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The Nemesis

by Luis de Sousa Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 01:18:22 PM EST

This is a translation into English of an article originally written in  Portuguese for BomDia.eu.

I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there's another union that needs a little taming.

It was this way that Theodore Malloch described the functions he will soon take by the EU, as ambassador of the USA. This is in no way a lapsos linguae, but rather a symptom of an overt drive by the USA to dismantle the EU. The support provided by the US government to euro-phobic politicians, or the announced arrival to Europe of BreitbartNews (an extreme right propaganda medium whose director integrates the new US government) are other pieces of the same puzzle.

Irrespectively of the credibility one may lend to personalities like Theodore Malloch, it is important to understand the root of this threat to the European Union.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


In politics, the menace posed by an arch-enemy is an useful mean to unification and mobilisation. The USA largely own their existence to the perception of a threat common to different  and dispersed colonies of the XVIII century: a ruthless imperial power. It was the fight against this common enemy the brought about a political edifice of unprecedented social and geographic reach.

After troubled decades in the XIX century, the USA re-discovered in the XX century the federative power of an arch-enemy. Built on entirely different political and economic systems, the USSR filled in that role perfectly in the half century that followed the II World War. But by the turn of the XXI century little was left of Soviet Communism.

An ideological void opened that had to be filled. Between the Maastricht treaty (1993) and the Lisbon treaty (2007), the EU became one of the largest political constructions of History, ending up taking the role of that great, federative and mobilising rival. Slowly, successive American pundits were able to find in the European values remnants of their old communist arch-enemy.

Institutions such as the national health system, public education, the national pension system, the unemployment subsidy, Flex-security, labour law, the 25 days of yearly vacation (in the USA are just 10), guaranteed minimum income and all other mechanisms that form the European Welfare State are today equated by American ideologues to the planned economy system of the old USSR.

The control christian-democrats have detained for over twenty years on the destiny of Europe and the recent hecatomb of the European social-democrat parties matter little. It is the European social matrix itself, based on the principles of solidarity, equality and fraternity, to be perceived as a threat by modern American opinion makers.

Heretofore common values such as democracy, freedom of speech or economic liberalism over-seeded these differences in social philosophy; today this is no longer the case. For large numbers of Americans the European Union is a Socialist stronghold that must be defeated.

The break down of negotiations on the free trade agreement between the EU and the USA is not extraneous to this development. Beyond the destruction of the Welfare State and the erosion of the charter of fundamental rights, this offensive against the EU also embodies commercial goals. A weak and fragmented Europe will not only be permeable to American ideology, it will be so to American corporations too.

In its rush to find alternative markets to fill the void of its extraction from the EU, the UK seeks now a bilateral free trade agreement with the US. From the other side of the Atlantic emanate pre-conditions that illustrate well these commercial goals, as is the requirement for the UK to privatise its national health system, for example.

Are these worrying developments? Yes, if we fail to identify those that are nothing more than puppets of this offensive against our rights, our principles and our social well being.

Delaying the European integration process will soon stop being an option. Not because the EU is a perfect construction, rather because, in spite of all its flaws and lacks, it remains the main protection around our way of life.

And after all, just as the USA root their cohesion on an arch-enemy, finding the Nemesis of the EU might well become the thrust needed to finally cast the European construction on a successful track.

Cross posted AtTheEdgeOfTime.

Display:
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Brexit is leading to an extreme right wing turn by Tory Britain, with May making common cause with Trump and Erdogan even if there are still minor differences of view on Putin.  Increasingly, and willingly, Tory Britain will take on the role of a Trojan horse in NATO and Europe, and it may come to the stage where the EU breathes a massive sign of relief when Brexit finally happens.  

May has offered, at the EU summit in Malta, to act as a bridge between the EU and the USA.  However as Dalia Grybauskaite, the Lithuanian President, told the BBC:

"I don't think there is a necessity for a bridge - we communicate with the Americans on Twitter."

--snip---

Ms May arrived in the Maltese capital carrying the message from Mr Trump that Europe must increase its defence spending in return for his "100 per cent" commitment to Nato.

But other EU leaders view the American leader with horror because of his hostility to the EU, his protectionism and controversial policies, such as the travel ban from seven mainly Muslim countries.

The European parliament's main political parties have called for Mr Trump's likely choice as ambassador to the EU to be blocked from its buildings after he said the EU needed "taming".

And, earlier this week, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, included the US President as a "threat" facing the bloc, along with China, Russia and radical Islam.

Well done Trump.  You are now up there with "China, Russia and radical Islam" as a threat to the EU...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 03:20:24 PM EST
yes, the wild lurch to the right is becoming equally clear, even if I'm not sure most of the Tory party are on board for it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 03:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed about Trump and his Administration. Just keep in mind that almost the whole 'deep state' and foreign policy establishment in the USA is horrified by what Trump is doing. Before long more in the USA will likely desert him as he increasingly frightens and disgusts people. We have to withstand the ongoing surge of Trumpista triumphalism before things can really clarify. It is far from inconceivable that they could worsen. Most of us have always known that the real threat in the USA was fascism.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 05:26:01 PM EST
almost the whole 'deep state' and foreign policy establishment in the USA is horrified by what Trump is doing

You mean like the Navy SEALS?

OK, they are a minor part of the deep state, and they may sour fast on the bombastic-in-chief after the mismanaged operation in Yemen.

by Bernard on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 07:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FB - Jim Wright - Navy SEALS Trump flag

I guess I understand.

Many of you are civilians, have been civilians your whole life, and have almost no actual experience with the military other than the stereotypes you see on the screen.

In fact, the Military is one of the last few safe stereotypes.

Hollywood doesn't need to know anything about the military to include the military in TV and movies. Privates are robots who shout YESSER!, Sergeants are PTSD ridden drunks and sadists (and usually have some type of incurable venereal disease which keeps them out of combat which is why they are sadists), junior officers are bumbling ernest dolts, and senior officers are almost always engaged in some nefarious conspiracy to something something gazpacho. And they're all just itching to overthrow democracy and probably kill a lot of people in the process because there ain't nothing the boys in uniform love more than killin' -- unless it's stealing boxes of gold from Saddam's palace. It's always the same.

That's what you think of, isn't it?

That's why when I wrote the previous piece about not panicking over the military, more than 500 of you wrote screaming to remind me about Kent State. KENT STATE, MAN, WHAT ABOUT THAT? WHAT ABOUT THAT, JIM?! OMG WHAT ABOUT KENT STATE? And what about it? It was 46 years ago and you actually had to go back that far to find an example of poorly trained, poorly led, second string troops from a vastly different military and a vastly different culture to panic over and the stereotype is so ingrained that you didn't even realize that you couldn't find any other examples post Vietnam.

