PATRICK LAWRENCE: Imperial Infantilism

Diplomacy is an essential skill in the century swiftly taking shape around us, but we find that hurling playground insults at the leader of another nation has become normal in post-9/11 Washington.

Presidential limousine carrying Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., March 2021. (White House, Adam Schultz)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

It’s getting downright difficult to keep track of all the epithets American statesmen, stateswomen, political leaders and legislators use to tell us just who Vladimir Putin is — and with what bottomless contempt we should regard the Russian president.

I long for the days when he was simply “Hitler.” Such as when Hillary Clinton compared him with der Führer after Moscow re-annexed Crimea in response to the coup the U.S. had just engineered in Kiev. That was back in 2014. There were few complications then: All we needed to do was hate him.

Now the names we have for Putin roll around among like pinballs.  “Hitler” has fallen somewhat out of fashion, the hyperbole having proven too silly, or maybe because NATO is now arming a Nazi-infested regime.

He’s all sorts of other things too, keeping us well on the side of repugnance and hostility, and safely away from a serious, adult understanding of the man, the nation and what the man and the nation are doing — in Ukraine and elsewhere.

In an encounter with reporters last week, President Joe Biden described the Russian leader as “a war criminal.”  This came as demands for direct U.S. intervention in Ukraine grow shriller. You have to love The New York Times, and especially its national-security clerk, David Sanger. He added that Biden “was speaking from the heart, his aides said.” A man of humane passions, our president.

You would have thought “war criminal” was enough, but no. Biden went on to call Putin “a murderous dictator, a pure thug.” Our Times reporter, who operates far too close to the spooks in my professional judgment, then explained, in case we missed it: “Mr. Biden and his top aides frame Mr. Putin as a pariah, an indiscriminate killer who should be standing trial at The Hague.”

See what I mean? You can’t keep track of this stuff. Making matters worse, there are numerous other people just like Putin, our guardians in Washington want us to know. Bashar al–Assad is also Hitler, a thug, a war criminal and a pariah. Nicolás Maduro can’t be a war criminal because he wages no war, but the Venezuelan president is absolutely a thug, a dictator and Hitler.

There are consequential things to think about here. A friend the other day emailed me a link to a story he wanted me to read. His subject line was: “American Infantilism.” I’m stealing the phrase. This is what we have to think about.

Question of Statesmanship

Straight off the top there’s the question of statesmanship. When those purporting to serve as America’s statesmen and stateswomen think calling other world leaders names is properly part of the diplomatic repertoire — a prominent part, I’ll add — we are left with only one conclusion: The U.S. has no one capable of sailing its ship of state, no one in a position of influence worthy of the title “diplomat.”

To qualify it, I’m certain there are plenty of mid-level people trained in the foreign service now in mid-level positions at the State Department. But they do not count, by and large, because what passes for diplomacy in Washington is driven not by skill, experience or subtle intelligence but by fidelity to American ideology and a nose for what plays in Peoria.

Over the weekend I found myself thinking about FDR. I thought about Roosevelt in that famous photograph with Churchill and Stalin at the Yalta Conference. There they are in their overcoats against the cold of February 1945 (FDR in a dashing cape). Then I thought about Biden and his nonsense name-calling and his refusal to even consider an encounter with Putin at this crucial moment.

Allied leaders (left to right) at Yalta Conference,1945: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. (Wikimedia)

Allied leaders (left to right) at Yalta Conference, 1945: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. (Wikimedia Commons)

I had choice between laughing or the other emotion.

It’s simply not easy to find truly good diplomats in the post–1945 annals of the American Foreign Service. I am talking about people who understand that one of the primary responsibilities of a diplomat is to understand how those on the other side of the table think and see things, what the other side wants and why.

Here’s why they don’t exist anymore: Simply stated, power obviates the need for serious statecraft. The powerful nation has no need of diplomacy. A figure such as George Kennan was the exception proving the rule, and he was an exception because he saw the need to understand how the world looked to the Soviet Union. Henry Kissinger proved the rule: For all his claim to diplomatic skill, Hank K. was a wielder of American power with a calculating mind, nothing more.

The rest follows naturally: Antony Blinken is not a serious diplomat. Samantha Power is not a serious diplomat. As a diplomat (and various other things), Hillary “He’s Hitler” Clinton is a walking calamity. Biden, who’s spent his career selling snake oil off the back of a buckwagon, is not a statesman of any kind, serious or otherwise.

