Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 03, 2021

The U.S. Foreign Policy 'Establishment' Is Incredibly Dumb

The U.S. foreign policy 'establishment' is incredibly dumb:

With Afghan Retreat, Biden Bucks Foreign Policy Elite, New York Times, Sep. 1 2021

“The foreign policy establishment did get it wrong in Iraq, where the U.S. overreached,” said Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “We got it wrong in Libya, we got it wrong in Vietnam. But over the last 75 years, the foreign policy establishment has gotten most things right.”

What did the foreign policy 'establishment' get right?  Funny that he does not name even one issue in that category.  That's likely because there isn't one.

“My biggest concern is that the United States may now be entering an era of under-reach,” said Mr. Haass, who served in the George W. Bush administration. “History suggests there’s just as much risk in under-reaching as overreaching.”

Under-reaching = Not waging and losing illegal wars of aggression? What please is the risk with that?

Here is the real problem:

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko - 0:38 UTC · Sep 3, 2021

Foreign policy establishment generally doesn't do self-reflection. Leadership and funders don't require it, the focus is inherently future-oriented, and the predictive analysis so unfalsifiable that evaluation is impossible.

This goes beyond the establishment:

Why States Believe Foolish Ideas: Non-Self-Evaluation By States And Societies - MIT, Jan 10 2002

Organization theorists note that organizations are poor self-evaluators; I argue here that states suffer the same syndrome.

This failure to self-evaluate impedes national learning and allows misperceptions to flourish. Myths, false propaganda, and anachronistic beliefs persist in the absence of strong evaluative institutions to test ideas against logic and evidence, weeding out those that fail. As a result national learning is slow and forgetting is quick. The external environment is perceived only dimly, through a fog of myths and misperceptions.

States that misperceive their environment in this way are bound to fail to adapt to it, even when the penalties of such failure are high. Blind to the incentives they face they will respond inappropriately, even if they accept in principle the need to adapt.

This also why the U.S. is, again and again, listens to the same ever stupid people.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko - 15:44 UTC · Aug 21, 2021

Sad how many habitually wrong and unapologetic pundits, scholars, and former officials are solicited for their foreign policy wisdom.

Not only is their zero accountability, but stubborn wrong-ness is consistently rewarded by media gatekeepers, think tanks, private sector, etc.

Every implausible US intervention or disastrous war has featured powerful cheerleading from public intellectuals and experts....often the same 3-4 dozen people.

Last point, since US has such an outsized influence on global outcomes, debates around specific FP choices cannot continue to be driven by the same habitually wrong voices. World needs better.

Posted by b on September 3, 2021 at 13:21 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Decades of zero accountability for US political, economic,Intel agency elites has decimated US democratic institutions & led to an establishment that is allowed to make the same 'mistakes' over and over again? Unending impunity for elites isn't democracy, it's Tyranny.

Posted by: Stephen Kalil | Sep 3 2021 13:29 utc | 1

I don't think rightness or wrongness in foreign policy analysis is the primary issue here. The USA is just acting like other struggling imperial powers in the face of their inevitable demise. Wall Street and the Pentagon, the true rulers of the Republic, will stop at nothing in their futile attempt to prop up the US dollar empire, even if it means roasting half the world in a nuclear holocaust. US people need to build a massive anti-war, anti-capitalist movement to put a rein on these self-centered bandits!

Posted by: Vince | Sep 3 2021 13:31 utc | 2

In a dying Empire stupidity is a virtue.

Posted by: oldhippie | Sep 3 2021 13:33 utc | 3

What the establishment got 'right' is the trillions of dollars that have gone into the pockets of the corporations that support them. "War is a racket". . . Smedley Butler. . .a recent example is General Keane, a frequent war-promoter on Fox: "Neither Jack Keane nor any of his hosts have brought up the deal his company secured to profit directly from the prolonged engagement in Afghanistan." . .here. . .current headlines now that Afghanistan is over (maybe not): "Democrats break ranks to back $24 billion boost to Pentagon budget"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 13:34 utc | 4

If Foreign policy is about extracting trillions out of the US budget, making sure that Washington's friends take 20 to 30% of that as easy profit and making sure that 10% of the easy money returns to pay for Washington campaign contributions and retirements, then Afghanistan is a huge success. What's next?

Posted by: Michael Droy | Sep 3 2021 13:39 utc | 5

How often is a Magic 8 Ball wrong?

As the Washington foreign policy experts are batting zero
shouldn't we go with a method that is 50/50.

Statistics is Science.

Trust Science.

Toss the Washington foreign policy experts
put a Magic 8 Ball (M8B) on every desk in Washington.
Starting in the Oval Office.

Can we start a go-fund-me to send M8B to Washington.

Posted by: librul | Sep 3 2021 13:45 utc | 6

Haas, quoted in the article linked above, is another lovely soul who heads the CFR, an entire institution of pure charlatanism. Their nominal mission is to bring together policy makers and other stakeholders in the process of maintaining US primacy in the world, for as long as possible. The part about other stakeholders means they also function as a conduit for lobbying. Put it all together, and you sometimes get puzzlingly clumsy imperialists. Which is probably for the better.

Posted by: ptb | Sep 3 2021 14:06 utc | 7

Biden: “Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan—the longest war in American history . . .We will maintain the [forever] fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries.”

And General Milley: “Our counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and the region over 20 years has protected the American people from terrorist attack . . .It is now our mission to ensure that we continue our intelligence efforts, continue our counterterrorism efforts, continue our military efforts to protect the American people for the next 20 years, and we in the American military are committed to do just that.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 14:21 utc | 8

More related stuff about the American amazing power of prediction:

U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in August, a marked slowdown.

“Delta is a game-changer,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, an accounting firm in Chicago.

"Game-changer"? The pandemic is almost two years old and your model couldn't predict a new variant?

Posted by: vk | Sep 3 2021 14:30 utc | 9

The media cheerleaders are certainly mostly to blame. But so is Hollywood. They have conditioned Americans to see the Pentagon and the CIA as invincible.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2021 14:31 utc | 10

Seriously. If those folks at the top would stop all the child sacrifice and drinking babies' blood.

But really seriously, this is the way of the world. Educated, rich people think they know best, never question their intelligence or abilities, and unironically lead the world to perdition over and over as their vainglory glosses over chronic failure, which only ever needs tweaks to change failure to success.

The number of current living past and present leaders of the USA who should be put up against a wall and shot is legion.

Posted by: gottlieb | Sep 3 2021 14:37 utc | 11

The US was in Afghanistan to promote women's rights!!. . .oops. . .The US Supremes just said that they were okay with Texas sticking it to the ladies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 14:43 utc | 12

dh | Sep 3 2021 14:31 utc | 10

Possibly, if all truths were known we'd see that a lot of what goes into, is processed by, and comes out of Hollywood IS the Pentagon and the CIA.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Sep 3 2021 14:47 utc | 13

RE: Posted by b on September 3, 2021 at 13:21 UTC | Permalink

“The U.S. Foreign Policy 'Establishment' Is Incredibly Dumb”

Not at all.

The US foreign Policy “Establishment” is credibly dumb to some.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 3 2021 14:47 utc | 14

RE: Posted by: gottlieb | Sep 3 2021 14:37 utc | 11

“The number of current living past and present leaders of the USA who should be put up against a wall and shot is legion. “

Killing is always counter-productive to a degree, including by increasing the unemployment rate.

