Archive for geopolitics

US Intervention In Syria: The Next Iraq

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by jtoddring

Here is a very brief synopsis of the US role in Syria. We will, for the sake of brevity,  leave aside for the moment the obvious and documented facts of the US arming and supporting of the very terrorist groups they claim to be fighting; as well as the fact that the majority of “rebels” in Syria are associated with either ISIS or Al Queda; and the the third fact, that the reason the US is arming and supporting the very groups it claims to be fighting is in order to overthrow yet another government in the Middle East. We will instead focus on the broader picture.

It is becoming clear to any who are paying attention, and any who remember even recent history, that Syria is rapidly becoming the next Iraq – a country set on fire in an unending cauldron of violence and civil war, with no resolution and no peace in sight, and nothing but a black hole and a quagmire for all involved.

After five years of war and geopolitical battles among rival powers, half a million Syrians have now been killed, the country is in ruins, and there are now over 11 million Syrian refugees, in the biggest humanitarian disaster since the war in Iraq. And we have to ask, who is to blame?

Who is to blame for the bloodbath in Syria? This seems to be the question of the hour. Tomorrow, or soon after, there will be another bloodbath, and there will be other scapegoats, and the grand game of assigning blame will turn once more, and as usual, with all the same repeating patterns. But let us ask that central question of this present moment, at this present moment: who is to blame for the turmoil and war in Syria, and the massive human suffering that is the escalating result of it?

I don’t think there is any question that many players or factions are involved in what is going on in Syria – no one seems to want to respect national sovereignty or the self-determination of peoples, much less international law, and it seems like everyone wants to coerce the Syrian people into accepting their own particular wishes and demands for what kind of government the Syrian people should have.

Among others, there is the Syrian government, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq involved. ISIS and Al Queda are of course involved, but as very knowledgeable observers have noted, they are more a symptom than the cause of the turmoil, and they are being armed and funded by other, larger powers – particularly Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.

And we can add to the list of parties who have involved themselves in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, Canada, Europe, Israel and Russia. But there is also no question that Washington and the CIA are playing a major and pivotal role in the war in Syria, and nobody of any sound mind doubts that, for it is obvious.

And if we look to recent historical precedents in the region, we can see a clear and obvious pattern: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya….. and that is without going further back, over the past 60 years of US foreign policy, beginning with the Washington/CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1957 – an extremely foolish and short-sighted, as well as criminal action, which gave birth to the extremist Islamic movements in the Middle East to begin with; or much longer, from the time of the Mexican-American war in the mid-1800’s, which Thoreau detested and wrote about, and before, from the time of the Indian Wars and the colonization of what was to become the United States of America.

The US has been a rising global super-power since the early 1800’s, until its recent decline, and one with a clear case of infantile grandiosity (the doctrines of Manifest Destiny and the like make this clear) and a self-justifying messianic complex, covering, only thinly, an obvious imperial pursuit of territorial expansion, conquest and hegemony, and of course, simple wealth and power.(See Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues, for an overview of the past 500 years of Western history.)

To be fair, the US was on the right side, on the side of freedom and democracy, during WWII; and along with Canada, Britain and other nations, and most pivotally Russia, the US helped to defeat the horror of fascism. But before and since, the US has been on the wrong side of history, more often than not. And that is because the US has been ruled, from 1945 until the present, and for the better part of its history before WWII, by a political elite who have been the willing puppets and servants of big business and moneyed interests – exactly as Thomas Jefferson had warned. These are the simple, ugly facts of the matter. This can change, and it will change, when the American people are ready for it, and willing to make it happen, but at present, the US is still a dangerous rogue super-power that is ruled by Wall Street – and with truly disastrous consequences both for the American people and for the world.

And in recent history, who was the major player responsible for the utter devastation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? The evidence is indisputable. These countries are now basket cases, and have been destroyed, and set aflame in civil wars – and it is the United States and its allies who are primarily responsible for these terrible atrocities, with well over a million dead, and nations laid to waste.

And although Washington had allies, and allies who will be recorded in history as having been actively involved in war crimes, the central player was the US government and the CIA in all three cases. The record speaks for itself.

The US government has been, and continues to be, dedicated to a policy of global hegemony, as its actions clearly and unquestionably show, and as its own internal record plainly speaks. (See documents from NSC-68 to PNAC and beyond.) And such actions are not only abominable, unconscionable, and in violation of international law, and furthermore, war crimes, under the precise definition of international law and the Nuremberg Trials; but furthermore, they create three very clear results: 1) countries are destroyed, and democracies either destroyed or prevented from arising, and with great human suffering and mass murder in every case; 2) there is inevitable blow-back, or negative repercussions, because such violent invasions and “regime changes” – that is, coups, in more honest and less euphemistic terms – create great hatred and fanaticism, and hence, more terrorism, exactly as the US intelligence community had predicted; and 3) the world becomes an ever more dangerous place as a result of such actions.

We cannot white-wash the involvement of Washington or the CIA in the Middle East, or Syria in particular. Their role has been, and continues to be, simply disastrous.

All nations have a duty to respect the sovereignty of other nations, and the right of peoples to self-determination. This basic principle, the principle of non-aggression, is the very foundation and under-pinning of international law, as well as the foundation for real and lasting peace. Currently, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Europe, Russia, and even the traditionally peace-loving Canada, along with the leading actor, the world’s dominant super-power, the United States, are all disregarding and violating these basic principles. And it is complete disaster which is the result, as all can clearly see, as well as a greatly heightened instability and danger – not just in Syria, not just across the entire Middle East, but for the world, as a conflict between super-powers looms, with Russia, China and Iran lining up on one side, and the US and its allies and proxies on the other, in an extraordinarily dangerous, and frankly insane, set of power games.

