11/1/16, "Taking a Page from Joe McCarthy," Robert Parry, Consortium News
"Hillary Clinton and her supporters have turned to ugly McCarthyism in attacking Donald Trump to divert attention from their email scandals, a dangerous use of Russia-bashing.
One trick of the original McCarthyism from the Old Cold War was to take some innocuous or accurate comment from a leader in Moscow — saying something like “poverty is a cruel side of capitalism” or “racism persists in the U.S.” — and to claim that some American reformer who says much the same thing must be a Kremlin tool.
Now, in the New Cold War, we are seeing a similar trend in the way some Democrats and the mainstream U.S. media are citing accurate assessments from Russian President Vladimir Putin and claiming that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is somehow in league with Putin for observing the same realities.
A case in point is Tuesday’s editorial in The Washington Post, entitled “The Putin-Trump worldview” (in print) and “Trump and Putin share a frightening worldview” (online). The editorial quotes Putin as “observing that Mr. Trump ‘represents the interests of the sizable part of American society that is tired of the elites that have been in power for decades now…and does not like to see power handed down by inheritance.’”
The Post’s editorial writers then snidely note that “Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump have an uncanny way of echoing each other’s words.”
But that is a classic example of McCarthyistic sophistry. Just because some demonized figure like Putin says something that is undeniably true and an American sees the same facts doesn’t make that American a “Putin puppet” or a “Moscow stooge” or any of the other ugly names now being hurled at people who won’t join in today’s trendy Russia bashing and guilt by association.
Putin is not wrong that many of Trump’s supporters – along with many Americans who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders – are “tired of the elites” that have behaved arrogantly and stupidly for decades. Many Americans also don’t believe that a family’s name should decide who becomes the leader of the United States, whether that be the Bushes or the Clintons.
Indeed, what Putin is saying amounts to almost a truism, yet here is The Washington Post not only suggesting that because Putin is saying something that it must be false but then smearing Trump (or anyone else) who detects the same reality.
The same Post editorial also goes to great lengths to reject any comparisons between the Russian and Syrian government airstrikes on the Syrian neighborhoods of east Aleppo — to root out Al Qaeda-connected jihadists and their supposedly “moderate” rebel allies — and U.S. and Iraqi government airstrikes on the Iraqi city of Mosul under the control of Al Qaeda’s spinoff group, the Islamic State.
Insisting that the two similar operations are nothing alike, the Post’s editors white-out the central role of Al Qaeda in commanding the rebel forces in east Aleppo. While ignoring Al Qaeda’s dominance of those neighborhoods and its terror rocket attacks on civilian areas of west Aleppo, the Post only says, “the rebel forces in Aleppo include Western-backed secular groups who seek only to overturn the blood-drenched Assad regime.”
Note the Post’s characterization that rebel forces “include Western-backed secular groups” rather than an honest admission that those supposedly “secular groups” have served mostly as cut-outs in diverting sophisticated U.S. military weapons, such as TOW missiles, to the jihadist cause, a reality recognized by U.S. military advisers on the ground. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How the US Armed-up Syrian Jihadists.“]
Many of these supposedly “secular groups” have openly allied themselves with Al Qaeda’s recently rebranded Nusra Front (now called the Syria Conquest Front). This so-called “marbling” of the “moderates” in with the jihadists was one of the sticking points in the failed limited cease-fire in which the Post’s beloved “secular groups” rebuffed Secretary of State John Kerry’s plea that they separate themselves from Al Qaeda.
An intellectually honest newspaper would have at least admitted some of these inconvenient truths, but that is not the modern-day Washington Post with its own “blood-drenched” editors who played a crucial role in rallying support behind President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq under false pretenses.
The Post and its editors have on their hands the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died as a result of that illegal aggressive war, but those editors have not suffered a whit for their participation in war crimes. Instead, exactly the same senior editorial-page editors – Fred Hiatt and Jackson Diehl – are still there, touted on the newspaper’s masthead, still misleading the Post’s readers.
