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50,000 NATO troops stage MASSIVE military drills on Russia’s border (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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NATO military drills, dubbed Trident Juncture 2018, are currently taking place in Norway.

The military war game involves approximately 50,000 troops from 31 countries, 10,000 combat vehicles, 65 ships and 250 aircraft, all of which make up the the largest such exercise hosted by Norway since the 1980s and the largest military drill NATO has held in decades.

Trident Juncture 2018 started last week and will run until November 7.

RT reports that the NATO military exercise is supposedly intended to send “a clear message” to both the alliance’s member states and potential “adversaries” that NATO is “ready to defend all allies against any threat,” its secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.

The massive drills come shortly after Vostok-2018 exercise in Russia’s Far East was held in September. NATO bigwigs eagerly seized on the large-scale military maneuvers as proof of Moscow’s “aggressive” stance.

“Vostok demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we’ve seen over some time – a more assertive Russia significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence,” NATO’s spokesman Dylan White said at the time.

While Vostok 2018 indeed showed Russia’s “military presence” – on its own territory – the official somehow missed the fact that Moscow has been actually steadily decreasing its military spending over the past few years.

Not everyone seems to be convinced by NATO’s rhetoric about the “defensive” nature of its exercises – and it’s not just Russia’s Defense Ministry. Trident Juncture 2018 was greeted in Oslo by protesters, who argued that such activities effectively turn Norway into a target and not contribute to country’s safety by any means.

“The Trident Juncture I think is a very unnecessary provocation towards Russia, although they say it’s not meant to be, but I think that’s what it is,” one of the protesters told RT’s Ruptly agency.

On Saturday, protesters marched through the city, carrying banners reading “Stop NATO’s war exercises in Norway,” “Stop Trident Juncture, stop provocation,” “NATO – North American Terror Organisation.”

“We are here protesting against Trident Juncture. Because we think that this Trident Juncture makes Norway less safe and our participations in NATO and their wars also make Norway less safe. We also want to pull Norway out of NATO,” another protester said.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018.

Why Norway? How will Russia react? What are the chances that such brazen military exercises on Russia’s border lead the world closer towards real conflict?

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Meanwhile Russia Matters, tries to explain NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018, as another act of self defense against Russia’s continued, hostile movement towards NATO’s borders.

This week, NATO forces are engaged in the largest military exercise the alliance has organized since the end of the Cold War and the first major Western exercise in decades to take place in the Arctic region. To be held in Norway through Nov. 23, the Trident Juncture exercise is designed to improve NATO’s ability to defend member states and to strengthen the alliance’s credibility as a deterrent force against potential aggression. While the scenario does not mention any particular adversaries, the exercise is clearly aimed at bolstering NATO defenses against Russia in the Nordic region. While the political impact will be minor by comparison to any potential permanent troop deployments, the military lessons gleaned by the exercise’s participants promise to be significant.The exercise marks NATO’s third time holding the biennial Trident Juncture and differs from the previous two iterations in both size and focus. To begin with, it involves personnel from all 29 NATO members—a first—plus close partners Finland and Sweden. This in itself is significant: While the two Nordic states have regularly participated in NATO exercises in recent years and have invited NATO forces to take part in exercises on their soil, their participation in as large and politically prominent an Article 5 exercise as Trident Juncture highlights how far both have gone since their political decisions to enhance defense cooperation with NATO. The 2018 exercise is not only much bigger than the 2014 and 2016 iterations, which also focused on preparing NATO’s rapid reaction forces to counter Russian aggression, but differs significantly in its primary focus on field exercises instead of command post exercises.There are 50,000 total participants, including 20,000 from the ground forces, 24,000 from naval and marine infantry forces, 3,000 from air forces, 1000 logistics specialists and 1300 command personnel.  The United States has provided the largest contingent, including the Harry Truman Carrier Strike Group, the Iwo Jima Marine Expeditionary Strike Group and over 18,000 troops. Preparations, including deployment of forces to the exercise area, began in August. The active phase of the field exercise began on Oct. 25 and will continue through Nov. 7, to be followed by a command post exercise in mid-November.The exercise scenario simulates the defense of an Arctic country from an amphibious assault on its coastline. The country under attack invokes Article 5 of the NATO treaty, resulting in a large-scale defensive effort by the alliance to protect the country from foreign invasion. The specifics involve two forces fighting each other, with one side initially defending against a combined forces attack that includes amphibious forces from the U.S. Marine Corps. In the second half of the exercise, the defending force gains the initiative and carries out a counter-attack.

