Voices from Russia

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Why Trump Must Slay the Beast of Neoconservatism

00 evil uncle sam. 28.05.14


Donald Trump’s pledge to embark on a new direction when it comes to American foreign policy is both welcome and necessary. However, if he is to succeed, he’ll first have to slay the beast of neoconservatism in Washington. No one should be in any doubt as to the enormity of the task president-elect Donald Trump faces if he is to undertake the new course in foreign policy he outlined during his campaign for president. Over 800 US military bases across the globe tells their own story, evidence of an empire of which the Romans would’ve been proud. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman summed up most succinctly the nature of this American Empire:

The hidden hand of the market can never work without the hidden fist… McDonald’s can’t flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the US Air Force F-15. The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley technologies to flourish is the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

The point is that the economic hegemony enjoyed by the USA around the world couldn’t exist without the military power that both protects and acts as its guarantor. This military power is both a key driver of the economy, on the grounds set out by Friedman, and a major drain on the nation’s federal budget, hoovering up a mammoth 53 percent (600 billion USD (38.8 trillion Roubles. 4.12 trillion Renminbi. 40.8 trillion INR. 806 billion CAD. 802 billion AUD. 562 billion Euros. 484 billion UK Pounds) of US federal discretionary spending. One can’t downsize its bloated budget and power without a fight, what with the vast network of vested interests dependent on it being maintained. Dealing with those vested interests in Washington is going to be crucial if Donald Trump’s words are going to manifest in the sort of action they herald going forward.

Though the president-elect is no neocon, the neocons haven’t gone away because of his election; and not more importantly has their belief in a world operating to the beat of America’s drum. The likes of John McCain, Victoria Nuland, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, etc., along with their fellow travellers in Washington… working within the myriad of think tanks and foundations that constitute an industry all by themselves… remain very much a fixture within the American political, security, media, and military establishments. When we talk about neocons, we aren’t only referring to Republicans either. Hillary Clinton was as neocon as they come with regard to her vision of America’s place in the world, as was Obama throughout his tenure in the White House… something to which the people of Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria would readily testify. To their credit, Trump and his team refused to avoid confronting the ugly and uncomfortable truth that Washington’s foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 bore all the hallmarks of a drunk giant lumbering around a china shop, smashing and destroying everything in its path, lacking any direction or coherence. In a statement as succinct as it was profound, the newly-elected US President said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS [Daesh], and you have to get rid of ISIS… now, we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are. If the USA attacks Mr Assad, we end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria.

Compare this simple yet cogent analysis to the imperial arrogance that fuelled the case for the now infamous Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocon doctrine that emerged in response to the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. PNAC’s statement of principles, drawn up in 1997, read in part:

We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. As the 20th century ends, the USA stands as the world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the USA have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the USA have the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests?

As the world knows by now, these crazed US neocons weren’t interested in advancing democracy or human rights, it was domination, hegemony, and the crushing of any and all opposition to their perverse vision of a Pax Americana. Herein lies the real motive behind the war in Iraq, régime change in Libya under the auspices of NATO, and the attempt to effect régime change in Syria by proxy. Indeed, though never a signatory to or member of PNAC, Bill Clinton’s presidency operated to the same philosophy with the break-up of Yugoslavia, again, utilising NATO as a club to smash opposition to Washington’s imperial interests.

Indeed, the only significant difference there was between Democrat and Republican administrations in pushing this agenda was in method and not aims. Democratic Party presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opted for a multilateral approach, using NATO as that “mailed fist” described by Friedman and not the US military on its own, or in alliance with other junior partners, such as the UK. Meanwhile, for the Republican Bush administration, it was a case of “you’re either with us or against us”. Regardless of the method employed, the result was the same… the arrogance and tyranny of a superpower gone mad. Now, with Trump’s election to the White House, this neocon doctrine suffered a seismic ideological, intellectual, and political setback. However, as mentioned, neoconservatism is far from dead, which is why Trump can look forward to a major struggle in Washington in the course of acting on his vision of a step-change in the direction of US foreign policy. The 45th President of the United States has no choice. In 2016, America is no longer the world and the world is no longer America.

