Posts tagged military

The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

By

The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan

 

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We stay and will stay in a more “limited” way in Afghanistan because it is vitally important in the “grand game.” Afghanistan is the cornerstone of Asia and it is at the crossroads of the Silk Road. To the north is Putin’s Russia, to the west Iran. To the east China. To the south India. It may be inhospitable. It may be dangerous. It may be the place where historically empires have gone to die. But it is full of unexploited minerals and lots and lots of opium.

To control Asia (which is probably impossible though the British gave it a good go) one must control the craggy peaks and dusty valleys of Afghanistan. And that is why we continue to dump money down a hole in the country and will probably forever. That and if we stop things will probably get get even worse. This is why we should leave empire building to other countries. We were once a colony. We didn’t like it.

(From Vice News)
 
Afghanistan may now be a catch-22, but US donors have missed several chances to learn a lesson. Sopko pointed to a 1988 USAID report on development in Afghanistan, drawing many of the same conclusions that US officials are realizing now. And many of the mistakes made in Iraq — particularly with sub-contractors — were repeated in Afghanistan and are once again becoming the norm.
 
“I’ve seen it in Somalia, in Yemen. The system of corruption and collusion between the US government and these contractors was born in Afghanistan and is being replicated elsewhere,” Jackson said, adding that development in Afghanistan took a turn for the worse after a surge both in military presence and in misguided development projects. “In 2010 you had this massive influx of money and all these quick-impact projects, and focus on burn rates rather than results.”
 
“That’s very important for understanding why Afghanistan is such a mess now,” she added. “If you look back, it could have gone differently.”

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
 

 

Obama’s Strategy Of Fomenting Revolution In Ukraine Is Backfiring Dramatically

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Source: http://endoftheamericandream.com

By Michael Snyder

Obama’s Strategy Of Fomenting Revolution In Ukraine Is Backfiring Dramatically

 

Obama-On-The-Phone-Talking-To-Russian-President-Vladimir-Putin-300x300When the Obama administration was plotting to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Ukraine, what in the world did they expect to happen in the aftermath?  Did they just expect Russia to roll over and play dead as the U.S. and the EU installed a rabidly anti-Russian government in Kiev?  Over the past few years, the U.S. government has chosen to foment violent political revolutions all over the globe.  We have seen violent revolutions overthrow governments all across the Middle East and Africa, but when the U.S. government decided to do the same thing in Ukraine they went way too far.  When you mess with Ukraine, and when you mess with Crimea in particular, you are crossing a huge red line as far as the Russians are concerned.  By crossing that red line, the Obama administration has ensured that the relationship between the United States and Russia will never be friendly again.

If you have not listened to the conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that was leaked a little over a month ago on YouTube, please click on the video posted below.  As Robert Wenzel recently discussed, this video is solid proof that Obama administration officials were plotting who the new leaders of Ukraine would be several weeks before a violent revolution ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from power…

During the clip, Nuland and Pyatt discuss their desired outcome for the crisis in Ukraine. Now that 3 weeks have passed since the leak and events have developed, it is instructive to listen to the recording once again. (See below.) Keep in mind that this leak was made on February 2, which means the conversation occurred before that date. Viktor Yanukovych did not lose power over the Ukrainian government until more than three weeks later February 24th.
 
The recording reveals Nuland and Pyatt discussing  whether Vitali Klitschko, sometimes referred to as “Klitsch” in the recording, should be named the deputy prime minister and seems to assume that Arseniy Yatseniuk, sometimes referred to in the recording as “Yats,” will become prime minister. Since that conversation, Yatseniuk has, indeed, become prime minister. Anybody that tells you that the US is not running the “revolution” from behind the scenes is blowing smoke.

Here is the video

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Thanks to the meddling of the United States and the EU, the situation in Ukraine is now a giant mess.  Russian troops have moved into Crimea to protect Russian interests, and Ukraine stands on the brink of civil war.

Sadly, when Barack Obama’s national security team met on Saturday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, Obama didn’t even show up.

Obama did speak with Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes on Saturday, but that didn’t solve anything of course.

And with each passing day, Obama’s foreign policy is looking like an even bigger joke.

Even U.S. Senators are mocking him.  Just check out what U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham had to say on the matter…

“Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everybody’s eyes roll, including mine.”

