Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 17, 2018

Helsinki Talks - How Trump Tries To Rebalance The Global Triangle

The reactions of the U.S. polite to yesterday's press conference of Pgresident Trump and President Putin are highly amusing. The media are losing their mind. Apparently it was Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin and 9/11 all in one day. War will commence tomorrow. But against whom?

Behind the panic lie competing views of Grand Strategy.

Rereading the transcript of the 45 minutes long press conference (vid) I find it rather boring. Trump did not say anything that he had not said before. There was little mention of what the two presidents had really talked about and what they agreed upon. Later on Putin said that the meeting was more substantive than he expected. As the two spoke alone there will be few if any leaks. To understand what happened we will have to wait and see how the situations in the various conflict areas, in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere, will now develop.

The 'liberal' side of the U.S. did its best to prevent the summit. The recent Mueller indictment was timed to sabotage the talks. Before the meeting in Helsinki the New York Times retweeted its three weeks old homophobic comic flick that shows Trump and Putin as lovers. It is truly a disgrace for the Grey Lady to publish such trash, but it set the tone others would follow. After the press conference the usual anti-Trump operatives went ballistic:

John O. Brennan @JohnBrennan - 15:52 UTC - 16 Jul 2018

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

Senator John McCain released a scathing statement:

... “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. ...

These imbeciles do not understand the realism behind Trump's grand policy. Trump knows the heartland theory of Halford John Mackinder.  He understands that Russia is the core of the Eurasian landmass. That landmass, when politically united, can rule the world. A naval power, the U.S. now as the UK before it, can never defeat it. Trump's opponents do not get what Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor of President Carter, said in his book The Grand Chessboard (pdf) about a Chinese-Russian alliance. They do not understand why Henry Kissinger advised Trump to let go of Crimea.

Trump himself professed his view (vid) of the big picture and of relations with Russia in a 2015 press conference:

"...  Putin has no respect for President Obama. Big Problem, big problem. And you know Russia has been driven - you know I always heard, for years I have heard - one of the worst things that can happen to our country, is when Russia ever gets driven to China. We have driven them together - with the big oil deals that are being made. We have driven them together. That's a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin- okay? And I mean where we have the strength. I don't think we need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well. I really believe that. I think we would get along with a lot of countries that we don't get along with today. And that we would be a lot richer for it than we are today.

There are three great geographic power-centers in the world. The Anglo-American/transatlantic one which is often called 'the west'. Mackinder's heartland, which is essentially Russia as the core of the Eurasian landmass, and China, which historically rules over Asia. Any alliance of two of those power-centers can determine the fate of the world.

Kissinger's and Nixon's biggest political success was to separate China from the Soviet Union. That did not make China an ally of the United States, but it broke the Chinese-Soviet alliance. It put the U.S. into a premier position, a first among equals. But even then Kissinger already foresaw the need to balance back to Russia:

On Feb. 14, 1972, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger met to discuss Nixon’s upcoming trip to China. Kissinger, who had already taken his secret trip to China to begin Nixon’s historic opening to Beijing, expressed the view that compared with the Russians, the Chinese were “just as dangerous. In fact, they’re more dangerous over a historical period.”

Kissinger then observed that “in 20 years your successor, if he’s as wise as you, will wind up leaning towards the Russians against the Chinese.” He argued that the United States, as it sought to profit from the enmity between Moscow and Beijing, needed “to play this balance-of-power game totally unemotionally. Right now, we need the Chinese to correct the Russians and to discipline the Russians.” But in the future, it would be the other way around.

It took 45 years, not 20 as Kissinger foresaw, to rebalance the U.S. position.

After the Cold War the U.S. thought it had won the big ideological competition of the twentieth century. In its exuberance of the 'unilateral moment' it did everything possible to antagonize Russia. Against its promises it extended NATO to Russia's border. It wanted to be the peerless supreme power of the world. At the same time it invited China into the World Trade Organisation and thereby enabled its explosive economic growth. This unbalanced policy took its toll. The U.S. lost industrial capacity to China and at the same time drove Russia into China's hands. Playing the global hegemon turned out to be very expensive. It led to the 2006 crash of the U.S. economy and its people have seen little to no gains from it. Trump wants to revert this situation by rebalancing towards Russia while opposing China's growing might.

Not everyone shares that perspective. As security advisor to Jimmy Carter Brzezinski continued the Nixon/Kissinger policy towards China. The 'one China policy', disregarding Taiwan for better relations with Beijing, was his work. His view is still that the U.S. should ally with China against Russia:

"It is not in our interest to antagonize Beijing. It is much better for American interests to have the Chinese work closely with us, thereby forcing the Russians to follow suit if they don’t want to be left out in the cold. That constellation gives the U.S. the unique ability to reach out across the world with collective political influence."

But why would China join such a scheme? How would Russia be 'forced'? What costs would the U.S. have to endure by following such a course? (Brzezinski's view of Russia was always clouded. His family of minor nobles has its roots in Galicia, now in west Ukraine. They were driven from Poland when the Soviets extended their realm into the middle of the European continent. To him Russia will always be the antagonist.)

Kissinger's view is more realistic. He sees that the U.S. can not rule alone and must be more balanced in its relations:

[I]n the emerging multipolar order, Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not primarily as a threat to the United States.

Kissinger is again working to divide Russia and China. But this time around it is Russia that needs to be elevated, that needs to become a friend.

Trump is following Kissinger's view. He wants good relations with Russia to separate Russia from China. He (rightly) sees China as the bigger long term (economic) danger to the United States. That is the reason why he, immediately after his election, started to beef up the relations with Taiwan and continues to do so. (Listen to Peter Lee for the details). That is the reason why he tries to snatch North Korea from China's hands. That is the reason why he makes nice with Putin.

It is not likely that Trump will manage to pull Russia out of its profitable alliance with China. It is true that China's activities, especially in the Central Asian -stans, are a long term danger to Russia. China's demographic and economic power is far greater than Russia's.  But the U.S. has never been faithful in its relations with Russia. It would take decades to regain its trust. China on the other hand stands to its commitments. China is not interested in conquering the 'heartland'. It has bigger fish to fry in south-east Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It is not in its interest to antagonize a militarily superior Russia.

The maximum Trump can possibly achieve is to neutralize Russia while he attempts to tackle China's growing economic might via tariffs, sanctions and by cuddling Taiwan, Japan and other countries with anti-Chinese agendas.

The U.S. blew its 'unilateral moment'. Instead of making friends with Russia it drove it into China's hands. Hegemonic globalization and unilateral wars proved to be too expensive. The U.S. people received no gains from them. That is why they elected Trump.

Trump is doing his best to correct the situation. For the foreseeable future the world will end up with three power centers. Anglo-America, Russia and China. (An aging and disunited Europe will flap in the winds.) These power centers will never wage direct war against each other, but will tussle at the peripheries. Korea, Iran and the Ukraine will be centers of these conflicts. Interests in Central Asia, South America and Africa will also play a role.

Trump understands the big picture. To 'Make America Great Again' he needs to tackle China and to prevent a deeper Chinese-Russian alliance. It's the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals who do not get it. They are still stuck in Brzezinski's Cold War view of Russia. They still believe that economic globalization, which helped China to regain its historic might, is the one and true path to follow. They do not perceive  all the damage they have done to 90% of the American electorate.

For now Trump's view is winning. But the lunatic reactions to the press conference show that the powers against him are still strong. They will sabotage him wherever possible. The big danger for now is that their view of the world might again raise to power.

Posted by b on July 17, 2018 at 11:41 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Thanks Mark2 @223

Since the dawn of civilization, there has always been a single, dominant struggle. That between the 99% and the 1%. And since the 1% has always known that they are a tiny minority, and the true enemy of the people, they have practiced the Divide and Conquer/Rule strategy for all these millennia.

Sadly, all too many of us continue to fall for the latest versions of this ancient manipulation.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 18 2018 22:03 utc | 301

reply to: 274
What has a russian pro-gun video with bolton to do with alleged "hybrid warfare" against US? Same q goes for Butina?Posted by: Zanon | Jul 18, 2018 3:44:50 PM | 274
I think what happened was Mueller opened his office door and shouted, "Quick,find me a Russian spy... NOW!!!" And a clerk replied,"Well we do have that Russian double agent we were grooming to frame the NRA..." "She'll do, arrest her NOW!!" screamed Mueller.
I wonder if Imperial Rome in its hayday was like this, probably.

Posted by: frances | Jul 18 2018 22:07 utc | 302

karlof1 @ 244

You are most welcome - I get so much information from your posts, almost as much as from reading b's founding document. And I usually follow your inclination to read transcripts when available as well. This time I was glad I watched, and I just finished watching the summit press conference in full also - even down to the arranging of the chairs at the beginning plus a gentleman attempting to propagandize something before the start, who was hustled out against his will. I hope besides the football that Putin passed on that great documentary on Crimea, or maybe sometime Trump will have the chance to drive across that bridge and actually visit over there.

Grieved's recommended links on Vesti much appreciated also. There's a clip that features a gathering of the national leaders at the big soccer stadium - Abbas was there, and Netenyahu as well - very interesting, that.

