War Powers Reform and the Pretense Thereof

I’ve just read through three of the most boring but potentially most important documents around. One is the War Powers Resolution of 1973 which you can print on 6 pages and is what’s referred to as existing law even though it’s violated as routinely as air is breathed. Another is a war powers reform bill … Continue reading “War Powers Reform and the Pretense Thereof”

When Are Secrets Not Secret?

“Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” ~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Last week, President George W. Bush’s torture regime reared its head in an unusual argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2002, Abu Zubaydah was captured by a militia in Pakistan and handed over to the CIA, which brought … Continue reading “When Are Secrets Not Secret?”

Heroes or Parasites: Europe’s Self-Serving Politics on Refugees

Language is politics and politics is power. This is why the misuse of language is particularly disturbing, especially when the innocent and vulnerable pay the price. The wars in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries in recent years have resulted in one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes, arguably unseen since … Continue reading “Heroes or Parasites: Europe’s Self-Serving Politics on Refugees”

If It’s Not a Cold War, Why Does It Look So Much Like a Cold War?

The United States, the President swore, is “not seeking a new Cold War.” But he is, and it didn’t have to be that way. The end of the Cold War could have been the end of the Cold War. Russia really didn’t want a new Cold War and has only been reluctantly drawn into it. … Continue reading “If It’s Not a Cold War, Why Does It Look So Much Like a Cold War?”

Abandoning Yemen to War Criminals

The United Nations body responsible for monitoring and recording human rights abuses effectively abandoned the people of Yemen last week. In a 21-18 vote with seven abstentions, the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) refused to extend the mandate of an independent investigation into war crimes committed by all sides in Yemen. Since its establishment in … Continue reading “Abandoning Yemen to War Criminals”

My War on Terror, Up Close and Personal

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It’s hard to imagine how I would have done my work at TomDispatch over the last decade without one crucial resource: Brown University’s Costs of War Project. After all, that website has offered a remarkable look at America’s misbegotten twenty-first-century wars. Since it was launched in 2010, it’s been a constant … Continue reading “My War on Terror, Up Close and Personal”

Strategies To Cut the Military Budget: Realistic Options for an Unrealistic Government

The military budget is going to be cut. That will cause enormous wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington. The generals will promote fantastic disaster scenarios. The military-industrial complex will deploy more lobbyists. The Neoconservative Greek Chorus will declaim more loudly. All will insist that the international environment is more dangerous than ever. That America … Continue reading “Strategies To Cut the Military Budget: Realistic Options for an Unrealistic Government”

Georgia: Another Dangerous, Loose-Cannon US Client

Ukraine is Washington’s most worrisome security client in Europe. U.S. leaders are incurring grave risks to America in support of a country that is notoriously corrupt and increasingly authoritarian. Worse, Kiev engages in abrasive conduct toward its much larger, more powerful Russian neighbor, apparently assuming that Washington has Ukraine’s back. However, Ukraine is not the … Continue reading “Georgia: Another Dangerous, Loose-Cannon US Client”

Georgia: Another Dangerous, Loose-Cannon US Client

Ukraine is Washington’s most worrisome security client in Europe. U.S. leaders are incurring grave risks to America in support of a country that is notoriously corrupt and increasingly authoritarian. Worse, Kiev engages in abrasive conduct toward its much larger, more powerful Russian neighbor, apparently assuming that Washington has Ukraine’s back. However, Ukraine is not the … Continue reading “Georgia: Another Dangerous, Loose-Cannon US Client”

Georgia: Another Dangerous, Loose-Cannon US Client

Ukraine is Washington’s most worrisome security client in Europe. U.S. leaders are incurring grave risks to America in support of a country that is notoriously corrupt and increasingly authoritarian. Worse, Kiev engages in abrasive conduct toward its much larger, more powerful Russian neighbor, apparently assuming that Washington has Ukraine’s back. However, Ukraine is not the … Continue reading “Georgia: Another Dangerous, Loose-Cannon US Client”

Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind

The “Lift Sanctions, Save Lives” network is lobbying Congress to do what it should have done years ago: assess the impact of economic sanctions now routinely applied to ally as well as adversary. Such a review is long overdue. Economic sanctions have become a new global battlefield. In July Beijing targeted several organizations and individuals, … Continue reading “Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind”

Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind

The “Lift Sanctions, Save Lives” network is lobbying Congress to do what it should have done years ago: assess the impact of economic sanctions now routinely applied to ally as well as adversary. Such a review is long overdue. Economic sanctions have become a new global battlefield. In July Beijing targeted several organizations and individuals, … Continue reading “Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind”

Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind

The “Lift Sanctions, Save Lives” network is lobbying Congress to do what it should have done years ago: assess the impact of economic sanctions now routinely applied to ally as well as adversary. Such a review is long overdue. Economic sanctions have become a new global battlefield. In July Beijing targeted several organizations and individuals, … Continue reading “Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind”

‘No First Use’: An Empty Gesture That Would Cost Nothing

“Debate on ‘no first use’ of nukes mushrooms in Washington,” Joe Gould reports at Defense News. “Five years after President Barack Obama turned back from declaring a ‘no first use’ as US policy for nuclear weapons,” Gould writes, “opponents say the Biden administration is considering it too, and warn that it risks alienating allies.” Is … Continue reading “‘No First Use’: An Empty Gesture That Would Cost Nothing”

Against Intervention and Regime Change: A Debate with Bill Kristol

The following essay is adapted from Antiwar.com editorial director Scott Horton’s statement in his October 4, 2021 Soho Forum debate with William Kristol, director of the Foreign Policy Initiative and editor of the Bulwark. The resolution was, “A willingness to intervene, and seek regime change, is key to an American foreign policy that benefits America.” … Continue reading “Against Intervention and Regime Change: A Debate with Bill Kristol”

The Defense Budget Should Shrink In Response to the End of the War, But We Are Seeing an Increase Instead

On October 5th, Robert Reich tweeted out “We just ended the longest war in U.S. history, yet we’re still increasing the Pentagon budget. Could there be any clearer sign that congress is in the pockets of the defense industry?” It is not often that I find myself agreeing with Robert Reich, but I must admit … Continue reading “The Defense Budget Should Shrink In Response to the End of the War, But We Are Seeing an Increase Instead”

Iron Dome Funding: Don’t Be Deceived – US Aid to Israel Is Not About Saving Lives

Battles in the US Congress that erupted again this week, holding up an extra $1bn in military funding for Israel, underscored just how divorced from reality the conversation about US financial aid to Israel has become, even among many critics. For 48 hours last month, a small group of progressive Democrats in the US House … Continue reading “Iron Dome Funding: Don’t Be Deceived – US Aid to Israel Is Not About Saving Lives”

The Middle East and the Second Cold War

The Middle East was a crucial arena in the Cold War. It was then that Israel first acquired its value to the US as a bulwark against perceived Soviet penetration into the Middle East. The Soviet Union perceived US activity in the Middle East as encircling them on their southern border. Nations chose blocks, and … Continue reading “The Middle East and the Second Cold War”

How the ‘Self Licking Ice Cream Cone,’ Prolonged the 20-Year War

Reprinted with permission from Responsible Statecraft. There is a rapidly growing political demand for making American officials accountable for the failures of the Afghanistan War, with a focus now on the military leadership and top generals’ role in keeping forces there for 20 years despite all the signs they knew the war was unwinnable. One … Continue reading “How the ‘Self Licking Ice Cream Cone,’ Prolonged the 20-Year War”

The Bankruptcy of ‘Great Power Competition’

A militarized rivalry between the US and China will be costly and dangerous for all concerned, but the people most likely to suffer from it will be found in the countries that the two major powers choose to turn into their battlefields. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union split Europe … Continue reading “The Bankruptcy of ‘Great Power Competition’”

Americans Are Tired of War: Could Ancient Warrior Joe Biden Inaugurate a New Age of Diplomacy?