By contrast, The Wall Street Journal (of all places) did some serious reporting on the key question of “moderate” rebels allied with Al Qaeda. The Journal reported on Sept. 29: “Some of Syria’s largest rebel factions are doubling down on their alliance with an al Qaeda-linked group, despite a U.S. warning to split from the extremists or risk being targeted in airstrikes. The rebel gambit is complicating American counterterrorism efforts in the country at a time the U.S. is contemplating cooperation with Russia to fight extremist groups.”
If even Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal can acknowledge this important context, why can’t The Washington Post?
But the whipping up of a New Cold War with Russia and the demonizing of Vladimir Putin extend beyond The Washington Post to virtually the entire U.S. political/media establishment which has plunged into this dangerous terrain without any more serious thought and analysis than preceded the Iraq invasion, except now the target for “regime change” is nuclear-armed Russia and this adventurism risks the extermination of life on the planet.
Despite these grave dangers, the Democrats and the Clinton campaign have settled on a strategy of exploiting the New McCarthyism of the New Cold War to discredit Trump through “guilt by association” to Putin even though the two men have apparently never met.
Mostly this New McCarthyism has been used to divert attention from developments threatening to Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances, such as the release of embarrassing emails among Democratic insiders hacked from the personal account of Clinton adviser John Podesta and, since last Friday, the statement by FBI Director James Comey that he has reopened the investigation into Clinton’s use of an unsecured email server because of emails found on a computer in the home of Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
In the first instance, the Clinton campaign sought to redirect attention from the content of the emails, including the text of speeches that Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs and other financial interests, to the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was probably behind the hack.
‘A Witch Hunt’
In the Comey situation, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has sought to counter Comey’s stunning announcement last Friday by calling on the FBI director to also disclose whatever the FBI may have discovered about links between Trump’s aides and the Kremlin.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Democrats have raised suspicions about Carter Page, an early-on Trump adviser and former Merrill Lynch banker who gave a speech last summer criticizing the United States and other Western nations for a “hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change” in Russia and other parts of the old Soviet Union.
Page termed Reid’s efforts to transform a political disagreement into a criminal case “a witch hunt,” a phrase familiar from Sen. Joe McCarthy’s Red-scare investigations of the late 1940s and early 1950s into the loyalty of Americans.
Another Trump adviser caught up in the Democrats’ attempts to smear the Trump campaign over alleged ties to Moscow is Roger Stone. The Times reported that Democrats have accused Stone “of being a conduit between the Russian hackers and WikiLeaks,” which published Podesta’s hacked emails, because Stone has said he had contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and seemed to anticipate the damaging disclosures, though Stone has denied any prior knowledge.
An irony from this case of “trading places” – with the Democrats now darkly suggesting Republican ties to Moscow rather than the opposite during the McCarthy era – is that Roger Stone was a longtime associate of the late Roy Cohn, who was the controversial counsel on Sen. McCarthy’s Red-hunting investigations.
Stone derided the Democratic attempts to discredit Trump and himself with claims of ties to Moscow as “the new McCarthyism.”
Despite the irony, Stone is not wrong in his assessment. Rarely in American politics since the dark days of Joe McCarthy have so many unsubstantiated accusations of disloyalty been directed at any major political figure as the Democrats have done to Donald Trump.
In the third debate, Clinton even accused Trump of being a Putin “puppet.” If such a remark were made by Joe McCarthy or his Red-baiting ally Richard Nixon, there would have been understandable outrage. But Clinton’s ugly charge passed without controversy.
Though there are plenty of legitimate reasons to oppose the eminently unqualified Donald Trump for President, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats risk setting in motion dangerous international forces with their promiscuous Russia-bashing. Recognizing the terrifying potential of nuclear war, a more responsible course would be to tone down the rhetoric and address the legitimate questions raised by the email issues."