Posted by: juliania | Jul 18 2018 22:11 utc | 303

reply to:
Frances 255 "Yep, because that plan worked so well last time in Iran"
What are you on about? US has never launched a military attack on Iran. If US attacks Iran, it wont be the same old conventional weapons attack and invasion as used in Iraq/Afghanistan.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 18, 2018 4:45:24 PM | 286
Hi, this may refresh your memory www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cia-assisted-coup-overthrows-government-of-iran

Posted by: frances | Jul 18 2018 22:16 utc | 304

www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cia-assisted-coup-overthrows-government-of-iran
apologies, meant to add, true it was not standard shock and awe but it was shocking and bloody as was the reign of the Shah until he was deposed in 79. Iran is not an easy win by a long shot.

Posted by: frances | Jul 18 2018 22:18 utc | 305

re. One Belt/One Road (BRI) and the US as relates to Atlantic/Pacific trade.

One of the “win/win” programs of China is the contract with Nicaragua to build a new and larger canal to connect those two oceans. The Panama Canal is backlogged, and too small for many modern cargo ships. In fact, for decades now, narrow ships have built specifically to fit in that canal.

Growing up in the MidWest, I saw this with dangerously narrow ships built to fit in the outdated canals to get coal, etc. out of the Great Lakes and into the Atlantic. Some may recall the song about the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald. That was one of many cases of a ship so narrow that it apparently broke in half in big waves.

Again, as regards my rejection of “The Grand Coincidence Theory” of geopolitics, I do not think it coincidental that suddenly Nicaragua is plagued by a “civil society revolution” of the exact same sort of “color revolutions” we’ve seen across the globe.

And the President who got over 70% of the vote just 1 1/2 years ago, in an election that international monitoring groups declared remarkably fair and free, is suddenly presented as a murderous dictator, hated by all. And the "liberal" and even alternative media is mostly playing the Mockingbird role of repeating State Department talking points.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 18 2018 22:19 utc | 306

reply to:299
"Do you remember the fellow who designed those back doors who was scheduled to testify the next day about what he was directed to do by the DNC? His plane crashed.."
I missed that, frances and it sounds suspicious. Do you recall names or dates?Posted by: spudski | Jul 18, 2018 5:39:56 PM | 299
My apologies to the DNC, it was the RNC under Rove:
www.democracynow.org/2008/12/22/republican_it_specialist_dies_in_plane
www.democracynow.org/2008/12/22/republican_it_specialist_dies_in_plane
www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Mike_Connell

Posted by: frances | Jul 18 2018 22:38 utc | 307

Thanks, Jen @228 I’m only part way through that article, but wanted to recommend it for a more “fair and balanced” view of Russia, especially Putin’s Russia.

“I know no Russian who has any knowledge of Russia’s representation in Britain who is not strongly critical of it.”

I’m listening to the audio book, “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia” by Dan Kovalik. Very good so far. He reminds readers of the exchange between a former Warsaw Pact dissident and a USAmerican. The Pole was asked how they were able to stay organized and informed since the state controlled all the media. He replied that everyone knew the media was propaganda, and no one believed it. So, they got their information from one another.

Then he went on to say the problem with USAmericans is that they believe the propaganda they’re fed.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 18 2018 22:43 utc | 308

Daniel -

https://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/edmund-fitzgerald

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jul 18 2018 22:46 utc | 309

frances read the 2018 US nuclear posture revue carefully.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 18 2018 22:57 utc | 310

Peter AU 1@298

Your statement is not true... Please actually read the article!

"By the end of the operation, U.S. air and surface units had sunk, or severely ydamaged, half of Iran's operational fleet."

Prior to the overthrow of the Shah, Iran was a client state as described in the Angola Variant. Please also see how the US overthrew the Democratically elected leader of Iran.

On a personal note my wife's Belgian grandfather refused the offer to train the Shah's army and it was then offered to General Schwartzkof's father. The son went on to command the destruction of Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL, OIL, OIL), if you get the drift.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 18 2018 23:09 utc | 311

@ 300. exactly, not to mention propping up the shah for decades, and cooking up a coup to overthrow mossadegh.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jul 18 2018 23:18 utc | 312

Posted by: Activist Potato | Jul 18, 2018 10:19:42 AM | 234
"I am not saying you're wrong, Daniel; just saying you will never know."

Without engaging in a deep, philosophical discussion of heuristics, lets' consider those things we can know (at least as much as the human mind can truly know anything).

1. Brilliant propagandist/PR researchers have, for at least the past century, $ billions of dollars studying the science of manipulation.

2. The MSM is a product of PR/Marketing forces. "Programming" has long been described as the filler meant to draw eyes to the commercials. Well, even that filler is full of manipulative messaging.

3. National elections are more valuable than Coke commercials.

4. While propaganda is often painfully obvious to those who are not targeted by it, effective propaganda is essentially invisible to the target audience.

That is, we can all look at WW II propaganda, and see the disgusting stereotyping of Germans and especially Japanese in the British and US campaigns. Even though we may still be British or USAmerican, we are no longer the same audience that war propaganda was designed for, so it is now obvious to us.

Similarly, "liberals" wretch at the propaganda of Faux Newz, but are blind to the propaganda belched out by Rachel Maddow on MSDNC. And vice versa.

I mentioned that I was sucked into the election psyop until about the time of the Conventions. That's because I had decided to back Sanders. After much soul-searching, I decided he was not a "lesser evil," but the "best good" the the Democratic Party could ever nominate. I decided that electing him could be a big first step towards a government "for the many, not the few" as Corbyn says.

So, I was perfectly susceptible to the HRC/DNC stole the primary psyop. I believe I was even the first to trace down the NGP VAN "firewall breech" and see that those were HRC supporters who most assuredly were stealing Sanders' data. I was chagrined that the Sanders campaign never even acknowledged that I'd sent them all the evidence, let alone that they never accused the DNC, and actually apologized to the DNC and fired the staffer who discovered the breech!

Then, the primaries got going, and it was one criminal act after the other, all ignored by the Sanders campaign. It was only after seeing Sanders and his campaign clearly covering up election fraud that I climbed out of the "demographics" for whom that psyop had been designed. Only then could I begin to see it.

I do believe that even individuals in the target group can see through the propaganda aimed at them... at least some of the time. But it takes an open mind, critical thinking, consulting multiple sources and some serious soul searching. As much as I try to do all of that, I am certain that right this moment, I still hold dear some false information/views that were deliberately fed into me as propaganda.

All we can do is try. And a "we'll never know anyway" mindset closes off all avenues to ever knowing.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 18 2018 23:25 utc | 313

NPR news briefing.
https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1431945/

NPR
https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF

The only thing now preventing the US from launching a nuclear attack on Iran is Putin. Trump needs Iran to launch an attack first.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 18 2018 23:39 utc | 314

quote from usa daily press briefing which happened today - https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/07/284175.htm

QUESTION: Why are you even considering it?

MS NAUERT: I can’t answer on behalf of the White House with regard to that, but what I can tell you is that the overall assertions that have come out of the Russian Government are absolutely absurd – the fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian Government is making about those American citizens. We do not stand by those assertions that the Russian Government makes. The prosecutor general in Russia is well aware that the United States has rejected Russian allegations in this regard. Those have been refuted by, among other things, the Southern District Court of New York in other cases that are somewhat related. Instead, we continue to urge Russian authorities to work with the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue those in Russia who in fact perpetrated the fraudulent scheme that Russia refers to. That targeted not only Mr. Browder, but also his company and others, and also the Russian people as a whole.

QUESTION: So does that mean that at least speaking for the State Department, that you would object to, oppose, and not allow or not grant a Russian request or demand to interview a former ambassador, someone who worked – used to work for this building?

MS NAUERT: And I believe some of that would fall under the Department of Justice, so I’d have to loop in the Department of Justice on this. This is something that just came out.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS NAUERT: I didn’t get a chance to see the entire White House briefing a short while ago, so I will just tell you --

QUESTION: Well --

MS NAUERT: -- that Russian assertions are absolutely absurd at this point.

QUESTION: Well, I get that. But I mean, is this something that’s just out of the question that you’re not going to allow? Because her response has, frankly, caused a great deal of concern not just among members of the previous administration, but among former officials going back (inaudible).

MS NAUERT: What I’ve provided you right now is all that I have for you on this, but I will be sure to look into it --

further down -
QUESTION: All right. And then lastly, on this whole – this MH17 question. Does the U.S. Government still stand by its previous statements and positions that – in support of the Dutch investigation team that held that Russia was responsible for downing it?

MS NAUERT: We certainly do. The United States Government has long said that Russia is without a doubt responsible for shooting down MH17. As recently as May, we put out two statements, and I’d like to read a bit from those statements. The first one came out on May the 24th. It said, “The United States has complete confidence in the findings of the joint investigation team as presented today by the Dutch public prosecutor. The missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 originated from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian Federation stationed in Kursk.” It goes on to say, “MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired from the territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia and Russian-led forces.” That was May 24th.

May 25th we put out another statement that said, “We strongly support decisions by the Netherlands and Australia to call Russia to account for its role in the July 2014 downing of the Malaysia flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine and the horrific deaths of 298 civilians. It’s time for Russia to acknowledge its role in shooting down the plane and cease its callous disinformation campaign.”

We stand by those statements.

QUESTION: So why no statement yesterday on the anniversary?

