Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 29, 2017

White House Encouraged After Elephants Abstain From Climbing Trees

Trump administration officials are walking back the White House announcement of its plans to fake another "chemical weapon attack" in Syria.

There are plenty of reasons why the U.S. would want to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons but zero sane reasons for the Syrian government to use such. Russia and Syria have long insisted on sending chemical weapon inspectors to the airbase the Trump administration claims is at the center of its "chemical" fairy tale. The U.S. has held the inspectors back. The claims make thereby zero sense to any objective observer.

The walk back, as well as the statement itself, may not be serious at all. This White House seems unpredictable and the U.S. military, the intelligence services and the White House itself have no common view or policy. One day they claim the U.S. will leave Syria after ISIS is defeated, the next day they announce new bases and eternal support for the Syrian Kurds.

The way the White House statement came out, without knowledge of the relevant agencies and little involvement of the agency principals, was not cynical but just dumb. It sounds like the idea was dropped by Natanyahoo to his schoolboy Jared Kushner who then convinced his father in law to issue the crazy statement. Now officials are send out with the worst argument ever to claim that the White House "warning" made sense.

"The elephants did not climb up the trees. Warning them off was successful," they say. "The trees were saved!"

"It appears that they took the warning seriously," Mattis said. "They didn't do it," he told reporters flying with him to Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

He offered no evidence other than the fact that an attack had not taken place.

---
"I can tell you that due to the president's actions, we did not see an incident," [U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki] Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Tuesday.[..]
[...]
"I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children," Haley continued.

Haley "would like to think" a lot of stuff - unfortunately she is not capable of such. A bit later she issued an egocentric tweet about UN peacekeeping that will surely increase U.S. political standing in the world (not):

I can even agree with Haley that UN peacekeeping has gotten way out of hand. To have UN mandated troops spreading Cholera in Haiti and raping their way through various countries does not help anyone. But the way to end this is to stop handing out mandates for such missions. To (re-)mandate undertrained/underpaid peacekeeping forces in the UN Security Council while cutting the budget for them is irresponsible. It will corrupt the troops and their behavior even more.

UN peacekeepers are often an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. By cutting them down the U.S. and Haley are limiting their own political options. The White House "warning", which had to be defused within a day, has a similar effect. People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims or to follow up on U.S. demands. Both statements have limited future policy options.

Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?

Posted by b on June 29, 2017 at 03:47 AM | Permalink

Comments

When the hell are the adults going to take away the adolescents' war toys?
My dog, the level of incompetency is just staggering...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 29, 2017 4:17:41 AM | 1

Jobvorraussetzung als U.S. Ambassador bei der UN ist offensichtlich, besonders begabt zu sein. Klonen die die?

To be U.S. Ambassador at the UN you obviously need to be especially talented. Do they clone them?

Posted by: Schaf wacht auf | Jun 29, 2017 4:18:24 AM | 2

b, 'Will the Trump administration come to regret such moves?'

i think this runs along the lines of george xli ...


"I will never apologize for the United States — I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy."

Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988[1]) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988). Newsweek cites this phrase as said about the downing of the Iranian airliner to the group of the Republican ethnic leaders ...


... psychopaths - or the criminally, terminally inattentive - have no regrets. they leave regrets to the rest of the world for their psychopathic / acts of depraved indifference.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 4:21:52 AM | 3

@3

in addition to even further impeding the 'effectiveness' and encouraging the criminality of un 'peacekeeping' troops, the rump has in effect given the power to invoke a mindless us attack on syria and the war-torn and weary syrians to al-cia-duh, or to the israelis, or to the turks or saudis ... to whomever decides the time is ripe for a 'sarin attack' in syria. once the msm gets hold of the white helmets' 'product' the rump will be on autopilot, with micron and the may clapping and honking like barking seals right behind.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 4:37:18 AM | 4

People will become less inclined to believe any U.S. claims .....
Does any sane intelligent person actually believe any US claims, public or private? I mean, Trader Joe's has just announced it invented the sausage roll. I always thought that the character Chekov in Star Trek was a sarcastic reference to America's propensity to Freudian projection and its claims of having invented pretty much everything.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 29, 2017 4:42:17 AM | 5

Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men,...
The same applies to states.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 29, 2017 5:00:51 AM | 6

jfl 4

Adolf Hitler is my conscience - last words of Nazi governer general - Poland ww2 .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jun 29, 2017 5:15:07 AM | 7