In reality, like everything else, things are bit different from Hollywood. (They were a bit different even back then, and they are vastly more so now).

But still, that's what you're thinking.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 07:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a good essay, worth reading but the takeaway is that those guys are gonna get their asses kicked and everyone is gonna have a good laugh about it. Don't sweat it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 07:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I'm sure the Trump supporters in the military will loose their enthusiasm real fast.
by Bernard on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 08:23:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Privates are robots who shout YESSER!, Sergeants are PTSD ridden drunks and sadists (and usually have some type of incurable venereal disease which keeps them out of combat which is why they are sadists), junior officers are bumbling ernest dolts, and senior officers are almost always engaged in some nefarious conspiracy to something something gazpacho. And they're all just itching to overthrow democracy and probably kill a lot of people in the process because there ain't nothing the boys in uniform love more than killin' -- unless it's stealing boxes of gold from Saddam's palace. It's always the same.

Maybe this is generational and I've not seen the right movies, but other than the bit about Privates shouting "Yes sir," that's the exact opposite of how I've seen the military portrayed by Hollywood.  And everywhere, really.  Thinking of conspiratorial military episodes -- I dunno, The Rock?  And even then, it was a small unit of Bad GuysTM who became MercenariesTM.

People trip over themselves -- in and outside of the media -- to glorify the military.

As he noted, Kent State was 46 years ago.  And I assume the movies he's thinking of are of a similar vintage.  What is he on about?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 12:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding:

I'm not worried about the military.  The military will sort that kind of behavior out real quick.  This or that soldier may be conservative or liberal, and groups just the same.  And stupid shit like that will happen, of course -- but, again, the command structure will not be pleased, and they'll spend a few days scrubbing toilets with toothbrushes (or whatever the modern equivalent is) and learn a lesson.

The FBI, CBP, ICE, etc -- the Cops Who Wear Suits agencies -- are far more worrisome than the military.  For one, because they operate domestically, of course, unlike there military (outside of natural disaster response and the like).  For another, because they're not under the same kind of structure and programmed the same way as the military.  Same with cops and sheriffs at the local level.  

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 01:09:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno, there were some really scary reports of Dominionist infiltration coming out about the USAF a few years ago. And the amount of stark, outright insanity among the generals Trump has assembled is scary. Granted, they were eventually cashiered, but the fact that they got to accumulate as much brass as they did before being retired does not fill me with warm fuzzies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 02:02:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the generals around him, Flynn is obviously worrying.  But Flynn is hated within the defense and security establishment.  (It was at DIA where the grunts came up with the term "Flynn Facts".)

Bigger issue is Trump clearly sees no need to listen to any of the competent generals around him.  Mattis and others are apparently on the verge of resigning.

That said, I should add a qualifier to my comment:

On the list of groups to worry about, the military ranks quite low.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 02:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flynn is the guy who's on Erdogan's payroll, right?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 03:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I believe so.  

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 04:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flynn was so incompetent that Obama had to shitcan him when he was at DIA -- an intelligence agency that is not exactly well thought of within the IC.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 04:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't know how well the Dominionist problem has been dealt with. The Air Force, and, especially, the Air Force Academy, is a bit of an outlier. It was probably a mistake to locate it next to Colorado Springs - the Orange County of Colorado. Boulder would have been a MUCH better choice, but there probably wasn't suitable land available, especially for an air base.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 04:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boulder? Too upscale lib'rul. I don't think military people and college students mix well.
There's plenty of flat space further west, where DIA was built.
by Bernard on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 05:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but then the conspiracy theories were be too nutty, given that the NWO/Illuminati types are already obsessed with Denver International.

(Side note:  Forget the Satanist horse at the entrance.  That airport is a colossal pain in the ass.  It might as well be in Tulsa.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 09:56:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elon will fix it with a hyperloop tunnel to downtown Denver.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2017 at 07:26:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elon's thinking bigger-picture.  I'm not optimistic on his ability to hit his goals, but at least he's thinking and putting some skin in the game.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 02:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a sardonic joke, but it might actually happen, as so many other such jokes have come to be fact. Think Trump. At least that one would be useful.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 02:46:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew: The FBI, CBP, ICE, etc -- the Cops Who Wear Suits agencies -- are far more worrisome than the military.

Especially considering this:

FBI investigated white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement agencies: Report

According to a classified FBI counterterrorism policy guide obtained by The Intercept, "white supremacists and other domestic extremists" have been joining law enforcement agencies across the United States.

"Domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers," the FBI's guide states. Detailing the ways the FBI places individuals on a terrorism watch list, the Known or Suspected Terrorism File.

Despite the evident threat posed by these right-wing extremists, law enforcement has failed to acknowledge proper ways to combat, or even address the systemic issue.

by Bernard on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 05:40:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Connects fairly well with the old report DHS put out about a month or so into Obama's tenure back in 2009 about the new rise of the militias and other right-wing extremists.

Report was put together by the Bush administration folks but came out right after Obama took office.  The GOPers lost their shit over it.

Think the Southern Poverty Law Center put a similar report out around the same time as they were seeing the same thing.

I'm hesitant to take it too seriously for fear of veering into hyperbole, but it wouldn't be shocking.  In many places, it'd be very easy for white supremacists to slither into law enforcement in a cultural sense.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 09:51:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
American law enforcement has always been centered on abusing brown bodies and protecting private property. In my opinion the only variable over time has been the level of public violence. In the modern era a lot of the violence is done behind closed doors in prisons so as to not draw attention from the liberal white public. Obviously the social media era shines a dark light on how much violence is still done publicly, which has a polarizing effect on the public depending on the individual's pre-existing views.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 10:12:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone noted on Twitter a year or two ago -- it's amazing how the rise of high-quality cameras on smartphones has resulted in a rapid increase in the knowledge of police brutality and a collapse in UFO sightings.

And, yep, you're right about the violence in the prisons.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 11:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a lot of smaller places the challenge is having many available candidates who are not of the far right sort.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 03:25:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have cousins who retired at ranks of Commander and of Colonel. Both were very steady. And I worked under a retired AF Colonel for a while. He was a model of sanity and comity with an undergrad degree in psychology.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 07:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A propos of Kent State:

GOP leader apologizes for tweeting: 'Time for another Kent State'

A county Republican leader in the Upper Peninsula is under fire for seeming to suggest in his social media posts there should be a Kent State type of crackdown on violent protests like the one that erupted at a university in California last week.