Monuments are of less value than other forms of useful foolery rendered possible when useful fools are alive.

Of course not all agree but prefer to follow the yellow brick road called “The American Way”

Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 3 2021 14:55 utc | 15

@13 Every now and then they come up with a movie like Apocalypse Now which is billed as anti-war. But even that would be seen by many as a glorification of US firepower.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2021 14:55 utc | 16

Some of the foreign policy establishment is indeed composed of stupid people; the name Haass comes to mind. Or is he a sly comedian in the Seinfeld mould?

Most of them, however, are not stupid. They are merely capitalizing on their genius at spinning very smart lies. The wonderful thing about very smart lies is that their sad effect does not fall back on the people who issue them; and such lies enjoy a multiplier effect while descending on the unsuspecting who dwell below the layer of bigshot smart liars.

American history describes how the honest struggle, and how very smart liars do well in this world.

Posted by: Jay-Ottawa | Sep 3 2021 14:58 utc | 17

Here I found a good description of American foreign policy in Afghanistan :
"...If you believe the official narrative, Osama bin Laden was a sort of latter-day Jesus who repeated the miracle of loaves and fishes except with skyscrapers, knocking down three of them (WTC 1, 2 and 7) using just two airplanes. Another of his miracles was to make an entire passenger jet, piloted by an amateur, pull some truly stunning aerobatics that no passenger jet has pulled before or since, then ascend unto heaven through a wall of the Pentagon, engines, seats, luggage, bodies and all, leaving behind a small charred opening plus a part of a cruise missile that apparently had been hidden on board and that was subsequently carried away wrapped in a tarp on the shoulders of some very nervous and displeased-looking gentlemen in office attire. Another plane full of passengers left a smallish charred pit in the ground and recordings of rather scripted-sounding cell phone conversations held while the supposed plane was in an area lacking cell phone coverage. Bin Laden orchestrated all this mayhem by satellite phone, or by telepathy, without ever leaving the comfort of his cave in Afghanistan. I encourage you to believe this narrative because believing the alternative may cause you to lose your mind. Many people already have..."

Posted by: Mario | Sep 3 2021 15:15 utc | 18

The US has been a 'security state' since 1947, which built on a previous history of warfare and formalized it into a situation where there must always be US enemies around the globe, conducted by combatant commands covering the earth. So given that, not much changes. One feeble attempt by Trump included a meeting with North Korea and an[Singapore]agreement to normalize relations, reduce military efforts and formally end the war . . .but that went nowhere. Recently the Biden administration looked at it and said uh-uh. . . .Any change in Korea might mean that the US would no longer have combat airbases one air-hour from Beijing and Shanghai, for example. . .So it's not only the money, but also the retention of US authority over the world with a "rules-bases international order."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 15:20 utc | 19

Posted by: Mario | Sep 3 2021 15:15 utc | 18

Pancake Theory hater.... :-)

Seriously though, it is necessary as we approach the 20th Anniversary of the greatest uninvestigated crime of the millennium that the 'official' story is laughed into the dustbin of history. Thanks for doing your part.

Posted by: gottlieb | Sep 3 2021 15:23 utc | 20

there was a quite good article yesterday or so up on CP on US food culture. However, for some reason it is necessary to the author to point to the supposed crimes (sic) of Stalin and Mao when talking about glyphosate, corn syrup, canola oil, diabetes, McDonald's, etc.

the US populace is so filled with slanderous bullshit that we can't talk about Big Macs w/o referencing "the Holodomar" or wtf ever. Thus, if you told 90% of the US populace that China has shown the way re Covid, they could not believe you. They could not believe that it is true. And some would reply, "well of course, since China made the thing, they know how to stop it."

Someone like Haas at CFR is there to spout to the populace the values that the ruling class wants the sheeple to think that the ruling class has. Everyone in the class of Haas believes like him. They all mirror their "beliefs" back to each other, so there is no contradiction, no cognitive dissonance at all, in, e.g., bombing feminism into existence around the world.

But the only goal a Haas has is to fit in to his social group and never bleat a sound that would distinguish him from the herd he is part of. He, however, would take his education, money and most of all prestige as the badge of a true and unique individual, not the proof of what it is: that he has completely lost his voice in the safety of the herd. He has nothing, nothing, but his herd instinct to protect him, from which instinct he will bleat literally anything, no matter how illogical it is.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 3 2021 15:28 utc | 21

If the hallmark of the ruling oligarchy is conformism, then intelligence is not a virtue nor will it be rewarded.
There is nothing new about anything said in this article. The very fact that we have sons, daughters, brothers etc of ex-officials: Cuomo, Cheney, Brzezinski, Amanpour (daughter-in-law of Rubin) is a clear sign that competence is no longer the factor so much as being part of the oligarchy and having powerful sponsors.
The US Senate had less turnover than the Soviet Central Committee even before this latest 20 years of nonsense.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 3 2021 15:41 utc | 22

Richard Hass's quote reminds me of that Monty Python sketch- what has the Romans ever done to us?

'Aside from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Ukraine what else have we gotten wrong?'

Posted by: Afgun | Sep 3 2021 15:52 utc | 23

All establishments are tyrannies of opportunists unwilling and unable to seek truth or justice. A working democracy must have an institution of policy debate, which the US Congress has never been. Lincoln saw this before the Civil War and tried to set up debates in a hotel in DC. We must create a new federal branch, the Congress of Policy Debate [link], which will protect all viewpoints in moderated textual debate of all issues, with no winners, providing commented and linked debate summaries to the public, with voluntary mini-quizzes etc. The CPD will properly inform and evaluate public officials. It does not try to reach a consensus.

Now all branches of federal government and mass media are now controlled by the demagogues, opportunists, bully-boys and traitors elevated by an unregulated market economy.

If democracy is to be restored in the US, it needs:
1. Constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media, political parties, and elections to limited individual donations, with severe penalties for violations.
2. All federal branches and mass media must be structured with multiple redundant cross-checking decision committees in all areas and levels, with rotating memberships. Otherwise they sell out. Elected and appointed officials must be purged and all public officials monitored for life for corrupt influence, with heavy penalties.
3. Business must be regulated so that oligarchic bullies and scammers cannot rise to control economic power.

The US cannot do the above because corruption has spread too far: it is not a democracy. It has a few options:
1. Dream on and pretend that there is no problem: someday corrupt officials will fix things.
2. A foolish bloody revolution in which a divided people fight each other and gain nothing.
3. Bring the disadvantaged right & left together, dropping their extremist factions.

Posted by: Sam F | Sep 3 2021 15:53 utc | 24

@ Posted by: Sam F | Sep 3 2021 15:53 utc | 24

Constitutional amendments wouldn't work in the USA because the engine of American Law are the loopholes, not what is written in the law.

In this sense, the American Empire is the polar opposite of the Roman Empire: the Romans were proud of themselves in being a class-based society and proudly codified that fact in their laws; as a result, we can have a vivid picture of Rome and its evolution through the time by reading and studying its laws. Such methodology wouldn't work in the study of the American Empire because it was founded on the illusion it is a classless society, therefore its laws are clouded in egalitarian language (inequality being enabled through endless loopholes).

