Page 20 of 24 FirstFirst ... 1017181920212223 ... LastLast
Results 286 to 300 of 353

Thread: Collapse

  1. #286
    Senior Member Hungary
    Join Date
    10th July 2018
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    1,963
    Thanked 3,998 Times in 804 Posts
    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/wait-for-it/

    Wait For It

    An eerie silence cloaked the political landscape this lovely fall weekend as the soldiers in this (so far) administrative civil war scrambled for position in the next round of skirmishes. Rep. Adam Schiff fell back on the preposterous idea that he might not produce his “whistleblower” witness at all in the (so far) hypothetical impeachment proceeding. He put that one out after running a similarly absurd idea up the flagpole: that his “whistleblower” might just testify by answering written questions. I was waiting for him to offer up testimony by Morse code, carrier pigeon, or smoke signals.

    Of course, the effort to “protect” the “whistleblower” has been a juke all along. For one thing, he-she-it is not a “whistleblower” at all; was only labeled that via legalistic legerdemain to avoid revealing the origin of this affair as a CIA cover-your-ass operation. Did Mr. Schiff actually think he could conceal this figure’s identity in a senate impeachment trial, when it came to that — for what else is impeachment aimed at? Anonymous sources are not admissible under American due process of law. Mr. Schiff must have missed that class in law school.

    All of this hocus-pocus suggests to me that there is no “whistleblower,” that it is a phantom confabulation of gossip threads that unraveled the moment Mr. Trump released the transcript of his phone call to Ukraine’s president Zelensky, aborting Mr. Schiff’s game plan. The ensuing weeks of congressional Keystone Kops buffoonery since then appears to conceal a futile effort by Mr. Schiff and his confederates to find some fall guy willing to pretend that he-she-it is the “whistleblower.” He might as well ask for a volunteer to gargle with Gillette Blue Blades on NBC’s Meet the Press.

    One marvels at Rep. Schiff’s tactical idiocy. But just imagine the panicked consternation it must be triggering among his Democratic colleagues. Notice that Mrs. Pelosi has been hiding out during this latest phase of the action. She may sense that there is nothing left to do but allow Mr. Schiff to twist slowly slowly in the wind, as he has hung himself out to dry. She should have known better since every previous declaration of conclusive evidence by Mr. Schiff over the past three years has proved to be false, knowingly and mendaciously so.

    One also clearly senses that all the smoke-and-mirrors are a desperate attempt to divert attention from a soon-to-drop DOJ Inspector General’s report which, by the way, will only be an overture to much more damaging action likely to come from Mr. Barr’s proceeding. After all, IG Horowitz was not allowed under the rules to compel the testimony of persons outside the Department of Justice, which would now include Andrew McCabe, James Comey, and many others at the center of the RussiaGate prank.

    That also includes the probable chief pranksters, former CIA head John Brennan and James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, the midwives of RussiaGate. The pair have been running around on cable news with both their hair and their pants on fire in recent weeks. Back in March, before the Mueller Report flopped, and when Mr. Barr was commissioned to look into all the RussiaGate shenanigans, Mr. Brennan comically claimed that he “received bad information and suspected there was more than there actually was.”

    That lame admission will not avail to protect him or the CIA, an agency that is behind the administrative civil war. It has been a rogue agency for a long long time, but may have finally overplayed its hand, along with the newer adjunct agencies that have been stitched onto it since 9/11/01 — the dark network that goes by the name Intelligence Community. So many shoes are ready to drop on them that the din might drown out all the John Philip Sousa marches ever played in the lobby at Langley, let alone the thin trilling of a fake whistleblower.

    Apart from these fateful developments the prize for the week’s most transparently disingenuous bit of media agitprop goes to Saturday’s New York Times puff piece on former FBI Director Jim Comey, which actually sets him up for federal indictment on something like sedition or treason. Get a load of this:

    James Comey plans to spend the next 13 months working to drive President Trump from power.

    Did you notice that the photo-caption states: James Comey plans to spend the next 13 months working to drive President Trump from power. Oh, really? By what means, exactly? Single-handedly or with whom? And how did the strategy he kicked off in 2016 work out? In case Mr. Barr is looking for some way to attribute motive to the actions that he’s investigating, he may need to seek no further. Also, consider that The New York Times and its editor-in-chief Dean Baquet, and publisher A.G. Sulzberger may be named as unindicted co-conspirators in the three-year campaign of sedition (freedom of the press, of course). Alert the shareholders.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    Dreamtimer (14th October 2019), NotAPretender (14th October 2019)

  3. #287
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    7th April 2015
    Location
    Patapsco Valley
    Posts
    9,296
    Thanks
    51,812
    Thanked 41,419 Times in 9,212 Posts
    Intersting opinions. He seems to ignore many facts with his characterizations. The Mueller report was a media flop for sure, but it had plenty of substance.

