Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 18, 2021

U.S. Aggressiveness Will Accelerate Its Demise

The foreign policy of the current U.S. administration is exactly the same as the foreign policy of the previous one. In short: disastrous.

There are dozens of examples: The "maximum pressure' campaign against Iran continues, the sanctions on Venezuela will be upheld or even strengthened, the bombing of Syria, no change on Yemen and so on.

The problem is that none of these 'we are tough guys' policies achieves any purpose.

From the outside world the behavior and tough talk of U.S. officials is seen as juvenile. It demonstrates a  lack of knowledge, wisdom and strategy.

Consider these recent headlines about China:

> The United States will take an uncompromising stance in talks with China on Thursday in Alaska, officials have said, in the first face-to-face meetings between senior officials from the two rivals since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.

Beijing has called for a reset to ties, now at their lowest in decades, but Washington has said the Alaska talks will be a one-off, and any future engagement depends on China improving its behavior. <

Then, after days of badmouthing China, it finally dawned on Blinken that he needs China's help.

Why, after so many bad words towards it, would China help the U.S. with solving the North Korea problem? It has zero incentive to do so.

The same aggressive behavior can be seen with regards to Russia. Baseless accusations of Russian election interferences are followed with more sanctions and threats topped off with Biden calling Russia's President Putin a 'killer'. As the Canadian Russia expert Paul Robinson writes:

As for Biden’s comments, well what can one say? Didn’t he just order the bombing of Syria. Doesn’t that make him a ‘killer’ too? Politicians should avoid this sort of language. I suspect, though, that what this and the intelligence report mentioned above indicate is that Russiagate, with its allegations of Trump-Putin collusion to undermine American democracy, has done irreparable damage to US-Russia relations. One gets the impression that there is now a deep, deep hatred of Russia within the US government, a hatred that prevents any sane analysis of Russian intentions and actions, as well as of US national interests. I fear that this will last for quite a long time.

Andrei Martyanov adds:

[The] degradation of the American political institutions, top-bottom, and its speed are mind-boggling. As for the class and culture--US political elite and US media machine don't have any. Biden merely confirmed it today.
One Russian saying posits that one can still negotiate with scoundrels, one cannot negotiate with idiots. When the opposite side is both, boy, talk about the United States turning into the third world country.

The hostility the U.S., by its behavior and words, creates against itself is not restricted to Russia and China.

Last week the French "Armed Forces Joint Reflection Circle" CRI, an independent think tank of former generals and high officers of the French forces, issued an open letter to NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg in which it accused him of having acting solely in the interest of the U.S. during the development of his NATO 2030 plan.

The letter details how Stoltenberg, NATO and the U.S. have caused the bad relations with Russia. It says that the U.S. is trying use a fictional 'Russian threat' to pressure NATO countries into morphing into a global force, under U.S. command and independent of the United Nations, to then use it against China. This while the real threat to Europe is Islamic terrorism caused by the U.S. interferences in the Middle East and north Africa. The U.S. led NATO is thereby becoming a danger for Europe.

The accusations the French generals are launching against the U.S. go beyond anything one might hear from Moscow or Beijing.

The next 'allied' nation that will have sound reason to turn hostile towards the U.S. might well be Germany:

The Biden administration Thursday stepped up its rhetoric against a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, calling on all those involved in the project to “immediately abandon” their work.

“The Department reiterates its warning that any entity involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline risks US sanctions and should immediately abandon work on the pipeline,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Nord Stream 2 is of vital importance to Germany's energy security. The German public was rather hostile to President Trump and Biden's victory was seen with relief. But when it sees how Biden pursues the same policies, and with a similar tone, it will turn on him. A more general 'anti-Americanism' would then arise.

The uncompromising and ever aggressive behavior the U.S. shows towards competitors as well as friends will not lead to a stronger U.S. position in the world. People and nations will learn to work around it.

These rushed attempts to prevent the ending of its unipolar moment will only accelerate the move towards a new multilateral global system.

Posted by b on March 18, 2021 at 18:48 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: james | Mar 18 2021 18:58 utc | 1

Lighten up!
Daunted means feeling apprehensive.
Blinken had a Homer moment.
aka D'oh!

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 19 2021 16:28 utc | 101

I blame John Negraponte for US reckless stupidity.
He's the Crank who snatched Iraq's WMD Report from a table at the UN and not one of the UN snowflakes had the gumption to tackle him to the floor and return it to the table.

Some people don't deserve patience OR forbearance.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 19 2021 16:55 utc | 102

Thanks james@1, I noticed that too and didn't understand it: neither "daunting to" nor "daunting on" make sense to me, while "dawned on" works.

Posted by: spudski | Mar 19 2021 16:57 utc | 103

thanks hoarsewhisperer.... the word sounded like it was used the wrong way. i looked up the meaning and still can't see how it fits in b's sentence.. it is not a big deal to me..

