The World According to Ben Rhodes: Hypocrisy in Obama’s Foreign Policy

In a new book Obama’s deputy national security adviser opens up about Pentagon interference in policy, Obama’s political calculations and his own ignorance of the Middle East, as As’ad AbuKhalil explains in this review.

By As`ad AbuKhalil
Special to Consortium News

Ben Rhodes’ interesting new book, The World as It is: A Memoir of the Obama White House (Random House), should be widely read not because of the wisdom or moral message it contains but because it is an unintended, damning account of liberal imperialism.

The book suffers from an acute case of self-congratulation, sanctimoniousness and hubris. The author situates himself (along with Samantha Power and the young Foreign Service officers who worked in the Obama White House) among the liberal advocates of foreign policy. He does not include Obama in this group, and the latter comes across—despite perfunctory praise—as he really is: an unprincipled politician who unfailingly subordinates moral arguments to political calculations. When, for example, Rhodes brings up the issue of a “democratic opening” in Myanmar, Obama quipped: “no one cares about Burma in Ohio” (p. 174).

This response reminds one of the famous retort Harry Truman gave to his disregard for the Arab perspective in his handling of the creation of the Jewish occupation state in 1948.

The rise of Rhodes to become a key national security advisor to Obama is rather surprising. He was educated in English literature and creative writing, and does not have any training in foreign policy or Middle East studies. But Rhodes worked for (former representative) Lee Hamilton at the Wilson Center, and that propelled him to the foreign policy-making world as he was a key writer of the Iraq Study Group’s report.

But as a speech writer for Obama, one strains to remember any memorable speech that he wrote, and Obama’s best—according to press accounts–speeches (like those timid speeches on racial issues, which always fell short of outright condemnation of white racism) were actually written by Obama himself. Rhodes is no Ted Sorensen or Bob Shrum, yet he enjoys listening to and reproducing his own words.

Rhodes: Scholar he is not.

The liberal imperialist stance reminds one, paradoxically, of the stance of neo-conservatives: both use lofty ideals to marshal arguments for imperialist military intervention and hegemony in the affairs of other nations. Rhodes is so oblivious to the racism underpinning the liberal Western stance, that he assumes that human rights and morality is the thrust of his policy choices and those of his ilk. There is more than a tinge of racism in his treatment and references to Arabs, and his unabashed Zionism does not deviate from the traditional Zionist outright contempt for the Arab people.

Of all the reasons that Arabs had to revolt against cruel and oppressive regimes (the overwhelming majority of which are sponsored and armed by the U.S.—a small detail that is missing from this hefty book), Rhodes actually believes that it was Obama’s speech in Cairo, (as if it is even remembered by Arabs except to mock its promises and its condescending hectoring to Arab people about the Arab-Israeli question and the need for Arabs to accommodate themselves to Israeli occupation and aggression) which inspired Arabs to undertake the various Arab uprisings in what has become—offensively—known as “the Arab spring.”

And of course a native informant is always available to legitimize the contemptuous views by the White Man: he cites the authority of a “Palestinian-American woman whom I knew casually” (p. 60) to support his claim that Obama’s Cairo speech prompted Arabs to revolt, as if they had no reasons of their own. At least it was nice of Rhodes to admit that it was the U.S. government which handpicked the audience for the Cairo speech.(p. 59)

Ardent Zionism

Like all American officials who work on the Middle East, Rhodes (by his own admission) is an ardent Zionist who owns up to his past membership in AIPAC (p. 146). He considers U.S. support for Israeli occupation and aggression as the byproduct of “natural affinity for Israel” felt by “most Americans” (p. 57). But this foreign policy expert—by chance—fails to explain why the majority of public opinion in countries of the world—including in Western Europe—feels a natural affinity for the Palestinian people.

The discussion of U.S. policies toward the Arab-Israeli conflict within any U.S. administration is really an intimate debate among hardcore Zionists to see who can outdo the others in advancing the interests of Israeli occupation. Rhodes reports how Rahm Emanuel would refer to him as “Hamas” (p. 56) when he did not think Rhodes was being sufficiently supportive of Israeli interests. This passes as an internal debate about the best options for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

The book reveals more about the domineering role of AIPAC on all decisions undertaken by the Obama administration about the Middle East. Obama had to brief Netanyahu about the Iran nuclear deal before he briefed Congress, for instance.

The falsehood of the author’s human rights position is revealed by his references to Arab regimes. His ostensibly passionate concern for the victims of repression seems to be confined to Syria and Libya—conveniently the only Arab regimes not aligned with the U.S. government, although Muammar Qadhdhafi was a dictator honored by all Western governments in his last years in power. Hillary Clinton met and praised the head of his secret police while she was Secretary of State (not mentioned by Rhodes, obviously).

The book talks at length about the so-called “Arab Spring”, but there is not a word about Bahrain or Yemen (or Jordan or Morocco). The pro-U.S. dictatorships (which are the bulk of Arab regimes) are not mentioned at all in this book which leaves the reader with the impression that the entire Arab world was living in democratic bliss with the exception of Syria and Libya. Rhodes, even as a key staffer on the National Security Council, has yet to learn about the uprising in Bahrain. But noticing it would expose his hypocrisy and the moralistic inconsistency of the Obama’s White House.

Mubarak: No friend of Obama.

Rhodes only mentions the suffering of the Egyptian people after it became clear that Hosni Mubarak could no longer cling to power. He says that key Obama administration officials, including Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, argued in favor of bolstering Mubarak. Obama—as Rhodes recounts—was not as enthusiastic because Obama was not friends with Mubarak as he was the Jordanian despot, King Abdullah.

According to Rhodes, Former CIA director John Brennan was explicit in his belief that Arabs were “not ready for democracy” (p. 106). Rhodes’ bias in only expressing opposition to despots (and even elected leaders such as Yasser Arafat) who are not aligned with the U.S. becomes transparent when he describes a tour he made of a Saddam Hussein palace.

There was still on display gifts that Saddam had received from admirers like Yasser Arafat and Muammar Gaddafi,” Rhodes writes. As is widely known by people who know the region—the author excluded—Arafat never gave expensive or precious gifts to world leaders. He was known in fact to only give small replicas of Jerusalem or the Aqsa Mosque. Gaddafi’s relationship with Saddam was often frosty. Surely, the author should have noted that those who were far more generous in showering Saddam with precious and valuable items were pro-U.S. despots, such Gulf monarchs and Jordan’s King Husayn, whose friendship with Saddam was legendary, and whose son, the current King of Jordan, was one of Saddam’s son `Udayy Husayn’s closest friends.

That Rhodes didn’t know this indicates political bias. But then again, maybe U.S. occupation soldiers (or local Iraqi cronies) looted the expensive gifts in the wake of the U.S. invasion and left behind the cheaper gifts from Arafat and Qadhdhafi.

Investment in Dictatorship

Rhodes even makes an argument in favor of U.S. support for dictatorship (although he dares not name the dictators). He euphemistically calls such U.S. support “investment.” And he believes that the “return” on such investment is “worth it, even if we occasionally suffer losses, embarrassments, and moral compromises”. (p. 45). His boss came to office with an unapologetic, imperialist view of the world and with distrust of the liberation capacities of people in developing countries lacking “mature institutions” (p. 47). It is the same, old argument of past colonial powers.

