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<i>Queen of Chaos</i> by <i>Diana Johnstone</i> (2015) (read in 2020)
<abstract>Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I've pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I've failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I'm happy for you.</abstract> This book is an unflinching history of the wars waged by the ostensibly post-Cold War United States (the last 30 years), with a focus on the so-called humanitarian bombings of the (now-) former Yugoslavia and Libya, the invasion of Iraq, the bombings of Syria, the sanctions and continued antipathy toward Russia as well as the machinations of NATO in Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe against both Russia and Iran. Woven into the narrative is the continued hypocrisy of purported purpose versus actual behavior, using examples from Honduras and Kosovo versus Crimea and Ukraine. The book only occasionally loops back to implicate Clinton herself, although she was right there at the forefront for much, if not all, of this foreign policy. Instead, Johnstone tells a broader story of a national narrative, of which the Queen of Chaos Clinton is only an excellent and fitting representative. Johnstone spares no acrimony for Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland and their poisonous worldview. She provides a tremendous amount of historical detail in a well-sourced, well-written, and eminently readable) book. It is damning of the U.S. and its purported moral high ground, summing it up early on as follows: <bq>The United States is an irresponsible empire. It devastates countries and leaves them in shambles, with no compensation. Its actions are increasingly destructive because the purpose is not in reality to build an empire, but to destroy real or potential rivals and so maintain the position of superiority gained in World War II.</bq> Again and again, she shows how things that "we all know" from American history are deliberate fabrications, propaganda intended to tell history from the point of view of those in power in the States. The U.S. won WWII on its own. They were never allied with the Soviets. The French ran with their tails tucked. The Berlin Wall signaled the end of the Soviet Empire---they were defeated rather than giving up. What would follow is an uninterrupted flow of lies, marketing campaigns for poisonous policies that benefited only a small cabal while killing millions and consigning millions more---even in the U.S.---to lives of despair. War would be made something palatable by making it seem like the most propitious and least-damaging of solutions to what seemed one intractable problem after another. <bq>Inherent in all this is an apology for “preventive” war. That is, unprovoked aggressive war, waged to “prevent” the rise of a rival, or to get rid of a dictator, or to head off some supposed threat, such as (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction. [...] This is the most blatant trick in the “preventive war” doctrine: <b>we may go to war to prevent something that never would have happened anyway, but since it didn’t happen, we can claim credit for preventing it.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> And war is only one policy that serves the primary goal: to ensure that this same tiny cabal---the 0.1%---continue to exert their control over the rest of the world. Globalization is also just a tool to enable these people to grow their empire and to never have to fear that they will lose their wealth, power, and luxury. <bq>[...] globalization means Americanization of the entire world. Our interests and values must prevail everywhere. In short, globalization means a world tied together by the universal penetration of financial markets in every sector of each national economy,</bq> In the propaganda war, the ideas of the left---progressives---must be subsumed, drained into a fallow field, where they won't cause any further trouble. To this end, the left has only too eagerly grasped the proffered <iq>consolation prize [of] ideological hegemony in the more sentimental area of human relations</iq>. That is, they've been distracted by the bauble of purported sociological control, completely unaware that it doesn't matter at all because they've long since capitulated any differing opinions on economics or determining the purpose and goals of society. <bq>Completely defeated in the area of economic policy, the left gets to define the dominant social doctrine, based on multiculturalism, concern for minorities, and anti-racism. <b>Americans are taught to judge the governments of other countries almost exclusively by how they treat pro-Western dissidents or select minorities.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> But even here, the hypocrisy is astounding, absolutely flabbergasting. Russia's "problems with gays" (a law forbidding "proselytizing" to minors about homosexuality) are considered nearly a reason to bomb it flat without a second thought while there is no issue at all with Saudi Arabia's death penalty for homosexuality. The media and most of the political apparatus in America is in agreement. They are either incredibly stupid, incredibly ignorant, incredibly brainwashed, incredibly hypocritical, incredibly Machiavellian or some disgusting combination of all of these. Thanks to the Internet, it <i>is</i> possible to find dissidents. Thanks to media monopolies, it's not even worth the energy to try to suppress them. The U.S. is only too happy to throw stones in all directions, framing countries as good or bad based on their own rules. Johnstone deftly slays this paper tiger. <bq>Gay rights – or rather “LGBT” rights – is now the one human rights area where the United States can claim to be “in advance” of most of the world. The issue can be used to attempt to discredit and embarrass other countries at a time when the United States is lagging behind in areas such as child mortality, income equality, life expectancy, primary education, and industrial productivity. As mentioned above, <b>there is one area in which it does lead the world: the size of its prison population. Surely this is a more meaningful measurement of the state of “human rights” in the United States than the legality of gay marriage.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> And don't forget that this supposed interest in gay rights---or any minority rights---is complete bullshit in the service of the higher goal of world ideological domination through capital. It's all in the service of the goal stated at the very beginning: <iq>destroy real or potential rivals</iq>. <bq>While the United States officially hails “multi-ethnicity”, ethnic minorities in China and Russia are clearly seen as weaknesses to be exploited in order to destabilize and even break apart these great nations into more manageable pieces, on the model of Yugoslavia.