DIANA JOHNSTONE: The Imperialism of Foolery

Pro-Western Syrian exiles have issued a diatribe against the most informative critics of U.S. war policy at a time when Washington’s aggressiveness is reaching new levels of intensity.

A protest placard in the Kafersousah neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, Dec. 26, 2012. (Freedom House, Flickr)

By Diana Johnstone
in Paris
Special to Consortium News

No promising event has more fully failed to keep its promise than the optimistically named Arab Spring.  Ten years ago, massive protest demonstrations that began in Tunisia and moved quickly to Egypt were hailed as the harbinger of democracy overtaking the Middle East in one great swoop of history.

It didn’t go that way. The result has been demoralization in Tunisia, enforced military rule in Egypt, the destruction of Libya as a viable nation, endless war and famine in Yemen, Syria in ruins, and not a scratch on the most autocratic nations in the region, starting with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Libya offered decisive evidence that “getting rid of a dictator” does not automatically transform a country into a new Switzerland.

A lesson to be drawn is that when it comes to trying to unite and modernize relatively new nation states (especially in the hostile environment of the Middle East), the imperfections of developing ways to govern must deal with sometimes  antagonistic, tribal, ethnic and religious groups.  If the shell is broken, what emerges may be chaos rather than the neat, peaceful, party rivalries of Western representative democracy — a political norm quite recent in human history.

Democracy & Revolution

This norm was much more a product of the evolutionary growth in economic power and influence of the bourgeoisie in Western society than of violent revolution, although the process did involve violent uprisings in France and the American colonies of the British Empire.  However, throughout the 20th century, revolution was associated not with the institution of electoral systems — democracy as currently understood — but rather with going beyond such “formal democracy” in order to institute a change in the economic system, namely socialism.

This was what revolutionary movements, notably those labeled as anarchist or Trotskyist, had in mind.  In reality, genuine revolution is not a frequent event.  As the prospect of such social revolution in the West has faded, Western revolutionaries have turned to hailing any movement against existing non-Western states as revolutionary, progressive, if not socialist, then at least “democratic.”

Such revolutionaries, often academics, form a cheering section for one anti-governmental uprising after the other: for the “Kosovars” in Serbia, for Kurds anywhere, for Chechens when they were blowing up theaters and schools in Russia, for the Libyan protesters in Benghazi (who were actually Islamic fundamentalists, contrary to reports at the time), for Uyghers today.

On March 27, the vicarious revolutionary cheering section marked the 10th anniversary of the war in Syria by sponsoring a statement by 65 Syrian exiles, many of them academics in Western universities, who are long-term opponents of the Baathist ruling party in Syria. 

 Gilbert Achcar in 2014. (Tiq, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Franco-Lebanese academic Gilbert Achcar led the drive to gather over 300 supporting signatories from numerous countries.   The gist of the message was to condemn American and other Western independent anti-war writers for failing to support the Syrian revolution that never happened.     

Because indeed, the democratic Syrian revolution with which those exiles identify did not happen. Demonstrations and repression do not make a revolution.  Those triggering events in early 2011 were rapidly hijacked by armed rebels supported by a range of outside powers aspiring to use the disorder to break Syria into pieces — a long-term policy aim of Israel which does not meet with opposition from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey… or their friends in Washington.  The Arab nationalist regime in Syria had been on their hit-list for decades.

The 65 Syrian signatories live in Western countries. Their text clearly presents Syria as a dichotomy between themselves, who oppose the regime, and Bashar al Assad. They accuse the anti-war writers of supporting Assad and “dehumanizing” the Syrian people by ignoring themselves, individuals who have opposed the Assad regime in the past and suffered for it.

“Demonstrations and repression
do not make a revolution

But the real existing conflict in Syria today is not between Bachar al Assad and 65 exiled intellectuals.  Proclaiming “support” for Westernized intellectual opponents of Assad is totally irrelevant to the existing situation.  The exiles could reasonably blame their irrelevance on the CIA, which spent a billion dollars a year, in cahoots with Saudi Arabia, in the clandestine Operation Timber Sycamore arming and training Islamist rebels opposed to Baathist secularism who made opposition to Assad their own exclusive cause.

