Recent Comments

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
    • You're mixing up several distinct questions. Is Prince Md. correct that Saudia needs to transition from petroleum? Yes. Should he be applauded for urging it? Yes.

      Did his speech or interview give any indication of how exactly that could be accomplished or how the oil income could be replaced?

      No.

  • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of 'Humanitarian Disaster' (4)
    • I live in the real world. It's not what should be done, but what can be done. What is the point of continuing the war against Assad if you can't win? To draw a parallel, always dangerous, when Nixon took office in 1969 he said he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. It turned out his plan was escalation and it did not succeed in bringing the North Vietnamese to their knees like Nixon and Kissinger hoped. So, four years later they worked out a peace deal that we now know he could have gotten four years earlier. Tens of thousand of people died in the interim, and for what? The only way Assad is going is if a coalition of nations invade the country and sides with his enemies. Not going to happen. Especially since many of his enemies are as odious as he is.

  • 'Monstrous' violence in Aleppo as 'Regime of Calm' begins in rest of Syria (1)
    • Is Putin just playing his own 19th century Great Power game? How much of this is a distraction from the economic horror show back home? Is he hoping to drive up the price of oil?

  • Ted Cruz turns away delegation of own Muslim Constituents, Smears them as 'Extremists' (2)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
  • Boehner: Ted Cruz is Lucifer, most miserable SOB I've worked with (2)
  • Over 80 senators push Obama to increase military aid to Israel; but not Bernie (4)
    • Bernie Sanders and the few Reps in Congress and the few senators deserve a standing ovation and our votes.
      If Hillary becomes president she is not likely to question the Israeli politics ever, she will simply foot the bill.
      Would be nice to know the names of them, they deserve our respect.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • Judging by Juan's article,and these comments, there is a lot of confusion going around. It is safe to say there is a good deal of confusion even within the government of the U.S.
      Maybe we can agree that the "functional" policy (that which can be observed over time) of the US Empire is "total dominance".
      Dictators are fine until they need to replaced. Destabilization is fine because the countries become ineffective and pose no threat. The GWOT works because it presents the constant enemy that supports the endless war that supports the MIC. NATO is just another tool to keep the countries of Europe in line and under our thumb and create problems for Russia.
      Specific actions taken by the US (to the extent we even know what happened) don't mean much. Seeming contradictions don't mean much. Speeches mean little if anything. Congress is useless. Hillary (maybe Bernie to some extent) is the only candidate that has a clue about what is actually going on---and that is no comfort.
      There is a reason why the US has bases in almost every country. This is not about Democracy for the world (or at home).
      See Lofgren's "The Deep State", John Perkins's work, or even Gen. Butler's "War is a Racket".

    • "Without the use of nuclear weapons NATO could defeat Russia in 20 minutes."

      You could not be more wrong. Last year Rand Corp. war-gamed a Russian invasion of NATO's Baltic members and the NATO response. With its superior numbers of both ground and air forces stationed across the border from the Baltics, the Russian forces overwhelmed NATO forces and occupied those countries.

      Nevertheless, in a backhanded way, you have made the case for a continued NATO presence in Europe binding us in a mutual defense treaty. Putin knows that were he to make such a drastic move, the NATO alliance would consolidate and eventually prevail. Were the NATO alliance to dissolve, there would be nothing to prevent Russia from invading Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, just as it did under Stalin in 1940.

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
    • Wow - the negativity against Saudis here is remarkable..
      I say it is a good start; better late than never.
      It does not take rocket science to invest in, manufacture and maintain solar energy infrastructure..and export energy in electrons...
      Salman should be commended for trying to change the beddu culture..

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • obama is a "defensive realist"? what about destroying Tikrit and Ramadi to "liberate" them from a sunni iraqi movement called Isis? Is he being a "defensive realist" ? when he bombards Mosul today?

  • ISIL Digging in Against new US Troops in Syria (1)
  • Could Hillary Clinton's promise of a gender-equal cabinet change US Politics forever? (2)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • Ironically, your entire comment, with your "points" such as they are, point to the reason NATO has been the most successful security alliance in history. It successfully kept the Soviet Union at bay during the period of Containment, and it continues to reinforce security today against potential Russian adventurism in a way that individual European countries, particularly the Baltics, could not. NATO continues to justify its existence in terms of United States and European interests.

    • "Riiiiiiiiight. If NATO folded and the US Army left Europe then the inevitable consequence of that would be a rush by Russian conventional forces towards the English Channel in order to “handily” subjugate all of Europe?"

      If you had actually read what I wrote you would have noted that I was speaking of the NATO Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It helps to read and understand before responding.

    • I will say no again

  • Could Hillary Clinton's promise of a gender-equal cabinet change US Politics forever? (2)
    • Not sure that comparison of a US cabinet appointments, from the population at large, by a powerful president can be fairly compared with that of a Parliamentary democracy where the appointments are selected from a very limited pool of elected representatives.

      US cabinet members usually have some degree of expertise and relevant experience in the areas to which they are appointed. In a Parliamentary system they might at best have a passing interest, but by and large they are appointed to appease factions and special interests.

      You can get away with having an incompetent secretary of whatever in a Parliamentary cabinet because they have less say in making decisions, whereas Presidential cabinet members have much more autonomy.

      So bottom line - a Cameron or Trudeau can get away with playing gesture politics with his/her cabinet appointments, but a US President first and foremost should choose competent people.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • No surprise here, as this blog has consistently and vociferously supported the Clintons' brand of interventionism, all the while pretending to be of the Left.

  • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of 'Humanitarian Disaster' (4)
    • They did not left Khamenei, the 40+ years of military, gas, bombs, missiles economic, psychological and the Saudi king’s kitchen sink continues. Even though supporting religious fanatics is a dabble edge sword as evident in NY, Etc..the trade off must have been worth it as they are arming al Qaeda now. So believing al qaeda, Daeash or the west is going to deliver democracy is wishful thinking and championing the violent rapists or their narrow sectarian view shameful.

  • Ted Cruz turns away delegation of own Muslim Constituents, Smears them as 'Extremists' (2)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • "But the point raised above, if I read it right, was that NATO is unnecessary. I don’t buy that."

      NATO is completely unnecessary.

      Russia does not have a military that is capable of invading Europe, and has not the slightest intention of indulding in such adventurism.

      Heck, it won't even invade the Ukraine regardless of the machinations of Victoria Nuland.

      There is this nonsensical idea floating around that without the USA then "Europe" would be defenseless against an over-armed and territorially-ambitious Russan military.

      It is untrue. Even without the US contribution the Russians are outspent two-to-one by the top four economies in Europe.

      Indeed, just the combination of France+Germany would have no trouble outspending Russia.

      If NATO were to dissolve then nothing would happen.

      And even if it were to happen (if, say, Putin were replaced by someone who pops too many angry-pills) then the only result would be an old-fashioned alliance of convenience between the major European powers.

      This may surprise many here, but the Europeans have lived alongside the Russan Bear for a long, long time before Uncle Sam started sending GIs "over there".

      And they understand perfectly well that "Russia" is not at all the same thing as the "USSR".

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • link to gwu.edu
      -----------------
      I’m speaking today in an effort to recommend a specific course of action for our country which I believe would be preferable to the course recommended by President Bush. Specifically, I am deeply concerned that the policy we are presently following with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

      FIRST THING FIRST: WAR ON TERRORISM

      To begin with, I believe we should focus our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and have thus far gotten away with it. The vast majority of those who sponsored, planned and implemented the cold blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans are still at large, still neither located nor apprehended, much less punished and neutralized. I do not believe that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from this urgent task simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than predicted. Great nations persevere and then prevail. They do not jump from one unfinished task to another.

      We are perfectly capable of staying the course in our war against Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, while simultaneously taking those steps necessary to build an international coalition to join us in taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • "Were NATO and the U.S. to abandon Europe, nukes would be unnecessary. Russian conventional forces would be more than adequate to accomplish the job handily."

      Riiiiiiiiight. If NATO folded and the US Army left Europe then the inevitable consequence of that would be a rush by Russian conventional forces towards the English Channel in order to "handily" subjugate all of Europe?

      Because, you know, that's what has happened so many, many times before The Coming Of The GIs.

      Correct?

    • "The three Baltic states–Estonia, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Poland, have all been threatened by Putin."

      No, they haven't been "threatened by Putin", though it is understandable that they find that living next to Russia is "a threatening thing".

      But, be honest here William: does any European country in NATO give a rat's arse about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania?

      This is a given: if the USA stopped "paying" for NATO then it would fold, the US Army would leave, and each European country would go back to running their own army their own way. Just as they always did pre-NATO.

      Would Germany spend big on the Bundeswehr so that it can go to the aid of a "threatened Estonia"?

      The answer is surely "no".

      Would the UK do likewise so that it could rush to the aid of Latvia?

      "no".

      Would France beef up its military so that it could stand shoulder to shoulder with Lithuania?

      The answer: "no".

