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Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal/neoconservative compact

Bill Martin

Preface for this moment: The aim of my series of articles that began in March 2016 is not journalism, but instead to try to understand something that is unfolding at a rapid pace. When I look at certain philosophers and political theorists who are able to give immediate responses to very current events, I am a little envious, but at the same time I’m not at all sure that it’s such a good idea for philosophers to model responses of this sort.

We are already so deep into an anti-philosophy and anti-considered-reflection (anti-) “culture” that it seems not a good idea to add to this.

Obviously, social media has multiplied these tendencies to a stupifying degree, the overall effect of which cannot be estimated. Somehow in the midst of this at least some of us have to hold to the principle that the Owl of Minerva may take some days after the dusk to take flight.

As the Iran question opened up again, I was attempting to complete a second article on the impeachment nonsense. Then I thought to combine this piece with some material on the present Iran situation. There are interconnections to be sure, very strong ones as discussed below, but then I worried about the problems of “combining-two-into-one” (as Uncle Mao put it) and of making things too long and losing the thread.

Also, part of the next impeachment article discusses the Identity Politics angle played by Constitutional-Law witness Prof. Pamela Karlan, and, while I don’t think this issue is trivial, certainly it is trivial when placed in the context of happenings in the Middle East. Iran first, then.

*

My second piece here at Off Guardian raised harsh criticisms for the actions in Bolivia supported by the Trump administration and seemingly by President Trump himself.

At the same time I question how much of this actually comes from Trump and what is behind it — at the least, there are complex negotiations and maneuverings going on in the crossing/colliding orbits of the foreign policy agenda Trump has expressed many times, and all of the other factors of the power structure (the political establishment, the ruling class, the permanent state, the Deep State — and, if you can’t swallow this last term, just go with the CIA and the rest of the “intelligence community”), including the many minders who have been placed in the White House to attempt, often successfully, to undermine Trump.

In these circumstances, around the assassination of Gen. Qassim Suleimani, we cannot fail to add Israel and its intelligence agency — Mossad — and its military might, especially its nuclear weapons, and its U.S. proxy agency, AIPAC, into this mix. (Remember the especially galling moment in Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress in 2015 when he demanded that Iran do certain things so that it could become a “normal country”?)

The State of Israel is unquestionably right in the center of what is unfolding here.

And certainly, in the case of anything that has global implications, Russia and China are involved too, and it cannot be a coincidence that these two countries have been conducting joint naval exercises with Iran.

In the largest terms, I think two things are going on.

First, Iran and Israel have been on a tripwire for a good while now—this should be news to no one. Can anyone imagine that things are otherwise than both regimes being fully-prepared to take preemptive action?

Obviously it is entirely possible that when one of them does take preemptive action, this will become nuclear very quickly, quite possibly from the very start. Indeed, the most likely scenario is that Israel makes a preemptive strike, and that strike could very well take the form of their using one of their highly-advanced military aircraft to drop a hydrogen bomb on Tehran.

Both Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Gen. Soleimani have relentlessly taunted the U.S., and President Trump personally, for the last year. Regarding the Iranian activity in Iraq, and in particular the activities around the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Khamenei tweeted to Trump directly, “You can’t do anything.” (Apparently Ayatollahs tweet now.)

This sort of thing would not matter in the least if it was just typical social-media bullshit, but it is occurring in the midst of two things: Iran is indeed making major moves in the region and in Iraq specifically, and, meanwhile, the neoliberal-neoconservative establishment has been howling against Trump since he took office, and before, about his often-stated intention of getting the U.S. out of the Middle East altogether.

And many of those voices are howling, or at least claiming to howl, for the sake of the State of Israel.

For my part, I am strictly anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist, which is one of the two main reasons I’m a “communist for Trump.”

So, what I am saying is not meant to excuse anything, including whatever Trump’s actual role in all this is; but the military strike in Baghdad may have been as much to forestall a war between Israel and Iran (which the U.S. would almost certainly be a part of very quickly, and then Russia, China, possibly others, and WWIII could follow) as it was to take Iran down a notch. Whether this was a good idea for those purposes, and whether this will work to forestall various nightmare scenarios, are additional questions.

Second, not only is Trump hobbled by the impeachment nonsense, it is the purpose of this nonsense to hobble him. So much of the nonsense, beyond narrow power moves within the power structure, is coming from the Deep State (or whatever–the neoliberal/neocon establishment, the CIA, etc.), with the Democrats (and the so-called Left who have subordinated themselves to the Democrats) taking the lead (but with plenty of Republicans on board for intervention); the aim of this hobbling is so that the power players of the neoliberal economic agenda and the neoconservative military agenda (what I call the neoliberal/neocon compact) can basically go on a rampage, trying to make up time and (imperialist) opportunities lost during the Trump disruption.

Regardless, however, of whatever specifically is unfolding here, this is truly a case where the devil is in the details, and most of these details are hidden from most people. There are too many people out there, mostly social media “commentators” and “poli-sci major”-types talking large about this and that, without really backing up and getting a larger sense of the geopolitics on the one side, and not thinking about the possibilities of real politics, a real thinking of the polis, on the other. Whatever—this sort of thing isn’t going to stop, but we need something else, too; we need some real theory.

I know it’s not a nice thing to say what I said about poli-sci types. The sad thing is that it also applies to philosophers with Ph.D.s who have never really studied political questions, but who decided back in the 1980s that they better “get political.”

Much of this had to do with Marxist arguments about Heidegger and those working with and influenced by Heidegger, and not that they didn’t occasionally come up with some brilliant stuff on both sides. When I put together the book version of all these articles, I’ll do a big footnote on this whole scene, the prospects of which I know will thrill many present readers.

Kidding aside, though, and going to this “theory” question, the kinds of readers who would find such a discussion worth pursuing are more like the ones who, I hope and imagine, would find my general project, of the Trump Clarification, Disruption, etc., worthwhile.

To make a very long story short, these philosophers, literary theorists, etc., especially those more influenced by Heidegger, had for a long time said that political questions did not interest them; then, in the space of a few years, they suddenly decided that what they were doing was not only “political,” or that it speaks to “the political” — they took the term over from Hannah Arendt — they suddenly began to declare that they were doing the real political theory all along and were far in advance of anyone else.

And again, some brilliant stuff came out of this scene, even if the people doing this work were pretty annoying at times—and not that I wasn’t pretty annoying myself, in the midst of all this.

What is most relevant for the present discussion, though, is that even by now most of these smart people have still not really given much attention to politics for itself, either in the sense of the anti-politics of mere machinations and circulations of power, or the real politics of what needs to be done and understood in order to create a good society.

Back in the day, despite some highfalutin’ rhetoric, most of these good people remained about what you would expect from academia, just sort of your typical left-liberals.

And that’s more or less where these people, and their academic progeny, are now, except they’ve more recently dressed themselves up as brave resistance fighters against Trump and the hordes of horrible, deplorable “Wal-Mart” people.

