The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

John Negroponte Endorses Clinton

And Clinton is pleased.

Negroponte, for those who don’t know, ran the US’s support for Latin American death squads, though that’s rather an understatement. Without him, there would have been a lot less death squads, and a lot less murder, rape, and torture.

As with Clinton’s love of Kissinger, this is not a good thing.

Here’s the thing about Clinton, she’s not qualified. Not qualified. Not qualified.

Having done the job or been in that world means nothing if you fucked up repeatedly and have bad judgment, and have learned nothing.

Clinton still thinks going into Libya was the right thing to do, because doing something is better than doing nothing. She wanted to set up a no-fly zone in Syria AFTER the Russians were there. She supported the Honduran coup. Etc, etc. She is heavily supported by the NeoCons who got the US into Iraq, because she believes in their worldview and Trump, crazy or not, does not.

(Trump: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had good relations with Russia?”)

Clinton says she now regrets the Iraq war, but her stances on Libya and Syria say that she has learned nothing. Her most important enemy? Iran.

Perhaps Trump is worse because he’s unpredictable. But Clinton is predictable. A LOT of people are going to die under a Clinton presidency. A hell of a lot. Her anti-Russian rhetoric and cold-warrior ethos even make a nuclear exchange possible.

Trump may be crazy, but Clinton is crazy in a much more controlled way. Wanting to set up a no-fly zone in Syria AFTER Russia is there is insane. It is batshit insane. It is beyond fucking crazy. It is potentially-Armageddon insane.

This isn’t an article about Trump, it is simply pointing out that, however bad Trump is, Clinton is crazy and dangerous too. The lesser evil calculation in this election is “Cthulhu or the King in Yellow (Orange)”?

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Corbyn’s Plan


Posting to Resume & Corbyn (Open Thread)


  1. BobbyK

    It was widely reported that Trump had repeatedly asked “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons” under some circumstance(can’t remember what it was). Maybe these reporters should start looking at Clinton’s positions.

  2. Ché Pasa

    Isn’t that special. I wonder if the outcry over it will eclipse the faux outrage over Trump’s “assassination” suggestion.


    Negroponte is an Honored Elder Diplomat, no? Death squads have long been normalized. Haven’t you heard about Negroponte’s wet work in Iraq? Oh but there are many more outlets for such bloodlust these days. Many more.

    Hillary should disavow him, but she won’t. He and she are part of the same club, along with Kissinger and so many others.

    And these Honored Elders set the standard of diplomacy, don’t they?

  3. My first political activity was protesting Reagan’s policy in El Salvador and elsewhere in Central America back in the early 80s.

    I’ve was a registered Democrat until July 29, when I changed to West Virginia’s Mountain Party (Green Party affiliate).

    HRC does not deserve my vote.

  4. This is what every political dreamer wants – its own wet dream, the two most unpopular people running against each other. people on the sidelines should just put up a chair, and sell popcorn. the number of hernias, heart attacks, and MI-BIAs alone should be worth it. Actually it is all about extending lifespan – our turn will come.

    And just remember, the baby boom may rule the first half – but the millennials will rule the back end – and even the Republicans of the millennials are more liberal than the Democrats who are in charge. There are lots of old baby boom who are much more liberal, but they do not mean anything in the cosmic scale of things.

    Just wait a little while longer.

  5. highrpm

    Here’s the thing about Clinton, she’s not qualified. Not qualified. Not qualified.…having done the job means nothing when you’ve repeatedly f’uped and have bad judgement and a bad worldview…Yes. Yes. Yes.

    a repug all my life, gorge dubya drove me to register a demon in 2008 and vote for who turned out to be the world’s biggest b.s.’er. i promised myself to not get entangled in false hopes again. last weekend i registered to vote repug in this election, reasoning, i’m not voting for trump, rather i’m voting against hillary and bill.

  6. Adams

    Has Elliot Abrams endorsed Hillary yet?

  7. Ghostwheel

    Ever since I saw Harold Pinter’s Nobel prize acceptance speech, it is automatically my first association with “Latin American death squads.”



  8. Peter*

    Clinton herself is a frightening creature but the cabal that is lining up behind her represents the power of the whole ruling class, its quislings and minions unleashing her on us and the world. It wasn’t Trump’s crude proposed restriction on Muslims or call to deport illegal immigrants that sent them scurrying to The Red Queen but his sensible call for good relations with Russia and China and the reevaluation of NATO. That kind of deviant thinking would reek havoc with the plans and futures of these servants and champions of hegemony.

    Trump did provide one valuable service to everyone who cares and that was with a few words and a few million supporters he caused the duopoly to strip off its partisan masks and show everyone they are united behind the important agendas of world domination by any means necessary.

  9. karenjj2

    I associate Afghanistan’s military leader Ahmed Shah Massoud and Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto assassinations with Negroponte though can’t pin it to more than a feeling. Massoud’s murder was September 9, 2001 and something I’d read made the connection at the time — a huge loss for Afghanistan and lead to Karzai becoming president and tool of the oil corps. Read Massoud’s Wiki page and says Pakistan, Saudis in league with destabilizing Afghanistan. And that Massoud had warned about bin laden several months before death. Well worth reading about him.

  10. V. Arnold

    I genuinely think we’re well past the point where it matters who’s elected; the machine’s course has been locked in for decades.
    As someone here suggested (a while back); the last vote that mattered was cast in Dalles, November 22, 1963…

  11. Tom W Harris

    12-12-2000 was quite a nasty follow-up.

  12. V. Arnold

    @ Tom W Harris


  13. Ché Pasa

    @V. Arnold re: November 22, 1963

    Correct. That afternoon in Dallas signaled the end of what the Republic had previously been — messy to be sure and often wrong, but at least the principles of self governance were understood and maintained, even if the results were sometimes questionable (or worse if you weren’t of the privileged classes and ethnicity).

    A period of “managed democracy” followed and despite the rebellions and upheavals in the streets, the path forward had ever less to do with the rabble, more and more to do with who could gain the most power and wealth at the expense of everyone else.

    12-12-2000 was the confirmation that even the veneer of a managed democracy was unnecessary and irrelevant. Whatever the rulers wanted could be and would be instituted by fiat regardless of the rabble.

    Presidential elections have been little more than spectacle and entertainment ever since. Money-makers for the media. It’s all about the horserace and personalities, not about policies, because we, the rabble, don’t get to vote on policies.

    Hillary’s endorsements seem to be designed to match or beat Trump’s more stomach-turning statements. 

    The blood-lust coursing through both campaigns is startling, though. This isn’t normal political jockeying, and I wonder how much of it is a reflection of the deepest needs and desires of the permanent government.

  14. V. Arnold

    Ché Pasa
    August 11, 2016

    Yes, the U.S. elections are a joke!
    The only solution is; do not vote in 2016; that’s the revolution!
    What will “they”, the vaunted they, do, if only a few million voters vote?
    They’ll be fucked and the rubber hits the road and the U.S. is shown for what its become.
    Do note vote in this election! Revolt against the machine! Refuse to be used! Refuse to participate in your own destruction!
    Say NO!
    That’s the revolution; you got it?
    It’s so easy; the most perfect action is non-action…

  15. V. Arnold

    Do Not Vote!
    It must be the mantra of 2016!
    It’s the only feasible revolution for the people who are afraid of direct confrontation of the establishment and it’s military on the streets as faux police.
    Do not give your consent to governmental domination of your choices; accept no choices as an option; do not vote your consent!
    Not voting is the only genuine choice remaining.
    Do Not Vote in 2016!

  16. Joe Beese

    “A LOT of people are going to die under a Clinton presidency. A hell of a lot.”

    Yes, but not the kind of people whose lives are considered important by Democratic Party tribalists.

    When Clinton finally gets to scratch her itch and launches her all-out war of regime change against Assad – because the Wise Men of Washington’s foreign policy establishment have calculated that it will make Israel safer, you see – a 9/11’s worth of civilians will be slaughtered. But the NPR set will not have to endure the sight of children’s mutilated bodies on their televisions or computer screens. And they will be ready with well-practiced mumbles about the “difficult choices” faced by Democratic presidents.

  17. Ché Pasa

    Won’t happen, can’t happen unless the permanent government is on board. And Trump can’t prevent it if he’s in office.

    The US government is riven with factions, and presidents have limited power and authority apart from the interests/demands of those factions. Clearly there is a War Faction that wants to expand death and destruction exponentially, and there is also a non-War Faction that’s quite happy with the way things are — periodic and limited Death From Above to keep the brown people in line.

    There is no Peace Faction.

    The War Faction could prevail, certainly. But there are no signs currently that it will, no matter the bloodlust of Clinton’s supporters.

    Back in the day some of us were taking bets on how long it would take after he was installed in the White House for Bush II to get us into a war, because it was obvious as sin that he, Cheney and the permanent government were intent on mixing things up as bloodily as possible. If 9/11 hadn’t happened, they would have found another pretext. I said 6 months max. I was wrong. It took a little longer, but it happened and it got much, much worse when aggressive war aggressive war against Iraq was initiated in spite of the outcries of tens of millions around the world against it.

    There is no comparable sense today that either candidate or the permanent government is inclined to initiate much more widespread hostilities than are currently underway (bad enough already.) Both, however, have indicated their desire to vanquish enemies. Wipe them out, they will.


  18. Peter*

    Clinton has already managed to champion one interventionist war pushing past a reluctant Obama to manage the Libya bloodbath and hoping to use that glorious achievement to propel her into the CIC position. With the almost universal backing of the PTB she will face no real restraints on her war making powers, who exactly will confront her or have any real power to thwart her and everyone else in the Washington Consensus.

