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Total number of comments: 410 (since 2013-12-09 08:30:46)

Hunter Watson

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  • Israel frets about "Iran as Neighbor" if Aleppo falls & al-Assad Regime Wins
    • What makes American leaders apprehensive when they see Russians, particularly Russians, acting out delusions about having interests in the post-Cold War Middle East? Can one imagine an occasion more appropriate for celebration, flag lowerings and change of command ceremonies? They can't articulate such interests any better than we can which is a pretty good reason to conclude that neither of us has any. The difference is that we know it from bitter experience but they seem not to have understood yet.

    • The fears of Israeli bullies about what they have brought upon themselves even though the remedy is obvious, have long since become a part of the background noise in the region. Washington and Europe have problems of their own and seem to have become nearly deaf as well they should. Powerful disincentives are what Israel needs. They should come in the form of economic sanctions.

  • 5 Worst Foreign Policy Moments of GOP New Hampshire Debate
  • Exasperated by Netanyahu, France Prepares to Recognize Palestinian State
    • The American tradition is for the new administration to give a few cabinet positions to the other party. A gesture of good will to the opposition party, etc. There is no reason why it can't happen this time, and as a non-interventionist Senator Rand Paul dovetails perfectly with Senator Sander's views.

    • "The total collapse of Saudi Arabia probably happens in the next 10 years — does that affect things?"

      From whose point of view? Should we ten years from now still be joined at the hip with that particular medieval dictatorship? Surely not. And if the Saudi collapse is really going to happen and if the Israelis know it as you seem to, doesn't that militate in favor of their having resolved the Palestinian Refugee Problem eight or nine years earlier?

      Our off-shore balancing policy which was gradually replaced by interventionism in the region by the time of the fall of the Soviet Union should by then be restored.

      Elizabeth Warren for Vice President. Rand Paul for Secretary of State.

    • Perhaps, but it will not deter the French.

    • There is only a single solution consistent with Palestinian independence: two states, one for each ethnicity. Without Palestinian independence there can be no settlement, no peace and no Jewish State. There is one track, not two.

      The so-called one state idea which has been floated a lot recently is in fact the apartheid solution, perhaps better called the bantustan solution, in disguise. That's what we have now. It's simply being renamed, probably for the purpose of obfuscation.

      What we have now is not a solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem. And it could well be a precursor to another, definitive round of ethnic cleansing.

      There is only one track to peace.

    • What seems to be happening is not free of worry. The current Israeli coalition is a hotbed of Revisionist and Religious Zionism. The former's founder Ze'ev Japotinsky, the ideological inspiration for the Likud was blunt as to what it represented:

      "Zionism is a colonising adventure and it therefore stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot - or else I am through with playing at colonization.'[84][85]

      and that

      "Although the Jews originated in the East, they belonged to the West culturally, morally, and spiritually. Zionism was conceived by Jabotinsky not as the return of the Jews to their spiritual homeland but as an offshoot or implant of Western civilization in the East. This worldview translated into a geostrategic conception in which Zionism was to be permanently allied with European colonialism against all the Arabs in the eastern Mediterranean."[86]

      It is also important to recall that that the two great spasms of ethnic cleansing in 1947-48 and 1967 were consciously accomplished under cover of international wars. The Israeli People would be well advised to demand new elections in timely fashion. The present coalition is capable of starting a new war in Lebanon against Hezbollah and Syria no longer even exists.

    • Part of this of course involves intuition, but it is not baseless.

      This French initiative is almost certainly coordinated with the American Administration and done with other Western powers in the loop. It was to go forward earlier but was "suspended," not canceled, at our request because the Iranian negotiations were complex and not yet resolved. Obama is trustworthy. He is now coming back to it. We also publicly said in the same time frame that we were reviewing the veto policy regarding Israel. Other reports in the press were that we were reviewing our relationship with Israel.