6/20/2014, "Being a Neocon Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry," Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt
"The neoconservative-liberal alliance in effect re-legitimates the neoconservative world view, and makes their continued enthusiasm for U.S.-led wars look "normal.""
9/7/2015, "How Neocons Destabilized Europe" by Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com
"The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe...started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”
Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing – such as that there hasn’t been enough “regime change.”"...
Actions of the US political class over decades have done nothing but harm the US, as Laura Ingraham describes:
10/25/16, "How the Elites Blew Up the World," Laura Ingraham, Lifezette.com
"The truth is that the “world order” in question exists only in the minds of those pundits who aren’t paying attention to life on this planet.
The entire concept of a continuous, stable, and peaceful “world order” that goes back to 1945 would come as a shock to the many Americans who lost friends and loved ones on battlefields in Korea, Vietnam, and countless other places during that period.
The reality of the situation is that between 1945 and 1990, the United States faced very severe challenges-not only to any type of “world order,” but to its very freedom. Some presidents-like Reagan and Eisenhower-dealt with those challenges successfully, helping Americans to enjoy brief periods of peace and prosperity. Others-like Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter-failed to meet the foreign policy challenges of their time, and left a more dangerous world to their successors. The whole notion that the world simply ran on autopilot, and that U.S. policymakers had few critical decisions to make, is simply wrong.
After America’s triumph in the Cold War, however, the difficulties of that struggle were quickly forgotten in Washington and the capitals of Europe. Instead, Western leaders congratulated themselves on the notion that they had reached “the end of history,” and that liberal capitalism would reign supreme in perpetuity-a conclusion directly contradicted by centuries of real-world experience. Armed with this false premise, U.S. foreign policymakers on both sides of the aisle made a series of disastrous blunders:
*They believed that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would promote better relations in North America, and reduce concerns over illegal immigration. They were wrong. Instead, illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States surged, while relations between all three NAFTA countries have generally deteriorated. By 2008, even Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were calling for NAFTA to be re-negotiated-but of course, that was just another empty promise.
*They believed that the World Trade Organization (WTO) would serve as a bastion of support for market economies, and would encourage countries like Japan to give up their mercantilist practices. They were wrong. Instead, the United States has become the main target of the WTO's dispute settlement system, as our trading partners regularly treat us as a punching bag, winning disputes and forcing us to change our laws to better suit their preferences. This year, the globalists in the Obama administration blocked an appointment to the WTO's Appellate Body — because even they are tired of losing so many cases there.
*They believed that facilitating the rise of China — by giving the Chinese practically unlimited access to Western markets and technology — would lead to a freer and safer world. They were wrong. The relentless dictators in China are using their newfound wealth to consolidate their power, both inside China and around the world. If current trends continue, we will soon be driven from Asia, and a Communist dictatorship will replace the United States as the world's largest economy.
*They believed that a weakened Russia could do little to challenge the West. They were wrong. Vladimir Putin's government, despite an economy smaller than that of Canada, has tied Western policymakers in knots — making them look feckless and weak, and undermining NATO.
*They believed that spreading democracy in the Middle East would lead to more stable and peaceful governments in that part of the world. They were wrong. The disastrous wars and other mistakes of the last 15 years have created a Middle East that appears to be more violent and dangerous than ever. Furthermore, the Middle East is now flooding the West with refugees and terrorists, who are creating huge political problems in the United States and Western Europe.
*They believed that cramming most of the historic nations of Europe into a single union with a shared currency would lead to peace and prosperity. They were wrong. Europe's economy has been staggering for years, and the voters of the United Kingdom grew so disgusted with the European Union that they voted to leave it altogether — another development our elites failed to anticipate.
*They believed that Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, was a force of calm and stability within the Western alliance. They were wrong. She has proven to be an unyielding fanatic whose absolute refusal to change course-no matter how bad that course may be-has not only damaged the economies of southern Europe, and driven Britain from the E.U., but has destabilized Germany itself by opening that country to a surge of Middle Eastern refugees for which the German people, and their government, were not ready.
