russia and is already benefiting from resources and trade. I suspect Europe would as well, especially when crunch time gets close. Of the major powers that can project power beyond their global region, only* the United States seems to be controlled by power hungry maniacs with a proven history of using widespread lethal force and, until proven otherwise, should be considered the enemy of most of the planet. The power elite who run this country need to learn a critical lesson, and soon, or the ramifications will be tragic for humanity.

      *Let me put it this way, there certainly are some other countries that are just as insanely focused on absolute control to the maximum extent possible, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, which just decided to overrun its neighbor Qatar, but none of them have the ability to effectively project power outside their neighborhood. Europe can do so only as a subservient vassal of the United States. They can pillage Russia only using American troops and weapons, but then they will run into the Chinese land army, assuming the Russians are overrun. Stupid move. Better think again, Europe. Better to join the OBOR New Silk Road initiative and the new Chinese Eurasian Development Bank than fight a world war at the behest of Washington. That way everybody survives. Sure, some people will end up with more in a zero sum game than others, but what else is not new? With the wars that America seems to want, everybody loses.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 6, 2017 at 07:37

      ‘You will catch more bees with honey’ Realist is what came to my mind while reading your first paragraph of your comment. You know all to well how our country’s managers don’t see the profit in peaceful negotiations, and for that people suffer and die. It is too bad that all business isn’t done at the end of a handshake. Although handshakes would be all to expensive to corporations who would rather have taxpayer dollars fund wars in order that these corporations could exploit their corporate designated enemies natural resources.

      I also think that China with their OBOR project has the right idea, and if China’s OBOR works out well that this could be a future plan for the rest of the world to mimic. I use to believe that space exploration could replace war, but with all of the infrastructure work needed to accommodate a growing world population, it would only seem more prudent to spend the money on much more needed earthly projects such as OBOR.

      So much to be done, and yet so little time to do it in between bombing runs.

    • June 10, 2017 at 21:25

      A simple analogy comparing the Earth to a neighborhood and countries to neighbors might help add emphasis to an excellent point. If one or more in the “neighborhood” (Earth) goes around beating up the “neighbors” (countries), at some point the entire neighborhood (humanity) will have nothing to do with those who only beat them (wars of aggression).

      With apology for the simplistic scenario, harming others is harming others at any level from interpersonal to international. Harming others, for most people, results in sadness and regret, a guilty conscience, and immediate feeling of the need to sincerely apologize.

      Unfortunately, Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman and others aligned with their ideology have zero remorse or sadness, no feeling of sincere apology, nor disturbance of their conscience after inflicting horrific harm upon innocents in large numbers. In other words, people around this Earth need to wake up to the fact that these men and others like them are world-record level, dangerous, psychopathic, lying criminals entirely capable of initiating World War III.

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