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"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

The strange case of Gideon Rachman's delayed pain

Say what you like about Donald Trump, he’s so full of blatant horseshit that he brings out the underlying hypocrisy in the so-called ‘liberal’ elites…revealing them for the smug, dishonest and intellectually bankrupt horse-shitters that they are.  The upside of this, from my point of view, is that there is a chance that an increasing number of people will wake up to the realisation that our partisan political circus is a diversion from the real problem – a corrupt system of cronyism – that the idiots in Washington, London & Brussels. and the mediocre hacks that cover them, are a symptom of the problem…not the problem itself…and certainly not the solution…

Today, it was the turn of Gideon Rachman to demonstrate his narrow field of vision and the numbness of his nasal passage.  In a stunning synthesis of Beltway Bollox entitled ‘America is now a dangerous nation’, he revealed his delusional view of the non-threatening nature of the US pre-Trump:

“The claim that America is a “threat to world peace” has been a staple of Russian and Iranian propaganda for many years. For believers in the western alliance, it is painful to acknowledge that there is now some truth to this idea” - Gideon Rachman

My first thought was this:

There is NOW some truth to this…are you really THAT stupid?

But I decided that I should probably be a tad more specific…so I toyed with this:

You think Trump is a dangerous fool – you’re right. You think your blinkered and superficial analysis gets anywhere close to how corrupt the system really is? – wrong, as usual

In the knowledge that this might seem rather harsh to any reader who has been exposed to the same kind of ‘think-tank’ garbage as Mr Rachman, I then considered a softer approach:

If you are rehearsing a new stand-up routine this is brilliant, but if you are serious then your pain is at least twenty years late presenting itself, and by now I fear you may be beyond medical assistance

Alas, when I finished my response, it was too long for FT comments…something had to go…and sadly it had to be the fun bits…

Anyway… it follows below.  It's a combination of ideas that you may have read previously - in a piece I wrote last week and one from April:


“The claim that America is a “threat to world peace” has been a staple of Russian and Iranian propaganda for many years. For believers in the western alliance, it is painful to acknowledge that there is now some truth to this idea” – Gideon Rachman, 'America is now a dangerous nation'

There has been truth in this idea for a long time.

First some data:

a) In 2013 Gallup polled 67,806 people in 65 countries with the following question:

“Which country do you think is the greatest threat in the world today?”

In 1st place, 24% volunteered that the US was the greatest threat; 2nd place was Pakistan with 8%, 3rd was China with 6%, then a four-way tie between Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, & North Korea with 5%, a three-way tie at 4% between India, Iraq and Japan, 11th was Syria on 3%, 12th was Russia on 2%, followed by a seven-way tie on 1% between Australia, Germany, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, and UK.  You will be pleased to hear that nobody stays up at night worrying about New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland or any of the Scandinavian countries. Personally I have no idea how France escaped this list whilst Australia made it, but let’s not go there…

b) On August 1st 2017, Pew released the results of a poll conducted in 30 countries, in which they asked respondents this question:

“Do you think that the United States’ power and influence is a major threat, a minor threat, or not a threat to (survey country)?”

The same question was repeated with the insertion of China as the threat instead of the United States, and then again with Russia as the threat.

The ‘major threat’ category was selected by 35% for the US, 31% for China, and 31% for Russia.

This may not seem like a major blow to the US, except when you consider that the 30 countries polled included all of its major allies, but did not include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Afghanistan.

Finally, when asked the same question with the insertion of the condition of the global economy, the countries with the lowest scores for major threat were Sweden on 20%, Netherlands on 21%, and Germany on 22%. The country with the highest score was Greece with 88%. What does this prove? It proves something that we would all do well to remember, particularly the US & the UK: it all depends on your point of view.

Secondly, some observations:

The past three Presidents have run on the promise to resist foreign interventionism, and all have suffered from apparent memory loss within months of arriving in the Oval Office.

Here’s Bush in 2000:

“I’m not sure the role of the United States is to go round the world saying this is the way it’s got to be…we stand alone in terms of power, so if we’re an arrogant nation they’ll view us that way, and if we’re a humble nation they’ll respect us…I don’t think our troops should be used for ‘nation building’…I’m concerned that we’re over-deployed around the world…I don’t want to be the world’s policeman, I want to be the world’s peace-maker…”

How did he get from those sentiments to declaring war on Iraq? And please don’t say 9/11 – those guys were primarily Saudis; they were led by a Saudi princeling, Bin Laden, who had been ‘used’ by the CIA to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq prior to the ‘war on terror’…and just in case anyone has forgotten…there were no WMD either. But Dubya invaded Iraq anyway.

Here’s Obama in 2007:

“I will promise you this…that if we have not gotten our troops out (of Afghanistan) by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do, I will get our troops home, we will bring an end to this war…you can take that to the bank”

Forget the Gitmo fiasco, and the fact that the US is still in Afghanistan; how did he get from being that guy to the guy who turned Libya into a junkyard, who sent the CIA to do the same to Syria? Maybe he had a ‘change of heart’? No…Obama’s heart was never in it; he wanted to be a saviour not a warlord. But he did it anyway…looking more remote and disconnected as each day passed.

Thirdly, here’s Trump in 2016:

“We should work with any nation in the region that’s threatened by the rise of radical Islamic terrorism…we’re getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world. Our moments of greatest strength came when politics ended at the water’s edge”

Here’s a guy who came into office aching to do it his way…and after less than 100 days in office, five days after announcing that ‘regime change’ is no longer the US goal in Syria, he does a 180 degree turn and does exactly what the neocons want him to do, exactly what his defeated opponent Hillary Clinton said he should do just hours before he fired the tomahawks…exactly what he promised his supporters he wouldn’t do

Just about the only ‘break’ Trump has received from Congress and the media was when he attacked Syria. Forget, the fact that the ‘evidence’ held all the water of an antique sieve (See Postol, MIT), the attack suited the agenda of the warmongers in Washington, who, without war or the threat of war, cannot possibly justify $600 billion + a year on the military, a figure that approximates the GDP of the 7th largest state by GDP – Ohio.

But when it comes to dialogue with Russia – it turns out that the mere idea sends 520 ‘lawmakers’ into a paroxysm of moral outrage:  A Congress that can’t agree on a tax policy, a health policy, a budget or even what time to break for lunch...somehow summons the conviction…on the basis of zero evidence…and despite opposition from its European allies…to punish Russia for ‘alleged’ election interference by a margin of 419-3 in the House and 98-2 in the Senate.

The challenge facing the US is to operate in a world where there is not one single power, but where there are multiple poles of power and influence, multiple systems of government; where no single culture dominates or requires submission.

That’s clearly what emerging nations want. It’s also clearly what Russia and China want. And it’s just as clearly what the neo-conservatives & the liberal interventionists in Washington don’t want.  Why do I lump them together? Because when it comes to foreign policy there is not a cigarette paper between people like John McCain and Hillary Clinton – they want submission…or war.  

So, by all means argue for sanity to return to Washington; but let’s not pretend that sabre rattling, war, or foreign interventionism is anything new. That may be convenient, but it’s baloney – dangerous baloney.

Crocodiles and Snakes - both reptiles

The end of the indispensable empire