15 November 2016

John Wight

Sputnik International



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Trump’s Election: A Scream from the Swamp of Alienation Created by Liberal America

American freedom contemporary

American “Liberty”… what’ll the next four years bring us… God only knows…


The protests that erupted across the USA in response to Donald Trump becoming the country’s 45th president are unprecedented and could well be a harbinger of a society irretrievably split and polarised because of his election. His detractors firmly attached the label “fascist” to Donald Trump throughout a campaign for the White House that unleashed nativism, bigotry, and xenophobia. His pledge to place a moratorium on Muslims coming into the United States, to deport millions of illegal Mexican immigrants, and to build a giant wall on the US border with its southern neighbour to control immigration was a political hand grenade being let off in a society proud of its respect for freedom of religion, tolerance, and its racial and ethnic diversity.

His critics believe that Trump has, in less than a year of participating in the American political process, succeeded in rolling back progress made by previous generations in a hard-fought struggle against racial, gender, and religious discrimination. He legitimised white supremacy and succeeded in sowing the kind of social divisions consonant with a society teetering on the edge of implosion. However, surely, then we need to ask… if one candidate in one election year is capable of ripping up cultural values considered so entrenched and universal, that Washington decided the rest of the world should also live by those values, up to the point of forcing the issue with cruise missiles, F-15s, and Apache helicopter gunships, how strongly entrenched were they in America in the first place?

Trump represents a backlash against a liberal establishment that become so fixated with identity politics that it refused to tackle a growing ocean of alienation and poverty across large swathes of the country. The likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton presented themselves as leaders in touch with the needs and struggles of the common man, while in truth worshiping at the altar of the free market, they cosied up to Wall Street and corporate America, in service to the hegemony of neoliberal economics… that extreme variant of capitalism which accords the market a mystical, almost divine-like status. This economic system acts as a tyrant over the lives of the mass of people and not serving their needs, producing a race to the bottom involving workers around the world competing for the crumbs from the table of a multinational corporate dictatorship that in its ability to destroy or raise living standards arrogated to itself more power than most governments have.

The result in the USA was that manufacturing jobs that once provided decent income and a sense of dignity and worth in working-class communities went abroad to China, Mexico, Vietnam, and elsewhere in the Global South. Low-paid jobs in the new service economy replaced them; forcing people to take two, even three, jobs just to survive. What’s more, they were the fortunate ones. For far too many Americans, joblessness and underemployment became the new normal, leading to creating a vast underclass of people across the country’s rust belt seething with hatred for the liberal élite in Washington and on either coast. With such obscene levels of inequality, alienation, and poverty being the fate of a growing section of the population, exacerbated by the worst economic recession since the 1930s, caused by the ineffable greed of those at the top of this grotesque income scale, something had to give. That something was Donald Trump’s election as president, a billionaire with no earlier political experience, but a disdain for the political correctness and identity politics associated with Washington.

However, here one needs to strike a note of caution, one that comes to us from history. For just as the collapse of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1930s under similar conditions of economic depression and dislocation gave way to fascism, so the collapse of the liberal order in our time has given way not to international brotherhood and solidarity as the dominant narrative of a denuded and disaffected working class across national, religious, ethnic, or cultural differences, but to nationalism, white supremacy, xenophobia, and the rise and spread of racism. All across Europe, we witness the rise of the far right… in the Ukraine, Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, and elsewhere the ideology of “we ourselves” filled the space opened up by the collapse of the liberal centre ground. Brexit in the UK is merely its British manifestation, whilst in the USA, Donald Trump’s election leaves no doubt that not since the 1930s has rightwing populism managed to gain such traction and support in the West.

In the 1940s, Bertolt Brecht warned of the danger of complacency with regard to the prospect of fascism ever rising again after the Second World War. In words that resonate today, he said:

The womb from which this monster emerged remains fertile.