    Obama resisted the extremes of that Consensus and backed down on directly attacking Assad but Clinton has already signaled she will not and the deep state actors are lining up behind her fifty at a time. Obama is still trying to broker a deal with Putin to end that part of the Syrian war but Clinton calls him Hitler to make certain that the message is, the only deal that will be concluded will be at the end of a gun or missile.

    Trump set off an IED under the Consensus and they are screaming ‘Terrorist’ and running to the Red Queen who will enable their sick nightmares.

  19. XFR

    I associate Afghanistan’s military leader Ahmed Shah Massoud and Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto assassinations with Negroponte though can’t pin it to more than a feeling. Massoud’s murder was September 9, 2001 and something I’d read made the connection at the time — a huge loss for Afghanistan and lead to Karzai becoming president and tool of the oil corps.

    ASM’s assassination removed principled Afgan nationalism from the equation, leaving only craven sellouts and the cartoon-villain Taleban to fight each other for supremacy. Very VERY convenient for the “white man’s burden” set who could then style themselves as backing the “lesser evil”.

    Bhutto’s assassination looked to be the work of a nationalist faction within the Pak deep state; whoever did it certainly didn’t seem to be doing the Empire any favors as a result.

  20. XFR

    The lesser evil calculation in this election is “Cthulhu or the King in Yellow (Orange)”?

    Lord Mok or Queen Promethium?

  21. Ken Hoop

    Obama co-operation with Saudi Arabia’s decimation of Yemen has been criminal in and of itself.

  22. Hugh

    It barely needs pointing out that the Establishment has a serious hardon for Trump. The media has gone into full on blitz mode against him. They will wax long on some off the cuff remark he made taken out of context. Then follow with a quickie, in passing mention filled with euphemisms about Clinton selling the State Department and laundering the money through the Clinton Global Initiative, the family foundation.

    The one rule of the Establishment above all others is that whenever there is a choice between what is Establishment and what is not Establishment, members of the Establishment to remain in good standing must choose the Establishment. This is why the Paul Krugmans and Bernie Sanders of this world will always disappoint, indeed betray. In the final analysis, they will always go with the Establishment. Now the Clintons may be corrupt as hell but they are Establishment-true down to their marrow. Trump’s deadly sin is that while he is Establishment born and bred he has been rattling cages and throwing spit on the Establishment’s sacred cows. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT DONE.

    The open letter of a few days ago by the 50 Republican national security elders slamming Trump as dangerous is a case in point. These are a bunch of neocon/PNAC pro-torture fuckups and war criminals who never met a war they didn’t like and never passed up an opportunity to lose it and/or turn it into a quagmire. All of them have ties to the Clintons, Romney, or the Bushes, and all of them have gotten rich as card-carrying members of the Establishment. Of course, Negroponte was one of the signers of this letter.

    The frame we should be using is not Republican versus Republican but rather Establishment-approved versus Establishment-unapproved. You see in the Establishment’s eyes Trump is dangerous, not because he endangers the US –these guys don’t give a shit about the US or us– but because he is seen as endangering their privileges.

  23. different clue


    If your analysis is correct, then a Trump election would be a morale-lowering blow to the Establishment. And a Trump Administration might try to attrit and degrade various Establishment positions and formations.

    If that is correct, then you have just made the case for supporting Trump as hard as possible in order to get Trump elected . . . in order to throw the Establishment off balance enough to where it cannot immediately recover from all kinds of raids against it.

  24. Duder

    I fear how the Establishment would react to a Trump victory as much as the prospect of what either Clinton or Trump would do as President. These rats are already drawing up contingency plans.

  25. different clue


    Now that I am on lunch break and back at a computer, I can ask the follow up question which occurred to me.

    If you recoiled in horror at the suggestion that your analysis of Trump vs Establishment leads to the conclusion that Trump should be elected to create a space for assymetrical strikes against the Establishment one way or another . . . do you wish to withdraw your analysis of Trump being the Counter-Establishment Guy?

  26. different clue


    If your caution is well founded, then you have supplied yet another reason to elect Trump. Lets elect Trump and watch the Establishment roll out its coup. Let’s get this shit all the way out in the open.

  27. Hugh

    different clue, sometimes the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy. It is funny to see what lengths Establishment figures are going to destroy Trump. My take is that they think Trump is too erratic. They are wrapping themselves up in the flag but what they are really concerned about is that Trump’s antics could expose them to the public for the greedy screwups, looters, criminals, and warmongers they are.

    It’s like the story the Emperor’s New Clothes, except the kid is a really dislikable, spoiled snot and bully. They’re hoping that by attacking the kid’s many character flaws, and even inventing new ones, they will turn attention away from the naked emperor.

  28. Duder

    @different clue

    If they launch a military coup do you think the purge will stop with Trump and his buddies? Look at how Erdogan is using the pretext to go after everyone from Kurds to judges to university professors. And the liberal pundits will call it a necessary defense of democracy against “fascism”.

