Providing still more graphic proof of its pathetic and truly cringeworthy descent from the status of a great liberal paper to that of a shameless corporatist rag dominated by baseless Atlanticist talking points, Madrid’s El País has recently suggested that behind the current drive for a vote on independence in Catalonia there there can be found the diabolical hand of Putin’s Russia. In a story that appeared yesterday on the El Pais website, David Alandete wrote:
“The same apparatus for the spreading of fake news that Russia has used to weaken the United States and the European Union, has been deployed in full force in Catalonia, according to a detailed analysis of Pro-Russian websites and Facebook profiles carried out by this newspaper with tools of digital analysis. In the wake of the covert campaigns in favor of Brexit, Marine Le Pen and the German Ultra-right, the Kremlin has come to see the Catalan independentist movement as yet another way to deepen European divisions and consolidate its international influence. They use webpages that publish rumors, activists like Julian Assange, a legion of bots, and millions of automatized pages on social media to insure that lies are shared millions of times on the web.”
But the brilliant journalist at Spain’s leading newspaper was not content to stop with this morsel of infantile thinking.
Casting his eyes across the Atlantic toward the libertarian website, Antiwar.com. One of the very few media outlets in the United States which has covered the Spanish government’s ongoing coup in Catalonia, Alandete suggested that the site and its most important writer, Justin Raimondo, were integral parts of Putin’s efforts to undermine the West’s hallowed democracies.
I’ve watched the first three episodes of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick series on the Vietnam War, which take us from the French colonial period beginning in the 19th century to the end of 1965 and a mushrooming U.S. military commitment. The narrative thread, it seems to me, is the notion of the war as a tragic mistake, most especially for the United States.
The series begins with a voice-over that suggests the war was begun in good faith by America, even as other American voices in the series suggest otherwise. I kept a notebook handy and jotted down the following notes and thoughts as the series progressed:
There were divisions among the Vietnamese people, but they were more or less united by one idea: resist the foreign invaders/occupiers, whether that foreign presence was French, Japanese, the French again, American, or (both earlier and later) Chinese. And there’s no doubt Ho Chi Minh would have won a democratic election, as promised at Geneva. Which is exactly why that election never came. Continue reading “The Vietnam War: A Tragic Mistake?”
Donald Trump denounced North Korea and its president Kim Jong-un as "depraved" before the United Nations Sept. 19, saying the nation "threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life." Of course North Korea can barely feed itself, and yet has to defend itself against an onslaught of Western hostility, UN sanctions, and ongoing US/South Korean war games which are rehearsals for an invasion of the North. It tests rockets and bombs to be sure, just as the US and its allies and adversaries do all year round. It’s big business.
Trump’s claim that North Korea is threatening is preposterous since it has no deliverable nuclear weapons at all. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last week that North Korea is no danger to the United States. In June 2016, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that Pyongyang may have between 13 and 21 warheads. The CIA, whose job it is find hostile weapons (even where they don’t exist) says Pyongyang has at most about 21. US intelligence agencies’ combined estimates are that while it may have miniaturized a nuclear warhead, North Korea has no missile that can drop them on the United States. The Federation of American Scientists is more skeptical and estimates it has "potentially produce[d] 10-20 nuclear warheads."
Defense Secretary Mattis is worried about the military budget. No, he’s not worried that spending a total of more than a trillion dollars a year on the military might bankrupt the country and thus make us more vulnerable to outside forces with ill intent. He’s worried that our very survival depends on even more money for the military and no more yearly budget “fights” on funding the military. Even though Congress gave him even more than he requested, he’s worried. But what about the policy? What is the proper US role in the world a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War? Some “realists” are longing for the days of the Cold War, where America ruled the roost. Today in the Ron Paul Liberty Report: