The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Foreign Policy

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After Carthage had been significantly weakened by Rome in the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC), Cato the Elder, a leading Roman senator, is said to have ended all his speeches with the words: "Carthago delenda est!" ("Carthage must be destroyed!"). This destruction ultimately took place in the Third Punic War (149–146 BC). A... Read More
Masha Gessen.  Credit: Bengt Oberger/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
Masha Gessen and Her Questionable Views
“I have spent a good third of my professional life working to convince the readers—and often editors—of both Russian and American publications that Vladimir Putin is a threat to the world as we know it.” Thus spake Russian-born journalist and author Masha Gessen, a current heroine of the more intellectual part of the PC hive.... Read More
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Israel has considered Iran to be Israel’s major enemy since the end of the Gulf War of 1991. But why, it might be asked, did the neocons promote war with Iraq, rather than Iran, in 2003? The neocons were in accord with Israeli thinking but planned to begin with Saddam’s Iraq, the elimination of which,... Read More
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For many years, John McCain has been one of the major war hawks in the Senate, but he was not that way for more than a decade after he was first elected to Congress. When he entered the House of Representatives in 1983, he was a cautious realist, holding the position that U.S. military power... Read More
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The selection of Lt. General H. R. McMaster as Trump’s new National Security Advisor to replace Michael Flynn appears to be the coup de grâce to Trump’s efforts to achieve rapprochement with Russia. McMaster has received profuse praise from all types of mainstream figures: conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. McMaster’s expressed hostile view of... Read More
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The media has generally presented Trump as being ignorant and nonsensical in his discussion of American policies, and one example is his negative references to NATO as obsolete. The mainstream media is aghast that any political leader of the U.S. could possibly take a negative view of such an allegedly iconic alliance as NATO. A... Read More
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During the latter decades of the Cold War with Soviet Russia, the charge of being “unpatriotic” or “anti-American” caused American liberals (excluding those who had to rely on the votes of regular Americans to hold political office) to burst into spasms of ridicule and howls of “Red-baiting,” “war-mongering,” “witch-hunting,” and “fascism.” Sophisticated folks, liberals implied,... Read More
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The mainstream media’s narrative that the Russian government interfered with the United States election, and that this interference invalidated, or at least tainted, Trump’s election has culminated in President Obama taking a series of measures against Russia, which consist of: imposing sanctions on the GRU and the FSB (the two major Russian intelligence organizations), four... Read More
In his September 14 article, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius made a revealing comment about Donald Trump, writing: "The problem with Trump isn't (as some critics have argued) that he's a reckless and potentially genocidal aggressor. No, the danger is that he's precisely what he says he is — a dealmaker who thinks he could... Read More
A great brouhaha has erupted in the U.S. presidential campaign over charges that Donald Trump is a Kremlin tool because of his desire for friendly relations with Russia. While he is being condemned from almost all quarters, even by those Democrats who in the past could be categorized as peaceniks, the strongest opposition comes from... Read More
Their war plan to defeat the Islamic State
The Kagan clan of heavyweight neocons has now advanced a scheme for vanquishing the latest Muslim monster in the Middle East. To put their plan in proper context, we must begin by acknowledging the serious faults in President Obama's own plan to rid the world of the Islamic State, or as he calls the group,... Read More
In 2013 it became apparent that the American people had grown averse to America's involvement in wars, and that received empirical confirmation in a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in November 2013, which revealed that 51 percent of Americans believed that their country's military involvement was excessive.[1] Once again the bugaboo of isolationism... Read More
The Founders of the United States believed that it was essential for citizens to be well-informed in order to have a workable self-government. Being schooled in the classics, in which the socio-political views of Plato and Aristotle held sway, they believed that the popular governments of the ancient world had foundered because of the common... Read More
The crisis in Iraq and the centrality of Israel’s national interest
Writing in the ultra-establishment Washington Post, mainstream liberal David Ignatius observes: The Post publishes views that respectable people are allowed, or even expected, to hold, so it is quite significant that Ignatius's assessment has now emerged on center stage. Of course, it was not given any attention during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq... Read More
The United States, Russia, and Israel
The American involvement in the Ukrainian imbroglio has a number of causes, which include the significant role of the neoconservatives. In a series of articles, investigative journalist Robert Parry has made an insightful analysis of this neocon role, linking it to their opposition to Obama's recent "foreign policy that relies heavily on cooperation with Russian... Read More
“War for oil” — the notion that will not die
Those who claim that the United States went to war for oil seem to assume that since Iraq has huge reserves of oil, gaining control of that resource must have been the reason that the United States invaded the country. As the most prominent intellectual exponent of that view, Noam Chomsky, has put it: Operating... Read More
Russia’s wasteful Olympics vs. necessary U.S. Government spending
