Category Archives: Foreign Policy (US)

Mueller And Atta: Fake Intel Runs Through … Prague, Part 1


By ©ilana mercer

No, the moral of the Mueller inquisition is not that the Left is incorrigibly corrupt and morally and intellectually bankrupt, although this is certainly true.

And, no. It’s not that the Republicans are meek, more eager for swamp-creature tenure than to save the country. However much state power flaccid Republicans capture, they quickly come to heel when Democrats crack the whip.

The moral of the Mueller inquisition, at least one of them, concerns the alphabet soup of acronyms that stands for the Permanent Security State—FBI, DOJ, DIA, DHS, CIA, NSA, on and on. That this intractable apparatus’ impetus is liberal is hardly new. What is counterintuitive to many is that the Permanent Security State’s modus operandi comports perfectly well with both Republican and Democratic administrations, alike.

When it comes to subverting an “America First,” sovereignty-centered, populist platform—the duopoly acts as one. Have not fans of Mr.  Mueller kept reminding us that the man is a loyal Republican? And he is—Mueller’s a Republican stalwart of the managerial class. (By the way, Mueller fans can find “Mr. Mueller-face earrings and Mueller devotional candles on Etsy, the e-commerce equivalent of a hippie grandmother’s attic.”)

To make sense of the Russia Monomania and the Mueller time we all served, it is essential to grasp the anatomy of American state power.

In particular, to comprehend the mass hysteria that is the war on Trump, it’s crucial to trace the contours of that other war, “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” and the way it was peddled to the American public.

The manufacturing of Fake News by the Deep State, circa 2017, is of a piece with the anatomy of the ramp-up to war in Iraq, in 2003. Except that back then, Republicans, joined by many a diabolical Democrat like Hillary Clinton, were the ones who dreamt up Homer Simpson’s Third Dimension in Iraq.

Fact: The Steel Dossier, which launched the Mueller inquisition, was as fantastical a fabrication as were the documents that fed the Bush administration’s will to war.

As it is, intelligence report-writing is more art than science; more flare than fact. It’s executed by many of the same, tinny, dogmatic, ex-CIA feminists whom we see plonked in CNN studios, ponderously pontificating about Our Russian Enemy.

From the CIA to CNN, the youthful talking heads (and their shapely keisters) have only ever gone from a swivel chair at the Langley headquarters to a seat in a CNN studio, in New York City.

It’s not at all unfair to conclude that the “intelligence” these cartoon characters produced as CIA or FBI agents is as intelligent as their commentary in the TV studio.

PRAGUE AGAIN?

Did no one but this writer have PTSD-related flashbacks when Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, was floated during the Mueller madness?

During his testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the bewildered Michael Cohen—a tragic figure, really—was asked in all seriousness whether he had liaised with “Kremlin officials” in Prague. “I’ve never been to the Czech Republic,” Cohen shot back.

Curiously, Prague is umbilically linked to another notorious intelligence hoax.

According to manufactured American intelligence, a putative meeting between Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of Sept. 11, and Iraqi intelligence, was said to have taken place in … Prague.

Atta and the Iraqi assets never met in Prague. (At the time, Iraq had been 95-percent disarmed and was in possession of no weapons of mass destruction, an assessment backed by many an expert in strategic studies BEFORE THE WAR.)

The Prague apparition is a thread that runs through the Iraq and Mueller mythology.

Is Prague a figment of an intelligence officer (a female enterprise?) who had just read her first Milan Kundera novel? Inquiring minds have to wonder.

Seriously, Prague is the witches brew you get when you fuse the FBI’s highly-strung anti-Trump brigade with Christopher Steele’s “research” team.

Certainly, the publicly available CIA reports, offering “irrefutably” incriminating evidence against Iraq—the one I had perused in December of 2002—had novel-like qualities.