Training to Defend the North Against Russia

The overarching goals of the exercise are to “demonstrate the credibility of its [NATO’s] military deterrent and the unity of its membership.” The second goal can be achieved simply by getting all of the member states to participate in a tangible way despite political tensions and disagreements on how firmly the Western alliance should confront Russia. To achieve the first goal, the exercise will focus on logistics, interoperability and the forces’ ability to engage in combat in a hostile physical environment. The speed with which NATO’s rapid-response forces can mobilize will be tested, as will the ability of troops and commanders from different countries with different military cultures and different languages to communicate with each other in combat. The logistics of moving troops across borders, something that has posed problems in the past in Europe, is also being tested. Many of the units involved are inexperienced with operations in cold and wet weather, poor visibility and, for naval and amphibious forces, rough seas—all conditions that characterize the Arctic at this time of year. The ultimate target is the so-called Four 30s Plan: for NATO to be able to deploy 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat ships to a conflict zone, and to do it in 30 days.

For the United States, the deployment of the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its strike group to the Norwegian Sea is meant to highlight how seriously Washington takes the Russian threat in the north. This is the first time an aircraft carrier has entered the Norwegian Sea since the end of the Cold War. The deployment of a Marine Corps expeditionary strike group also indicates U.S. intent to defend the region and thus acts as a deterrence signal to Russia and follows the rotational deployment of 300 U.S. Marines since 2017, the first time a foreign force has been stationed on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Russia’s Reaction

The exercise scenario largely parallels those of standard major Russian exercises, such as Zapad-2017, where one force initially defends against an attack by an adversary before eventually turning the tide and practicing counter-offensive operations during the second half of the exercise period. There are other parallels as well, including an amphibious landing and an emphasis on combined operations, though NATO is not going to simulate a nuclear strike as Russia did in Zapad-2009. The one major difference is that in Trident Juncture the participating troops are divided into red and blue forces, unlike in Zapad-2017 where the Russian force fought against simulated opponents. In this regard, the exercise is more like Russia’s Vostok-2018 exercise, where forces from two Russian military districts were arrayed against each other.

While Russia’s overall reaction to Trident Juncture has been relatively mild, its officials have raised concerns about the exercise being part of an ongoing NATO effort to encircle Russia and to demonstrate its dominance over Russia in the Nordic region. They highlight that no state other than Russia could present a threat to NATO in the region, and that therefore no other country could be its target. They also condemn the militarization of the Arctic that this exercise represents. Russian officials, including the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, have cast the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier north of the Arctic Circle for the first time in 30 years as saber-rattling by the United States that could have long-lasting destabilizing effects in the region.

Beyond the propaganda effort to paint NATO and the United States as warmongers, the aspects of the exercise that Russian military planners take most seriously include the deployments of the U.S. carrier strike group and Marine expeditionary force to the Arctic, and the combined air operations involving NATO, Swedish and Finnish air forces. Russian leaders are concerned that the increased focus on reinforcing NATO defenses in the east, as demonstrated by the exercise itself, the obvious increase in NATO’s military cooperation with Sweden and Finland and ongoing discussions about permanent stationing of U.S. military forces in Eastern Europe, will result in the establishment of a U.S. base on Polish territory. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that they would regard Poland’s plans to host a U.S. Army division as a violation of commitments made under the NATO-Russia Founding Act that would result in Russian countermeasures aimed at neutralizing those forces in the event of a conflict. In other words, Russia is making the argument that the United States and its East European allies are leading Europe into a new arms race and will bear primary responsibility for the resultant increase in tensions. NATO officials briefed their Russian counterparts on the plan for the exercise at the Oct. 31 meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, which also covered the conflict in Ukraine, the status of the INF Treaty and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Russian navy is planning to test missiles in international waters off Norway’s coast in two separate exercises Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 7-9. The first exercise, in particular, will be held very close to the zone where NATO will be conducting Trident Juncture, which has raised concerns among Western experts that the two forces may come into conflict through miscalculation or provocation. Although Russian and NATO forces have operated in close proximity before, particularly in Syria, it is not clear whether deconfliction channels have bene established for this exercise. Apparently, Norwegian government officials have not expressed much concern about the potential for trouble, so it may be that the issue is being dealt with through the established lines of communication between NATO headquarters and the Russian General Staff.