Why are people so surprised that Americans lie? The founding myths of the United States are all lies. It was never about freedom and democracy, it was about slavery, ethnic cleansing and genocide and its been that way ever since just done abroad. As for these current Trump's lies, the so-called liberals haven't called him out on these lies because they support him quite profoundly on this and most of the Trump lies, policies, and actions that the so-called liberals do call him out on are ones he's carrying on from Obama.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 29, 2017 5:25:59 AM | 8

The U.S. backed down because they knew the Russians would and could blow away any missiles or warplanes they sent out.
QED

Posted by: Robert McMaster | Jun 29, 2017 5:59:03 AM | 9

@5 Well, at least the Cherry Tomato is off-limits.

The USA's mini-me has already laid claim to *that* invention.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 29, 2017 6:51:02 AM | 10

Maybe the White House and General Mattis can work their magic on cancer and other ills.

Posted by: Bart | Jun 29, 2017 7:08:15 AM | 11

Yeah, Right | Jun 29, 2017 6:51:02 AM | 10

@5 Well, at least the Cherry Tomato is off-limits.

I thought the Israelis had claimed that one.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 29, 2017 7:08:52 AM | 12

"Just 5 months into our time here, we've cut over half a billion $$$ from the UN peacekeeping budget & we’re only getting started.”

So sayeth Nimrata Randhawa Haley, she who was paid US$110,000 a year as a fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center back in 2008, at a time when the average salary of her peers doing similar work for non-profit organisations of similar size and with similar budgets as her employer was just over US$44,000. Moreover Haley expected to be paid US$125,000 for the work.

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/latest-news/article16614233.html

Something about the way Nikki Haley handled her parents' company Exotica International's finances while she was accountant there is also very fishy, not least the fact that she consistently filed her own tax returns and those of the parents' business late.

https://fredericacade.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/nikki-haley-was-accountant-and-according-to-south-carolina-data-would-suggest-the-family-business-closed-in-2010-reinstatement-in-2011-and-closure-in-2013-involved-paying-back-money-still-owed/

Posted by: Jen | Jun 29, 2017 7:46:08 AM | 13

Mattis Claims White House Threat to Syria Worked. http://news.antiwar.com/2017/06/28/mattis-claims-white-house-threat-to-syria-worked/ Are they trying to pull everyones plonkers?

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 29, 2017 7:53:03 AM | 14

Love the headline, b.
A fitting expression of contempt for contemptible Yankees.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2017 7:55:04 AM | 15

@b
"This White House seems unpredictable and the U.S. military, the intelligence services and the White House itself have no common view or policy."
As an outsider I can only say - Understatememt of 2017
:-)

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 29, 2017 8:20:19 AM | 16

@harrylaw 14
The utter contempt for the public and its level of intelligence is astounding.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 29, 2017 8:27:05 AM | 17

Jen @13

Interesting background. Suitably swampy.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jun 29, 2017 8:39:56 AM | 18

What I said at the end of the last thread seems to me still the probable explanation of what happened, and why there's walking back:

The White House warning to Asad was a sort of official version of a Trump 3 am tweet, wasn't it? He heard about (I won't say read, as it's unlikely) Hersh's article, and got in a rage. He'll show 'em, he's serious. And had Spicer put out the warning, rather than tweeting it - to show he's really, really, serious, and not someone who just tweets at 3 in the morning in a rage.
There never was a serious plan (difficult as though that would be for many commenters here to accept). It was just a blast of rage from Trump. I doubt if Trump wants serious war, even if there are forces trying to push him into it.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29, 2017 9:04:47 AM | 19

- I regard Mrs. Nikki Haley to be a sock puppet of the Trump administration and was chosen because she has no spine/backbone.
- Judging by her previous statements she isn't "the brighest bulb in the chandalier". But that's what the current administration was looking for, right ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Jun 29, 2017 9:06:54 AM | 20

- Col. Wilkerson says that Trump will/could be impeached after the next mid term elections in 2018. Both the Democrats and Republicans "don't like" the "erratic clown" in the White House.
- The Trumpster and with it the White House doesn't have any policy and will continue to make a fool of itself. The Trumpster won't have any regret because he has a (very) short attention span. An attention span of a 10 year old person.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jun 29, 2017 9:33:11 AM | 21