</bq> There is no concept too sacred to twist into a weapon in the service of this goal. Johnstone takes time to see the many ways in which accusations of "genocide"---instead of being using carefully and absolutely only where appropriate--are scattered about wherever the U.S. needs advantage. And the rest of the world kowtows to this linguistic bullying, for its own selfish reasons. <bq>Once a leader is accused of “genocide”, there can be no negotiations, no diplomacy, no attempt to find a peaceful solution to the conflict which is the background of the alleged crime. <b>The guilty party can only be indicted or killed.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> The pattern repeats itself endlessly and tiresomely. To these ends, the U.S. uses its massive media empire to tell stories about the rest of the world---narrative over which it has sole control, that it alone shapes. For example, during the Arab Spring, where the entire narrative was driven by interviewees who, judging by their accents, had obviously spent their politically formative years at American universities. We don't seem to have any problem believing "facts" delivered by people about countries whose language and culture they know nothing about and to which they've never traveled. It was the same in Serbia, where <iq>[r]eporters searched Albanian refugee camps for “somebody who has been raped and speaks English”.</iq> How much sense does it make to come to conclusions about foreign policy reported in this way? You can take the information in, but should reserve judgment rather than leaping to conclusions. What are the odds that the Washington Post or the New York Times has the story right about a policy in China when they get everything wrong about stories in their own country? Throughout the book, Johnstone takes issue with U.S. control of the narrative, the "framing" of issues, of large-scale ideas like international conflict. Even in this case, people are taught to think of actual wars like flame wars on the Internet: as differences in ideology. This is a luxury that only those in the relatively opulent West have. No-one really goes to war unless they are in desperate straits. No-one but empires. <bq>[...] the totally unproven assumption that wars are caused by differences in political systems rather than by competition for resources, territorial disputes, or any number of other conflicts that may arise. It rules out coexistence between systems; <b>the underlying implication is that our particular cause for going to war is to make every country resemble ours.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> Even granting that they may have started with the right aims, purportedly independent organizations like Amnesty International (and, even worse, Human Rights Watch) are subsumed by this worldview, trumpeting the U.S.'s truth and granting their implicit imprimatur. Each "win" advances the U.S. agenda more, moving it to its position as the "leader of the free world" in not only its own mind, but everyone else's. <bq>[...] the main object of the “Kosovo war” was to put the United States and NATO above the law, where they remain to this day. [...] The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were taken into NATO on the eve of the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.”</bq> This isn't to say that everything the U.S. does moves it forward inexorably on a track to world domination. It is a stupid, half-blind and <i>mean</i> beast. It blunders about, knowing little and learning nothing, shouting accusations and conspiracy theories, often unaware that it is getting in its own way. Those who always benefit continue to do so, but they also often create more problems for themselves as well as everyone else. They just don't suffer for it---except for maybe losing a bit on an investment once in a while. It's not even an efficient death machine. There is no more eloquent example of this than the mean-spirited and blinkered thinking that led to Gaddafi's ouster. Destroying Libya for revenge against a man who'd never really harmed them has loosed more problems on the U.S. strategy than they'd anticipated---not unusual, since policymakers there understand so little of the real world and believe their own bullshit. This is bound to hamper their plans. In the case of Libya and Gaddafi, it was about eliminating a successful, quasi-socialist regime that shared its country's wealth with <i>all</i> of its citizens. Chavez and now Maduro can tell the same story about Venezuela. So has it always been and so will it remain until the sun sets on the American empire: so terrified of the communists that they let the anti-communists destroy everything instead. Reading this book now---in a presidential election year where Hillary is opening her big yap again and Bernie is about to be torpedoed by the Dems again---is instructive. Johnstone eloquently lays out the limits of policy and ideology in the U.S. <bq>When it comes to domestic legislation, no truly progressive or egalitarian policies are feasible. However much they quarrel, both parties have accepted that domestic politics must conform to the interests of financial capital, “the markets”.</bq> This kind of single-mindedness isn't limited to Hillary. Though she was there at each critical juncture and is the Queen in the title, she is far from alone. Instead, the U.S. is full of people in power who are guilty of, <bq>[...] thoughtlessly endorsing the possibility of nuclear war with no more reflection tha[n] a sports star endorsing a soft drink. This frivolity indicates that the problem of Hillary Rodham Clinton goes far beyond a single individual and reveals a far deeper crisis in the American political system.</bq> <h>Citations</h> <bq caption="Page 9">The United States is an irresponsible empire. It devastates countries and leaves them in shambles, with no compensation. Its actions are increasingly destructive because the purpose is not in reality to build an empire, but to destroy real or potential rivals and so maintain the position of superiority gained in World War II.</bq> <bq caption="Page 19">While Zelaya was demanding to be reinstated, Hillary sought mediation between the “two sides”: the democratically elected President-in-exile in Costa Rica and the “temporary interim president” Roberto Micheletti, installed by the coup. In a sense, there were indeed “two sides”. It was a quarrel between those who had violated the constitution and the man whom they accused of wanting to violate the constitution.</bq> <bq caption="Page 28">Every four years, the U.S. two party system essentially gives voters a choice between only two candidates, both heavily vetted by billionaires and lobbies representing major corporations and financial interests. There is the Bad Cop, the Republican Party, and the Good Cop, the Democratic Party. They play their roles, but however they appeal to the voters, the first task of anyone who aspires to be one of those two exclusive candidates is to appear as the best investment for contributors who expect to get what they paid for. <b>When it comes to domestic legislation, no truly progressive or egalitarian policies are feasible. However much they quarrel, both parties have accepted that domestic politics must conform to the interests of financial capital, “the markets”.