      This is very, very simple: if Donald turned off the Money Tap then NATO would cease to exist.

      At which point all the European countries would fund their militaries to a level that is commesurate with their *own* national interests.

      Which in dollar terms would amount to "not much, maybe even less than now".

      If the Baltic States wanted to spend themselves into the ground to be able to "defeat" any Russian threat then they would be free to do so. But Germany wouldn't join them, nor would the UK, nor France, nor anyone else.

      After all, why should they?

  • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of 'Humanitarian Disaster' (4)
    • So, you say then war criminals should be left in power? Hmm, as a Sunni, this seems short change - killed off Saddam, but left war criminals Khamenei and Bashar al-Assad basically intact and stronger if anything.

  • Chomsky: Sanders Mobilizes Force That Could Change the Country (2)
    • Wait a minute. The media wants us to believe that when in reality very few people have voted in the primaries and as Mr Chomsky states and I agree most people are for FDR's progressive issues. Will this political revolution be maintained? I'm afraid not as Sanders will stay an Independent Democrat. I then will feel betrayed, especially at his age he should continue till November as an independent. And don't tell me the GOP then will win because who cares, Trump HRC are the same to me.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
  • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of 'Humanitarian Disaster' (4)
    • Bashir Assad is a dictator and war criminal. However, the balance of forces seem to be such that he cannot be defeated. The carnage has become so bad that I think an end to the civil war is required, even if that means leaving Assad in power. I believe this is the position the US and the West should take.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Not even Bernie could accomplish much if the House remains in Republican control. This is the reality. A reality most Bernie supporters don't want to acknowledge.

    • The left wing ideologues here show that they are as immune to facts and porpotionality as right wing ideologues. Anyone who lumps Clinton together with Republican neo-cons is politically blind. Keep at it Professor Cole. Some of us are able to make distinctions.

    • It remains to be seen if HRC has moved left; I'm not holding my breath.

  • Are Cruz And Kasich smart enough to stop Trump? (16)
  • Chomsky: Sanders Mobilizes Force That Could Change the Country (2)
    • Our country has been lurched so far to the EXTREME RIGHT, a conservative Eisenhower Republican would now be depicted as the equivalent to a “socialist,” someone far too liberal or progressive to be relevant.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Did Nader cost Al Gore the election or did Lieberman???
      Least we forget Al Gore lost HIS home state of Tennessee (in which he was a very long term senator) which he had won twice with Bill Clinton. Had he won his home state Tennessee, the drama of Florida would have been a side show. Al Gore would have been president PEROID!!!
      Oppps!!! Let's not talk about, or explore that interesting aspect. Anti Jewish reflex anyone???
      Al Gore politics seemed to have been in line with the people of Tennessee for years.

  • The Collapse of the Old Oil Order (2)
  • Boehner: Ted Cruz is Lucifer, most miserable SOB I've worked with (2)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • "I am finding ideologues of the left as unrealistic as ideologues of the right. One says the US can do no wrong, the other says that the US is to blame for everything that goes wrong. Nuance be damned."

      This phenomenon can be found in populist demagogues on both the left and the right, dating back at least to the 1930s, and particularly in foreign policy. The left thinks America is not good enough for the rest of the world, and the right thinks the rest of the world is not good enough for America. Both are laughably unrealistic.

  • The Collapse of the Old Oil Order (2)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • Were NATO and the U.S. to abandon Europe, nukes would be unnecessary. Russian conventional forces would be more than adequate to accomplish the job handily.

  • Seven members of Israeli ‘terror cell’ indicted for dozens of attacks on Palestinian civilians & property (1)
    • I liked Noam Chomsky's response when asked "What should we do about terrorism?" He replied "Stop participating in it." Precisely!

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • That a country of 150 million 70 year old alcoholics and drug addicts, who could not drive safely if their life depended on it, with an average life expectancy of 55, could even be a threat to Monaco let alone a country in the EU, such as Estonia, is completely preposterous. The media in the US has been frightening the American people with a Soviet then Russian boogeyman for decades.
      Have you ever seen Youtube videos of how Russians drive. If you pay close attention you will see even those not having accidents are not having accidents through pure luck. It should be clear that the only people that the Russians are capable of threatening are other Russians.
      Without the use of nuclear weapons NATO could defeat Russia in 20 minutes. Putin has improved things since coming to power. It was 10 minutes before he took power.
      Furthermore the exact same thing could be written about Iran except that the the average age would be 15 and it would be described as a country of drug addicts and alcoholics, who could not find their way from their bedroom to their living room unless their are looking through a video camera.