U.S. Marines and Jordanian Army soldiers collaborate in Amman, Jordan, during Timber Sycamore, September 2016. (U.S. Military, Wikimedia Commons)

Syria Still Under Attack

Parts of Syria today are still under hostile occupation by Islamists with Turkish support around Idlib in the northwest; by the United States in the oil-producing regions of the northeast; and by Israel on the Golan Heights. For good measure, Israel bombs Syria from time to time.

The country is being quite deliberately strangled by U.S. sanctions. 

None of this is mentioned by the Syrian exiles who feel abused by “self-styled anti-imperialist” writers who plead for an end to the sanctions that deprive Syrians living in their own country of food, medicines and other necessities of life.

Democracy can only be brought to a nation by its own people.  However, opposition figures in many countries are encouraged by the National Endowment for Democracy and less open channels to fancy that U.S. support can help them get rid of rulers they hate and even give them a role in a changed regime. Such figures were active in the invasion of Iraq and the destruction of Libya. In the present situation, the main thing such pro-Western Syrian exiles can do to apply for such support is to use their victim status to attack critics of U.S. foreign policy.

“Democracy can only be brought
to a nation by its own people.”

They have let themselves be rounded up for this purpose, issuing a diatribe targeting many of the most principled and informative critics of U.S. war policy.  The initial text cited by name investigative journalists Max Blumenthal, Aaron Maté, Ben Norton, Rania Khalek, as well as Caitlin Johnstone, Jimmy Dore, Antiwar.com, Kim Iversen, Mint Press News, Consortium News, and many others.  These names were scratched out by Achcar in order to induce Noam Chomsky to add his own most highly valued signature.

Aaron Maté of The GrayZone recounts that Chomsky defended his signature on the grounds that without the names, the letter is merely an “abstract statement of principle,” “expressing general support for people.”

But which people? By reducing Syria to a confrontation between themselves and Assad, the exiled intellectuals dismiss as insignificant millions of Syrians in Syria who, however critical of their government, support it in preference to chaos or rule by Islamist fanatics. Support to these Syrian exiles entails an attack on writers doing what Chomsky historically used to do himself: give priority to criticizing his own government, which he can theoretically influence, instead of trying to influence policy in foreign countries.    

Full list of names at 1:31.13

Throughout, this letter claims that critics of U.S. involvement in Syria are (1) motivated by “support for Assad” and (2) influenced in some way by alignment with Russia and China. No evidence or examples are provided to back these totally improbable assertions.  There is no mention of Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar, and U.S. involvement is played down:

“But America is not central to what has happened in Syria, despite what these people claim. The idea that it somehow is, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, is a by-product of a provincial political culture which insists on both the centrality of US power globally as well as the imperialist right to identify who the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ are in any given context.”

This is an extraordinarily meaningless statement. The U.S. is sitting on Syrian oil, letting it be siphoned off to Turkey, doing everything to prevent reconstruction, but it is “not central” to what has happened in Syria.  And it supposedly takes a “provincial political culture” to notice the “centrality of U.S. power globally.” 

And what is the “principle” being defended here?  The naughty writers are blamed for reinforcing “a dysfunctional status quo and impeding the development of a truly progressive and international approach to global politics; one that we so desperately need, given the planetary challenges of responding to global warming.”

Huh? What on earth does that mean?  What is this “truly progressive and international approach to global politics” they yearn for?  What would it accomplish and how?  Not a clue.       

The diatribe concludes:

“This is the ‘anti-imperialism’ and ‘leftism’ of the unprincipled, of the lazy, and of fools, and only reinforces the dysfunctional international gridlock exhibited in the UN Security Council. We hope that readers of this letter will join us in opposing it.”

This snide and incoherent broadside against genuine independent anti-imperialist writers comes at a time when Washington’s aggressiveness is reaching new levels of intensity and many antiwar writers are confronted with growing attempts at marginalization and even censorship. It is so timely to brand them all with the label “anti-imperialism of fools.”