UNINTELLIGENT INTELLIGENCE

Hardly sober and scholarly, the bafflegab that convinced Republicans to destroy the balance of power in Iraq and the region went something like, “Saddam will probably”; “Give him time and he will eventually”; “With sufficient weapons-grade fissile material, he’ll doubtless”; “He doesn’t have the capability to develop enriched uranium or plutonium to fuel a nuclear bomb, but just you wait …”

This is obviously not the letter of the texts that convinced everyone (except a few of us) to destroy Iraq. But it’s close enough to its spirit.

How the CIA cobbled together evidence for an “interest in acquiring” or “an effort to procure”—considering that these WMD-related purchases never seemed to materialize—isn’t clear. What proof did we have that they were even initiated? None.

I hazard that much of the compositions masquerading as intelligence and continually cited by political actors in privileging their policies are in language that is manifestly intended to exempt the writer from having to substantiate much of the claims.

Be it against Iraq or Russia, the political storyline du jour is manufactured by America’s gilded elites. To this—to heading a principate like Rome—Republican Karl Rove famously confessed during the era of Bush II:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”  Not coincidentally, Karl is currently urging Republicans to “move on from Robert Mueller,” nothing here to see.

MANUFACTURING CONSENT

To manufacture consent over Iraq, elements in the intelligence community worked with neoconservative counterparts in Bush 43’s administration, in particularity with “the Office of Special Plans.” And while Fake News babes did wonders to sex up, stateside, the cause of senseless killing—the dissemination of Fake News, vis-a-vis Iraq, was hardly the exclusive province of Fox News. With some laudable exceptions, Big Media all was tuned-out, turned-on and hot for holy war in the cause of democracy, WMD, whatever.

Now, it’s all-out war on Trump. Then, the same Machine aligned against Iraq.

Salient in 2003, as in 2017, was the monolithic quality of the cheer-leading coming from the networks; an unquestioning uniformity that spoke to a slutty sell-out throughout the media establishment. For journalistic jingoism, it’s impossible to best the coverage of the high-tech media extravaganza known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Embedded with the military turned out to be a euphemism for in bed with the military. Practically all network embeds focused exclusively on the Pentagon’s version of events, to the exclusion of reality on the Iraqi ground. Yet reporters who slept with their sources were treated as paragons of truth. Those of us who refused such cohabitation were labeled “unilaterals,” deniers, unpatriotic, and worse.

Reporting hearsay as truth and failing to verify stories were all in a day’s work on cable and news networks. A Geiger counter that went off in the inexpert hands of a young Marine, stationed in Iraq, became “Breaking News,” possible evidence of weapons-grade plutonium. Every bottle of Cipro pills located was deemed a likely precursor to an anthrax factory. Anchormen and women somberly seconded these “finds,” seldom bothering to issue retractions.

When you’re the most powerful entity in the world, as the U.S. government still is—you get to manufacture your own parallel universe with its unique rules of evidence and standards of proof. What’s more, as the mightiest rule-maker, you can coerce other earthlings into “sharing” your alternate reality by hook or by crook, abroad or at home.

More than anything, the moral of Mueller is that the Security State is dangerous to all Americans, Republicans, Deplorables—even Democrats.

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

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Lies About Putin, Syria And The Alawite Alliance


By ilana mercer

On just about every issue, in 2016, candidate Trump ran in opposition to Sen. Lindsey Graham. Donald Trump won the presidency; Lindsey Graham quit the race with a near-zero popularity, as reflected in the polls.

The People certainly loathe the senator from South Carolina. A poll conducted subsequently found that Graham was among least popular senators.

No wonder. Graham is reliably wrong about most things.

But being both misguided and despised have done nothing to diminish Sen. Graham’s popularity with Big Media, left and right. Thus were his pronouncements accorded the customary reverence, during a July 10 segment, on Fox News’ “The Story.”

Which is when he told anchor Martha MacCallum that, “Putin is not doing anything good in Syria.”

Then again, Lindsey is being consistent. The revival of “one of the world’s oldest Christian communities,” in Syria, is not something the senator we’ve come to know and loathe would celebrate.

It’s true. “A new Syria is emerging from the rubble of war,” reports The Economist, a magazine which is every bit as liberal and Russophobic as Graham and his political soul mate, John McCain, but whose correspondents on the ground—in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs—have a far greater fidelity to the truth than the terrible two.

