Last week President Obama admitted that his administration has not worked out a strategy on how to deal with the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a dominant force in the Middle East. However, as ISIS continues its march through Syria and Iraq, many in the US administration believe it is, in the words of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a threat “beyond anything we have ever seen.”
Predictably, the neocons attacked the president’s speech. They believe the solution to any problem is more bombs and troops on the ground, so they cannot understand the president’s hesitation. read on...
Earlier this month the New York Times wondered aloud if the “libertarian moment” had arrived. A good question, to be sure.
To answer it, though, Times reporter Robert Draper sought out not quite the top libertarian thinkers in the world, but instead those people most easily reached within a ten-minute walk from the Capitol or the Empire State Building.
Draper begins with an ex-MTV personality and proceeds from there. None of the people whose work and writing have shaped the libertarian movement, and who have converted so many people to our point of view, make an appearance. Ask the hordes of young kids who are devouring libertarian classics how many of them were introduced to libertarianism, or even slightly influenced, by the figures on whom the Times chooses to rely. You already know the answer.
The movement’s major thinkers have rather more intellectual heft behind them, which I suspect is why the Times would prefer to keep them from you. Far better for libertarianism to seem like an ill-focused, adolescent rebellion against authority per se, instead of a serious, intellectually exciting school of thought that challenges every last platitude about the State we were taught in its ubiquitous schools. read on...
President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known.
Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and think, something his shoot –from- the- lip Republican critics rarely do. They are demanding the US attack both Iraq and Syria without asking “what then oh brave Washington warriors?” These are the Republicans who ardently supported George Bush’s catastrophic invasion and destruction of Iraq.
The problem is that too many cooks in Washington are spoiling its Mideast soup. In his magnificent new book, “The Sleepwalkers,” Prof. Christopher Clark of Cambridge describes how World War I was in part ignited by small numbers of anti-German officials in France, Russia, Serbia and Britain who often undermined their own government’s moderate policies.
The same process occurred under President George W. Bush when cabals of neocon officials in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and media drove the US into a calamitous war whose negative effects are still being felt. read on...
The latest Washington lie, this one coming from NATO, is that Russia has invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops and self-propelled artillery.
How do we know that this is a lie? Is it because we have heard nothing but lies about Russia from NATO, from US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, from assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, from Obama and his entire regime of pathological liars, and from the British, German, and French governments along with the BBC and the entirety of the Western media?
This, of course, is a good reason for knowing that the latest Western propaganda is a lie. Those who are pathological liars don’t suddenly start telling the truth.
But there are even better reasons for understanding that Russia has not invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops.
One reason is that Putin has invested heavily in diplomacy backed by unprovocative behavior. He would not risk his bet on diplomacy by sending in troops too few in number to have a decisive effect on the outcome.
Another reason is that if Putin decides he has no alternative to sending the Russian military to protect the Russian residents in eastern and southern Ukraine, Putin will send in enough troops to do the job quickly as he did in Georgia when the American and Israeli trained Georgian army invaded South Ossetia and was destroyed in a few hours by the Russian response. If you hear that 100,000 Russian troops accompanied by air cover have invaded Ukraine, it would be a more believable claim. read on...
Buried beneath news of the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the latest video release by the Islamic State was an interview by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that should be of immediate concern to everyone.
These days, the actual importance of a news story is inversely proportional to the number of American media outlets that refuse to touch it. That would explain the virtual non-existence of the NATO chief’s interview on Wednesday that he gave to a handful of European newspapers.
Never content to let a good war go to waste, Rasmussen said the 28-member military bloc would be“spearheading” its way into the fleshy flanks of Eastern Europe, just a missile lob away from the Russian frontier. The reason – “Russian aggression” – should surprise nobody who has been following Ukraine’s slow-motion meltdown ever since Kiev attempted to form a more perfect union with Russia instead of the European Union. That’s when the Western-backed fireworks display, complete with John McCain and Victoria Nuland agitating/feeding the crowds in central Kiev, exploded, leaving Ukraine on the verge of total collapse, and US-Russian relations in tatters. read on...
America’s spanker-in-chief is at it again—threatening to bomb Syria owing to the uncivilized actions of its inhabitants. And when it comes to Syria, Washington avers that there are punishable malefactors virtually everywhere within its borders.
Exactly one year ago Obama proposed to take Bashar Al Assad to the woodshed because he had allegedly unleashed a vicious chemical attack on his own citizens. That was all pretext, of course, because even the CIA refused to sign-off on the flimsy case for Assad’s culpability at the time—-a reluctance corroborated since then by the considerable evidence that hundreds of Syrian civilians were murdered during a false flag operation staged by the rebels with help from Turkey. The aim of the rebels, of course, was to activate American tomahawk missiles and bombers in behalf of “regime change”, which was also the stated goal of the Obama Administration.