One learns from this book that the U.S. military, since at least Sep. 11, now makes key political decisions that are constitutionally part of the powers of the civilian commander-in-chief. Presidents, especially Democratic presidents who are always perceived to be soft on war and defense, feel compelled to follow the wishes of the generals when it comes to troop deployment or redeployment. (p. 74) The military often leaks to the press its displeasure about presidential decisions or inclinations to force the hand of the president, as they did in the case of Obama and the increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan. Furthermore, the intelligence agencies offer opinions and revisions to Obama’s draft speeches. (p. 50)

Rhodes’ and Obama’s ignorance of Arab affairs is on display throughout the book. Here is their theory of the underlying causes of tensions between the U.S. and world Muslims: that Muslims have been quite unhappy with “a McDonald’s down the street and American pop culture on their television.” (p. 53). Both men would be quite surprised that Muslims do enjoy meals—available even with Halal meat for those who are sticklers about religious rules—at McDonalds.

One of many McDonald’s in Cairo.

Rhodes’ ardent Zionism permeates the pages. He even admits that during the preparation for a major campaign speech for Obama he recommended “going easy on Israeli settlements” (p. 55). Worse, Rhodes (the humane liberal) urged Obama to avoid even using the word “occupation” in reference to…Israeli occupation. (p. 58). In other words, Rhodes holds the same position held by Trump’s current ambassador in occupied Jerusalem.

The author seems to cover up at least part of Israel’s role in making U.S. Middle East policy. He talks about the Saudi king urging Obama to support Mubarak (he reveals that the king compared Egyptian protesters against Mubarak to Al-Qa`idah, Hizbullah, and Hamas (p. 102)), but Rhodes does not mention Netanyahu in the same vein (his role on Egypt was reported at the time by The New York Times and other U.S. media). In fact, there is more than a tinge of ethnic disparagement in his references to Palestine and Palestinians.

While noting that Netanyahu sat in the Oval Office and lectured Obama on the Israeli position on the “peace process”, Rhodes says he “was familiar with the emotions” of the Israeli leader. He reports matter-of-factly about the “heroic Israel of the 1960s and 1970s”—presumably referring to Israeli wars of aggression, attacks on Palestinian refugee camps, and the bombing of schools and civilians in Egypt during the War of Attrition.

Rhodes reproduces verbatim the Zionist and racist myths about Israel: “Jews building a nation in the dessert, fighting off Arab armies, led by towering figures like Golda Meir, who seemed both indefatigable and profoundly just.”(p. 145) Rhodes is still ignorant of the industriousness and farming energies of the Palestinian people throughout history, and he still operates under the discarded—and since academically discredited—clichés of classical Zionism. He does not know that his “just” Golda Meir ordered bombing of refugee camps and presided over an occupation state.

Furthermore, in describing the Palestinian territories, Rhodes makes that racist distinction (which has been regurgitated since the days of Herzl) between Europeanized Jews (as if Sephardim Jews don’t count) and the inferior Arabs. Rhodes writes: “Israel from the air resembles southern Europe; the settlements looked like subdivisions in the Nevada desert; the Palestinian towns looked shabby and choked off.” (p. 201). Rhodes also accepts Israel’s “security concerns” (p. 201) (which have historically served as justifications for wars and massacres), and attribute them to “a history of anti-Semitism that continues to the current day”–and not to the resistance against occupation. Does that mean that successive Israeli invasions of Lebanon and the various massacres in Palestinian towns and refugee camps was an attempt by Israel to eradicate anti-Semitism?

Hypocrisy on Syria

But the true nature of the hypocrisy of liberal interventionists of the Obama administration appears in Rhodes’ treatment of the Syrian war. Here, he pats himself on the back, repeatedly, because he consistently urged a U.S. war in Syria with a more muscular support for Syrian rebel groups—without much regard to their ideologies.

Shockingly, Rhodes appears as an advocate for al-Nusrah (the official branch of Al-Qa`idah in Syria), as David Petraeus was, and admits he was “against those who wanted to designate part of the Syrian opposition—al-Nusrah—as a terrorist organization. Al Nusrah was probably the strongest fighting force within the opposition, and while there are extremist elements in the group, it was also clear that the more moderate opposition was fighting side by side with al Nusrah. I argued that labeling al Nusrah as terrorists would alienate the same people we wanted to help, while giving al Nusrah less incentive to avoid extremist affiliations,” he writes on p. 197.

One would be curious to see the reactions of families and friends of Sep. 11 survivors to this callous passage by a senior official of the Obama administration (who was recently hired by Obama in his retirement). This foreign policy expert is making an argument that there are moderates and extremists within an organization which sprang from Bin Laden’s movement and which continues to pledge allegiance to Bin Laden and his ideology. Rhodes even harbors hopes that this Syrian branch of Al-Qa`idah can be steered in a moderate direction.

This book serves as an indictment of the liberal interventionists in the Obama administration. Those were people whose thirst and zealousness for wars on Middle East countries (provided their despots are not clients of the U.S.) match the thirst and zealousness of the neo-conservatives of the George W. Bush administration. Rhodes never explains to his readers why his fake, humanitarian concern for the welfare of the people of the region never extends to people suffering under Israeli occupation and the repression of pro-U.S. despots.

As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998), Bin Laden, Islam & America’s New ‘War on Terrorism’ (2002), and The Battle for Saudi Arabia (2004). He also runs the popular blog The Angry Arab News Service. 

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81 comments for “The World According to Ben Rhodes: Hypocrisy in Obama’s Foreign Policy

  1. bevin
    July 27, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Rhodes by name. Rhodesian by nature.

  2. July 27, 2018 at 4:17 am

    ” liberal imperialist”

    I’m sorry, that is an oxymoron.

    I know versions of it are frequently used in America, but then so are a lot of other meaningless phrases.

    Imperialism is imperialism, and the American establishment is up to its armpits in it.

    And there’s not a genuine liberal in the crowd.

    Indeed, to speak of liberalism in America is contradictory. The country, in its various imperial wars since WWII, has killed something on the order of 8 million people, crippled countless others, and created tens of millions of desperate refugees.

    On Obama, readers may enjoy:

    https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/john-chuckman-comment-obama-is-widely-regarded-as-a-liberal-but-nothing-could-be-more-false-heres-his-bloody-record-abroad-and-his-do-nothing-one-at-home-do-nothing-except-for-massive-spying/

    • Known Unknown
      July 28, 2018 at 5:54 am

      John Chuckman writes:

      ” liberal imperialist”

      I’m sorry, that is an oxymoron.

      Not at all. Liberals can be just as imperialistically minded as adherents of rival ideologies. Your argument is a perfect example of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

  3. Horrus
    July 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    What is racist about the term “Arab Spring”? I’ve never read or heard anyone call that racist before so I’m curious why it is seen as such by the author.

    • Asad Abukhalil
      July 26, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      How could it be a spring when blood is flowing in Arab streets?

  4. Mild -ly Facetious
    July 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Place this on the graves of Palestinians
    Ruthlessly murdered by Netanyahu’s Zionists,
    and shed a tear… .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIvjfEy4Dk4&frags=pl%2Cwn

  5. andy
    July 25, 2018 at 7:46 am

    this a great insight into obama. who is he and how does he live with himself?

    • Mild - ly Facetious
      July 26, 2018 at 12:14 am

      What ignorant Bull – Spit
      informs the feeding of Pigs
      in America/ land-of-‘free’
      Home of M I Complex of

      Bomb first / excuse later
      as if American Excepto
      vigilante’s can Fire-At-Will
      While ‘Standing it’s ground

      Even as USOF looks on
      the obvious murder of
      innocent human beings
      ‘Because We Can, what?

      Murder w/ Imperious Liberty
      as if Natural Farmers must Die
      while thrusting in their sickles
      to reap the fruit of their labor

      Even as Trump & Co.send earned $$$ ?
      to those Emancipated & Emasculated & ?
      Open to receive Home-Land Security aid ?
      Provided by Monsanto/Roundup GMO’s. ?

  6. zhu bajie
    July 24, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    The claim that Europeans are pro-Palestinian is likely BS. Europeans split up the Ottoman Empire and thus created all the problems of the present day Near East. Anti-Jew British politicians (Balfour, Churchill) created the “Jewish National Homeland” in Palestine.

    • John A
      July 25, 2018 at 2:50 am

      Ordinary people in Europe are pro-Palestine because they see the evils of Israeli occupation and disgusting treatment of the Palestinians.
      It is the politicians that are pro-Israel, mainly because they are vassals of the US and also bought by Israel. Any politician, Corbyn is a classic example, who speaks in support of justice, is defamed and hounded as being ‘anti-semitic’.

      Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, if voting could change things, it would not be allowed.

      • Known Unknown
        July 28, 2018 at 6:18 am

        Ordinary Europeans are bigots to the core when it comes to, say, refugees fleeing the devastation of European sponsored war and neoliberal economic policy. Eurohs and Muricans are birds of a feather. Before Trump answered the media’s prayers by winning the 2016 election Europeans were more likely than Americans to be openly racist hypocrites. Now there is no difference and being a proud racist asshole is “cool”.

        Just ask the NYT…it named the despicable racist dweeb, Hasbara propagandist and all around asshole Ben Shapiro as a “cool kid philosopher”. The NYT would praise the devil himself if he professed to being an ardent Zionist and supporter of “Israel’s” right to emulate the crimes of the NSDAP.

    • Barry
      July 25, 2018 at 7:11 am

      British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour-‘We deliberately and rightly decline to accept the Principle of Self-Determination’

      [For the indigenous Palestinian people whose homeland it was!]

      Lloyd George Papers LG/F/3/4/12 19th February 1919

    • TS
      July 25, 2018 at 10:42 am

      > zhu bajie
      > The claim that Europeans are pro-Palestinian is likely BS

      It is clear to me that the author is talking about the peoples, not the governments, of European countries.

      And it is certainly true that support for BDS etc. is growing, and support for Israeli policies is dwindling, in most European countries.

      • Asad AbuKhalil
        July 25, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        of course I was talking about people as revealed in public opinion surveys.

    • Joe Lauria
      July 25, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      That said, we have had European leaders say things about the Palestinians that no American leaders ever would. For instance, David Cameron, while prime minister, called Gaza an “open-air” prison. Swedish Foreign Minister Margo Wallstrom told Palestinians that her country will “fight with you and for you.” Sweden and several East European states, some members of the EU, have recognized a Palestinian state. Those are all governmental decisions that a US government would never make.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-10778110

      https://www.jta.org/2018/06/04/news-opinion/swedish-foreign-minister-tell-palestinians-will-fight

    • Jerome Stern
      July 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      I am pretty sure you misunderstand what the author means by Europeans. You are referring to political leaders and governments but that is literally wrong: Europeans means all the people of Europe, not their governments. I think the author is referring to public opinion as referenced by opinion polls not the sympathies of governments, which are mostly allies of the Israeli state. I suspect what he means by this is that a greater percentage of ordinary Europeans than ordinary Americans are sympathetic to the present day plight of Palestinians. Also this does not imply such sympathy is shared by the mainstream media.

  7. backwardsevolution
    July 24, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Trump wants NATO gone. Here’s how he’s doing it:

    “Those of us who regard NATO as one of the primary sources of international instability thanks to its wars of destruction in the MENA and provocation of Russia were looking forward with delighted anticipation to Trump’s appearance at the NATO summit. We were not disappointed.

    I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Trump came late to the meeting where Ukraine and Georgia were banging on about the Russian threat, started ranting about spending and blew up the decorous charade. Ukraine and Georgia were then dismissed and a special meeting was convened. […]

    This gave Trump the opening to pose these questions (posed in his own way, of course, in a strategy that most people – despite the example of North Korea – have still not grasped).

    1. You tell us that NATO ought to concentrate on the Russian threat. If Russia is a threat, why are you buying gas from it?

    2. You tell us that Russia is a reliable energy supplier. If Russia is a reliable supplier, why are you telling us it’s a threat?

    3. I hope you’re not saying Russia is a threat and its gas is cheap but the USA will save you. […]

    Six months ago I suggested that Trump may be trying to get out of what I called the “Gordian knot of entanglements”.

    President Trump can avoid new entanglements but he has inherited so many and they are, all of them, growing denser and thicker by the minute. Consider the famous story of the Gordian Knot: rather than trying to untie the fabulously complicated knot, Alexander drew his sword and cut it.

    How can Trump cut the Gordian Knot of American imperial entanglements? By getting others to untie it.

    He stomps out of NATO leaving them quaking: if you say Russia is the enemy, why do you act as if it isn’t; and if you act as if it isn’t, why do you say it is? And firing, over his shoulder, the threat: 2% by next January.

    I believe it is a threat and a very neat one too:

    If you don’t get up to 2% (or is it 4%?) and quickly too; I warned you. Goodbye.

    If you do get your spending up, then you don’t need us. Goodbye.

    Another strand of the knot gone.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-23/nato-trumpd

    • hetro
      July 24, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Trump is being underestimated? Hey, maybe he is a genius (in hushed voice).

      Sayonara people! Good rapping with you!

      • zhu bajie
        July 24, 2018 at 10:22 pm

        If so, e’s hidden his light under a bushel for the last 70 years.

    • Typingperson
      July 25, 2018 at 4:15 am

      He’s certainly more entertaining than Hillary. And so far, the dire threats from the Clintonites trying to bully USAians into voting for her–or else fascist Trump!!!!–have not yet proven true.

      Too bad all my liberal Dem pals on FB who liked Bernie better caved out of fear and voted for her in the primary.

      We’re still in an out-of-control empire masquerading as a democracy, still living in an increasingly threatening police state with a scary, lawless, unchecked “national security” apparatus–CIA and FBI and ICE. Oh, and NATO.

      Still committing genocide in Yemen.

      And Trump added insane corporate tax cuts and ramped up already bloated military spending and national debt to this toxic USA mix.

      I didn’t vote for this ridiculous reality show, money-laundering, golfing, real estate billionaire–but I’m still glad he’s prez instead of Hillary. Like I said, refreshing. In a dark weird way. The unmasking of the bullshit and corruption of this crumbling empire is worth it.

      Sad!

      Midterms are going to be weird.

      • Realist
        July 25, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        I think the country is gonna flunk the midterms, because it never learns a thing. Never even tries.

        • Sam Flenner
          July 26, 2018 at 11:25 pm

          Midterms are a lose/lose anyway.

  8. hetro
    July 24, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Relevant to the above analysis–

    Matt Taibbi “How to Survive America’s Kill List” (Excellent and recommended)

    Fundamentally, service to a rationale emphasizing global dominance will lead to a paradoxical condition of injustice and savagery–paradoxical when the upholders of imperialist policies seek every which way to defend themselves as honorably devoted to the Constitution.

    Obama’s murder of Anwar al-Laki, for example, can probably be argued as Anwar’s “guilt” derived as a judgment from metadata additional to the man’s fiery belligerence. The later additional deaths of his 16 year old son and a cousin who happened to be seated nearby in the outdoor café where they were attacked is not quite so easy to write off. We might ask just what did they do, other than being associated with Anwar Al-Laki?

    This outcome is given a fancy cleansing sort of name (“collateral damage”) to help move quickly on without feeling too much or thinking about it much.

    The problem is, as Matt Taibbi brilliantly explains in a July 19, 2018, Rolling Stone piece, our executive (and Trump is doing this also), especially since W, has too easily gone along with a drone program establishing kill lists based on metadata and on attitude–a critical attitude, say, or a belligerent attitude.

    This kind of official program, self-righteously claimed as “the war on terror” sweeps under its widening and sickening embrace too many that are not in the first place guilty of being terrorists, who may have only some accidental connection with those on various kill lists to be eliminated with no due process.

    Matt Taibi’s article “How to Survive America’s Kill List” not only tells the story of an American journalist on the kill list who happened to get confused by drone operators with enemies and who was targeted repeatedly, it reminds us of the responding, and inevitably human, view from the middle east toward Americans because of such policies.

    And that attitude is every bit as simplistic, vengeful, and stupid, in being reduced to “It’s all right to kill innocent people, including children.”

    • hetro
      July 24, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Rolling Stone, July 19.

    • zhu bajie
      July 24, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      US governance has been getting more and more imperial throughout my 60+ years. Since 2001, it’s made a quantum leap and become autocratic. Secret committees filling out Kill Lists are the stuff of dictatorships (think of the scene in Julius Caesar where Octavian and Antony fill out their Kill List). Before long, our farcical version of the Byzantine empire will have our President attended by eunuchs. :-(

      • Stephen Thurtell
        July 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm

        Isn’t that already the case?

    • July 24, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      That was Hillary’s mantra

    • Typingperson
      July 25, 2018 at 4:22 am

      Obama also murdered Anwar al Alaki’s 5-year old daughter by drone.

      She was an innocent child and a US citizen. War crime.

      How do we stop the lawless USA drone murders and wars? Abolish CIA and NATO? Cut our insane $1 trillion spending on military and war?

      Dems certainly won’t be stepping up.

    • Typingperson
      July 25, 2018 at 4:32 am

      Also, our USA drone operators are 25-year old schlubs sitting in comfy La-Z-Boys in front of big video screens with joysticks in San Diego.

      They kill at will.

      How could the USA get more barbaric and inhuman?

      More also, these “drone operators,” aka lawless inhuman murderers, would otherwise be working at McDonalds.

      Hell of a country. USA! USA!

      And where are the Dems? ……. crickets.

    • Skip Scott
      July 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

      hetro-

      I’m waiting for them to start pulling this same kind of crap on American soil. Maybe they already are, but with SWAT teams and invented charges, instead of drones.

      • hetro
        July 25, 2018 at 10:04 am

        Skip, thanks for your exchanges.

        If we look back, as one example, to circa 1950 (prompting Arthur Miller to write The Crucible, and himself suspect of commie leanings), we see the exact same kind of manipulative hysterical nonsense going on once again–McCarthyism 2.0.

        We are seeing it here in this forum with people deeply suspicious of Trump because of his notions to get along with and do deals with Putin, and also in defense of Mueller as not a tool of The Establishment despite his irresponsible operation on minor and essentially irrelevant suspects, who are being prosecuted via
        guilt-by-association versus guilt by evidentiary logic. Manafort et al are guilty of breaking regulations, or their own corruption, NOT colluding with Putin as an agent of Trump.

        The current “ambassador” to the UN said yesterday the US will “never” be a friend to Russia. All this is a very short hop and a skip to attacking anyone who speaks critically of such an attitude, and anyone who reflects otherwise than deep, residual, locked-forever-in-place implacable hatred for Russia.

        Such a person is “a traitor” etc etc, as with the McCarthy period (as with the piece I referenced from the Colorado news service).

        It’s time for American people to rise up in the spirit of Joseph Welch, who asked McCarthy, “Have you no common decency, sir?”

        Nikki Haley, have you no common decency, madam, or are you committed irrevocably to implacable hatred in your job of facilitating a globe at peace and protecting this nation?

        • Skip Scott
          July 25, 2018 at 11:31 am

          I have a very hard time figuring out what Trump is up to. Why on earth did he choose Nikki Haley for the U.N.? Why Mike Pompeo? It just makes no sense to pick people for important positions who espouse the exact opposite of the policies you ran on and are trying to implement. Trump needs to make better use of the Bully Pulpit, if he is capable of it. He needs to state his case directly to the American people, and surround himself with people ready to support him. And now is the hour for him to save Assange, if he has the guts.

          I am personally no fan of Trump. I dislike his narcissism, his misogyny, his environmental policies, his multiple bankruptcies, and many other things as well. I do however agree with his Nationalism vs globalism, and his stated intent to seek detente with Russia. At least he isn’t Hillary.

          Thanks for your comments, hetro.

          • hetro
            July 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm

            My point in calling for assessment of Trump is overall to recognize that he could be (is being?) an instrument to undo the dark force of neocon establishment politics suffocating the US and deploying its propaganda teams since at least W and the 01-03 moment.

            My own view of Trump is deeply critical, in line with your comment, Skip, and I find it incredible, so that it is almost a dream-like state, that Trump is in the crosshairs of what I used to think was the better possibility for government–from the Democrats. Obviously, as we now know, Trump, and whatever he’s up to, is very dangerous to what we now conventionally refer to as “the deep state.”

            However, I’m starting to think he is one canny animal in “whatever he’s up to,” which I do not understand. Basically, I’m calling for discussion and assessment of what he’s up to.

            But lately, following my bewilderment at his selecting Bolton and Pompeo, it is beginning to seem to me that was a very smart (canny) move, to neutralize them as potential enemies, to maybe bring them on board as allies, perhaps on the assumption he could control them.

            But again my point–I again suggest CN open up a commenter’s open thread on this, as Moon of Alabama does–i.e. move into an extensive, thoughtful analysis assessing Trump as a) the dark force Establishment Undoer; and b) on “whatever he’s up to” as an alternative, which ain’t necessarily good, I admit.

            I am probably not going to stick around here, because what I’m finding is a peculiar editing function that allows stupid postings repeatedly as with irrelevant money-pushing angles, that appeals for money, that doesn’t clarify what it’s doing, that delays comments that have URL links and affects quality of discussion, and what seems content to run articles that tend to beget the same kind of responses, repeatedly, in a sort of pablumatic way.

            I’m not sure what the people running this site are up to here, and feel they need feedback on how to improve it–which they are not as far as I know seeking.

            I would recommend more of the spirit of b at Moon of Alabama, where I will probably focus my energy from this point, because after all this–as effort to be serious with commentary–does take a lot of time.

            But commenters here, I think, and the comment system here, are superior to MOA–I’m urging better and more fruitful usage of CN’s system.

            I do think that in this forum there is a collection of outstanding thinkers and commenters, who could be much more usefully focused on the problems we face, versus the random selection of (admitted very good) articles that do not follow effectively on discussions launched, so that these discussions fade and become repetitive and ultimately pretty weak as having impact IMV.

          • hetro
            July 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm

            I see that my latest comment has no reply function, but it could be replied to by pushing the reply button on your post, Skip. I’m curious as to what vitriol I will stir up.

          • Skip Scott
            July 25, 2018 at 2:16 pm

            hetro-

            I don’t know how the spam is finding it’s way through, but I’d like to see them fix it too. I agree with your comment in its entirety. The Trump era has been interesting to say the least, and I am enjoying the paroxysms of the Deep State on full display.

            I’ll have to check of MofA’s site to see what you mean about “open comments thread”. I’ve read many of his articles, but nearly always through a link. I have also looked at the Unz Review, and it has some good commenters as well, and a very appealing format. What keeps me mostly here is the general quality of the articles, and the best of the regular commenters, whom I’ve come to think of as online friends. Like you said, it does take a considerable amount of time. I’m currently caregiving an elderly uncle with dementia, so I’m stuck in South Jersey. I’ll be getting a two month vacation here soon, so I won’t be online near as much during that time. I’ll be getting back to “real” life.

          • July 25, 2018 at 10:13 pm

            Skip,
            As a recovered evangelical fundamentalist (and as a historian), I think the reason Trump appointed Haley and Pompeo (as well as Pence, DeVos, Carson, Perry, Pruitt and others) is because they are evangelical fundamentalists which are a big percentage of his base —- as well as being authoritarians and warmongers and neocons. They are committed to supporting Israel —- no matter what —– in their false belief that they are dong “the Lord’s will” and, hopefully, triggering Armaggedon and “the return of Christ” during their life time. Trump plays along with them and plays them and vice versa. The neocons and evangelicals are brainwashed and very scary people.

          • Skip Scott
            July 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

            Thanks for the info Diana. I had no idea there were that many evangelicals in government.

    • eyesopen
      July 25, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Trump needs to get rid of far more than NATO if the US is to escape from Pentagon control.

      The All-Pervasive Military/Security Complex
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49914.htm

      The article below by Professor Joan Roelofs is long but it’s very important and is worth a careful read. It shows that the military/security complex has woven itself so tightly into the American social, economic, and political fabric as to be untouchable. President Trump is an extremely brave or foolhearty person to take on this most powerful and pervasive of all US institutions by trying to normalize US relations with Russia, chosen by the military/security complex as the “enemy” that justifies its enormous budget and power. …..

    • Realist
      July 25, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      So, working in or for the American government comes with a license to kill… anyone. Good to know that tidbit.

  9. Andrew Dabrowski
    July 24, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I don’t disagree with the article, but he fails to note the current administration is 10x worse wrt Arab-Israeli issues.

  10. July 24, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    January 19, 2017
    “The Legacy of O-BOMB-A”

    The destruction, death, and devastation by this “Nobel Peace Prize” president is surely a hellish legacy. Now this man is going into retirement to live in a luxury home [1] while the victims of his bloody carnage (those still alive) have no homes at all. Many of his living victims are refugees, living in camps or wandering the earth. Some are drowning in the waters of the Mediterranean trying to escape from their countries that have been reduced to smoking rubble, “courtesy” of Obama and his bomb happy NATO allies. [2] Some legacy!…

    The bloodstained earth in the Middle East is aflame with the fires of war. [2a] Plotted and planned by those in positions of power. [3] The Obama administration is a part of this cabal that supports this deadly cycle of endless wars that have resulted in colossal bloody carnage. Yet, none of these people go to jail. Instead, they are reportedly in bed with the terrorists they are supposed to be fighting….
    [more info at link below]

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-legacy-of-o-bomb-a.html

    • Typingperson
      July 25, 2018 at 4:47 am

      It is shocking to me that all my Dem liberal friends and associates –who, to my horror, make up 98 percent of my FB friends–still mourn the loss of Obama as prez.

      “When Obama was prez, I didn’t have to pay attention or worry,” said one friend. A smart white female law-firm head who reads 4 newspapers daily.

      • July 25, 2018 at 10:17 pm

        I’m experiencing the same things with my highly educated liberal friends. They assumed they were too bright to be brainwashed by political con men and their media.

  11. July 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    It’s the same exact FBI that tens of thousands have had to live with, endure similar and worse tactics themselves, and yet, because they don’t have the power anything close to a sitting US President, the crimes by FBI, CIA and others, waged against them, go unnoticed, uncontested in court and are meaningless to the national debate of “can you live with this FBI?”

    We are referred to, by deep state, as “Targeted Individuals.” We are 170,000 abused Americans whose freedom has been taken without due process, without any charges against us, put on watch lists, most are NOT violent or from a nation on Trump’s list, etc. And by far, the overwhelming majority are tax-paying citizens who own homes in your communities, harassed over partisan or other sick, sadistic reasons by someone with a badge. 80% are women. Where is the me too movement?

    • Ash
      July 24, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      80% of all dissidents targeted by the state are women? Citation needed.

  12. Michael Wilk
    July 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Is it at all possible to stop calling such as Rhodes and Obama liberal when they are anything but? They are far right, not liberal, and we on the left need to take back that word and define who does and does not fit into the proper definition.

    • Skip Scott
      July 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      I think trying to reclaim that word is a lost cause. The new term is “progressive”, although even that lacks accuracy given that the russiaphobic warmonger Bernie Sanders tries to call himself progressive. I suppose I have to differentiate by calling myself an antiwar progressive.

      • Typingperson
        July 25, 2018 at 4:52 am

        Far left, angry and alienated anti-war socialist and anti-capitalist / anti-bankster. Presente!!

        • T
          July 25, 2018 at 10:54 am

          Dear Typingperson, I think there are quite a lot more where you are coming from…

        • Mild- ly Facetious
          July 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm

          A Proper Appropriation of Trump & the Aspect/Advent of TRUMP-ISM
          >>>>>>>>

          In FTR #838, Peter Levenda discoursed on how immigration from Europe, both Catholic and Jewish, melded with other events in the post-World War I period to mobilize Fascist Sentiment and Activism.

          Reacting to the advent of the Soviet Union, abortive Marxist revolutions in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, large scale immigration of Catholics from Ireland and Italy and Jews from Eastern Europe, Powerful Elements of the U.S. Power Elite Embraced Fascism and Eugenics Ideology.

          >>> With the onset of the Great Depression, the potential threat of Communism was magnified in the eyes of many powerful American industrialists, financiers and corporate lawyers. Germany’s success in putting down the Marxist revolutions within its own borders, as well as the business relationships between corporate Germany and its cartel partners in the U.S. business community inclined many influential American reactionaries to support fascism. <<<

          By the same token, these same elements came to despise Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his “Jew Deal,” as it was called by his enemies. American Jews were seen as hiring Jewish immigrants and thus denying “real Americans” jobs and economic well-being.

          Attacking Roosevelt as a Jew and a Communist, American fascists embraced a cognitive and rhetorical position not unlike the view of Barack Obama as a “Kenyan Muslim,” and, consequently, a “traitor.”
          .
          Some key points in Peter’s analysis are explored in a section of the book titled the “Origins of 21st Century Conflict.” Highlights of this part of the program include:

          In the United States, the Bolshevik Revolution produced a spate of anti-Communist organizations that saw Marxism’s advocacy of a workers’ revolution as a fundamental threat to the existing order. — [ note: protests for a $15.00 an hour "living wage", along with other "worker rights" – "human rights" – and so-called "equal access rights" are now criticized perversely as "socialism". ] —
          .
          Marx’s Jewish background–in tandem with large Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe–fed a doctrinaire anti-Semitism which fused with anti-Communism to become a key element of fascist ideology in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

          The program set forth how Bolshevism, immigration and anti-Semitism fused to become a theory of “global conspiracy.”
          We highlight the role in the formation of this ideology of Darwin’s theories and eugenics, both in the U.S. and in Germany. (In particular, we discuss the impact of Irish and Italian Catholic immigration as well as Jewish immigration on the consciousness of elements of the American power elite.) We also detail how National Socialists came to view their role in shaping the evolution of homo sapiens.

          The Depression and FDR’s New Deal and their effects on many of those same elements of the Power Elite.

          Hate-mongering that labeled FDR as a “Jew” and a “Communist”–similar to anti-Obama rhetoric portraying him as a Muslim and a traitor.

          ** Atavism–the longing for a “simpler time” and its manifestations both in the 1930’s and presently.

          In FTR #864, recorded in September of 2015, Peter updated the context of our discussion from March of that year in the context of Donald Trump’s lead in the GOP primary struggle and the reaction sweeping Europe.