Conservative commentator Mark Levin was even harsher when he stated that he “can’t think of anything he [Obama] touches that doesn’t turn to crap!”

But of course Obama has been completely and totally clueless when it comes to Russia for a very long time.

During one of the presidential debates during the last election, Obama made the following statement to Mitt Romney when Romney suggested that Russia is a serious threat…

“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the cold war’s been over for 20 years.”

Who looks like the fool now?

And Obama especially looks foolish since his “democratic revolution” is starting to backfire dramatically.  Just consider the following facts…

-It is estimated that approximately 675,000 Ukrainians have fled into Russia during January and February.  Why would they be going into Russia for protection if Russia is the “bad guy”?

-The head of Ukraine’s navy has defected and is now working with the Russians.

-The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy has switched sides…

Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, has reportedly refused to follow orders from Kiev, and come over to Russia’s side and is returning home after taking part in NATO operation in the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag.
 
There has been conflicting information on where exactly the vessel is, but a Russian senator has confirmed to Izvestia daily that the frigate defected to the Russian side.

-A large number of high ranking Ukrainian military officials have switched sides

A number of high ranking Ukrainian military and security officials in Crimea have sworn their allegiance to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as Simferopol pushes for its autonomy from the self-imposed government in Kiev.
 
The head of the Security Service of Crimea Petyor Zima, Chief of Department of Internal Affairs in the Crimea Sergey Abisov, the head of Service for Emergency Situations Sergei Shakhov and acting Chief of the Border Guards of Crimea Victor Melnichenko all took an oath of allegiance to the people of Crimea.

-It is being reported that many of the Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea have turned on the government in Kiev…

Crimea-stationed Ukrainian troops have switched sides to join forces with local pro-Russia authorities in the Russian-dominated autonomous republic of Crimea, a source in the region’s administration has said.
 
The source has stressed the transition was peaceful and without a single shot being fired.
 
Some of the servicemen reportedly left their posts without prior warning, while others surrendered letters of resignation but the majority went over to the Crimean government.

-The pro-Russian revolution that is sweeping Crimea is starting to spread to other regions as well…

In the economically important eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, hundreds of pro-Russian protesters massed Saturday in the main square and took over a main government administration building, and raised the Russian flag, according to local residents and news outlets. It was unclear whether the protesters were local residents. The number of protesters was also unclear; Russian and Ukrainian media had wildly different estimates of crowd strength.
 
The Donetsk city council issued a statement demanding a referendum over whether the mining region with strong ties to Russia should remain part of Ukraine.
 
By nightfall, the area around the Donetsk main square was quiet. A reporter from Ukrainian national television said that the protesters remained inside the building, drinking tea and planning new pro-Russia protests for Monday.

And this is probably what Russia is planning to do.

Instead of taking Ukraine militarily, they hope to enable a “new revolution” to swing things back their way.  The following is an excerpt from an NBC News article

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that Ukraine’s leaders had seized power illegally, and predicted their rule would end with “a new revolution [and] new bloodshed.”
 
Medvedev said that, while Viktor Yanukovych had practically no authority, he remained the legitimate head of state according the constitution, adding: “If he is guilty before Ukraine – hold an impeachment procedure … and try him.”
 
“Everything else is lawlessness. The seizure of power,” Medvedev said on his Facebook page. “And that means such order will be extremely unstable. It will end in a new revolution. New bloodshed.”

Of course large numbers of Russian troops will be on hand to make sure that this “counter-revolution” succeeds.  Even as you read this, more Russian forces continue to pour into Crimea

Meanwhile, in Crimea, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told CNN on Monday that up to 12 trucks full of Russian troops have crossed into the eastern Crimean city of Kerch from Russia.
 
Additionally, Ukrainian Border Service Assistant Chief Colonel Sergei Astakhov described Russian troop movements by ferry from Russia across the Strait of Kerch in a phone conversation. Astakhov said the first two ferries carrying armed men were navigating towards the ferry dock and border post in Kerch. As the ferries approached the port, 10 heavily armed troops from the Russian Black Sea Fleet attacked the border post from land and used force to overwhelm the Ukrainian border guards, Astakhov said.

