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Total number of comments: 19 (since 2013-11-28 16:38:26)


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  • White Supremacy was already dying in the 1860s & can't be Revived
    • "Like the Confederate soldiers who did not own slaves and would probably never be able to afford to buy even one, the marchers are fighting for the possibility of their own wealth in an unequal society."

      What an absurd analysis of the motive of non-slaveowning poor Confederate soldiers. This is abject.

      Poor whites in the Confederacy had NO such ideas of future upward mobility. They fought the north because of they believed the north to be an oppressive state trying to destroy their home states & region-it was entirely tribal. They were uneducated, nationalist and racist and believed the north was trying to impose black people as rulers of the south over them. The northern states to them meant "foreigners."

  • How our Intel Agencies Screwed us by Letting Sessions, Trumpies get away with Russia Scheme
    • I'm disappointed in Juan Cole - this is utterly absurd. To believe that releasing the Podesta emails turned the election over to Trump is idiotic. There is no evidence for it--only supposition. STOP BLAMING RUSSIA FOR HILLARY CLINTON'S ABJECT INCOMPETENCE IN RUNNING A CAMPAIGN IN WHICH SHE LOST THOUSANDS OF WHITE OBAMA VOTERS IN THE RUST BELT. Clinton lost due to her unpopularity, her incompetent campaign, voter suppression in certain states and many people sitting out the election due to lack of enthusiasm. I thought Prof. Cole was smarter than this.

  • Influence: Russia just Imitated the Rupert Murdoch/Fox Model
    • Hillary won the popular vote because she won extra votes in Democratic California - that means nothing when you lose the rust belt. She won blue states the way she was supposed to. Winning California by 1% or 10% doesn't matter - she won the state the way she was supposed to. Period. The electoral college makes all those extra votes in Democratic states that gave her the popular vote totally irrelevant.

  • Has Trump quietly surrendered to Russia and China?
    • What an absurd article defending US imperial, military and economic hegemony and very disappointing to see it published here. Incredible to see an apology for dangerous US/NATO encroachment on Russia - why in the world does Klare think Putin has stepped up Russian military operations in its "near abroad" in the last several yrs? Because NATO/Europe/the US have persistently encroached upon Russian borders. Has he heard of Victoria Neuland? Has he heard of the US/European interference in Ukraine to assist in the removal of a democratically elected president that half the country supported?

      Klare apparently just loves the TPP & actually believes in the hilariously weak labor/human rights/environmental "protections" that the Obama TPP had in place. The TPP is a disastrous agreement in any form, good riddance.

      I'm supposed to be upset that the US will no longer be the "world leader"??? There are many reasons to oppose Trump, this isn't one of them. To hell with NATO.

  • Why do GOP Presidents get to go Hard Right, and Dems are just GOP Lite?
    • I share your frustration, Prof. Cole but -- no disrespect intended -- I think your assumptions about who the Democrats "really are" are naive. The Democrats don't act as you want them to because they are following precisely what it is that they are. They are GOP lite, socially liberal Republicans. They prefer a dreadful neoliberal economist like Larry Summers to Barbara Ehrenreich precisely because that's what they believe in: neoliberal, anti-worker, deregulation, corporate oligarchy and little environmental commitment to speak of. You judge a party or politician by what they or he/she fights for. Look at Obama's determined effort to fight for TPP and compare it to what he's done for labor rights, consumer rights and the environment.

      The Democrats are not and have not been for decades a genuine party that gives a damn about workers, the poor, civil liberties or the environment. What little they've done in that direction in the last 3 decades is lip service, weak sauce, cosmetic efforts.

      There are individuals in the party - many in its liberal wing - who are very much concerned about those things but they are marginalized in the party. Since the party's takeover by the Clinton/DLC crowd, its commitment to labor, anti-poverty, the environment, consumer rights and so on have been cosmetic only. The Democrats are first and foremost fundamentally a corporate party- a creature of Wall Street, big banks, arms manufacturers, big oil, big pharma. There's a reason that big money donors keep funding the party. It is absolutely certain that if the party acted as you wanted, those donors would flee the party instantly.

      Obama was a big recipient of such corporate donations. Every organization on the planet holds its primary fealty to whoever or whatever funds not just its survival but its prosperity and success. The Democratic party is no different.

      The proof of this has been the party's abject performance with regard to the environment, labor, anti-poverty, anti-trust, banking regulations etc in the last 30yrs. It is the DLC/Clinton version of the Democrats who have controlled the party during the systematic destruction of the New Deal and the LBJ era legislation. They own it.

      Those are the real world easily observed facts.

      You judge Democrats -- like every other organization and like every other person -- by what they DO and DON'T DO, not what they say. You judge them - like every other organization - by what they choose to expend their energy on and what they don't.

      The Democrats represent the rich and powerful and for US imperial expansion and hegemony. They do not go left because they despise the left. They prefer Republicans to the left. That is the demonstrated truth that they've kept showing us for 30-35 yrs.

    • "History has shown time and again that economics is not the most important influence in how people vote or who they support in politics" - that is beyond absurd. People always have and always will vote their pocketbooks. That's simple basic hard fact.

  • No, America, it wasn't Russia: You did it to Yourself
    • doesn't matter - it's the electoral college that matters. Obama won the rust belt, Clinton didn't. That's her failure.

    • he obviously did since his post is excellent, rational, informed and far better than all the insane hysteria on liberal social media & liberal blogs & by liberal pundits.

    • she won the popular vote by winning blue states - newsflash: it's the ELECTORAL COLLEGE that matters. Obama won the rust belt, Clinton didn't. That's what matters.

  • Grand Alliance against ISIL: Can Putin come in from the Cold?
    • "He wants to resurrect the glory of the Soviet victory in World War II; and he wants to bury the humiliation of the Soviet defeat in the Cold War."

      What a load of nonsense. This is tired old western
      narrative about Russia/Putin wanting to bring back
      "days of glory" - it's willfully ignorant & reduces
      Russia's legitimate strategic concerns to caricature. Why is it that only the west has legitimate strategic concerns but not Russia? This has nothing to do with any nostalgia for "glory" and everything to do with preserving the Syrian state so that it does not devolve into chaos like Libya & Iraq did after the US destroyed those countries.

      Putin brutally assaulted Chechnya to destroy that
      country's insurgents, who in their later yrs began to
      practice Qaeda-like terrorism. That is his concern. Putin's actions in its "near abroad" are exactly what the US' would be if it was being encircled by Russian economic and military provocations. There is much to criticize Putin for domestically but his international actions are based on real strategic concerns--not any desire to bring back the glory days of the USSR.

  • Omar Sharif didn't have to Play a Terrorist
    • This is a terrific piece about Omar Sharif from Prof. Cole.

      But there is another aspect to the period in Hollywood he's writing about that goes unmentioned.

      Sharif acted in Hollywood films during the last era in which it was easily accepted for actors to play ethnic or even races they were not themselves. Sometimes it worked great - Sharif playing a Russian poet in Zhivago & a Jewish conman in Funny Girl works fine. Sometimes it didn't - famously Mickey Rooney as a Japanese man in Breakfast at Tiffany's or Alec Guinness also as a Japanese (diplomat) in A Majority of One -- both were dreadful.

      But until the last couple of decades - it was no big deal to see Cary Grant (an Englishman) playing Americans or Frenchmen. Or Burt Lancaster - an American - playing a French anti-nazi resistance fighter.

      Today it's not as easily accepted. It still happens but not to the degree it used to. And audiences & Hollywood filmmakers had no problems making those casting decisions.

      Sharif benefited from that. And in some ways, yes, it was a healthier time for it. After all, generations of Americans grew up embracing foreign actors on their Hollywood screens like Charles Boyer, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Leslie Caron, Ronald Colman, Cesar Romero, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Fernando Lamas, Lupe Velez, Ricardo Montalban, Curt Jurgens, Cantinflas and so many others.

      I don't see that so much today. It hasn't disappeared entirely--but it's just not as common.

  • The Arab Political Crisis: It isn't a Matter of Civilization and it isn't Unique
    • this is indeed a terrific post, Professor.

      I see some posters still use the "it's the fault of Islamic civilization" nonsensical trope.

      I may be accused of oversimplifying (& I'm open to the accusation) but I've always understood the current (by "current" I mean from a historical lens--which includes the past few decades) turmoil in the region this way:

      Islam is only 1400 yrs old. Look at Judaism and Christianity at that age. Full of internal and external strife-infighting, purges, fighting with neighbors, unbelievable violence and savagery. Hell, the pope was a military leader himself, smiting challengers all over Europe and leading crusades against infidels. Just read the Books of Joshua and Judges to see what Judaism was up to at that age. The problem, of course, was that there were no nuclear weapons when Christianity & Judaism were undergoing their difficult transitional phases (which lasts centuries).

      I also look at what happened to the Roman empire during its decline and after its fall: Europe was plunged into "darkness," -- chaos, constant fighting, wars between competing mini-kingdoms, etc. What we're seeing is the aftermath of the fall of the Ottoman empire. Except that Europe had the benefit of no outside colonial powers coming in and colonizing it for decades. Europe was allowed to find its own way - and it had to go thru centuries of bloodshed and turmoil to find it.

