US Declares ‘War’

Michael Brenner subjects the audaciously aggressive U.S. strategic posture to the kind of examination that he finds remarkably absent, even at the highest levels of government.

The Armed Forces Farewell and Hail for 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley and 21st Chairman General Charles Q. Brown, Sept. 29 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. (White House, Carlos Vazquez)

By Michael Brenner
U.S. foreign policy has set the country on a course destined to lead to a world of rivalry, strife and conflict into the foreseeable future. Washington has declared “war” on China, on Russia, on whomever partners with them.

That “war” is comprehensive — diplomatic, financial, commercial, technological, cultural, ideological. It implicitly fuses a presumed great power rivalry for dominance with a clash of civilizations: the U.S.-led West against the civilizational states of China, Russia and potentially India.

Direct military action is not explicitly included but armed clashes are not absolutely precluded. They can occur via proxies as in Ukraine. They can be sparked by Washington’s dedication to bolster Taiwan as an independent country.

A series of formal defense reviews confirm statements by the most senior U.S. officials and military commanders that such a conflict is likely within the decade. Plans for warfighting are well advanced. This feckless approach implicitly casts the Chinese foe as a modern-day Imperial Japan despite the catastrophic risks intrinsic to a war between nuclear powers.

The extremity of Washington’s overreaching, militarized strategy intended to solidify and extend its global dominance is evinced by the latest pronouncement of required war-fighting capabilities.

Recommendations just promulgated by the congressional bipartisan Strategic Posture Commission include developing and fielding “homeland integrated air and missile defenses that can deter and defeat coercive attacks by Russia and China, and determine the capabilities needed to stay ahead of the North Korean threat.”

They were endorsed by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley in his post-retirement interview where he proposed adding up to $1 trillion to the current defense budget in order to create the requisite capabilities.

President Joe Biden, in his weekend interview on 60 Minutes, reiterated the dominating outlook with buoyant optimism:

“We’re the United States of America, for God’s sake!; the most powerful nation in the history of the world.”

This is the same country whose war-fighting record since 1975 is one win, two draws and four losses — or five losses if we include Ukraine. (That tabulation excludes Granada which was a sort of scrimmage). Moreover, the U.S. stock of 155mm artillery ammunition is totally exhausted – as is that of its allies.

No Discussion

Biden at the Department of Defense in February 2021. (DoD, Lisa Ferdinando)

This historic strategic judgment is heavily freighted with the gravest implications for the security and well-being of the United States — and will shape global affairs in the 21st century.

Yet, it has been made in the total absence of serious debate in the country-at-large, in Congress, within the foreign policy community, in the media and — most astonishing — at the highest levels of the government as well.

The last lapse is evinced by the superficiality of the statements issued by Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Milley and their associates.

We have heard nothing in the way of a sober, rigorous explication of why and how China or Russian poses so manifest a threat as to dictate committing ourselves to an all-out confrontation.

Nor do we hear mention of alternative strategies, their pluses and minuses, nor are there candid expositions of the costs that will be incurred in their implementation. Most certainly, silence reigns as to what happens if this audacious, all-or-nothing strategy fails — in whole or in part.

The stunning rise of China along with the reemergence of Russia as a formidable power are developments apparent to attentive observers for quite some time.

For Russia, the landmark dates can be identified.

Russian Milestones

Valdimir Putin delivers the Munich speech, 2007. (Kremlin)

The first was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007. There, he made clear his rejection of the Western script that relegated Russia to a subordinate position in a world system organized according to principles and interests defined largely by the United States.

Whether fashioned as neo-liberal globalization or, practically speaking, American hegemony, it was unacceptable. Instead, Putin set forth the twin concepts of multipolarity and multilateralism. While emphasizing the sovereign status and legitimate interest of all states, his vision did not foresee conflict or implacable rivalry. Rather, it was envisaged demarcating international dealings as a collective enterprise that aimed at mutual gain based on mutual respect for each other’s identity and core interests.

Washington, though, interpreted it otherwise. In their minds, Putin had thrown a monkey wrench into the project of fashioning a globalized world overseen by the United States and its partners.

President George W. Bush’s administration made the judgment that an irksome Russia should be fenced-in and its influence curbed. That objective animated the campaign to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, the sponsorship of the doomed Georgian attack on disputed South Ossetia, on the attempt to block the building of a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and on setting strict terms for commercial exchanges.

It culminated in the 2014 Maidan coup in Kiev and the bolstering of Ukraine as a power that could keep Russia in its place. The rest of that story we know.

Then, the image of Putin as a diabolical Machiavellian who works relentlessly to cripple the U.S. was given a thick layer of varnish by the Russiagate charade — a scheme concocted by presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton and her allies in order to explain how she could lose an election against somebody who started the fall campaign with a personal unfavorable poll rating of 67 percent.

The Chinese Challenge

Purple Light Pavilion in Beijing, 2013. (State Department, Flickr, Alison Anzalone)

The confrontation with China is not marked by equally clear events or decision points. Designation of China as the challenger to the U.S. position as global supremo crystallized more gradually.

It was the Middle Kingdom’s growing strength in every dimension of national power and capacity that stirred first anxiety and then fear. This challenging rival had become a threat to the foundational belief in U.S. exceptionalism and superiority. Hence, an existential threat in the truest sense.

(“This town ain’t big enough for both of us!” is a familiar line to Americans for the way it punctuates showdowns in hundreds of Westerns. Now it has spilled into foreign policy as a neat summation of Washington’s attitude toward Beijing. Instead, how about inviting the other guy for a drink at the Long Branch and a long talk? Dutch treat.)

The string of disputes over this or that issue were symptoms rather than the cause of the antagonism mixed with dread that has led the U.S. to treat China as a mortal foe. When we look at the chronology of events, it becomes evident that the U.S. bill of indictment does not come close to justifying that conclusion.

The fashionable — now official — view is that it’s all China’s fault.

President Xi Jinping & Co supposedly spurned the opportunity to join the outward-looking community of liberal nations; they have grown increasingly repressive at home — thereby, disqualifying themselves from partnership with the democracies; they have been aggressive in pushing their territorial claims in the South China Sea; they have not composed their differences with neighbors, most importantly Japan; and they have deviated from the Western (i.e. American line) toward Iran while mediating a modus vivendi with Saudi Arabia.

Closer to home, China is accused of operating extensive spying networks in the United States designed to purloin valuable high technology; of systematically manipulating commercial dealings to their advantage; and they are extending their cultural influence in a porous American society.

In this bill of indictment no reference is made to dubious actions by the United States. Washington’s record as a global citizen is less than impeccable. Specifically in reference to China, it is Washington that made what are by far the most provocative moves.

Let’s recall the jailing of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver at the Trump White House’s insistence on specious grounds (violation of Washington’s own illegal sanctions campaign against Iran) in order to thwart the company’s success in becoming a dominant player in the IT field. Former President Donald Trump himself admitted as much in stating that the United States might refrain from pursuing her prosecution were China ready to concede to his demands in the bilateral trade negotiations.

