Café Babylon’s War and Peace Report

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A week ago, Japanese lawmakers passed legislation expanding the nation’s military’s role for first time since WWII.  According to David Swanson:

“At the end of World War II, the war’s losers in Japan and Germany were put on trial for an act that had been perfectly legal until 1928, the act of making war. In 1928, the global peace movement, led by the U.S. movement for the Outlawry of War, created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty that prohibits all war, a treaty to which most nations of the world are party today.”

He of course notes one can take that pact with a grain or two of salt, then explains:

“At the end of World War II, long-time Japanese diplomat and peace activist and new prime minister Kijuro Shidehara asked General Douglas MacArthur to outlaw war in a new Japanese constitution. The result was Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution, the wording of which is nearly identical to that of the Kellogg-Briand Pact.”

He then cites several instances of Japan refusing US requests to throw out Article Nine, but:

“Now, at U.S. urging, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is attempting to formally throw out Article Nine, or to “reinterpret” it to mean its opposite. And the Japanese people, to their everlasting credit, are in the streets defending their constitution and their culture of peace.”

Once the lower house in Japan okayed war in early September, hundreds of thousands of concerned Japanese citizens staged massive protests, seemingly to no avail for now.

The LATimes quotes a higher approval rate for the legislation than the following video, but notes:

“Many legal scholars and a former Japanese Supreme Court chief justice opposed the bills as being unconstitutional.

The legislation will substantially expand the powers of Japan’s military, which has been limited to self-defense activities under the constitution enacted in 1947 under U.S. supervision.

The legislation does not annul Article 9 of the constitution, which declares that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

Yet the new laws institutionalize “collective self-defense,” allowing Japan to come to the aid of allies during war, even if Japan is not attacked. Abe’s government has stated that by expanding the ability of the Self-Defense Forces, it will make Japan’s alliance with the U.S. more robust and evenhanded.

Given that I don’t read German, I can’t verify this report at RT, but if it’s so, it’s a brazen move, indeed.  ‘US to bring in new advanced nuclear bombs to Germany – report’.

“Starting third quarter 2015, the US Air Force is starting preparations to bring in new B61 nuclear bombs to Luftwaffe’s Büchel Air Base, according to ZDF TV channel. German parliament previously called for American nukes to be removed.

The base in Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany hosts German Panavia Tornado multipurpose aircraft that are capable to deploy the USAF nuclear bombs stored there under a nuclear sharing deal. The base is the only location in Germany that has nuclear weapons since 2007 and has 20 of them, according to the Royal United Services Institute. [snip]

Moscow has been critical of the entire nuclear sharing program between the US and European countries, saying it breached the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which forbids the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear states. Washington insists the NPT does not forbid it to keep nuclear weapons in Europe as long as they remain under control of the US troops.”

Related: Helen Caldicott at RT: ‘US and Russia ‘playing nuclear chicken with each other’

From, Sept. 10: ‘Brazil-US Accords: Back to the Backyard?

““Today we inaugurate a new phase in bilateral relations concerning defense. With the two operative agreements, we lay out a positive agenda of advances in military and technological cooperation between the two countries,” Brazilian Defense Minister Jaques Wagner stated, after a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on June 29th. As we shall see, Wagner wasn’t exaggerating.

The next day, President Barack Obama didn’t hesitate in declaring his “absolute confidence” in Dilma Rousseff when the bilateral summit concluded in the White House. “She, who has always been very honest and frank with me, fulfilled what she had promised.”

According to Clarín correspondent Eleonora Gosman, Obama “was referring to two military agreements that the president [Rousseff] had gotten Congress to vote on shortly before traveling to Washington. They were agreements ordered by the head of the White House himself, for whom they were key themes of this bilateral summit.” But Obama went further: “Brazil is an absolutely indispensable partner in facing global challenges…it’s not just a regional leader, it is a global leader.”

Under the heading The Enigma of Defense Agreements:

“The official statement says the agreement “will allow the update of joint training, courses, and internships, and will facilitate trade negotiations for equipment and armaments.” It also includes the meeting of defense institutions; students, instructors, and training personnel exchanges; ship visits; and the development and implementation of defense technology programs and projects.

Minister Wagner, along with seventeen businessmen from the Brazilian Association of Defense and Security Industries, presented main defense programs to the US Chamber of Commerce and made clear the desire of his government to “expedite bilateral agreements that encourage greater strategic partnership.”

It’s quite long, and I’ll read it to readers to make of it what they will, especially looking toward the future of global realignments as we are.  Ah, and Dilma’s remarks lauding the OSA, barely mentioning UNASUR or CELAC, nor dialoguing  with those socialists in Venezuela was revealing to the author.

War by Incarceration: ‘The Empire Files: Enter the Biggest Prison System in History;  the Empire holds by far the most prisoners than any other country on earth, in both absolute numbers and per capita. Abby Martin explores the dark reality of conditions in America’s prisons, who is warehoused in them, and how things got this way.’

How far will the war on Jeremy Corbyn, the new head of the Labor Party in the UK, go?

