PATRICK LAWRENCE: The US Moves on Iran’s Oil Market as an Expression of an Irrational Foreign Policy

Patrick Lawrence gauges the backfiring potential of Pompeo’s withdrawal on Thursday of U.S. sanction waivers from eight major importers. 

A Decisive Defeat in Long-Running
Battle with Foreign Policy Minders

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement last week that no importer of Iranian oil will henceforth be exempt from U.S. sanctions is as risky as it is misguided. The withdrawal of waivers as of this Thursday effectively gives eight importers dependent on Iranian crude — India, Japan, South Korea, China, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy, and Greece — 10 days’ notice to adjust their petroleum purchases. This is now a full-court press: The intent is to cut off Iran’s access to any oil market anywhere as part of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. “We are going to zero,” Pompeo said as he disclosed the new policy.

Nobody is going to zero. The administration’s move will further damage the Iranian economy, certainly, but few outside the administration think it is possible to isolate Iran as comprehensively as Pompeo seems to expect. Turkey immediately rejected “unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbors,” as Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu put it in a Twitter message. China could do the same, if less bluntly. Other oil importers are likely to consider barter deals, local-currency transactions, and similar “workarounds.” In the immediate neighborhood, Iraq is so far ignoring U.S. demands that it cease purchasing natural gas and electricity from Iran.

Pompeo joining an Iranian diaspora meeting in Dallas, April 15, 2019. (State Department/Ron Przysucha via Flickr)

Pompeo joining an Iranian diaspora meeting in Dallas, April 15, 2019. (State Department/Ron Przysucha via Flickr)

Insights on Overreach

There are a couple of insights to be gleaned from this unusually aggressive case of policy overreach.

First, the new turn in the administration’s Iran policy appears to mark a decisive defeat for President Donald Trump in his long-running battle with his foreign policy minders. It is now very unlikely Trump will achieve any of his policy objectives, a number of which represent useful alternatives to the stunningly shambolic strategies advanced by Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and other zealots in the administration.

Weakened by relentless “Russia-gate” investigations, for instance, the president has little chance now of improving ties with Moscow or negotiating with adversaries such as Iran and North Korea, as he has long advocated.

In a Face the Nation interview Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would be open to bilateral talks under the right conditions. It was the second time in a week that Zarif made this point. But those around Trump, not least Bolton and Pompeo, are sure to block any such prospect—or sabotage talks if they do take place, as they did Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, in late February.  

Second, this administration’s foreign policy has steadily assumed an irrational character that may be unprecedented in U.S. history. This is perilous. The administration’s near-paranoiac hostility toward Pyongyang and Moscow are cases in point. So is its evident indifference to alienating longstanding allies across the Atlantic and in Asia. As of this week, however, Pompeo’s  “down to zero” policy makes Iran the most immediate danger.

Persian Gulf Chokepoint

Iranian officials, including Zarif, now threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz, chokepoint of the Persian Gulf, if Iranian tankers are prevented from passing through it. This is an indirect warning that the Iranian military could confront the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which operates in the Gulf and adjacent waters.

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A sharp spike in oil prices is another danger with which the administration now lands itself. Taken together, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran are intended to take roughly 2 million barrels of oil a day out of the market.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to make up the lost supply, but many analysts question its ability to sustain an increase in output given the advancing depletion of its long-productive Ghawar field. Spare capacity among producers is already wafer-thin. Do we need to risk another oil crisis, given the flagging global economy? 

Mohammad Javad Zarif: Open to bilateral talks. (YouTube)

Iran’s Zarif: Open to bilateral talks. (YouTube)

Trump’s foreign policy minders also risk alienating allies — South Korea, Japan, India, the Europeans — whose cooperation the U.S. needs on numerous other policy questions. In the case of China, the administration puts progress on a nearly complete trade deal and Beijing’s leverage with North Korea in jeopardy.

There are other cases demonstrating the Trump administration’s apparently thorough indifference to collateral damage and the animosity of allies. Since the U.S. abandoned the Paris climate pact and the 2015 accord governing Iran’s nuclear program, the Europeans have hardly contained their anger; they are openly furious now about the tightened sanctions against Iran. The South Koreans, frustrated with Washington’sintransigent stance toward Pyongyang, now search for ways to engage the North despite many layers of UN and U.S–imposed sanctions.

The question is why this administration’s foreign policies are so amateurish and discombobulated. Corollary question: Why is the president surrounded by policy advisers so thoroughly at odds with those of his objectives that are worthwhile?

Trump arrived in Washington an outsider: This is where answers to these questions begin. This limited the New York dealmaker to a shallow pool from which to build his administration. His never-ending Russia-gate problem further handicaps him. This administration is among the most opaque in recent history, so certainties as to its internal workings are hard to come by. But Trump may not have chosen his foreign policy team so much as its members have been imposed upon him.

However his advisers arrived in the administration, they are a toxic combination of neoconservatives, many drawn from the Heritage Foundation, and evangelical Christians. Bolton is emblematic of the former, Pompeo of the latter. This is the current complexion of American foreign policy.

Zealots and Crusaders

Both camps are populated with zealots and crusaders; both cultivate irrational world views rooted in extremist ideology and sentiment. Bolton’s obsession is the restoration of unchallenged U.S. supremacy. Pompeo is said to view adversaries such as North Korea and Iran as George W. Bush did: The U.S. is in an “end times” war with Gog and Magog, biblical manifestations of the evil abroad in the world.

To be clear, there is more wrong than right in the president’s foreign policy thinking. He was self-evidently behind the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and the announcement in March that Washington recognizes Israeli jurisdiction over the Golan Heights.

“This is very important strategically for victory, heights, because you’re up high, very important,” Trump said over the weekend. “Fifty-two years ago this started [when Israel captured Golan from Syria in the 1967 war] and I did it quickly. Done. It’s all done.”

It is unlikely anything is all done in connection with the embassy move and the Golan Heights decision. Both run diametrically counter to international law and both have significantly damaged U.S. credibility in the Middle East. Trump, in short, makes his own miscalculations, and they are as grave as any made by the Pompeo–Bolton axis. There are few wise heads in this administration.

At the same time, Trump’s desire to negotiate with adversaries — Russia, Iran, North Korea — is entirely defensible. But the “down to zero” Iran policy to take effect this week can be read as a signal of the president’s failure to counter the foreign policy Manicheans who surround him.

There may be skirmishes to come, but the battle is over. We must now watch as extremist ideologues accelerate America’s already evident decline as a global power — along with its increasing isolation.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist.

 

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64 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: The US Moves on Iran’s Oil Market as an Expression of an Irrational Foreign Policy

  1. Brian James
    May 2, 2019 at 12:23

    Apr 30, 2019 A New Mega Cartel Is Emerging In Oil Markets

    China and India—two of the world’s largest oil importers and the biggest demand growth centers globally—are close to setting up an oil buyers’ club to have a say in the pricing and sourcing of crude oil amid OPEC’s cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, Indian outlet livemint reports, citing three officials with knowledge of the talks.

    https://youtu.be/lgkGNyd6pR4

    • vinnieoh
      May 3, 2019 at 14:33

      Thanks for that link, I’m sure I’ll follow this. I feel the same apprehension the narrator’s inflection seemed to convey in closing “We’ll have to see where this leads.” That apprehension is that this will push the war-mongers to accelerate the timetable for an attack on Iran.

  2. Stuart Davies
    May 1, 2019 at 09:00

    Sorry to see that Consortium News still maintains their commitment to the ludicrous premise that Trump is “pro Russian” at heart:

    “…the new turn in the administration’s Iran policy appears to mark a decisive defeat for President Donald Trump in his long-running battle with his foreign policy minders….Weakened by relentless “Russia-gate” investigations, for instance, the president has little chance now of improving ties with Moscow or negotiating with adversaries such as Iran and North Korea, as he has long advocated.”

    Utter nonsense. You guys fail to see that the notion that Trump and Co genuinely seek to “improve ties” with Russia is a key element of the larger “Russiagate” psyop, a truly laughable idea which is disproved not only by the longer term historical record, but also by the veritable mountain of evidence that has accrued since Trump came into office demonstrating that this administration has only EXACERBATED the empire’s long running and profoundly anti-Russian foreign policy agenda.

  3. Robert Mayer
    May 1, 2019 at 07:14

    Thanx SoMuch Mr Lawrence 4 pointing out2 Amer’$ Driving Public WHY we’re Payin’ at the Pump4 Drumph’s Heritage club driven War Policy: 2 MIL BARRELS/ DAY CREATED SHORTAGE!!!(?) Dum…Dum…
    Btw Sir Noted & Liked ur photo at top… Xpression suggests rather than tickle Pompeo Dough Boy as in Pilsberry ad… Have MrBill Moment! Tnx of course CN4 runnin’!

  4. Abe
    April 30, 2019 at 22:26

    Patrick Lawrence avers that “Trump may not have chosen his foreign policy team so much as its members have been imposed upon him”.

    There is absolutely no evidence for this assertion.

    Both Trump and Hillary Clinton (and all their rivals from the 2016 presidential campaign) are Israel-Firsters deep in the pockets of the pro-Israel Lobby. Trump’s current policies are not significantly at variance from Clinton’s equally pro-Israel policy agenda. At a 2015 gala hosted by the Algemeiner Journal, Trump declared “We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent.” His bid for the presidency was announced soon after.

    Trump’s whole “insurgent” campaign, including his purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel’s commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel’s undivided capital, were an elaborate propaganda scam engineered by the Israel Lobby from the very beginning.

    Trump’s “1000 percent” efforts on behalf of Israel began immediately after the election, prior to his taking the oath of office.

    Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East/Israel issues, gave his first on-the-record appearance at the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution on 3 December 2017. Saban praised Kushner for attempting to derail a vote at the United Nations Security Council about Israeli settlements during the Obama administration.

    Kushner reportedly dispatched former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to make secret contact with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 in an effort to undermine or delay the resolution, which condemned Israel for settlement construction. Saban told Kushner that “this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort, so thank you very much.” Kushner thanked the audience at Brookings, a leading pro-Israel Lobby think tank, “It’s really an honor to be able to talk about this topic with so many people who I respect so much, who have given so much to this issue.”

    During the keynote conversation, Kushner and Saban framed Middle East peace as a “real estate issue”. Kushner acknowledged that “We’ve solicited a lot of ideas from a lot of places.” Trump’s understanding of “regional dynamics” in the Middle East clearly manifests “a lot of ideas” from pro-Israel war hawks from the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. Make no mistake, Israel and the pro-Israel Lobby exploit Trump and the GOP, as well as Clinton and the Democrats.

    The fracture between the Trump and Clinton contingents of the pro-Israel Lobby is rooted in the personal predilections of their major American Jewish oligarch donors. Billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are the Koch Brothers of the pro-Israel Lobby.

    Both Adelson and Saban are staunch supporters of the Israeli military, vehemently opposed to the global BDS movement against Israeli apartheid, and obsessed about starting war with Iran.

    When Adelson and Saban shared the stage at the Israeli American Council’s inaugural conference in Washington, D.C. in 2014, Saban quipped, “There’s no right or left when it comes to Israel”. Despite their shared pro-Israel Lobby objectives, Adelson and Saban had a fracas in 2015 over political tactics.

    The Republican Party and Democratic Party campaign platforms in 2016 reflected right and left pro-Israel Lobby orientations. Even the Sanders sheepdog campaign was a far-left pro-Israel Lobby iteration.

    The Russia-gate conspiracy theory, eagerly promoted by both key right and left pro-Israel Lobby figures (including Jewish and Christian Zionists, as well as sheepdog Sanders), is partly an effort to distract attention from the pro-Israel Lobby meddling in American electoral politics and its pernicious influence on US foreign policy.

    Trump’s “foreign policy team”, the Pompeo-Bolton axis and myriad minions, precisely represent the pro-Israel Lobby signature “toxic combination of neoconservatives, many drawn from the Heritage Foundation [and other decidedly pro-Israel policy think tanks], and evangelical Christians”.

    Trump surrounded himself with pro-Israel Lobby “foreign policy Manicheans” devoted to an aggressive, militaristic agenda aimed at “securing the realm” for Israel.

    The results are entirely predictable.

    The Trump administration’s foreign policies are not so much “shambolic”, “amateurish and discombobulated” as monomaniacally pro-Israel, no matter how much damage is done to key US interests.

  5. michael
    April 30, 2019 at 18:57

    Blaming Trump for moving the Embassy to Jerusalem seems disingenuous since Congress passed a law moving the Embassy to Jerusalem in 1995 (the Senate voted (93–5), and the House voted (374–37 in favor of the move). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Embassy_Act Clinton started a charade, justified by “National Security” and signed a waiver every six months to stall the move; the game continued under Bush II and Obama and even Trump, his first turn. But then “on June 5, 2017, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of reunification of Jerusalem by 90-0. The resolution reaffirmed the Jerusalem Embassy Act and called upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions.” Trump abided.

  6. Tedder
    April 30, 2019 at 15:31

    If I were a praying man, I would pray to God Almighty On High, please, please initiate the Rapture right away so we can get rid of Mike Pompeo and all his ilk.