      As Mr. Wibberley says, it has been brewing for a long time. I see the pivot to Asia as partially connected to it. Most of our Navy has left the region. At one point a month or two ago only one US carrier strike force was anywhere near the Middle East hot spots. It was in the Bay of Bengal. The rest were tied up in the U.S. That's a major disincentive to Israeli adventurism. It's can also be seen as a peaceful gesture toward Iran. There are lots of little indicators including the fact that this indirect method of dealing with the problem leaves the American branch of the Israel Lobby with no one to intimidate except the UNSC. That's way beyond its capacity. So is the French Government. And so at this juncture is the White House.

    • At times offers are made in international politics without expectation of an acceptance. For the reasons you point out this is most likely one of them. But such offers have to be made anyway simply for the record. The right wing Israeli regime has had its opportunity and has already squandered it.

    • Page: 4
    • "Therefore, the only option would be to allow the UN and the rest of the world to take the lead and simply promise not to block their efforts by vetoing a Security Council resolution."

      That appears to be what's happening as we speak.

    • Netanyahu has already flatly rejected the French initiative. There will be no further talks. President Obama stopped wasting time on negotiations with the obdurate Israeli P.M. months ago. The next steps are for the two proposed French Resolutions, one on the illegality of the settlements and the other on a declaration of Palestinian Statehood, to be filed and scheduled for prompt hearing in the UNSC. That hearing will be one of the most interesting events at the UN in recent decades, one which Dr. Cole correctly points out is fraught with danger for Israeli policies.

      Absent an American veto the gates will be thrown open to European consideration of sanctions. For what my personal view is worth, I believe that President Obama will conclude that the American People have no national interest in vetoing those resolutions. He has accomplished everything possible on the domestic front over seven years. His successor is likely to be a man or woman of his own party. He has the opportunity to resolve this terrible problem so that the new administration is not immediately plunged into the perpetual crisis which he has struggled with in the best of faith for years.

      And it will take no more than two "yes" or "abstention" votes in the UNSC. to set it in motion.

    • Thank you, Dr. Cole.

    • The chances of American vetoes and other interference with the French initiative are now almost non-existent. Not even the vicious bullies of the lobbies will be able to change this trajectory. It would obviously be unconscionable Once the illegality of the settlements and the erection of a Palestinian State are carved in stone at the UNSC, international sanctions will force a solution.

  • Separating anti-Semitism from Anti-Zionism
    • I hope this courageous article rising from the Jewish Community itself does not instead fall to earth in silence. Thank you Dr. Cole for publishing it. And thank you Alec for the redefinition of "anti-Semite". It is perfectly appropriate in this context.

      I don't pretend to speak for the for the scholarly community, but I've read in this field virtually every day for decades. I'm convinced that the situation has grown so dire and the threat of a protracted new Israeli war against Hezbollah and perhaps the Lebanese Army is so dangerous that not taking measures to preempt it will be negligent and will do great damage to the United States.

      Twice before the Israeli Zionists have indulged huge spasms of ethnic cleansing, in 1947-48 and 1967. The period since 1967 has continued the latter in slow motion. It is not a separate event. Despite subterfuge their intent has not changed. Both times the associated wars were used as covers for those crimes and as justifications for criminal behaviour, a pattern which has not changed a bit. Planning for it went back a decade before Israel declared her independence.

      The new knife intifada and recent events on the northern border are very unlikely to pass without massive retaliation. And the question will be whether it will include mass expulsion of the Palestinian People into surrounding countries. That is the nightmare scenario which must be keeping Barack Obama awake at night. Once it's begun the problems facing us will escalate exponentially.

      The American People and their Administration not only have interests in stanching a new regional conflagration which could involve Turkey and Saudi Arabia too, but obvious duties to do their best to prevent it. To use the military analogy this means a political and legal counter-offensive here in the U.S. and in the UN. Below is a law journal article about five years old. It evaluates the weaknesses in FARA enforcement which would need to be faced to force registration upon AIPAC. As I read it, the greatest difficulty would be a certain amount of rejiggering of the attitude, funding, and manpower allocations inside the Justice Department. That's a matter of administration and discipline. It is not a prohibitive failure of the black letter of FARA itself. It's really pretty simple. You just enforce the law in the interests of protecting American democracy if nothing else and fight it to the bitter end without fears about the outcome.

      link to law.upenn.edu.pdf

      Then come European economic sanctions based on a landmark new UNSC Resolution declaring the independence of Palestine which we do not veto.

