zaterdag 19 juni 2021

That Little Power Elite Moment is Already Over

 JUNE 18, 2021

That Little Power Elite Moment is Already Over


Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Concerns over the white-supremacist neofascism of the Republican Party were overblown, a “Marxist” told me last January, because Trump had never won the allegiance of all but a small fraction of the nation’s corporate and financial ruling class. Had I not read the latest Noam Chomsky interview, the “Marxist” said, in which Chomsky expressed what seemed to be surprise at the corporate sector’s displeasure with the January 6th Attack on the Capitol? “Shortly after the storming of the Capitol,” Chomsky commented days after the assault, “some prominent corporations and political action committees vowed to cut off support for the Republicans who had fanned the flames of anger and conspiracy that resulted in violence.”

Please. Some relevant and deep pockets sections of the ruling class (especially in the fossil fuel and other polluting industries) did in fact back Trump from the start. The corporate and financial elites who didn’t want the demented monster in the White House in 2017 were happy to leave him there for a full first term thanks to his tax cuts and neoliberal de-regulation policies. “Those who hold the levers of the private power that dominates the society and political system,” Chomsky himself observed in the aforementioned interview, “never liked Trump’s behavior, which harmed the image they project as humanists dedicated to the common good. But they were willing to tolerate the vulgar performance as long as Trump and his accomplices delivered the goods, lining their pockets by robbing the public.” Indeed, as Doug Henwood reflected last April:

Trump was not the bourgeoisie’s favorite candidate. He had support from provincial plutocrats but not from the executive suite at Goldman Sachs. When he took office and immediately began ransacking, one wondered if the deep state would rein him in. Maybe the CIA would even arrange a malfunction in Air Force One’s fuel line. But it was not to be. Tax cuts and deregulation made capital forget all their reservations about Trump, and the stock market made 128 fresh daily highs — on average, one every six days — between inauguration and the onset of the coronavirus crisis. It took the encouragement of an attack on the U.S. Capitol for the big bourgeoisie to complain [about Trump’s extremism] openly – 99 percent of the way through his time in office. 

The narcissist in the White House was good for the bottom-line interests of big capital, which waited until he tried to physically overthrow a presidential election to go public with disgust over his mad tyrannical excess.

At the same time, a respectable wealth and power elite that seriously wanted a loathsome neofascist out could have pulled the plug well before the fall and winter of 2020-21. Trump’s fascist essence was fully evident after the summer 2017 events in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the very least (see this for an excellent analysis in May of 2016). But this “deep state” coup never took place.

If Trump had gotten a second term (as he likely would have but for COVID-19), moreover, many corporate and financial chieftains not on board with the orange malignancy would have easily re-accommodated to his power. And make no mistake: most of the politically engaged U.S. corporate and financial elite would have backed Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections had the Democrats run Bernie Sanders (admittedly an impossibility), the leftish progressive who campaigned in accord with majority public opinion and misleadingly called himself a socialist. The America ruling class will pick fascism over even mild social-democratish progressivism very time. You can take that to the bank.

And guess what, the little burst of belated ruling-class campaign finance conscience that Chomsky noted after January 6th seems to have ended half a year out from the failed Capitol Complex Putsch (ancient history!). Check out Al Jazeera’s recent reporting on how the military-industrial aviation giant Boeing corporations has decided to resume campaign contributions to leading Congressional and state-level Big Lie Republifascists:

“Boeing Co.’s political action committee resumed giving to federal candidates and committees in May after a three-month pause, including donations to members who opposed certifying the 2020 election results for President Joe Biden. The aerospace giant joined dozens of other companies on Jan. 13 in announcing that they would suspend and review their PAC donations in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot by supporters of Donald Trump.

But beginning on May 3, Boeing gave out nearly $900,000 to political committees and candidates, according to its latest filing with the Federal Election Commission. Among sitting lawmakers who received $5,000, the maximum amount a PAC can give per election, were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Representative Vicky Hartzler of Missouri. Representative Jack Bergman, a Michigan Republican who also voted against certification, got $2,500.

All four were among the 147 Republicans who voted against certifying Electoral College votes for Biden in alignment with Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged. Five people were killed as a result of the mob storming the building.

Boeing’s PAC also gave $25,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association. An affiliate of the group, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, helped organize protests on Jan. 6 that preceded the riot, paying for robocalls urging Trump supporters to attend the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.

The PAC’s biggest donations went to the Republican Governors Association, which got $200,000, and the Senate and House arms of the Democratic and Republican parties, each of which got $105,000 — the maximum that a PAC can give to a party committee per year.”

If system and industry leader Boeing is opening its political checkbook back up for the white nationalist party of QAnon, other top American corporations can’t be far behind. Other parts of Big Business don’t want to be lose out in the scramble to purchase influence with the neofascist wing of the neoliberal duopoly.