The poli-sci types are the same, politically, but without the deep reading and pedigree.

My brilliant life-partner thinks through these things quite a lot, and our conversations are crucial to my own thinking. These are some notes she made on Jan. 4:

I get the sense there are contradictory and complex Deep State factions.

On the one hand, the ever present ‘bomb bomb Iran’ group. On the other hand, the ‘pivot toward Iran’ group that seemingly Obama and Kerry had fashioned with the JCPOA, that ten-year moratorium on Iran developing a nuclear bomb, while allowing them to continue uranium enrichment.

In 2016 Obama also transferred $1.7 billion in cash to Iran, supposedly as reimbursement for weapons purchased by Iran from the U.S. in the 1970s but not delivered.

On top of that, I find very curious those claims that John Kerry has continued to actively work directly with Iran, telling them not to cooperate with Trump, seeking to undermine Trump’s attempts to get Iran to the table for a new, tougher deal, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

I wonder if this aspect is why Iran was so provocative of late, with their involvement in threatening a Benghazi redux against a US embassy in Iraq, and then cheeky in response to Trump’s increasing twitter ire, tauntingly replying to him, “you can’t do anything about it.”

Sounds to me like Iran leadership was waving a red flag in front of a Trumpian bull, itching for a fight. Either that, or maybe more likely, Iran leaders were supremely if naively confident that via John Kerry they had the US deep state on their side.

I mean, who knows, but it sounds like Kerry was whispering to Iran something like, ‘hey, don’t worry, we will get Trump out, then repivot to Iran’.

As late as October, Trump reiterated wanting to get out of the Middle East altogether:

We’re getting out. Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand. The job of our military is not to police the world.”

And then Iran picks up the pace. Thinking Trump will keep letting it go? Why pick that fight? Except thinking they’ve got better options coming from Kerry.

As one commenter said:

“Basically the equivalent of one leaving a bar fight, some guy stabs him in the back and so he turns round and smashes him with a bottle. Still not sticking around but needs to show who’s boss.”

At any rate, granted the US has a lot to answer for in meddling where we shouldn’t have been. But Trump has in some sense himself said this on occasion, and was the one wanting out, while still wanting to be tougher on Iran.

Also, US evil doings doesn’t mean Iran hasn’t got weird agendas of its own. (The Iranian constitution has written into it an imperative for expansion, and it has inserted itself into Iraq’s power structure, made possible of course, and possibly necessitated, after the US wrecked Iraq).

Pincer movements of US Deep State continue to be at work.

Maybe Trump has internalized the logic for his own Machiavellian reasons: not letting Iran taunt him without harsh reprisal, likewise signaling to North Korea not to try to put one past Trump who can outcrazy rocketman. I think Trump is sincere in wanting out of the Middle East, but is also a ruthless realpolitik type when entities don’t cooperate with the deals he offers and also when they actively threaten the US embassy.

At any rate, a section of the deep state has for many years or decades wanted war with Iran, and they seemed to have enticed or lured both sides into getting very close to that, feeding on both sides’ vanities or proclivities, while also actively undermining Trump’s hand of cards.

– Kathleen League, Ph.D. (Philosophy), author of Adorno, Radical Negativity, and Cultural Critique: Utopia in the Map of the World (2010)

It does help to discuss the ambitions of Iran in the Middle East and the world, in the context of a great Persian and Islamic civilization that goes back millennia. Some jarring of the historical memory—that is, lack thereof—of U.S. citizens is always good. (A good little bit of jarring to share with your less-memory-enabled friends: Show them a picture of the Taj Mahal, which is in India, of course, and remind them that this “wonder of the world” is an example of great Islamic architecture of Persian and Mughal inspiration.)

Given the “rise of China” (which may very well be the key to understanding much of what Trump is about, where the basic formula is the U.S. and China on the world stage, and everything else is triangulation), one could see a number of ancient civilizations wanting to get on board with challenging U.S. global hegemony.

One of the best articles I’ve seen on both sides of the current scene is Jim Kavanaugh’s “Impeachment: What Lies Beneath?” Let us note that this essay was first published at the author’s website, The Polemicist, on Dec. 17, 2019.

In the first half of the essay, “The Raw,” the author is discussing the remarkable weakness of the impeachment case and articles; the second half of the essay, “The Cooked,” begins with the following two paragraphs:

Which makes me wonder. The obviousness of this losing hand, and the fact that the most politically-seasoned, can’t-be-that-stupid Democrats seem determined to play it out, have my paranoid political Spidey senses all atingle. What are the cards they’re not showing? What lies beneath the thin ice of these Articles of Impeachment?

If the apparent agenda makes no sense, look for the hidden. Something that better explains why Pelosi, et. al. find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.

There is one thing that I can think of that drives such frantic urgency: War. That would also explain why Trump’s “national security” problem—embedded in the focus on Ukraine arms shipments, Russian aggression, etc.—is the real issue, the whistle to Republican war dogs.

But if so, the Ukro-Russian motif is itself a screen for another “national security”/war issue that cannot be stated explicitly. There’s no urgency about aggression towards Russia. There is for Iran.

These paragraphs mirror the structure of the essay altogether: beginning with impeachment and ending with Iran. In the next paragraph we see Kavanaugh’s prognosis, his proposal for how things might unfold:

So here’s my entirely speculative tea-leaf reading: If there’s a hidden agenda behind the urgency to remove Trump, one that might actually garner the votes of Republican Senators, it is to replace him with a president who will be a more reliable and effective leader for a military attack on Iran that Israel wants to initiate before next November. Spring is the cruelest season for launching wars.”

This was striking to read on December 17 and even more striking to reflect upon as of Friday, January 3. Kavanaugh’s arguments make a lot of sense, and perhaps it will turn out that “April is the cruelest month” (as he says at the end of the essay) — but don’t we have to consider that perhaps Trump has once again outplayed both Democrats and Republicans, and, even more, the Deep State?

As Trump said in announcing the drone strike that killed Gen. Soleimani, “We took action last night to stop a war; we did not take action to start a war.”

Attacks in/on other countries by the U.S. will not receive praise from me, not any more than did the U.S.-abetted coup in Bolivia. I will say, though, that I sure wish the party of the King of Drones, Barack Obama (who openly bragged about being “very good at killing people”) would shut the hell up.

That’s not going to happen, of course — the only thing here that will restrain them is the role of Israel in this.

Again, there’s no mystery to any of this—but what is a mystery to me is why anybody listens to the Democrats on this or any other issue.

Undoubtedly there are elements to this situation I don’t see or understand—but what we all have as a helpful guide is the fact that whatever the Democratic Party leadership says here, and whatever the conventional Left narrative presents on this situation, absolutely cannot be trusted.

*

One of the arguments I made in “Trump and the coup in Bolivia” (off-guardian.org, Dec. 16, 2019) is that “geopolitical considerations” are not a basis for intervening in a country that has never done anything to the intervening country.