We should consider when, precisely, calling other leaders names became an accepted feature of American “statecraft” (and I insist on the quotation marks.) When, why, and what are the consequences of this undignified practice?

Sept. 11

I date this phenomenon to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The lineup of secretaries of state and senior diplomats prior to the attacks in New York and Washington is other than brilliant, but it was by and large accepted that talking to one’s adversaries was at least as important (and often more so) as talking to one’s friends. It was the Bush II regime, with all its kooky ideologues in positions they never should have gotten near, that declared: “We don’t negotiate with our enemies.”

This pronouncement was advanced, if you recall, as if it were a sound, baseline rule of wise statesmanship. There were corollaries. Diplomatic contacts with those deemed enemies would “give them credibility.” At the outside there was Richard Perle’s infamous dictum. Perle, one of Bush II’s intellectual ornaments, urged “decontextualization”: We must not put things in context lest we understand them. Instead, we must be confined to reaction (in both senses of the term).

Responses to the events of 2001 bear careful interpretation. The all-but-stated assertion is America would not any longer take interest in other people and their perspectives. The American way of defining the world was the only acceptable way. Nothing else need be considered. This is how empires conduct themselves when aware of their vulnerability as the Sept. 11 attacks forced Washington onto its back foot.

Descendants of George W. Bush

Sept. 11, 2001: President George W. Bush making calls from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, left.  (U.S. National Archives)

Is there much distance between decontextualization and the we-don’t-negotiate-with-enemies bit plus “he’s Hitler, he’s a thug, a dictator, a criminal”? I see none.  In this way, all post–2001 U.S. administrations descend from George W. Bush — characteristic of late-empire regimes.

One can argue the Obama administration was an exception, but I don’t buy it. At bottom, Barack Obama’s perspective on the world and America’s place in it was no different from that of any other post–2001 president’s. He tinkered with methods of American power — fewer invasions (except Libya), more drones, a veneer of diplomacy — to obscure continued reliance on power alone and indifference to other people’s rights, views and interests.

Look where this has landed us. Every time I hear Biden call Putin or some other world leader, not to Washington’s liking, a name out of the American inventory of epithets it is a reminder of how grotesquely U.S. “statecraft” has been infantilized. We cannot be surprised. How much distance is there between the infantilization of the American public and the infantilization of the post–2001 excuse for diplomacy?

It’s the Peoria problem. One of the weirder practices of Americans posing as statesmen is when they address foreign officials in third-grade English. They are primarily concerned with appealing to a domestic public they have long ago treated as third-graders.

Infantile imperialism: Have we invented it over the past 21 years?

Americans post–2001 live in a state of intellectual isolation so pervasive most are not aware of it. Name-calling, as a third-grade symptom of the anxiety and insecurity of the past two decades, is a way of expressing patriotism (a comforting euphemism for nationalism). America is left utterly incapable of imagining — to say nothing of creating — new possibilities in a new, multipolar world.

Diplomacy is an essential skill in the century swiftly taking shape around us.  But every time Biden or another American “leader” hurls one of their playground insults at the leader of another nation, (Putin as the Beelzebub du jour) they are reminding us: There will be no diplomacy emanating from Washington because they have no idea how to conduct it.

Power and coercion are all they know.

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. Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

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


41 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Imperial Infantilism

  1. Ricardo2000
    March 26, 2022 at 22:05

    “Infantilization of US foreign policy” is an apt phrase but it goes back much further than 2001. I suggest ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian” would serve as an example of childish bigotry. And of course, the Vietnam War is a template of stupidity for the past 60 years. Wanting to contain Chinese ambitions US bigots chose to demonize the Vietnamese when even a superficial reading of the history (or street signs listing Vietnamese heroes) would have revealed the Vietnamese fought for independence against the Chinese for nearly 1000 Years. They couldn’t have found a better ally anywhere. US grunts respected the Vietnamese soldiers and routinely claimed the US had chosen the wrong side.

    Homer: “Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents… the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

  2. robert e williamson jr
    March 22, 2022 at 15:05

    Patrick to your three paragraphs after Sept.11.

    After the events of that day Bush 41 was shocked, caught flat footed and off guard. His performance showed telling signs of mental regression into what he was taught growing up from non other that 41. “You are either with us or against us!” , not so comforting or diplomatic but as as authoritarian as one can be. Was this the natural reaction from years of conditioning by 41? I say yes.

