Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 21, 2015

SOTU: An Annual Monarchist Ritual To Acclaim U.S. Hypocrisy

From Obama's State of the Union remarks (via Micah Zenko):

... we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office ... while making sure that other nations play by the rules ...

The above fragments were both followed by applause.



How foreigners perceive such nutty speech:

Russia's foreign minister says the United States wants to dominate global affairs and expects all others to bow to its supremacy.

He is right. See above.

Speaking at Wednesday's news conference, Sergey Lavrov said that President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech reflected the U.S. aspirations to remain "the No. 1" power. He added that the United States will come to realize that such approach is unsustainable.

The reality that an uncooperative and unilateral U.S. can not achieve the aims it wants is slowly, slowly setting in. Currently Obama's foreign policy is blamed for the various U.S. foreign policy disasters (Yemen anyone? Ukraine?). But Obama's foreign policy is not really different from the one Bush and Carter followed and the next president will likely try the same foolish hypocritical paths.

The self-delusion of U.S. allmightiness has deep roots and it will take some near catastrophic events to rip it apart.

Posted by b on January 21, 2015 at 14:11 UTC | Permalink


The height of moral corruption and bankruptcy.

Posted by: Saman Taymourian | Jan 21 2015 14:15 utc | 1

What rules?

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Jan 21 2015 14:20 utc | 2

thanks for your numerous posts b..

the applause is much like the automatic laugh tracks built into hollywood. the propagandists are hoping to catch a few more lemmings on the way to the next al qaeda/isis funded mess they anticipate profiting off of.

Posted by: ..james | Jan 21 2015 14:24 utc | 3

Some sources say that a number of topics in the SOTU were already leaked to the press (New York Times ? Washington Post ?).

Posted by: Willy2 | Jan 21 2015 14:35 utc | 4

je suis charlie in Syria... some have no better to do?

Posted by: Mina | Jan 21 2015 14:40 utc | 5

Hello b Any chance of forming the title of your posts without the word Isxxxl? Some countries routinely/automatically block any web link that contains that word, even if the article and comments are detrimental to that entity.

Posted by: midan | Jan 21 2015 15:26 utc | 7

Didn't the band on Titanic play on (allegedly) while the ship sank?

Posted by: Amomymous | Jan 21 2015 15:26 utc | 8

Some countries routinely/automatically block any web link that contains that word, even if the article and comments are detrimental to that entity.

More satirical serendipity. That's rich.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Jan 21 2015 15:38 utc | 9

another snippet: At this moment -- with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy production -- we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. 


This speech is for internal consumption only, that is its function. It’s appeal, on the face of it, is ‘to the (whole) Nation.’

Therefore the cutesy-folksy and (statistically) false:

Rebekah took out student loans and enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career.  They sacrificed for each other.  And slowly, it paid off.  They bought their first home.  They had a second son, Henry.  Rebekah got a better job and then a raise.  Ben is back in construction -- and home for dinner every night.

presented as an emblem of the history of the USA!

In fact, the message is sorta-coded, it presents the talking points the 20% (the 1% are a distraction, what counts is the 20% who are the well-off supporters of the regime, tied to it and dependent) need to hammer endlessly. Key phrase:

Middle-class economics works.  Expanding opportunity works.  And these policies will continue to work as long as politics don’t get in the way. 

What is middle-class economics, no such thing exists? Top 20% interests do. Presidential Policies will work if politicans don’t intefere? Muddled and hypocritical doesn’t get better. Message: our domination will resist partisan quarrels in favor of certain sectors. Some cartels and scammers can dutifully expect more largesse, here education and health, with Wall Street put on very minor notice (wink wink, act not too blatant if you please.)

I only skimmed the rest, but overall the message was extremely weak, tepid, an eternal bootstrapping to rise from the ashes, adverity and renewal, blah blah.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 21 2015 15:40 utc | 10

#9 Wish it were so Mr Holefield. I thought long about the risk of posting that. Where I am does block, and just did.

Posted by: midan | Jan 21 2015 15:45 utc | 11

I haven't been able to find the ratings yet, but I expect that it was the least watched state of the union speech ever.

Obama has ripped the mask off the democratic party and exposed it as the fraud it is.

Good riddance.

Posted by: plantman | Jan 21 2015 15:50 utc | 12

"We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks…" Which is why their networks still control Somalia, large parts of Iraq and Syria, northwest Pakistan, much of Afghanistan, Libya, large areas in Africa, parts of Mali, and have now overtaken the government of Yemen. Hate to think what their networks could be doing if we were not dismantling them.

Posted by: Bill H | Jan 21 2015 15:55 utc | 13

"We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks…" ... "and build new & improved ones to take their place..."

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Jan 21 2015 16:05 utc | 14

More of the same old thing..Kabuki theater. Nice time to propose help for the working classes, when you know none of your proposels can ever be enacted, because of the make-up of both houses of congress. Quite by design I'm sure. More rhetorical food for the masses.

