The New Cold War

W.J. Astore

In my latest article for TomDispatch, I tackle the new cold war and the consensus in Washington that future Pentagon budgets must soar ever higher in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. You can read the entire article here. What follows is the concluding section of the article.

Your Role as a Loyal American in the New Cold War

My fellow Americans, in this new cold war of ours, the national security state expects both all too much and all too little of you. Let’s start with the little. It doesn’t expect you to enlist in the military if you’re rich or have “other priorities” (as former Vice President Dick Cheney said about the Vietnam War). It doesn’t expect you to pay close attention to our wars, let alone foreign policy. You don’t even have to vote. It does, however, expect you to cheer at the right times, be “patriotic,” wave the flag, gush about America, and celebrate its fabulous, militarized exceptionalism.

To enlist in this country’s cheerleading squad, which is of course God’s squad, you might choose to wear a flag lapel pin and affix a “Support Our Troops” sticker to your SUV. You should remind everyone that “freedom isn’t free” and that “God, guns, and guts” made America great. If the godly empire says Ukraine is a worthy friend, you might add a blue-and-yellow “frame” to your Facebook profile photo. If that same empire tells you to ignore ongoing U.S. drone strikes in Somalia and U.S. support for an atrocious Saudi war in Yemen, you are expected to comply. Naturally, you’ll also be expected to pay your taxes without complaint, for how else are we to buy all the weapons and wage all the wars that America needs to keep the peace?

Naturally, certain people need to be collectively despised in our very own version of George Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate.” So, when Putin’s visage comes on the screen, or Xi’s, or Kim Jong-un’s, or whoever the enemy du jour is, be prepared to express your outrage. Be prepared to treat them as aliens, almost incomprehensible in their barbarity, as if, in fact, they were Klingons in the original Star Trek series. As a peaceful member of the “Federation,” dominated by the United States, you must, of course, reject those Klingon nations and their warrior vision of life, their embrace of might-makes-right, choosing instead the logic, balance, and diplomacy of America’s enlightened State Department (backed up, of course, by the world’s greatest military).

Two Minutes’ Hate: Still from the movie “1984”

Again, little is expected of you (so far) except your obedience, which should be enthusiastic rather than reluctant. Yet whether you know it or not, much is expected of you as well. You must surrender any hopes and dreams you’ve harbored of a fairer, kinder, more equitable and just society. For example, military needs in the new cold war simply won’t allow us to “build back better.” Forget about money for childcare, a $15 federal minimum wage, affordable healthcare for all, better schools, or similar “luxuries.” Maybe in some distant future (or some parallel universe), we’ll be able to afford such things, but not when we’re faced with the equivalent of the Klingon Empire that must be stopped at any cost.

But wait! I hear some of you saying that it doesn’t have to be this way! And I agree. A better future could be imagined. A saying of John F. Kennedy’s comes to mind: “We shall be judged more by what we do at home than what we preach abroad.” What we’re currently doing at home is building more weapons, sinking more tax dollars into the Pentagon, and enriching more warrior-corporations at the expense of the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. Where’s the democratic future in that?

Sheer military might, our leaders seem to believe, will keep them forever riding high in the saddle. Yet you can ride too high in any saddle, making the fall that’s coming that much more precipitous and dangerous.

Americans, acting in concert, could stop that fall, but not by giving our current crop of leaders a firmer grasp of the reins. Do that and they’ll just spur this nation to greater heights of military folly. No, we must have the courage to unseat them from their saddles, strip them of their guns, and corral their war horses, before they lead us into yet another disastrously unending cold war that could threaten the very existence of humanity. We need to find another way that doesn’t prioritize weapons and war, but values compromise, compassion, and comity.

At this late date, I’m not sure we can do it. I only know that we must.

62 thoughts on “The New Cold War

  1. I don’t know the answer, and wonder if it even matters, but I admit I wear a Flag Lapel Pin, and also stand with Ukraine by adding their Ukraine Flag to my F.B. Profile, but what else can you do? This battle has always been. I just know unless everyone says no more— nothing meaningful will ever happen, and that’s the sad Truth. I’m so sick of it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many of us are sick of the never-ending rush and fight to “be best,” while others feel we are and have always been better than everyone else in the world because of our increasingly elusive freedoms. Given the disparities in mindset and belief systems, I fear we (collective) will never say “no more” because the underdog, be it religion/ country/sex/gender/race or ethnicity, needs to be kept there to prove our self-esteem and superiority.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. There is a way for everyone to participate! Gandhi and King lived and died to teach us nonviolence is the answer. A new plan is prepared for a new global peace movement – a Global Movement of Nonviolence — where non-cooperation and civil resistance are promoted in every country – and especially Ukraine! The whole world is calling for NO MORE WAR! This is the perfect time for a peace movement!

