Posts Tagged ‘Military’

President Trump drops ugly truth on joining the military. Sends Democrats into frenzy. President Xi Jinping’s 19 congress meeting. Iran deal being reneged on JFK 30,000 documents possibly being declassified and conversations at while working.

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By Chris Hedges

The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.

The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression

and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.

Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two. The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states. Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,” by “a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg” that will “forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.”

Under every measurement, from financial growth and infrastructure investment

to advanced technology, including supercomputers, space weaponry and cyberwarfare, we are being rapidly overtaken by the Chinese. “In April 2015 the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that the American economy would grow by nearly 50 percent over the next 15 years, while China’s would triple and come close to surpassing America’s in 2030,” McCoy noted. China became the world’s second largest economy in 2010, the same year it became the world’s leading manufacturing nation, pushing aside a United States that had dominated the world’s manufacturing for a century. The Department of Defense issued a sober report titled “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World.” It found that the U.S. military “no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors,” and “it no longer can … automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.” McCoy predicts the collapse will come by 2030.

Empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats and the blunt instrument of war.

This collective self-delusion saw the United States make the greatest strategic blunder in its history, one that sounded the death knell of the empire—the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The architects of the war in the George W. Bush White House, and the array of useful idiots in the press and academia who were cheerleaders for it, knew very little about the countries being invaded, were stunningly naive about the effects of industrial warfare and were blindsided by the ferocious blowback. They stated, and probably believed, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, although they had no valid evidence to support this claim. They insisted that democracy would be implanted in Baghdad and spread across the Middle East. They assured the public that U.S. troops would be greeted by grateful Iraqis and Afghans as liberators. They promised

that oil revenues would cover the cost of reconstruction. They insisted that the bold and quick military strike—“shock and awe”—would restore American hegemony in the region and dominance in the world. It did the opposite. As Zbigniew Brzezinski noted, this “unilateral war of choice against Iraq precipitated a widespread delegitimation of U.S. foreign policy.”

Historians of empire call these military fiascos, a feature of all late empires, examples of “micro-militarism.” The Athenians engaged in micro-militarism when during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) they invaded Sicily, suffering the loss of 200 ships and thousands of soldiers and triggering revolts throughout the empire. Britain did so in 1956 when it attacked Egypt in a dispute over the nationalization of the Suez Canal and then quickly had to withdraw in humiliation, empowering a string of Arab nationalist leaders such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and dooming British rule over the nation’s few remaining colonies. Neither of these empires recovered.

“While rising empires are often judicious, even rational in their application of armed force for conquest and control of overseas dominions, fading empires are inclined to ill-considered displays of power, dreaming of bold military masterstrokes that would somehow recoup lost prestige and power,” McCoy writes. “Often irrational even from an imperial point of view, these micromilitary operations can yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the process already under way.”

Empires need more than force to dominate other nations. They need a mystique. This mystique—a mask for imperial plunder, repression and exploitation—seduces some native elites, who become willing to do the bidding of the imperial power or at least remain passive. And it provides a patina of civility and even nobility to justify to those at home the costs in blood and money needed to maintain empire. The parliamentary system of government that Britain replicated in appearance in the colonies, and the introduction of British sports such as polo, cricket and horse racing, along with elaborately uniformed viceroys and the pageantry of royalty, were buttressed by what the colonialists said was the invincibility of their navy and army. England was able to hold its empire together from 1815 to 1914 before being forced into a steady retreat. America’s high-blown rhetoric about democracy, liberty and equality, along with basketball, baseball and Hollywood, as well as our own deification of the military, entranced and cowed much of the globe in the wake of World War II. Behind the scenes, of course, the CIA used its bag of dirty tricks to orchestrate coups, fix elections and carry out assassinations, black propaganda campaigns, bribery, blackmail, intimidation and torture. But none of this works anymore.

The loss of the mystique is crippling. It makes it hard to find pliant surrogates to administer the empire, as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photographs of physical abuse and sexual humiliation imposed on Arab prisoners at Abu Ghraib inflamed the Muslim world and fed al-Qaida and later Islamic State with new recruits. The assassination of Osama bin Laden and a host of other jihadist leaders, including the U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, openly mocked the concept of the rule of law. The hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees fleeing our debacles in the Middle East, along with the near-constant threat from militarized aerial drones, exposed us as state terrorists. We have exercised in the Middle East the U.S. military’s penchant for widespread atrocities, indiscriminate violence, lies and blundering miscalculations, actions that led to our defeat in Vietnam.