    • elmerfudzie
      May 2, 2019 at 18:55

      Tedder, your comment sounds dystopian and somewhat nihilistic. In my view, God does not require the Rapture (hour of parousia) to immobilize or undo actions by the likes of a Pompeo. There are certain Christian communities that emphasize or are pre occupied with the biblical passage found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 but I have certain reservations, on an emotional level, regarding those religious, who focus on the end-times. Suffice it to say, that God can and often does, manipulate evil in such a way as to inspire the good to do more and with greater effort. So, in reality, there’s nothing to despair about. Despair, aside from murder, is the last card in Old Nicks deck.

  7. April 30, 2019 at 14:42

    Ongoing coup against Maduro in Venezuela right now! Blackwater (under a name change to hide past deeds in Iraq) entering Venezuela with mercenaries? No words to describe the USA but…evil empire.

  8. April 30, 2019 at 13:20

    Irrational foreign policy?

    I wish the United States would just drop the charade and declare itself a global empire.

    What we see is the foreign policy of empire. Is this rational or isn’t it?

    https://opensociet.org/2019/03/21/the-american-emperor-has-no-clothes/

  9. elmerfudzie
    April 30, 2019 at 13:16

    Asymmetric warfare with Iran has already begun. Internet based “worms” and economic sanctions have, so far, been successfully coordinated in concert with our rather reluctant Western Occident allies. These attacks have been more or less been kept at bay. The alternative, direct military intervention would prove to be a new “holocaust” and would target roughly seventy separate nuclear research sites and dozens of scattered air force bases. The weapons of choice would be DU-38 munitions and huge bombs. DU has a proven record against fortified concrete and armored structures. It has an infamous reputation for leaving permanent, radioactive “ground shine” wherever used. Lest we all (never) forget the absolutely horribly deformed children born in southern Iraq who suffered prenatal exposure to radiation poisoning! In war, it’s always the most vulnerable and innocent to suffer the most for example; Yemeni civilians.

    The militant factions of our Pentagon and Congress (found within both sides of the political aisle) will continue to pursue the long range plan I outlined some time ago in a CONSORTIUMNEWS commentary. To recap it, this tug-of-war is not so much about trading in the USD as it is about a global oil glut. I believe it was Bandar bin Sultan who commented that, and I’m paraphrasing him here; there’s plenty of relatively easy oil everywhere, the idea to grasp is, what countries will be permitted to extract and sell it? Thus, the global and persistent NeoCon plan seems to be to cap or severely restrict, Libyan, Iranian and Iraqi oil reserves, meanwhile making backroom deals that permit a few SCO, (reluctantly) Russian, Saudi, African and US/Canadian reserves to flourish on the open market. Venezuelan oil will act as the back up resource should, a regional nuclear war in the middle east result in irreversible damage to “friendly” refineries and ready access to them. Again, ground shine due to a deployment of neutron A-weaponry (N-Bombs)..most likely from Israel. Ah!, sweet treachery in times of war eh? Need I remind our CONSORTIUMNEWS readership of Hitlers last minute betrayal of Stalin? The Israelis want a “piece of the oil action” too!

  10. April 30, 2019 at 12:34

    Absolutely JohnP is right, Kushner should be scrutinized for his pro-Israel positions. The ball should be on AIPAC and Israel but instead is on Russia even now. Trump is just the frontman for the activity of Adelson, Bibi, Bolton, Pompeo, Kushner: Bolton pushes for the neocons post Bush II; Pompeo for evangelicals in US who know nothing, as well as for neocons; Kushner for Israel Netanyahu politics. Trump is their foolish pawn. Iran is in crosshairs because of Israel.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    April 30, 2019 at 12:25

    I think matters are worse than you think, Patrick. The US has become, and this regime in Washington specifically is, a parody of “Pinky and The Brain”. You’ve probably never seen it but I’ll bet you can get it on youtube. Watch a couple of episodes. It’s a cartoon and both Pinky and The Brain are mice. Every weekly show starts with Pinky asking The Brain what they’re going to do this week. The Brain always answers that they’re going for total world domination. It’s hilarious.

    But now we need to move on to our very own real world version of Pinky (played by Donald J. Trump) and The Brain (played by a varied cast of religious zealots and extreme right wing ideologues). For time out of mind the US has seduced the rest of the world of the old colonial powers with honey pots. Various goodies that let them feel like they were colonial powers once again and relevant. The US was “The Leader of the Free World” and they were delighted to follow. Unfortunately, over the last few years (and not just since Trump) we have stopped the honey and have started giving orders. This has been quite a shock to the allies who thought they were partners and suddenly discovered that they were really vassals and that the US really was the indispensable nation, not because of our greatness, but because we controlled the world’s finances. I don’t know how long it will take for the rest of the world to take reserve currency away from us nor do I know the proximate cause – out of control debt, loss of income from petrodollars, or what.

    But make no mistake. We are already isolating ourselves by walking away from treaty after treaty. Why should any country trust us to keep our word?

    • Michael
      April 30, 2019 at 18:40

      America’s word has never been taken seriously. Ever heard of our treaties with the Native Americans?
      Clinton abrogated the accords between Gorbachev and Reagan, that NATO would not move one inch to the East. Clinton set up the drunken Yeltsin as his puppet, interfering with Russia’s elections and raping their economy.
      Bush II desperately wanted to finish his father’s Gulf War, ignoring the UN weapons inspectors. He also unilaterally pulled the US out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty.
      America promised Ghaddafi that if he did not pursue nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists (like Saudi Arabia and Israel), he would be left alone. Soon he was dead from bayonet rape with a gleeful chortling Hillary impressing American spooks with her “Libya Model”, touted by Bolton, Pence and Pompeo to Kim’s face.
      Obama’s deal with Iran was hated even more by Hillary (and most members of Congress) than by Trump, and was doomed when Obama left office (one of his few achievements, however fleeting).
      The Establishment clowns Bolton, Pence and Pompeo will keep Trump on track.

  12. Us
    April 30, 2019 at 10:59

    So sorry to see the country ripped apart. Hatful , boasting reprobates behind the steering wheel ……

  13. vinnieoh
    April 30, 2019 at 10:05

    Thank you Mr. Lawrence for, if nothing else, hypothesizing or postulating why the Trump administration foreign policy is as you say, so amateurish and discombobulated. But I do agree with Drew Hunkins below that for whatever reasons(*), Trump himself has always vilified and mocked Iran. He is nothing if not a scurrilous opportunist, and threatening Iran just fits his personality as a bully. Very few if any of the other kids on the playground have the guts or integrity to come to Iran’s defense.