The upper house of Parliament in Moscow has given President Vladimir Putin the authority to use “the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country“, and even U.S. officials are admitting that the Russian military has “complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula” at this point.

And this may just be the beginning.  Reportedly, during his 90 minute conversation with Obama on Saturday Putin hinted that Russian military intervention “could go beyond Crimea”

During his 90-minute phone conversation with President Obama on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that Russian military intervention in Ukraine could go beyond Crimea, the region now under effectively occupied by Russia.
 
That’s according to the Kremlin’s brief account of the phone call, initiated by Obama.
 
“Vladimir Putin stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,” it said.

So what is going to happen next?

Nobody knows for sure.

But without a doubt, Obama’s strategy of fomenting revolution in Ukraine is backfiring dramatically.

Obama-On-The-Phone-Talking-To-Russian-President-Vladimir-Putin

This article first appeared here at the The American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com

 

Washington’s Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil Have Set the Stage for War

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Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Washington’s Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil Have Set the Stage for War

 

In some quarters public awareness is catching up with Stephen Lendman, Michel Chossudovsky, Rick Rozoff, myself and a few others in realizing the grave danger in the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine.

The puppet politicians who Washington intended to put in charge of Ukraine have lost control to organized and armed neo-nazis, who are attacking Jews, Russians, and intimidating Ukrainian politicians. The government of Crimea, a Russian province that Khrushchev transferred to the Ukraine Soviet Republic in the 1950s, has disavowed the illegitimate government that illegally seized power in Kiev and requested Russian protection. The Ukrainian military forces in Crimea have gone over to Russia. The Russian government has announced that it will also protect the former Russian provinces in eastern Ukraine as well.

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn pointed out, it was folly for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to transfer historic provinces of Russia into Ukraine. At the time it seemed to the Soviet leadership like a good thing to do. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and had been ruled by Russia since the 18th century. Adding Russian territory to Ukraine served to water down the nazi elements in western Ukraine that had fought for Hitler during World War 2. Perhaps another factor in the enlargement of Ukraine was the fact of Khrushchev’s Ukrainian heritage.

Regardless, it did not matter until the Soviet Union and then the former Russian empire itself fell apart. Under Washington’s pressure, Ukraine became a separate country retaining the Russian provinces, but Russia retained its Black Sea naval base in Crimea.

Washington tried, but failed, to take Ukraine in 2004 with the Washington-financed “Orange Revolution.” According to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, since this failure Washington has “invested” $5 billion in Ukraine in order to foment agitation for EU membership for Ukraine. EU membership would open Ukraine to looting by Western bankers and corporations, but Washington’s main goal is to establish US missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine and to deprive Russia of its Black Sea naval base and military industries in eastern Ukraine. EU membership for Ukraine means NATO membership.

Washington wants missile bases in Ukraine in order to degrade Russia’s nuclear deterrent, thus reducing Russia’s ability to resist US hegemony. Only three countries stand in the way of Washington’s hegemony over the world, Russia, China, and Iran.

Iran is surrounded by US military bases and has US fleets off its coast. The “Pivot to Asia” announced by the warmonger Obama regime is ringing China with air and naval bases. Washington is surrounding Russia with US missile and NATO bases. The corrupt Polish and Czech governments were paid to accept US missile and radar bases, which makes the Polish and Czech puppet states prime targets for nuclear annihilation. Washington has purchased the former Russian and Soviet province of Georgia, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, and is in the process of putting this puppet into NATO.

Washington’s Western European puppets are too greedy for Washington’s money to take cognizance of the fact that these highly provocative moves are a direct strategic threat to Russia. The attitude of European governments seems to be, “after me, the deluge.”

Russia has been slow to react to the many years of Washington’s provocations, hoping for some sign of good sense and good will to emerge in the West. Instead, Russia has experienced rising demonization from Washington and European capitals and foaming at the mouth vicious denunciations by the West’s media whores. The bulk of the American and European populations are being brainwashed to see the problem that Washington’s meddling has caused in Ukraine to be Russia’s fault. Yesterday, I heard on National Public Radio a presstitute from the New Republic describe Putin as the problem.