Orwellian "doublethink" — the holding of two mutually contradictory beliefs — has once again surfaced in the mainstream media in their view of Russian government spending on the Sochi Olympics compared with their polar-opposite view of the usual American government spending. The American media's picture of the Sochi Olympics is largely negative. True, the media... Read More
Those of a skeptical mind who want evidence for the culpability of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the August 21 poison gas attack may find the first part of a recent Washington Times article very revealing. The story is "Kerry tells U.N. to focus on ridding Syria of chemical weapons, not on sarin attack," by... Read More
When the Constitution was being adopted to rectify the apparent weaknesses of the existing government under the Articles of Confederation, critics of the new document charged that it would create a central government able to use its expanded powers to oppress the people. Although supporters of the Constitution, the self-styled Federalists, vehemently denied that it... Read More
The Yinon thesis vindicated
It is widely realized now that the fall of President Bashar Assad's regime would leave Syria riven by bitter ethnic, religious, and ideological conflict that could splinter the country into smaller enclaves. Already there has been a demographic shift in that direction, as both Sunnis and Alawites flee the most dangerous parts of the county,... Read More
The push for war against Syria: James Morris dares to mention the taboo history
On Russia Today's "Crosstalk" program on Syria, presented February 10, guest James Morris was brave enough to incisively point out the taboo fact that the Israel Lobby has been in the forefront in pushing a hard-line interventionist approach for the United States toward that divided country. The host and the two other guests on the... Read More
A review of Maria Ryan's Neoconservatism and the New American Century
Yet another book on the neocons from a mainstream publisher has recently appeared that — like the works of Danny Cooper and Justin Vaïsse — acknowledges the neoconservatives' influence, especially in regard to Bush administration policy, while avoiding the obvious fact that the neocons' policy in the Middle East rested on their ethnic identification with... Read More
No place at anti-AIPAC conference for the author of Transparent Cabal
It was good to hear that AIPAC's 2011 conference in Washington during the latter part of May faced a counter-conference and demonstration, Move Over AIPAC, organized by Code Pink: Women for Peace, a group that has protested America's wars in the Middle East. It was the first time any large group had dared to make... Read More
Author's introduction A bottom-up democratic revolution in Egypt has brought down what had seemed until very recently to be the unshakable rule of Hosni Mubarak. It was an amazing accomplishment of the people's power — something that is often sloganized about but rarely realized. The fact that the revolution succeeded with little violence on the... Read More
As Egypt burns for democracy...
The current uprisings against the autocratic regimes in the Middle East seem to be in line with the neoconservatives' advocacy of radical democratic change in the region. But there is one significant difference. The neocons had sought to use democratic revolutions to overthrow the enemies of Israel, even applying the strategy, unsuccessfully, to countries such... Read More
President Obama is often portrayed as a political neophyte who is forever confronting situations that are far over his head, but his choice of General David H. Petraeus to replace General Stanley A. McChrystal was in some ways a masterly political stroke, though it does not seem to have achieved all that Obama may have... Read More
As the United States berates Iran for its nuclear program — though there is no substantial proof that the latter country even intends to develop nuclear weapons — Washington intentionally overlooks Israel's existing nuclear arsenal so that the latter country will remain free from international inspection. Reporting in the Washington Times on October 2, Eli... Read More
The Obama administration has made Afghanistan the focus of its foreign policy, significantly escalating the war effort there. That is so even though division exists within the administration regarding the degree of escalation sought. Barack Obama's motive for expanding the war in Afghanistan seems to be a desire to appear strong in foreign policy, combined... Read More
Memo to Post editorialists: Please turn to page one
In the Washington Post for March 12, an editorial adamantly rejects as a crackpot "conspiracy theory" the allegation that the Israel Lobby was behind the attacks on Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman Jr.'s appointment to chair the National Intelligence Council. However, on the front page of the very same issue, an article by Walter Pincus cites... Read More
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The bankruptcy of the mainstream Left as illustrated by Stephen Zunes
The antiwar Left would prefer that old-style American imperialism and the quest for oil had caused the Iraq War. They are the preferred enemies of the Left. They are the traditional villains. And they are safe villains. Mentioning Israel as a culprit would cause problems: it would lose support for the Left among activist Jews,... Read More
A well-tempered smother-out as a new war looms
The initial reaction to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's essay "The Israel Lobby" consisted of a relentless barrage of vituperative insults, smears, character assassination, misrepresentations, and other inflammatory rhetoric that condemned the essay in toto. In large part, the vicious pillorying of the piece came from members of the Israel lobby denying their own power... Read More
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Israel lobbying
The elephant in the room that no one is supposed to mention is the role of the supporters of Israel in shaping American foreign policy in the Middle East. Their role has become especially apparent with the American attack on Iraq and the subsequent American policy toward Iran and Syria, in all of which the... Read More
The Downing Street memos and Nuremberg
