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Eric Margolis

Do We Really Want War With Russia?

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War with Russia appears increasingly likely as the US and its NATO satraps continue their military provocations of Moscow.

As dangers mount, our foolish politicians should all be forced to read, and then re-read, Prof. Christopher Clark’s magisterial book, ‘The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.’ What is past increasingly appears prologue.

Prof. Clark carefully details how small cabals of anti-German senior officials in France, Britain and Russia engineered World War I, a dire conflict that was unnecessary, idiotic, and illogical. Germany and Austria-Hungary of course share some the blame, but to a much lesser degree than the bellicose French, Serbs, Russians and British.

We are seeing the same process at work today. The war party in Washington, backed by the military-industrial complex, the tame media, and the neocons, are agitating hard for war.
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Remember the Golan Heights?

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During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee.

Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads. At the same time, Israel was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase.

Believing Israel was about to use nuclear weapons against Syria and Egypt, Moscow put huge pressure on both to rein in their advancing forces. Damascus, already in range of Israeli artillery on Golan, ordered its armored forces on Golan to halt, allowing Israel to mount powerful counter-attacks and retake the strategic heights.
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Defending Democracy to the Last Drop of Oil

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Poor President Barack Obama flew to Saudi Arabia this past week but its ruler, King Salman, was too busy to greet him at Riyadh’s airport.

This snub was seen across the Arab world as a huge insult and violation of traditional desert hospitality. Obama should have refused to deplane and flown home.

Alas, he did not. Obama went to kow-tow to the new Saudi monarch and his hot-headed son, Crown Prince Muhammed bin Nayef. They are furious that Obama has refused to attack Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Syria’s Assad regime.

They are also angry as hornets that the US may allow relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi royal family, which is widely suspected of being involved in the attack.

Interestingly, survivors of the 34 American sailors killed aboard the USS Liberty when it was attacked by Israeli warplanes in 1967, have been denied any legal recourse.
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The Phony War in Syria

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The great, long-awaited counterattack against ISIS has finally begun. The offensive that spans Syria and western Iraq is targeting the ISIS-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

For a variety of reasons, the much ballyhooed “final offensive” against ISIS is moving with all the speed of a medieval army of drunken foot soldiers and all the audacity of a lady’s garden party.

As a former soldier and war correspondent, I find the spectacle both pathetic and weird. Back in my army days, our tough sergeants used to call such behavior “lilly-dipping.” There’s no risk that this pathetic campaign will go down in the annals of military history.

In fact, the whole business smells to high heaven.
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Bush Haunts The GOP

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“The evil that men do lives after them,” wrote Shakespeare. A prime example, former US President George W. Bush who appeared last week campaigning in South Carolina for his amiable younger brother, Jeb.

George W. continues to haunt the Republican Party and damage its electoral chances. At home, Bush has been staying out of public gaze; abroad, he is widely hated and limits overseas travel due to fear of war crimes arrest for his 2003 invasions of Iraq.

Republican spin doctors and the rightwing US media has been trying to soft soap Bush and his mentor, Dick Cheney, for years and slowly expunge their disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan Wars that opened a Pandora’s Box of horrors across the Muslim world. Democrats who cheered the war have equally sought to dodge responsibility. However, Hillary Clinton can’t seem to escape her tawdry war record.

The US, claim the Bush/Cheney amen chorus, was “misled” into invading Iraq by “faulty intelligence,” misled by the hope to promote democracy among the benighted Muslims; on a noble quest to remove a frightful dictator Saddam; and, of course, the famous missing “weapons of mass destruction.”
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Retro Cold War Guff From the NY Times

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A striking example of how dangerously Americans are misinformed and misled by the war party was featured in a major article in 24 December, New York Times.

In “Russia Rearms for a New Era,” the authors assert Russian military spending is growing and has risen $11 billion from 2014 to 2015. Lurid maps and diagrams of weapons make it seem that Stalin’s 210-division Red Army is again on the march – and headed into Europe.