Let the madness end. The people of Syria can and will find a way to peace, and determine their own future, and what kind of government they want to have – but only if other powers in the region and in the world stop meddling and let them have the space to breath and to settle things for themselves. At present, the involvement of the US and other foreign powers is doing nothing but creating ever greater suffering and chaos, and no good will come from it.

The words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind. “If I knew someone was coming to do me some good, I should like to get as far away as possible.” I think by now, a great many people in Syria and the Middle East would like to be free of the “help” they have been receiving. Such help has been a nightmare and a horror, to say the least.

A basic respect for national sovereignty and the rule of law would be infinitely more helpful, but no one seems to be interested in that. That does not serve the underlying motives of empire fetish, and ego-maniacal, greed-driven power games.

Hands off Syria. This is the most urgent point of the matter.

If we truly want to help the Syrian people, then we should send food, emergency shelter, doctors and medical supplies, and we should take in refugees, and give shelter to those in need. Sending more arms, bullets and bombs is not going to help the situation. Indeed, it has only made the situation a thousand times worse than it already was, before our “help” arrived.

J. Todd Ring,
February 27, 2016

 

For further readings, video commentaries and analysis, see:

Noam Chomsky

Paul Craig Roberts

Michel Chossudovsky

Tulsi Gabbard

John Pilger

CounterPunch

The Real News Network

Global Research

And as a start, here is Noam Chomsky, speaking with his usual lucidity, saying clearly that if we want to halt terrorism, we have to do pretty much the complete opposite of what we’re doing now, which will only increase terrorism, not reduce it, much less end it:

http://www.actvism.org/en/events/noam-chomsky-ueber-die-terroranschlaege-in-paris/

 

 

 

 

 

ISIS and Terrorism – A Reality Check

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2015 by jtoddring

“The responsibility of intellectuals is to speak the truth and expose lies.”

– Noam Chomsky

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

– George Orwell

According to a February 2015 Gallup poll, a majority of Americans consider the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — abbreviated as ISIS or ISIL — and the international terrorism they support to be the greatest threat to the United States’ vital interests.

This is really quite amazing, when you think about it. Not global warming, not record droughts and crop failure, not de-industrialization, massive and rising unemployment and poverty, soaring inequality and the demolition and razing of the middle class, not catastrophic ecological destruction, not the poisoning of our food, air, water, soil, our bodies and children, not disastrous “trade” deals (read, corporate rights deals), not a ravenous and criminal Wall Street cabal that rules the nation and is pillaging and plundering the middle class and the poor – no, it’s a few armed thugs half a world away, with no tanks, no battle ships, no air force, no ICBMs, and the military power of one ten thousandth, at best, of that of the US, which is the greatest threat to “America’s vital interests.”

Holy delusional.

Former National Security Adviser, and chief intellectual and geopolitical strategist in residence to the Western elite, Zbigniew Brzezinski, recently scoffed at such delusions, and said, “What are they going to do, swim here?” But the hysteria has been manufactured, and fear is a powerful weapon, as the BBC documentary, The Power of Nightmares, clearly showed, and Orwell and other observers have also recognized and noted.

The “war on terror” is a campaign that is being used to justify wars over oil, and geopolitical power and empire abroad, and a full frontal assault on democracy, freedom and civil liberties at home, in order silence the people, and to protect and consolidate the powers and the interests of the currently ruling corporate elite. It has nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

It’s time we got real. We are being lied to.

The US wants to impose a regime change in Syria – and that is flatly in defiance of international law, and is defined as a war crime under international law. As Chomsky said, if the Nuremberg trials were held today, every US president since WWII would be hanged for war crimes – and the war crimes continue to this day. And they are war crimes, regardless of how they may be justified.

Because the US is trying to topple the Assad government in Syria, the CIA has been arming, funding and training terrorist groups in that country – just as it did in Libya, Afghanistan and other countries. So we’re fighting terrorism by arming terrorists. That makes sense.

And why does the US want to topple the Assad government? Is it because Assad heads a brutal regime? No – the US was friends and allies with Saddam Husein when it suited their interests, even though Saddam headed an even more brutal regime.

Saddam was targeted for regime change only when he stopped obeying orders from Washington. The same has happened many times, and always for the same reasons: brutal regimes are fine – so long as they cooperate with the masters in Washington; and when they don’t, they are either brought under control, or taken out: either through bribery, economic and financial extortion, or by covert, or overt use of violent force.

And why does the US want to take out the Assad regime, if it’s not for human rights reasons? For oil, most likely – as with Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan…. There is a proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that “could radically alter Europe’s energy supplies, diminishing Russia’s fossil fueled prowess in Europe” – and Assad opposes it. So he has to go.

“These strategic concerns [of the US, to control oil and gas in the Middle East], motivated by fear of expanding Iranian influence, impacted Syria primarily in relation to pipeline geopolitics. In 2009 – the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria – Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.”

It is this – the problem of establishing a pliable opposition which the US and its oil allies feel confident will play ball, pipeline-style, in a post-Assad Syria – that will determine the nature of any prospective intervention: not concern for Syrian life.”