But in an interview Sunday with the Free Press, Dan Adamini, the secretary of the Marquette County Republican Party, said he apologizes, supports peace and was merely trying to prevent further violence and hatred.

The Marquette resident said that he has received death threats and been harassed by people outraged over his remarks that refer to the 1970 shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University in Ohio by the Ohio National Guard. Nine other students were wounded in what many consider a turning point in public opinion about the Vietnam War.

by Bernard on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 07:16:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then we'll have Pence, who is worse because he thinks he has a divine mandate.
by rifek on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 10:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everything I've seen of Trump indicates that he's as fervent a believer in his divine right as Pence is.

Pence is worse because he's competent and respectable (to what passes for polite society in DC), so he'd have an easier time normalizing his insanity.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 10:16:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My own oft stated opinion as well. If we want to get rid of Trump we first need to replace Pence or things will just get worse. Pence is Trump's life insurance policy.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 07:13:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump, like all good megalomaniacs, believes he's doing God's work because he has defined himself as God.  Pence, on the other hand, believes he is enforcing the wishes of an actual Sky Daddy, and he has a support mob of millions who believe the same.
by rifek on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 05:45:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is worse is a difficult problem. Pence will do more harm to the US body politic while Trump will do more harm to the Republican Party. But Trump is far more likely to get us all blown up. How are we to do risk assessment on that situation?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2017 at 07:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that climate change denial and the dismantling of science, education, and the rule of law are the biggest threats we face, and Pence is the greater problem here.  He is smoother and driven by what he considers a divine mandate.
by rifek on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 03:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting analysis. And I agree with your deduction that the US now appears to be trying to subvert the European Union as an objective of its new foreign policy, rather than support it as has been the case since WWII. However, I think you may be overthinking the rest of your argument regarding interests of the US vis a vis Europe in your geopolitical analysis.

I don't think it is anything more complicated than the fact that the current US government is now fascist (objectively, not just a name calling way like we used to call George Bush when he invaded Iraq) and therefore against ALL of the institutions of globalization, of which the EU is a very prominent one. This is a completely new and unexpected political development, and cannot be explained by analyzing US national interests historically, because those interests are radically different now that a fascist government has been elected in the United States.

That, combined with the fact the Trump is an agent of Russia, and Russia has obvious interests in weakening or dismantling the EU as an adversary, is what is now making the EU a hostile target of the Trump administration when this has never been the case in any way before.

     

by santiago on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 05:57:03 PM EST
I remember Frank Biancheri having to defend against the idea of the EU being a socialist super-state to an American radio a few years before he died. The portrait of the EU as an arch-enemy has been in the making for long and is actually extraneous to Trump. It was only a matter of time before a conservative leader would take it up.

This is one the messages of this article: this sentiment against Europe will not go away with Trump. The new president may be no more than a symptom of this repositioning of the American right.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 08:12:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luis, I strongly suspect that you are correct about Trump and Putin, but I also would like more evidence than just my own surmise.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 07:17:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This article is not about Trump or Putin in particular. The interview Malloch gave speaks for itself, I do not see need for further "evidence".

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 05:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only people who have regarded a unified Europe as an enemy of the US have been the far right fringe. Mainstream conservatives and progressives alike in the US have actively supported the EU's development, even if they might disagree with various EU policies, just as Europeans themselves do, and support for the EU and its predecessors have been an integral part of US foreign policy in a bipartisan way since the Marshall Plan.

My argument is that just because that far right fringe has accidentally ended up in power in the US does not mean that there is suddenly any credibility to any larger argument of any geopolitical structural explanations to any EU-US.  A much better geopolitical explanation given the historical evidence is that the EU served US interests when the US was in charge of governing the planet.  Rather, now that Trump has won power on a campaign premised on rejecting US responsibility for maintaining the institutions of globalization, the mutual interests of Americans and Europeans in developing a strong EU may have changed.

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 12:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is the only entity on the planet that has the power to stand up to US corporations.

If you really think the far right "accidentally" ended up in power I'm sure we can find a bridge for you to buy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And part of the problem for the Billionaire class is that the EU is so complex you can't just lift the phone to your bought politician to get stuff done.  Apple tried that with the Irish Government but it is unclear how far that will get them.  In the meantime the publicity isn't good and any potential interest bill is piling up although they have now, apparently, put the €13 Billion in escrow...to limit further damage. Of course Apple is just the tip of the iceberg and no one seems to know just how much dough is lying under that piece of shit - the non resident Company conduit for exiting profits tax free out of the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 03:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lobbying in the EU is far less difficult than you seem to be implying, and US corporations especially enjoy their access to policymakers in the EU, perhaps because of its bureaucratic nature with a degree of separation between popular political contests, which  frequently throws wrenches into things in the US.

The classic academic paper demonstrating how corporations easily take over policymaking in the EU, even when other groups such as NGO's are provided explicit institutional access alongside such corporations, is "Leading the Dance: Power and Political Resources of Business Lobbyists," by Cornelia Woll (2007).

In the last US election, the corporate class all backed Clinton, overwhelmingly, financially and otherwise, outspending Trump by an order of magnitude. Trump may be friendly to some kinds of business in some ways, but is mostly an unwelcome wildcard as far as the vast majority of billionaire class's lobbyists are concerned.

Looked at through economic theory, trade policies which lead to large, regulatory-homogenized markets is in the best interests of large corporations because it increases the returns to scale, an implication of the work by economics Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. That has been the global policy trajectory for decades under US global leadership. Now that train has been thrown off the tracks by Trump.  

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 06:37:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, corporate lobbying is a large scale industry in Brussels, but there is a world of difference between lobbyists managing to have a meeting with a civil servant drawing up some policy (and who is generally aware of their interests) and actually putting the head honchos in Goldman Sachs and Dewey, Cheatham & Howe in charge...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 07:36:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reference a study performed before the Lisbon treaty on this particular matter is not very wise.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 07:13:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you seen any actual evidence that Trump is a Russian agent? You're normally reasonably particular about having evidence for the things you say, and all I've seen on that subject has been paranoid conspiracy theories. So I'm wondering if you have any primary sources you can share.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 08:32:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the evidence provided by 17 US intelligence agencies provides about as strong as the evidence on such as matter is likely ever to be. Much less evidence from the same intelligence agencies is enough to get people targeted by drone strikes. If that isn't compelling enough for someone, nothing will be.
by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 12:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, people, their families and neighbors get murdered over hearsay. That tells us little about the report in question.
We are talking about the one that spends half its pagecount rehashing four year old complaints against RT, right? I must admit I didn't look at it in detail but this kind of padding is usually a bad sign. And if there was anything stronger than"the pattern suggests..." I certainly missed it.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 08:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The work of US intelligence agencies to document Russian interference on behalf of Trump is pretty well documented in the media. It does not disclose publicly that Trump is somehow so compromised that he can be controlled by Putin, but that is a very narrow definition of agent that doesn't even describe the relationship with most most foreign spies and their handlers.