“In Homs, …  the Christian quarter is reviving. Churches have been lavishly restored; a large crucifix hangs over the main street.” ‘Groom of Heaven,’ proclaims a billboard featuring a photo of a Christian soldier killed in the seven-year conflict. And, in their sermons, Orthodox patriarchs praise Mr. Assad for saving … the Christian communities.”

Don’t tell the ailing McCain. It’ll only make him miserable, but thanks to Putin, Assad “now controls Syria’s spine, from Aleppo in the north to Damascus in the south—what French colonists once called la Syrie utile (useful Syria). The rebels are confined to pockets along the southern and northern borders.”

“Homs, like all of the cities recaptured by the government, now belongs mostly to Syria’s victorious minorities: Christians, Shias and Alawites (an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam from which Mr. Assad hails). These groups banded together against the rebels, who are nearly all Sunni, and chased them out of the cities.” (“How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria,” The Economist, June 28, 2018.)

A Christian teacher in Homs rejoices, for she no longer must live alongside neighbors “who overnight called you a kafir (infidel).”

The teacher’s venom is directed at John McCain’s beloved “rebels.” Internet selfies abound of McCain mixing it up with leading Sunni “rebels,” against whom Putin and Bashar al-Assad were doing battle. Who knows? McCain may even have taken a pic with the infamous “rebel” who decapitated Syrian Franciscan monk Father Francois Murad.

Ignoramuses McCain and Graham had both urged the US to send weapons to the “rebels”—even as it transpired that the lovelies with whom McCain was cavorting on his sojourns in Syria liked to feast on … the lungs of their pro-Assad enemies. A devotee of multiculturalism, Lindsey could probably explain the idiosyncratic cultural symbolism of such savagery.

Infested as it is by globalist ideologues, the permanent establishment of American foreign policy refuses to consider regional, religious, local, even tribal, dynamics in the Middle East. In particular, that the “good” guys in Syria—a relative term—are not the Islamist “rebels,” with whom the senior Republican senator from Arizona was forever frolicking; but the secular Alawites.

You likely didn’t know that Alawites like al-Assad also “flinch at Shia evangelizing. ‘We don’t pray, don’t fast [during Ramadan] and drink alcohol,’ says one.”

Under Putin’s protection, the more civilized Alawite minority (read higher IQ), which has governed Syria since 1966, is in charge again. Duly, reports the anti-Assad Economist, “Government departments are functioning. … electricity and water supplies are more reliable than in much of the Middle East. Officials predict that next year’s natural-gas production will surpass pre-war levels. The railway from Damascus to Aleppo might resume operations this summer. The National Museum in Damascus, which locked up its prized antiquities for protection, is preparing to reopen to the public.”

Good thinking. The “rebels” would have blown Syria’s prized antiquities to smithereens.

Given that Islamists are not in charge, the specter of men leaving their women and fleeing Syria has had an upside. Syrian women dominate the workforce. Why, they’re even working as “plumbers, taxi-drivers and bartenders.” Had Sen. Graham, his friends the “rebels,” and their Sunni state sponsors won—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—would this be possible? Turkey is currently sheltering “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group linked to al-Qaeda, and other Sunni rebels.”

Aligned against the Christian-Shia-Alawite alliance are Israel and America, too. They’ve formed a protective perimeter around rebel holdouts.

Before the breakthrough, when Sunni rebels were gaining ground, Syria’s “women donned headscarves,” and “non-Muslim businessmen bowed to demands from Sunni employees for prayer rooms. But as the war swung their way, minorities regained their confidence.” “Christian women in Aleppo [now] show their cleavage, the internet is unrestricted and social-media apps allow for unfettered communication. Students in cafés openly criticize the regime.”

Contra the robotic sloganeering from Lindsey, Nikki Haley and the political establishment, Russia has been pushing Bashar al-Assad to open up Syria’s political process and allow for the revival of “multiparty politics.”