Tariq Ali writes this and more:

“Last Sunday [20 September] a serving General in the British Army publicly threatened mutiny and a possible coup if Jeremy Corbyn  were to be elected Prime Minister and attempted to carry through his policies. He was mildly rebuked by the Ministry of Defence.

‪The General is being effectively backed by Hilary Benn, reappointed Shadow Foreign Secretary by Corbyn. Benn junior is threatening to vote for bombing Syria and is strongly opposed to ditching nuclear weapons.”  (more from tariq ali on the ‘combined attack’); he doesn’t mention Corbyn wanting the UK out of NATO;  them’s fightin’ words, among other of his platform particulars.  You’ll likely remember that in March of this year, Obama had declared Caracas a threat to US national security.

Ah, and the War on organized labor may be decided soon.  ‘Friedrichs v. CTA: the Supreme Court Case That Could Destroy Labor Unions as We Know Them’, by Andrew Stewart

“For the uninitiated, the Friedrichs case follows close on the heels of the Harris v. Quinn decision, an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that laid out for the so-called ‘Right to Work’ anti-union movement exactly what would be necessary for the Court to destroy labor unions. In his majority opinion, he explained that the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education ruling contained some ‘anomalies’ regarding free speech. In the 1977 case, the Burger court ruled that unions had the right to collect dues from paychecks, collectively bargain for employees, and endorse political candidates. Friedrichs was customized to reverse that decision and turn the entire public sector into a Right to Work bastion overnight.

In the ‘Questions Presented’ section of the Petitioner’s Brief, they serve up a century of labor battles on the executioner’s slab with glee:

* Whether Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), should be overruled and public- sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment.

* Whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

Based on the votes in Harris, it is abundantly clear that the usual suspects, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Roberts, will be in the majority and those who say otherwise are simply out of their minds. In the span of mere minutes, middle-class jobs will go from some of the most coveted in the job market to having the same security and value as those of McDonalds.”

On the same subject is ‘The Right to Strike ; “Right-to-work” is coming to the public sector. The key to survival is social movement unionism’ by Ari Paul.

Yash Tandon, a  Ugandan policymaker, political activist, and so forth, calls the WTO ‘a war machine’, and writes about the upcoming WTO Ministeril Conference in Nairobi, the first ever on African soil.  He defends his worthy title, and offers challenges to the coming conference.  After a section of Marx’s claims about trade, he adds this:

People in the West believe that with the end of colonialism, the Empire has ceased to exist. Not so. It has simply muted into a ‘multilateralised neo-colonial system’. Instead of Britain ruling Kenya or France ruling Algeria, it is the Empire of the US, Europe, Japan that now reign over the Global South. They created the principal instruments of global economic governance –the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO, and they are still busy creating others such as the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements) and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – structures of dominance that I discuss in future blogs.”

Yes, perhaps these are slower wars, less kinetic, including the TPP, which the Globe and Mail says will receive its (hoped for) final push at the end of September.

“An effort to land a massive Pacific Rim free trade agreement within weeks is under way, raising the prospect the wide-ranging Trans-Pacific Partnership could dominate the final stretch of the Canadian election campaign.

Chief negotiators for the 12 countries involved, including Canada, will begin meeting in Atlanta on Sept. 26, and trade ministers will join the next week, possibly Sept. 30, a Canadian government official said.

The United States and Japan, the two most influential players in the 12-country negotiations, are behind this effort to conclude a deal. The United States is trying to establish a North American-style trading and investment regime for commerce in Asia that becomes the dominant standard and acts as a counterweight to Chinese influence in the region.”

And, ah, yes; Obama knows that getting the bill through Congress might be…challenging.  We certainly hope so.

A piece of good news from Eyes On Trade at Public Citizen:

“In a major victory against the corporate-driven trade model, the President of Uruguay has announced that the country will be leaving the controversial Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.

Uruguay’s initial decision to join the TiSA negotiations was met with strong and vocal opposition. Last month, more than 40,000 protestors shut down the city of Montevideo for a 24 hour general strike in which the TiSA was a major issue. The Frente Amplio (FA), Uruguay’s leading political party, passed a resolution calling for Uruguay to leave the negotiations, and yesterday, Uruguyan President Vázques officially announced Uruguay’s departure. Uruguay’s decision is in no small part thanks to the tireless efforts of many activists, labor unions, environmental organizations, and other civil society groups in the country.”  (more here)

Would you choose more war over the possibility of more wealth equality and actual socialism? ‘Don’t Get Berned Again! The Sanders Bribe’ by John Walsh.

The Pro-Empire Candidate

“We have heard Sanders’s defense of the Israeli atrocities in the bombing of Gaza, his call for Saudi Arabia to do even more killing and his concern about Putin for – well, being Putin and Russian. Thus Bernie is joining a cheering section that could root us right into nuclear war and oblivion.”

After giving credit where credit is due:

Bernie’s Bribes

The fundamental problem with Sanders’s campaign is that it is based on bribery, and an especially immoral sort of bribery at that. For Bernie promises more social benefits if we, the beneficiaries, let him continue the Empire’s warfare – both economic and military. That is a most unsavory sort of bribe. Basically he gives us butter if we give him guns to kill innocents.