Most agents are willing partners who agree with the policy objectives of their foreign handlers and who enjoy the benefit of resources provided by their foreign handlers, all of which appears to apply to Trump. All of Trump's actions and stated policy objectives are consistent with Russian foreign policy objectives of degrading international institutions generally and of US governance of global affairs, and the US intelligence agencies have documented the communication between Trump and Russia well before the election up and continuing on to the present. That evidence would be enough to convict anyone else of being a foreign spy, and only because Trump was just elected as president, with this information already available to US policymakers, is the only reason he isn't in trouble yet because of it.

Regardless of whether or not Trump ever does get in trouble, it does mean that any geopolitical analysis of US interests vis a vis anyone else needs to look at US interests through the lens of a new collusion with Russian interests now, or it will miss what is really going on. Mere class collusion among billionaires is just too weak to explain anything.

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 06:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The work of US intelligence agencies to document Russian interference on behalf of Trump is pretty well documented in the media.
Indeed it is, and it amounts to not even a hill of beans. Russia is funding a Radio Free Europe type project or two, and something-something-underpants about hacking that turns to fairie dust whenever you dig into the actual documentation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:42:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read both those reports, and the most interesting parts of the original Crowdstrike report.

There was no evidence presented.

Now, of course they may have material that they didn't release - that is always possible. It is, however, equally possible (and much more plausible) that they went on the international rumor market and some Chalabi type fed them a conspiracy theory. The latter has, historically, been a more frequent event than the former.

Regardless, secret evidence is not evidence, and "the secret police says so" is not evidence either. Especially about allegations of perfidy aimed at a country they have been conjuring up conspiracy theories about since before I was born.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 06:45:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secret evidence is certainly evidence in this case not least because it is absolutely extraordinary that the principal US  intelligence agency, let alone all of them, would make an issue about this for an incoming head of state, let alone anyone else. It just would not happen if this wasn't a serious problem. If Trump is not considered a compromised foreign agent, then we just have throw out that category altogether, for anyone at all, and accept that intelligence cannot say anything about the work that they do themselves.

It is far more reasonable to conclude that the CIA another spy agencies probably know quite a bit more than anyone else about how to do the work of recruiting and influencing foreign agents. So when they go through the extraordinary trouble of actually alerting competent political authorities, privately as well as publicly, that a political candidate, and subsequent elected winner, for the US Presidency (!) has likely also been a target of the same kind actions, to conclude anything other than that Trump is a foreign agent is simply being obtuse, on the part of those same political authorities as well as ourselves.  

At the very least it means that any geopolitical analysis that doesn't explicitly address the problem Trump's compromised relationship with Putin cannot be considered very solid.
 

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 07:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea that anyone would take the CIA's PR reports at face value is stunning, and impossible for me to believe when the subject is Russia. When I look at my liberal facebook feed and the fact that leftists are all reposting this stuff, I see the public political spectrum as represented by two dogs with rabies fighting in a ring to the death while those with power look on. The universe is reduced to a rage-filled need kill the other half. There is no other awareness. This is what a complete and total propaganda victory looks like. The public has lost and will continue losing until we have an antidote to modern PR.

And look, if the truth is that Trump is compromised I would not be surprised but we have no way of knowing. This simly kicks back to the fact that power structures require transparency and accountability to avoid corruption and personal agendas.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 08:16:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.

This isn't a CIA PR report. This is the official,top secret briefing briefing of the Director of National Intelligence to both the President and the President elect, as reported on by credible, mainstream national media sources, going back to reports submitted since July, 2016.

While the details of evidence will of course always be unavailable to us for obvious, the suggestion that this is simply a partisan issue is simply ridiculous and a talking point of the only the far right. Let's please agree to be more rational on this.

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 09:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secret evidence is no evidence at all. The idea that anyone should fall for the spooks' appeal to authority is puzzling to me. Or that someone would consider them in any way or form can to be politically neutral entities.
I mean you know what would also explain being friendly towards Russia except being a Russian agent?  Seriously believing that conflict with China is inevitable. Sounds like anyone?
Because once you start from that assumption you really can't afford to push Russia into dependence of China no matter whether you like the balance of forces in Ukraine or not.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 09:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's PR because there is no evidence, and because someone leaked it to create a particular effect. It's interesting reading and the reasons for it being leaked are also interesting, and the reasons for the leak could be good or bad, but to me it's PR by definition when there is no direct evidence behind it.

My criticism of the public response across the political spectrum is that it is dictated by ideology, not by evidence. It's not a talking point.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody leaked it. It was originally covered in their regular, official press conferences, several weeks before the election, and Hillary Clinton used it in her debates against Trump, to mostly deaf ears at the time. All of the talk and accusations of leaks erupting from social media can be traced to the officially provided information at their regular press briefings.
by santiago on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 03:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Relying on defence (and financial) analysts is like listening to shamans, high priests telling the will of gods, predicting the next harvest.
by das monde on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 01:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That may be the case, but listening to spies' advice about whom may, in fact, be a foreign spy in the White House, seems much better than discarding such advice on that particular matter.
by santiago on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 09:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they were talking about Israeli, Turkish, or Saudi spies, sure.

But they've found fifty of the last five Russian spies, so when they claim there's a Russian spy the appropriate response is a shrug and a snicker.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 06:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have they really?

How many fake Russian spies have actually ever been accused by US intelligence agencies. Even the Rosenbergs were eventually found in the declassified Kremlin archives to have been exactly the spies they were accused of being. I'm sure there must be some, but 50/5 seems like a gross exaggeration. And since accusing a presidential candidate, and now a sitting US head of state, of being such a spy, or a at least under the influence of, of Russia is so extraordinary, simply brushing it off to spy agency incompetence seems ridiculous.  At least sister- site Booman is taking it seriously.

by santiago on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 05:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many fake Russian spies have actually ever been accused by US intelligence agencies.
Uh, every political leader in the third world between roughly 1950 and 1990 who wanted the local mining or banana company to pay tax has been accused of being either a Russian or Chinese infiltrator. Along with most of the anti Viet Nam war movement leadership, and more than a few inconvenient American newsies who committed journalism. And probably a Finnish president or two, though I don't have the references on hand for those.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 10:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is far more reasonable to conclude that the CIA another spy agencies probably know quite a bit more than anyone else about how to do the work of recruiting and influencing foreign agents. So when they go through the extraordinary trouble of actually alerting competent political authorities, privately as well as publicly, that a political candidate, and subsequent elected winner, for the US Presidency (!) has likely also been a target of the same kind actions,
And that would maybe be a halfway plausible story if these hadn't been the same production house that brought us the Domino Theory, the Young Reformers, and the Moderate Syrian Opposition.

