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    President Obama's key foreign policy focus remains the Ukraine, where the military confrontation between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian activists is unlikely to disappear in the days ahead despite President Putin's apparent ploy suggesting he was against the rebels' planned autonomy referendum . Whether what Putin has in mind is creating a claimed need for Russian...
  • Those calling for death to Assad never understood that he had some positive things to offer: resistance to Sunni aggression and Al Quaeda. Some of us tried to say this without seeming to support Obama. Even when Obama is right he is right for the wrong reasons. And when he is wrong he is wrong for the right reasons. He is leading this country down the garden path to disaster, whatever he does, whatever he decides. He must be removed.

    He is now telling Iraqi politicians they must confer and agree. But the ISIS people are not politicians; they are terrorists who think they are doing Allah’s work. He may do some non boots on the ground things but they won’t matter at all.

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  • I was about to write a very long comment excoriating this piece but everything I was going to say was covered already. Disingenuous crap. Maybe if we didn’t arm, fund, and train Islamic jihadis to use as proxy forces, maybe if we didn’t overthrow secular Arab governments in Iraq and Libya, destroying their infrastructure and institutions and creating the conditions for this fiasco, MAYBE if we weren’t intimately involved in this Syria operation from day one starting with Dubya and “The Redirection”- maybe then we wouldn’t be taking about what to do with this mess in the first place. Is this all we have to offer the world? Regime change operations and the chaos that follows? I only give points got correctly predicting the carnage spreading to Iraq, as this is post-Mosul as I write this. Also…

    WHAT economic “recovery”? Seriously. This is like a not funny parody of a NY Times or WaPo article.

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  • Syria was always a target of the neoconservative push to fight islam,no ? Democracy had nothing to do with it, as far as I know.

    This was written in 2003 by Buchanan, the same game seems to be on.

    “A list of the Middle East regimes that Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Netanyahu, and the Wall Street Journal regard as targets for destruction thus includes Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and “militant Islam….Cui Bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam?

    Answer: one nation, one leader, one party.”

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  • Eric says:

    What a load of crap.
    On one hand, he claims to be oh so concerned about Syria becoming a haven for jihadis, but at the same time calls for the removal of the very regime that stands in the way of that (Assad’s).

    The only BS talking point left out of this mess is the fake distinction between “extremist” and “moderate” Sunni rebels.

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  • @Phil. I’m glad I didn’t see Obama make a fool of himself, but he’s become very good at it, hasn’t he?

    I wouldn’t hold my breath whilst awaiting the ‘sucking’ sound; I don’t think Obama will ever get his head out of his backside.

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  • @Don Nash
    Obama has his head stuffed up his ass. There I said it and I meant it. I can say that as the fool is one bitter disappointment. First time in my life that I've ever regretted a vote cast. January of 2009 I did apologize to the American people. My bad, oh sorry was that ever my bad.

    I agree although I look forward to that loud sucking noise when he finally has to remove it…BTW am I the only one totally outraged by his performance at Normandy? The celebration was for D-Day and he felt compelled to introduce 9-11 and American resolve to preserve freedom worldwide, to include presentation of a genuine live US soldier hero just like he did using the same guy at his state of the union address. Asshole is too nice a word to describe him.

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  • Obama has his head stuffed up his ass. There I said it and I meant it. I can say that as the fool is one bitter disappointment. First time in my life that I’ve ever regretted a vote cast. January of 2009 I did apologize to the American people. My bad, oh sorry was that ever my bad.

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    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
    I agree although I look forward to that loud sucking noise when he finally has to remove it...BTW am I the only one totally outraged by his performance at Normandy? The celebration was for D-Day and he felt compelled to introduce 9-11 and American resolve to preserve freedom worldwide, to include presentation of a genuine live US soldier hero just like he did using the same guy at his state of the union address. Asshole is too nice a word to describe him.
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  • Are you insane? The U.S. is the instigator of the instability and carnage in Iraq and Syria. Are you not aware that US/Saudi funds and supplies “rebel” jihadis in Syria? Are you not aware that withdrawing that support will end the carnage? Or is regime change so important? Because after all, it has turned out so well in Iraq and Libya.

    Obama does not have his head in the sand. He has his head up his own arse, from which he can still, unfortunately, hear the sounds of the dangerously mentally Neo-Cons with which he has surrounded himself.

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  • Ack, typos…

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  • “But as the Syrian civil war moves inexorably to undermine Iraq, Obama continues to create a false dichotomy in which the US has only two choices in Syria: stay out or go all in.”

    But of course there is a third way, full scale support for Assad. This would be teh quicket way to end the humanitarian crisis and put the various islamicist groups back under control.

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  • Mac Deford’s call for US action in Syria covers a great deal, but not the underlying cause of the conflict–the contest for the Persian Gulf. Those advisors who gave us American intervention from Libya to Afghanistan would now involve us in this conflict. Mr. Deford is somewhat disingenuous when we writes that Washington did little to bring on this crisis, and only expected the immediate fall of Bashar al-Asad. The neocons who helped to shape former President Bush’s Middle East policies wrote a 1996 memo called Clean Break in which they called for the destruction of Asad’s Syria–the father then, not the son. Their influence remains prevalent still in Mr. Obama’s administration. In March of 2011, Paul Pillar, who was a National Intelligence Middle East Intelligence Officer, wrote on his blog, “Syria under Assad is probably the most secular place in the Middle East. The influence of Islamism, in whatever form, in Syria has nowhere to go but up if there is regime change. That would not be welcome to those in Israel and the United States who worry about any political role for Islamists.” Apparently, destroying Iran’s ally has taken precedence over our war on terrorism. Mr. Deford’s character assassination of those who call for a more conservative American foreign policy with the insult of isolationism should do a modicum of research into the successes we have had with interfering in those nations. Since the days of Woodrow Wilson to the present, US intrusion has not produced the anticipated results. Did Mexico benefit from our invasion? Would the world have better off if the Kaiser had remained head of Germany rather than invite the likes of Hitler to grab for power? How did Guatemala turn out when we support the fruit corporations over common citizen? Did the benefits of overthrowing Mosaddegh bring us long lasting control of Iran? From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, our self-anointed missions have left the peoples of those areas worse off as well as produced unwelcome blowback. What is disturbing about Mr. Deford’s call to action is that we have not learned a single lesson. Just because we have differences with the lesser nations of the world, our security is not threaten by permitting each country’s future to unfold without our hands pulling strings. We cannot make the world into our own image.