Sanders’s stance is the essence of every imperial candidate. On the Republican side, the goodies promised are tax cuts in return for the electorate’s backing of wars. In fact this is the tactic of every Empire. The British provided unparalleled freedoms at home while they raped much of the globe. Even in the Roman Empire a citizen had privileges, which non-citizens lacked. For example a Roman citizen convicted of a capital crime was not executed by the horrendous torture unto death of crucifixion – unless for treason, that is, a lapse in loyalty to the Empire. Bernie is only the latest to promise the imperial citizenry more goodies if we are loyal to the Empire.   This does not mean that Bernie is worse than the other candidates – only that he is no different from them. He is simply more of the same.”

Related: The Truth About Chávez; Bernie Sanders is wrong — Hugo Chávez was no dictatorby Gabriel Hetland 


Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.

 ~Edward Said

40 responses to “Café Babylon’s War and Peace Report

  1. what a difference some realpolitik can make: ‘Russian aircraft in Syria consistent with ‘force protection’, says John Kerry – video’

    “Secretary of state John Kerry says the US military has assessed that the type of Russian aircraft in Syria is consistent with protecting their own forces, and calls on Russia and Iran to be helpful in ending the four-year conflict. Kerry also said Russia’s long-term aims in the Syrian conflict were still raising questions about Moscow’s intentions in the country”, of course. can we have a li’l more har-har, please? ;-)

  2. Ai Wendy. When Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy I already expected waves of scurrilous attacks that misrepresent his character, beliefs, political stands and the results that his policies would produce. I just expected them from the right and not from the left.
    I have experienced considerable affect from the insane and vitriolic attacks from supposed peace activists. Usually it is just in the comments but you bring one that leads with a lie. Bernie doesn’t make promises – he lays out policies that favor people over profit and tells them they can have it if they lay aside all differences and form a movement to effect a political revolution. No goodies are promised, just solidarity in restoring and upgrading the social compact. It would be libel if Bernie weren’t a public personage.
    And the paragraph you quote… oy
    The way it progresses …
    Sanders is every imperium
    Republicans… (this bit is false in fact and analysis)
    The British
    Every Empire
    The Romans crucify the disloyal
    Ummmm … what happened to the Democrats?

    And the last few sentences strongly infer a blood libel.
    –goodie: not getting crucified except for treason
    –license: [to be the Roman Empire?Crucify Jesus?Destroy the Jewish nation?]
    –goodie: more goodies if you are loyal
    –license: [Who would Bernie invade?]

    the inference is actually strong in the context of the paragraph and whole piece of shit . Loyalty to the Empire is clearly described as license to kill, letting the Empire rape, murder, dominate and exploit. Violating the peace. The text actually says (through more in more goodies) that Bernie will not crucify you if you are loyal – see above (loyalty to empire text is almost exactly parallel). Just take a gander at this form of the contrapositive(?):
    Bernie won’t give you goodies unless you go along with kiling
    And you know that is exactly the point John V. Walker is trying to make.
    And THAT is utterly false.
    Now move the analogous case (they’re all the same):
    [Jewish] Emporer Bernie will crucify you unless you let him crucify Jesus and cause diaspora.
    The analogies combine because the author draws the lines between them all saying both that they are all the same and that Bernie is the same as all that one paragraph. This is not a stretch this paragraph clearly states all manner of personal libel that is untrue and infers blood libel that is damn near white supremacist hate speech.
    If you tell me I cannot form the inferences above than you tell me who would Bernie invade or dominate or bomb? Factual references please – from his own lips. Every attack Ive seen plays fast and loose with the facts (or makes them up) and many draw inferences from isolated bits of his record.
    Bernie would help Saudi Arabia take down ISIS – if that nest of father-beheading, mother-raping, daughter-enslaving, son-conscripting religio-ethnic-cleansing freaks belongs in anyone’s lap it is Saudi Arabia. Not that they would ever do it, but it is a fine thing to call them out for it. They created that monster after all. Just think … a President who DOESN’T suck up to Saudi Arabia.
    I have yet to hear Bernie respond to the subject of war with out going to the cost of war as borne by the veterans. Not the strongest response for peace, but always going to the cost of war. The only time he talks about the subject is when someone brings it up otherwise it is all political revolution all the time. Consider that Bernie just might be somewhere between a non-interventionist and an isolationist. Bernie has already offered to abolish multiple large segments of the corporate world and undercut others including big pharma and fossil fuels. Don’tcha think he might be a bit too busy to pursue an expansive imperial agenda?