      Technically that's pretty simple too. And we have a truly brilliant statesman in the Whitehouse now which we haven't had since the early 1960s. We have no real choice but to rely upon him to do the right things to protect us and our democracy.

  • Radical Al-Shabab uses Trump in Recruiting Video & Muslim preachers denounce him along with ISIL
  • US Treasury Sued over Donations for Israeli Squatter Settlements in Palestine
    • If it is handled and funded well this suit could be very important. I've been sending the url to likely interested organisations this evening.

      Israel seems to be in a turmoil. This is worth looking at:

      link to imemc.org

  • Muslims Shield Christians from al-Shabab Terror
    • These Islamic fundamentalists are nevertheless human beings. There must be some series of events or lines of reasoning which eventually will make them subject to persuasion by other Muslim stake holders.

      If "Israel is provoking a global holy war" over Aqsa, it won't be the first time. Prime Minister Sharon perpetrated the same sort of provocations. As was the case with him then, the present leadership's purposes diverge from the interests of the rest of the globe to say nothing of Europe and North America.

      Though a portion of Israeli and American Zionist ideologues will certainly disagree, the West is not required to draw THEIR conclusions as to how WE are to deal with these dangers. As their single most important cause is the Occupation and as we have the power to end it and to still defend Israel from any conceivable invasion, now is the time to bring on the French Resolution and to see to it that it passes in the UNSC with the appropriate deadlines and overt declarations as to what we're doing, where it is heading, i.e., economic sanctions for non-compliance, and how it is based on almost fifty years of American policy.

      The passionate revolutionaries of Araby and the West will share a victory without without even having to mention it in those terms the moment the Palestinian leadership declares itself satisfied with the Resolution with certain knowledge of the penalties which will follow for violation.

      Those who say this can't be done or to themselves that they can't support it publicly will have to ask themselves "why?'

  • In Iraq's Ur, Archeologists Explore History's Potential to Unite A Divided Land
  • Ghoul's Glossary: A Donald Trump Translation Dictionary
  • Is Clinton right that Trump is Helping ISIL?
  • In the Middle East's New Century, can Western Imperialism stop Thwarting Democracy?
    • "The US would gain much by putting its foreign-policy initiatives to the test of Security Council votes."

      So, the author recommends an end to the American policy of vetoing everything the Israelis don't like in the UNSC? I couldn't agree more.

  • Clinton: Trump chief recruiter for ISIL; Sanders: Take out Daesh First, Assad Later
    • Trump can't win the general election. He's way too goofy. So, it won't bother me a bit if the Republicans heap shame on themselves by nominating him. He'll be a hollow husk by election day, unable even to motivate his base. The Democratic Party professionals will have long since eaten his lunch.

      The issue I see is between Sanders and Clinton.

  • Shin Bet: Jewish Terrorists Out to 'Violently Overthrow' Israeli Government
    • Edited version:

      “Shin Bet has long been accused by human rights watchdog groups of engaging in interrogation methods that are in violation of international law as to Palestinian detainees, including children.”

      International criminal allegations against apparent Israeli torturers can easily be sorted out with full due process as to the facts, law and logic in the International Criminal Court.

      By now there must be thousands of formerly incarcerated Palestinians who can testify under oath to personal experience under the rogue regime in Israel. Patterns of torture repeated over and over again for decades can support convictions of senior administrators in the system even if they weren’t hands on tormentors in the dungeons.

      Why the delay? Do Israelis have an inherent right to torture Palestinians in what are as to the latter foreign prisons because their ancestors were once abused by other racist ideologues on another continent?

    • Exporting the Ultra Orthodox to East Jerusalem and the West Bank was a giant strategic error entered into within a month after the 1967 War. It is having precisely the opposite effect sought in Europe and the U.S. It is forcing them to act in ways unanticipated by Israel.

      Arming the settlers was causally connected and also a strategic mistake by the Israeli government.

      Forcing the Ultra Orthodox into IDF infantry training was another.

      Clinging to the use of force, massive, unanswerable force, as the answer to the Palestinian problem and systematically misrepresenting its actual purpose was an even worse strategic blunder.