      The plans are ready. One last step remains to begin the movement, but there are obstacles. If you would like to assist, please contact me via email: Facilitator (at) Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. to ANDRESHELDON: i have endeavoured several times to send you an email, using your proffered email address above [deleting the ‘thank you’ of course], but the address does not work, no matter how many multifarious machinations i’ve tried. therefore i will print my reply to your reqest here:

        “am checking to confirm your email address, andre sheldon, as i would like to participate as a volunteer. given i’m an octogenarian, w/ family grown and scattered to the zephyrs, and retired to the shores of mindoro island in the philippines w/ my octogenarian husband, i’m eager to be of service to your international peace pursuits… in whatever capacity i can help implement those eidolonic, noble, but oft-optative hopes that have been crushed throughout my lifetime. please send an email address that is alive and well. w/ empressement and resolve, jeanie mceachern.

        PS: your promotion of wo-men [‘woe-to-men’] as quintessential to any peace-movement’s success reminds me of a stage play i acted in during our years in phnom penh, cambodia [1997~’99]. it was a comedy by aristophanes entitled LYSISTRATA, presented by local thespians of P3 [phnom penh players].”


      2. am checking to confirm your email address, andre sheldon, as i would like to participate as a volunteer. given i’m an octogenarian, w/ family grown and scattered to the zephyrs, and retired to the shores of mindoro island in the philippines w/ my octogenarian husband, i’m eager to be of service to your international peace pursuits… in whatever capacity i can help implement those eidolonic, oft-optative hopes that have been crushed throughout my lifetime. please send an email address that is alive and well. w/ empressement and resolve, jeanie mceachern.

        PS: your promotion of wo-men [‘woe-to-me’] as quintessential to any peace-movement’s success reminds me of a stage play i acted in during our years in phnom penh, cambodia [1997~’99]. it was a comedy by aristophanes entitled LYSISTRATA, presented by local thespians of P3 [phnom penh players].

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said WJA. One major thing that is lacking in your essay is the response we ( Americans ) are to have to the statement: ‘We need a strong military to guarantee the safety of this nation’. This is what I keep getting as a reply to my letters to my representatives when I call for a reduction in military spending. What I am getting at is how are we to have a competent military without spending trillions of dollars? Please note, I am in your camp and am playing the Devil’s advocate.

    I am aware of the deep involvement by our reps with the MIC and how much they are taking for their votes for increases in spending. How is one to combat the fact that they may well lose the next election if they do not vote for the bill?

    As far as a competent military, I am not a military strategist but see as you do the decadence of our military. By that I mean as one example ( which you have pointed out many times ) the number of ribbons and medals on the chests of the generals. How does one root out the decadence?

    One specific example of how our military could be more effective is this: Why does not each combat platoon have a drone assigned to it? The drone would be their point man that would scout ahead for ambushes and other important information. It would be armed with perhaps a couple of Hellfire missiles and some anti-personnel weapons to keep the platoon alive until the attack helicopter arrives. This would be a morale booster for the soldiers in harm’s way. The decadence however says to buy more F-35 fighters, aircraft carriers, and new gadgets.

    I believe nothing will be done by our representatives to reduce military spending unless they can assure the general public that they are not trying to weaken the military by ‘defunding’ it. This will be the accusation from their opponent. We need a plan for reducing military spending that is reassuring to the general public.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, good questions and I agree. It’s very difficult to fight against the myth of “defunding” the military and making us “weak.”

      The big thing is to get big money out of politics — perhaps with public funding of elections. Lobbyists wield way too much power.

      And we need to revive the idea of “right makes might” instead of its more popular converse.

      Is it too much to say we need to grow up and put the needs of the planet and our children ahead of weapons and wars?

      Liked by 3 people

    2. “…how are we to have a competent military without spending trillions of dollars?”

      I think the answer to that question is that, as the U.S. spends more than the next 8 countries combined (or whatever the number is now), by definition, we have the most powerful, best-equipped military. Spending more money to uselessly increase an already-overwhelming advantage is just dumb.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the problem, Denise, is that we keep losing. The US hasn’t been on the winning side since 19 and 45. But I’m sure there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and we’ve just about turned the corner. All it takes is cash. Remember: the best defense is a good offense … what’s another couple billion when the fate of the Nation is at stake? I mean, it is, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well said. The thing to remember about that 76-year Losing Streak is that the primary purpose of all those Wars was not to “win” it, but simply to have it. And hopefully lay the groundwork for the next war.

          While America, The Empire, has’t won a war since “The Good One,” there are at least three if not four generations of workers, managers, executives, and share holders of our Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex who haven’t lost a game yet.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Disastrously Lockheed Martin and Boeing are the only two U.S. companies that currently build fighter jets.
            In the 70s and prior to it — the US had 10 or more companies who could build airplanes for the United States Air Force, because you could do it in hangar-like facilities with small, but very good teams, of engineers and mechanics. This is not the situation anymore.


