Unhinged - Part 2: Stockman Slams The War Party's Desperate Assault On "America First"

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

Read Part 1 here...

The major---perhaps only---redeeming virtue of the Donald's ersatz campaign platform was his clear intent to seek a rapprochement with Russia, revamp America's commitments to NATO and other cold war relics and to discard "Regime Change" as the core tenant of foreign policy in favor of an "America First" approach to domestic security and safety.

Those eminently sensible notions struck the Deep State's raison d'etre to the quick. The fact is, there would be no justification for the $800 billion defense, intelligence and foreign aid apparatus on which the very prosperity of the Imperial City depends in the absence of a large state-based enemy; or, better still, without an imperial foreign policy that is implicitly designed to either bully or remove recalcitrant governments anywhere on the planet----whether or not they have the intent or capacity to harm the US homeland.

And that's not the half of it. Lurking not far below the surface of the "America First" slogan was the ghost of Senator Robert Taft's profoundly correct understanding that free enterprise prosperity, minimal government and maximum personal liberty were incompatible with a permanent, fiscally debilitating Warfare State leviathan designed to function as the world's boots-&-suits-on-the-ground hegemon.

Consequently, Taft strongly opposed a big peacetime navy, a large standing army with forward stationing and rapid global deployment capacities and the proliferation of foreign treaties and aid commitments. To the contrary, he reasoned that in the nuclear age a US-based bomber and missile force of unquestioned striking capacity would more than adequately protect the homeland from foreign military aggression, and at a fraction of the cost of what amounted to permanent imperial legions assigned to patrolling the better part of the planet.

Today Taft's vision of a homeland defense would be more apt than ever. It would constitute an even cheaper and more efficacious guarantor of the safety and security of the American people than in his time because there are now no rival super-powers with the military and economic might of the Soviet Union. Moreover, missile technology has become so advanced that a relative handful of submarines and hardened domestic launch sites can deter any conceivable foreign threat, which is inherently a nuclear one.

That is, in this day and age there is absolutely no conventional military threat to the safety and security of citizens in Omaha NE, Spokane WA or Springfield MA.

That's because there is no nation on earth that could mount a giant Naval and Air Armada sufficient to invade the American homeland. Or, if it were foolish enough to try, could it survive the guided missile blitz that would send its forces to Davy Jones' locker long before they crossed the blue waters which surround the North American continent.

Stated differently, nuclear deterrence, the great ocean moats and a territorial military defense is all that it would take to keep America secure in today's world. There is no need for Pax Americana, even if it could succeed, which manifestly it has not; and even if it could be afforded, which clearly it can't be.

To be sure, the Donald is too full of egotistical bluster and too infatuated with militarist trappings to go the full Taft-isolationist route, but given a fair chance his campaign slogans might have shimmied policy in that direction. Clearly a rapprochement with Russia would have enabled a de-escalation of Washington's imperial presence in the middle east and avoided a dangerous build-up of military tensions and expense in eastern Europe.

In any event, the Deep State was not taking any chances. Trump's crude and bombastic articulation of the America First proposition amounted to a frontal attack on the intellectual superstructure which keeps the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, 35,000 troops in Germany, 28,000 of America's military personal in harm's way on the Korean peninsula, 11 carrier battle groups on the oceans, a continued expeditionary force of 100,000 troops, dependents and support personnel in Japan and military operations and economic and military aid in more than 100 other nations around the planet.

We are referring here to the utterly bogus notion that Washington represents the indispensable super-power and that American Leadership is always and everywhere the sine quo non of stability, order and peace all around the planet. Indeed, even though Trump has been totally throttled by the War Party in his discombobulated and amateurish pursuit of America First, that has not stopped its leading spokesman and institutions from lambasting him for allegedly sullying Washington's self-assigned "leadership" role in the world.

In that respect there are few grand poobahs of the War Party who better embody the arrogant pretensions of the American Imperium than the odious president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Hass. According to the latter, the trouble with Trump after one year in office is that he still doesn't get it; he's turned his back on the core predicate that animates the Imperial City:

"Trump is the first post-WWII president to view the burdens of world leadership as outweighing the benefits. The United States has changed from the principal preserver of order to a principal disrupter."

Exactly what hay wagon does he think we fell off from?

How did the war on Vietnam, the First Gulf War to save the Emir of Kuwait's oil wealth, the futile 17-year occupation of Afghanistan, the destruction of Iraq, the double-cross of Khadafy after he gave up his nukes, the obliteration of much of civil society and economic life in Syria, the US-supplied Saudi genocide in Yemen and the Washington sponsored coup and civil war on Russia's doorstep in Ukraine, to name just a few instances of Washington's putative "world leadership", have anything to do with preserving "order" on the planet?