  29. MojaveWolf

    The lesser evil calculation in this election is “Cthulhu or the King in Yellow (Orange)”?

    Cthulhu is already running as an independent candidate.

    With the major political conventions over, it is now up to Cthulhu to reveal his strategy to win the general. Many political commentators agree that Cthulhu needs to select something to drive home the message that rivals Clinton and Trump are truly lesser evils. A feat made more difficult by the strategy employed by both candidates that seeks to paint the other as the second coming of Hitler.

    Not really relevant to Ian’s analogy but mentions the same being so who cares:
    While the King in Yellow is being actively considered, several Cultists close to both beings are skeptical he will be selected.

    You can follow him/her/it on twitter at:

    Also, while no one else has brought this up yet, I think it’s important to note two things that many, many people could rally around:

    Cthulhu won’t just beat Hillary & Donald, it will EAT them, quite possibly causing each what seems like neverending torment in the space of a few moments during the process.
    People been wanting to do something about Goldman Sachs, the metaphorical vampire squid. Cthulhu is the entity from which this metaphor derives. More people in America may be aware of the financial metaphor than the actual being. I have to believe letting everyone know what happens to phony vampire squid wannabe’s that run around calling themselves “masters of the universe” is going to be a top priority of Cthulhu, who also believes him/her/its self to be a much truer master of the universe.

    Is there anyone reading this who would NOT like to see that confrontation?

    Why occupy wall street when you can make it die screaming?

    And for anyone worried about candidates getting threatened or blackmailed, or worrying that a real agent of change might get that little George Carlin back room talk from the men in black suits, let me refer you to the most excellent Charles Stross story “A Colder War” for what might happen to the backroom threateners–it’s available for free online (I assume with the author’s permission) at

    Seriously, do you think an immortal leviathan from the deep is worried about the deep state? I don’t.

    (and if you want to check out what the real King in Yellow might do if given a seat of power, you might also find Stross’ “The Annihilation Score”, book 6 in his Laundry Files series. It’s amazing how this election has brought out the Cthulhu Mythos references–Ted Cruz kept giving me flashbacks to the televangelist in book 4 of same series, The Apocalypse Codex)
    (No I’m not Charles Stross, don’t know him and am not related to him, and even tho he’s Scottish he probably supports Hillary, when last I paid attention practically everyone in the progressive sf/f artistic community seemed in the lesser evil/stop Trump category or even, non-evil-deities help us, the “Hillary will be a good president just like Obama” category; doesn’t mean they aren’t still great artists tho; I’ve kinda bailed on reading most people’s political views for a while now)

  30. Hugh

    Looking at this election cycle and everyone involved in it, I keep coming back to the saying “character is destiny.” Look at the candidates Sanders, Trump, Clinton, the rest of the Republican field of grotesques, their handlers, their surrogates, the reprehensible Bill, the media. These are people who sold out their principles or never had any because it was in their character to do so. No mistakes, no incompetence, just the neverending subordination of everyone else’s interests to their own and those of their class. That is the real story of this election, the bankruptcy of our elites. They are like a vacuum sucking the life out of the rest of us. If they didn’t have us to feed upon, they would disappear into their own nothingness and vacuity.

  31. MojaveWolf

    @XFR Rock n Rule is one of my favorite films. Truly love.

  32. Peter*

    @Ken Hoop

    Are you implying that the Hezbollah inspired minority cult of personality, Ansar Allah, should be ruling Yemen? I’m not questioning the fact of Obama’s war crimes but this doesn’t seem to be in the top ten.

  33. Okanogen

    August 10, 2016 the episode where Ian Welsh jumps the shark.

    Clinton may start World War III!!!! Eeeekkkk!!!!!!

    The more outlandish and insane Trump becomes, it is more imperative, by hard law, to depict Clinton as just a smidge less crazy. The more crazy Trump is, therefore, the more crazy Clinton is, even if she hasn’t changed a single thing.

  34. Okanogen

    So, I have followed all the links. Who has actual evidence that she was specifically pleased by noted war criminal John Negroponte’s endorsement? This is a Fox News story, with non-existent details, which traces back to the recent #nevertrump letter, which was signed by all sorts of characters, including Negroponte.

  35. different clue

    Colonel Lang at his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis has recently posted a blogpost bearing on this question of what a Clinton Administration may lead to in diplomatic and military terms. In the narrowest sense, it has to do with the quality of thought ( and thinkers) behind the concept that
    Russian Federation President Putin , the Old Spy Master, is “running” Donald Trump as an agent and as a Manchurian Candidate. One or more of those thinkers may be given posts within the Executive Branch and/or its Departments and/or Agencies under a Clinton Administration. Here is the link.