      1. For several election cycles, the League of Women Voters sponsored the presidential debates, until the DNC and RNC in 1988 demanded changes to the format, participation, media coverage, and requiring notification to candidates of questions to be asked. LWV President Nancy Neuman said that the debate format would “perpetrate a fraud on the American voter” and that the organization did not intend to “become an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

        From a 2008 Op Ed News article: “That fraud continues to this day with a complicit media working with a corporation created by the two parties, the National Commission on Presidential Debates, that prevents third party and independent candidates from participating and allows the campaigns to dictate the terms of the debates.

        “Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney described the four pillars of the Green Party – peace, social justice, ecological wisdom and grass roots democracy. She no longer wanted to be complicit in illegal wars, detentions without trial, torture and environmental destruction. Voters need to declare their independence from “conformity and control” by voting their values. “It would be a very different country if Americans voted their values,” McKinney concluded.”

        Robert Reich: “On the economy, 76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends.

        “What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. Sixty percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare.

        “Ninety-two percent want lower prescription drug prices. Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada.

        “On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave. Seventy-nine percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans.

        “Sixty percent of Americans support free college tuition for those who meet income requirements.

        “Sixty-two percent think climate change is man-made and needs addressing.

        “Eighty-four percent think money has too much influence in politics. Seventy-seven percent support limits on campaign spending. And that includes 71 percent of Republicans.”

        A refreshing concept — electing representatives based on their knowledge and stance on issues and values.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Sadly Susan the 2008 Op Ed News article: “That fraud continues to this day with a complicit media working with a corporation created by the two parties, the National Commission on Presidential Debates, that prevents third party and independent candidates from participating and allows the campaigns to dictate the terms of the debates. – actually understated the case.

          The way Andrew Yang ( running as a Democrat) was treated in the last debate was a shocker! Cutting off his mike and literally not allowing him to present his platform. These debates have become a sham.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. “It is time to realize, however, that the real dangers to America today come not from the newly rich people of East Asia but from our own ideological rigidity, our deep-seated belief in our own propaganda.”
    ― Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. I recall a piece I wrote for TomDispatch, “Weapons ‘r’ Us,” in 2012. A blast from the past. Here’s the text, and you can even listen to my younger self here!

      Perhaps you’ve heard of “Makin’ Thunderbirds,” a hard-bitten rock & roll song by Bob Seger that I listened to 30 years ago while in college. It’s about auto workers back in 1955 who were “young and proud” to be making Ford Thunderbirds. But in the early 1980s, Seger sings, “the plants have changed and you’re lucky if you work.” Seger caught the reality of an American manufacturing infrastructure that was seriously eroding as skilled and good-paying union jobs were cut or sent overseas, rarely to be seen again in these parts.

      If the U.S. auto industry has recently shown sparks of new life (though we’re not making T-Birds or Mercuries or Oldsmobiles or Pontiacs or Saturns anymore), there is one form of manufacturing in which America is still dominant. When it comes to weaponry, to paraphrase Seger, we’re still young and proud and makin’ Predators and Reapers (as in unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) and Eagles and Fighting Falcons (as in F-15 and F-16 combat jets), and outfitting them with the deadliest of weapons. In this market niche, we’re still the envy of the world.

      Yes, we’re the world’s foremost “merchants of death,” the title of a best-selling exposé of the international arms trade published to acclaim in the U.S. in 1934. Back then, most Americans saw themselves as war-avoiders rather than as war-profiteers. The evil war-profiteers were mainly European arms makers like Germany’s Krupp, France’s Schneider, or Britain’s Vickers.

      Not that America didn’t have its own arms merchants. As the authors of Merchants of Death noted, early on our country demonstrated a “Yankee propensity for extracting novel death-dealing knickknacks from [our] peddler’s pack.” Amazingly, the Nye Committee in the U.S. Senate devoted 93 hearings from 1934 to 1936 to exposing America’s own “greedy munitions interests.” Even in those desperate depression days, a desire for profit and jobs was balanced by a strong sense of unease at this deadly trade, an unease reinforced by the horrors of and hecatombs of dead from the First World War.

      We are uneasy no more. Today we take great pride (or at least have no shame) in being by far the world’s number one arms-exporting nation. A few statistics bear this out. From 2006 to 2010, the U.S. accounted for nearly one-third of the world’s arms exports, easily surpassing a resurgent Russia in the “Lords of War” race. Despite a decline in global arms sales in 2010 due to recessionary pressures, the U.S. increased its market share, accounting for a whopping 53% of the trade that year. Last year saw the U.S. on pace to deliver more than $46 billion in foreign arms sales. Who says America isn’t number one anymore?