Posted by: james | Mar 19 2021 16:59 utc | 104

Here is Glen Greenwald talking about the attempts to censor substack but I think it fits very well with this subject.

" like all tyrants -- they can't allow an example to stand of someone who doesn't capitulate to them: that will erode their intimidation powers:"

And more and more we are starting to see open displays of refusal to capitulate.

Posted by: arby | Mar 19 2021 16:59 utc | 105

@ spudski... i realize b is german and i am always impressed with anyone who can speak or work in a different language either way!

Posted by: james | Mar 19 2021 16:59 utc | 106

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 18 2021 19:20 utc | 7

Same axiom holds if one wants to be a police officer in the USA.

Truly, that country is headed toward full Idiocracy.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 19 2021 17:07 utc | 107

james @107 - I completely agree.

Posted by: spudski | Mar 19 2021 17:10 utc | 108

The table is tilted toward war, because war and preparation for war, while damaging to the society, is immensely profitable and offers opportunities for some - a small number of invisible drivers.

To prevent war one would need to remove those incentives.

An emergency measure would be to identify (as I am sure they have) and make plans for the individuals who would most benefit from the war. I suppose that is obvious and must be difficult to accomplish. And inappropriate to discuss in a civilized group. What is has going for it is that it would have mutual benefit for the legitimate parties.

Posted by: jared | Mar 19 2021 17:12 utc | 109

I posted a review of the Alaska meet on the Open Thread those interested will want to read. As noted upthread, the performance by the Outlaw US Empire's reps was very amateurish--they've clearly never been in a serious debate with those having better abilities and arguments. In a way, they were as demented as Biden.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 17:12 utc | 110

Yesterday I dropped a comment about how Biden can no longer walk and begins to have trouble standing.

Today he takes a pratfall on camera.

Time for the elder abuse to end.

Posted by: oldhippie | Mar 19 2021 17:29 utc | 111

karlof1@111, thank you for your many links & posts yesterday. much appreciated. if you haven't already perused spengler's (david goldman) post on asia times (i know) i believe it to be his best; wherein he eloquently portrays the neocon's folly & much bloodied path with the precision of a distant, decent relative who has been long observing a troubled, tragic line's descent.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Mar 19 2021 17:32 utc | 112

Perhaps instead of a live debate Putin and Biden could have a "working lunch".

#Putin and #Biden go to a restaurant.

Waitress: what will you have?

Putin: Steak, medium rare.

Waitress: and for the vegetable?

Putin: the vegetable will have steak as well.

The Chinese team may have king crab for lunch, but I suspect the US team dropped by McDonalds. Better fit to their style of diplomacy, fast, indigestible and most of it ends up thrown out. Pro tip to the Chinese delegates, avoid the seafood plate at Zizzi's

Posted by: Tom | Mar 19 2021 17:37 utc | 113

Biden... Biden...

Posted by: Mao | Mar 19 2021 17:41 utc | 114

@oldhippie | Mar 19 2021 17:29 utc | 112

Today he takes a pratfall on camera.

"Putin seen running from the scene with several peeled bananas".

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 19 2021 17:42 utc | 115

oldhippie @112--

The wife and I made a similar observation about the senior abuse issue having cared for too many relatives afflicted with differing dementias. Yes, Biden deserves to pay for his many crimes, but dementia isn't a form of punishment--indeed, it essentially refutes the efficacy of punishment since eventually Biden won't be able to distinguish between punishment and reward. IMO, an excellent case can be made that forcing Biden to run for POTUS was a crime--senior abuse--and that the entire nation was defrauded in the process. IMO, it's extremely unfortunate that narrative won't be provided. I'm willing to bet Biden's wife would agree.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 18:02 utc | 116

scary movie 4 president joke

Posted by: Mao | Mar 19 2021 18:02 utc | 117

Sergei Lavrov:

"To maintain their geopolitical positions, Western colleagues are actively using a wide range of absolutely illegitimate instruments, from forceful pressure to unilateral sanctions. The invention of various fables is being used more and more widely, the presentation of accusations, the evidence of which arrogantly refuse to provide, but apparently they are not. All sorts of fakes are used, and along with fake news that are filled with the media and social networks, a new phenomenon has appeared in the arsenal of Western leaders - fake, and sometimes freak diplomacy."

Posted by: Mao | Mar 19 2021 18:13 utc | 118

Unknown to me until now, RT reports:

"President Biden had invited permanent representatives from the United Nations Security Council, on which Moscow has continuous representation, to discuss his country’s 'commitment to values-based global leadership.'"