Posted by: ben | Jan 21 2015 16:06 utc | 15

The real speech comes on 2/11, when Speaker Boehner presents his eminence Mr. Netanyahoo. No one should doubt who will receive the most standing ovations in the exceptional nation...

Posted by: Hugo First | Jan 21 2015 16:39 utc | 16


But it will make good propaganda in the next political circus, a.k.a. elections.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 21 2015 16:42 utc | 17

b - Great title for this post. Had me laughing out loud

"is slowly, slowly setting in" - As far as I can tell, the neocons who run foreign policy haven't changed a thing about their worldview or policy positions for the past 30 years.

Posted by: John Zelnicker | Jan 21 2015 17:01 utc | 18

Ben @ 15 -- Precisely. He's working on building a legacy of smoke and mirrors. Nice words, opposite actions has been his MO in his political career.

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 21 2015 17:15 utc | 19

Hugo @16

The real speech comes on 2/11, when Speaker Boehner presents his eminence Mr. Netanyahoo.

I don't say this lightly: OMG! I try to avoid U.S. politics - who's running for what when, what senator said what asinine thing about who, etc. - so I wasn't even aware of this. Disturbing, sickening, dread-inducing ...

Click the link if you want to read up on what absolute craven jackasses our Imperial elites really are. And don't forget, these are the same people jostling each other in the rush to felate the banksters who destroyed our economy not so long ago. I despair.

Posted by: Martin Finnucane | Jan 21 2015 17:24 utc | 20

@Martin F. : all true!

John Boehner A Traitor Inviting Bibi to Congress

(AP) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday accepted an invitation to address the US Congress next month on the threat posed by Iran and radical Islam. Netanyahu is also exploring the possibility of meeting with President Barack Obama during his visit.

US Speaker of the House John Boehner said the "invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of [the Israeli] people."

Posted by: Oui | Jan 21 2015 17:50 utc | 21

Was the dude killed in Argentina the revenge target for israel's strike in Syria?

Posted by: Pob | Jan 21 2015 19:49 utc | 22

you've been saying this shit for years. My favorite, back in the day, is when he claimed the Iraqi insurgency would cut off lines of support (same goes for Afghanistan), and the American army would be encircled & destroyed.

And besides, your position is riddled with contradictions because you acknowledge the existence of nutjob Islamists threatening the chronic instability of ME dictatorships, notably Syria. And yet, it's the US AUMF that will probably save your buddy Assad.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 21 2015 19:59 utc | 23


Was the dude killed in Argentina the revenge target for israel's strike in Syria?

Dude, the "dude killed in Argentina" was prosecutor Alberto Nisman, and so far all investigations point to a suicide, not a homicide. He was protected by 10 policemen and no one could access his house w/o being checked first. His house was not broken into. So, were do you get this "revenge target" crap? Fox Mooooos? The hasbara treadmill?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 21 2015 21:06 utc | 24

Good catch on the hypocrisy. You are right the two statements taken together are indeed hypocritical. But such hypocrisy is present in actions of almost all powerful nations currently; if we care to look for it.

For a very long time the rule in international politics has been 'He who has the gun makes the rules'. It is delusional to think that China or Russia or anyone else would not act exactly the same way as USA is if they had a similar military advantage. USA continues to spend more on military than the next five nations COMBINED. As long as this remains true, and there isn't much sign of this changing, USA will continue to throw its weight around. It is quite understandable that other nations may resent when USA throws its weight around. But lets not confuse that resentment with any desire by any nation for there to be equality and fairness in International relations. Almost all nations are playing dirty games internationally.

I do not agree with the US policies that led to adventures in Libya, Syria, Ukraine. Nor the policies that led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. All of these have been unsuccessful for the stated goals. But perhaps the real goals are not widely known. A while ago, one commentator on this site, pointed out about the destruction of Syria during the current struggles, that perhaps the destruction was not a unfortunate side effect but also part of the plan. I think there may be a lot of truth in that observation and if one follows its logic then perhaps those pushing these policies (commonly called Neocons) are quite happy with the results of all these wars and adventures. We may agree that these policies are very immoral, which they undoubtedly are, but that does not mean they are going to end any time soon. And if future events cause USA to become less powerful, we can be assured that some other nation would quickly step into the gap and carry out equally awful policies.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 21 2015 21:09 utc | 25

There's an interesting post by Eric Draitser over at Tony Cartalucci's Land Destroyer blog on Russian Duma representative Ilya Ponomarev's PowerPoint presentation hosted by US think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Ponomarev provides his analysis of the current political situation in Russia and an outline of how to oust or overthrow the Russian government.

In a nutshell, here is Ponomarev's outline on regime change in Russia:

1/ Organized street protest (versus spontaneous one)
2/ Appealing vision of the future presented to the majority of Russians
3/ Leader, acceptable for all protesters and the elites
4/ Access to some financial resources
5/ Part of the elites should support the revolution
6/ Trigger event

Look familiar? This was the outline followed by the EuroMaidan protests leading to the Feb 22 sniper attacks that forced Ukrainian President Yanukovych to flee his country.