The ignorance, absence of integrity, and lack of independence of the US media greatly enhances the prospect for war. The picture being drawn for insouciant Americans is totally false. An informed people would have burst out laughing when US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced Russia for “invading Ukraine” in “violation of international law.” Kerry is the foreign minister of a country that has illegally invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, organized the overthrow of the government in Libya, tried to overthrow the government in Syria, attacks the civilian populations of Pakistan and Yemen with drones and missiles, constantly threatens Iran with attack, unleashed the US and Israeli trained Georgian army on the Russian population of South Ossetia, and now threatens Russia with sanctions for standing up for Russians and Russian strategic interests. The Russian government noted that Kerry has raised hypocrisy to a new level.

Kerry has no answer to the question: “Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity?”

Kerry, as is always the case, is lying through his teeth. Russia hasn’t invaded Ukraine. Russia sent a few more troops to join those at its Black Sea base in view of the violent anti-Russian statements and actions emanating from Kiev. As the Ukrainian military in Crimea defected to Russia, the additional Russian troops were hardly necessary.

The stupid Kerry, wallowing in his arrogance, hubris, and evil, has issued direct threats to Russia. The Russian foreign minister has dismissed Kerry’s threats as “unacceptable.” The stage is set for war.

Note the absurdity of the situation. Kiev has been taken over by ultra-nationalist neo-nazis. A band of ultra-nationalist thugs is the last thing the European Union wants or needs as a member state. The EU is centralizing power and suppressing the sovereignty of the member states. Note the alignment of the neoconservative Obama regime with anti-semitic neo-nazis. The neoconservative clique that has dominated the US government since the Clinton regime is heavily Jewish, many of whom are dual Israeli/US citizens. The Jewish neoconservatives, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, have lost control of their coup to neo-Nazis who preach “death to the Jews.”

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.

This is the situation that Washington created and defends, while accusing Russia of stifling Ukrainian democracy. An elected democracy is what Ukraine had before Washington overthrew it.

At this time there is no legitimate Ukrainian government.

Everyone needs to understand that Washington is lying about Ukraine just as Washington lied about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just as Washington lied about Iranian nukes, just as Washington lied about Syrian president Assad using chemical weapons, just as Washington lied about Afghanistan, Libya, NSA spying, torture. What hasn’t Washington lied about?

Washington is comprised of three elements: Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil. There is nothing else there.

Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org


 

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
 

Russia And China Stand In Agreement On Ukraine – And That Is Very Bad News For The United States

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

Russia And China Stand In Agreement On Ukraine – And That Is Very Bad News For The United States

 

Vladimir_Putin_with_Zhang_Deguang-300x300So much for “isolating” Russia.  The Chinese government is publicly siding with Russia on the crisis in Ukraine, and that is very bad news for the United States.  Not only does it mean that the U.S. is essentially powerless to do anything about the situation in Ukraine, it also means that Russia and China are starting to understand how much economic leverage that they really have.  Yes, the Obama administration can threaten to slap “sanctions” on Russia or threaten to kick Russia “out of the G8“, but those actions would not actually hurt too much.  On the other hand, Russia and China hold approximately 25 percent of all foreign-owned U.S. debt, and if they started massively dumping U.S. debt it could rapidly create a nightmare scenario.  In addition, it is important to remember that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world.  And China now imports more oil than anyone else on the planet does, including the United States.  If Russia and China got together and decided to kill the petrodollar, they could do it almost overnight.  So when it comes to Ukraine, it is definitely not the United States that has the leverage.

If China and the rest of the world abandoned Russia over Ukraine, that would be one thing.  But that is not happening at all.  In fact, China has chosen to publicly stand with Russia on this issue.  The following is from a Sky News article entitled “Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine“…

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had “broadly coinciding points of view” on the situation there, according to a ministry statement.

And Chinese state news agency Xinhua is publicly rebuking the West for their handling of the Ukrainian crisis…

China’s state news agency Xinhua accused western powers of adopting a Cold War- like mindset towards Russia, trying to isolate Moscow at a time when much needed mediation is need to reach a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Crimea.
 
“Based on the fact that Russia and Ukraine have deep cultural, historical and economic connections, it is time for Western powers to abandon their Cold War thinking. Stop trying to exclude Russia from the political crisis they failed to mediate, and respect Russia’s unique role in mapping out the future of Ukraine,” Xinhua wrote in an opinion piece.