I have no problem believing that the CIA believes that Trump is a Russian asset. But the CIA believes a lot of things that clearly aren't true, especially about Russia, so trusting them to get this one right would be downright silly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:52:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's stipulate that we don't know precisely how much quality evidence is behind the report. However the intelligence agencies also gave us the "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" guff to justify an invasion, so their bona fides are suspect.

What we also know is that the intelligence agencies have become dominated by neocons so their suspicions of Russian perfidy are hardly news.

Finally we know that Trump isn't a neocon - for him Russia is just another business opportunity with a vast amount of real estate.  As it happens there isn't a huge amount of trade between Russia and the US so it is of less strategic economic interest than say China.  If Trump wants to have a trade war with China, Russia could be a useful ally. If trump wants to break up the EU, Russia would be an even more useful ally.

So besides an adolescent infatuation with Putin's strong man machismo, there are real reasons why Trump might want to cosy up to Russia and why the intelligence agencies might be alarmed at that prospect.

What is unprecedented is the degree to which they have gone public in their opposition to him and the dismissive way he has treated their opposition.

Among the good things that could yet come out of a Trump Presidency would be a less reverent attitude to the intelligence agencies, possible cutbacks in their funding and access, as well as less meddling in the middle east and Ukraine.

Not a lot of consolation if he starts a war with China or helps to break up the EU, but hey, lets look at the bright side!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 01:07:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if Trump wants to take on the letter agencies, my money isn't on Trump. They employ some of the smartest, nastiest people on the planet, and if realpolitik is your thing, their political record is impressive in its effectiveness.

But Trump's aims and politics don't necessarily conflict with their aims and politics. Both tend to corporate fascism, both claim to be patriotic but use plastic stick-on nationalism as an excuse to promote their own interests, and neither is much troubled by minor distractions such as human rights, the rule of law, or democratic accountability.

America is rotten enough that a truce is a more likely outcome than a war. Trump can't be reined in with a direct challenge, but he can be manipulated with ease, incapacitated in various ways, or even removed and replaced if necessary.

For now I would expect the game to be about waiting and exploring the ways in which he could be useful.

Challenges are more likely to come from the more overt political machinery, especially federal agencies and the judiciary. But if the letter agencies decide Trump is more of an asset than a liability, I wouldn't expect much lasting push-back from those quarters.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 03:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Among the good things that could yet come out of a Trump Presidency would be a less reverent attitude to the intelligence agencies, possible cutbacks in their funding and access, as well as less meddling in the middle east and Ukraine.

Not a lot of consolation if he starts a war with China or helps to break up the EU, but hey, lets look at the bright side!

Unfortunately his press creatures have been making some very conventional woofing noises about those two theaters since the coronation. It's looking increasingly like his semi-sensible mouth noises about them were just his usual contrarian cussedness.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 07:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's stipulate that we don't know precisely how much quality evidence is behind the report. However the intelligence agencies also gave us the "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" guff to justify an invasion, so their bona fides are suspect.
To give the mirrorshade brigade their due, they actually did leak that the Iraq story was made up out of whole cloth. The press just didn't want to hear it.

I think Iran's alleged atom bomb is a better analogy: It's not out of character for any of the players involved, nor beyond their technical capabilities. But a lot of people have looked very hard for evidence that it actually exists, and found nothing at all beyond the paranoid ravings of notorious conspiracy theorists.

So while it's not at the same level of lunacy as Nessie or the little gray aliens at Roswell, it's certainly less plausible than grassy knoll theory off the Kennedy assassination.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 06:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and by "your" I mean the author of the re-posted article, of course.
by santiago on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 06:32:14 PM EST
Luis is the author of the original article, BTW. He kindly translated it for us on ET (my Portuguese ain't up to snuff yet).
by Bernard on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 07:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not like we haven't been told before. And before.
And Josh Marshall who called it last December:

Trump's (and Putin's) Plan to Dissolve the EU and NATO. - TPM - Josh Marshall

Trump and Bannon clearly want to create a nativist world order based on the US, Russia and states that want to align with them. The EU and NATO are only obstacles to that goal.

Marshall's remark is similar to your conclusion:

An America eager to break up the EU seems more likely to inject new life into the union.
by Bernard on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 at 08:46:05 PM EST
On the general principle that what you have is taken for granted is not valued until its continuance is threatened I would expect EU citizens to appreciate the EU more if Trump takes hostile action and Brexit turns out to be a disaster for the Brits. I can also see why US ultra-conservatives who want to destroy the New Deal and Great Society would be extremely anxious to destroy the EU or at least demonstrate it doesn't work as it is the antithesis of their plan to present an Ayn Rand kind of society as the TINA option.

American Tourists coming to YURP for the first time will come to express surprise that everyone isn't living under the yoke of a socialist state and extremely unhappy that they can't carry guns and shoot Muslims.  I suppose a drifting apart of Europe and the US as memories of WWII fade is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be that way in an age of globalisation which has benefits as well as costs.

However, longer term, I would expect Europe and Russia to be more natural allies than the US and Russia - even if Sarah Palin can see Russia from her back door.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 11:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 05:16:29 PM EST
FT : May's pledge to bind Trump to Europe wins mixed reception

[...] As he left the summit Mr Hollande questioned the credibility of Ted Malloch, a candidate for US ambassador to the EU who has been heavily critical of the bloc. "When appointing an ambassador, [it's] better if he believes in the institution he is supposed to be working with," Mr Hollande said.

Mr Malloch, a businessman, has claimed he helped "bring down the Soviet Union" in a previous career and described the EU as "another union that needs a little taming". The main centre-right, socialist and liberal groups in the European Parliament have called on member states and the EU institutions to reject Mr Malloch's appointment if he is nominated by Mr Trump.



