Sat Feb 17th, 2018 at 07:30:03 AM EST
Craziness! A Russian troll farm destroying American democracy? The Americans have been doing an excellent job themselves over the last few decades. The crumbling Empire of Pax Americana. Navel staring by US bloggers has led to stalemate and depression. America has so much to give, it's Washington DC that's not functioning as it should in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
○ Meet Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian Oligarch Indicted in U.S. Election Interference | NY Times |
Putting blame on outside forces will bring another great war so much closer. Thinking of the Doomsday Clock!
American democracy is doomed | Vox - Oct. 8, 2015 |
But voiced in another register, my outlandish thesis is actually the conventional wisdom in the United States. Back when George W. Bush was president and I [Matthew Iglesias] was working at a liberal magazine, there was a very serious discussion in an editorial meeting about the fact that the United States was now exhibiting 11 of the 13 telltale signs of a fascist dictatorship.
More below the fold ...
The idea that Bush was shredding the Constitution and trampling on congressional prerogatives was commonplace. When Obama took office, the partisan valence of the complaints shifted, but their basic tenor didn't. Conservative pundits -- not the craziest, zaniest ones on talk radio, but the most serious and well-regarded -- compare Obama's immigration moves to the actions of a Latin-American military dictator.
In the center, of course, it's an article of faith that when right and left talk like this they're simply both wrong. These are nothing but the overheated squeals of partisans and ideologues.
At the same time, when the center isn't complaining about the excessively vociferous complaints of the out-party of the day, it tends to be in full-blown panic about the state of American politics. And yet despite the popularity of alarmist rhetoric, few people act like they're actually alarmed. Accusations that Barack Obama or John Boehner or any other individual politician is failing as a leader are flung, and then abandoned when the next issue arises. In practice, the feeling seems to be that salvation is just one election away. Hillary Clinton even told Kara Swisherthat her agenda as a presidential candidate would be to end partisan gridlock [NY Times].
○ George Bush becoming more popular in time
○ 12 Days That Stunned a Nation: How Hillary Clinton Lost | NBC News - Aug. 23, 2017 |
Munich Security Conference: America's Trump is putting Europe on the defensive ...
EU's new defense union must not undermine NATO, warns Stoltenberg | DW |
The US fears the EU could undermine NATO if it uses its military cooperation pact to protect the bloc's defense industry. NATO's chief warns there is "no way" the EU's armed forces pact could replace the alliance.
On the eve of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg cautioned EU partners not to weaken the alliance with their new armed forces pact.
It wouldn't make any sense for "NATO and the EU to start to compete," adding that there was "no way" the agreement, known as PESCO, could replace the transatlantic alliance in guaranteeing Europe's safety.
Europe-US Divisions on Stage at Munich Security Conference | Military Daily |
Germany's defense minister opened a major security conference here Friday by urging Europeans to rally together and become more independent of the United States.
"We want to remain trans-Atlantic, but we also want to be more European," Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said inside a Munich convention hall filled with leaders such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
"We intend to work on an army of Europeans," von der Leyen said, apparently referring to a plan adopted by the European Union in December establishing a defense and security network including 25 of the bloc's 28 members. According to the EU, the nascent defense pact will provide for greater cooperation among member states through joint projects aimed at boosting the union's military capabilities.
Over three days, scores of military leaders, heads of state and diplomats are meeting at the annual Munich Security Conference. Mattis and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster are leading the U.S. delegation.
The gathering is happening at a time of widespread global tension: North Korea, Syria and a more aggressive Russia are matters under discussion.
"The world has moved closer, much too close, to a brink of major interstate war," said Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference.
Yet unease over Europe's relationship with the U.S. was apparent at the start of talks.
Von der Leyen took subtle jabs at a shift in U.S. policy under President Donald Trump, who has emphasized U.S. military power in his approach to foreign affairs, but has blasted institutions such as the United Nations.
In Munich, Warnings Of Nuclear Confrontation, 'Major Interstate Conflict' | RFERL |
The dangers of nuclear proliferation and talk of a "dire" global security situation dominated the opening of a high-profile security conference featuring world leaders and other top officials.
The battered relations between Russia and the West, as well as the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, are also at the forefront of the annual Munich Security Conference that kicked off on February 16 and has drawn world leaders and top officials.
Addressing a conference hall in Munich packed with dignitaries, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the risks emanating from North Korea's nuclear activities, which have ratcheted up tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
"For the first time since the end of the Cold War, we are now facing a nuclear threat, a threat of a nuclear conflict," Guterres told the gathering in the southern Bavarian city.
Netanyahu to Follow Putin in Munich Wake-Up Call to the West | Bloomberg |
A decade ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin chose the West's annual security conference in Munich to say "what I really think" about the U.S. Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu plans to use this week's event for a similarly blunt wake-up call about the threat of war with Iran.
"The prime minister will tell the world if you want to avoid a huge war in Israel -- stop Iran," said Yaakov Amidror, a retired general and former Israeli national security adviser.
Netanyahu has used other high-profile platforms -- including the U.S. Congress and United Nations General Assembly -- to highlight the existential threat he sees from Iran's alleged nuclear-weapons program. On Sunday, when he addresses the Munich Security Conference, he's expected to focus on Iran's conventional military entrenchment in Syria.
Israel feels increasingly abandoned as regional partners prioritize their often conflicting interests in Syria's seven-year civil war, now that a common enemy -- Islamic State -- is largely defeated. That has left Israeli leaders with an unpalatable choice: Tolerate a permanent Iranian military presence on their border, or risk going to war to prevent it.
US-Israeli Policy in the Middle East - Create chaos and in the end confront Iran .... first Iraq and then Syria!
Came across this headline, need an explainer on this one!
○ Saudi-Russian Agreements Result with Two Nuclear Reactors in 2018 | Asharq Al-Awsat |
Posted a new diary @BooMan today …
○ The Intercept: GCHQ Intrusion into Belgacom, an Ally