Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Hypocrisy of Liberal Interventionists

On the very same day that former Vice President Joe Biden tweepily called for legislation to end the gun violence that "tears our families apart," the managing director of his new liberal interventionist think tank published a New York Times editorial calling for even more American guns and violence in the proxy war against Russia in the eastern Ukraine.

Just because the ruling class warriors so easily cry their crocodile tears and tweet their maudlin thoughts and prayers over every pathologically regular outburst of domestic mayhem and death doesn't mean they will ever call a truce in their own international violence - not even for one single day.

There's way too much profit to be made in state-sanctioned death and destruction to ever take a break from it.

Therefore, even as the bodies still littered the Las Vegas killing field, Antony J. Blinken wasted no time trying to manufacture public consent for an even more spectacular theater of blood and gore. A scion of private equity and a product of the Ivy League, Blinken worked for The Atlantic before moving on to speech-writing and national security posts in the Clinton White House, the Obama White House under Biden, and finally in the Clinton State Department before moving through the revolving doors to think tank-land. He even has a side-gig as a regular "contributing op-ed writer" at the Times

Blinken argues, in true Best and The Brightest style, that the perfect way to "stabilize" a situation far, far away is for the USA to intervene in it with lots of guns and ammo. Remember how well that worked out in Vietnam and Afghanistan and.... oh, never mind.

Where there's greed, there's hope. Despite the widespread belief (or pretense of one) among liberal interventionists and Neocons that Donald Trump is a stooge of Vladimir Putin, Blinken makes the facile observation that Trump's own cabinet are certainly not puppets. This editorial, of course, is directed more at them than at us.  As a matter of fact, Trump's team of generals and oligarchs is a well-respected and entrenched part of the ruling class establishment. They all belong to the same Club which, as George Carlin so wryly observed, you ain't in. Blinken writes:
It starts with a united front among Mr. Trump’s senior advisers — Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster. They see Russia’s occupation of eastern Ukraine for what it is: a gross violation of the most basic norms of international conduct that the United States helped establish after World War II. It is not acceptable for one country to change the borders of another by force. It is not O.K. for one sovereignty to dictate to another which countries or organizations it may associate with. It is not all right for Russia to decide Ukraine’s future. Mr. Trump’s team rightly believes that if the United States fails to stand against the abuse of these principles, the international order America built will be weakened.
Translation: it is very much O.K. for the United States to violate international norms as in, say, invading Iraq in an act of unprovoked aggression or maintaining nearly a thousand military bases all over the world. It is O.K. for Blinken and his ilk to dictate to other countries, because the United States has arrogated to itself, and only to itself, the privilege of establishing a "new world order."

Blinken goes on to praise Dick Cheney acolyte Victoria Nuland, who as Hillary Clinton's deputy decided another country's future and orchestrated the coup overthrowing Ukraine's democratically elected president in favor of one willing to be a puppet of the United States. She "gave the Kremlin fits," Blinken gleefully reminisces.

But the economic sanctions that his former boss, Barack Obama, imposed on Russia are not enough. Nor are the US border troops encircling Russia enough. And with the hysterical RussiaGate propaganda campaign faltering badly here at home, the Democratic/Neocon alliance wants to take the last solution left to it in hopes of saving its own faltering imperium: a bloody proxy war against Russia:
For all these continuities in policy, one vital discontinuity would add a timely exclamation point: the senior team’s united recommendation that Mr. Trump lift restrictions on the provision of lethal defensive equipment to Kiev, notably anti-tank weapons.
Not, of course, that these weapons in the hands of strangers (CIA-trained security forces) need ever actually be used. Their mere presence on the battlefield would give Putin pause, Blinken maintains. Everybody knows that guns don't kill people, only people kill people, and that people never, ever arm themselves for bloody aggression, but merely for "protection." That is also the first commandment of the N.R.A., which the Democrats find so easy to malign whenever innocent American citizens become the targets some nut job, or "lone wolf."

Nowhere in his op-ed does Blinken bother reminding readers that Joe Biden, who pays his salary, has a strong vested interest in maintaining an American presence in Ukraine. Even the New York Times was forced to print the news in late 2015 that Hunter Biden, the lobbyist son of Joe, had magically landed a lucrative seat on the board of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine's biggest gas company, right after the US-led coup. Although there were the usual murmurings of corruption and nepotism, these were quelled by the former Veep himself, who arrived in Ukraine to rail against... you guessed it. Corruption! A gas company spokesman also scoffed at the accusations, saying that "strong corporate governance and transparency are priorities shared both by the United States and the leadership of Burisma. Burisma is working to bring the energy sector into the modern era, which is critical for a free and strong Ukraine.”

Blinken's newest job, as noted above, is running the former veep's Biden Penn  Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