    Also in the last week, upon questioning Bernie called out ‘every major defense contractor’ as guilty of fraud and named several types of cuts including the stuff used to project force aroud the world. In.The.MSM.
    His reticence about specifics could mean unprepared, preparing, sandbagging or just maybe his reticence is actually reticence. He has gotten out in front of every other issue I think he would prefer to sandbag Clinton at the debate with a Positive foreign policy Plan so she will look aggressive, disingenous, and scattered in what is presumed to be her strongest area. I say give it a month or two. Bernie will have to roll out a foreign policy or flop in the polls. You should not be at all surprised if his foreign policy meshes with his domestic agenda – note where he always says he wants US to be the world leader… hint: transforming our energy supply away from fossil fuels. Does that sound like it relates to the previous Bush Empire policies? We’ll see by Thanksgiving or 2nd debate.
    That Bernie’s bribes garbage wasn’t worth printing the first time.
    I could shred most of it on fact AND analysis – it is a nasty heap of lies.
    Calls Bernie’s Iraq vote a difference from Clinton smaller than what fits under a snake’s belly – Bernie foretold ISIS in the speech he gave with his vote – 12 years ago in 2002. Railed against it because total breakdown.
    When people distort and lie to turn him into an imperialist and then claim they are making an ethical argument – their hypocrisy damages the cause of ethics and the cause of peace.
    This wasn’t my best argument but maybe now I can go to sleep.
    Should have been in bed many, many hours ago.
    Thanks for the target practice.
    Blessed Be!

    • hola, lemoyne, and you’re welcome. (although i’m not sure what your ‘blessed be’ signifies). ;-)

      yes, walsh engaged in some strong polemics, didn’t he? and in the main, i agree with him, though my ears hadn’t been tuned to listen for (on edit) dog whistle buzz words of anti-semitism. but perhaps your ears are too attuned to that frequency; who can say?

      you made me laugh as so many others have, defending bernie for not having a foreign policy page…yet. oh, yes, so busy with other things he might not make more war with those drones he loves (just a li’l less bug splat, please!) and the biggie is the claim that honest to gawd, he’ll enunciate his FP later. gee golly whillikers, lemoyne: the man has been in congress since 1990, and the senate since 2006. he might have been considering his beliefs and positions now and again over 25 years, yes? ;-)

      ‘calling out waste and fraud in the DoD’ is boilerplate, though. calling out putin and advocating for more sanctions isn’t about defending the empire? cripes, how many times has putin saved the obama’s bacon as far as more war? even now in syria, or rather: again, in syria.

      (ha; i heard the shhhhhhhhhhht of a burner, and sure enough, when i got to the exterior bedroom door i saw a hot air balloon sailing low over the garden.)

      did he not approve the bombing of palestinians in gaza? his new bff brother west said so. cornell seems to think he can influence the man; we’ll see. i liked this from the dave swanson link, speaking about the interview bern did on npr:

      “Blackmon at the very end asked Sanders to say something about foreign policy. Sanders replied with the 2002 Iraq vote. Then Blackmon mentioned Saudi Arabia, including its slaughter in Yemen, but rambled on until it became an unrelated softball. Sanders nonetheless brought it back to Saudi Arabia and insisted that Saudi Arabia should “get their hands dirty” and take a much bigger role in a war against ISIS and generally lead the wars with U.S. support.
      Who has dirtier hands than Saudi Arabia? Is this some kind of a sick joke?”

      why yes, our partners in peace, the saudis. did bernie support r2p libya? i vaguely remember that he was on the fence about it back in the day. that’s of course, part of the genesis of isil, although you’d mentioned ‘not finishing the job in iraq’ on another thread; each to his/her own on the ‘necessity of war’, i reckon.

      i’m not grasping your contention about this, but i’ll consider it later: “The text actually says (through more in more goodies) that Bernie will not crucify you if you are loyal – see above (loyalty to empire text is almost exactly parallel)”.

      but fook me, when he’d trashed hugo chavez as a dictator, yada, yada, that was the final nail in the casket for me. pffffft. talk about no solidarity for struggling bolivarist/socialist nations!

      you may not have heard how many alleged progressives dismiss out of hand bernie’s statements on drone-love, saudi arabia, and his history of support for israel’s bombing…because he is the champion of ‘regular people’s economic conditions’. sure, i like that, as well, and he’s been dubbed ‘the Occupy candidate’ in some circles. but for me, war is one huge litmus test. sorry to have to be on the other side, and yet…i must, lemoyne.

    • i’d like to add a bit more from dave swanson’s essay:

      “Nobody has asked him about the 54% that by the calculation of National Priorities Project is military. Nobody has asked him if Eisenhower was right that military spending produces wars. Here are 25,000 people who want to know whether and how much Sanders would want to cut military spending.” [snip]
      “When he is asked about wars and says Saudi Arabia should pay for and lead them, nobody has followed up by asking whether the wars are themselves good or not or how the theocratic murderous regime in Saudi Arabia which openly seeks to overthrow other governments and is dropping US cluster bombs on Yemen will transform the wars into forces for good. Since when is THAT “socialism”?

      If you go to Bernie’s website and click on ISSUES and search for foreign policy it’s just not there. He recently added the Iran agreement, after the fact, in which statement he says that war should “always be on the table” even though the U.N. Charter ban on threatening war makes no exception for candidate websites.”

      “Jeremy Corbyn just won leadership of the Labour Party in England by promoting socialism at home and actively opposing wars and seeking peace. What is Bernie afraid of?”