Posted by: vk | Sep 3 2021 16:01 utc | 25

At age 13 in the City of Oslo in 1964 I climbed the sparker’s platform at a major meeting held against US of North A atrocities and interference agains the liberation of South VN from neo-colonism, crying out:
«America is childish, naive and incompetent. They must grow up to understand what they are doing and take responsibility for it.»
Although all true, I was of course off coarse: Those US of North A were engaged in the rape and pillage they thought that they’d mastered so well.
Many years on, I met a US Army logistics expert in Tehrân in the times of the Shah. He had quit south VN in disgust at having mainly to keep DX stores filled with lipstick and hair spray for the Yankee’s whores. So long before Kojack’s toppling of the Afghan king, he had managed US’s supply of weapons into small airports within Afghanistan and NW Pakistân instead (very high-paid and very secret except when drunk or loaded after opium smoking)- So I dare state: The US planned for possible trouble against Afghanistân during th middle 1970ies. As envisioned and reported about by the Swede Jon Myrdal already before 1960 in his booke "Asiens porter"(Yàzhou zhi ménhù/亞洲中門戶) of course not even off coarse published in East Amerikstân (GB) nor in the same language of North-West Atlantisstân (The lost tribe of the US of North A).

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Sep 3 2021 16:14 utc | 26

A parliamentery inquision reprt in Norway led by a former Conservative (Høgre) PM & defence minister concluded that the only task Norway's sending off troops to NW aAfghanistan end doing some extra bombing in the Helmant vally had succeeded in, was to demonstrate to the US of North A Atlantis leadership the Norway was their unvawering servant.

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Sep 3 2021 16:21 utc | 27

vk | Sep 3 2021 16:01 utc | 25
slaves were 3/5ths people. natives were not people at all.

the prejudices of this country are written on every page of its laws. there are tons of laws whose sole purpose was to perpetuate Jim Crow. no society's laws make any sense w/o reference to history AND social practice, esp the role of women.

do i need to refer to amendments to the US constitution? jeezus. at what point in US history did it become legal for women to inherit property? seek a divorce? there were laws about where to sit on a bus.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 3 2021 16:23 utc | 28

accountability? what's that?? is that like the rating agencies that set the definitions for wall st? lololololol...................

Posted by: james | Sep 3 2021 16:33 utc | 29

...''(both)the establishment and their funders dont require it''.
Who the heck are the funders of US foreign policy other than taxpayers?
One can think he's got a Freudian lapse here, i.e. "our, the CRF's funders" who everyone and his cat knows who.

Posted by: augusto | Sep 3 2021 16:37 utc | 30

Haas: There is no OFF-switch for Empire.

After all, they create their own realities./snark


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 3 2021 16:45 utc | 31

By the way: If the US of North A really destroyed all Palines, Helicopters and cars and weapons at thei Bagram airbase, then the enire US/Pentagone are a gang of Litterbugs: They aught to be obliged to come back and get their litter ourt of thet country. It's easy to do, since there are highways for trucks thru Iran and Pakistân to harbours. Nd there is a small piece of land around the World trade Center in NY City where their garbadge can bes tored as a pyramidialmonument to eviscirate their own involvel´mendt and (lack of) glory also in that 47-year war too.

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Sep 3 2021 16:52 utc | 32

I don't buy this at all. At least it is a terrible title for this story. Essentially Karl Rove is correct. This article gets close to the truth about it all too. The people making these decisions are not dumb or wrong. They are acting. They are making real world changes. It doesn't matter whether they achieve the goal of the propaganda at the beginning. That was just the hard sell. The sales pitch. Like Assange said... Afghanistan is a money laundering operations. That was the goal. Afghanistan was a huge success. They are not wrong either. They do create their own reality. You can see it in the collapse of Vietnam and Afghanistan. In both cases they could have kept it going. Probably indefinitely. The problem is if at anytime they take one step back... the whole thing collapses in front of the world. As everybody perceives the US to be the gigantic all powerful empire it seems shocking. That is only because you have bought into all the hype. Their power is not limitless. All it takes is a group of determined men with small arms fire to bring the empire to a standoff. There is a lesson there. Protect your 2nd amendment rights! Sorry, I know that will drive the mainly liberals who post here crazy.

The aide said that guys like me [Suskind] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Link to karl rove is right

Posted by: goldhoarder | Sep 3 2021 16:57 utc | 33

But so is Hollywood. They have conditioned Americans to see the Pentagon and the CIA as invincible.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2021 14:31 utc | 10

I may not be as up on movies as others, but I rather had the impression that it was the superhero genre (+ the war movies like Rambo) that led impressionable young Americans to believe the US is invincible. And although the original comics are older, the films started in 1978 (Superman 1978) and were a reaction to the loss of confidence over Vietnam.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 3 2021 17:00 utc | 34

How can U$A’s foreign policy be explained in a systematic and rational way?

The U$A is a captured suzerainty of the Financial Empire. The following chart, “The Logic of U$A Foreign Policy” – reveals the longstanding imperial logic behind U$A’s diplomatic and military interventions around the globe. It is mainly driven by the Empire’s Imperial Council. This council is EVIL and suffers from hubris, groupthink, incompetence,...

“It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines monetary, financial, military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its MISTAKES are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.”

The Financial Empire attack sovereign and Non-💲nations. Its PLAN to capture a nation:
– Send in intelligence agencies (Five Eyes)
– Start a propaganda campaign
– Paint their leader as a dictator
– Accuse them of wrong doings (Chemical weapons, genocide, terrorism,...)
– Announce trade, financial,... sanctions
– Lobby the world for humanitarian causes
– Order a no fly zone, false flag...
– Bomb them and capture the nation
– Form a central bank
– Build military bases and private monetary system
– Sell off their resources
– Fund local kleptocrats
– Install a puppet administration and call it a democracy...

Most nations just watch this freak show repeatedly. It is only now that Russia and China are making a stand for sovereignty. Nations still conduct international trade in the US$. Are they clueless, coward,...?

De-Dollarize, Boycott, Deflate,... the Empire.

What will it take for nations to do the right thing?

Posted by: Max | Sep 3 2021 17:08 utc | 35

I imagine the US overnment is a lot like the US military - a big heirarchial organization. Having worked on a military base (as a civilian) it is obvious why the US has not won a war in years. I have never seen such a collection of yes men and ass kissers. Sure, in private sector organizations this atuff goes on too, but the level in the military is at simply amazing. I imagine one reason is that there is no accountability - its promotion or not. All the captains want to make major, the majors want to make colonel and the colonels want to make general. They get there by supporting whatever stupid project their bosses come up with. I can´t remember the number but the military has hundreds of generals and admirals - in charge of stationary I guess. Nowhere have I seen more wated motion than in the mililtary.

Posted by: c | Sep 3 2021 17:09 utc | 36

@34 Rambo is a good example of the superhero type movies that emerged after Vietnam. But war movies really got going after WW2. 'From Here To Eternity' and 'To Hell And Back' were very popular in the 50s.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2021 17:11 utc | 37

Belief in "Primacy" and Animal Farm's dicta--Some animals are more equal than others--based on Anglo Exceptionalism caused the Outlaw US Empire to reject the need for it to adopt FDR's notion of a "normal nation" equivalent to all others under the aegis of the UN Charter and the Law it established. The deliberate, planned, breaking of that Law and the US Constitution set the Outlaw US Empire on the course that enabled it to arrive at its current state of moral bankruptcy--a state that the Foreign Policy Establishment is incapable of seeing because it is incapable of looking in the mirror at its own actions. It's that inability that has made China explicitly announce its mission to make the Empire into a normal nation for the first time in its history. Russia hasn't been as explicit but its rhetoric shows its efforts to curb the Empire's illegalities.

