First, bernhard at Moon of Alabama offered this two days ago: ‘”Above All” – The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power’. He opens with:
“In an advertising campaign in 2008 the U.S. Air Force declared itself to be “Above All”. The slogan and symbol of the campaign was similar to the German “Deutschland Über Alles” campaign of 1933. It was a sign of things to come.
On Thursday Masha Gessen watched the press briefing of White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly and concluded:
The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments.
- Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military. …
- The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do. …
- Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs. …
- Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country. …
Gessen is late. The coup happened months ago. A military junta is in strong control of White House polices. It is now widening its claim to power.
All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle, the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon’s proxy defeated the CIA proxy. (Last months’ fight over Raqqa was similar – with a similar outcome.)
Yes, we all got a chuckle at the notion that Libruls all of a sudden adore the CIA… #theResistance
b continues to make his case by way of earlier warnings such as on the first day of Herr T’s presidency ‘The military will demand its due beyond the three generals now in Trump’s cabinet’:, then references the firing of his ‘ideological pilot’ Steve Bannon (less war, not moar war, according to b’s link. That led to a big win for ‘Bannon’s militarist enemy’ National Security Advisor General McMaster, had won. He’d then stated in his Aug. 24 ‘Notes On The Junta, An Unnecessary Land-Corridor And A Regular Russian Maneuver’: ‘A military junta is now ruling the United States’.
He’d noted that Herr Tee’s cabinet and inner circle is overly-replete with battlefield generals and military men, and along the way notes that Herr Tee has a weakness for the military since he attended a New York military academy during his youth.
He then references the huge flap over the four US special ops soldiers who were killed on the border between Mali and Niger, including:
“One of the soldiers who were killed in Niger while “teaching how to respect human rights” was a 39 year old “chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist” with “more than a dozen awards and decorations”
….and most head-smackingly (okay, theirs, to say the truth) ignorant comments that ensued by Herr Tee, John Kelly in a press briefing, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. But I’m sure you’ve seen them all.
Next: ‘The US lurches toward military dictatorship’, wsws.org, October 23, 2017
Similar coverage of the Kelly, Huckabee skin-crawling statements concerning not questioning 4-star generals save for those families of dead war heroes, and all that rot.
“Kelly’s remarks evoked such defensive statements not because they challenge nearly 250 years of civilian rule in the United States, but because sections of the US political establishment see it as necessary, at least for the time being, to cloak the massive power exercised by the military over political life with the formal trappings of civilian rule.”
ABC’s ‘This Week’ had apparently felt a need for distancing the military from that flavoring that they had on David Petraeus to pontificate with his version of the folks Wearing the Uniform™ have died for your freedom to express yourselves! (prolly no laugh-track, either…)
“This task, however, is increasingly difficult. Shortly after Petraeus’s appearance, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he had an extraordinary exchange with moderator Chuck Todd. Asked whether as Senate Democratic leader he had been briefed on the situation in Niger, Schumer nonchalantly replied, “Not yet.”
When Todd asked whether Schumer knew the US had a thousand troops stationed in Niger, Schumer replied, “Uh, No, I did not.”
But back to ABC and Martha Neo-con, war porn loving (formerly ‘embedded w/ the troops’) Raddatz:
“In the midst of host Martha Raddatz’s interview with Petraeus, the program cut to a prerecorded segment showing Raddatz on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan as it carried out a war exercise off the Coast of North Korea, with Raddatz declaring enthusiastically, “The Sea of Japan is bristling with warships.”
(Statement from the US Pacific Fleet Commander)
One high-larious paragraph at the end:
“The Sailors can go shopping, tour the city, sample the cuisine, or just relax after the challenging schedule of being at sea. For others, there will be opportunities to take morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) trips to different cultural, religious, adventure or sport centers in the area.” (Oh- and give back by way of community service, of course.)
But remember: Not Provocative, just Scheduled Drills as Usual, Tillerson says he’ll keep hoping for dialogue with Pyongyang…until the first bombs drop.
Damon did note that there’s been some consternation from the press, namely Erin Burnet on CNN’s ““A military dictatorship: that appears what the White House thinks the United States is,”, as well as the ever-creepy (some name as CIA) Masha Gessen thing in the New Yorker.
“But this raises the question: Would the United States really need to have a coup to transition to military rule? Would it really look much different from today’s “democracy”? There would be the same parade of generals serving as talking heads on the news, the same “embedded” reporters interviewing commanders on the front lines, the same members of Congress (most dictatorships do not dissolve parliament) declaring they had “not yet” been briefed on what the military has decided to do.”
Damon then quotes the many Democrat mouthpieces extolling Herr Tee’s WH generals as the adults in the room, exercising restraint on him, and so on.
“The ever-growing power of the military in the United States is not some accident or fluke stemming from the personality of Donald Trump. Despite being at war for his entire two terms in office, Trump’s Democratic Party predecessor Barack Obama never once went to Congress for authorization to use military force, and he defended his orders for drone assassinations of US citizens as part of the prerogatives of the commander-in-chief.”
Interesting and insightful comments, as well.
Now in Brian Cloughley’s October 20, 2017 ‘Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa’, he widens the aperture.