*They believed that giving away our manufacturing base and welcoming illegal immigrants from around the world would lead to a happier and more prosperous America. They were wrong. The U.S. economy has performed so poorly that experts like Larry Summers now suggest we have entered a period of permanent "secular stagnation." Meanwhile, U.S. politics are riven by the utter mistrust that many voters feel for the elites who govern them — and by the contempt many of those elites feel for those voters.
*They believed that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton — a donor-controlled hack who may be the least persuasive person ever to hold high public office in this country — could help resolve the significant foreign policy problems that were already becoming obvious by 2009. Instead, she failed at that job, and the world is now less stable and more dangerous than when she went to Foggy Bottom.
*I could go on, but surely these examples are more than sufficient to prove that our leaders have committed blunder after blunder since the end of the Cold War. History is not kind to fools, and the United States is paying an enormous price for throwing away the strategic advantages it enjoyed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Consider the following facts:
*Last year, for the 16th year in a row, real median household incomes in the United States were lower than they were in 1999. Middle-aged Americans have now lost most of their careers to an era in which the standard of living for the typical household has fallen.
*In 1999, the year before Congress agreed to let China join the WTO, the United States accounted for 25.78 percent of world GDP. By 2014 (the last year for which data is publicly available), that figure was down to 22.43 percent — the lowest it has been in government records going back to 1969, according to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
*In 1999, China's annual GDP was $1.094 trillion. Last year (2015), it was more than $11 trillion.
*In 1999, the U.S. national debt was $5.7 trillion. Last year (2015), it was $18.1 trillion.
In short, by almost any measure, the United States is weaker than it was during the afterglow of the Cold War — while China, our chief geopolitical adversary, has gotten much stronger. This decline was not inevitable — certainly no major U.S. policymakers predicted it. Instead, it is the result of a series of foolish mistakes that have consistently undermined our position while making life easier for our enemies.
At this point, it should be obvious that the "world order" for which our elites pine has gone the way of the flip phone and other artifacts from the 1990s. For most Americans, the global economy has become a nightmare from which they are trying to escape. But like the generals in World War I who kept sending larger and larger numbers of men to die in hopeless battles, our elites believe that we need more of the same
Not satisfied by a series of trade agreements that have failed to work as advertised, they now promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Not satisfied by an immigration policy that has roiled U.S. and European politics for most of the last two decades, they scheme to bring more illegal immigrants into the West.
Not satisfied by the losses we have already suffered in the Middle East, they dream of sending new armies to die in that war-torn region.
No wonder they are uniting behind Hillary Clinton — the author and supporter of so many of these disastrous policies.
Let us be clear: If Hillary Clinton is elected president, all of the problems we see around the world today will continue to fester — because she will continue the same policies that got us here. Four years from now, if she is president,
the United States will be weaker,
China will be stronger,
Russia will be more dangerous,
terrorists will be more emboldened,
the Middle East will be more unstable, and
conditions in Europe will be worse than they are now.
We already know that our current policies lead to these results.
Why would we want to let things worsen for four more years?
The time has come to strike out on a different path. When you look past all the elite blather about Trump's "temperament" and "tone,"
one thing becomes obvious:
On the big foreign policy issues facing America, Trump is right, and the elites are wrong.
It is insane — and dangerous — to keep propping up a global trading regime that treats Chinese companies better than American companies
It is insane — and dangerous — to keep wasting the U.S. military on missions that cannot succeed.
It is insane — and dangerous — to continue trying to maintain a position in the world that we can no longer afford.
It is insane — and dangerous — to tear down all borders and effectively dissolve the nations of the West.
Most of all, it is insane to install, as president of the United States, a vapid and untrustworthy politician who has consistently been wrong on every major foreign policy issue of the last 20 years.
Hillary Clinton may win this election. But Trump and his supporters will ultimately win the argument over foreign policy — because his policies at least have a chance of making the world better, while hers never will."