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> <bq caption="Page 32">Western media have managed to distort that decisive Russian move for peace by reducing the end of the Cold War to a single symbol: the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was more a spectacle than an historic event. The real event happened earlier: Gorbachev’s visit to the West German capital, Bonn, in June 1989, which sealed Moscow’s abandonment of the German Democratic Republic.</bq> <bq caption="Page 32">To fixate on “the Fall of the Berlin Wall” creates the impression that Eastern European changes were caused principally by a popular uprising of the people against communism. This interpretation obscures the historic decisions made by the Soviet nomenklatura.</bq> <bq caption="Page 33">It is doubtful that this was intentional or even conscious. A president with no strong foreign policy vision who reacts to unexpected events in unfamiliar places is inevitably manipulated by advisers with an agenda. In the American oligarchy, the President is a temporary chairman of the board who is there to take responsibility for actions decided in private sessions. He is there to sell policy more than to make it.</bq> <bq caption="Page 35">The Jackson-Vanik amendment merged main neoconservative themes which persist to this day: the assertion of U.S. power to dictate internal policies of other countries, hostility to Russia, devotion to Israel, and the use of “human rights” demands as grounds for economic sanctions or other forms of intervention.</bq> <bq caption="Page 36">Inherent in all this is an apology for “preventive” war. That is, unprovoked aggressive war, waged to “prevent” the rise of a rival, or to get rid of a dictator, or to head off some supposed threat, such as (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction.</bq> <bq caption="Page 36">The wars against Serbia, Iraq and Libya illustrate this principle, as all three wars were initiated to meet threats that were in reality imaginary. This is the most blatant trick in the “preventive war” doctrine: we may go to war to prevent something that never would have happened anyway, but since it didn’t happen, we can claim credit for preventing it</bq> <bq caption="Page 43">The military-industrial complex has no direction of its own, no philosophy, and no values. It is simply there, a monster which, as a planetary public safety measure, desperately needs to be tamed and destroyed. But instead of figuring out how to get rid of it, policy intellectuals contrive things for it to do.</bq> <bq caption="Page 47">But the present context is globalization, and for Americans believing in the exceptional nature of the United States, globalization means Americanization of the entire world. Our interests and values must prevail everywhere. In short, globalization means a world tied together by the universal penetration of financial markets in every sector of each national economy, thus allowing international capital to shape production, trade, and services via their own investment choices.</bq> <bq caption="Page 48">The United States has between 662 and over a thousand military bases or installations (depending on what one defines as such) spread across some 148 foreign countries, effectively controlling the armed forces of many of these nations through “aid” and “joint training programs”. The United States not only succeeds in using its influence to obtain trade deals to the advantage of its own corporations and financial institutions, it also feels free to violate the spirit and letter of free trade whenever it chooses to “punish” some country or other with economic sanctions.</bq> <bq caption="Page 50">In 1944, arrival of U.S. Armed Forces on the continent was indeed greeted as liberation. But after seventy years of protracted military occupation and political domination, this liberation might more appropriately be celebrated as a conquest.</bq> <bq caption="Page 55">Personal information can be used to frame, entrap, or eliminate anyone who might oppose a system where the concentration of power has grown to a point where ordinary people are forced to fight back. The surveillance machine becomes an important weapon in any state’s arsenal of repression. Some future leader, protecting the power of the ruling .01%, might say, echoing Madeleine Albright, “What’s the use of having that splendid repressive machinery if we don’t use it?” Like any powerful weapon, its masters can use its very existence as an argument for its use.</bq> <bq caption="Page 56">This session took place in the State Department, with thousands of participants via interactive videoconferences at 50 U.S. embassies around the world. Hillary trotted out her favorite image of a three-legged stool that upholds stable societies: “a responsive, accountable government; an energetic, effective private sector economy; and then civil society, which represents everything else that happens in the space between the government and the economy, that holds the values, that represents the aspirations.” This “stool” is actually the image of the bland governance of a corporate society: a government responsive to the demands of finance capital, a capitalist economy, and private, unelected and well-funded organizations that will determine “our values”. Note what is missing: a vigorous political life, scrupulously independent media, and an education system that prepares intellectually alert and critical citizens. Hillary said she was “very pleased to announce that we are more than doubling our financial support for efforts to respond to threats to civil society, to help human rights workers</bq> <bq caption="Page 59">Active “civil society” is a matter of minorities, very often relatively privileged minorities. However sincere, these educated, Western-oriented minorities active in human rights organizations can easily be seen as the beginning of a dominant managerial class in the globalized world that the United States aspires to create and administer.</bq> <bq caption="Page 61">For the left, the consolation prize is ideological hegemony in the more sentimental area of human relations, especially that of “human rights”. Completely defeated in the area of economic policy, the left gets to define the dominant social doctrine, based on multiculturalism, concern for minorities, and anti-racism. Americans are taught to judge the governments of other countries almost exclusively by how they treat pro-Western dissidents or select minorities.</bq> <bq caption="Page 63">Guilt over treatment of the Jews during World War II is the emotional core of a West European tendency to hold every national majority under permanent suspicion of oppressing minorities or of wanting to oppress them. Every ruler with a restive minority is suspected of contemplating genocide.