Alas, the once bitten Assad is twice shy. His attempts, a decade ago, to liberalize Syrian politics resulted in the ascendancy of Sunni fundamentalism, aka Lindsey Grahamnesty’s rebels. (The nickname is for the Republican senator’s laissez-faire immigration policies, stateside.)

As has Russia called “for foreign forces to leave Syria,” Iran’s included. Iran commands 80,000 Shia militiamen in Syria. “Skirmishes between the [Iranian] militias and Syrian troops have resulted in scores of deaths. Having defeated Sunni Islamists, army officers say they have no wish to succumb to Shia ones.”

It all boils down to national sovereignty. So as to survive the onslaught of the Sunni fundamentalist majority, the endangered Alawite minority formed an alliance with the Iranian Shia, also a minority among the Ummah. Now, civilized and secular Syrians want their country back. In fact, many Syrian “Sunnis prefer Mr. Assad’s secular rule to that of Islamist rebels.”

***

ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

Trump’s Phone Call To Putin


By ilana mercer

“This is just a truly astonishing moment coming from the White House podium,” tweeted MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. Like the rest of the media pack-animals she hunts with, Ms. Hunt had been fuming over President Trump’s telephone call to Vladimir Putin, congratulating him on winning another term as president.

Reliably opposed to a truce were party heavies on both sides. Sen. John McCain joined the chorus: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” he intoned.

Another Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, told a reporter testily that he “wouldn’t have a conversation with a criminal. I think Putin’s a criminal. What he did in” Iraq, what he did in Libya … Wait a sec? Remind me; was it Putin or our guys who wrecked those countries? So many evil-doers on the world-stage, it’s hard for me to keep track.

“When I look at a Russian election, what I see is a lack of credibility in tallying the results,” sermonized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I’m always reminded of the elections they have in almost every communist country.”

Actually, what the International Election Observation Mission found in Russia’s presidential election of March 18 was far more nuanced. Why, in some ways the Russian elections were very American: In the difficulty dissident candidates have in getting on the ballot, for example.

Ask Ron Paul or all those anonymous, aspiring, independent, third-party candidates about the US’s “restrictive ballot access laws and the other barriers erected” by the duopoly to protect their “de facto monopoly in America,” to paraphrase Forbes.com.

As for jailing journalists, frequently for life: Not Russia, but an American ally, Turkey, is the world’s biggest offender. But hold on. Isn’t Trump turning on the Kurds to pacify the Turks? Maybe it’s something the Saudi’s said. Go figure.

What doesn’t change is the interchangeability—with respect to any peaceful overtures made by President Trump toward Russia—of the Stupid Party (Republicans) and the Evil Party (Democrats). And yet, the same self-interested individuals protest, periodically, that Trump’s recklessness risks plunging the country into war.

The president wants to cooperate with the Russians. International confrontation being their stock-in-trade, the UniParty won’t countenance it. Politicians in both parties have not stopped egging Mr. Trump on, rejecting the détente he seeks with Russia, and urging American aggression against a potential partner. Yet, incongruously, in October of 2017, a Republican Senator, Bob Corker, saw fit to complain that the president was “reckless enough to stumble [sic] the country into a nuclear war.”

To please and curry favor with an establishment that detests him and is vested in the geopolitical status quo—POTUS even signed sanctions into law against Russia.

Cui bono, pray tell? Who benefits from this standoff?

General Barry R. McCaffrey has The Answer. The Trump congratulatory courtesy call to Mr. Putin shows the president’s refusal to protect US interests, tweeted the general.

“US interests” or your interests, sir? Who benefits here? Ordinary Americans, or the media-military-industrial-complex; the swamp organism Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address: “The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – … felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government … [of] an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.”

Not to mention the attendant barnacles who suction onto the ship of state: professional TV talkers, think tank sorts, self-anointed intellectuals (who’re not very intelligent). All are vested in an American-led order, so long as they get to dictate what that (martial) order looks like.

The same political flotsam “argues” against President Trump’s desired détente with Russia using the following logic: If the “master of the political insult,” Donald Trump, “declines to chide Putin,” to quote NBC and CNN standard issue “analysts”—something is off. Ergo, Trump is beholden to Putin and to Russia. The Russians have something on him.