– The Guardian, August 30, 2015, Syrian intervention plans fuelled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concerns, by Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It

Now, not only is Syria spiraling further into crisis and chaos, with the US intervention only making matters worse, but it has also generated a refugee crisis in Europe, with refugees pouring out of Syria, and 4.5 million people displaced – a refugee crisis that the US and its allies actively helped to create. All for the sake of oil and gas profits for the US and its allies – and the corporate interests which they serve.

Russia on the other hand, wants to protect the Assad government, because Assad is a Russian ally, and because Assad opposes the pipeline deal which would radically reduce Russia’s fossil fuel super-power status in Europe – which is most likely the real reason Russia just started bombing in Syria, and not because it wants to fight terrorism.

With the US and its allies fighting and bombing in Syria, and Russia now entering the conflict, and bombing in Syria, and for the other team, the US trying to oust Assad, and Russia trying to prop him up, we are now literally faced with the very real threat of an outbreak of WWIII. And all this, for the control of oil and gas money. This is clearly insane.

So the motives are all twisted, when we’re talking about the major players, in both the West and in Russia, and it is the people who are suffering, while the military actions, the bombings and the regime changes simply serve to foster ever greater hatred and ever more terrorism – exactly as the US intelligence services warned they would do.

“Let’s see…. The resort to violence, to war, bombing, and forced regime changes – read, coups – didn’t work, and has instead sown chaos, hatred, further hostilities, greater instability, and more terrorism. So let’s redouble our efforts, and try the same methods again.

As Einstein said, “Repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome is the very definition of insanity.”

But fighting terrorism and creating peace were never the objectives. It’s about controlling the flow of oil and gas, and the astronomical profits, and power, that derive from it.

The Guardian is quite unreliable in terms of the consistency of its quality of reporting and commentary – sometimes it does a great job, and sometimes a poor one, or even a terrible one – but they got it right here, with regards to Syria and war in the Middle East:

“The 2011 uprisings, it would seem – triggered by a confluence of domestic energy shortages and climate-induced droughts which led to massive food price hikes – came at an opportune moment that was quickly exploited. Leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”

So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years”, starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

Much of the strategy currently at play was candidly described in a 2008 US Army-funded RAND report, Unfolding the Future of the Long War (pdf). The report noted that “the economies of the industrialized states will continue to rely heavily on oil, thus making it a strategically important resource.” As most oil will be produced in the Middle East, the US has “motive for maintaining stability in and good relations with Middle Eastern states”:

“The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized… For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources… The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

– The Guardian, August 30, 2015, Syrian intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concerns

If we are serious about reducing hate, violence, war, conflict and human suffering, then we should, among other things, be racing to get the world off its deadly addiction to fossil fuels, and end the wars over oil, pipelines, and the politics of fossil fuel addiction, and switching as rapidly as possible to clean, renewable energy.

How about diverting half or three-quarters of the obscenely bloated US military budget to massive investments in solar, wind and other renewable energy industries and technologies, and kick-starting the economy and providing millions of jobs in the process?

Nope. Can’t do. The oil and arms corporations require that we continue with business as usual, so that is simply not possible. The wars, therefore, must continue – and the people and the earth be damned.

How about this for a proposal? End the wars in the Middle East, and use the money saved to buy a fully electric Tesla Model S for every home in the United States over the next 20 years. That would cost approximately $5 trillion. By comparison, the wars in the Middle East have cost an estimated $6 trillion – so far. So this is completely feasible.

There are probably better, more effective ways to invest in clean, renewable energy, and to break our addiction to oil and fossil fuels, but this was meant simply to make a point. How about ending the wars and spending the war budget to install solar, wind and geothermal heating, cooling and power systems for every home in America, making them fully off-grid and energy self-reliant, as well as being powered by clean energy? This would cost about the same amount, roughly $5 trillion, and could be done over the next 20 years, if the wars are ended now. That would also cause the economy to soar, and millions of jobs to be created. And this is not even mentioning the lives that would be saved and the suffering averted by ending the bombing and the wars.

By ending the wars, we would do more to halt terrorism – by not participating in it, and not fueling it – than by anything that has been done so far. Certainly the “bomb-em-to-bits” strategy has been a complete disaster, and has only increased terrorism, exactly as US intelligence services said it would do. And the money saved could be used to rebuild the US economy, create full employment, shift the nation to renewable energy, break the dependency on oil and other fossil fuels, and halt our race toward ecological cataclysm and collective suicide.

But we can’t do that, because the oil and arms corporations are making a killing, both literally and figuratively, off our addiction to fossil fuels and war.

*

Here are some startling figures to contemplate. Official terrorism – which means, terrorism carried out by official enemies, and not by Washington and its allies in Canada, the UK and France – accounts for roughly 20,000 deaths a year. Meanwhile, over 20,000 children die every day from hunger. Poverty is the far greater killer, but where is our war on poverty? There is lip service, rhetoric, but no serious action, as poverty continues to rise globally, and also in the United States, the richest country in the history of the world.

But even more people now die from over-eating and obesity than from hunger – with millions dying every year from heart disease and stroke alone, primarily due to poor eating habits. But are we launching a war on MacDonalds and fast food? No, we’re fighting ISIS – supposedly – even though the fast food industry kills far more people every year than ISIS could ever dare to dream.