    If one reads about those early days of CIA the one constant to emanate from the group was their drive to function uninhibited in the manner which they and they alone chose. The group would function as they wished. Period. One tremendously large red flag early on was the groups unquenchable thirst for “dark money”, funds that could not be traced back to U.S. government sources. Or that they as a group could be held accountable for. What could possibly go wrong?

    Being truly receptive of the other was of course beyond reason to them. Anything truly constructive would have to come from the U.S. and the U.S. alone. They would get “their ” way no matter what. So far they have and it shows, consider what is written here on a daily basis.

    George W. learned the only way to operate was the same way as “Daddy” , CIA GHWB did. Something very obvious when we witness those he surrounded himself with.

    Not to over simplify but that is the way it was and the way it still is. You have nailed it here.

    Something has to change or the U.S. and perhaps mankind will perish as a result of this illogical, irrational and indefensible CIA ‘ secret doctrine’. These men, their mentors and supporters were a cancer on the U.S. that has yet to be thrown into remission. SEE: the Ukraine as the latest and greatest CIA project dealing with foreign policy.

    Thanks CN

  3. Robert Emmett
    March 22, 2022 at 12:03

    Underlying the crass figureheads are deeply rooted trends that stymie any real u.S. diplomatic effort: unwillingness to compromise; inability to act in good faith; a maze of disinformation, misinformation and outright lies perpetrated through mass media that makes it nearly impossible to back track without losing massive face; the breaking of agreements unilaterally according to its own whims, thereby making it untrustworthy.

    Those failures could be considered successes if the intent is to stall, misdirect and provide cover for unending military adventurism. That “policy” and its attendant mouthpieces also could indicate a severe addiction to bullshit.

  4. peter mcloughlin
    March 22, 2022 at 10:17

    If I may make a small contribution to this important debate, how humanity is blindly plunging towards another world war – this time nuclear. Yet leaders do not see it or are incapable of changing course, altering the pattern of history. Nothing seems to have changed. I explore this in a free e-book that can be downloaded from: hxxps://

  5. Jim other
    March 22, 2022 at 09:58

    The infantilism started with our mediocre student war criminal president G W Bush. The one who paints puppies!

  6. Vera Gottlieb
    March 22, 2022 at 05:36

    ‘Senility’ is more like it. If only the world would STOP sucking up to the Yanx.

  7. mgr
    March 22, 2022 at 04:43

    Thank you, Patrick. Always insightful. Overall, I think the current situation in Ukraine reflects the personal obsession of members of the “HRC wing” of the “Democratic Party.” Diplomacy to whatever extent that it still exists is deliberately eschewed. After all, Nuland and Blinken have been involved in flipping Ukraine to regime change Russia (because Putin is capable) since at least 2014, as members of the HRC State Department under Obama. It never had anything to do with intelligent or good planning or intentions, just the opposite. It’s simply the personal obsession of severely deranged people. It was the same with Iraq. Russia though has flipped the script and America is now stuck in the tar-baby. Biden has of course also been a part of this since his activities as vice-president with Obama but he was marketed as the adult in the room. Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth.

    The problem is that despite their intensity, the obsessions of neocons are always, gold-standard stupid. Demonstrably so. Just mentioning Iraq should put paid to that but then, amazingly, here we are again. This is not about political ideologies but about American culture, what it has become and what it produces. Certainly, insight and rationality are the first victims. As part of that, any capable diplomat is necessarily an endangered species to be shot on sight. In any case, this time it’s the “DP’s” turn. Perhaps this was meant to be a new and better neoconism, with the HRC clique showing how it’s done. But in fact, it’s just the same ole stupidity with a different marketing brand.

    Actions have outcomes and stupid inspired actions have stupid and even catastrophic outcomes. And so now, unsurprisingly, there is panic among the neos. This whole cluster-fuck is like a house of cards held together with spit which is why they keep ramping it up, trying to get something done before reality sets in. I mean, after all, America (not to mention the pathetic EU) is now wholeheartedly supporting neo-Nazis and defending biological weapons. It’s not like the world is not noticing. The only card the neos have left to play is to keep up the turmoil. Regardless, do we think this will not have cascading effects at home? There are many kinds of fallout coming. America has really jumped the shark this time and as time goes by, if we survive, the sordidness of this entire neocon operation will come out. Not that that in itself will necessarily improve America’s political culture but it will certainly hasten America’s fall as the perennial uni-polar, indispensable nation. Good riddance to that. If we survive…

  8. March 22, 2022 at 00:17

    Washington’s berserk vilification of Russia and Putin means only one thing they are scare witless of him as they self destruction. America’s intransigence is killing it.