Quite apart from whether Ponomarev stepped out of line as a Russian politician and committed treason, the fact that CSIS would even host such an event with little media fanfare at this time when tensions between the US and Russia are running high speaks volumes about Washington being a rogue government living in a parallel universe to ours.

The presentation in full here:

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21 2015 21:15 utc | 26

Why do so many posters on this site continue to reference KAbuki theatre as some kind of touchstone for a false show? This peculiarly american use is tied up with its genesis as part of a ww2 psyop to indoctrinate the troops with the worthlessness of the enemy.Grow up- and think ofyour own way of expressinfg what you mean. I'm not above an enjoyable visit to the pantomime - 'he's behind you...'

Posted by: bridger | Jan 21 2015 23:26 utc | 27

Hey everybody, let's all hold a pencil in the air in solidarity for us all buying the Charlie Hebdo ruse.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 21 2015 23:35 utc | 28


Thanks for the link to 'the land destroyer'. I sent a link to the Saker, in case no one else has or he has not seen it himself already.

While I was at 'the land destroyer's' site I clicked on Thailand ... Cartalucci has always had a hard-on for Thaksin and has supported the ant-democratic 'elite' in Thailand ... and sure enough he supports the present military Dictatorship! He does seem to have petered out in November ... his support is no longer needed, the country is locked down under martial law, fully occupied by the Royal Thai Army.

I have never liked Thaksin, but after his ouster he jumped in front of the parade marching toward democracy in Thailand and Cartalucci - anti-Thaksin fanatic - endlessly attacked the Thai people for supporting Thaksin's 30 Baht medical coverage, chiefly, and other good things Thaksin did deliver. Not least of which, of course, the ability to defeat Thaksin at the polls should he displease them. That possibility has been foreclosed by Tony C's anti-democrats, and the door locked shut by the Royal Thai Army Dictatorship.

The vehemance of Cartalucci's attack, his clear preference for the Sino-Thai anti-democratic elite - who are no less willing to deal with the Empire than Thaksin was, but apparently much more willing to deal with Chinese Plutocrats - and now with the openly fascist Royal Thai Army Dictator makes me wonder about Tony C.

It's no sin to propagandize for the Chinese - Tony C was very incensed when the Burmese Dictatorship dropped its support for a disastrous Chinese dam project in northern Burma opposed by all the Burmese people who would be devastated by it - but hiding such an association is questionable. Maybe Tony C's taking cash for his services as a Chinese hasbarista?

Sorry for the long off topic meander. I just never have been able to figure Tony C. Is there even such a person - the 'ex US Army non-com'?

Posted by: jfl | Jan 22 2015 0:15 utc | 29


' .. Bush and Carter ... ' ? Bush XLI [Reagan] and Carter? Yeah. But Bush XLIII and Clinton, too!

If the latter, no problem ... you're in good company ... The Company and the Country, Part I about 49 minutes in ...


Phil Agee:

 Then Carter - not Carter - Clinton, I'm getting my presidents mixed up -

Frank Morrow:

 They're all the same, spineless bastards ...

They are all the same. They are all spineless bastards. This one does have an uncanny ability to contradict himself - in the same gd speech - and get away with it. He's inherited Ronnie's teflon coating from the same spineless bastards in the mshm.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 22 2015 0:35 utc | 30

While we the sheeple are being fed the 'normalize relations with Cuba' storyline Russia is in the process of establishing permanent naval bases and facilities 90 miles from the U.S. This is a major 'common defense' issue. No one is being held responsible in Washington as there is no competent oversight of our defense policies. The propping up of the Euro is higher on the agenda than our common defense.

July RT Russia to reopen spy base ...

Russian Spy Ship in port Cuba prior to US visit ...

Posted by: Alberto | Jan 22 2015 1:42 utc | 31

"For a very long time the rule in international politics has been 'He who has the gun makes the rules'. It is delusional to think that China or Russia or anyone else would not act exactly the same way as USA is if they had a similar military advantage. "

I don't like this argument, though you hear it often enough. Of course Russia and China may well do they same - but no one is fighting to put Russia and China in that seat (even among the leadership of those countries) and that occurance is simply not in the cards.

The world just wants - is literally bleeding for - a multi-polar system. This is what people are interested in and what they are fighting for. And this is certainly what we will get if the United States doesn't succeed in this last desperate gamble it is engaging in - this attempt to crack Russia and dismember Russia for the second time in 30 years.

Much of the world was handed to the United States on a silver platter after World War 2. The parts it could not reach were largely wrecked by war or imperialism or both. And the US managed - using a tandem of overwhelming violence and the draw of being the one nation rich enough to afford materialistic "freedom" - to split, eliminate, and co-opt its main rivals. And then we saw 9/11, the Iraq War, and the 2008 financial collapse. In other words, we saw the mask removed, even here at home.