Essentially, the Foreign Policy Establishment's been living a lie since 1945 that it's had to continuously cover up with even more lies, thus destroying any right to moral primacy of any sort, yet all the while believing that is wasn't lying and had earned that right because of its Anglo and Christian Righteousness--its Exceptionalism--that made it the one and only superior human animal.

The inability--refusal in this case--to face facts is a very serious psychological disorder that's deeply ingrained in most elites, especially those of the West who still think there's merit in the Divine Right of Kings--we're exclusive, so we don't need to listen to anybody else; oh, and we're also above criticism because we're omniscient. Yes, that's how deluded they are, which poses an extreme risk to humanity.

Their next totally avoidable crisis will occur in the ocean next to China, where they are again deluded by their supposed righteousness when they're 100% wrong and outmatched.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3 2021 17:13 utc | 38

goldhoarder @33 provides an excellent example of what I describe @38--a raving lunatic who believes his lies are reality.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3 2021 17:16 utc | 39

Thanks for opening up this topic, b.
CFR's unhinged self-appointed President, Richard Haas, was interviewed on last night's edition of's weekly Planet America program in relation to the AfPak withdrawal. Whilst he had to admit that "mistakes were made" he's still rusted onto pursuing the vampirish notion of "how AmeriKKKa can move forward in Afghanistan!?"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 3 2021 17:22 utc | 40

Soory: Destrouyed all AIRPLANES -- not "Air panes" or "Air pains" --although both Appelations fit.
By the way: US agents in Afghanistân before wars broke aout their had no prostitutes: They converted to Islam and were thus allowed to buy female slaves. In Badakhshan and the Wahan corriton´r, several local triba chiefs endeavored ans succeeded in buyng them free from US/AFG handlers after having lowerd prices by presenting possible repurcussions to their US efforts in their lands.

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Sep 3 2021 17:25 utc | 41

@ c (#36), thanks for sharing your experience. Ones they wear their uniform they become part of the hierarchical system and just want to move up in the hierarchy.

It is the same in the society. Poor wants to be rich. Rich wants to be king. And the King wants to be God. Real Gods are angry. “In God We Trust”

Professionals have lost their conscience and BETRAYED their society. Majority doesn’t have integrity.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
– Upton Sinclair

How can INTEGRITY become a core value of the society?

Posted by: Max | Sep 3 2021 17:31 utc | 42

New Study says over $8 Trillion is cost for Outlaw US Empire's War OF Terror and its killed almost a million people, which IMO is a gross underestimate. I also disagree with the timeline only beginning after 911 and not including the Terrorizing of those in Iraq and Yugoslavia, including the sanction deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children. I doubt the study counts the many thousands of miscarriages and still births caused by the illegal chemical warfare waged on Iraqis and Serbians.

Finnian Cunningham recently wrote an op/ed that perfectly describes Outlaw US Empire policy, "US Foreign Policy = War", which is 100% correct and thus renders the Empire's Foreign Policy Establishment a Criminal Cabal of Terrorists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3 2021 17:35 utc | 43

"But the only goal a Haas has is to fit in to his social group and never bleat a sound that would distinguish him from the herd he is part of. He, however, would take his education, money and most of all prestige as the badge of a true and unique individual, not the proof of what it is: that he has completely lost his voice in the safety of the herd. He has nothing, nothing, but his herd instinct to protect him, from which instinct he will bleat literally anything, no matter how illogical it is."
From: rjb1.5 | Sep 3 2021 15:28 utc | 21

The real trick is to assume you are ruled by the same sorts of characteristics and then take a hard long look in the mirror.

Can you accept that? Would you call this a silo? If true, is that really a bad thing? I mean in this instance here.

This comment speaks to the immense power of the group.

I also think it is a mistake to assume people care if something is true. It's a type of gaming where the plan or ideology allows all sorts of evil because the means serve the ends. It's a perk, not a defect. It's a thrill like illecit sex.

These things are individual and specific and indeed don't apply to whole groups. How much of that is wired into this person in question? Quite a lot. I would assert a huge amount.

When we say you don't have free will it's saying you invariably behave like a primate. And as shown here, primates can be nasty things.

I think the only thing relevant to this esteemed crowd is this makes him highly predictable. As a rule, where your assumptions are wrong is seldom an important factor. Know your enemy of course but don't get bogged down in time wasting details.

Haas appears to be a POS that should be publicly challenged at every opportunity as you folks did. Tx as always.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Sep 3 2021 17:38 utc | 44

An independent study has shown that the invasion and occupation by the UK cost £37 billion and that was just up until 2013, an average of £2000 pounds for every person in the UK. I've no idea what its cost from 2013 until 2021 in the UK to keep UK troops in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Sep 3 2021 17:39 utc | 45

When I read this paragraph from b's post...

"This failure to self-evaluate impedes national learning and allows misperceptions to flourish. Myths, false propaganda, and anachronistic beliefs persist in the absence of strong evaluative institutions to test ideas against logic and evidence, weeding out those that fail. As a result national learning is slow and forgetting is quick. The external environment is perceived only dimly, through a fog of myths and misperceptions." resonated with something I read a few years ago - Gilad Atzmon's Judea Declares War On Obama from 2011, a decade after the beginning of the Fake War On Terror, in which he asserts...

If you wonder why Jewish politicians repeat exactly the same mistakes time after time, the answer is easy. Jews do not know their Jewish history for there is no Jewish history.
As it happens, Jewish history is a set of fables tied clumsily together to portray a false image of a victorious narrative. Jewish history is a set of blind spots bundled together by myth, fantasies and lies, in order to present the illusion of a coherent past narrative and a vague semblance of chronology.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 3 2021 17:50 utc | 46

Why hasn't the US alliance system already collapsed? The USA is in relative economic and military decline, highly indebted, domestically increasingly instable and has made foreign policy U-turns in the past years. So why do Russia and China not make major inroades among the US allies?

The truth is that in most parts of the world the US is by comparison still perceived as the less unreliable partner. (And that after Trump ...)

Posted by: m | Sep 3 2021 17:59 utc | 47

But war movies really got going after WW2. 'From Here To Eternity' and 'To Hell And Back' were very popular in the 50s.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2021 17:11 utc | 37

Yes of course, war movies in general, where the Yanks won in the end. In Britain too, The Dam Busters, the Great Escape, the Guns of Navarone. That's not quite the same as the post-Vietnam superhero-style movie where the American hero is quite invulnerable.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 3 2021 18:05 utc | 48

@ tollef Ås
Very interesting to read, in Denmark that would be unheard of, too my poodles and asslickers there. And in Sweden an opposition is nonexistent, unfortunately..
Well, the meek shall inherit the Earth, Jesus said... At this time of speaking, the odds are heavily stacked against the meek. So don't be meek!
They can't kill us all!

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Sep 3 2021 18:06 utc | 49

Re: Mario | Sep 3 2021 15:15 utc | 18

It wasn't a conspiracy because Bin Laden remotely controlled multiple people at the same time through remote viewing and telepathy, no doubt while in bed while hooked up to a giant lithium or nickel-metal-hydride battery-powered dialysis machine.