This isn’t to suggest that Donald Trump is a fascist, however, or that everyone who voted for him did so motivated by racism or xenophobia. Not at all. On the contrary, one must understand that Trump’s campaign opened up space for elevating both to the mainstream, motivated by inchoate anger and rage at the aforementioned liberal establishment. This is why no one should mourn the demise of the Western liberal order either in the USA or across Europe. It’s failed and failed utterly, destroying communities and decimating the lives of millions at home, whilst creating chaos and instability across the world. Donald Trump’s election may not be the solution to all the damage and chaos wrought, nevertheless, it resounds as rejecting cultural values that amount to lecturing a man on his lack of political correctness and manners whilst he’s drowning in a swamp with no way out.

14 November 2016

John Wight



Saturday, 12 November 2016

Should We Liken Trump to a Little Hobbit?



What do journalists, the Clinton machine, Democrats and the Republicans have in common? Trump defeated all of them. However, some are proclaiming him to not be their president. Will the civil disobedience spread? On the other hand, will he be able to drain Mordor’s swamp?

The sounds echoed through the hallways, allowing everyone to hear her and know she was there way before they saw her. The sound was a deep breathing sound, almost as if something was stuck deep in her chest. The first time someone saw her, the focus was immediately on the eyes. A blue colour, but not the colour of Elton John’s song, nor the colour of a beautiful summer sky, no, these were the eyes of a dead fish. There was life, but they weren’t alive. As she moved to about, she would scream out for anyone to hear… Precious! Where is Precious? Of course, because she had changed her accent and speaking pattern over the years, pandering to whomever she was speaking with, or more likely at, and because of her health problems, it sounded more like… Power! Who has the Power?

She realised that she once had it, but in one of her greater battles, she’d lost it, and now she was doomed to search for it forever. Furthermore, search for it she did. In fact, there’s a legend that on certain nights, she could be seen wandering the halls of the DNC headquarters, crying out crying out at night-time… Precious! Who has my Precious? Now, if this sounds like a modern-day retelling of The Hobbit, you’d almost be right. You could easily cast Hillary Clinton as Gollum, Bill Clinton could be Saruman, Donald Trump could be one of the funny-looking little hobbits with red hairy feet, and Mordor would be Washington DC. What about Sauron? Who knows… maybe, it’d be a toss-up between or a mix of John Podesta and Huma Abedin, or maybe even Paul Ryan. This is, after all, a modern-day retelling, no need for a strict canonical interpretation.

Now, if you haven’t been paying attention this week, Donald Trump shocked the entire world when won election as the next President of the United States. For better or worse, he’ll take the helm in January. To hear some tell the story of president-elect Trump’s rise, it all began back in 2011. In fact, the New Statesman just ran a story that suggested:

I invite you to cast your mind back to that year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, when President Obama and comedian Seth Myers roasted a member of the audience, calling him a political charlatan and suggesting he had a “dead fox” on his head. Seth Meyers, a comedian best known for being on TV way after most working people have gone to bed, took it one step further when he said, “Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican… which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke”. While those lines on the face of it are pretty funny, the subject of the joke apparently took it to heart. With that, he decided to run for office.

According to a number of articles on the web, Trump was a joke, but he had money, so politicians were friendly with him. The NYT, in a background piece wrote:

Repeatedly underestimated as a court jester or silly showman, Mr Trump muscled his way into the Republican élite by force of will. He badgered a skittish Mitt Romney into accepting his endorsement on national television, and became a celebrity fixture at conservative gatherings.

In fact, when describing a negotiation between Romney and Trump, the article at the NYT went on to quote Ryan Williams, a former spokesman for the Romney campaign, as saying:

The self-professed genius was just stupid enough to buy our ruse.

Yup, according to him, Trump got the raw end of the deal. That’s right. A spokesman for Mitt Romney, the guy who was best known for his single handily destroying companies and putting tens of thousands of working Americans out of work, hiding his hundreds of millions of blood-money offshore, and oh, who hasn’t been seen since Obama kicked his butt back in 2012, suggested that Trump was the idiot.

