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Total number of comments: 367 (since 2013-12-09 08:30:46)

Hunter Watson

Showing comments 367 - 301

  • Why did Turkey dare shoot down a Russian Plane? The Proxy War in Syria
    • Ya must especially love humans when they can't discern their own interests in the midst of a crisis.

    • He surely is and that fact reflects the mistake made by the White House when it embarked on a far too complex policy of supporting some factions and not others on the altar of regime change. Assad is in fact the "least bad" choice and we are now inhibited from admitting it because of a failed policy. The French seem to understand.

      We've made other mistakes for similar reasons, e.g., in not destroying oil tank trucks out of concern that the drivers might not be Daesch types.

    • He will have accomplished a comprehensive agreement for a Palestinian State before he leaves office. That he has the power is obvious. Who could conceivably think he is not prepared to use it it? The Israelis are in a corner. That's especially so given the situation in Syria. I understand Netanyahu made a new departure during the last visit. Those who hate him essentially because it isn't over yet will have great difficulty explaining it during the coming year.

    • It's too easy to see the U.S. at work here. Why would we conspire with the Turks, Moscow's ancient enemy and a NATO member redolent of Cold War memories in a conscious act of war against the Russian Federation? Isn't this conscious provocation the last thing we would indulge as we flail about in a protracted effort to seek closure there and to lower our profile in the region? As both Quax and Bill suggest below the situation is just too complex and dangerous for such adventures. I see Obama as a cautious man whose droning campaign, for example, has been primarily an effort to facilitate a strategic withdrawal, not further adventurism.

  • "For Paris" on Russian Missiles hitting Syria as ISIL Oil Facilities Targeted
    • If Daesh, more or less the ideological successor to Al-Queda, is to have its Caliphate, i.e., a medieval Islamic state and government, must it not possess territory and govern it to the exclusion of other aspirants to sovereign power? To date it has succeeded in creating chaos and a nearly global sense of crisis, something akin to an apocalyptic vision, but no state.

      The present intensive campaign by Western powers may not be able to defeat Daesh from the air, but it sure as hell is up to the task of preventing it from governing and state-building by any common meaning of the term.

      So now what do they do but unleash terror attacks against Western powers and then rush to admit responsibility. Will the reintroduction of Crusader boots on the ground trump the apocalypse or bring about its final crisis? What are these people thinking?

      And yes, I have read the Atlantic Article.

  • Syria: Christian Militia to the Rescue as 1000s of Christians flee ISIL approach
    • If I understand correctly, and I certainly may not, the more or less socialist Assad regime goes back to the time Bashar's father took power. Since at least then, i.e., for decades, Syria has been a Soviet/Russian ally in the Middle East.

      Father and son seem both to have clung to the Arab socialist tradition which must ring bells with a former KGB colonel if not in Washington. What the Russians are doing is perfectly natural, especially given their naval base on the Mediterranean. They are protecting an old friend and ally.

      I don't see much if anything which should matter in that to the US. We're confronted with dubious choices there because we chose sides and intervened militarily. The complete rationale for that has not been explained to the American People. Do we really have a dog in the ISIS fight? I wish someone could articulate it, explaining and differentiating Israel's interests and our own.

  • What Obama should tell Netanyahu this Week (But won't)
    • Most of the three billion a year doesn't leave the country. It is not commingled with Israeli funds. From a sequestered account the Pentagon pays for American weapons chosen by the Israelis subject to approval by the Pentagon and President. That part of it never passes into Israeli accounts. The rest if I recall correctly IS made available for deposit in Israeli accounts but is earmarked to purchase arms in Israel and on the open market.

      In the early days AIPAC's predecessor was funded by the Israeli government covertly. That was broken up by John and Robert Kennedy. Today it seems to be funded by wealthy Zionist donors working anonymously through PAC's. See IRmep for the history. This is a delicate situation as lobbying for a foreign country without registration, AIPAC's specialty, is a felony under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Since the Kennedy era it has not been enforced because of political considerations involving the Lobby.

      The failure to enforce FARA is an American tragedy.

      I believe

    • To think these things through we will most likely have to take the task seriously.

    • That's interesting. Didn't he beat a retreat on that while still in office?

      Anyway what does it prove in retrospect? Of course there is a question of causation, but shouldn't we have immediately jumped on campaign finance reform and begun enforcing the Foreign Agents Registration Act in simple self defence?

    • "While Obama does have restrictions, the biggest one is his own inability to simply publicly humiliate Bibi."

      President Obama is a gentleman and a statesman. Over time his memory will be revered. There is good reason to expect that these admirable qualities will be seen to have prevailed.