This applies even more if the potential intervener is an imperialist state of global reach, such as the United States (and such as the UK, France, and that most under-maligned of countries, the Netherlands); it’s simply gangster logic to say that, for example, the United States “had to” intervene in (that is, invade) Vietnam because some other country was also aiming to intervene.

There is no geopolitical “teleological” that justifies the suspension of the ethical. That the U.S. invasion of Vietnam was a suspension of the ethical to a horrifying, and one could even say genocidal, degree should be a dramatic empirical example of what happens when “geopolitical” calculations take the place of “the ethical” in the sense I mean here, concern for the highest good of the people.

But of course the United States has not learned even the most elementary lessons here. Still, in this respect—and this is something that Democrats and the present Left are sickeningly hell-bent on avoiding—even simply the anti-interventionist rhetoric of Donald Trump, and his many references to “foolish wars” and the like, is vastly and qualitatively superior to what the main figures of the neoliberal-neoconservative compact, the Clintons, the Bushes, Obama, Cheney, etc., have to offer.

In particular, Trump on this point is vastly, qualitatively superior to Hillary Clinton — but this point is something that, despite a few weak protestations, the great majority of those supporting the Democrats seem to avoid at all costs (and there are tremendous costs!), or, to be uncharitable about things, they really just don’t care.

To the extent that these people are even thinking about such things, I suppose this is again a case where globalism is deemed superior to “nationalism.”

The general response of leftists and “blue no matter who”-types is to say, “Why are you still talking about Hillary?” They aren’t actually asking: this is just another diversion from the main point, which has to do with military intervention.

Just consider not only HRC’s attack on Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian agent, but also the fact that very few Democrats and even leftists could find the wherewithal to support Gabbard in her criticism of HRC as a corrupt warmonger.

The other main point on which Trump is vastly superior to Hillary and the rest of the neoliberal globalist core of the Democratic Party is in bringing to the fore the conditions and prospects of ordinary working people.

The only Democratic presidential candidates who have shown concern on these questions are Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang — who are also the ones who spoke up for Gabbard in her altercation with Hillary — and even Sanders is almost certainly not going to get anywhere near the nomination.

These two questions are related: the far-greater part of the “professional,” “educated,” “woke” liberal and “progressive” core of the Democratic Party want ordinary working people, i.e., the deplorables, to keep quiet, but also to keep working as long as that is needed by finance capital, keep going off to wars as long as that is needed by the neoliberal-neoconservative economic-military compact, and otherwise to go off and die from opioids, poverty, etc. Yes, there are limitations, sometimes severe, to what Trump has done or been able to do, on these issues.

But neither of these two big issues would even be issues if Trump had not been elected — not in the case of the Democratic nominee, not in the case of any other Republican who was running. Given this fact, I think it’s surprising that Trump has been able to do as much as he has, which includes changing the discourse significantly.

We can see this in the efforts of Pelosi and Schumer to challenge Trump on what is going on with Iran at this moment. As per usual, the elephant in the room, the State of Israel, is left out of all this.

And, as per usual, the thing they are criticizing Trump for, in this one instance, is something they never criticized Barack Obama for, even though the latter remains the world leader in drone strikes (and in deporting people back to Central and South America), and he did not seek the approval of Congress for any of this.

Never mind that the House impeachment hearings were supposedly all about “national security” and Trump’s not accepting everything that came out of the intelligence agencies at face value, and that now, when Trump does act on some very specific intelligence, they attack him for it.

But when I say “never mind,” I mean this both in the sense of noting the hypocrisy of it, but even more in the sense that nothing any Democratic political leader says (with perhaps a very few exceptions) should be granted any credence whatsoever.

These things being said, however, let us, all the same, consider a very important geopolitical question.

Let’s be clear, there is a difference between substituting geopolitical power calculations for a universal perspective on the good of humanity, and, on the other hand, recognizing that the existing layout of the world has to be taken into account in attempts to open up a true politics. (My larger perspective on the problem of “opening” is presented in the long essay, “The Fourth Hypothesis,” at counterpunch.org.)

Personally, I find the geopolitical analyses of George Friedman very much worthwhile to consider, especially when he is looking at things long-range, as in his books The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. The latter was published at the beginning of 2012, and so we are coming to the close of the ten-year period that Friedman discusses.

One of the major arguments that Friedman makes in The Next Decade is that the United States will have to reach some sort of accommodation with Iran and its regional ambitions. The key to this, Friedman argues, is to bring about some kind of balance of power again, such as existed before Iraq was torn apart.

This is the key in general to continued U.S. hegemony in the world, in Friedman’s view—regional balances that keep regional powers tied up and unable to rise on the world stage. (An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the U.S. must find the path toward “quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel” (p.6).

This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman’s geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take.

(As the founder, CEO, and “Chief Intelligence Officer” of Stratfor, Friedman aimed to provide “non-ideological” strategic intelligence. My understanding of “non-ideological” is that the analysis was not formulated to suit the agendas of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. However, my sense is that Friedman does believe that U.S. global hegemony is on the whole good for the world.)

In his book that came out before The Next Decade (2011), The Next 100 Years (2009), Friedman makes the case that the U.S. will not be seriously challenged globally for decades to come—in fact, all the way until about 2080!

Just to give a different spin to something I said earlier, and that I’ve tried to emphasize in my articles since March 2016: questions of mere power are not questions of politics. Geopolitics is not politics, either—in my terminology, it is “anti-politics.”

For my part, I am not interested in supporting U.S. hegemony, not in the present and not in the future, and for the most part not in the past, either.

For the moment, let us simply say that the historical periods of the U.S. that are more supportable—because they make some contribution, however flawed, to the greater, universal, human project—are either from before the U.S. entered the road of seeking to compete with other “great powers” on the world stage, or quite apart from this road.

In my view, the end of U.S. global hegemony and, for that matter, the end of any “great nation-state” global hegemony, is a condition sine qua non of a human future that is just and sustainable. So, again, the brilliance that George Friedman often brings to geopolitical analysis is to be understood in terms of a coldly-realistic perspective, not a warmly-normative one.)

Of course, this continued U.S. hegemony depends on certain “wise” courses of action being taken by U.S. leaders (Friedman doesn’t really get into the question of what might be behind these leaders), including a “subtle” approach to the aforementioned questions of Israel and Iran.

Obviously, anything associated with Donald Trump is not going to be overly subtle! On the other hand, here we are almost at the end of Friedman’s decade, so perhaps the time for subtlety has passed, and the U.S. is compelled to be a bit heavy-handed if there is to be any chance of extricating itself from the endless quagmire.

However, there’s a certain fly, a rather large one, in the ointment that seems to have eluded Friedman’s calculations: “the rise of China.”

It isn’t that Friedman avoids the China question, not at all; Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

Certainly I know from study, and many conversations with people in China, this was a real concern going into the 2010s and in the first half of the decade.