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  • A postscript. If an anti-western element (as you call it) has taken over young Muslim thought, so what? Are you truly suggesting the U.S. political system is to be emulated? Again, are joking? A nation whose politicians seem to have dropped double digits in their IQs, a nation whose media buffets its citizens about by jumping from one silly, scandal-of-the-week, to the next, the same media who thought it prudent to have Andrea Mitchell (what a putz) interrupt her discussion with Rep Jane Harman to announce the arrest of Justin Bieber? An economic system that discourages savings by its people, and looks at a house not as a place to live, perhaps raise a family, and make life, but as an engine of consumerism. A nation that is itself becoming more and more fractured as we slice ourselves into smaller and smaller identity groups.

    Do you need a tractor?

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  • Our politicians learn anything? You must be joking. I would disagree Obama has his head in the sand. Rather, and it’s something the ‘lawmakers’ in Congress mostly share with him, he has his head so far up his nether regions, he’d need a tractor to pull it out.

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  • Our peripatetic secretary of state has been less so these last few weeks since the collapse of his Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Lying low. And no wonder. It's hard to squeeze any good news out of the failure: we've learned useful information about the Israeli and Palestinian positions we didn't know before the Kerry initiative? On...
  • John Kerry just wants to be President, that’s all.

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  • Joe says:

    There seems to be a constant problem in DC these days in that they believe the lies they tell. One constantly hears Kerry say the most ridiculous things. The first reaction is trying to choose between ‘does he really believe that?’ and ‘how can he say that with a straight face?’.

    Turns out he really does believe his own lies.

    Which is quite scary when it comes to the lies he’s constantly telling about Ukraine and the possibilities that the crisis the State Dept has created there might go badly out of control. Someone who’s lost contact with reality on the scale pointed out in this article is generally regarded as a ‘madman’. Which means in Ukraine we’ve got a madman playing with the nuclear matches.

    “Failure has costs…if you’re basing your approach on a wing and a prayer, you’re headed for trouble.” If that’s the epitaph for Kerry in Ukraine as well, the whole world could be in trouble.

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  • KA says: • Website

    It seems after all Guardian -UK was right and correct to the core when it published Palestine Papers. Guardian brought the truth to the wider reaches of the public understanding of the impotent weakness of Palestine and the asymmetrical nature of the negotiations . It seems it is a negotiation between the hostage and the hostage taker ,one is defenseless and other party is armed to the teeth and the negotiation is taking place in a castle out in a desert with no one outside monitoring or making sure the safety of the hostage . It seems it is the safety that is being negotiated away and US is readying itself for the arrival of the Palestine corpse.

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  • This article focuses far too much on Kerry’s predictable failure while it chides–in nearly equal measure–the ‘recalcitrance’ of both parties (Israelis and Palestinians) in this latest still-born spectacle. Haven’t we seen this movie before?

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing equal about any of the players in this tragic farce. To pretend otherwise is a Zionist canard.

    The underlying conditions that make a diplomatic solution between the ‘two parties’ so unlikely are (1) the morally unacceptable demands that accompany racial Zionism in the final stages of its conquest of Palestine, and (2) the unrivaled power that Zionists enjoy in Washington and the West. Can’t we also please stop ignoring the perverse imbalance that exists between Jews and Palestinians as they ‘negotiate’ a so-called peace agreement? Negotiations cannot occur under such a deplorable imbalance of power. Is it any wonder why negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are always done in absolute privacy? In this situation, a ‘negotiated’ peace agreement a laughable charade.

    Face facts: The ‘peace process’ era is ending. The Jewish State’s main domestic objective now is the riddance of non-Jews within it’s expanding borders. As the late Rabbi Meir Kahane famously noted: “They (the Arabs) Must Go”. Multiculturalism ultimately cannot work in the Jewish State. It was never supposed to. That brand of kool-aid is marketed in America, not Israel. Very few Jews have wanted to face Kahane’s blunt prescription (and its implications) at the time he made that notorious call, but ‘transfer’ may indeed be Israel’s end game. That day fast approaches.

    To complicate matters, Israel is now locked in expansion mode. This bizarre situation is both perplexing and amazing. After all, what Zionist way-back-when would ever have anticipated the exhausting tenacity shown by the local primitives after all their military defeats? How dare they! After all, the native Arabs have been conquered. They lost. So how much longer will this pathetic ‘peace process’ carnival clunk along? Peace negotiations are coming to a close. Yet the Palestinians still refuse to crawl away. That’s amazing. Israel’s key problem now is visibility: the whole world is watching. So how exactly can they get rid of these people? It’s a political conundrum as well as a public relations nightmare.

    After all, clean and efficient warfare requires privacy. The dirty work of battle is best done in the dark. Problem is, that condition no longer exists. The camera is everywhere. For Israel, this presents problems. Too many civilians. What’s an ambitious ethno-state to do? Keep the native non-Jews dangling while time works its magic? Apparently.