      Biography, 'the life and times" approach, is the highest form of the historical art. I hope we all live long enough to read the leading biographies, those which on their own merits will will stand the test of time.

      I expect those historians to find little or nothing from Obama calculated to gratuitously shame Mr. Netanyahu publicly. It is the office of the Israeli People to draw conclusions about their lost opportunities and resultant changes in American policy which must of necessity lead us back to our own interests.

      What, based on our interests and those of our traditional allies, are they likely to be? And what is likely to be in Israel's interests whether she likes it or not? The first seems to me an admission that we are neither suited for nor successful in hegemonic roles on a global scale. We must wind it down and curb the Messianic impulse. From that point it is a matter of detail. As to the permanent crisis Zionist Israel has presented for us since the 1940s, thanks to President Obama it is now in its end game. That's a good start.

    • This post combines rare moral and political courage. Coming from a highly visible man in the academic wing of the American establishment, and one of the leading experts in the field, it is going to be read widely in the relevant circles, European, American and Israeli. Its timing could not be better. It strikes a blow for the American people as a whole because it sets forth the only clear solution available to us.

      We are in your debt, Dr. Cole. Thank you.

  • Obama gives up on Israeli-Palestinian peace during his Administration
    • HW: This is done without going to the books.

      Yeah, Right said:

      HW: “So, is it not the case that relevant UNSC Resolutions may provide legitimate bases for the issuance of sanctions by, say, the U.N. itself, the E.U. or individual European nation states?”

      Err, no, and your use of the weasel word “legitimate” instead of “legal” suggests very strongly that you don’t believe yourself either.

      HW: I suggest you break down the word legitimate. Take notice of the first three letters.

      HW: And you do err here. Relevant UNSC resolutions are, inter alia, admissible in evidence in international litigation on subjects such as whether sanctions imposed by members or other organisations must be set aside as violative of law. The venue would probably be in the International Court of Justice, an independent wing of the U.N.

      HW: You affect that that such Resolutions are meaningless but that will be useless at least as to state members of the United Nations. As you say, they are already bound to what the UNSC resolves and sanctions are a recognised means of enforcement whether by the UN or other international bodies. Israel is a member of the U.N. And Israel, I'm afraid, has made a mess of her history when it is seen in light of the applicability of sanctions against her.

      UN Resolutions can only provide a legal basis for sanctions imposed by the Security Council itself under the authority that it has been granted by Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

      HW: Those aren't our facts now are they? The U.N. has not issued sanctions. What we expect it to do is to declare a Palestinian State in accord with all the precedents and admissible history and to provide a formula for finalising its borders. The question of sanctions would arise upon failure of Israel to obey its terms.

      HW: “If they may provide standards in international litigation about such issuance,”….

      HW: Do you expect me to reply to myself, especially after you've butchered my language?

      ….except that they do not; if the USA and/or the EU decide that they want to Go One Better than the UNSC by imposing their own (i.e. unilateral) sanctions then the legal basis for those sanctions stand or fall entirely on their legal authority to impose those unilateral sanctions on other sovereign states.

      HW: Of course. Who would have thought otherwise? And they will rely upon the precedents found in the international arena, one of which I expect to be the UNSC Resolution we've been discussing.

      HW: I don't know how the sanctions regime itself might be structured most advantageously in this case, but if you are current you are well aware of the fact that the major western governments and the U.N. know how to get the job done. I want the foundations for the successful application of sanctions against Israel to be laid so that if IF AND WHEN she violates the anticipated UNSC Resolution they may be implemented expeditiously. Economic sanctions have more and more been used in international relations. I haven't the slightest doubt that absent American vetoes it can be done in the UN and I don't believe the U.S. will have to be involved much.

      They can’t hide behind the UNSC’s coat tails while they do so, precisely because there is nothing in the UN Charter that says that member states are entitled to Go One Better Than The Security Council.

      HW: That makes no sense at all. The members are sovereign and involved in many other relationships. The sanctions don't even have to be sponsored by the U.N. It might be better if they aren't.

    • What would be the rationale for resuming arms delivery to Israel after an agreement is reached?

    • What would be the rationale for resuming handouts to Israel after an agreement is reached?

    • Yeah, Right said:

      "There is nothing “impeachable” in the POTUS instructing his Ambassador at the UN to vote “Yes”, or to vote “No”, or to remain silent."

      Of course not. Can you take a joke?

      "Politically there will be consequences..."

      There will be no consequences of consequence. Our President is a lame duck. And America's Jews are liberals who generally are very nerved-up by Israel's reckless conduct.

      "...but there can no “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” in faithfully carrying out the office of the President."

      Of course not. We all understand that even though only a few of us are lawyers.

      And there is no question – none whatsoever – that this includes the authority to instruct the USA Ambassador how to cast vote his/her vote in the UN.