    The cautiously Clinto-skeptical warnings are not so much that Clinton would start World War Three for the natural fun of it; but rather more in the nature of certain diplomatic/military risks a Clinton Administration would recklessly run by placing various aggressionary pressures against various sensitive borders and interests of the Russian Federation — assuming that the RussiaGov would be forced into a humiliating acceptance of whatever action a Clinton Administration would care to take. The risk ( as Colonel Lang and some of his commenters see it) is that the RussiaGov’s thinker-planners will see such an action as posing an existential threat to Russian national existence and will respond with existential measures. Such a response will naturally be deemed to call for a game-theory style counter-response on the DC FedRegime’s part, leading to a fast-accelerating cycle of tit-cubed for tat-squared leading to a use of tactical nukes escalating to strategic nukes after that.

    Now . . . Sic Semper Tyrannis is one of a few blogs I read regularly and Ian Welsh is another one of those few. But I think we must confess that so few people read Ian Welsh that David Brock would probably consider anything we have to say here not worth the bother of sending someone over here to refute. But Sic Semper Tyrannis is read by several hundred thousand people ( even if only a fraction of them comment), and many of those people are US citizens who are from those social and educational strata of society which vote reliably and heavily. So David Brock might well want to read Sic Semper Tyrannis to see whether he feels he needs to send one or more of his Fast Responders over there to Correct The Record.

  36. Sanctimonious Purist

    @v.arnold I dunno. I think drumming Henry Wallace out of the Democratic Party marked the death knell more than the assassination of a relatively center-right President.

  37. Peter*

    The propagating of the WW3 meme seems to me to be part of the pleading of some people for the Hegemon to behave a little less hegemonic and it also seems to paint some important Russians as being insane. There can be no conventional WW3 only a quick creation of glassy craters where once stood our and Russia’s civilizations and we both have lived with that existential promise for 65 years.

    The new cold war is not unlike the old cold war where economic pressure is being exerted forcing the Russians to spend scarce resources on nonproductive military responses to our economic/militaristic aggression.

    One moment I read that Putin’s Russia is strong and bold led by the sage Putin and his wise political, religious and military advisors and then I’m soon led to believe that if the Hegemon doesn’t relent and ease its pressure they will all become Mad Ivans and destroy themselves along with Europe and the US.

    All I’m really seeing here is the denial of reality and wishful fantasy of avoiding what is coming with the rise of the Red Queen and her exceptionalist, neoliberal, neocon/liberal interventionist extremist and all the quislings needed to implement their agendas.

  38. ianwelsheatsballs

    Just letting you know Ian, that story you pushed as factual last week? You know, the one about Wikileaks leaking information on Turkish women? Completely fabricated. Nice job you useful fucking idiot. Do your goddamn research, you fucking hack.

  39. Memory

    @Okanogen: Do you like Mystery Science Theater 3000? Because that’s where we’re headed.

  40. MojaveWolf

    Ok, I get that my little riff on the merits of an actual Cthulhu presidency vs. Trump or Clinton’s might be a little unserious for here, so I totally understood why it never got out of moderation, but surely it adds more value than the guy cussing out Ian and calling him a hack for a post that I don’t recall Ian ever making? For anyone else reading this comment thread who isn’t a regular reader, I just checked “last week” and found no such post.

    Stuff like this and that comment from a month or so ago complaining about Lincoln starting the civil war is more worthwhile than a wistful musing on the possible conflicts of a leviathan from the deep vs the deep state and how one might have a certain cathartic preference for what Cthulhu might do to Wall Street rather than occupy it? I am sad.

  41. MojaveWolf

    @Okanogen — Yes, Trump says stupid stuff all the time. And we have no idea whatsoever what he’d do as President, and there’s a decent chance that it would be bad.

    But Clinton and all the “serious” people endorsing her are not only currently seeming to WANT to play chicken with Russia, but between them have a nice track record of actually causing and/or allowing one disaster after another (I’m including all the members of the Bush regime who love love love Clinton, on top of Clinton’s own words and deeds and the Morrell guy who advocated the US killing Russians in the middle east to send a warning, just a couple of days ago, who all your serious, non-shark-jumping news outlets are presenting as a voice of reason in favor of Hillary).

  42. XFR

    That LA Times editorial is utterly insane. It amounts to “Trump is too soft on Russia, which proves he’s an unhinged warmonger who might start WWIII”. How could anyone even write that?

  43. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    The IWEB troll has a post of 39 words.

    Coincidentally, 39 happens to be his IQ number. 😈

  44. Hugh

    A couple of notes: What Clinton actually said about voting for the Iraq war in 2002 was:

    “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

    Note the typical Clinton legalistic weaselry: I got it wrong despite having made the best possible decision at the time. First, 147 Democrats and even 7 Republicans in the House and Senate as well as millions of ordinary Americans got it right about the Iraq war. Second, nothing in Clinton’s statement explains why she continued to support the war for the next 12 years, that is up until June 2014, 2 years ago, 10 months before she announced her Presidential bid on April 12, 2015, and 2 1/2 years after the last American forces had initially left the country in December 2011 as per the Bush negotiated SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). If you are one for delicious irony/hypocrisy, the same month June 2014 is also the month that Obama first re-introduced American special forces back into Iraq to fight ISIS, a decision which Clinton also supports. So this is another case where a Clinton statement *surprise* dissembles on multiple levels, purports to say one thing when, in fact, it says something quite different, appears to accept responsibility while ducking it, and, marvel of marvels, manages the feat of saying it was wrong to go into Iraq even as she is saying it is right to go into Iraq.