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
    • I wouldn't rule out that the idea of selling some of ARAMCO stake to "big oil", came to this juvenile prince out of fear and insecurity. Having US companies owning "part of the rock" he thought, it will compel them to come to defend the KSA regime to protect their stake. Maybe they've done that before, even after 1973 when 100% of ARAMCO had become Saudi, but it won't happen again, not when oil is good for ointment. His plan is a pie in the sky and a mirage in the Empty Quarter. It will be good for the 1% of the world, though, through investment, fraud, and embezzlement.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • The Democratic Party has rigged the election for Neo Con (Artist) Clinton. Trump is against NAFTA, and the Trans Pacific Patnership. Hillary and her female brethren Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, and Victoria Nuland have made war on Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Enough said, Trump is much more progressive than Clinton will ever be in her four year term. I have my doubts about American democracy if Clinton is elected in November.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • You don't have a sense of proportion if you think any of that adds up to anywhere near invading a country of 26 million with 160,000 troops, occupying it for 8.5 years, killing tens of thousands, wounding millions and displacing 4 million. Bill Clinton has his flaws, but making war was not one of them

      The bombing of Iraq in 1998 was because Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries locked on to US planes with hostile intent, which violated the no-fly zone. Republicans got up the phony impeachment and then accused him of wagging the dog; sorry to see you repeat their tactics.

    • Re: Juan Cole Apr 27 @ 11:36 AM
      Your response,

      "Juan Cole 2016.04.27 11:36
      I consider warmongering to be, like, actually launching a war, sending troops in, armored convoys, etc. etc. Can’t see that he did any of that; his two military actions were to save the Kosovars from murderous ultra-nationalist Serbs and to try to kill Bin Laden. Both were very worthwhile."

      despite its posting not providing the courtesy of a "reply" function and its snarky elocution ("...like, actually launching a war..."), seems to present a rather skewed and selective recollection of the Clinton administration's deployment of modern war-making. While the joining of NATO's belated efforts to end the genocidal "ethnic cleansing" in Serbia under the leadership of Gen. Wesley Clark certainly is deserving of praise, the notion that the Clinton administration was a wholly humanitarian enterprise not driven by NeoLiberal economic warmongering is revisionist fiction; and no amount of snarky obfuscation or dissembling serves any honest discussion well.
      The stage that is being set for our 2016 election is not one that represents the interests and concerns of an informed electorate, rather it is a pseudo-political circus being orchestrated by competing brands of political snake-oil with identical ingredients; the only distinction being the coloring additive. The only thing unique this time around is that there is no "lessor evil" to choose from.
      As Usual,
      EA

    • Clinton's gestures are in the, "Throw them a bone," category. She will not be a reputable candidate unless she forswears military adventurism, but she's apparently in too deep to the Israel Lobby to do that.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • George W. set a new standard on what a failed presidency is like. I can't imagine Donald Trump being an improvement on George W.

      One failed presidency did a lot of damage to our country and our foreign policy. President Obama repaired some of the damage despite a Congress that was useless for six years. Another failed presidency so soon after George W. will not be good for the U.S., or good for the world.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Even today on trade deals Obama is relying on Republican votes in Congress.

      Sanders should threaten to bolt for the Greens unless HRC signs on the dotted line that her action will match her newfound rhetoric.

    • Too bad Sanders is losing.
      I do have to dispute the premise of this article however. Watching Clinton do a Bush/Cruz neocon run at AIPAC was sickening.

      And oh TPP has to be stopped.

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
    • It is unclear to me (an economist) what Prince Muhammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Sa'ud really thinks he is up to with this partial ARAMCO IPO. Most of the publicity has been about the large amount of money that it might raise (or not) that will then be added to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, which will presumably invest abroad and provide a flow of income. But this will be offset by the loss of a share of profits to the new partial owners. Not at all clear that there will be a net gain by all this.

      Of course he may be looking at using some of that windfall to offset short term budget deficits. But that is not a sustainable policy, unless he continues to sell off more and more of ARAMCO and similarly uses the money. But again, while that would stretch things out, eventually that comes to an end.

      Another argument might be that he has bought into general privatization ideology of private ownership is more efficient than state. Maybe, but this is a selloff of only 15% or something like that, which will not involve any change in management.