Just needed at least one decent laugh for the day.

Posted by: William Haught | Sep 3 2021 18:07 utc | 50

@ Laguerre 48
Dont waste your time on American war movies!
Go Russian mate, there is a plethora of very good Russian war movies, and there are many sites around where you can just download them free of charge.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Sep 3 2021 18:11 utc | 51

@48 'That's not quite the same as the post-Vietnam superhero-style movie where the American hero is quite invulnerable.'

True. Those early war movies had Kenneth More and John Wayne in them. Very wholesome fellows. Not a lot of blood and gore.

Movies have evolved a lot. The superhero is just one type of movie probably aimed at vulnerable young people who have, pre-Covid, become the main cinema goers. There are others....'Platoon'. 'Deer Hunter', 'Full Metal Jacket' etc. which cast a more critical eye on Vietnam.

I'm not saying war movies aren't entertaining but the underlying theme is invariably the same. The US controls events. Or it thinks it does.

Posted by: dh | Sep 3 2021 18:19 utc | 52

FP Establishment and President Ashraf Ghani the kleptocrat who looted $169m as he abandoned his country

MoA's war w/the Grazone authors Norton/Blumenthal notwithstanding, this article is amazing.
I knew that Ghani was 'our guy' but I did not know that he was both our wife and lover on the side.

1. He spent most of his life in the U.S and had to renounce his U.S. citizenship to run for President. (Hmm ... I wonder if he spoke Afghan without an accent)

2. His U.S. education included high school, a Bachelors degree, and teaching at two U.S. Universities.

3. He had a close association with the Atlantic Council which published his writings and supported him.

4. He was part of DC's 'shock therapy program' in 1990's Russia

5. He wrote a book, 'Fixing Failed States', and was praised by the NYT, Financial Times, and New Yorker as an incorruptible, visionary, reformer, technocrat[emphasis added because technocrat was the repeating keyword]

6. And ... he gave a speech before a joint session of U.S. Congress to rousing applause. So while Biden is being lampooned for his naivety for his ignorance in believing that the Afghan army / govt would last for at least a little while, our foreign policy establishment was bullish on Ghani for at least as long.

Ghani was our Chalabi redux. When has the U.S. ever supported a non-corrupt leader to take over a country? Serious question. If we know that the guy is a crook that's one thing but our Foreign Policy Establshment genuinely believes in these people.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Sep 3 2021 18:24 utc | 53

@ vk | 25 on my comment @Sam F | 24
Constitutional amendments wouldn't work in the USA because …its laws are clouded …inequality being enabled through endless loopholes.

Yes, but note that point 2 includes “Elected and appointed officials must be purged and all public officials monitored for life for corrupt influence, with heavy penalties” which includes the almost entirely corrupt US judiciary.

@ Max | 42 How can INTEGRITY become a core value of the society?

This requires the mass media to be democratic (regulated for balance, and funded by small personal donations), so that they give up mere attention-getting by selling ideals of personal greed and tyranny, to focus on shared values of progress for all, as they did to some extent in the early 19th century.

Posted by: Sam F | Sep 3 2021 19:07 utc | 54

Maybe this might wake them up

A new comprehensive study has shed light on the multi-trillion cost of the US' post-9/11 wars, which have been funded via soaring American debt. The researchers say that no single US government has yet presented the true picture of the toll the wars have taken on the United States. On 1 September, Brown University’s Costs of War Project released a report saying that the total budgetary costs and future obligations of the US post-9/11 wars are "about $8 trillion in current dollars". This figure includes more than $2.1 trillion spent by the Pentagon, $1 trillion in interest payments, and $2.2 trillion on future health care obligations through 2050. The report also found that about 929,000 people had been killed in the US wars on terror. "There has been no single US government estimate for the total costs of the post-9/11 wars," the study points out, explaining the significance of the project, which was launched about 10 years ago to find out how much Washington's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria cost the US.

Posted by: Jo | Sep 3 2021 19:17 utc | 55

And of course if eg Serbia Iraq Syria Iran Afghanistan etc could succeed in suing for war reparations....depleted uranium weapons...illegal sanctions....that might be a gamestopper.Hope so.

Posted by: Jo | Sep 3 2021 19:20 utc | 56

Hear! Hear!

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Sep 3 2021 19:25 utc | 57

I'm surprised by this article and its imputation of stupidity to American FP. Nothing could be further from the truth ... these people are very smart and very good at what they do. It seems the essence of US foreign policy is not understood by our host.

As Mr. Netanyahoo has said more than once, the US is actually very easy to understand: the business of America is business. Everything we do, everything we push for is to maximize profits for our corporations and their shareholders, the people who own the country. One must understand this if one is to make sense of our actions around the world.

Now, what does this mean in foreign policy? Well, early 20th century, it meant a series of "banana" wars in central and south America, Philippines, etc. in support of various corporations. Over time, this has matured into the MICIMATT Complex of which Haass and the others mentioned in the article are prime members, their job being to look like idiots supporting "liberal rule-based order" or some other BS foolishness, which is only a mask on the real job: keep the wars going.

The past 20 years of war in Afghanland has been GREAT for MICIMATT: large salaries, high TV ratings, billions in profits for the right corporations, hundreds of generals getting their 2nd to 4th stars and later graduating to fat contracts. It's been awesome. What's not to like?

Posted by: Caliman | Sep 3 2021 19:26 utc | 58

The United States is the world's biggest terrorist. (bar (whisky), none)

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Sep 3 2021 19:28 utc | 59

Hey, about whisky, the local liquor store has a bottle of Laphroaig 25, for $659.00 (USD) unaffordable on my budget

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Sep 3 2021 19:32 utc | 60 enjoy

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Sep 3 2021 19:37 utc | 61

Life is too short, yet, it's a long haul.

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Sep 3 2021 19:39 utc | 62

Thanks for MOA b.

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Sep 3 2021 19:41 utc | 63

@ Sam F (#54), good points, thanks. It is unfortunate that the MSM has been captured. It is mainly SELLING propaganda, products and people. Also, it is owned by Wall Street. Its values are defined by valuations.

Regarding officials, we need a law that demands them to disclose all organizations they belong to including private and secret societies, such as Bilderberg, Pilgrims, Le Circle, CFR,... Any mischief will result in them being fired and banned from any government appointments. There is good understanding now of how to screen these appointees.

Posted by: Max | Sep 3 2021 19:47 utc | 64

The situation is worse than you portray. Having broken the story on the evidence backing China and North Korea’s claims of US use of biological weapons in the Korean War, I have noticed how the intense secrecy of covert operations leads to self-delusion and massive errors by the ruling elites. If you don’t know, for instance, that special weapons units of your own military, or CIA paramilitaries, are dropping germ weapons, and you spend millions on propaganda campaigns to negate that fact, then you’ve propagandized your own people, leaving them unable to assess basic reality. The propagation of false reality within the elites (in think tanks, academia, the “legitimate” press, etc.) happened in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Bay of Pigs, etc.

My latest work examines US flyers confessions of use of germ warfare in Korea, material that has never been published in the United States:

The CIA documents proving the use of germ weapons against the DPRK and China are here:

Posted by: Jeffrey Kaye | Sep 3 2021 19:52 utc | 65

Challenging UN, Study Finds Sun - not CO2 - May Be Behind Global Warming -

Posted by: Serig | Sep 3 2021 20:22 utc | 66

@ Caliman 58
re: . . a series of "banana" wars in central and south America, Philippines, etc. in support of various corporations. .

. . . from MajGen Smedley D. Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor

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

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 20:54 utc | 67

Jeffrey Kaye @65

One of my favorite rants is that America is drifting ever deeper into delusion. So long as the propagandizers (narrative spinners) themselves have a solid grasp of reality then the false reality they feed to mass media consumers and captive audiences in classrooms will always track true reality somewhat; however, it is necessary to note that today's propagandizers were yesterdays classroom captives and are still today's mass media consumers. They eat their own dog food. The narrative spinners themselves believe their own false narratives. This has unmoored the propagandists from reality. Rather than their false narratives tracking near reality, the narrative spinners' propaganda now tracks their own false narratives from their previous media production cycle. There is no introspection or self correction within the media production cycle so the divergence from reality compounds with each iteration.

This process has been going on not for weeks, or years, or even decades, but for generations. This has led to well-educated but sheltered (safe spaces and all) "liberal thinkers" acquiring the perspective that reality is subjective and malleable. What is important to them is no longer the Renaissance focus upon empirical evidence, but rather what they can convince themselves to be true and what uncomfortable aspects of the real world they can shield themselves from to protect their beliefs.

In a surprising number of ways the modern "liberal thinker" has tragically become the opposite of the Renaissance Man.

And they are the ones creating the narratives to program media consumers with via the Plato's Cave displays in those media consumers' living rooms.

Interesting times.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 3 2021 20:54 utc | 68

I am in full agreement. US foreign policy is incredibly dumb.
When you take into account that the FP isn’t designed to create peace, health, and wealth for the masses
It makes total sense.
If the plan is to destabilize, create war, and enrich the oligarchs, it’s working
I have no trolling or disparaging to offer.
Well done.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Sep 3 2021 21:07 utc | 69

Posted by b on September 3, 2021 at 13:21 UTC |

What did the foreign policy 'establishment' get right? Funny that he does not name even one issue in that category. That's likely because there isn't one.

In all fairness, perhaps you could provide a description of what you consider to be sound policy for imperial policy makers.

Now, does that description revolve around notions of empathy and justice and, if so, are these traits characteristic of US policy? I mean, seriously, if we were to randomly open the Great Book of American Foreign Actions, what are the odds of reading about vast projects to better the lives of common folks? Here, let's try. How about this page... uh. OK, how about this one? Ok, no. This one ? Nope. And..uh nope. No. And No. No. Holy crap, did they really...and all this before 1900. You know what, forget it.

What is this ever recurring premise based on? Has the narrative been successfully framed in such a way that policy makers are perceived to be working for our common interests?

Or maybe it's some curious bias. Hey, these guys are a bunch of dicks, right? Let's depict them as truly incompetent at something completely out of character rather than recognizing their success at obvious things like hoovering up obscene quantities of dollars and kneecapping the main competitor.

Posted by: robin | Sep 3 2021 21:09 utc | 70

Don Bacon@67

Will people ever get over citing this man as some kind of hero?

He actively, knowingly partook in this activity for 30 year, and when he got near the end of his term, he got fucked over in some way, and hence his response was to expose it all.

He is not a fucking hero, he is a psychopath with a sour grape syndrome.

This does not mean what he said isn't factual, but it also doesn't mean that he had any morals whatsoever, and at best is a whistleblower, who only blew the whistle because he didn't get his cut.

You don't spend your entire adult life killing people and then at the end of it decry that killing as immoral and still be considered a fucking moral person.

At best, I would call him an amoral opportunist.

Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 21:10 utc | 71

@Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 3 2021 14:47 utc | 14

I have just not paid much attention to international news for the past two days ( dedicating most of the time to internal fighting here trying that the grip do not close on us the same as it has reached in merdional Australia where people is already tracked through facial recognition and geolocation ...), and so, until today´s evening, I have not read about statemenst by Mr. Putin at the EEF in Vladivostock...

By the report at Tass, he was questioned about Mr. Lavrov and Mr.Shoigu probable leaving theur posts in case they could be elected to the Duma...I had no idea about this...

On other issues, he has stated that before considering other long term issues, like would postulating the country for hosting future Olympic Games, the country should focus on fighting pandemics ( with -s...) challenging the country in multiple fronts... say the least...

I agree in that we face multiple fronts in this "pandemic-s"....Just today I was reading a translated letter written by archbissop Carlo Maria Viganó, which seems to indicate there is more than the eye catch through all this "pandemic", and that the fight is not only taking place at governments/citzenry level, but seems to reach even The Vatican...
would never had thought I would ally anytime with anybody in The Vatican, and, in any case, not precisely those who I would had not ever ally so much time ago ideologically..but, one guesses, war makes for strange travel companions...even when happens with guesses...

"Cosas veredes que farán fablar las piedras" - Cantar de Mío Cid

Posted by: Asha K. | Sep 3 2021 21:15 utc | 72

I agree about Smedley Butler.
He was an opportunist. And a whistle blower
The one thing he did right, was exposing the attempted corporate takeover of the US govt Inthe 1930s.
He’s not a hero. More like a jilted mercenary.
Still, his writings are an important part of the canon opposing globalism.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Sep 3 2021 21:17 utc | 73

@ DF 71
re: Smedley Butler: He actively, knowingly partook in this activity for 30 years . .

Have you ever been in a military service? Probably not. So I understand what you don't.
"I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force--the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 21:19 utc | 74

Well burn my britches. The US foreign policy elite is full of morons. Surprise surprise! About three years ago in a comment to an MoA piece I asked the question, "How stupid do you have to be to make US foreign policy? Do they take stupidity pills? Apparently so.

Posted by: George Vukmanovich | Sep 3 2021 21:21 utc | 75

Don Bacon@74

"Have you ever been in a military service? Probably not. So I understand what you don't."

No, I never did. Too smart for that.

What is it exactly that you understand? That you spent a large part of your life being too stupid to think for yourself?

Seriously? That is one god damn stupid response.

Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 21:25 utc | 76

The great Winston once quipped that 'success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.'

On that basis the US Foreign policy since the WW2 has been nothing but a resounding success.

On a more serious note: The one key objective of the US Foreign policy for Europe is to prevent Russia and Germany joining up, nothing else matters for the American governing elite, and so far so good, the Nord-2 may have put a dent in the objective, but the gas hasn't;t started flowing yet, there is time still to stop it leaving Russia..

Posted by: Baron | Sep 3 2021 21:34 utc | 77

Butler quotes have been used to support both left and right leaning arguments.
The truth of his career and life appears to be that he experienced a dramatic change in his actions and beliefs.
For 30 years he was a point man for corporate and govt force.
Suddenly, he was testifying in Congress, accusing robber barons of treason and insurrection.
What happened?

I’d love to see a Smedley Butler type stand up in Congress, today, and rail against the oligarchy and globalism.
Instead we get guys like Milley who are locked into the scam.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Sep 3 2021 21:40 utc | 78


I don't know what caused his change of heart. Perhaps deep felt remorse, perhaps vengeance. Perhaps he found a woman that changed his thinking. You don't spend most of your adult life being a scumbag and overnight turn into a saint due to any altruistic motivation.