To reply to the labelers in their language, let me say that the promoters of this despicable letter are practicing the imperialism of foolers. The gambit is to fool people into seeing imperialism in so many places that it is neutralized. The United States has a military budget that exceeds that of all its major adversaries and allies put together, operates nearly a thousand bases all around the world, destroys countries one after the other by sanctions and subversion, clearly wants to change regimes even in Russia and China, and practices nuclear war games on their borders.  Its world hegemonic pretensions are blatant and frightening.

But if any nation resists this global onslaught, it must be imperialist too.  So to be an Achcar-approved anti-imperialist, you can say bad things about the United States, but you must say equally bad things about whichever nation has the ability and will to resist, because it too must be “imperialist.”  That way you can congratulate yourself on being a perfectly pure and absolutely useless “anti-imperialist.”

No, we are not such fools.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her latest book is  Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press). The memoirs of Diana Johnstone’s father Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness, was published by Clarity Press, with her commentary. She can be reached at [email protected] .

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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39 comments for “DIANA JOHNSTONE: The Imperialism of Foolery

  1. Rob
    April 9, 2021 at 14:51

    I watched the full three hour Grayzone video. It is absolutely great. Those guys are brilliant, especially Max Blumenthal, whose memory for names and facts is off the charts, as is his ability to digest and synthesize that material into coherent frameworks.

  2. April 9, 2021 at 11:29

    Disappointing that Chomsky is held in such high regard when his closet Zionism is ignored. What sticks in my mind is that Assad’s response to the riots in 2011 was proposing what appeared to be significant reforms and then the overwhelming electoral support of Assad that followed were dismissed by those with power to acknowledge and act on such facts. Like Bush, when faced with overwhelming evidence that IRAQ had no or miniscule amounts of WMDs essentially said, sorry you poor Iraqi bastards, we’re going to destroy your country anyhow.

  3. Fitzjames Wood
    April 9, 2021 at 09:48

    The false dichotomy of calling critics of US/UK policy on Syria, misguided Assad apologists amounts to nothing but pathetic and rather non-academic playground name calling. The questioning of the ‘humanitarian interventionism’ of the West in Libya, Iraq and Syria is highly suspect because the interventions that have already been achieved have done nothing but bring untold grief and misery to the ‘liberated’ and appalling instability to the region let alone a massive refugee crisis. And, ironically for the war hawks in Washington a government in Baghdad now entirely influenced by Iran… but they got control of the oil so it wasn’t all bad?

    Whereas by supporting the US/UK policy of ‘criticism’ of Assad is nothing but a veil for a much darker agenda (which Trump let slip when he talked of the US’s ongoing occupation of the oil fields of Syria) But we all knew that anyway didn’t we? Or are we that hopelessly naive to think this is about democracy and human rights? Otherwise we would be bombing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Myanmar right?

    But some apologists for the terrorism of the US/UK interventions have to give the appearance of bringing a more enlightened way to those other perceived more savage Arabs countries (that just happen to be countries that are not trading their oil exclusively in the US petro dollar…hmmm what a odd coincidence?) and bringing western values of democracy, peace and freedom to the people. (with the exception of those pesky Palestinians and let’s not talk about the inhumane treatment of journalist/publisher Julian Assange because he exposed the truth about US/UK war crimes in their dubious quest for human rights for all. And God forbid, let us not even talk of the now accepted State murder most foul of Jamal Khasoggi) Oh, and the discovery in 2011 of the massive gas fields off the coast of Syria or the mineral potential of Golan…ahem…that would have nothing to do with it either? Mentioning such things means you love Putin, Assad and are a fully paid up stooge of the CCP, fool!

  4. April 9, 2021 at 09:26

    Thanks. Again.

  5. Donald Duck
    April 9, 2021 at 09:25

    You think neo-naziism is peculiar to the western Ukraine? Try the Baltic states, who welcomed the einsatzgruppen – German SS death squads and their local Nazi copycats. The Holocaust in Lithuania resulted in the near total destruction of Lithuanian and Polish Jews, living in Generalbezirk Litauen of Reichskommissariat Ostland within the Nazi-controlled Lithuanian SSR. Out of approximately 208,000–210,000 Jews, an estimated 190,000–195,000 were murdered before the end of World War II, most between June and December 1941. More than 95% of Lithuania’s Jewish population was massacred over the three-year German occupation—a more complete destruction than befell any other country affected by the Holocaust

  6. S.P. Korolev
    April 9, 2021 at 04:51

    Howie Hawkins is a signatory also! I don’t keep up with the minutiae of US party politics but had assumed the older Greens had a more traditional antiwar orientation (hence the ‘Jill Stein is a Russian agent’ slurs).