Put that in your power elite pipe and smoke it.

How do things look going forward? Not great. Here is a recent smart reflection from Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of the mainstream magazine The Atlantic, on likely scenarios for 2024-25:

“At least from where I sit, the most important and most relevant truth of the [January 6] riot is that it was not the culmination of the insurrection, but its prologue. If the Republican Party, as currently constituted, takes back the House and Senate next year (an outcome that is not only plausible but, history tells us, likely), and if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2024, it doesn’t seem likely that Congress will certify the victory. And then the four horsemen will most certainly ride.” 

Say what you want about the centrist Obama fan (ugh) Goldberg, but that sounds about right to me. The bipartisan defeat of the For the People Act – irrelevantly supported by most of the populace – could help lock that outcome in. The killing of the bill (a major voting rights reform that passed the US House but is blocked by the absurd racist U.S. Senate, where Wyomingans citizens have 136 times more voter representation than Californians) seems to make a Republifascist return to power likely. The legislation, killed by white Demublifascist Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), had the potential of rolling back racist voter suppression and right-wing gerrymandering and the insidious power of right-wing dark money in US electoral politics. The bill’s defeat is a green light for “red” (white-supremacist) takeover in 2023 and 2025. Such a shame. Too bad. Senatorial Simon Says.

Lack of full corporate support may well not be enough to prevent Trump or some other white nationalist freakshow from rising to power in 2024-25 with help from many millions of small donors, the right-wing media hate machine, racist and partisan voter suppression measures, and Republican power in Congress.

Republican state legislatures governors are backing and signing bills to restrict minority voting rights, criminalize liberal and left protest, and outlaw teaching about white supremacy. They are scheming to take charge of key election supervision and oversight positions in battleground states. Paranoid, brain-cooked Arizona has a bill that would permit its state legislature to nullify the state’s popular vote in assigning its 2024 Electoral College slate.

Along the way, the country is awash in weapons, mass shootings, anti-vaxxery, and general insanity, certain to be exacerbated by the ever-deepening ecological catastrophe, which has created a lethal water crisis in the Western states. Nearly a quarter of the nation’s Republicans and 1 in 7 U.S.-Americans (more than 35 million U.S. adults) believe fasci[st]nating QAnon conspiracy theories like the following: “The government, media and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global sex trafficking operation.”

There are enough guns in the US for every man, woman, and child and then 67 million more guns after that. There are more than 20 million military-style assault rifles out and about in the U.S. A bloody U.S. pogrom is just sitting out there, waiting for the right triggers. Only a third of Americans, very disproportionately Republican, own all the guns.

Still, it sure was neat that Boeing and other corporate chieftains held back for a few months on funding lunatics (like the 21 House Republicans who just voted against giving Congressional Gold Medals to Capitol police officers who defended Congresspersons against a violent fascist assault on January 6, 2021), wasn’t it?

Joe Rogan Destroys CNN's Brian Stelter

"Your Show's F*cking Terrible!": Joe Rogan Destroys CNN's Brian Stelter In Podcast Rant

Tyler Durden's Photo
SATURDAY, JUN 19, 2021 - 10:55 AM

No sooner did we note the absolute collapse in ratings for Brian Stelter's CNN show Reliable Sources, which has lost 72% of his viewers since hitting its highest level of the year on January 10 - than popular podcaster Joe Rogan added insult to injury.

Rogan took exception with Stelter being incensed that more people were watching shows on YouTube than watching his show, according to Fox News.

“They didn’t even understand the way they were describing it. They were describing it as if they’re entitled to viewers," Rogan ranted. "They were saying, ‘There are people on YouTube right now that get more views than this show.’ This is because the market has spoken and your show’s f***in terrible. Well, Brian Stelter’s show keeps slipping and slipping and slipping in the ratings.”

"How about Brian Stelter talking to the press secretary, ‘What are we doing wrong? What are we doing wrong?’ Like, hey motherf---er, you're supposed to be a journalist," Rogan said.  "They're obviously being told a certain amount of what to do. And maybe he'd be an interesting guy if he had his own f---in podcast that you can rely on his own personality and be himself. I don't know. I can't imagine doing that gig."

"He's the worst," Rogan guest and progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski said. Stelter has "outright [called] for censorship under the guise of combatting the spread of conspiracy theories."

They "use that for f---ing everything," Kulinski said.

Rogan then turned his ire to Don Lemon's show: "So is Don Lemon's. It's the same thing. Everyone knows they're not real. They're not real humans."

"And they wonder why they get no views," Kulinski concluded. 

Recall, this week we noted that Stelter, who just last week groveled at the feet of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki - asking how the media can better cover President Biden - has failed to attract at least one million viewers for 11 straight weeks, and averaged just 752,000 on Sunday, his smallest audience of the year.