Now the White House is threatening to bomb Syria again, but this time its “regime change” objective has been expanded to include both sides! In 12 short months what had been the allegedly heroic Sunni opposition to the “brutal rule” of the Assad/Alawite minority has transmuted into the “greatest terrorist threat ever”, according to the Secretary of Defense. read on...
In response to the Islamic State’s execution of American journalist James Foley, President Obama referred to Foley’s killers as a “cancer.” That, of course, implies that anti-American terrorism is like a disease, one that strikes at nations willy nilly, without rhyme or reason.
Obama’s cancer metaphor for ISIS brings to mind what President Bush said about al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks — that the terrorists were motivated by hatred for America’s freedom and values.
Under either formulation — cancer or hatred for America’s freedom and values — the war on terrorism is going to last a very long time, which naturally means an ongoing presence and ever-increasing budgets for the Cold War-era national-security establishment, i.e., the military and the CIA.
But the truth is that anti-American terrorism is not like cancer and it’s not motivated by hatred for America’s freedom and values. It is instead a direct result of the U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy. Interventionism generates the rage within foreigners that motivates them to respond with acts of anti-American terrorism. read on...
Ron Paul and Mark Spitznagel share a passion for non-interventionism, free markets, and Austrian economics. Congressman Paul served many years as a U.S. Representative from Texas, spanning 1976 to 2013, and was a Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012. He has written extensively on liberty and politics, including The Revolution: A Manifesto and End the Fed. Spitznagel is the founder of Universa Investments, an investment advisor that specializes in tail-hedging, and is the author of The Dao of Capital, for which Paul wrote the Foreword. The two friends sat down recently to discuss topics ranging from the liberty movement and agricultural policy, to the consequences of Federal Reserve monetary policy.
Here is a transcript of their conversation:
Mark Spitznagel: Ron, you have been the galvanizing force of a resurgent liberty movement in the United States. Yet, we find ourselves in this world where interventionism is on the rise, and much of America remains complacent about it. For instance, I think we would agree that today’s crony-capitalism and monetary-interventionism by central banks is at an unprecedented scale that will once again leave destruction in its wake. Why is America letting this happen, and moving away from its Jeffersonian ideals? Moreover, I have to ask you, has the liberty movement stalled, or even failed? read on...
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to begin air strikes on Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian government. The pretext is the rapidly expanding US war on ISIS, but in fact this is the long-desired US attack on Syria that was temporarily thwarted, reportedly by popular opposition last year (but more likely by US knowledge that its claims the Assad government was behind the chemical attacks at Ghouta had no basis in reality and would not stand up to even superficial scrutiny).
Though it makes for a compelling story, the idea that popular opposition to Obama's plans to attack Syria last year stopped the bombs seems more wishful thinking than reality. Consider how easy it has been these past two weeks to obliterate any opposition among the American people to the same US attack plan regurgitated almost exactly one year later.
A series of salacious stories about ISIS slaughtering a Yazidi minority that no one had even heard of mobilized US public opinion in favor of initial US strikes and even ground troops in Iraq. Never mind that the stories were hyped up and mostly false. Never mind that the US and its allies had armed and trained the individuals who now call themselves ISIS (now simply "IS") for a number of years. Another "babies thrown from incubators" story and even self-identified non-interventionists were screaming for bombing runs. read on...
There is all kinds of nonsense circulating in the mainstream media and in the wilder reaches of the internet galaxy concerning ISIS (IS) and the Syrian government (SAG). There are also an amazing number of stories on the web that claim that "The Caliph Ibrahim" (Baghdadi) is actually an Israeli Jew, born in Israel to Jewish parents. Whoa! That's a great one! It has its origins in Iranian media that is selling the idea that Snowden says so. OK. Let's see the intercepts that Snowden is said to have on that subject.
The US and European foreign policy establishments are trapped in a situation in which they have declared themselves to be the enemies of the Government of Syria, dedicated to its overthrow in a world in which the Government of Syria has survived very well, thank you.
There are a multitude of rebel groups in Syria. The only effective ones are the Islamic ones. This was inevitably going to be the case. The pro-government forces are fighting an existential fight against Sunni Syrian Arabs and jihadi internationals who very much want to put the Alawis, Shia, Christians, Druze and the like either back in their kennels or in their graves. The Free Syrian Army (the fave of the US children's crusade run from the NSC and State Department), has proven itself to be an "army" that does not want to fight. Why should it? These "moderate" seculars and other sane people want to live, not die for the faith, any faith. The serious opposition are the tough guys who DO want to die for the faith. There are many such groups. read on...