@20 "Home by Christmas" is the problem. There are two views that make limited military force seem like a good idea: one is the perceived invincibility of the U.S. military within Versailles and the other is the perception of Russia as the land of Yakov Smirnov. Trump doesn't want a major war. I'll agree, and outside of McCains of the world, no one does. This doesn't mean Trump and his circle aren't under the impression they can skip the back nine and paunch a few cruise missiles to win a limited war. Nikki Hailey wants a few scalps for her future Presidential run just like Hillary with Gaddafi or how Rummy lame Ted the absence of targets in Afghanistan he could run on CNN. Noted lunatic, Fareed Zakaria pronounced Trump as officially the President when he launched cruise missiles against Syria. Thugs look for victims when they need to establish their power.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Jun 29, 2017 9:42:30 AM | 22

Not a word from either Trump or Tillerson on this bullshit. Looks like Trump has just thrown it out there for whatever reason and left the lackeys to deal with the fallout.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 29, 2017 9:42:42 AM | 23

@20 - Laguerre

There might be an even simpler explanation of what happened - Drump & Cohort® are but a subsidiary arm of the Zionist state of Israhell and as such are only doing their masters' bidding.

How else does one logically explain the appointment of a orthodox zionist jew with a clear bias (Kuschner) as a mediator in the Israhell-Palestine conflict? The rest is smoke and mirrors...

Posted by: LXV | Jun 29, 2017 9:54:46 AM | 24

@20 lg

i could go with your explanation ... but then, why wasn't it a hand-crafted twit from the rump's own twitter? his press guy and un ambassador are working together on their own? trying to be 'helpful'? i imagine trump would not like that ... they clearly implicated him in their little dumb show.

that might be the case ... trump's hands have slipped from the wheel completely. others are ready an willing to 'help him out' when he's not up to a twit himself.

i'd think that he'd be furious in that case though ... al-cia-duh / israel having the power to commit his administration to aggression on auto-pilot is one thing, people in his own administration taking the 'good' twits right out of his fingers is another! there's only room for one rump in the whitehouse!

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 10:12:46 AM | 25

Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove.

It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble.

Nikki Haley is a standout, Marco Rubio is another prime example.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 29, 2017 10:18:10 AM | 26

"Elephants Abstain From Climbing Trees"
LOL I was searching for a concise way to show the nonsense of Mattis' announcement and this is perfect. I will likely reuse it. B, did you come up with it yourself or does this have some literary background?

The best I came up with was, 'U.S. abandons invasion of Russia after Putin threatens first use of nuclear weapons'.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jun 29, 2017 10:26:32 AM | 27

Willy2 | Jun 29, 2017 9:33:11 AM | 22

If Donald Trump changed bodies with Barron Trump, would anyone notice?

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | Jun 29, 2017 10:32:05 AM | 28

@20 - inclined to agree that Sy Hersh's article had some affect, thank the dog. No matter how much the USA PTB work overtime to kill reality from intruding, some of it does get through.

I pushed Hersh's article to several friends - good D voters all - to prove to them what I said was correct in the first place: there was no Sarin gas, and Trump's tomahawk missile dump was worthless but a typical show of so-called "manly" force in Syria. Geez, even the so-called "leftists" were A-OK with the missles flying because Asad! Sarin gas! WE have to DOOOOOOOOO Something.

Pretty hopeless here in these Yew Nighted States, sad to say.

Great post. Thanks.

BTW I am clueless about whether Trump, himself, actually, you know, does anything, makes any decisions, or whatever. I have even more clearly divorced myself from most sources of faux nooz (like nearly everything) here in the USA, and I studiously ignore most of Trump's tweets. Reading more reliable sources online leads to me believe that there's really no one in charge at the moment; just a bunch of jostling twits and fools attempting various grabs for power. What. A. Mess.

Posted by: RUKidding | Jun 29, 2017 10:49:42 AM | 29

@29 - how do we know that hasn't happened already? I'm somewhat amazed that Trump has managed to be as "successful" as he was at his prior businesses. With each passing day, it seems clearer and clearer that he's a total idiot. Some posit that he was sharper when younger, which is possible, and that maybe he's in the beginning stages of dementia, which is equally possible.

Posted by: RUKidding | Jun 29, 2017 10:52:14 AM | 30

"He offered no evidence other than the fact that an attack had not taken place."is a bit like the joke about a USA Army General meeting a British officer at a cocktail party.
The American General was wearing a chestfull of medal ribbons and the British officer is politely asking about them. The American is explaining what each of them was for. Eventually he touches a very colourful and striking ribbon and says:

"Now this one here, I am particularly proud of."
"Tell me, what was it for?"
"I averted what could have been a very nasty case of rape."
"Golly, that sounds interesting. What happened?"
"Oh....I guess I just changed my mind."