    In the meantime, all Washington can do is beg, cajole, and send Israel uninterrupted boatloads of cash and weaponry. It’s been that way since LBJ. How? Why? Israel has gradually become the world’s greatest superpower. America is merely its patron and bouncer. It is Tel Aviv that dictates to Washington, not the reverse. Official Washington is now comfortably in Israel’s hands. Sad but true. Haven’t you heard?

    America therefore can do nothing besides watch and wait for Israel to makes its next move. You haven’t noticed? US ‘leaders’ meanwhile scold half-dead Palestine for not accepting ‘peace’ on Israel’s uncompromising terms. As the chicanery unfolds, all we rank-and-file Americans are allowed to do is watch passively. Please: no talking! And do keep in mind that even a whiff of antisemitism will not be tolerated. Stop the hate! Incredibly, Americans are merely bit players in this post-Holocaust, Jewish melodrama.

    So here’s the next episode: Palestinians will continue to wither, US taxpayers will pay all production costs, and Israel will continue to construct ‘settlements’ in what was supposed to be an independent Palestinian State.

    Stay tuned!

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  • There is only one word for it: decline.

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  • I think John Kerry did a valuable service regarding the domestic discussion of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. I consider what he did a success in that regard. The recent failure laid bare inconvenient truths about Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and their lack of desire for peace. What are the Martin Indyks of the world going to do now? Are they going to continue supporting unconditional welfare to a self destructing Israel?

    I think whatever dysfunction is present is the result of the immaturity of the political class. Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq and Ukraine were and are invented crises for domestic consumption. It doesn’t matter to them if these crises are solved or not. It provides entertainment, excitement, and jobs for the political class. Failure for them is as exciting as success. The armaments industry makes money, the experts get to make names for themselves and shape public opinion. Successful experts attract funding to help support their career and are like Teflon in their ability to evade responsibility. It is like when the Soviet Union was falling to pieces and all these experts were engaging in threat inflation over the Soviet Union. They are still doing it today. They would invent arguments about the dire threat of emperor penguins living on Antarctica if there was money in it. I don’t see how American foreign policy can get better until these people who are gaming the system on foreign policy are discredited.

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  • The useful thing to come out of the failure, is the realization that the current Israeli government at least, but hopefully not Israelis in general, is firmly wedded to the concept of a Jewish apartheid state. It is always worthwhile to lose one’s illusions and fantasies in favor of reality, no matter how discouraging. This will either force Americans to openly support the modern anachronism of a political nationality based only upon race or religion (and thereby approve racial discrimination once more as in the Jim Crow era), or to gradually disengage from support as a matter of principle, until Israel comes to its senses, a process essential for its long-term viability.

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  • Kerry has got to know that the global community is laughing at him. The American hegemon is a wounded beast.

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  • There are obviously people who voted for President Obama and think he's done a great job -- but there are just a lot fewer of them than there used to be. I was reminded of this when I got an email the other day commenting on my column last week on US policy in the...
  • Oh I agree that the voting public has almost no influence on politicians. It’s a pay to play system, you either have the money to buy what legislation you desire or it doesn’t get done.

    And yes the Israeli/Jewish lobby has a tremendous influence on those who wish to become POTUS and even in domestic policy decisions as well. Heck they vet those want to be president. Take Obama, even when he was a senator, he was already being tutored by Robert Rubin(Goldman-Sach’s alumni who promoted a litany of destructive economic legislation during the Clinton years. He helped keep CDO’s and derivatives deregulated, he supported ending Glass-Stegall and supported NAFTA among other things. IOW a oligarch’s oligarch). This meant he was already a tool of the elites who run this country behind the scenes.

    And the Neo-Con’s? They never left, they just rebranded themselves. PNAC has now become FPI – Foreign Policy Initiative under Robert Kagan(whose wife is Victoria Nuland who is neck deep in the fomenting of the Ukrainian revolution). Robert Kagan is also a foreign policy adviser to Hillary and McCain.

    If one examines the brain trust behind presidential hopefuls, it really doesn’t matter who gets voted in. They all have the same sort of corrupt insiders and Neo-Con worms advising them.

    Braintrust link:

    http://news.yahoo.com/brain-trusts-behind-2016-gop-185300373.html;_ylt=AwrSyCNa.URTkEsALo3_wgt.

    Meet the new boss same as the old boss.

    And it won’t end well. Why? Because these beltway dwelling, dim witted statists, oligarchs and dual pass port holding tribalists can’t see they’ve wrecked America and it’s just a matter of time before the bullshit and fiat money can’t cover up the cancers eating away at the U.S.

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  • “US helped create south Vietnam and pledged to the world that it would contain communism.”

    Very droll.

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  • No one believes that POTUS is a powerless position, quite the opposite, as you have clearly stated. My point, which I believe the facts support, is that Obama is a puppet and that he is doing the bidding of those behind the curtain.

    A recent study by professors from Princeton and Northwestern showed that the public has almost zero influence on government policies. It’s the 1%, or more likely the 0.01%, special interest lobbies and corporations that determine what the government does. And they put the one that best supports their interest into office. The American sheeple actually believe they have a choice in presidential elections.

    Yes, Obama, as POTUS, has almost unlimited authoritarian power, but this first black president has been conditioned to obey his masters. Why else in his final term would he grovel before Netanyahoo and let the Israeli lobby dictate American policies. He does what he’s told to do. Even the SCOTUS has been corrupted as has the Congress.

    You are exactly right when you state “We should be worried” because as the power of POTUS grows with every president, we will eventually elect psycopath like McCain or some Neocon that will take us to the final conflict.