      (No Nato, no trident submarines, etc.) of course he didn’t know at the time some military would threaten a coup, of course… ;-) but his stock has gone way up in the UK, cameron’s way down.

      but if one believes that war is either the answer, or a good answer…

    • lemoyne: “If you tell me I cannot form the inferences above than you tell me who would Bernie invade or dominate or bomb? Factual references please – from his own lips.”

      let’s hear it from his own lips, then. (remembering that later he’d said that war on iran is ‘always on the table’). does this segment say contrary to your statement, that he believes the US (or did he say ‘America’?) should have the strongest military on the earth. (refresh to hear the whole raddatz interview, if you care to.)

      does he know how many nations are under the NATO ‘umbrella’ by now? 60 and counting, and side deals O seems to be making…. genocide? well, if you look at just african genocides, would he be on the right side or the wrong side as the Empire has been all too often? when does ‘as a last resort’ actually kick in, save for rhetoric, lemoyne?

      • Bernie the “socialist” has wide berth for his sleek hegemonstrosity here – it’s easy to be the lesser hegemonster amongst exceptional hegemonsters.

        Bernie’s ridiculous gambit, the droning socialist is almost satire. Which is more malleable, his militarism or his socialism? But Bernie might be a double fraudster in that his socialism has no vitality and his militarism no vision.

    • Perhaps a little sleep is the better part of discretion?

      Sanders’s Iraq vote suggests he is not as reckless or bloodthirsty as Killary, but that is setting the bar somewhere beneath the belly of a viper.


      Calls Bernie’s Iraq vote a difference from Clinton smaller than what fits under a snake’s belly

      We cannot deconstruct Saunders demagoguery with such hysterics.

      • feelin’ a bit on the wry side today, comrade? ;-) mr. castle’s not so bad at polemics himself, i note.

        so as not to take up a whole ‘nother comment space, because i do need one more, i should have given mafr a hat tip for the great war tune. it struck me that when i’d used the word ‘zionism’ while asking him what issues at FDL were bugging him, he said that the use of that term made me anti-semtic. well, in the eye of the beholder, i guess. (i did not realize that.)

        • Yes, prosemites are very good at finding nails.

          • lol; when your comment came in (oddly and rarely) via email, i read it in the same way i read yosemite sam’s name in the bugs bunny comic books: ‘yosse-mights’. ooopsie; how embaraskin’ to discover…

          • it occurred to me to note that all semitic folks are in favor of what the government of israel does, as in the authors at mondoweiss, jewish voices for peace, and others. some, of course, call them ‘self-loathing jews’, but that slur is just plain ugly and false.

            it also occurred to me last night about bernie’s ‘genocide’ as a worthy cause for war: who would he trust to call out genocide? i remember seeing photos of movie theater poster-sized plexiglass-framed messages of thanks to NATO by human rights watch slightly post r2p libya. wow.

  3. this looks like an interesting piece, and looks like it will answer a few pieces of the labor puzzle for me. ‘US Labor Law at 80: the Enduring Relevance of Class Struggle Unionism’, by Immanuel Ness

  4. can’t help myself:

  5. My own reading is that both Putin and Obama understand each other clearly about nuclear weapons and about the domestic politics that continues to drive them. Domestically the neo-conservatives in both parties have to have something as an issue and in the national security state in the US that has gotten pretty much every thing it has asked for creating a gotcha political issue on national security has become pretty difficult. So the US, which cannot build out nuclear weapons has to “upgrade” them. So what upgrading means is restoring depleted nuclear material and deteriorated circuits and switching systems with upgraded forms of all of that along with any technical changes to boost or more accurately control yield that are allowed under the technical agreements with the START II agreement. For the US, that starts on an existing base of bombs categorized by the Pentagon as B61, whose original development ran from 1960 into the 1980s. They were reported to have been partially mothballed after the START I agreement. Certainly the rest were covered by the strategic forces stand-down status that has prevailed since then. What the RT report seems to say is that the US is swapping out old B61 series weapons for those upgraded under the Strategic Forces Modernization program. Russia (and China) have something similar going on. And the standard public line is that the other guy is ahead. What seems to be the bottom line of the case is that stuff that is stored deteriorates and must be brought back to readiness–just in case. Twenty-six years after being on a 24-7-365 hairtrigger for the latter days of the Cold War (even China), it was time for what should have been a routine maintenance but could not be sold as such because of mutual suspicions and verification of existing agreements. This is really an excellent time for Obama, Putin, and Xi Jinping to initiate START III but to do that in domestic politics there needs to be a bit of a flap that then can be solved through negotiations. Not that there isn’t some heaving diplomatic lifting to bring US and Russian nuclear weapon counts down to where China has to give up a symbolic little number to have them at parity with its numbers. And there is the always the matter of extablishing how to county sophisticated multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicle carriers, throw-weights of carriers, and matching complements and explosive tonnage equivalents of the warheads themselves. What is parity for different force structures. Finally, how do the nuclear nations tell those who are still aspiring that the supposed gains in national security did not occur and certainly did not justify the large cost in development, storage, and figuring out how to use them as a deterrent.