Apparently clueless as to how the geopolitical chips are falling, the Obama administration is busy planning all sorts of ways that it can punish Russia

Behind the scenes, Obama administration officials are preparing a series of possible battle plans for a potential economic assault on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, an administration source close to the issue told The Daily Beast. Among the possible targets for these financial attacks: everyone from high-ranking Russian military officials to government leaders to top businessmen to Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine. It’s all part of the work to prepare an executive order now under consideration at the Obama administration’s highest levels.

Does the Obama administration really want to start an “economic war” with Russia and potentially against China as well?

Considering how much money we owe them, and considering the fact that we desperately need them to continue to use the petrodollar, we stand to lose far more than they do.

This is one of the reasons why I have always insisted that the national debt was a national security issue.  By going into so much debt, we have given other nations such as Russia and China a tremendous amount of leverage over us.

Unfortunately, the debtmongers in Washington D.C. never have listened to common sense.

When it comes to Ukraine, there are other economic considerations as well.

For example, about 25 percent of the natural gas that Europe uses comes from Russia, and Ukraine only has about four months of natural gas supplies stockpiled.

If Russia cut off the natural gas, that would create some huge problems.  Fortunately, winter is just about over or the Russians would have even more leverage.

In addition, Ukraine is one of the leading exporters of wheat and corn on the planet, and a disruption in the growing of those crops could make the emerging global food crisis even worse.

But of course the biggest concern is that the Ukraine crisis could ultimately spark a global war.

Unfortunately, there is a treaty that requires the United States to defend Ukraine if it is attacked…

President Bill Clinton, along with the British, signed in 1994 a nearly forgotten agreement to protect Ukraine’s borders. Ukraine now is appealing to the countries that signed the agreement.
 
As the British Daily Mail points out, it means that, technically, if Russia were to invade Ukraine, it would be difficult for the U.S. and Britain to avoid going to war.
 
Given that the late Russian president, Boris Yeltsin also signed it, it was apparent that it wasn’t expected that the Russians would take the action that Putin now is undertaking.

And top Ukrainian politicians are now asking western nations to come to the aid of Ukraine militarily

Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has appealed for the West to adopt ‘strongest means’ to intervene in Russia’s occupation of Crimea if diplomacy fails.
 
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Tymoshenko, freed last week after the riots throughout the nation, said if Russia is allowed to ‘take away’ Crimea, life will change ‘practically everywhere in the world.’
 
She added: ‘Then we have to accept… an aggressor, can violate all the international agreements, take away territories, whenever she likes.’

On the other side, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has formally requested that Russia militarily intervene in his nation…

Russia’s U.N. envoy said Monday that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked Russia to send troops to “establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability, and defending the people of Ukraine.” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin read a letter from Yanukovych at the U.N. Security Council meeting.
 
“Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. In the country, there is chaos and anarchy. The life, the security and the rights of people, particularly in the southeast part in Crimea are being threatened. So under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terrorism and violence. People are being persecuted for language and political reasons,” the letter said. “So in this regard, I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability, and defending the people of Ukraine.”

And it is very important to note that Yanukovych would have never issued this letter if the Russian government has not asked him to.

So the stage is set.

Russia has already grabbed Crimea, and it is eyeing other territories in eastern Ukraine.

China is publicly backing Russia, and collectively they have a tremendous amount of economic leverage.

The Obama administration is barking loudly about what Russia has done, but the reality is that the U.S. has very little economic leverage at this point.

What the U.S. does have is the strongest military on the entire planet, but let us hope and pray that Obama does not decide to get the U.S. military involved in Ukraine.  That would be absolutely disastrous.

In the end, the U.S. has no good options in Ukraine.  The Obama administration helped aid and organize the violent revolution that overthrew the Ukrainian government, and now we have a giant mess.

Nobody is quite sure what comes next, but one thing is certain…

The relationship between the United States and Russia will never, ever be the same again.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

 

‘I Didn’t Join to Be Sacrificed’: U.S. Troops Fed Up with Risky Afghanistan Strategy

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

By

‘I Didn’t Join to Be Sacrificed’: U.S. Troops Fed Up with Risky Afghanistan Strategy

 

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Afghanistan stinks. The death, despair, cronyism, corruption, the companies licking their chops over lithium and rare earths deposits, the endless funds which are printed here and flow through Kabul to God only knows where, the “heroin bomb” dropped on American cities. The country may look like heaven in places, but for America it has been hell.