The chapter dealing with all this in The Next 100 Years (Ch. 5) is titled, “China 2020: Paper Tiger,” the latter term being one that Chairman Mao used regarding U.S. imperialism. Friedman writes of another “figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth—or poverty …” (p.7).

Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy, I certainly believe anything can happen in social matters, but it seems as though President Xi Jinping and the current leadership of the Communist Party of China have, at least for the time being, managed to head off fragmentation at the pass, so to speak.

Friedman argued that the “pass” that China especially had to deal with is unsustainable growth rates; but it appears that China has accomplished this, by purposely slowing its economy down.

One of the things that Friedman is especially helpful with, in his larger geopolitical analysis, is understanding the role that naval power plays in sustaining U.S. hegemony. (In global terms, such power is what keeps the neoliberal “free market” running, and this power is far from free.)

Here again, though, we find an indicator where Friedman’s analysis of China appears to be off:

The Chinese have a weak navy that could not survive a confrontation with the United States. … China does not [even] have the naval power to force its way across the Taiwan Strait, … China is not going to develop a naval capacity that can challenge the United States within a decade. It takes a long time to build a navy.”
p.98

My insertion of the word “even” in the second sentence here changes the meaning of what Friedman is saying a little bit, but the basic point is that he was making this argument from the standpoint of 2009, and raising the question of what could happen if China felt compelled to accomplish militarily what it cannot do purely through economic means.

Note, as I did in the Off Guardian article on the coup in Bolivia, that the United States does this sort of thing all the time—because it can. Friedman’s argument is that China cannot do this, even in the case of Taiwan (which the PRC claims as a province, not a separate country).

Perhaps Friedman is right in terms of an actual naval confrontation in the Taiwan Strait, but it certainly appears to be the case that China has already in this last decade built a navy quite strong enough to force the United States to concede that such a confrontation would be a very bad idea in the first place.

If this is indeed the case, then it appears that China’s navy is already substantially on the (maritime) map, and we’re seeing this in the joint exercises recently conducted with the navies of Russia and Iran. The Straits of Taiwan are not the question at this moment so much as are the Straits of Hormuz, and a confrontation there would not be only a question of military power.

The larger point is that the PRC does seem to have reached the point that, just as with U.S. global power, every major geopolitical question is also a matter of Chinese power, whether economic, political, or military. And the Chinese navy is growing more rapidly than ever, even as we speak.

Given the way that military procurement and technology development works in the United States, basically through monopoly-capitalist economics and government-corruption “politics,” it seems highly likely, as Paul Craig Roberts has argued repeatedly, that in general China has better weapons systems and a better level of military preparedness than the United States, as does Russia as well.

In other words, what Friedman argued regarding Iran and Israel has to be rethought because it appears that China is indeed going to stay on the rise for some time to come.

This is hardly a scientific statement, but my own sense, having spent about a year in total out of the last eight in the PRC, is that it is hard to imagine China not surpassing the United States in almost every way. A very simple indicator of this is that there is great optimism in China; a lot of people there get out of bed every day thinking it’s going to be a good day, and they go to bed at night thinking tomorrow will be even better.

They aren’t manic about this—indeed, as with President Xi’s 2020 New Year’s address, which you can watch on YouTube, they tend to be measured and sensible.

There are exceptions, of course, but parents in China seem to love and care for their children (and the one-child family will remain the norm, it appears, despite the official change in policy) in ways that is not seen nearly as much in the U.S.; in turn, the schools are much better and the students work harder.

Yes, there are some ways in which people are “more free” in the U.S., though some of these “freedoms” are “bogus” (to quote Jeffersonian political theorist Jeff Spicoli), and there are other ways in which Chinese people are more free. For instance, walking down the street or going to a bar in China, there is almost no chance of an encounter that leads to someone being shot.

Even more significantly, women in general are vastly safer from sexual assault in China than in the United States — this is a legacy of the Mao period that does not get nearly the attention it deserves in the U.S., perhaps least of all among the current generation of feminists (or so-called “feminists”).

Ironically, however, recalibration of issues in light of China’s continued rise still points in the same direction that Friedman points to: reach an accommodation with Iran, let armed-to-the-teeth/nuclear Israel deal with its own affairs and reach its own arrangement with Iran, achieve energy independence in the U.S., and essentially get out of the Middle East.

*

One area where we could certainly discuss subtlety is regarding Trump’s military threat against Iran’s cultural sites. Many people posted pictures of these sites on Facebook and elsewhere, and it was wonderful to see them.

Certainly, it was an ugly thing for Trump to threaten these great creations of human civilization. And yet, again — and this is where I get in trouble with my friends who think that all I do is make excuses for Trump, but here goes — I think the purpose of these threats was quite different than what my liberal and left friends and others imagined.

Of course this is because, for them, only the most base and stupid motivations can be assigned to Trump. I’m not going to defend a threat against great artifacts of an ancient civilization any more than I would the drone strike that led to this scenario in the first place (though, again, would the defenders of the King of Drones ferme ta bouche, si vous plait?) — but it seems more than likely that the strategery employed by Trump here was to rouse the Iranian masses to consider what their regime was getting them into. And that seems to have worked — not that that is all to be said on the matter (see thoughts on utilitarianism and pragmatism below).

George Friedman has a new book coming out on February 25, The Storm Before the Calm; I’m looking forward to reading it.

*

Getting out of the Middle East, where nothing good has been achieved (even in the warped terms of U.S. imperialism) for decades, has been Trump’s declared purpose for some time now. A dividing line needs to be drawn, very-sharply drawn, between those who support this goal, and those who oppose this goal.

Whether those who want to keep the endless war machine turning are Democrats or Republicans, they ought to be opposed vigorously, and rendered unacceptable as anyone who is allowed to be any kind of “public representative” or to have their hands on the real machinery of power.

Of course, the latter group includes numerous figures whose records are not up for review by anyone, such as Bill Kristol or Max Boot; others are media figures such as Rachel Maddow; still others are top generals in the pentagon or ensconced functionaries in the State Department; and then there are others whose names or exact positions in the state apparatus you and I will never know.

In all of these groups, Trump’s only real tools are rhetoric and exposure — and yet the dogs of war still howl with indignation that anyone would question what they are doing.

Two of the best supporters of Trump’s stated agenda are Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton. Neither of them pull any punches on this issue when it comes to Republicans, and both of them go some distance beyond Trump in stating an explicitly anti-war agenda.

They perhaps do not entirely fit the mold of leftist anti-imperialism as it existed from the 1890s through the Sixties (as in the political decade, perhaps 1964-1974 or so) and 1970s, but they do in fact fit this mold vastly better than almost any major figure of the Democratic Party, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang. (But none of them has gone as far as Trump on this question!)

Certainly Elizabeth Warren is no exception, and at the moment of this writing she has made the crucial turn toward sticking the knife back into Bernie’s back. That is her job, in my view, and part of it is to seem close to Bernie’s positions (whatever their defects, which I’ll discuss elsewhere), at least the ones that are more directly “economic,” while winking at the ruling class.