    It lightened my spirit just a little bit when you said that the Trump administration “is one of the most opaque in recent history.” Why, just yesterday I heard our glorious leader say that his administration is the most transparent ever in American history. I wish that I should live long enough to see the use of such superlatives disappear from our discourse.

    I somehow missed Mr. Zarif’s several statements concerning a willingness to engage in bilateral talks. That is almost flabbergasting. Which Iranians could possibly believe there is an honest negotiator now anywhere close to the levers of power in DC? But Zarif continues to hold to and operate in the terms of classic diplomacy: do not close any doors forever, and; do not relinquish the high ground of sensibleness and integrity to your opponent. But, surely there aren’t ANY Iranians who believe that the US would make any concessions, de-escalate any of our threats, or place a muzzle on our two rabid dog allies.

    (*) It is my firm belief that the overwhelming motivation for much of what Trump does goes back directly to the annual DC correspondents dinner where Obama publicly and rightfully humiliated and mocked that fat-assed moron. And well he should have. It didn’t miss my notice that Trump once again skipped that event. He will never attend – it was the absolute lowest point of his public life (so far), everybody laughing at him and that horrible skinny n####r twisting the rhetorical knife relentlessly. I’m reminded of a short story of Harlan Ellison’s called “Stardust.” I’ll leave it to the curious to follow that lead. Narcissism as a genetic “addiction.”

  14. dean 1000
    April 30, 2019 at 07:56

    Trump got elected by running against the empire. What he is doing in the mid-east won’t last. The demography and need for oil is against it. The birth pangs of a new mid-east started when Russia came to the aid of Syria.
    Does Bolton and Pompeo mean that Trump has been completely co-opted by the duopoly he ran against?
    His supporters say wait till 2020. Fat chance.
    I agree with Joe Tedesky. Washington is going to sanction itself out of its empire. The end of empire is hardly the end of the US. The Brits didn’t get single payer healthcare until the empire was gone. Will Washington make the same mistake?
    A country the size of the US will not become obscure.

    • Realist
      April 30, 2019 at 14:20

      Regarding your last sentence: this is the great truth that Washington’s world hegemonists would have you forget. Taking into account the untapped vast resources of Canada and Alaska and its expansive offshore economic zones extending deep into the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, the North American anglosphere could be entirely self-sufficient and do quite nicely on its own for hundreds of years to come, it just wouldn’t be the sole tyrannical state presumably ruling the entire planet.

      Why, it might even entertain the idea of actually cooperating with other regional powers like Russia, China, the EU, India, Iran, Turkey, the Middle East, greater central Asia, Latin America and even Africa to everyone’s benefit, rather than bullying them all because god ordained us to be the boss of all humans.

      America’s major malfunction is its lack of historical roots compared to the other societies mentioned. All those places had thousands of years to refine their sundry cultures and international relationships, certainly through trial and error and many horrible setbacks, most notably wars, famines, pestilence, genocide and human bondage which people did not have the foresight to nip in the bud. They learned by their mistakes and some, like the great world wars, were doozies.

      The United States, and some of its closest homologues like Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, were thrown together very rapidly as part of developing colonial empires. It was created through the brute actions of a handful of megalomaniacal oligarchs of their day. What worked to suppress vast tracts of aboriginal homelands, often through genocide and virtual extinction of the native populations, was so effective that it was institutionalized in the form of slavery and reckless exploitation of the local environment. These “great leaders,” “pioneers” and “founding fathers” were not about to give up a set of principles–no matter how sick and immoral–which they knew to “work” and accrued to them great power and riches. They preferred to label it “American exceptionalism” and force it upon the whole rest of the world, including long established regional powers–cultures going back to antiquity–and not just conveniently sketched “burdens of the white man.”

      No, ancient cultures like China, India, Persia and so forth could obviously be improved for all concerned merely by allowing a handful of Western Europeans to own all their property and run all their affairs. That grand plan fell apart for most of the European powers in the aftermath of World War Two, but Washington has held tough and never given up its designs of micromanaging and exploiting the whole planet. It too is soon to learn its lesson and lose its empire. Either that or it will take the world down in flames as it tries to cling to all that it never really owned or deserved. The most tragic (or maybe just amusing) part is that Washington still had most of the world believing its bullshit about exceptionalism and indispensability until it decided it had to emulate every tyrannical empire that ever collapsed before it.

    • April 30, 2019 at 16:00

      It doesn’t need to become obscure, it just need to become sensible and moral. Much more likely though, the US will meet the inevitable fate of the old gunfighter, who stays around just too long. It’s not going to be pretty, given the malignant nature of those that control it.

  15. mike k
    April 30, 2019 at 07:49

    The article spells out what happens when you put a know nothing fool supposedly in charge of the Empire – chaos and great danger for everyone alive today.

  16. James
    April 30, 2019 at 07:00

    Looks like Russiagate was a success. They got Trump just where they want him.

  17. April 30, 2019 at 05:09

    Meanwhile over on the Eastern side …

    “I don’t care what you ‘feel’,” bellowed Moment Gopher to the large gathering of Eastern gophers belonging to OWR (Organization for Western Resistance).

    “What we want is action. What we want is resistance. What we want is every Gopher regardless of being male or female, albino or grey, long or short, religious or not, to dispense with any feeling of individuality and join our struggle.

    “That the Western gophers have developed the deadly ‘extract of noeyela’ which supposedly blinds gophers within a meter will not deter our brave forces.

    “Our individuals are strong, our families are strong, our homes are strong, our burrows are strong and our borders are invincible. Lift your claws and lift your spirits, tomorrow we will conquer all those who stand against us, we will scatter them to the far corners of the garden and we will take over their burrows.”

    “Squeek, squeek,” came the thunderous chorus of Eastern gophers as they lifted their paws towards the cavern roof.

    So the stage is set. Who can save the day? Will it be the new charismatic leader of the Western gophers aptly named Thumper Gopher, or will Moment Gopher prevail?

    Meanwhile I was thinking, if it is sunny tomorrow it might be a good time to have a barbecue in my garden and invite all my friends.

  18. Realist
    April 30, 2019 at 02:08

    “ex·tor·tion
    /ik?stôrSH(?)n/
    noun
    the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.”

    “Racketeering refers to crimes committed through extortion or coercion. A racketeer attempts to obtain money or property from another person, usually through intimidation or force. The term is typically associated with organized crime.”

    I see. So, American foreign policy, as applied to both its alleged enemies and presumed allies, essentially amounts to an exercise in organised crime. So much for due process, free trade, peaceful co-existence, magical rainbows and other such hypocritical platitudes dispensed for domestic consumption in place of the heavy-handed threats routinely delivered to Washington’s targets.