    I have to thank CN for your great work! You are the voice of sanity in troubled times.

  9. Me Myself
    March 21, 2022 at 23:52

    I enjoy a good soap opera it is easier than having a real-life, now I am just waiting for the vapor trails streaking across the sky.

  10. Nathan Mulcahy
    March 21, 2022 at 22:25

    Biden is simply projecting himself to describe Putin, albeit inaccurately. Joe Biden, throughout his long political career, has committed enough crimes against humanity to be prosecuted as a war criminal. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t vote him.

  11. Ian
    March 21, 2022 at 19:06

    It won’t be long before the US Empire decrees it unlawful to acknowledge even the existence of Russia, it’s language, or people. They really have the hubris in thinking that they hold the power to legitimate or de-legitimate the mere existence of other nations, and so the notion of even talking to countries like Russia, or responding to their views, is heresy. They won’t even cede the millimeter of dominance required to have cooperative relationships.

  12. John Cleary
    March 21, 2022 at 18:52

    I’m afraid this is the modern equivalent to the Roman practice of salting the land when withdrawing.

    Cause as much damage as possible to the people you leave behind.

    In another sphere, look at how Boris Johnson and his government have gone to extremes in alienating the people of Britain from their neighbours in Europe. Same thing.

    • Tony Kevin
      March 22, 2022 at 03:36

      This is what the Azovs are doing in Mariupol . Making the Drama Theatre their fortress, then blowing it up vindictively as they retreated leaving civilian hostages to take their chances in the basement , was salting the land. Tony Kevin

  13. Calm
    March 21, 2022 at 18:24

    I believe that NATO was well aware that both China and Russia were preparing to introduce a new “Eurasian” currency which would be backed by gold.

    A competing currency would have America lose the place of World Reserve Currency.

    NATO members are using this Ukraine war propaganda to demonize any newly minted currency and have NATO member countries too ashamed to have any Russia/China currency in their wallets. Lessening the impact of a competing currency against the Greeenback.

    I think that if Americans are being asked to give up Student Loan relief, Day Care and Parental Leave in order to give the money to Ukraine, …. then the shareholders of the weapons manufacturers should lose their dividend payments and give that to Ukraine as well.

    • Realist
      March 22, 2022 at 00:37

      I hope you know that Washington has stolen HALF(!) of Russia’s gold deposits (as well as all foreign currencies) after they stupidly deposited them in Western banks AFTER this war broke out!

      The very generous and altruistic Americanski’s have decided to give the Russian gold (several hundred billion dollars worth) to Ukraine to defray their wartime expenses and will buy a lot of American-made arms for the neo-Nazis, just like they gave the several billion dollars in Afghanistan’s bank accounts to the “survivors of the American victims of 9-11.” Clearly both moves are efforts to destroy the economies of the targeted countries… and goose incomes for our patriotic war profiteers.

      • Daniel
        March 22, 2022 at 13:51

        Absolute lawlessness. This is what our dear leaders have led us to and explains their need, as Mr. Lawrence says, to infantilize everything. If they actually had to speak honestly and maturely about how it is they have brought us to the brink of WWIII, they would risk losing all they have stolen from us.

        For our dear leaders, there is to be no cooperation with other nations (except as it serves Imperialism,) no lifting people from poverty, no sharing and expanding of resources, no improvement to anyone’s level of education or health, no increases in standards of living (except their own,) and no peace. Not while these mafia dons are in charge.

  14. Anonymot
    March 21, 2022 at 18:10

    There is also the possibility that the second grade third graders about whom you speak are only chosen to mouth what you hear by the real government of America. It’s entirely possible that the almost forgotten term, Deep State, is coming to the fore.

    A few of those people you mention are smart enough, like Blinken, who was chosen because he was unfit, read unprepared and uninformed for the post he has given. The Clintons were in because they were promised fame and fortune as a raise from corruption-as-usual in a state where that was usual, if they would only do as they were told. Obama, threw off the cloak as a 1st class politician from a seamy South Chicago district, with, you, you will change the nature of being black in America if you will follow our instructions as we build the American Empire. Joe is just a tread-bare pol with a dream of being President who will do (has done) anything and everything to get where he is.

    All had some leeway on domestic affairs, but the Deep State drive was to be the the global dictator of Everything. It was the same drive that inspired Stalin via Marx, Mao via his Little Red Book, and Hitler via Mein Kampf. They were each driven by an ideology.

    But we created a new ideology: Money. Money became everything. We wanted to be the buyers and sellers of the world.

    In America, money is power, fame, and fortune rolled into one and it’s language is not diplomacy. Those who are rich are automatically beautiful, desirable and sexy whether a dumb sport figure, a rich painter whose “art” is just a shock or a trick, or a script-reading actor or actress in a globally successful, third-grade TV series. We used to give that kind of person an ambassadorship, now we give them a cabinet post or, at least serious access to the ears of those who decide what our so-called diplomats will say and do.

    The other ideologies had dissenter among their countrymen. They went to gulags or banished to re-education slavery or concentration camps or a quick death. That is not our style so far – save for scattered cases.

    It remains to be seen if our version of diplomacy, which is a horn of plenty for the decision-makers and their compliant, chosen voices with as little as possible for the rest, will survive the test of time, but it is looking very doubtful.

  15. Korey Dykstra
    March 21, 2022 at 17:28

    I think it apparent that Biden hates Putin and can’t get past it, He still seethes with the fact that Crimea and Sevastipol were within America’s grasp when Putin slid it out from him and America under their noses. Robbing Russia of it’s warm water ports in Sevastipol and using it for America’s purposes plus getting Crimea away from Russia was I believe the goal, not neccesarilly the coup they created in Kiev which ousted a democratically elected president. His antics of name calling are the antics of a man filled only with hate and totally lacking in diplomacy.

    • Realist
      March 22, 2022 at 00:17

      Of the last five presidents I have been thoroughly distraught and disgusted by i) Slick Willie’s reckless personal comportment–the walking definition of a “cad, which is just highfalutin for your basic pig, ii) Dubya’s complete lack of intelligence or ability to articulate on anything, iii) Obomber’s betrayal of most promises made on domestic policy in both his campaigns and his arrogant deconstruction of any fair and workable foreign relations with the standard list of Washington’s specially cultivated “enemies,” iv) the Don’s utter lack of preparation for the office he was elected to and therefore the complete domination and obstruction by the very insiders he unwittingly appointed, and v) Squinty-eyed Joe’s failure to rise above the sleaze he has wallowed in over the duration of his long political career plus his inability to sift out the far too conspicuous hatred and bias underlying so many of his misperceptions of this world, especially all the infantile name-calling tossed at any country trying to preserve its own sovereignty and independent policy. He’s the last world leader who should be calling others “killers” and “war criminals” and threatening to destroy their societies if they don’t bend to his petulant will. Group identity should also not be the single most important determinant in nominations to high political or judicial office, which he has made routine in his administration. He’s probably the worst of this terrible lot and we will have to suffer three more years under him unless he destroys the world in a nuclear exchange.

  16. March 21, 2022 at 17:25

    Excellent and all too accurate article concerning the utter inadequacy of “United States diplomacy”, a phrase that has been an oxymoron for a very long time. Diplomacy is not name calling or taunting, it is an exercise in goal oriented empathy and desperately absent in today’s world, both on an international and personal level.

  17. Jeff Harrison
    March 21, 2022 at 16:20

    Indeed. As the Global Times points out over 100 of the world’s countries are not involved in sanctions against Russia. The Chinese are very clear in blaming the war on the US and not on Russia but the US’s demands become shriller as the world effectively disagrees with it. The US resembles a spoiled 3 year old who is having a temper tantrum because he’s not getting his own way. Unfortunately, that 3 year old is going to damage the world’s economic structure before the world gets a chance to restructure it to take the power that the 3 year old has been badly abusing away from it. Get ready for a rough ride. The regime in Washington isn’t smart enough to know when it is exceeding its powers.

    • Cerena
      March 22, 2022 at 06:36

      An unruly 3-year-old has a future when there are smart and caring adults to teach the infant about reality and the proper manners.

      Mr. Biden shows signs of cognitive decline due to his old age. The same is true for Mrs. Clinton and her immediate retinue.

      The horror of the current situation is that many real western “deciders” are very old and cynical men and women suffering from cognitive decline (see Soros). It does not help that the equally cynical and opportunistic warmongers like the aged Fiona Hill, Victoria Nuland, and Robert Kagan are allowed to influence the US policies.

  18. March 21, 2022 at 15:50

    My father was a US diplomat and I think he is rolling over in his grave.

  19. Rob Roy
    March 21, 2022 at 15:49

    Dienne, good one!
    Patrick Lawrence, great article … about time someone voiced this overwhelming and destructive problem. I’ve never seen this extent of dumbed down rhetoric in the MSM, but it’s been coming for a long time. Even the New Yorker, once famous for its fact checking, has been infected with this bile. The cancelation of RT and refusal of MSM to allow truth tellers space means sources such as consortium may get ousted, too. Can’t bear to contemplate that horror. Orwell lives.

    • Realist
      March 21, 2022 at 23:26

      Consortium News was not available from my major internet service provider in South Florida ALL DAY SUNDAY! I feared that it was either being hacked or censored by TPTB. Even the Windows10 network diagnostic on my computer could give no information as to why CN’s signal was not being received by my browser. I was highly concerned about losing this rare venue for accessing the truth.

      RT, Sputnik and the Saker blog are always delayed in downloading–you are first given a no access available screen. You may have to repeatedly attempt to link with their servers before making the connection–the standard experience since Russia has been “isolated” by Washington and its lackeys in American media. But I sadly expect that in America these days when the source of information comes from Russia or Russian-born creators of content. There is no freedom of speech or access to the means of mass communication in this country if the government or its media apparatchiks so determine.

      The Saker was even spooked enough 2-3 days ago to announce that if hostilities broke out between Russia and the US (actual combat rather than just the hybrid and economic war America wages vs Russia) he would have to terminate his news feed, analysis and commentary, basically because he feared being deemed an enemy combatant and subject to internment without charges. Ahhh, American “freedom and democracy,” gotta luv it… for the practical joke it has become.

  20. Lois Gagnon
    March 21, 2022 at 15:42

    I suspect it’s too late for diplomacy now. At least with the Brics and those who will go with them after the dollar is dropped as reserve currency. The Biden administration’s rejection of Russia’s security agreement was the last straw. The West will now find itself isolated from the rest of the world. They’ve all had their fill of being abused, insulted, their countries turned to rubble, robbed blind and their people murdered. The infantile empire got too big for its britches and bit off more than it could chew. American swagger will soon be on its knees. Maybe then, diplomacy might look good to the miscreants who have created this mess.

  21. Mark Thomason
    March 21, 2022 at 14:26

    There is also blatant denial of reality.

    We see now that Biden “never said” the Russian demands were “off the table.”

    Biden never refused a diplomatic solution exactly on the terms the US media now promotes as most likely, and a success for the US policy.

    Fantasy. People get really upset if reality intrudes on their insults and fantasy world.

      March 21, 2022 at 14:29

      Did he need to say those exact words? The US and NATO clearly rejected the Russian treaty proposals made in December. They refused to even enter into serious talks about them. Only Macron gave it any consideration.

      • rosemerry
        March 22, 2022 at 01:20

        The Russian demands were to any sane person completely reasonable, but the vitriolic hatred coming from not only the USA but the NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg did not even consider the genuine existential concerns of Russia. It is so obvious now, yet not comprehended as EU leaders still speak of “Putin’s war crimes” as the operation in Ukraine proceeds, avoiding civilian deaths, while the real Nazi perpetrators of the destruction presented as “Russian bombing” are able to keep people hostage and refuse to let them escape, now seen in Mariupol after 8 years. The full control of the narrative by Western media is easy when Russian wickedness is assumed and insisted on by “our leaders”.

    • renate
      March 21, 2022 at 17:05

      Biden ignored the Russian proposals, he only threatened consequences, more sanctions. He never provided a constructive diplomatic response. All his phone calls did not go beyond threats, consequences, and sanctions. The same procedure he uses with the Chinese president.
      We never hear what the two presidents said to Biden. Zelensky is the president of the sovereign state of Ukraine, so we are told. He did say at one time, NATO is out, after that silence, maybe he went too far without permission?