      For a shopping list of our arms trades, try searching the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute database for arms exports and imports. It reveals that, in 2010, the U.S. exported “major conventional weapons” to 62 countries, from Afghanistan to Yemen, and weapons platforms ranging from F-15, F-16, and F-18 combat jets to M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Cobra attack helicopters (sent to our Pakistani comrades) to guided missiles in all flavors, colors, and sizes: AAMs, PGMs, SAMs, TOWs — a veritable alphabet soup of missile acronyms. Never mind their specific meaning: they’re all designed to blow things up; they’re all designed to kill.

      Rarely debated in Congress or in U.S. media outlets is the wisdom or morality of these arms deals. During the quiet last days of December 2011, in separate announcements whose timing could not have been accidental, the Obama Administration expressed its intent to sell nearly $11 billion in arms to Iraq, including Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter-bombers, and nearly $30 billion in F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, part of a larger, $60 billion arms package for the Saudis. Few in Congress oppose such arms deals since defense contractors provide jobs in their districts — and ready donations to Congressional campaigns.

      Let’s pause to consider what such a weapons deal implies for Iraq. Firstly, Iraq only “needs” advanced tanks and fighter jets because we destroyed their previous generation of the same, whether in 1991 during Desert Shield/Storm or in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Secondly, Iraq “needs” such powerful conventional weaponry ostensibly to deter an invasion by Iran, yet the current government in Baghdad is closely aligned with Iran, courtesy of our invasion in 2003 and the botched occupation that followed. Thirdly, despite its “needs,” the Iraqi military is nowhere near ready to field and maintain such advanced weaponry, at least without sustained training and logistical support provided by the U.S. military.

      As one U.S. Air Force officer who served as an advisor to the fledging Iraqi Air Force, or IqAF, recently worried:

      “Will the IqAF be able to refuel its own aircraft? Can the Iraqi military offer adequate force protection and security for its bases? Can the IqAF provide airfield management services at its bases as they return to Iraqi control after eight years under US direction? Can the IqAF ensure simple power generation to keep facilities operating? Will the IqAF be able to develop and retain its airmen?… Only time will tell if we left [Iraq] too early; nevertheless, even without a renewed security agreement, the USAF can continue to stand alongside the IqAF.”

      Put bluntly: We doubt the Iraqis are ready to field and fly American-built F-16s, but we’re going to sell them to them anyway. And if past history is a guide, if the Iraqis ever turn these planes against us, we’ll blow them up or shoot them down — and then (hopefully) sell them some more.

      Our Best Arms Customer

      Let’s face it: the weapons we sell to others pale in comparison to the weapons we sell to ourselves. In the market for deadly weapons, we are our own best customer. Americans have a love affair with them, the more high-tech and expensive, the better. I should know. After all, I’m a recovering weapons addict.

      Well into my teen years, I was fascinated by military hardware. I built models of what were then the latest U.S. warplanes: the A-10, the F-4, the F-14, -15, and -16, the B-1, and many others. I read Aviation Week and Space Technology at my local library to keep track of the newest developments in military technology. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I went on to major in mechanical engineering in college and entered the Air Force as a developmental engineer.

      Enamored as I was by roaring afterburners and sleek weaponry, I also began to read books like James Fallows’s National Defense (1981) among other early critiques of the Carter and Reagan defense buildup, as well as the slyly subversive and always insightful Augustine’s Laws (1986) by Norman Augustine, later the CEO of Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin. That and my own experience in the Air Force alerted me to the billions of dollars we were devoting to high-tech weaponry with ever-ballooning price tags but questionable utility.

      Perhaps the best example of the persistence of this phenomenon is the F-35 Lightning II. Produced by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 was intended to be an “affordable” fighter-bomber (at roughly $50 million per copy), a perfect complement to the much more expensive F-22 “air superiority” Raptor. But the usual delays, cost overruns, technical glitches, and changes in requirements have driven the price tag of the F-35 up to $160 million per plane, assuming the U.S. military persists in its plans to buy 2,400 of them. (If the Pentagon decides to buy fewer, the cost-per-plane will soar into the F-22 range.) By recent estimates the F-35 will now cost U.S. taxpayers (you and me, that is) at least $382 billion for its development and production run. Such a sum for a single weapons system is vast enough to be hard to fathom. It would, for instance, easily fund all federal government spending on education for the next five years.

      The escalating cost of the F-35 recalls the most famous of Norman Augustine’s irreverent laws: “In the year 2054,” he wrote back in the early 1980s, “the entire defense budget will [suffice to] purchase just one aircraft.” But the deeper question is whether our military even needs the F-35, a question that’s rarely asked and never seriously entertained, at least by Congress, whose philosophy on weaponry is much like King Lear’s: “O, reason not the need.”

