By Daniel McCarthy
As Jim Antle points out, Rand Paul’s vote against cloture for the Hagel nomination has been roundly criticized by antiwar conservatives, libertarians, and liberal admirers of Ron Paul—not only by Scott McConnell and Daniel Larison here at TAC but also by Justin Raimondo (a longtime Rand critic) and Glenn Greewald (who had been more favorable). The criticisms are entirely justified, but Rand’s vote shouldn’t come as a surprise, and there are a few things that we should all understand going forward.
Since he first won the Kentucky GOP Senate nomination in 2010, Rand Paul has set out to become the Republican’s Republican—not in the sense of being the most loyal party trooper, but in the sense of being its most ideologically committed leader. So when other Republicans propose cutting government, Rand urges deeper cuts. When Marco Rubio gives the party’s official State of the Union rebuttal, Rand gives the Tea Party response. The brand he cultivates is that of the antithesis of the RINO Republican. He takes the party’s core rhetorical concerns—taxes, states’ rights, smaller government—and pushes them farther. Quite probably that reflects what he really believes; it also aligns him with the party’s activist base ahead of the 2016 presidential contest. When he goes up against Rubio, his argument will be, “I’m more Republican than he is.”
By Philip Giraldi
Countries frequently define themselves by what they believe to be true. When reality and belief conflict that definition might well be referred to as a “national myth.” In the United States many believe that there exists a constitutionally mandated strict separation between religion and government. In practice, however, that separation has never really existed except insofar as Americans are free to practice whatever religion they choose or even none at all. The nation’s dominant religion Christianity has in fact shaped government policy in many important areas since the founding of the republic. Tax exemption for the churches would be one example of legislation favoring organized religion while in the nineteenth century the governments of a number of American states had religious clauses written into their constitutions and also collected special tithe taxes to support the locally dominant Christian denomination. The practice only ended with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.
Christian Zionism is not a religion per se, but rather a set of beliefs based on interpretations of specific parts of the Bible – notably the book of Revelations and parts of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah – that has made the return of the Jews to the Holy Land a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. The belief that Israel is essential to the process has led to the fusion of Christianity with Zionism, hence the name of the movement.
By Eric Margolis
On 30 January, a Chinese Jiangwei II-class frigate entered the disputed waters around the Senkaku Islands, a cluster of uninhabited rocks in the East China Sea claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands. A Japanese destroyer was waiting.
When the two warships were only 3 km apart, the Chinese frigate turned on its fire-control radar that aims its 100mm gun and C-802 anti-ship missiles and “painted” the Japanese vessel. The Japanese destroyer went to battle stations and targeted its weapons on the Chinese intruder.
Fortunately, both sides backed down. But this was the most dangerous confrontation to date over the disputed Senkakus. Japan and China were a button push from war.
Soon after, a Japanese naval helicopter was again “painted’ by Chinese fire-control radar. Earlier, Chinese aircraft made a clear intrusion over waters claimed by Japan.
China’s Peoples Liberation Army HQ ordered the armed forces onto high alert and reportedly moved large numbers of warplanes and missile batteries to the East China Sea coast.
A U.S. AWACS radar aircraft went on station to monitor the Senkaku/Diaoyus – a reminder that under the 1951 U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty, Washington recognized the Senkaku Islands as part of Japan and pledged to defend them if attacked. Japan seized the Senkakus as a prize of its 1894-95 war with Imperial China.
By John Whitehead
“Much of our foreign policy now depends on the hope of benevolent dictators and philosopher kings. The law can’t help. The law is what the kings say it is.”
~ Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing for The Atlantic
“If George Bush had done this, it would have been stopped.”
~ Joe Scarborough, former Republican congressman and current MSNBC pundit
When Barack Obama ascended to the presidency in 2008, there was a sense, at least among those who voted for him, that the country might change for the better. Those who watched in awe as President Bush chipped away at our civil liberties over the course of his two terms as president thought that maybe this young, charismatic Senator from Illinois would reverse course and put an end to some of the Bush administration’s worst transgressions – the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, the torture, the black site prisons, and the never-ending wars that have drained our resources, to name just a few.
By Daniel Larison
Frederick Kagan didn’t understand why Rand Paul emphasized restraint and avoiding unnecessary wars:
America’s foreign policy today is hardly one of militaristic, imperialistic determination to intervene.