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Jun 29, 2017 10:52:20 AM | 31

..the president saved many innocent men, women and children..

god bless america

At least 42 civilians have been killed in a series of airstrikes by the US- led international coalition on al-Mayadeen city in the eastern country of Deir Ezzor.

Coalition Massacre

Posted by: Bolt | Jun 29, 2017 11:08:57 AM | 32

As long as countries keep buying US Treasuries the beatings will continue.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 29, 2017 11:27:25 AM | 33

Lesson learned from Iraq: Do not allow UN weapons inspector gadflies to contradict your lies.

UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix became a nuisance as he insisted that Saddam had no WMD. Fortunately, Blix was completely ignored after a few initial MSM reports, and the bombing of Iraq began with Dan Rather and the entire MSM swooning over the impressive Wehrmacht and cheering for massive destruction and murder of defenseless peasants.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 29, 2017 11:37:03 AM | 34

The (non) reaction to Hersh's "Trump's Red Line" is telling. London Review of Books paid for it, but spiked it. As a subscriber I wrote the editors and asked why. I was told that it didn't check out. I did the same thing with Foreign Policy's "Situation Report." I was told that Hersh stories take a long time to vet. The unstated conclusion then is that Die Welt rushed a story that didn't check out.

My guess is that LRB went the Bellingcat route. There are discrepancies between the initial Russian and Syrian accounts of the April 4 Khan Sheikhoun bombing and one provided in Hersh's story. Eliot Higgins argues that

If, as Hersh claims, Russia had been observing the site with a “drone for days” then they would not only have the precise location of the site, but footage of the site. However, both Syria and Russia have failed to make any imagery of the site public, nor have they provided any specific details about the location of the site. If they had, it would be possible to easily check if the location had been bombed on Terraserver, which has satellite imagery of Khan Sheikhoun before and after the date of attack. In common with Russia and Syria, Hersh’s source seems unable to provide the exact location of the attack, despite his apparent in depth knowledge of the attack.
This is what Higgins is good at -- fixating on a detail as dispositive. But he misses the main argument of Hersh's piece. Why would Syria use sarin when the Russians alerted the U.S. of the operation ahead of time?

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jun 29, 2017 11:41:32 AM | 35

Spot on Fast Freddy...I'll throw that dumb bastard repubtard Sen.Tom Cotton in the mix too.

Posted by: str8arrow62 | Jun 29, 2017 11:47:06 AM | 36

It's hard to know just what brought about the American ultimatum to the Assad government. I think we all agree that a chemical attack would be the last thing Assad would consider given he was winning the war. Why would he risk American intervention or a softening of Russian support?

It could leave the Yanks an in as far as military action goes by fabricating an incident at a time of their choosing allowing them to say that a stern warning had been issued and subsequently ignored. That's the way things go when you're sheriff of the world. It seems to have originated from the inner circle as the State dept. and Pentagon seemed to have been caught unawares. There's lots of opportunity for the more hawkish members of his staff to stir shit while the boss is mostly paying attention to his detractors in the press and the progress of the different panels and committees investigating him.

Sources, for what they're worth, said that it was Kushner who pressed Trump to go ahead with the missile strike on Shayrat airbase last time round. They said Bannon was against it as it would be going against his "America First" policy so beloved by his base. Maybe it was Ivanka agonizing over the children, who the fuck knows. Anyway, the Russians were advised in advance and were seemingly willing to allow Trump one kick at the cat to assuage the outrage generated by the gas attack whether or not it actually happened. It's highly doubtful they'd be so accommodating in the event of another strike.

In any case that's all yesterday's news. Within 48 hours the whole thing had moved on to North Korea. Seems Trump has been served up the latest updates on contingency plans for fighting a war with that country. McMaster now says that the threat is more immediate and urgent than ever before. So now the Syrian thing has just been kicked down the priority list by several notches at least. It could also stem from the fact that the claim that Syria was preparing a chemical attack wasn't getting the kind of positive feedback hoped for on the international stage or even at home and it was time to try something else.

I'm not sure it's worth anybody's time venting their spleen about the moral shortcomings of Nikki Haley. She is, after all, just a spokesperson for the administration at the UN and it's not reasonable to expect her to take a line that contradicts her boss. There was a fleeting glimpse of independence from her at the outset of her tenure but she was quickly reined in.

The worrying part, for me anyway, is the fact that the only spike in Trump's ratings came after his strike at Shayrat. Might his abysmal performance at home cause him to initiate hostilities somewhere so he could try his hand at being a war president? His domestic problems are steadily wearing him down. Perhaps the most damaging issue is the inability to construct any kind of healthcare package that can even make it to a vote. That hits Americans on a very visceral level and they care much more about that than any meeting of the minds with the Russians. The idea that his base is rock-solid is not enough to pull him through. The true fact is that four Rustbelt states handed him victory in the electoral college and he can only be thankful that a blue collar-friendly dude like Joe Biden elected not to run for the presidency.

Posted by: peter | Jun 29, 2017 11:47:43 AM | 37

The incompetence and buffoonery displayed by the Trump administration is quite something. It's almost embarrassing watching these slack-jawed amateurs paint themselves into a corner. They huff and puff and come up with ridiculous scenarios like this "warning" to Assad and it only makes them look extremely stupid when their genius plan is shut down by one pithy statement delivered by Sergei Lavrov. Unless they wish to risk starting a nuclear war they must back down and sit on their hands. They can play their games with the Kurds but beyond that there is not much they can really do. Their lack of organization, their bluster and cringeworthy rhetoric about dead babies just makes them look like fools. They would dearly like to launch an attack but Russia stands in the way. And Russia is not going anywhere. The more often they pull these futile stunts the sillier they will look.

Of course the morons in the anti-Trump "resistance" and the various media outlets screaming about Russia and racists all the time can't bring themselves to actually deliver any criticism of substance. A competent media with a sense of integrity would be raking this administration over the coals for these amateur hour performances. Fake criticism and affected outrage over Russian "hacking" and Trump's vulgar persona is all they can muster. Fake journalists, fake president, fake opposition...truly a bunch of faking idiots.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 11:50:45 AM | 38

I cannot get the picture of "Elephants Climbing Trees" out of my head

Hope I can sleep tonight:-)

Good article

Posted by: Freespirit | Jun 29, 2017 11:51:25 AM | 39

The G-20 meets in Hamburg July 7/8 and ought to be quite a show given the inane theatrics produced so far in its lead-up. Unfortunately, despite its being a laughingstock, the Outlaw US Empire is still quite dangerous as it creates death, destruction and chaos everywhere its feet land as it trods the planet.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29, 2017 11:52:35 AM | 40

Soros, Saudi Among Donors to McCain Institute
http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/19/exclusive-soros-clinton-linked-teneo-among-donors-to-mccain-institute/

Posted by: Anon1 | Jun 29, 2017 12:09:25 PM | 41

Two things to watch for prior to the G-20 summit: 1) Skirmishing between Turkey and the YPG in Afrin could blow up, seriously denting future prospects of a Syrian Trumpistan; 2) the hour glass runs out Monday on the Saudi-bloc diktats for Qatar.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jun 29, 2017 12:10:01 PM | 42

Canada To Extend Anti-ISIS Mission By Two Years
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-isis-iraq-mission-1.4183490
"Our new defence policy has made it very clear that Canada is ready, and willing to do its part for the global community..."

Canada ready aye ready to follow US imperialism into the ME quagmire.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jun 29, 2017 12:28:09 PM | 43

The Saker looks at what might happen if things get serious: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/russia-vs-america-in-syria/

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Jun 29, 2017 12:28:31 PM | 44

thanks b.. bang on - especially the analogy with the title.. rt has a fairly ominous article up on this very topic rightly concluding the usa appears to be preparing for some sort of false flag thru the use of their moderate headhchopper friends.. this is of course the concern everyone got with the propaganda as dished out the past few days..

this haley women is on a similar level to samatha powers, but i think she has a ways to go to beat powers.. at this point she is just another vacuous bimbo with nothing to say, but the execution still isn't shrill enough.. give her time!! i agree with @27 fastfreddys description of her...

at any rate, we are still a few minutes to midnite on ww3 thanks the usa... gotta love that warmongering nation..

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2017 12:29:19 PM | 45

@43 john gilberts... morons here in canada love trudeau for this very reason... a sheeple who follows his good masters like a good little goodie two shoes boy..

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2017 12:31:20 PM | 46

i see this morning israel is reconfirming their role as isis/al qaeda airforce...

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2017 12:34:58 PM | 47

Very well written B! Thanks.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 29, 2017 12:41:01 PM | 48

@31 ruk

the rump was/is in 'the business' of carrying debt and paying interest to the banksters. when he got/gets in over his head their lawyers declare him bankrupt, stiff the 'lttle guys', and set set up the rump for the next iteration. he seems finally to have had no way out but politics, the ultimate burying ground for bankrupt bullshitters.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 1:52:06 PM | 49

@30 ruk

and agree with your assessment of politics in america. led by the headless horseman of jamaica estates.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 2:02:39 PM | 50

@ fastfreddy | 27

Well-stated and worth repeating:

Nikki Haley is one of many "leaders" that were created using Newt Gingrich's "Republican in an Can" kits. These kits were tweaked and perfected by Karl Rove.

It is required of the candidate to be completely malleable and to contain no original thoughts. The only skill requirement is that the candidate must be capable of memorizing canned sound bites and patriotic slogans which are to be repeated and used as answers to any and all questions. The candidate must never, ever waver from these sound bites. When they do, they get in trouble.
______________________________________

I also think it's worth adding that in this century-- especially after 9/11/2001-- the US, and even Western Europe has "created" leaders and official spokespersons using "Statesman in a Can" and "Diplomat in a Can" kits.

Yes, I realize that Haley is nominally a "diplomat", so you already covered that territory. But it struck me that the requirements you list apply more generally.

As I recently commented elsewhere: beginning a few years ago, watching news videos of Putin helped me see through the Western propaganda profile characterizing Vladimir Putin as a ruthless, utterly self-serving reptilian dictator and ex-KGB thug. I was also impressed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Both men comport themselves like authentic, sober professionals, albeit that they still labor under the misapprehension that the West has retained an appreciation of, and (potential) competence in, the indispensable art of diplomacy.

The collective Western political mind, possibly due to capitalism-induced dementia, has lost its capacity for understanding and practicing diplomacy. When one abandons an art, it's like abandoning an industry: over time, the basic knowledge and understanding of the craft is lost.

It's a bipartisan, or transpartisan, degeneracy. Whether it's the supposedly "eloquent", "intellectual" Obama and John Kerry, or Trump and Tillerson, (or Macron et al) the Western team looks, sounds, and acts like a troupe of life-sized animatronic puppets programmed to spew tendentious talking points du jour.
______________________________________

The "Statesman/Diplomat in a Can" kit fits right in with my "animatronic puppets" idea; instead of reasonably honest professional diplomats and statesmen, the West prefers talking-point spewing, hollow narcissists.

Posted by: Ort | Jun 29, 2017 2:04:53 PM | 51

@52, 'When one abandons an art, it's like abandoning an industry: over time, the basic knowledge and understanding of the craft is lost'

that too is the situation in the us - the whole country is an economic scam in a can - industry reduced to a sham, producing either over-priced junk for the wehrmacht - in fact an overt shakedown of the federal government in which everyone participates with a wink and nod - or underpriced spiPhones which enable the global consumer / security panopticon which has given the financial scammers one more lap around the field. the basic knowledge and understanding of economic life is lost.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 2:20:37 PM | 52

Ort @52 - spot on and sad at the same time...

It's like Western nations are run by toddlers, one of whom is carrying the nuclear "football"

God, feel free to intervene at any time, or take me home - I'm happy either way

In the mean-time, thanks b & everyone here for your posts - truly an oasis in desert of idiocy/evil

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 29, 2017 2:30:59 PM | 53

So, did Ivan shoot down a US Global Hawk last week over the Med? I keep seeing references to such a shoot-down. Is this more misifnfo?

Posted by: JC | Jun 29, 2017 2:53:37 PM | 54

We input "Elephants climbing trees" and the magical mystical universe responds "A Crack-up at the Race Riots", yet another "masterpiece" by tv genius Harmony Korine, which tell the tale of "a race war that happens in Florida, where the Jewish people sit in trees, the black people are run by MC Hammer, and the white people are run by Vanilla Ice."

Korine regrettably was silent whether the managers of MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice climb the trees, or did they stick close to the action and direct the race riots between "white people" and "black people".

Posted by: nobody | Jun 29, 2017 6:28:34 PM | 55

PsychoH @ 34 said:

"As long as countries keep buying US Treasuries the beatings will continue."

Absolutely..

The present "empty suit", is proof, IMO, that the POTU$ really doesn't matter. The ship of state is controlled by a corporate cabal, that pursues the business interests of the empire,( U$A/NATO) regardless of who the POTUS is. Enriching the business elites globally, is the agenda. Join the club, or face destruction.

Posted by: ben | Jun 29, 2017 6:51:45 PM | 56

@47 James

morons here in canada love trudeau for this very reason... a sheeple who follows his good masters like a good little goodie two shoes boy

+1

Nothing says Canadian mediocrity like the insufferable empty-headed, selfie-snapping neoliberal stooge that is Justin Trudeau. And Chrystia Freeland...did you hear the speech she gave saying Canada's military needs to step up and save the world because Trump is neglecting his duties as global enforcer of peace? Unbelievable. What the speech really told us is that her government capitulated to Trump's demand that Canada increase defense spending. Not a peep from the media and it seems Canadians are as apathetic and naive as ever about politics and world affairs.

Present people with verifiable facts and they shrug and yawn or say something like "that's Russian propaganda!" yet the most ridiculous nonsense coming from the MSM or government (e.g. Canada's three boat navy is now going to project power like its American counterpart) is accepted as fact. The picture Canadians have of the country's role in the world and its actual role are a million miles apart.

Life in the West has become a science fiction story where the majority of citizens have been covertly brainwashed but it is the few people who can still think critically and accurately assess (more or less) political reality that are labelled as propaganda stooges or otherwise "defective". Reminds me a bit of the 1988 movie They Live.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:02:38 PM | 57

@57 Ben

The present "empty suit", is proof, IMO, that the POTU$ really doesn't matter. The ship of state is controlled by a corporate cabal, that pursues the business interests of the empire,( U$A/NATO) regardless of who the POTUS is. Enriching the business elites globally, is the agenda. Join the club, or face destruction.

Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. All these spineless, gutless wonders in world capitals going on about what an evil guy Trump is etc. but when he says "jump!" they say "how high?" Even American "opponents" of Trump really only get upset at his rhetoric and his "Muslim ban" (killing Muslims is fine though, encouraged even). And the border wall of course. But Obama was known as the "deporter in chief" and there is already a 700-mile fence along the U.S. - Mexico border.

I don't get where the hysteria is coming from because Trump is hardly uniquely evil...he's just more direct and vulgar Oh the horror! Can it be they are afraid people will be more alert to slick (or otherwise) politicians trying to pull the wool over their eyes after four or eight years of Trump's nonsense?

Somebody help me out here...

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:18:54 PM | 58

V. Arnold quotes : "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. "
Besides the point but my favorite variant is : "Power corrupts, absolute power is even better".

Posted by: DemiJohn | Jun 29, 2017 9:19:34 PM | 59

@ Temporarily Same who asked: "Somebody help me out here..." in relation to the circus we are watching.

I share your curiosity. I can only conjecture that there really is friction among the global elite being played out here. Is it old money versus new money? Doubtful but possible. I think it may be more about control of the future/lower classes of society. Davos just represents the "pretty" discussions.

And then again it really could represent a potential challenge to ongoing private finance by the China/Russia led faction that has the Western elite in disagreement as to how to respond......I continue to press for movement in this direction, reasonable or not.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 29, 2017 9:30:43 PM | 60

@59 ts

i think it's because the rump 'came in through the bathroom window' ... defying 'both parties'. the uniparty is trying to reassert control, somehow. what would happen if people noticed that the uniparty was not only not needed, was in fact the engine of malfeasance and misrule, what if people decided to 'do it themselves' ... platform, primaries, elections ... the whole nine yards?

so 'the russians are coming!' anything to reassert a narrative it can control.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 29, 2017 9:35:53 PM | 61

"To (re-)mandate undertrained/underpaid peacekeeping forces in the UN Security Council while cutting the budget for them is irresponsible. It will corrupt the troops and their behavior even more."

If the Neocon Masters of Deception, Chaos and Ruin intend to bring the world to heel, dominate it entirely, wouldn't corruption and degradation everywhere serve their purpose? Isn't corruption, degradation and ruin what they've been bringing? When what used to be is no more they can do what they want with what's left.

Posted by: I.W. | Jun 29, 2017 9:52:31 PM | 62

TS @ 59 asked.."Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. "

Don't lump all so called "liberals" together. The power of money transcends all political realities. Some so-called "liberals" make noises like liberals, but, are bought and paid for when the real issues are decided.