    I’m not sure what continued deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe, especially in Germany, adds to US strategic posture other than a matter of a few minutes in launch time. That is, unless the rotation also upgrades some of the Congressional members’s most favorite words “tactic nuclear weapons”, which might be their sole purpose–ensuring that some pea-brain member of Congress gets his wish that we not turn out backs on Barry Goldwaters favorite pet project and the one that did him in as a Presidential candidate in 1964. The “Daisy” film that LBJ’s team put together but never aired hit directly as Goldwater’s advocacy for using tactical nuclear weapons — during the Cuban missile crisis, in Vietnam, wherever. It was like a fetish for some members of Congress who were never clear of the difficulties of troops fighting in a post-nuclear landscape.

    Do I sense Brazil moving into a special agreement with NATO and tiptoeing away from the Bolivarists under threat of a return to military rule using the movement for impeachment of Dilma Roussef, or am I too far ahead of the story? Watch for similar moves on South Africa, leaving BRICS as RIC. Also watch whether Brazil and South Africa are able to maintain accounts in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as investors in Eurasian growth; I thought I saw some articles of some relationship with the AIIB.

    The only question about Donald Trump is whether he can break the GOP billionaire king makers by king making himself.

    The only interesting question about Bernie Sanders campaign is whether a candidate can build a grassroots base without kowtowing to the national media or financing his own opposition with large media buys of political ads.

    Those who are voting have 5 to 10 months to come to a decision on a primary candidate and 13 months to make their minds about a general election candidate. Both of those decisions can be best made the week before you have to vote. Those who aren’t voting don’t really have to pay attention at all. It’s pretty much that simple this year, which is not at all optimistic for the voting folks this year. Unless something happens to dramatically upset the inevitable Republican House and Senate prognoses. Or something happens outside of the electoral process that is hugely disruptive or transformative. (I’m not seeing either of those either).

    • you’d mentioned O firing petraeus on another thread. emptywheel has a post up about john mccain introducing P’s ‘redemption tour’, and his (unsworn, of course) testimony before some congressioanal committee yesterday or so. whether or not she was intentionally funny may be open to some amount of interpretation.

    • thanks for explaining what an ‘upgrade is’, and all the rest. right on cue is ‘‘Kremlin promises ‘counter-steps’ in reply to US deploying nuclear weapons to Germany’

      one interesting gambit/contention after ‘balance of strategic power in europe’,

      “The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova earlier told ZDF that Russia was deeply concern about America’s plans to bring new nuclear weapons to Germany. She noted that Russia has reduced the number of tactical nukes it keeps by four times since the 1990s, while Moscow has also called for an international treaty, which would allow nuclear powers to only keep atomic weapons on their own territory.

      “The comprehensive analysis of the situation points to the threat posed by the increasing military capability of NATO and its endowment with global functions, which it performs in violation of the international law, as well as the encroachment of the military infrastructure of NATO members on the borders of the Russian Federation,” Zakharova told German reporters”

      i guess i kinda read the dilma/O pact that way, as well. dunno about the AIIB; didn’t brazil fund it somewhat? or at least had planned to. the ANC has turned out to akin to ‘meet the new bad guys’, firing on miners, yada, yada.. wow, though, the shifting sands.

      a few nations in our bckyard have thrown out some NGOs, i do like to see that. esp. USAID, iirc, and some home-grown ones, as well. and oh, yes; venezuela has taken notice about bernie’s characterizations, although i haven’t read the article in their newsletter yet. so many head-swiveling developments.

      now arriana’s hubbie’s bid failed an age ago; was he running for prez or for the senate?

      well…that may be an interesting question about bernie’s campaign, but not the *only* interesting one, imo. and some of may indeed vote, but not in the presidential race. (wiggles eyebrows) ;-)

      interesting final sentence, tarheelDem.

  6. Hegmonsters make law by breaking law; it’s an branch of reality-making. While Russians protest the US’ enhancement of its endowment in violation of international law, Prosemite Sam Powers, humanitarian imperialist, threatens the UN that it may be surpassed in merit in this Darwinian Universe, in which case Prosemite Sam will have forum-shopped a replacement.

    If only this shit had been a black comedy script 30 years ago …

    Don’t miss that Billy Goates is paying for this to be brought to our attention …

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Go back to hell, hegemonsters.

  7. Also brought to you by Billy Goates:

    UN security council must be revamped or risk irrelevance, Kofi Annan warns

    Former secretary general says if the security council does not appoint new permanent members then its primacy may be challenged

    The good german DC apparatchiks must go on worldwide intervention, too.

  8. In a situation where [member states] are divided, what can we do?”

    Um, prosecute war crimes, shithead?

    • and, ya know…address this heinous problem: ‘ UN criticised for failure to pursue rape allegations against staff’; investigation finds two thirds of internal UN probes into alleged rapes by peacekeepers not passed on to national courts

      and yet that report says that the US is adverse to expanding permanent seats, contra Sam Power.

  9. Sanders […] insisted that Saudi Arabia should “get their hands dirty” and take a much bigger role in a war against ISIS and generally lead the wars with U.S. support. [Take that you dirty commie peace-nik …]

    I wouldn’t put it past the goygogue to say he’d pay for his “humanitarian imperialism” with progressive taxation.


