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An end to empires

America withdrawing from conflicts that do not concern it would be a huge boon and relief to the world’s citizens.

Richard Galustian

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President Trump announcement, seemingly unilaterally, without advice from his military advisors or the Pentagon, has shocked and rocked American Military’s status quo strategy that has failed us all since post 9/11, yet the overwhelming majority of the American people and the world’s thinking population seem to love Trump’s decision.

That Trump has said that it’s remaining meagre 2000 troops in Syria will be withdrawn is a popular decision for the people. It’s also very symbolic.

Those American soldiers left in Afghanistan will hopefully no doubt follow.

In short and to be concise, this is why its popular for the people and a disaster for the Deep State:

• It is a sign that the US, well that its President, might finally be abandoning the disastrous ‘regime change’ policy pursuits’ and a sign of the beginning of the end of the stranglehold ‘the Military Industrial and Security Complex’ has on Washington.

• that American military adventures might end eventually in ALL nations. Nations do NOT need US Military protection, whether calling itself ‘a World Peacekeeper’ or the rather more disparaging thing that it really is, a country who believes in stealing gas and oil and land grabbing; as an imperialistic ambitious hyper-super Military State and aspiring ‘American Empire.’

• It would make this OpEd too long to give all the reasons in detail why I now make the following statements. I assume that readers have a sufficiently high standard of political understanding and historical knowledge combined with sophistication, to know.

• If there are that don’t, I suggest they read up on the subjects and educate themselves.

• There is ZERO threat to the United States and the Western world from either Russia or China and (laughable to even have to say it) Iran. There are of course with these countries conflicting economic interests that must be dealt with using diplomacy tools.

• the ONLY country that is effected by US withdrawal from Syria, and it MUST be said, is the illegally created country of Israel and its current odious fascist and apartheid Netanyahu regime.

• America must stop trying to be the policeman of the world; stop wars and conflicts which are today at around 15 by, in the main, US surrogates, and spend such money saved on US infrastructure and the American people.

• As far as Britain is concerned, She must ‘regain’ Her independence not only from Europe with a full BREXIT, but She must forget the illusion that Britain any longer have any semblance of a ‘Special Relationship with the US. Moreover Britain must stop ‘following like a puppy’ to paraphrase George Bush’s overheard comment to then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The insane wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria that America has typically dragged UK Forces into must end. British troops have been injured and died for example especially in Afghanistan, for nothing.

So Trump’s Syria withdrawal caused uproar in DC. Good. The immediate most prominent protest was by Trump’s defence secretary Mattis, who resigned.

There will be others. And good riddance to these warmongers. The day Bolton and Pompei resign will be the day that people will realise that they are going through the process of freeing themselves of the shackles, the stranglehold of Neocon politics that have dominated the 21st Century in America, remember triggered by ‘their’ 9/11; ‘their’ Pearl Harbour’.

Other less important knee jerk reactions followed Trump’s announcement about military withdrawals, from the usual suspects notably the ‘bought’ Western main stream media being the most vocal.

However, here is the alternative point of view:

As stated earlier herein, it is ludicrous to believe that Russia, China or even Iran pose a real threat to America. It is American militarism and Imperialism that is the uppermost threat to the world.

Russia’s albeit rather dislikable President Putin has raised many times his fears for humanity should a nuclear conflict occur and frankly he makes far more sense than his western counterparts.

Potential nuclear war is one of the three key issues that the worlds leaders should be addressing; the others being the effect of overpopulation and of course the environment.

America withdrawing from conflicts that do not concern it would be a huge boon and relief to the world’s citizens.

The US should spend more time and effort on helping the world address its environmental issues to save the planet and stop denying the scientific evidence on climate change.

The many trillions of dollars the US would save on trimming its Pentagon budget; on stopping Her involvement in pointless world conflicts, benefiting only the 1% super rich, could be much more usefully spent on a new FDR type deal for the people. Examples would be in health, social care, education and improving the lot of the disabled veterans living suffering with the mental and physical effects of fighting in ludicrous pointless wars like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

It is clear that the UK does not have any special relationship with the US and should stop being it’s lapdog and sending troops to fight wars that do not pose any threat to Her interests. Again, why does not Britain not concentrate Her efforts closer to home where austerity and Brexit indecision are crippling the nation?