We should be launching major public health campaigns, and anti-poverty campaigns, and stopping the Wall Street war on the middle class and the poor, because the death toll from that, and the toll in terms of human suffering, is vastly greater than that caused by official terrorism, which is positively dwarfed by comparison.

The real terrorists are in Wall Street and Washington, where the financial and conventional bombings are coordinated, and the global looting is orchestrated and carried out. You want to fight terrorism? Start at home, and start with Wall Street.

Please see my recent essay, also on my blog, entitled, Danger and Delusion, from ISIS To Ebola, for a deeper look and some critical perspective on the real dangers that face the United States and the world today. It’s time for a reality check.

We need to remember that the media are overwhelmingly controlled either by corporations or the government. In the US, six corporations control 90% of the media. We should not expect anything other than propaganda, considering these facts.

Fortunately, according to another recent Gallop poll, roughly 40% of the people have virtually no faith left in the media – and the corporate and government controlled media continue to lose credibility, and their audience, at a rapid and accelerating pace.

So while the majority of the people, a slim majority, continue to believe the lies and the propaganda, the tide is changing, and the people are waking up. This is happening none too soon. All we can say is, we had better accelerate the awakening, because the world is in serious peril – and peril, above all, due to the lies and illusions which are being propagated daily, and which need to be cut through, and demolished.

J. Todd Ring,
October 3, 2015

And this just in:

U.S. Military Bombs Doctors Without Borders Hospital, Killing At Least 19.
Doctors Without Borders’ statement suggests more than just collateral damage. The Afghan trauma center “was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” The hospital reportedly had 105 patients and caretakers, and more than 80 staffers from all over the world.
According to the aid group, U.S. forces continued bombing for 30 minutes after receiving phone calls telling them the hospital was being bombed. “All parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location [GPS Coordinates] of the M.S.F. facilities – hospital, guesthouse, office,” the statement said.
October 3, 2015
http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/10/03/3708837/doctors-without-borders-bombed/
Who is fighting terrorism? And who are the terrorists? Are we really so certain?

As Chomsky has repeatedly said, the leading terrorist centre in the world is Washington, DC – and global polls show that the great majority of the people around the world agree.

The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria

Noam Chomsky: US, Not Iran, [Nor ISIS] Poses Greatest Threat To World Peace

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/9/22/noam_chomsky_the_united_states_not

The real reasons for threats of war against Syria

Posted in American politics, analysis, Barack Obama, Brzezinski, China, collapse, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, elite, empire, end-game, fossil fuel, geopolitics, imperialism, nuclear war, nuclear weapons, Obama, oil, peace, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, resources, Russia, smedley butler, sovereignty, sustainability, Syria, war, war crimes, war on democracy, War on Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by jtoddring

(that the mass media won’t tell you about)

1. The Middle East holds 60% of the world’s remaining energy reserves: therefore, the entire region is critical to control – for anyone with an empire fetish, that is. And if you’re serious about controlling the Middle Eastern oil reserves, then you must control, not just the oil-rich nations, but also the nations surrounding them.

2. Washington has played the role of “gangster for capitalism” – to use General Smedley Butler’s term – for a very long time. Washington is the hired thug for the global banking and corporate elite – and they want to control the entire Middle East, because oil profits are simply astronomical.

3. The banking and corporate elite who control Washington also love war, since war is also astronomically profitable to them – and they don’t care that it is disastrous to human life, the environment or national economies.

4. The Middle East is the linch-pin to the entire Eurasian continent (as well as a major key to controlling mineral-rich Africa). Eurasia holds the majority of the world’s population and resources. And historically, whoever controls Eurasia, dominates the world. Controlling the Middle East is therefore seen as critical, as the leading geo-strategic planner for the Western power elite, Zbigniew Brzezinski has said explicitly (see, The Grand Chessboard).

5. The US and Europe are in severe and deepening economic crisis, and also, in a severe and growing political crisis, as the people become increasingly frustrated by growing inequality, poverty and insecurity. And as Orwell described so accurately, perpetual war is a way to distract the people from their problems at home, and to deflect anger away from governments and powers at home, onto a vilified “other.” How did the ruling elite control the rabble of Europe in the Middle Ages when famine, hunger and injustice fuelled the fires of discontent? Send them off on a holy war, a crusade, and let them vent their anger at an official “enemy” – any enemy: anybody, anywhere, just so long as the anger is deflected off of us. The same principle applies today.

6. While the Western powers face a growing and profound crisis of legitimacy at home (just as the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc did before its collapse), they – the US and Europe and the Western business elite – are sinking globally, in relative terms, and are losing their global dominance as the rising super-powers of China, India, Russia, Brazil and other BRIC nations continue to gain ground. The Western business elite apparently see the global domination game as a winner-take all scenario, and they are not planning to lose – no matter what the stakes, the cost, the death toll, or the risk to life on earth.

The risks and costs of war against Syria? Extreme.

  1. Great human death toll.
  2. Further moral bankruptcy of the US government and its allies and further erosion of their credibility at home and abroad.
  3. Further squandering of huge sums of money on death and destruction while people go hungry and homeless, and jobs, social programs, economic recovery and environmental programs go begging and get only lip service, hollow rhetoric, empty promises and token gestures for the sake of PR.
  4. Serious risk that war with Syria may lead to the involvement of Russia and/or China – with the very real danger of the outbreak of World War III. Russian and Chinese high officials have said that any violation by the US of any nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated, and “all options are on the table” – which means nuclear war.