To put it charitably, this is an odd thing to say about the current state of U.S. foreign policy. U.S. forces may eventually be leaving Afghanistan, but most of them will still be there for most of the next two years. More…
By Justin Raimondo
Sen. Rand Paul wants to be taken seriously – as a presidential candidate, as heir to the energetic youth-oriented movement founded by his father, and as a foreign policy Deep Thinker. This last goal was supposed to have been approached, if not reached, by his much-anticipated foreign policy speech delivered at the Heritage Foundation the other day, which was supposed to give wonkish heft to his presidential ambitions.
Barely twenty minutes long, Sen. Paul’s peroration was two thirds Glenn Beck, and one third Robert Taft – with a dash of George Kennan thrown in for good measure. Right off the bat, however, he made the point he wanted to make: I am not my father. To which one can only add: you can say that again.
By Pat Buchanan
If last week’s hearing for Chuck Hagel raised questions about his capacity to be secretary of defense, the show trial conducted by his inquisitors on the tribunal raised questions about the GOP.
Is the Republican Party, as currently constituted, even capable of conducting a foreign policy befitting a world power? Or has it learned nothing and forgotten nothing since George W. Bush went home and the nation rejected John McCain for Barack Obama?
Consider the great foreign issues on the front burner today.
Will the Japan-China clash over islets in the South China Sea, now involving warplanes and warships circling each other, lead to a shooting war that could, because of our security treaty with Japan, drag in the United States? More…
Brett Stevens reviews Paul Gottfried
The bullshit is stronger than the bullet and the ballot.
We have always been fighting the Revolution. This is the thesis, in a more complex form, of Paul Gottfried’s War and Democracy, a collection of essays centered on the instability of modern liberal democracy after the “end of history,” and how it has launched us into an unending series of wars for ideological objectives. In exploring that, Gottfried also uncovers the neurotic and confused nature of modern existence.
By Pat Buchanan
When, in the 1950s, Nikita Khrushchev said, “We will bury you,” and, “Your children will live under communism,” Eisenhower’s America scoffed.
By 1980, however, the tide did indeed seem to be with the East.
America had suffered a decade of defeats. Southeast Asia had fallen. The ayatollah had seized power in Iran. Moscow had occupied Afghanistan. Cuban troops were in Ethiopia and Angola. Grenada and Nicaragua had fallen to the Soviet bloc. Eurocommunism was all the rage on the continent.
Just a decade later, the world turned upside-down.
The Berlin Wall fell. Eastern Europe was suddenly free. The Soviet Union disintegrated. China abandoned Maoism for state capitalism.
Now, 20 years on, the wheel has turned again—toward darkness.
By John Buffalo Mailer
Oliver Stone has the same gripe with Barack Obama as he did with George W. Bush—namely, they both stand for American Empire, and he does not.
Stone is a three-time Oscar winner, has made over 60 films, including “Platoon,” “Wall Street,” “JFK,” “Nixon,” and “W.”, and is generally regarded as one of the legends of his trade.
In his new book and Showtime series, The Untold History Of The United States (co-authored with Professor Peter Kuznick of American University), Stone highlights what he feels are neglected figures and choices in the American journey. In conversation, Oliver Stone is amiable, keeping an open mind to views that differ from his own, but never willing to back down when he thinks you are wrong.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with him at the Soho Grand hotel in New York, where we discussed his new book and series, the difference between Pro-Empire Liberals and Anti-Empire Liberals, uniting the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, which direction our nation will go over the next four years, sex scenes in “Nixon,” and whether Harry Truman was more like George W. Bush or Sarah Palin.
By Justin Raimondo
We have to be thankful to Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of our more theatrical solons, for dramatizing the way in which the Israel lobby intimidates members of Congress: by asking Chuck Hagel if he could name a single Senator who was so intimidated he merely underscored how thoroughly each and every one of them is cowed. The whole spectacle of this public interrogation, with its tiresomely repetitive demands for pledges of undying loyalty to Israel, brought home the truth of Hagel’s remark.
Of course Hagel couldn’t say that, but the ugly reality resonated in the immense silence that followed this exchange. Interestingly, Hagel didn’t back down: He said “I don’t know.” As to what motivates any particular member of Congress on any specific “dumb thing” they do – well, he couldn’t know, could he? But of course, everybody knows about the Israel lobby: and if its power and vindictiveness were ever in danger of being forgotten, then surely the battle over Hagel’s confirmation has reminded us.
To anyone who lives outside the Washington bubble, there was something profoundly weird about the ritualistic invocations of undying loyalty to Israel, a country mentioned 135 times in the course of the hearing: Afghanistan only merited 27, while al Qaeda got 2 and Mali one. One would have thought Hagel had been nominated for Israeli Defense Minister instead of the top civilian in the Pentagon. As he faced the pro-Israel “inquisitors” – as Sen. Angus King put it – the educational value of this political drama was worth far more than all the books and articles one could possibly read.