      Finally it should be noted that this reverses a long history. At the Red Line Agreement in 1928 in Achnacarry Castle, Walter Teagle of then Jersey Standard (now Exxon Mobil) was granted Saudi Arabia (while now BP and Royal Dutch Shell took other parts of the Gulf with the red lines drawn around them on a map on a table). ARAMCO was initially Exxon, Mobil, Gulf, and Texaco and found oil in 1938. They owned it and they took nearly all the profits. Starting in 1948 (or thereabouts) King Abdulaziz gained a 50-50% profit-sharing agreement that was the model for later such agreements in many oil-producing nations. By the time of the OPEC price hike in 1973, the Saudis had nationalized ARAMCO and their oil to get 100% of the profits. Now Muhammed bin Sultan wants to undo all of that, and people are cheering him?.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • From corporate-controlled media •••clown to magically morphing into Presidential material will require some truly amazing “special effects.”

    • You could take everything Trump knows about foreign policy, put it in a thimble, and have room left over for all his knowledge of domestic policy.

  • Big Money in Politics Doesn’t Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War. (2)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • Under UN supervision 600 metric tons of chemical agents used for making poison gas were destroyed from Syrian stockpiles. There have been no reported uses of poison gas in Syria since. Wikipedia has a thorough article on the use of this gas. I am not aware of anyone who said Turkey was behind it. Human Rights Watch, not affiliated with any government, placed the blame on the Syrian government. Only Seymour Hersh seems to think it was a false flag operation. The evidence is murky, but most evidence points to the Syrian government. I find it quite strange how people are so quick to blame the US for all the problems in the area, even to go to the extreme of seeming to support a war criminal like Assad. I am finding ideologues of the left as unrealistic as ideologues of the right. One says the US can do no wrong, the other says that the US is to blame for everything that goes wrong. Nuance be damned.

    • Nothing the Trumpster said was half as scary and tone deaf as was Sec. Clinton's umprompted bragging about what buddies she and Henry Kissinger are.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • You do realize what will be lost if the Republicans take the WH? If you don't, you really don't get it. Bernie has NO power to actually make any of the changes he advocated without control of both Houses of Congress and those people ARE NOT there and WILL NOT be elected. The whole Bernie thing is backwards.

    • I have studied the history of Europe in the 20s and 30s in depth. I am very much aware that fascism was a right-wing phenomenon, and that liberalism as used in Gramsci's manifesto was not the U.S. "liberalism" of today.

      In the European context, "liberalism" basically adhered to the tenets of John Locke, Adam Smith, and others who valued political freedom (such as it was defined at the time), free markets, and the individual.

      That Italy and Germany became fascist was not due to "liberalism." It was primarily due to weak institutional structures within each country; and in the case of Germany, the crushing reparations demanded by the Treaty of Versailles and rampant inflation in the 20s. Liberalism as such had nothing to do with it.

      Gramsci, of course was a communist and viewed liberalism and fascism both as obstacles to attaining his vision of a "Sovietized" Italy. Thus his manifesto, "Neither Fascism Nor Liberalism: Sovietism!"

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
  • Trump: Candidate of American Decline (4)
    • Trump and Cruz are merely taking full advantage of the “Dumbing-down of America” which has been a work-in-progress since Reagan.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • I always say that Bill Clinton was a great Republican president (positively moderate by the standards of that party today), and he did have an aversion to US body bags. But I don't know why he joined a left wing party, mostly antiwar (since the 1970s anyway), because his record speaks for itself - Plan Colombia, the precedent-setting air attack on Serbia without a UN resolution which led to Europe's first change of borders by force since WWII, the bombing of Iraq in 1998 (to distract attention from the Lewinsky scandal IMO) and the plan to move NATO into Eastern Europe while Russia was weak. I'll give him a pass over Somalia, and in Bosnia he genuinely hesitated as long as he could. But we shouldn't give him a thumbs up just because Bush was more gung-ho and worse at PR.

  • Egypt arrests Hundreds to Stop Protest, including Journalists, Lawyers (1)
  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • To state that NATO countries "are under no conventional or nuclear military threat whatsoever..." demonstrates a lack of geo-strategic awarness. The three Baltic states--Estonia, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Poland, have all been threatened by Putin. The Baltic states in particular were once a part of the Soviet Union and part of what Russia now calls its "Near-Abroad." Without a strong NATO presence, Putin would be sorely tempted to bring them back into the fold.

      There is also Turkey, which has always had friction with Russia and the former Soviet Union. Without NATO backup, Putin would not necessarily invade Turkey, but he would most certainly apply strong pressure to bring Turkey under Russian influence.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Please. Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq to protect his father's reputation. The Nader-ites keep repeating their litany of defenses. I understand their shame and bad conscience but they must take responsibility for helping to elect the worst president in history.