The insanity of further intensification of warfare in the Middle East could not be greater. Stop this madness now. Speak up.

When Washington stops killing innocent men, women, children and civilians with drone strikes in countries around the world, then, perhaps, it may begin to have some moral ground for speaking against another country. It certainly has no right to bomb or attack another country, hypocrisy aside.

Stop the insanity now. No to war with Syria.

J. Todd Ring,
August 28, 2013

Reflections on democracy

Posted in analysis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2013 by jtoddring

There is a global war on democracy underway, and if it is not addressed, our future will be bleak. But let us start with the ground work of democracy, and follow from there.

Simple majority rule is accurately described as the tyranny of the majority; hence the need for constitutional democracy, where the rights and freedoms of the individuals are enshrined in constitutional law, and hopefully also, in custom and in practice.

And it is constitutional democracy that the vast majority of people mean when they talk about democracy. The term democracy, therefore, can be used as a short-hand for constitutional democracy, since that is what most people mean by the term, and what most people want; so long as we remember that democracy requires constitutionally-enshrined human rights and civil liberties for it to be a desirable system for human society. If we look at other, immediately possible forms of human society, I would say, constitutional democracy is far and away the best that is available, and we should defend it, and protect it, as we protect and defend our own lives. The alternative, at present, is one or another form of tyranny.

To elaborate further, unity and diversity; freedom and collective, cooperative action, are often taken to be mutual exclusive, but they are not. We can have a deeply valued sense of freedom and diversity, and at the same time, a sense of the value and underlying reality of unity within diversity; and an awareness that we, as human beings, have always been stronger, more creative and more adaptable when we work together and pool our resources and talents.

For this reason, a radically democratic, grass-roots, populist and participatory constitutional democracy which might be called libertarian socialism, to put a label on it, is the most intelligent form of human society of which I am aware, with the exception of libertarian communalism, which is probably too far of a stretch for human beings at this time, given the level of fear and mistrust that exists, and the illusions which rule our world. Again, liberty and collective action are not necessarily at odds, as simple reason would clearly indicate; nor are diversity and unity. Whether we realize these facts or not, will shape our future; and at this time of great crisis for human kind, it may be definitive, and decisive.

But again, to speak of the immediate task at hand, we must re-invigorate, and indeed, recapture and reclaim democracy, simply – constitutional democracy, of course, with human rights and freedom for all – or we will almost certainly have tyranny, and we will regret our passivity and complacency in the face of great danger, in the deepest of ways.

And what does this mean, in practice, at this particular time in history? It means, now as always, that we defend constitutional democracy and freedom from any threat, foreign or domestic, which seeks to usurp the power of the democratic process, and to gather unto itself unwarranted and tyrannical powers.

And what powers now threaten freedom and democracy, world-wide? It is no longer the church, the aristocracy or the monarchy. The threat now is from the merchant class, from the now globally hegemonic and overwhelmingly dominant business or corporate elite, who have effectively taken over the global economy, the governments, the electoral system, the political process and the media world-wide.

To defend freedom and democracy now, therefore, means to question, to challenge, to resist and to rebel against, and to overthrow, the corporate elite who have now become the ruling powers in the world. That is the task at hand, and nothing less will do.

*

As to the term socialism, there is much fear in many quarters relating to it, and it has become a dirty word, and a terrifying word for many, particularly in the United States, where the levels of political literacy are among the lowest in the world. But socialism need not be feared. Socialism has become synonymous in the United States with Karl Marx, and even with Stalin. But this is sheer idiocy, and the link is made out of ignorance. There is a profound lack of understanding there of the history of the left, and the various threads of it. The left was certainly not homogeneous then, two hundred years ago; nor has it been since; and nor is it now. Nevertheless, it is widely unknown that there was a major divide within the left, from the beginning, which was the Enlightenment thinking of the 18th century.

From the beginning, there was a spilt in the left between Marx and his acolytes, who sought to gain control of the powers of society, and in particular, the powers of the state, in order to carry out a revolution which would, supposedly, free all humanity; and those who questioned the idea of a few self-proclaimed intellectual elites taking over all power; as Bakunin in particular challenged, and rightly questioned.

The short history is that the wing led by Marx temporarily triumphed among the left, and the libertarian socialists were marginalized – and so much so, that socialism became synonymous in many people’s minds with absolute power held in the hands of the few, a la Stalin.

To be wary of, and even hostile to Stalinism, or any form of tyranny by a self-professed vanguard, is simply sane, and intelligent; but to dismiss socialism, or to equate it with these pathologies of social theory and political action, is a grand act of blindness and ignorance, if not self-delusion, or sheer deceit.

Socialism, at its root, values human solidarity, human equality, and the well-being of all; and we would be unwise at the least, if not foolish or radically confused, to dismiss or reject it. Socialism, at its heart, has nothing to do with tyranny or the rule of the few over the many; and when it has devolved into this, it no longer deserves the name socialism.

Do we remember the motto of the French Revolution – which, by the way, was far more revolutionary than the American Revolution, which sought, to be honest and frank, to replace the tyranny of British elite rule, with a merely American elite rule? It was liberty, fraternity and solidarity, along with constitutional democracy. In short, the French revolution, in contrast to the much glorified, but highly faulted American revolution, sought freedom, equality, solidarity and constitutional democracy.