      In this realm we all understand the elements of an impeachable offence.

    • "More recent discussions of the sources of international law, recognizing the growing role of international organizations, include the resolutions and other acts of international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations, as sources or evidence of international law." (Northwestern University on the sources of international law.)

      So, is it not the case that relevant UNSC Resolutions may provide legitimate bases for the issuance of sanctions by, say, the U.N. itself, the E.U. or individual European nation states? Or more particularly by the United States itself? If they may provide standards in international litigation about such issuance, they are a part of the international law system.

      “It was designed to become international law by adoption in the UNSC.”

      The Security Council is not a world legislature, therefore its resolutions can not “become international law”.

      Custom is not a legislature either, yet it can constitute binding precedent in international legal proceedings.

      Your definition of international law is a bit short of mine. If it can be admitted in as binding precedent in international litigation regarding sanctions, it's a part of the overall penumbra of international law.

      And of course the UNSC is a legislature of sorts. It exercises broad powers delegated to it as you say by the UN's entire membership.

      By the way, Israel is a member of the U.N. Hasn't it committed itself to abide by UNSC Resolutions? And isn't a refusal to do so a pretty good definition of a rogue state?

    • Paul Pillar has written an article posted today on Lobelog:

      "Acknowledging Reality in the U.S.-Israeli Relationship"

      I don't criticise anyone here, but He calls for following the truth in our relationship with Israel. He doesn't shrink from speaking in public about the underlying facts and their impact on the interests of the American People.

    • Sanctions will halt the land grab and peace will be the result.

    • Of course that's the answer, Spyguy. What happened to the French Resolution? Did it die in the dark? It was designed to become international law by adoption in the UNSC. A Palestinian State declared and defined by international law is exactly consistent with American policy in place over decades.

      As to the U.S. delegation going AWOL, the idea is amusing but weak and humiliating. All that has to be done is to refuse to veto the Resolution on the basis that refusal is the result of the Administration's review of the veto policy announced months ago. That's clearly an Administration decision, not an impeachable offence. The failure to see that the Resolution succeeds will be just that, a failure.

      The demand for five billion a year is characteristically impertinent. All Obama has to do is to announce that he will fight any increase to the bitter end as unnecessary and an unconscionable waste of the taxpayers resources. In any event once sanctions take hold, the necessity for American aid will be diminishing.

  • It is Israel that abrogated Oslo Peace Accords, as Netanyahu Boasted
    • Also left unsaid is the fact that only the American veto in the UNSC stands in the way of the French Resolution. Sanctions against Israel based on that Resolution can end our travail. It's not in the least complex. Neither are the equities involved. What is wrong with us!? Why can't we face the fact that we Americans, as is the case with the Israeli people, are responsible for these gross injustices perpetrated against the Palestinians?

      Mr. Obama, bite the bullet. Lead us out of this purgatory! We are not responsible for the crimes of Czars and Nazi tyrants against Jews.

  • With Iran deal, & Russia in Syria, is Israel being Boxed In?
    • Hello, Mr. Bickel. Attached is a nearly contemporary letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch from Grant F. Smith, Director of Research at IRmep.

      As you can see there has long been a defense raised that Israel's Zionist-American political agents are exempt from the Foreign Agents' Registration Act. It's illogical and it's also clear that it wasn't the intent found in the original version which was passed in 1938, before Israeli independence. That's declared in the government's FAQ on the statute. *Every* agent for a foreign principle is governed by the law unless specifically exempt, and violation is a felony.

      For what it's worth I've never found a word in the statute which provides special exemption for Israel's American agents. If it is there it must be so finely written that it will need the Federal Judiciary to sort it out. The quicker the better. The prospects for the Lobby don't look good to me. So I ask, "Why should we we shrink from enforcing federal law?" Let the chips fall. It's a matter for the courts.


      Calvert Station
      P.O. Box 32041 Washington, DC 20007

      Phone: 202-342-7325

      Loretta Lynch Attorney General US Department of Justice
      950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001

      Dear Loretta Lynch,

      In 2009 IRmep, a not for profit public policy research organization, filed the enclosed complaint. It substantiates why the American Israel Public Affairs Committee should be registering as the foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

      I urge you to take action to enforce the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act where your predecessors and subordinates have failed! Please also kindly confirm receipt of this public interest complaint.

      Grant F. Smith, Director of Research
       Research  Awareness  Accountability
      PS: I understand that there is no express exception to prosecution for Defendants for Defendants are American.