(Previously posted at Mere Anti-Statism)
Two days ago, the Stateside military lifted its ban on females assuming combat roles. According to The Guardian, Pentagon Defence Secretary (and civilian-assassination-endorsing piece-of-shit) Leon Panetta, together with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, scribbled away the 1994 prohibition in the ostensible interest of equality, no doubt eliciting cheers from feminists and “gender egalitarians” everywhere.
Christian Science Monitor
Now that the Pentagon is lifting its ban on women in combat, does this mean that women could potentially be drafted, too?
And as a practical matter: When women turn 18, will they now need to register, as men do, so that they can be conscripted in the event of a World War III, or any military emergency where the US government decides it needs troops quickly?
It’s a thorny question, raising what may be a difficult prospect societally. But the legal implications are obvious, analysts argue.
“The answer to that question is clearly yes,” says Anne Coughlin, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville. “The legal argument is clear: If it comes to that kind of wrenching emergency where we have to press young people into service, there is no legal justification for saying that men alone need to shoulder that burden.”
As Congress and the president consider possible cuts in defense spending, half (49%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States should withdraw its troops from Western Europe.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 31% disagree. One-in-five (20%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
By Justin Raimondo
As Israel’s ultra-nationalist parties continue to gain traction, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to appease them by building “settlements” with US taxpayer dollars on Palestinian land, the hostility between Washington and Tel Aviv is coming out into the open. While tension has been building for a while – I would argue since George W. Bush’s second term, when Dubya balked at going along with the Cheney-neocon plan for war with Iran – it is now reaching a dramatic climax with the spectacle of the Israeli Prime Minister openly rebuking Washington for alleged “interference” in Israeli politics. This is rich coming from someone who made no secret of his preference for Mitt Romney, and it comes in response to the publication of a recent piece by Obama supporter and pro-Israel writer Jeffrey Goldberg detailing the President’s private remarks on the settlements question. Goldberg reported:
By Ali Papademetriou
The United States Central Intelligence Agency is expanding its recruits further than ever before. According to NPR as, “part of the CIA’s efforts to diversify its workforce, the spy agency is reaching out to a group that once was unable to get security clearance — lesbians and gay men.”
By Paul Craig Roberts
Those concerned about “The New World Order” speak as if the United States is coming under the control of an outside conspiratorial force. In fact, it is the US that is the New World Order. That is what the American unipolar world, about which China, Russia, and Iran complain, is all about.
Washington has demonstrated that it has no respect for its own laws and Constitution, much less any respect for international law and the law and sovereignty of other countries. All that counts is Washington’s will as the pursuit of hegemony moves Washington closer to becoming a world dictator.
By Justin Raimondo
A screaming mob of whites gathers in a public square, their placards proclaiming their hatred of blacks, their shouts of “N—-r!” reverberating and bouncing off the walls of nearby shops and homes like the ominous thunder of a coming storm. They loot shops that cater to blacks, and a prominent elected official is at the head of the mob, declaring that blacks are “a cancer” that must be eradicated.
Mississippi in the Sixties? A neo-Nazi rally? A Klan conclave?
No, it’s a recent scene in southern Tel Aviv, Israel, where Likud member of the Knesset Miri Regev – a former IDF spokesperson and prominent political figure – led a well-organized march of ultra-nationalists demanding the expulsion of all blacks from Israel. Just look at the ugliness of these people – listen to them screaming “White Power”! And here are the Jewish Hitlers, proclaiming their desire to set up a “Jewish monarchy.” A few extremists? No. Israel’s Interior Minister has pledged to ship all blacks back to Africa, and the issue of the African refugees has become the major issue in Israel’s election campaign.
By Ron Holland
How To Restore the West: Axiom 1
Fascism is the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police State as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive State the unlimited master of society…. This describes mainstream politics in America today. And not just in America. It’s true in Europe, too. It is so much part of the mainstream that it is hardly noticed any more. ~ Lew Rockwell
Historically much of the strength and vitality of the West was based on local communities, an intact family, cultural and religious structure and maybe some local specialty agricultural, natural resource or crafted products that were exported or traded for other nearby goods and services produced by other communities. Most taxes, military requirements or personal service that was rendered to the local, regional or distant central government were implemented during wartime or when the reigning political entity had revenue problems, which, of course, they often did. Governments and politics have always been about stealing wealth using coercion or false promises and nothing will ever change in this regard.