      But let’s reason the need in purely military terms. These days, the Air Force is turning increasingly to unmanned drones. Meanwhile, plenty of perfectly good and serviceable “platforms” remain for attack and close air support missions, from F-16s and F-18s in the Air Force and Navy to Apache helicopters in the Army. And while many of our existing combat jets may be nearing the limits of airframe integrity, there’s nothing stopping the U.S. military from producing updated versions of the same. Heck, this is precisely what we’re hawking to the Saudis — updated versions of the F-15, developed in the 1970s.

      Because of sheer cost, it’s likely we’ll buy fewer F-35s than our military wants but many more than we actually need. We’ll do so because Weapons ‘R’ Us. Because building ultra-expensive combat jets is one of the few high-tech industries we haven’t exported (due to national security and secrecy concerns), and thus one of the few industries in the U.S. that still supports high-paying manufacturing jobs with decent employee benefits. And who can argue with that?

      The Ultimate Cost of Our Merchandise of Death

      Clearly, the U.S. has grabbed the brass ring of the global arms trade. When it comes to investing in militaries and weaponry, no country can match us. We are supreme. And despite talk of modest cuts to the Pentagon budget over the next decade, it will, according to President Obama, continue to grow, which means that in weapons terms the future remains bright. After all, Pentagon spending on research and development stands at $81.4 billion, accounting for an astonishing 55% of all federal spending on R&D and leaving plenty of opportunity to develop our next generation of wonder weapons.

      But at what cost to ourselves and the rest of the world? We’ve become the suppliers of weaponry to the planet’s hotspots. And those weapons deliveries (and the training and support missions that go with them) tend to make those spots hotter still — as in hot lead.

      As a country, we seem to have a teenager’s fascination with military hardware, an addiction that’s driving us to bust our own national budgetary allowance. At the same time, we sell weapons the way teenage punks sell fireworks to younger kids: for profit and with little regard for how they might be used.

      Sixty years ago, it was said that what’s good for General Motors is good for America. In 1955, as Bob Seger sang, we were young and strong and makin’ Thunderbirds. But today we’re playing a new tune with new lyrics: what’s good for Lockheed Martin or Boeing or [insert major-defense-contractor-of-your-choice here] is good for America.

      How far we’ve come since the 1950s!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your best and still most relevant sentence Bill…”Few in Congress oppose such arms deals since defense contractors provide jobs in their districts — and ready donations to Congressional campaigns”.

    In WA state we called Senator Patty Murray the Senator for Boeing – never seen a arms program she does not like.

    The details are complicated and sordid (!), but when the Air Force issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a new refuelling tanker aircraft it was initially won by EADS (AIRBUS). Patty successfully had this overturned – Air Force Allowed Boeing to Rewrite Terms of Tanker Contract, Documents Show”. –

    “In the process, Boeing eliminated 19 of the 26 capabilities the Air Force originally wanted, and the Air Force acquiesced in order to keep the price down. The Air Force then gave Boeing competitor Airbus 12 days to bid on the project and awarded the contract to Boeing even though Airbus met more than 20 of the original 26 specifications and offered a price that was $10 billion less than Boeing’s.”

    The tankers were awarded to the inferior Boeing 767 variant which was judged second best by the Air Force.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just think of the dream of Space Exploration too that could’ve happened instead of the only dreams that we have now… We’d be 500 years ahead in exploring our very own Solar System. If only some of this Defense spending could’ve been funneled into Science exploration. It boggles the mind how wasteful military spending is. If only we could’ve been met halfway even! One voice crying in the wilderness!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “Simply put, Air Force leaders never said they even needed the tankers until they woke up one morning and saw a pile of money on the table”
    —Eric Miller Project on Government Oversight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. . . . regarding that pile of “money” and a dawning global appreciation about what piles of it will actually buy. Consider the following headline from the Wall Street Journal:

      Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sale. Talks between Riyadh and Beijing have accelerated as the Saudi unhappiness grows with Washington.

      … accompanied by this sub-headline:

      Surge in Oil Prices could Drive Inflation Even Higher

      … and then the kicker sub-sub-“explanation”:

      “Russia’s attack on Ukraine helped push the price of oil to over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Here’s how rising oil costs could further boost inflation across the U.S. economy.

      Wrong. The Russian special military operation against hostile US/UK/NATO-EU military infrastructure in “Country 404” (the ultra-nasty US-installed coup regime in Kiev) did nothing to interrupt the world supply of oil and/or natural gas. For its part, the Russian Federation continued to fulfill its contractual obligations in this regard.