It should be noted that the Macedonians, the British, and the Russians, all found themselves bogged down in the Hindu Kush and expended treasure and blood with nothing to show for the effort. Afghanistan killed the Soviets as a superpower.

But we didn’t heed the lessons of history. We found ourselves at the heart of Asia, a strategically vital place and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave it. It’s smack dab between China, India, the Middle East, and Russia. Afghanistan is at the crossroads to the Old World. It is a prize, but the cost is dear, terribly dear.

(From Breitbart.com)
 
A Navy SEAL who left his job only a few years shy of full retirement said the following: “I got out because I couldn’t take it anymore. We tried to explain how much reckless danger we were being exposed to and they told us we were being illogical.”
 
This type of response has created a growing crisis of confidence between our warfighters and senior military leadership. His argument wasn’t illogical at all.
 
A gut-wrenching pattern began forming in early 2009, a pattern completely ignored by Congress, the White House, and apparently the DoD.
 
In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan (October 2001 – December 2008) we lost 630 U.S. soldiers. In early 2009, this administration authorized the implementation of the COIN strategy. Over the next five years, the U.S. death toll skyrocket to 2,292.
 
Seventy-three percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009.

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

 

Top Adviser To The Chinese Government Calls For A “Global Currency” To Replace The U.S. Dollar

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Source: http://endoftheamericandream.com

By Michael Snyder

 

Top Adviser To The Chinese Government Calls For A “Global Currency” To Replace The U.S. Dollar

 

One-World-300x300The former chief economist at the World Bank, Justin Yifu Lin, is advising the Chinese government that the time has come for a single global currency.  Lin, who is also a professor at Peking University, says that the U.S. dollar “is the root cause of global financial and economic crises” and that moving to a “global super-currency” will bring much needed stability to the global financial system.  And considering how recklessly the Federal Reserve has been pumping money into the global financial system and how recklessly the U.S. government has been going into debt, it is hard to argue with his logic.  Why would anyone want to trust the United States to continue to run things after how badly we have abused our position?  The United States has greatly benefited from having the de facto reserve currency of the planet for the past several decades, but now that era is coming to an end.  In fact, the central bank of China has already announced that it will no longer be stockpiling more U.S. dollars.  The rest of the world is getting tired of playing our game.  Our debt is wildly out of control and we are creating money as if there was no tomorrow.  As the rest of the world starts moving away from the U.S. dollar, global power is going to shift even more to the East, and that is going to have very serious consequences for ordinary Americans.

Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize what is happening.  These comments by a top adviser to the Chinese government should have made front page news all over the nation.  I had to go to China Daily to find the following excerpt…

The World Bank’s former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system.
 
“The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,” Justin Yifu Lin told Bruegel, a Brussels-based policy-research think tank. “The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency.”
 
Lin, now a professor at Peking University and a leading adviser to the Chinese government, said expanding the basket of major reserve currencies — the dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and pound sterling — will not address the consequences of a financial crisis. Internationalizing the Chinese currency is not the answer, either, he said.

And this is not the first time that we have heard these kinds of comments coming out of China.  For example, Xinhua News Agency called for a “de-Americanized world” back on October 14th…

“It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.”

That particular news agency is controlled by the Chinese government, and if the Chinese government did not approve of that statement it never would have made it into the paper.

Then in November, the central bank of China announced that it is going to stop stockpiling U.S. dollars.

Most Americans don’t want to hear this, but what we are witnessing is a massive shift in global power.  China is catching up to us in a multitude of ways, and they are getting tired of playing second fiddle to the United States.  In fact, China is already surpassing the U.S. in a number of key areas…

-China accounts for more global trade than anyone else in the world.

-China imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than anyone else in the world.

-China imports more oil overall than anyone else in the world.

-It is now being projected that Chinese GDP will surpass U.S. GDP in 2017.

When the rest of the world quits using U.S. dollars to trade with one another and quits lending our dollars back to us at ultra-low interest rates, things are going to start changing very rapidly.