    The USSR is no more, get used to it. The successor state Russia is a large country in terms of landmass, but it is a mid-sized country in terms of population with about 142-143 million. This is expected to decline to around 130 million by 2050. In terms of GDP, it is about 1/15 the size of the US economy and smaller than South Korea. It is primarily a commodity producer which makes it especially susceptible to swings in demand as with the current depression in oil prices. It has an aging and increasingly obsolescent industrial infrastructure and lacks the resources to renovate it. Outside the Crimea which was a gimme, its ability to meddle even in its next door neighbor a weak and corrupt Ukraine is limited. Yes, it has nukes, but maintaining those nukes and the platforms for them is expensive. On top of this, Russia has security concerns, commitments, and involvements in both the Caucases and Central Asia. Strategically, it also has to keep a security presence in its Far East. And then there is its Syrian adventure. For all of this, Russia has a conscript army of about 770,000 on which it spends about $70 billion a year, or about 1/7 the what the US spends on its armed forces. This sized armed forces is probably more than Russia can really afford. What this means is that Russia can not sustain large or multiple medium to long term involvements outside its borders. What it can do beyond basic defense is what it is doing, low level involvement in Eastern Ukraine and limited involvement in Syria.

    Clinton and the neocons are idiots where Russia is concerned, but then so are many progressives. While it is not a military giant, it has a respectably sized military and can not be pushed around.

  45. Peter*

    I’ve taken a lot of flack for stating the same facts you list about Russia but they are real and accurate.

    I suppose we will have to wait and see how Putin reacts to a military stand down order from the US when the Red Queen moves to remove Assad and his minions from Syria. I doubt there will be much if any ‘pushing around’ necessary just the reality of hundreds of cruise missiles and bombers heading for their targets.

    I know some people are hoping for a conventional confrontation between the US and Russia to show how strong the Russian military is and disgrace the pompous Hegemon. Even if that fantasy were possible Russia has a large untried garrison force that hasn’t been to war in 15 years while the US military has been in almost constant combat during those 15 years.

  46. V. Arnold

    @ Peter*
    August 12, 2016
    Even if that fantasy were possible Russia has a large untried garrison force that hasn’t been to war in 15 years while the US military has been in almost constant combat during those 15 years.
    And, discounting Grenada and Panama, hasn’t won a war since WWII. The U.S. also hasn’t fought a modern army since then either.
    Only fools and idiots want an open conflict between Russia and the U.S.. Which, if it stays conventional, Russia will win. However, if it went nuclear (likely IMO) we all lose…

  47. V. Arnold

    And, contrary to the common belief; the U.S. didn’t “win” WWII. Russia deserves that title as history well shows. The U.S. possibly shortened WWII in the Pacific by a month or two, but even that is doubtful…

  48. markfromireland


    While it is not a military giant

    Ummm Hugh how to put this?

    Russia has enough nuclear munitions to end pretty much all the higher life forms on earth leaving it to be taken over by rats and cockroaches several times over.

    They have that formiddable arsenal coupled with enough delivery methods to ensure that they’ll be able to deliver those munitions to wherever they choose on the planet despite having been repeatedly struck themselves.

    Those inescapable facts make them a military giant.

    No they’re not as large as the American behemoth but they don’t need to be all they need is to be big enough to wipe you out and they’re certainly gigantic enough to do that.

    I’m not going to bother with the rest of the usual Russia is doomed talking points because quite frankly I simply can’t be arsed refuting the same old American shite again and again and again. Long after your society has collapsed and the “essential nation” is dead, gone, and no more than a bad joke amongst historians they’ll still be around.

  49. markfromireland

    For those interested in reality based commentary and analysis on Russia I suggest regular visits to Patrick Armstrong’s site – he has the merit of knowing what he’s talking about:

    Russia Observer

  50. V. Arnold

    John Helmer and Steven Cohen are pretty good as well.

  51. wendy davis

    FWIW, a compilation: ‘The Café Babylon War and Moar War Report [Updated]’

    No Cohen this time, but Helmer makes an appearance in the comments.

    As a side note, Ajamu Baraka’s being hit as anti-Semitic and a holocaust denier by the fake left. Small wonder.

  52. “And then the men go marching…”

    The line from Stalin was “The time was supplied British, the money by the Americans, and the blood by us (USSR)” Прочитаnте историю на английском языке и идеологии в России .

  53. Lisa

    V. Arnold : Oh the US convincingly won the Pacific war, but it was impossible for Japan to win it under any scenario. It was primarily naval war. The unsung heroes were the US submariners, who despite dodgy torpedoes managed to do to Japan what Germany tried to do to the UK. By the early 45 it was all over, Japan was cut off.