    • david swanson wasn’t sure what ‘it’ meant here, but you may be correct:

      “After the taping of the show, a member of the audience asked “But how will you pay for it?” What the “it” was went unstated, but presumably it wasn’t the military which is considered cost-free in such discussions. Sanders answered with progressive taxation. No mention of the military.

      Later in the audience Q&A, Sanders brought up Eisenhower without mentioning the military.

      Here are tips for future interviewers of Bernie Sanders:

      As you know, Bernie Sanders focuses on money issues, taxing the rich, spending on the poor, but has thus far been permitted to engage in the general practice of speaking only about the 46% of federal discretionary spending that it not military.”

      but when bernie said at the start of his campaign that MLK, Jr. would have approved his being president (some hubris, eh?), it caused me to think that he had only known the ‘i have a dream’ MLK, not radical anti-war MLK. one of the reasons that i love the gorka ‘war makes war’ song up yonder is that he uses a couple MLK quotes in it.

  10. Shite, humanamality endures (fingers crossed) another age of elite anarchy. ‘Going by the book’ is superceded by ‘whatever suckers will allow’.

  11. Progressive Arizona congressman Raúl Grijalva expressed dismay [about a GEO Care contract yet …], Grijalva [‘s and Sanders’ …] bill […] contains specific exemptions allowing [it].


    Sanders’ bill also […] made an exception for private prison companies to provide services and operate facilities involving inmates outside prison walls [and] allowed for the government to compel individuals to participate in certain treatment programs or live in certain residential centers [and compel them to pay the] fees.

    How do you like neoliberal bullshit, baby?

    • my goodness; good on sonestein for digging into it. the leftish bloggers are going crazy with glee over the ‘reform bill’. true, it seems better than the status quo, but i guess we must remember this molly ivins-ism:

      “the bidness of america…is bidness.”

      i saw the headline to a piece recently that said its content would show the insane financial impact to women whose mates were in prison. i assume that would be true in the reverse situation. my.stars. do you know if bubba clinton;’s ‘three strikes’ is still the law of the land?

  12. Water wars here are ongoing…sublime good news from sensible human beings:

    For Immediate Release
    Written by Juliee de la Terre MS
    10567 Hyw A
    Viola, WI 54664
    Ho-Chunk Nation Gives Rights to Nature
    Ho-Chunk Nation adds “Rights of Nature” to their constitution
    Madison, Wisconsin, September 19, 2015

    Over nineteen hundred Ho-Chunk tribal members gathered on a balmy early afternoon at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin on September 19th, for the annual General Council. Major tribal issues are taken up and voted on by a quorum of the Ho-Chunk population. The Ho-Chunk tribe has been severely affected by the unregulated effects of frac sand mining, Bakken oil transport, high capacity wells and industrial agriculture to name a few. Near Tomah, sacred ceremony grounds are now surrounded by four frac sand mines which interrupts ancient cultural practices with blowing silica dust,twenty four hour light pollution and truck traffic essentially turning
    the area into an industrial zone. Historically, the Ho-Chunk people respect the natural world and believe that when nature is viewed as only property it no longer has rights or value. Tribal member William Greendeer introduced a resolution to amend the Ho-Chunk constitution that would give rights to nature. It passed by a majority. “This is so exciting” says Greendeer, “now maybe we can finally keep our water, air and environment healthy by having a larger say in what activities happen in our communities.”

    Juliee de la Terre, adjunct professor at Viterbo University has been working with William for quite a while on this issue. “The Rights of Nature” is more than an legal instrument it is an international movement meant to acknowledge that all natural systems need to be preserved in order for our planet to remain habitable.”

    “The Ho-Chunk Nation has always respected the earth, says William, but we were made to adopt a constitution based on roman law that makes humans more important than everything else. By passing this resolution we are acknowledging how important nature is. We are just one part of Mother Earth, not the center of it.” for more information go to www.

    • well, hello, stranger! how good it is to see you, and with such inspirational news and the link to their coalition website. so good to see vandana shiva’s involved.

      evo morales, of course, had granted the environment/planet the ‘rights of personhood’, but sadly, by now he seems not to be treating the indigenous ‘persons’ in bolivia so very rightly.

      but ooof, do i have a song for you, although i admit one line has me a bit baffled, but it’s likely a metaphor, given gorgka’s other lyrics.

      water wars here are heating up, as well. and speaking of Imperial Wars, and thanks to Tom Englehardt (via RT):

      ‘US special operations forces deployed to 135 countries in 2015 – report’

  13. Comrade Sourpuss:

    The extent of the military publicity, and the absence of opposition to it, also means that it is not merely this proposal or that point of view that is being pushed. In the absence of contrasting views, the very highest form of propaganda warfare can be fought: the propaganda for a definition of reality within which only certain limited viewpoints are possible. What is being promulgated and reinforced is the military metaphysics—the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.

    Military metaphysics. Yes, the Zionists are on top of that, even labeling their tacticians “military philosophers”. I’ve heard it said that this trend is ancient, though.