Such a line of “reasoning” fails basic logic, simply because it’s inexhaustive. In other words, there are other, highly plausible explanations as to why the president is not warring with Russia, not least that diplomacy is a good thing; that POTUS ran on a promise of peace with Putin; that he had articulated, as a campaigner, an idea entertained by most Deplorables. Namely that Russians are at odds with Islam and ISIS; that Putin is a Russia First, nationalist, whereas our Anglo-Europeans “allies” are Islam-friendly globalists.

Had POTUS kept pressing the perfectly proper positions he ran on, he might have retarded the Russia political wildfire, now raging out of control. Philosophical consistency would’ve served him well as an antidote to the political opportunism around him.

Instead, President Trump has surrounded himself with appointees who deliver a message discordant to his. What comes out of the White House is an ideological cacophony.

Hiring different perspectives in business could well be a strength. But it’s a weakness when politics and policy are in play. Needed to advance a political agenda is a team that shares the political philosophy underlying the agenda.

MSNBC’s Miss Hunt and her political clones were particularly galled by Sarah Sanders. The White House press secretary was asked whether the Russian election was free and fair. She replied: “We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate.”

What’s outraging our neoconservative-Jacobin establishment is that the White House is practicing, if only fleetingly, what another American president counseled in a bygone Independence-Day speech: detachment and diplomacy in foreign policy.

[America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.

 

The man who’d be casting pearls before swine today was John Quincy Adams. The sixth president of the United States (1825-1829), son of John Adams, spoke truths eternal on that July 4, 1821.

 

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

‘Oil wars.’ Is this an accurate summary of US-led interventions in the Middle East of the 21st century?


‘Oil wars.’ Is this an accurate summary of US-led interventions in the Middle East of the 21st century?
Duncan Whitmore

“America is addicted to oil”

So said President George W Bush, echoing a contemporary cover of The Economist, in his State of the Union Address on January 31st 2006.

Although President Bush’s speech was a lament for the fact that the United States is the world’s biggest consumer of oil (reaching 19.4 million barrels per day by 2015[1]), this candid admission by the architect of American interventionism lent support to the notion that his country’s forays into the Middle East have been either wholly or mostly motivated by the desire to have a greater, physical control over oil. In this essay we will, however, conclude that this theory is, at best, incomplete, and, at worst, false and misleading, and that America’s interventionist efforts can be best understood through the explanation of three distinct, yet connected objectives:

  • To maintain the petrodollar system and the global reserve status of the US dollar;
  • To appease and promote the interests of the US’s biggest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia;
  • To serve as proxy wars against Russia and China and to contain and minimise Sino-Russian influence in the region.

Read more

How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism


By ilana mercer

It’s fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump’s foreign policy.

A couple of months back, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:

“… for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. ‘The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,’ Trump said. ‘We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.'”

“For a moment,” swooned Lake, “I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to a Weekly Standard editorial meeting.”

Onward to Venezuela!

Mr. Lake, a neoconservative, was loving every moment. In error, he and his kind confuse an expansionist foreign policy with “American exceptionalism.”

It’s not.

As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country’s founding. They’re more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State.

That’s just the way things are.

So, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have enlisted the West in “a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war,” Riyadh’s ultimate aim. Donald Trump has been perfectly willing to partake.

After a campaign of “America First,” the president sided with Sunni Islam while demonizing Iran. Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369!

Iranians recently reelected a reformer. Pray tell who elected the Gulf petrostate sheiks?

Moderates danced in the streets of Tehran when President Hassan Rouhani was reelected. Curiously, they’re currently rioting.

If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. For the Left and the pseudo-Right, this is a look-away issue. As the left-liberal establishment lectures daily, to question the Central Intelligence Agency—its spooks are also agitating against all vestiges of President Trump’s original “America First” plank—is to “undermine American democracy.”

Besides, “good” Americans know that only the Russians “meddle.”