Americans are tired of war. They want the U.S. to be involved in the world. But they prefer to send diplomats rather than soldiers to solve problems. In short, Americans are over the Neocon moment when war was seen as the solution to most foreign problems. And Washington elites decided that “the price is worth … Continue reading “Americans Are Tired of War: Could Ancient Warrior Joe Biden Inaugurate a New Age of Diplomacy?”

Stop Calling the Military Budget a ‘Defense’ Budget

It’s bad enough that mainstream news outlets routinely call the Pentagon budget a “defense” budget. But the fact that progressives in Congress and even many antiwar activists also do the same is an indication of how deeply the mindsets of the nation’s warfare state are embedded in the political culture of the United States. The … Continue reading “Stop Calling the Military Budget a ‘Defense’ Budget”

Our Foreign Policy Elite Has Learned Nothing From Afghanistan

Reprinted from The Nation with permission of the author. Bush and Cheney sold the war, Obama normalized it, Trump disowned it, and Biden had the courage to end it. Cecil Rhodes once said he would annex the planets if he could, and the United States, over the past four decades, has nursed an ambition quite … Continue reading “Our Foreign Policy Elite Has Learned Nothing From Afghanistan”

Our Foreign Policy Elite Has Learned Nothing From Afghanistan

Reprinted from The Nation with permission of the author. Bush and Cheney sold the war, Obama normalized it, Trump disowned it, and Biden had the courage to end it. Cecil Rhodes once said he would annex the planets if he could, and the United States, over the past four decades, has nursed an ambition quite … Continue reading “Our Foreign Policy Elite Has Learned Nothing From Afghanistan”

Washington Keeps Poking the Panda Regarding Taiwan

Expectations that Joe Biden’s administration would pursue a more conciliatory policy toward the People’s Republic of China (PRC) than its predecessor did have not been borne out. The surprising continuity with the Trump administration’s approach is most evident regarding policy toward Taiwan. Indeed, Biden has broken new ground with respect to U.S. support for the … Continue reading “Washington Keeps Poking the Panda Regarding Taiwan”

How the MSM Covered for the Generals on Their Afghan War Testimony

Although candid at times during the congressional hearings on the Afghan war held on September 28 and 29, the three four-state generals (Lloyd Austin now Secretary of Defense; Mark Milley as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Frank McKenzie, Jr. as Commander of Central Command) – with the complicit of the mainstream media … Continue reading “How the MSM Covered for the Generals on Their Afghan War Testimony”

750 Bases in 80 Countries Is Too Many for Any Nation: Time for the US To Bring Its Troops Home

President Joe Biden did what his three predecessors could or would not: halt a seemingly endless war. It took two decades, but American troops no longer are fighting in Afghanistan. An important aspect of the US withdrawal was closing Washington’s bases, which once spread across the country. Uncle Sam left Bagram Air Base, America’s biggest … Continue reading “750 Bases in 80 Countries Is Too Many for Any Nation: Time for the US To Bring Its Troops Home”

NYT Gives Russia-Gate CPR – WSJ Pronounces It Dead

Special Council John Durham’s indictment of Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann met differing reactions Friday from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Those who may still think it was Russia that “interfered” with the 2016 election owe it to themselves to read the Sussmann indictment/charging document. Spoiler: It was the very … Continue reading “NYT Gives Russia-Gate CPR – WSJ Pronounces It Dead”

CIA Plan To Poison Assange Wasn’t Needed. The US Found a ‘Lawful’ Way To Disappear Him