And exactly how did the "benefits" of these serial instigations of mayhem outweigh the "burdens" to America's taxpayers---to say nothing of the terminal costs to the dead and maimed citizens in their millions who had the misfortune to be domiciled in these traumatized lands?

Likewise, have the refugees who have been flushed out of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere in the middle east by Washington's wars done anything for the peace and stability of Europe, where Washington's victims have desperately fled in their millions?

Yet, there would have been no long-lasting civil war in Syria without the billions of cash and weapons supplied to the so-called rebels and the real jihadis by Washington and its Persian Gulf vassals; nor would Yemen by sinking into famine and cholera plagues without the American bombs, missiles and drone dispatched by the Saudi pilots essentially functioning as hired Pentagon mercenaries.

Indeed, the smoldering ruins of Mosul, Aleppo, Fallujah, Benghazi and lesser places in their thousands hardly speak to a beneficent hegemony. Yet had Washington never brought its fleets and occupying forces to the Middle East after 1970 and had the region not come under the heavy boot of the Central Command and Washington's assorted proconsuls and plenipotentiaries, the plague of radical Sunni jidhadism would never have arisen, nor is it likely that the ancient rift between the Sunni and Shiite confessions of Islam would have erupted into today's lethal conflicts.

It is well to note that before 1970, no American soldiers were killed in the middle east; after 1990 virtually all US serviceman who were killed or wounded in combat were stationed in the greater middle east.

It is also worth noting that the answer to high oil prices is high prices, not the Fifth Fleet. In fact, global oil production today has doubled since 1973 owing to price, technology and the worldwide quest for profits by state and private oil companies alike----even as constant dollar prices per barrel stand far below the peaks reached during that decade. There never was any economic imperative whatsoever to bring the American armada into the region.

So when candidate Trump said the Iraq invasion was a stupid mistake, that Hillary's war on Khadafy was misbegotten, that he would like to cooperate with Putin on pacifying Syria and that NATO was obsolete, he was actually calling into question the fundamental predicates of the American Imperium.

And that gets us to the Russian threat bogeyman, the War Party's risible demonization of Vladimir Putin and the cocked-up narrative about the Kremlin's meddling in the 2016 election.

When Trump captured the GOP nomination against all odds and expectations in the spring of 2016, the War Party went into hyper-drive. Each of these bogus themes were promoted to a fare-the-well through the MSM in order to derail his candidacy; and then, after the fact, to delegitimize and imperil his presidency.

Yet when you examine the thin gruel behind each of these memes, its is fair to say that the Donald has caused the Imperial City itself to become: Unhinged.

In the case of the election meddling meme, there are few more hypocritical instances of the cat-calling-the-kettle-black than this one. The total US intelligence community (IC) budget is upwards of $75 billion----25% more than Russia's entire military budget including ships, planes, tanks, ammo, fuel, rations, operations, maintenance and even spare boots---and a big part of that giant IC spend goes to, well, meddling, hacking and sabotage of foreign nations!

The Targeted Access Operations (TAO) unit inside NSA alone has a multi-billion budget which funds thousands of in-house and contractor personnel who spend day and night hacking the communications channels of virtually every government in the world, friend, foe and enemy alike. The very purpose of these intrusions is to interfere with the domestic politics and governance of most of the planet's population, and in some cases to actually sabotage perfectly appropriate operations, such as the Natanz centrifuges in Iran which were destroyed by the Washington's stuxnet virus.

If you are not caught up in the War party's self-serving groupthink, of course, it seems entirely plausible that in the face of these massive Washington cyber-assaults that targeted nations might indeed seek to counterattack, as apparently the Russian security services have done. But for all the beltway bluster, what military or intelligence secrets have actually been compromised by the Russians?

In fact, none have been claimed or have been made public in recent years, and you can be sure that LeakyTown would have made it known had any material national security breaches actually happened.

So what the whole Russian meddling meme boils down to is an assertion that Kremlin operatives have been attacking America in plain sight. That is, they hacked the DNC's gossip and intrigue-ridden computers and breached the content of Podesta's password protected political skull-duggery. But airing intra-party skull-duggery is neither a national security matter nor does its disclosure jeopardize American democracy in the slightest.

For crying out loud, if political parties and operatives don't want to be embarrassed owing to being hacked by commercial blackmailers, political adversaries, just plain misanthropes or foreign security services, as the case may be, they can do what every business in America is required to do. That is, purchase the requisite protective services and software on offer from the world's $200 billion internet security business.