    I'm not sure how we got to the point where we have the belief which I was raised with that no man is above the law, and yet a DOJ policy stops any criminal indictments. That's certainly not Constitutional. Barr jumped the gun by saying the report exonerated Trump which it did not.

    Multiple indictments and convictions show that there is meat in that burger. Trump is individual 1 in two separate criminal cases.


    It's against the law to solicit political help from foreign nations. Since the DOJ can't do it's job because it tied itself up, we have only two recourses. Impeachment and the vote.

    The precedents we allow to stand will bite us in the butt for many many years. We're still suffering from the 'unitary executive' ideas of W's administration. Some folks really seem to want to thoroughly eff up the separation of powers and three coequal branches.

    Not to mention our fourth estate. The media has never been perfect and never will be. And it's our point of access to our leaders. We don't get to make appointments personally.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dreamtimer For This Useful Post:

    Chris (14th October 2019), Elen (14th October 2019), NotAPretender (14th October 2019)

  5. #288
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
    Join Date
    3rd April 2017
    Posts
    4,055
    Thanks
    15,643
    Thanked 17,739 Times in 4,032 Posts
    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/wait-for-it/
    X
    Wait For It

    An eerie silence cloaked the political landscape this lovely fall weekend as the soldiers in this (so far) administrative civil war scrambled for position in the next round of skirmishes. Rep. Adam Schiff fell back on the preposterous idea that he might not produce his “whistleblower” witness at all in the (so far) hypothetical impeachment proceeding. He put that one out after running a similarly absurd idea up the flagpole: that his “whistleblower” might just testify by answering written questions. I was waiting for him to offer up testimony by Morse code, carrier pigeon, or smoke signals.

    Of course, the effort to “protect” the “whistleblower” has been a juke all along. For one thing, he-she-it is not a “whistleblower” at all; was only labeled that via legalistic legerdemain to avoid revealing the origin of this affair as a CIA cover-your-ass operation. Did Mr. Schiff actually think he could conceal this figure’s identity in a senate impeachment trial, when it came to that — for what else is impeachment aimed at? Anonymous sources are not admissible under American due process of law. Mr. Schiff must have missed that class in law school.

    All of this hocus-pocus suggests to me that there is no “whistleblower,” that it is a phantom confabulation of gossip threads that unraveled the moment Mr. Trump released the transcript of his phone call to Ukraine’s president Zelensky, aborting Mr. Schiff’s game plan. The ensuing weeks of congressional Keystone Kops buffoonery since then appears to conceal a futile effort by Mr. Schiff and his confederates to find some fall guy willing to pretend that he-she-it is the “whistleblower.” He might as well ask for a volunteer to gargle with Gillette Blue Blades on NBC’s Meet the Press.

    One marvels at Rep. Schiff’s tactical idiocy. But just imagine the panicked consternation it must be triggering among his Democratic colleagues. Notice that Mrs. Pelosi has been hiding out during this latest phase of the action. She may sense that there is nothing left to do but allow Mr. Schiff to twist slowly slowly in the wind, as he has hung himself out to dry. She should have known better since every previous declaration of conclusive evidence by Mr. Schiff over the past three years has proved to be false, knowingly and mendaciously so.

    One also clearly senses that all the smoke-and-mirrors are a desperate attempt to divert attention from a soon-to-drop DOJ Inspector General’s report which, by the way, will only be an overture to much more damaging action likely to come from Mr. Barr’s proceeding. After all, IG Horowitz was not allowed under the rules to compel the testimony of persons outside the Department of Justice, which would now include Andrew McCabe, James Comey, and many others at the center of the RussiaGate prank.

    That also includes the probable chief pranksters, former CIA head John Brennan and James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, the midwives of RussiaGate. The pair have been running around on cable news with both their hair and their pants on fire in recent weeks. Back in March, before the Mueller Report flopped, and when Mr. Barr was commissioned to look into all the RussiaGate shenanigans, Mr. Brennan comically claimed that he “received bad information and suspected there was more than there actually was.”

    That lame admission will not avail to protect him or the CIA, an agency that is behind the administrative civil war. It has been a rogue agency for a long long time, but may have finally overplayed its hand, along with the newer adjunct agencies that have been stitched onto it since 9/11/01 — the dark network that goes by the name Intelligence Community. So many shoes are ready to drop on them that the din might drown out all the John Philip Sousa marches ever played in the lobby at Langley, let alone the thin trilling of a fake whistleblower.

    Apart from these fateful developments the prize for the week’s most transparently disingenuous bit of media agitprop goes to Saturday’s New York Times puff piece on former FBI Director Jim Comey, which actually sets him up for federal indictment on something like sedition or treason. Get a load of this:

    James Comey plans to spend the next 13 months working to drive President Trump from power.