A Yahoo News’ investigation reveals that, through much of 2017, the CIA weighed up whether to use wholly extrajudicial means to deal with the supposed threat posed by Julian Assange and his whistleblowers’ platform WikiLeaks. The agency plotted either to kidnap or assassinate him. Shocking as the revelations are – exposing the entirely lawless approach … Continue reading “CIA Plan To Poison Assange Wasn’t Needed. The US Found a ‘Lawful’ Way To Disappear Him”

‘A Horrible Mistake’ – Recovering from America’s Imperial Delusions

Originally posted at TomDispatch. The bad news stemming from the ill-planned and ill-managed U.S. evacuation of the Afghan capital just kept coming in. The Washington Post put it this way in blowing the whistle on the culminating disaster: “U.S. military admits ‘horrible mistake’ in Kabul drone strike that killed 10 Afghans.” Following the August 26th … Continue reading “‘A Horrible Mistake’ – Recovering from America’s Imperial Delusions”

Novichok Secret Paralyzes British Doctors Following German Doctor’s Disclosures

The leading hospital doctors on Novichok poisoning in Britain and Germany are not allowed by their governments to reveal publicly the medical information they have exchanged with each other. James Haslam, the chief doctor at Salisbury District Hospital treating Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal for Novichok poisoning in March 2018, and Elspeth Hulse, an anaesthetist … Continue reading “Novichok Secret Paralyzes British Doctors Following German Doctor’s Disclosures”

Then and Now: Dissenters From American Foreign Policy on Russia in the 1980s and Today

In my intense, nearly daily exchange of emails with the late Professor Steve Cohen in 2015 before and during our incorporation of The American Committee for East-West Accord, Steve often expressed his deep regret that American political dialogue on policy towards Russia had become so consolidated and closed to dissenting views, which were now vilified … Continue reading “Then and Now: Dissenters From American Foreign Policy on Russia in the 1980s and Today”

If We Fight a New Cold War, Who Are We Fighting It With?

President Biden’s words were hollow. The content had been cored because the words were empty of any real world content. On September 21, 2021, he told the UN General Assembly that the US is “not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres disagreed, warning against the … Continue reading “If We Fight a New Cold War, Who Are We Fighting It With?”

The Untold Story of Why Palestinians Are Divided

The political division in Palestinian society is deep-rooted, and must not be reduced to convenient claims about the “Hamas-Fatah split”, elections, the Oslo accords and subsequent disagreements. The division is linked to events that preceded all of these, and not even the death or incapacitation of the octogenarian, Mahmoud Abbas, will advance Palestinian unity by … Continue reading “The Untold Story of Why Palestinians Are Divided”

Europeans Whine That US Is Unreliable: Time for Them To Take Over Responsibility for Their Own Security

The Europeans are in a whiny mood. So what else is new, you ask? True, but the Biden presidency was supposed to be a halcyon time for Euro-enthusiasts. Senator and Vice President Joe Biden was the ultimate Atlanticist. Candidate Biden ran promising to restore America’s alliances, widely interpreted as doing ever more for and giving … Continue reading “Europeans Whine That US Is Unreliable: Time for Them To Take Over Responsibility for Their Own Security”

Corporate Media Stirred Global Terror Hysteria To Push Postwar Hostility Toward New Afghan Govt

Reprinted from The Grayzone with the author’s permission. Following the Taliban’s victory over the US military, US corporate media has churned out a new narrative about the imminent threat of terrorism from Afghanistan that sets the stage for future military interventions. Blasted out in a stunningly disciplined fashion, the media has demonstrated as clearly as … Continue reading “Corporate Media Stirred Global Terror Hysteria To Push Postwar Hostility Toward New Afghan Govt”

Gen. Milley’s ‘Assurances’ to China: Reckless Endangerment, not Prudent Precaution

Leaks to the media from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book, Peril, generated widespread anger about the alleged behavior of Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. One revelation – that Milley communicated secretly with Gen. Li Zuocheng, the head of China’s military – has generated charges of malfeasance, if … Continue reading “Gen. Milley’s ‘Assurances’ to China: Reckless Endangerment, not Prudent Precaution”