In Saudi Arabia, a new, more-dangerous regime is consolidating regional power. Almost overnight has the kingdom shifted from rule by family dynasty (like that of the Clintons and the Bushes), to a more authoritarian style of one-man rule.

When it comes to the Saudi-Israeli-American-Axis-of-Angels, the Kushner-Trump Administration—is that another bloodline in-the-making?—has not broken with America’s ruling dynastic families (the Clintons and the Bushes, aforementioned).

It’s comforting to know Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in the UN’s human rights affairs. In January of last year, the Kingdom executed 47 people in one day, including a rather benign Shiite cleric. Fear not, they went quickly, beheaded with a sword.

Then US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, a woman as dumb and dangerous as Nikki Haley, was cool with the carnage. (One almost misses Henry Kissinger’s realpolitik. At least the man was highly educated and deeply knowledgeable about history and world affairs. Second only to Jared Kushner, of course.)

Our bosom buddies, the Saudi’s, are currently barricading Yemeni ports. No aid gets through her hermetically sealed ports. Yemenis are dying. Some Twitter followers twittered with joy at the sight of starving Yemeni babies, like this one. Oh well, Yemeni babies can be sinister.

No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump’s National Security Strategy. Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of “sovereignty,” but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to “multilayered technology”; to the “deployment of additional personnel,” and to the tried-and-tested (not!) “vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors.”

These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose.

“It’s often said that the Trump administration is ‘isolationist,'” wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. “In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without … any debate in Congress or the media.”

Indeed, while outlining his “new” Afghanistan plan, POTUS had conceded that “the American people are weary of war without victory.” (Make that war, full-stop.) Depressingly, the president went on to promise an increase in American presence in Afghanistan. By sending 4000 additional soldiers there, President Trump alleged he was fighting terrorism, yet not undertaking nation building.

This is tantamount to talking out of both sides of one’s mouth.

Teasing apart these two elements is near-impossible. Send “4,000 additional soldiers to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan,” and you’ve done what Obama and Bush before you did in that blighted and benighted region: muddle along; kill some civilians mixed in with some bad guys; break bread with tribal leaders (who hate your guts); mediate and bribe.

Above all, spend billions not your own to perfect the credo of a global fighting force that doesn’t know Shiite from Shinola.

The upshot? It’s quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway. “We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them.”

With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions.

This is the gift President Trump has given mainstream neoconservatives—who now comfortably include neoliberals and all Conservatism Inc., with the exceptions of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives—aka Conservatism Inc.—did the same.

Having consistently complained of his isolationism, the Left and the phony Right cannot but sanction President Trump’s interventionism. The other option is to admit that we of the callused Old Right, who rejoiced at the prospects and promise of non-interventionism, were always right.

Not going to happen.

To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton’s triangulation tactics. To others, it’s a cynical sleight of hand.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.

Godfrey Bloom: A Presidential Spat


Our Honorary President, this morning spoke in a debate on the BBC Radio Kent Breakfast show, about the proposed visit to the UK of President Donald Trump.

He spoke second in what became a ‘lively’ debate. If you would like to hear his contribution, please click on the audio link below. He starts speaking at 54 seconds:

Yesterday, Godfrey Bloom also spoke on the Jonathan Cowlap show, on BBC Radio York, about changes to the UK’s driving test regulations. Click on the audio link below to listen to this:

Niger: Finally, A War John McCain Doesn’t Love


By ilana mercer

News first broke about America’s Niger misadventure on October 4. “The real news here is that the US has forces in Niger, where they’re conducting covert operations,” this writer tweeted out. “Hashtag America First.”

Official media ignored the ambush of the American Special Forces, until the story gained anti-Trump traction. No word came from John McCain. Three weeks hence, the senator from Arizona is making history. McCain, who has never encountered a war he wasn’t eager to prosecute, is questioning the folly in Niger.

The senator from Arizona can run but can’t hide from the pollution he has left along his political path. Republicans wisely rejected war in Kosovo; McCain jettisoned party loyalty to call for bombs from above and “more boots on the ground.” At the prospects of war with Iran, McCain burst into song, “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran.” The possibility still makes this war ghoul smile. Before that, McCain promised a 100-year war in Iraq.