</bq> <bq caption="Page 64">For some small ultra-left anarchist groups, the long-term prospect is a world without frontiers, in which everyone is free to move everywhere. National borders and nation states will disappear. These groups consider themselves radically anti-capitalist, but their ideal is identical to that of the capitalist globalists, who see more clearly: without nation states, private corporations and financial interests may rule the world unimpeded.</bq> <bq caption="Page 67">Gay marriage is not necessarily exportable, least of all to places where marriage is still considered an institution designed to ensure the security and identity of children born to a particular couple. Gay marriage echoes an historically very recent view of marriage as the happy outcome of a love affair.</bq> <bq caption="Page 70">The international campaign for LGBT rights has been poisoned by the inherent double standards of the U.S. position. Criticism of Saudi Arabia when it executes a homosexual remains toothless, with no threat of boycott or sanctions, in contrast to the uproar over nonexistent problems for gays in Sochi.</bq> <bq caption="Page 71">It is almost comic to recall that at the start of the Cold War, J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Joe McCarthy coupled homosexuality with communism as the main threats to America. Whereas the United States has become more sexually libertarian, Russia has become more conservative, more Christian, more puritanical. For decades, the West railed against Russia for its “godless communism”.</bq> <bq caption="Page 71">Gay rights – or rather “LGBT” rights – is now the one human rights area where the United States can claim to be “in advance” of most of the world. The issue can be used to attempt to discredit and embarrass other countries at a time when the United States is lagging behind in areas such as child mortality, income equality, life expectancy, primary education, and industrial productivity. As mentioned above, there is one area in which it does lead the world: the size of its prison population. Surely this is a more meaningful measurement of the state of “human rights” in the United States than the legality of gay marriage.</bq> <bq caption="Page 73">It seems to be forgotten in Washington that ostentatious prayer has always been considered in ages wiser than our own as a practice that should be rigorously banned from politics, for the simple reason that nothing is easier to fake than piety.</bq> <bq caption="Page 81">French intelligence believes Chalabi was an Iranian agent,</bq> OMG genius. <bq caption="Page 81">The plain fact is that Washington politicians are not very skilled at grasping the true intentions of sophisticated exiles from exotic regions. This should be one reason for caution in foreign adventures, yet it is a lesson that is clearly ignored.</bq> <bq caption="Page 86">Many in the West considered Bosnia to be “our Spain”, the combat of a generation. But in this case, instead of volunteering to fight for it themselves they were ready to send NATO.</bq> <bq caption="Page 87">Under the influence of memories of the Holocaust, the Serbs were accused from the start of genocide, an accusation that finally stuck after the massacre at Srebrenica. But the war might never have started, had Izetbegovic not been encouraged by Washington to reject compromise.</bq> <bq caption="Page 88">Since the civil war in Bosnia and the Kosovo war, most of the left has been inclined to support almost any minority in revolt against its government, regardless of the issues, and whether or not the demands were reasonable or just. Form had won over content.</bq> <bq caption="Page 89">While the United States officially hails “multi-ethnicity”, ethnic minorities in China and Russia are clearly seen as weaknesses to be exploited in order to destabilize and even break apart these great nations into more manageable pieces, on the model of Yugoslavia.</bq> <bq caption="Page 91">The U.S. anti-genocide campaign, by rating genocide as worse than war, and as something that war can prevent, actually ends up justifying war.</bq> <bq caption="Page 92">However, when Washington’s irregular Ukrainian allies can be seen on YouTube advocating wiping out the “excess” inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine in order to take their resources, while the official Ukrainian army shells civilian areas, the alarm bells remain silent in the genocide prevention establishment in Washington.</bq> <bq caption="Page 96">The Tutsis were a minority in Rwanda and could not expect to win the elections promised under the auspices of foreign powers in the attempt to negotiate a peaceful end to the civil war. The RPF needed a military victory to gain power and it used the April 6 attack on the presidential plane to break the truce and press for military victory. At the same time, desperate and enraged Hutus went berserk and plunged into a ghastly slaughter of those they took to be supporters of the advancing RPF. And yet, after his military victory, Paul Kagame was unbeatable. In August 2010 he won a second seven-year term as president with 93% of the vote, and a 95% turnout.</bq> <bq caption="Page 98">One can see similar behavior even in animals: it is fear, much more than hatred, which motivates such murderous reactions. If this is so, then campaigns against “hatred” are irrelevant. What is necessary is to avoid situations where fear reaches such a fevered pitch that blind, indiscriminate killing is the result.</bq> <bq caption="Page 99">This unipolar world, which Samantha Power defends passionately as the proper result of America’s unique virtue, is a major cause of deepening chaos. It doesn’t work and it can’t work.</bq> <bq caption="Page 100">It is also a political term. Once a leader is accused of “genocide”, there can be no negotiations, no diplomacy, no attempt to find a peaceful solution to the conflict which is the background of the alleged crime. The guilty party can only be indicted or killed.</bq> <bq caption="Page 102">An early neoconservative, Kirkpatrick was credited in Washington with the doctrine that it was perfectly all right for the United States to support regimes that were “authoritarian”, usually referring to U.S.-sponsored Latin American military dictatorships, while Washington must oppose “totalitarian” regimes, meaning communist states.