Speaking of idiots, its left many in the press wondering what just happened. Continuously pointing to polls, coordinating talking points and talking the Trump camp down, they’re now left holding the bag with a collective wailing and gnashing of teeth. Was it because, as VOX reported:

Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible unbeatable power of racism?

Or, was it because, as CBS wrote:

(The press was) all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

The press biased? No, say it ain’t so, Joe. That article continued by noting:

This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing… its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’d be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic. We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.

Just remember that dear citizen… the press knows better than you, so shut up and think what you are told! Speaking of thinking what they are told, or rather, not, in this case, Rush Limbaugh pointed out an interesting fact recently when he said:

I’m talking about the demise of the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party since 2010, the midterm elections in 2010, they lost 900 seats in that election in the House, in the Senate, go to governorships, mayors, town council, if you go all over the country, they got a shellacking. Hillary Clinton got six million fewer votes than Barack Obama in 2012. In 2014, the next set of midterms, the Democrats lost another 700 seats. It decimated the Democrat Party. They have no bench. They don’t have anybody bringing up the rear in case Hillary lost. A minority has governed us against our will, and the illusion has been that they are the majority and gaining the majority and growing the majority.

Talking about the minority dictating to the majority, Fox News just reported that:

The CEO of Grubhub, an online food delivery service, just sent a company-wide email suggesting employees who agree with President-elect Donald Trump’s behaviours and his campaign rhetoric should resign.

Matt Maloney, Co-Founder of Grubhub, specifically wrote:

If you don’t agree with this statement, then, please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We don’t tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.

Because, you see, tolerance is just a buzzword and we’ll ruthlessly punish anyone with a different opinion. Or, fired, in this case. As the new normal sets in, many people wonder what the future will bring. Will President Trump, as strange as that sounds, be able to make America great again? Or will he, as many have proclaimed, leave the country bankrupt, as he has many of his companies? What of those that say that Trump doesn’t represent them… that continue to riot in the streets? Will the discontent grow? Although we can’t know the fate that the future holds for us, we do know that Trump not only took on the media, but also the most powerful 16 Republicans, and won, he also crushed the vaunted Clinton political machine and destroyed the Democrats. To quote Trump in a speech days before the New Hampshire primary:

A lot of people have laughed at me over the years. Now, they’re not laughing so much.

So, what do you think… should we liken Trump to a little hobbit?

11 November 2016

Jay Johnson

Sputnik International


12 November 2016. The End of the Bush/Clinton Duopoly



Trump won because “more of the same” wouldn’t wash in Peoria. Full stop. The Clintons are dead politically. Chelsea Clinton will be a glitzy party animal in the usual NY Metro circles, nothing more. She might win a safe Dem congressional seat… that’s all. On the other hand, the Bushes have the financial and social creds to soldier on (they’re not parvenus like the Clintons… the Real Rich locked them out of Tarrytown). However, watch the Bushes “trim their sails”… they didn’t survive backing Hitler in the 30s for nothing. They’re survivors… like the Gardiners (a prominent NY family).

Nevertheless, the Bush/Clinton domination of American politics since 1988 is over. Obama was simply Hilly’s frontman… his foreign policy and domestic policy was hers, right down to the last jot n’ tittle. He did nothing to aid ordinary people in his administration… but he did wage war at Hilly’s instigation. Don’t forget that Vickie Nuland was Hilly’s protégé, and Obama obediently rolled over and played dead for every aggression that the Clintons and Bushes wanted. The American people voted out these two Mafia families. The Bushes have more savoir faire, but that’s because they’re Old Money. The Clintons are more open in their powerlust (do look at their associates such as Carville… I need say no more). Both Bushes and Clintons “triangulated”… both spat on their parties’ bases. Well… the American people spoke this year.

“No more Clintons”… “No more Bushes”… the Clintons will become tabloid nonentities (but they’ll always be in the news like the equally powerless Kardashians) and the Bushes will return to being one of the Old Money Set (trust me, they’re Social Register, and that’ll NEVER change). However, both are out of real politics. The people have seen through them…


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