    Did you notice that the photo-caption states: James Comey plans to spend the next 13 months working to drive President Trump from power. Oh, really? By what means, exactly? Single-handedly or with whom? And how did the strategy he kicked off in 2016 work out? In case Mr. Barr is looking for some way to attribute motive to the actions that he’s investigating, he may need to seek no further. Also, consider that The New York Times and its editor-in-chief Dean Baquet, and publisher A.G. Sulzberger may be named as unindicted co-conspirators in the three-year campaign of sedition (freedom of the press, of course). Alert the shareholders.
    Oh I get it. This guy writes satire dark humor. I really don’t understand why people throw their credibility to the wind for very temporary not to mention ephemeral psychological advantage
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to NotAPretender For This Useful Post:

    Chris (14th October 2019), Dreamtimer (14th October 2019)

  7. #289
    Senior Member Hungary
    Join Date
    10th July 2018
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    1,963
    Thanked 3,998 Times in 804 Posts
    Not many people have digested the ramifications of US withdrawal from the Middle East. In simple terms, the US and the UK are out, Russia, Iran and China are in. In an astonishing reversal of traditional Anglo-American hegemony, neither country can be relied upon by its allies in any meaningful sense. This will change the entire world and reshuffle the cards in a matter of months. I think 2019 will be remembered as the end of the Anglo-American empire and the re-emergence of a multipolar world. Not that I'm cheering it, simply reporting the facts as I see them.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...door-for-assad

    Russian shadow falls over Syria as Kurds open door for Assad

    With the US gone, the implications of their departure is beginning to sink in across the Middle East

    The moment that changed the Middle East arrived with a sudden silence. Just before 7pm on Sunday, the internet was cut across north-eastern Syria where, for half an hour, the Kurds of the region had been digesting a news flash. The Syrian government was returning to two towns, Manbij and Kobane. The implication quickly sunk in.

    The regional capital, Qamishli, soon emptied; streets that had bustled with minibuses and shoppers became eerie and still. With the internet down phones were no help and nor were officials who had vanished along with the traffic. Air seemed to be suddenly vacuumed from the city, and the few people still around knew exactly what it meant: this was the moment power changed hands. It was a time to be scared.

    “You must leave now,” one man said, avoiding eye contact. “There are regime checkpoints to the east and it isn’t safe to stay.” He, and other Kurds had lived all their lives, except for the past seven years, under the control of the government in Damascus, and the prospect of their return left him pale and worried.

    The Syrian army had maintained a presence in central Qamishli ever since Bashar al-Assad gave the Kurds semi-autonomy in 2012. They had always been toothless next to a larger and better armed rival. But could they be emboldened now? Their base was only 200 metres away.

    A black sky covered the road to the border, the sparkling white lights of Turkey to the left and the Syrian army somewhere in the darkness to the right. Usually diligent Kurdish checkpoint guards had left their posts, or were preoccupied. Lone speeding cars and belching lorries without headlamps rumbled through the night, perhaps the last to make the journey before the conquerors arrived.

    A day later, the ramifications of the momentous week that preceded the Kurds allowing the Assad regime to retake the province is still sinking in, across Syria and far beyond in Riyadh, Baghdad, Cairo and the Gulf.

    Something far bigger was at play here; the end of US influence in Syria and the plunge in its status elsewhere. The public handover on show was that between the Assad regime and the Kurds, but the real power shift was between Washington – whose fighting troops have all but left the region, 16 years after invading Iraq – and Moscow, whose reach and influence across the Middle East has now been cemented.

    As if to celebrate the moment, Vladimir Putin arrived in Riyadh for a state visit on Monday, his first in 12 years, hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who three weeks earlier had similarly felt the humiliation of abandonment by US allies.

    After Iran launched an attack against the kingdom’s oil production centres, the crown prince was expecting a US retaliation. None was forthcoming, and he felt abandoned by an ally that had sworn to protect Saudi interests. “Did you see what they [the US] did to us?” the crown prince asked Iraqi leaders in Riyadh a fortnight ago. “It was unbelievable.”

    In northern Syria, the US decision to abandon the Kurds, who had helped lead the global fight against Isis, had bewildered locals and left them with very few options. “It’s better to go for compromise than genocide,” said Muzlum Abdi, commander in chief of the US-raised force, formerly known as the SDF.

    Kurds, led by leaders of the Kurdistan Workers party (the PKK) had held talks with Russian officials in Qamishli in recent days about the terms of their pact with Damascus. Fighting Turkey to the north, and left without a protector after Donald Trump ordered the US military to leave, the Kurds held a very weak hand.

    “The Russians have been accusing us of allowing the Americans into the region in the first place,” said Arshan Mizgin Ahmed. “We have paid a heavy political price for that.”

    She added: “We will do whatever is in our best interests.”