</bq> <bq caption="Page 110">The closed meeting in a French chateau ended with the so-called “Rambouillet Accords”, which were not accords at all, since Belgrade refused to sign onto a deal that included an addendum which would have permitted U.S. forces to occupy all of Yugoslavia with total impunity at the expense of the host country. Even Henry Kissinger described the false agreement as “a terrible diplomatic document”, “a provocation, an excuse to start bombing”. Off the record, Madeleine Albright told reporters that: “we intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 111">This was pure war propaganda. There was no “extermination” and no threat of extermination, but a conflict between a government and an armed secessionist group supported by neighboring Albania. The refugee exodus was dramatized by Western media as the tragic cause of the war, when it was actually the result. Albanian refugees fleeing the violence obliged Western media with invented tales of rape and murder. Reporters searched Albanian refugee camps for “somebody who has been raped and speaks English”.</bq> <bq caption="Page 111">Nobody was interested in the people getting killed by NATO bombs. Nobody cared about the little Serbian town of Varvarin, of no military significance whatsoever, yet targeted by NATO. Air strikes against people gathered on Holy Trinity Day killed at random the town priest and the mayor’s daughter, 15-year-old student Sanja Milenkovic, the pride of the town for having won a mathematics prize. Schools, hospitals, and bridges were struck in an effort to turn the population against their president.</bq> <bq caption="Page 119">When the cheering dies down, we can observe that this is a recipe for massive intervention in the affairs of other countries, including breaking up states we don’t like, such as Sudan or Yugoslavia (“self-determination”), insisting on maintaining those we do like, such as Ukraine or Georgia (“the rule of law”), sanctioning and bombing offenders (“spreading American values”), and above all, regime change (“elimination of dictators”).</bq> <bq caption="Page 119">The notion that “a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war” is based on the totally unproven assumption that wars are caused by differences in political systems rather than by competition for resources, territorial disputes, or any number of other conflicts that may arise. It rules out coexistence between systems; <b>the underlying implication is that our particular cause for going to war is to make every country resemble ours.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> <bq caption="Page 121">[Amnesty International's] aim was not to use the prisoners as an excuse to rant against an “enemy” government, but to persuade governments to cease persecuting non-violent dissidents. It strove successfully to exercise a universal civilizing influence.</bq> <bq caption="Page 122">While it has protested against such flagrant abuses as Guantanamo and the cruel jailing of Bradley Chelsea Manning, such punctual criticism is heavily outweighed by blanket denunciations of governments targeted for regime change by the United States. In the case of U.S.-backed “color revolutions”, human rights organizations such as AI and Human Rights Watch are enlisted not to defend specific political prisoners, but rather to brand whole governments as “human rights offenders”.</bq> <bq caption="Page 122">Aimed primarily at public opinion, effectiveness depends on a sympathetic media eager to give publicity to provocative actions, actions which would be considered disorderly conduct anywhere else in the world, but are celebrated in this case as the heroic defiance of tyranny.</bq> <bq caption="Page 124">Amnesty International awarded “prisoner of conscience” status to the three Pussy Rioters and devoted extraordinary attention to the Pussy Riot case, treating it as a major human rights campaign. No comparable attention was devoted to the harsh treatment of Bradley/Chelsea Manning, the threat of U.S. prosecution against Julian Assange, the repeated murder by U.S. police of black suspects, the world-record prison population in the United States, or Guantanamo Bay.</bq> <bq caption="Page 126">This was a tone that could only make it more, not less, politically difficult for President Putin to grant Pussy Riot a presidential amnesty. Nevertheless he did so, prior to the Sochi games.</bq> <bq caption="Page 126">That is: the pressure brought to bear would only be effective against a non-dictator who cares about public opinion.</bq> <bq caption="Page 130">[...] once the West labels a disobedient leader of a foreign state a “dictator”, his state no longer has a judicial system of its own, free elections, independent media, freedom of expression, contented citizens – no, none of that, because in the collective groupthink of the West, every “dictator” is Hitler/Stalin combined, and every ill or accident in his country is never anything but the direct result of his own wicked will.</bq> <bq caption="Page 132">But never did she utter a murmur of understanding for Orthodox Christians offended by the obscene antics of Pussy Riot in their place of worship. This can only be seen as yet another example of the official United States readiness to ally with the worst elements in any society they aim to undermine.</bq> <bq caption="Page 135">Millions of women in the world are struggling for the most basic rights. What can they think of Western human rights organizations that spend millions to promote a few privileged women performing mere temper tantrums in public? Not only women, but all those who have serious reasons to rebel against genuine injustice suffer from the spotlight focused on these carefully choreographed and secretly financed “protests”.</bq> <bq caption="Page 135">Western powers nurse their claim to be the sponsors of world freedom by extolling Pussy Riot and Femen, while genuine social protest is increasingly spied on, repressed, marginalized and ignored.</bq> <bq caption="Page 137">In Europe, people imagined a gentle social-democratic world, combining the social of socialism with the democracy of the West. Two decades later, both principles are wounded, perhaps mortally. Social measures turned out to be revocable once the capitalist world was no longer in competition with communism for workers’ loyalty.</bq> <bq caption="Page 144">The conflict in Kosovo was so obscure, so unfamiliar to Americans and so distorted by deception and self-deception 24, that the easiest way to think of it was by analogy with a conflict everyone knew about, or thought they knew about. The moral reward seemed immense, especially in consideration of the low cost, since it entailed bombing a country with inadequate air defenses, with no great risk to our side.</bq> <bq caption="Page 146">The word Kosovo comes from the Serbian expression “kosovo polje” meaning field of blackbirds, with “Kosovo” meaning “of blackbirds”. It is an historic Serbian heartland where the Albanian-speaking population had grown sharply in recent decades, due to immigration from neighboring Albania and having the highest birthrate in Europe. The “Kosovars” were Albanian nationalists who waved the Albanian flag, strongly supported by their cousins just across the border in Albania.