The rest of the world finally emerging from imposed poverty of imperialism and/or aggression - and new world order is emerging. A multipolar world. And the US is trying to fight this. And that's as clear as day. There is little chance it will succeed any more than the British, Roman, or Portugese Empires did.

So true, there is likely nothing exceptional about the US except for its current position in the ranks of world power. And true, one can argue that any country may well act the same were it in such a position. But utterly false to contend that putting some other country in such a position is what those who are battling the empire are seeking. It's a false argument.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 22 2015 2:45 utc | 32

1/ Organized street protest (versus spontaneous one)
2/ Appealing vision of the future presented to the majority of Russians
3/ Leader, acceptable for all protesters and the elites
4/ Access to some financial resources
5/ Part of the elites should support the revolution
6/ Trigger event

Number six there is like a thousand red (false) flags flapping in the wind of some neocon's putrid breath.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 22 2015 2:58 utc | 33

USA continues to spend more on military than the next five nations COMBINED. As long as this remains true, and there isn't much sign of this changing, USA will continue to throw its weight around.
Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 21, 2015 4:09:43 PM | 25

It's not as hopeless as the figures suggest.
1. US weapons 'research', manufacture and maintenance are almost the backbone of the US industrial economy.
2. US weapons are hugely overpriced (thanks to no-bid contracts + 'earmarks') and sloppily designed and assembled.
3. The USG (wholly-owned subsidiary of the 1%) invariably supplies huge quantities of irrelevant hardware to its military jocks. That, and woeful training, is the reason Amerika loses any conflict in which the people it's fighting can shoot back (and aren't bogged down with 20 tons of "hardware" per man).
The Yankees are military morons & excruciatingly lily-livered.
If WWIII broke out tomorrow the Yankees would lose quickly and decisively. They turned to jelly when they had the chance to start and win WWII. Now it's too late.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 22 2015 3:41 utc | 34

@guest77 #33:

I don't like this argument, though you hear it often enough. Of course Russia and China may well do they same
I don't think that Russia and China would do the same, because they are land powers. The compulsion to rule the world is specific to naval powers, the last two of which were Britain and the United States. There was the saying, "The sun never sets on the English empire". Russia has no aspirations to increase its number of time zones beyond the nine it currently has.

I totally agree with you that humanity needs to have a multipolar world, as you know.

But it's black flag, not red flag. :-)

Posted by: Demian | Jan 22 2015 4:00 utc | 35

A number of people have alluded to there being a yearning for a multipolar world. Sure there is a genuine desire by many for such a utopia. But 'b' covered in quite good detail how easily and thoroughly the Arab spring was first derailed and then used as an excuse to launch armed groups to topple certain governments. The group(s) that started the protest in Hongkong probably included a lot of sincere people but again 'b' showed how the key elements were funded to foment trouble. The point is enormous resources are brought to bear to counter these yearnings.

I do continue to follow this blog because it has some insightful analysis but there is a clear blind spot among many here about what Russia in particular is capable of doing. I am not surprised because we all have potential for developing a blind spot for our favored ideas and those we think represent them. But the history of what Russia has done in the past is quite well known. All nations when powerful have eventually acted appallingly.

Nothing that is happening in the International arena suggests even in the least that the 'rules' have changed. I wish it was different and there was hope for a better world but as yet such hope remains very slim. change. The only country that is bucking the trend is a small nation which has chartered its own course but as yet with very limited success. I speak of Costa Rica. I wish its government model was more successful and would lead other nations to adopt similar government models. But reality shows that this remains a distant hope.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 6:33 utc | 36

@Khalid Shah #36:

But the history of what Russia has done in the past is quite well known. All nations when powerful have eventually acted appallingly.
I have no idea of what you're talking about. Care to elaborate? When has Russia acted appallingly?

Posted by: Demian | Jan 22 2015 7:11 utc | 37

@36 khalid.. i like your thinking here and agree with you generally. however history is a guide, it isn't foolproof. what a country has done in the past ought not be a prison chamber they can't escape from. same deal with people. however, i get what you are saying. idealism and realism need to make a couple. often they don't!

Posted by: ..james | Jan 22 2015 7:56 utc | 38

#32 guest77

Well put.

Posted by: radiator | Jan 22 2015 8:40 utc | 39

Every nation reserves the right to act unilaterally. They just generally refrain from exercising that right because they are aware of the long-term consequences.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jan 22 2015 10:29 utc | 40

Here is a change to raise publicity about what Obama didn't even talk about in the SOTU. See this video: YouTube Asks Obama About His Crimes?

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jan 22 2015 11:45 utc | 41

Back to Novorossiya (statement of Leninist-Communist Unity of Youth of Ukraine in Luhansk):

Instead of strengthening of internationalism we got Russian shauvinism, instead of people's law enforcement - uncontrolled cossacks gangs, instead of improvement of social standards - old thieves from Regions Party returning to their positions.