      Hunter Watson

    • For what it's worth my view is that the pivot to the Pacific was motivated partially to give the Israelis an alert to the arrival of a new era in their relations with the U.S., one in which our actual interests and responsibilities as a very great power come first and that Israeli access will decline in direct proportion to her behavior vis a vis the United States and actual American allies in Europe.

    • Netanyahu is simply an arrogant Zionist politician. He needs to be pastured and to write his memoirs so that we may go through them from the point of view of the American interest and alleged responsibilities.

      As a politician he was created by the Israeli people. They bear responsibility. Israel does after all have some quasi -democratic characteristics. It is the Israeli electorate which must be brought down to earth. It will be simple enough to do and to do legitimately. American and European interests call for it and the power to get it rolling lies in the hands of every American President. Our Congressional leaders fear the prospect of doing the right thing.

      Sanctions on Israel, probably European, prosecution of the malefactors who lobby our Congress feloniously, more sanctions regarding her nukes, refusal of privileged access at all government levels and the opening of a frank national conversation on the necessity for doing such things is also required. No more taboos.

      So, why not?

    • The commentary here is pretty uniform. The consensus seems to be that Israel will get away indefinitely with flagrant misbehavior---that the western powers are frozen in fear due to her Lobby's brutal methods, the Holocaust and the nuclear weapons, to say nothing of America's unique and historic failure of leadership so far as Israel is concerned.

      Yet we have a President who has stood up to this opportunist troublemaker more effectively than any since Eisenhower. Why should he stop simply because he's a lame duck? These problems are all soluble. Take the creation of a State of Palestine for example. The Europeans and more particularly the French have paved the way. It's the hang-fire UNSC Resolution recognizing the nation of Palestine and setting forth a realistic formula for determining borders.

      I've been traveling since August 10th, but as of then he U.S had asked that the vote be postponed, not cancelled. If it passes it will constitute international law and will be a legitimate basis for economic sanctions at the national and international basis. The Europeans are fed-up. I doubt that we'd even have to join in them. Presumptively the pressure would be as intense as is necessary to get the job done.

      Our Administration is said to be pondering whether to change its policy of automatic veto of UN initiatives disliked by Israel. The Iran nuclear negotiations are now successfully concluded. That's a great success. There is no reason why the same technique can not be used to deal with her nuclear weapons.

      In the U.S. lobbying for a foreign country without registration is a felony. We just haven't had the guts to prosecute it.

      In the new era when these Israeli transgressions are just a memory we will wonder why it took so long to set them straight.

  • How Iran Deal Could Change the Middle East
    • Where is Jon Stewart when we need him?

      I actually wrote President Obama yesterday for the third time since he was first sworn into office. That's probably excessive but these are interesting times and I believe that in the light of time professional historians will see him as a great leader working successfully under very difficult circumstances.

      Where are the French just now? There was a postponement at our behest of their Resolution formalizing a Palestinian State, declaring the procedure for determining its boundaries and imposing a deadline in the UNSC. I raised that question with the President. I hope he is inclined to take care of it.

      When will we elbow AIPAC aside? The 20-40 million dollars being raised by Zionist superpacs to be used to subvert our Congress on behalf of Israel requires firm counter-measures. I raised that with Mr. Obama too. After all it is just a matter of enforcement of the criminal law. Our political leaders are bound to that in any event. So much is at stake. And after all it was just a postponement.

      This continuing crisis would have been resolved long ago had it not been for the illegal Israel Lobby and our vetos in the UN on her behalf which made progress impossible.

    • It was only after I finished reading Tua's article that I realized it had not been written by Professor Cole. No wonder, look at that resume.

      Fine work.

  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    • Graham is, indeed, a reservist. More particularly, he's a military lawyer. Based on that experience he demands that our young men and women pacify Iraq and Syria.

  • Top 5 Ways Obama's 'All of the Above' Politics led to Sanders & Trump
    • "Politics is the art of the possible and we need to remember that the GOP set out from the day he was inaugerated to oppose every thing Obama did."

      Obama's Middle-Eastern policies will have to be judged against the nature and quality of his Congressional opposition; it has been reactionary, neither classically conservative nor justified as in our interests in its neo-conservative form. The former, goes back to Burke, grudgingly tolerating gradual, carefully considered and necessary change, and the risks associated with it, while the latter is clearly a painfully recent theory *primarily* tailored, soto voce, to benefit another country without admitting it openly. Most neo-conservatives display serious conflicts of interest and will rail against those who point out their influence and associated taboos in public. They need to be brushed aside in the interests of the American people. Any President has the executive power to do it.

      Mr. Obama's patient stewardship is looking good at this point. It seems as though he may have prevented a fourth or fifth war in the region which, presuming success, will be seen as a triumph. One of the tools he crafted in this effort is the Iran agreement. He seems to also be successful in related matters in the UNSC. The deal has been ratified by the Council and is now international law. I see no way that the U.S. Congress can back that up and believe that that matter will be over.