The brutality abroad is matched by a growing brutality at home. Militarized police gun down mostly unarmed, poor people of color and fill a system of penitentiaries and jails that hold a staggering 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although Americans represent only 5 percent of global population. Many of our cities are in ruins. Our public transportation system is a shambles. Our educational system is in steep decline and being privatized. Opioid addiction, suicide, mass shootings, depression and morbid obesity plague a population that has fallen into profound despair. The deep disillusionment and anger that led to Donald Trump’s election—a reaction to the corporate coup d’état and the poverty afflicting at least half of the country—have destroyed the myth of a functioning democracy. Presidential tweets and rhetoric celebrate hate, racism and bigotry and taunt the weak and the vulnerable. The president in an address before the United Nations threatened to obliterate another nation in an act of genocide. We are worldwide objects of ridicule and hatred. The foreboding for the future is expressed in the rash of dystopian films, motion pictures that no longer perpetuate American virtue and exceptionalism or the myth of human progress.

“The demise of the United States as the preeminent global power could come far more quickly than anyone imagines,” McCoy writes. “Despite the aura of omnipotence empires often project, most are surprisingly fragile, lacking the inherent strength of even a modest nation-state. Indeed, a glance at their history should remind us that the greatest of them are susceptible to collapse from diverse causes, with fiscal pressures usually a prime factor. For the better part of two centuries, the security and prosperity of the homeland has been the main objective for most stable states, making foreign or imperial adventures an expendable option, usually allocated no more than 5 percent of the domestic budget. Without the financing that arises almost organically inside a sovereign nation, empires are famously predatory in their relentless hunt for plunder or profit—witness the Atlantic slave trade, Belgium’s rubber lust in the Congo, British India’s opium commerce, the Third Reich’s rape of Europe, or the Soviet exploitation of Eastern Europe.”

When revenues shrink or collapse, McCoy points out, “empires become brittle.”

“So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly wrong, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, eleven years for the Ottomans, seventeen for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, just twenty-seven years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003 [when the U.S. invaded Iraq],” he writes.

Many of the estimated 69 empires that have existed throughout history lacked competent leadership in their decline, having ceded power to monstrosities such as the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero. In the United States, the reins of authority may be in the grasp of the first in a line of depraved demagogues.

“For the majority of Americans, the 2020s will likely be remembered as a demoralizing decade of rising prices, stagnant wages, and fading international competitiveness,” McCoy writes. The loss of the dollar as the global reserve currency will see the U.S. unable to pay for its huge deficits by selling Treasury bonds, which will be drastically devalued at that point. There will be a massive rise in the cost of imports. Unemployment will explode. Domestic clashes over what McCoy calls “insubstantial issues” will fuel a dangerous hypernationalism that could morph into an American fascism.

A discredited elite, suspicious and even paranoid in an age of decline, will see enemies everywhere. The array of instruments created for global dominance—wholesale surveillance, the evisceration of civil liberties, sophisticated torture techniques, militarized police, the massive prison system, the thousands of militarized drones and satellites—will be employed in the homeland. The empire will collapse and the nation will consume itself within our lifetimes if we do not wrest power from those who rule the corporate state.

