Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Connecting the Dots: War Profiteers Target Iran

The pro-war political propaganda of a defense industry booster firm reveals one way that war-profiteering corporations promote international tension and war for private gain.
The formula is pretty simple: 

Arms Factory + War-Mongering 'Independent' Propaganda = $$$.

Once you have a factory that makes weapons, buy yourself an “institute” that churns out “academic” analyses of world affairs designed to wave the bloody shirt. Either you win by selling Washington arms that will sit and rust somewhere or Washington will actually use those weapons, in which case you win again by expanding your market and also by opening a sub-division to rebuild the country you just helped destroy.

Forbes has described the now scandalous process by which think tanks are degenerating into glitzy propaganda arms of the military-industrial complex: 

in Washington, think tanks are becoming so political that they are more like lobbyists than academic institutions…. 

the pressure on researchers to conform to partisan political objectives is going to become even more intense, and if they are going to be expected to function as de facto lobbyists they are going to expect to be paid like lobbyists, which will ratchet up pressure to raise money from those with a purely bottom-line perspective. I fear that honesty and truth will get more and more lost in the process.

A simple example of how this is currently pressuring the U.S. into war against Iran follows.

In a highly biased piece of war-mongering propaganda, the Lexington Institute, which was described by Harper’s as “the defense industry's pay-to-play ad agency,” is beating the drums for a war on Iran. The Institute dismisses claims that Iran is several years away from a bomb as an “Obama Administration” claim that “may be irrelevant,” (which of course also means it may “be” relevant), carefully avoiding the fact that it is not only the Administration but numerous military/intelligence officials in both the U.S. and Israel who consider Iran years from the bomb, not to mention considering the idea of attacking Iran bad for U.S. and Israeli national security.

The Institute then tosses in the standard scare tactic that “Once Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is rendered bomb proof then the world’s only recourse will be sanctions." God forbid that the world turned to the recourse of persuading Israel to relinquish its demands for military dominance over the Mideast (that truly irritates Iran) and the colonization of Palestine (that opens the door for Iran to interfere in Levantine affairs) or that the world turn to the recourse of actually negotiating a positive-sum solution to the broader U.S.-Iranian strategic argument. Oh, no, threats and some sort of war--be it intel, military, terrorist, or economic—will be the only solution.

After admitting that an Israeli attack would not destroy the Iranian nuclear infrastructure and would provoke terrorism, the Institute nevertheless argues that Israeli aggression would have its benefits. An Israeli non-nuclear attack, the Institute broadly implies, would warn Iran that Israel might consider a nuclear attack! Now there’s some good news for all us war profiteers! And even if Israel doesn’t attack at the moment, that’s OK too – just gives the U.S. more time to arm Israel with the long-range Arrow 3 interceptor “specifically designed to go after Iranian ballistic missiles.” The bottom line is clear: for the offense industry, the threat of war against Iran is good news however you look at it.

Must-Read War Profiteers website.

See this report for the latest on corruption of Halliburton/KBR.

For the other side of the coin, Iran's military-industrial complex, see here. The money quote:

the IRGC is not only an army, but a monster conglomerate with myriad military-industrial, economic and financial interests. Top managers - and the array of enterprises they control - are bound to the ethos of antagonising the West, the same West from whose sanctions they handsomely profit. So, for them, the status quo is nice and dandy - even with the everyday possibility of a miscalculation, or a false-flag operation, leading to war.

2010 Congressional Report on Contracting Fraud in Afghanistan and How It Endangers U.S. Forces

Corporate War At Home and Abroad

If a simple explanation suffices, perhaps one need not look any further, and the simplest explanation for the rush to attack Iran is greed.

Meir Dagan, recently retired head of Mossad, is on a campaign to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. And now, the New York Times reports:

American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.

Mossad says no; U.S. intel analysts say no. So, why are so many politicians trying to start a war?

Follow the money. The U.S. political system is increasingly under the control of major corporations. Corporations exist to make money; they do not possess “patriotism” or, indeed, any other “feelings.” Why would they? You did not think they were people, did you?