    My thesis supervisor is there also, quite disconcerting to see the man who helped teach me my Marxism lending his name in support of a CIA dirty war. I guess is goes to show how Trotskyists can be useful, they keep orthodox Marxism alive and educate you to the point you realise they are full of it…

    • Anne
      April 9, 2021 at 12:52

      They certainly do not want to live it: It being full on communism….

    • Antiwar7
      April 9, 2021 at 15:19

      Re Howie Hawkins: Yup, that’s why I thought Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) was the more effective antiwar vote. Hawkins seemed vague enough to be bamboozled by “humanitarian” interventionism (the letter being an example in that vein).

    • Lois Gagnon
      April 9, 2021 at 19:52

      Ugh! I love Howie, but he needs a primer on foreign policy.

  7. April 9, 2021 at 03:04

    The Search: My search for the most humane, ethical and peaceloving country on this earth. In the final five I listed are the UK, Israel, USA, France and Ukraine.
    Obviously not New Zealand, Australia, China, Iran and Switzerland due to their abuse of their native populations. Ancient history also eliminated Greece and Italy. Watch the video here:
    For those afraid of my artistic depictions of nudity take heed yet this satirical video sets the pace for the US excuses into more agression in Ukraine etc.

  8. April 9, 2021 at 02:17

    Thanks to CN for running this and Diana Johnstone for writing it. The “Syrian intellectuals” are failed revolutionary intriguers who thought they would be in Damascus ministries by now. They made in effect a faustian bargain with the Muslim Brotherhood, thinking they could carve off a piece of the spoils. They were hopelessly outclassed, but instead of starving in garrets and idling in cafes, they hold academic positions and dominate the liberal media. The “left” tbat backs them, led by Chomsky, is a colossal failure

    • Anne
      April 9, 2021 at 13:01

      As I wrote below, part of the reason for their being these Syrian (or Russian, or Chinese, Lebanese, or Iranian) “intellectuals” – almost always dwelling in the west, comfortably…is that they were the offspring of the upper-middle to upper classes of their given society, have been instilled from birth at least with a contempt, deep and complete, for the poor and working classes of their given societies (these classes often being deeply religious) and then being, from kindergarten onward being taught in International and American schools (in country) then being sent to US/European/British Universities – thus furthering their westernization indoctrination….Until they are fully, completely divorced from their culture, society, people and totally perceive the country and people of their origin as “wrong,” their country’s govt in need of overthrow, of continuous (and usually duplicitous) disparagement…(Iranians of this mindset, e.g. – not a few will have been in the upper classes under the Shah, possibly even in the higher levels of SAVAK, and thus have benefited mightily, until 1979.)

  9. David A.
    April 9, 2021 at 00:55

    I adore Diana Johnstone. She is simply the smartest and bravest intellectual in the world. Where other intellectuals get fooled by clever imperialists, Ms. Johnstone sees right through deception. She made Antifa, the shock troops of neo-liberalism and identity politics (but self-delusively identifying as Communists and Anarchists), and their “intellectual” apologists, look like absolute fools. She works to end war by exposing the evils of imperialism. She has exposed the evil and hypocrisy of humanitarian intervention as just the updated version of white man’s burden. If there really was a Bene Gesserit guiding humanity to a better future then Ms. Johnstone would be its Mother Superior. And if I were emperor I would want her always at my right hand, observing and advising.

    • Antiwar7
      April 9, 2021 at 15:22

      Hear, hear! Totally agree.