      On the other hand and as a matter of fact, the hysterical US/UK/NATO-EU rush to impose sanctions (i.e., extortion) on Russian exports of energy to Europe and the US predictably sent the price of oil — and many other commodities supplied by Russia — surging on world markets. Duh. A decrease in supply caused by sanctions coupled with the same or increased world demand leads to … well … gee … I just can’t figure this one out …

      For those who might wish a short, refresher course on American/European “official” economic stupidity, I recommend the appropriately named “Boomerang Sanctions” by Ghassan Kadi, The Vinyard of the Saker (March 12, 2022)

      My favorite passage:

      This is not a complex issue that requires a PhD in macro-economics to understand. It is very simple in fact. You cannot coerce people to do something by way of banning them from doing it. This is a simple logical contradiction that even children can understand.

      So, here. Take this pile of “money.” But I forbid you to buy anything you might want with it.


  7. Waltzing Toward Armageddon with the Merchants of Death
    by Chris Hedges

    The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism.

    That is why they have resurrected it.

    The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.”………………..


  8. “The NFL and the military are like two peas in a pod in a number of ways. From the “battle” themes to the uniforms, professional football is rife with militaristic themes. Like Roman gladiators, when NFL players take the field we get to see them duke it out in the heat of competition. They go to battle, and a victor is crowned after using plenty of strategic planning and brute force.

    And the players and team owners are rewarded handsomely, of course — much more so than your average soldier. But that’s a different story.

    Controversies involving the national anthem and player protests are dominating the conversation when it comes to the NFL. While the national anthem protest started with Colin Kaepernick’s attempt to bring attention to police violence and racial issues, President Donald Trump has hijacked it and made it about something else entirely. In his eyes, taking a knee during the anthem is a slap in the face to the military, veterans, and the country at large.

    ……we can look back at another curious way in which the NFL and military have interwoven themselves. If you remember a couple of years ago, it was revealed that the Department of Defense was paying the NFL for patriotic displays at the taxpayers’ expense. This was surprising to many people who figured the NFL was probably more than happy to eat the costs to honor veterans, find tickets for soldiers, and host flyovers before games.

    As it turns out, the league was not eating those costs. It was more of a marketing stunt than anything else.

    If you missed the whole controversy the first time around, you might be surprised at just how much of your tax dollars were spent on marketing for the military. As a teaser, the total was more than $5 million in just a three-year span.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. President George W. Bush said, “I have urged our fellow Americans to go about their lives.” And so, the war effort moved to the shopping mall.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As my favorite cops-on-the-beat in all the world were fond of saying, “Show’s over, folks. Nothin’ left to see here.” Godzilla could have risen from the depths of Lake Michigan, the ghosts of Al Capone and Frank Nitti could be rising from the storm drains, the sky could be black with flying saucers, and it would always be, “Show’s over, folks …”
      This seems to be the National Mindset: tell the populace that something is terrible/tragic/heartbreaking, and they want justice and revenge yesterday. Pause for a moment (a news cycle) and tell them, “But it’s gonna be okay” and they calm down and forget whatever it may have been. Yes, exactly like the Two-Minutes’ Hate. And this applies to everything. All filters have been removed. Nothing is more important than what’s happening right now.
      There’s a pandemic that just won’t go away? Yes, but what about poor Britney Spears?
      Russia & Ukraine re-enacting 1939? Yes, but Tom Brady has un-retired!
      My always reliable Yahoo! News Feed is filled with Hollywood heartbreaks, fashion news, celebrity gossip, food tips, and the NFL. What else really matters?
      As for where the money to keep those wheels rolling comes from …. the central character in Richard Portis’ “Norwood” says it best: “… that’s not counting the taxes they take out. That’s money I never even see!” What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over.
      As a joke line from The Sixties used to hold, we’ve been too long occupied with contemplating our collective navel to care about what happens outside of prime viewing hours. Say what you have to say, get it over with, just don’t interrupt the broadcast schedule.
      To paraphrase The Joker in “The Dark Knight,” nobody really cares what happens – however tragic – as long as it’s part of The Plan. In this year of Grace, it seems most everything is becoming “part of The Plan.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It gets better: “The Sunshine Protection Act” …. “Senate votes to make daylight saving time permanent.” Now, THAT’S vital. Thank Good Gawd Awlmighty for The Senate.
        (And Dennis, it was Patty Murray, “the tennis shoe Mom” as she used to be known when I lived in Seattle, who announced this blockbuster on the Senate floor.)


  10. “Surveys show motorsports are a passion point for young Americans. It is critical the Army use these passion points to communicate with prospects and those who influence their life decisions. Motorsports is one of the few areas where both prospects and influencers share a high degree of interest. For more than a decade, these sponsorships have allowed the Army, with DSR directly a part, access to schools, venues and influencers that they would have been unable to penetrate on the same scale through any other effort. How do we know – before we were part of the mix, the Army did not have this access; now we not only have the access, but we go back to the same venues repeatedly because we are providing the right connection.

    “When we talk to our contacts in the Army, they constantly remind us of our mission and the role we play within the overall marketing program. The program is comprehensive, going well beyond the graphics on the car and Tony’s driving suit.”