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  • Even before Obama was elected you could see he was a puppet of the oligarchs. Look you don’t elected president without owing a lot of favors to the very rich who put you in and Obama did, he spent a lot of years helping his backers out via QE and TARP and other handout programs for the banksters.

    Now despite being a puppet, the office of the president carries a tremendous amount of power(which is why big money interests are the first to bankroll presidential candidates so as to get access to them when they need favorable legislation, etc). POTUS a modern day Caesar Augustus for all intents. He’s the leader of his party; commander of the military; has the authority to unilaterally declare war(it’s not legal but since Congress has abdicated it’s role it went to the executive); has the discretion to enforce or not enforce laws as he sees fit; he has the authority to alter policy/legislation at will as demonstrated by his modifications to Obamacare, border enforcement, shutting down the government at will, etc. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: He can now order the targeted killing of Americans anywhere in the world by fiat and answers to no one on this.

    Bottom line: Anyone who tells you POTUS is some powerless position is blowing smoke. The position has been accruing more and more power over the last couple of decades and it doesn’t even bare a resemblance to earlier presidencies of the first half of the twentieth century.

    We should be worried.

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  • While I agree with the authors comments, I believe that a significant reason for Obama’s ” “failures” (failure to do what is right for the American public) is that from the very beginning he was captured by corporate interests. He was groomed and supported during his early and short political career in Illinois by the Pritzkers and Crowns. Paying part of his debt by appointing Penny Pritzker, a major fraudster in the banking crisis, to be Secretary of Commerce. The Hamilton Project, a democrat “financial think tank/lobbyist” funded by Robert Rubin was an early Wall Street supporter. He appoint Rubin and others from the organization to high level positions.

    Many of his decisions like groveling before the Israeli Lobby weren’t due to inexperience just the opposite, look at the political careers of those that criticized Israel. Not prosecuting the fraud on Wall Street was not due to inexperience. Fomenting chaos in Eastern Europe was premedited by forces he condoned.

    Yes, Obama is inexperienced but, face it, he is a puppet for the “deep government”, which rules this country.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says: • Website

    “There were no treaty obligations between South Vietnam and the US,, nor was South Vietnam a member of SEATO, though it later had observer status.”

    It’s not just a matter of treaties.

    US helped create south Vietnam and pledged to the world that it would contain communism.

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  • “paved the way, as it were, into the Vietnam quicksand.” great use of metaphor!

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  • There were no treaty obligations between South Vietnam and the US,, nor was South Vietnam a member of SEATO, though it later had observer status. The US warmongers did try to justify the intervention using SEATO obligations but it was a transparent fraud even at the time. Indeed, SEATO itself was a fraud, with only two countries in Southeast Asia as members (Thailand and the Philippines).

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says: • Website

    “Even so, LBJ is primarily remembered for Vietnam, though his canonized predecessor John Kennedy was a more hard-line Cold Warrior than his vice-president and had in fact paved the way, as it were, into the Vietnam quicksand.”

    Vietnam turned into a tragedy, but what was the US to do? Just do nothing while a communist power swallows and invades a key ally?

    During the Cold War, US was committed to fighting for its allies to maintain its credibility as a great power that watches out for its friends.

    The only good argument is that Western powers should not have divided Vietnam in the first place. But neither Kennedy nor Johnson were responsible for that. They inherited the alliance with South Vietnam and were obligated to come to its defense.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says: • Website

    We have had an activist court, and what did it give us?

    ‘Affirmative action’ and ‘gay marriage’ by a bunch of judgepackers.

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  • Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says: • Website

    How nice it would have been if a do-nothing-Congress had not endorsed the Iraq War.

    American problem has nothing to do with Congress, which is filled puppets of oligarchs.

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  • Constitution has replaced the organized religion. It has different interpretations and expositions.
    It has its own temple and votaries with obscure chants and hymns. Clang and sound or uneven intonation can set people against people . It does not even claim of being divine .

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  • Once upon a time, the Democrats said that Dick Cheney ran the entire world from the always powerful Office of the Vice President.

    Then, the Democrats say that the President is powerless because of the system around him. That a President can’t do much more than name the Presidential pooch.

    Next, you’ll hear the Democrats say that its absolutely vital that you vote Democrat to keep the evil Republicans from controlling the incredibly office of the Presidency. They’ll say that it will absolutely be the end of the world if a Republican gets elected.

    What comes after that depends of course on the election results. Either they’ll be fundraising using the claims that the end of the world is at hand because the Republicans now control the incredibly powerful offices of the President and VP again, or they’ll be telling us all how we have to accept rule by bankers, relentless spying, and endless war because in our system the President is too weak to order the lunch he desires.

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  • Ah, and now the structure, which the author is clearly part of, advances up the hierarchy of types from apologetics to meta-apologetics.

    Actually Obama is exactly what those who control and script the Punch & Judy Show required, and he has done exactly what he has been told to do, along with most Democrats. But the same can be said also of Bush and the Republicans, and also of Clinton and so forth.

    All in all, professional wrestling is the more authentic spectacle. It at least requires some basic athletic ability and a knack for melodrama and complex choreography.

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  • Art M says:

    “Part of Obama’s problem you can lay at the feet of our Founding Fathers, who designed our system of government for a much less complicated time, a time when electricity and motorized transportation, not to mention the internet, drones, and same-sex marriage, and indeed almost everything else about our current way of life, lay in the future.”