  10. Guy
    April 8, 2021 at 18:17

    It is time once again that Russia help the Syrian air force to destroy the oil convoys that are stealing oil from the North Eastern Syrian territory occupied by the US .The oil that Trump bluntly stated he was protecting .At the very least if Syria can’t harvest it’s own oil then nobody should .And how to stop the missiles coming from Israel through Lebanese territory into Syria …..supposedly to hit Iranian bases. Anyone that has been paying attention knows very well why Israel attacks Syria.Destroy Syria so as to claim the Golan on a permanent basis .More land and ever more land because God gave it to them .

  11. John Neal Spangler
    April 8, 2021 at 17:23

    These academics are part of the new fascism. So-called “liberals” who use the banner of R2P, which is White man’s burden reworked to destroy any country that does not want to be a slave of Wall street. American “liberals” are quite Orwellian. Virtue signalling with words, while their actions are racist and Imperialist.

  12. Mark Thomason
    April 8, 2021 at 17:21

    When the region was Ottoman, it was three separate provinces. Each was composed of multiple tribal and ethnic rivalries, that did not overlap from one province to another.

    When Italy took it over, it did nothing to make one functional colony out of it. It just sat on the possessions.

    When it was freed from Italy after WW2, the British put in charge a deeply corrupt “monarch” who put his energy into his harem.

    Finally, one of the Libyan Army leaders took over. Gaddafi. He ran the place ever since. He was the only glue holding it together as one entity, the only glue it had ever had. Whatever his many faults, there was no Libya at all without him.

    As we now see, there is no “Libya” and the regions are again fighting along the old Ottoman lines.

  13. john woodford
    April 8, 2021 at 17:18

    At last, someone is telling it like it is concerning Syria. The US interference at the outset was routinely hyped on NPR, as was the case with all the other recent neoliberal imperialist wars, incursions, sabotage, assassinations, interference, sanctions (i.e. policy of imposing starvation and disease) and the rest of the arsenal. This essay makes me so happy to DONATE to Consortium News today!

  14. PEG
    April 8, 2021 at 15:52

    Very good to hear from the great Diana Johnstone again, and it is interesting to read her article together with the masterful piece by Patrick Lawrence on the Syrian situation, which appeared in CN a few days ago.

    A key point in all this – which Lawrence alludes to – is that, under Obama, the USA (together with its key European allies) decided to continue the “War in the Greater Middle East,” begun by Bush jr., by other means – instead of direct invasion with ground troops, now carrying out war through covert operations in the case of Syria (Timber Sycamore etc.) and air operations in the case of Libya, a weaker target, in both cases combines with a massive propaganda blitz through the MSM, with false flags (“chemical attacks” in Syria) or brazen lies (“genocide” and mass rapes fueled with Viagra in Libya). Key leitmotivs in the propaganda campaign include “freedom”, “democracy”, “toppling dictators”, supported by the “doctrine” of R2P.

    I have no doubt that most of the signers of this rebarbative open letter of Achcar and his clique actually sincerely believe what they are signing up to. But few people have the inclination, time or character to think independently and read CN, and listen to the persons originally targeted in the open letter. It’s a great disappointment that Chomsky signed the letter, although with the redeeming factor that he had names of targeted journalists deleted – journalists that are now bravely doing the same type of work Chomsky did at the time of the Vietnam War.

    In any event, one can only have contempt for the Syrians who signed this letter, who apparently see nothing wrong in their compatriots being starved and impoverished through sanctions and their country being decimatedand threatened by the likes of Al Qaeda. These expat Syrians are what Yasha Levine refers to as “weaponized immigrants”, insouciantly being used by the Empire to target their own country.

    The restored Democratic administration seems to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing and appears ready to reignite Obama’s (and H. Clinton’s) interventions in Syria and Ukraine. Let us hope and pray that Lawrence’s prediction of a new war in Syria doesn’t come to pass. But I’m afraid Lawrence is right.

    • Litchfield
      April 9, 2021 at 12:33

      “These expat Syrians are what Yasha Levine refers to as “weaponized immigrants”, insouciantly being used by the Empire to target their own country.
      The restored Democratic administration seems to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing and appears ready to reignite Obama’s (and H. Clinton’s) interventions in Syria and Ukraine. ”

      Why stop at Ukraine?
      Who was that awful Iraqi expat living in I think DC who pretended to stand for “democratic” forces in Iraq?
      And how about about those Venezuelans and that democratic “hero” Gaido?

