One of President Barack Obama’s former professors appears to have turned against him, according to a recent YouTube video.
“President Obama must be defeated in the coming election,” Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, said in a video posted on May 22. “He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States.”
ntelligence Agency (CIA) that originally meant the unintended negative consequences to a country of its own espionage operations. For example, if a secret CIA operation led to a revenge attack on U.S. individuals who were unaware of the CIA’s operation, this was considered “blowback.” But these days, many of the operations are not all that secret (for example, the U.S. use of drones in Pakistan or Yemen). And the “revenge” attacks are often publicly avowed. Nevertheless, countries don’t seem to cease engaging in such operations.
We need a more useful definition of blowback to explain how and why it’s occurring all over the place. I think the first element is that the countries engaging in such operations today are powerful, yes, but less powerful than they used to be. When they were at the acme of their power, they could ignore blowback as minor unintended consequences. But when they are less powerful than before, the consequences are not so minor, yet they seem to feel the need to pursue the operations even more vigorously and even more openly.
Let us look at two famous instances of blowback. One concerns the United States. In the 1980s, the United States wished to push the Soviet Union’s military forces out of Afghanistan. They therefore supported the mujahidin. One of the most famous leaders of the groups they supported was Osama bin Laden. Once the Soviet troops withdrew, Osama bin Laden created Al-Qaeda and began to attack the United States.
A second famous instance concerns Israel. In the 1970s, Israel regarded Yasser Arafat and the PLO as its principal opponent. Seeking to weaken the strength of the PLO among Palestinians, they gave financial aid to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, known as Hamas. As Hamas grew, it did weaken the PLO somewhat. But at a certain point, Hamas became an even more vehement and effective opponent of the Israeli state than had been the PLO.
Today, everyone knows these instances. Others involving Great Britain and France could be cited as well. Nor does this end the list of blowback countries. Why then do they continue to behave in ways that seem to undermine their own objectives? They do this precisely because their power is declining.
We need to look at it as a matter of temporalities in state policy. Blowback occurs when the declining power engages in behavior that, in the short run, achieves some immediate objective but, in the middle run, makes their power decline even more and even faster, and therefore in the longer run is self-defeating. The obvious thing to do is not to go down this road any more. The covert operations no longer really work in terms of the long-run objectives of the country.
To stick with my examples: Don’t President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu understand this? And if they do, why are they continuing the operations, even boasting about them? Actually, I think that both these men do understand the ineffectiveness of these operations, and so do their intelligence agencies. But they face immediate dilemmas.
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks andwanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”
In response, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid’s spokesmancalled on Bush to “immediately repudiate Karl Rove’s offensive and outrageous comments.” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer fumed: “When I heard his remarks, it turned my stomach,” while his Democratic colleague Frank Lautenberg said that Bush “can only have one reaction, and that is to ask Rove to get out of his office.” Leading Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and John Kerry signed a letter denouncing Rove and demanding that he resign or be fired for his remarks.
Yesterday, Gene Lyons, the long-time Democrat and syndicated columnist, wrote a column defending Obama’s Terrorism policies — he’s merely doing what “what any bloody-minded pragmatist would” — and denounced what he called “the feebleness of [Obama’s] critics” (citing me as the left’s example). Here’s how Lyons, in the first paragraph, characterizes the position of Obama’s critics:
The United Nations General Assembly
Author Kerry Bolton joins Richard to discuss geopolitics and the intersection of global finance, war, and foreign policy. In particular, they examine the “conspiracy theories” regarding major events like the Second World War and the Cold War–which ones help us get to the truth and which one are distractions.
Bolton’s latest book is Revolution From Above, published by Arktos Media.
When MSNBC host Chris Hayes had the audacity in his pre-Memorial Day show to question whether every American soldier was entitled to be called a “hero,” he unleashed a virtual firestorm in cyberspace and elsewhere. He had clearly asked the right question, a question that was long overdue.
Since Richard Nixon ended the draft in 1973 the United States Military has been made up entirely of paid volunteers, volunteers who have for a fee willingly agreed to go anywhere to kill or be killed in the name of the State. With little or no knowledge of the history, culture, religion, or traditions of the people whom they are asked to kill, these thoroughly indoctrinated mercenaries blindly follow the orders of their feckless leaders. It’s all about “killing in the name” rapped the legendary, heavy metal, hip-hop band Rage Against the Machine back in the 1990s. Who then, are our troops? Are they heroes as they are often portrayed by our media, our politicians, and the public or are they just hired guns trained to kill on behalf of the Empire?
By whose authority other than the law of the jungle do they set themselves up in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Libya to assume the role of prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner? Is there any difference in their behavior than that of President Barack Obama who sits in the White House and orders drones, Navy Seals, and Delta Force death squads to take out those on his weekly “kill list”?
On a September afternoon in the peacetime year of 1821, a regiment of Rhode Island militia completed its annual review and prepared to go home. Suddenly the regiment’s parade field in Providence became the scene of a spontaneous military riot.
In a confrontation that exploded over the space of a few minutes, the regimental commander was arrested and men in the ranks shouted for fellow militiamen to “fix bayonets” and resist orders by force. Ordered to take command in place of his arrested colonel, the senior battalion commander instead marched his men off the field, breaking the regiment apart to prevent the possibility of its obedience. Finally, as men in the ranks lashed out to strike a brigadier general’s horse with the butts of their weapons, a staff officer grabbed the general and dragged him away to safety.
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, proffered a resolution declaring:
“That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
It was the beginning of the first act of the American Revolution. The second and third acts – the long continental incubation and the emergence of the US as a world empire – would not be long in coming, as such things are measured. The seeds planted in Britain’s North American colonies were a vigorous stock, rooting quickly and sending forth leaves and runners in riotous profusion. The process culminated in a blossom such as the world had never seen.
Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year — the fastest pace in the nation’s decade of war.
The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan — about 50 percent more — according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press.
The numbers reflect a military burdened with wartime demands from Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken a greater toll than foreseen a decade ago. The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior.
Seven UN peacekeepers have been killed in a remote area of southwestern Ivory Coast. They were ambushed during a mission to protect civilians threatened by attack. Over 40 of their colleagues who stayed on guard remain in danger, the UN said.
A group of peacekeepers were on a reconnaissance patrol investigating rumors of “movement of armed people” and “threats on the security of civilians” near the village of Para in the Tai region, near the border with Liberia, said UN spokeswoman Josephine Guerrero. The patrol was attacked by a large group of people. Around 40 other peacekeepers were deployed to the area to prevent any further attacks on the village during the night.
May 25, 2012
Robert Stark interviews Paul Craig Roberts. Topics include:
- PCR’s role in the Reagan administration and supply-side economics;
- How job outsourcing was engineered by Wall Street and corporations;
- The military-industrial complex;
- Neoconservatives, foreign policy in the Middle East, and war with Iran;
- Policy toward China;
- Why we can’t take back the country by the ballot box.
[Prediction: The Ron Paul movement will eventually split into two camps. One will be a more system-friendly movement for whom Rand Paul is the figurehead. The other will be a more radically anti-state movement whose radicalism surpasses that of Ron Paul. The latter likely includes a lot of future ARV/ATS associates.]
Contact: Carla Howell, Executive Director
The Libertarian Party issued the following statement today:
Rand Paul Betrays His Father’s Principles, Endorses Mitt Romney
Why Ron Paul Supporters Need the Libertarian Party
When Dr. Rand Paul ran for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, many of his fund-raising appeals were sent to the donors and supporters of his father, Congressman Ron Paul. They were designed to convince Ron’s supporters that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That Rand was, like his legendary father, a steadfast champion of liberty.
There have been a fair number of references to the subject of “phyles” in this publication. But it occurs to me that I’ve never discussed the topic myself in any detail. Especially how phyles are likely to replace the nation-state, one of mankind’s worst inventions.
Now might be a good time to discuss the subject. We’ll have an almost unremitting stream of bad news, on multiple fronts, for years to come. So it might be good to keep a hopeful prospect in mind – although I hate to use the word “hope,” as much as it’s been degraded by OBAMA! and the kleptocrats, incompetents, and sociopaths that surround him.
Let’s start by looking at where we’ve been. I trust you’ll excuse my skating over all of human political history in a few paragraphs, but my object is to provide a framework for where we’re going, rather than an anthropological monograph.
Mankind has, so far, gone through three main stages of political organization since Day One, say 200,000 years ago, when anatomically modern men started appearing. We can call them Tribes, Kingdoms, and Nation-States.
by David Smith
With a line-up that includes Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, and Ricky Martin, the UN’s choice of ambassadors has been known to cause raised eyebrows or the odd smirk.
Seldom, however, has there been such anger, or questioning of the organisation’s credibility, as that greeting the appointment of a new international envoy for tourism: Robert Mugabe.
Around 12,000 troops from more than 19 nations are wrapping up a massive military training drill in the Middle East. But for some of those servicemen, these exercises might be just the beginning of something much bigger to come.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are just a sampling of the many countries — along with European allies — that have been involved in the nearly month-long Eager Lion 2012 exercise expected to end this week. Although much of the drills have been kept under wraps, it isn’t a secret that these states have spent the last month cooperating together through mock combat drills and comprehensive training. Some sources overseas report, however, that as many as 3,000 troops aligned with US forces have conducted a simulated landing and attack on Iran, preparing America and its allies for a war that becomes more likely by the day.
We might as well get rid of Memorial Day, for all the good it does us. Originally “Decoration Day,” the last Monday in May has been the designated time for us to remember the war dead and honor their sacrifice – while, perhaps, taking in the lessons of the many conflicts that have marked our history as a free nation. In line with the modern trend of universal trivialization, however, the holiday has beenpaganized to mark the beginning of summer, when we get out the barbecue grill and have the neighbors over for hamburgers and beer. As for contemplating the meaning of the day in the context of our current and recent wars, that is left to those few pundits who pay attention to foreign policy issues, or else to writers of paeans to the “Greatest Generation” – World War II being the only modern war our panegyrists deign to recall, since it is relatively untouched by the ravages of historical revisionism.
Indeed, as far as our wars are concerned, the very concept of historical memory has vanished from the post-9/11 world. It seems the earth was born anew on September 11, 2001, and only ragged remnants of our mystified past – mostly from World War II and the Civil War – survived the purge. In the new version our victories areexaggerated and glorified, while our defeats – e.g. Vietnam, Korea, our nasty little covert wars in Central and South America – are not even mentioned, let alone considered in depth.
The abolition of historical memory is one of the worst aspects of modernity: it is certainly the most depressing. For the modern man, it’s an effort to recall what happened last week, never mind the last century. The news cycle spins madly and ever-faster, and the result is that we are lost in the blur of Now: for all intents and purposes, we are a people without a history, who recall past events – if we remember them at all – as one would summon a vague and confusing dream.