      There is only one major step left in his pivot away from a policy of allowing Israel to wield our veto regarding peace negotiations of global significance. The French Resolution will require only a refusal to use the veto and an "Aye" vote. We may then stand back, not interfering with the subsequent measures which the international community and the Europeans will choose to take. I'm going to use the acronym: Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions at national and international levels. I doubt that we would even have to participate.

      For what it's worth, I think it will not take long for Israel's business class to conclude that cooperation is in her long term interest. Its power is unquestionably equal to the task. There will be a settlement pursuant to the Saudi Plan.

      The next step, probably to be left for the next Administration, is to work on a nuclear free zone.

  • Is this how the Establishment takes down Outsiders like Bernie Sanders?
    • They are bright but awfully young and inexperienced. I'm sure they think he is not electable. They may be correct about that as the entire country has moved right over a few decades now. The dynastic candidate had better not make many more mistakes. She has already lost her chance at a coronation.

      A few more stumbles by the dynastic candidate

    • One thing which would help him is refusal to let the malevolent types get away with labeling him a socialist and thus some mild version of a Marxist.

      Bernie is a Social Democrat of the Scandinavian persuasion. That's not socialism which is a universe and hundred million dead apart from it.

  • Why the Arab Gulf Oil Monarchies should Welcome Iran Deal
    • Congress Boils Impotently at Being Outmaneuvered at the UN Security Council.

      link to

    • It is that, indeed. But it is also designed to deter Israel from starting a war against Iran.

    • Why it Doesn't Matter What the Monarchies Welcome.

      Again, this is informed by ancient memory as a cursory search didn't find anyone who is working it. I'll quote Al Monitor and then state my personal understanding of what's just happened regarding the the Iran nuclear agreement. I'll be happy indeed to be straightened-out by my friends here should I have erred.

      Al Monitor:

      "The congressional debate over the Iran agreement is one of the most crucial debates in recent American history. At stake here is not only the Vienna agreement, but mainly US international posture. It could even touch upon its identity as a liberal country."

      The outcome of the congressional debate must be moot and therefore a victory for our President as it is an attempt to exceed the power of the Legislature under the Constitution. The fact that the President signed the legislation authorizing a Bill of Approval doesn't make it constitutional. They got what they asked for but not what they wanted.

      For what it's worth I have little doubt that it would be seen otherwise in the courts. It is not an issue of first impression. The Judiciary has visited it in the past. It has approved Executive Agreements as within the Executive's power. I'm not sure what the origins of the doctrine were, but it could even have been a mere matter of efficiency allowing the Executive to streamline interaction with other countries.

      The agreement has been signed by all the parties' executive proxies. According to Supreme Court precedent, It is not a treaty which requires ratification by the Senate in order to become a part of international law. Sure, it could be repudiated by the next President but it's in place now and the Security Council had every right to act upon it. Once it did the matter was over. It's the law of nations. It's not subject to after the fact whims of American legislators though I can imagine a subsequent Security Council revoking it if all fifteen members were chosen by a single little country in the Middle East.

      It is an executive agreement which does not require ratification by the Senate. There are hundreds of them in the files of the State Department. What turned this particular executive agreement into international law is that it has been adopted as such by the United Nations Security Council, unanimously. That included the USA.

      That unity represents a fundamental change of American foreign policy. In the past the UNSC declaration would have been vetoed by the United States at the *demand* of a single, tiny Asian country. What especially gratifies me is that we did not take the timid position of abstention out of fear of the Lobby. We voted for it. A new era is dawning.

      It's not going to change as the result of some comic opera diktat from the American Congress. Who, after all, do those ladies and gentlemen think they are? A global legislature, perhaps?

      If the agreement is ostensibly disapproved by our solons, President Obama will veto it because it exceeds the the constitutional powers of the Legislature. If the veto is overridden the matter will go to our tenured federal court system which unlike our Congress is free from conflicted and illegal outside pressure.

      If the courts decide that they can retroactively delete the American Executive's signature from an Executive Agreement after the fact, what would be the effect? Nothing. It's already become international law. It is a fact accomplished.

      The Security Council does not submit to national demands that it reverse its position on important matters of international politics. It has its own hierarchy. It's certainly not going to do so upon the demand of a mere branch of government in such a situation.

      Presuming I am correct, these realities are going to be percolating about in Congress and the enthusiasm among the reactionaries for facing the next election cycle having been proved ignorant of the Constitution they swore to uphold will have an effect on how they vote on this so called Bill of Approval. At minimum they won't want to look like herd of jackasses before their own constituents, voting their ideology instead of the American interest which is NOT, repeat NOT, an American war against Iran on behalf of a tiny Asian state whose interests diverge fundamentally from ours.