      The playbook hasn’t changed: Groom a new government abroad while doing all you can to make life miserable for the country’s actual citizens and their government.

      Many thanks to Diane Johnstone for socking it to the latest bunch of would-be ruling scoundrels.
      And to CN for publishing.
      Very sad that Chomsky has been hoodwinked into signing on to this kind of dangerous drivel.
      Chomsky probably does not suffer from dementia, but he is now way out of his depth in terms of staying abreast of the newest techniques and tricks of the hegemon he used to criticize so effectively, and its proxies, and should avoid signing anything.

  15. vinnieoh
    April 8, 2021 at 15:22

    Thanks to CN for enabling this excellent piece from Diana Johnstone.

    Independent writers and scholars also wanted to have their voices heard before the disastrous vote for the AUMF that green-lighted the Bush/Chaney invasion of Iraq. Those independents also mostly or wholly predicted the disastrous consequences for Iraq and the wider region. Biden made sure their voices were not heard. Not that it would have mattered; our professional political class is all very well vetted and have been on a regimen of koolaid for a very long time. Dog, apple pie, and the American Way, don’t you know.

    Nothing re-enforces the notion of “rightness” so much as an “Arab scholar” cheering on Shock and Awe. And wholesale murder.

  16. Anne
    April 8, 2021 at 14:55

    Ta very much Diana Johnstone for this all too horrendously true piece.

    Why are some in such as Syria, Iran, Afghanistan etc… so westernized? My view, thought, is that their westernization begins with their being part of the upper middle to upper classes and therefore their education in an International or American School in their country…then they might attend either a university in Europe, the USA or even, as in Lebanon or Egypt, in an American University in country….By the time they have finished even their high school ed, they will have been fully “indoctrinated” into believing that the western way is the “right way.” And behind that, anyway, is a deep contempt for the working classes, the poor, many of whom are very religious (in the MENA countries) and/or of indigenous origin (in Latin America)….And these – working poor and indigenous – often support such as the Syrian govt, the Venezuelan govt of Chavez then Maduro because they (originally before the dreadful effects of the US economic sanctions) benefited greatly – educationally, democratically, even to some extent economically..

  17. Jörgen Hassler
    April 8, 2021 at 13:52

    The piece makes gives me a strong feeling of shame. I used to be the publisher of Internationalen, the paper produced by the Swedish section of USFI (the specific brand of trotskyism of Achcar and many of the signatories of the letter).

    According to Swedish law, it was techically more or less my personal paper. We had a short debate on Kosovo, whit one person defending NATO bombings of Serbia. Libya was worse, more people pro NATO, but still a minority.

    At the time of I was still the publisher, but I wasn’t inwolved in the day-to-day work, I had two kids, I no longer just needed a job, I needed an acuall income.

    To my horror I saw what pieces published supporting the ‘armed uprising’. Some where translations of Achcar & co, others written by people I knew hadn’t the faintest idea of how current imperialism worked, nore would they have been able to locate Syria on a map a month earlier. The text whern’t just nonsens politicaly, there were obvious lies among them, the most notable was the claim of hundreds of ‘revolutionary councils’ all across Syria, coucils that no one eles — pro or anti Assad — ever saw. Their sudden interest was curious, since it was usually me writing about the wars in the greater middle east and imperialism in general (since Irak war II or so, no one else gave a f**k).

    I published a few pieces pointing out their proimperialst stance. After that I was summoned to a leadership meating, got a degrading verbal beating over the head, resigned and left the party two weeks later.

    The shame I feel stem from having spent 20 years building the party and writing for the paper. It might not be my fault, but still… they keep it up, 10 years later, after we know the results. I’m at loss for words.

    • Antiwar7
      April 9, 2021 at 15:37

      The fact that you were out-manipulated by sociopaths is no blame on you. They took over something you built up in good faith. Again, not your fault. Abuse is the fault of the abuser.

  18. James
    April 8, 2021 at 13:38

    As someone said on twitter the other day, which seems to pertain to the Syrian government: “I wonder why some governments feel the need to concentrate power in the executive? Maybe because a giant imperial superpower is constantly trying to overthrow them?” Critique of imperialism comes first.