Nancy Pelosi, left, visiting Taiwan’s legislature in August 2022 while she was serving as House speaker. (Legislative Yuan, Wikimedia Commons) 

The ultimate provocation has been the series of steps in regard to Taiwan that signaled clearly Washington’s intention to prevent its integration into the PRC. Thereby, it crossed the most indelible of red lines — one that the United States itself had helped draw and had observed for half a century. It is tantamount to an Old Europe aristocrat slapping another in the face with his gloves in public. An unmistakable invitation to a duel that precludes negotiation, mediation or compromise.

Not Just a Rival

The United States finds it far easier to deal with manifest enemies, e.g. the U.S.S.R., than sharing the international stage with countries that match it in strength whatever degree of threat it poses to American national security.

The latter is far harder for Americans to handle — emotionally, intellectually, diplomatically.

Hence, the growing tendency to characterize China as not just a rival for global influence but as a menace. That results in a caricature of China’s ambitions and a downplaying of prospects for fostering a working relationship among rough equals.

An enormous amount of energy is being put into this delusional enterprise. The target is America itself. The project is a bizarre form of conversion therapy designed to substitute a confected version of reality for the irksome real thing.

Stunning evidence of this self-administered treatment is available on a routine basis in the pages of The New York Times. Every day we are treated to two or three long stories about what’s wrong with China, its trials and tribulations. No occurrence is too recondite or distant to be exempt from being used in an exaggerated diagnosis of social or political illness. The extremes to which the editors go in this re-education program is pathological.

The threat China presents is to an exalted self-image more than to any tangible interests. At its root, the problem is psychological.

By time that the Biden administration arrived in office, the scene had been set for the declaration of war and the taking of concrete steps in that direction. But it’s odd that such a momentous commitment should be made by such a lackluster team of individuals with a diminished, distracted president as its nominal head. That can be attributed to two factors.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon on March 1, 2001. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward)

First is the dogmatic worldview of the principals. Their outlook represents an absorption of Paul Wolfowitz’s notorious memo of 1992 laying out a manifold strategy for consolidating and extending U.S. world dominance in perpetuity.

Second is the neocon passion to shape other countries in the U.S. image. That blend was laced with a dash of old-fashioned Wilsonian idealism along with a drizzle of humanitarianism from the Responsibility to Protect movement (R2P).

[Related: Chris Hedges: R2P Caused Libya’s Nightmare]

This potent brew had become orthodoxy for nearly all of the U.S. foreign policy community. In addition, a rudimentary version has gained the adherence of the political class and has shaped the thinking of Congress to whatever extent its members do any thinking about external relations beyond habitual resort to convenient hackneyed slogans.

Alternative No. 1

Objectively speaking, alternatives did exist.

The first we might call inertial ad-hocism. Its features would have been the continued segmentation of the country’s external dealings into more-or-less discrete packets — geographical and functional.

The Middle East’s two sub-categories: Israel and the Gulf; the desultory “War On Terror” wherever; the aggressive promotion of neo-liberal globalization featuring the ensconcing of a heteroclite corporate/technocratic/political elite as guides and overseers; bilateral relations with new economic powers like India and Brazil to bring them into the neo-liberal orbit; business-as-usual with the rest of the Global South.

As for China and Russia, one would be treated as a formidable rival and the other as an overreaching nuisance to be stymied in places in Syria and Central Asia. Concrete steps to counteract the Chinese commercial and technological challenge would have been taken either unilaterally or in hard-nosed direct bargaining. Support for Taiwan would have increased but stopped short of ruffling Beijing’s feathers by calling into question the One-China Principle.

Xi and Putin during the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow in 2019. (Kremlin)

The foundational premise of this approach is that an ever-deepening neo-liberal system would pull China into its field as a politico-economic centrifugal magnet. Hence, by an incremental process a potential challenge to American-Western hegemony would be gradually neutralized, avoiding a direct confrontation.

Russia, for its part, could be treated more roughly: the post-2014 sanctions tightened, its approaches in Syria and on other matters rebuffed and the quiet build-up of Ukraine continued. This, in essence, was the tack taken by former President Barack Obama and Trump.

Today’s uniform assumption that a momentous battle with the Chinese is written in the stars, the culmination of a zero-sum rivalry for global dominance, is of relatively recent vintage.

Not so long ago, the consensus was that the most sensible strategy composed two elements.

The first was peaceful engagement emphasizing economic interdependence leading to China’s participation in a more-or-less orderly world system whose rules-of-the-road might have to undergo some modification but where power politics was restrained and contained.

(Regarding the restructuring of existing international organizations, the IMF stands out. Since its post-war founding, the United States has held veto power over any or all of its actions. It adamantly refuses to relinquish it despite the drastic shifts in the constellation of global financial and monetary power. Hence, the IMF serves as a de facto subsidiary of the State Department. This state of affairs soon will prove absolutely unacceptable to China and the BRICs.)

July 30, 2023, BRICS Map key: Blue = Members; Light Blue = Joining on Jan. 2, 2024; Orange = Applicants; Yellow = Expressed interest in joining; Gray = No relationship with BRICS. (MathSquare, Wikimedia Commons, Dmitry Averin is author of original source image; CC BY-SA 4.0)

The second was a measure of military balancing to remove any temptation as might exist in Beijing for empire-building while reassuring neighbors. The open question focused on exactly where and how the balance should be struck.

That was the prevailing perspective until roughly the second Obama administration. These days, that approach has lost its place in the mainstream of foreign policy discourse. There is no fixed day or event, though, that marks the abrupt and sharp change of course.

This disjointed incremental line of approach has its advantages despite its leaning toward conflict. Paramount is that it avoids locking the United States into a position of implacable hostility vis a vis China. There is no embedded logic propelling us toward armed conflict. It implicitly leaves open the possibility of U.S. thinking moving in a more positive direction.

Whatever the odds of such an evolution occurring, and on the arrival in the White House of a president with the bold vision of a true statesman, such a development would not be excluded as it is by the current mobilization for generational “war.”

Alternative No. 2

There is another, radical alternative grounded on the belief that it is feasible to fashion a long-term strategy of nurturing ties of cooperation with Russia and China. Taking some form of partnership, it would be grounded on a mutual commitment to the maintenance of political stability and fashioning mechanisms for conflict avoidance. This is by no means as far fetched as first glance might suggest — in concept.

The idea of a great power concert comes to mind. However, we should envisage an arrangement quite different from the historic Concert of Europe that emerged at the Conference of Vienna in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.

One, the objective would not be a buttressing of the status quo by the dual strategy of refraining from armed conflict among the underwriting states and suppressing revolutionary movements that could endanger existing monarchies. Its attendant features were the concentration of custodial power in the Big 5 co-managers of the system; the stifling of political reform across Europe; and the disregard of forces appearing outside their purview.

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By contrast, a contemporary partnership among the major powers would presume a responsibility for taking the lead in designing a global system based on the mutually reinforcing tenets of openness, sovereign equality and the promotion of policies that deliver plus-sum outcomes.

