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Eric Margolis

We Are Headed For Another Tragedy Like WWI

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We are now before the 100th anniversary of World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars. While honoring the 16 million who died in this conflict, we should also condemn the memory of the politicians, officials and incompetent generals who created this horrendous blood bath. I’ve walked most of the Western Front of the Great War, visited its battlefields and haunted forts, and seen the seas of crosses marking its innumerable cemeteries.
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Let Koreans Solve Their Own Problems

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Springtime in Korea. Peace and love have erupted all over the mountainous peninsula as the leaders of the two rival nations seek to end the nearly seven decades of hostility between them. One can’t underestimate the passionate longing felt by most Koreans on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for some form of reunification – or at least reattachment – of the two nations
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Trump's Reckless Hostility Unites China and Russia

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Good work Mr. President! You have now managed to lay the groundwork for a grand Chinese-Russian alliance. The objective of intelligent diplomacy is to divide one’s foes, not to unite them. This epic blunder comes at a time when the US appears to be getting ready for overt military action in Syria against Russian and Syrian forces operating there.
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Pakistan Needs a Strong New Leader

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The words "hope" and "Pakistan" do not often appear together. Pakistan, a sprawling nation of 205 million, is hard to govern, even harder to finance, and seething with tribal or religious violence and discord.

But Pakistan, which for me is one of the most interesting and important nations on earth, is by far the leading nation of the Muslim world and a redoubtable military power. Created in 1947 from former British India as a haven for oppressed Muslims, Pakistan has been ruled ever since by military juntas or by slippery and often corrupt civilian politicians.

 After decades of dynastic politics under the Bhutto and Sharif families, there is suddenly hope that newly elected cricket star Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) may – just may – tackle Pakistan’s four biggest problems: endemic corruption, military interference, political tribalism, and a half-dead economy.

Former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, appears to be headed for jail over a corruption scandal unless he is allowed to go into exile in London. The exiled former military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is hiding out in Dubai awaiting charges of treason.

I spent a good deal of time with Pakistan’s former leaders, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and his bitter foe, Benazir Bhutto, both of whom were later murdered. Neither Musharraf nor Nawaz measured up to these colorful personalities in political skills, vision, or personality.
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The Looming War Against Iran

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President Donald Trump and his neocon advisors have been trying to provoke a war with Iran and Syria for many months. The neocons are echoing Cato the Elder’s cry, "delenda est Carthago!" Iran must be destroyed.

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Madness in Moscow

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Comedy? Disaster? Mental disorder? Hearing loss? Even days after President Donald Trump’s bizarre appearance in Moscow alongside a cool, composed President Vladimir Putin, it’s hard to tell what happened. But it certainly was entertaining.
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'Pay Up You NATO Deadbeats...Or Else!'

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"We are the schmucks" thundered President Donald Trump, using a favorite New York City Yiddish term for penis. The object of Trump’s wrath at his Make America Great Again’ rally in Great Falls, Montana was the craven, stingy European members of NATO, only 16 of 22 members are on budget for their US-commanded military spending. Trump wants them to spend much more. 

Trump and his fellow neocons want NATO to serve as a sort of US foreign legion in Third World wars in Africa and Asia. NATO was formed as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to defend western Europe, not to fight in Afghanistan and who knows where else?

Equally bad, according to Trump, is that the US runs a whopping trade deficit with the European Union which is busy shipping high-end cars and fine wines to the US. The wicked foreigners don’t buy enough American bourbon, corn, and terribly abused pigs.
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Turkey on a Roll

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Few phobias run deeper in Europe than the fear and hatred of Turks. For at least six hundred years, Europe was locked in innumerable wars with first Seljuk, then Ottoman Turks. My big St Bernard is a descendant of dogs bred to attack Arab and Turkish raiders coming over Switzerland’s St Bernard Pass.

Today, by contrast, there are some 10 million ethnic Turks in Europe, most of whom came in past decades as guest laborers, prized for their hard work, honesty and reliability.

Turkey joined NATO in 1952 at a time when the US dominated the continent and Mideast. The Turkish armed forces were the second largest in NATO after the US.  Joined at the hip with the US military, the Turkish generals ran the government in Ankara behind a screen of squabbling politicians. The US gave Turkey its marching orders. Turkey’s small but powerful westernized elite was delighted to follow Washington and keep Islam in Turkey handcuffed or exiled to rural areas.

This all changed in 1994 when a young, 40-year old nationalist, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, became a reformist mayor of Istanbul and began cleaning up and modernizing the decrepit metropolis.  After a brief jail term for reading an ancient Islamic poem, he was released and formed the Justice and Development Party (AK) which is an Islamist Lite party dedicated to democracy guided by Muslims principals of national pride, welfare for the poor and elderly, sharing wealth, supporting fellow Muslims and urging followers to lead lives of moderation. 

There was no stopping the dynamic Erdogan, who was a semi-pro footballer before his full-time political career. By 2003, he was elected prime minister by Turkey’s 81 million people and ever since has proved wildly popular with the majority of Turks. The big city westernized elites in Turkey, who deny their Muslim culture and try to pass for Europeans, bitterly oppose Erdogan and his Islamic allies.
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Trump's War Against Iran

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Israel launched waves of air attacks and ground shelling on a score of alleged Iranian military positions in Syria this week.   Was this a big step forward in the plan by Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his ally Donald Trump to provoke a major war with Iran?


It certainly looks so.  The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, then Sunni Muslim jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria.  As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel.

In fact, the alleged Iranian rocket barrage was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.
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Doctor Death from Damascus?

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Butcher of Damascus. Gasser of children. Baby Killer of Syria. Tool of Moscow. Cruel despot. Monster.

These are all names the western media and politicians routinely heap on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. He has now become the top Mideast villain, the man we love to hate.

As a veteran Mideast watcher, I find all this hard to swallow. Compared to other brutal Mideast leaders, Assad is pretty weak tea. The US/British propaganda effort to paint Assad in blackest colors is having a difficult time.

Mideast leaders who toe the US line and make nice to Israel are invariably called "statesmen" or "president" by the American government and its increasingly tame media. There’s good old President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt, the military dictator who crushed that nation’s only democracy and imposed an iron-fisted rule.  But we will never hear from the US media of Egypt’s political murders, disappearances, secret prisons and torture.  Or that Egypt has been one of the world’s most draconian police states since the era of Anwar Sadat and successor Hosni Mubarak.
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