I would really like it if one of the historians on this site could shed some light on this change of heart.

Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 21:51 utc | 79


You do have the Dan Sjurson, another person I am deeply skeptical of.

Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 21:53 utc | 80


Did someone mention morons?

Saagar Enjetti relates a 'grievous' tale about how China just acquired Arm. Prepare for mirth at both the story and Saagar's anger and 'white' mans arrogance. This indignation is just too good.

Here is the story at semianalysis:

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 3 2021 21:58 utc | 81

What's the fascination with heroes and villains? Butler admits to having been a muscleman for the boys on Wall street, which is much more than most career men are able to bring themselves to admit. So whether he was a hero or not, he correctly captures his (and the wider military's) role in the world.

MICIMATT's aim is to distract, gaslight, false front, etc. until, as William Casey said, everything the American people believe is false. Believe that we meant well, that it's about empire, that it's white man's burden, that it's for women's rights, that it's because daddy Bush lost to Saddam, that it's because of racism ... and that we're a bunch of incompetent idiots.

Because the knowledge that the reality is it's all about $$ would end the game.

Posted by: Caliman | Sep 3 2021 22:12 utc | 82

To be honest, there is a number of successes of the Establishment.

The track record is the Western Hemisphere is good. Cuba and Venezuela left the controlled zone, but they are adequately miserable. Haiti, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, under control. Peru requires some work but doable. Grenada and Panama are doing fine -- not ALL invasions left total mess in their wake!

Good points were scored in Europe: Montenegro and North Macedonia joined NATO, and Ukraine is begging to join.

Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Syria are objectively success stories, although it makes sense not to brag about it: inconvenient countries turned out hard to control, but the mess over there is more than adequate.

Only Afghanistan is a true failure, or in danger to become: not under control, and in danger to actually becoming a reasonably well functioning state, as it may get widely accepted government, and help from hostile powers. If I were a think tanker in paranoid mood, I could have some nightmares. Taliban getting both sense and help delivers better life to people (except a narrow group that benefited from the American controlled setup), influencing Pakistan to embark on more independent course, like getting methane from Iran, nuclear power stations from Russia (or China), industrial investments from China AND Gulfies, thus inducing India to proceed similarly and drifting away from the position of Western avant guarde against China. Eventually, Australia and New Zealand will abandon five eyes and cater to their economic interests instead. Then the rot will advance to Europe...

I must stress that those are just nightmares (to a think tanker).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 3 2021 22:15 utc | 83

Strategic-Culture editorial agrees with b:

"Imperial Business-As-Usual… Biden-Zelenksy Meeting Shows U.S. Learned Nothing From Afghanistan."

"Indeed, Biden’s meeting at the White House was a recapitulation of false accusations against Russia over Ukraine and a brazen distortion of who the aggressor party is. There was no mention by the U.S. president of the Kiev regime’s obligations to implement the Minsk Peace Accord which was mediated by France, Germany and Russia in 2015.

"Still, it was reported that Zelensky was not entirely satisfied by the additional disbursement of American military aid. He wants much more from Washington as well as immediate acceptance into the NATO military alliance, a move that Moscow has repeatedly warned against as being a threat too far to its national security.

"Other U.S. analysts were also advocating the Biden administration to ramp up supplies of “big-ticket” weapons to the Kiev regime. Alexander Vershbow, a former ambassador to Russia who is now with the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington DC, urged the White House to deploy anti-aircraft missile systems in Ukraine. Such people – who are quoted in U.S. media as supposedly intelligent commentators – are in reality nothing more than war-mongering lunatics of Dr Strangelove ilk who drool and fantasize about “l-l-l… luvving” bombs.

"The year-on-year funneling of military power into Ukraine by Washington is exacerbating the conflict in that country and stoking explosive tensions with Russia. If the Kiev regime escalates its aggression towards the eastern Donbas region, thereby further endangering ethnic Russian civilian populations, then Moscow’s hand may be forced to defend its national security interests. Washington’s ignorant, or cynical, support for the Kiev regime and its intensely hostile Russophobia, has created powder-keg conditions.

"What’s more, Washington maintains that its military backing for Ukraine is conditioned on improvements in the Kiev regime’s record on human rights, anti-corruption measures, reforms to its judicial system and adopting U.S.-approved economic policies. In short, that sounds a lot like nation-building by Washington decree.

"That shows the United States’ rulers have learned absolutely nothing from their unmitigated disaster in Afghanistan. American militarism, war-making and imperial “nation-building” will continue. Because that is endemic to U.S. capitalism and its hegemonic addiction."

As I wrote above, policy is built on lies and continued by more lies, then justified by further lying. The Outlaw US Empire badly needs a dose of reality it can't lie its way out of, that it's forced to stare in the face, that's so overt only those asleep would miss its occurrence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3 2021 22:25 utc | 84


The irony is palpable.

You chastise others for looking at things in black and white, heros and villians, and then in the next sentence go on to put the man in question on a pedestal ...

"... which is much more than most career men are able to bring themselves to admit."

Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 22:26 utc | 85

How convenient it is for commentators like Richard Haass to simply brush aside the Iraq disaster by saying, 'we got it wrong' as if their intentions were noble in the first place.

I say the invasion of Iraq was an outstanding success in so far as the invasion achieved their intentions and objectives.

The intentions were set out by Oded Yinon in his 'A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties'.

Here is part of the neocon Yinon script for Iraq:

"Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization.15"

Posted by: Paul | Sep 3 2021 22:37 utc | 86

DavidF - I put no one on a pedestal ... I give the man proper due respect for a stand few make. Tell me: how many other beloved and very successful generals or FP leaders do you know who have admitted to having been a tool of the system, hmmm?

But again, this is not about Butler or any other individual ... it's about proper attribution of of the REASON why US foreign policy is what it has been for the past many decades and the fact that, rather than the unlearning morons they would prefer to be seen as, the practitioners are in fact quite aware of what they are doing and are highly successful at it.

A $10 million investment in the big5 US weapons makers would have yielded a profit of $90 million during the Afghan war ...

Posted by: Caliman | Sep 3 2021 22:40 utc | 87


I have already made too many comments on this thread, so this will be my last one.

I don't find anything admirable about a person who has spent their life committing evil or immoral deeds, and after they have enjoyed the fruits of those deeds, telling me how immoral or evil they are.

I would call that atonement at best. And at worst, hypocrisy or opportunism from a deeply immoral person either attempting a last ditch effort to make up for those misdeeds (in his eyes), or one trying to cash out one last time.

Either way, there is nothing admirable about it.


Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 22:52 utc | 88

One reason why organisations within a capitalist and bureaucratically rational system are incapable of self-evaluation is because it rigorously excises all negativity and critique. Take for example job applications, going for promotion, or applying for a grant within the university sector: to represent oneself without hyperbolic positivity and superlative adjectives is to sell yourself short. In other words, it is all about sales: your product is the best, the most effective, makes teeth the whitest, etc. In a world where self-critique is the equivalent of exiting the competitive sales environment why should we be surprised that the US foreign policy establishment would be one place where all self-critique has been ruthlessly excluded? Does it make them utterly blind? Yes. Can they admit that it does? But that would require a capacity for self-critique...