Posted by: Ulster | Jan 22 2015 12:06 utc | 42

@Ulster #42:

"Shauvinism" is not a word that is part of the English language. Since you use it, you are obviously functionally illiterate. Thus, I suggest that you divert your future Internet posting activity to right wing Web sites such as Free Republic, and leave us in peace.

Posted by: Demian | Jan 22 2015 12:25 utc | 43

Every nation reserves the right to act unilaterally. They just generally refrain from exercising that right because they are aware of the long-term consequences.

It's not a matter of rights. They do what they do and give appearances to the contrary. What's audacious about this is Obama's need to brazenly announce it from the rooftops for all to hear, even though few, if any, are listening. Yes, nations act unilaterally when it's in their best interests to do so, but they're not normally compelled to brag about it. When Russia seized Crimea and annexed it, it acted unilaterally. When France was hellbent on delivering the Mistral warships to Russia, it was acting unilaterally until it realized it wasn't in its best interests to do so. This is all common knowledge, all the insiders know it, so there's no need for Obama to announce it and brag about it when America acts unilaterally. It's unbecoming and crude.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Jan 22 2015 12:32 utc | 44

Yawn! ("We Are Exceptional!" = beyond the law = outlaws)

Time until Friday, 20 January 2017 (Washington DC time)

Time left until Obama leaves office

Posted by: x | Jan 22 2015 12:52 utc | 45

@43 Anything to say on the statement of Luhansk communists apart from trolling on incorrect spelling of "chauvinism"? Are the communists also part of Western nazi propaganda?

It is also worth noting that Russian communist deputies in the Duma have also criticised Putin on a number of occassions for starting the war in Donbass.

Posted by: Ulster | Jan 22 2015 12:54 utc | 46

demian is just hopelessly caught and woven in by religion and therefor dumb as white bread or noodles - the really right one religion like Putin preaches and celebrates, christian orthodoxy, as opposed to the spaghetti monster godess (may her name be hailed!).

there are a lot of independent people, groups and organisations to be found in the net who are of a free mind and don't need to hide under the umbrella of oligarchs, gangleaders, ruthless killers, liars etc., be it in Russia or Ukraine or somewhere else. demian is just too lazy to search and is fearing the results bcs they would destroy his ideology...

Posted by: mao | Jan 22 2015 13:30 utc | 47

US defense research as a backbone to the economy: like that flying dog - the F35: it slices, it dices, it does everything! but nothing well! And all for literally half its own weight in gold!

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 22 2015 13:33 utc | 48

@47 mao.. nice how you skip over ulster while piling on demian.. the herd mentality is alive and well in you..

Posted by: ..james | Jan 22 2015 13:54 utc | 49

These two fragments, one in the part of the speech about terrorism,the other in the 'strength and diplomacy' section a few paragraphs later may highlight the point, with which I agree,about hypocrisy but ultimately pairing them this way diminishes the veracity of this blog. I don't like point stretching. It makes it too easy for people to completely dismiss things I wish they would care about.

Posted by: Nurse.comic | Jan 22 2015 13:54 utc | 50

@37. Quite honestly the examples are so many that you question should be surprising. I will just mention the 2 atrocities done in Chechnya. Once when the population was all transported to Siberia and the more recent destruction of the whole area. By any human rights standard these were horrific actions. I am sure that Russia will have a justification in each case but lets start with the point the Chechnya is not part of Russia. Russian annexed a lot of countries and created the Soviet Union and was continuing in this fashion until its power waned. I would again say Russia is not unique in this. All nations when powerful have acted appallingly towards the weak. We can go back in history and this has been true.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 13:55 utc | 51

"hopelessly caught and woven in by religion"

A catch-all and universal statement. Haven't I read about this before?
white-protestant-evangelicals-holy land-israel-orthodoxy-westminster-anglican-vatican-jerusalem-damascus-raqqa-isis-monarchy-mecca-let's not forget asia …

Care to provide some content to the thread?

Posted by: Oui | Jan 22 2015 14:02 utc | 52

oui, will you side yourself with demian? would be tooo sad... try to decifer what one is writing: "christian orthodoxy: Putin's and russia's state religion, hailed by the full bunch of old reactionary men dressed like in carnival promoting nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia and all other sorts of phobias as russian state philosophy to keep control of the average drunk russian citizen"

and on the other side the same in blue-yellow, catholic and ukrainian orthodox supported by evangelical US-southerners

Posted by: maoam | Jan 22 2015 14:30 utc | 53

@38 James I hope that nations like people can grow but it seems as soon as nations become powerful again those people who crave power start gravitating towards the centers of power within the nation and gradually the national character reverts to what it used to be. A catastrophe does as it were reset the playing field but at great cost to everyone alive and things for all are bad for a long time afterwards and then with new players the whole thing repeats. I have not seen what can be an antidote to this tendency but will be happy if anyone does find one.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 15:40 utc | 54