Impact on NATO-Russia Relations

The long-term impact of the exercise itself on NATO-Russia relations is likely to be fairly negligible. Much like comparable recent Russian exercises, Trident Juncture will be used by NATO to demonstrate its intent to protect its members and allies from Russian aggression and by Russia to highlight the seriousness of the threat it faces from its potential adversary. Once the exercise is completed, the political impact will fade away relatively quickly, though undoubtedly both sides will trot it out as necessary to score political points in both domestic and international contexts. The real impact will be on the military side, where the exercise is expected to improve the ability of participating military forces to work together in adverse conditions, particularly for those NATO countries that have not previously operated in the far north and will be able to get a better sense of the strengths and weaknesses of their forces in such an environment. Meanwhile, NATO-Russia relations will be affected far more seriously if the United States does choose to deploy troops on a permanent basis in Poland or elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author.


Dmitry Gorenburg

Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Virginia. He is also an associate of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the editor of Problems of Post-Communism.

 

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a.f.Shaun RameweTheCelotajsTEPYou can call me AL Recent comment authors
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Walter Dublanica
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More huffin & puffin to try to scare the Russians. Russians are fighters as any country that entered it’s territory knows. Germany/France/Sweden/Turkey.

wiggins
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wiggins

Silly boys playing silly buggers… 🙂

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

Stupid is, what stupid does.

a.f.
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a.f.

5200 Russian soldiers killed in Donbass since the Invasion in 2014. Not much……………..and they deserved it.

TEP
Guest
TEP

War is, unfortunately, almost inevitable. The only hope now is that sufficient senior US military recognise it’s catastrophic futility and back down before it’s too late. This excellent article by The Saker frames it perfectly, and literally EVERYBODY should read and understand it it.

http://thesaker.is/a-senior-russian-diplomat-confirms-russia-is-preparing-for-war-is-anybody-listening/.

TheCelotajs
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TheCelotajs

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants a war with Russia so bad he dreams about it every nigh. Playing War Games is not the same thing as real combat when the other side is shooting live ammo back at you and your buddy is blown apart next to you. A whole different ball game.

a.f.
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a.f.

Russia wants WW3, so the NATO must be prepared.

a.f.
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a.f.

At least seven Russian military personnel died as a result of the explosion at the headquarters of the Russian troops near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, reported EBAA news outlet. “Seven Russian military, as well as representatives of the Syrian regime, were killed on Friday after an explosive device was detonated at the headquarters of the Russian troops in the Criminal Court building north of the Panorama junction on the Deir ez-Zor-Damascus road,” EBAA writes. It is noted that the Russians were members of the so-called “ISIS hunters” of the 5th Corps of Assad Army. It is not yet known… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Russia laughs and buzzes these easy-target NATerrorO drills every time with nearby missile tests and routine bomber flights!! Same when Russia kills NATerrorO terrorists in Syria – LOL.

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Is the Violent Dismemberment of Russia Official US Policy?

Neocons make the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

The Duran

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Authored by Erik D’Amato via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


If there’s one thing everyone in today’s Washington can agree on, it’s that whenever an official or someone being paid by the government says something truly outrageous or dangerous, there should be consequences, if only a fleeting moment of media fury.

With one notable exception: Arguing that the US should be quietly working to promote the violent disintegration and carving up of the largest country on Earth.

Because so much of the discussion around US-Russian affairs is marked by hysteria and hyperbole, you are forgiven for assuming this is an exaggeration. Unfortunately it isn’t. Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title “Managing Russia’s dissolution,” author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

Engagement, criticism and limited sanctions have simply reinforced Kremlin perceptions that the West is weak and predictable. To curtail Moscow’s neo-imperialism a new strategy is needed, one that nourishes Russia’s decline and manages the international consequences of its dissolution.

Like many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia’s might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation.But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an “imperial construct.”

The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable…

To manage the process of dissolution and lessen the likelihood of conflict that spills over state borders, the West needs to establish links with Russia’s diverse regions and promote their peaceful transition toward statehood.

Even more alarming is Bugajski’s argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries. “Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past.”

It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.

So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?

The author bio on the Hill’s piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who’s who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.

To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a “Calexit,” and many more in Mexico of a reconquista.)

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a quasi-official voice like Bugajski’s coming out in favor of a similar policy vis-a-vis China, which has its own restive regions, and which in geopolitical terms is no more or less of a threat to the US than Russia. One reason may be that China would consider an American call for secession by the Tibetans or Uyghurs to be a serious intrusion into their internal affairs, unlike Russia, which doesn’t appear to have noticed or been ruffled by Bugajski’s immodest proposal.

Indeed, just as the real scandal in Washington is what’s legal rather than illegal, the real outrage in this case is that few or none in DC finds Bugajski’s virtual declaration of war notable.

But it is. It is the sort of provocation that international incidents are made of, and if you are a US taxpayer, it is being made in your name, and it should be among your outrages of the month.

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Vladimir Putin visits Serbia, as NATO encircles the country it attacked in 1999 (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 171.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Serbia.

Putin met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to further develop bilateral trade and economic relations, as well as discuss pressing regional issues including the possibility of extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline into Serbia, and the dangerous situation around Kosovo.

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Via RT


Russian President Vladimir Putin got a hero’s welcome in Belgrade. The one-day visit to the last holdout against NATO’s ambitions in the Balkans may have been somewhat short on substance, but was certainly loaded with symbolism.

Even before he landed, the Russian leader was given an honor guard by Serbian air force MiGs, a 2017 gift from Moscow to replace those destroyed by NATO during the 1999 air campaign that ended with the occupation of Serbia’s province of Kosovo. Russia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s US-backed declaration of independence, while the US and EU have insisted on it.

Upon landing, Putin began his first official trip of 2019 by paying respects to the Soviet soldiers who died liberating Belgrade from Nazi occupation in 1944. While most Serbians haven’t forgotten their historical brotherhood in arms with Russia, it did not hurt to remind the West just who did the bulk of the fighting against Nazi Germany back in World War II.

After official talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Putin visited the Church of St. Sava, the grand Orthodox basilica set on the spot where the Ottoman Turks torched the remains of the first Serbian archbishop back in 1594, in an effort to maintain power.

Sava, whose brother Stefan became the “first-crowned” king of medieval Serbia, was responsible for setting up the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church exactly eight centuries ago this year. For all its own troubles, the Serbian Church has sided with Moscow in the current Orthodox schism over Ukraine.

Russian artisans have been working on the grand mosaic inside the basilica, and asked Putin to complete the design by placing the last three pieces, in the colors of the Russian flag.

Whether by sheer coincidence or by design, Putin also weighed in on Serbia’s culture war, giving interviews ahead of his visit to two daily newspapers that still publish in Serbian Cyrillic – while the majority of the press, whether controlled by the West or by Vucic, prefers the Latin variant imported from Croatia.

Western media usually refer to Serbia as a “Russian ally.” While this is true in a historical and cultural sense, there is no formal military alliance between Moscow and Belgrade. Serbia officially follows the policy of military neutrality, with its armed forces taking part in exercises alongside both Russian and NATO troops.

This is a major source of irritation for NATO, which seeks dominion over the entire Balkans region. Most recently, the alliance extended membership to Montenegro in 2017 without putting the question to a referendum. It is widely expected that “Northern Macedonia” would get an invitation to NATO as soon as its name change process is complete – and that was arranged by a deal both Macedonia and Greece seem to have been pressured into by Washington.

That would leave only Serbia outside the alliance – partly, anyway, since NATO has a massive military base in the disputed province of Kosovo, and basically enjoys special status in that quasi-state. Yet despite Belgrade’s repeated declarations of Serbia wanting to join the EU, Brussels and Washington have set recognition of Kosovo as the key precondition – and no Serbian leader has been able to deliver on that just yet, though Vucic has certainly tried.

Putin’s repeated condemnations of NATO’s 1999 attack, and Russian support for Serbia’s territorial integrity guaranteed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, have made him genuinely popular among the Serbs, more so than Vucic himself. Tens of thousands of people showed up in Belgrade to greet the Russian president.

While Vucic’s critics have alleged that many of them were bused in by the government – which may well be true, complete with signs showing both Vucic and Putin – there is no denying the strong pro-Russian sentiment in Serbia, no matter how hard Integrity Initiative operatives have tried.

One of the signs spotted in Belgrade reportedly said “one of 300 million,” referring to the old Serbian joke about there being “300 million of us – and Russians.” However, it is also a send-up of the slogan used by current street protesters against Vucic. For the past six weeks, every Saturday, thousands of people have marched through Belgrade, declaring themselves “1 of 5 million” after Vucic said he wouldn’t give in to their demands even if “five million showed up.”

The opposition Democrats accuse him of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement, cronyism – all the sins they themselves have plenty of experience with during their 12-year reign following Serbia’s color revolution. Yet they’ve had to struggle for control of the marches with the nationalists, who accuse Vucic of preparing to betray Kosovo and want “him to go away, but [Democrats] not come back.”

There is plenty of genuine discontent in Serbia with Vucic, who first came to power in 2012 on a nationalist-populist platform but quickly began to rule as a pro-NATO liberal. It later emerged that western PR firms had a key role in his party’s “makeover” from Radicals to Progressives. Yet his subsequent balancing act between NATO and Russia has infuriated both the NGOs and politicians in Serbia beholden to Western interests, and US diplomats charged with keeping the Balkans conquered.