Its quasi-religious "mission statement" has such a nice, creepy, Brave New World-ish ring to it. As a matter of fact, it reads suspiciously like a gas company press release. Any ad campaign without freedom and strength and modernity in the script is like transparency without sunshine. (the parentheses contain my own interpretation of the dense doublespeak):
U.S. leadership has sustained (its arrogant supremacy) an open world for more than 70  years, enabling virtually every advantage we (only the extremely wealthy) enjoy as (multinational corporations and plutocratic dynasties)Americans and helping to ensure our (gated communities) safety, our (obscene wealth inequality) prosperity, and our way of life (for the privileged few). Comprised of common norms, rules, and institutions, the American-led liberal international order (reliable state intervention in aid of finance capital, at the sole expense of the world's poor and working classes) has facilitated the free movement of (rich) people, (luxury items and weapons) goods, (military/surveillance state propaganda) ideas, and (deregulated) capital; protected the sovereignty and self-determination of  (client states) nations; and promoted basic human rights (of capitalism and corporations) and fundamental freedoms for all peoples.(the freedom of poor people to adapt to the needs of the ruling class and the liberty to work until they die.)
 Today, this order is under threat.(by both ultraright populism and a resurgence of New Deal-style social democracy, or even socialism) and it is being challenged by authoritarians (Trump, Putin) and extremists (Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn) and strained by the pace, scope, and disruptive nature of global change.(deliberate antisocial policies hurting everyday people which we, the Warriors of the Ruling Class, ourselves put into place 40 years ago, and which are now threatening to bite us in the ass) It is in our (self-centered) interest as (privileged) Americans to defend the (neo)liberal international order, even as we work to (viciously quash social unrest and censor free speech on the Internet and stir up fear of Russia) improve it to better (enrich ourselves to the point of bursting) reflect the times in which we live and address the (opportunities for profit at any human cost) new challenges we face.
Second in command at the Penn Biden Center is multimillionaire Steve Ricchetti, whose decades of lobbying for such powerful monoliths as AT&T, the American Hospital Association, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Eli Lilly, the American Bankers Association and General Motors make him perfectly qualified to conduct foreign policy and ensure that war always stays perpetual and profitable for those privileged few who never have to actually fight in them. As an official in the Clinton Administration, Ricchetti also was instrumental in passing the anti-democratic 1996 Telecommunications Act, which ensured that ruling class power and its relentless propaganda would become consolidated within only six media giants funded by the same corporations which he continues to serve. He is the very epitome of the Revolving Door Continuum.

 And staffer Ariana Berengaut's claim to fame, according to the Penn Biden blurb, was her appointment as the first-ever State Department ambassador (under Hillary Clinton) to the Silicon Valley Empire of billionaires. Yes, Silicon Valley is indeed its own nation-state, requiring the protection and frequent public intervention of the traditional federal government with which it is a full and equal partner.

Biden's think tank is a virtual home away from home for literally dozens of exiled technocrats and propagandists from both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

These kinds of start-ups cost money, so Joe Biden took some precious time out from tweeting his sorrow over the latest gun massacre in order to court and flatter and placate rich people in an in-person speech. Joe is as alarmed as they are over Bernie Sanders's claims that the world's six wealthiest oligarchs (including billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of the war-hungry Washington Post) are actually cutting the lives of poor people short. Bernie's speaking truth to power was so alarming, in fact, that the Post gave him three Pinocchios for no good reason at all, other than that the rich are different from you and me: they not only have more money, they don't choose to use the Oxfam model for measuring their obscene wealth. 

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research notes that the three-Pinocchio rating dumped on Bernie by the Post is downright hypocritical, given that the newspaper itself is so intent upon whining about the debt and the deficit, and spreading such lies as Social Security is going broke, the old are eating the young, and that austerity and cuts to social programs are really good for healthy economic growth.

But Joe Biden is having none of this reality-checking and truth-telling. In a stump speech in Alabama for Senate Democratic candidate Doug Jones, Biden did his folksy charm reputation very proud. He can co-opt populism in the service of elitism with the best of them:
 “Doug understands about tax fairness,” Biden told the crowd. “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are.” 

The comment comes amidst the debate over tax reform, for which President Trump and congressional Republicans last week unveiled a new plan that would both lower the corporate tax rate and cut the number of individual tax rates. 
Sanders has railed against the Republican tax framework and has historically slammed tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations. Both Sanders and Biden are widely viewed as potential contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Need we say more? The revolving door of the finance-capitalized Brave New World Public-Private Partnership Empire spins at such a dizzying pace that it's hard sometimes to even discern the bump-stock gunfire it generates. We have become too conditioned into not seeing and not hearing the violence which exists at the very highest echelons of power.


Kat said...

They had a rep for Silicon Valley? I guess they'll have the lastlaugh when we are mouthing the words "President Zuckerberg" and the dept of health and human services is replaced with the Department of GoFundMe.

Karen Garcia said...


I looked, but was unable to find outside confirmation of any such position as the ambassadorship to Silicon Valley, thus the insert of "according to the blurb." The movers and shakers will say just about anything to make their corpocracy look noble and public-spirited. No wonder they keep blaming Russian disinformation for social unrest. They're running out of scapegoats.

You're right, there might as well be an official Dept of GoFundMe. Everybody has to be his or her own entrepreneur, have some skin in this game called life, a/k/a All Against All.

Kat said...

I assume it is probably true considering how the Obama administration was gaga over those guys. I don't think they want to just look public spirited. I think they believe all their BS. I read something the other day about "Apple Distinguished Schools". You get it when you prove you are innovative (with all your associated Apple products). Big on "fostering collaboration", a frequent buzz phrase these folks use which is pretty rich considering how much they deny that the big problems facing us demand collective action. (although they probably see crowdfunding as collective action)

annenigma said...

Perhaps our new Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista 'The Hussy' Gingrich, will collaborate with Pope Francis to change the immorality and hypocrisy of our country.

Karen Garcia said...


Hahaha. So apt that Callista would be named ambassadress to the smallest country in the world. One small feudalistic brain meets one small feudalistic city-state that has never evolved from its illustrious Borgia past. Hopefully the Newtster will go with her so he can preach his ultra-right gospel of child labor to the world as the Cardinals do their thing and keep covering up the child sex abuse by priests.