@50 I am afraid the two things are related and the division fictitious. Terrorism as we know today is a direct result of counteracting a terrible unilateral action by Russia with a far worse one by USA. The movie Charlie Wilson's War makes all this very plain.
Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1980. USA responded by a policy they employed the Security forces to work with CIA operatives to train and arm all kind of (what I would call lunatics) Jihadi's. These trained Jihadis armed with all kinds of weapons including stinger missiles did indeed drive Russia out of Afghanistan. But as Charlie Wilson warned in his speech on when receiving the highest CIA medal (and the first given to a civilian) that we must not leave Afghanistan or these Jihadis will destroy what is left and then come back to haunt us. This training of lunatic Jihadis is the start of all what we call terrorism today. Before 1980 one would be hard pressed to find terror attacks by Muslims anywhere (the only one I know is the 1972 attack by Palestinians on Israeli athletes).
Just by naming Terror separate doesn't mean it is ok to have different rules in that situation. The whole situation of terror was generated by precisely such terrible unilateral actions.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 16:20 utc | 55

sorry mouse moved and deleted a word.
It should read
USA responded by a policy to employ the Pakistan Security forces to work with CIA operatives to train and arm.....

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 16:23 utc | 56
"One key difference between Isis and Saudi Arabia, of course, is that the latter is a key US ally in the region (...)"

Posted by: Mina | Jan 22 2015 16:24 utc | 57

To finish the thought. USA has not learn't from terrible mistake in Afghanistan in the 1980s and has followed the same policy in Libya and now if following the same policy in Syria.
Which is why one must conclude that whoever is pushing to pursue this policy must feel that their goals are being met and also that we the public at large do not know and don't understand the real goals of these adventures.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 16:26 utc | 58

#32 Agreed

Lots of blood and tears shed for the cause of AmeriKan Exceptionalism, aka AmeriKa Uber Alles, aka Do As We Say, Not As We Do.

I've noticed whenever a society rises to a certain level of prosperity and stability that it dares to do what is good for themselves and not take the opinions and concerns of the USSA into consideration first, bad things start to happen to them.

It is the neocon doctrine to prevent any country or combination of countries, political or economic entities from gathering together to challenge US hegemony. Everything they do is done to thwart the rise of independent actors who do not sufficiently toe the US line. This will continue until they are chastened with a huge defeat of some sorts.

".. we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office ... while making sure that other nations play by the rules ..."
Says to me we are going to murder and destroy and subjugate everyone to preserve the status quo which still works in our favor, staggering hypocrisy be damned...Everyone who doesn't bend over to us had better watch his step: with the shadow war on in 150 countries chances are we are already in place to "persuade" you to do what we want.

Posted by: farflungstar | Jan 22 2015 16:27 utc | 59

…blind spot among many here about what Russia in particular is capable of doing. Khalid @ 36

I haven’t a clue about what Russia is capable of doing, though obviously some speculative insights about what it will do, which have almost always turned out to be correct (I was in two minds about the fate of Crimea), which is hardly self-congratulatory, as the musings were always along the line of ‘reactive mild responses’, ‘nothing’, ‘waiting’, and so on, particularly that Putin does not want to ‘annex’ or control any part of the now-Ukraine. (But see the voentorg in the Donbass, a holding action.)

Russia (aka Putin) behaves exactly like the low man on the pole is supposed to. One minimises the other’s agression (until a certain breaking point which must be carefully calculated) but stands strong on some points. One bends, one ignores insults and side attacks (..other) from ‘partners’, and one appeals to ‘the rule of law’, ‘agreements made’, and so on.

Here, mostly International law + custom, contract law, both of which are now shredded palid versions of their old selves, but still standing in patches. (Everyone is afraid of a total melt-down of world finance.) One presents a face which is decent, polite, open, empathetic, one is happy to negotiate, even if the negotiations are not expected to turn up anything. One shows good will. Yes?

Seen in this light, calls for a multi-polar world are a tad empty and vain, not to mention indeterminate, and merely an appeal to others to get on board, BRICS etc. All this of course makes Putin immensely popular world-wide, as those are the standards that ppl wish world potentates would adhere to (he knows it), they would like to see ‘defense of their own ppl’ be as strong.

The maverick Hegemon will not even receive any such appeals or moves, as Obiman stated, or at least, that is the official position for internal folks.

Putin is also admired because he is a centrist - I would rather say a pragmatist who understands many issues -, postures as a social conservative and religious (see the Saker for ex.), and displays the skill, personal control, and intelligence of old-world pols who have their facts in order and can speak coherently in public — a dying breed being replaced by PR TV personalities who couldn’t sell a vaccum cleaner in real life. Not to mention that he is responsible for a rather admirable ‘re-construction’ of Russia, that is a real achievement that will go down in the history books, if there are any left to read. As such, he is an icon representing Mother Russia, so anyone pro-Russia is on board automatically. Yes?