    I used to feel bad because I wasn’t able to go to Yale; however, after having read this article, I don’t feel so bad anymore. It’s the “founding father’s” fault, eh? Sorry, Mac, but I do recall the founding fathers putting this pesky little sentence in the Constitution stipulating that the President must be a natural born American citizen. Ooops, that kind of leaves Obama out now doesn’t it? Oh, but the problem can solved with a fake birth certificate, so let’s do that. Don’t worry no one will notice the amateurish attempt at forgery, and the insulting of the intelligence of the American people with such High School antics. Oh, but we the people let it slide. I mean, well, y’know, he’s already in office and those fumbling founding fathers didn’t know anything about cell phones and cable TV? This is probably a good time for one of those “reap what you sow” statements.

    Mac, you might want to sit down for this one, I mean I hate to be the one to break it to you (well, not really) but the Constitution of the United States of America has absolutely nothing to do with things. The Constitution of the United States of America is about people. It’s about human tendencies, habits, displayed norms, concepts of right and wrong, the human ability to make mistakes and the recover from those mistakes and the rest of the aspects that make us people and not automatons. And it was based on the experience of history. All history.

    If you’re still sitting Mac, good, because here come another one: the primary job of Congress is NOT to pass laws, the primary job of the Congress is to govern. The original intent was that thru our representatives, Congress would decide what was necessary for the general welfare of the nation, and then task the President with it carrying out . Y’know, the President was to execute what Congress mandated, not the other way round, because if it were the other way round, that would tend to hand over all of the power to one man. The centralization of power was a fear the founding fathers lived and learned from, kind of like what we are re-learning today. For a very specific reason the American people have begun to judge the activities of their congressional reps by how many laws those reps get enacted. That’s kind of like saying that Joe DiMaggio was a good baseball player because he was so photogenic, or he could sing well. Do you know how many laws we as a nation have on the books? I am told the number is in the 10′s of 1000′s, and I believe it. But what happens when you have so many laws that any more laws are simply re-re-re-re-issues of previous laws? As counter-intuitive as it might seem, you reach a point that you have so many laws that you have no laws. The individual edicts begin to step on each other, until you reach the condition that is just outside your door right now: utter chaos.

    Gee wiz, Mac, are the dots too far apart for you to connect them? You imply that the Constitution needs to be changed, “modernized” for cell phone activity and such, and yet isn’t that what the Obama mob has done? Why, they took that little sentence about Presidentital qualifications right out of there. Changed the Constitution so that it’s more trendy and realistic for these modern times. And look at the shite-storm we are in now. Isn’t Constitution changing fun?

    The problem, Mac, is us. Starting at the top, you need to take a fire hose and a fire ax to that metastasized cancer called the American Mainstream News Media. You know who I’m talking about. James Clapper got up in front of Congress and lied his arse off. He lied to Congress, he lied to the American people, and not only is this felon not in jail, he still has his job. I suppose, however, if Obama fired all the liars and felons on his staff we’d be calling him “The Lone Ranger”, but he won’t fire anybody because he doesn’t have to. ( I will leave such winners as the criminal Eric Holder and his Fast and Furious, that complete waste of time Hillary, the liar and sleazeball Lois Lerner and her mob of an IRS, et al, for another day).

    That is the point: he doesn’t have to.

    It’s curious that Richard Nixon was hounded, lambasted, and eventually driven from office by a press that was angry because he had lied about what he knew and when. Yet that same press industry can’t seem to find it within themselves to ask why the above mentioned criminals are still at their posts. Mac, you can whine about Obama, Congress, even hubcaps that roll off into the weeds, but nothing will be gained until the elected (and the non-elected) officials of this country are called to task, which is up to the press, even if it is made up of gutless, yellow weenies. So, Mac, as a favor for the rest of us who long ago figured out what kind of loser Obama is, what a den of thieves and corruption our Congress has become, why don’t you use your talents to try and start a fire under the press, instead of trying to blame it on anyone else. And certainly, stop trying to change the one thing that may be able to get us out of this mess if we would just grow enough manhood to enforce it.

    Oh, one more thing, Mac, and pardon my boldness, but could you write a second piece for The Unz Review wherein you would tell us all precisely what you would change with the Constitution? I would like that, and I’m hoping that others would as well. Specifically, I’d like to know what you would add for cell phones that is not already covered by the 1st and 4th amendments.

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  • I completely concur with Fran Macadam, I can’t bear to listen to the jackass any more either. What an unspeakable disappointment he has been. I voted for him once, though, not twice.

    Can someone, anyone, tell me why in the hell he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize? Has that organization devolved as have many other organizations and institutions?

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  • We have not only what the Founders feared – an authoritarian government, but an inept authoritarian government.

    I can’t bear to listen to the President’s speechifying any longer – the cognitive dissonance it produces is too painful. It is the audacity of mendacity.

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  • Indefatigable crisis-tamper-downer John Kerry had a flight pattern this past week more erratic than the missing Malaysian airplane. He was returning to Washington from Saudi Arabia (and The Hague and Amman and points in between) where he had accompanied President Obama in smooth-talking grumpy ally Saudi Arabia -- who, as they look at their future,...
  • Thinly veiled, incompetent apologia for just another of the Empire’s thick-headed, lying, belligerent, incompetent Secretaries of State.

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  • The only thing John Kerry could get an ‘A’ for would be being disingenuous. Kerry has not been a “fair and honest broker” in dealing with Palestinians. Kerry makes demands of Palestinians at the behest of Netanyahu. Israel first is a Kerry staple.
    As for Jonathan Pollard, that aberrant freak SHOULD have faced a firing squad and now the man can rot in prison.
    If/and/or/when the Obama regime calls out the Israelis for their apartheid, occupation, and ends America’s largesse, things will never change.