Senator McCain’s jingoism has encompassed Syria, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, and China. Where the US could not effect regime change, as it did fecklessly in Afghanistan and Libya—McCain would typically call to side with an imagined local “friend of America” against an imagined “foe of America.” McCain has many imaginary friends.

Where his target country was beyond US bullying (Russia), the idea of the resumption of a cold war was an option McCain liked. He is currently fulminating over a slight delay in sanctions against Russia. When all efforts to tame the world militarily fail, McCain is partial to the idea of UN troops acting as his surrogates, say in Sudan.

No war makes Johnny a sad boy. But now he’s considering a subpoena over Niger.

GLOBAL CENTRALIZER

Playing out in Niger are the permanently entrenched, unchanging, American foreign-policy interests. Keen observers will detect a familiar pattern. Once again, the American bias everywhere is toward a powerful, overweening central state. This conceit has put our forces on a collision course with the tribal interests America toils to tame.

Indeed, US foreign policy often flouts local authority. It certainly disavows separatists and generally discourages any meaningful devolution of power. Born of a loose confederation of independent states, America now stands for the strong centralized state. Our interchangeable leaders strive to see the same in the tribal lands of the Middle East and Africa.

MEDDLING IN YEMEN’S CIVIL WAR

In Yemen, America is working to impose a central authority on “bickering sheikdoms.” In the South alone, Yemen has 14 such principalities. Southern secessionists are at war with the north, have been for at least 139 years. There, “even the bottled water,” notes the Economist, “is called ‘South.'” There’s no such thing as a united Yemen. Never was.

Into this fray, the US has waded. So stupid and dangerous is our foreign-policy colossus that it imagines America is fighting al-Qaida by backing the Saudi-led coalition to vanquish northern Houthi rebels. The northern Houthi rebels, however, clearly wear many hats. More so than the invading coalition, the rebels are of the community and often for the community.

As America’s Emirati partners in Yemen are realizing, “Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.”

Would that the Empire’s military would confine itself to that constitutional mandate: fight for home and hearth and no more. Alas, our soldiers have been propagandized to conflate fighting for American freedom with fights in Niger, Burkina Faso (yeah, I know) and Mali.

Ultimately, all the spots America chooses to mess with are too complex for the prosaic American mind to grasp, for we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.

More so than the Middle East, Africa is riven by tribal interests and dynamics. These, McCain or CENTCOM (the United States Central Command) have no hope of understanding, because they’re wedded to the idea that their own home (America) is nothing more than an idea, and never a community of flesh-and-blood people with a shared, treasured patrimony.

AND NOW, NIGER

To their credit, Africans’ fealty is not to deracinated political propositions—democracy, human rights, gay marriage, and communal bathrooms—but to each other. They will kill for clan and kin. (And they kill each other, too.)

Niger is no different. You’re told that the Americans and the French are empowering the local forces of Niger against the mythical ISIS. Poppycock. This is never the case. In Africa, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, the conflicts are regional, tribal, old, if not ancient.

Tongo-Tongo, the Niger village that ambushed our unsuspecting Green Berets, had not been “infiltrated” by hostile forces; that’s the take of Niger’s central government, itself a very recent development. If past is prologue, it’s fair to assume that the Niger government is vested in developing as a French and American client state with all the attendant perks.

Villagers have likely learned not to wait for any trickle-down from the state. The Tongo-Tongo villagers enticed our forces to mill about, giving their homie militant benefactors just enough time to set up an ambush in a kill zone.

Imagine! Locals don’t particularly relish a visit from the American and French patrolmen and their Nigerien puppets.

Again, Niger is heavily dependent on bribes from the West (foreign aid, we call it). We reward Niamey (the capital) to play war games with us. This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don’t want Americans there. (And even if the people of the region wanted us there, America has no business being there. Deplorables voted against the concept of making Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali great again.)

So, if John McCain’s hatred of President Trump has driven America’s most ardent warmonger to question the American intervention in Niger—that’s a good thing.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

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