A poll conducted earlier this year revealed the majority of Japanese view the US as a threat to Japan, despite playing a less important role in the world than they did a decade ago.
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in April and May in Japan revealed that the majority of Japanese people view their ally, the United States, as one of the major threats to their country. They also believe the US is playing a less important role in the world than it did 10 years ago. Perhaps paradoxically, however, most of the 1000 respondents still share a favorable view of the US.
According to the poll, 72% have favorable view of the US in general. However, 61% of them see America as being in decline, as compared to a decade ago. Fifty-two percent of respondents named the US as 6th out of 8 major threats to their nation, after cyberattacks from other nations, Daesh and China’s emergence as a world power. Global climate change and economic instability are also among the top threats.
At the same time, only 33% believe tensions with Russia are threatening their country — even less than those concerned with Middle-Eastern migrant influx.
Interestingly, despite the fact that the vast majority of Japanese share an unfavorable view on China, with 63% believing China is a major threat, respondents were split evenly regarding whether Japan should grow strong economic ties with their western neighbor or take a tough stance on territorial disputes: 47% believe trade is a better way to stem the perceived Chinese threat, while a slightly smaller share, 45%, believe confrontation is the solution.
While the Japanese remain skeptical about playing a more important military role in the region, this year’s 29% is a slight increase over previous year figure of 23% of respondents supporting the empowering of the Japanese military.
In terms of Daesh and terrorism in general, the vast majority of respondents (79%) believed military force will do no good in fighting the threat, as it creates more hatred and more terrorists.
Respondents were generally approving of Shinzo Abe’s handling of trade, the economy and relations with the US, South Korea and China. Interestingly, the 52% support for Abe’s economic policies comes along with only 30% of respondents believing the economic situation in the country is good. In 2012, only 7% of people favored the state of the country’s economy.
In terms of the view abroad, the vast majority of respondents expressed confidence in US President Barack Obama during the time of the survey.
“The Japanese retain confidence (78%) in US President Barack Obama to do the right thing regarding world affairs,” the survey reads.

The growing alliance between Russia and China represents a challenge to the US control of the world’s money markets which will lead to a fundamental change in global politics, Iranian political scientist Abdoulkarim Firouzkalaei told Sputnik Persian.

“One of the most important reactions by Russia, aimed at reducing the effects of Western sanctions and strengthening the country’s economy, has been the expansion of cooperation with China,” Firouzkalaei said.

The expert identified several distinct areas of development in Sino-Russian relations after the US, EU and a handful of their allies imposed sanctions against some Russian companies following Crimea’s decision in March 2014 to join the Russian Federation in the aftermath of the Maidan coup d’etat.

“The cooperation between Moscow and China after the imposition of sanctions developed in four areas: energy, trade, currency conversion operations and military-industrial cooperation,” Firouzkalaei said.

Russia, one of China’s biggest energy suppliers is set to increase its supply with the Power of Siberia gas transportation project.

Russia’s Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have agreed on the construction of two pipelines, which will transport gas from Yakutia and Irkutsk gas production centers to Russia’s Far East and on to China.

The “Western” and “Eastern” pipelines will transport 30 and 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year respectively to China. “Contracts for the export of Russian natural gas to China are already being executed. At the same time, several different routes for the transportation of Russian gas to China will compensate the Chinese for a possible shortage of gas, and also increase the ecological safety of the contracts,” Firouzkalaei said.

In October 2014 Russia’s central bank and the People’s Bank of China made an agreement to enable bilateral currency swap deals in the Russian ruble and Chinese yuan, in order to stimulate bilateral trade and direct investment between the two countries. The three-year deal is worth 815 billion rubles ($13 billion), and 150 billion yuan ($22.2 billion).

“Russia and China are carrying out transactions in national currencies. By not using the dollar when it does business with China, Russia is immune from the US threat to switch off the SWIFT payment system,” Firouzkalaei said.

Russia and China have also increased their defense cooperation, as they share joint concerns over the activities of the US in the Far East and Europe, where Washington is intent on installing anti-missile defense shields and giving itself an “umbrella” of rocket sites.

As recently as last month the two countries carried out joint naval exercises in the South China Sea, and Firouzkalaei foresees further bilateral cooperation in the military-industrial sphere.

“The foundation is there for Russia and China to enter into closer and longer-term cooperation, including manned spaceflight, which would be really beneficial and efficient for both parties. Such cooperation may be used in the framework of military-technical cooperation between the two countries.”

“Of particular consideration is Chinese technology in the sphere osf atomic energy, and also Russia’s experience in building a missile defense system using both ground-based and space-based monitoring systems,” Firouzkalaei said.

The analyst believes that the US has in fact committed an own goal by sanctioning Russia, which has led to Moscow turning East and forming a partnership with China that threatens the global hegemony of Washington.

“The cooperation of Russia and China now, in the period of the Ukraine crisis, is much larger than ever before and Western sanctions against Russia have only enabled that increase.”

“The strengthening of cooperation between Russia, China and independent partner countries forms the essential basis of a new alliance in opposition to the US,” Firouzkalaei concluded.