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  • NB says: • Website

    It’s not true that the Israelis demanded Pollard’s release in exchange for continuing the talks or releasing the Palestinian prisoners. Since the talks were faltering, the US dangled the idea of releasing Pollard as a sweetener; the reason Israel didn’t release the prisoners is that Israel conditioned the release on Abbas agreeing to extend the negotiations past April 29th:

    http://www.dw.de/israel-puts-off-prisoner-releases-unless-peace-talks-continue/a-17531112

    “A fourth and final set of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel were scheduled to be released on Saturday (29.03.2014)…The release, however, was placed on hold in fear Palestinian negotiators would walk out on peace talks after the prisoners were released.”

    More info here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/world/middleeast/mideast-peace-talks.html

    “But Israel sought to condition the release of the final batch on an extension of the negotiations beyond the current deadline of April 29.”

    And here is an article on the Pollard brouhaha:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/world/middleeast/jonathan-pollard.html

    Also, it’s the Israeli settlements in the West Bank that are widely regarded as illegal, not the actual occupation itself, although the actions Israel has taken in East Jerusalem could be regarded as effectively annexing East Jerusalem, which would be illegal.

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  • It's been a good couple of weeks for President Obama on the international front. Well, not maybe in terms of substance, but who focuses on substance these days any way. It all started with the Putin takeover of the Crimea which, while it certainly was not good news for Obama, at least it pushed Israeli...
  • Sorry for ’2 in a row,’ but this is simply too good to stand any delay:

    «And then there was the utterly unprofessional, rude and undiplomatic rant of Samantha Powers at the UNSC. She actually said the following:

    … A thief can steal property but that does not confer the right of ownership on the thief. What xxx has done is wrong as a matter of law, wrong as a matter of history, wrong as a matter of policy and dangerous.»

    Q: Which entity fits xxx? A1: Russia, or A2: Israel?

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  • @jeff davis: «This “plan” was a criminal conspiracy then, as it is a crime-in-progress now. A crime is still a crime, despite control of the media. A crime is still a crime despite 90 years of impunity from prosecution, or 90 years of propaganda.»

    Me: Thanks, and correct. This article’s title is “Lost in the Crimea;Will Lead to Obama’s Last Chance Offer to Netanyahu”

    One must truly wonder, why Obama would make any offer to Netanyahu in particular, or the US to the I/J/Z-plex in general, especially given the eternal assertion: “We *never* negotiate with terrorists!”

    Lost in Israel’s creation in crime is the I/J/Z-plex’s integrity (assuming they ever had any); lost in Israel’s continuation in crime is any chance of a recovery of any integrity. Morphing Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” into perpetual war leads to a one-way spiral down; from the (persecution) frying pan, they’ve jumped into the (damnation) fire.

    Returning to “responsibility,” at any crime scene there is one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and more or less innocent bystanders. Guilt and opprobrium are distributed proportionally to the perpetrators, accessories and apologists; even silence is complicity.

    Returning to propaganda, there are hasbara-ists and, so I’ve heard, sayanim, what possibly makes them think they could cancel the truth – for ever? (Be sure your sins will find you out!)

    The I/J/Z-plex violates the *inalienable* rights of the native, mostly Palestinian ELO/Os. Note the word “inalienable,” such rights may neither be violated (except by crime as we all see) – nor surrendered; the Z-crimes will persist until the I/J/Z-plex reforms itself – or is forced to reform. Until then, the I/J/Z-plex exists in utter ignominy.

    As jeff said: “it’s your call, Israel.”

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  • @alethiae. Super little riff. Nice edge. Pointed. Clear. Not often does it come at you so straight and clear.

    Here’s the way I like to put it:

    We often hear the phrase “Israel’s right to exist” and along with it, “Israel’s right to self-defense.” Hear them endlessly, by propagandists who repeat them endlessly. But endless repetition does not make a thing true. The so-called “legitimacy” that arises from endless repetition is not legitimacy at all, but rather the phony narrative — ie, the lie — built of well executed propaganda.

    Yet the truth exists.

    Here’s my shot at a fact-based, truth-based, ethics-based summary:

    In 1917, the British Imperial elite and the World Zionist Organization colluded in a criminal conspiracy to steal Palestine from the people — 95% Arab — who had lived there for 70 generations, and to give it to the Jews/Zionists.

    That’s ***STEAL***, as in take what doesn’t belong to you. This “plan” was a criminal conspiracy then, as it is a crime-in-progress now. A crime is still a crime, despite control of the media. A crime is still a crime despite 90 years of impunity from prosecution, or 90 years of propaganda. NO AMOUNT OF TIME CAN CHANGE A LIE INTO THE TRUTH; NO AMOUNT TIME CAN CONVERT A CRIME INTO A LEGAL ACT.

    The Zionist entity called Israel is nothing less than a geopolitical crime-in-progress. This is the reality.

    So when next you hear about Israel’s “right to exist”, consider: what crime has a “right to exist”?, what criminal enterprise has a “right to exist”? Add to that: what criminal has a “right to self-defense”? What criminal has the right to commit violence in the furtherance of a crime? What criminal has the right to fight back against the lawful authority that arrives to halt the crime and arrest the criminals?

    Israel, the Zionists, their enablers, and their supporters are criminals: thieves and murderers on a global stage. They have no “right to exist” (as criminals) and they have no “right to self-defense” as they commit their crimes. Their victims on the other hand, most certainly do have the right to defend themselves against the Zionist criminal assault.

    But the Zionist criminals are human, and for the sake of justice — tempered by mercy –no matter how egregiously they have behaved, they have rights. They have the right to surrender to a competent authority and not suffer summary execution. The right to a fair trial. If found guilty, the right to a proportionate penalty. And once the offending parties have “done their time”, the right to rejoin society and resume a peaceful, cooperative existence.