          Immigration dominated the news that fall and has continued to do so. The flood of refugees from the wars in the Middle East threatened to overwhelm European infrastructure and the phenomenon dominated the political debate in the GOP primary election campaign. Donald Trump capitalized on anti-immigrant xenophobia during the primary and then the presidential campaign.

          Of course, he continues to do so today.

          In The Hitler Legacy, Peter noted anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia as part of “The Hitler Legacy.”

          Fear of “the other” has been a staple of fascist thought and has dominated much of the political discourse on both sides of the Atlantic.

          The Hitler Legacy by Peter Levenda; IBIS Press [HC]; Copyright 2014 by Peter Levenda; ISBN 978-0-89254-210-9; p. 315.

          http://www.spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-1013-fascism-and-the-politics-of-immigration

      • Piotr Berman
        July 25, 2018 at 3:40 pm

        Labels appear and change their meaning, sometimes descending to oblivion, e.g. Whigs are nowhere to be seen. That said, once we decipher what a “true liberal” is than we have to conclude that while in good old days the concern for economic interests of the classes below top 1% was more genuine, “liberal World Order” (or liberalische Welt Ordnung) was a part of that package from the start. In my humble opinion, a “true populist” is a skillful demagogue, as opposed to wannabe skillful demagogues. But a “true Progressive” has a promise.

        That said, Progressives like Sanders or Corbyn are under persistent attack from “liberals” of the “Third Way”, and their first line of defense is to focus on domestic issues. That is particularly the case in USA. As a result, particularly in USA, they may be quite ignorant about Russia and conflicts with Russia etc. Right now, they are under two pronged attacks, from die-hards of “moderation” and from the “wise people” who recognize that they can actually lift Democrats electorally, e.g. the slogan “Medicare for all” polls a lot better than “repair Obamacare”, so a tame version of their program could well be adopted, if only to election slogans, and in exchange that should refrain from breathing fire, doubting our intelligence agencies etc. And Heaven forfend, discuss money wasted on military, intelligence and security to produce calamities or, with luck, just trickling to some black holes.

        Perhaps we need Complete Progressives? Can you build a progressive order in your country while neglecting what your country does around the globe? I do not think so, for a few pragmatic reasons. First, sheer waste of resources. Second, the waste of diplomatic power, rather than seeking fair trade, alleviating global problems etc. our fine diplomats get immunity for our soldiers, support for Israel, intellectual rights, blocking trade between adjacent countries where it could alleviate poverty (Iran and Pakistan are exhibit one) etc. Third, this misbegotten foreign/military policy is a plaything of lobbies, and cutting the influence of money driven lobbies is the cornerstone of Progressive movement. But if you tolerate the oversize influence of AIPAC and other lobbies engaged in military/foreign policies, the same herd of sacred cows plies interests of drug companies that increase prices at astonishing pace, banks that learn how to whack the poor and inattentive with huge fees, etc. etc. Consistence is necessary for effectiveness.

    • hetro
      July 24, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Denver Post letter to the editor:

      “If it walks like a traitor, and talks like a traitor, and acts like a traitor … it is a traitor. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed on a basis of far less evidence than is had on Trump and many in his administration. Besides being in agreement with the actions recommended in the editorial of July 19, I believe there are many more actions that can and should be taken against Trump to keep him from destroying the U.S.

      If our leader doesn’t support any swift, significant pushback against Russian meddling, our votes aren’t worth much.”

      Conservative nonprofit organization Compass Colorado says the editorial fits a pattern of “increasingly violent tone” coming from the left.

      “The mere fact the Denver Post would publish a letter to the editor with this type of language speaks to both the increasingly violent tone of liberals in Colorado politics and the desperation of the Post for readership,” said Compass Colorado executive director, Kelly Maher.

      ~~

      “Violent tone coming from the left” and “increasingly violent tone of liberals in Colorado politics” (in a Zero Hedge article titled Denver Post Runs Letter Suggesting Trump’s Execution” shows a virulence in manic individuals such as the writer of the letter, and those who inhabit a violent, supposedly “leftist” movement, as with interrupting right wing speakers at Berkeley with violence.

      The “left” has not been associated with extremist violence for about a century, and this association currently is in line with manipulation of event and image to create perception as guilt-by-association.

      The above writer to the Denver Post sounds intelligent, but allows the stupidity of sloganeering followed by–as though indisputable fact–Russian “meddling.” My local newspapers, Democrat leaning, now all state “Russian meddling” with no qualifier, such as “alleged Russian meddling.” Merely stating something over and again does not make it so.

      So we are seeing massive disinformation and brain-washing programs, the ardent work of trolls such as it would seem this writer to the Post is, with the totally hysterial and absurd insinuation Trump deserves to be executed, because the Rosenbergs were, and hell they weren’t nearly as bad as Trump, whose guilt is automatic, assured, and indisputable because he wants to get along with Putin.

      Needless to say, at one time we might have responded to this writer’s tirade with laughter and recommendations of psychiatrists she might consider getting feedback from. Today, the tendency is more to say, Right on, execute the son of a bitch for not properly responding to all the meddling we don’t have any evidence for–hallelujah!

      No. This is not “the left.” It’s the lunatic fringe, too easily coddled and stimulated from the nation’s leadership.

  13. Mild - ly Facetious
    July 24, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Regarding the Open violence they so devilishly inflict their Captives /
    Palestinian People / as if the Hideous Ghost of Nazi Banality / now
    Occupies the Jewish State as if a Transfer of Evil / Urtext or Archetype,
    Carbon Copy of the unrelenting horrors they endured under holocaust

    Only a Body of People filled with Hostility, Hatred and Blood Lust
    Could Exact a Revenge so Reactionary/Fascistic and “Rightist” as
    Present day ” Israel Jews” who wave False Flags of the Nazi holocaust /
    Lecherously / Pruriently under excuse of ‘Defense’ against Feeble Hamas,

    The Israeli Embargo / Embolism / Envelopment / Containment /Confinement /
    Control Over / Human Rights Violations of / Capricious Imprisonment of /
    Dehumanization of / OPEN AIR IMPRISONMENT of , in Plain View of the World,
    Artifice is a devise of the Devil, Dissembling is the knowledge of Fake Rulers

    Present day “Israeli Jews” … ? – Ponder Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 /

  14. Bob Van Noy
    July 24, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I had another Robert Parry flashback reading this quite accurate article by As`ad AbuKhalil. Thank you Joe Lauria for presenting us with an author who understands the incredibly deep Aspects of geography and society that make History both fascinating and probably too complex to attempt to reorganize.

    For years I’ve pointed out the folly of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” which seemingly is the organizing policy of multiply misguided administrations. It is again referred to here in the naivety of Ben Rhodes. Robert Parry introduced this forum to William R. Polk, I’m sure to point out that true scholarship in diplomacy and cultural history is vital to understanding international affairs. It has become a lost art in contemporary American foreign affairs. Let me link interested parties to the life work of an international thinker and scholar to be respected… by way of contrast to show what has been lost.

    http://www.williampolk.com/books.html

  15. Mild - ly Facetious
    July 24, 2018 at 9:11 am

    A nice reflection of America’s political/religious and military BOND with the racist – apartheid state of Israel.
    As the world turns, and nothing ever changes, it appears that the zionist Dictator Netanyahu is days, or weeks away from a new BOMBING CAMPAIGN on the hapless, defenseless Palestinians.
    OH how we LOVE Dropping BOMBS and MISSILES on captive populations of INNOCENT CIVILIANS !!!!! —

    Meanwhile, as the Zionist look to unleash new tons of explosives upon suffering, corralled Gaza Human Beings, …

    Our intrepid, self-aggrandizing President Trump will be busy agitating IRAN, creating world tensions while swimming in pompous adulation of his Power to change the world “after his own image.”

    () — excerpt — ()

    ‘Tweet of Mass Destruction’ ratchets up tension on Iran

    The Trump administration’s ultimate goal is regime change in Tehran, but was this just a distraction from the ‘treason’ in Helsinki as US Mid-Term elections loom? Or did he just want to destabilize the Eurasian giants and their New Silk Roads?

    By PEPE ESCOBAR JULY 24, 2018

    But let’s go back to how this all started. After unilaterally pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration has issued what amounts to a declaration of economic war on Iran and will go no holds barred to squeeze the Islamic Republic out of the global oil market – complete with threatening allies in Europe with secondary sanctions, unless they cut all imports of Iranian oil by November 4.

    Ultimate goal: Regime change

    The fact remains that the Trump administration ditched a UN-sponsored multilateral treaty and has now launched serious covert ops with the ultimate goal of regime change in Iran.

    Trump’s explosion of rage, coupled with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s touting of the interests of “the long-ignored voice of the Iranian people” has been met with derision and scorn all across Iran.

    Geopolitically, Russia-Iran relations remain extremely solid, as shown by the recent meeting between President Putin and Khamenei’s top foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati. As Professor Mohammad Marandi at the University of Tehran told me: “The Putin-Velayati meeting went very well. Velayati plans to go to Beijing in a few weeks. People in Iran hate Trump, and all political parties and factions have become much more united. Rouhani’s speech was widely watched and very well received.”

    The whole soap opera is ridden with pathetic overtones as US “experts” posing as extras digress that there are only two outcomes left for Iran: capitulation or implosion of the “regime”.

    The US neo-conservatives that brought the world the failed, multi-trillion-dollar Iraq war should have been buried not six feet, but six miles under. Yet, like the Walking Dead, they will never give up.

    But, in the Middle East, at the moment there are three characters who are singin’ and dancin’ like everything is going according to plan: Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS), his mentor, the United Arab Emirates’ Mohamed bin Zayed, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Surely they are not heeding the expert advice of former Mossad head Meir Dagan, who stated that a military attack on Iran was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”

    Deliberate distraction?

    It’s always possible that Trump’s all-caps spectacular may be a ruse to distract Americans from the Helsinki “treason” scandal. That gets traction when associated to the looming mid-term elections and Trump’s absolute need to sound tough and keep the Republicans in line. Call it a brilliant Trump strategic maneuver. Or was it Putin’s?

    Back to reality, the stark options would come down to either Iran becoming a US satellite or closing the Strait of Hormuz – something that for all practical purposes would collapse the global economy.
    ::

    Breaking Russia-China-Iran

    The geopolitical game is even more complex. Velayati was in Moscow only a few days before Helsinki. Diplomatic sources say Iran and Russia are in synch – and closely coordinating policy. If the current strategy of tension persists, it raises the price of oil, which is good for both Russia and Iran.

    And then there’s China. A tsunami of sanctions or not, Beijing is more likely to increase oil imports from Iran. “Experts” who claim that Iran is becoming a pawn of Russia and China are hopelessly myopic. Russia, China and Iran are already firmly aligned.

    Short of war, the Trump administration’s top priority is disruption of the New Silk Roads – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – between China and Europe. And the key economic connectivity corridor goes across Iran.

    The fundamental “enemy” is China. But to make any divide-and-rule plan work, first, there’s got to be an attempt to lure Russia into some sort of entente cordiale. And in parallel, Persian destabilization is a must. After all, that’s what the Cheney regime used to describe as “the great prize”.

    http://www.atimes.com/article/tweet-of-mass-destruction-ratchets-up-tension-on-iran/

  16. July 24, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Why would anyone consider taking credit for the Arab Spring considering its outcome. At best, it can be described as an attempt to destabilize the Middle East and try to put in place more friendly, pliable leaders. How did that turn out..

  17. mike k
    July 24, 2018 at 7:59 am

    The more widows into hidden corruption, the better.

    • mike k
      July 24, 2018 at 8:02 am

      Maybe windows makes more sense. Not that corruption can’t be a widow maker…

      • mike k
        July 24, 2018 at 8:07 am

        No substitute for a live proof reader. Machines just can’t cut it. Of course if the proof reader is asleep, or out to lunch, that doesn’t work either. I guess errors are deeply woven into our reality. Heisenberg or Godel anyone?

      • Sam F
        July 25, 2018 at 6:50 am

        Yes, the windows are essential to correct errors “woven into our reality.”

  18. Babyl-on
    July 24, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Hardly anything new, anyone remember or looked historically at the administration of Lyndon Johnson? So called “liberal intervention” (justified by false flag operations) has been policy for over seventy years. It was clear at the time of Vietnam that it was the liberals who were key to keeping the war going and the general policy of slaughter in 60 or 70 or more countries to maintain its Empire.

    The term “liberal” has lost meaning. In order to refer to the “left” or “right” there must be an agreed center and there is no agreed center now so all those terms are meaningless until a new center is formed.

    There was only one time in post WWII history when there was the beginnings of a left in the US in the 1970s when the Black Panthers were active, there was Angela Davis, Bernadette Develon, Malcolm X and others – they were the only true left that emerged inside post war US culture.

    • Sam F
      July 25, 2018 at 6:41 am

      Not sure that during the Vietnam war liberals “were key to keeping the war going.”
      LBJ the warmonger dumped secdef MacNamara for suggesting negotiation.
      The liberals were young people smoking grass and protesting the war or the draft.
      Earlier liberals sought union wages, social security, and sometimes racial equality.
      Give them “bread and circus” and most people will vegetate before the TV.
      Punish them socially and at work for progressivism and nearly all will conform.
      Let the TV tell them that there are no liberals and there are no more liberals.

  19. Tom Welsh
    July 24, 2018 at 7:34 am

    ““Jews building a nation in the dessert…”

    They certainly are ingenious as well as industrious! Was it by any chance “a beautiful chocolate cake”?

  20. zhu bajie
    July 24, 2018 at 4:10 am

    There are two reasons for US affinity to Zionism: our “Cowboys and Indians” mythology, and Dispensationalism.

    • anon
      July 25, 2018 at 6:09 am

      The US consists of idiots led around by advertisers; nothing good can be expected.

  21. backwardsevolution
    July 24, 2018 at 2:44 am

    “Like all American officials who work on the Middle East, Rhodes (by his own admission) is an ardent Zionist who owns up to his past membership in AIPAC.”

    That sentence explains how he got his job.

    “The book reveals more about the domineering role of AIPAC on all decisions undertaken by the Obama administration about the Middle East.”

    Is AIPAC registered as a foreign agent?

    From Wiki:

    “In a May 2016 New York Times profile about him, Rhodes’ colleagues in the White House said he spent two to three hours a day with Obama, and Rhodes himself said, ‘I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends.'”

    • Gregory Herr
      July 24, 2018 at 6:45 am

      So that quote from Rhodes makes sense–both men full of “self-congratulation, sanctimoniousness and hubris”.

      Of note also is the fact that Rhodes’ brother David is President of CBS News.

      Obama, the “social-climbing” narcissist that he is, likes to be around “well-connected folks”.

  22. Jeff Harrison
    July 24, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Yes. Obama was a horrible president and a huge disappointment. Shrub was a horrible president but it was obvious before he took the reins that he was an idiot. So he met expectations. Slick Willie was a horrible president and a huge disappointment. I could go on. Most of the men who have led the US for decades have little or no clue about the rest of the world and for the most part they could care less. The United States has been led since the advent of St. Ronnie by a bunch of moderate to extreme right wingnuts. As a result we’ve had massive deregulation of the banking industry – the S&L crisis of 1990 comes to mind. I also note that one of the prime fuck ups of the fuck up is John McCain. So, of course, does the 2009 meltdown.

    Yes, the Republicans like Obama, Shrub, Clinton, Bush Sr, and St. Ronnie have screwed us over big time but the electorate hasn’t noticed.

    • Realist
      July 24, 2018 at 3:57 am

      The electorate hasn’t noticed because they’ve all been given instructions NOT TO DO SO whilst hypnotized by the mass media. It’s an old Jedi mind trick that dates back to the emergence of network television during the 1950’s. Who did the country elect once the corporate-conditioned boomers came of age and got the vote? Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump… quite an inauspicious lineup of budget-busting warmongers (except for Carter), each repudiating his predecessor but adapting most of his policies.

      It’s been a long learning curve, but some of us are finally seeing these guys for what they were: puppets on strings controlled by Deep State insiders based mainly in Arlington and Langley with branch offices in Manhattan and Silicon Valley. And the main reason we’ve finally caught the hint is that the present guy in office, who was an outsider that the Deep State ineptly allowed to actually win even as they set him up to lose the election, has tried in vain to cut the strings while they try to cut his administration short by any means possible.

      It doesn’t surprise me one bit that Obama had no real thirst for justice in the world or any sympathies for the multitudes of mainly Arabs and Muslims (but also Russians and Ukrainians) who suffered death, permanent disability, homelessness and refugee status directly traceable to his decisions. The guy was only in it for the wealth and status. He never even pursued the ideals to which he gave lip service during two campaigns, let alone fighting really hard for them. Not in foreign policy, not on the domestic front for American citizens, not even for his own voters. The only thing he got really adept at over eight years was talking trash, mainly about Russia, Putin and, much to his ultimate chagrin, Donald Trump. In twenty years the only “legacy” of the Obama presidency will be a multi-billion dollar “foundation” run by Malia (she seems like the slick one) just like the empire that simpleton Chelsea has inherited from the two grifters who begat her.

      • Gregory Herr
        July 24, 2018 at 6:58 am

        No thirst for justice, no sympathy for the multitudes, and no pursuit of ideals–just an “exceptionalist” status-seeker adept at talking trash and, in his own words, “killing people”.

        • Realist
          July 24, 2018 at 7:59 am

          And absolving his predecessors for “torturing some folks.”

          The smugness still lingers in the air.

      • mike k
        July 24, 2018 at 7:48 am

        YES. Power Addiction corrupts those in it’s thralls. HUMILITY DOES NOT WIN ELECTIONS, OR MAKE BIG BUCKS FOR THOSE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO MANIFEST IT. This hidden in plain sight dynamic underlies the ongoing collapse of “civilization”.

        Perhaps in the long run, the meek will inherit the Earth. But what will be left for them to inherit, after those full of hubris have destroyed everything??

      • Typingperson
        July 25, 2018 at 5:18 am

        Obama’s a resume-padder who got his $60M “book contract” payout from the war contractors. For being a good boy.

        Started more wars / coups of democracies–all illegal–Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Hoduras, Nazis in Ukraine, plus existing Iraq and Afghanistan.

        Lots of big $$ weapons contracts for USA weapons manufacturers. Our only manufacturing jobs left after Clinton”s NAFTA. Are they union?

    • Deniz
      July 24, 2018 at 10:46 am

      The next election should be fascinating. The MIC will undoubtedly try to fabricate another charlatan to run against Trump. I wonder if the US public wil send the message that they see through the con game once again.

      It was so satisfying watching HIllary meltdown on election night, it was like watching the Wizard of Oz, when I was a kid.

    • S Moorehead
      July 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Spot on. Neoliberalism has been ANYTHING but liberal, which is why it’s so aggravating to hear this 40-yr. nightmare being called “liberal imperialism” or the “liberal world order”. That’s like saying “benevolent dictatorship”. It’s the tricky way libertarians refer to “freedom of the individual” when they really mean “economic freedom of the corporation”. The privatization of government led directly to the annihilation of democracy, as intended.

      But at least there’s a movement against the blatant Orwellian lies of this economic policy as more people educate themselves on the basics of REAL economics:

      https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=yu5NwhgKEYc&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DmTFjfNoSUGI%26feature%3Dshare

      Transitioning to a new economic and business model are the imperative focus. The “maximizing shareholder value” myth turns people into psychopaths. A policy based on the false premise of self-interest as being the underlying driving force of humanity was neoliberalism’s fatal flaw. We’re not all psychopaths, turns out. We’re social beings that have mainly used cooperation to get us through thousands of years of existence. This myth of “survival of the financially fittest” has laid waste an entire planet.

      Sick people are more valued than healthy… violent are more valued to fill up prison factories… war becomes a permanent business… a filthy, toxic planet is good for the oil industry… a private banking industry running amok above the law has been a recipe for global disaster. Is a corporate governance with no respect for basic rights or environmental protections the very best that capitalism can offer? Doesn’t sound like survival of the wisest. Having a big brain with a tiny conscience is nothing more than an organic robot… a technocrat… a psychopath.

      http://evonomics.com/how-maximizing-shareholder-value-turns-nice-people-into-psychopaths/

      “If the IMF is to shake its image as an inward-looking, out-of-touch boys club, it needs to start taking the issue seriously. The effect of the male dominance in macroeconomics can be seen in the policy direction of the organisation: female economists are more likely to be in favour of Government-backed redistribution measures than their male counterparts.

      Of course, the parochial way in which economics is perceived by the IMF, as nothing more than the application of mathematical models, is nothing new. In fact, this is how mainstream economics frequently is taught in universities all over the world. Is it any wonder that the IMF has turned out as it is?”

      http://www.rethinkeconomics.org/journal/imf-a-large-brain-but-a-tiny-conscience-reflections-on-un-report-on-extreme-poverty-human-rights-and-diversity/

      “Economics students are forced to spend so much time with this complex calculus so that they can go to work on Wall St. that there’s no room in the course curriculum for the history of economic thought.

      So all they know about Adam Smith is what they hear on CNN news or other mass media that are a travesty of what these people really said and if you don’t read the history of economic thought, you’d think there’s only one way of looking at the world and that’s the way the mass media promote things and it’s a propagandistic, Orwellian way.

      The whole economic vocabulary is to cover up what’s really happening and to make people think that the economy is getting richer while the reality is they’re getting poorer and only the top is getting richer and they can only get rich as long as the middle class and the working class don’t realize the scam that’s being pulled off on them.” ~ Michael Hudson

    • Josep
      July 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Little nitpick: Obama and Clinton were Democrats. Just saying.

      • Jeff Harrison
        July 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        That wasn’t a mistake on my part. They never would have been Democrats in say the 50s, 60s, or 70s.

  23. Tom Kath
    July 24, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Why such a long assessment of one seemingly stupid biased book? Zealots are a dime a dozen!

    • Sam F
      July 24, 2018 at 7:17 am

      The insider Rhodes book is an incontestable admission that U.S. Mideast policy is made only by zionists and the military, replacing Arab democracies with dictatorships because of their opposition to Israel land theft. He copied zionist myths into Obama speeches, ignores its land thefts, advocates AlQaeda (al-Nusrah) and Israeli wars of aggression, attacks on refugee camps, and bombing of civilians, with fake humanitarian concern never extended to the victims, and makes the usual zionist attacks on critics as “anti-Semitic.”

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