      The impact of these ideologically driven decisions had obviously not been thought through competently by Israeli politicians who were and remain historically inexperienced in the art of democratic statecraft.

      Nor has the long range impact of their presumptuous American policy which is obviously unsustainable regardless of how many right-wing Zionist billionaires put their shoulders to the wheel, and that's not to speak of the tremendous unsolicited burden on us which the lamentable history of the persecution of Jews in Europe does not justify.

  • Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
    • You say, "don't ask me how I do it." I must be bound by that, but still must ask how you do it over and over with such exquisite timeliness.

  • Flash Point: Could Turkey block Russian access to Mediterrranean?
    • It's not as if Russians and Turks have not met on the battlefield before. Not much love is lost there:

      List of Turkish/Russian conflicts (Wiki)

      1 Russo-Turkish War (1568–70) Russian military victory[1]
      Ottoman commercial victory[2]

      2 Russo-Turkish War (1676–81) Indecisive[3]
      Treaty of Bakhchisarai[4]

      3 Russo-Turkish War (1686–1700) Russia gains possession of Azov
      fortress of Taganrog
      Pavlovsk and Mius[5]

      4 Russo-Turkish War (1710–11) Ottoman victory[6]

      5 Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735–39) Treaty of Niš (1739)[7]

      6 Russo-Turkish War (1768–74) Russian victory

      7 Russo-Turkish War (1787–92) Russian victory

      8 Russo-Turkish War (1806–12) Russian victory

      9 Russo-Turkish War (1828–29) Russian victory

      10 Crimean War (1853–56) Ottoman, British, French and Italian victory

      11 Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) Russian victory[8]

      12 World War I: Caucasus Campaign (1914–18) Armistice of Erzincan

  • Int'l Criminal Court group will fact-find in Israeli-Occupied Palestine
    • Publicized: December 15, 2015 (By the Knesset)

      "As part of International Human Rights Day, the Knesset`s State Control Committee discussed on Tuesday the issue of administrative detentions. According to a study conducted by the Knesset`s Research and Information Center, at the request of MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List), as of November 1, 2015, four Jews and 398 non-Jews were being held in administrative detention. A large percentage of the detainees are aged 18-30, and 34% of them have been held between six months and a year. "

      If I understand correctly, the non-Jewish, i.e., Palestinian residents of Occupied Palestine who are detained administratively are imprisoned in Israel, a foreign, occupying country, under foreign, i.e., Israeli military regulations. I trust that the ICC will be looking at the international law of criminal occupations when it decides to recommend prosecutions.

    • This bears memories of similar events in the American armed forces during the Vietnam War. Combined with unprecedented movements in civil society support for the war collapsed. I rather like that analogy.

      This Knesset summary is very interesting. Thank you.

    • Ramping-up pressure on the parties and on Israel in particular is cumulative. The increasing potential for convictions of Israeli leaders for war crimes is part of it. The loss of chance of a mass amnesty through the U.N. and the I.C.C. as a part of a negotiated rather than imposed settlement agreement is an important part of the mosaic.

      Balancing likely criminal proceedings against high ranking individuals are the prospects for economic sanctions on the Israeli economy everywhere in what was Mandatory Palestine. Who would doubt that the combination would result in an expeditious settlement? The pressure would be irresistible and considerably more legitimate than were sanctions on Iran. But they have to be implemented. If not by Holland, Obama and the U.N., by whom and when?

      The International Criminal Court is carrying its burden even if slowly. Why shouldn't Europe and the U.S. lay the foundations for sanctions through a French Resolution in the UNSC? We will have reason to be deeply disappointed in the joint political leadership if they fail.

      We imposed sanctions on fundamentalist Iran. They caused vast hardship. Sanctions on Israel will not last long and will not cause vast hardship.

  • Is Corporate Media a danger to Society? Coverage of Trump v. Sanders
    • But can a Democratic President with a gerrymandered Congress cut them?

    • Regarding foreign policy, so far as major media institutions are concerned, my impression is that over the years the AP wire service has been subtly but shamefully tilted toward Israel and adverse the Palestinian people. By the skilled use of language it convicts the essentially imprisoned Palestinians and exonerates Israel on the issue, for example, of the use of terror. I suppose there are exceptions, but the situation calls for systematic examination of AP's objectivity done according to accepted academic standards. AP articles have a global reach.