</bq> <bq caption="Page 146">The general public in the West readily believed that the Kosovo war was a humanitarian rescue operation and a successful one as well, since it cost no lives on our side. Thus the first geopolitical purpose of this little war was achieved: it served as an advertisement for war itself. The operation proved that a strong propaganda campaign with an emphasis on alleged “victims of potential genocide” could successfully flout the United Nations peacekeeping system established at the end of World War II. NATO simply proceeded without Security Council authorization, in blatant violation of international law, and the influence of its leading members led to the creation of a special International Tribunal, with the United Nations stamp of approval, whose main task was to prosecute Serbians for war crimes. Thus, the main object of the “Kosovo war” was to put the United States and NATO above the law, where they remain to this day.</bq> <bq caption="Page 148">[...] investigators found evidence of somewhere between two to four thousand deaths in Kosovo during the war, counting all sides and all manner of fatalities. There may have been more, but in any case, it was not enough to enable the NATO-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to indict Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for “genocide”, as planned.</bq> <bq caption="Page 150">Immediately after moving their occupation forces into Kosovo, the United States set about building a thousand-acre U.S. military base, Camp Bondsteel, on stolen farmland. There was nothing in any international agreement authorizing this huge U.S. base, which is still there.</bq> <bq caption="Page 156">“The only thing that’s clear is that Kosovo is firmly in the grip of organized crime”, he said. “Kosovo is a country in which centuries-old traditions live on, and blood feuds are part of the culture. We Central Europeans have not been able to convince the Kosovars of the benefits of adopting a new legal and value system like the one we have in the West.” Wasn’t that perhaps precisely the main problem that the Serbs had with Kosovo?</bq> <bq caption="Page 157">Kosovo is neither fully independent nor a real state. It remains under foreign occupation, has no functioning judiciary branch of its own, and its economy is dependent on crime.</bq> <bq caption="Page 160">The concept of “joint criminal enterprise”, used in U.S. criminal law against mafia gangs, was imported into the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia to apply to the Serbs, with the implication that the mere defense of Serbian interests was criminal.</bq> <bq caption="Page 160">Whenever the United States takes sides in an ethnic or political conflict somewhere, the usual procedure is to accuse the other side of planning to commit “genocide”. This rules out consideration that both sides may be fighting for specific territorial or political gains which, if properly understood, might be mediated.</bq> <bq caption="Page 165">In Ethiopia in February 2009, Gaddafi was elected chairman of the 53-nation African Union, pledging that he would “continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa.” He envisioned “a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent”.</bq> <bq caption="Page 166">Evidence emerged after the trial that the Swiss timing device discovered by U.S. agents at the crash scene was a demonstration model which could not have been sold to Libya, as alleged by the prosecution, and must have been planted by the agents who “found” it.</bq> <bq caption="Page 173">Without investigation, mainstream media spread the sensational accusations that Gaddafi was using African mercenaries and jet plane attacks on civilians to “kill his own people”. No visual or documentary proof of the air attacks ever emerged, and reliable witnesses on the spot denied they ever existed. The accusation of employing “African mercenaries” was even more sinister. It was not only false; it was the tip of the racist iceberg that underlay the whole anti-Gaddafi operation.</bq> <bq caption="Page 174">Three days later, when asked about the bombing of Libya on “Meet the Press”, she replied: “…let’s be fair here. They didn’t attack us, but what they were doing and Gaddafi’s history and the potential for the disruption and instability was very much in our interests … and seen by our European friends and our Arab partners as very vital to their interests.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 174">[...] when asked about the bombing of Libya on “Meet the Press”, she replied: “…let’s be fair here. They didn’t attack us, but what they were doing and Gaddafi’s history and the potential for the disruption and instability was very much in our interests … and seen by our European friends and our Arab partners as very vital to their interests.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 175">The Western human rights community is a network of organizations that thrive on leveling accusations against the countries that Western donors want to embarrass.</bq> <bq caption="Page 177" author="Hillary Clinton">Gaddafi does not go, he will just make trouble. That is just his nature. There are some creatures that are like that.</bq> The irony is thick. <bq caption="Page 180">Then he warned: “Any one of you might be next. Yes. America fought alongside Saddam Hussein against Khomeini. He was their friend. Cheney was a friend of Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary at the time Iraq was destroyed, was a close friend of Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, they sold him out and hanged him. You are friends of America – let’s say that ‘we’ are, not ‘you’. But one of these days, America may hang any of us.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 182">Calls for peaceful mediation from leaders such as Venezuela’s democratically- elected President Hugo Chavez were denounced as “support for dictators”, as if only a country bearing the Washington label of “pure democracy” had the right to ask not to be bombed.</bq> <bq caption="Page 184">Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya was a peculiar experiment precisely because it was a type of modernization that was meant to fit the peculiarities of a sparsely-inhabited desert country imbued with Muslim traditions. It included a form of direct democracy, and a General People’s Congress, which could (and did) reject proposals coming directly from Gaddafi. Moammar Gaddafi was indeed a “Guide” and not a dictator; his guidance was often rejected by the government, perhaps increasingly so.</bq> <bq caption="Page 185">A U.S.-backed “revolution” can only be destructive, a way to get rid of what is in place. We smash it all, and count on “our guys” to rise to the top of the wreck, with a little help from mercenaries and Special Forces. And if this fails, U.S. leaders shrug and insist they meant well. If the natives can’t put together what we broke, then that’s their problem.</bq> <bq caption="Page 186">On October 18, 2011, Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Tripoli for her first official visit to a country which she did not understand and which she was rapidly transforming into something no one would recognize. While waiting for Secretary of State Clinton to arrive, a “senior State Department official” (unidentified, as is the custom) told reporters that the Americans would be talking to the Libyans on how to “integrate Libya fully into the 21st-century world economy in transparent ways where Libya’s oil wealth is used for the benefit of all of Libya’s citizens”. A rich joke, considering that Gaddafi’s insistence on spreading Libya’s oil wealth among the citizenry, by providing free education, housing and health care, was surely a central reason that leaders of the United States, Qatar and the Arab League sought regime change. The United States, it was announced, was planning to help the Libyans learn English, as if the language were unknown to them.</bq> <bq caption="Page 187">Hillary Clinton, as usual, had not come to Libya to learn about the country, but to tell people what to do. “Women in Libya should have equal rights”, she said, true to her usual feminist persona. This was another rich joke, since thanks to the NATO bombing, women in Libya were about to lose the rights they had gained thanks to Gaddafi, not only the right to appear in public unveiled, or to hold significant jobs, but simply to walk down the street in safety, or simply to stay alive….</bq> <bq caption="Page 187">We hope he can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer,” Hillary told a selected gathering in Tripoli. Two days later, Gaddafi was both captured and killed. Video footage shows that the Libyan leader and his son were captured alive, atrociously abused and then murdered. When informed of Gaddafi’s death, Hillary had her moment of lasting fame, the moment that will define her in history. Told by her aide Huma Abedin that Gaddafi had been killed, Hillary uttered a girlish, “Wow”, before paraphrasing the original imperialist, Julius Caesar: “We came, we saw, he died!”, then she broke out into peels of happy laughter.</bq> <bq caption="Page 191">In an August 2008 cable to Washington, Christopher Stevens reported that: “Moammar al-Qadhafi recently brokered a widely publicized agreement with Tuareg tribal leaders from Libya, Chad, Niger, Mali and Algeria in which they would abandon separatist aspirations and smuggling (of weapons and trans-national extremists) in exchange for development assistance and financial support.” 31 In short, Gaddafi was using Libya’s oil wealth to keep peace in the region. With his death, that peace ended, and war spread to neighboring Mali, while law and order broke down completely in Libya itself. A peaceful and prosperous country descended into chaos.</bq> <bq caption="Page 193">His final catastrophe was due less to his faults than to his virtues: above all, his “dogged altruism”, which cut him off from the critical chorus of his own most prominent people. In his own way, he was as blind as Oedipus. His ghost still needs a future Sophocles, a future Shakespeare. But is that any longer still possible? The America that aspires to command the world today is killing not only nations; it is killing all nobility of spirit. It is killing tragedy, that ability to grasp the truth of the human condition in its defeat, that ability to bury the dead with honor and to respect the defiance of the brave fool who imagined he could save the world.</bq> <bq caption="Page 194">Americans seem unable to understand why a nation that in modern times has twice been the object of massive, devastating invasions from the West should mind seeing the United States extend the greatest military machine in history right up to its doorstep. If Russian leaders express objections, the American response is to suggest that they must be paranoid.</bq> <bq caption="Page 195">The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were taken into NATO on the eve of the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.</bq> <bq caption="Page 196">Following the usual rule of double standards, the U.S. propaganda chorus denounced Putin’s KGB background as proof of perfidy, conveniently ignoring that President George Bush the First had been head of the CIA.</bq> <bq caption="Page 200">Above all, he concluded, Russia seeks to work together with responsible and independent partners “in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 202">At a meeting in January 2015 in Winnipeg, when asked whether she had “decided to be President”, she turned the question around and clumsily mimicked Putin “deciding to be President”, adding with a gloating self-righteousness that: “We have a process” – as if being the second Clinton to run for President, backed by billionaires, was a more virtuous process than Russian elections.</bq> <bq caption="Page 206">The Pentagon expected to learn more about Putin’s “thinking processes” from the “body signature” of his “posture/gesture mergers”, than from paying close attention to what he actually said. This seems to lend support to Putin’s suggestion that United States leaders treat the rest of the world as if they were experimenting with laboratory rats.</bq> <bq caption="Page 207">While gratuitously accusing the extremely popular elected President of Russia of being a “dictator” and treating every eccentric oppositionist as the embodiment of genuine democracy, the United States is also treating Russia as a potential military target.</bq> <bq caption="Page 207">To know about the almost daily provocative military exercises held by various combinations of NATO forces and their partners (such as Georgia and Sweden) around Russian borders, one must turn to an internet site such as Rick Rozoff’s “Stop NATO”. Mass media ignore these martial operations, clearly designed as exercises to prepare for war against Russia. When, eventually, Russia reacts to these constant threats, mainstream media will report this reaction as an unprovoked gesture of paranoid hostility.</bq> <bq caption="Page 208">Historically, the Russians, essentially prudent and defensive, are reluctant to start wars, even though they tend to be good at winning them. It is highly probable that U.S. leaders count on Russian prudence to allow them to get away with their provocations, and to back down rather than risk a nuclear war.</bq> <bq caption="Page 215">Mere lack of solid evidence, official denials from Damascus, or even evidence implicating the rebels were not enough to head off the bombing by the Western allies.</bq> <bq caption="Page 216">At this point, like the branch a drowning man can clutch to escape from the torrent, the Russians seized on an offhand remark by Hillary’s successor, Secretary of State John Kerry. Asked what Bashar al Assad could do to prevent Western air strikes, Kerry replied rhetorically that the Syrian leader could turn over his entire stock of chemical weapons to the international community, adding that “he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done”. Russian diplomats rapidly contacted the Syrians who retorted that it could indeed be done. And it was. After rapid and smooth negotiations in the midst of a war, the Syrian government actually handed over its entire arsenal of chemical weapons to international inspectors in record time.