In a previous article, I discussed why having the reserve currency of the world is so important to the United States…

The largest exporting nations such as Saudi Arabia (oil) and China (cheap plastic trinkets at Wal-Mart) end up with massive piles of U.S. dollars.
 
Instead of just sitting on all of that cash, these exporting nations often reinvest much of that cash into low risk securities that can be rapidly turned back into dollars if necessary.  For a very long time, U.S. Treasury bonds have been considered to be the perfect way to do this.  This has created tremendous demand for U.S. government debt and has helped keep interest rates super low.  So every year, massive amounts of money that gets sent out of the country ends up being loaned back to the U.S. Treasury at super low interest rates.
 
And it has been a very good thing for the U.S. economy that the federal government has been able to borrow money so cheaply, because the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries affects thousands upon thousands of other interest rates throughout our financial system.  For example, as the rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has risen in recent months, so have the rates on U.S. home mortgages.
 
Our entire way of life in the United States depends upon this game continuing.  We must have the rest of the world use our currency and loan it back to us at ultra low interest rates.  At this point we have painted ourselves into a corner by accumulating so much debt.  We simply cannot afford to have rates rise significantly.

As the rest of the globe moves away from the dollar, demand for the dollar is going to go down and that is going to cause a lot of inflation – especially for imported goods.  So the days of piling lots of cheap plastic stuff made in China into your shopping carts is coming to an end.

And as the rest of the globe moves away from U.S. debt, interest rates are going to go much higher than they are today.  Eventually, the U.S. government will be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt and all loans throughout our entire financial system will have higher interest rates.  This is going to cause economic activity to slow down dramatically.

On the global economic stage, China is playing checkers and we are playing chess, and we are getting dangerously close to checkmate.

Meanwhile, China is also rapidly catching up to us militarily.

At a time when U.S. military spending is actually decreasing, China is spending money on the military aggressively.

In 2014, Chinese military spending will rise to $148 billion, which represents an increase of 6 percent over 2013.

The balance of power is shifting right in front of our eyes.

For example, at one time the U.S. Navy reigned supreme and the Chinese Navy was a joke.

But now that is rapidly changing.  The following is from an article posted on military.com

The Chinese navy has 77 surface combatants, more than 60 submarines, 55 amphibious ships and about 85 missile-equipped small ships, according to the report first published by the U.S. Naval Institute. The report explains that more than 50 naval ships were “laid down, launched or commissioned” in 2013 and a similar number is planned for 2014.

Of particular concern is the growth of the Chinese submarine fleet.  The Chinese now have submarine launched ballistic missiles with a maximum range of about 4,000 miles…

ONI raised concerns about China’s fast-growing submarine force, to include the Jin-class ballistic nuclear submarines, which will likely commence deterrent patrols in 2014, according to the report. The expected operational deployment of the Jin SSBN “would mark China’s first credible at-sea-second-strike nuclear capability,” the report states.
 
The submarine would fire the JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missile, which has a range of 4,000 nautical miles and would “enable the Jin to strike Hawaii, Alaska and possibly western portions of CONUS [continental United States] from East Asian waters,” ONI assessed.

In addition, China is also working on “hypersonic glide vehicles” that can travel “at speeds of up to Mach 10 or 7,680 miles an hour”.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Washington Free Beacon article…

The Washington Free Beacon first disclosed China’s Jan. 9 flight test of a hypersonic glide vehicle that the Pentagon has called the WU-14.
 
The experimental weapon is a new strategic strike capability China’s military is developing that is designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. China could use the vehicle for both nuclear and conventional precision strikes on targets, including aircraft carriers at sea.
 
U.S. officials said that, while the glide vehicle test was not an intelligence surprise, it showed China is moving much more rapidly than in the past in efforts to research, develop, and test advanced weaponry.

The world is changing, and the United States is not the only superpower anymore.  China is thriving and Russia is also on the rise.  Five years from now, the world is going to look far, far different than it does today.

Sadly, most Americans do not care about these things at all.  Most of them are much more concerned about the latest celebrity scandal or about what Justin Bieber has been doing.

In the end, most Americans will have no idea what is happening until it is far too late to do anything about it.

This article first appeared here at the The American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
 
 

Will U.S. Ever Leave Afghanistan?

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Will U.S. Ever Leave Afghanistan?