    As the US withdrew, what remained of its authority was increasingly tested. A jet buzzed a US base near Ain Issa – the US military won’t say who it was. Up the road, Turkish Arab proxies, who had executed a Kurdish politician on a highway a day earlier were setting up base.

    As time ticked away on the last vestige of Kurdish rule, the Syrian military arrived – packed into cattle trucks – in the town of Tal Tamir, where Kurdish fighters had been bringing their wounded only hours earlier.

    Their arrival would have likely heartened one of the country’s most recent refugees, Ahmad Mahmoud Hussein, who a day before had raged against Turkey’s proxies – Arabs from elsewhere in Syria, who had just forced him from his home in the town of Ras al-Ayn. “They are mercenaries, hired guns,” he claimed. “They are all ex-convicts and drug addicts and they have no honour or mercy. Those who fall for what Turkey are offering them will do anything for money. I don’t care if I’m sleeping on this school floor for one year, two years, or 10. I’m not going back while they’re still there.”

    The dying days of the war in all its horror and contradictions played out on television screens across the Kurdish north, where normal transmissions had resumed after Sunday’s Big Brother-like shutdown. In the border town of Derik, drivers watched with looks of resignation as Kurdish families threw rice at the feet of Assad’s soldiers. “He’s acting,” said one of the men watching another Kurd on the television. “No he isn’t, he’s relieved,” said another.

    Past scorched brown hills, along undulating roads to the border, the faces of the vanquished showed a similar mixture of resignation, and confusion. For the Kurds the dream of autonomy has ground to a halt, The new alliances taking shape on the ruins of their ambitions will be felt for generations in what remains of Syria.

    “Iran and Russia are the dominant foreign powers now,” said Arshan. “They will dictate terms in this region. Things have really changed.”

    Additional reporting by Mohammed Rasool

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), NotAPretender (14th October 2019)

  9. #290
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
    Join Date
    3rd April 2017
    Posts
    4,055
    Thanks
    15,643
    Thanked 17,739 Times in 4,032 Posts
    I think a semblance of sane world order will return when trump is gone...soon.
    I think former trump vote should be forced to take a full psychological battery of tests before being allowed to ever vote again
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to NotAPretender For This Useful Post:

    Chris (14th October 2019), Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), Wind (15th October 2019)

  11. #291
    Senior Member Hungary
    Join Date
    10th July 2018
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    1,963
    Thanked 3,998 Times in 804 Posts
    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    I think a semblance of sane world order will return when trump is gone...soon.
    I think former trump vote should be forced to take a full psychological battery of tests before being allowed to ever vote again
    I doubt that. The Post-American World narrative, for which Obama was so strongly criticised is now a permanent fixture of geopolitics. I suspect the US will concentrate on its own hemisphere as long as it is able to and will withdraw from most of the rest of the world. This is already happening. Such geopolitical shifts have their own momentum and they don't usually go into reverse or even substantially change course. BTW, I doubt that's a good thing overall and it may bring a considerable amount of bloodshed with it, as is already happening in Syria, nevertheless, it is a fact we will have to learn to live with and accept it without prejudice. Also, from a personal perspective, I speak a bit of Russian and quite a but of German, but I don't want to brush up on either of those languages. I'd much rather continue living in an Anglo-American dominated world, but alas, history and fate have other ideas.

  12. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), NotAPretender (15th October 2019), Wind (15th October 2019)

  13. #292
    Senior Member Hungary
    Join Date
    10th July 2018
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    1,963
    Thanked 3,998 Times in 804 Posts
    As it happens, the Nation just published an article about the very Anglo-American decline, that has been the theme of this thread lately. It's as if they have been reading my mind...

    https://www.thenation.com/article/do...merica-brexit/

    Welcome to the Early Stages of America’s Brexit
    It’s not just Britain headed for the subbasement of imperial history.
    By Tom Engelhardt

    Donald Trump may prove to be the ultimate Brexiteer. Back in August 2016, in the midst of his presidential campaign, he proudly tweeted, “They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!” On the subject of the British leaving the European Union (EU) he’s neither faltered nor wavered. That June, he was already cheering on British voters, 51.9% of whom had just opted for Brexit in a nationwide referendum. They had, he insisted, taken “their country back” and he predicted that other countries, including you-know-where, would act similarly. As it happened, Mr. “America First” was proven anything but wrong in November 2016.

    Ever since, he’s been remarkably eager to insert himself in Britain’s Brexit debate. Last July, for instance, he paid an official visit to that country and had tea with the queen (“an incredible lady… I feel I know her so well and she certainly knows me very well right now”). As Politico put it at the time, “In just a matter of a few hours, he snubbed the leader of the opposition — who wants a close relationship with the EU after Brexit and if he can’t get it, advocates a second referendum on the options — in favor of meeting with two avid Brexiteers and chatting with a third.” Oh, and that third person just happened to be the man who would become the present prime minister, Brexiteer-to-hell Boris Johnson.