You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2017 at 07:16:12 PM EST
I don't care who she binds him to so long as she puts a gag in his mouth and takes away his cellphone.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2017 at 07:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ten years ago I would have agreed. Now I don't. For one I didn't appreciate how deep the rot goes in the European project. One of the key myths of the after war golden age was that democracy and markets are mutually supportive instead of diametrical opposite ways of organising a society. And they built the core structure very much out of markets and market rules with very little democracy. With a lot of those rules failing on the level of basic arithmetic. Additionally the European idea and consequently the legitimacy of the European institutions have been used as ablative armour for the capitalist counter revolution.
So what do I expect will happen now that the European Union is threatened by actual fascists? Doubling down on failed policies. CETA or Trump. Austerity or the fascists win.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Sun Feb 5th, 2017 at 05:40:38 PM EST
Polls currently point otherwise. We shall see how they materialise into real voting.

Although ignored by some of the media, what has happened in Portugal the past 14 months is leaving many scratching their heads.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 07:17:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that attached to the right comment? I'd be very interested to hear about what happens in Portugal but I don't see a direct connection here?

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 08:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 08:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we're already seeing a psychological and political circling of the wagons as a result of Brexit and Trump. The demos is not as dumb as we sometimes (and our elected leaders always) think, and is looking for reliable ramparts against right-wing demagogues. This may give encouraging election results in France and Germany at least (not sure about Italy...)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 5th, 2017 at 09:58:04 PM EST
I have tried to build on that thought here.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 03:20:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson.
 After following the motorcycle guys around for months, Thompson concluded that the most striking thing about them was not their hedonism but their "ethic of total retaliation" against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which they felt they'd been counted out and left behind. Thompson saw the appeal of that retaliatory ethic. He claimed that a small part of every human being longs to burn it all down, especially when faced with great and impersonal powers that seem hostile to your very existence. In the United States, a place of ever greater and more impersonal powers, the ethic of total retaliation was likely to catch on.   

What made that outcome almost certain, Thompson thought, was the obliviousness of Berkeley, California, types who, from the safety of their cocktail parties, imagined that they understood and represented the downtrodden. The Berkeley types, Thompson thought, were not going to realize how presumptuous they had been until the downtrodden broke into one of those cocktail parties and embarked on a campaign of rape, pillage, and slaughter. For Thompson, the Angels weren't important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics. As Thompson presciently wrote in the Nation piece he later expanded on in Hell's Angels, that kind of politics is "nearly impossible to deal with" using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.

[...]  though Thompson's depiction of an alienated, white, masculine working-class culture -- one that is fundamentally misunderstood by intellectuals -- is not the only one out there, it was the first. And in some ways, it is still the best psychological study of those Americans often dismissed as "white trash" or "deplorables."

by das monde on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 11:59:00 AM EST
Yes Hillary really put her foot in it there, revealing how much she had been absorbed by the elites and helping to crystallise opposition perspectives of her. A really bigly faux pas. It's true.

However at the risk of being dismissed as a white intellectual, it is hard to see hells angels as the vanguard of a new revolution: rather they are more likely the residue of the old, left behind by new technology and globalisation - trends they are unlikely to be able to reverse despite their ethic of "total retaliation".

Trump will have his day and wreck his destruction.  It will make damn all difference to globalisation or its losers.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 02:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump will have his day and wreck his destruction.  It will make damn all difference to globalisation or its losers.

I agree with the first sentence but not the second. Trump is already making a difference in that he is tipping the outcome of the form of governance globalization will take towards a loose oligarchy of totalitarian states - some of the communist variety others of the 'Western' fascist variety. Who are the major players? The USA, China, Russia, India and the EU are about it unless the EU collapses, in which case it will be replaced by a disparate collection of relatively minor states at odds with each other. The last is, in fact, a reasonable definition of the present EU, but there still remains the whole. Only if that whole reforms itself so as to heal its internal wounds can it really hold its ground going forward, especially absent US support.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 03:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an interesting take. It certainly chimes with some other commentary I've read about attitudes in some rural areas

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 09:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That such leaders were collaborating with communists supported by the USSR or by Cuba is not the same thing as accusing them of being spies.  Such collaboration was open, public knowledge, usually by the leaders themselves, just like the wave of Latin American "21st Century Socialists" openly collaborate with Cuba, Iran, and Russia during the past decade and up to the present.

So, which, if any of such leaders were actually falsely accused of being foreign agents of Soviet intelligence, which would support your argument that US intelligence agencies are actually bad at discovering such evidence?

by santiago on Tue Feb 21st, 2017 at 03:34:10 PM EST
That such leaders were collaborating with communists supported by the USSR or by Cuba is not the same thing as accusing them of being spies.
By that very interesting interpretation of the English language, Trump hasn't actually been accused of anything of the sort either.

That's the thing, really: No accountability, no actual accusations, just a lot of thinly veiled smears by unnamed paid liars.

Now, I don't particularly care that Trump gets smeared, but I do care that Russia gets smeared with Trump, because that's going to end poorly for everyone except the mirrorshade brigade.

So, which, if any of such leaders were actually falsely accused of being foreign agents of Soviet intelligence, which would support your argument that US intelligence agencies are actually bad at discovering such evidence?
Allende, Mossadegh, Tutu, and Mandela, just off the top of my head. With Allende they even went so far as to write their paranoid conspiracy theories into a book, which they circulated in the Chilean officer corps. We know that because they got careless and had it circulated in the US as well, which at the time was considered a faux pas by the Church Committee.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2017 at 07:15:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's just look at Allende since you've emphasized him. Whatever his bonafides may be, and I find many reasons to support him (not least of which is that he was elected by Chilean voters in well-conducted, transparent election), he was openly proud, as were the majority of Chilean voters who elected him, of the support he received from Cuba and the Soviet Union. It was part of Allende's new foreign policy that included a state visit from Fidel Castro himself.

There was no need for paranoia by the CIA, because Allende's foreign policy and domestic policy already publicly announced socialism and supporting policies of land confiscations and redistribution of anything over 80 hectares and similar initiatives, and he came to power in a a election on making a hard shift toward socialism and affinity toward Cuba and the USSR, not hiding it all.

The reason the CIA got involved in overthrowing Allende had nothing to do with falsely making Allende out to be an extreme socialist leader of a potentially new wave of anti-US governments in Latin America. Allende was openly exactly that kind of leader and had openly campaigned on that platform, similar to the leaders of Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia today. That's why such evidence does not support an argument that US intelligence agencies do not know how to do effective counterintelligence work.

Similarly with Trump today, he actively campaigned and won an election where he argued for supporting Russia in Ukraine and Syria instead of opposing, and his affinity with Russia has been public knowledge. The only additional information intelligence agencies have brought to bear is that Russia has expended effort to influence the election, on his behalf.

Whether Trump knew this and coordinated with Russia on this or not is immaterial, as is whether Russia could extort him to control like a low-level agent or not. What we do know from all that has been publicly acknowledged so far is that the Russians helped put Trump in the White House, so that must serve their interests.