  • Israel's Netanyahu & Iran: Even former Intel Officials think he's Unhinged
    • What AIPAC and the Big Givers Want

      There is a giant political row going on in Washington about the Iran nuclear deal. It's so intense that even a disaffected former AIPAC official has spoken out under a promise of anonymity:

      Former AIPAC Official on Iran’s Importance to AIPAC

      by Jim Lobe

      Chris Nelson writes and publishes a private daily newsletter (The Nelson Report) that’s considered must-reading for everyone from Washington think-tankers, lobbyists, administration officials, and congressional staff to foreign embassies and multinational corporations. He closely follows events and developments affecting East Asian geo-politics and –economics and is as well-connected to D.C. policy circles as anyone I know. His access—based on his many decades of Washington experience, his fairness, and his discretion in protecting sources—is probably without parallel, at least among journalists who cover the region and beyond.

      So it was pretty compelling Thursday when The Nelson Report quoted a “former AIPAC official” on why the legendary lobby was so heavily invested in persuading Congress to reject the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1. I’m posting it here with Chris’s permission. Here’s what the unnamed former official told him:

      Chris, here’s 5 reasons why AIPAC thinks it’s right on Iran (i.e.,to keep targeting Iran)

      Iran has been the group’s raison d’être for 2 decades and it doesn’t know what else to do; its troops are trained to attack Iran and the lobby can’t afford to admit failure lest it lose supporters.

      Iran has been an enormously lucrative fundraiser for AIPAC; just look at what they’re spending on this campaign alone. It needs to keep the issue alive for institutional imperatives.

      Until this agreement was signed, AIPAC never had any competition. Everyone wanted to bash Iran. (It’s today’s replacement for the Soviet Union, Apartheid South Africa and Qadaffi.) Even with this agreement, Iran will continue to act in ways that make it an inviting target. The Ayatollahs aren’t smart enough to stop chanting Death to America and stop threatening to wipe Israel off the map, practices which are a boon to AIPAC.

      Without this cause AIPAC and this Israeli government as well as their Republican allies may have to focus on more critical issue, like peace with the Palestinians.

      So Iran-bashing’s what Bibi and their big givers want…

    • Netanyahu:

      “I feel it’s my obligation as the prime minister of Israel to speak out against something that endangers the survival of my country, the security of the region, the security of the world.”
      Source: CBS News (19 July 2015)


      Mr. Netanyahu is a one trick illusionist. He actually retails nothing but unqualified fear of a second genocide. He asserts it will be imminent and inevitable if Iran joins the nuclear club. Inevitable!

      But his naked assertions and obviously conscious omissions shed a baleful light on his motives. He ignores the unique historical role of nuclear weapons. He ignores the fact that no power has ever attacked another when the latter possessed them. He denies the essential rationality of the Iranian People whose civilization is at least as old and brilliant as that of the Jews and no more radically religious than are the Orthodox themselves. He never mentions deterrence in his analysis of the Iranian motives.

      I don't think Netanyahu and the Israeli right actually have coherent strategic objectives in the Middle East, objectives consistent with peace. They are short term, self-defeating and violent. How, for example, do they use us but to instill fear and to make the neighborhood's rubble bounce? How do they behave themselves? The same way. What are their borders? They won't say.

      They have turned a project designed originally to put an end to anti-Semitism into one which generates it and, unfortunately, does so on a nearly global scale. In the process they've driven themselves into a corner with no exit other than fundamental compromise, something they can not bring themselves to do.

      Accordingly, the U.S., Europe and the international community have no choice but to see to it that they do it anyway.

  • Iraqi Government halts al-Anbar Campaign over Sectarian Fears, US Pressure
    • What's next?? When did it become less than obvious? A very determined, multi-lateral 'encouragement' of Israel to get out of the West Bank and to end the blockade of Gaza on the basis of the Saudi Plan. The Caliphate fellows haven't changed that. They've just provided encouragement for the United States and Europe to get it done without further nonsense from the guys whose G-d once described them as 'stiff-necked'.

      Another way to look at it is to similarly encourage Israel to give up its dreams of a de facto empire in the region based on the threat of the use of force. It's unrealistic, unsustainable and grossly conflicts with American and European interests. It conflicts with the fact that we are now there involuntarily and would dearly love to get out.

      We can't be certain of the result, but it is likely to diminish radical ardor. Even ISIL boys entertain thoughts of home and hearth, victory parades, etc. After all, the first cause of instability in the region was the Zionist-European intrusion back at the turn of the 20th Century. And the second cause was the American intrusion in support of it after WW II.