Now consider how Iran looks to a major U.S. corporation…say, a corporation that makes its money rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in a war, a corporation that buys drinking water systems or telecommunications systems or petroleum production facilities or…oil. Considering the profits such companies made from the attack on Iraq (also see here), imagine the profits they would make from rebuilding a destroyed Iran, a country three times as large.

The links between corporate war profiteering when the U.S. attacks another country and the behavior of such companies toward the American public are worth careful contemplation. Cheney’s company Halliburton went on from enormous Iran war profiteering (and was accused by the Pentagon’s top auditor of widespread fraud) to contributing to the poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the presidential oil spill commission. More recently, Halliburton has been thumbing its nose at rising American popular and government concerns about natural gas fracking to the point of being the only company contacted by the EPA for information that refused to cooperate until served with a subpoena. When corporations are given blank checks for abusive behavior overseas, they naturally assume they can behave the same inside the U.S.

And as for the Israeli connection, the Israeli economy has been completely transformed since the good old kibbutz days into a super-high-tech economy targeted at such applications as security and outright arms exports. Israeli security exports have risen from $2 to $7 billion since 9/11, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry, which cited the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as sources of its profit. Despite an over-reliance on high-paid contractors so costly that even General McCrystal criticized it, the army of U.S. mercenaries remains on station in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and not only Israeli companies but Israeli companies with close ties to Israeli military/intelligence circles, are attempting to participate. European countries, including Germany, are also using Israeli military equipment in Afghanistan. U.S. wars in the Muslim world have become a crucial economic pillar of the Israeli state.

The rising number of current and recently retired U.S. Israeli military/intelligence officials who have found the courage to speak out publicly against an unprovoked attack on Iran as a danger to the two countries’ national security are fighting against a tsunami of economic self-interest in war profiteering.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Follow-Up to "Yemen: Politics As Usual"

Tens of thousands marched in the capital of Yemen yesterday to protest the continuation of the Saleh dictatorship without Saleh and the international deal to give him immunity from prosecution for the slaughter of democracy protesters during their year-long popular campaign that was repeatedly marred by military attacks on the protesters. How dare the people protest an international agreement!

By out-maneuvering the youthful protesters and marginalizing them, Washington and Riyadh have bought a temporary continuation of their influence at the expense of opening the door wide to Tehran, which now has an opportunity to challenge Riyadh in its own backyard and simultaneously occupy the moral high ground of supporting the Arab Spring movement.

Plus ca change...
Yemen: Politics As Usual discusses the international deal manipulating Yemen.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yemen: Politics As Usual

In a patently obvious set-up, Yemen’s life-long dictator Saleh has handed leadership to his deputy, with Riyadh and Washington smirking from the sidelines like two imperial Cheshire Cats. Expect further sectarianism, further Arab Spring protests, further al Qua’ida popularity, and further Iranian-Saudi competition for influence. Expect Yemen to continue to be little Iraq, doing its part to undermine democracy and stability in the Mideast, for the convenience of the powers who are pleased to see themselves, with good reason for the moment at least, as being in charge.

A long, long time ago, a Mideastern dictator was overthrown by a colonial invader that promptly rewrote both constitution and laws for its own convenience. Outraged, the people, who had thought the invasion was intended to liberate them from tyranny, revolted, with their George Washington an unlikely plump young cleric. Nevertheless, within the decade, they succeeded in kicking out the invader’s army...after the whole society had been shattered by invader brutality, sectarianism, and the empowerment of al Qua’ida. That, of course, was in another universe and has nothing to do with Yemen.

In Yemen:

A car bomb outside the gate of a presidential compound in a southern Yemeni city killed at least 25 people, a health official said, hours after the country’s new president was formally inaugurated and vowed to fight al-Qaeda. [Times of Israel 2/25/12.]

Ahmed Saleh, son of the ex-dictator and…still…head of the brutal Republican Guards, warned in the days before the retirement of his father against reforming his power-base, a key demand of the protesters during the year-long popular demonstrations for democracy. The Republic Guards “led many of the attacks on largely peaceful protesters” during those demonstrations, according to Letta Taylor of Human Rights Watch.

Not only Saleh’s sons and nephew—head of the 20,000-man counterterrorism unit, but all the major politicians competing for power via private militias and manipulation of popular demonstrations, remain in place (the Saleh family, general ali Muhsin, tribal federation leader Hamid al-Ahmar). Democracy for Yemen is nothing more than a glib word in the mouth of Hillary Clinton. The only legitimate justification for the Riyadh-brokered retirement of Saleh is that it would end the civil war, but the underlying causal dynamics have not visibly changed: the northern and southern secessionist movements as well as al Qua’ida have all rejected the fraudulent election. [See Bernard Haykel, “On the Brink.”] Yemen, with a population as large as Saudi Arabia’s, is a powder keg. By betting on a short-sighted investment in the Yemeni status quo, Washington has once more rolled the national security dice.

Rolling the National Security Dice

God does not roll dice, and neither should political scientists. Even less should senior national security decision-makers roll dice, yet they do, repeatedly, at the cost of thousands of lives destroyed and millions more ruined every year. We can do better.

The core problem is that humans do a very poor job of estimating any change that is not linear. Even curvilinear or exponential (a steady, smooth curved rate) change is hard for humans to estimate (yes, MIT tested this!). Add interacting variables with varying time delays, and you will discover, too late, all manner of unforeseen tipping points. Given that nothing of interest is linear in this world, especially when it involves humans, and you can see that analyzing the future is a fool’s errand. Yet we will and perhaps, in our complex world, must continue to make life-or-death decisions based on our predictions about the future.

Threatening Iran will not persuade its militant Shi’ite supernationalists to militarize its technical knowledge, produce weapons of mass destruction, and then use them in a desperate first-strike attempt at self-defense, we are told by confident national security thinkers who assert the ability to analyze the future. Overarming Israel and giving it a blank check will not persuade its militant Jewish supernationalists, who already have a first-strike capability, to expend it in a desperate attempt to shore up a threatened position of strategic superiority, we are told. Slaughtering innocent Pakistani women and children with drones will not drive Pakistan into an alliance with Iran and the Pakistani-Afghan Taliban, we are told. Attempting to control the Mideast will not provoke a new wave of anti-American terror, we are told. Relying primarily on brute force will neither make the world hate and conspire against the U.S. nor will it drive Moscow and Beijing into anti-American collusion, we are told. The list of fundamentally important assertions about the future made by powerful people who have no idea whatsoever of how to predict the future is breathtaking.

How to do it right remains a non-existent science, and there are good, cutting-edge scientific reasons to think that science will never exist (no, Mr. Physicist, I am not hinting at quantum effects but “simply” referring to complexity). That said, we can do better. The future may be unknowable, but it is not incomprehensible. We comprehend that security fears provoke irrational behavior. We comprehend that force provokes counterforce...and that the weak will employ asymmetric means. We also comprehend that the morality of drone attacks is right there in the gutter with the morality of what we are pleased to call "terrorism." In the meantime, don’t believe everything you hear; in fact, don’t believe anything. Think about it for yourself.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Iran = Iraq, In Their Words

State Terror

Why is state terror suddenly so popular? Does it really promote the construction of the kind of world the terrorists want?

We Americans are all shocked, just shocked at the various alleged Iranian acts of state terror. Tehran is accused of all sorts of murderous deeds - hitting a restaurant here, a diplomat there. Maybe Tehran is guilty as charged. How would I know? Tehran has certainly been convicted and sentenced in the minds of those who have their own aggressive ambitions against that country. Before we completely destroy the international legal structure that we have worked so hard for the last century (and indeed since the 17th century) to create, however, it might be worth asking whether or not state terror actually accomplishes anything of value to the perpetrator.