Comparatively speaking, Fox News' "MediaBuzz" which fills the same timeslot averaged 1.1 million viewers, beat Stelter by 41%.

While "Reliable Sources" is billed as a media program, Stelter’s tiny audience didn’t get a chance to hear about the most buzzed-about segment of the week when he didn’t cover Jeffrey Toobin’s awkward return to CNN after he was caught masturbating on a Zoom call with colleagues from his other gig. 

Stelter had previously reported that some CNN hosts and anchors "expressed a desire to have Toobin back," but he didn’t name names. Viewers who tuned in to see if Stelter would elaborate on air were left disappointed when he never even uttered Toobin’s name during the program. 

"Reliable Sources" has been hitting embarrassing new lows in various ratings measurables on a regular basis in recent weeks as the program struggles to find relevancy during the Biden era. Stelter spent much of the previous few years criticizing former President Trump at every turn but hasn’t found a formula to attract an audience since Biden was sworn in. -Fox News

When one looks at the coveted 25-54-year-old demographic, just 129,000 people tuned into Stelter.

"Fox News aired 12 different programs on Sunday alone that attracted a larger audience than ‘Reliable Sources,’" reports Fox, which has been Stelter's primary target over the past several months - calling it "GOPTV" over its spotlighting of Anthony Fauci's damning emails.

"Routine e-mails portrayed as scandalous. Where have we seen this trick before?" asked Stelter, according to the Daily Wire.

Last week, several callers to CSPAN berated Stelter - with one caller saying "CNN, I cannot watch you. I wish I could. And MSNBC, they are worse than CNN."

Roasted potato:

Wuhan's Bat Lady Found 'All Genes' Required To Genetically Engineer SARS-Like Coronavirus

Wuhan's Bat Lady Found 'All Genes' Required To Genetically Engineer SARS-Like Coronavirus: 2017 Report

Tyler Durden's Photo
SATURDAY, JUN 19, 2021 - 10:11 AM

Yet another piece of the pandemic puzzle has fallen into place - after being hidden in plain sight until it was wiped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology's (WIV) website.

Unearthed by The National Pulse's Natalie Winters, a Nov. 2017 report titled (no really): "Bats in China carry all the ingredients to make a new SARS virus," describes how researchers at the WIV had identified 'all the genes to make a SARS coronavirus similar to the epidemic strain,' among 11 new strains of viruses collected in horseshoe bats.

Zhengli "bat lady" Shi

“After five years of surveying bats in a cave in southern China’s Yunnan Province, Zhengli Shi and colleagues discovered 11 new strains of SARS-related viruses in horseshoe bats (especially in Rhinolophus sinicus). Within the strains, the researchers found all the genes to make a SARS coronavirus similar to the epidemic strain, says Shi, a virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

These new strains are more similar to the human version of SARS than were previously identified bat viruses, says Matthew Frieman, a virologist at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. -PLOS Pathogens

More via The National Pulse:

The article, which was recently wiped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s website, also notes that Shi and her colleagues found that “several of the strains” could grow in human cells.

“By analyzing the new viruses’ complete genetic makeup, Shi and her colleagues retraced the steps that might have given rise to the original SARS virus. A few spots in the viruses’ DNA seem particularly prone to rearrangement, so remixing happens often. The study suggests that recombination between viruses has shaped the evolution of SARS, says Baric.

Several of the strains could already grow in human cells, Shi’s team found. That indicates “there’s a chance that the viruses that exist in these bats could jump to people,” Frieman says. “Whether they will or not is anybody’s guess.”

Archived screenshot, Wuhan Institute of Virology

Also in 2017a subagency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci - resumed funding a controversial grant to genetically modify bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China without the approval of a government oversight body, according to the Daily Caller. This comes after a temporary suspension of federal funding in 2014 for gain-of-function research by which bat COVID was genetically manipulated to be more transmissible to humans. Four months prior to that decision, the NIH effectively shifted this research to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) via a grant to nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Peter Daszak.

Notably, the WIV "had openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions" for years under the leadership of Dr. Shi 'Batwoman' Zhengli, according to the Washington Post's Josh Rogin.

In 2017, however, the "Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight (P3CO) Framework was formed within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)," which was tasked with evaluating the risks involved with enhancing dangerous pathogens, as well as whether proper safeguards are in place, before a grant into 'gain-of-function' or similarly risky research can be issued.

Fauci's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) - the subagency which funded EcoHealth - didn't think the grant needed review, and resumed their relationship with Daszak without flagging it for the P3CO committee, an NIH spokesperson told the Caller.

EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak toasts with WIV's 'Batwoman' Shi Zhengli

Or - and just hear us out, a random bat infected a yet-to-be determined intermediary animal species, which nobody has been able to identify after 18 months of searching, which then infected humans in Wuhan - coincidentally home to the bat coronavirus lab, before anywhere else in the world.

vrijdag 18 juni 2021

NRC's Caroline de Gruyter en Andere Clowns 2

Let op de suggestieve stijl van hetgeen NRC-correspondente Caroline de Gruyter op 7 mei 2021 in haar krant beweerde onder de kop ‘De grens tussen oorlog en vrede in Europa is dunner dan we denken’:  

NAVO-landen, waaronder achttien EU-landen, wezen 144 Russische diplomaten uit — een move die de Russen, in de gebruikelijke ontkenningsmodus, meteen pareerden. 

Deze tekst getuigt van een groot gebrek aan kennis over de wijze waarop grootmachten handelen. Bovendien blijkt dat zij niet beseft dat alle grootmachten ook via hun ambassadepersoneel elkaar bespioneren. De ‘gebruikelijke ontkenningsmodus’ is niet een unieke Russische reactie; evenmin is het feit dat 'de Russen’ deze ‘move’ onmiddellijk ‘pareerden’ typisch Russisch. Het is de standaardreactie bij uitstek wanneer supermachten, om wat voor politieke reden dan ook, elkaar dwarszitten. Mevrouw De Gruyter geeft dan ook geen enkel voorbeeld dat de regering van de VS ‘meteen’ ruiterlijk toegaf dat zij, met haar 17 verschillende inlichtingendiensten, vanuit haar ambassades spioneert. Sterker nog, zoals een Britse diplomaat mij ooit vertelde, de ambassade van elke grootmacht functioneert als een spionagenest, en dat dit feit vanzelfsprekend algemeen bekend is bij alle inlichtingendiensten. Doorgaans laat men de spionnen gewoon hun werk doen, omdat de bespioneerde landen dan in elk geval weten wat die functionarissen uitspoken, aangezien ook de spionnen van de tegenstander bespioneerd worden, zoals beide partijen weten. De ‘ontkenningsmodus’ is onderdeel van dit kat-en-muisspel. Nog afgezien hiervan: hoe weet De Gruyter, die een buitenstaander is, ver verwijderd van de machtscentra, dat het uitwijzen van alle ‘144 Russische diplomaten’ daadwerkelijk gerechtvaardigd is geweest, en niet een politieke ‘move’ was om de Russen in een kwaad daglicht te stellen? Dat weet zij natuurlijk niet, gezien haar gebrek aan de juiste contacten. Haar beweringen berusten ook niet op door haar onderzochte feiten maar op de opinies van haar bellicose bronnen. Zo laten mainstream-journalisten zich permanent gebruiken, in de hoop en verwachting daarmee in aanzien te stijgen. Ook het volgende is een saillant voorbeeld van hoe corrupte journalisten de macht proberen te behagen:

De tweede golf uitzettingen begon in april, toen Tsjechië zei bewijs te hebben dat GRU-agenten — onder wie de twee van de Skripal-zaak — in 2014 een Tsjechische wapenfabriek hebben opgeblazen. Daarbij vielen twee doden. Praag en Moskou hebben tientallen diplomaten uitgezet.

Hoewel hier van alles wordt gesuggereerd, en als feiten wordt gepresenteerd, verzwijgt Caroline de Gruyter in haar anti-Russische propaganda het volgende feit dat The New York Times op 9 mei 2021 wel berichtte:

Was a huge blast at a Czech weapons depot sabotage by Russian spies? The villagers where it happened aren’t sure, but they do know they only want to watch James Bond films, not live inside one.

VLACHOVICE-VRBETICE, Czech Republic — For nearly a century, local residents have wondered at the strange comings and goings at a sealed-off camp ringed by barbed wire and dotted with keep out signs on the edge of their village.

The armies of Czechoslovakia, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Czech Republic all made use over the decades of the 840-acre property, deterring trespassers with guard dogs and armed patrols.

When the professional soldiers pulled out in 2006, the secretive activities became even more shadowy. Dozens of weapons depots hidden among the trees were taken over by arms dealers, a company reprocessing missile fuel and other private businesses.

Then, in October 2014, came the biggest mystery of all.

An enormous explosion ripped through depot No. 16, knocking farmers in nearby fields to the ground and sending dangerous debris raining down on the surrounding area.

The blast set the stage for an international spy thriller now further roiling Russia’s relations with the West: Who was behind the explosion, which killed two Czech workers, and what was the motive?

Initially, the blast — and a second round of explosions two months later — were blamed on the mishandling of weapons stored on the site.

But last month the Czech government said that what had happened was a military-style sabotage operation by Russian intelligence operatives. 