Rather than rule by a directorate, international affairs would be structured by international institutions modified in terms of philosophy, multilateral decision-making and a measure of devolution that empowers regional bodies.  There would be an established pattern of consultation among those governments whose economic weight and military capacity quite naturally should be expected to play an informal role in performing system maintenance functions and facilitating the involvement of other states. Legitimacy would be established through conduct and performance.

The drastic fall in respect for U.S. world leadership will facilitate that process — as the BRICs’ successes already demonstrate.

The crucial starting point for such a project is a meeting of the minds among Washington, Beijing and Moscow — accompanied by dialogue with New Delhi, Brasilia et al.

There is reason to believe that conditions, objectively speaking, have been conducive to an undertaking of this order for several years. However, it was never recognized in the West, much less seriously considered — an historic opportunity lost.

“The threat China presents is to an exalted self-image more than to any tangible interests. At its root, the problem is psychological.”

The most significant sufficient factor is the temper of Chinese and Russian leadership. Xi and Putin are rare leaders. They are sober, rational, intelligent, very well informed and capable of broad vision.

(China’s traditional goal always has been to exact deference from other countries while bolstering their own strength — not to impose an imperium on them. Much less do they share the American impulse to arrange the affairs of the entire world according to a universalization of their own unique civilization.  Therein lies an opportunity to avoid a “war of transition.”

However, there is no American leader on the horizon who recognizes this overarching reality and who seems prepared to grasp the opportunity to “bend the arc of history.”  Obama briefly toyed with the idea — before relapsing into the stale rhetoric of American exceptionalism: “We’re number One — you better believe it. Nobody else is even close!”)

While dedicated to securing their national interests, above all the well-being of their peoples, neither Xi nor Putin harbor imperial ambitions. And both have long tenures as heads of state. They have the political capital to invest in a project of this magnitude and prospective. Washington, unfortunately, has not had leaders of similar character and talents.

As for U.S. allies, no counsel of restraint can be expected from that quarter. Those loyal vassals have moved from being craven irrelevancies to active, if junior, partners in crime.

An Odious Spectacle

 Biden and Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18. (U.S. Embassy in Israel)

It is stomach-churning to observe the leaders of Europe lining up for slap-on-the-back meetings with Bibi Netanyahu in Tel Aviv while he inflicts atrocities on Gazans. Barely a word of concern for 2 million civilians, just the hurried dispatch of more weapons diverted from the Ukrainian killing fields.  This odious spectacle was eclipsed by Biden’s disgraceful performance this week in Jerusalem.

Summit meetings by Bush, Obama, Trump or Biden always have concentrated on either small-bore issues or instruction on what their opposite number should be doing so as to conform to the U.S. view of the world. Both are wastes of precious time insofar as the imperative to foster a long-term, common global perspective is concerned.

The sensible approach to inaugurate a serious dialogue might be a president with statesmanlike qualities who sits down alone with Putin and Xi for an open-ended session and asks such questions as: “What do you want, President Putin/President XI? How do you see the world 20 years from now and your country’s place in it?”

Would they be prepared to expound an articulate response?  Putin certainly would. That is exactly what he has been proposing since 2007 — on numerous occasions vocally or in his writings.  Instead, he was stonewalled, and — since 2014 — treated as a menacing pariah to be defamed and personally insulted.

Here is Barack Obama’s take:

“The Russian President is a ‘physically unremarkable’ man, likened to ‘the tough, street-smart ward bosses who used to run the Chicago machine.”

This comment from Obama’s first volume of his published memoirs, The Promised Land, says more about his own inflated yet vulnerable ego than Putin’s character.

In fact, it was the Chicago machine along with money and encouragement from the Pritzker network that made Obama what he became.

Contrast: when Bismarck met Disraeli at the 1878 Berlin Conference — going so far as to invite him, a Jew, home twice for meals — he did not nag the British prime minister about trade restrictions on German exports of textiles and metallurgical goods or the systematic British abuse of tea plantation workers in Assam.

Nor did he comment on the man’s physique. Bismarck was a serious statesman, unlike the people in whose custody we place the security and well-being of our nations.

Putin and Obama meeting in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, June 18, 2012. (White House, Pete Souza)

The upshot is that Putin and Xi seem puzzled by feckless Western counterparts who disregard the elementary precepts of diplomacy. That should be a concern as well — except by those who intend to conduct the U.S. “war” in a linear manner that pays little attention to the thinking of other parties.

The vitriol that is thrown at Putin with such vehemence by his Western counterparts is something of a puzzle. It is manifestly disproportionate to anything that he has done or said by any reasonable measure — even if one distorts the underlying story of Ukraine.

Obama’s condescension suggests an answer. At its core, their attitude reflects envy. Envy in the sense that he is subconsciously recognized as clearly superior in attributes of intelligence, knowledge of contemporary issues and history, articulateness, political savvy and – most certainly – diplomatic skill.

Try to imagine any U.S. leader emulating Putin’s performance in holding three-hour open Q & A sessions with citizens of all stripes — responding directly, in detail, coherently and with good grace. Biden? Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? German Chancellor Olaf Scholz? British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak? French President Emmanual Macron? Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission? Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallis?

Even Obama, from whom we’d get canned sermons cast in high-minded language that distills into very little. That’s why the West’s political class assiduously avoids paying attention to Putin’s speeches and press conferences — out of sight, out of mind.

Act in reference to the make-believe cartoon instead of the real man.

The Ukraine Era

Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Feb. 20 during the U.S. president’s unannounced visit to Kiev. (White House/Adam Schultz)

These days, in the Ukraine era, the rigid Washington consensus is that Vladimir Putin is the quintessential brutal dictator — power mad, ruthless and with only a tenuous grip on reality.

Indeed, it has become commonplace to equate him with Hitler — as done by such leading lights of the U.S. power elite as Hillary Clinton and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with “opinion makers” galore. Even 203 noble Nobels lend their collective brains and celebrity credentials to an “open letter” whose second sentence pairs Russia’s attack on Ukraine with Hitler’s assault on Poland in September 1939.

Sadly, the idea that those who make those decisions should bother to know what they are talking about is widely deemed as radical if not subversive.

In regard to Putin, there is absolutely no excuse for such painful ignorance. He has presented his views on how Russia visualizes its place in the world, relations with the West and the contours/rules of a desired international system more comprehensively, historically informed and coherently than has any national leader I know of.  Shouted declarations “we’re No. 1 and always will be – you better believe it” (Obama) are not his style.

The point is that you may be troubled by his conclusions, question his sincerity, suspect hidden strands of thought, or denounce certain actions. However, doing so has no credibility unless one has engaged the man based on what is available — not on cartoon caricatures. So, too, should we recognize that Russia is not a one-man show, that it behooves us to consider the more complex reality that is Russian governance and politics.

President Xi of China has escaped the personal vilification thrown at Putin — so far.  But Washington has made no greater effort to engage him in the sort of discourse about the future shape of Sino-American relations and the world system for which they are destined to be primary joint custodians.

 Xi in Moscow in 2019, at a gala marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. (Kremlin)

Xi is more elusive than Putin. He is far less forthright, more guarded and embodies a political culture very different from that of the United States or Europe. Still, he is no dogmatic ideologue or power-mad imperialist. Cultural differences too easily can become an excuse for avoiding the study, the pondering and the exercise in strategic imagination that is called for. 

Shaping the World Structure

The approach outlined above is worth the effort – and low costs that it entails. For it is the understandings among the three leaders (and their senior colleagues) that are of the utmost importance.

That is to say, agreed understandings as to how they view the shape and structure of world affairs, where their interests clash or converge, and how to meet the dual challenge of 1) handling those points of friction that may arise, and 2) working together to perform ‘system maintenance’ functions in both the economic and security realms.

At the moment, there is no chance that American leaders can muster the gumption, or have the vision, to set out on this course. Neither Biden and his team, nor their Republican rivals are up to it.

In truth, American leaders are psychologically and intellectually not capable of thinking seriously about the terms for sharing power with China, with Russia or with anybody else – and developing mechanisms for doing so over different timeframes.

Washington is too preoccupied with parsing the naval balance in East Asia to reflect on broad strategies. Its leaders are too complacent about the deep faults in our economic structures, and too wasteful in dissipating trillions on chimerical ventures aimed at exorcising a mythical enemy to position ourselves for a diplomatic undertaking of the sort that a self-centered America never before has faced.

A drive to revalidate its presumed virtue and singularity now impels what the U.S. does in the world. Hence, the calculated stress placed on slogans like “democracy versus autocracy.” That is a neat metaphor for the uneasy position in which Uncle Sam finds himself these days, proudly pronouncing enduring greatness from every lectern and altar in the land, pledging to uphold a standing as global No. 1 forever and ever.

But the U.S. is also constantly bumping its head against an unaccommodating reality. Instead of downsizing the monumental juggernaut or applying itself to a delicate raising of the arch, it makes repeated attempts to fit through in a vain effort to bend the world to fit its mythology. Invocation of the Concussion Protocol is in order — but nobody wants to admit that sobering truth.

This is close to a condition that approximates what the psychologists call “dissociation.”  It is marked by an inability to see and to accept actualities as they are for deep-seated emotional reasons.  

The tension generated for a nation so constituted when encountering objective reality does not force heightened self-awareness or a change in behavior if the dominant feature of that reality is the attitudes and expressed opinions of others who share the underlying delusions.

Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. [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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59 comments for “US Declares ‘War’

  1. Scramjett
    October 23, 2023 at 00:59

    “The tension generated for a nation so constituted when encountering objective reality does not force heightened self-awareness or a change in behavior if the dominant feature of that reality is the attitudes and expressed opinions of others who share the underlying delusions.”

    Honest question: If a nation, such as the US today, is incapable of heightened self awareness or a change in behavior when faced with objective reality, what happens to such a nation? I keep thinking of the Roman Empire. I live in the US, so I have a stake in it not collapsing since collapse would be ugly for anyone living here, including me. But I also don’t see any “adults” in the political class who are capable of facing objective reality. Even in the so-called “squad” in congress or the laughable CPC.

    I also consider the possibility of a move to Europe, since it could continue for awhile much like the old Byzantine Empire (my medical western, which is predominately a condition only familiar in “the west,” precludes me from living anywhere else).

  2. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    October 22, 2023 at 21:27

    Prof.Brenner’s fifth last paragraph here wonderfully captures the key dogmatic plagues afflicting the U.S. super-, oops Duper-power during our age. Actually it is not America that is declaring “war” against its perceived external and internal enemies, instead it is the moronic hubris of its elites at home anchored obdurately in its self-arrogated exceptionalism that is enthusiastically declaring this so-called MIC “war” on its rivals, allies and citizens alike as they irrevokably lose their internationnal competitiveness. In fact, it is this same hubris that impels American elites to attempt to pull down the curtain on history itself. So, naturally there won’t be any fresh takers to “bend the arc of history” that is hardly perceived as still being there in their eyes. In the absence of the emergence of better leaders within American elites any talk of “meeting of minds” to huddle out a viable new global order would be simply a no brainer. The rational minds for working towards it is now-a-days rather rare in America and across the West too generally as the Prof’s run-down of E.U. vassals and underlings amply suggests, except perhaps for the likes of himself and his intellectual ilks, who are indeed statesmen materials, that is, if we can take them at their impressively well articulated wisdoms. So, clearly America has all the right minds within society but annoyingly still ELECTS to remain brainless at its apex !

  3. HelenB
    October 22, 2023 at 14:54

    The US has put all its eggs in one basket: military.
    We have low infrastructure, poor healthcare with a declining average lifespan, and low-ranking education.
    Can we get the world to play our game, war, the only game where we have a chance?

  4. Richard Coleman
    October 22, 2023 at 14:40

    “American Exceptionalism” = white supremacy = delusions of grandeur.


    According to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for delusional disorders, grandiose-type symptoms include exaggerated beliefs of:

    exceptional relationship to a deity…

  5. October 21, 2023 at 16:06

    I had been receiving emails from political commentator and former Labor secretary Robert Reich, in which he shares what he writes on his substack blog. I have liked how he has explained somewhat difficult or controversial topics in a manner which makes them easy to understand.

    Very recently he wrote a very disgusting puff piece about Joe Biden, that he was the real adult in the room, while just about everybody else, both on the domestic stage and on the foreign stage, are immature children.


    I used to like Robert Reich but no more. I have lost all respect for him. How could he do that???

    And of course I unsubscribed to his emails.

  6. October 21, 2023 at 10:25

    “Sheriff John Brown always hated me
    For what, I don’t know
    Every time I plant a seed
    He said kill it before it grow
    He said kill them before they grow, and so-and-so
    Read it in the news!” ~~~ Bob Marley

  7. October 21, 2023 at 10:20

    Biden was always a warmongering US Senator and is was obvious he longed to be a wartime president. He made that perfectly clear in one of his first statements, announcing that “America is back”:

    Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World

    Now I must read this piece!

  8. Kauai John
    October 21, 2023 at 09:05

    Medvedev says: hxxps://

    The USA is doing this to itself.

    • Valerie
      October 21, 2023 at 13:59

      Wow. What a piece. “Clown Frankenstein” says it all. They have created a monster.

  9. Paul Citro
    October 21, 2023 at 07:31

    Biden says, “We’re the United States of America, for God’s sake!; the most powerful nation in the history of the world.” Very old people have a tendency to live in a world that no longer exists.

    • mary-lou
      October 21, 2023 at 11:52

      assuming they are compos mentis enough to express that. however, “We’re the United States of America, for God’s sake!…” is an exclamation that in itself has no meaning. and invoking ‘God’ is purely rhetorical. in short: a horrific platitude. who writes this man’s speeches?!

