Caitlin Johnstone: US Department of Hypocrisy

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken touring of Foreign Affairs Security Training Center in Blackstone, Virginia, on Aug. 11. (State Department, Chuck Kennedy/ Public domain)

After his department was caught pushing the ouster of the democratically elected Imran Khan, the U.S.  secretary of state is now praising Pakistan’s preparations for “free and fair elections.”

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article.

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken tweeted in celebration of Pakistan’s preparations for “free and fair elections” on Wednesday, a week after it was revealed that the U.S. pressured Pakistan to oust its popular democratically elected prime minister Imran Khan last year.

“Congratulations to new Pakistan Interim Prime Minister @anwaar_kakar,” tweeted Blinken. “As Pakistan prepares for free and fair elections, in accordance with its constitution and the rights to freedom of speech and assembly, we will continue to advance our shared commitment to economic prosperity.”

Last week, The Intercept published an article, “Secret Pakistan Cable Documents U.S. Pressure to Remove Imran Khan” revealing evidence that the U.S. State Department, which Blinken heads, had placed pressure on the Pakistani government to remove Khan from office in March of last year.

A leaked document reports that State Department official Donald Lu issued blatant threats to Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States that “it will be tough going ahead” for Pakistan if Khan wasn’t ousted but “all will be forgiven” if he was, saying the U.S. and its European allies didn’t like the prime minister’s “aggressively neutral position” on the Ukraine war.

The following month Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote, and he now sits in prison, officially barred from politics for five years. 

The authenticity of the document has been begrudgingly confirmed by Pakistani officials opposed to Khan, yet prior to its publication by The Intercept, the U.S. State Department had denied what was revealed by its contents on multiple occasions. Last month State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said unequivocally that “the United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus another in Pakistan or any other country,” which is plainly contradicted by the revelations in the document.

Obviously if you’ve got officials from the world’s most powerful, violent and destructive government telling your country “it will be tough going ahead” if its prime minister is not removed from power but “all will be forgiven” if he is, that’s brazen interference in the democratic processes of that nation. Yet here is the head of the State Department babbling about the wonderful “free and fair elections” in Pakistan.

Earlier this month the State Department put out another doozy on Twitter (or whatever we’re calling it now), quoting Blinken saying “Governments that violate human rights are almost always the same ones that flout other key parts of that order — such as invading, coercing, and threatening other countries, or breaking trade rules.” 

All of which the U.S. government of course does regularly.

Such glaring hypocrisy is standard for U.S. secretaries of state, because their job entails continually using concepts like democracy and human rights not as values that they wish to promote, but as political cudgels to be used against their enemies. 

This was explained in stark detail in a leaked 2017 State Department memo in which Brian Hook was seen explaining how the U.S. government views “human rights” to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson  — a newcomer to the D.C. underworld at the time. Hook told Tillerson that human rights violations should be forcefully criticized in America’s enemies, and overlooked in nations that bow to the dictates of Washington.

“One useful guideline for a realistic and successful foreign policy is that allies should be treated differently  — and better  — than adversaries,” Hook wrote, naming China, Russia, North Korea and Iran as examples of adversary nations who should be aggressively criticized for human rights violations, and naming Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines as examples of U.S.-aligned nations where human rights violations should be overlooked.

The memo was labeled “SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED,” which is a good designation for information about something that isn’t really a secret in Washington but they’d still definitely prefer people didn’t pay much attention to.

Since we know this is the established orthodoxy in the U.S. State Department, it’s no wonder that secretaries of state are always speaking in ways that run directly counter to the actions of their own government.

The U.S. empire doesn’t care about democracy or human rights, it cares about power and control. Paying lip service to democracy and human rights is just one of the ways they manufacture the illusion of moral authority while diplomatically undermining the governments they don’t like.

For this reason, it would perhaps be better to refer to the State Department as the Hypocrisy Department, and the secretary of state the secretary of hypocrisy. Or maybe the secretary of hypocritical finger-wagging, if you want to get fancy about things.

The State Department was originally meant to be the counterpart to the War Department. The War Department (later renamed the Department of Defense to keep things from being too obvious) was meant to focus on war, and the State Department was meant to focus on diplomacy and peace. 

