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The Second Cold War

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In the light of the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, there has been much talk about the clouding of US-Russian relations. Some voices in the Internet’s alternative media sections have conjured the possibility that these conflicts might lead to a new major war, while social networks like Twitter saw the usage of the hashtags #WorldWarIII and #WorldWar3 explode after Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet in the vicinity of the Syrian border. Headlines in mainstream media outlets like Foreign Policy and the Guardian also proclaimed, “Welcome to Cold War III” and asked “are we going back to the bad old days?”.

This article suggests that although the ideological division of the Cold War ended de facto with the collapse of the Soviet Union, American geopolitical schemes to contain Russian power abroad have never really been abandoned. Throughout the 1990s and until today, US policymakers have been determined to wage overt or covert proxy wars with the aim of curbing its former adversary’s political, economic, and military influence. Chechnya, Ukraine, and Syria are the key spots where the logic of this second Cold War is played out.

A short glance over the state of the world today and its representation in the media suffices to identify a growing number of actual and potential centers of conflicts: Civil war is raging in parts of Ukraine, military tensions are growing in the South Chinese Sea, and the Middle East is more of a mess than ever. Nonetheless, some have suggested that the actual number of armed conflicts has actually reached a historical low. But this assertion is solely based on statistical preference.
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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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From Crisis Comes Leviathan

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Lovers of big government love crises because crises are the sure-fire way to get big government. It is during crises that many people go into a fright-filled panic, demanding that government assume extraordinary powers to keep them safe. Government officials, of course, are always willing to oblige, given their love of power over others.


Then, as Robert Higgs points out in his insightful book Crisis and Leviathan (which I highly recommend), once the crisis is over, while the size of government might diminish, it hardly ever returns to the size that it was before the crisis. Thus, with each new crisis, the government only gets bigger, more powerful, and more oppressive.

We witnessed this phenomenon after the 9/11 attacks. We saw it after the Paris terrorist attacks. And we are seeing it again after the shootings in San Bernardino, California.

“We need gun control!” the fear-stricken cry, unable to recognize that California already is ranked near the top in the nation in terms of strict gun-control laws.

We need stricter immigration controls!” the panicked scream, unable to see that the shooters in California were here legally.
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Losing The 'Good War': Taliban Returns In Afghanistan

The US-led war on Afghanistan has lasted some 15 years and cost well over a trillion dollars. Yet Afghanistan is in arguably worse shape than when the US set out to "liberate" it from the Taliban. In fact, the Taliban are conducting ever bolder strikes against targets of psychological significance such as the airport in Kandahar this week. The US war in Afghanistan is lost, but no one in Washington will admit it because it is too profitable to the military-industrial complex, and the admission would reveal the bankruptcy of the "regime change" and "nation-build" that is at the center of US foreign policy. Instead they will press on, taking with them the lives of many more war victims and untold resources. Today's Liberty Report takes a look at the US slow-motion defeat in Afghanistan...
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Trump Didn't Vote to Kill One Million Muslims in Iraq, Hillary Did

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Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for pointing out that the US media is acting as though Donald Trump just invented bigotry this week (one of those ugly details I'm happy to miss by never watching television). But not only is explicit bigotry toward Muslims not new, implicit bigotry toward Muslims has been the foundation of the largest public project in the United States for the past quarter century.

The driving forces behind war planning in Washington are power, domination, profit, politics, and the inertia of war planning as a path toward career success. These sociopaths are happy to bomb Germans or Yugoslavians. The value they place on sailors in Pearl Harbor or contemplated victims of Operation Northwoods, or US troops stop-lossed into insanity is negligible. They don't think twice about overthrowing a democracy in Iran and laying the groundwork for Islamic power. They have no qualms about arming Muslim radicals in Afghanistan or Iraq, and toppling secular governments in Iraq or Libya or Syria. That most ISIS weaponry is US weaponry seized from Iraq can only please the profiteers who will sell the weapons to combat ISIS. Their best friends are the killer Muslims running Saudi Arabia and nearby kingdoms. Their Christian hatred for Islam is as real as Karl Rove's integrity or Donald Trump's hair.
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Congress Plans To Tax and Spy On You More