    The U.S. Army’s involvement with Schumacher is currently the highest profile association in drag racing and clearly is used as a recruiting tool.

    In the past, other forms of drag racing have been used by branches of the armed services as marketing tool. Most recently the National Guard was the title sponsor of the American Drag Racing League and select drivers. Kenny Bernstein Racing also signed a marketing agreement with the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, the U.S. Navy, with Tom McEwen, and the U.S. Marines, with first Bob Pickett and then Tom Hammonds, have used involvement with drag racing as a marketing and recruitment tool.”


    1. “Most recently the National Guard was the title sponsor of the American Drag Racing League and select drivers. … [ who ] have used involvement with drag racing as a marketing and recruitment tool.”

      Naturally, the erstwhile American “warrior” recruit sees no graphic illustrations of where joining up with the [Florida] National Guard might lead. For instance: deployment to the far-western region of “Country 404” about 50 kilometers from the border with Poland, ostensibly to “organize, train, and equip” not just the dwindling remnants of host regime’s ultra-nasty “army” but incoming volunteer mercenaries as well. Unfortunately for the wannabe heroes, actual warfare against a modern, motivated, combined-arms military bears little resemblance to Pentagram propaganda at drag races back home.

      For a most-recent report on the unattractive reality of real, as opposed to “virtual,” war, see: “Three important missile strikes” by Andrei Raevsky, The Vinyard of the Saker (March 14, 2022)

      Just a little something a young drag-racing enthusiast might want to consider before enlisting in any ill-considered Children’s Crusade.


  11. I was born too late to explore the Seas. I was born too early to explore the Universe, but I was born on time to explore my Countries –Folly!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Military jet flyovers. Incredible waste of taxpayer dollars. And glorifying war.
    But don’t dare suggest that to Patriotic Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When Americans see warplanes in the sky, we have the luxury of looking at them as a spectacle, a show, a thrill. Even as a sign of strength and prowess.

        Other peoples who are bombed by those same planes look at them differently.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I distinctly recall when Trump shot off $100 Million in Taxpayer cruise missiles at Syria while he was eating beautiful chocolate cake with President Xi of China at Mar-a-Lago, even CNN & MSNBC who loathed him, were gushing he was finally acting like a real US President.

          The American Taxpayer gives up so much in Civilian needs to pay for the most expensive Military in the History of Nations, there seems to be a National Orgasm every time they’re used.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. “the beauty of life is its brevity” [a twain-ism, perhaps?]. i would paraphrase that bromide w/ “the beauty of Homo sapiens sapiens’ regnancy is its brevity”. H.s.s. has not been around for long compared to most other species in the paleontological record, but thank poseidon and oceanus we are doomed to annihilate ourselves. for millions of years our adversaries were external predators; now our adversaries are w/in us. more the déchirement for the clever ‘naked apes’ spewing their obliquities as they cloak themselves in the artifice of pomposity and pageantry, screeching white noise at the highest decibel levels. we would rather bomb the planet into ashes than reach the stars.


      1. thank you, philip astore. do carry on, accompanied by oscar wilde’s percipience, w/ your long-sighted view; it delivers a shot-glass full of hope for those of us for whom the stars have have scumbled and blurred by our species’ myopia.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. a corrigendum, philip, i meant to say “for whom the stars have BEEN scumbled and blurred… [i need an editor; any volunteers?]


  15. I don’t go in for lapels (or collars, for that matter). If the interest of _____________ could I have “obedient” tattooed on my forehead, abandon the first American tradition [dissent] and have pom-poms [any color but white] permanently attached to my hands? It would be more efficient, I believe…

    Also, it seems my Astroglide fanny pack hasn’t been used in so long that the internal bladder has become brittle AND the dispenser nozzle is clogged; what government department handles replacements? Any color except red or blue is acceptable…


  16. Another insightful piece by Jonathan Cook

    ‘Russia-Ukraine: Western media are acting as cheerleaders for war’

    Journalists are cheering on the arming of militias and civilians making improvised explosives – acts they usually treat as terrorism

    It is simply astonishing how many western journalists, including normally cautious BBC reporters, are shamelessly fawning over young women building Molotov cocktails on the streets of Ukrainian cities like Kyiv.

    It’s suddenly sexy to make improvised explosives – at least, if the media consider you white, European and “civilized“.

    That might surprise other, more established resistance movements, especially in the Middle East. They have invariably found themselves tarred as terrorists for doing much the same……………..

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent article, Colonel. You nailed it once again.

    Yesterday, in response to WJSCOTT2, You noted: “The big thing is to get big money out of politics — perhaps with public funding of elections. Lobbyists wield way too much power.”

    The only way to get “big money” out of politics is to get ALL money out of politics.

    There should be a Separation of the Economy and State just like there should be a Separation of Church and State.