    Since then, of course, he’s praised Johnson’s stance — get out now, no deal — to the heavens, repeatedly promising to sign a “very big” trade agreement or “lots of fantastic mini-deals” with the Brits once they dump the European Union. (And if you believe there will be no strings attached to that generous offer, you haven’t been paying attention to the presidency of one Donald J. Trump.) In Britain itself, sentiment about Brexiting the EU remains deeply confused, or perhaps more accurately disturbed, and little wonder. It’s clear enough that, from the economy to medical supplies, cross-Channel traffic snarl-ups to the Irish border, a no-deal Brexit is likely to prove problematic in barely grasped ways, as well as a blow to living standards. Still, there can be little question that the leaving option has been disturbing at a level that goes far deeper than just fear of the immediate consequences.

    Remember, we’re talking about the greatest power of the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, the country that launched the industrial revolution, whose navy once ruled the waves, and that had more colonies and military garrisons in more places more permanently than any country in history. Now, it’s about to fall into what will someday be seen as the subbasement of imperial history. Think of Johnson’s version of Brexiting as a way of saying goodbye to all that with a genuine flourish. Brexit won’t just be an exit from the European Union but, for all intents and purposes, from history itself. It will mark the end of a century-long fall that will turn Britain back into a relatively inconsequential island kingdom.


    EXITING THE AMERICAN CENTURY
    By now, you might think that all of this is a lesson written in the clouds for anyone, including Donald Trump, to see. Not that he will. After all, though no one thinks of him this way, he really is our own American Brexiteer. In some inchoate and (if I can use such a word for such a man) groping fashion, he, too, wants us out; not, of course, from the European Union, though he’s no fan of either the EU or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but from the whole global system of alliances and trade arrangements that Washington has forged since 1945 to ensure the success of the “American Century” — to cement, that is, its global position as the next Great Britain.

    Not so long ago, when it came to Washington’s system of global power, the U.S. was the sun for orbiting allies in alliances like NATO, the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, and the Organization of American States. Meanwhile, the U.S. military had scattered an unprecedented number of military garrisons across much of the planet. In the wake of the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States briefly seemed to be not just the next but potentially the last Great Britain. Its leaders came to believe that this country had been left in a position of unique dominance on Planet Earth at “the end of history” and perhaps until the end of time. In the years after the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, it came to be known as “the sole superpower” or, in the phrase of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “the indispensable nation.” It briefly seemed to find itself in a position no country, not even the Roman or British empires, had ever been in.

    Now, in his own half-baked, half-assed fashion, Donald Trump is promoting another kind of first: his unique version of “America First.” Two New York Times reporters, David Sanger and Maggie Haberman, evidently reminded him of that isolationist phrase from the pre-World War II era in an interview in March 2016 during his election run. They described the exchange this way: “He agreed with a suggestion [of ours] that his ideas might be summed up as ‘America First.’”

    “Not isolationist, but I am America First,” he said. “I like the expression.” So much so that, from then on, he would use it endlessly in his presidential campaign.

    Donald Trump has, of course, been something of a collector of, or perhaps sponge for, the useful past slogans of others (as well as the present ones of his right-wing followers in the Twittersphere). As any red baseball cap should remind us, the phrase that helped loft him to the presidency was, of course, “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA, a version of an old line from Ronald Reagan’s winning election campaign of 1980. He had the foresight to try to trademark it only days after Mitt Romney lost his bid for the presidency to Barack Obama in November 2012.

    Both phrases would appeal deeply to what became known as his “base” — a significant crew in the heartland, particularly in rural America, who felt as if (in a country growing ever more economically unequal) the American dream was over. Their futures and those of their children no longer seemed to be heading up but down toward the subbasement of economic subservience. Their unions had been broken, their jobs shipped elsewhere, their hopes and those for their kids left in the gutter. In a country whose leadership class still had soaring dreams of global domination and wealth beyond compare, whose politicians (Republican and Democratic alike) felt obliged to speak of American greatness, they were — and Donald Trump sensed it — the first American declinists.

    At the time, however, few focused on the key word in that slogan of his, the final one: again. As I wrote back in April 2016, with that single word, candidate Trump reached out to them, however intuitively, and crossed a line that would feel familiar today to someone like Boris Johnson in a British context. With it, he had, to put it bluntly, begun to exit the American century. He had become, as I commented then, “the first American leader or potential leader of recent times not to feel the need or obligation to insist that the United States, the ‘sole’ superpower of Planet Earth, is an ‘exceptional’ nation, an ‘indispensable’ country, or even in an unqualified sense a ‘great’ one.” He had, in short, become America’s first declinist presidential candidate, striking a new chord here, just as the Brexiteers would do in England.