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 3 2021 22:56 utc | 89

The ethos of the military, any military, hasn't changed much from Smedley's time.
Semper Fidelis (from the web)
Latin for “Always Faithful,” Semper Fidelis is the motto of every Marine—an eternal and collective commitment to the success of our battles, the progress of our Nation, and the steadfast loyalty to the fellow Marines we fight alongside.//

There is nothing in that ethos about judging or evaluating or criticizing, it's all about collective commitment and loyalty. And it's understandable that someone who hasn't been in a military service wouldn't, can't understand that ethos. It has nothing to do with "smartness."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 22:58 utc | 90

On a more serious note: The one key objective of the US Foreign policy for Europe is to prevent Russia and Germany joining up, nothing else matters for the American governing elite, and so far so good, the Nord-2 may have put a dent in the objective, but the gas hasn't;t started flowing yet, there is time still to stop it leaving Russia..
Posted by: Baron | Sep 3 2021 21:34 utc | 77

I follow DW News on a daily basis and, reading between the lines, have convinced myself that Germany is on the cusp of inviting the Yankee Occupiers to vacate German soil. They've had 75 years to imagine how good it would feel and seem increasingly impatient to fulfill the dream. If the invitation is issued before the end of 2021 it'll make a delightful counterpoint to the undignified Afghanistan SNAFU.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 3 2021 23:10 utc | 91

Don Bacon @74--

Regarding General Butler's observation you cited, "Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service," when I enlisted I had quite a number of "original thoughts," and let it be known that I did. My superiors rewarded my thoughts with a position of leadership and three separate invitations to enroll in Officer Candidate School all of which I declined because of my "original thoughts." And since I had "original thoughts," I took my Oath of Service seriously and still do. Our oath is to uphold and defend the US Constitution, not individuals or institutions. Beyond all doubt, the vast majority of the Federal government--individuals and institutions--are Traitors--Domestic Enemies as described in the Oath who we are supposed to oust as that's our DUTY. But what do we see instead? Treason on a massive scale. That's the reality--the Truth--so few are capable of facing. And I'm growing very tired of writing about it while few bother to read and THINK. I wonder what sort of "original thought" General Butler would have if he faced today's reality. What would he think his duty to be?

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3 2021 23:19 utc | 92

Foreign policy needn't be difficult:
>Normalize relations with North Korea
>Order US-puppet Ukraine to give the ethnic Russians some autonomy, as many regions enjoy in Europe
>Accept that we lost in Afghanistan and promote normality there (as the US has done with Vietnam)
>Do a real pivot out of the Middle East instead of a fake one
>Play nice with Russia and China -- everybody benefits

But there's no money in it for the establishment.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 23:22 utc | 93

RE: Posted by: Asha K. | Sep 3 2021 21:15 utc | 72

“On other issues, he has stated that before considering other long term issues, like would postulating the country for hosting future Olympic Games, the country should focus on fighting pandemics ( with -s...) challenging the country in multiple fronts... say the least... “

This is only one of many trajectories of transcendence whose design and implementation have been underway since the early 1970's and whose public profile is being enhanced, not for the forthcoming election as would likely be the case in “The United States of America”.

These dangers have been known internationally to a limited professional audience since the mid to late 1960's including by the Pentagon and CIA; entering public domain/discourse by at least 1995 by way of Laurie Garret's book entitled The coming plague, informed by previous peer reviewed research publications on climate change, AIDS and the reduction of support of public health services in the “West” during the 1980's and subsequent.

Some viewed such developments as potential enhancements for biological warfare, whilst some others facilitated parallel dual-use facilities with an increasing emphasis on health protection/care.

Hence this apparently has been a component part of “The United States of America” attacking China to their own populations in the hope that their population will believe that Covid-19 was a biological weapon in development manufactured and leaked in China, and attacks on vaccines produced in the Russian Federation.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 3 2021 23:24 utc | 94

The purpose of military training is to require the following of orders which don't include "original thoughts." . .The saying is: If the government wanted you to think it would have issued brains. . .The combat arms operate on orders, down the extensive hierarchy which includes about a dozen officer levels and a similar number of enlisted levels. It's all very 'orderly.' . . .So if one wants to be original then one should fall out of ranks and go paint a picture somewhere.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 3 2021 23:30 utc | 95


There is only on reason to kill other people and that is self defense. And being in someone else's country and defending yourself from their attempts at driving you out is not self defense.

"an eternal and collective commitment to the success of our battles, the progress of our Nation, and the steadfast loyalty to the fellow Marines we fight alongside."

That is pure drivel, that is what allows a person to live with the atrocities they have committed, the instilling of some supposed honor for doing what some other asshole told them to do, for completely dishonorable reasons. The marines kill people because someone tells them to. There is nothing honorable in being a killer for hire, which is what the military is used for in the USA, and in every context except the military, it is completely unacceptable social behavior. Normally when people kill other people for almost any reason other than clear cut self defense they are locked up and segregated from the rest of society.

Why do so many former military members commit suicide? Because they were convinced to do atrocious things and that doesn't jive with the basic mores of humanity.

I have had this argument with others like you before, and there is nothing I or anyone else is going to say that will convince you otherwise, because doing so would mean the you would have to come to the realization that either you were duped or brainwashed, you're an immoral person, or you're a sociopath/psychopath.

There is no shortage of willing dupes and sociopaths/psychopaths in the world, hence the state of affairs in the world.

I am done with this conversation.

Posted by: David F | Sep 3 2021 23:43 utc | 96

@Posted by: Cadence calls | Sep 3 2021 21:17 utc | 73

Smedley Butler gave a speech to the Bonus Army (WW1 veterans), who were camped in Washington DC asking for the bonus they had been promised at the end of the war; to help them get through the Depression. Later on they were violently dispersed with tanks, bayonets and gas by the "hero" of the WW2 Pacific campaign, Douglas MacArther. This may have been part of the reason he turned against his previous masters.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 4 2021 0:17 utc | 97

@Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 3 2021 22:15 utc | 83

Iraq and Syria are now tightly aligned with Iran, Iraq is now a good friend of China, and Syria with Russia; after both being previous allies of the US, how is that a success? The hubris of the post-Soviet era made the US go too far in removing their ally Hussein and turned on their other ally Assad - they ended up losing both countries. They got lucky in the 1990s with Yugoslavia because Russia was so weak and craven under Yeltsin, and China was only just starting its economic takeoff.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 4 2021 0:34 utc | 98

@Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3 2021 17:13 utc | 38

For the UK and France it took the Suez crisis to have them somewhat understand their new lesser status in the world. Taiwan may very well turn out to be the US Suez. Or maybe the slap down will come somewhere else, you never know with the US Blob.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 4 2021 0:36 utc | 99

Posted by: Roger | Sep 4 2021 0:34 utc | 98

Syria seems paralyzed economically, and Iraq politically -- with economy underperforming. It may well be that American dire image of the situation is partially malicious wishful thinking, but exactly in those terms they can chalk successes. And so is UK!!? Pompeo promised to do everything possible to prevent Corbyn's government, and as Trump could say, while UK was visibly tired, now it is in tip-top shape. Tippy-top.

Too bad that Trump could not march triumphal through the Washington Mall with Corbyn, enemy of everything we hold dear, chained to Trump'd rear bumper and dragged, perhaps deficient theatrics doomed his re-election. And Bolsonaro could lend him Lula for an even better picture!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 4 2021 0:55 utc | 100

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