A professor at Columbia’s Harriman Institute was actually quoted claiming that President Vladimir Putin is trying to “provoke the US and NATO into military action” to bolster his popularity.

What unbelievable rubbish. This dimwitted lady believes that Putin, whose popularity ratings rise over 82% in Russia, needs to court nuclear war to gain a few more points? Shame on the NY Times.
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What ISIS Really Has in Mind


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Recent attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Paris, London and San Bernardino, California, are not random acts of mindless violence and gory atrocities. Far from it, they are part of a well-developed strategy by the Islamic State, or ISIS, to draw the western powers into a far larger war in the Mideast. They are being aided in this quest by the loud-mouthed right of American, British and French politics.

They are drawing inspiration from the defeats of the Anglo-British army of Hicks Pasha in the Sudan in 1883 that was lured up the Nile then ambushed and swamped by 300,000 Dervish and tribal warriors. And by the defeat in Afghanistan of the British at Maiwand in the second Anglo-Afghan War of 1880.
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Think Before You Rush to War!

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Concentration of forces is the most basic law of military science. Victory on the battlefield is won by amassing as many troops as possible at the key point of attack, or ‘schwerpunkt,’ as it’s known in German.

Unfortunately, the amateur strategists in the White House seem to have been studying social anthropology and women’s issues instead of basic military science. What they want is, to use the term coined by Russian poet Yevtuschenko, a half war.

This week, Pentagon chief Ash Carter, announced the US would send about 200 more special forces troops to Iraq and Syrian to fight the Islamic State. After vowing not to send troops to the Mideast, President Obama has by now deployed 3,500 new US soldiers to Iraq for “training.”
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The City of Light Falls Dark

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On Friday the 13th, Paris, the City of Light, was plunged into darkness and fear.

At least eight young jihadists, allegedly from the so-called Islamic State group, attacked the national sports stadium, where President Francois Hollande was attending a soccer match with Germany’s foreign minister. They also attacked outdoor cafes, a pizzeria and a rock club.

As of this writing, 127 civilians were killed and dozens wounded. All of the attackers are believed to have died. For the second time this year, Paris is terror-struck and shaken to its foundation. Pope Francis aptly described the attacks as “homicidal madness.”

What was Islamic State’s objective in attacking all these improbable soft targets? Madness is not a sufficient motive. Clearly, Islamic State’s 20-somethings were bombing and shooting up targets that youngsters frequented, like a pizzeria or Friday night heavy metal concert. Their objective: to kill as many people as possible in a pure revenge attack.

Islamic State (IS), a collection of young hooligans, misguided idealists, and bitter riff-raff, have warned the West, “we will make you feel what we have felt.” They adopted this slogan from the Chechen independence fighters who resorted to attacks on Russian civilians after Russian forces killed an estimated 100,000 of their people in the 1990’s.
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The Older, Better Canada is Back Again

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I used to call Canada "the land that time forgot." While the rest of the world lurched from crisis to crisis, Canada remained peaceful, humane, prosperous, progressive, and famously polite, a sort of North American Scandinavia.

Polls showed that Canada, for all its blandness and low profile, was one of the world’s most respected nations. The ethos of Canada was to make nice to everyone, aid less fortunate nations, shine at the UN, and make peace-keeping a national cause.

That was, of course, until the old political order broke down after a series of scandals in Quebec. The Conservatives, an insurgent party made up of farmers and other reactionaries from the western provinces (aka ‘Canadian Republicans), gained power as first a minority government, then majority.

For ten years, the rightwing Conservatives political leader from Alberta, Stephen Harper, held power in Ottawa. He rapidly turned once easy-going Canada into something resembling a dictatorship-light in which Parliament was reduced to a rubber stamp, the courts were often cowed, and parts of the media brought under Harper’s control. Nastiness replaced politeness.
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