Israel is of course going to be effected by US troops pulling out of Syria – so what. Israel is NOT part of America.

The insanity in America in this regard today is no better exemplified by this example. Can someone explain why an American, a children’s teacher, lost her job for declining to sign a document requiring she refuse to boycott Israel?

The US Government issued document required her to affirm “that she does not currently boycott Israel and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.” When she declined to sign, she “was forced to terminate her contractual relationship with the school district.”

What the hell has, what in effect is a pledge of allegiance to Israel got to do with an American citizen? Point made I hope!

In conclusion turning to the great Mark Twain who said that “history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme”.

Specifically addressing wars in Afghanistan in particular, Winston Churchill had a unique insight and personal experience of that country and its peoples.

A war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. Of that there is no doubt.

Churchill summed up the two British wars against Afghanistan in the 19th Century, which Britain both lost, describing British policy in Afghanistan in 1897 as: “Financially it is ruinous. Morally it is wicked. Militarily it is an open question and politically it is a blunder.”

What’s changed? This remains absolutely true in the 21st Century.

For anyone with interest in history, the term “North-West Frontier” holds ominous resonances.

In the 21st Century repeat of the folly of going to war in Afghanistan, we see the great truth of Mark Twain’s comment.

How did we so quickly forget that 250,000 Soviet troops in relatively recent history lost their war in Afghanistan?

Why do we never learn the lessons of history?

America’s imperialistic Military Neocon ambitions need to be stopped and one hopes President Trump might be the man to do it.

There can be no more empires is the hope otherwise we must expect nuclear Armageddon this century.

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wholy1
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wholy1

yo Donald, best be a look’n for some appropriate retreat digs – extended family included – cuz the “praetorian guards” be a com’in fer ya.

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

We shall see, in the new Defense Secretary, which direction Trump is truly going. As far as the author’s suggestion that the US has some kind of FDR type of program with the money “saved,” I would suggest the US government let its citizens keep their hard earned money – they will know what to do with it.

G George
Guest
G George

That sounds like a typical neocon reply. Who cares about the gross inequality, let the rich pay no taxes and keep fucking the common person over.

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

Neocons are former Trotskyites. Trotskyites are communists. What did I say that was communist? You sound more like the neocon.

cstahnke
Guest
cstahnke

Washington demands a constant state of war to survive—every aspect of Washington is disliked by the public EXCEPT the military. Americans, for bizarre cultural reasons, define themselves through the mythology of military might (it doesn’t have to be real, just imagined)—not for defense, not to build Empire but because our deepest DNA as a culture lies in violence, in “toughness” and so on. Without permanent war there can be no Imperial Court. If it’s not in the MENA region then it has to be somewhere else. So “war” will have to be initiated somewhere else perhaps in the already well-underway… Read more »

Diego G
Guest
Diego G

Agree re U.S. withdrawing from everywhere possible, closing bases on foreign soil as much as possible & being non-interventionists.
The overpopulation & climate change issues are highly debatable & sound more like those
ideas are coming from the Rhodesians that have been running the world since 1891.
The Brits have been trying to manage the U.S. for the last 100 years. It’s time to
call bollocks on their influence (as well as the influence of Israel & Saudi Arabia) on
the USA. Me thinks four of the five eyes countries are working against, not with, the USA.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

High time for America to start sticking it’s nose into it’s own business. The US backyard has more than enough that needs cleaning up. And yes, it would be a great relief it the Americans would finally mind their own…Live and let live.

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

With an ever faster News cycle, People forget what happened in the Past bringing this World to the Present. Some Historical Facts and Timeline People don’t take into consideration. 1. Within weeks of 9/11, the US came out with WAR PLANS to change the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria and at THE END, Iran. 2. Republican Bush illegally invaded Iraq in 2003. 3. ISIS did not exist until the illegal US invasion of Iraq 4. Democrat Obama did Libya and started the Syrian regime change phase of the 2001 US WAR PLAN in 2011. 5. In line with the 2001… Read more »

G George
Guest
G George

I agree with most of what you say. It´s the religious bullshit that makes greatly diminishes what you say.