</bq> <bq caption="Page 217">Putin insisted that Russia was not protecting a particular Syrian government, but international law. “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us’.” Countries react by seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction in self-defense. To strengthen non-proliferation, it would be necessary to “stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 218" author="Vladimir Putin">It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation”, the Russian President concluded. “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy.</bq> <bq caption="Page 220">Glazyev noted that Ukraine was running an enormous foreign accounts deficit, funded with foreign borrowing, and that the substantial increase in Western imports resulting from the DCFTA could only swell this deficit. Ukraine “will either default on its debts or require a sizable bailout”, he observed. The Forbes reporter concluded that “the Russian position is far closer to the truth than the happy talk coming from Brussels and Kiev.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 223">In short, the question of Crimea leaving Ukraine and returning to Russia had come up repeatedly ever since Ukraine gained its independence. That Crimea would go ahead with its long-contemplated plan to leave Ukraine and return to Russia once an anti-Russian putsch seized power in Kiev could not have been a surprise to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the region.</bq> <bq caption="Page 224">[...] it claims that its military build-up in those countries is to “defend” them from Russian “aggression”. All those within the Western power structure who repeat this tale are either bald-faced liars or too ignorant to qualify for their present positions.</bq> <bq caption="Page 228">Born in 1974, Yats obviously does not remember any such thing, but apparently belongs to a school of Ukrainian nationalists whose hatred of Russians leads them to overlook the massive invasion of the Soviet Union by the Wehrmacht in June of 1941, which devastated Ukraine, and to blame the war on those who fought back and finally won: the Red Army.</bq> <bq caption="Page 234">On May 2, Right Sector militia violently attacked the federalists, who fled into the building which was then set on fire by their assailants. Some perished in the flames; others, who managed to jump out of windows, were beaten to death by nationalist militants. There were forty-eight confirmed dead, yet Kiev has tended to blame the victims. The Odessa massacre was played down by Western media. It aroused only mild concern among those Western human rights organizations that had previously gone all-out in their campaign to defend Pussy Riot.</bq> <bq caption="Page 236">Crimean Parliament called for a referendum to leave Ukraine and return to Russia. This was a project that had been in the air ever since the Soviet Union disintegrated, severing Crimea from Russia. However, the Western powers refused to recognize the referendum, but volunteer international observers found the proceedings free and fair. On March 16, with 82% turnout, 96% of Crimeans voted to return to Russia. As part of its Sebastopol lease, Russia already had troops stationed in Crimea. As a protective measure, Russia sent in reinforcements, without, however, exceeding the legal level of 25,000 troops. Not a shot was fired, nor was the vote marred by any violence.</bq> <bq caption="Page 237">Crimea’s decision to secede from Ukraine apparently did violate the Ukrainian constitution – yet the constitution itself had just been violated by the putsch in Kiev, which created an entirely new situation. But there is no legal basis for the accusation that the Crimean referendum violated international law.</bq> <bq caption="Page 239">In 1945, the Soviet Union liberated Eastern Europe. It stayed there too long, but finally left voluntarily nearly fifty years later. The United States liberated Western Europe and never left. At some point, a permanent “liberation” needs to be renamed as a conquest.</bq> <bq caption="Page 241">Just as Nitze exaggerated the Soviet military threat to Western Europe, Soros goes overboard when he asserts that: “it is unrealistic to expect that Putin will stop pushing beyond Ukraine when the division of Europe and its domination by Russia is in sight. Not only the survival of the new Ukraine but the future of NATO and the European Union itself is at risk…” There is method in such madness, since an official war scare gives big investors something to invest in, with guaranteed profits.</bq> I was unaware that Soros was propagandizing like this. <bq caption="Page 248">It is also odd that the content of the downed aircraft’s black boxes was kept secret by Western governments, and that Western spokesmen, who gradually dropped the whole subject after the black boxes were found, began to issue statements suggesting that unfortunately, the truth may never be known. However, the anti-Russian accusations and the punishing sanctions persist.</bq> <bq caption="Page 250">Not so long ago, Libya was destroyed as a functioning society supposedly to protect a rebellion in Benghazi from theoretical government repression. Later, the United States urged the Kiev government to continue using its armed forces to suppress a rebellion in Donbass. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is not being accused of “bombing his own people” – although that is exactly what is happening.</bq> <bq caption="Page 253">In another speech, Obama attributed to Putin “a vision of the world in which might makes right -- a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might -- that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future.” On January 21, Obama gloated to Congress that: “Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin’s aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 258">Far from playing its constitutional role as the place where policy can be seriously debated, where foreign entanglements can be untangled and wars can be prevented, the U.S. Congress has degenerated into an echo chamber for lobbies and special interests, thoughtlessly endorsing the possibility of nuclear war with no more reflection that a sports star endorsing a soft drink. This frivolity indicates that the problem of Hillary Rodham Clinton goes far beyond a single individual and reveals a far deeper crisis in the American political system.</bq> <bq caption="Page 259">Ignoring the evidence, Washington has managed to go on claiming that it fought to save medical students in Grenada, bombed a chemical weapons factory in Sudan, prevented genocide in Kosovo, freed the women of Afghanistan, eliminated weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and saved the people of Libya from being eaten alive by a pitiless tyrant.</bq>