    That’s quite in keeping with the employment of war crimes as standard “tactics, techniques and procedures” on the battlefield which was recently admitted to us by Senator Jim Molan on the “60 Minutes” news show facsimile and discussed in one of yesterday’s forums on this blog.

    Afghanistan was promised a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs as incentive to bend to our will (and that of Unocal which, unlike Nordstream, was a pipeline Washington wanted built). Iraq was promised and delivered “shock and awe” after a secretary of state had declared the mass starvation of that country’s children as well worth the effort. They still can’t find all the pieces left of the Libyan state. Syria was told it would be stiffed on any American contribution to its rebuilding for the effrontery of actually beating back the American-recruited, trained and financed ISIS terrorist brigades. Now it’s being deliberately starved of both its energy and food requirements by American embargoes on its own resources! North Korea was promised utter annihilation by Yankee nukes before Kim’s summit with our great leader unless it submitted totally to his will, or more likely that of Pompous Pompeo, the man who pulls his strings. Venezuela is treated to cyber-hacked power outages and shortages of food, medicines, its own gold bullion, income from its own international petroleum sales and, probably because someone in Washington thinks it’s funny, even toilet paper. All they have to do to get relief is kick out the president they elected and replace him with Washington’s chosen puppet! Yep, freedom and democracy blah, blah, blah. And don’t even ask what the kids in Yemen got for Christmas from Uncle Sam this year. (He probably stole their socks.) A real American patriot will laughingly take Iran to task for ever believing in the first place that Washington could be negotiated with in good faith. All they had to do was ask the Native Americans (or the Russians) how the Yanks keep their word and honor their treaties. It was their own fault they were taken for suckers.

    • vinnieoh
      April 30, 2019 at 10:17

      Right after the 2016 election I posted something to the effect that perhaps we should ask native Americans if they think it is unusual that an unprincipled real estate speculator is now the captain of the state.

  19. Zhu
    April 30, 2019 at 01:22

    Thanks for confirming that Pompeo is a Dispensationalist, eager for the End of the World.

    • Roberto
      April 30, 2019 at 08:01

      The neocons, Bolton and Pompeo, are not going to put an end to the world, because the Greek Islands need nothing from the United States. They only need a little gasoline for their cars and motor scooters. However, the neocons are going to put an end to the petrodollar, because no one on earth can trust the “out of control government” of the United States, any longer.

  20. CitizenOne
    April 30, 2019 at 01:06

    During the Iraq war there were many calls from conservatives to not stop at the border with Iran. They supported a plan to roll US tanks and other offensive forces until they reached Tehran and obliterated it defeating the rogue nation and securing Iranian oil fields.

    The scenario proposed today to strangle resource rich nations by war hawks is similar to the post war imaginings posed by Patton to keep on going until the US armed forces reached Moscow. It is similar to the plans of MacArthur to lay down a nuclear radiation barrier along North Korea’s northern border with China to create a lethal ionizing radioactive zone or no mans land to prevent China from sending Chinese troops across the border.

    Each one of these proposed but never implemented war strategies in hind sight would have probably netted the US great gains at minimal risk.

    On one hand, the current administrations strategy and tactics to wage economic war against US “enemies” which are all rich with oil reserves seems like the right aggressive maneuvers to make easy wins for the USA. On the other hand the World has changed since those times.

    Current US foreign policy is aligned to impose maximum pressure on countries like Venezuela and Iran in order to pressure those governments and hopefully topple them with sanctions. The entire World is hungry for oil and the demand for oil is expanding at an exponential rate which in turn guides US foreign policy.

    There is thousands of years of history of nations including the US to takeover the riches of nations and profit from the resources.

    This is perhaps the best answer for why there is war. There is war because of the corrupting influence of the money powers to be able to dupe governments and whole populations into doing the bidding of the war profiteers based on made up accusations and efforts to make a land grab that will yield the invading nation the spoils of war.

    The Axis powers in WWII had the same scheme of raiding other nations for the spoils of war and today the same motivations guide the principles of US foreign policy led by the war hawks.

    It does not provide hope that we can avoid war based on history. We actively seek war bolstered by the history of appeasement which shows that compromise is a fatal weakness. Diplomacy is a fools errand and what is needed is a strategy to attack.

    There is no arguing with history. The historical facts behind the failure of the West to act decisively in the run-up to World War is indelibly cast in stone.

    There is however a cautionary tale. The aggressors in each World War were defeated by a coalition of nations that rose up to defeat evil. In no small sense has aggression often been linked with total defeat.

    This is the conundrum facing the US today. If we remain an isolationist nation until we face the enemy at our doorstep we may be too late to defend ourselves and if we attack first we may anger other nations to the point where they will attack us based on our aggressive foreign policies.

    This choice remains the biggest single problem for us to solve. How to choose correctly the path to war or the path to diplomacy. History is littered with the good intentions of politicians who chose to believe in a solution for a peaceful World through appeasement that in the end proved disastrous.

    History is also littered with extreme aggressor nations that were defeated time and time again based on the threat that aggressor nations posed to the rest of the World.

    The Cold War was inevitable as was WWII itself as England and France and the useless League of Nations repeatedly caved into Hitlers annexations of Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and other former German controlled regions.

    Neville Chamberlain declared peace in our time as England and other European nations

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 30, 2019 at 01:37

      If we (the USA) were to concentrate on what’s broke in the world and work besides other sovereign nations to fix those trouble spots for the worldly friendless US this would be a huge breakthrough. Nice post as always Citizen One….lots to think about. Joe

    • Sam F
      April 30, 2019 at 07:57

      Money powers are indeed “able to dupe governments” into “doing the bidding of the war profiteers” and “the aggressors in each World War were defeated by a coalition of nations.”

      How do you reconcile that with proposals of extreme aggression, such as the post-WWII plans of Patton to attack “until the US armed forces reached Moscow” and of MacArthur to create a radioactive zone “to prevent China from sending Chinese troops across the border” and the thesis of Hitler that “diplomacy is a fools errand and what is needed is a strategy to attack” for “great gains at minimal risk”?

      Perhaps you are assuming that our tribe cannot be guilty of aggression. The USSR was defending against the aggression of Hitler, and perceived western Europe as the path of capitalist aggression to be blocked. China was helping the Koreans defend against the aggression of Japan (a situation much confused by the US assumption that it was further liberating them from their revolutionary ideology). Those eras were opportunities for diplomacy between factions of ideology, not for further aggression for factional gain.

    • Sam F
      April 30, 2019 at 12:03

      I’ll presume that you intended to contrast aggression vs. diplomacy, not to justify post-WWII aggression.

    • CitizenOne
      May 1, 2019 at 01:28

      Correct Sam. From The Art of War to win one must know the enemy like one knows ones self. There were terrible consequences for the failure of the West to know Hitlers intentions and fail to act appropriately. England and France were duped by themselves into a policy of submission until it was almost too late. England held on by a thread and somehow managed to break the appeasement strategy and go on to total war. You know the “We shall fight them on the Beaches” speeches which were the defining moments after the failed diplomacy that changed the course of history.

      But there is a problem with hindsight. Every hammer sees a problem as a nail. Our past victories are, in the end, no prediction of our future successes. We need to evaluate every emerging condition as an entirely new problem to be solved with no preconceptions. We need to cast a wide net and explore multiple paths for the successful defense of the Nation. We need to be able to correctly see the future and take actions.

      This is where we have failed believing we have no existential threat we are willing to admit to ourselves except for the old threadbare reasons we find solace and comfort in dusting off the old playbook for World actions believing that the old plans will somehow guarantee success.

      We need to move beyond a model of our preeminence and our position as the leading nation in the World which still relies on our former dominance and our ability to direct the course of foreign nations.

      The entire population of the Planet is growing stronger and more diverse. The voices from emerging nations are growing louder. China is investing the cash they got from the West to implement new strategies to provide basic services to developing nations. Their aim is not philanthropy but eventual control.

      We can no longer afford to expect that some foreign devil nation will rear its ugly head so we can chop it’s head off like we did in WWII. Instead we should be preparing for the new frontier where former adversaries and allies are making inroads in building the new economies of the future.

      There is only one option. We need to stop focusing on our past victories and the methods we used to achieve those victories and begin to correctly assess the opportunities out there where we can still influence the rest of the World in positive ways. China and Russia are not waiting for us to catch up.

    • dfnslblty
      April 30, 2019 at 13:07

      SamF
      Countries/governments are not “duped”; heads~of~states place personal gain ahead of their state.
      Or, heads~of~states are threatened with death.
      Shame on imperialistique states.

    • Sam F
      May 1, 2019 at 06:49

      True; the quote is ambiguous. Often both control and deception are employed by tyrants, political or economic or both.

    • Tedder
      April 30, 2019 at 15:20

      I have read that after WW II, the Soviets made overtures to the Truman government, but those were rejected in favor of hostility. It seems the capitalists’ fear of socialism overcame good sense.

    • DW Bartoo
      May 1, 2019 at 11:59

      Truman knew Russia posed no threat to the U$, Tedder, but chose, like many a predecessor, to create a monster, an enemy of fearful dimension and ruthless intent, to keep the highly profitable militarization of the U$ going.

      The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not done to bring the Japanese to their knees, they were already there, it was to send a message to the Soviet Union.

      All that remained was to stoke domestic fear, inculcate loathing, and extend military empire, as evidenced by what soon transpired on the Korean Peninsula.

      U$ history courses omitt so very much, being most often hagiographic exercises designed to impart unquestioning patriotism.

      Truman instituted the peace-time draft for precisely the same reason, and Hollywood supplied the fictive depictions designed to instill a manly notion of ass-kicking which would dictate policy henceforth.

      Truman and Eisenhower both knew that anti-communism was a lark, but it persuaded JFK to begin the war against Vietnam (and Cambodia and other hapless nearby nations). Vietnam presented no more threat to the U$ than had North Korea. Both were attacked to intimidate China and the Soviet Union.

      The claim was that the wars were necessary to stop the spread of “monolithic communism” when, in fact, China and the Soviet Union were hardy bosom buddies and deeply distrusted each other.

      But it was FDR who really sought what has become the US empire.

      Though you will find no mention of that in most U$ history courses, any more than you will find but passing mention, if any at all, of General Smedley Butler, who made clear that his task had not been to protect the people of the U$, in his foreign engagements, but to open doors for banking and corporate interests.

      We are at the tail end of a long series of provoked wars and fake news (when William R. Hearst found a day without news, he simply invented it – imagine what that means if today’s young historians seek to research the past by looking at “old” newspaper accounts).

    • Jeff Harrison
      April 30, 2019 at 23:59

      I would like to point out that the useless UN has repeatedly caved to US violations of international law, the UN charter, and any number of UN sanctioned treaties. How, exactly, is this any different than the League of Nations and Nazi Germany?

  21. Joe Tedesky
    April 29, 2019 at 22:01

    We the people needn’t worry about our vote for president in as much as we the people should investigate the people who surround our president’s. Trump has been overtaken from his campaigns foreign policy rhetoric by the same cabal of those who have captured the other previous presidents from they’re living up to their promises, whether by choice or by compromise. I wish that a presidential campaign requirement were that each presidential candidate would divulge the cabinet choices they would make as secretary’s of our national agencies. I wish for a lot of things that never will happen but still it would be nice to know such substantial appointments as opposed to knowing about their personality disorders wish are always disclosed for further review and constant discussion.

    I’ve said it before that the US is going to sanction itself into obscurity. These sanctioned nations are many and still growing if you include our allies. It’s all sticks and no carrots. When it all collapses the collapse may be blamed on US arrogance and profit.

    • Zhu
      April 30, 2019 at 01:31

      Whoever moves into the White House, post ritual election, nothing much ever changes. As a society, we are committrd to constant warfare. It pleases our national vanity.

  22. Sam F
    April 29, 2019 at 21:03

    It is a very good thing that “extremist ideologues accelerate America’s already evident decline as a global power.” It has long been apparent that US democracy cannot be saved from the tyranny of the rich, who now control all of its tools of democracy: its elections, mass media, and judiciary. Jefferson wrote that “the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants” every 20 years or so, now long overdue. Certainly the US can only be rebuilt from a very low state, when the rich have been controlled and prohibited, if it is to be saved from violent revolution or conquest. So its economic destruction by imbecile demagogues is a blessing indeed, every step of the way. Let them take America to the recycling center, the sooner to be reworked as a real democracy for the new century.

    • Roberto
      April 30, 2019 at 08:13

      It’s kind of like “Planet of The Apes”, in the sense that the underlings support the process as religious fanatics, who are servants of an oligarchy.

    • Tedder
      April 30, 2019 at 15:22

      Sam, climate disruption will probably interfere with everything; hopefully, America’s decline will be an intelligent response to actuality. I won’t hold my breath.