Tot zover de door de NRC-correspondente verzwegen, verifieerbare feiten. Kortom, haar betoog berust op niet te controleren fictie, die een onderdeel is van een politiek steekspel, misschien zelfs van een strijd tussen verschillende geheime diensten. Feit is wel dat een journalist van het allooi Caroline de Gruyter nooit de werkelijkheid zal weten te ontraadselen als gevolg van enerzijds haar gebrek aan de juiste contacten, en anderzijds door haar rol van propagandiste. Het feit dat zij de beweringen van één betrokken partij voetstoots voor waar aanneemt, om zodoende de andere partij te kunnen criminaliseren toont aan hoe bevooroordeeld zij is. Nog gevaarlijker is het dat zij vervolgens op grond van door haar niet te checken verhalen toch het volgende beweert:

Dit is geen klassieke spionage. Ook geen Russisch terrorisme. Dit is militaire agressie van een staat op het grondgebied van een andere staat, lid van de NAVO en EU. Toch toonden maar vijf EU-landen zich solidair met Tsjechië. Er zijn weinig Russische diplomaten — of wat ervoor doorgaat — meer om uit te zetten. En Europa is verdeeld over de vraag wat het hiermee moet. Dit is grey zone warfare: geen oorlog, geen vrede. Sommigen willen hard zijn, anderen – zie Angela Merkels CDU-speech woensdag – willen de Russische beer niet op de staart trappen.

Vanwaar deze voorstelling van zaken? Wie is de ‘loose cannon’ Caroline de Gruyter die zoveel ruimte krijgt van een volgens eigen zeggen pro-NAVO krant? Wikipedia meldt: ‘De Gruyter studeerde Nederlandse taal en letterkunde aan de Universiteit Utrecht en is sinds 1990 werkzaam in de journalistiek. Ze was redacteur buitenland en chef van de buitenlandredactie van Elsevier Weekblad,’ zoals bekend een uitgesproken neoconservatief en neoliberaal weekblad, en net als NRC een steunpilaar in Nederland van het Atlantisch bondgenootschap. Sinds 2013 is deze 57-jarige opiniemaakster ‘medewerker van de internationale denktank Carnegie Europe, waar ze achtergrondartikelen over Europese politieke ontwikkelingen bijdraagt, en lid van de European Council on Foreign Relations,’ instellingen met uitgesproken neoliberale en neoconservatieve uitgangspunten zoals blijkt uit ondermeer het recente artikel op de website van Carnegie Europe van 17 juni 2021: 

Is NATO Ready for China? At the latest NATO summit, allies jointly identified China as a systemic challenge to alliance security. But diverging views on China’s challenge among the partners hinder a consensus on NATO action. 

Het feit dat er nog geen kadaverdiscipline bestaat onder de 30 NAVO-landen ‘verhindert een consensus’ wat betreft de inzet van geweld tegen de nucleaire wereldmacht China. En dat is voor het Amerikaanse militair-industrieel complex, waarvoor president Eisenhower al in 1961 waarschuwde, een onacceptabel gegeven, om de simpele reden dat dit complex — dat meer dan 50 procent opslokt van de Amerikaanse federale begroting die het Congres kan toewijzen — zijn bestaan moet rechtvaardigen tegenover de belastingbetaler die zijn geld in de bodemloze put van de permanente oorlogsvoering ziet verdwijnen, zonder dat de VS sinds de Tweede Wereldoorlog ook maar één groot gewapend conflict heeft weten te winnen. Er moet voortdurend een vijand worden gecreëerd, en dit kan alleen met steun van de gehoorzame commerciële westerse pers. Om grondstoffen en markten veilig te stellen is de VS ruim 93 procent van zijn bestaan sinds 1776 in oorlog geweest met andere naties, een feit dat door mijn mainstream-collega’s angstvallig wordt verzwegen. Als men zijn ziel eenmaal aan de Duivel heeft verkocht kan men die niet halverwege zomaar terugkopen. Bovendien wees de bekendste opiniemaker ter wereld, Thomas Friedman, columnist van The New York Times, namens de gevestigde orde zijn publiek er nog eens op dat:

The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Op zijn beurt schreef de Amerikaanse neoconservatieve politicoloog Samuel Huntington in zijn internationale bestseller The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996), dat:

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

Evenals Huntington concludeert ook de neoconservatieve Amerikaanse historicus Victor Davis Hanson in zijn boek Why The West Has Won. Nine Landmark Battles in the Brutal History of Western Victory (2002) dat de westerse superioriteit altijd gebaseerd is geweest op ‘the most lethal practice of arms conceivable.’ Deze conclusie leidde tot zijn volgende advies:

Let us hope that we at last understand this legacy. It is a weighty and sometimes ominous heritage that we must neither deny nor feel ashamed about — but insist that our deadly manner of war serves, rather than buries, our civilization.

