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Russophobia And The Specter Of War

Who are the extremists, aggressors, and warmongers seemingly invested in the new Cold-War brinkmanship? 

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Authored by Carl Boggs via Counterpunch.org:


Could global warming pose the greatest threat to the future of life on the planet?  Quite possibly, if we believe the international (and scientific) consensus, despite a widening stratum of debunkers, deniers, and skeptics.  What about the prospects of thermonuclear war between the United States and Russia, two countries armed to the max and seemingly moving toward the brink of military conflict?  Where does that rate?   If the question is asked of most any Beltway denizen, the response might be something along lines of “sounds frightening, but right now we have other priorities, and we can’t lose sight of the Russian threat”.

As American political life continues to deteriorate, matters of war and peace rarely merit attention amidst the sound and fury of manufactured news, moral posturing, personal scandals, and tweeting exchanges. Good for TV ratings and maybe partisan advantage, decidedly less so for addressing issues of political relevance.   Now we have two years of frenzied Russiagate and its attendant neo-McCarthyism.   That the intensifying hostility directed by one nuclear power toward another might bring the world closer to a war that could end all wars seems bizarrely remote to a political class obsessed with little beyond its own power and wealth, faintly camouflaged by identity politics; the “unthinkable” remains, well, unthinkable.

As anti-Russia hysteria spreads, speech taboos harden; any discourse at odds with tightening official political/media consensus brings immediate blowback, smear-mongering, and (where possible) silencing.  It is so obvious that Vladimir Putin is a ruthless, aggressive monster that any dissenting view must be the product of either insanity or Russian propaganda.    In this one-dimensional world the recent appearance of Stephen F. Cohen’s important book, War with Russia?, comes with special urgency, Cohen being one of the few public intellectuals to challenge the onslaught of Russophobic narratives churned out relentlessly by the political/media establishment.  And he remains virtually alone in going so far as to write about very real specter of nuclear catastrophe.

Longtime scholar of Soviet/Russian studies, Cohen has for years resisted the tide of mindless Russia bashing that gathered steam first, with the 2014 Ukraine events, and then with Trump’s unacceptable rise to the White House.   For his informed and dispassionate analysis of Russian history and politics, Cohen has been denounced as “Putin’s number one American apologist”, charged by some for having been “duped” by that great Russian mastermind.  Appearing recently on CNN with Anderson Cooper and the neocon warmonger Max Boot, Cohen’s stubborn refusal to see Putin as the worst of all tyrannical evils triggered Boot, who proceeded to attack Cohen for decades of apologetics, followed by a dire warning: “Russia is attacking us right now”.   Such is the state of American media discourse that Boot had no need to furnish evidence of any such “attack”, and Cooper was not about to demand it.

Cohen’s book – a lengthy collection of recent essays – convincingly demolishes every fictional narrative behind Russiagate, the same arguments ritually presented as earth-shattering news at CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere across the corporate media.  In contrast to earlier cycles of anti-Soviet hysteria, including 1950s McCarthyism, the newer variant comes not from the extreme right but mainly from liberal Democrats and their allies in the “intel community”, warfare state, and media culture.  With an abundance of logic and facts, Cohen eviscerates the familiar myths and lies: Putin the maniacal dictator, Russia the imperial aggressor, Ukraine the model democracy, Trump’s love affair with Putin, and of course Putin’s notorious “attack on our democracy”.

In fact the new Cold War is entirely an American creation, starting in the early 1990s and continuing along multiple fronts: NATO expansion to Russian borders, economic sanctions designed to “cripple” the Russian economy, neo-fascist coup in Ukraine promoted in Washington, American withdrawal from the 1972 ABM nuclear treaty, groundless accusations that Moscow conspired to rig the 2016 U.S. presidential election, ongoing economic and military threats.  Nothing of the sort has been carried out by the Russian side.

Cohen shows how the new Cold War and Russiagate effectively constrain President Trump’s flexibility to defuse or at least manage U.S.-Russia conflict.  Any Trump move toward cooperation with Russia – vital to international nuclear sanity – will now surely bring accusations of “collusion”, even treason, reflected in the silly media outrage at Trump’s rather innocuous July summit meeting with Putin in Helsinki.  Room for maneuver has perilously narrowed, negating prospects for détente of the sort historically achieved by the likes of Nixon and Reagan (with the Soviets, no less).   The danger of such global hostilities hardly require elaboration.