    • ‘military philosophers’ i hadn’t heard. not knowing the context in which he said that, i suppose he’s referring to western media scribes for the military? but here’s wendymcElroy, whoever she Is:

      “(C. Wright) Mills concentrated on America’s post-WWII institutions that he believed had fundamentally changed as a result of war. He wrote of “a military definition of reality” or a “military metaphysics,”which largely resulted from America’s new warlords. By this word, he meant the military elites whose power had swelled in an unprecedented manner and spilled into otherwise civilian realms. “Since Pearl Harbor those who command the enlarged means of American violence have come to possess considerable autonomy, as well as great influence among their political and economic colleagues….In and out of uniform, generals and admirals have attempted to sway the opinions of the underlying population…to controversial policies….In many of these controversies, the warlords have gotten their way; in others, they have blocked actions and decisions which they did not favor. In some decisions, they have…lost. But they are now more powerful than they have ever been in the history of the American elite; they have now more means of exercising power (in many areas of American life which were previously civilian domains) they now have more connections; and they are now operating in a nation whose elite and whose underlying population have accepted what can only be called a military definition of reality…” The most dramatic expression of post-war “military metaphysics” had come in the area of American foreign policy.

      Earlier in American history, international relations had been the province of diplomats and negotiation, with war – when declared – being the province of the military. The post-WWII world, however, had declared an indefinite Cold War, and it was “seemingly total and seemingly permanent.” It was a world in which “[p]eace is no longer serious; only war is serious. Every man and every nation is either friend or foe, and the idea of enmity becomes mechanical, massive, and without genuine passion.” When diplomacy aimed at resolving conflict was seen as “appeasement” or unpatriotic treason, then there was no “active role” for the diplomat. And “diplomacy becomes merely a prelude to war or an interlude between wars” because “the diplomat is replaced by the warlord.” The reason? Because officials fear peace much more than war. Power elites across the board – political, economic and military – are dependent upon the war economy and the international status it provides to the U.S.” ~ wendy mcElroy

      and of course the generals are in think tanks, retired ones on the teevee as ‘experts’ (for pay), or switching back and forth from the public to the private ‘defense’ sectors as advisors, heads of raytheon, general dynamics. but think what the end of the cold war that never stopped, has wrought.

      well, i’ll soon stick up a ‘when forced frenemies met: putin and obama’ or something when i can. so many chores with my name on them.

      but sure, there’s little room for actual diplomacy with this Empire.

      • “The Lab”

        “Shimon Naveh, a military philosopher, is shown pacing through a mock Arab village that provided the canvas on which he devised a new theory of urban warfare to deal with the second Palestinian intifada, after it erupted in late 2000. UN states fail to reach arms trade treaty

        In the run-up to an attack in 2002 on Nablus’ casbah, much feared by the Israeli army for its labyrinthine layout, he suggested that the soldiers move not through the alleyways, where they would be easy targets, but unseen through the buildings, knocking holes through the walls that separated the houses.

        Naveh’s idea became the key to crushing Palestinian armed resistance, exposing the only places – in the heart of overcrowded cities and refugee camps – where Palestinian fighters could still find sanctuary from Israeli surveillance.”

        Aw, for the love of Gawd?

        • i won’t bother asking what his ‘philosophy’ might amount to. but as for Old Sourpuss on your next comment, nah. it’s part of the surplus labor equation, but far from all of it.

          those polemics fail with their coking, oily, underwater feel, bringing depression without clarity. one-dimensional, i’d say. but that’s just me. that photo of him with abby martin’s arm around his shoulder was exactly how his visage seems to match his sour pontificating. no wit, no style, no relief. pfffft.

          • It amounts to silver for comprador-interlecturer-murderers.

            Nah-saying, meaning what? “capitalists create pools of surplus labor” for “easy fodder for the military and ready candidates for underpaid jobs without benefits or job security.” You can list a couple higher priority motivations?

            When you can’t stand imagining Sourpuss, you shut out his reductions, too? If your reaction is common, maybe this is why he’s allowed to continue to speak the truth.

  14. Comrade Sourpuss:

    The hypermasculinity of the military, celebrated by Hollywood and the media, is seductive to an underclass trapped in menial, dead-end jobs. Empires feed like vultures on these pools of frustrated surplus labor. They manipulate their feelings of powerlessness. This is why capitalists create pools of surplus labor. Those who are desperate to secure a place in society are easy fodder for the military and ready candidates for underpaid jobs without benefits or job security. Our corporate, neofeudal society is by design.

    The Martians were coming, Mr. Wells.

  15. Here is the 2017 rewrite of the Pledge of Allegiance: I pledge allegiance to misogyny, racism, greed and rich old white men’s rule. To the Repugnant’s & Alt-right, one White Nation, armed to the teeth, with total surveillance, coercion, confiscation and imprisonment for all who dare to disagree with us…..I, Anal (jt)Rump, seconded by Jeff Sessions approve this pledge signed January 23, 2017……”Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American People.” H.L. Mencken 1921

  16. zounds; this is an old thread. i reckon i should read it again when i have time. mencken’s right, but old white Rs are more odious than old white Ds? can’t see it on the whole, myself.

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