  • Trump Swiftboats McCain the Way W. Swiftboated John Kerry
    • Trump hasn't the slightest chance of success in politics. He's toast and this is just the tip of the iceberg:

      link to

    • From Wiki:

      Late in the Second Indochina War on December 22, 1972, a string of American bombs intended for nearby Bach Mai Airfield missed their target and struck the hospital instead, nearly destroying the building and killing 28 hospital staff members.[1] The hospital was subsequently rebuilt, largely with private donations from the United States.[2]

    • In my day the favorite tattoo in the Corps, other than the inexplicable bulldog in a helmet smoking a cigar, was 'Death Before Dishonor'. That's a bit more broad than 'No retreat".

      McCain was a U.S. Navy carrier pilot who flew multiple missions in a very dangerous combat environment. Regardless of his detractors that has to be respected. He's had his detractors, but they are petty next to accomplishments. I subscribe to Juan's view.

      By the way, not only was his father a senior Admiral but also his grandfather who served in WW II in the Pacific.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
    • I suggest that we all send copies of Dr. Cole's article to ten of our friends.

    • John, you imagine a garden variety scenario which doesn't fit the the substance of the article.

      If "conflict increases viewers" then the routine response of owners to the divergence of Euorpean and American views is likely to generate just that. Accordingly, in this case the MSM is rejecting profit on the altar of something else.

      It's most likely that that other consideration is the protection of Israel's political power in the United States by reinforcing American provincialism and overall ignorance between the two coasts. I don't know about you but I'd see conspiracy written all over the fact that they seem to have done it in unison.

      Do you deny that the MSM ownership have any obligation to provide coverage which is in fact fair balanced? And if you say "no", don't you think the American nation has an obligation to do something about it?

    • The answer to your first question is found in an old maxim of trial lawyers. Never ask a witness a question at trial to which you do not already know the answer.

    • The hasbara manuals sent over here for the use of Zionists on campus advise them that when you can't respond on the merits, you change the subject or make jokes.

    • "What I don’t like is the unquestioned spin that is placed on Israel’s opposition to this agreement, which is this: Our Very Special Friends The Israelis Don’t Think This Is A Good Deal, So Maybe It Isn’t A Good Deal.

      "There is an alternative, which is that this unrelenting opposition brings into question exactly how “special” this “friendship” actually is."

      One thing is certain. The nature of the relationship is nothing akin to friendship. It is not even what one might expect among colleagues. All the smoke and mirrors about that have been stripped away. It makes one think of Trotsky's notorious article, "Their Morals and Ours", which justified the standards of Marxist/Leninist totalitarianism as against those which had risen over thousands of years naturally as a product of the human experience.

      We know what our interests and those of our European allies are. They include but are not limited to questions of war and peace. They obviously diverge fundamentally from those of the present right wing regime in Israel. None of us should shrink from acknowledging it. It's not Israel per se which is at issue, but the ideological nature of Israeli politics and foreign policy along with her grip on our Congress.

      Though I dislike Netanyahu's banal term, the overall question is whether the Iranian agreement is a good deal for the Western Hemisphere. More particularly the question is whether it is a good deal for the United States. The idea that Israel's Israel's regional ambitions must trump our interests is simply too hard to stomach.

    • The "special relationship" is coercive, imposed upon us by the brazen scofflaws of AIPAC and the rest of the Zionist Lobby. It's our scarlet letter. It's special alright. Every time it's mentioned we are humiliated afresh, reminded of our servile status and of eternal obligations which never existed and still don't.

      We're closer now to being freed of it than we've ever been thanks to President Obama. There is only one major event left to turn the tide and reverse the the pressure. That's the long awaited French resolution in the UNSC. If the Israelis continue on their present course it will become a platform for governmental and international BDS, joining that of civil society.

      The deal with Iran is in our interests and in those of our actual allies. That's what matters.

      By the way, one heartening thing about this horrendous mess which Zionist Israel has made for us is the role of our young people, essentially of our current college generation. They and their predecessors have pulled our foreign policy chestnuts out of the fire for us three times now. They ended the Vietnam War, led the struggle against South African Apartheid with governments trailing along behind and are now shaming us again into action in the Middle East. It gratifies this old man to see them keeping our compass working generation after generation.

    • I understand that the BBC is again under existential threat in the UK.

    • May we be mindful of Greece's persistent failure to protect her economy from collapse with just a bit more discipline, or is that forbidden?

    • We should dismantle the oh so subtle Zionist press oligopoly.