  22. renate
    March 21, 2022 at 13:58

    I very much appreciate your article, finally, someone says out loud and clear what many of us think. I voted for President Biden, but when he called President Putin a killer on national TV just days after he was inaugurated, in response to a stupid question, I had enough, he lost me then and there.

    • Tim N
      March 21, 2022 at 15:13

      Did you not know what Biden was about when you voted for him?

      • renate
        March 21, 2022 at 16:23

        I did not know much about him and the other candidates were not impressive either and the Pandemic did protect him from scrutiny too. There was the chance for him to pick a good team, that too was a dud.

  23. Realist
    March 21, 2022 at 13:52

    Do they even know the objectives of their supposed diplomacy, and why they have been chosen? I think they are so clueless they could never give you a cogent answer as to why they must unconditionally crush Russia and dismiss all of its concerns, even if such self-knowledge could prevent a war that ends humanity. Rather they embrace the mentality of the silverback gorilla who responds to all stress by pounding its chest and charging at its perceived foes or challengers in a simple predictable reflex arc. The rest of the world is becoming increasingly unwilling to be treated like that. Time for the US to try some form of interface beyond the knee-jerk hostility it has so perfected but which accomplishes nothing positive.

    • Tony Kevin
      March 22, 2022 at 03:49

      Good to see CN website back up , and what a fine essay by Patrick Lawrence to celebrate the occasion. In my experience, two US ambassadors in Cambodia (Charlie Twining, Ken Quinn) and before that one in Poland (Tom Simons) were top class and a pleasure to work with as fellow professionals . They had the skills Patrick speaks of . Tony Kevin

  24. Ian Robert Stevenson
    March 21, 2022 at 13:39

    A lot of foreign policy is designed for internal consumption. The US ( I’m British) has a number of well qualified foreign policy analysts but they don’t seem to have much influence at White House level. One example is the UN embargo on Cuba 30 years after the Cold War ended. Last year, the UN voted on them. The US , supported by Israel, voted to continue them. There were three abstentions -one being Bolsonaro’s Brazil-and 184 voted to remove them. The only logic is that Florida is a swing state with a lot of people of Cuban extraction and so they have to be placated.
    Similar thing with the Evangelical vote who see events in the Near East as the working out of Biblical prophecy. It is not. The ‘End Times’ beliefs are not supported by the Roman Catholic church, the Orthodox churches and the main Protestant communions such as the anglican and Lutheran. The US lacks politicians brave enough to tell them.
    It strikes me that there are few female politicians there are in the US compared to Europe. But a lot more macho posturing. Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh Pakistan and India ( the latter two albeit assassinated) Prime Ministers. The UK two., Australia and New Zealand one each. Angela Merkel was the nearest the West had to a leader 2017-2021 and northern states of Europe many intelligent and articulate weapon. They are usually elected by a more modern voting system of proportion representation and therefore, coalition governments where there has to be some co-operation.
    The answer might be to consider up-dating the US constitution. It was a remarkable document for the 18th century but it is now the 21st century, and it is not the Bible.

    • Eddie S
      March 21, 2022 at 17:42

      Yes IRS, an update to the US Constitution could be a good idea, but-for the fact that IF done in the current US political environment there could easily be more bad policies/laws than good enshrined in that document. I suspect that freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, rights of the accused, etc would all either be abolished or reduced. One only has to look at the re-interpretation of the 2nd Amendment a couple of decades ago to see what would happen. Essentially, it’s the paradox that IF the US populace was progressive & humanitarian enough to update the US Constitution in a positive way, then we wouldn’t have elected the leaders we’ve elected over the last ~40 years….

  25. Galberts
    March 21, 2022 at 13:24

    What shocking as well, as a nation, is that we expend so much energy on war and conflict and fail to see as well the benefits of a different path which is greater prosperity through peace and investment. Our policies are short sited and our return on investment is poorer still.

    • March 22, 2022 at 15:43

      Not for the Bankers, Media, MIC and politicians. Greater prosperity for them but huge burden on the populace

  26. Dienne
    March 21, 2022 at 12:18

    America is a giant drunken cruise ship run by a military crew that thinks they’re operating a battleship in conjunction with a horde of wasted frat boys looking for their next score with the actual crew tied up in the lowest cargo hold while the passengers party on as the iceberg approaches.

    • BP
      March 21, 2022 at 18:08

      Thanks Dienne. I needed that!

Comments are closed.