In Praise Of Ignorant Politicians …
Unschooled In Beltway Delusions
by David Stockman
David Stockman’s Contra Corner
June 21, 2016
Quemado Institute (repost)
June 22, 2015
The Imperial City deserves to be sacked by insurgent politicians of the very ignorant kind. That is, outsiders unschooled in its specious groupthink and destructive delusions of grandeur.
That’s why Donald Trump’s challenge to the beltway’s permanent bipartisan ruling class is so welcome. He is largely ignorant of the neocon and war hawk catechisms and sophistries propounded by joints like the Council on Foreign Relations.
But owing to his overweening self-confidence, he doesn’t hesitate to lob foreign policy audibles, as it were, from the Presidential campaign’s line of scrimmage.
It is these unpredictable outbursts of truth and common sense, not his bombast, bad manners and bigotry, that has the Acela Corridor in high dudgeon. The Donald’s establishment bettors are deathly afraid that he might confirm to the unwashed electorate of Flyover America what it already suspects.
Namely, that Washington’s hyper-interventionism and ungodly expensive imperial footprint all around the globe has nothing at all to do with their security and safety, even as it saddles them with massive public debts and the threat of jihadist blowback to the homeland.
For Trump’s part, the fact is that most of his wild pitches——the Mexican Wall, the Muslim ban, waterboarding—-are basically excesses of campaign rhetoric that would likely get fashioned into something far more palatable if he were ever in a position to govern. By contrast, the fundamental consensus of our bipartisan rulers is a mortal threat to peace, prosperity and democratic rule.
Worse still, the beltway consensus is so entombed in groupthink that the machinery grinds forward from one folly to the next with hardly a peep of dissent. Nothing could better illustrate that deleterious dynamic, in fact, than the NATO warships currently trolling around the Black Sea.
For crying out loud, the very thought that Washington is sending lethally armed destroyers into the Black Sea is an outrage. That eurasian backwater harbors no threat whatsoever to the security and safety of the citizens of America—–or, for that matter, to those of Germany, France, Poland or the rest of NATO, either.
The shrunken remnants of the Russian Navy—- home-ported at Sevastopol on the Crimea, as it has been since Catherine The Great—-could not uncork the Dardanelles with war-making intent in a thousand years. Not in the face of the vast NATO armada implacably positioned on the Mediterranean side of the outlet.
So what is possibly the point of rattling seaborne missile batteries on Russia’s shoreline? It assumes a military threat that’s non-existent and a hostile intent in Moscow that is purely an artifact of NATO propaganda.
In truth, these reckless Black Sea naval maneuvers amount to a rank provocation. With one glance at the map, even the much maligned high school educated voters who have rallied to Trump’s cause could tell you that much.
The same can be said for the 31,000 NATO troops conducted exercises in Poland and the Baltic republics right alongside the border with Russia. These are not isolated cases of tactical excess or even far-fetched exercises in “deterrence”. Instead, they directly manifest Imperial Washington’s hegemonic raison d etat.
Indeed, these utterly pointless maneuvers on Russia’s doorsteps are just a further extension of the same imperial arrogance that stupidly initiated a fight with Putin’s Russia in the first place by igniting a Ukrainian civil war on the streets of Kiev in February 2014.
Washington not only sponsored and funded the overthrow of Ukraine’s constitutionally elected government, but did so for the most superficial and historically ignorant reason imaginable. To wit, it objected to the decision of Ukraine’s prior government to align itself economically and politically with its historic hegemon in Moscow.
There was nothing at stake in the Ukraine that matters. During the last 700 years, it has been a meandering set of borders in search of a country. In fact, the intervals in which the Ukraine existed as an independent nation have been few and far between.
Invariably, it rulers, petty potentates and corrupt politicians made deals with or surrendered to every outside power which came along. These included the Lithuanians, Turks, Poles, Austrians, Czars and commissars, among others.
Indeed, in modern times Ukraine functioned as an integral part of Mother Russia, serving as its breadbasket and iron and steel crucible under czars and commissars alike. Crimea itself was actually Russian territory from 1783, when Catherine The Great purchased it from the Turks, until the mid-1950’s, when in a fit of drunken stupor the newly ascendant Khrushchev gifted it to his Ukrainian compatriots.
Given this history, the idea that Ukraine should be actively and aggressively induced to join NATO was just plain nuts. You might wonder what bantam brains actually came up with the scheme, but only until you recall that NATO itself has been a vestigial organ since 1991.
It’s now in the business of self-preservation and concocting missions, not securing the peace of anyone, anywhere on the planet.