The very idea that these two alleged hacks amount to some grand assault on American democracy is just plain laughable; and it surely does not take a dozen congressional investigations and the rogue Mueller witch-hunt to preclude any future recurrence. The DNC can just buy some protection-----or maybe even run a level playing field during the next presidential primary.

Besides, as the Donald rightly said, any 400-pound fat guy laying in a bed in Brooklyn could have figured out "password" to gain entrance to Podesta's computer; and if Russian operatives actually penetrated the DNC computers why weren't they even examined by the FBI or any other IC agency?

Instead, we have only the word of the Russophobic proprietor of a cyber-security company named Crowdstrike. Need we mention that he is in the business of selling computer security services and software and promoting his apparently dubious products in a field bustling with first rate competitors?

In that context, the $50k of pre-election Facebook ads allegedly purchased by a mythical Russian troll farm are not even a bad joke. That is, not in an election that saw $6 billion of registered campaign expenditures and multiples of that by independent committees and the anti-Trump media.

At the end of the day, we are supposed to believe that a country with a puny $1.3 trillion GDP, which is just 7% of the US' $19.5 trillion GDP, and which consists largely of aged hydrocarbon provinces, endless wheat fields, modest industrial capacities and a stagnant Vodka-favoring workforce, is actually a threat to America's security.

And we are also supposed to fear the military capacity of a country that has no blue water Navy to speak of and no conventional air-lift and air-attack capacity which could remotely threaten the New Jersey shores, and that spends less in a full year than the Pentagon consumes every 35 days.

Oh, yes, and this midget military is run with an apparent iron-hand by the Cool Hand Luke of  the modern world. Putin may well jail his adversaries in ways that offend western sensibilities, but the last thing he is going to do is commit Russian national suicide by launching a nuclear attack on America.

Yet that's all he's got: To wit, a non-existent military threat and a justifiable desire to protect the Russian-speaking populations on his doorstep in Crimea and the Donbas from the depredations of the Civil War that was instigated on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 by the advance guards--the CIA, NED, State Department and Washington funded NGOs---of the American Imperium.

But here's the thing. The Dems were caught so flat-footed and befuddled by the Donald's "impossible" win that they have succumbed to the rank anti-Russian propaganda that was fed to them by Brennan, Clapper, Comey and the rest of the Obama inner circle on the eve and aftermath of the November 8th election.

They have now turned this preposterous malarkey into a fevered witch-hunt that has made them---and most especially the MSNBC-following progressive Left----handmaidens of the Warfare State, even as the baseless claim that Trump colluded with the Russians paralyzes the White House and blocks any movement at all toward the America First promise that flickered briefly during the Donald's run for the Oval Office.

Needless to say, we know how this movie will end. The Donald is destined to be shown the way by his GOP Capitol Hill "friends" to his last ride on the Richard Nixon Memorial Helicopter. That is, when the polls indicate a Republican mid-term election massacre is in the making.

And that will leave the neocon War Party firmly in control of the GOP and the hysterical Russophobes on top of what was once the Peace Party in post-Vietnam America.

Throughout the length and breadth of the Imperial City, the military-industrial-intelligence-think tank-War Party complex will be laughing all the way to the bank.

It is American democracy and the disenfranchised citizens of Flyover American that will be hung out to dry. Again.



Endgame Napoleon wintraiz Fri, 01/05/2018 - 00:57 Permalink

His articles on the economy are great — too informative for our watered-down TV MSM, although I remember him and others like him appearing on their shows in decades past. They do not want thoughtful debate these days. That would get in the way of their sex gossip, interspersed with disingenuous chanting about Russia and other ratings-boosting subjects. 

He is right about non interventionism, too, but I do not agree that US policy is the underlying cause of the murderous ME religious wars. They get into bloody wars because of economic elites, accumulating massive fortunes due to wealth from natural resources, distracting the largely impoverished public  with religious extremism and religious / ethnic rivalry. We need to stay out of it, though, including out of the business of absorbing mass waves of welfare-dependent immigrants from war-torn countries in this underemployed nation.  

In reply to by wintraiz

Normalcy Bias Thu, 01/04/2018 - 21:45 Permalink

...the Donald is too full of egotistical bluster and too infatuated with militarist trappings to go the full Taft-isolationist route...

...Or he's intelligent enough to know that if he did go full Taft, he and probably several of his family members would be sent to 'Early Retirement' by the Deep State/MIC.