“What had happened was that on October 4 in Niger in north-west Africa four American special forces soldiers were killed in an ambush by “fifty fighters, thought to be associated with ISIS [Islamic State], a US official said.” In the course of the attack, one US soldier — Sergeant Johnson — was left behind when the others withdrew, and was subsequently found dead. Nigerien soldiers were also killed, and it is interesting to examine how US media outlets recorded this aspect of what was obviously a disaster for US Africa Command, AFRICOM, the organization headquartered, bizarrely, in Germany, that has 46 military bases (that we know of) in that continent. (Niger, incidentally, is twice the size of Texas and about the same size as Peru.)
Cloughley fairly gags over the cavalier and careless media reporting of numbers of Nigerian soldiers killed, because: really, who cares? IQ contest with Rexxon, tra la la, but Brain reckon he wouldn’t be able to point to a map and identify all the nations that US ‘Warriors’ are fighting wars in Africa.
“As recorded by Alexis Okeowo in the New Yorker, “Publicly, Africa may not be on the radar of the Trump Administration, but it is a priority for the US military. At the moment, seventeen hundred members of the Special Forces and other military personnel are undertaking ninety-six missions in twenty-one countries, and the details of most are unknown to Americans.”.…even though many around the world know exactly what that feels like.”
Q: how many other shadow forces are there, including CIA, mercenaries like Academi, Erik Prince’s newest name for his gang of mercenaries?
“The United States military and the CIA have a large presence in Africa and, as recorded by Nick Turse in April, “A set of previously secret documents, obtained by TomDispatch via the Freedom of Information Act, offers clear evidence of a remarkable, far-ranging, and expanding network of outposts strung across the continent . . . AFRICOM lists 36 US outposts scattered across 24 African countries.”
“Mind you, it’s unlikely that very many Chinese citizens are aware of the deep involvement of their country in the African continent, either. But the difference between ephemeral US policy and long-term Chinese strategy is that Washington seeks domination, while China seeks trade, gradual influence and trust.
While attending the UN General Assembly in September President Trump addressed the leaders of several African nations at lunch. He didn’t mention drone strikes or Special Forces or CIA interrogation cells but made clear his enthusiasm for their countries by declaring that “Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets. It’s really become a place they have to go, that they want to go.”
Quoting the FT in June:
““In the past 15 years the level of engagement by Chinese state-owned enterprises, political leaders, diplomats and entrepreneurs has put centuries of previous contact in the shade . . . While Europeans and Americans view Africa as a troubling source of instability, migration and terrorism — and, of course, precious minerals — China sees opportunity. Africa has oil, copper, cobalt and iron ore. It has markets for Chinese manufacturers and construction companies. And, perhaps least understood, it is a promising vehicle for Chinese geopolitical influence.”
“General Waldhauser postulates that “Just as the US pursues strategic interests in Africa, international competitors, including China and Russia, are doing the same. Whether with trade, natural resource exploitation, or weapons sales, we continue to see international competitors engage with African partners in a manner contrary to the international norms of transparency and good governance. [wd here: anyone got a laugh track to embed?] These competitors weaken our African partners’ ability to govern and will ultimately hinder Africa’s long-term stability and economic growth, and they will also undermine and diminish US influence — a message we must continue to share with our partners.”
The author ends by noting that the US doesn’t have any real partners in Africa, but China has created many, then he quotes Forbes: “In December 2015, President Xi Jinping ushered in a new era of ‘real win-win cooperation’ between China and Africa. This strategy aims to create mutual prosperity, allowing investors to ‘do good while doing right.’ China has backed this proposal up with a commitment of $60 billion of new investment in major capital projects, which are tied to developing local economic capacity.”
“The message is clear. The US military-industrial complex has overtaken and indeed supplanted State Department diplomacy in Africa, as elsewhere in the world, and is intent on escalating its military presence while China is quietly winning friends and influencing people by engaging in massive, well-planned economic projects. No prizes for deducing who is winning in Africa.”
We can all hope that China is helping investors to ‘do good while doing right’; time will tell, I suppose. But it beats the hell out of war pillaging for fun and profit.
And last, from Dan Glazebrook at RT: ‘West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step
“What the Trump administration is doing, as it is doing in pretty much every policy area, is stripping the previous policy of its ‘soft power’ niceties to reveal and extend the iron fist which has in fact been in the driving seat all along. Trump, with his open disdain for Africa, has effectively ended US development aid for Africa – slashing overall African aid levels by one third, and transferring responsibility for much of the rest from the Agency for International Development to the Pentagon – while openly tying aid to the advancement of “US national security objectives.”
“In other words, the US has made a strategic decision to drop the carrot in favor of the stick. Given the overwhelming superiority of Chinese development assistance, this is unsurprising. The US has decided to stop trying to compete in this area, and instead to ruthlessly and unambiguously pursue the military approach which the Bush and Obama administrations had already mapped out.
To this end, Trump has stepped up drone attacks, removing the (limited) restrictions that had been in place during the Obama era. The result has been a ramping up of civilian casualties, and consequently of the resentment and hatred which fuels militant recruitment. It is unlikely to be a coincidence, for example, that the al Shabaab truck bombing that killed over 300 people in Mogadishu last weekend was carried out by a man from a town in which had suffered a major drone attack on civilians, including women and children, in August.”