And if we strike out or eliminate equality and solidarity from the mix, then we are not only infinitely poorer, and also weaker for it, but we will find ourselves living, sooner or later, once more in a tyrannical state, for you cannot have freedom without equality; and you cannot have the safeguarding of any of these values – of freedom, of democracy, or of equality – without solidarity.

In short, socialism, when it is practiced intelligently and honestly, keeps us rooted in the real world, and keeps us held fast to the values of equality and solidarity which are the very underpinnings of both freedom and democracy. To disavow them is a form of slow and protracted suicide. To embrace them is the road to freedom – but again, only if these values are linked deeply and in practice to the values of freedom, and to the refusal of any form of elite rule.

*

As to the libertarian elements of this conversation, meditation or dialogue, it should be noted that libertarianism originally had a very different meaning than it has come to mean today, at least within the United States and North America. Originally, libertarianism came out of the Enlightenment thinking of the 18th C, and from the left side of that thinking. It was an extension, from reason and experience, of the democratic and freedom-loving thrust of the enlightenment, which sought to limit any undue powers in society which might be or become oppressive or tyrannical.

Libertarianism originally meant an opposition to any form of oppressive powers over humankind, or any excessive concentration of powers in human society which could easily become oppressive. That included the aristocracy, the monarchy, the church, the military, or any other power which could come to dominate the society as a whole, including the rising powers of the business class.

Now, two hundred and some years later, the monarchy is not the dominant power in most nations, nor is the aristocracy or the church. It is the business elite who now rule over all, and left libertarianism, or libertarianism in its original sense, addressed and also rejected that form of tyranny, along with all other forms and guises.

In the US recently, libertarianism has, by contrast, devolved into a mistrust of government, with a blind eye turned towards the powers of business and corporations. It has devolved into a political philosophy of limited government, combined with a naive and uncritical laissez faire capitalism. Fortunately, that is changing, and the libertarian right, as it should be called, has begun to recognize that corporate and other business powers can be as tyrannical as any government powers ever can be.

*

For us to live in the real world, in short, we must address any form of tyranny, as Jefferson, limited in awareness as he was, so passionately urged. It would mean that we would challenge any excessive powers of government or the state; and also, any excessive powers of the business or corporate elite – as Jefferson himself urged, fully two hundred years ago, and which warning we ignored, at our great peril.

That is what we need now. We need a fierce and undeterred defence of constitutional democracy and freedom, against any attacks or any threats, foreign or domestic. And to say it again, at this time, that means deposing the corporate elite who have taken over, and who have usurped far too great of powers. If we refuse this task, then both democracy and also freedom will be no more, and we will be no more than serfs and slaves.

Stand now.

J. Todd Ring,
February 25, 2013

Americans Now Primed for WWIII

Posted in American politics, Barack Obama, dollar crisis, end-game, fossil fuel, geopolitics, imperialism, Iran, nuclear, nuclear war, nuclear weapons, Obama, oil, peace, political economy, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, U.S., war with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by jtoddring

(Gallup: Staggering 99 Percent of Americans See Iran’s Nuclear Program as ‘Threat’
Americans See Civilian Program as a Bigger Threat Than North Korea’s Actual Nukes
by Jason Ditz, February 20, 2013)

            “A grim new poll from Gallup shows an overwhelming majority of Americans, indeed 99 percent of them, believe that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a threat “to the vital interests of the United States.”

            The poll reflects the near complete saturation of American opinion with politicians’ claims of the “threat” posed by Iran’s civilian program, in spite of repeated reports conceding that Iran isn’t presently developing nuclear weapons and that it may indeed never choose to do so.

            This disconnect from reality is underscored when compared with other questions in the same poll, with only 97 percent viewing North Korea’s actual nuclear weapons a threat, despite North Korea itself spending a large amount of time trying to convince people that it is a threat.

            This was the first time Gallup specifically asked about either nation’s nuclear program, and previously had only asked about their respective militaries. Past polls have showed Americans believing Iran to be their “greatest enemy,” though its military was not perceived as an enormous threat in and of itself.

            The poll will likely be a complicating matter for the P5+1 talks with Iran later this month, as Iran is hoping to negotiate a solution which will end international military threats against it, but the popular sentiment seems to be clearly averse to Iran keeping its civilian program.”

This is extremely dangerous. War with Iran would mean WWIII – as the world’s leading trend analyst, Gerald Celente has made clear – since China and Russia have an economic and military alliance with Iran, and both are, of course, nuclear super-powers. Russia and China have been conducting joint military defense operations with Iran for some time now. China in particular is dependent upon Iran’s oil, and is highly protective of Iran. Both Chinese and Russian top officials, including the Russian president, have said that they would not tolerate an invasion or attack on Iran: and all options are on the table – just as Obama has said – including nuclear weapons.

Following a massive build up of US naval forces in the region, Russia has now executed its largest naval deployment in decades, and has centred it in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, within striking distance of most US bases and US naval ships in the Middle East. All of this is extremely foreboding – and insanely reckless and Strangelovian on the part of the aggressors who are threatening war: the Washington and Wall Street elites, and their crony allies.

See Gerald Celente, Noam Chomsky, Max Keiser, Global Research and Michel Chossudovsky for more on the issue. Only global warming and Fukushima-type nuclear disasters present as great a danger as nuclear war – although nuclear war would be slightly quicker in making the earth uninhabitable for humans – and war with Iran presents the highest risk of starting a global nuclear holocaust. Preventing war with Iran is therefore the highest priority of any issue at present, along with the fight to halt global warming, and efforts to rapidly shift away from nuclear power. Nothing compares in magnitude to these three giant threats to human safety and survival.