FBaggins Thu, 01/04/2018 - 21:46 Permalink

Trump would not have to  implement the extremes of a full-blown Taft-like foreign policy to accomplish his election goals of rapprochement with Russia, revamping America's commitments to NATO and other cold war relics and to discarding "Regime Change" as the core tenant of foreign policy in favor of an "America First" approach to domestic security and safety.  But it now appears he is just another presidential captive of the MIC and the deep state, and nothing will really change. Too bad, it was America's last chance.  

Taras Bulba Thu, 01/04/2018 - 21:55 Permalink

Good sumation but sadly we have heard it all before, over, and over, and over:  nothing changes, the war party, which is the neo cons, zio cons, the Israeli firsters (or dual citizens) just get stronger and our "foreign policy," if one can call it that, gets more warped towards moar war, moar interventions.

Now the war party cannot hardly contain their glee at the prospects of intervening in Iran-already more sanctions have been proposed.  We hear the anguished cries of oh, the Iranian people are fighting for freedom.  What a crock of Bull Sheit!  These same people in the war party were screeching a few months ago to bomb and atk Iran, civilian casualties were not even mentioned.


I need to go find what serves as a vomit bag!!!

G-R-U-N-T Thu, 01/04/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

Interesting that the harbinger Stockman has shifted from 'over valued' equity indices and massive crashes which are launching continually breaking new records, to harbinger of foreign policy. Figure this will be another wordy worldly opinion that goes on and on and on and on.....Brief and to the point isn't part of Stockman's narratives, waring me out, even when I see ZH post a 'Stockman' headline, I know i'm in for another bloviating reticulated experience.

Phillyguy Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:07 Permalink

“the disenfranchised citizens of Flyover American that will be hung out to dry. Again.” What did the “citizens of Flyover American” think Trump would do for them? Immediately following the 2016 election, Trump assembled a Cabinet of billionaires and militarists who had nothing but contempt for working people and “citizens of Flyover American” who are little more than an ATMs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, Wall St. and military contractors. Next on Trump’s agenda will be to gut Veterans benefits, Medicare and loot the SS trust fund. No doubt, Trump’s “base” will love this.

MusicIsYou Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:09 Permalink

Warren Buffet says the U.S has an awesome future and that your children will have a better standard of living than today. I don't think him lying at this point makes any difference. And besides I'm pretty sure Buffet profited greatly from all the QE, Stimulus bills, bailouts and zero interest loans, and there's that thingy about him owing a $billion in taxes. So basically Warren Buffet is already pretty detached from reality and can't possibly say anything accurate about the future standard of living.

rejected Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:21 Permalink

David is committing the most egregious sin... He is vastly under estimating a would be foe and vastly over estimating the US. The amount of money spent is not an indicator of competency. The new US Destroyers are for all practical purposes,,, junk. The new US Aircraft Carriers have serious catapult problems and the F35,,, It's a gold plated barley useful too expensive piece of crap that even American pilots agree on. The US MIC are only interested in profits. The Russian MIC are interested in their survival and are producing some pretty decent hardware. Subs, Ships and Aircraft. If not for their rockets the US would be earth bound. Even Space X uses Russian engines.

China is no laughing matter either. With the US production shipped over there they now have the expertise and skills to build a modern military.

Neither one would ever have to invade the US,,, All they have to do is wait. Slow but sure they're bypassing the dollar. They have more gold than the US. Russia has virtually no debt. China has a lot of debt and that may be a problem for them but still won't change anything. The US will collapse economically and bust up geographically. Today there is nothing united in the United States.

Flankspeed60 Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:34 Permalink

As an old cold war military guy, it was not easy coming to terms with the truth about my government. How does one transition from being a 'beacon of light to the world and a champion of liberty, truth, freedom and justice,' to a harbinger of death and destruction, with lies, greed and deceit as its prime motive force? It is now clear that elections cannot rid us of this resident evil, so what course is left to the cognizant public-at-large? Are we left to simply cheer the Iranians who take to the streets and shed blood to rid themselves of their hated empire, while we breathlessly await the NFL playoffs? Do we end with a bang or a whimper?

ReturnOfDaMac Thu, 01/04/2018 - 23:26 Permalink

Flyover gets eff'd over ... again.  But hey, they got a tax bill that will inconvenience some blue staters and GREATLY enrich their theocratic, war-mongering overlords.  Jobs, opportunities, and a brighter future for them, not so much.  Winning, MAGA!

philip88 Fri, 01/05/2018 - 07:19 Permalink

You understand nothing to business😂


Let me to tell you a big secret.

1. The americans destroy a country in rhe middle east. Good for the militaries..

2. Usually the Europeans will supply free credit to rebuild the country..Good for the Bankers..

3. The Chinese will get paid to supply all the stuff the rebuild the destroyed country.


Rinse and repeat