Russia decided to send only a junior member of its UN delegation in response to Biden's remarks:

"However, Dmitry Polyanskiy, second-in-command to Russia’s permanent representative, Vassily Nebenzia, confirmed on Friday that neither had attended the meeting. Instead, he revealed, Anna Evstigneeva, one of three more junior deputies, had joined the talks with Biden in their place. She reportedly made no remarks."

I'm not certain but Biden probably just read a prepared statement with no Q&A since that's now SOP.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 18:14 utc | 119

19 March 2021 The Puppet Masters: Is There Really a Deep State?The danger posed by the Deep State is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable, Phil Giraldi writes.By Philip Giraldi

This is a curious take. I am not sure what to make of it.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Mar 19 2021 18:21 utc | 120

Call me a killer you lying dog faced pony soldier...

Posted by: Tom | Mar 19 2021 18:27 utc | 121

The real cause

Karma :-)

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 19 2021 18:30 utc | 122

"The Chinese team may have king crab for lunch, but I suspect the US team dropped by McDonalds. Better fit to their style of diplomacy, fast, indigestible and most of it ends up thrown out. Pro tip to the Chinese delegates, avoid the seafood plate at Zizzi's
Posted by: Tom | Mar 19 2021 17:37 utc | 114"
Lol. Their spies no doubt informed them that not even flies and their maggots lunch on McDonald's due to it combination of grease, salt and sugar. It's literally toxic.
... this is where I make a maggot joke... usually. It would feel a bit redundant tho.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Mar 19 2021 18:31 utc | 123

What was Biden talking about that when he was in Putin's office in the Kremlin he called him a soulless killer, when?? He hasn't been to Russia during his presidency. He made it sound like it was a recent thing, which it wasn't, if it ever happened. Which I doubt.

Posted by: GoverntheMente | Mar 19 2021 18:32 utc | 124

n. A fall on the buttocks.
n. A humiliating error, failure, or defeat.

... regarding Biden? Well the dictionary left me even more confused.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Mar 19 2021 18:37 utc | 125

I am sorry, but the US is a 4th world country - truly exceptional

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 19 2021 18:37 utc | 126

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 18:14 utc | 120

I'm quickly checking out Zakharova's briefing, asked twice about Biden's incident she indicated to the journalists that their question should be addressed to the US partners and journalists since they've talked so much about freedom of speech and of the press. At the same time she gave the "children" some homework, to translate the Russian adage "«Назвался груздем – полезай в кузов» which roughly translates literally as "You called yourself a milk cap mushroom, jump into the basket", I've tried to find an english equivalent triangulating from spanish, "He who promises runs in debt" is the closest I've got. I'm sure there must be a better one.

I've watched the introduction of the Alaska meeting and since it is hard to really appreciate the total meaning of the Chinese representative -since I do not speak Chinese- it was quite clear that they're not going to take the BS that a team of inexperienced US representatives is throwing at them. That, plus the sad images of Biden stumbling while boarding his airplane has made me worry about the future of the US and Europe. There's no ill will to the USA, to the contrary, I've travelled across them and met wonderful people, I still have few but truly good friends over there. US people deserve a lot better, but unfortunately your rigid system seems to offer no choice but the worst of the lot for high office. It does not look good at all, and there are four years to go with this team.

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2021 18:39 utc | 127

Posted by: GoverntheMente | Mar 19 2021 18:32 utc | 125

Biden met with Putin when he was VP to "advise" Putin not to run for the presidency again, you know, like we never interfere in other countries elections...

Posted by: Tom | Mar 19 2021 18:43 utc | 128

David G Horsman @121--

I read his essay at Strategic-Culture yesterday but didn't have time to link and comment on it here. I wasn't too surprised since the Vested Interests have long existed in all nations. Prouty's various writings detail a similar assessment as Giraldi's. Since most have interlocking Corporate Board positions, they meet far more often than many imagine but not in some ritualized, consistent manner at an exclusive club. And their ways and means have changed over the decades. But does he set up a straw man here:

"One problem with the theory about total global dominance through espionage is the sheer logistics of it all. Directing political and economic developments in two hundred nations simultaneously must require a lot of space and a large staff. Is there a huge office hidden in Langley? Or the Pentagon? Or in the White House West Wing itself? Or is it in one of the secure facilities that have been popping up like mushrooms just off of the Dulles Toll Road in Herndon Virginia?" [My Emphasis]

IMO, it's more of a foil than straw man since he qualifies himself later. Note his later definition of the Deep State:

"... the real Deep State, which consists of a consensus view on running the country that is held by nearly all of the elements that together make up the American Establishment, with its political power focused in Washington and its financial center in New York City." [My Emphasis]

In his conclusion, Giraldi is of the same mind as Prouty, and I agree:

"The Deep State conspirators don’t have to meet to plot as they all understand very well what has to be done to maintain their supremacy. That is the real danger."