  23. KiwiAntz
    April 29, 2019 at 19:35

    America should be booted out of the United Nations & the Organization moved to another Country, outside of the US? Because this Country doesn’t obey International Laws, there’s no point in the US being part of it? Its a pariah, rogue State & must be treated as such & designated a Terrorist Nation! America is a AIDS virus infecting & poisoning the World & must be isolated & contained, like any deadly virus? Attempts by the International community to wean their economies away from the US Dollar system, must be accelerated & all the other Nations who rely on Iranian Oil, & others, need to stand together & say with one united voice, we reject your threats, your sanctions & your War crimes behaviour! This Global Bully called America, who thinks it can threaten every Nation on Earth with sanctions & threats in order to get its own way, must be stopped? Trumps geriatric, old white guy, hopeless Presidency & his lunatic appointment’s of Bolton & Pompeo has exposed the true rotten face of US Imperialism, its benevolent face shown to be a complete lie & farce & thanks to Trump & his cronies, everyone can now see this Nation for what it really is? It’s a criminal, Mafia, gangster Nation shaking down other Nations for oil & loot? Lashing around like a drunken buffoon on his last legs, America’s last desperate effort to maintain its Hegemonic status is slipping through its fingers like water, in a increasingly multipolar World lead by Russia, China & every other Nation that’s abandoning the suicidal, Western model of the US in favour of the One Belt, One Road Initiative & economic model of the future, leaving America behind in its wake as a has been, decaying Empire in its death throes, living on its past glories!

    • dfnslblty
      April 30, 2019 at 13:12

      “America should be booted out of the United Nations & the Organization moved to another Country, outside of the US? Because this Country doesn’t obey International Laws, there’s no point in the US being part of it?”
      Excellent idea that points to usa’s hypocracy and attendant violence.

  24. JohnP
    April 29, 2019 at 19:35

    Besides the influence of Pompeo and Bolton upon Trump, there is Kershner and I sense Trump’s desire to gift powerful Zionists who can then promote his business and his ego. Israel wants the Golan Heights it said, because it is defensive, however that may be true, there is also gas and oil there, and they are already taking it away from Syria, just as they deny the Palestinians the energy just off the Gaza shore.
    As thick as Trump is, he has an ability to use vulnerable people to his advantage. I just wish they could or would see that.

    • JohnP
      April 29, 2019 at 19:48

      I meant to say at the start that I think it is Israeli influences through his advisors including Trumps son-in-law that have set the Iranian policy. They are the ones who helped Hizballah get Israel out southern Lebanon which Israel considers part of Greater Israel. Twice they have kicked Israel out of Lebanon.

    • Zhu
      April 30, 2019 at 01:37

      Christian Zionists, like Pompeo & Pence, have the political clout. We Americans are responsible for our own follies, not scapegoats in any other country.

    • Tedder
      April 30, 2019 at 15:24

      And Golan has water, worth more than gas and oil

  25. boxerwar
    April 29, 2019 at 19:28

    NORTH KOREA BEGS, ON BENDED KNEES FOR AMERICAN EASE OF SANCTIONS

    SO THAT N. KOREAN PEOPLE CAN HAVE ADEQUATE FOOD SUPPLIES, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, FERTILIZER FOR FARMS, OPEN COMMERCE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE WAR SHOOTING WITH KOREA CAME TO AN END DECADES AGO!!!!!!

    WHY THE RUCK ARE WE STILL, IN EFFECT, HOLDING THAT NATION OF PEOPLE AS PRISONERS-OF-WAR FIFTY + FU-KEN YEARS AFTER OUR ABSOLUTELY TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF ALL THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE, ROADS, DAMS, FARMS, HOSPITALS, UTILITIES, LEAVING THEM ABSOLUTELY DEPENDENT ON THE SMALL CHARITY FROM COMPASSIONATE NATIONS.

    THAT QUESTION 60 FRIGG’EN YEARS AFTER WE BOMBED THEM INTO HOLY CRAP AND’VE FORBIDDEN OTHER NATIONS, FOR NOW SIXTY YEARS, FROM DOING ANY SORT OF FREE TRADING ??? !!!

    WHO THE G UCK ARE WE???? TO ENSHRINE AND ENFORCE SUCH TERRORISM UPON A PEOPLE WHOM’VE HAD NOT-A-THING TO DO WITH A WAR FRAUGHT UPON THEM SIXTY FRIGGIN YEARS AGO !!!!!!???????!!!!

    ARE YOU (we) SO-CALLED PATRIOTS — OR FRIGGEN PARTICIPANTS IN THE CONTINUED MASS MURDER OF CIVILIAN HUMAN BEINGS, STRUGGLING & STARVING UNDER OUR HOSTAGE INTERNATIONAL BULLYING / BARRIERS, I REPEAT ! AFTER NOW 70 FULL YEARS OF SANCTIONS/EMBARGOES and CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR AGAINST INNOCENT CIVILIANS . !!!!!!

    • dfnslblty
      April 30, 2019 at 13:16

      boxerwar:
      Excellent plea and challenge ~ keep Protesting and Writing!

  26. April 29, 2019 at 19:01

    Irrational is right.

    For it is without question that the United States is behaving irrationally about Iran.

    Here are some concise observations on the history of this and just why it is so:

    https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/john-chuckman-comment-series-of-comments-on-american-sanctions-and-iran-why-america-hates-iran-important-details-of-irans-past-treatment-by-the-u-s-real-reason-israel-hates-iran-democracy/

  27. boxerwar
    April 29, 2019 at 18:49

    IRRATIONAL -: adverse, unfavorable, improper, pernicious, noxious, EVIL, and, so on – in terms of ruthless,or, imprudent bully-ism.
    Such behavior is typical in the life of our unscrupulous, narcisistic Flim-Flam remorseless fiend, the American POTUS Trump.

    WHAT BRUTAL HARMS HAVE BEEN INFLICTED ANYWHERE THIS WORLD BY THE PEOPLE/NATION OF IRAN ? ? ? ?
    (as compared to Saudi Arabia and/or Israel ==== Both Our “Allies ” whom have NO Compunction against bombing civilians…)

    Repeat the words of Secretary of State Condelezza Rice, “WHAT WE SEE NOW ARE THE BIRTH PANGS OF A NEW MIDDLE EAST.”
    (other officials stated openly that our intent in fomenting war in the Middle East was/is the purpose of “OPENING MARKETS.”)

    don’t be fooled by love songs (patriotic) and/or lonely hearts (deceitful men)our ‘leaders’ are rapaciously greedy, evil persons /
    why don’t they reveal the un-redacted Mueller Report?! — Same reasons for JFK report and Saudi’s allowed to fly after 9/11. …

    https://muckrack.com/pepe-escobar/articles

    • JOHN CHUCKMAN
      April 29, 2019 at 19:03

      ????

      Perhaps you need to take a little time to explain what you were trying to say?