    • If Dr. Cole is correct it looks more like a covert MSM conspiracy to control the dialogue on Israel and Palestine here in the United States. If true it's not frivolous to be concerned about it. It impacts matters of war and peace and involved a near national bankruptcy which set us back for many years. You can't just blow this off as if it's insignificant. That's exactly what the MSM ownership appears to be trying to accomplish to say nothing of the Lobby as a whole. It is certainly worth investigating. Ha! Imagine the mainstream media having to cover itself on this question.

    • The following is from ancient memory.

      Journalism is one of the great quasi-independent professions. In addition to some regulation by statute, they are subject to internal codes of ethics recognizing their obligation to the public. This is especially important as to the scribbling class and to our television talking heads because the accuracy of their work is critical to the public's ability in a democracy to "get it right" in an objective sense. Aren't they members of the fifth estate with obligations to the people?

      The journalism ethical codes are admirable in the black letter, but weak in practice as they are not applied to owners, the main source of self-interested distortion in what's given to the public. There is no separate system for disciplining the mainstream media owner class other than their own codes of ethics. Why shouldn't they apply? They forbid conflict of interest.

      If only based on Dr. Cole’s article above, most of the ownership and senior management of the MSM are acting out ethnic conflicts of interest on the subject of Israel and Palestine and on the nature of our relationship with Israel too. Conflict was forbidden in the codes of ethics when I last looked at them. There used to be several of them on the internet. They should still be there.

      Inside their particular news organs the investors with the conflicts seem not to fear running afoul of their own codes . Yet they are in a position to determine all major, sensitive assignments abroad. Sending senior reporters to Europe to inquire of opinion at high levels is likely to elicit unwelcome candor. So the reporters are not sent by any of them. Have they no obligation to the American people on matters of war and peace? Certainly the journalists themselves do.

      So, conflicts of interest being acted out *in unison* triumph over exploration of a very important news source, but they don’t tell their readers of that decision. Sins of omission can be as manipulative as lies. What we need is “the truth and the whole truth”. And our demand that they deliver both is both reasonable and ethically legitimate.

  • No, Mr. Netanyahu, Iran isn't trying to Take over the world & it isn't ISIL
    • Of course you are spot on, Bob. Not only does the nature of the relationship deny us immense opportunities and cost us huge and irretrievable out-of-pockets, it is flat-out humiliating. At the end of World War II we were the acknowledged global leader and the greatest of great powers. Today we struggle and we've done it to ourselves. We've thrown away both our substance and our self-respect.

    • Were we to change our underlying foreign policy convictions from the use of force at pretty much the first resort based on something akin to a missionary calling (most recently of the neoconservative type) what proportion of our military budget could be cut without courting disaster? Half?

      Were we to make that cut, can you imagine that it would result in an invasion and colonization of North America? I think not and doubt than anyone here does. So why the hell are we appropriating it without much debate on underlying principles, year after year?

      And why is it that the faction we describe as conservative supports this monstrous mulcting of the American people without a question? Have they an interest which demands it which is different from that of the rest of us?

      So what is it about our perception of the American mission which is so fundamentally screwed-up?

    • One is not to confuse or conflate any country's *perceived* interests with the real McCoy. It was Ben-Gurion who oversaw both the ten years of planning and the execution of the Nakba.

      There are limits to what one may think of as justified by love of country. The ideological rigidity which he was utilizing to justify a massive ethnic cleansing was not in fact justifiable.

    • Yes that's the event.

      All one needs to reevaluate that awful moment is to recall the video taken on the bridge of the US Navy ship which shot it down with a surface to air missile. At the first moment the men are jubilant at having done their wartime duty successfully, but almost immediately they hear over the radio that it is a civilian airliner. The expressions change instantly to those of shock and something akin to grief. No contorted explanations after the fact would ever work for those men.

  • Jeb Bush Thinks You Don’t Work Hard Enough
    • I don't know where Cenk Uygur came from or even who he is, actually. I suppose I'll have to look it up, but his work is an immense contribution here. Thank you, Juan, for introducing him here.

  • Donald Trump, Dumpee: Forgetting to use the GOP racial dog-whistle is an Expensive Mistake
    • I'm a Democrat, yet I could happily live with a Rand Paul style of non-interventionist foreign policy, realist rather than Messianic.

      Where are we going to get that from among this or any cycle's politicians who spend their professional lives on the subtleties of getting into office and staying there whether it's good for the country or not?

      How about some grass roots noise for drafting a Stephen Walt at the convention? Or Dr. Cole. Or Dr. Mearsheimer. Since WW II our most serious and debilitating problems have been in the field of foreign policy, not domestic politics. Almost all of our major debilitating crises for over seventy years have been in that field. It's our interface with the outside world which obsesses most of us when we think about the Presidency yet it seems not to occur to us as a people to do anything about it.

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