 

4g

Willful blindness to the criminal actions of your country is not patriotism, it is tyranny. Any that are living under the delusion that our government is in any way concerned about them, their lives, or the lives of our brothers and sisters in the US military, are unimaginably disconnected from reality. The public has been very successfully programmed by the power structure controlled corporate media to blindly support the actions of the criminal cabal that masquerades as legitimate government. This public programming must be broken down if we are to have any chance of salvaging what remains of Earth’s life support systems. The recent video release below from journalist Abby Martin should be a stark wake-up call for truly “patriotic” Americans. As shocking as this 30 minute video is, it does not even cover the greatest of all military industrial complex assaults against the web of life, the global climate engineering/weather warfare/ biological warfare assault occurring every single day in our skies. I have communicated with Abby about the geoengineering issue, she is unfortunately not yet willing to acknowledge the reality of the climate engineering assault, and thus she is not willing to address it. This being said, Abby’s coverage of the US government’s unimaginably criminal treatment of US military personnel is exceptional. The video below is essential viewing for any that truly claim to care about injustice in any sense of the word.

The top NATO General in Europe credits Russian forces with “impressive” progress and “agile” thinking, but falsely assumes that the resurgence of Russia necessitates a return to Cold War style belligerence.

“Russia is back,” said General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) in his opening statement at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday suggesting that Moscow’s once suppressed military capabilities have returned with a vengeance.The top NATO General in Europe complimented the Russian army on its shift towards a more professional, faster-learning, and more-agile way of thinking, but noted that Moscow’s significant progress makes for “a very serious adversary” for the United States.

As President Barack Obama once said in humorously blasting his 2012 presidential election rival Mitt Romney’s assertion that Russia is America’s primary foe – “The 1980s are calling, they want their foreign policy back.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made similar assertions decrying the myth of ‘Russian aggression’ and saying one year ago that “I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO.”

In fact, Russians have stood at the frontlines of the fight against Daesh terrorists in Syria and even offered to join the US-led 45-nation coalition combating the Islamic extremists with the hope of avoiding strategic mix-ups with NATO’s airstrikes, but Washington moved to ban Moscow from cooperating.

The running theme in 2016 seems to be that Russia is not only a country showing great advances, but that those steps towards progress pose some inherent danger to the West – a theme that has culminated in massive 30,000 troop war games along Russia’s border with Poland unfortunately timed on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the former Soviet Union and now bizarre conspiracy theories that Moscow is sticking its thumb on the scale in the US presidential election.

Still there is no doubt that the Russian military’s capabilities have advanced to unparalleled levels as the world has looked on at the extraordinary power and skill of the country’s fighting force in Syria.

“When you look at the weapons systems… They’ve been watching us… They’ve fired long-range precision missiles from submarines, from surface ships, from medium bombers, all at Syria,” said General Scaparrotti gushing about Russia’s multi-layered defense capabilities.

“You can see that they’re learning, much of their doctrine is based on the early Soviet doctrine,” said General Scaparrotti. “They are pretty agile of thinking, if you look at the recent writings that their officers are doing. So they are actually taking a look at the world around them as they see it and adjusting their doctrine off that basis, which is impressive.”

What appears wanting in General Scaparrotti’s assessment, however, is the assumption that Russia is the enemy saying “You know, we have an adversary here that we have to take very seriously.”

Russia has responded calmly to growing threats from NATO including the installation of missile-defense systems in Romania and Poland as well as a permanent troop presence stationed on the Polish-Russian border – provocations that Russian Envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko warns are “bringing us back to the safety models of the Cold War era.”

Yes, “Russia is back,” but the 1980s are not.

NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Curtis Scaparrotti said that the Russian military is modernizing with impressive results and its senior officers have displayed flexible thinking in their strategic doctrine.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Russian military is modernizing with impressive results and its senior officers have displayed flexible thinking in their strategic doctrine, NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Curtis Scaparrotti said at the Aspen security forum in Colorado.

“You can see that they’ve imposed discipline on their force,” Scaparrotti said on Thursday. “They are pretty agile in [their] thinking. Russia is back… I’m impressed.”

The Russian armed forces were modernizing and they had successfully demonstrated long range highly accurate missiles which they had fired at targets in Syrian including from maritime platforms in the Caspian Sea, Scaparrotti noted.

“They are modernizing… We have an adversary here that we have to take very seriously, in my opinion,” he stated.

The United States and its NATO allies had to ensure their own military strength and be prepared to invest their own forces, the general maintained.