    • Boxerwar
      April 30, 2019 at 15:17

      “Such behavior is typical in the life of our unscrupulous, narcisistic Flim-Flam remorseless fiend, the American POTUS Trump”

      JOHN CHUCKMAN — “Perhaps you need to take a little time to explain what you were trying to say?

      ++++ “The US Moves on Iran’s Oil Market as an Expression of an Irrational Foreign Policy” ++++

      Mr. Chuckman; Recognize and Rationalise POTUS Trump in his narcissistic mind-set as the (a) 21st century NERO… .

      A neurotic / egotistical Fool, CONTROLLING Levers of World Economy,Commerce and Military POWER. …

      Mr. Chuckman; add to that the Power and Authority to OWN foreign government banks/politicians/sovereign Right of Control over THEIR NATIONAL RIGHT TO OWN AND CONTROL THEIR OWN ECONOMIES … !!! ???

      Mr. Trump is the face of an International Interloper, and/or is the shocking spearpoint of the brave-new-world of
      Sentient Androids / Robots / Artificial Intelligence / TransHumanism. (wake up everybody!)

      George Gilder warned of this in his 1989 book MICROCOSM

      “BEWARE THE SENTIENT ANDROID” says Ian McEwan’ book, “Machines Like Me”

      Which Have — NO HUMAN FEELING
      No Human Feeling / No Compassion/ No Mercy —

      This is Trumpian Nomenclature/ his Conclave’
      his Obsequious blindness to the “android-istic
      Inhuman-istic selfishness of his Personal Character.

      Trump and his ilk would not fit well with the
      human characters met in Theodore Sturgeon
      likelyMore less in the sermons of Spurgeon.

    • boxerwar
      April 30, 2019 at 15:46

      Get it right, Chuckman,
      Trump is a man out of place
      in this period of time

      But a Fool Out of his own
      Place and Time w/ Robots
      and CRISPER DNA Splicing… .

      Our next Future POTUS,
      Aware of Trans humanism
      will be Empowered by

      Emerging Science and the
      Robotic / Android world
      seen by A. Turing & A. Toffler

    • boxerwar
      April 30, 2019 at 19:27

      My second reply, Mr. Chuckman, (my first reply apparently hasn’t been approved)

      In regard to what I’m ‘trying to say’ —

      The decrepit history of our Brutally Arrogant and Obsequiously Religious belief in The NATIONAL EXCEPTIONALISM,
      that affords us the RIGHT to Construct ‘wars’ with Enemies-Of-Our-Choice, solely at the call of Oil Company Executives, or WarPlane execs, or Trade War Expansionists or Bomb Makers or corporatists like Iraq War Apologist Donald Rumsfeld, who championed and pushed through U S and international markets, the killer sugar substitute Nutrasweet to millions and millions of Overweight and/or Diabetic sufferer’s. – – – – – — Rumsfeld, who championed The Iraq War, where MILLIONS of innocent humans were Slaughtered or Displaced by the FALSE ACCUSATION THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN was the culprit of the 9/11 WTC Event.

      Like the Gulf of Tonkin CREATED EVENT and our CIA and DEA cocaine involvement in Central America that created the DRACONIAN Crack Epidemic of Death and Imprisonment in American ‘Inner-Cities’ — that also introduced the exorbitant overflow of firearms inside densely populated Black & Latino neighborhoods. — These were Planned Events, with planned purpose — AN EVIL PLAN.

      God Bless America, right !! ?

      What lies ahead is ever encroaching Artificial Intelligence — Robots, Sentient Androids, Gene Splicing, Trans Humanism, DNA Networks, ” A Crack In Creation” — CRISPER and the ability to change the genetic makeup of humans – – Non-Human Minds interacting with IDIOT NUMB-SCULLS like POTUS Trump … !

      Perhaps you need to take a little time to explain what you were trying to say?

      CHUCKMAN; In Morse Code it would be … – – – …

    • Tedder
      April 30, 2019 at 15:27

      When the Crazies state somehow that Iran is the greatest purveyor of terrorism in the world, I cringe. I follow the news, and I have not noticed one incidence of Iranian terrorism in many years–perhaps the Embassy Takeover after the Revolution, but that can be excused as a defense against the CIA.

  28. SPENCER
    April 29, 2019 at 17:56

    The Trump administration is a real life version of THE GANG THAT COULDN`T SHOOT STRAIGHT —Trump is papa Baccala–Pompeo is the Water Buffalo—Bolton is Kid Sally Palumbo—nobody is laughing at them –The American people have to vote them out -#Vote them out—–

    • Zhu
      April 30, 2019 at 01:42

      Replacements are unlikely to be better. Mechagidzilla and Goszilla are both monsters.

  29. April 29, 2019 at 15:55

    “At the same time, Trump’s desire to negotiate with adversaries — Russia, Iran, North Korea — is entirely defensible. But the “down to zero” Iran policy to take effect this week can be read as a signal of the president’s failure to counter the foreign policy Manicheans who surround him.”

    Not sure if I agree with Lawrence on this point. Trump indeed always wanted to negotiate with Russia and NK. However , a distinction must be made when it comes to Iran specifically. Trump has always been a staunch hawk toward Iran, always; he didn’t need any cajoling from Bolton or Pompeo Maximus. He’s merely continuing his hostility against Iran. (Cue Sheldon Adelson of course.)

    • David G
      April 30, 2019 at 04:43

      Dead right. The same can be said for Venezuela.

      I don’t know how much credit Trump deserves for his gaseous musings about better relations with Russia and North Korea, and about disengagement from war in Syria and Afghanistan – swamped and overturned as they have been by the Beltway consensus – but whatever you want to grant him with respect to those countries, there’s no public evidence that his brutal hostility toward Iran and Venezuela required any convincing.

    • rosemerry
      April 30, 2019 at 16:31

      The brutal hostility is of course entirely unjustified. His “choice” of advisers just makes the whole problem worse-it would be difficult to find worse people than Pompass, Bolton and Abrams.

    • earthling1
      May 1, 2019 at 13:18

      The plan is to regime change Venezuela and steal their oil.
      Blockade Iran from selling their oil and use Venezuelas oil to maintain low gas prices.
      Regime change Iran and move missiles to Russias southern flank.
      Blow up Russian pipelines/blockade export of Russian oil.
      Regime change Russia and complete “containment” of China’s northern flank.
      Regime change China.
      Game , set, victory.
      World conquest.

    • dfnslblty
      April 30, 2019 at 13:22

      DH,
      ” … Trump’s desire to negotiate…”
      potus has no desire nor any ability to negotiate!
      Real estate à la d’rump is force and bullying; governing is the same.
      The psychopathology make potus unfit to hold office.

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