  10. Kauai John
    October 21, 2023 at 03:06

    The problem is Oligarchic Greed.
    Everything else is secondary, indeed, a distraction

  11. Rafi Simonton
    October 21, 2023 at 01:02

    Clash of Realities

    The poorly argued thesis of a “Clash of Civilizations” is revealed in the book so titled by Samuel P. Harrington. It simply assumes what it sets out to prove; classic circular reasoning. Now that this basic neocon dogma has been grafted to neolib economic determinism, the result is a monster, a postmodern Epimetheus.
    Did the Best and the Brightest, as David Halberstam called them, learn anything from Vietnam? No. B & B 2.0 is proceeding to make the same mistakes or worse. Certain they know ever so much more than we irrelevant peasants, the brittle egos of these power worshipers means they cannot ever admit mistakes or show the least little doubt. Their narrow reality tunnel reflects only what they want to see. There’s nothing imaginative, nothing inventive, nothing that values the highly varied living processes of nature or of truly creative people. Any opposition is defined as false and must be silenced.
    That braggadocio “we’re the biggest and baddest ever” is the stuff of high school bathroom walls. By “we” they sure as hell don’t mean us, the majority American working class, excluded from their single vision of reality. Except as economic and actual cannon fodder, of course. Reminds me of a joke from the ’60s about a TV program. The Lone Ranger and Tonto come across some hostile Indians. “We have to fight them, Tonto” says the Lone Ranger. “What’s this WE, white man?!” Tonto replies. Consider that reality.

  12. Solyent Green
    October 21, 2023 at 00:10

    Beginning with McCarthyism, the American system made it very clear that it would punish those who filed truthful reports that contradicted the politicians in DC.

    During WW2, Chang Kai-Sheck was a Chinese warlord who’s strategy on how to defeat the Japanese was to sit back and let the US and UK do it. It was a corrupt regime that stole as much aid as it could, and viewed military units as a means to political power domestically, and thus not to be risked against the Japanese. Meanwhile, the American officers and officials could not visit the communist Chinese forces, but heard rumors of how they were more aggressively fighting the Japanese invaders.

    They sent truthful reports back on this. On the corruption and lethargy in their Chinese allies, and what they heard from the distance about how the Communists were having more success.

    These reports became the basis of McCarthyism and his claims that ‘there are commies in the state dept’. After all, they sent back reports critical of America’s staunch allies (by then fled to Taiwan to escape the Chinese people), and they actually said good things about the evil commies … therefore, these officials, in our own government, are commies working against us.

    And of course, with Bush/Cheney, it became official that all reports must only contain what the people at the top want to hear. Anything else is career suicide.

    So, no wonder that they don’t seem to know what is going on, and all their actions don’t work. By now they’ve trained the whole organization to send up only what the top wants to hear. The top works in a bubble, in a world where all reports only say what they want to hear. If they have ‘the news’ on, then they are more misled that ever. They really have no real source of accurate info, and they argue constantly over today’s sound-bites, with no long term vision.

    So, you get the worst people that a dog-eat-dog, non-democratic political system can produce (historically, blackmailers do well in such a system), and they operate, continually trying to look tough, in a bubble where they get very little real or accurate information. What could go wrong? Oh yeah, did I forget to mention, they have a lot of nuclear weapons.

  13. Gordon
    October 21, 2023 at 00:06

    The entire political system in the US has become dysfunctional. This is our problem.

    The primary reason for the dysfunction is the corruption of our mass media. There seems to be a growing awareness that the New York Times, Washington Post, most of cable news, etc., are controlled by the CIA or some other component of the US Deep State, mostly because their present business models no longer sustain them and they are funded and thus controlled by the Deep State. Information is dumbed down to an eighth-grade reading level. And as Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time… but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” But I will add you can fool most of the people most of the time, especially when most of the media is repeating the same narratives, and in our political system that’s all you have to do to win and hold political power.

    Our other problem is we almost never get intellectuals as successful politicians. We get talented hucksters who know exactly how to appeal to the dumbed-down electorate and who are willing to be bought and controlled. The real decision makers are the intellectuals working in think tanks who set the policies and create the narratives to support them. As the decades have rolled by, this class has become ever more dominated by Jewish Americans. Just look at the most influential Neocon writers, thinkers and policy analysts over the past forty years if you want evidence of this. The family histories of these people is different than that of Americans whose families have lived here for many generations. Many Jewish families suffered terribly in places like Germany, Ukraine and Russia before coming to the US, and I have no doubt they carry the scars with them, and these legacies determine their attitudes about Russia, Israel, etc. I suspect this has a lot to do with US foreign policy in Ukraine, Russia and the entire Middle East, especially as it pertains to Israel. Among Evangelical Christian voters, what they think they know about Israel comes almost entirely from their religious fantasies. They are herded like sheep. Any ideas or history that does harken back to real American history from the 18th or 19th centuries is now considered “racist” — doncha know? — and therefore none of it is acceptable for guidance today.

    And finally there is the power of the elite financial class who exert major control over both political parties. Free-market capitalism has long been replaced by a soviet-style command economy where most of the important markets are controlled by policy makers beholden to the financial elites. The major transition came when we abandoned the discipline of the gold-backed dollar, which limited the power of government and the crazy things it could do. Once we went full fiat and money could be created from nothing all manner of reckless behavior, such as a twenty-plus-year war on terror, became possible. The only way the US maintains this financial privilege will be to defeat Russia and subdue China. The greater battle for global supremacy is financial power. The BRICS nations represent honest finances built largely upon commodity wealth, while the Anglo-American-Zionist axis is desperate to keep the paper-money swindles going.

    In summation, with the press and the financial systems fully in control of the political process, I see no hope of a political solution to our problems. The uni-party rule will continue until financial collapse destroys everything.

    • Barbara Mulllin
      October 22, 2023 at 11:02

      Obama did away with the 1948 Smith Mundt Act that prohibited propaganda in the US newsmedia. So the US corporate newsmedia with their constant disinformation and lies cover up are acting not against the law thanks to Obama.

  14. wildthange
    October 20, 2023 at 21:05

    Nothing new going back to the Roman Empire once it stole monotheism and then was taken over by it. The god that justifies our superiority to rule the world and ad soon the stamped to Asia where various nations took Chinese mandates for trade. Now we attempt to claim Taiwan after having claimed the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea and the Japanese mandate for Okinawa and more.
    We are still trying to get to India to replace Great Britain.
    Planet Earth is humans real monotheism that human being have trouble sharing dominance on.

  15. Drew Hunkins
    October 20, 2023 at 17:54

    Israelis are parasites who live off the US taxpayer.

    We hand them at least $5 billion every year.

    Every single Israeli has Medicare4All/universal healthcare coverage.

    Meanwhile, here in the USA we have citizens committing suicide or filing for bankruptcy due to med bills.

    Disgustingly mindboggling.

    • Solyent Green
      October 21, 2023 at 00:15

      $5 billion is now an old number. Biden and the Democrats are now asking for $14 billion. Not to mention that we don’t charge them rental on that $15 billion aircraft carrier.

  16. herm
    October 20, 2023 at 14:13

    However, there is no American leader on the horizon who recognizes this overarching reality and who seems prepared to grasp the opportunity to “bend the arc of history.”

    There’s the rub. And if there was such a leader on the horizon, they would be run out of DC on a rail, and if that didn’t work then they’d be either jailed or assassinated. Our predicament is like that of a poor farmer who already has too many mouths to feed, and our barn cat suddenly has a large litter of kittens. (We are the farmer and the other mouths to feed, and the kittens are our assorted neocons and various other psychotic industrialists, politicos, and “back office full-timers,” if I may put it that way.)

    Now in order to stave off starvation, the question is: what to do with all these unwanted kittens?

    • eric siverson
      October 20, 2023 at 17:12

      Trump maybe your man they vdo seem to want to run him out on a rail

      • herm
        October 22, 2023 at 19:53

        Nah. Trump isn’t the one who will rid us of rule by psychopaths. Far from it.

  17. Lois Gagnon
    October 20, 2023 at 13:39

    The unhappy truth is the US and its vassals are held hostage by the Western ruling class. They determine our foreign policy. That’s why we have such pathetic leadership. They are order takers. No one with any sense of responsibility to the public can get anywhere near high office. Or remain in the establishment news business for that matter. It looks like our only chance at stopping the disastrous foreign policy of the Western governments is for the system to be undermined and replaced by the rest of the world. That process is underway.

    • Dozer1
      October 20, 2023 at 23:13

      Sad, but true. That Western “ruling class” goes back a hundred years, maybe longer. Perhaps back to the War of 1812. It started with the Bankster problem and centralized banks, then fiat currency and progressed to income taxes (to fund wars) and then numerous wars and skirmishes and unwise alliances with European elites. NATO is a joke, as is the ever-crumbling British “empire” which has latched onto the US. A pivotal time period was the 1940s, post-WW2, when those deep and entangling alliances accelerated into the Deep State, Keynesian economics, the re-drawing of world maps (e.g., Israel in 1948), and global industrialism on the part of the U.S. The new empire was birthed. Five Eyes alliances, the CIA, the Air Force, and many other militarized organizations took root. Eisenhower couldn’t even keep up, and lamented this in his farewell speech. But now demographics, world population changes, technology, and an acknowledgment for more “civilized” (less colonial) conduct are taking root. The traditional Western leaders are out of their league, as even small countries have leaders who can speak 5 languages, are students of history, and can cooperate on the world stage. Just parking aircraft carriers everywhere is not going to work anymore. (You’ll notice, Putin just said that.)

  18. mr bog
    October 20, 2023 at 12:29

    “one win, two draws and four losses — or five losses if we include Ukraine.”

    What constitutes a war here? How can you include Ukraine and not Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc? That list can be extended ad nauseum. I mean U.S. troops fought and even died in Guatemala, in a decades long civil war we were engaged in up to our necks. That’s more involved than we are in Ukraine where we have yet to send U.S. troops in (as far as I know).

    You could also argue that every time Israel goes to war that’s also us at war, since we pay 20% of the budget for their military, and cover for them at the UN with nearly ubiquitous cheerleading from the politicians and the media.

    This makes it sound like we’ve only been involved in 7 wars in 50 years while in reality we’ve been at war with half the world almost continuously, at one level or another. If you were just including wars declared by congress, which strictly speaking is what it says in the constitution, then you don’t even get close to 7. So I can’t figure out what criteria or even guess exactly at which 7 you are referring to.

    • mr bog
      October 20, 2023 at 13:23

      Here’s my best guess: Iraq twice, Afghanistan, Panama, Serbia. What are the other two? Ethiopia? Libya? Yemen?

      • Eddy Schmid
        October 20, 2023 at 18:38

        For starters, try Vietnam. How the hell can any American forget that ?

        • mr bog
          October 22, 2023 at 14:55

          “For starters, try Vietnam. How the hell can any American forget that ?”

          The quote we’re responding to is “whose war-fighting record since 1975 is one win, two draws and four losses — or five losses if we include Ukraine”

          True Vietnam ended in April, 1975. But I think he took that to mean “since Vietnam”.

    • eric siverson
      October 20, 2023 at 15:43

      I would not say the war in Ukraine would be a loss if We pull out and Ukraine goes back to the way it was A peaceful democracy bordering Russia . About l;ike it was before we over threw their democtratic government with a illegal coup . It would not be a win , it would not be a loss , It would be a nothing , A loss of a lot of lives and money . Russia would still be allowed to have their 200 year old military base in Crimea , And Russians could still live peacabley all over Ukraine like tthey have for maany hundreds of years .

    • Solyent Green
      October 21, 2023 at 00:28

      Last time Congress ‘declared war’ was on Dec. 8, 1941, after FDR delivered his “Day of Infamy” speech.

      Under the US Constitution, that was the last time America was legally at war.

  19. Caliman
    October 20, 2023 at 12:20

    I’m afraid Professor Brenner fundamentally misunderstands or mischaracterizes the role of political counsel and leadership in American diplomacy. The role is not one of policy discussion, formulation, application, etc. aimed to acquire greater political and financial success for the American people and nation. The role is instead to provide a useful narrative to set the stage for continued global crony capitalism in the fields of mil-security, mining and energy, banking, etc.. That trillion $ “update” that Milley was talking about? That is not a tool to get to an end; it is the whole point. So Brenner’s excellent advice is whispers in a gale … it is not aligned with the purpose and thus useless for the powers that be.

    The 1990’s were a perfect example of this. After the collapse of the SU, there was a golden opportunity to put down the guns and work towards all the goals that Brenner talks about in a much more conducive and friendly environment than what we have today. And what did the US system choose to do instead? They cast about for excuses for continuing the Mil-Sec over-spending (saved by terror in 911!) and set up a path to create new “great enemies” to justify their actions: expand NATO to Russia, work on Taiwan and India, develop the so-called nuclear issue in Iran, and evergreen Palestinian “terror” etc. etc.

    Military/security/mining/banking Keynesianism is the grease that lubricates the American economic engine … all else is just window dressing and narrative building to fool the rubes to support it. Of course, one of these days, one of these fires we set will burn us badly, perhaps terminally. And our cities are falling apart due to misplaced investment in corporate profit. But, hey, the right people are making money and having fun, so keep it up …

    • October 20, 2023 at 17:10

      Yes I know you are correct in the real motivation, American politicians, to me, appear more like the vassels of a corporate elite

    • Daniel
      October 22, 2023 at 14:30

      My thoughts exactly. The article, extremely long winded, still manages to avoid the reality that you state so plainly, “Military/security/mining/banking Keynesianism is the grease that lubricates the American economic engine … all else is just window dressing and narrative building to fool the rubes to support it.”

      The need for that window dressing is the reason why our ‘leaders’ appear to be so far removed from observable reality, in my opinion. They’re not interested in global cooperation, shared prosperity or peace, and must come up with bigger and bigger lies to disguise that fact. They seek total global dominance (over Americans, too,) have no compunction about using violence to achieve it, and simply cannot tell the truth about that.