    • Fascism is a far right political model. What he meant that well meaning but weak liberal governments, as in pre-Nazi Germany, that can't solve the problems of society can drive a population to embrace fascist tactics of politics.

    • OK OK OK - you've made your point!

  • Trump culture: threat, fear and the tightening of the American mind (1)
  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • At the New Hampshire debate, Clinton spoke of counting family care work towards Social Security benefits, work of the greatest importance but it does not generate a capitalist profit.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • He may be a bombastic snake oil salesman when he is in his off the cuff bloviator mode but when it comes to giving a serious scripted speech his delivery is akin to a first year divinity student. I'm sure the leaders of ISIS are quaking in their sandals right about now.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • his two military actions were to save the Kosovars

      I too believed that at the time.

      Like Palestine, all one has to do is look at a map. Locate Kosovo and Belgrade. Then tell me why they had to bomb Belgrade intensively, taking out Danube bridges, power plants, factories, and such.

      The right wing has a clear answer to that in terms of punishment and coercion. I have searched in vain for an answer in terms of "protection" from liberal supporters of the war.

      Bulletins from Serbia offers a personal account how the air war felt like on the ground, in the form of e-mail reports by a political cartoonist well networked into the U.S. and Western Europe with no love for Milosevich. What to do when your elderly aunt does not have power and so the contents of her freezer are rotting but she lives across the river you can't cross anymore, that sort of thing.

  • Trump's Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused (26)
    • At least Trump says he puts America first, even if he doesn't mean it. Over here in the UK our worthless politicians like Cameron and Corbin, quite openly want to sell us down the river to the European Union. We even have the American president over here fawning on Cameron and telling us all that we should give away our sovereignty to the EU. If Obama thinks its such a good idea that we over here in the UK stay as members of the EU and open our borders to all and sundry, then he should open his borders between America, Mexico and Canada. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

    • The argument that "the US pays an unfair share of direct costs" for NATO countries can be countered by a simple thought-experiment.

      Q: If the USA stopped paying those costs then what, exactly, would those NATO countries do?
      A: Nothing.

      Those European countries are under no conventional or nuclear military threat whatsoever and therefore would see no need to increase their military spending even **without** Uncle Sam guarding their backs.

      Indeed, the *only* reason that the current NATO countries would consider raising their military budget would be if they feared that the USA would attempt a few "color revolutions" against them.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Bernie Sanders would have to win about 80% of the California vote and sweep the other states in order to win. Do you even know how delegates are apportioned in California? Do you know that there is a large pro-Hillary block of minority voters in California? Do you know that Hillary beat Obama by 10 percentage points in California in 2008? Do you know anything?

    • Liberalism used in this context is not the same as current US liberalism. Liberalism in early 20th Century Europe meant what we consider today to be conservative economics. If you actually studied history and the history of Europe in the 20's and 30's and studied the rise of fascism in both Germany and Italy, you would realize that fascism was a right wing phenomenon. People who supported fascism in other countries were conservatives. People who supported it in the US were conservatives like Henry Ford. Sigh, so little understanding. Right wingers like to say Obama is a fascist because the Nazi Party's actual title was National Socialist and since Obama is a socialist, that makes him a fascist. Doesn't anybody study history and political theory anymore?

    • I find it hard to argue against opinions stated without any supporting evidence. That is what you think, but it doesn't make it so. Your prescription is basically burn down the village in order to save it. I suggest you read an article in today's Vox which gives a nuanced analysis of her foreign policy. Left wing ideologues seem to be as incapable of nuance as right wing ideologues. I'm curious, are there any Bernie supporters out there who have actually worked in government and/or studied political science? They all seem idealistic to the point of delusional. They don't live in the real world. There is a reason almost all Democratic office holders have supported Clinton and not Sanders. They realize what can and can't be done. Was Bill Clinton a disaster in foreign policy? No. Hillary Clinton won't be either. Trump would be a disaster. He knows almost nothing and understands even less.

  • Big Money in Politics Doesn’t Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War. (2)
    • There was an article on counterpunch that went into the comparison between the Native American tradition of the Potlatch and the spending on the military.

      In short, the military is what 'we' in the west view as an acceptable form of potlatch.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • I consider warmongering to be, like, actually launching a war, sending troops in, armored convoys, etc. etc. Can't see that he did any of that; his two military actions were to save the Kosovars from murderous ultra-nationalist Serbs and to try to kill Bin Laden. Both were very worthwhile.

  • Majority of Palestinian Youth support Violent Resistance to Israeli Occupation, despair of state of their own (4)
  • Are Cruz And Kasich smart enough to stop Trump? (16)
    • Cruz is the worst most dangerous candidate, being a religious fanatic. We must hope Trump beats him in the primary.