    Surrender, Masada redux, or the next holocaust: it’s your call, Israel.

    By the way, I’m an American and a Jew.

    *****************************************************************

    Here are the “Cliff Notes” for the de-spun Israel story:

    The last three are long, scholarly, and frankly, a bit dry. However, the first, for obvious reasons, is quite entertaining.

    “Concerning the Jews” by Mark Twain

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1898twain-jews.html

    The Hidden History of Zionism

    http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/mideast/hidden/

    Behind the Balfour Declaration

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p389_John.html

    Benjamin Freedman

    http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/israel/freedman.htm

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  • Netanyahu is unwilling to make the necessary concessions.
    Never at any stage has any Israeli leader conceded anything ie NO following of international law, because they can get away with it because of US encouragement.

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  • @Fran Macadam: “… it is unlikely that … would allow any such abdication of U.S. responsibility for backing Israel.”

    Me: Err, with all due respect Mme Macadam, what “responsibility” would that be, exactly?

    The author writes: “… unfortunately for [Netanyahu], time has caught up with Israel’s settle-first/think-consequences-later policy.”

    Me: But they did think consequences out at the time; see Ben-Gurion for proof: «“We must see the situation for what it is. … But in the political field we are the attackers and the Arabs are those defending themselves. They are living in the country and own the land, …» and «… said that he wanted a Jewish-Arab agreement “on the assumption that after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.”»

    Me: Just to summarise B-G, he a) knew in advance that they were setting out to steal, and b) that they were prepared to abrogate agreements to continue that theft.

    So getting back to your “U.S. responsibility” assertion, would that be the responsibility derived from *not* stopping, let alone remedying, the ‘supreme international war crime’ which brought the illegitimate entity Israel into existence, over the dead bodies of those they murdered to steal the land that they improperly alienated, driving the rest of the hapless native ELO/Os (= erstwhile legal owner/occupiers) off in a despicable act of ethnic cleansing using genocidal methods = Plan Dalet++?

    IMHO, time has caught up with Israel’s intransigence and criminality; as Kerry himself said recently, “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests … This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century.”

    That also applies exactly to the Zionists’ 50 year long (undesired!) immigration = invasion of Palestine by stealth, going from 3% to 30% by 1948, culminating in Plan Dalet and the 65+ years of violence sustained to the current moment, on the pretext that “Some g*d promised it to us!”

    Any ‘honest broker’ would not only know all of the above, but would *act* on it; my suggestion = RoR+R*3 = Right of Return + Revest, Reparations and Reconciliation, fully consistent with UNGA resolutions on the matter. Now THAT would be showing “responsibility.”

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  • Powe is blind when you are young think will remain strong. Israel is at the peak of power in their 3000 years of history. Zionists have achieved enemies around the world as they can,t over ome such a huge majority. Israel will never give back oxxupied terroteries as Gasa wil remain biggest jail in the world. Ambitions of Israelis are too much as even they want to occupy whole of Jordan parts of Saidi Arabia and it wil happen as our prophet has already told 1450 years ago.
    Israel needs no peace as their survival is only with wars and intrigues.
    America is too weak internallly and externaly to force Israel as their lobby is too powerful in America. This is adsiseable to make peace but will not be achieved as dialogue is always on the basis of power and equality. Israel is a super power with heavy nukes to destroy half of the world.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    RE: “I would like just once to read an article discussing the U.S. ‘pressuring’ Israel that throws into the conversation the power of the pro-Israel lobby is Washington in influencing what Obama or any U.S. politician can do or can’t do in telling Israel what it should do.”

    MY REPLY: Philip Weiss frequently does exactly that at Mondoweiss.net !

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  • I would like just once to read an article discussing the U.S. “pressuring” Israel that throws into the conversation the power of the pro-Israel lobby is Washington in influencing what Obama or any U.S. politician can do or can’t do in telling Israel what it should do. This article says “this initiative is likely to be the last time the U.S. gets involved in helping the Israelis resolve the Palestinian Issue.” This is nonsense, it completely ignores the reality of who can apply pressure to whom . The U.S. president can poke Israel with a stick while Netanyahu can take a baseball bat to any elected U.S. official he likes by ordering a large fortune be contributed to their opponents political campaign. The average U.S. senator needs to raise $20,000 dollars a day to get reelected. The pro Israel lobby is so good and so effective that they are the model that all other lobbies in Washington emulate. One foreign lobbyist from a country renowned for it’s corruption once said in total seriousness “we like bribing your politicians because we can do so far more cheaply then our own.”

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  • “So Kerry’s mission, which seemed like folly at the time, will succeed in a way he hadn’t planned: it puts the onus for a solution — and the penalty for not finding one — squarely, and permanently, where it belongs, on Israel.”

    But then, they simply won’t do it. And they won’t be blaming themselves. In any case, it is unlikely that their strong political support within the U.S. would allow any such abdication of U.S. responsibility for backing Israel.

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  • “They're rioting in Africa, they're starving in Spain, There're hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain…” That sweetly cynical ballad from the button-downed, short-haired Kingston Trio of the pre-hippy late '50s and early '60s reminds us of just how much our world has changed -- and how much it hasn't. Oh, they're not starving in...
  • Just closing all of our overseas bases would probably attain the cuts they’re looking for, and then some!

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  • long long long LONG overdue. Rumsfeld back in the days when George W was very popular tried to cut the defense budget in certain areas, primarily because they were complete morons and spending billions we didn’t have in other military FUBARS, and he couldn’t do it. Just try closing those military bases in the south, the politicians who represent those districts will fight you tooth and nail. Of course they should be closed but can they be closed is the question. We do not need offensive weapons systems to counterbalance an opposing super power that no longer exists. That is where you might have more success whacking that bloated military budget.