After all, state terror is an extremely effective way of making enemies and undermines the civilized fabric of society - both the enemy society and even more the society of the perpetrator. More, it sets an evil precedent, and the chickens will certainly come home to roost. First, Salvador uses the "Salvadorian option" of death squads and then the option is spread to the Mideast. A superpower bombs a restaurant and then a Central Asian fundamentalist state on the rise may copy the move. Another superpower makes war on a domestic city in revolt, and then a second superpower's client makes war on a city, and then the second superpower itself makes war on a city. Suddenly, acts of state terror justified as exceptions to address short-term tactical requirements turn out to be common international practice, and the world is changed. So, the question is, are we getting what we want?

Why would a state try to blow up a restaurant (I refer to the famous attempt to murder Saddam)? Why would a state that advocates the rule of law drop a remote-controlled bomb on a wedding party (even if it knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a nasty enemy was at the party)? Why would a state colonize an ethnic group's territory, force the population into refugee camps, and then attack those refugee camps with tanks? Why would a state conduct a campaign of terror to murder nuclear scientists?

Do such actions enhance the moral and legal nature of the world we are building? Do such actions make the world safer for international trade, finance, and travel? Do such acts enhance the long-term national security of the guilty?

Maybe we Americans, who do so much to set the standards--for good or ill--of international behavior, should talk about this...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lost in a Sandstorm: Washington Tours the Muslim World

Both Tehran and Islamabad are striding undeterred down paths of foreign policy independence despite the obvious frustration of Washington decision-makers. Yet one is an “ally,” the other an “enemy,” and U.S. policy toward the two accordingly very different. That said, each seems adept at manipulating, not to mention resisting, Washington. Would the U.S. be better off changing course?

Among the various international challenges to Washington’s foreign policy goals, two loom large: the insistence of both Pakistan and Iran on following paths that place huge obstacles in Washington’s path. All sides can probably agree that the aggressively expansionist course desired by the Washington elite will, for better or worse, remain seriously impaired as long as these two independent-minded Islamic powers insist on doing what they want regardless of Washington’s desires. And while Washington’s power elite may be deeply in denial about the options it has, that it has a problem with both Iran and Pakistan it clearly recognizes and readily admits.

Resolving that problem, however, seems beyond Washington’s grasp, in part because it is already employing the two obvious alternative approaches – total hostility toward one and alliance with the other. Washington’s policy toward Tehran amounts to open economic warfare, winking at if not engaging in a campaign of covert terrorism, and the threat of an outright and unprovoked military attack. This long-standing policy is demonstrably failing. Tehran may or may not in the end offer some nuclear concession but shows no signs of playing by Washington rules. Pakistan, in contrast, gets billions in U.S. aid and a pass for its highly active nuclear weapons program, despite arguably doing fully as much to undermine Washington’s war in Afghanistan as Tehran ever did to undermine Washington’s war in IraqFollowing Tehran’s playbook from beginning to end, Islamabad appears to be right on schedule to assert its dominance over Afghanistan at least as thoroughly as Tehran has asserted its dominance over Iraq. If both hostility and amity fail to induce real cooperation, is there a third alternative, or is Washington doomed to seeing two second-rate (to be polite) powers endlessly stymie its ambitions?

The U.S. remains today deep in the midst of what has already been a lost decade in economic terms. In strategic terms, the story is equally pathetic. Iraq went from being hostile but not dangerous under Saddam to moving very much into Iran’s orbit, courtesy of the neo-cons; Afghanistan is about to deliver another defeat to the U.S.; Somalia is at least as much of a problem for the U.S. as during “Black Hawk Down” days; Israel is proving to be an increasingly dangerous “ally,” with increasingly severe problems of its own and no thought more original than Indian reservations or apartheid as a solution to the Palestinian issue; Hezbollah is riding high in Lebanon; Egypt can hardly be considered an ally any longer; Turkey has moved from client to chastising and increasingly distant friend; and Iran, which cooperated with the Bush Administration to replace the Taliban regime in late 2001, is being washed toward ever greater nuclear capability by the current of American hostility. Globally, Russia and China seem confident and unworried by endless American self-defeating belligerence. The U.S. is both poorer and less effective than it was in the year 2000, while its “Muslim problem”—its inability to figure out a way of adjusting to rising Muslim demands for respect and fairness and understanding from the U.S.-centric global political system—has changed but hardly diminished at all.