Orlov’s last piece, a good read, offers other considerations (see on geography) ...

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 22 2015 16:30 utc | 60

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22, 2015 11:26:58 AM | 58

Bingo. Exactly.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Jan 22 2015 17:05 utc | 61

Omissions as usual in the MSM
"Hadi has been president since 2012", no mention of his almost 20 years (1994-2012) as vice-president under Ali Abdallah Saleh

Posted by: Mina | Jan 22 2015 19:47 utc | 62

@Khalid Shah #51:

lets start with the point the Chechnya is not part of Russia.
You are a rabid Russophobic nut (with a poor command of the English language). Even Obama, Kerry, Jen Psaki, and David Cameron don't deny that Chechnya is part of Russia.

Posted by: Demian | Jan 22 2015 19:48 utc | 63

@60. I have answered what we can expect in comments 51 and 55 citing what was done in the not so distant past should give us a fairly good idea.
I think I agree with your assessment that right now Russia is quite weak especially economically (I think the Russian economy presently is smaller than that of Italy). So it is not surprising Russia wants to be reasonable and centrist. Being centrist is a strategy that makes sense when one is weak. There is no reason to think it is a permanent change of heart. I hope you understand I am not anti Russia, just questioning whether they or any other nation can be trusted to behave any differently. Everyone nation acts in self interest but also takes advantage of the weak if given the least opportunity.
The issue with USA is that it has both absolute and relative levels of economic and military strength that is unprecedented in human history. Eventually both the gap will close and surely USA will also go in decline but as of yet there are not any serious indications of this happening anytime soon. In the meantime the unprecedented power level has led to unprecedented use of that power with many deplorable examples.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 20:31 utc | 64

@63 I do not appreciate name calling. 'b' has a good policy in letting everyone post but I wish he would come down on those getting unnecessarily rude. You are welcome to your opinion including your opinion of me but I will not respond to rudeness.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 20:33 utc | 65

Thank you, Khalid for excellent comments and responses, I am not so tolerant.

The idea that the so called BRICs nations can be the leaders of a better future compared to the US is flawed and wishful thinking. They are simply lesser Capitalist nations that may. or may not, behave moderately better but Capitalism will destroy us all no matter who directs this New World Order.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 22 2015 21:05 utc | 66

@66 Thank you for your comments. Pure capitalism would be a disaster and has never really has been practiced. I would contend that none of the 'isms' has been practiced on any large scale. The poor masses are sold on various Ideologies but in the end all live in misery and oppression being fed on future visions of a utopia. Rather than ideologies it is better to talk in terms of specific policies. So for health and education it makes all the sense to provide equal care and opportunity to all within a society. This is best for the society as a whole for the long term. Small nations that practice this (New Zealand is a good example) have very happy populations.
In the economy, for workers there should be some protections offered to prevent exploitation. In the US the great spurt in economic growth is often attributed to the industrial build up during WW2 but a factor that played a far greater role was the introduction of minimum wages and social security benefits shortly before the war. They gave rise to a strong middle class which was the consumption engine that built the US economy from the 50's to the 70's (arguably controlling the Middle East and insuring cheap and abundant oil helped a lot too).
But the US example also suggests that providing the entrepreneurial opportunity for wealth creation is also very important for growth. Business though must be regulated. Every time when deregulation has been done in the US it has been quite costly to the economy. Unfortunately the culprits have never been punished so they keep finding ways to repeat it (Nasim Talib's books are really good if anyone is interested in exploring this topic more). Pure socialism and communism do hold promise of equal distribution of wealth but alas they do not help grow the collective wealth as we humans are inherently selfish and this must be taken into account. The only good example of pure socialism/communism I can think of is the Indian state of Kerala. Kerala is unique in India in having 100% literacy as compared with the national average that in reality is well below 50%. And Kerala has had a communist government for many decades. It remains quite a poor state even with the dramatically higher literacy rate. So the people are not being exploited but also do not enjoy a better living standard.
These are just some thoughts. I share them to perhaps spur some ideas in you and others. We all wish for a better world. The path to getting there is not clear and none of the powerful nations today offer much hope of a solution for getting there.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 22 2015 22:00 utc | 67

State of the Union 2015: Lethal, Predatory, Delusional

Tuesday night, in his next-to-last State of the Union address, President Obama flashed the suckers a bag of tricks that has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, but will allow his apologists to claim that the genuine, more progressive Obama is revealing himself in his final two years in office.

Of course, the final-years Obama could have accomplished his modest 2015 agenda, and much more, back in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats dominated both the House and the Senate and the Republicans were in despair and disarray.

Which is precisely why Obama chose, instead, to put his party’s perishable congressional majorities at the service of bankers, Wall Street, private insurers and Big Pharma.

Now that Democrats are the endangered species on Capitol Hill, Obama hangs a piñata of subsidized community college education, additional tax deductions for child care, seven days paid sick leave, higher capital gains taxes on the wealthy, and billions in fees on casino bankers.