In MY liberal world, Mr. Trump is a bought and paid for, political, pathetic clown, who will do, and say anything. to further enrich himself.

Just one, of many, in today's world.

Posted by: ben | Jun 29, 2017 9:55:50 PM | 63

For sure Nikki Haley is mildly retarded, placing her in the 'above average yank' percentile band.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jun 30, 2017 6:28:18 AM | 64

Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. All these spineless, gutless wonders in world capitals going on about what an evil guy Trump is etc. but when he says "jump!" they say "how high?"

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:18:54 PM | 59

You are mixing issues here. One issue is that there is nothing positive about vulgarity of politicians. For that matter, I am against vulgarity in comments that are supposed to discuss difficult issues. It is true that polite intelligent people can wreck havoc too, but as a rule, they are easier to stop. At the very least, they limit the perpetrated evil to what they planned to do while impulsive vulgarians can wreck havoc even with benign intentions.

The second issue is the wonderful "leaders of the world" who have no spine to oppose USA. And it is not "Trump" but USA as currently ruled. The leader who made a most definite noise about "independent course", madam Merkel, is not a liberal but a conservative (although her policies transplanted to USA would be viewed as hard core Communism). Now there is a test case: US Congress passed a law ordering to impose heavy penalties on corporations from other countries that cooperate in an economic project that is important to Germany, expansion of North Stream pipeline with additional "threads" of pipes. A measured and doable response is to prohibit adherence to such sanctions, e.g. make it illegal for German (European?) companies to pay fines impose by other countries for business performed outside those countries which is legal in Germany/Europe. Basically, this is looting. And European companies, including German, already paid some multi-billion fines. I must say that I would be deeply, if pleasantly, surprised if Germany does something on that.

But this has limited connections with "liberalism". There is SOME connection, because "liberalism" combines spinelessness on important issues with vehement support of, well, so-so issues. But instinctive adherence to "American leadership" is much deeper and widespread malady in the "West" (one has to add Pacific region). From that point of view, some Americans are upset about Trump because he can weaken that adherence.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 30, 2017 9:50:42 AM | 65

@66, pb 'But instinctive adherence to "American leadership" is much deeper and widespread malady in the "West" (one has to add Pacific region). From that point of view, some Americans are upset about Trump because he can weaken that adherence.'

as you and merkel point out, it is the us' stronghand tactics that are grating with the us vassals. trump is just a guy who leads with his jaw in their application, making it that much easier for the vassals to strike back at him. so i suppose that the 'liberals' - clinton and the dnc - are upset with that, but to suppose that it is trump that the vassals are striking at rather than us' policy is fatuous on their part, unless they've been eating their own dogfood : indispensible nation, etc. that may be the really 'deplorable' aspect of trump in their eyes, he's left them nowhere to hide.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 30, 2017 10:32:43 AM | 66

jfl @62

Did the uni-party/deep state bend Trump to their will or was Trump already bent? Occam's razor and simple facts like Sanders' sheep-dogging and Citizens United argue for the latter.

This is not a minor distinction. The 'fallen hero' perception (whether Obama or Trump) plays upon people's good-will and ignorance and reinforces the duopoly. The critics vs apologists 'show' is the most visible result. A veritable black hole of sleezy entertainment - few can escape its pull.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30, 2017 10:35:23 AM | 67

@68, jr 'The 'fallen hero' perception (whether Obama or Trump) plays upon people's good-will and ignorance and reinforces the duopoly.'

this is a trick we play on ourselves. there used to be people who would 'psychologize' on obama's makeup and now there are people who psychologize on trump's. they're just fleshing out the projection they've already projected upon him.

i think that trump came pre-bent and that he is still bending. i.e. that he has no real position on anything other than donald trump and tries to play chameleon or anti-chameleon to either blend-in or stand-out on any given issue according to his calculus of what's good for #1. that's my projection. i may be wrong.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 30, 2017 10:51:16 AM | 68

Why is everybody so weepy around here? Finally, we have a white male in the white house. He knows exactly what he's doing to navigate the snake pit, swamp and media fog––we have never had a leader like this since Andrew Jackson whom I believe Trump emulates. Not a bad choice and one much maligned given the historical context.

Posted by: Montag | Jul 1, 2017 11:09:35 PM | 69

@70 where do you get "weepy"?

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 4, 2017 9:13:39 PM | 70

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