  19. Nassy Fesharaki
    April 8, 2021 at 12:50

    Got a tipsy feeling with the “Title” and meant to write the rest in my mind because the title is my slogan too. Then read the content and was caught with its fact…I have travelled tp many countries, live with many nations, have done quite a lot of research on the core of the pains and sufferings as well as joys and successes of different peoples and the result is exactly what comes here: “Peoples’ freedom and success can only come by them not by US, Chia and/or the so called “Peacekeepers” approved or disapproved by UN. Thanks you.

  20. Dave
    April 8, 2021 at 11:39

    Ms Johnstone again demonstrates why she is one of the best analysts and critics of mega-capitalism as practiced daily in the Western…and some of the Eastern… transitory demi-empires. Perhaps a brief analysis of what differentiates “rebellion” vs “revolution” is in order at this very moment as the more hideous elements of the USA’s Democratic Party begin to publicly splinter from any semblance of the positive aspects of progressive social evolution. Southern Strategy USA Republicans are beyond belief any longer…ignore them and their strategies wherever possible.

  21. Coleen Rowley
    April 8, 2021 at 10:56

    Unfortunately Ashcar was able to write his own factually-devoid history of glorious “Arab Spring” revolutions effective enough to dupe “The Nation” back in 2019: hXXps://outline.com/Lnc8gw. Reminds me of Henri Bernard Levy who is apparently good at standing on his tippy-toes when needed for a propagandistic moment–see minute 53 of the GrayZone video embedded in the article.

  22. Gary Weglarz
    April 8, 2021 at 10:51

    There was a time when Chomsky would have called out such a morally bankrupt propaganda operation, rather than signing his name to it. Sadly that day has passed.

  23. aaron
    April 8, 2021 at 10:43

    Wonderful piece. I just bought your newest book. Thank you!

    I do not understand the story of the Syria letter. Did Noam Chomsky defend the Grayzone authors or slight them?

    Can someone please explain the relationship between Noam Chomsky’s agreeing to sign the letter and our Grayzone authors names?

    Thank you,


    • Diana Johnstone
      April 9, 2021 at 13:59

      This is explained in the Gray Zone video included in the article, captioned “Full list of names at 1:31.13”. That is the point where all the names in the initial version are shown. The explanation is in the surrounding discussion.

  24. firstpersoninfinite
    April 8, 2021 at 09:53

    “Democracy can only be brought to a nation by its own people.” – great quote from the article, which the great junta of America and its Boss Hog allies ignore at their own peril. We prop up dictatorships and apartheid states while claiming democracy as our standard. It also reminds me of another great quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “You cannot create prosperity by law. Sustained thrift, industry, application, intelligence, are the only things that ever do, or ever will, create prosperity. But you can very easily destroy prosperity by law.” Both of the parties strangling our experiment in democracy have helped destroy prosperity by instituting oligarchy. The last forty years are the slow-motion, gold-plated coup of corporations over democracy. How do you fashion a foreign policy which is in any way enlightened from the prima facie fact of your own, pure greed? Humanism or decline are the only paths forward.

  25. firstpersoninfinite
    April 8, 2021 at 09:36

    The motto of the US empire should be the following: “our new friends were once our enemies – we stand only for the truth of our imperial interests”.

  26. April 8, 2021 at 09:33

    Excellent and important article.

  27. Realist
    April 8, 2021 at 08:12

    Surely Chomsky must have noticed that the current government of the United States consistently violates every standard for human rights, political freedom and true democracy that it helped craft and institutionalize in agencies such as the UN, the International Court, the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg protocols, etc, etc, and that it has done so in greater extremis as time has passed since the end of World War II when these agencies and coda were first created to preclude any future repeat of that great human catastrophe.

    Now we are to the point where the United States essentially holds half of humanity at gunpoint in numerous very real siege situations with entire national economies, industrial capacities, public health delivery, drug availability, agricultural outputs, water supplies, energy supplies and natural resources specifically targeted for deliberate systematic destruction by the American “hybrid” war machine. These actions are all condemned and outlawed as crimes against humanity by the very agencies America helped create!