There are a few things Carlson and Hilton say on the Iran situation and the Middle East in general that I don’t agree with. But in the main I think both are right on where these issues are concerned.

As I’ve quoted Carlson a number of times previously, and as I also want to put forward Hilton as an important voice for a politics subservient to neither the liberal nor the conservative establishments, here let me quote what Hilton said in the midst of the Iran crisis, on January 5, 2020:

The best thing America can do to put the Middle East on a path that leads to more democracy, less terrorism, human rights and economic growth is to get the hell out of there while showing an absolute crystal clear determination to defend American interests with force whenever they are threatened.

That doesn’t mean not doing anything, it means intervening only in ways that help America.

It means responding only to attacks on Americans disproportionately as a deterrent, just as we saw this week…and it means finally accepting that it’s not our job to fix the Middle East from afar.

The only part of this I take exception to is the “intervening only in ways that help America”-bit—that opens the door to exactly the kinds of problems that Hilton wants the U.S. to avoid, besides the (to me, more important) fact that it is just morally wrong to think it is acceptable to intervene if it is in one’s “interests.”

My guess is that Hilton thinks that there is some built-in utilitarian or pragmatic calculus that means the morally-problematic interventions will not occur. I do not see where this has ever worked, but more importantly, this is where philosophy is important, theoretical work and abstract thinking are important.

It used to be that the Left was pretty good at this sort of thing, and there were some thoughtful conservatives who weren’t bad, either. (A decent number of the latter, significantly, come from the Catholic intellectual tradition.) Now there are still a few of the latter, and there are ordinary people who are “thoughtful conservatives” in their “unschooled way”—which is often better!—but the Left has sold its intellectual soul along with its political soul.

That’s a story for elsewhere (I have told parts of it in previous articles in this series); the point here is that the utilitarianism and “pragmatism” of merely calculating interests is not nearly going to cut it. (I have partly gone into this here because Hilton also advocates “pragmatism” in his very worthwhile book, Positive Populism — it is the “affirmative” other side to Tucker Carlson’s critical, “negative” expose, Ship of Fools.)

The wonderful philosophical pragmatism of William James is another matter; this is important because James, along with his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), were leading figures of the Anti-Imperialist League back in the 1890s, when the U.S. establishment was beating the drums loudly to get into the race with Europeans for colonies.

They were for never getting “in”—and of course they were not successful, which is why “get the hell out” is as important as anything people can say today.

What an insane world when the U.S. president says this and the political establishment opposes him, and “progressives” and “the Left” join in with the denunciations!

It has often been argued that the major utilitarian philosophers, from Bentham and Mill to Peter Singer, have implicit principles that go beyond the utilitarian calculus; I agree with this, and I think this is true of Steve Hilton as well.

In this light, allow me to quote a little more from the important statement he made on his Fox News Channel program, “The Next Revolution,” on January 5; all of this is stuff I entirely agree with, and that expresses some very good principles:

The West’s involvement in the Middle East has been a disaster from the start… and finally, with President Trump, America is in a position to bring it to an end. We don’t need their oil and we don’t need their problems.

Finally, we have a U.S. president who gets that and wants to get out. There are no prospects for Middle East peace as long as we are there.

We’re never going to defeat the ideology of Islamist terror as long as these countries are basket cases … and one of the reasons they are basket cases is that our preposterous foreign policy establishment with monumental arrogance have treated the middle east like some chess game played out in the board rooms in Washington and London.

– [foxnews.com, transcribed by Yael Halon]

So then there is the usual tittering about this and that regarding Carlson and Hilton from liberal and progressive Democrats and leftists who support the Democrats, and it seems to me that there is one major reason why there is this foolish tittering: It is because these liberals and leftists really don’t care about, for example, the destruction of Libya, or the murder of Berta Caceres.

Or, maybe they do care, but they have convinced themselves that these things have to swept under the rug in the name of defeating the pure evil of Trump. What this amounts to, in the “nationalist” discourse, is that Trump is some kind of nationalist (as he has said numerous times), perhaps of an “isolationist” sort, while the Democrats are in fact what can be called “nationalists of the neoliberal/neoconservative compact.”

My liberal and leftist friends (some of them Maoists and post-Maoists and Trotskyists or some other kinds of Marxists or purported radicals—feminists or antifa or whatever) just cannot see, it simply appears to be completely beyond the realm of their imaginations, that the latter kind of nationalism is much worse and qualitatively worse than what Trump represents, and it completely lacks the substantial good elements of Trump’s agenda.

But hey, don’t worry my liberal and leftist friends, it is hard to imagine that Joe Biden’s “return to normalcy” won’t happen at some point—it will take not only an immense movement to even have a chance of things working out otherwise, but a movement that likes of which is beyond everyone’s imagination at this point—a movement of a revolutionary politics that remains to be invented, as all real politics are, by the masses.

Liberals and leftists have little to worry about here, they’re okay with a Deep State society with a bullshit-democratic veneer and a neoliberal world order; this set-up doesn’t really affect them all that much, not negatively at any rate, and the deplorables can just go to hell.

*

The Left I grew up with was the Sixties Left, and they used to be a great source of historical memory, and of anti-imperialism, civil rights, and ordinary working-people empowerment.

The current Left, and whatever array of Democratic-Party supporters, have received their marching orders, finally, from commander Pelosi (in reality, something more like a lieutenant), so the two weeks or so of “immense concern” about Iran has given way again to the extraordinarily-important and solemn work of impeachment.

But then, impeachment is about derailing the three main aspects of Trump’s agenda, so you see how that works. Indeed, perhaps the way this is working is that Trump did in fact head off, whatever one thinks of the methods, a war with Iran (at this time! – and I do think this is but a temporary respite), or more accurately, a war between Iran and Israel that the U.S. would almost certainly be sucked into immediately.

So, it’s back to Plan A for the Democrats and the “Left” that would be laughably absurd if it wasn’t so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better!

Bill Martin is a philosopher and musician, retired from DePaul University. He is completing a book with the title, “The Trump Clarification: Disruption at the Edge of the System (toward a theory).” His most recent albums are “Raga Chaturanga” (Bill Martin + Zugzwang; Avant-Bass 3) and “Emptiness, Garden: String Quartets nos. 1 and 2 (Ryokucha Bass Guitar Quartet; Avant-Bass 4). He lives in Salina, Kansas, and plays bass guitar with The Radicles.

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Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Jan 21, 2020 2:09 AM

I have to admit, I very much appreciate Bill Martin’s alternative point of view. I can see why he didn’t last at CounterPunch, so I’m glad Off-G has picked him up.

(An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

Oh boy! Intermarium redux. That’s just what London and Paris did after the First World War: build up Poland a “bulwark between Russia and Germany” … we know how that turned out.

Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

I gather that was the plan from the start: to fragment Russia and China into warring fiefdoms so as to ensure that neither would ever rise again. Mercifully, it looks like the neocons have failed there.

Friedman writes of another “figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth—or poverty …” (p.7).