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  • Because throwing money at a problem always solves the problem, and never, ever wastes money.

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  • What’s with the two different types of combat boots? Look at the illustration. Where is the army shopping these days, Famous Footwear?

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  • I don’t know if the military learned anything from Viet-Nam except that WWII based technology was difficult to employ effectively (All those aircraft carriers, radar and jets but not a single Zero in sight). And Viet-Nam seems to have led to the idea of Iraq and Afghanistan (no protests with a volunteer Army and there’s no jungle to hide in for the enemy either) with equal results. I think we could do about as well fighting guerillas by giving then credit cards and loans and when they default just have Bank of America repossess everything. PS I don’t know why but it seems like the USAF is always trying to rid itself of things like A10′s and buy the latest super jet. As a former member of the Army I think it is safe to say we really appreciate that close air to ground support.

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  • An economist ten years ago looked at the simple demographics of all those baby boomers approaching retirement age and made two predictions. 1) Government will be forced to cut the hell out of the defense budget and 2) government will be forced to create more income streams via taxing what is now illegal but can’t be stopped, marijuana and gambling. Well lo and behold guess what is happening. It will prove difficult to trim the military beast as the commentator above me has stated but it will be done NOT because of reason but because of necessity, as is sadly often the case in dear old government.

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  • Any actual reduction in DoD spending would fall into the “proof is in the pudding” category. It’s a great idea but, trimming the bloated military beast will prove difficult.

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  • Pessimist alert: the situation in what began as the Arab Spring is moving from bad -- Egypt's Mubarak, Syria's Assad, Iraq's Saddam -- to worse: Egypt's ever stricter military dictatorship, Syria's three year-old civil war, Iraq's renewed chaos. A downward spiral with no end in sight. Two unrelated books, the first just out, the second...
  • Shia hegemony is encouraged by the West. Iran has fomented trouble in all Sunni majority countries. Its funding of Shia death quads resulted in the cleansing of Sunnis form Baghdad and assassination of Sunni professors and intellectuals. It collaborated in the occupation of Afghanistan and is now using its surrogate and military in Syria in the genocide of the majority Sunnis. So where is the Suni extremism the writer is talking about. Iran is like a ripe plum that will fall into the designs of Western powers. It is a matter of time. Right now it is competing with Israel as the sole interlocutor for the Mulsim world, even though Shias are a minority of 10% .
    It appears the author seems top have fallen f0r the deadly Persian charm and the increasing Iranian presence in think tanks and policy forums in the US.

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  • I remember reading a few months ago that Egypt & Ethiopia may go to war in the near future if Ethiopia goes ahead will plans to dam their portion of the Nile. Evidently this would jeopardize Egypt’s food supply. Odd this wasn’t mentioned is this no longer a factor?

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  • I would only add a couple of observations to this excellent article. First, the author didn’t mention the proposals in the South Sudan and Ethiopia to dam the upper reaches of the Nile River or its headwaters. These projects would have a devastating impact on Egypt if they were built. Second, he also didn’t discuss the impact of China on the region. Currently large tracts of land are under cultivation by the Chinese in the Sudan. To my knowledge, none of this food production is available to the local population, and the cultivation uses up large quantities of scarce water. As far as the author’s point about the desirability of coming up with a regional plan, I am pessimistic. The United States has allowed its policies in the region to become subservient to the interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel. In my opinion, neither of these countries is playing a constructive role in the region at the present time.

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  • Interesting article Mr. Deford. There will of course be a chorus of “solutions” coming from inside the Beltway. “Bomb Iran” will be top of the list.

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  • I don’t think the US political class is capable of what you want. Even if an administration wants to constructively help the region it can’t because the political class is unable to be impartial. It is in their interest to instigate violence that they can later try and solve. The Israel-Palestinian conflict is a security threat that should have been dealt with a long time ago. If anything the Obama administration like previous administrations is being too generous. People in the Middle East are deeply conservative and they will elect deeply conservative governments which our political class cannot tolerate (Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood). I think they want to live in communities with people like themselves and be governed by people like themselves. I blame Sykes and Picot for the sectarian violence. We need new countries drawn up to reflect what is actually there. The US put military bases in Saudi Arabia and set the whole thing on fire with the Iraq war. Before the US invaded in 2003 there were people who said it would lead to sectarian violence. It set the whole region on fire.

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  • The death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for eight years, followed shortly after the tenth visit of Secretary of State Kerry to Israel in just the past six months as he continued his search for a conclusive peace to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West...
  • “West” on line 6 of paragraph 1 of my comment immediately above should of course be “West Bank.”

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  • The Israeli leadership does not want a deal. What they most probably want is gradually to change the demographics of the West Bank (and ultimately Gaza as well) by continuing with settlements, increasing Jewish birth rates, making life unbearable for the Palestinians in order to depress their formerly high birth rates and to compel high rates of emigration in search of a better life. Given enough time–several decades at least–the Judeo-fascists think they can engineer a Jewish majority in some parts of the West that would be the basis for annexation. While western liberals imagine that the demographic trends are on the side of the Palestinians, it is not at all clear that that is really the case.

    The bottom line is that the Judeo-fascist leadership of Israel needs TIME more than anything else and that means promoting a never-ending “peace process” that is designed to go nowhere.

    If the Israeli Reich is successful in gaining more Lebensraum, it will be the final strategic disaster for the US in the region, as the anger of the rest of the Muslim world will pave an easy path into the Middle East for Chinese influence and power. It is impossible to conceive of anything more destructive to US well-being than its deformed relationship with the “Jewish State.”

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  • Great articles by Mac Deford. Please keep them coming!

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