MS NAUERT: We joined – and perhaps some of you haven’t seen it, but we joined our G7 colleagues and put out a foreign ministers statement – I believe it was Monday of this week. And I can read for you a bit of that statement. It says, among other things, “We, the G7 foreign ministers” – Canada, France, Germany, et cetera, along with the European Union – “are united in condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the downing of Malaysia Air Flight MH17, a civilian aircraft flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur July 17th, 2014.”

It goes on to say – I’m skipping down a few paragraphs – “In a rules-based international order, those responsible for unacceptable actions such as the firing or launching of a missile of Russian origin which intercepted and downed a civilian aircraft must be held accountable. To this end, we call on Russia to immediately engage with Australia and The Netherlands in good faith and to address all relevant questions regarding any potential breaches of international law. We once again express our deepest condolences to the family and the victims of that flight.”

QUESTION: Right. I --

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2018 23:43 utc | 315

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jul 18, 2018 1:42:37 PM | 254
"Fox is forced to appear to be stricken by Trump Derangement Syndrome.."

Faux Newz has always included scraps for the "never-trump" so-called "traditional conservative" viewers.

Just as MSDNC's Morning Joe with Mika Brzezinski was fawning over Trump for the first goodly portion of the Primaries.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 18 2018 23:51 utc | 316

Watch what the Trump administration does, not what Trump says. Bigger military budgets, worse sanctions on Russia, blown up Iran deal. This is not complicated. It was obviously in the U.S. imperial interest to bring a weakened Russia into the Western alliance back in 2000. That would've very likely assured US/Western permanent 'world island ' hegemony. But that couldn't happen because the U.S. and allied military-industrial complexes needed Russia as an enemy, and need a viable enemy in a combined Russia-China. This is what we have and have for several decades, inseparable coalition rule by Wall Street and the arms industry. The financial stage of corporate capitalism. Strategy or what's best doesn't matter. The U.S. and its allies will lose in the end if China and Russia are very careful and avoid cooptation, definitely not a sure thing.But there has never really been an alternative, since an ostensibly viable enemy was necessary, and the financiers can't cut loose from their military-industrial complex alliance.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 19 2018 0:06 utc | 317

@316 I guess McFaul is the former ambassador in question. He doesn't seem to like the idea of being questioned about Browder.

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-prosecutors-seek-ex-us-ambassador-mcfaul-for-questioning-in-browder-case-62280

Posted by: dh | Jul 19 2018 0:09 utc | 318

I don't care to quibble with your explanation of Geo-realignment. But you launch into all that with this:

> The media are losing their mind. <

Not my view. Trump explicitly denied Russian interference in 2016 US election at the Helsinki news conference, specifically citing Putin's denying such. Then Monday, his "clarification" of "would" & wouldn't. This is what media went after, and I for one am glad they did.

> Apparently it was Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin and 9/11 all in one day. War will commence tomorrow. But against whom? <

That's your (and FOX news) take. I see it as taking seriously Russia's manipulation in our election, knowing full well your longstanding unwillingness to acknowledge it. Geez, Putin tacitly admitted at the Helsinki presser he leaked the Clinton emails to Wikileaks... which of course, alone may have thrown election to Trump.

AFAIC you greatly overestimate Trump's ability to grasp geo-political goals as you *strongly* suggest. I think Trump's ties and utter dependence on dirty Russian money (laundering) have a lot more to do with his Putin love (puppy?) fest.

PS: I think your "2006 crash of the U.S. economy" should be 2008 (eg. late fall of 2007). And saying U.S. "global hegemony" led to this are facetious: the crash was simple, easy to understand financial fraud on a massive scale. Those *ucker* should be in prison for life.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 0:20 utc | 319

@ jdmckay | 319

I see it as taking seriously Russia's manipulation in our election

1. Anyone can claim anything, my personal position (btw the same as Putin's and any rational person's) - PROVE IT, show actual evidence. The same with any accusation, Skripals, Iraq's WMD, "Assad gassing his own people", etc.

Right now its on a kindergarten level: "you stole my dolly!" "No I didnt" "Yes you did!" "No I didnt" :)

2. The whole indignation by US of interference in sovereignty and their elections is beyond hypocritical, since US does it all the time to the hundreds of other countries around the World. If Russia (or China, or w/e) actually would interfere, I would say - about time someone gives US its own medicine.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 19 2018 0:57 utc | 320

jdmckay, Hillary partisan extraordinaire, weighs in on Russian collusion with - what else? - unsubstantiated accusations and innuendo.

There must be an election coming up. Oh my! there is.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 19 2018 1:00 utc | 321

So, many (most?) here agree that the US/AZ Empire is headed for at least an economic collapse. Some are asking if this is deliberate.

I was just watching “Going Underground” on RT, and a segment was done on global trade, including the just-signed EU/Japan “Free Trade” deal. And the subject of Trump’s tariff “Trade War” was discussed. Pretty much everyone agrees as it heats up, it’s going to have substantial economic impacts. Most expect it to be costly, and argue over how costly, and who will suffer the most.

So, I ask for some speculation: Could this “trade war” be part of that plan to destroy the US/AZ Empire’s economy? It would then contain within its created Problem the Solution of “voting out the bums” by 2020 and welcoming in the “savior” of the Democratic Party.

They also discussed how Brexit was going to cause similar economic problems as a weaker GB struggles to write new trade deals to compete with EU.

That is, setting us up to blame the coming collapse of the AZ Empire’s economy on Trump and the Tories, and so being conned into accepting the “anti-Trump” anti-Cameron/May and hope for change all over again?

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 1:08 utc | 322

harry , jackrabbit - @320/ 321- my read also.. thanks..

@ daniel 322... what is AZ stand for?

Posted by: james | Jul 19 2018 1:19 utc | 323

Harry @ 320

> The whole indignation by US of interference in sovereignty and their elections is beyond hypocritical, since US does it all the time to the hundreds of other countries around the World. <

Yep. Agree completely. It sucks.

> Right now its on a kindergarten level: "you stole my dolly!" "No I didnt" "Yes you did!" "No I didnt" :) <

It's WELL beyond that. Way too much to discuss here, I'd just suggest going back and reading a few dozen of Marcy's most recent posts (even back to election) at emptywheel.net. As much as I appreciate B's work here for many years before he went of the rails pro-Trump, Marcy's been even better: more precise, voluminous research, maintains objectivity and admits mistakes quickly.


> 1. Anyone can claim anything, my personal position (btw the same as Putin's and any rational person's) - PROVE IT, show actual evidence. The same with any accusation, Skripals, Iraq's WMD, "Assad gassing his own people", etc. <

Again, I agree with most of that. It's the problem with "crying wolf", sooner or later people won't listen. Still, as important as these things are both here and globally, just can't do crying wolf fatigue"; too much at stake.

One thing I'll point out however: US intelligence agencies got blamed for Iraq WMD lie. Following that closely however, all the top US analysts did not agree with that assessment. Cheney made repeated trips to Langley, all in secret, and twisted arms until he got the cherry picked reports he wanted. This was more a political problem than intelligence.

Do your self a favor, keep an open mind and go do some reading at EmptyWheel. I can provide more references if you're interested. And again, review the Helsinki news conference: Putin (as I said) tacitly admitted leaking Hillary's emails.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 1:22 utc | 324


Richard Haas, President, Council on Foreign Relations actually f_ing tweeted this:

"International order for 4 centuries has been based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for sovereignty. Russia has violated this norm by seizing Crimea and by interfering in the 2016 US election. We must deal w Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is"

https://twitter.com/RichardHaass/status/1018245342989516805

Don't despair - he promptly has the bark scraped off him in hundreds of responses. A good read!

Posted by: daffyDuct | Jul 19 2018 1:22 utc | 325

Right On~ fairleft @318

"Watch what the Trump administration does, not what Trump says."

Yes, Yes, Yes. Same with all the "players," including Putin and Rouhani and Assad for that matter.

'The U.S. and its allies will lose in the end if China and Russia are very careful and avoid cooptation..."

Yes! From all appearances, the Soviets were conned into "getting mired in their own Vietnam" in Afghanistan, just as Ziggy Brzezinski planned. That war sucked the USSR dry, both morally and economically. I think it not a coincidence that the "collapse" of the Soviet Union began within months of the pullout.

This time, Russia is cutting its military budget even as it is fighting to stop the Oded Yinon Plan that has seen one "success" after the other since 9/11, 2001. They and China are developing/modernizing their militaries, but at tiny fractions of the cost that US/NATO spends. From my perspective, they appear to have learned their lessons well, and are positioning for "win/win" strength.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 1:23 utc | 326

jackrabbit @ 321

> Hillary partisan extraordinaire, <

As I told you during election, I didn't vote for her/support her and in fact very vocal dismissing her for same reason's (Libya/Syria/Iraq) B has layed out for years. Go pound sand, you make comments here look like FOX news troll farm.

> weighs in on Russian collusion with - what else? - unsubstantiated accusations and innuendo. <

Very much substantiated. As I suggested to Harry, do some reading at Marcy's place. Or are you so convinced in your certitude, you dismiss her as well with your cheap innuendos?

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 1:29 utc | 327

jdmckay

You adamantly asserted that Hillary's emails were not a problem in Fall 2015 when it became clear to many that her emails were a problem for Hillary. By the time an official report was released, it was too late for other candidates to enter the race. Hillary got what she wanted because of supporters like you.

b is not pro-Trump and emptywheel is not unbiased, as MoA readers have previously noted:

... if you go to visit emptywheel's site which b references - she is quite good at dissecting info, but unfortunately her and the commenters on emptywheel are a bunch of witch hunting russia phobes who happily want trumps head on a platter and are hoping the mueller investigation is going to serve it for them..
- james

I would be cautious about EmptyWheel. She's clearly knowledgeable about internet et al, but there is a presumption that Trump is guilty. I used to routinely ask about proof that Russians were responsible for the DNC hack with no replies from her, and just rude remarks from her commenters.
- Bob In Portland

Oh dear, emptywheel is not a source I would reference for anything much other than steadfastly sticking to the 'russians hacked the DNC' narrative and dumping on any reference to Seth Rich death for leaking the documents.
- flamingo

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 19 2018 1:51 utc | 328

Thanks, Bart Hansen $310

Skoal!

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 1:56 utc | 329

@316 I'm guessing the former ambassador in question is McFaul. It would certainly be interesting to know what he has to say about Browder.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-russia-browder-mcfaul-questioning-731616

Posted by: dh | Jul 19 2018 2:00 utc | 330

James. AZ Empire = Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Years back I wrote AAZ as in Anglo-American, but then I came to see the US and Great Britain (and really all Five Eyes) as branch offices of the same conglomerate, so I shortened it. That term seems to show up in many venues, so I don't pretend to have been the originator.

For a short while, I wrote AZW, to include the Wahhabi states. But really, they've been vassals of the AZ Empire since their founding.

By Zionist, I of course mean those behind the Zionist Entity, but more broadly, I mean the supra-national financial industry. I mentioned to Circe that I really don't know if the banksters created Zionism to serve their goals or if the Zionists attracted the banksters. But at this point, they are indistinguishable anyway.

Thanks for asking, and allowing me this opportunity to explain.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 2:09 utc | 331

Daniel "Could this “trade war” be part of that plan to destroy the US/AZ Empire’s economy?"

Apart from what I believe to be Trumps intentions in the middle east and energy dominance, he is also trying to turn the US into an exporting country. For this, the US needs a low value dollar as compared to other countries. Currently, US has a high value dollar which is better for importing goods.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 2:11 utc | 332

b supported Sanders through the Democratic Party primary race.

He was not an enthusiastic supporter, but no one would expect a non-US citizen to have the same interest level as a US-citizen.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 19 2018 2:11 utc | 333

Thanks, daffyDuct @325 for digging up and posting that awesomely duplicitous Tweet from that monstrous President of Council on Foreign Relations and alum of Bush Defense Dept, Powell State Department and even Northern Ireland Envoy Twit, Richard N. Haass.

And of course, a member in good standing of the Tribe.

"Don't despair - he promptly has the bark scraped off him in hundreds of responses. A good read!"

Yes, his post got smartly smacked down, and often with great cleverness and humor. But, it also got going on 4,000 "likes" and 2,000 "retweets." So, our work here is not done. ;-)

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 2:20 utc | 334

@324 I'm interested please point out where Putin did as you suggest in the Helsinki presser. Seems to me had this happened would/wouldn't wood not be a thing.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jul 19 2018 2:32 utc | 335

JR @ 328

(sigh...)

> You adamantly asserted that Hillary's emails were not a problem <

I didn't "adamantly assert": I just didn't think it was that big a deal & still don't. "Crooked Hillary" was about all Trump had to say of substance. Just let both of them stand on their policies and words. AFAIC, all the several years' focus here on Benghazi was a waste of time: she had little to do with that, and ignored the larger issues of pro Libya/Syria "liberations"... disasters all. Only reason for Benghazi focus was Clinton hate AND (most problematic) most of the Republicans supported both those sick adventures. :(

As far as your EW conclusions.... sheesh. Even comments you posted are not accurate. She's written ton of articles explaining why some details larger media was characterizing as "evidence" of collusion were not so: couldn't find this kind of clarity anywhere else. And your Flamingo comment suggesting he bought into the FOX news Seth Richards utter bs? C'mon.

Marcy deserves a lot of respect, she's been at this a couple decades and got a lot of things of import right that everyone else misses. It is wise to acknowledge excellence.

It is worth pointing out that Trump's hand picked FBI successor to Comey (Wray) has forcefully defended the Mueller investigation.

It's not worth going around w/you on this. People form their beliefs, and they become immovable. Accusers end up doing the same things they accuse of others and their vanity prevents them from seeing it.

...

AFAIC, Trumps has been a disaster. He's eviscerated every federal government agency entrusted with addressing climate change, and now even shutting down NASA's climate/sea level monitoring programs. He most important cabinet and top level policy advisers selected for him by Federalist Society and Koch groups... same as G.W. Bush. He's got a load of failed businesses bigger then Mount Rushmore, and he's a slut (literally). He lies almost daily now. Unbelievable. And impossible to have discussion about it here, with dismissiveness you ignorantly assert that I was somehow a Clinton supporter.

> b is not pro-Trump <

He sure was during the election. One of the things that *ucke* up (previously worthwhile) comment section here.

You take a couple of my statements and create judgment, ignoring all I had to say here for many years... long before you showed up.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 2:34 utc | 336

Thanks for replying to my request for speculation Peter (and I didn't get the pun until right now! The best puns are the accidental ones). So you think the plan is to lower US wages such that we can "compete" with "underdeveloped countries" and become a net exporter again?

That is precisely what those CEOs said in "Controlling Interests," that 1978 documentary you found a copy of online. BTW: I have to get some university or library registration to view it at the site you found, and I dropped all of mine over the past several years. Have you watched it?

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 2:35 utc | 337

Peter AU 1@315

The idiots who wrote the US Nuclear weapons report are the same ones who think a nuclear war can be won. They are also insane to think that the world is America's empire and that they have the right to impose their will on the remaining countries who are not occupied by US troops. They also do not have the facilities to reprocess plutonium or make into pits as was done in the Hanford 325 building.

As for the wet dream of attacking Iran, one should do a complete analysis of the conventional forces on both sides and the potential for Russia to attack those forces that attack Iran. I think you will find that the potential hell storm of missiles from Iran as well as Russia would disabuse FUKUS and their allies that they cannot win militarily or politically.

Imagine the economic collapse of most Western countries when no more oil leaves the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, this collapse would lead to social collapse and massive warbanding with cities burning as described by the great historian Toynbee.

Thanks for the report as it really showed the insanity of the MIC... It should be widely read and people around the world should be terrified of the nut jobs who are in control!!!

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 19 2018 2:45 utc | 338

@ 298 Peter Au 1

You were talking regime change, the US certainly has done that one before in Iran. I suspect that's why Frances included Iran in her sentence. As to the other countries, of course there was military invasion, and it's obviously true that Vietnam was a disaster.

You know that I generally agree with you but you're wrong to think there could be any "slam dunk" to take down the Iranian government. I've read enough (not by Mazaheri, but he would concur as well) to know that while the 80 million people of Iran have their differences and disagreements, the entire culture remembers the US overthrowing its government, and essentially the whole of the country would rally if there were any overt attack by the US. It's one of those situations again where the stronger the US comes on, the more it drives its opponent into unity against it.

And what I'm reading by Mazaheri is largely aimed at outlining the architecture of the modern system in Iran - which is something that can be verified, and which I shall. There are some very large organizational structures with millions or even tens of millions of supporters. To think that Iran is ruled by a small clique that can be toppled or replaced is exactly the kind of error that the CIA would make, but it is a crucial error. I'm still reading, but this is already clear. I think that Iran has taken steps against this ever happening again by building a strong socialist democracy into the system. The US would face opposition from tens of millions of civilians, veterans and soldiers.

Iran survived the might of the west through its proxy Iraq in a long war, and that was some time ago. The US can't work directly. It has to use proxies. It can only wage terrorist war, capable of damage but impossible to win against the military capabilities of Iran.

There are many things the US would like to do. Its military capability is very seriously in question. This is why the Pentagon continually shies away from peer or near-peer confrontation. One slip and the veil is shredded: soldiers die and no amount of propaganda can hide from the US people that their expensive military can't fight. This could threaten the very fabric of the gravy train itself ;)

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 19 2018 2:52 utc | 339

@339 - apologies if I merely repeated the better arguments of others. Some 40 comments passed while I was writing my comment. This thread is on fire :)

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 19 2018 2:55 utc | 340

jdmckay: I just didn't think it was that big a deal & still don't.

That's pretty funny given that the email issue was considered so much of a "big deal"that Bloomberg offered to run for President in early 2016 after it was officially reported that sensitive information had been compromised.

Now we are learning that China had access to Hillary's private email server. "No big deal" for Clintonistas.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 19 2018 3:27 utc | 341

JR @ 341

Seriously... you cite a quote from "True Pundit" dated yesterday, as "evidence" classified email was intercepted by the Chinese from Hillary's server? R U kidding?

I've seen no credible evidence this ever happened.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 3:39 utc | 342

Tannenhouser @ 335

> @324 I'm interested please point out where Putin did as you suggest in the Helsinki presser. Seems to me had this happened would/wouldn't wood not be a thing. <

I don't have timestamp in that presser for exchange I mention. Its over an hour, I'll try and find it tomorrow.

In short (from memory), Putin was asked by a reporter if he (or Russia ???) hacked Clinton emails. (As you probably know, wikileaks released them 2 days after Trump publicly asked Russia/Wikileaks to do so.

He did not answer directly. He would only say, that those emails posted on WikiLeaks were all "factual". It was a quite clear tacit admission of participation, and many pundits made a point of it. I watched the whole presser, and that was my impression as well.

I'll try and get you timestamp tomorrow.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 3:45 utc | 343

Grieved
US can and unless stopped by another nuclear power, will most likely launch an attack on Iran.

"To think that Iran is ruled by a small clique that can be toppled or replaced is exactly the kind of error that the CIA would make, but it is a crucial error."

The US is working towards a direct attack to destroy Iranian military and government with alongside a type of colour revolution. They may not be able to pull of the colour revolution part but under its new military doctrine, brought in for this purpose the US can largely destroy the Iranian mil/gov within hours then some follow up conventional bombing.
No matter if they are making an error or not on the part of Iranian attitudes, this is the way the US is going. Even if he colour revolution MEK gov part doesn't work, the US only needs the oil rich strip of land running along its south west / western border.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 3:52 utc | 344

Krollchem "pits"

US and Russia signed an agreement to dispose of weapons plutonium some years ago. Russia starting turning theirs into fuel and burning it in reactors. I believe this was the pits for cold war nukes that were dismantled with the weapons limitations agreement.
The did not dispose of any, not to where the plutonium was impossible to recover which is why Russia pulled out of the agreement.
The US still has how many? cold war era pits. The pentagon is also pushing for a new manufacturing facility for pits.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 4:01 utc | 345

@344 Trump is going with sanctions because the military option is a non-starter. Only Israel and Saudi would join any kind of coalition and they are both vulnerable to Iranian retaliation.

So he's putting the squeeze on countries that trade with Iran. Even if he was able to somehow invade Khuzistan and Bushehr the Iranians would close access to the gulf.

Posted by: dh | Jul 19 2018 4:05 utc | 346

jdmckay: you cite a quote from "True Pundit"

Not exactly. I linked to a post by Pat Lang who thinks this info is credible.

And you didn't respond to the thrust of my comment: Bloomberg (among others) saw the email issue as important and damaging to Clinton after an official report was released in Jan 2016. The more we have learned about the emails/email server, the more it is clear that Hillary 1) failed to protect sensitive info; 2) tried to cover-up/conceal her failure for political gain.

Those who continue to think that the emails/email server are "no big deal" are almost certainly either ignorant or Hillary/Clinton partisans. You don't appear to be the former.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 19 2018 4:17 utc | 347

@daniel - AZ empire.. thanks.. i thought it might be something like that, but appreciate your clarification... also - i agree with you about @318 fairlefts comment - good stuff! i forgot to mention that in my last comment..

@jdmckay... it seems like a real closed shop over at emptywheel with maybe 5 or 10 commentators max.. anyone who has a different view is shut down by the asshole bmaz and frankly - none of those folks are interested in hearing any alternative views.. tds is alive and well at emptywheel - fer sure.. i think my big problem with emptywheel at this point is how navel gazing american it is.. being a canuck, it is hard for me to be accused of taking a side in the dem-repub 2 party system, but the fanatics at ew can only see it one way... unlike ew - you can come here and say whatever you want and no one immediately shits on you.. that is another part of ew that has really gone downhill as i see it.. i used to post there a good 10 years ago and enjoyed reading marcy from time to time.. she and the small crowd that frequent ew have gone completely bonkers with the russia done it, putin is evil, trump is evil, craziness.. it is insane as i see it.. and now the ew crowd are convinced putin had a dastardly hand in the clinton e mail saga... the folks over their never cease to amaze me in their dreams and selective denial... it is a horrendous environment for anyone but a die hard clinton fan, and trump hater.. that is on tap daily at ew..

Posted by: james | Jul 19 2018 4:36 utc | 348

dh. The Iranians will not close the gulf. They will be nuked.

@all The US under Trump has two goals in the middle east. Destroy any threat to Israel, and take control of the middle east oil.
US is still by far the most powerful country in the world but in a poor position strategical vs Russia China. If the US can take the middle east oil and gas, it will then be in a strong position strategically. The US under Trump will not go to war against other nuclear armed great powers. It will use nuclear weapons against non nuclear players to take a point that is as important as the Persian gulf/Mesopotamia oil fields.
The 2017 national security strategy list energy dominance as part of its strategy. Two sections make it clear that the is global energy dominance. Under the NPR, nukes can now be used against countries like Iran. US military spending has increased.
And everybody laughs at the nuclear armed buffoon with the Iran derangement syndrome.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 4:46 utc | 349

@Daniel: Lowering US wages is too complex, as then they'd have to adjust some other economic parameter, then another one, etc. It's easier to simply devalue the US dollar, say, by 30%. See this historical comparison graph for currency exchange rates since 1953 (relative to US dollar). The pattern suggests now is the time for another Deutschmark (euro) appreciation. This will make US goods more competitive and European goods less competitive, improving the US trade balance. Which is a much cleaner solution to the problem than the imposition of tariffs. The EU won't have any objections, as it is a vassal of the US. Another reason for possible US dollar devaluation is that higher energy prices correspond to weaker US dollar, and there are reasons to believe that energy prices will get significantly higher in the coming years due to chronic underinvestment in exploration. A 30% devaluation of US dollar will also be good for the world, as it will lead to about 20% growth in ex-US world trade (read a brief explanation of this economic effect).

Posted by: S | Jul 19 2018 4:47 utc | 350

Grieved @339.

I absolutely agree that the Iranian people are ready and able to put up a mighty fight against any sort of military invasion. it's a huge country, with a powerful military, divided into multiple sections (right down to the militia level), an enormously varied landscape and a population larger than any the AZ Empire has dared attack since WW II.

For those and other reasons, I have been calming down about the potential of a military assault on Iran (which I have been greatly fearing for years now).

"Iran survived the might of the west through its proxy Iraq in a long war, and that was some time ago."

True. Though of course, the US and Israel were also providing Iran with weapons throughout that time. I'd always thought of that as just the psychopathic MIC doing what they do best. One of the odd bits that just swam in the back of my mind is that the first shipment of US weapons to Iran was just months after Reagan's inauguration in 1981.

It was a couple of years later that war criminal, Colonel Ollie North had the "keen idea" of combining the dirty war against the socialists in Nicaragua with CIA drug running and the shipments of weapons to Iran that became known as "Iran/Contra." In a way, framing all those weapons transfers to Iran as "Iran/Contra" sort of covers up how deep and long that was.

Which brings me to your opening line, "You were talking regime change, the US certainly has done that one before in Iran."

I am more confident by the day that the US did that to Iran at least twice.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19 2018 4:51 utc | 351

@336 jdmckay...quote "Only reason for Benghazi focus was Clinton hate..." why not just usa hate? usa goes in and destroys a country - libya and it continues to be a failed state and we are not supposed to see clintons role in the death of countless people, not to mention all the gun running from libya into syria as having anything to do with clinton? c'mon!

oh, i must need to go over to ew to get straightened out, lol...

Posted by: james | Jul 19 2018 5:01 utc | 352

@AU #228

Catherine Brown, "Deconstructing Russophobia"
https://off-guardian.org/2016/06/16/deconstructing-russophobia/

Starts off with describing Putin as murderous kleptocrat and then sets out to knock down that argument.

And that is the polemic circle.

Whether or not he is a murderer or kleptocrat or even an autocrat is somewhat irrelevant to the discussion: he is acting in his nation's interests, and those are not the same as the US.

Right now, keeping the USA and EU divided and ineffective is very much in his interest, it gives him a free hand to act as he wishes with minimal interference.

And he is doing a great job of that. He has Donald Trump talking in circles and setting new standards of arbitrariness in his use of language.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 19 2018 6:12 utc | 353

Re: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19, 2018 12:01:05 AM | 345 The US still has how many? cold war era pits. The pentagon is also pushing for a new manufacturing facility for pits.

The US has on the order of 15,000 pits stored at Pantex. link also here

The JASONs determined that the pits are reliable for at least 100 years. Obviously we need to make more.

Good summary on pit production by Greg Mello

Posted by: Perimetr | Jul 19 2018 6:19 utc | 354

Peter AU 1@345

Most remaining plutonium is stored at the Hanford 200 area. Yes it would be possible to reconstitute the pits. However, those who used to do this have long retired or in the case of Dr. Bert of cancer from internal exposure to plutonium and its decay products. Perhaps the Hanford 325 building could be used once again but why? The world already has enough nuclear weapons to end civilization on this earth though nuclear winter - why waste resources on this fools errand when society is collapsing in front of our eyes?

Then again the saying "you cannot fix stupid" applies to both wings of the US deep state.

Peter AU 1@349

As Smidley Butler once wrote "war is a racket" and OIL is the goal as you state. The major oil producers are the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq. The masters of the universe really want to conquer the latter three countries and are starting the process by using gaslighting. Fortunately, Russia and China are taking steps to support these countries.

Meanwhile, the fracking boom in the US is a pipe dream and mainly produces condensate not OIL. Furthermore, the wells reach 80-90% depletion in three years, while the loans on the development are for 20-30 years. The merry-go-round will soon stop with hundreds of billions in losses. Besides the EROEI will soon approach the break even point where is is too expensive to drill more wells.

America has reached an energy dead end having designed its cities so that massive amounts of energy are necessary to get around. It is too late to recreate a community based society and the elite who run the FAANG/FIRE/MICC and agrobusiness-consumer complexes would not allow it anyway.

Got popcorn and nuclear war survival skills?

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 19 2018 6:51 utc | 355

Perimetr@355

Over 40% of the plutonium for pits were produced at the Hanford site using the Purex process developed by three Battelle senior scientists with level 2 clearances (higher than DOE security chiefs who only had Q/3 clearances).

Earlier, pit were produced at the Hanford 325 building and some scientists bragged about handling them with their hands. The material was also tested for purity in this laboratory.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 19 2018 7:03 utc | 356

Piotr / 285

Feel then free to respond the the Qs I asked?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 19 2018 7:26 utc | 357

"Only reason for Benghazi focus was Clinton hate..."

Wasn't the Bengazi show trial a political clean-up/cover-up of the complicity of the John MacCain
Republicans with the takfiri terrorist project? Wasn't it White Horse Mitt Romney's croney who made
that video intended to inflame Islamic sentiment? wasn't this video intended to provide an excuse for
that attack on the Bengazi Consulate, where conspiratorial meetings with a Turkish ataché took place?

Clinton, as USA Secretary of State *should* be indicted for War Crimes in a new Nuremburg Trial.
The premeditated wanton destruction of the Libyan government, the bombing to smithereens of the physical infrastructure of the Libyan people: these are very serious crimes, not to be overlooked.

However, instead of holding Ms. Clinton to account for illegal and indeed inhuman official acts,
the Republicans went on a kabuki-theater holy-crusade to blame big-bad Hillary for the death of Christopher Steven, a criminal-minded pip-squeak lord-of-war arms-runner with diplomatic cover.

I thought it had already been established that the September 11th attack on the Bengazi consulate was
a "September Surprise" for the USA Presidential election campaign of Mitt Romney but that it had gone
wrong, perhaps because the yokels organizing the false flag were too-ignorant or too-trusting of the
fanatic elements whom they thought of as bearded pawns, good for snookering the American electorate.

No wonder that Mrs Clinton and John Maccain are so lovey-dovey, as one dirty hand washes the other!

Posted by: Guerrero | Jul 19 2018 7:31 utc | 358

@Peter AU 1 | Jul 18, 2018 11:52:04 PM | 345

The US is working towards a direct attack to destroy Iranian military and government with alongside a type of colour revolution. They may not be able to pull of the colour revolution part but under its new military doctrine, brought in for this purpose the US can largely destroy the Iranian mil/gov within hours then some follow up conventional bombing.
No matter if they are making an error or not on the part of Iranian attitudes, this is the way the US is going. Even if he colour revolution MEK gov part doesn't work, ...

How would the U.S. benefit from attacking Iran? Thousands of Americans would die, trilions of dollars would be wasted, and the world would deeply hate the U.S. -- for what? Some brownie points from Bibi?

... the US only needs the oil rich strip of land running along its south west / western border.

Ah, the usual sly insinuation, that the U.S. could steal the oil. No doubt the wells could be conquered if enough U.S. soldiers were willing to die, but the conquest would be meaningless if the oil could not be shipped out. Iran has been preparing for an invasion for a long time; they probably have enough missiles stashed away inside their many, many mountains to keep the Persian Gulf closed for decades. So forget the fantasies of stealing the oil.

(I note that the invasion of Iraq was similarly prefaced by the same sly insinuations -- "The war on Saddam would pay for itself", said the Neocons.)

So I ask once more, How would the U.S. benefit from attacking Iran?

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 19 2018 7:47 utc | 359

Putin:
“And it (the U.S.) says that these weapons (nuclear) can be used in response to a conventional attack or even a cyber-threat.

"Our nuclear doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons only in response to a nuclear attack or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against her or her allies, or a conventional attack against us that threatens the very existence of the state.

“It is my duty to state this: Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, be it small-scale, medium-scale or any other scale, will be treated as a nuclear attack on our country. The response will be instant and with all the relevant consequences."

Posted by: V | Jul 19 2018 7:49 utc | 360

Daniel.@352

I remember when people thought Saddam had this awesome military. Iraq rolled over for the US twice but gave Iran all they could handle.

Do not underestimate the US military. They own the air and sea. I do agree a land invasion and occupation is not happening, but knock out their oil and gas production and brand new refinery and Iran is knocked back to the dark ages. Hungry people are receptive to regime change.

I dont know whats going happen but Israel seems to have a lot of say with Russia and US . I am not optimistic


.

Posted by: Pft | Jul 19 2018 7:58 utc | 361

@S | Jul 19, 2018 12:47:25 AM | 351

A 30% devaluation of US dollar will also be good for the world, as it will lead to about 20% growth in ex-US world trade

The elevated price of gasoline is already painful in the U.S. Would The Donald be re-elected if the gas price increased much more?

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 19 2018 8:01 utc | 362

@361

I haven't seen mention of Iran's numerous S-300 AA missiles from Russia.
A contingent of Chinese anti-ship missiles as well.
The Straight of Hormouz is ridiculously easy to block.
IMCO, the U.S. will not attack Iran; it's too weak to pull that off.
The losses would be more than it could bear.
Ans then, there is Putin...

Posted by: V | Jul 19 2018 8:05 utc | 363

Cyril, stop being a dickhead. US won't nuke themselves only Iran. How will US lose troops?
Don't you have even a basic understanding of strategy and how reliant Asia/Europe - Eurasia are on oil/gas imports? Don't you have the slightest fucking idea of what China and Russia have been doing in Eurasia that will cut US out?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 8:08 utc | 364

@ Peter AU 1

You will be happy to know, its literally impossible for US (or even entire NATO) to win over Iran. Iran's entire military asymmetric doctrine (you should look it up, its very very good) is centered of facing US, and withstand everything it can possibly throw outside of nukes. There is nothing to "decapitate" as Iran installed redundancies at every level, capable functioning and fighting both as integrated or as separate units.

Just a few ideas for starters:

* US main supremacy is air superiority. Iran has thousands of SAMs, spread and hidden all over. Tens of thousands of MANPADs. Each new wave of jets attacks will be smaller, and smaller, and smaller :) Those bombing raids and cruise missiles wont be very successful to begin with, as most important facilities are under the mountains or under the thick layers of Worlds toughest concrete (look it up, vast majority of US missiles are useless against it).

* Jets are useless without boots on the ground. While entire NATO cannot defeat ~10.000 of badly geared Talibs for decades now, you think they will do better against millions of Iran's current and ex-soldiers with a high morale, and with a good gear? We saw a quick glimpse of it Israel vs Hezb in 2006, and Iran is thousands times harder target.

* Warships? Look up Millennium Challenge 2002, which US has lost against Iran's simulated swarm tactic. And that was just a fraction of what Iran can actually do.

So have no fear, US wont attack Iran directly, however it will continue its efforts to damage Iran as much as they can, as well as organize (fruitlessly) color revolutions. US also planned to do Libya 3.0 in Iran, but this plan was stopped in Libya 2.0 stage aka Syria. Actually Iran, Russia and Hezb got so seriously involved in Syria not just because of friendly ties, but because its better for them to defeat terrorists in Syria than their own countries.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 19 2018 8:10 utc | 365

@Pft | Jul 19, 2018 3:58:55 AM | 362

I do agree a land invasion and occupation is not happening, but knock out their oil and gas production and brand new refinery and Iran is knocked back to the dark ages. Hungry people are receptive to regime change.

If Iran destroys the oil ports of Saudi Arabia and closes the Strait of Hormuz for good measure, the price of gas will hit the roof. There will be lots of hungry people -- in the U.S. They will be receptive to regime change, no doubt.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 19 2018 8:17 utc | 366

Harry "withstand everything it can possibly throw outside of nukes."

Why did you bother to keep writing after that sentence? Just filler fluff? Tell what Iran does in the face of a nuclear attack. Two US subs can launch slightly over three hundred missiles, each with baseball size warheads that give as much bang, if run at full capacity, to the two dropped on Japan.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 8:25 utc | 367

No matter how you paint it, Trump is just another s.o.b., surrounded by s.o.b.s, in a long line of s.o.b.s

Posted by: Usul | Jul 19 2018 8:29 utc | 368

@ Peter AU 1 | 368

US may be run by crazies, but they are not suicidal crazy to use nukes against Iran. They dont even dare to use conventional large attack against Iran, and you are speaking of nukes?

Dont forget Putin said it will use nukes against any attacker who uses nukes against it or its alies. Also Iran is a huge country, and to wipe it off with nukes means wiping entire ME off.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 19 2018 8:40 utc | 369

Republican IT guru dies in plane crash

Voting machines are not safe (no computer is). People should refuse to use them.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19 2018 8:46 utc | 370

@Peter AU 1 | Jul 19, 2018 4:08:36 AM | 365

Cyril, stop being a dickhead. US won't nuke themselves only Iran. How will US lose troops?

How would the U.S. benefit even from attacking Iran conventially, never mind the horror of nuking the place? Your sly insinuation, that the U.S. could steal the oil, is even more of a fantasy if the oil were radioactive.

Don't you have even a basic understanding of strategy and how reliant Asia/Europe - Eurasia are on oil/gas imports? Don't you have the slightest fucking idea of what China and Russia have been doing in Eurasia that will cut US out?

And that requires the nuking of a country larger than France? A strategy worthy of the most insane Neocon.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 19 2018 8:46 utc | 371

Harry, why would it be suicide crazy to use nukes against Iran?

And I do remember what Putin said. I believe it was the main reason that Trump will risk so much on the domestic front to meet with Putin. Trump needs to be sure Putin will not launch an immediate counter strike against the US. The other option is for Trump to force Iran to fire first. A missile strike on KSA or Israel or perhaps close the Persian gulf by firing at ships.
Iran will come under a lot of pressure. Provocations from Israel plus the sanctions. US are now looking at recognizing Golan height as part of Israel.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 19 2018 8:51 utc | 372

@Cyril | Jul 19, 2018 4:46:56 AM | 372

How would the U.S. benefit even from attacking Iran conventially

Oops, please replace "conventially" with "conventionally".

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 19 2018 8:53 utc | 373

- Nonsense. If you want to see what one Donald Trump then you should watch these 3 videos with ................. Steve Bannon. And I even don't believe Trump wants war with China.

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/07/bannon-trump-is-at-economic-war-with-china/

- Besides the US there's another country that is "fighting above its paygrade": the UK. But they still haven't figured that out yet or don't want to admit that.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 19 2018 9:11 utc | 374

Peter 373

The other option is for Trump to force Iran to fire first.

Who on earth would that fool? Certainly not Putin.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 19 2018 9:13 utc | 375

https://youtu.be/HFRmF0SfHUA

Pardon me if its been posted before, I admit I haven't read all of the almost 400 comments here.
This is Tucker Carlson from Fox, giving a cutting critique of the intelligence community and the response to the Dons Helsinki meeting...
Hats off to the man...

Posted by: dan | Jul 19 2018 9:22 utc | 376

reply to: 274
What has a russian pro-gun video with bolton to do with alleged "hybrid warfare" against US? Same q goes for Butina?Posted by: Zanon | Jul 18, 2018 3:44:50 PM | 274

I think what happened is that they realised that what they considered "their networks" to infiltrate Russia were used as Russian networks to infiltrate the US.

Julia Joffe: The rise of Russia Gun Nuts

on Butina advancing a Gun Rights movement in Russia.

Nor does she see any connection between her movement and the anti-Kremlin protests that gripped Moscow last winter and spring, though hers is one of a new crop of civic groups that have sprung up in the ferment. Her organization, currently 400 members strong, is a soup of communists and nationalists, while Butina herself votes for Vladimir Putin and his United Russia Party. But in Russia, the fledgling pro-gun movement is less a political cause than it is a self-help strategy. ... Butina’s argument’s may have their flaws, but it’s not unusual to hear them echoed by leading figures in the opposition. “We have a huge homicide rate, most of these murders are unsolved, and many police officers are among the criminals,” says opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who supports gun ownership and whose two rifles were recently seized because of his role in anti-Kremlin protests. “In America, the argument works that there are pro­fessionals to protect us. Here, the police are the main criminals, and they’re armed.” ... The major obstacle for Butina and her group is Putin. Never mind that he himself is an avid outdoorsman. Behind closed doors, Putin seems to have put forth the position that his surrogates are vocalizing: It is too soon, and too dangerous. Gudkov has a different explanation: “He’s afraid of his own people.”

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19 2018 9:38 utc | 377

Somebody, julia joffe really? I am also wondering if you can provide evidence for your hybrid-war claims.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 19 2018 10:23 utc | 378

First and foremost, Trump cannot be told.
Anything.
The last person that told him what to do, was probably his Mother. And that would have been at least sixty years ago.
His massive ego precludes him from taking advice.
From anyone.
Hence his 'treasonous' behaviour.
It's that simple.

Posted by: Johnny B | Jul 19 2018 10:38 utc | 379

Daniel ^^^ Since the dawn of civilization, there has always been a single, dominant struggle. That between the 99% and the 1%. And since the 1% has always known that they are a tiny minority, and the true enemy of the people, they have practiced the Divide and Conquer/Rule strategy for all these millennia.
Sadly, all too many of us continue to fall for the latest versions of this ancient manipulation.

This is too funny for words, in a exasperating, despairingly sort of way.

No. There has often been a dominant struggle, that within 99 % of the populace, who are duped (by the other 1 %, together with a large chunk of the 99, perhaps 20-30 %) into believing that the 99 are some sort of common-interest group, who need to overcome minor differences in order to depose the 1 %.

This whole 99-1 thing is a dreadful and very obvious ploy to keep dissenters in a state of paralysis, vacillating between hope (if only we can unite) and and the despair and disillusionment of dashed hope (why isn't it working).

Of course it is not working. And never will. Why? Because the, what, 10-20-30 per cent? of people with some sort of stake in the status quo will ALWAYS opt, when push comes to shove, to support the "one per cent" (one could call it anything). Another perhaps 20-40 will be weak and cowardly (Americans, springs to mind). Only perhaps 30 per cent will be left trying to fight for justice and a better system. History proves this over and over, let alone observation.

The 99%-1% spell has the, say, 30 % laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by: Plod | Jul 19 2018 10:58 utc | 380

Trump is on a thunder thump.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 19 2018 11:09 utc | 381

Cyril@367

Us gets only a small percentage of their oil from Saudi Arabia. People forget oil was priced at almost 150 dollars s barrel over 10-12 years ago, it can hit 200 a barrel (factoring in inflation) without much more of an impact. This probably would not be allowed to happen until Trump locks up his second term though

Trust me on this, Iran suffers far more than the US, not to mention many other oil dependent countries. Lets hope it doesn't happen.

Posted by: Pft | Jul 19 2018 11:45 utc | 382

379 Yes, Julia Joffe, really. So it was a US-Russian Secret Service Affair, don't you think?

Experience from Berlin - if there is one sort of spies, the others are there too. Would also apply to Salisbury.

It makes perfect sense for the US to partner with Russia. But somehow, some people don't like it.

From 2014, when Obama had tried.

Architect of the Cold War The annals of the international crisis between Russia and the US will reserve a position of honor for Bill Browder, a former Putin ally who is now one of his bitterest enemies.

Note, that for some reason, Bill Browder is a British citizen.

My guess is, that a few countries (and companies) profit from the cold war.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19 2018 11:52 utc | 383

Plod @ 381
What does history tell you about the Internet?

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 19 2018 11:59 utc | 384

somebody

So you believe the russian girl is a russian spy involved in a network to infiltrate the US? Considering that she hasnt even been to a court?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 19 2018 12:14 utc | 385

334jdmkay. Thanks.... I'd like to see if I see what u see.

I dunno man...sems to me that those affected and even those not affected by TDS would have gone nuclear over that.... Imagine Putin admitting collusion?

I'm more inclined to believe the VIPS line that it was a download by an insider. The DNC intern murdered on the day he was to be interviewed by the fbi fits way better than a 'hack'.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jul 19 2018 12:32 utc | 386

Guerrero @ 359

I agree w/most of what you say. When I said "Benghazi" I was referring to the congressional hearings (2 years), not the "event" on the ground. The entire US Senate/Congress was behind the Libya/Syria invasion, only voice against (that I recall, maybe a couple others ???) was Rep. Barbara Lee. It's why I could never (and didn't) support Clinton in '16 election.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 12:51 utc | 387

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 19, 2018 8:14:17 AM | 386

I think they accuse her of "not registering as a foreign agent".

You can never trust the headlines.

Ms Butina, a Russian national who has been living the US, was charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian Government and accused of working to infiltrate American political organisations, including the National Rifle Association.

It is certainly part of a hysteria. But surely, the political and oligarch networks don't work the direction they thought they would work.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19 2018 13:17 utc | 388

somebody

Exactly, so that is "spying" now claiming all this isnt logical since a court has not judged the case yet.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 19 2018 13:25 utc | 389

james @ 349

Fair enough. I don't agree w/you. I read Marcy, especially lately on Russian hacks, because what she writes is well documented... can (almost) always look at her sources for verification.

It is the case there now, dumb off topic... FOX type bot comments get immediate smacks: usually suggestion to read relevant preceding articles then smacked "down" if poster (always newbies) persists. I actually appreciate this, comments so many places have gone so sideways I just don't waste time with them anymore.

James @ 352
> "Only reason for Benghazi focus was Clinton hate..." why not just usa hate? <

See my response to Guerrero @ 388: I was referring to benghazi congressional hearings, not event on the ground. I should have been clearer.


> oh, i must need to go over to ew to get straightened out, lol... <

Suit yourself. I get impression now, most commenters here don't give a rip if Russia hacked Clinton (and/or other '16 election interventions). Some seem to admire Putin's "divide & conquer" tactics. "What goes around comes around" is prevailing attitude.

US gov is so *uc*ed up now, almost incomprehensible AFAIC. Only hope for change needs honest, fair elections... something we have demonstrated being incapable of for most part since pre-2k. Political dialogue here now mostly reduced to Trump supporters railing Mueller is on a "witch hunt" every single day, & "liberal" media reduced to not much more then documenting Trump's daily lies. But practically -0- focused discussion on our policies, and their effects in the world. Things are getting worse, not better.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19 2018 13:27 utc | 390

Trump Looking Forward to Second Meeting With Putin, condemn WW3 seeking fake news MSM
https://sptnkne.ws/jdv4

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 19 2018 13:32 utc | 391

I hate when an interesting and well written post is marred by obvious inaccuracies:

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 18, 2018 7:25:43 PM | 314

3. National elections are more valuable than Coke commercials.

While LESS valuable in terms of "billings", marketing campaigns use the same skill set in politics and commerce, and mistakes may be similar, e.g. debacles of "New Coke" and "New Clinton".

OTH, based on the ads I see, a very valuable market is that of brides, and there are several specific brands, "Far East", "Russian", "Ukrainian" or generic "East European". Now I see a sinister plot to tar the "Russian" brand, presumably to boost the other non-Far East brands. Details like "She lived with a Republican who was twice older, but she talk about him disparagingly and made him do her homeworks." (This delliquent was a student at the time, perhaps she did some housework?)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 19 2018 13:38 utc | 392

You mean to tell me that this inveterate grifter who can't keep track of which lies he believes and which ones are now fake news is a master of geopolitics? If he's lining up to some grand maneuver it's clearly because a broken clock is right twice a day...and also because the hookers in Moscow are eager to please.

Posted by: Greg | Jul 19 2018 14:10 utc | 393

Daniel @314: "All we can do is try. And a "we'll never know anyway" mindset closes off all avenues to ever knowing."

I was enjoying your post and the many interesting viewpoints it raises until you finished with that line. I never said that was my mindset and I am disappointed that's what you took from my post. I don't think you can fairly say that anybody reading and posting at MOA has that mindset. I merely pointed out that you would never know the truth about the "psyop" you allege and here is my opinion as to why:

There are natural, people-being-people explanations for all of the actions during the election campaign. Perhaps people in-the-know were tired of or disgusted with the criminal Clinton Cabal but mortally feared it, provoking the DNC leak. Seth Rich is actually dead, you know, (unless that is also part of the psyop). Perhaps Saunders was worried about his personal career/welfare when he did not push his case too hard. Or, given that the no. 1 rule of party politics is to "unite behind the leader" - the rule is as old as the game - maybe it was as simple as that. Saunders always struck me as a rather weak revolutionary. Was he that way because he was given a role to play to allow party progressives to vent, or was he an honest broker representing that portion of his party, but unfortunately too feeble to lead the charge and overpower Hilary's machine? Perhaps the FBI was not fully unified behind the scenes and internal pressures to expose Clinton just enough (but not too much in case she won) to screw her in the election resulted in Comey's bizarre, flip-flopping handling of the Hilary e-mails investigation. Or was Comey trying to split the middle and appear palatable and defendable to both sides so that he could continue in his role after the election? Careerists with ambition who think overly highly of themselves miscalculate like that all the time in the Corporate world.

There are multitudinous possibilities to consider guiding every single action-reaction. Was manipulation of some kind happening during all of this? Of course - it was an election! Powerful interests look to be on the winning team and can shift the weight of their support with the winds. But the idea that the whole game was scripted and pulled off perfectly by hidden manipulators strikes me as only possible in a fully developed "matrix-like" world, and I don't think we are living in that world yet.

I am well aware that we are subjected relentlessly to propaganda and manipulation. It is as ubiquitous as the air. That is one of the reasons I come here. In the "old days," before the information gateways started to open, I always compared what I was told with what I actually saw, or knew from reliable sources, to be true. In some ways it was easier for an individual then because there were limited common media sources upon which to draw and, as a result of that, the establishment message - benign or malign - was always very obvious. The internet has unleashed a torrent of information black, white and grey that is a both a blessing and a curse. We need others, trusted and proven over time, to sort through it, dissect it, and arrive at rationale, plausible assessments. Yours is one that I am skeptical about, but thanks for contributing.

Posted by: Activist Potato | Jul 19 2018 14:30 utc | 394

Posted by: Mark2
Plod @ 381 - What does history tell you about the Internet?

Well, DARPA/ARPA? History tells us that the Internet was [is!] through and through USA military-intelligence. Democratization? The only things demos about the Internet are demotics and demoagoguery (and perhaps demons). Like the slow, stage-managed release of satellite imagery and imaging capabililty, always a few paces behind the cutting edge, so with the internet and all telecomms. The wires? The server farms? Cisco? We're deluding ourselves if we think we can creep around undetected in dark corners of the web, building a revolution. A slender hope may lie in entirely siloed China- or Russia-led "darpanets". Also, of course, fraught with their own inherent dangers.

Far, far more effective would be actual the real-life sneaking around night-time alleyways with actual paper and pencil, using cash (a species immminetly extinct), whispering in unmediated undertones. Regrettably, most of the controlled masses no longer remember how to organise at street level or write in cursive.

Posted by: Plod | Jul 19 2018 14:55 utc | 395

A bunch of deluded people fighting over power... ridiculous, in the end,everybody dies. We are all here on this planet for a very short time. Nobody is better than anyone, we all become dust. F..ing get along!

Posted by: Paulo | Jul 19 2018 14:56 utc | 396

Re: Greg @394

"a master of geopolitics"

The issue here is that we do not see any "master", the "true issues" are rather obscure, meaning, no one in a position of responsibility in U.S.A. wants to talk about them, so it boils to the question: how you select theatrics?

Trump made some weird barbs at Theresa May and Angela Merkel, proclaimed that Germany becomes dangerously dependent on Russia because it buys natural gas there and should refrain from making it easier, condemns low military spending -- making lower spending a matter of national pride for Germans, and then makes a totally anodyne meeting with Putin that seems to be devoid of any substance. What to dislike in that picture?

If I had to pick, USA should match the levels of military spending with the "underspending allies", and if possible, get a deal with Russia and China that they reduce spending too. This whole business is a black hole for resources that could be channelled to some worthy problems, or tax cuts if you dislike what I would personally deem to be worthy. From that perspective, the part of the trip in Western Europe was totally outrageous, while the meeting in Helsinki was a step in a good direction. So what do we choose to fulminate about?

As our liberal Democrats and "responsible elders" of GOP see nothing wrong in the true outrages of Trump, their rhetorical choices amount to ill-advised nitpicking. Ill-advised because 99% can't figure out why a meeting with a "very important person" is wrong unless you badger him and insult him to his face. A person can have difficulties locating Russia on the globe (or not), but this simply does not comport with any personal experience. Living in a rather hierarchical society, everybody faced the need of some polite contact, and perchance, a deal, with individuals whom we either dislike or just do not care. Of that 99% (poll results, "Russia" is a serious problem polls under 1%), some are ignorant and naive, but the common sense should not be dismissed lightly.

It would be theatrically more productive to attack Trump for spending taxpayer money to promote his golf course in Scotland. Or getting so unruly that he was snubbed by the young royals -- I am brainstorming here, perhaps that would not be wise, but at least, not as stupid as Helsinki hysteria.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 19 2018 15:17 utc | 397

@Pft | Jul 19, 2018 7:45:33 AM | 383

[US] gets only a small percentage of their oil from Saudi Arabia. People forget oil was priced at almost 150 dollars s barrel over 10-12 years ago, it can hit 200 a barrel (factoring in inflation) without much more of an impact. This probably would not be allowed to happen until Trump locks up his second term though

The only reason the U.S. dollar continues to be the global reserve currency is that oil, mostly Saudi Arabia's oil, is priced in dollars. If the flow of Middle Eastern oil stopped -- which Iran can easily arrange if attacked -- there would be no need for the dollar globally. Then the U.S. would crash.

Trust me on this, Iran suffers far more than the US, not to mention many other oil dependent countries. Lets hope it doesn't happen.

I am by no means certain that Iran would suffer more. Would a war on Iran be sustainable if the U.S. economy were crashing due to a worthless dollar?

I agree, let's all hope we don't learn the answer the hard way, the truly crazy, morally obscene Neocon way.

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 19 2018 15:41 utc | 398

...so it boils to the question: how you select theatrics?

Start with a script. Always start with a script, that saves a lot of editing work.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jul 19 2018 15:41 utc | 399


Posted by: jdmckay | Jul 19, 2018 8:51:50 AM | @388

I agree w/most of what you say. When I said "Benghazi" I was referring to the congressional hearings (2 years), not the "event" on the ground. The entire US Senate/Congress was behind the Libya/Syria invasion, only voice against (that I recall, maybe a couple others ???) was Rep. Barbara Lee. It's why I could never (and didn't) support Clinton in '16 election.

What? You are a reasonable person! Explain to me WHY the Russian Federation would interfere
in the USA election? I should think that way over there in Eurasia, they have better things to do.

Also: I thought it had been established by scientific forensic methods that the data was exfiltrated
from the DNC server by means of a physical hard-drive, rather than by a remote hacking. Not so?

Posted by: Guerrero | Jul 19 2018 15:48 utc | 400

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