On closer examination, his grab bag of bills and requests for legislation contains even less than advertized – a vapor-thin rhetorical veneer for a center-right presidency whose real accomplishment has been to re-inflate the Wall Street casino, flush the last vestiges of secure employment out of the economy, and put the imperial war machine back on the offensive.

Yes Obama has betrayed every human on the planet ... Americans included ...

Black household wealth has collapsed so completely there is no statistical possibility of ever reaching parity with whites under the existing economic system – period.

... and no subset of Americans has been bertrayed more cruelly - by Brack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama and his sidekick Eric no-prosecution for police-murder Holder - than black Americans.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 22 2015 23:58 utc | 68

Khalid. I think we are far beyond the time when changed policies or reforms will matter, if it ever could have helped. This also ignores who actually makes the policy, it certainly is not the people.

I don't think people are inherently selfish but become that way due to striving to accumulate things driven by our profit driven system. The poorest people I know seem to be the most generous.

Profit seeking, accumulation and exploitation driven by entrepreneurs driving unsustainable growth are what has brought us to our present crisis and they will not lead us out of this dead end.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 23 2015 0:16 utc | 69

to James at 49 --

As usual, I got Ulster. I'm still on the wagon, so I'll be extra-nice. BTW, are you still in balmier climes? Cold and snowy here of late in the mid-atlantic. I don't mind, though, at this pt.

Ulster at 42, 46 --

Hope you and yours had a pleasant holiday season.

I'm always glad to talk about the left most anywhere, especially in the former Union.

I read the posting earlier, and the 11 comments (at that time); some I believe in Ukrainian). Did a little research on the organization as well.

What I have to say about it depends on what you are trying to say about it. Absent that, there would be little comment needed. This would be a fine opportunity to say something about your own political views and/or background.

It is clear, however, that the author advocates social revolution in the Donbas and the Ukraine as a whole. As earlier discussion on this site suggested, the possibilities of genuine proletarian political action inherent in the situation have not as yet been realized.

And to K. Shah at 67 --

Isn't the Deccan as a whole rather like the Am. South? Many indigenous were forced south by the Indo-Europeans who destroyed the first Indus valley civilization, are still looked down upon, e.g. the Tamils. So perhaps Kerala has done well, given the region's underdevelopment.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 23 2015 0:40 utc | 70

@69 I do agree that poor people are very generous. However if they become wealthy they too change. Don't really disagree with anything you wrote. I just keep hope alive that there is some way to make change. The simile, if that is the right word, for the saying that a butterfly flutters its wings in Asia which causes a storm in America. Small changes can sometimes lead to big difference but first we have to learn the interconnectedness to know which small change and where would get the desired result.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 23 2015 0:49 utc | 71

I love the irony of 'Obama' using his SOFU bullhorn to remind the world that not only is Patriotism the last refuge of scoundrels, but Christianity is the first.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 23 2015 0:57 utc | 72

@Hoarsewhisperer #72:

Sorry, did Obama mention Christianity in his speech? I googled, but couldn't find anything to that effect.

Posted by: Demian | Jan 23 2015 1:18 utc | 73

He didn't have to mention Christianity
He's an arrogant nation-molesting token Christian with (too) much in common with arrogant child-molesting token Christian clergy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 23 2015 2:00 utc | 74

@khalid - nice to see someone else who has read nasim taleb! i have read all of them, except the stats related ones.

@rufus. thanks.. still here in malaysia but back in canada this tuesday. stay positive.

Posted by: ..james | Jan 23 2015 2:06 utc | 75

Khalid, Chaos Theory is an interesting subject with many applications but if the butterfly spends her life in contemplation and never spreads her wings nothing changes and we may badly need the hurricane.

I doubt we need to worry about many poor people becoming wealthy and greedy.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 23 2015 2:40 utc | 76

jas. at 75 -- Not enough snow, really (hold the ice please). Mrs. M & I could use an afternoon of sledding on her old Flexible Flyer. And of course, getting warm and cozy afterwards....

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 23 2015 2:43 utc | 77

@Hoarsewhisperer #74:

Thanks for the explanation. I have to agree with you. Certainly the "exceptional nation" ideology is rooted in Puritanism. And there is also this (worth mentioning given the discussion of music on open threads): Jerusalem.

But I think it's unfair to call Roman Catholic priests token Christians. They are real Christians, even if they are child molesters.

Posted by: Demian | Jan 23 2015 2:58 utc | 78

But I think it's unfair to call Roman Catholic priests token Christians. They are real Christians, even if they are child molesters.
Posted by: Demian | Jan 22, 2015 9:58:31 PM | 78

Is that a veiled reference to the The Inquisition, or to the practice of forcing accused witches to "prove" their innocence by drowning - and burning survivors of the ordeal at the stake?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 23 2015 6:53 utc | 79

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