War with Iran must be prevented at all costs. They have no nuclear weapons program, as intelligence sources confirm, but like the lies about weapons of mass destruction that led the American people to support war on Iraq, lies may work again. And the propaganda machine is gearing up – and more disturbingly, it is winning.

As Chomsky has said, if we want nuclear non-proliferation in the region, we should make it a nuclear weapons free zone, as most nations in the region want. The problem is, the nation in the region with nuclear weapons – Israel – doesn’t want a nuclear weapons-free zone, and neither does its close ally and dominant benefactor, the United States. Attempts to create a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region have been blocked repeatedly by Washington and Israel. This is the problem. Washington has no interest in nuclear non-proliferation. If it did, it would commence disarmament itself, and also stop blocking the establishment of nuclear weapons-free zones.

Washington wants global hegemony, as it has proven for a very long time, over and over again. Now, the Washington political elite, and the financial elite and military-industrial-security complex, which together control Washington, are risking global thermo-nuclear war, for the sake of dollar hegemony, further astronomical profits, and the propping up of the Western corporate empire. This is beyond mad.

The risk is as extreme as it gets. War with Iran risks the entire northern hemisphere of the globe becoming uninhabitable for the next 100,000 years. And war could erupt literally any day now. The forces are all in place, and the war drums are beating.

Speak up now, or prepare to move to somewhere a lot closer to the South Pole.

JTR,
February 21, 2013

Go Back To Sleep America, At Your Own Peril

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American politics, analysis, banks, Barack Obama, civil liberties, class, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, Democrat, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, ecology, economy, election, elite, empire, empowerment, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health, health care, human rights, imperialism, Iran, jobs, liberal, must-read, NDAA, neo-feudalism, Obama, oil, Patriot Act, peace, peak oil, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, psychology, quotes, Republican, Republican Party, sustainability, the world's other superpower, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by jtoddring

I never reprint other people’s writings, no matter how good – but I will make an exception for this. This article is a true must-read. Please, take the time to read it. Then act.

Good morning America. It’s time for a new day.

Kudos and warm thanks to Jill Dalton at recoveringarmybrat. I will definitely read your book, Is It Fascism Yet?

Sincerely,

Todd

Go Back To Sleep America.

Occupy Wall Street: The emerging global pro-democracy movement, where it stands, what it means, and where we go from here

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, civil liberties, class, common ground, consciousness, conservative, conservatives, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, currency, democracy, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, ecology, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, human rights, imperialism, inspiration, labour, left, liberal, libertarian, libertarianism, Media, media analysis, money, must-read, oil, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, psychology, resources, right, right wing, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the right, the world's other superpower, Uncategorized, war, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2011 by jtoddring

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has already become a global grassroots populist pro-democracy movement, if we have eyes to see, has clearly already won a broad and growing base of support. What is needed now, I believe, is to further clarify and crystallize the issues – and I would say that many people now realize that the central issue is the question of whether we live in a plutocracy or a democracy, whether we have rule of the people, by the people, for the people, or rule by the super-rich 1% and the corporate elite. The second urgent task is to further broaden and build the emerging world-wide pro-democracy movement, and create a popular coalition that can reclaim democracy from the ruling corporate masters who are looting and pillaging at will, and who have usurped far too much power, politically, economically, and in the media. To this second aim, this brief reflection is geared. Unite the people now.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, or more accurately, the fast-growing global pro-democracy movement, has broad support from progressives, the left and labour, considerable support from students, youth, the environmental and peace movements and the liberal centre, and also, although it may be surprising to some, considerable support from the grassroots right.

What many do not understand is that the grassroots right is increasingly wary of and outraged by the same ruling corporate elite that the left has fought against for generations. A growing number of people who consider themselves conservatives are now highly aware that big business and the super-rich have taken over the political process as well as the economy and the media. They are not happy about this fact, to say the least.

There is common ground here, between left and right, liberal, conservative and progressive, and we should not be fooled by the corporate-dominated and corporate-owned media who always want to spin and sow division among the people. The power-hungry have always known that divide and conquer is the best and first line of defence of their vested interests and imperial powers. We should not be surprised when the corporate-run media both inflames and also inflates and exaggerates the divisions which do exist, and severely downplays the common ground that could unite the people. When the people unite, democracy will rule, and the ruling elite will be deposed from power – the elite know this very well, and therefore do everything they can to sow division and discord among the people. Do not let them win!

*

At the level of the grassroots, many people are fiscal conservatives, and many fiscal conservatives realize that spending $1.5 trillion a year on imperial wars, the military-industrial complex and CIA black ops – and this is the figure that has been acknowledged by the U.S. government, by the way – is completely unsustainable, and is in fact, economic suicide. While there are major differences of opinion and views between right and left, there is also strong common ground – common ground that is routinely overlooked, and that is vital that we acknowledge and come to realize. Many fiscal conservatives realize that the vast sums spent on war and empire are leading to a collapse of the currency and a bankrupting of the nation. Many also realize that it is the vested interests of the corporate elite – the big oil companies and military-industrial contractors, for example – that drive the wars and the imperial hubris and sheer insanity.

The grassroots right and conservatives are not as out to lunch as most liberals, progressives and people on the left tend to believe. Neither right nor left has a monopoly on truth, on intelligence, or on moral high ground. The sooner we realize that none of us are infallible, that we can learn from one another, and most importantly, that we have a strong basis of unity in common ground, the better.