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 18:52 utc | 129

Looking forward to MoA follow up on this piece, been a couple of interesting days..

In case you missed it:

-Following the deranged 'killer' Biden incident, Putin classily pointed out the US' own hypocrisy while effectively telling them to eat sh1t and die.

-In Alaska, China FM tore Tony 'Blinkers' a new one, telling the US to go eat a d1ck and go f themselves, also explaining how they are completely full of it.

-The same Chinese delegation is meeting Lavrov to presumably coordinate the next steps, and who knows what else after his recent trip to the Middle East and hosting of Hezbollah in Moscow...

-Perhaps in the best of ironies and most fitting of karmic metaphors to recap the last 3 days, Biden nearly knocks himself out pretending to do push ups on the steps of Air Farce One.

Might be a few chaps toasting to his "Good Health" with a Vodka or two tonight..

Posted by: Et Tu | Mar 19 2021 19:00 utc | 130

I suspect that if Trump were to demand that Germany cancel Nordstream 2.0, the German public would do the equivalent of give him the finger.

But if Biden were make the same demand, after shrugging their shoulders, Germans would meekly comply, although they might mope about it and exhibit little enthusiasm while doing so.

Posted by: Feral Finster | Mar 19 2021 19:01 utc | 131

Paco @128--

Thanks for your reply! I see Putin delivered a stand-up speech at the Concert honoring the anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia which was a "festive event held at Luzhniki as part of the Days of Crimea in Moscow." Talk about a patriotic Rah-Rah speech! Excerpts:

"I congratulate you on this holiday – the Day of the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.

"This is a holiday for the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol. We understood this and saw it ourselves in the spring of 2014 during preparations for the referendum, and most importantly, following its outcome. As a result of the referendum, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol returned to their family of origin, the family of the fraternal peoples of the Russian Federation....

"If you look at our map, our big map, Crimea and Sevastopol look like a small dot, but we are talking about the restoration of historical justice. We are talking about the importance of this land for our country and our people. Why? It is very simple.

"Our ancestors have been developing this territory since ancient times. In the 10th century a large part of it was simply incorporated into the Ancient Russian State. Prince Vladimir and his warriors were baptized here in Korsun or Chersonesus. This means that this is a sacred place, the centre of the formation of our spiritual unity. Eventually, this place became the foundation of the Russian nation and a united centralised Russian state.

"This place is vital to our heart, soul and faith. But there is more to it. Later, in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries these lands fully returned to their lawful owner, the Russian Empire. When foreign hordes invaded our country in 1853–1856, and when it was attacked by Nazi invaders in 1941–1945, every part of this land was soaked in the blood of Russian and Soviet soldiers. Of course, this is a holy land for us, for Russia.

"In the 1920s, the Bolsheviks, as they formed the Soviet Union, gave away vast territories, geopolitical spaces, for reasons still hard to understand [The making of the SSRs, a political unit that never before existed in Russian history], to quasi-state entities. Later, as they themselves collapsed, collapsed the party from within and destroyed the Soviet Union, Russia lost great territories and geopolitical spaces.

"However, I would like to say that we are ready to live under today’s geopolitical conditions....

"But we will never tolerate one thing – someone using Russia’s rich gifts to damage the Russian Federation. I hope this will be heard.

"The result of the 2014 referendum is not only a return to historical justice, the restoration of historical justice. We once again distinctly and clearly showed ourselves and the world that our people have the ability to unite around the interests of the Motherland.

"And I certainly know the answer to the question I would like to ask today’s audience, yet I cannot resist the temptation to ask, and I cannot deny you the pleasure of giving me a positive answer. Please, take a deep breath and answer this: Do we love Russia?

Response: Yes!" [My Emphasis]

The Bear is clearly very much alive. But Putin wasn't quite done and says the following as the main part of his conclusion:

"We have done a lot, yet there is much to be done in Russia in general and in the development of Crimea and Sevastopol. But we will do it, because we are a single, large, powerful force. Because we are united." [My Emphasis]

I hope the Imperial idiots in DC watch the short video and understand that they've awoken a very formidable foe which can easily defeat them.

Prior to his speech, Putin chaired a discussion of Crimea's development that also included some info on the water crisis which I'll excerpt:

"As you know, I instructed the Government to develop and begin implementing a Comprehensive Plan to ensure reliable water supply to the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. This is estimated to run until 2024. And given that the problem is urgent, we agreed to act as quickly as possible and in several areas at once. This includes the development of underground water reserves, the construction of various hydraulic units and treatment systems, as well as the elimination of losses in water supply networks and the desalination of sea water.

"Today I would like you to report on how this comprehensive project is progressing, what has already been done for the summer peak season, how Crimea and Sevastopol residents and tourists will be provided with water. Also, our colleagues at the water supply facility in Sevastopol will contact us via videoconference. And we will listen to a report on the progress of the construction of the facility in the Republic of Crimea."

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 19:26 utc | 132

oldhippie | Mar 19 2021 14:51 utc | 96

Only worse outcome is an outright military defeat. If Team USA cannot be slapped to their senses that could be arranged.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Mar 19 2021 19:48 utc | 133

"But we will never tolerate one thing – someone using Russia’s rich gifts to damage the Russian Federation. I hope this will be heard.

A bold statement deserves bold text. Ukraine are you listening? The city of Ternopol named its stadium honoring a war criminal, which reminds me of a user comment I once read: they rewrite history, we'll reteach them...

Posted by: Paco | Mar 19 2021 20:00 utc | 134

Paco | Mar 19 2021 18:39 utc | 128

I've watched the introduction of the Alaska meeting and since it is hard to really appreciate the total meaning of the Chinese representative

You can get it here with subtitles:

Posted by: foolisholdman | Mar 19 2021 20:43 utc | 135

@135 paco - they rewrite history, we'll reteach them

beautiful comment - thanks for passing it along

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 19 2021 22:02 utc | 136

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 19 2021 17:07 utc | 108

Comparison of American diplomacy and American police is instructive. Police is trained to control the situation and not to defuse the situation, results are at times lethal, at times ridiculous in a gruesome kind of way.

This week I stumbled upon this story. Police in Rochester, New York state had a problem with a 9-year old girl who decided to run away from home in their presence, shouting "I want my father" (not on the scene). The tackled her on the snow, handcuffed behind her back and then tried to sit her on the back of police cruiser. The girl, shouting almost constantly, and cheeky to boot, blocked the door with her feet. After the exchange "Do not behave like a child" and repartee "I am a child", the policeman handling her got advise "Just pepper spray her" and so he did.

Adults were being killed in such situations (one, incidentally also black, a year back in this very city of Rochester) so overall, police was relatively humane. Experts voiced opinions that a better approach was possible. America is being discovered again and again.

Complaining about IQ of police and the Commander in Chief miss part of the point, which is the culture. Keep escalating until you control the situation.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 19 2021 22:19 utc | 137

Paco @135--

Thanks for your reply! Putin capped a very busy day with a fervent patriotic display. He's living and reliving past and current wars. I find Putin an amazing dynamo as he makes time to govern, to learn, to listen, to live, to be empathetic & compassionate, to be Russian, and most importantly to be Putin.

What's so extremely sad to note is the USA's political "system" would never allow anyone with those traits to rise to a position of leadership; instead, the Peter Principle applies in Spades, and we get things like the Bushes, Biden, Reagan, and Obama, and the dregs they have for aides.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2021 22:32 utc | 138

#138 Piotr Berman - Keep escalating until you control the situation.

Great observation. That's the US for sure. But the China/Russia team knows this is the dynamic and is talking back to it and attempting to walk the US back. What kind of escalation is possible from the US against such a team? Not much. After sanctions, and the color revolutions, all that remains is actual military force.

And as we know that escalation moves in smaller slices than Hollywood typically portrays, it could be that the US ramps up some military moves, in some theater or other, or all of them - Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, etc. And perhaps this is where the military defeat happens.

Sooner or later there must be one. A categorical loss of control in military terms. Teaching the old war dog new tricks: the trick of accepting defeat.

I wouldn't trust many countries to be able to pull this off but I trust the Russia/China team if anyone can. And someone has to. Iran would be willing to do it purely on its own, but the Pentagon understands that completely, in its bones, and isn't going anywhere near the jaws of that dog: it doesn't bark or growl, it just shows its teeth.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 19 2021 22:33 utc | 139

i suggest reading patrick lawrence @ SC, as well as spengler (or david goldman) @ asia times...both essays touch on kagan, putin.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Mar 19 2021 22:50 utc | 140

@141...patrick armstrong. apologies.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Mar 19 2021 23:42 utc | 141

emersonreturn @141--

I'm in the middle of Armstrong's essay and am at the first reference to Kagan's vision:

"What should that role be? Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the 'evil empire,' the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance by strengthening America’s security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around the world.'

It's absolutely clear that Kagan has no clue as to the reality of what is actually the objective of the Neoliberal Parasites running the Outlaw US Empire; for aside from "advancing its interests," the Parasites have zero motivation to do any of that as their sole ambition/goal is to vacuum up all the wealth they can and leave a shell just as they planned and failed with Russia, but have succeeded elsewhere. And as for principles, the reality is it has none, nor does it have any friends, just vassals and victims. This analogy by Armstrong's excellent:

"The U.S. is sitting on a dragon and it daren’t get off or the dragon will kill it. But because it can’t kill the dragon, it must sit on it forever: no escape. And dragon’s eggs are hatching out all around: think how much bigger the Russian, Chinese and Iranian dragons are today than they were a quarter-century ago when Kagan & Co so confidently started PNAC; think how bigger they’ll be in another....

"But the more sanctions, the stronger Russia gets: as an analogy, think of sanctions on Russia as similar to the over-use of antibiotics – Russia is becoming immune."

And tying it all up is this excellent summation:

"Has there ever been a subject on which people have been so wrong for so long as Russia? How many times have they said Putin’s finished? Remember when cheese was going to bring him down? Always a terminal economic crisis. A year ago they were sure COVID would do it. A U.S. general is in Ukraine and Kiev’s heavy weapons are moving east but, no, it’s Putin who, for ego reasons – and his “failing” economy – wants the war. Why do they keep doing it? Well, it’s easy money – Putin (did we tell you he was in the KGB?) wants to expand Russia and rule forever; therefore, he’s about to invade somebody. He doesn’t, no problem, our timely warning scared him off; we’ll change the date and regurgitate it next year. In the meantime his despotic rule trembles because of some-triviality-of-the-moment. These pieces write themselves: the anti-Russia business is the easiest scam ever. And there’s the difficulty of admitting you’re wrong: how can somebody like Kagan, such a triumphantasiser back then, admit that it’s all turned to dust and worse, turned to dust because they took his advice? Much better to press on – it’s not as if anybody in the lügenpresse will call him out or deny him space. Finally, these people are locked in psychological projection: because they can only envisage military expansion, they assume the other guy is equally obsessed and so they must expand to counter his expansion. They suspect everybody of suspecting them. Their hostility sees hostility everywhere. Their belligerence finds belligerence. The hyperpower is forever compelled to respond to lesser powers. They look outside, see themselves and fear; in their mental universe the USA is arrogantly strong and fearfully weak at the same time."

The Walking Dead is finally becoming a metaphor for the Outlaw US Empire, its policies, and what it terms values--which aren't values but vices. But TWD was fiction and was thus capable of reforming itself. The Empire's goals and polices are essentially the same as in 1940 and even further back to 1913, and haven't changed very much, being just as illegal and immoral then as now. What's different are the "Dragons" which didn't exist in 1918 or 1944, and the Parasites have almost total control that's finally seeing domestic pushback.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 20 2021 0:09 utc | 142

Feral Finster @Mar19 19:01 #132

I made this same point a week or two before the inauguration. In fact, I wrote that it may have been the reason that Deep State ultimately selected Biden over Trump.

Why don't more people see this? They SEE that Biden's policies are the same Trump's but won't see (or don't care to see) that Europe's reception to those same policies are different.

It's reminiscent of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize for not being GW Bush.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 20 2021 2:24 utc | 143

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 19 2021 22:33 utc | 140

Thanks for kind words and good observation. The urge for total control works with a 9-year old girl -- although with a backlash, Montenegro and North Macedonia were dragooned into NATO with much effort, but successfully, but with a larger designated foes the going gets harder and harder. And slippery stairs appear all around.

Oops, a cheap shot. But what about Blinken accusing Chinese to their face of HACKING? Hacking? A crime where the pain of victims, proofs etc. all a matter of fleeting electrons? And in the aftermath, Blinken complained that China is not doing as much is it could to starve North Korea to submission. I am getting lazy, but I do not doubt that Blinken will be congratulated for his cheap shots and petulant complaints. This seems to be Plan B, when Plan A, total control, seems not feasible.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 20 2021 2:34 utc | 144

Sycophants should demand combat time pay in the Times of Biden. A long hard slog. From todays Bruni in NYT

"This new Biden lacks the old Biden’s inimitable Biden-ness.

It’s a curious thing, and I’m in no way saying it’s a bad one. If anything, it’s the opposite. It’s arguably the reason he finally got to the Resolute desk after two botched tries. [admirably intrepid, wasn't it?] It’s why there’s now talk of his presidency as a transformational one.

But it will be transformational to the extent that it’s unlike any presidency that anyone would have predicted for Biden. It’ll be transformational to the degree that he approaches it in an un-Biden-like fashion — with his head down, his comments proscribed and his focus precise.

That’s how he beat a crowded and talented field of contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, a steady-does-it, more-tortoise-than-hare victory made possible by a caliber of patience and kind of calm that had never been his trademarks. [I will remember Biden's correction of a young cheeky women that "you are a lying dog-faced pony soldier" as an epitome of patience and calm]

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 20 2021 2:47 utc | 145

G7 Foreign Ministers Statement on Ukraine

"Crimea is Ukraine."

Ukraine approves Strategy to 'Recover' Crimea Through All Out War With Russia

Sheer madness. And this wouldn't be happening under Trump.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Mar 20 2021 3:11 utc | 146

@147 John Gilberts

This is all you need to know about what's driving Ukraine (from the WSWS link):

Ukraine is highly dependent on military aid and backing from the US in its confrontation with Russia. On Monday, the Pentagon announced a $125 million military aid package for Ukraine, the first distribution of aid to Ukraine under the Biden administration.

There is still $150 million left in the allocated 2021 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding appropriated by Congress. However, this money will not be released until the Defense and State departments jointly certify that there has been “sufficient progress” made by Kiev on “military reform” efforts.

Nothing done in Ukraine has anything to do with statecraft. It always has to do with money to steal. And things are in such ruins now, look how cheaply they sell themselves.


I suppose we shall see how far the US wants to push this brinkmanship. If Ukraine touches Donbass, things get murky. If Ukraine touches Crimea, it touches Russia, and a lighting flash of clarity will descend on the entire theater and the western world. The US can gain nothing from this. And it may be time for that flash of clarity.

Sometimes the self-destruction of the US is breathtaking. I just took a break to watch a clip from Blackhawk Down, when the first blackhawk goes down on the ground. And the commander says, "We just lost the initiative." I can't help myself, every time since I first saw the film, I always want to shout: "You never had the initiative!"

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 20 2021 3:47 utc | 147

@ Grieved re #148

Yes. Ukraine is over a number of western barrels. Perhaps Zelensky has been made an offer he can't refuse to again turn tricks for Washington and the 'rules-based-international-order' gang. Canada's Chrystia Freeland and her Galician Banderite banditos will be busy on the phones rustling up money for themselves and trouble for Russia.

IMF Ends Ukraine Loan Review with No Deal on Next Tranche

Posted by: John Gilberts | Mar 20 2021 8:12 utc | 148

"The foreign policy of the current U.S. administration is exactly the same as the foreign policy of the previous one."

What utter nonsense. Biden has completely reversed Trump's foreign policy, climate policy, migration policy, NATO policy, you name it.

Please, don't take MoA seriously.

Posted by: Libby | Mar 20 2021 15:25 utc | 149

Mr. Libby

Has the United States reversed her destructive policy in regards to WTO's trade dispute adjudication panels?


Has the United States ended her siege war against Iran?


Has there been a reset with Russia?


Has there been a reset with China?


Has there been an abandonment of war against Syria?


Has there been an abandonment of the effort to destroy the political power of Shia in the Middle East?


Has there been any effort to settle strategically with the most powerful Muslim state on this planet?


Has there been a termination of military activities against Muslims in Africa?


Posted by: Fyi | Mar 20 2021 15:44 utc | 150

Has there been any change with respect to North Korea?


Has the United States reversed the decision regarding "Capital of Israel"?


You guys can lie to yourselves and believe them too.

But include us out.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 20 2021 15:46 utc | 151

Has there been any changes to Cuba policy?


Any changes to Venezuelan policy?


Posted by: Fyi | Mar 20 2021 17:07 utc | 152

Has there been any effort to advance the cause of public health in the United States, along the lines of Obama-care?


Posted by: Fyi | Mar 20 2021 17:09 utc | 153

"Russiagate, with its allegations of Trump-Putin collusion to undermine American democracy, has done irreparable damage to US-Russia relations. One gets the impression that there is now a deep, deep hatred of Russia within the US government"

I doubt it is hatred. I would rather expect that many who sounded to Russia-friendly have been purged. And those remaining will lie low, fearing that otherwise next time they will be targeted. And given the endless stream of Russophobic "incidents" (Russiagate, Skripal, Crimea, MH17, Navalny) the next one seems just a matter of time.

Posted by: Wim | Mar 20 2021 17:31 utc | 154

@fyi: don't be silly:

climate policy: 100% reversal
migration policy: 100% reversal
NATO policy: 100% reversal
ukraine policy: tanks already rolling eastwards
syria policy: troops already building up
Iran policy: might restart Iran nuke deal
Cuba policy: might very well lift sanctions
China: very different approach, but difficult.
Venezuela: also very difficult.

don't be a windbag.

Posted by: Libby | Mar 20 2021 20:47 utc | 155

Mr. Libby

I now understand that you are being ironic.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 20 2021 21:28 utc | 156

migration policy: 100% reversal
NATO policy: 100% reversal
ukraine policy: tanks already rolling eastwards
syria policy: troops already building up

I get the feeling the poster thinks those things are good.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 20 2021 21:36 utc | 157

What both parties need is a candidate that
has qualities of Barnum, a great circus master.

Trump came in as a disruptor, a wrecking ball
people yearned for. But he is a deeply flawed p
person, that could not manage to be Barnum,
and could not determine priorities and stick
with them. He lacked knowledge and had wrong
people around him. Worse, his vanity got
better of him, and having failed in his bluster
proceeded in rage to attack China — giving
Democrats the gift they wanted. Now, they can
continue the stupidity of their own choosing.

But they need Barnum to sell it!
The guy who played Barnum could win easily.
The problem is — he is too intelligent for them.

Posted by: Bianca | Mar 21 2021 4:05 utc | 158

I'm kind of wondering if Putin ever killed one person. Many journalists have been killed in the Putin era. I went through the list and all except for one had nothing to do with Putin at all. However, Putin appears to have had journalists beaten up a few days. That doesn't happen often. How many others did he kill?

Litvinenko? LOL. The double agent? A double agent. Everyone kills double agents. A double agent is the last person you want to sell a life insurance p policy to. He was a double agent so Russia had every right to kill him. Thing is no one is sure that Russia even did. A former high-ranking French intelligence officer has gone public saying that Litvinenko was killed by the MI6 to frame Russia.

What is left out is that a number of spies were killed after the Russia election interference nonsense. I assume that they were all double agents. Some were dragged out of meetings in full view of others. Others "fell out of the windows" of Russian Embassies. I assume that these were all double agents.

How about the Russian dissident who got 1% in the election and was killed right outside the gates of the Kremlin? I was on a group supporting the rebels in Donbass at the time, but they were completely honest and believe me, if Putin was involved, they would have said so right away. They said, "Look, Putin may be a fool, but he's not an idiot. He didn't do this." Russian police tracked the assassins to a house in Moscow. As they approached they were attacked with automatic weapons. The police fired back and raided the house. There were five Chechens inside. They all blew themselves up with suicide vests.

The dirty word on the street is that the Chechen President, a pro-Putin fanatic, had the dissident killed. The Chechen President has taken it on himself a few times to have Russian dissidents attacked, such is his extreme loyalty to Putin. However, Putin did neither investigated nor arrested the Chechen President, true.

So after 21 years, we have maybe one journalist killed among over 100 and some double agents killed, the most famous of which is up in the air.

The "Putin the killer" meme is a bunch of garbage.

Posted by: Robert Lindsay | Mar 21 2021 7:43 utc | 159

@103...wasn't negroponte invited to speak at one of amnesty international'annual meetings?

Posted by: Zynikanalyst | Mar 21 2021 12:43 utc | 160

The Biden administration Thursday stepped up its rhetoric against a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, calling on all those involved in the project to “immediately abandon” their work.

I'm fairly certain that Germany thinks that horse has bolted. They don't need a new excuse to complete the NordStream 2 project because the original reasons for its existence are equally valid, if not more so, than before construction began.
According to Google 1 minute ago, there are more than 40,000 members of the US military and 15,000 civilian employees of American citizenship permanently in Germany. That's a big chunk of Pointless Showboating and a useful number of hostages, if push comes to shove.

Angela Merkel was probably happy to play along with the Navalny Novichok Charade. It was the simplest way to get the Yanks to STFU about Navalny, and it worked. And she knew she was leaving by & by.

There's also the less-than-trivial matter of the 'flexible' approach USA tends to adopt in relation to Contracts, Pledges and other Agreements. How does one determine whether Yankees are serious or Just Kidding when they enter into an Agreement? And that's apart from the fact that it's none of AmeriKKKa's business from whom Germany purchases goods and services.

It doesn't dignify the Yankee case that AmeriKKKa buys petroleum from Russia in quantities of comparable magnitude to Germany's purchases of Russian gas.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 21 2021 13:58 utc | 161

migueljose @ 211

I have lived in Chicago my entire life and thus know more about Sid Blumenthal than possible to recount here.

Last year Max Blumenthal did a long interview with Robert Scheer. Very long and very informative. One item discussed at length is how SoS Hillary was in habit of asking Sid for information on Middle East. Some of those queries Sid responded to by sending Hills work that his son had published and work that his son was shopping around looking to publish. Sent on with no byline. After a time Hills figured out who was doing the writing and asked for more. Max boasts to Scheer that his written work directly became policy and Hills still asked for more. The policy under discussion would be war in Libya and Syria. Max was proud of that.

Talking to Scheer at all is dubious. Scheer was editor/publisher of Ramparts. It is long admitted that Ramparts was founded by CIA and was operated by CIA. Operation Mockingbird. Max is doing Grayzone much as Scheer did Ramparts. The opposition is controlled just as much as the mainstream is controlled.

Even more interesting is Max and Scheers discussion of internal Israeli politics. It is clear that both of them know and care a great deal about that subject and spend much time on that subject. Israeli politics is real whereas the balance of Middle East is more like a board game to pass the time.

Posted by: oldhippie | Mar 21 2021 13:58 utc | 162

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