It seems like only yesterday that incoming Speaker of the House Paul Ryan promised that from here on the House would proceed only under regular order and that there would be no midnight bills pushed through without due consideration from the committees of jurisdiction. As Congress ponders its holiday break, the pressure it mounting to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing (CISA) Act, which encourages companies to spy on their customers and give the information to the US government. They've tried to pass this legislation for years, but finally it looks like it will make it. Once again Congress sells out our liberties with the false promises of providing us more security. Today's Liberty Report is joined by Campaign for Liberty president Norm Singleton to take a look at what Congress is giving us for Christmas...
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Don't Believe the Hype About Gun Shootings in the US

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Since the San Bernardino killings last week, many statements of politicians and stories in the media are painting a picture of “gun violence” in America that, on a closer look, appears to be far from reality.

These are some of the messages we hear in constant rotation: Be afraid of your neighbor who has a few guns and some boxes of ammunition; he must be planning a violent attack. Panic about the mass murders epidemic. Dread the explosion of violent crimes of recent years.

The barrage is deafening. But, should it be believed?

It is true people use guns to kill other people, including in mass murders. But, it is also important to not fall for exaggerated claims related to guns and mass murder.

Below are a few observations on guns and mass murder that should be considered when evaluating the fear-building messages that seem to be favored by many individuals in politics and the media...


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Saudis Bomb Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Yemen

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Just like their Sugar Daddy America bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan “by accident,” the Saudis bombed for the second time this year a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen.

But it’s OK — just like the U.S., the Saudis will conduct an investigation of themselves, no doubt leading to the conclusion that as in Afghanistan, it was all a mistake.

Under any variant of the rules of war, international law and just plain humanity, it is illegal, wrong and immoral to bomb a medical facility. Doctors Without Borders, an international nongovernmental organization, is however an attractive target in modern war, because they treat all people who need medical care equally. That means they may be bandaging up a civilian child in one bed while working on a “rebel” fighter in the next bed. They believe strongly in helping those who require help.

That bothers folks like the United States and Saudi. Big countries have their own medical facilities for their soldiers. They have the air assets to whisk wounded soldiers off the battlefield to trauma care centers located safely behind friendly lines. In their minds, Doctors Without Borders exist primarily to give aid to the enemy. Boom!
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Women In Combat: An Issue Of Rights?

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced recently that all military jobs, including the most dangerous combat roles, would be open to women starting next April. The announcement added new life to a lawsuit seeking to expand mandatory Selective Service registration to women as well as men who reach the age of 18. The military draft is a form of slavery. Seeking to extend it to women because one feels it is discriminatory if it applies only to men is a case of faulty logic. In a real threat to the United States, likely every able body would defend their homeland. A draft only seeks to add cannon fodder to the imperial foreign policy of the warmongering neocons. The problem is the foreign policy, not a lack of fighters to carry it out. More on women in combat and the draft in today's Liberty Report...
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Up From Imperialism: How to End the Terrorist Threat and Return to Normalcy

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The San Bernardino massacre, in which a seemingly harmless county worker and his wife murdered 14 people in cold blood and wounded 21 others, marks a new phase in the cycle of war and repression that characterizes the post-9/11 era. The authorities recognize this, and they are moving swiftly to take advantage of their opportunity. As Rahm Emmanuel famously put it:
You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.
On the left as well as the right, the cry goes up: Give the government more power! Protect us! Oh, and there’s always this old standby: Bombs away!

As Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security chieftain, put it to the New York Times: “We have moved to an entirely new phase in the global terrorist threat and in our homeland security efforts.” Terrorists have “in effect outsourced attempts to attack our homeland. We’ve seen this not just here but in other places. This requires a whole new approach, in my view.”
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