The reigning assumption is that Putin – virtually alone among world leaders – cannot be a legitimate participant in normal international diplomacy; mere contact with Russian elites can nowadays be regarded as criminal.  U.S. partnership with Communist dictator Josef Stalin during World War II apparently met criteria for a working partnership, while the popularly-elected Putin is disqualified, forever discredited as “former KGB thug”.  The political/media establishment routinely castigates Putin as a tyrant, imperialist, racist, anti-Semite, and wanton murderer of political enemies though, as Cohen demonstrates, these charges fail to pass close scrutiny.  Since no clear ideological rationale exists for all the Russia bashing – the Communist regime disappeared nearly three decades ago – the new Cold Warriors are forced to rely strictly on personal demonization.

Cohen writes that “The other fallacious sub-axiom is that Putin has always been ‘anti-Western’, specifically ‘anti-American’, has always viewed the United States with ‘smoldering suspicion’ – so much so that he eventually set in motion a ‘Plot Against America’.”   A more careful reading of Putin’s years in power tells a different story.  A Westernized Russian, Putin came to the presidency in 2000 following the tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, hoping for a “strategic friendship and partnership” with the U.S.  Amazingly, if one believes his speeches and interviews, Putin still embraces that vision even today.

Cohen takes up the problem of sanctions that Washington has clumsily and repeatedly imposed on Russia, with at best limited success – though a common view in Moscow is that sanctions amount to economic warfare.   That “warfare” actually has a protracted history, going back to the first stirrings of the Bolshevik regime.  It is worth asking what might have been gained from such punishment, aside from needlessly cementing hostile relations with a Eurasian nuclear power?  Nothing much constructive.  Cohen points out that, “Historically, sanctions were not problem-solving measures advancing American national security but more akin to temper tantrums or road rage, making things worse, than to real policy-making.”  One geopolitical outcome, in recent years, has been to push the Russians closer to China and Iran.  Beyond that, sanctions have worked to Putin’s favor as his efforts to persuade “oligarchs” (business elites) to repatriate tens of billions of dollars from offshore enterprises has finally borne fruit.

The very logic of U.S.-imposed sanctions, moreover, is fraudulent: the Ukraine crisis was, more than anything, provoked by regime change sponsored by American neocons. Punishing Russia for its “attack on American democracy” makes even less sense, as “In reality, there was no ‘attack’, no Pearl Harbor, no 9/11, no Russian parachuters descending on Washington [contrary to Boot’s twisted fantasy] – only the kind of ‘meddling’ and ‘interference’ in the other’s domestic politics that countries have practiced almost ritualistically for nearly a hundred years.”  Cohen adds: “Whatever ‘meddling’ Russian actors did in 2016 may well have been jaywalking compared to the Clinton administration’s highly intrusive political and financial intervention on behalf of Russian president Yeltsin’s reelection campaign in 1996.”   Not to mention brazen and repeated U.S. regime-change interventions, often with military force, since World War II.

One result of Russiagate and the new McCarthyism is that, in the virtuous land of freedom and democracy there are nowadays declining levels of both.  At present, in Cohen’s words, “there remained, for the first time in decades of Cold War history, no countervailing forces in Washington – no pro-détente wing of the Democratic or Republican parties, no influential anti-Cold War opposition anywhere, no real debate.”  Congress, the media, academia, think tanks – all seem engulfed, to varying degrees, in the same Russophobia.

From the outset Russiagate was an elite strategy having little to do with the “left” or “extreme left” of FOX News lore – although, sadly, plenty of leftish liberals and progressives have joined a cynical scheme promoted at the summits of power, where the imperial warfare state always requires a diabolical enemy.  Indeed vilification of Putin attracts relatively little public attention, much less fear.   After years of media-fueled tales of terrible Russian deeds, Cohen refers to a 2018 Gallup poll showing that 58 percent of Americans want to “improve relations with Russia”, compared to 36 percent who do not.

In an essay titled “Russiagate and the Risk of Nuclear War”, Cohen observes that Beltway elites remain strangely indifferent to the threat of nuclear catastrophe.  Could a Doomsday scenario end up as the ultimate collateral damage, the legacy of relentless anti-Russia fanaticism?   Cohen writes: “We might fault Trump for being insufficiently strong – politically or psychologically – to resist warfare demands that he prove his ‘innocence’, butthe primary responsibility lies with Russiagate promoters who seek obsessively to impeach the president: politicians and journalists for whom a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, seems to be a higher priority than averting nuclear war with Russia.”  Could there be a more depressing commentary on the current state of American political culture?