De emeritus hoogleraar Hanson schreef dit vijf decennia na Auschwitz en Hiroshima, en na alle westerse koloniale genocides. Desondanks hoeven ‘wij’ ons niet ‘beschaamd’ te ‘voelen’ over de westerse ‘dodelijke wijze van oorlog voeren,’ maar moeten ‘wij’ juist ‘beklemtonen’ dat deze ‘zware en soms onheilspellende erfenis,’ onze ‘beschaving’ eerder ‘dient’ dan ‘begraaft.’ Typerend is dat Hanson door het Amerikaanse elite geenszins wordt gezien als pleitbezorger van genocidale terreur, maar als een gerespecteerde historicus die de opvattingen van de gevestigde orde helder verwoordt. Binnen deze context moet het publiek De Gruyter’s campagne tegen Rusland beoordelen. De ‘denktank’ waaraan zij is verbonden, is genoemd naar de schatrijke Amerikaanse staalmagnaat Andrew Carnegie, die tijdens de beruchte ‘Strike at Homestead Mill’ in 1892 eerst een met Winchester-geweren uitgeruste privé-militie inhuurde om het verzet van de stakers te breken. Toen die verloor van de arbeiders, hun vrouwen en zelfs kinderen, zorgde  multimiljonair Carnegie ervoor dat de nog zwaarder bewapende militaire militie van de staat Pennsylvania, uitgerust met Gatling-mitrailleurs, op de stakers werd afgestuurd, waardoor stakingsbrekers de staalfabriek konden overnemen. ‘Despite his triumph over the union, Carnegie found the upheaval and its aftermath a devastating experience,’ en wel omdat zijn imago als humane werkgever voorgoed was geschonden.

Ook in het zogeheten ‘land of the free,’ dat doorgaat voor een ‘democratie,’ werden herhaaldelijk, op verzoek van schatrijke industriëlen, militairen ingezet om stakingen te breken. Hetzelfde gebeurde ook in het buitenland. Al in 1907, vatte de latere Democratische president Woodrow Wilson het Amerikaanse buitenlandse beleid nog eens kort maar krachtig samen door te stellen dat:

Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down… Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.

Bovendien schreef in 1935 op zijn beurt de Amerikaanse generaal buiten dienst Smedley Darlington Butler, die van 1898 tot 1931 bij het Korps Mariniers diende, in het tijdschrift Common Sense een uiterst opzienbarend artikel, waaruit ik het volgende fragment citeer: 

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Hetzelfde jaar publiceerde hij een boek onder de titel War Is a Racket, dat met de volgende woorden begint:

War is a racket (gangsterpraktijk. svh). It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives,

om hieraan toe te voegen: 

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Ook nu weer moet het massale Amerikaanse geweld de belangen van de elite in Washington en op Wall Street ‘veilig stellen.’ Zo wees de voormalige voorzitter van het Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan, in zijn memoires (2007) dat ‘het politiek niet van pas komt om te erkennen wat iedereen weet: de Irak oorlog draait grotendeels om olie.’ Een feit dat in de herfst van 2011 nog eens werd bevestigd door de neo-conservatief John Bolton toen hij op Fox News een mogelijke aanval op Iran rechtvaardigde met de opmerking dat:  

Iran er nauwelijks een geheim van maakt dat het naar de hegemonie streeft in de regio van de Perzische Golf, het cruciale olie en gas producerende gebied waarover wij zovele oorlogen hebben gevoerd om onze economie te beschermen tegen de nadelige impact van het verlies van deze voorraden, of wanneer we er alleen maar over kunnen beschikken tegen zeer hoge prijzen.

Ook deze informatie wordt door Caroline de Gruyter verzwegen omdat dit domweg niet past in haar propaganda over de geclaimde westerse morele superioriteit, ‘onze westerse mensenrechten en democratie,’ en ‘onze variatie in ideeën, onze tolerantie, onze openheid tegenover andere culturen,’ zoals mijn oude vriend Geert Mak dit zonder enige schroom nog steeds rond bazuint. 

Terug naar De Gruyter’s ‘internationale denktank.’ Veelbetekenend is dat ‘Carnegie Europe’ voortkomt uit ‘the Carnegie Endowment’ die in 2006 ‘launched the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut,’ en in 2007 de ‘Carnegie Europe in Brussels,’ en ‘the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center at the Tsinghua University in Beijing (2010). Additionally, in partnership with the al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Carnegie established the Al-Farabi Carnegie Program on Central Asia in Kazakhstan in late 2011.’ In 'February 2015, William J. Burns, former U.S. deputy secretary of state, became Carnegie's ninth president.’ In April 2016, werd de zesde ‘international Center, Carnegie India, opened in New Delhi.’ 