The American Establishment has conventionally praised and invoked the 1945-46 Nuremberg trial of the Nazi leadership as a model for bringing international criminals to justice. But what if the same standards applied at Nuremberg were also applied to current U.S. policy? And a parallel trial were convened? In such a proceeding, would American leaders fare... Read More
Writing at CounterPunch (June 24), Michael Neumann offers a program for the Left to bring about an end to America's war on Iraq. In so doing, he makes some poignant and also trenchant points, though I take exception to some of his analysis. Bush's war now enjoys less than 50 percent support among those polled.... Read More
Idealistic democracy, total hypocrisy, and Israel
Their product line has its faults, but American propaganda-hawkers have proved one thing, at least: they are a nimble bunch of peddlers. When their fables about Saddam's link to Osama bin Laden fell flat in the marketplace, they concentrated on retailing the WMD lie; and then, when they could no longer sell that one, they... Read More
When the Mossad speaks, people listen
An intriguing but problematic article about the American imperium in the Middle East appeared recently in Israel, titled "The Coming Pax Americana."[1] Its author is none other than Efraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad and national-security advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Halevy, who served forty years in the Mossad, is obviously a man... Read More
A closer look
While the neoconservatives were the driving force behind the American invasion of Iraq and the consequent efforts to bring about regime change throughout the Middle East, the idea for such a war did not originate with American neocon thinkers but rather in Israel. An obvious linkage exists between the war position of the neocons and... Read More
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Prefiguration and prelude to the 2003 Iraq debacle
When the Bush I administration fought the Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, with a bombing campaign and brief ground invasion, the American people were in ecstasy over a victory that was quick and (at least for Americans) largely bloodless. And unlike the case with Bush II's war, the United States was able to escape... Read More
Sharansky, Weissglas, and the Inaugural address
The major media have had much to say about George W. Bush's Inaugural address, in which the president pledged that American foreign policy would be oriented toward promoting world democracy. However, their analysis — whether pro or con — focused on the meaning and intent of the actual words themselves. Most mainstream accounts provided only... Read More
War on Iraq
The most popular argument of the critics of the Iraq war has been that the United States went to war for oil — that is, that the war had nothing to do with combating terrorism. Writing in the Christian Science Monitor before the war, Brendan O'Neill reported that "for many in the antiwar movement, the... Read More
The future of the global War on Terror
What will be the next front in the war on terror? I don't claim to be Nostradamus and I don't have a crystal ball, but I can confidently say that the current situation points to a wider war in the Middle East. That result has been sought and planned for by the American neoconservatives; it... Read More
Internationalism and Zionism
Finding himself behind in the polls, John Kerry has begun to focus more intensely on the morass in Iraq, perhaps hoping to restore his fortunes by mobilizing the potential anti-war vote as fully as possible. Kerry has even said that if elected he will remove American troops from Iraq, though his timetable may strike us... Read More
Or anywhere else, really
A left-wing Canadian journalist, Kalle Lasn, wrote the obvious, and all hell broke loose. Lasn, editor of the Vancouver-based journal Adbusters, had the audacity to state that many neocons are Jewish! He proceeded to list 50 prominent neocons, finding that 26 are Jewish. Moreover, he declared that the neocons have a "special affinity" for Israel... Read More
Writing at CounterPunch, Gabriel Kolko, the left-wing historian and critic of U.S. imperialism, makes the astute observation that John Kerry's multilateralism would be more effective in advancing imperial interests than Bush's unilateralism. ("The U.S. Must Be Isolated and Constrained: The Coming Elections and the Future of American Global Power," March 12, 2004) That is because... Read More
Prankster-in-Chief
I have always regarded the WMDs story as a joke — Iraqi UAVs spraying Washington with poison gas, that one was a real scream — but then I have been said to have a dark sense of humor. Now, however, President Bush has also started to treat the WMD issue as humorous, premiering his hilarious... Read More
Finally, a WMD
The revelations of March 21 by former Bush counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke on CBS's "60 Minutes" detonated a virtual weapon of mass destruction amid the foundations of neocon war policy. Clarke is not just some odd, mendicant war critic. Nor is he the kind of ex-administration figure, such as the much-smeared Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill,... Read More
The war lies never stop. Now that even David Kay, the former chief U.S. arms investigator, has admitted that there were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in recent years, the war liars have simply changed their tune. The current lie is that although there might not have been WMDs in Iraq, all... Read More
On Ross Vachon's "Semitism Gone Wild"
As all my readers know, I write from an objective, moderate outlook and eschew emotions such as hatred. As evidence that my writings are uncontaminated by hatred, I proudly cite the fact that I am one of only a few people on Planet Earth who have been legally declared innocent of the crime of "hate... Read More
Israel now regards Iran as its most dangerous enemy. Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Nicole Gaouette reports that "Israel is working on a wide range of measures to undermine Iran's nuclear program, with senior leaders hinting that Israel may take preemptive action if that is deemed necessary." And: "The effort reflects the widespread assessment... Read More
Michael Doliner's essay of November 22 at Antiwar.com, "The Motive for the Invasion," provides more reason for us to conclude that the existing chaotic situation in Iraq, with its concomitant huge financial burden for the United States, was the expected outcome in Iraq, as opposed to the optimistic predictions peddled by the neocons of an... Read More