What ended up happening, as the U.S. power structure morphed into a globe-spanning empire dependent on endless violence and aggression, is that the State Department wound up focusing more and more on manufacturing interventionist narratives on the world stage to gin up international support for starvation sanctions, proxy wars and war coalitions.

So, in practice the U.S. ended up with two war departments: the Department of Defense and the State Department. Which is why you’ve seen the nation’s secretaries of state becoming more and more jingoistic and psychopathic, to the point where some sort of antisocial personality disorder is almost a job requirement for the position.

But that’s just what the U.S. empire is at this point in history: a giant, planet-sprawling bully with a severe personality disorder. The U.S. empire has all the personality characteristics of a malignant narcissist —  it sees people as resources to exploit instead of as humans to relate to, it communicates to manipulate and control rather than to connect and understand, and anyone who doesn’t center its desires as a priority above all else becomes its enemy.

Couldn’t ask for a better face to place on that operation than Antony John Blinken.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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

23 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: US Department of Hypocrisy

  1. Tony
    August 21, 2023 at 09:16

    It is highly unusual for someone to do what Lesley Stahl did and ask a question like that of a government official, in this case Madeleine Albright.

  2. Altruist
    August 20, 2023 at 15:53

    Tucker Carlson very aptly referred to Antony Blinken as “famously dim.”

    And the description by CN’s own Patrick Lawrence of this dimwit is perfect:

    “There is the Antony Blinken case. Tiresome as it is, have you taken the trouble to follow his Twitter messages?

    If you want to understand his record as secretary of state you must, because all he seems to do is Tweet utterly ridiculous bromides as to America’s respect for human rights, the right of others to self-determination, and press freedom along with his deep concern for starving Syrian children — children whose malnutrition is the direct result of sanctions Blinken maintains against the Syrian Arab Republic. There is always, of course, Blinken’s idolatry in the matter of ‘the international rules-based order.’

    Blinken is not the worst secretary of state in my lifetime — that distinction goes to John Foster Dulles. But he is the most ineffectual, and possibly the stupidest. His function is to portray, to put across, carefully, a nonexistent America.

    Again, it is the consequences of America’s chief diplomat advancing this Disneyesque version of what America stands for and does that must concern us. No one in corporate media calls Blinken on all his silliness …”

    The brains behind this empty suit is the admittedly intelligent but very dangerous ideologue Victoria Nuland, together with the political operative and opportunist Jake Sullivan, who is also operating several steps beyond his proper paygrade. This is the team running our foreign policy and writing the talking points and scripts and guiding the infirm hand of Mr. Biden.

  3. Julian Lobato
    August 20, 2023 at 03:31

    If you can’t say anything nice….. tear the shit out of them if it’s Secretary Blinkin

  4. KPR
    August 19, 2023 at 16:41

    Not only that, the State Department works as a front for the CIA in the US embassies.

  5. Eddie S
    August 19, 2023 at 12:09

    “.., secretaries of state becoming more and more jingoistic and psychopathic, to the point where some sort of antisocial personality disorder is almost a job requirement for the position.”
    CJ makes the excellent point that essentially the Secretary of State here in the US has effectively become a Secretary of War (‘Defense’). It’s virtually institutionalized as SOP. I think that right after our more costly (ie; read dead US soldiers) wars, there’s a brief period of anti-war zeitgeist in the US — think especially WWI and the Vietnam War— but then people start forgetting about the horrors of war and get easily manipulated by war mongers, and here we are…

  6. Sam F
    August 19, 2023 at 11:26

    Thank you, Caitlin, for a clear and incisive critique.

    The reason that the entire USG cares only about power and control, using claims of democracy or human rights as a disguise, is that the USG is not a democracy: it is run by political gangs seeking money. Democracy was lost due to neglect of the Constitutional convention to protect federal institutions from economic power, followed by failure of the people to do that in the exuberant emergence of the middle class after the Civil War. The people had the military power after the Revolution, allowing democracy, and still had labor and election power after the Gilded Age, allowing the New Deal, but now have no military or economic power over a completely corrupted government. The loss of moral norms in domestic and foreign policy is due to the cult of selfishness in the unregulated market economy of the West, and its elevation of the lowest tyrant personalities to economic and political power.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    August 19, 2023 at 10:37

    The more I read about America’s nefarious acts…the more I feel like puking. What an odious nation.

    • Arch Stanton
      August 21, 2023 at 11:02

      I feel that too

    • August 21, 2023 at 11:34

      Our “nefarious acts” have been ongoing for decades, and the worst of it has never seen daylight. Julian Assange was good at pointing out our “nefarious acts” via leaked cables to Wikileaks, but the US/UK shut down their journalistic operations. In furtherance, the US made whistleblowing an act of treason, essentially cutting off the pipeline of journalist’s sources.

  8. C. Crown
    August 19, 2023 at 10:24

    Hasn’t it always been so that every society will make its people believe it is right and their enemies wrong? The best description of this ridiculous thinking is in Mark Twain’s The War Prayer, where he shows the other side’s view. It is tragic that we can think no farther than our own self interests. But I guess that is human nature. Can you name a society, especially a powerful one, that has spread the word that we all are deserving of respect? The British Empire very much tried to convince the world that it wasn’t exploiting their colonies, but helping them. It wasn’t. Americans believe we are exceptional to the point of the absurd. Why do you think they allow the publications of The Intercept and Consortium News to publish these articles on how evil they are? Because they know they will not be believed by most people. I would love to see these truths have an impact on the majority by your small group of idealists, but truly I don’t think so.

  9. Sick and tired
    August 19, 2023 at 07:21

    Perfect picture of our craven hypocrisy.

  10. firstpersoninfinite
    August 19, 2023 at 00:43

    That Blinken is a moron is obvious. Late-stage cultures cough them up like the dust of their own demise. He’s a janitor to state-sanctioned murder like all higher-level government officials in failing societies. It must be terrifying on some level to wear the lineaments of the human while being nothing more than a destroyer of human values. He deserves no sympathy for his gross, despicable errors of judgement. It’s obvious that he thinks these errors are “the cutting edge” of state-sanctioned cruelty, just like all those state department people who came before him.

  11. Gene Debs
    August 18, 2023 at 21:27

    “Free and Fair Elections”
    When the leading candidate is thrown in jail.

    Brazil — Bolsonaro jailing Lulu. Notice that the Democrat ‘Centrists’ never really opposed Bolsonaro, and people like Biden had ranted and raved against the ‘pink tide’ during Lulu’s first administration.
    Peru — Castro removed. The winner of the popular election was ‘impeached’ and then ‘charged’. The pro-US vice president who is now in power has held onto power against popular protests, largely from the indigenous populations, by beating, arresting and killing tens of protesters. Biden and the Centrists have said very little about this.
    Pakistan — Khan removed from power and arrested. With the full support of the US Administration. Democracy has not been mentioned with relation to the removal of the election winner.
    USA — Trump facing charges from multiple Democrat DA’s. And again, the popular opponent to the Wall Street Junta is in jail.

    And if you think this is something new, the Obama/Biden administration overthrew the elected winners of popular elections in Egypt, Hondurus, and Ukraine. The latter coup now pushing the world towards World War Last.

    Democracy does not begin its elections by throwing candidates in jail.

    One good reform to prevent this would be to say that Democracy trumps everything else. No pun intended. But the will of the people in a democracy to choose their leader has to be more powerful than the power of the officials and judges and prison wardens. If they get to say who can and can not be elected, then Democracy is thwarted by their coup over the people’s power. Power to the People is always the motto of any true democracy.

    Another cure is to focus on movements and not the cults of individuals. If the feeling of the entire movement is that if one leader is removed, then the next just picks up the flag and continues at the head of the movement, then such a ‘decapitation’ attack is simply futile. The crowd just continues to advance until the lawyers run out of bullets, uh, make that paper.

  12. Lois Gagnon
    August 18, 2023 at 21:24

    I can’t help but think personalities like Anthony Blinken are chosen for this position because they possess the unique ability to trick themselves into believing their own bullshit regardless of whatever the truth may be. Having no ethics or moral code is perfect for maintaining the appearance of forthrightness while carrying out blatant hypocrisy. Indicative of Hanna Arendt’s “Banality of Evil.”

  13. lester
    August 18, 2023 at 20:55

    Has Blinken denied it all?

  14. Bill Todd
    August 18, 2023 at 19:47

    Surely you could have found a more flattering picture of Blinken seated like Mini Me on a seat cushion looking out the bottom of the windshield and appearing less in control of the vehicle (or anything else) than SNL’s driving cat Toonces. Where are Steve Martin and Victoria Jackson when we need them?