      So-except for the outside colonizer aspect-there is indeed nothing historically unique about what's going on with Islam or the region's political/social/cultural development.

  • The Cruel Jest of American "Humanitarian Aid" to Iraq
    • oh boo hoo -- Prof. Cole's "tone" hurts your precious wittle feelings.
      Grow up. The prof. is absolutely correct in pointing out the immense hypocrisy of this so-called "humanitarian" mission and of the tragic amount of destroyed lives that the US is responsible for. In fact, Prof. Cole omits the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives the US murdered as a result of a decade of merciless sanctions long before the 2003 invasion.
      The incredible arrogance on your part to whine about Prof. Cole's "tone" in the face of the depth and breadth of the US' destruction of Iraqi lives and Iraqi society is astonishing.
      Americans like you need to learn some humility.

  • Is Zionism/ Jewish Nationalism a Political Cult? The Salaita Firing
    • The question to ask when thinking about this incident is "Would Salaita's job offer been withdrawn if he'd posted 'nasty' or 'uncivil' tweets defending Israel and zionism?"

      Of course not. In fact, he could've tweeted FAR FAR worse "uncivil" comments defending Israel and zionism and he'd be on his way to securing tenure at the University of Illinois right now.

      They're just hiding behind "incivility" to excuse this disgusting action against Dr. Salaita.

  • Egypt's Waco
    • Prof. Cole does not address the role of plainclothes organized thugs deployed by the police and military to pose as MB "terrorists" (just as they posed as "violent protesters" a year ago, i.e., posing as young pro-democracy protesters committing violent acts) - charges have been made that some of these thugs have attacked Christians & burned down churches. While there was a curfew in most parts of Cairo on the first day of the military assault, there was none around the churches, for example.

      I am not denying MB responsibility for at least some of the church attacks but the Egyptian military and police have a long widely known history of the use of these organized paid thugs committing violence and posing as members of the group the authorities are repressing.

  • Answer to Glenn Greenwald
    • This article in the Telegraph makes it clear that (as many commentators had already speculated) there was a clear connection between Bahrain and the Libya intervention:

      link to

      A deal was done between the US and Saudi Arabia. The US promised the Saudis to mute any criticism of the Bahrain government attacks on its own citizens (plus Saudi intervention on behalf of that govt) in exchange for Saudi cooperation in the Libya intervention. Which is now a war, actually - the CIA has been there for weeks and Obama has started arming the rebels despite any UN legality issues (as if that would stop the US govt, under ANY president, from arming anyone).

      In other words, the US intervenes only against its enemies - while its friends can go on massacring at will. Rewarding friends for atrocities, punishing enemies for the same.

      And pontificating about human rights and morality along the way.

      You have been entirely dishonest in every single thing you've written about this Libya intervention, glossing over pertinent facts and refusing to take up serious questions made by a variety of people from all sides of the political divide.

  • Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone
    • Mr. Cole,

      Your portrait of this operation is dishonest.

      You keep portraying this action as if the Arab League is completely on board and that the US/Europe merely responded to a request for a no-fly zone from them.

      I would like you to please read the transcript of Phyllis Bennis' appearance on Democracy Now (scroll down) in which she explains the sequence of decision-making in the White House:

      link to

      Please respond to it. She makes it clear that it was the White House that first went to both the Arab League & the African Union for something stronger than a no-fly-zone. The African Union refused to cooperate while the Arab League was convinced to go along with a vague NFZ operation.

      If this was merely to save the people of Benghazi, that was done on the first day. Why then did the bombings continue? This has now turned into a regime change operation.

      I find these two articles (surprisingly from the New Republic) far more thoughtful than your own writings on this issue:

      link to

      link to

  • Top Ten Ways that Libya 2011 is Not Iraq 2003
    • "The United States did not take the lead role in urging a no-fly zone, and was dragged into this action by its Arab and European allies"

      This is SIMPLY NOT TRUE:

      link to

      (scroll down for Phyllis Bennis' remarks)

  • Eyewitnesses Say Israelis came in with Guns Blazing
    • Prof. Cole, I'm Brazilian (living in NYC) and I subscribe to the TV Globo channel thru satellite TV. I've been watching Globo's coverage of this incident (not a helluva lot better than US coverage, just a little less sycophantic to Israel). On their nightly Jornal Nacional yesterday they had an interview with a Brazilian citizen who was on the ship. She's a Brazilian of Japanese descent. She too testified that the Israeli soldiers started shooting even before they came on the ship and were in full combat mode before anyone on the ship had reacted.

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