    Washington perpetrates the biggest most grandiose act of hypocrisy ever recorded in the history every day of the week. No one but a handful of dissenters on the outside looking in, including the [always independent, and never mainstream corporate] journalists that Ms. Johnstone mentioned early in her piece, dare to acknowledge this gob smacking contradiction of reality by an America that claims to be a pinnacle of civilisation but is actually a sickening den of barbarism.

    The absolute height of this immoral hypocrisy occurred when Washington started to recruit, train, arm and pay the same gang of headchoppers that it initially called Al Qaeda, blamed for 9-11 and used as its excuse to initiate a so-called worldwide war against terrorism to now carry out most of the dirty work in the complete destruction of the Syrian state. In the interim these savage mercenaries have also been employed by America’s worst scum that it dignifies with the title of “intelligence” agencies to dismantle several other formerly independent countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, with Iran certainly targeted) none of which ever attacked or injured the United States in any way.

    Now we read in foreign sources [but never in American propaganda outlets like the NYT or WaPo] that headchoppers from Idlib in Turkish occupied Syria have been airlifted to Ukraine to engage in the carnage that the Washington butchers have planned very soon for that country under the false narrative of “Russian” aggression. Frankly, I am amazed that Mr. Chomsky could get his priorities so scrambled if he is truly on the same side as the cadre of headchoppers that Washington cultivates for its dirtiest work.

  28. Pat
    April 8, 2021 at 01:00

    Excellent article… I am surprised that Noam Chomsky signed the letter. Also, I did not realize just how much we were still doing to harm that country. As a lifelong Democrat, I always prided myself that it was the Republicans that were the war party–I quit doing that in 2014 or so… Now convinced that the Democrats are the war party. Have the feeling that the world is gearing up for something bad… Hope I’m wrong. Have our traditions ever been more eroded? I think of the “Lost Generation” of writers and artists in the early 20th century–they may have lost their beliefs in Christianity and God in general, but they had not lost their minds.

    • Anne
      April 8, 2021 at 14:46

      I would only ask: To which traditions do you refer? The genocidal ethnic cleansing of the indigenous in order to steal the lands? The equally vicious war against Mexico in order to grab all of south western region? Our brutal war against the Philippines? Then there was that show atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima – gotta demonstrate our capabilities to the USSR; and then the bombing atrocities in NK, bombing and chemical even greater atrocities in Vietnam, plus Laos and Cambodia, our bombing of Panama, invasion of Grenada (just to placate our sensibilities re the failure to beat up Vietnam totally), Serbia, Iraq (x2), Afghanistan, Libya, Syria….and NONE of this includes our interminable overthrows, fomenting of coups, of legitimate governments WE do not like because they are slightly socialist, they actually have the idiocy to believe that their nation’s resources belong to their peoples not US companies…and this latter hubris, arrogance has been ongoing since at least the late 19th C – early 20th C (Smedley Butler)….

  29. Carlton Meyer
    April 7, 2021 at 23:13

    For the past decade, foreign powers have sought to destroy Syria. Most people are unaware since the western corporate media pretend the violence is the result of a revolution or civil war. The truth is that Israel wants to reclaim southern Syria, Turkey wants to reclaim northern Syria, and the Persian Gulf states want a secure route for a natural gas pipeline to Europe. In addition, the American empire seeks to destroy any nation that fails to open its economy to western corporations and supports whatever Israel undertakes. A direct invasion of Syria would pose difficult political problems. The preferred method in the modern world is to destroy a nation by agitating and arming minority groups while sending thousands of foreign mercenaries to join attacks.

    Explained further in this short video: hXXps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P512QBpjoq4

    • Anne
      April 8, 2021 at 14:38

      Uhh? “Israel (Occupiers of ALL Palestine) want to ‘reclaim’ southern Syria”?????? When pray tell did so-called Israel (i.e. the Ashkenazim – Khazars) EVER have any right, title to Southern Syria??? And if that claim is based on that book of Myths and Tall Tales, then perhaps one might explain how a land title – without documentation, without continuous habitation – actually exists???

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