  20. Bushrod Lake
    October 20, 2023 at 12:05

    The pride that comes before the fall, is simply resistance to the fall. And it is in full flower here in the U.S.

  21. Francis Lee
    October 20, 2023 at 11:39

    Go’s without saying that the Anglo-American alliance are either clinically insane or are just trusting to luck in a bet to end all bets. I just wonder whether or not the rest of the ruling elites in the Atlanticist bloc really know what they are letting themselves in for. Well one way or another we will soon find out.

    • Rafi Simonton
      October 21, 2023 at 01:45

      I wonder why they’ve never looked at a Pacific centered map. The biggest ocean. The U.S. coast where the anti-WTO 1999 “Battle of Seattle” happened. Where so many of us cutting edge creative fruitcakes live–places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. (As well as Vancouver, B.C.) Where we’re aware of the power of nature. Something we share with our Pacific Rim neighbors.

  22. Jeff Harrison
    October 20, 2023 at 11:13

    Interesting. Unfortunately, Mr. Brenner seems to think that somebody is going to lead the show. The framework needs to address the following:

    mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,
    mutual non-aggression,
    mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,
    equality and co-operation for mutual benefit, and
    peaceful co-existence

    Following Zhou En Lai’s 5 principles for peaceful coexistence would obviate the need for much of Mr. Brenner’s complex structure. I realize that “The West”, former colonial masters all, would find this very difficult to swallow. Nonetheless, we need to articulate a desired end state.

    • Steve
      October 20, 2023 at 15:32

      Yes. Western solutions always revolve around a powerful club of big boys setting the rules and running the show for everyone’s ‘benefit ‘. Now BRICS is providing a different approach where everyone has a voice and can have an equal share in the benefits of modern life. Funnily enough a lot of the citizens of the West also have a desire for this different approach, even though our ‘leaders ‘ obviously don’t.

      • Valerie
        October 20, 2023 at 16:55

        “even though our ‘leaders ‘ obviously don’t.”

        And will not allow us to voice/demonstrate our “desire” by way of demonstrations/dissent etc. Rather, forbid/criminalize any challenge to their policies etc.
        There’s a name for that. It’s eluding me.

    • Anon
      October 20, 2023 at 15:55

      Also frequently comment in this CN section so thanks Jeff, have read your name here before.
      The five principles new to me… therefore quick wik ’em…
      As I also often prefer to criticize (recall the “five fingers of judgement”) sir your suggestion of compromise rather than confrontation Right On Time!
      (& of course props to CN for format)

  23. Maria soledad calef
    October 20, 2023 at 10:58

    USA created its own enemy to justify its endless costly war, that mobilize our economy toward such endless wars. The USA and its Project for the New American Century, established 1997 (may be before, by the Reagan era), demanding the establishment of a global American empire to bend all the will of all nations, and that US need to become a superpower, to bring the world under the umbrella of a new socio economic ” pax Americana.” Consequently, to this project, USA need to continue rebuild its defense and control airspace, land, seas, and the cyberspace. To build its defense US has created its nemesis to justify ” rebuilding Americans defense”, and to justify mobilize the economy toward endless war.

  24. anaisanesse
    October 20, 2023 at 10:54

    Michael Brenner thank you! The state of the world now shows us the effects of US power and control for so long, and nobody objectively regarding it could say that the situation is good for most of us. Every action and policy of the USA is aggressive, paranoid and self- defeating!!! What is the point of making enemies, assuming every other country is always wrong, avoiding genuine conversations and listening to other points of view and then blaming the “other” when it refuses to follow our kind, generous lead??? Even young people can remember Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and most of us also Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia…. and has the “help” of the USA helped these nations or the US allies, or even the USA itself? As for Ukraine and NATO, and of course Russia and China, the interference of the USA is now seen by most of the globe (not that the USA cares) as being out of step with the present interest in cooperation, peaceful win-win agreements (China’s magical accord between Saudis and Iran). Israel is not able to be part of the region it has chosen(!) to live in because the USA insists on it taking over all the territory possible and destroying those already there. Hardly the kind of future happiness for anyone in the neighbourhood! but it suits US “security interests” to keep the animosity, which for Israeli citizens means forever conflict with Palestine and other Arabs and Muslims.

  25. October 20, 2023 at 09:37

    Hello all, isn’t the USA supposed to be a christian nation, and isn’t supposed to have a christian government. But supporting the mass-murder of humans, like the mass murder of the 500 people murdered by the anti-christian state of Israel is not Christian at all

    The 10 Commandments

    1- You shall have no other gods before Me.
    2- You shall make no idols.
    3- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
    4- Keep the Sabbath day holy.
    5- Honor your father and your mother.
    6- You shall not murder (Palestinians, or support the murder of Palestinians)
    7- You shall not commit adultery.
    8- You shall not steal (From public funds, like capitalists who steal from the working classes)
    9- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10- You shall not covet.


    • eric siverson
      October 20, 2023 at 17:04

      Do you know who the most Christian country in Europe is . They say it is RRussia .

    • October 21, 2023 at 16:21

      FYI No, America is NOT a Christian nation. It was not founded as one. God is not mentioned in the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is a Deistic document, not a Christian document. It refers to nature’s God, and makes no mention of Jesus Christ or Moses or Abraham or any other biblical figure.

      Separation of church and state is embodied in the First Amendment of the Constitution.


    • October 21, 2023 at 16:32

      It is actually a fictional narrative, that one is propagandized and conditioned into accepting and believing, often since one is very young, that the so-called “Ten Commandments” were given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And the same is true about the idea that the Bible is the “inspired Word of God”.

      At least one of the commandments I think is very wrong: namely the commandment to “honor your father and mother”, which in the biblical text is unconditional and makes no exceptions if one’s parents are abusive or not deserving of honor. It should be obvious, if one thinks about it, that it is wrong to tell somebody with abusive parents that that person has a duty to honor such parents.

      If anything there should be a commandment to parents to treat their children with dignity and respect, so that they (the children) might come to treat themselves and others with dignity and respect. And another commandment to parents to earn and be worthy of the love, honor, and respect of their children.

      Really the commandment serves and benefits and gives legitimacy to abusive, narcissistic, or just plain bad parents. I do not see that it serves any need for good parents.

      Any bad parent can invoke the commandment when they are displeased or offended by something the child says or does, and say that an affront to one’s parents is an affront to God. This does not necessarily even have to be something the child says or does that is really wrong. The commandment provides a cheap and easy way for a parent to shame one’s children in order to get their way, or to avoid dealing with any issues the parent might have, or just to have power over one’s children.

      A good parent or one with any self-respect will NEVER want to invoke the commandment, or to say or imply that an affront to one’s parents is an affront to God. A good parent would handle any affront or offense or displeasure without any need to bring in God or any alleged commandment from God.

      • Barbara Mulllin
        October 22, 2023 at 11:22

        George Carlin had an even better take on the 10 Commandments. Check it out.

        • October 22, 2023 at 18:46

          I just saw George Carlin’s video, and I like it. Thanks.

          I had a very difficult father so this is personal for me. It is a major reason I am no longer a Christian. I detail this in the article linked to by my screen handle.

          I would also note that if a person has been taught from childhood to be mortally afraid of challenging or questioning one’s parents (under threat of punishment, physical or otherwise, and always reminded to always “honor your father and mother”), then it would seem obvious that that person might later very likely be afraid or at least very reluctant to question or challenge other authorities (religious, political, and otherwise) later in life. This is an obvious advantage for the ruling elite!

  26. Tony
    October 20, 2023 at 09:18

    According to the book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War by Gerry Docherty and Jim MacGregor, that war came about because Germany was becoming economically very powerful and was set to overtake Britain. And so, according to the authors, a secret cabal chaired by Cecil Rhodes got together in 1891 to plan what to do. And the solution they came up with was to ruin Germany in a war.

    I find the book very credible. It is certainly true that a campaign of Germanophobia was whipped up by some newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

    The parallels with the situation today with regard to China seem to me to be very real. Ruining Russia in a proxy war, such as the one in the Ukraine, could well lead to the break-up of that country and thus deprive China of a potential ally.

    And so, war with China will similarly prove inevitable unless we act to prevent it.

    • Teleman
      October 20, 2023 at 15:49

      Perhaps the reason we let so many into this country is: we’ll need a lot more men to fight China.
      Is this the New World Order spoken of by GHWBush?

      • eric siverson
        October 20, 2023 at 17:06

        A real war now maybe over in 1 hour

        • Valerie
          October 22, 2023 at 07:33

          That’s a sobering thought eric. And probably the outcome of this latest madness.
          I just spoke with a friend in the ME and he said America will destroy the world.

    • Gordon
      October 20, 2023 at 22:26

      You are correct regarding Britain, Germany and the two great wars that Britain waged against the latter. The English did it out of jealousy and paranoia. Germany came together as a unified state much later than England, and it industrialized a generation later, but once it did it quickly began outperforming Britain in industry and global commercial enterprises. Britain conducted their wars to psychopathic extremes. Also, Britain won both wars only by conning the US to join as an ally; even so, Britain bankrupted themselves and lost their empire and became a third-rate power. The parallels and motives are strikingly similar to what is now happening between the US and China. I suspect the final result will be much the same.

      I believe the Americans learned the art of lying from Perfidious Albion. Vladimir Putin has rightly called the US an “empire of lies.” For now the US is running off the dying inertia from our past and lies, deceits, deceptions and ever more lies.

  27. J Anthony
    October 20, 2023 at 08:49

    This piece neatly sums up the immediate problem with US so-called leaders- they lack vision, nuance and depth. They are full-bore caught-out in the myths of American exceptionalism and greatness, either unable or unwilling to acknowledge the flaws and hypocrisy of their ways. This makes them unqualified to be in the positions they are in, but there they are. This damning inability to reflect or cooperate on the scale required for a more stable world makes them the biggest obstacle to hope and progress.

  28. TP Graf
    October 20, 2023 at 07:07

    The section, “An Odious Spectacle,” is pure gold! Our hubris and hypocrisy are certainly at an all time high in my 66 years–and that is really saying something. I’ve been pondering a bit (it doesn’t take much deep thought to get to the hypocrisy) the Democrats who are so-called gun control advocates in Congress who carry on about cartridge sizes for US manufactured retail gun sales while voting (unanimously) to send uncountable rounds of 155mm shells, cluster bombs and every other horror of war to ensure the slaughter of our “friends” in Ukraine. (A completely avoidable war, it must be said, if we had only spent some time listening rather than propagandizing.)

    While the majority in Congress have always favored the war machine above all else (except bailing out the “too big to fails,” of course), at least there had always been a hopeful contingent opposed to diving into the next horrific debacle of war. Now, we are reduced to a few libertarians committed to not going abroad “seeking monsters to destroy.” We are on a suicide mission and Biden/Bliken press the accelerator towards the cliff with each passing day.

  29. Steve
    October 20, 2023 at 07:03

    If you ever wanted evidence that ‘The Rich’ are essentially stupid, selfish oafs then look no further than the Western Political class. To succeed in Western politics you need to be rich, that’s it, no need to concern yourself with democracy or ‘the people’, just grab what you can legally or illegally, and don’t worry who you destroy in the process.
    The stupid rich can be found at all levels of society, they all operate the same. This is how we define success in the west. No wonder we are in such a state.

  30. Zalahaldine
    October 20, 2023 at 05:59

    America (and probably more generally the entire American ruling class) are “non-agreement capable”. The kinds of discussions that the author suggests here require a certain level of trust or, alternatively, the ability to enforce decisions. The American system as currently constructed is inherently not to be trusted as no one feels obligated by agreements made by their predecessors (and note: this is not just the government, American business practices have evolved this way as well).

    Its hard to see how Russia and China can agree to anything with America that they are not able to enforce/impose themselves. America has burned all bridges in this respect.

    • nwwoods
      October 20, 2023 at 10:45

      Indeed, and as the Russians have repeatedly articulated, the US is agreement incapable. It cannot bet trusted to live up to the very treaties itself initiates and ratifies. It’s behaviour toward the rest of the world better resembles that of mobsters leveraging threats, corercion, bribery, protection rackets, deception, theft, and extreme violence.

    • eric siverson
      October 20, 2023 at 16:52

      I sure mostly agreed with this aauthor of this artical it sounded like i mighht have written this article myself . You hit apone the reason That Russia and China have for not trusting the United States . I learned we could not be trusted when Yugoslavia was destroyed back in 1999 . The United Nations but mostly Russia and China were trying to protect and save Yugoslavia as a whole country to rule the Balkans . Mostly Germany did not like Yugoslavia , the Balkans the easyist place in the world to start a war . With a large Roman Catholic population , Muslim Pop and even a larger Orthodox Christian population . NATO the north American terroirist organization bombed everyone but generally favored the Muslims bombing the Musslims the least . NATO said they wanted to show the Muslim world we loved Muslims as much as Christians if they obey . Wesley Clark commanded NATO forces He issued orders to shoot the Russian troops because they will try to protect Orthodox Christian civilians . They English soldiers refused these orders . But Russia got upset anyway , The Russia got rid of Yeltson and installed Putin someone they thought tough enough to stand up to NATO . About at this same time period NATO fired a misscle into the Chiunese Embassey and killed a few Chinese . United States claimed his was accident , But China found out The United SStates was lying would Gfeorge Tennet admited to the U.S. congress he picked the Chinese embassy as a target . After these two misstakes Russia and China did not feel powerful enough to take NATO on to save Yugoslavia , But they both agreed to from this date on to work togeether and share all military technology . That is almost 25 years ago and I believe they now feel strong enough to stand up to NATO any way they want to go . If you can find the 4 year 5000 pages of Milosevic’s trail You could get a lot of important information .

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