But if the U.S. is treading water, the Islamic world certainly is not. The barbarism of al Qua’ida may not be over, but it seems passé, while the Arab Spring—which promotes many “American values”—may end up presenting a greater challenge to American domination. Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey are all moving to enhance their strategic positions at U.S. expense, and it would be surprising if Egypt were not fairly soon to follow their lead.

After a lost political and economic decade, the U.S. seems paranoid, confused, and bereft of any new ideas except for those that are patently idiotic. Clearly, Washington must get its act together. But if both utter hostility (toward Iran, not to mention Palestinians and Hezbollah) and cooperation (toward Pakistan, not to mention Egypt and Turkey) have failed, what can Washington do to devise an effective policy toward the Muslim world?

How to Attack an Ally
Shortly before the United States ended a two-month pause in missile strikes on militants in Pakistan last month, senior U.S. officials telephoned their Pakistani counterparts and told them Washington would be resuming its covert drone program despite mounting objections in Islamabad....
The strike that followed on Jan. 10, when U.S. aircraft fired missiles at a home in the North Waziristan tribal area, was the first such attack since U.S. aircraft, in a mishap that plunged bilateral ties into a tailspin, killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along remote border with Afghanistan. [Reuters 2/22/12.]

Pakistan's military has agreed to the resumption of the United States' drone strikes....

Even though upwards of 30 people have been killed in the new wave of strikes, there have been no protest from the Pakistan Army or politicians... [The Hindu 2/25/12.]

According to Obama, drones had "not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”....since America began drone strikes, at least 385 civilians had been executed in US-led attacks. Of those statistics, the Bureau added that around half of the dead were children under the age of 18.[RT 1/31/12.]

Up to 2,000 tribesmen gathered in Miranshah bazaar shouting "Death to America" and "Stop drone attacks in Pakistan" at the rally organized by Pakistan's largest Islamic party, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI)....

The crowd demanded an immediate end to drone attacks and compensation for those who lost relatives or property....
 [The Daily Star 2/23/12.]


One clue to how to devise effective policy comes from looking for possible similarities between the strikingly divergent U.S. behavior toward its Iranian adversary and its Pakistani ally. Once the question is asked, the answer is obvious: both threats and actual force lie at the core of U.S. policy toward a Muslim adversary and a Muslim ally. The similarity is hardly subtle: U.S. drones violate Iranian national territory and bomb Pakistani villages. In addition, the U.S. has been busy constructing military bases in neighboring countries that both Iran and Pakistan consider important to their own national security. Danger Room reported in December, just after the CIA was kicked out of a Pakistani drone base for slaughtering Pakistani soldiers, that “Afghanistan is going to be the new major hub for the drone war.” The ironic fact that the Pakistani action followed by days Iran’s capture of a U.S. drone trespassing over Iran only underscores the similarity in U.S. treatment of the two states: not only are both states at the pointed end of the U.S. spear but the U.S. is aggressively expanding military installations designed for offensive action throughout the region in neighboring countries. Even as the U.S. military campaign inside Afghanistan winds down, the number of U.S. military bases there is exploding. From an already enormous 400 in 2010, it has now reached 450, according to a statement by an International Security Assistance Force representative. A U.S. Air Force officer has also stated that the key airbase at Bagram is being further developed in line with a “long-term” vision. Shindand Airbase, near Herat, is less than 75 miles from the Iranian border and is used for “surveillance missions over Iran.”