It is finally worth asking: exactly who are the extremists, aggressors, and warmongers seemingly invested in the new Cold-War brinkmanship?   Does Putin have troops stationed on American borders?  Is he waging economic combat against the U.S.?   Has he staged a coup in Mexico?   Has he nullified any treaties?  Is he threatening to destroy Washington, D.C.?   Do we find incessant anti-American hysteria across the Russian public sphere?   For the moment, according to Cohen, “Putin still appears to be, in words and deeds, the moderate, calling Western leaders ‘our partners and colleagues’, asking for understanding and negotiations, being far less ‘aggressive’ than he might be.”

It turns out that Russophobia is riddled with its own contradictions – the most obvious being two incompatible views of the Russians: they are genetically corrupt, backward, and dysfunctional, unable to maintain a vital economy, yet are simultaneously global “puppet-masters” (John Brennan’s words) capable of rigging the outcome of a distant and high-tech American election.  Further, since both Putin and Trump are reputed to be rather thick-headed and out of control – Trump now relegated to special “idiot” status, deserving impeachment — it is truly shocking to be informed how they could so brilliantly and secretly collude, and with such marvelous results.

According to the eminent McCarthyite Brennan, himself a big supporter of the Ukraine coup (never described in the media as “former CIA thug”), Trump’s abominable behavior is nothing short of “treasonous”, unprecedented in the annals of the American presidency.   Cohen is on target to note that “Brennan’s views are those of Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover in their prime.”  The difference, of course, is that Brennan is rewarded with a lucrative job at MSNBC and celebrated as truth-teller, while McCarthy was eventually ostracized by Republican colleagues, censored by the Senate, denounced by President Eisenhower, and politically destroyed.

Cohen’s main arguments now seem more rather than less resonant – a bad sign for the trajectory of U.S.-Russia relations and, more ominously, for hopes the new Cold War will never turn into something even hotter than climate change while media attention is fixated elsewhere.  We are not likely to see editorials in the New York Times warning about the perils of disintegrating U.S.-Russia relations. Or special features on CNN.  Or lectures about the threat of nuclear war from Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough, or Don Lemon.  Just more earth-shattering revelations from the Mueller probe and a litany of scandals heroically brought to light by legions of vigilant Russiagate sleuths.

Writing in The Doomsday Machine, Daniel Ellsberg lays out in great detail the advancing likelihood that strategic nuclear systems – above all those of the U.S. and Russia – will, sooner or later, experience some kind of fatal calamity: not only through deliberate attack but from the very real possibility of false alarms, accidents, computer hacks, or even unauthorized launches.  In recent years fail-safe protections have been disastrously weakened or compromised, at a time of sharpening antagonism between the two biggest nuclear states.  The result of an “event”, Ellsberg writes, would likely be several hundred million dead, global fires raging for months, lethal worldwide radiation, and “nuclear winter that would starve to death nearly everyone living.”  That could be the terrible fate of humanity if Russophobia the new Cold War are allowed to follow their confrontational logic.

The undeserving target of personal smears, Stephen F. Cohen ought to be recipient of extraordinary tribute for his determined (and largely thankless) efforts to counter the barrage of endless myths, lies, and threats fueling anti-Russia hysteria that, if not soon subverted, could take the U.S. and rest of humanity along the road to unprecedented disaster.

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Brigitte Meier
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Brigitte Meier

Hitler started a war on Russia when it was already clear that the state was approaching bankruptcy – to take the world with him rather than to let the world take him down. Trump and the Deep State neocons appear to have adopted the same dystopian standpoint in which a nuclear war that will destroy planet earth is far preferable to their demise in shame. As Cohen laconically noticed, the two nuclear superpowers claim the necessity to destroy mankind including themselves and planet earth for self defense! Somebody should get D.C. to look at their logic! Instead, Trump is ousting… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
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Looking at the USA from the European side of the world, those people seem to be all warmongers, with different shades of the same belligerent, imperialist spirit: Bolton, Kelly, Mattis, Pompeo … The whole lot should be dismissed by President Trump.

Isabella
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Isabella

“despite a widening stratum of debunkers, deniers, and skeptics. ” The writer, if he knows the subject, should add here “despite a widening stratum of scientific evidence obtained from the studies of 400,000 yr old ice core studies, solar activity studies and tree ring studies, which show clearly that warming and cooling are natural cycles, that according to the cycles this one has arrive spot on time, and that it is now shown to be preceding a very cold cylce, a mini- Ice age”. There are others who disagree with “AGW” not just his view of those who oppose the… Read more »

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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.

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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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