      Trump's anti-Muslim statements are not deeply held, they're demagoguing.

      Cruz really truly believes Muslims are evil. He is much much more dangerous.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • And what do you bet she will reverse all of those positions as soon as her hands slips of the inaugural bible?

    • The campaign isn't over until California votes.

      Bernie still has about a 50-50 shot of winning. It all depends on the California vote. Remember what a huge percentage of the vote he got in Washington and Oregon? This is possible in California, though it wasn't possible in the east-coast closed-primary states.

      The important thing to realize is that Clintonism is dead. She will probably govern as a right-winger just like Obama did, but she will have no support for it. She's probably so damn stupid she'll run for re-election in 2020, in which case she'll lose to the Republican Fascist candidate. 2024, if the fascists haven't abolished elections by then, the liberal candidate wins by a huge landslide.

    • To me it is a great mystery why anyone would have voted for HRC over Bernie in the primaries. Bernie's platform may be limited -- it is a great disappointment to me that he didn't include scaling American militarism way back and using the enormous savings that would result to build American infrastructure -- but at least he comes across as a real and decent human being. In contrast, HRC comes across as a totally inauthentic power-hungry person. She had the rug
      pulled out from under her by Obama and is determined not to let it happen again. Little wonder she refuses to publish the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs. It would
      cost her the election if people really knew what she said. The only principles she apparently really has other than a dermination to be elected have to do with her wholehearted embrace of the principles of American
      exceptionalism and the dreadful militarism that goes along with it. A vote for HRC is a vote for four more years of war
      anywhere the possibility exists. I totally agree with all the comments expressing conviction that any seeming turn of her positions to the left because of Sanders will go out the window as soon as she no longer has to contend with him.

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
    • When the oil money runs out, the rest of the Muslim world will not long tolerate KSA's control of the Holy Cities. Expect the government to collapse.

      Expect most of the princes to have moved to London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or whereever before that.

  • Are Cruz And Kasich smart enough to stop Trump? (16)
  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Not by any means, but by all means available to him.

    • These arguments for realism are always worth considering. But Hillary has advocated war at every single opportunity, and gives everything to Israel and the oligarchy without so much as a fuss. She is a Judas-goat leading progressives to the slaughter, and nothing more.

      Intelligent people want to show those who control the Democratic party that they will not be led to the slaughter. If the Dems had wanted a liberal platform they would have backed Sanders or Warren: they don't want it. They don't want it. They are the problem, not a solution.

      Let's have a little realism in favor of telling the oligarchy controlling the Dems that their lies and hopey-changey scams don't sell any more, even if it means that they lose this one because they betrayed their people. Let's let them learn their lesson the hard way, because they don't learn any other way.

  • Trump: Candidate of American Decline (4)
    • Just in case perceived decline also refers to the perceived tarnishing and denting of America's patina of Exceptionalism . . . perhaps perceived decline could be seized on by people who are tired of the burdens of American Exceptionalism and would like to guide Exceptional America down a managed decline path towards an Ordinary America endpoint.

      Perhaps it is time to think of American Exceptionalism as just another Middle Kingdom Complex ( like "guess-who's" Middle Kingdom Complex) and like Russia's "Third Rome" Complex. Time to think of being an American Okayness Ordinarian. America Okay! We're Number Whatever! etc.

    • Engelhardt is totally missing Trump's point. The only reason America isn't great now is because it has been under a black president for eight years. When he is replaced by a white man/woman, the country will be great again. We don't need 21 paragraphs of gasbag analysis to understand that.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Trump will not be the gentleman that Bernie was. Clinton offers many areas for hard attacks, not the least of which are the Wall Street speech transcripts. Trump will hammer her on that without letup. Though he would probably agree with everything she said to the Banksters, he will nail her for being two-faced. It will come down to her trust deficit. In the best of all possible worlds, Trump will get "brokered" out at the Republican convention, thereby allowing both he and Bernie to run as independents. That would give us some real choices in a four-way race without the "Nader" problem.

