Tag Archives | Foreign Policy
In a talk given in Amsterdam, Noam Chomsky weighs in on revolutionary unrest in the Middle East and the United States’ unsustainable foreign policy and domestic power structure. Via the Huffington Post:
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Support for democracy is the province of ideologists and propagandists. In the real world, elite dislike of democracy is the norm. The evidence is overwhelming that democracy is supported insofar as it contributes to social and economic objectives, a conclusion reluctantly conceded by the more serious scholarship.
Elections have become a charade, run by the public relations industry. After his 2008 victory, Obama won an award from the industry for the best marketing campaign of the year. Executives were euphoric. In the business press they explained that they had been marketing candidates like other commodities since Ronald Reagan, but 2008 was their greatest achievement and would change the style in corporate boardrooms. The 2012 election is expected to cost $2 billion, mostly in corporate funding.
Is the bombing of Libya Obama’s Iraq redux? Informed Comment says no, laying out the factors that make the Libyan intervention ethical, non-imperialist, and fundamentally different from Bush’s 2003 invasion. Convincing or not?
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On the surface, the situation in Libya a week and a half ago posed a contradiction between two key principles of Left politics: supporting the ordinary people and opposing foreign domination of them. Libya’s workers and townspeople had risen up to overthrow the dictator in city after city. Even in the capital of Tripoli, working-class neighborhoods such as Suq al-Jumah and Tajoura had chased out the secret police. In the two weeks after February 17, there was little or no sign of the protesters being armed or engaging in violence.
Then Muammar Qaddafi’s sons rallied his armored brigades and air force to bomb the civilian crowds and shoot tank shells into them. Members of the Transitional Government Council in Benghazi estimate that 8000 were killed as Qaddafi’s forces attacked and subdued Zawiya, Zuara, Ra’s Lanuf, Brega, Ajdabiya, and the working class districts of Tripoli itself, using live ammunition fired into defenseless rallies.
Jennifer Epstein writes in the Politico:
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“There are always problems in our nation’s capital that are more important than party affiliation, and I will always believe that,” Paul said. “It’s not necessarily tea party versus Republican Party, but I would say that if you ask me what’s more important — tackling our nation’s deficit, our nation’s debt problems or being a Republican — I would say tackling the debt.”
Paul also defended his calls to end aid to Israel, saying they’re just part of his bigger efforts at fiscal responsibility. “I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel, but not with money you don’t have,” he said. “We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends.”
And, he said, giving money to the country is especially unwise considering Israel’s relative wealth.
You talked earlier about anti-American sentiment and a lot of that has been because the United States while today the Press Secretary is saying how they've been talking about Egypt and the need for reform and bringing up this at every meeting that's not the way many Egyptians see it. Most Egyptians see the United States as having stood solidly by President Mubarak while the government here grew more and more corrupt. And they see the Americans as complicit in it. And just today, for example, when we were out on streets this is what a lot of people were showing us about American involvement. If you can see in my hands this is one of the tear gas canisters and very clearly written in English on it, it says "Made in the USA by Combined Tactical Systems from Jamestown, Pennsylvania." And they say this is the kind of support that the United States has been giving to the Egyptian government and bears some responsibility, although today it it trying to say that it never backed Mubarak so much, it has been calling for reforms for a long time, Egyptians don't see it that way.
The mainstream media’s coverage of WikiLeaks has largely focused on Julian Assange’s sexy exploits — to the extent that one might forget about the actual leaked files. CBS admirably has an overview of the wealth of enlightening and interesting information that WikiLeaks has revealed to us. For starters:
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- The Obama administration worked with Republicans during his first few months in office to protect Bush administration officials facing a criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies that some considered torture.
– Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has infiltrated the highest levels of government in Nigeria.
– Pope Benedict impeded an investigation into alleged child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
– BP suffered a blowout after a gas leak in the Caucasus country of Azerbaijan in September 2008, a year and a half before another BP blowout killed 11 workers and started a leak that gushed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Julian Assange has set the ultimate dead man's switch: Arrest or kill him and thousands of files will be automatically released, including documents that out CIA-backed Arabs. The Wikileaks leader had previously claimed to have files on auto-release. That he had info on CIA ties was first-mentioned in an interview yesterday with Al-Jazeera. This is exactly the type of information that lead people to condemn Wikileaks as dangerous. If released it would certainly endanger many American operatives and cause a massive political disruption.
Interchange — The Truth About 9/11: Graeme MacQueen and Laurie Manwell
The Black Fridays Episode 21 — Dr. Thomas Barnett
The Black Fridays proudly welcome Dr. Thomas Barnett to the show. Dr. Barnett earned his Masters and PhD at Harvard, and is a much sought after Public Speaker, Author, and Blogger.
From 1998 through 2004, Dr. Barnett was a Senior Strategic Researcher and Professor in the Warfare Analysis & Research Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport RI, where he taught and served in a senior advisory role with military and civilian leaders in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, Central Command, Special Operations Command, and Joint Forces Command.
Dr. Barnett has written for Esquire, Wired, National Review, and the Washington Post, and has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, the Economist, Time, BBC World Service, CNN, Fox News and numerous foreign media.… Read the rest