    As I also wrote then, “Donald Trump, in other words, is the first person to run openly and without apology on a platform of American decline.” This country, he made clear, was no longer “great.” In doing so (and in speaking out, after a fashion, against America’s forever wars of this century), he grasped, in his own strange way, the inheritance that the post-Cold War Washington establishment had left both him and the rest of the country.


    After all, if Donald Trump hadn’t noticed that something was truly wrong, someone would have. As the planet’s sole superpower with a military budget that left every other nation (even bevies of them) in the shade, the U.S. had, since 2001, invaded two countries, repeatedly bombed many more, and fought conflicts that spread across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa. Those wars, when launched in 2001 (Afghanistan) and 2003 (Iraq), were visibly meant both to demonstrate and ensure American dominion over much of the planet. Fifteen years later, as Donald Trump alone seemed to grasp, they had done the very opposite.

    MR. BREXIT!
    By the time The Donald took to the campaign trail, the U.S. had not had a single true victory in this century. Not even in Afghanistan where it all began. In the years before he entered the Oval Office, the world’s only truly “exceptional” power had mainly proven exceptionally incapable (in ways that weren’t true in the Cold War years) of making its desires and will felt anywhere, except as a force for ultimate disruption and displacement.

    Globally speaking, despite all its alliances, its unparalleled military power, and its loneliness at the top — Russia remained a nuclear-armed but fragile petro-state and China was visibly rising but not yet “super” — it looked distinctly like a great power in the early stages of decline. As not just Donald Trump’s but Bernie Sanders’s campaign suggested in 2016, there was clearly a kind of decline underway at home as well, a process of hollowing out that extended from the economy to the courts to the political system.

    It was no mistake that, in January 2017, in a new age of plutocracy and degradation, a billionaire entered the White House — or that his first major domestic act (with a Republican Congress) would be a tax cut that only gave yet more to the already extraordinarily wealthy. Nor would it be strange that, for the first time, the 400 wealthiest Americans would actually have a lower tax rate than any other income group.

    Though The Donald did insist that he would make this country great again, his presidency has proven a distinctly declinist one. However instinctively, however chaotically, however impulsively, he has, after all, been hard at work cracking open the American imperial system as it once existed and directing the country into a future ripe for candidates with yet redder hats and slogans.

    If Boris Johnson is plugging for a Britain Last moment, Donald Trump, despite his bravado and braggadocio, has been treading a similar path for the greatest power on the planet. In his trade wars, he’s been intent on cracking open the American global economic system, whether in relation to the EU, China, or allies like Japan and South Korea. In his relations with such allies, he’s been hard at work undermining the alliances that once ensured American power and influence, even as he cozies up to autocrats and plutocrats the world over.

    Of course, in October 2019, its forever wars and new trade wars notwithstanding, the United States remains the strongest military power on the planet, not to speak of the wealthiest one around. So no matter what President Trump may do, we’re not about to join Great Britain in that imperial subbasement any time soon. Still, as the Trump years should already have made clear, we are in at least the early stages of an American Brexit, globally and domestically.

    When the Trumpian era ends, whether in 2020, 2024, or at some other unpredictable moment, count on this: the American global system will have been cracked open, the domestic political and judicial systems undermined further, and this country made even more unequal in a gilded age beyond compare, as well as split at least in two (“civil war”!) in terms of popular sentiment.

    There is, however, a difference between a British and an American Brexit. While a British one could harm the European Union (and even perhaps the American economy), its effects (except on England itself) should be relatively modest. On our overheating orb, however, an American Brexit could take the planet down with it. We are, after all, on a world in decline.

    Think of Donald Trump as the president of that decline or, if you prefer, as MR. BREXIT!

  14. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), Malisa (18th October 2019), NotAPretender (15th October 2019)

  15. #293
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
    Join Date
    3rd April 2017
    Posts
    4,055
    Thanks
    15,643
    Thanked 17,739 Times in 4,032 Posts
    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    I doubt that. The Post-American World narrative, for which Obama was so strongly criticised is now a permanent fixture of geopolitics. I suspect the US will concentrate on its own hemisphere as long as it is able to and will withdraw from most of the rest of the world. This is already happening. Such geopolitical shifts have their own momentum and they don't usually go into reverse or even substantially change course. BTW, I doubt that's a good thing overall and it may bring a considerable amount of bloodshed with it, as is already happening in Syria, nevertheless, it is a fact we will have to learn to live with and accept it without prejudice. Also, from a personal perspective, I speak a bit of Russian and quite a but of German, but I don't want to brush up on either of those languages. I'd much rather continue living in an Anglo-American dominated world, but alas, history and fate have other ideas.
    That's the problem, Chris...politicians try to give the people what they want despite knowing the people are ignoramuses. Obama tried to walk that line and, of course, was criticized despite having a measured approach to world peace, world strife, and I believe having the heart of humanity at the center of his decisions. Obviously, Trump is one of the ignoramuses.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