Washington is busy with its own troubles these days, so there was no official comment to Putin’s visit from the State Department – only a somewhat pitiful and tone-deaf tweet by Ambassador Kyle Scott, bemoaning the lack of punishment for $1 million in damages to the US Embassy during a 2008 protest against Kosovo “independence.” Yet as far as Western media outlets are concerned, why Moscow seems to be vastly more popular than Washington on the streets of Belgrade nonetheless remains a mystery.

By Nebojsa Malic

 

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Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon And Progressive Alliance To Destroy Donald Trump

The neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via OffGuardian.com:


The Roman poet Ovid’s masterful epic The Metamorphoses includes the memorable opening line regarding the poem’s central theme of transformation. He wrote In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora, which has been translated as “Of shapes transformed to bodies strange, I purpose to entreat…”

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative.The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

The neocons initially found a home with Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, but they moved on in the 1970s and 1980s to prosper under Ronald Reagan as well as under Democrat Bill Clinton. Their ability to shape policy peaked under George W. Bush, when they virtually ran the Pentagon and were heavily represented in both the national security apparatus and in the White House. They became adept at selling their mantra of “strong national defense” to whomever was buying, including to President Obama, even while simultaneously complaining about his administration’s “weakness.”

The neoconservatives lined up behind Hillary Clinton in 2016, appalled by Donald Trump’s condemnation of their centerpiece war in Iraq and even more so by his pledge to end the wars in Asia and nation-building projects while also improving relations with the Russians. They worked actively against the Republican candidate both before he was nominated and elected and did everything they could to stop him, including libeling him as a Russian agent.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawk Richard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

Meanwhile, the neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald reports that, based on polling of party supporters, the Democrats have gone full-Hillary and are now by far more hawkish than the Republicans, unwilling to leave either Syria or Afghanistan.

The neocon survival and rejuvenation is particularly astonishing in that they have been wrong about virtually everything, most notably the catastrophic Iraq War. They have never been held accountable for anything, though one should note that accountability is not a prominent American trait, at least since Vietnam. What is important is that neocon views have been perceived by the media and punditry as being part of the Establishment consensus, which provides them with access to programming all across the political spectrum. That is why neocon standard-bearers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have been able to move effortlessly from Fox News to MSNBC where they are fêted by the likes of Rachel Maddow. They applauded the Iraq War when the Establishment was firmly behind it and are now trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency because America’s elite is behind that effort.

Indeed, the largely successful swing by the neocons from right to left has in some ways become more surreal, as an increasing number of progressive spokesmen and institutions have lined up behind their perpetual warfare banner. The ease with which the transformation took place reveals, interestingly, that the neocons have no real political constituency apart from voters who feel threatened and respond by supporting perpetual war, but they do share many common interests with the so-called liberal interventionists. Neocons see a global crisis for the United States defined in terms of power while the liberals see the struggle as a moral imperative, but the end result is the same: intervention by the United States. This fusion is clearly visible in Washington, where the Clintons’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is now working on position papers with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

One of the most active groups attacking President Trump is “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” founded by Bill Kristol in January 2018, as a component of Defending Democracy Together(DDT), a 501(c)4 lobbying group that also incorporates projects called The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin. Republicans Against Putin promotes the view that President Trump is not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin” and calls for more aggressive investigation of the Russian role in the 2016 election.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causesin the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Last week, the Omidyar-Kristol connection may have deepened with an announcement regarding the launch of the launch of a new webzine The Bulwark, which would clearly be at least somewhat intended to take the place of the recently deceased Weekly Standard. It is promoting itself as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance” and it is being assumed that at least some of the Omidyar money is behind it.

Iranian-born Omidyar’s relationship with Kristol is clearly based on the hatred that the two share regarding Donald Trump.

Omidyar has stated that Trump is a “dangerous authoritarian demagogue… endorsing Donald Trump immediately disqualifies you from any position of public trust.”

He has tweeted that Trump suffers from “failing mental capacity” and is both “corrupt and incapacitated.”

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. Kristol hates Trump because he threatens the war agenda while Omidyar despises the president for traditional progressive reasons. That hatred is the tie that binds and it is why Bill Kristol, a man possessing no character and values whatsoever, is willing to take Pierre Omidyar’s money while Pierre is quite happy to provide it to destroy a common enemy, the President of the United States of America.

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