      But can he cut them if the Congress is perpetually gerrymandered?

    • Regarding foreign policy, so far as major media institutions are concerned, my impression is that over the years the AP wire service has been subtly but shamefully tilted toward Israel and adverse the Palestinian people. By the skilled use of language it convicts the essentially imprisoned Palestinians and exonerates Israel on the issue, for example, of the use of terror. I suppose there are exceptions, but the situation calls for systematic examination of AP's objectivity done according to accepted academic standards. AP articles have a global reach.

  • Trump vs. the Founding Fathers on Muslims Coming to US
  • Obama vs. Daesh/ISIL: Freedom is more powerful than Fear & We Refuse to take the Bait
    • That's not responsive, Mr. Levine. We've met before. You weren't responsive then either.

    • Exactly. That is the tap root of the instability in the region. The greatest of all American interests lies in convincing Zionist Israel to settle at the green line with swaps. We need the help of the French. Will its Resolution even be filed in the UNSC? Will we veto it? If not, will the EU and individual great nations of the West sanction Israel until she complies? It's not complex, but it will take courage.

    • Steve, Obama, with the decisive help of Rand Paul has made progress against infringement of our Constitution.

      We are no longer dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

      We are gradually moving in the direction of petroleum-free power generation. It is not fast enough but we're going to get up a head of steam there.

      These gains will be consolidated only if a Democrat is elected. Nothing will be done under one of "W's" clones.

      You're flailing about here. To make a contribution you have to choose a major issue, maybe two, join the relevant movements, keep the focus relatively narrow and work at it selflessly and relentlessly. Personal sacrifice is what it's about.

      Juan is paying the price year in and year out. So are Norman Finkelstein, Phil Weiss and thousands of others.

  • Roof, Dear and Tashfeen Malik: 'Self-Radicalized,' 'Terrorism,' 'Lone Wolf' and Double Standards
    • Frankly, I haven't looked it up, but what, for example, in the State of Michigan could Dear or Roof have been charged with which would carry a death sentence?

  • Syria: Mission Impossible
    • "If you believe the “spread of democracy” story I have a some real estate to sell you."

      ---------------------------------

      The American people have bought it, facade or not, so I can't help you much. It is a way we think about ourselves. It is taught in the schools and when our buttons are pushed we act it out. It is a primary aspect of our sense of exceptionalism, of our intellectual or social history if you will.

      The Cold War was its major modern spawning ground and it continues today as a central rationale in our foreign policy. It fuels our *perceived* need for 700 military installations world wide.

      There are cynics, of course, people with other agendas cloaked in this Messianic tendency, e.g., American Zionists, the revolutionary ideologues, certain corporate interests and wealthy strata who feel that their fortunes and privileges are more secure in the context of a "march of democracy".

      As a realist would I settle for Rand Paul as Secretary of State in a Sanders Administration? Of course.

    • Mr. Feffer says:

      "To bring in as many Syrian actors as possible among those willing to craft a political solution, negotiations should favor a big-tent approach to stabilize the country and assemble a coalition against the Islamic State."

      But this sage, self-interested advice is precisely what the Obama Administration chose to reject. It did so because it still felt required to act out the American "mission," i.e., the Messianic spread of democracy in benighted regions by force if necessary.

      Unfortunately we are no good at this, especially in the context of multilateral insurrectionist warfare in the Muslim World. So instead of damping down the conflict to make it manageable, we are escalating it. That was one of Osama bin Laden's primary apocalyptic goals. It's also shared by the America's neoconservatives. These are nasty bedfellows.

  • Beyond ISIS: Suicide by World War IV
    • As to (A), would you expect that if the Israelis remain adamant, 'available diplomatic leverage' will have to include the French Resolution with no veto and eventual European economic sanctions? I ask this because I do not believe that Israel will cooperate without *that* sort of pressure, and that without it, the result is likely to be a third major round of ethnic cleansing or a permanent occupation with an apartheid /bantustan regime.