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble (29)
    • Here are some links to back up what I said earlier:
      link to theroot.com
      Why Are Democrats Still Chasing White Voters When Brown and Black Is Where It’s At?

      link to artvoice.com

      Detroit is America

      USA IS #7 IN DEBT TO GDP, BUT #2 IN DEBT TO REVENUE

      link to visualcapitalist.com

      link to washingtonpost.com
      We can’t save the economy unless we fix our debt addiction

      Debt addiction relies on this:
      "The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world's reserve currency and through this status, the U.S. is able to enjoy persistent trade deficits, and become a global economic hegemony. The petrodollar system also provides the United States’ financial markets with a source of liquidity and foreign capital inflows through petrodollar "recycling."

      link to investopedia.com

      link to dailymail.co.uk news/article-2007795/ Achievement-gap-Hispanic- white-students-unchanged- decades.html
      'Sobering' report shows education achievement gap between Hispanics and whites remains unchanged in two decades

      link to nextcity.org

      Report: Poor U.S. Students Receive Developing-World Educations

      link to cnbc.com
      Most older Americans fall short on retirement savings
      link to money.cnn.com
      Millennials turn up heat against low wages
      link to washingtonpost.com

      Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

    • Saudis are going to be consumed by own incompetence. They misused fossil water and have misused oil bounty. The scary thing is US dollar depends on these incompetent people. For different reasons both US and KSA have badly educated their populations. Both will suffer the consequences. US in 20 years will be country of mostly poor old and young people so will be even more debt dependent than now and that is scary.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • Antonio Gramsci did not say, "Liberalism paves the way for fascism." What you may be referring to is his 1924 manifesto entitled, "Neither fascism nor liberalism: Sovietism!"

      In 1924 Italy was already fascist under Mussolini, and Gramsci was stating that liberal attempts to replace fascism, if successful, would result in a system no better than fascism.

      In his clarion call for "Sovietism," Gramsci was calling for a Soviet style regime, run by committees of workers and peasants, "Soviets," which would, of course, be led by a "Vanguard of the Proletariat."

      We see the horrors that led to when the Soviet Union, with its Leninist totalitarianism, was inflicted on the Russian people. Surely you are not suggesting that as an appropriate form of "government" for the U.S. or any other nation.

    • Re: Juan Cole Apr 27 @ 01:38

      "Bill Clinton was many things but not by any means a war monger."

      Prof. Cole, despite my genuine appreciation of your informed and cogent opinions, especially on matters concerning U.S. policy towards the middle east, this broad-brush declaration that Bill Clinton was "..not by any means a war monger." seems to seriously ignore his historical advocacy and actions in support of the use of military power to implement covert NeoLiberal colonialism in concert with the more overt NeoConservative practitioners of empire building and the resulting loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. How does one not consider such behavior "any means" of war mongering?
      "Work is love made visible." KG
      As Usual,
      EA

    • Gramsci: liberalism paves the way for fascism.

  • Why Burqa Veils Are Illegal In Some Countries (8)
    • Wearing a veil of any kind changes the perception of a woman from an equal to a sexual object. If you want to do that inside a mosque, that's your choice - tho of course you have to find a mosque that will LET women pray with men. But to wear a veil of any kind in normal public engagement is adopting a medieval view of the hierarchy of the sexes, control of women, the depiction of women as sexual objects, and has no place in a modern world. Every time a woman appears with a headscarf, she is signalling that women are DIFFERENT, that their identity is linked with SEX, that there is something 'immodest' (thus sexual) about their hair and their body. AND that this has an effect on MEN, so women must prevent this effect from occurring. This very twisted psychological state leads to unbearable acts against women, by men who are unable to see them as equal people, and as intellectual equals, firstly. So. No more veils in modern society in the marketplace. Do what you want when you are doing your social religious practices - but not in the commons. That is the absolute height of REAL barbarism, and we need to clearly state that the world does not accept the ranking of people by gender.

  • Not al-Qaeda: Abu Zubayda as Bush's Mengele Experiment (7)
    • This info is not that recent...it's from December, 2014. from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report. There's also a link to a Guardian story at that time.

      The crowing of one D. Trump brought this up again...not to mention the continuous usage in American media that Zubaydah was Al Qaeda, etc. As a matter of fact, after I had read this over on Tom Englehardt's blog that generated Rebecca's story, the next day an Associated Press story had the same repeated lie again deep in a MSN released story.

      It's not that the fix on that shenanigans is in, it is in deep across US media even though the official US position is the opposite. This is not a spirited defense, it is a reiteration of the facts of the case from the SSCI and, strangely enough, by CIA's own admission.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left (59)
    • He may not have been a warmonger, but the US back then gloated in it 'victory' in the Cold War and proceeded to contain Russia by moving the forces of NATO eastward, contrary to promises at the time. That led to the current resurgence of Russia and will pose real problems for the next presidency. I fear Clinton's reaction here even more so than Trump.

    • But he managed to do a lot of damage to Iraq before the invasion by W.