Voor een goed begrip van de Carnegie Endowment’ is dat deze instelling vanaf het begin de belangen van de Amerikaanse elite centraal heeft gesteld. Om daarop toe te zien werd in 1946 ‘John Foster Dulles’ aangewezen ‘as chairman of the Board of Trustees, where he served until fellow board member Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president of the U.S. in 1952 and appointed Dulles Secretary of State.’ John Foster en zijn broer Allen, die directeur van de CIA werd, zijn de belangrijkste beleidsbepalers geweest van het naoorlogse Amerikaanse buitenlands beleid. Maart 2016 schreef de Amerikaanse publicist Dan Sanchez in een recensie het volgende over de broers:

Together John Foster and Allen seized the day and fastened the U.S. government upon the world as a hyperactive, ruthless empire committed to perpetual war. In doing so, they also helped fasten an equally hyperactive and ruthless garrison state upon the American people themselves. 

This interventionism was framed under the rubric of the Cold War: an all-encompassing struggle pitting the ‘forces of freedom’ against revolutionary communism and Soviet imperialism. In reality it was all about Washington’s own global hegemony, which was advanced especially for the sake of the elite corporate interests that the Dulles brothers had served all throughout their careers.

As the nation’s top diplomat, John Foster established implacable hostility toward the communist bloc as an unshakable tenet of U.S. foreign policy. And for him, even worse than the communists were the ‘neutralists’ who ‘immorally’ refrained from picking sides in the Cold War. These neutralists were even more of a threat because they threatened to defuse what he saw as a necessary conflict. Thus he framed the diverse anti-colonial independence movement sweeping the third world after World War II as little more than a communist plot.

It was Allen’s CIA that gave teeth to his brother’s policy. Allen completed the transformation of the agency from the intelligence clearinghouse envisioned by President Harry Truman to the clandestine paramilitary force that it is today. This transition was deliberately enabled by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who saw covert action as a relatively bloodless way to achieve geopolitical aims. In this estimation, he did not factor the blood of foreigners that spilled amid the chaos his interventions engendered.

Under Allen, the CIA became a perpetual covert war machine. Even during ‘peacetime,’ the agency would ceaselessly scheme to subvert and ultimately overthrow any foreign government not in the orbit of the U.S. Behind the Iron Curtain, this only worsened the plight of those suffering under communism by goading their Soviet overlords to paranoid extremes. And elsewhere, it only served to drive neutral governments into alliance with the Soviets for the sake of protection from the ‘Yankee imperialists.’

Kinzer is more thorough than Talbot about the brothers’ childhood and early career, telling of the formative influence of their diplomat grandfather John Watson Foster, as well as the brothers’ years in private law practice as international fixers and power brokers for the American corporate elite. Kinzer also goes into more detail about the politics, the personalities, and the plight of the countries targeted by the Dulles’s for regime change.

However, Talbot is more complete than Kinzer regarding Allen’s dark doings. He goes into far more horrifying detail about Project MKUltra (the CIA torture/mind control program). He relates whole stories missed by Kinzer about Allen’s collaboration with Nazi war criminals. And he delves deeply into the issue of Allen’s possible involvement in the Kennedy assassination, which Kinzer only briefly mentions.

Scholarly Kinzer’s chief weakness is a certain lack of cynicism about the Dulleses and what drives them, especially in his concluding passages. Talbot, on the other hand, brilliantly cites C. Wright Mills to depict John Foster as an unctuous (gladde. svh) servant of the power elite, and perceptively cites Carl Jung to analyze Allen (who actually was psychoanalyzed by Jung) as a manipulative sociopath…

Together, the Dulles brothers inaugurated the perpetual war that has extended from the Cold War to today’s Terror War. It is a vitally important tale, and one masterfully told by both Kinzer and Talbot. 

De gezaghebbende Amerikaanse hoogleraar Jeffrey D. Sachs, ‘Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University,’ oordeelde in The Boston Globe van 30 oktober 2016 dat:

The scale of US military operations is remarkable. The US Department of Defense has (as of a 2010 inventory) 4,999 military facilities, of which 4,249 are in the United States; 88 are in overseas US territories; and 662 are in 36 foreign countries and foreign territories, in all regions of the world. Not counted in this list are the secret facilities of the US intelligence agencies. The cost of running these military operations and the wars they support is extraordinary, around $900 billion per year, or 5 percent of US national income, when one adds the budgets of the Pentagon, the intelligence agencies, homeland security, nuclear weapons programs in the Department of Energy, and veterans benefits. The $900 billion in annual spending is roughly one-quarter of all federal government outlays.