This means, getting back to the argument of Luis's post, that we cannot use historical interpretations of national interests to explain what the US is doing anymore. We must include Russian interests in that analysis, and while supporting the EU and its development has always been an explicit part of US foreign, economic, and security policy since WWII, the fact that it has always been contrary to Russian interests have much more to do with the US putting anti-EU diplomat as its envoy, not historical US interests.

by santiago on Tue Feb 21st, 2017 at 08:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason the CIA got involved in overthrowing Allende had nothing to do with falsely making Allende out to be an extreme socialist leader
Except we know it had everything to do with that, because, again, the Church Committee helpfully declassified a lot of the internal goings-on. We know that they libeled Allende as plotting a coup, and we know that he wasn't - or at least US intelligence had no evidence or even indication that he was.

Similarly with Trump today, the allegations are not that he has a sensible Russia policy (which he pretended to have, although of course that evaporated as soon as he left the campaign trail). The allegations are that he is a Russian agent, and that the Russian state is actively colluding with him to illegitimately intervene in US elections.

What we do know from all that has been publicly acknowledged so far is that the Russians helped put Trump in the White House,
That is an exaggeration bordering on libel. Russia sponsors some English-language outlets for dissidents, most of whom are pretty crackpot. When the US does that to other people, it's called promoting democracy and a pluralist media landscape (and lord knows the US could use both, though I'm not convinced that the Kremlin is the best place to go learn about them). Everything beyond that is conjecture and claims of the same apparent veracity as the blood libels against Allende.

Trump, of course, is no Allende, so it's not laughably idiotic the way the smears against Allende were. But US intelligence has enough of a history of smearing Russia that merely passing the giggle test just isn't enough. Boy who cries wolf and all that.

This means, getting back to the argument of Luis's post, that we cannot use historical interpretations of national interests to explain what the US is doing anymore. We must include Russian interests in that analysis,
Except, of course, that Trump did a 180 on all of his sensible Russia and Syria policy as soon as he no longer needed to beat the Democrats over the head with the utter, blithering idiocy that was Candidate Clinton's Syria and Russia policies. He's gone right back to a very, very conventional American position on these matters since the coronation. The most parsimonious explanation that fits all the facts is that his campaign did a little polling and figured out that the rysskräck wasn't playing well with their target demographics, and that's really all there is to it. Now, maybe there's an elaborate conspiracy involved that only the brave patriots at the CIA have been able to penetrate, and which they can't prove because it would compromise their highly placed sources in the GRU. Maybe.

Or maybe the mirrorshade brigade is as full of shit as they usually are, and using the excuse of state secrets to avoid having to cop to not having done their homework. As usually turns out to be the case on those occasions where the public gets to read long courtesy of a subpoena or a whistleblower.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2017 at 10:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia sponsors some English-language outlets for dissidents, most of whom are pretty crackpot. When the US does that to other people, it's called promoting democracy and a pluralist media landscape (and lord knows the US could use both, though I'm not convinced that the Kremlin is the best place to go learn about them). Everything beyond that is conjecture and claims of the same apparent veracity as the blood libels against Allende.

Yes. That is the whole point. When the US does, in fact, fund democracy activities that benefit selected sides in political contests like elections, we know whose interests can no longer be separated from the interests of the United States. It does not matter at all whether such activities were even helpful or competent in any way. Just the fact that US made a serious effort to help one side in an election is enough to prove the connected interests of the beneficiary of US help and the US cannot be ignored.

For that reason alone, even if Russian help for Trump was ultimately amateurish, just the fact that they they sided with Trump and actively intervened in the election on his behalf, and whose isolationist policy changes across the board help Russia first and foremost, are enough evidence to conclude that Russian and US interests cannot be easily separated as long as Trump is president.

by santiago on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 04:48:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe Russia just hates Clinton, and would seek to harm her even if she'd been running against a certified paranoia case like McCain. It's not as though they don't have plenty of reasons to have a personal grudge against the Clinton clan.

Or just generally destabilize the US, on the theory that anything that falls out of the chaos is going to be preferable to the previous trajectory. That's usually a stupid theory, but spies seem to like it. It's certainly one that the US mirrorshade brigade has subscribed to often enough.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 09:22:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Family friends happened to escape the coup because the wife had an exhibition in Venezuela. They subsequently emigrated to the USA and became citizens. My wife went and stood with them as they took the oath. There were a few things they didn't quite understand about the USA. When they were registering to vote they asked where the Communist Party was. She had to explain that there was no sizeable Communist Party. I suppose they might have registered in the Peace and Freedom Party. It may have still been around back then, ('80s), but she suggested registering for the Democratic Party. Later I described the McCarthy era and the Hollywood Black List.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 07:24:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whether Trump knew this and coordinated with Russia on this or not is immaterial, as is whether Russia could extort him to control like a low-level agent or not.

I can't parse this. You say it doesn't matter if the US president's policies are in the interest of another country ( and every change in policy creates winners and losers so that is true of all presidents all the time ) or if the president is outright remote controlled by another government. Is that your position?
So what about Reagan who won the presidency partly because Iran delayed the resolution of the hostage crisis? Does the same apply here? Can US behavior no longer be understood without including Iranian interests? What about Nixon and South Vietnam?

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler

by generic on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 08:44:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your examples are a lot worse, because they were done in secret and had nothing to do with what they were campaigning on. Trump's Russia policy, like it or not, was exactly what he was claiming in his campaign, and is exactly what the Electoral College (i.e., the "American People") voted for.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 08:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which makes this all the more puzzling. What is supposed to be so new and exciting that Russia's alleged role in the election?

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 09:26:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But context is important here. One of the problems with Allende, IMO, is that 'Communist', in the US vernacular of the time and really to this day, to some extent, meant 'Leninist' - people who did not believe in 'the will of the people' and who, once in power, never considered not using force to remain. Once they are in they have to be overthrown. Very few US citizens had much idea of what French or Italian Communists Parties were about, but they certainly were not seizing power and never relinquishing it. And in the USA being a Communist meant being blacklisted, etc. Perhaps one could get a job for Harry Bridges - if they were good at their job.

As best as I can tell, Allende never intended and was never in the position to usurp constitutional power by force and maintain his grip on power for life - though that was how he was portrayed and perceived by most US citizens. Chile had the oldest functioning representative democracy in South America and Allende won his election by getting the most votes. Chile's military, on the other hand, held attitudes that would have been quite appropriate in Franco's Spain. More than anything, Allende was naive, and that is what led to his death and the death of much of Chile's intellectual elite, of whom my friends had been two.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 04:58:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have some personal experience with this, given my own connections with present day Ecuador, where the current government is pretty much exactly like Allende's and following the same policies that Allende ran on and briefly started implementing after being elected president, including land confiscations of any farms over 80 hectares in size (which is not really a very big, oligarch-sized farm at all).