  16. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to NotAPretender For This Useful Post:

    Chris (15th October 2019), Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), Malisa (18th October 2019)

  17. #294
    Senior Member Hungary
    Join Date
    10th July 2018
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    1,963
    Thanked 3,998 Times in 804 Posts
    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    That's the problem, Chris...politicians try to give the people what they want despite knowing the people are ignoramuses. Obama tried to walk that line and, of course, was criticized despite having a measured approach to world peace, world strife, and I believe having the heart of humanity at the center of his decisions. Obviously, Trump is one of the ignoramuses.
    I see him as a symptom of American decline and not the cause per se. Which is why I try to do as other world leaders do (including Aragorn ) and ignore him. US politics is becoming an irrelevance and thankfully we, as in the rest of the world, can do something more productive with our lives, rather than obsess about it. Personally, I have lost any interest in the outcome of your little civil war/coup, I no longer care whether the country is run by the Orange one or Pocahontas or Joe BuyThem. The only reason I still pay attention and keep updating this thread, is because this is a historic moment, in which power is shifting from one power to the next and the process of Imperial decline fascinates me.

  18. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), Elen (15th October 2019), Malisa (18th October 2019), NotAPretender (15th October 2019), Wind (15th October 2019)

  19. #295
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    7th April 2015
    Location
    Patapsco Valley
    Posts
    9,296
    Thanks
    51,812
    Thanked 41,419 Times in 9,212 Posts
    I know what you mean, Chris. I keep seeing various headlines with the word Collapse.

    Joe BuyThem.
    Last edited by Dreamtimer, 15th October 2019 at 14:34.

  20. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dreamtimer For This Useful Post:

    Chris (15th October 2019), Elen (15th October 2019), NotAPretender (15th October 2019)

  21. #296
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
    Join Date
    3rd April 2017
    Posts
    4,055
    Thanks
    15,643
    Thanked 17,739 Times in 4,032 Posts
    Wow you’ve gone full cynic. Chris

    But I won’t begrudge u a little cynicism. We all pass through that gate at some point. My resolution was drugs.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

  22. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to NotAPretender For This Useful Post:

    Chris (16th October 2019), Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), Elen (16th October 2019)

  23. #297
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    7th April 2015
    Location
    Patapsco Valley
    Posts
    9,296
    Thanks
    51,812
    Thanked 41,419 Times in 9,212 Posts
    Aspirin and Benadryl?

  24. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dreamtimer For This Useful Post:

    Chris (16th October 2019), Elen (16th October 2019), NotAPretender (15th October 2019)

  25. #298
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
    Join Date
    3rd April 2017
    Posts
    4,055
    Thanks
    15,643
    Thanked 17,739 Times in 4,032 Posts
    Lol....among others
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

  26. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to NotAPretender For This Useful Post:

    Chris (16th October 2019), Dreamtimer (15th October 2019), Elen (16th October 2019)

  27. #299
    Senior Member Hungary
    Join Date
    10th July 2018
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    1,963
    Thanked 3,998 Times in 804 Posts
    Uh-Oh...

    You know the jig is up when Robert Fisk, one of the last remaining genuine journalists in the mainstream media, compares the current situation with the US and the Middle East, to the fall of the Roman Empire.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices...-a9159756.html

    Trump’s disgrace in the Middle East is the death of an Empire. Vladimir Putin is Caesar now

    This presidency looks like the manic days that presaged the fall of Rome

    In days gone by, I used to compare the Trump presidency with the Arab dictatorships. He took preposterous pleasure in the company of Egypt’s Sisi (60,000 political prisoners) and his inane ramblings had much in common with those of Muammar Ghaddafi, who also “authored” a book he never wrote but whom Trump never met (albeit that Tony Blair and Ghaddafi kissed each other on the cheek). But over the past week, I’ve begun to realise that the crackpot in the White House has much more in common with ancient Rome.

    My former classics professor once told me – when I melodramatically called him on my mobile phone from the original Roman forum during the US occupation of Iraq under George W. Bush – that the Romans were a “manic” people, but that they would have been pretty unimpressed with the American handling of the Iraqi campaign.

    He was right. But I am now convinced that there is something distinctly “manic” about the Trump presidency. The hatred, the threats, the fury, have much in common with both the Roman Republic (Rome’s version of popular “democracy”) and the Roman Empire, when quite a number of emperors showed themselves to be just as insane as Trump.

    Cato the Censor, a dangerous man, would end each of his speeches in Rome with the words Carthago delenda est. “Carthage must be destroyed”. Is this not exactly the language of Trump? Did he not say that he could have Afghanistan “wiped off the face of the earth”, that he could “totally destroy” North Korea, that Iran “will be destroyed” if it attacks the US?

    Cato got what he wanted. Carthage was indeed razed, its people sold into slavery, although its lands were not in fact sown with salt as English historians would later claim. So far, Trump has been more Cicero than Cato, Pompeo more Pliny than Pompey. So far.

    But the American retreat from Syria, its army’s greatest disgrace only ghosted over by its new role as Saudi Arabia’s mercenaries – for the new US military arrival in the Kingdom is to be paid for by the regime which butchered Jamal Khashoggi – has dark echoes in antiquity.

    Contrary to the Hollywood version of history, the Roman empire did not collapse in a couple of days. The Goths, Ostrogoths and Visigoths did not just gobble up Italy over a weekend. The fall of the empire came slowly, over years, in small incremental pieces: legions forgotten, tribal allies unpaid – and then betrayed.
    One of Rome’s most troublesome provinces was Cilicia. It was always changing hands. Its people allied themselves to Rome – and were then abandoned when legions left or taxes ran out. Cilicia, by extraordinary mischance, lay almost exactly along the western border of what is today the Turkish-Syrian (Kurdish) frontier.

    There are still a few Roman ruins in that ancient province to remind its present-day armies of what – they should have surely realised – would be their fate. I doubt if there is a single US soldier in Syria – who must, of course, negotiate their own way out of that equally ancient country – who knows of this. Institutional memory, let alone historical memory, has long ago been erased by the internet.

    The Roman Empire fell in bits. The senators, living in the political wreckage of the old Roman Republic, knew that something was going wrong. The people understood their demise only in stages. The great Roman roads went unrepaired. The legions could not move so fast (even if they were still loyal to Rome). Then the imperial mail service from north Africa was impaired, even halted. The wheat for bread – often from what is today the Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon – failed to arrive in Rome.


    Amid popular unrest in Rome, where rival leaders could and did physically threaten each other, these matters often went unnoticed. Impeachment, alas, was not an option in the ancient world.

    But the sword (or poison) could do its work. Political enemies would be accused of treachery. “Crucify them!” But is that not what Trump says of the American press, the Democrats or anyone who dares to confront him with his abominable lies and his assaults on American democracy?

    No, I am not suggesting that the American Empire will leave us quite like this. But last week’s deplorable abandonment of the Kurds, Trump’s wickedness in allowing the Turks – and their wretched “Arab” allies – to slaughter their way into northern Syria, will have the same effect as it did in antiquity. If you can no longer trust Rome, to which other empire do you turn?

    Well, Putin’s, of course. Tyrant he may be – but at least he’s sane. And his legions stayed out of the war in Syria and saved the Assad regime. They cleared the highways of Isis mines – they restored the roads, sometimes (incredibly) what were once Roman roads – and they learned Arabic. Perhaps, indeed, Putin now plays the role of the later Roman Empire of the East, the Christian one which survived in Constantinople/Byzantium/Istanbul for hundreds more years after the fall of Rome itself. All the Middle East is now his empire, every capital welcoming the emperor: Tehran, Cairo, Ankara, Damascus, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi.

    More than 20 years ago, I was in Washington, seeking to find the missile-maker who manufactured the rocket which Israel fired into a civilian ambulance in southern Lebanon, killing all inside. And I was much struck at how Roman Washington looked. Its great palaces of state (save for the State Department itself, of course) were self-consciously modelled on Roman architecture.

    Washington was not built as the capital of a physical empire – more a philosophical one, I suspect, in my kinder moments – but it looks (like Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London) as if the early Americans of the independence era realised it might one day be the capital of the most powerful nation on earth. Well, it was.

    But Trump has changed all that. To the despair of his few friends (of the non-”manic” kind) and the delight of his enemies, he has laid America low. The Syrians, whose history goes back far longer than America’s have played their old political policy again: Wait. And wait. And wait. And then drive into Manbij the moment the Americans leave. That’s what Rome’s enemies did when the empire’s frontiers crumbled in Germania and then in Gaul and then in the Balkans – of all places – and then in Palmyra and in what is today Syria.

    As for Washington’s noble architecture, it now takes its place alongside the old capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire, where the fine Viennese buildings of state seem shamed by their majesty. The powerful and historical walls to study today are those of the Kremlin.

  28. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    Dreamtimer (17th October 2019), Elen (17th October 2019), Malisa (18th October 2019), NotAPretender (18th October 2019)

  29. #300
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    7th April 2015
    Location
    Patapsco Valley
    Posts
    9,296
    Thanks
    51,812
    Thanked 41,419 Times in 9,212 Posts
    I'm reading a book set during the times of the fall of the Roman Empire. The main character is just as disbelieving. The 250 year mark is telling.

  30. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dreamtimer For This Useful Post:

    Chris (17th October 2019), Elen (17th October 2019), NotAPretender (18th October 2019)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •