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What local Orthodox Churches think about Ukrainian autocephaly

Comprehensive review of Local Orthodox Churches remains mostly the same since this article was first released, but with a few updates.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The most serious schism within the Eastern Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054 continues this year, with the excommunication of the Constantinople Patriarch, Bartholomew I, following his “rehabilitation” of two schismatic hierarchs on October 11th of this year. The local Orthodox Churches already had a reaction before this ever happened, and that response has largely deepened now.

Prior to that event, though, the possibility that the Ukrainian government, consumed with a fervor to utterly purge the country of all things Russian, was going to try to eject the leading Orthodox Church in that country because it is under the Moscow Patriarchate. The noisings of Filaret Denisenko and President Poroshenko were getting noticed by Constantinople and by the West, who seek to use Ukraine as the next outpost in its proxy battle against Russia.

This is not merely an ecclesiastical spat but a major front in the fight between secular or atheist globalism and Christian sovereignty.

On the 6th of July of this year, the Union of Orthodox Journalists compiled a list of the thoughts expressed by the fourteen “Local” Orthodox Churches regarding Ukrainian autocephaly, or total independence.  (A “Local” Church is such a church, in 100% communion theologically with all the other Orthodox Churches, but administered independently of them. There is no single human point of authority in Eastern Orthodoxy, with each bishop having independence within his own see.)

The following is excerpted heavily from the Union’s piece, with emphasis added where we thought it would be useful for the reader in understanding the nature and character of this problem:

World Orthodoxy supports the UOC (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate) and condemns the split.

Recently, representatives of the unrecognized Kyiv Patriarchate have voiced manipulative theses about the support of the Ukrainian authorities by the Local Orthodox Churches. In particular, head of the UOC-KP Filaret stated that autocephaly for the schismatics will be supported by 12 out of 15 (although the recognized autocephalous churches at the moment are only 14) Churches.

The UOJ has prepared a selection of statements by representatives of the Orthodox Churches, upon which one can make sure that the fullness of Orthodoxy condemns the split and does not accept its legalization in any form. Priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church can print out this material and deliver the truth to their parishioners.

Alexandrian Orthodox Church

On June 29, 2018 Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol took part in the Liturgy in the Greek city of Berea and communicated with representatives of the Orthodox Churches, in particular with the Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria.

Regarding the initiative of the Ukrainian authorities, the Patriarch of Alexandria noted that modern politicians are more likely to harm the Church than to help it. They and we need to remember that “even hair cannot fall from our head without the will of God” (see Matthew 10, 29), therefore not always what they want will be pleasing to God, Who does everything for our eternal salvation, and not for up-to-the-minute whims.

Patriarch Theodoros II stressed that the issues of autocephaly should be resolved through fraternal discussion, since only general support can contribute to their solution.

“Let us pray to God, Who does all for our good, that He will impart wisdom to everyone by solving these problems. If the schismatic Denisenko wants to return to the bosom of the Church, then he must go back to where he left. What has fallen off must return to where it fell from. God is merciful to those who repent. So the Church forgives and accepts in its maternal embrace all those who repent,” said the Primate of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church.

Serbian Orthodox Church

On May 23, 2018 Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church Irinej stated the following: “Everyone knows the feat of hundreds of thousands of Serbs who fought to the death for holy Orthodoxy. Therefore, I think, it is not necessary to say a lot of words to explain how the Serbian Church sees everything that is happening in Ukraine today,” Patriarch Irinej said.” Our response is the same as the response of our predecessors: the Serbian Church entirely supports the unity and integrity of the Russian Orthodox Church and resolutely condemns actions of Uniates and schismatics who tear apart the robe of Christ at the place of Kievan Baptism betraying their people to the enemies of faith. Their end shall be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:15).”

“Everyone who helps Ukrainian schismatics is not only an enemy of the Russian Church and the Russian world, but also of all Orthodox Slavonic peoples and the whole Orthodox world,” Patriarch Irinej said.

Earlier, on May 10, 2018, the SOC’s Council of Bishops expressed full support to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

“We express our full solidarity in compassionate brotherly love for our sister – the Church-martyr in Ukraine, which is subjected to the brutal persecution by the current regime in Kiev.”

Bulgarian Orthodox Church

On June 15, 2018, deputy head of the presidential administration, Rostislav Pavlenko, met with Patriarch Neophyte, the leader of the BOC.

The chief secretary of the Holy Synod of the BOC, Bishop Gerasim of Melnish, stressed that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is well acquainted with the Ukrainian situation and its complexity. However, within the framework of this process, said Bishop Gerasim, it is necessary to strictly observe the ecclesiastical canons, which the Orthodox Church has been following for many centuries.

Earlier the Primate of the Bulgarian Church has repeatedly expressed his support for the UOC and condemned the actions of the schismatics.

Polish Orthodox Church

On May 17, 2018, the Synod of the Polish Church expressed support for the UOC.

“As for the letter of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, who informs us of the current situation of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, we express a clear position of the Polish Autocephalous Church, namely, that the ecclesiastic life of the canonical Orthodox Church should be based on the principles of dogmatism and holy canons of the Orthodox Church,” reads the decision of the Holy Synod of the Polish Orthodox Church. “Violation of this principle leads to chaos in the life of the Church. In Ukraine there are certain schismatic groups that must first of all repent and return to the canonical Church. Only then can we discuss the issue of granting autocephaly.”

The hierarchs of the Polish Orthodox Church emphasize, “The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church professes, above all, the observance of the canonical order in the life of the Church. The Mother Church can grant autocephaly in accordance with the opinion of the Local Orthodox Churches provided it has been confirmed by all Primates of the Local Churches.

“When it comes to dogmatic-canonical issues, one cannot be guided by political considerations,” the Synod summed up.

Orthodox Church of Jerusalem

On April 26, 2018, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine met with the Primate of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III.

“We are doing our best to restore the unity of the Church,” said the head of the Jerusalem Church. “I have always believed and believe, like my spiritual fathers, that the best way to resolve the church schism in Ukraine is to restore the unity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy with the Moscow Patriarchate and then to start a dialogue as a way of solving the problem. As an example, I often refer to the relationship between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of Greece.”

Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

On May 30, the Ukrainian delegation with the participation of former presidents Kuchma and Kravchuk visited Metropolitan Rostislav.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav drew the attention of interlocutors to the fact that interference in the affairs of religion on the part of the authorities is unacceptable in a democratic society.

“The schism that arose out of human egoism can only be healed through repentance and return to the Church,” Vladika said, adding that the new autocephaly (for the canonical Church – author) should be born out of an all-Orthodox consensus.

Georgian Orthodox Church

On June 21, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church took place. According to the member of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Petra, at the meeting on June 21 the Synod did not consider this issue in the sense of “support it or not”.

“The Holy Synod took a reasonable position, which lies in that the discussion on this issue will take place after the Ecumenical Patriarchate has clarified its position,” the hierarch said in a conversation with reporters.

However, according to the Greek media outlet Romfea, one of the metropolitans of the Georgian Patriarchate, on condition of anonymity, reported that Patriarch Ilia II expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Ukrainian issue: “His Beatitude does not agree with the initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Ukraine and accepts as legitimate exclusively the Church under the leadership of Metropolitan Onufry,” said the Georgian hierarch.

Contrary to the position of the Patriarch and the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Peter (Tsaava) supported the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In his statements to the Georgian media he justified his opinion by the fact that 40 million people in the country should have their independent Church. Yet it should be emphasized the above said is just his private opinion.

Antiochian Orthodox Church

A communique of the Holy Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, published on April 30, commented on conflicts in the Orthodox world, in the course of which “efforts are being made to change the borders of the Patriarchates and autocephalous churches.”

The Synod stated that “the Patriarchate of Antioch suffered and continues to suffer from the invasion of the Jerusalem Patriarchate to its canonical territory and the establishment of the so-called “diocese” in Qatar. In this context, he calls for a return to the principle of consensus by addressing important issues, because it has always helped Orthodoxy avoid splits and fragmentation.”

Greek Orthodox Church

On June 26, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the ROC, met with Archbishop Jerome, the head of the GOC.

Archbishop Jerome noted, “I am particularly pleased by today’s meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, which gave us a wonderful opportunity to exchange views on ecclesiastic topics in general, to discuss our good fraternal relations with the Russian Church, as well as a number of pressing issues, for example, the situation of church affairs in Ukraine. We decided that we will follow the development of events in order to state whether we agree or not. We wish enlightenment to all those who, unlike us, are endowed with great powers to achieve the result for the good of the whole Church.”

Orthodox Church of Cyprus

On July 21, 2017 a letter from His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostom II of New Justinian and the whole of Cyprus arrived in the name of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia regarding the position of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

In his return letter, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostom, in particular, notes: “Whenever the state and especially the parliament interfere in the issues of the Church, the harm is obvious. The actions of the parliament will lead to the creation of a certain schismatic church, while the holy fathers view schism as the deepest wound on the sacred body of the Church. The Church is a feeding Mother, and it strives for unity in the love of all the people of the Ukrainian state. Laws are always compulsory, causing division among the people. The Ukrainian people have suffered enough and continue to be in distress, so there is no need for additional misfortunes and torments. The Church of Cyprus expresses its discontent with this interference,” Archbishop Chrysostom said.

Having assured His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of his support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church “in this troubled and difficult time,” the Primate of the Church of Cyprus noted, “Our Church prays to the Organizer of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, to enlighten the political leaders of Ukraine so that they could persuade the schismatics to return to the Church headed by Your Holiness.”

Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, Protopriest Nikolai Danilevich, told http://spzh.news/en/news/44835-hierarchs-of-local-churches-express-support-for-the-uoc-video on his Facebook page about the position of the Cypriot hierarchs: “I had talks with the priests from Cyprus. They asked me about the situation around our ecclesiastic issue. They said, “We communicate with our bishops. All of them are against it. No one supports (the idea of giving Tomos in circumvention of the UOC). Everyone says, “We do not know what it will result in, but we will not recognize this new structure. We will be with the Church of Metropolitan Onufry.”

Romanian Orthodox Church

In April 2016, Bishop Varlaam, secretary of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Church, supported the UOC as the only canonical Church in Ukraine and stated, “The Romanian Orthodox Church prays continuously for peace in Ukraine, on whose body the bleeding wound is gaping caused by the ongoing armed conflict, which is aggravated by actions of the schismatics being lawless and contradictory to the Gospel and canons, which can not in any way contribute to the establishment of peace on the Ukrainian land.”

Albanian Orthodox Church

The Church of Albania has not yet expressed its official position concerning the initiative of Ukrainian authorities, yet one can make conclusions based on its previous statements it also supports the UOC.

UPDATE: From the article linked here, the Albanian Church struck a non-polarized point of view, calling both sides out – for the Albanians, Russia was wrong to excommunicate Constantinople, but the Ecumenical Patriarch’s actions were also uncanonical, and the solution is for all the Local Churches to settle the matter. Albania offered to mitigate.

Orthodox Church of Constantinople

Finally, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which the schismatics pin high hopes to and assert it is determined to recognize them, declares quite the opposite.

Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol held talks with the representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea, who said literally the following:

“Patriarch Bartholomew is particularly concerned about the split triggered by the current head of the “Kyiv Patriarchate” with the support of politicians. Aware of the responsibility for the church unity, His Holiness wishes, without interfering in the internal life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and in the political situation, to help solve a very difficult issue – the existence of the schism in Ukraine, which can only be settled by canonical means. The issue is so complex that so far no one knows how to resolve it and at the same time not to lose our brothers, who are in schism, and to return them to the saving bosom of the Orthodox Church.”

Arising from the aforesaid, the position of the Local Churches can be summed up as follows:

  1. Politicians should not interfere in the internal affairs of the Church;
  2. Schismatics must unite with the canonical Church after their repentance and only later can the prospect of autocephaly be discussed;
  3. All complex ecclesiastical issues should be resolved by consensus, together, rather than by an individual decision;
  4. The overcoming of the split must take place strictly on a canonical basis.

The last position listed, that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself, is the most interesting situation because between the time that this article was first released and now, the EP has obviously done a pretty radical reversal, “finding” precedent to claim that it can reverse history and therefore resume control over Ukraine “which it never ceded.” However, given information we show here and here, it is apparent that the besieged patriarch, Bartholomew I, was easy pickings with an alleged US $25 million offered for him to create the turmoil in Ukraine.

Given the susceptibility of Bartholomew to socio-political and cultural issues in the same vein as the Roman Catholic Church, it probably did not seem a great leap for the man to make this change in his direction.

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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.

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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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