The subsequent, 21st century success in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela of equally radical, socialist policy objectives to confiscate property, eliminate freedom of the press, and through constitutional changes cement institutions systems in place through which which ruling socialist parties retain extreme advantages in winning re-elections through control of courts, legislatures, election commissions, and even the media, were also all publicly part of Allende's vision for Chile decades earlier.

The fact that such policy objectives through non-violent, majoritarian politics were all eventually successfully implemented in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador a few decades later, explicitly following Allende's model and learning from his mistakes, shows that the threat perceived by people of moderate or higher wealth in Chile at the  time was perfectly rational.

Without excusing the horrendous, criminal mistake that Pinochet turned out to be, if you were at least moderately wealthy at the time in Chile, you had a very good reason to be asking the US Embassy for help in getting rid of the mobs of goons with the power of the state who were taking away your life's savings and work, as happened to many people in Chile after Allende was elected.

Likewise, for those of us who have farms of that size in Ecuador, Bolivia, or Venezuela today, it makes perfect sense, moral or not, to want overthrow the "21st Century Socialism" governments by any means necessary as our property gets confiscated and our advocates are jailed for speaking out against government corruption and things like that. Or, for those of us living in the US today, we have an equally rational reason, regardless of morality or legitimacy, to want to overthrow Trump's fascist administration before anything worse happens. Many people in Chile felt the same back then about Allende, and with perfectly good reason.

by santiago on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 10:30:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that it is rational for you and others with similar sized possessions to object, but, surely, it is just as rational for those with nothing to object to the preexisting situation. It is not like it was ever ordained by God, even if there was long great pretense that this was so. So some solution is required.

Land reform is popular in Latin America because it is practical for the people. 80 hectares is not a tiny farm. It is about 200 acres. The problem is that a lot of people, freshly given such a plot of land, would not immediately be able to make productive use of it. That would cause a drop in agricultural productivity in the country which would hurt everyone. And there will always be economies of scale for some types of agricultural endeavors.

The problem with a gradual approach is that it would likely be overturned before it bore fruit by the large land owners who would naturally be opposed. That is a recipe for bloodshed. It would seem that an alternative should be found - one superior to a repeat of the events of '72 except with a different set of victims.

It is quite reasonable to consider land as something that is a public common good and that the right to exclusive use should be a privilege obtained at a cost. That cost, in the form of a tax, could finance a gradual approach that included education and training before being able to undertake running your own farm, which, after all, would then also be paying the same tax, perhaps phased in over five or ten years. And, with good education, many more opportunities should open for young adults in non-agricultural occupations. But such a probaram would also be opposed by the beneficiaries of the existing system.

The great sin in Chile was the slaughter of such a large portion of the intelligentsia of the country in the stadium. The chief US interest served by that action was the protection of profit flows to US corporations and to a tiny number of very wealthy individuals who profited from the existing situation. Those mid-sized land owners should be preserved and/or indemnified.

The types of regimes Allende had and that Equator, Bolivia and Venezuela have do not pose a threat to any US interest other than the economic interests of a few wealthy individuals and the maintenance of the appearance that There Is No Alternative to the current world order. That might be more justifiable were the existing world order functioning a bit more effectively and better serving the interests of all, not just those who can afford to gather in Davos or attend a Bilderberg event. But it manifestly is not.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 04:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no real disagreement with you on any of your points about land reform here.  However, on this issue of US interests it is important to note the different geopolitical contexts between the 1970's when Allende was elected and the 2000's when the 21st Century Socialism wave occurred in Latin America.

In the 1970's the US was weaker politically, in still in a real contest for power over the world it conquered in WWII, due to certain rebellious Communist powers armed with nuclear weapons. A wave of anti-US, democratically elected governments throughout Latin America of the kind that occurred in the mid-2000's would have been very precarious for a US that was still struggling for supremacy with the USSR at the peak of its power.

By 2005, the US was supreme again in the world by any objective measure, with its own military expenditures being more at the time then those of the entire rest of the world combined, while still being a very low percentage of total US GDP historically and compared to other countries. There was no threat from communism, so if some Latin American countries wanted to experiment with it on their own, so be it, was the US foreign policy at the time.  President Obama would subsequently make statements to that effect when criticized why he wasn't more harsh with people like Hugo Chavez. But this was not the world in 1970 for a US seeing communism on a winning streak everywhere.

 

by santiago on Fri Feb 24th, 2017 at 05:04:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eliminate freedom of the press.
snicker

Because of course having five families own all the local language TV stations and newspapers is the very definition of a free press...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 09:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
which, if any of such leaders were actually falsely accused of being foreign agents of Soviet intelligence

Patrice Lumumba is a very telling and tragic example. Here is JFK upon learning that Lumumba has been killed (a couple weeks late):

And within the US, the was McCarthy and HUAC. The most dramatic accusations of prominent New Dealers Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White appear to be officially true, but the circus was epic.

by das monde on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 01:46:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the 'epic' link above:
According to John Loftus, the former Justice Department Nazi hunter, the two men first came in contact in late 1945, when young naval officer Richard Nixon was shuttling up and down the East Coast, wrapping up war-related business for the Navy. While sifting through the military paperwork, Nixon came across eye-opening Nazi documents that had been shipped to an old torpedo factory on the Virginia side of the Potomac. Some of these documents revealed how the Dulles brothers had helped launder Nazi funds during the war. Loftus, citing confidential intelligence sources, alleged that Dulles and Nixon proceeded to cut a deal. "Allen Dulles," reported Loftus, "told him to keep quiet about what he had seen and, in return, [Dulles] arranged to finance the young man's first congressional campaign against Jerry Voorhis."

A juicy confirming tidbit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 at 05:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
4 dead Russian Diplomats in 3 months
Vitaly Churkin was one of the wisest voices in international diplomacy.  His voice will no longer echo in the halls of the United Nations. Articulate, polite yet commanding, wise yet affable, he oversaw some of Russia's and the world's most important events in a position he occupied since 2006 [...]

Each death took place on foreign soil. Mr. Karlov's killing in particular, exposed the weakness of his security contingent. If security was that weak in a comparatively volatile place like Turkey, it goes without saying that security in states considered more politically stable would be even more lax.

by das monde on Fri Feb 24th, 2017 at 05:06:00 AM EST


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