  15. August 18, 2023 at 19:15

    Way way back in 1970, Pogo said “We have met the enemy and he is us”.

    Those words are as true today as ever – perhaps more so.

  16. JonnyJames
    August 18, 2023 at 18:52

    The truth is brutal and Ms. Johnstone lays it out without a sugar-coating. I prefer my information straight, no chaser.

    Also, the US is an “equal opportunity” empire: women can be war criminals in high places too: HRC (“we came, we saw, he died”) , Albright (price was worth it), Condoleeza Rice (smoking gun, mushroom cloud). Vicki Nuland (Fuck the EU, Yats is the man)

    The exceptional, indispensable beacon of freedom and democracy will rig your elections, regime change you, bomb you into the Stone Age, mass murder millions, steal all the money and gold from your central bank, starve you to death with illegal blockades (so-called sanctions) and bring the world to the brink of thermonuclear annihilation.

    But the MassMediaCartel wants us to choose which oligarch sociopath is our favorite: Elon Skum, or Marc Suckerbird. Just like the only “choice” is between D or R, a senile crook, or a drug addled orange crook. That’s what’s called “freedom and democracy”

    • Valerie
      August 19, 2023 at 16:54

       “I prefer my information straight, no chaser.”

      Me too Jonny. But so many people are afraid of the truth. (Or willfully ignorant)

  17. Jim Thomas
    August 18, 2023 at 15:15

    Standard U.S. procedure – lie, deny, threaten, torture, murder. Hypocrisy, duplicity, thuggery, all standard operating procedures. No respect for law, either international or domestic. The “Rules-Based International Order” means that all countries, all entities and all individuals will follow U.S. Orders, whatever the U.S. decides those are from moment to moment. This Country is a rogue state. Its claim that it follows the rule of law is sheer pretense.

    • Gene Debs
      August 18, 2023 at 21:41

      If you listen carefully, you won’t hear the phrase “rule of law” very often. Nor do you hear the phrase ‘international law’. The phrase about the “Rules Based Order” is the Orwellian language that is used to pretend that they still follow laws. When instead, anyone can see that the first and only rule is that they who has the money makes the rules to suit them.

      The Lords of the Rules Based Order are also big on DoubleThink, because their rules are very inconsistent and thus are frequently applied in completely opposite directions. With Niger and Pakistan and the removal of elected leaders being the current Mass DoubleThink. If someone gets the Niger script mixed up with the Pakistan script, we’d hear them calling for the neighboring powers like Afghanistan and Iran to invade Pakistan and to return the elected President to their rightful place.

      The phrase “Rules Based Order” is used as a verbal smokescreen, to cover up that this Wall Street World is a world of no rules, no justice, and no peace. And because after the millions of corpses in Iraq, they are probably afraid that if they mention “International Law” that the world will just fall over laughing at them.

      Don’t forget, Adolf Hitler would have happily supported a ‘Rules Based Order’. He was very big on Rules. Adolf Hitler simply adored his Rules … as long as he got to make them.

      • J Anthony
        August 19, 2023 at 06:40

        Indeed. It seems that current generations of federal ghouls read Orwell’s “1984” and saw it as a good idea, a “how-to” manual.

      • Piotr Berman
        August 19, 2023 at 18:18

        Another pair of scripts is “territorial integrity” and “will of the people” (all phrases to that effect). In the case of Kosovo and Taiwan, territorial integrity of Serbia and China does not matter because … (I am guessing that the wishes of Kosovars and Taiwanese, as decyphered by the West without formal referendums), but in case of Donbas and Crimea, wishes of the people living there do not matter because of “territorial integrity”. Similarly with Abkhasians and Ossetians who do not wish to be in Georgia. And, of course, territorial integrity of Syria does not matter, but in this case, the wishes of people who lived there before Israeli occupation do not matter either. Here, of two neighboring countries, one “deserves secure borders” and the other does not.

        On the narrow topic which governments deserve to be removed by force to “restore democracy”, we see elected governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua, but uni-party government in Senegal and Benin are not there (as long as they are obedient, otherwise they can be Panamated), and neither is junta in Chad that took over in 2001 when president-elect was murdered, so junta eschewed constitutionally prescribed elections within 90 days. As the strongman is a son of the murdered president and continues “pro-French” positions, this government was instantly approved.

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