In sum, Washington relies heavily upon force to get what it wants both from Muslim adversaries and Muslim allies, despite—at least in the cases of Iran and Pakistan—failing to achieve its goals with either. This suggests at least two tactical insights: 1) force can easily be counterproductive regardless of how much power one has to defeat the enemy on the battlefield, and 2) one should move delicately and coordinate exhaustively with countries whose cooperation is sought when intruding militarily into third countries that border those countries. Every country will see military moves in the territory of its neighbors as affecting its own interests. From this, one can derive the following rules regarding the design of effective tactics for dealing with the Muslim world:

Rule 1. Cooperation is more effective than force.Rule 2. When moving into a new neighborhood, talk to your new neighbors.

Another clue to how Washington might devise a more effective policy toward the Muslim world can be detected by broadening the analysis from Iran and Pakistan to include other major problem states from Washington’s perspective—e.g., Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Lebanon. Peering beneath the variation in conditions and U.S. tactics toward each state, one broad similarity in fundamental U.S. approach is apparent: in every case, Washington set its sights singlemindedly on achieving its own goals, with little regard for the perceptions, needs, or legitimate concerns of the other state. In short, Washington viewed relations with all these states as a simple zero-sum game, essentially not even bothering to ask whether or not a positive-sum outcome might be possible. Of course, creating a bigger pie is likely to take longer than gobbling up the whole small pie that now exists, but the record of the past 15 years is that gobbling up the small Iraqi or Lebanese or Somali or Afghan pie will cause a very bad case of indigestion.

The result, after an extraordinarily dangerous and expensive decade-long disaster that shows no signs of ending, has been a series of defeats for the U.S., that add up to a significant weakening of U.S. national security. The details vary widely, of course: the invasion of Iraq was enormously profitable for a long list of war-profiteering U.S. corporations, and Lebanon is unique for the smooth manner in which Hezbollah has exploited U.S./Israeli hostility to transform itself from an anti-Israeli national liberation movement into the most powerful and modern political party in the national administration. That said, the primary impacts of U.S. policy toward each country to date appear to have been the destruction of the national society, the alienation of that society from the U.S., the defeat of Washington’s policies, and the provocation of on-going social conflict. Israel’s domination of the region has not been assured, Washington’s superpower status has not been solidified, terrorist groups have not been eliminated, Islamic activists have neither been persuaded to accept the U.S.-centric global political system nor eliminated from Mideast politics, and free access to the national economies for American corporations has not been obtained, stable middle classes have not been empowered, Mideast allies have not been convinced that “Washington knows best,” other world powers have not been kept out of the region, control over Mideast oil has not been achieved, and a solid foundation for a new American empire has certainly not been constructed. It is hard to think of a single goal of any major Washington faction over the past 15 years related to the Muslim world on which significant progress has been made.

It seems that Washington is pursuing goals that simply cannot be achieved, and this suggests that a wiser course would be to seek positive-sum steps forward, i.e., incremental agreements that benefit “us” without further antagonizing “them,” or, to put it in different words, to view the other side not as an adversary but as a partner. After all, even at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was a partner in avoiding nuclear war. Even the Democrats and Republicans agree on some things (politicians from both parties drive on the right). Positive-sum policy is endlessly fungible: there is always room for a deal on one issue regardless of whether or not one insists on fighting over something else. This suggests a third rule, related not to tactics but fundamental strategy:

Rule 3. Seek benefit, not victory.
Numerous implications deserving careful meditation would follow from the adaptation of these three rules. Focusing just on the crucial third rule, potential steps come under two basic areas: coordination and  cooperation. In the realm of coordination, Washington should be quietly coordinating its aircraft carrier tours of the Persian Gulf with Tehran, explaining to them the reasons and what would persuade Washington to halt the provocative visits. Washington should also be informing all Afghanistan's neighbors of its military base plans and inviting both feedback and offers of a deal with any who take exception to make it clear that U.S. military moves were thoughtfully designed to induce limited behavioral shifts rather than as open-ended campaigns of aggression. 