 

1-23-2014 8-16-23 PM

 

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Published by NextNewsNetwork

Pentagon ‘big winner’ in $1T omnibus bill (Defense contractors too, Taxpayers lose)

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

By

Pentagon ‘big winner’ in $1T omnibus bill (Defense contractors too, Taxpayers lose)

 

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Everyone is dancing around up in DC today. The defense contractors, the Pentagon, the members of Congress with boondoggle weapon system projects in their districts. (Which is to say nearly every member of Congress.) Happy days are hear again! Down with the sequester say the Republicans.

Small government? Are you kidding? Look at us. We LOVE to spend the taxpayer’s money. Just as much as the Democrats. We just forced the taxpayers to buy a whole bunch of Abrams tanks. (Which happen to be made in Speaker Boehner’s district.) Abrams tanks! Can you believe it? We have no idea where we will use these tanks mind you. They make no sense at all frankly. But hey, here comes the pork America.

And guess what? This is the best part. You know who’s going to pay for these tanks engineered to fight on the plains of Poland? You’re kids! They are the ones who will pay for it! This is a sweet deal America. – I mean not for the kids, but what do they know?

Money for the military is how the GOP plays the same games it accuses the Democrats of playing. The military is the vehicle by which your tax dollars are disseminated to favored groups of people. It’s how the GOP gives out goodies (payed for by you.)

The tired argument is that defense is at least an enumerated power in the Constitution, in contrast with say, food stamps. But it is DEFENSE which is enumerated, not a world wide global police and expeditionary force.

We have no business with a military as large as we have now. And I say this as the son of a military officer and one who has great respect for the military. How are we ever going to get our house in order if the supposedly small government inclined in Congress keep appropriating our tax dollars for a military which is far too large already?

The truth is anyone who says that they favor small government but cheers increased spending on the military (at this point for sure) should ask themselves if they are actually for small government at all. The Pentagon is big big big government.

The lobbyists are dancing a jig in Gucci Gulch today. Is that what you want?

(From The Hill)
 
“The big winner is the Defense Department. They should be breaking out champagne in the Pentagon,” said Gordon Adams, a defense budget expert and former Clinton official.
 
The omnibus spending bill provides about $497 billion for the Defense Department in 2014 — about the same as in 2013. But the Pentagon also received $85.2 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) for the war in Afghanistan, roughly $5 billion more than it requested for 2014.
 
Before last month’s budget deal that relieved $22.4 billion in sequestration cuts, the 2014 defense budget would have been around $475 billion.
 
The OCO funding, which Adams said is the “cherry on top of the dessert,”

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

Ron Paul Rewind: Defense Spending vs. Empire Spending

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Source: http://ronpaulinstitute.org

By Chris Rossini

Ron Paul Rewind: Defense Spending vs. Empire Spending

 

Last year, debate “moderators” from Fox News had a hard time understanding the difference between legitimate spending on defending the U.S. versus the wasteful spending on the military empire. Dr. Paul explained it with passion and in true smackdown form, leaving the warmongers on stage, and in the audience, speechless.

Enjoy!

 

1-7-2014 8-48-43 PM

 

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Video capture from the Fox presidential debate added to original post.

US put China-made parts in F-35 fighter program? (Yep)

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

By

US put China-made parts in F-35 fighter program? (Yep)

 

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This seems, unwise.

I wonder if the the folks who gave the waiver to the defense contractors to keep the F-35 program close(er) to on schedule have ever perused Unrestricted Warfare, a book written in the late 1990s by a couple of mid-level officers in the Chinese Army.  In it the authors argue for the use of a myriad of unconventional warfare forms, one of which, if I remember correctly, was implanting components in enemy technologies which could be “turned on” when needed.*

Putting Chinese components in the American fighter and weapons platform created in large part to counter the Chinese doesn’t make much sense to me.

(From CNBC.com)
 
“It was a pretty big deal and an unusual situation because there’s a prohibition on doing defense work in China, even if it’s inadvertent,” said Frank Kenlon, who recently retired as a senior Pentagon procurement official and now teaches at American University. “I’d never seen this happen before.”
 
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is examining three such cases involving the F-35, the U.S. military’s next generation fighter, the documents show.

Click here for the article.

*The components of concern are said to have no programmable features. They are magnets.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
 
 

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