If the left and progressives and liberals can get over their long-standing self-righteousness and presumed superior moral high ground and intelligence, they will find that they have allies in surprising places. If the right will overcome their habitual paranoia and rabid, overly zealous partisan hatred and hostility toward the left, and realize that the vast majority of people on the left today are neither Stalinists nor statist authoritarians, they too will realize that they have allies in surprising places. We need to realize this now: there is common ground; and unless we find it, we are all in for a very dark time ahead. Divided we will fall – make no mistake about it.

The right and the left may forever disagree, and disagree strongly, on many major issues; but when it comes to the core issues, the most central and fundamental of issues, most people on both right and left are in favour of constitutional democracy, limited powers of the state, civil liberties, freedom and authentic democracy, and are opposed to any form of elite rule. This fact, and this common ground, is critically important for us all to realize now.

*

On another line, many on the grassroots right and many who would call themselves conservatives, are libertarians. Traditionally, libertarianism has been a term that has been co-opted by the libertarian right. The libertarian right has traditionally been wary – rightly so – of excessive powers of the state; and it has also traditionally been laissez-faire, or willfully ignorant, as to the dangers of excessive powers in the economic realm. But this has been changing over the past two to three decades, and libertarians that were or are conservatives or rightist, have begun to realize what Thomas Jefferson knew very well two hundred years ago: excessive concentrations of either economic or political powers will result in tyranny.

A growing number of libertarians are now highly aware that in order to preserve constitutional democracy, civil liberties and freedom, the corporate elite must be pushed back, and firmly reigned in. Again, there is a good deal of common ground here between conservatives, liberals, progressives, right and left now, at least at the level of the grassroots.

Of course most politicians are partisan zealots: they have to uphold the charade that they represent widely differing views between widely differing political parties, and to mask the fact that both of the major political parties in the U.S., and most of the major political parties around the world, are bought and paid for by the same ruling corporate elite.  As George Carlin put it, “The politicians are there to give you the illusion that you have a choice. You don’t have a choice – you have owners. They own you. It’s a big club folks – and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the club. And by the way, it’s the same club they use to beat you over the head with every god-damn day, telling you what to think, what to believe.”

We are presented with a false set of choices, and asked to choose between corporate lap dogs A, B, or C. More and more, the people are aware that this is no choice at all, and that the entire system is failing us, and has been co-opted, high-jacked, by the same 1% who control and dominate the global economy and the major media, and are pillaging the earth and the people.

It is time for the people to fully see through the smoke screen, to recognize that the central question at hand is whether we have a plutocracy in which the richest 1% rule over the rest, or whether we have government of the people, by the people, for the people, and to reclaim our democracy, our lives, our world and our future.

*

Environmentalists are coming to realize that there will be no serious action to protect our environment or save our collective asses until and unless we depose the ruling corporate powers from their dominance over the political process, the economy and the media – that is, until we the people take the power back and reclaim our democracy and our future.

The progressives and the left generally realize that there will be no justice and no authentic democracy until and unless the people reclaim their power, take back their democracy, and push the corporate elite to the side, reigning them in and allowing decisions to be made, as they should and must, by the people, and not by the super-rich.

The labour movement is coming to realize that perpetual rear-guard action is necessary, but entirely insufficient to create a just and equitable society – that the goals of jobs, decent working conditions and pay, and a decent life for all, are impossible to attain until and unless the people reclaim their power and their democracy from the corporate elite who have usurped these.

The peace movement is beginning to realize that imperial warfare will never end until the military-industrial complex and the big oil companies, and more broadly, the reigning corporate elite, are deposed from power, and the people reclaim their democracy.

The traditionally wishy-washy and banal centre is coming to realize that the middle class dream of a peaceful, reasonably just, free and democratic society in which they and their children can do well and prosper, is a dream that is systematically being destroyed, that the middle class is being eviscerated and is falling into the underclass, and that these goals and values briefly exposited above are by now an impossibility until and unless the people say no to the corporate giants and the financial elite who have overstepped their bounds and come to dominate the entire political process, the economy and the planet. The habitually somnambulent and deferential centre is beginning to awaken.

This is already a broad coalition of interests, people and movements, and it will be even broader when the grassroots left, right and centre realize that they have a common foe: and that is the super-rich 1% and the corporate elite who are destroying democracy, civil liberties, constitutional rights and freedoms, waging unending, murderous and economically bankrupting imperial wars, and endangering all our lives and futures by continuing to disregard the environment in the pursuit of short-term profits and rape and pillage economics.

On the right, there may be 10-20% of the population that is authoritarian and quasi- if not wholly fascist. On the left, there may be 10-20% that is naively, cynically or stubbornly elitist and authoritarian. The 60-80% of the people who are in between these two extremes of right and left prefer and strongly are in favour of constitutional democracy and the rule by the people – and opposed to rule by any kind of elite. This is the majority which we must now unite, and this majority which supports constitutional democracy and is opposed to any form of elite rule, spans both the left and right, liberals, conservatives and progressives. We can and must unite the majority now, and reclaim our democracy from the plutocrats and the – frankly speaking, and to put it plainly – crypto-fascists.

Act now. The time is late. And the time has come for a change.

Unite the people. It is time for the people to take back their democracy and to renew the world.

JTR,
October 19, 2011