Hmmm. I wonder if he might have been referring to Bo Xilai here.

Of course this is because, for them, only the most base and stupid motivations can be assigned to Trump.

Exactly. ‘Orange man bad’ is their major premise, their minor premise, their only premise. Not surprisingly, it’s always their conclusion as well.

paul
paul
Jan 20, 2020 11:44 PM

Trump has turned out to be just another mediocre US president, though he followed the same script of being opposed to ruinously costly foreign military adventures as Bush and Obama before him.
He is easily manipulated by Israel, the Zionist Lobby, and the Neocons.
He has abdicated most of his authority to Bolton, Pompeo, Pence, and similar figures.
He has very little control over his own administration.
He is just another war criminal in the mould of Bush or Obama, without the veneer of sophistication of the latter.
People should not fixate on Trump, or demonise him.
He will replaced in due course by some other mediocrity, and things will carry on precisely as before.
He just doesn’t matter.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 20, 2020 3:40 PM

I have read through finally. And comments too.

My opinion is Bill Martin is on the ball except for one personage- Hilton. If he is Camerons Hilton and architect of the Brexit referendum – for which he is rewarded with a ‘seat at the table’ of the crumbling Empire. The Strafor man too is just as complicit in the Empires wickedness.

But I’ll let Bill off with that because he mentioned the Anti-Imperialist Mark Twain – always a joy to be reminded of Americas Dickens.

On Trump – he didn’t use the Nuclear codes 10 minutes after getting them as warned by EVERYONE. Nor start a war with RocketMan, or Russia in Syria, or in Ukraine or with the Chinese using the proxy Uighars, or push through with attempted Bay of Pigs in Venezuela or just now Hong Kong. The Wall is not built and the ineffectual ripoff Obamacare version of a NHS is still there.
Judge by deeds not words.

Soleimani aside – He may have stopped the drive for war. Trumps direct contact with fellow world leaders HAS largely bypassed the war mongering State Department and also the Trillion dollar tax free Foundations set up last century to deliver the world Empire, that has so abused the American peoples and environment. He probably wasn’t able to stop Bolivia.
The appointments of various players were not necessarily in his hands as Assad identified- the modern potus is merely a CEO/Chair of a board of directors who are put into place by the special interests who pour billions, 10’s of billions into getting their politicians elected. They determine ‘National Interests’. All he can do is accept their appointment and give them enough rope to hang themselves – which most have done!
These are that fight clubs rules.

On the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – after 20 full years of working towards cohesion- they have succeeded. Iran is due to become a full member – once it is free of UN sanctions, which is why Trump was forced into pulling the treaty with them, so that technicality could stop that membership. China is not having it nor is Russia – Putins clear statement re the ‘international rules’ not being mandatory for them dovetails with the US position of Exceptionality. Checkmate.

As for the Old Robber Baron Banker Pirates idea that they should be allowed a Maritime Empire as consolation- ha ha ha, pull the other one.

The ancient sea trading routes from Africa to China were active for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and used unequal power to disrupt and pillage at their hearts content.

What made that possible was of course explained in the brilliant Guns, Germs and Steel.

These ancients have ALL these and are equal or advanced in all else including Space, Comms and AI. A navy is not so vital when even nuclear subs are visible from low orbit satellites except in the deepest trenches – not a safe place to hide for months and also pretty crowded with all the other subs trying to hide there. As for Aircraft carrier groups – just build an island! Diego Garcia has a rival.

Double Checkmate.

The Empire is Dead. Long live the Empire.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 20, 2020 11:43 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

And this is hilarious about potus turning the tables on the brass who tried to drag him into the ‘tank’.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

‘Grab the damn fainting couch. Trump told the assembled military leaders who had presided over a military stalemate in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS as “losers.” Not a one of them had the balls to stand up, tell him to his face he was wrong and offer their resignation. Nope. They preferred to endure such abuse in order to keep their jobs. Pathetic.

This excerpt in the Washington Post tells the reader more about the corruption of the Deep State and their mindset than it does about Trump’s so-called mental state. Trump acted no differently in front of these senior officers and diplomats than he did on the campaign trail. He was honest. That is something the liars in Washington cannot stomach. ‘

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
Jan 20, 2020 1:15 PM

I am not an expert on US Constitutional Law, but is there any legal mechanism for a US President to hold a Referendum in the way that the UK held a ‘Brexit Referendum’ and Scotland held an ‘Independence Referendum’?

How would a US Referendum in ‘Getting the hell out of the Middle East, bringing our boys and girls home before the year is out’ play out, I wonder?

That takes the argument away from arch hawks like Bolton et al and puts it firmly in the ambit of Joe Schmo of Main Street, Oshkosh……

wardropper
wardropper
Jan 20, 2020 7:37 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

Great idea.
Main problem is that most Americans are brought up to think their government is separate from themselves, and should not be seriously criticized.
By “criticized”, I mean, taken to task in a way which actually puts them on a playing field where they are confronted by real people.
Shouting insults at the government from the rooftops is simply greeted with indulgent smiles from the guilty elite.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 20, 2020 7:18 AM

George Friedman is a bog standard Zionist, therefore, out of fear, a virulent Sinophobe, because the Zionists will never control China as they do the Western slave regimes. China surpassed the USA as the world’ s largest economy in 2014, on the PPP calculus that the CIA,IMF and just about everyone uses. It’ s growing three times as fast as the USA, too. The chance of China fragmenting by 2020 is minuscule, certainly far less than that of the USA. The Chinese have almost totally eliminated poverty, and will raise the living standard of all to a ‘ middle income’ by 2049. It is, however, the genocidal policy of the USA, on which it expend billions EVERY year, to do its diabolical worst to attempt to foment and foster such a hideous fate inside China, by supporting vermin like the Hong Kong fascist thugs, the Uighur salafist terrorist butchers, the medieval theocrats of the Dalai clique and separatist movements in Inner Mongolia, ‘ Manchuria’, Taiwan, even Guandong and Guangxi. It takes a real Western thug to look forward to the ghastly suffering that these villainous ambitions would unleash.

Antonym
Antonym
Jan 20, 2020 10:01 AM

In RlS’s nut shell: China can annex area but Israel: no way!

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 20, 2020 2:47 PM
Reply to  Antonym

Which area is China looking to annex?

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 20, 2020 11:06 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Ant is a pathological Zionist liar, but you can see his loyalty to ‘ Eretz Yisrael’ , ‘ ..from the Nile to the Euphrates’, and ‘ cleansed’ of non-Jews, can’ t you.