      As to (B) when you speak of 'limit(ing) involvement in Syria to current levels' do you mean to rule out Sunni Arab boots on the ground against Daesch supported by western air? If so how will Syria be taken from the enemy and held? It's axiomatic that air can not alone. if we can't accomplish it, when do we accept defeat and leave?

      I agree with (C) subject to the theoretically possible need to
      defend Israel from an actual outside invasion and occupation. But I can't imagine the shame of doing that to protect her 1967 expansions and occupations.

      What a mess.

    • Even in the Supreme Court, ideology and conflicts of interest rather than democratic pragmatism sometimes determine outcomes. Look, for example, at Citizens United's impact on our democracy. It certainly was not necessary to decide that case in that fashion. There was a majority of a single vote. The Justices have immense discretion and only an intact sense of professional and moral responsibility protects our polity from disastrous consequences.

      And then look at our timid failure to control the deadly mixture of vast wealth and stealthy, unregistered lobbying within our government. It is a giant tragedy. Sandy Hook and San Bernardino are examples but far more deleterious has been the impact of the illegally unregistered lobby for a single foreign country.

    • Many thanks. So, Mark, how do we get off the bus regarding the Middle East? I've been an anti-interventionist since I was a young man. I'm now 76. Where do we go from here? Drawing and quartering filmed in slow motion and HD with mandatory screening in fundamentalist churches?

      By the way, President Obama is addressing the subject of where HE is going from here regarding the San Bernardino massacre tomorrow, Sunday at 8:00 PM. I suppose that's Eastern Time.

    • That more fruitless wars in the Middle East will have immense negative effects on the United States is obvious. We are still afflicted by the impact of their predecessors and thus have reason to know that Mr. Bacevitch, though probably exaggerating, is not too far off the mark .

      Why we feel a compulsion to enter into newer and ever more dangerous military adventures in the region is mysterious as we are obviously not taking our own interests into account.

      There are scholars here who surely can shed light on why we are subject to these self-destructive compulsions.

  • How the NRA is harming American Security: Mass Shootings as Serial Terrorism
    • The Supreme Court adjusts our interpretation of the Constitution to accord with changing conditions and necessities. That was the intention of the Founders. It has done it from the beginning, from the time of the great John Marshall. There is no reason to believe that it can not advance our interpretation of the 2nd Amendment today.

      Militias were government organisations. They no longer exist. They have been long since replaced by standing armies which do not take their rifles home at the end of the day. Sooner or later even the Swiss will follow our lead.

      The least politically feasible gun control legislation is, of course, precisely what it will take: to make WRONGFUL POSSESSION of whatever types of "arms" we must ban a felony and to provide for vigorous prosecution with lengthy prison terms--after a buy-back amnesty provision runs its course. The 2nd Amendment does not expressly permit the right to "bear" any and all arms.

      Our government makes military style weapons. It has a monopoly on Hydrogen bombs for example. Extend that principle to modern infantry weapons. There is no inherent right to manufacture and sell the damned things in competition with Uncle Sam. I should think that the analogy should be to eminent domain, a government right the Court approved in the 1920s.

      Force the Supreme Court into the politics of the matter. It has a monopoly on interpreting the 2nd Amendment. It has shirked its responsibility. Put the burden for these unnecessary deaths directly on its collective shoulders. They can be forced to act. The judiciary has been political in fact for most of its existence. Sometimes benignly, other times not. You'll recall Mr. Dred Scott's experience.

      During WW II, which posed a clear and present danger if ever there was one, the Administration was enabled to essentially take over the manufacturing sector of our economy. That had all sorts of Constitutional implications. Yet we did it. We also imprisoned American citizens who happened to be Japanese. The same was true there. To claim that analogous things can't be done regarding the proliferation of guns in the US is nonsense. We have to face the consequences of what we've done to ourselves.

  • 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.

      -----------------------------------------

      IRmep
      Calvert Station
      P.O. Box 32041 Washington, DC 20007
      06/04/2015

      http://www.irmep.org info@irmep.org

      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.

      Sincerely,
      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 foreignpolicy.com

    • 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 washingtonpost.com

    • 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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