The Ukraine intervention has already caused NATO, the IMF and Washington to pony up more than $40 billion of aid, which has gone straight down the proverbial rathole. The part that wasn’t stolen by the thieving oligarchs Washington installed in Kiev has been used to prosecute an horrific civil war which has killed and wounded tens of thousands of civilians caught in the cross-fire and destroyed what is left of the Ukrainian economy.
Indeed, it was the neocon meddlers from Washington who crushed Ukraine’s last semblance of civil governance when they enabled ultra-nationalists and crypto-Nazi to gain government positions after the putsch. In one fell swoop that inexcusable stupidity re-opened Ukraine’s blood-soaked modern history.
That includes Stalin’s re-population of the Donbas with “reliable” Russian workers after his genocidal liquidation of the Kulaks in the early 1930s. It also encompasses the large-scale collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists in the west with the Nazi wehrmacht as it laid waste to Poles, Jews, gypsies and other undesirables on its way to Stalingrad.
And then there was the equal and opposite spree of barbaric revenge as the victorious Red Army marched back through Ukraine on its way to Berlin.
What beltway lame brains did not understand that Washington’s triggering of “regime change” in Kiev would re-open this entire bloody history of sectarian and political strife?
Moreover, once they had opened Pandora’s box, why was it so hard to see that an outright partition of Ukraine with autonomy for the Donbas and Crimea, or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had originated, would have been a perfectly reasonable resolution?
Certainly that would have been far preferable to dragging all of Europe into the lunacy of the current anti-Putin sanctions and embroiling the Ukrainian factions in a suicidal civil war.
After all, the artificial country of Czechoslovakia, created on a political whim at Versailles, was peacefully and inconsequently devolved into its separate Czech and Slovakian nations. The same is true of Yugoslavia.
In that instance, it was American bombers which forced the partition of Kosovo from its Serbian parent. And even then, this Washington sanctioned partition ended up in the hands of a criminal mafia that makes Putin appear sainted, to boot.
In short, the current spat of NATO saber-rattling exercises on Russia’s borders is living proof that Washington is enthrall to a permanent ruling class of educated fools and power-obsessed apparatchiks.
Is it any wonder, therefore, that the Imperial City continues to squander scarce fiscal resources on the obsolete machinery of NATO and the bloated cold war military establishments of its members that have no legitimate purpose.
No wonder Trump’s establishment bettors scolded and harrumphed when he had the temerity to suggest that NATO was too expensive and possibly obsolete.
But of course it is!
It’s mission ended 25 years ago when Boris Yeltsin mounted a soviet tank vodka flask in hand and stood done the Red Army. The very geopolitical earth parted right there and then.
Indeed, two years earlier, President Bush 41 and his able Secretary of State, James Baker, had promised Gorbachev that in return for acquiescing in the reunification of Germany that NATO would not be expanded “by a single inch”.
Time and again that promise has been betrayed for no good reason except imperial aggrandizement. Now a military alliance which had no purpose other than to contain 50,000 Soviet tanks on the central front has been joined by the likes of Albania, Croatia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, too.
Has the ascension of these micro-states added to the security and safety of the citizens of Lincoln NE or Springfield MA?
No it hasn’t. It has actually subtracted from national security by threatening a third rate power with a GDP no larger than that of the New York SMSA and an annual defense budget amounting to less than 30 days of Pentagon spending.
As to the necessity of the current naval maneuvers, even the leaders of Bulgaria—-a nation check-by-jowl to Russia’s Black Sea fleet—— have demurred, pointing out the obvious.
To wit, the Black Sea is a place for sailboats and vacationers, not NATO warships.
In fact, that is so obvious that it is no wonder our beltway bettors are frothing at the mouth about Donald Trump. He just might mobilize the country against the threadbare predicates of their ruinous rule.
Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said he would not join a proposed NATO fleet in the Black Sea “because it should be a place for holidays and tourists, not war.”
“I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action … I do not need a war in the Black Sea,” Reuters cited Bulgaria’s Prime Minister as saying at a media briefing. “To send warships as a fleet against Russian ships exceeds the limit of what I can allow,” Borisov told reporters in Sofia on Thursday, as cited by Bloomberg. “To deploy destroyers, aircraft carriers near [the resort cities of] Bourgas or Varna during the tourist season is unacceptable.”
That’s the beginning of good sense. Disbanding NATO would be the next rational step forward.
David Stockman (born November 10, 1946) is a former businessman and U.S. politician who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) under President Ronald Reagan. (– Wikipedia)