Walter Dublanica
Member

HURRAH for Trump. He and Putin should form an alliance and America will be great again. Together they have over 90% of the worlds nuclear weapons which will not be aimed against each other. Nobody will mess with either country. Good man Trump.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

~ And a huge setback for the ZOGs’ sicko terrorists ~ so don’t believe it to be anything more than the ZioUS/ISIS defeat in sovereign pro-democracy resource-rich Syria than it only really is. Well done anti-terrorist Syria, Iran and Russia for forcing this to happen. False-flagging war-criminal Swamp-Chump can deceitfully lie all he wants – he is equally bitter about the US’A-hole’ loss and humiliation here as every other sly piece of pigdog sh!!!t but the cost to stay is just too much economically and politically.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

“An end to empires
America withdrawing from conflicts that do not concern it would be a huge boon and relief to the world’s citizens.”
Thank goodness, the US “Empire” is ending. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Diana
Guest
Diana

Please note: it should be ‘affected’ not ‘effective’. Affect = verb. Effect = noun. Thanks for sharing your article 😊

jJohn R. Nolan
Guest
jJohn R. Nolan

Again, what is referred to as Israel, id NOT true Israel, but are the Kazarian Jews, who are intent on total global economic control.True Israel, according to the Bible, the Word of God, are only the lineage from Isaac,the rest are potential cannon fodder! Again, according to the Bible, which has never been proven incorrect, the Gentile dispensation is finished, the Word goes back to call out the 144,000 true descendants of Isaac. False Israel is truly the greatest single enemy,with her lapdog Amazian armed forces, to the world, and it is ime all the yobbos forget considering Russia, Iran… Read more »

SteveK9
Guest
SteveK9

Can I agree with some of your points and disagree with others, or are you speaking ‘ex-cathedra’ as one might assume from the prologue?

Harvey Apple
Guest
Harvey Apple

Gay Muslim Marxist Obama infiltrated America with Muslim terrorists.
Gay Muslim Marxist Trudeau is infiltrating Canada with Muslim terrorists.
Mexico is covertly at war with America, aiding Obama’s invasion.
We know terrorists are infiltrating our southern, and northern, border.
We need to bring our fighters home to halt the NWO’s attempted collapse, of America, from within.
I anticipate that many Democrats, “Bush” Republicans, and government officials will soon be sitting before military tribunals.

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

“Russia’s albeit rather dislikable President Putin…”

The article would be more professional had the writer prefaced this statement with something admitting it’s highly subjective view. To many many people around the world, including hundreds who have dealt with President Putin personally, he is highly likeable, admirable, and believable.
I didn’t bother reading after that. A writer who seems unable to tell the difference between the subjective and objective isn’t worth reading.

Gyre
Guest
Gyre

I don’t see Putin as “dislikeable”, like that’s even relevant.

Cap
Guest
Cap

Will he send them to Venezuela as he once said…military solution is on the table for the area, Every US president had its war. ME wars are not Trumps’ but Obama’s, which he despise and dumbdumb Bush’s, which he couldn’t care less what he thinks or says.

Malecon
Guest
Malecon

What is “rather dislikeable” about President Putin? Please explain.

Otherwise you’re right, as far as political power is concerned, Israel is not part of the USA, rather the USA is part of Israel.

Rossco20
Guest
Rossco20

Israel will raise the stakes with the US withdrawal,but the one country Israel is afraid of is Russia and Russia will not take kindly to its Syrian neighbour being bombed at the expense of commercial airliners being used as collateral by the Zionists as cover for their aerial attacks. Israel is not a legal country , they are no longer the chosen , they are murderous Arab haters. Why? because they took the land they lost through the covenant they broke with God from the Arabs who have no justice .They were unworthy of this covenant on numerous occasions until… Read more »

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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By

Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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