The United States has a long history of using covert and overt means to overthrow governments deemed to be unfriendly to US interests, following the classic imperial strategy of rule through locally imposed friendly regimes. In a powerful study of Latin America between 1898 and 1994, for example, historian John Coatsworth counts 41 cases of ‘successful’ US-led regime change, for an average rate of one government overthrow by the United States every 28 months for a century. And note: Coatsworth’s count does not include the failed attempts, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

This tradition of US-led regime change has been part and parcel of US foreign policy in other parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Wars of regime change are costly to the United States, and often devastating to the countries involved. Two major studies have measured the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One, by my Columbia colleague Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard scholar Linda Bilmes, arrived at the cost of $3 trillion as of 2008. A more recent study, by the Cost of War Project at Brown University, puts the price tag at $4.7 trillion through 2016. Over a 15-year period, the $4.7 trillion amounts to roughly $300 billion per year, and is more than the combined total outlays from 2001 to 2016 for the federal departments of education, energy, labor, interior, and transportation, and the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

It is nearly a truism that US wars of regime change have rarely served America’s security needs. Even when the wars succeed in overthrowing a government, as in the case of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Moammar Khadafy in Libya, the result is rarely a stable government, and is more often a civil war. A ‘successful’ regime change often lights a long fuse leading to a future explosion, such as the 1953 overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government and installation of the autocratic Shah of Iran, which was followed by the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In many other cases, such as the US attempts (with Saudi Arabia and Turkey) to overthrow Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the result is a bloodbath and military standoff rather than an overthrow of the government.

Dit alles roept bij Sachs, een serieuze beschouwer van de westerse politiek onder leiding van de machtigste NAVO-staat, de volgende vraag op: 

WHAT IS THE DEEP motivation for these profligate wars and for the far-flung military bases that support them?

From 1950 to 1990, the superficial answer would have been the Cold War. Yet America’s imperial behavior overseas predates the Cold War by half a century (back to the Spanish-American War, in 1898) and has outlasted it by another quarter century. America’s overseas imperial adventures began after the Civil War and the final conquests of the Native American nations. At that point, US political and business leaders sought to join the European empires — especially Britain, France, Russia, and the newly emergent Germany — in overseas conquests. In short order, America grabbed the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama, and Hawaii, and joined the European imperial powers in knocking on the doors of China.

As of the 1890s, the United States was by far the world’s largest economy, but until World War II, it took a back seat to the British Empire in global naval power, imperial reach, and geopolitical dominance. The British were the unrivaled masters of regime change — for example, in carving up the corpse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Yet the exhaustion from two world wars and the Great Depression ended the British and French empires after World War II and thrust the United States and Russia into the forefront as the two main global empires. The Cold War had begun.

The economic underpinning of America’s global reach was unprecedented. As of 1950, US output constituted a remarkable 27 percent of global output, with the Soviet Union roughly a third of that, around 10 percent. The Cold War fed two fundamental ideas that would shape American foreign policy till now. The first was that the United States was in a struggle for survival against the Soviet empire. The second was that every country, no matter how remote, was a battlefield in that global war. While the United States and the Soviet Union would avoid a direct confrontation, they flexed their muscles in hot wars around the world that served as proxies for the superpower competition.

Over the course of nearly a half century, Cuba, Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Iran, Namibia, Mozambique, Chile, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and even tiny Granada, among many others, were interpreted by US strategists as battlegrounds with the Soviet empire. Often, far more prosaic interests were involved. Private companies like United Fruit International and ITT convinced friends in high places (most famously the Dulles brothers, Secretary of State John Foster and CIA director Allen) that land reforms or threatened expropriations of corporate assets were dire threats to US interests, and therefore in need of US-led regime change. Oil interests in the Middle East were another repeated cause of war, as had been the case for the British Empire from the 1920s.

These wars destabilized and impoverished the countries involved rather than settling the politics in America’s favor. The wars of regime change were, with few exceptions, a litany of foreign policy failure. They were also extraordinarily costly for the United States itself. The Vietnam War was of course the greatest of the debacles, so expensive, so bloody, and so controversial that it crowded out Lyndon Johnson’s other, far more important and promising war, the War on Poverty, in the United States.

The end of the Cold War, in 1991, should have been the occasion for a fundamental reorientation of US guns-versus-butter policies. The occasion offered the United States and the world a ‘peace dividend,’ the opportunity to reorient the world and US economy from war footing to sustainable development. Indeed, the Rio Earth Summit, in 1992, established sustainable development as the centerpiece of global cooperation, or so it seemed.

The far smarter approach will be to maintain America’s defensive capabilities but end its imperial pretensions.

Alas, the blinders and arrogance of American imperial thinking prevented the United States from settling down to a new era of peace. As the Cold War was ending, the United States was beginning a new era of wars, this time in the Middle East. The United States would sweep away the Soviet-backed regimes in the Middle East and establish unrivalled US political dominance. Or at least that was the plan. 

Maar deze context wordt verzwegen door een intellectueel lichtgewicht als Caroline de Gruyter, die propaganda blijft maken voor de zelfvernietigende agressieve politiek van Washington en Wall Street. Meer over deze gevaarlijk gecorrumpeerde opiniemaakster de volgende keer. 



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