    The US’s single biggest contribution was the huge amounts of material and equipment it sent to the Soviets. Just all those trucks alone transformed the Soviet forces. Then the explosives, aircraft quality aluminium, aviation fuel and food made a massive contribution to Soviet success.

    The UK/Canadian/US landings and attack from the west probably saved western Europe from becoming part of the USSR. Though the US threw much of it away, when they decided to chase some fictional redoubt, instead of pushing onto Berlin and Prague.
    It was Monty’s amazing advance northwards that saved Denmark. Stalin wasn’t stupid he was going to grab as much as he could, provided the cost was low and with little risk. If he had wanted to he could have punched through the greatly depleted British/Canadian forces and grabbed Denmark, but he wasn’t going to take the risk.

    Though most of their bombing was pointless and counter productive, the Allied attacks on transportation and oil made a huge difference to all the Allies.

    So in a real sense it was an allied victory.

  54. V. Arnold

    wendy davis
    August 13, 2016

    Thanks for the link.
    Every Tuesday, Steven Cohen is interviewed for about 40 min. on the John Bachelor Show.
    His show runs from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am every day.

  55. V. Arnold

    @ Lisa
    So in a real sense it was an allied victory.

    You do not even mention the eastern front; USSR destroyed the German army along with a good deal of their tanks, there by making all else possible.
    You also fail to mention the USSR forces poised to attack Japan.

  56. Memory

    @wendy davis: You don’t know shit.

  57. Peter*


    The Russian people made tremendous sacrifices to defend themselves from the German onslaught and spent most of the war defending and retaking their own territory. The initial blitz nearly destroyed them and the Russian winter was their savior that allowed them to dig in and with much help from the West resist almost three years of continuing German pounding. If you want to know how the Germans defined pounding look at Schwerer Gustav that was used on Sevastopol and nearly came into action on Stalingrad..

    It appears that it took between two to three dead Russians to produce one dead German but the Russians were able to continually pour millions of soldiers into this meat-grinder often, if reports are accurate, at the point of a gun. This macabre calculus is what won that part of the World War because the Germans were slowly deprived of their needed manpower and materials needed to finish off the Red Menace.

    If Hitler has been a little less insane and made a few different decisions history could have taken a very different and strange course. German scientists had the ability to build A-Bombs just needing time and funding but Hitler didn’t see their potential and decided not to pursue them. With their ballistic missiles and the Bomb they could and probably would have nuked Moscow, London and New York

  58. wendy davis

    @ V. Arnold: thank you for the link; sadly, there aren’t transcripts, reading being far easier for me than listening. I haven’t checked for him at the Nation recently, but as I remember it, it’s behind a paywall now, complicating things. (smile)

    @ Memory: I couldn’t agree with you more. Rawk on!

    Wiki says: “In 1993 a study by the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated total Soviet population losses due to the war at 26.6 million, including military dead of 8.7 million calculated by the Russian Ministry of Defense. These figures have been accepted by most historians outside of Russia.”

  59. So how do we vote for progressive for pres?

  60. Hugh

    “So how do we vote for progressive for pres?”

    If there is no one you can support, don’t vote. If there are only shit candidates, don’t vote for shit. If you vote for shit, all you get is more shit.

  61. Peter*


    According to some people Clinton is who represents what progressive means today so it might be best to avoid following brands and look at who might do the least damage here and abroad.

  62. V. Arnold

    August 14, 2016
    If there is no one you can support, don’t vote. If there are only shit candidates, don’t vote for shit. If you vote for shit, all you get is more shit.

    Yep, don’t vote; which is what I’ve been proposing; a truly revolutionary action.
    But among the populace, it’s considered a heresy.
    The vote, unfortunately, will be for the lesser evil or as you say, shit…

  63. Tom W Harris

    The problem with not voting is that not voting may hasten this result:

    “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
    ― Frank Zappa

    Of course that may happen even if we do vote.

  64. wendy davis

    @ Stirling Newbury: ‘The Progressive Left Is Neither’, by Anthony Tarrant

    “It’s an election year, as you know, and the demos, stupefied in aspic from too many years baking in front of a warm television screen, have awakened to the reality they have nothing, own nothing, save debt and perhaps a paltry 401k, the innards and working mechanics of which they haven’t the foggiest understanding of. Bereft of a truly social inclination or civic revelation once in their entire lives, now, now, after 50 years of showing up every four years to vote for shit after shit after shit after parading, mass murdering made for TV. shit, now, NOW they’re looking for a vessel intoning, emoting their deepest angst and fears. Fears of the nigger, fears of the rag-head, fears of the fag and trans who might — could — be allowed to pee next to ’em in the same rest room, fear of the Russian, fear of the Mexican, fear of the people who write their paychecks, fear of losing their guns.”

    Lote-voters declaiming on Democracy Now! ad nauseum, yada, yada… (but pfffft on Hedges,imo)…

    Ending: “How they can sit there, on camera, with their constipated faces twisted in puzzlement and faux exasperation extolling the virtues of a death dealing, neolithic, war mongering gravedigger like Hillary Clinton who has the official unction of a trifecta of mass murderers in the persons of Madeline Albright, Henry Kissinger and John Negroponte without catching hot vomit in the back of their throats is, thankfully, beyond me.

    I stopped writing for a year because of death and cancer. But that’s all sorted out now and I’m back. And it’s you, you materialistic, indifferent self dealing pretenders to the left – you fools, charlatans and treasonous whores of the liberal state, you are the reason I will never stop writing again. Go fuck yourselves.

    I’m voting for Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka.”

    Me, too. Brother Baraka is a long-time red, dedicated to human rights, self-determination and equality for all.

  65. V. Arnold

    wendy davis
    August 15, 2016

    Excellent post and link; spot on!

    I’m bored of Chris Hedges; he’s become milk gone sour.
    I’m not voting again; got rid of my TV 22 years ago and voting went with it.
    I’m coming to the end of my tether on posting as well…
    A hermit in Asia is my final gig.

  66. wendy davis

    @ V. Arnold: great stuff, wasn’t it? and yeah re: Old Sourpuss. I hear ya on not voting, except that what with local races, ballot initiatives, and once in awhile Govs, there are things that a vote *might* effect. i hadn’t thought to vote for any federal offices this time, knowing all too well that the PTB don’t are how many votes are cast, how many votes for duopoly candidates were actually cast.

    a ‘Don’t Vote’ group used to come to my.firedoglake, but always far too late. i used to remember a few plans like that that worked, as in: de-legitimizing the available offerings’, but the movements started far in advance of the elections.

    now that the Librul Hillbots are goin’ crazy on stein and brother baraka, i’m damned well gonna vote for them, but mainly because stein eventually chose a Red for her running mate, and the corrupt PDC doesn’t want them in the debates. guess is till blog cuz i must; it’s a pressure valve of sorts, and who knows how far stories might travel, once told? well, in my case, not very far, lol, but still…. not to mention that most folks vote on Diebolds, anyway. ah, democracy!

    but look at this nasty dreck i just put up:

  67. The thing is:
    Politicians are not “the average person”. They’re all elitists, from privileged backgrounds.

    President Obama is of upper-middle-class to wealthy stock. So it doesn’t matter that he’s the United States’ “first black president”, because he’s not the same class as the average impoverished “ghetto rat” type.

    Same in the case of Hillary Clinton. She’s a wealthy corporate “privileged stock” class individual. NOT any kind of middle-class or working-class woman. Hence she doesn’t represent “the average woman” in any way because she’s way out of their league.

    Politicians and elitists are politicians and elitists. Peas from the same pod. It’s not about race or gender—it’s all about social and professional rank.

  68. V. Arnold

    wendy davis
    August 16, 2016

    Thanks for the link; bookmarked.

    If I believed voting mattered, Jill Stein and Baraka would also be my choices.
    But alas, we’ve lost our republic to the dark side, now a long time past. I’m not sure it is possible to get it back at this juncture.
    I’m well past pessimism; staring at the abyss.
    I must say; your optimism is befuddling given the present realities glaring back at us.
    I can easier accept the cold, hard, facts than not.
    But, do carry on with your POV if that is what works for you.
    Vive la différence

  69. wendy davis

    @ V. Arnold: Optimism? lol. i reckon i’ve never been charged as being panglossian before. well, save for some of my ‘massive spiritual shift ahead of global revolution is on the way’ posts, but by now, that’s more aspirational…than not. as in ‘i wanna believe’.

    but hell’s bells, even they know they haven’t a chance but they hope to at least widen the (eek, dare i utter it?) overton window. brother baraka is indeed a radical. rather than bring my diary introducing him, i’ll just grab his oeuvre at BAR, okay? oh, bother; it’s not searchable w/o at least one of an author’s essays. this is easier:

    but goodness, stop by and make your case if ya like; commenting is free at babylon!

    but sure, we’re toast and toastettes; feel the burn? one knowledgable commenter who pays a lot of attention to this stuff named the Queen of Cackle’s transition team already, as in: ‘she’s ready for hillary’ (smile).

  70. V. Arnold

    wendy davis
    August 17, 2016

    Yes, I’ll mosey on over to babylon at some point.
    Queen of Cackle; that’s perfect.

  71. V. Arnold

    @ wendy davis

    Tried to register/sign in/join, etc., @ babylon with no luck at all.
    I do not live in the U.S., could that have something to do with it?

  72. wendy davis

    @ V. Arnold: no, you should jut be able to comment, no registration required. if you have trouble again, click the ‘contact me’ category on the right, email me, and i’ll sort it out.

  73. V. Arnold

    @ wendy davis

    Thanks, will do…

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