More positively, Washington should not just explain its military initiatives but also seek opportunities for real cooperation. Working jointly with Iran to combat the illegal narcotics trade by the Taliban is one obvious positive-sum topic. A much more ambitious step would be the promotion of a Persian Gulf mutual security regime in which the U.S. would offer to oppose any offensive air attacks across the Persian Gulf in return for some package of Iranian steps toward nuclear transparency. Even more directly focusing on the core nuclear issue, the U.S. could promote technical nuclear talks designed to clarify the distinction between Iranian refinement of medical-grade and military-grade uranium, with teeth on the Iranian side and substantive military and political concessions on the U.S. side, including acknowledgement of Israeli responsibility for itself moving toward a policy of nuclear transparency. Regarding Pakistan, putting the safety of Pakistani civilians ahead of the killing of suspected enemy fighters by scandalously inaccurate drone bombers is another potential positive-sum stance: the U.S. could improve its public image and make a powerful argument that greater effort by Islamabad to arrest suspects (to be followed by U.S. pledges to respect its own standards of justice) would constitute the expected trade-off for a more carefully coordinated drone policy. The U.S. could thus simultaneously promote cooperation, seize the moral high ground, and strengthen respect for American values. The more such positive-sum steps Washington proposes, the stronger factions in Iran and Pakistan favoring cooperation with the U.S. will become.

Washington’s tactics and strategy for Mideast victory have failed to achieve the desired goals. Two tactical shifts—avoiding force and paying attention to the national security concerns of third parties—would make Washington’s policy toward the Muslim world less counterproductive, but for a real breakthrough in U.S. relations with the Muslim world, Washington must take the hard strategic step of replacing hubris with humility and must accept attainable benefit as a more rational goal than illusive victory.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Paranoid Superpower

In an era when U.S. national security has been visibly and painfully challenged by networked, non-state terrorist gangs and its own corrupt uber-rich, the revelation that every American is looking wild-eyed over his shoulder for the  “next enemy” should come as no surprise. Keeping one’s eyes open is good, but the panic seen in American eyes today is embarrassingly close to paranoia.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is Putin Eyeing Pakistan?

Might Putin, looking to burnish his place in history, be tempted to seize an enticing opportunity to pull Pakistan into the Russian orbit?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Current Economic Indicators

Keep the following evidence in mind when calculating your financial future...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pakistan to Support Iran if Israel Attacks

Islamabad has sent Washington a crystal clear warning that continuing to move in lockstep with Likudniks toward war on Iran could lead to an Iranian-Pakistan defensive alliance.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Day After an Attack on Iran: An Oil Disaster Scenario

If the U.S. attacks Iran, it won't just be about Iran anymore. Here is just one very possible scenario for 'the day after.' Has Washington thought this through?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Israeli Politicians Vs. Israeli Military-Intelligence Officials

Israeli media are reporting widespread opposition to an Israeli attack on Iran from within the highest levels of the Israeli national security elite. Indeed, Netanyahu’s warmongering has been so damaged by Israeli military-intelligence opposition that he is now trying to muzzle his opposition within his own regime. Democracy in Israel, it seems, allows public calls by officials for war but not public calls by officials for peace.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Global War By the Rich: Afghan Chapter

Lies about the reasons for invading other countries that pose no direct or immediate threat to the U.S.; lies about your mortgage, which was sold to you on false pretenses after which the mortgage was sold, the paperwork was “lost,” and the new bank then defrauded you; lies about kissing up to a violence-prone, right-wing faction of expansionists in Israel and pretending they represent the interests of the Israeli people (much less of the American people); and now…according to a U.S. Army Colonel just back from Afghanistan, lies about the Afghan war. Say whatever you want; this is a free country: just don’t call this class warfare. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Real Reasons Some Israeli Politicians Want War Against Iran

The real reasons why extremist politicians in Israel keep talking about launching an unprovoked attack on Iran are slowly coming out, and it's not what you thought.