    The ability of the government to manage, manipulate, and control the Economy ~ from the macro- to the micro-level ~ is the reason that there is big money in politics. Campaign contributions are regarded and treated as investments in the future [or payback for previous services], with guaranteed future returns in protection, financing, subsidy, bailout, and so forth.

    Unless and until that Separation happens, nothing about America’s $ 1 = 1 Vote system of politics and thus government and thus governance is going to change; and, with the onset of Cold War II, the situation will, because it can only, continue to get worse.

    You concluded with:

    “Americans, acting in concert, could stop that fall, but not by giving our current crop of leaders a firmer grasp of the reins. Do that and they’ll just spur this nation to greater heights of military folly. No, we must have the courage to unseat them from their saddles, strip them of their guns, and corral their war horses, before they lead us into yet another disastrously unending cold war that could threaten the very existence of humanity. We need to find another way that doesn’t prioritize weapons and war, but values compromise, compassion, and comity.

    “At this late date, I’m not sure we can do it. I only know that we must.”

    How about this as a way to get money out of politics ~ at least as regards prioritizing weapons and war: Declare that all DoD contractors must be be 501c3 non-profit, public service corporations, providing what their nation needs to ensure its defense as its patriotic duty and service.

    And i agree completely that ~ among other things ~ a switch to compromise, compassion, and comity, is absolutely essential. And that we must at least try. But we also need to be aware of the fact that it may already be too late for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Public Expresses Mixed Views of U.S. Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine:
    35% favor U.S. military action even if it risks nuclear conflict with Russia

    Three weeks into Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, nearly half of Americans (47%) approve of the Biden administration’s handling of the Russian invasion, while about four-in-ten (39%) disapprove; 13% say they are not sure… .


  19. Zhao Lijian forgot to mention that the international rules based order applies to all countries except that, for the US, it can do no wrong – a self-declared attribute of God. No one can possibly imagine the magnitude of this arrogance, the result of unipolarism.


    1. thank you for this, dennis. your final declarative knocked me to the floor w/ its powerful punch of veracity and sagacity:

      “no one can possibly imagine the magnitude of this arrogance, the result of unipolarism.”

      exquisite! i suspect the bubble will burst [tho’ not during what remains of our respective lifetimes], at which nexus americans will be unceremoniously expelled from their bubble into a non-unipolar ambit they will be unable to make sense of or adjust to…. and the enantiodromia dynamic will begin yet another of its inexorable cycles.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Former Pentagon advisor Col. Doug Macgregor on the War. The Colonel’s interview goes for almost an hour and is fascinating from start to finish because he makes too much sense exposing the US/NATO War Propaganda misleading unrealistic information. He essentially says Russia is winning the WAR and NATO is lying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just got a reply from Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado Today to the Message sent to all Senators the 1st week of February. Same anti-Russia/Putin talking points.
      So far 14 Senators replied with 9 using regular email.


      1. plaudits, ray and wja. thank you for alerting us to macgregor’s arresting interview, ray, and for the inspiring sheerpost’s sputnik polemic, wja. the alternative press media is critical for one’s equiponderence.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. My thoughts have been turning inexorably towards Ukraine – Russia war. I know this if off topic but I wonder if what I am thinking is valid.

    1. I have written to my representatives urging them not to send military aid to Ukraine. I have been uncertain of that position given my experiences in Afghanistan where the Stinger missile turned the war around in just 1 year. Yet, it seems that Ukraine 2022 is significantly different than Afghanistan 1980s. For one thing, Ukraine is right next door to Russia and there is easy access to all parts of Ukraine. Afghanistan was a long way across Russia and several of the ‘stans’. Afghanistan is the Hindu Kush where helicopters are essential but are very exposed to missile fire. Tanks could not get into many of the rugged mountainous areas. Ukraine is one big wheat field with no place to hide.

    2. The protest movement in Russia seems strong despite the repression. Many of those protesting may have second thoughts if the U.S. is providing military aid to Ukraine. This makes the U.S. a de facto enemy, the traditional enemy of Russia for the last 80 years. Many will abandon the protest. Those that continue will be severely compromised.

    3. There is a morale problem brewing in the Russian military as more troops realize that they have been lied to about the reasons for the invasion. Once military aid is arriving from the U.S. it is Russia vs. the U.S., and most troops will rally to Mother Russia.

    4. The general Russian population may slowly realize that the war is not what they were told as more information gets through; just as the Pentagon papers knocked the bottom out of the Viet Nam war. Military aid to Ukraine will result in Russian soldiers dying and these are the sons, nephews, and husbands of the general population. Again it will be Russia vs. U.S. and the end of any conversion of attitudes towards peace.

    If this war is to end it will require the consent and active participation of the Russian general population, in my opinion. Even Putin will not be able to survive politically if the majority is against him.

    Liked by 1 person

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