Antonym
Antonym
Jan 21, 2020 1:48 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Tibet, Aksai Chin, South Chinese sea done. To do: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Arunachal Pradesh.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 21, 2020 3:56 AM
Reply to  Antonym

And Eretz Yisrael? Still to be ‘ redeemed’, ie stolen and the inhabitants killed or dispersed-Sinai, Egypt up to the Nile, parts of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, and for the Talmudists like Ant, the Arabia Peninsula. Not to forget those areas under de facto control ie the whole of the West, particularly that milch-cow, the US of A.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 22, 2020 4:17 AM
Reply to  Antonym

Scrapping the barrel antsy.
HK lease ran out, Taiwan is the bolt hole of the banker owned royalists who sold china for opium and AP!! South Tibet?? Blame the british empires penchant for drawing lines on a map – given that it has Bhutan and Myanmar bordering west and East and the Brahamaputra rises through it – a tribal high mountain land – the Chinese will not get into it and neither will Taiwan which also CLAIMS it!

Tch tch – must try hardet at China baiting – maybe when they come to the aid of helping Palestine join their BRI?

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 22, 2020 7:04 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

When you tell the Chinese that the Jews are ‘ Gods Upon the Earth’, they politely titter, hence the Zionists’ hatred for them.

alsdkjf
alsdkjf
Jan 20, 2020 6:58 AM

I’m surprised that this author can even remember the counter culture of the 60s given his Trump love.

Yet more Trumpism from Off Guardian. One doesn’t have to buy into the politics of post DLC corporate owned DNC to know Trump for what he is. A fascist.

It’s just amazing this Trump “left”. Pathetic.

Antonym
Antonym
Jan 20, 2020 3:42 AM

Trump….. better than HRC but the guy is totally hypnotized by the level of the New York stock exchanges: even his foreign policy is improvised around that. He simply thinks higher is a proof of better forgetting that 90% of Americans don’t own serious quantity of stock and that levels are manipulated by big players and the FED. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

Look at his dealing with China: tough as much as the US stock market stays benign in the short term. Same for Iran etc.

Sure, he is crippled by Pelosi & the FBI / CIA, but he is also by his own stock dependent mind. Might be the reason he is still alive ???

alsdkjf
alsdkjf
Jan 20, 2020 7:03 AM
Reply to  Antonym

Trump crippled by the CIA? Trump?

I mean the fascist jerk appointed ex CIA torture loving Pompeo to replace swamp creature oil tycoon as Secretary of State, no?

He appointed torture queen within the CIA to become CIA Director, no?

He went to the CIA headquarters on day one of his Administration to lavish praise, no?

He took on ex CIA Director Woolsey as advisor on foreign policy during his campaign, no?

I tell ya that Trump is a real adversary of the CIA!

Gall
Gall
Jan 20, 2020 7:59 AM
Reply to  alsdkjf

Roger that. Trump appoints a dominatrix as DCI. Only a masochist or a sadist would Dream of Gina..you know the head of the torture squad under Bush. Otherwise nice girl. PompAss is a total clown but a dangerous one who even makes John Bolton look sane. Now that’s scary!

This guy is Hilary Clinton in drag. The only thing missing is the evil triumphalist cackle after whacking Soleimani. Maybe it wasn’t recorded.

So much for “draining the swamp”. The Whitehouse has become an even bigger swamp.

Antonym
Antonym
Jan 20, 2020 9:52 AM
Reply to  alsdkjf

Forgot about John Brennan ex- CIA head or James Clapper ex-DNI honcho?
John Brennan On ‘All Roads With Trump Lead To Putin’ | The Last Word | MSNBC
They practically too Trump hostage in his first year.

one
one
Jan 20, 2020 3:08 AM

my take from this article:
There are, among the murderers and assassins in Washington, a couple of characters who appear to have 2% of human DNA.
They author may confirm.

two
two
Jan 20, 2020 3:05 AM

“israel is right in the cen…”
sorry, the muderous regime israel has repeatedly proven, it’s never never right. please avoid this usage.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 21, 2020 3:57 AM
Reply to  two

It’ s increasingly Right, however.

three
three
Jan 20, 2020 3:01 AM

There are 53 or 54 ‘I’s in the article, including his partner’s Is. The author may confirm.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 20, 2020 12:35 AM

Phew!

That is a lot of words mate. Fingers must be sore. I won’t comment more until trying to re-read again except quote this:

“Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy,..”

I must say i had a wtf moment at that point… see ya later.

paul
paul
Jan 20, 2020 12:09 AM

The idea that Trump’s recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.

Even Hitler didn’t want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn’t work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.

Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump’s delicate negotiations with N. Korea.

paul
paul
Jan 20, 2020 12:28 AM
Reply to  paul

Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.

That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.

It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops “happy to die for Israel” asUS ones are (according to their general)?

paul
paul
Jan 20, 2020 12:42 AM
Reply to  paul

And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.

That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.

paul
paul
Jan 20, 2020 12:55 AM
Reply to  paul

It is instructive that all the main players in the impeachment circus are Jews, under Sanhedrin Chief Priests Schiff and Nadler, apart from a few token goys thrown in to make up the numbers. That even goes for those defending Trump.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 20, 2020 11:10 PM
Reply to  paul

Don’ t forget that Lebanon up to the Litani is the patrimony of the Jewish tribes of Asher and Naphtali, and, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said on Israeli TV a few years ago, ‘ Damascus belongs to the Jews’.

paul
paul
Jan 21, 2020 2:57 PM

The Litani and Damascus are small potatoes. They want the whole of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, half of Iraq, half of Shady Wahabia, and bits of Turkey and Egypt. The Orange Goy in the White House will shortly endorse their claim to Mars and Alpha Centauri. Those aliens will just have to move somewhere else.

bevin
bevin
Jan 19, 2020 10:54 PM

” China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.”

This is not Bill, but Bill’s mate the Stratcor geopolitical theorist for hire.

What is happening in the world is that the only empire the globe, as a whole, has ever seen- the pirate kingdom that the Dutch, then the British and finally the US, leveraged out of the plunder and conquest of America -the maritime empire, of sea routes and navies is under challenge by a revival of the Eurasian proto-empires that preceded it and drove its merchants and princes on the Atlantic coast, to sea.

We know who the neo-liberals are the current iteration of the gloomy philosophies of the Scots Enlightenment, (Cobbett’s ‘Scotch Feelosophy’) utilitarianism in its crudest form and the principles of necessary inequalities, from the Austrian School back to the various crude racisms which became characteristic of the C19th.
The neo-cons are the latest expression of the maritime powers’ fear of Eurasia and its interior lines of communication. Besides which the importance of navies and of maritime agility crumble.
Bill mentions that China has not got much of a navy. I’m not so sure about that, but isn’t it becoming clear that navies-except to shipyards, prostitutes and arms contractors- are no longer of sovereign importance? There must be missile commanders in China drooling over the prospect of catching a US Fleet in all its glory within 500 miles of the mainland. Not to mention on the east coast of the Persian Gulf.
The neo-cons are the last in a long line of strategists, ideologists and, for the most part, mercenary publicists defying the logic of Halford Mackinder’s geo-strategy for a lot more than a penny a line. And what they urge, is all that they can without crossing the line from deceitfulness to complete dishonesty: chaos and destabilisation within Eurasia, surrounding Russia, subverting Sinkiang and Tibet, employing sectarian guerrillas, fabricating nationalists and nationalisms.. recreate the land piracy, the raiding and the ethnic explosions that drove trade from the land to the sea and crippled the Qing empire.
The clash is between war, necessary to the Maritime Empire and Peace, vital to the consolidation and flowering of Eurasia.

As to Israel, and perhaps we can go into this later: it looms much larger in the US imagination (and the imaginations the ‘west’ borrows from the US) than anywhere else. It is a tiny sliver of a country. Far from being an elephant in any room, it is simply a highly perfumed lapdog which also serves as its master’s ventriloquist’s dummy. Its danger lies in the fact that after decades of neglect by its idiotic self indulgent masters, it has become an openly fascist regime, which was definitely not meant to happen, and, misled by its own exotic theories of race, has come to believe that it can do what it wants. It can’t-and this is one reason why Bill misjudges the reasoning behind the Soleimani killing- but it likes to act, or rather threaten to act, as if it could.

(By the way-note to morons across the web-Bill’s partner quotes Adorno and writes about him too: cue rants about Cultural Marxism.)

Hugh O'Neill
Hugh O'Neill
Jan 19, 2020 11:54 PM
Reply to  bevin

Thanks, Bevin. The article was so long, I had quite forgotten that he laid too much emphasis on the Stratcor Unspeakable. Clever he may be, but not much use without a moral compass. Talking of geo-strategists, you will doubtless be aware of the work of A.T. Mahan whose blueprint for acquisition of inspired Teddy Roosevelt and leaders throughout Europe, Russia, Japan.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 20, 2020 7:23 AM
Reply to  Hugh O'Neill

Friedman is a snake oil peddler. He tells the ruling psychopaths what they want to hear, like ‘ China crumbling’, their favourite wet-dream.

bevin
bevin
Jan 20, 2020 3:09 PM
Reply to  Hugh O'Neill

I agree about Mahan’s importance. He understood what lay behind the Empire on which the sun never set but he had enough brains to have been able to realise that current conditions make those fleets obsolete. In fact the Germans in the last War realised that too- their strategy was Eurasian, it broke down over the small matter of devouring the USSR. The expiry date on the tin of Empire has been obvious for a long time- there is simply too much money to be made by ignoring it.
Russia has always been the problem, either real (very occasionally) or latent for the Dutch/British/US Empire because it is just so clear that the quickest and most efficient communications between Shanghai and Lisbon do not go through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal, or round the cape . Russia never had to do a thing to earn the enmity of the Empire, simply existing was a challenge. And that remains the case- for centuries the Empire denounced the Russians because of the Autocracy, then it was the anarchism of the Bolsheviks, then it was the autocracy again, this time featuring Stalin, then it was the chaos of the oligarchs and now we are back with the Tsar/Stalin Putin.

Hugh O’Neill
Hugh O’Neill
Jan 20, 2020 7:22 PM
Reply to  bevin

Phenomenal diagnosis, Bevin. However, one suspects that there is still too much profit to be made by the MIC in pursuing useless strategies. I imagine Mahan turning in his grave in his final geo-strategic twist.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Jan 20, 2020 7:21 AM
Reply to  bevin

Yes-Zionist hubris will get Israel into a whole world of sorrow.

MASTER OF UNIVE
MASTER OF UNIVE
Jan 19, 2020 10:54 PM

More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain’t.

Any article with mention of mother-‘Tucker’ Carlson is one that is pure propagandistic tripe in the extreme. Off-G is a UK blog yet this Americanism & worn out aged propaganda still prevails in the minds of US centric myopics writ large across all states in the disunity equally divided from cities to rural towns all.

MOU

johny conspiranoid
johny conspiranoid
Jan 20, 2020 8:31 AM

“More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain’”
Is this even a sentence?

MASTER OF UNIVE
MASTER OF UNIVE
Jan 20, 2020 5:03 PM

It was a sentence when I was smoking marijuana yesterday, Johnny C. Today it is still a sentence IMHO, but you transcribed it incorrectly, and forgot the end of the sentence.

NOTE: When I smoke marijuana I am allowed to write uncoordinated sentences. These are the rules in CANADA. If you don’t like it write to your local politician and complain bitterly.

MOU

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe
Jan 19, 2020 9:39 PM

Bush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they’re particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more “cognizant” than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that’s why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.

However, Trump is “dangerous” because he’s a “misinformed idiot,” and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line…

In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you’re surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you’ll do stupid things. And that’s what they’re counting on.

alsdkfj
alsdkfj
Jan 20, 2020 7:12 AM

Trump is some virtuous example of a truth teller? Trump?

The biggest liar to every occupy the White House and that is saying a lot.

Swamp Monster fascist Trump. So much to love, right?

He could murder one of your friends and you’d still apologize for him, is my guess.

paul
paul
Jan 21, 2020 3:05 PM
Reply to  alsdkfj

No, he’s exactly the same as his predecessors and successors. Our Zionist overlords and organ grinders provide infinite variety in their choice of trained goy monkeys. You can have black ones, orange ones, gay ones, polished and well spoken ones, or oafish foul mouthed ones. Just so long as they keep rattling the little tin cup for the organ grinder.

Hugh O'Neill
Hugh O'Neill
Jan 19, 2020 9:37 PM

It was a long read, but I got there. In essence, I agreed with 99%, but I hesitate to share too much praise for Trump’s qualities as a Human Being – though he may be marginally more Human than the entire US body politic. I was walking our new puppy yesterday when he did his usual attempt to leap all over other walkers. I pleaded their forgiveness and explained that his big heart was in inverse proportion to his small brain. It occurred to me later that the opposite would be pure evil i.e. a small heart but big brain. Capitalism as is now infects the Human Experiment, has reduced both brains and hearts: propagandists believe their own lies, and too few trust their own instincts and innate compassion, ground down by the relentless distractions of lies and ‘entertainment’ (at least the Romas gave you free bread!).
I get the impression that Trump’s world view hasn’t altered much since he was about 11 years old. I do not intend to insult all eleven-year-olds, but his naivety is not a redeeming feature of his spoilt brat bully personality. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker every John Wayne cowboy movie and thinks the world can be divided into good guys and bad guys depending on what colour hat they wear. In the days of Black & White TV, it was either black or white. The world seemed so much simpler aged 11….(1966).

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 20, 2020 2:56 PM
Reply to  Hugh O'Neill

Yet I have yet to see one photo of Trump with a gun or in uniform.

MASTER OF UNIVE
MASTER OF UNIVE
Jan 20, 2020 9:10 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

The Duck learned to dress appropriately for business, I’ll give him that. As a New York Real Estate scion you will never see him dress otherwise. Protocol in business is a contemporary business suit. No other manner of dress is allowed for the executive class in North America or UK.

MOU

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Jan 22, 2020 4:23 AM

China? Russia?
Uniforms are pretty widespread regardless of ethnicities.