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13 Mar 2019 10:29

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/13/paul-manafort-sentencing-1219274
Paul Manafort is scheduled to receive his second — and final — prison sentence Wednesday morning, bringing an end to Robert Mueller’s most public legal battle and capping a spectacular fall for the globetrotting GOP consultant and former chairman of the Trump campaign.


Considering all the [bleep]holes who Trump has pardoned, I reckon it won't be long until Trump helps out his old campaign manager (why not give him a job in the White House too? Geezus!)
"Are you going to believe me or what you see with your own eyes?"

Don't mention Khashoggi! It’s a collusion witch hoax!
User avatar Robert5091
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13 Mar 2019 13:08

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j-QYYE7VrXg

I laughed but only because all of this is true..funny as a joke but not a country
Unchained
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Re: U.S. Politics

13 Mar 2019 13:34

trump knows more about airplanes that anybody else, trust him..he's such a farging dope..

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/3/12/18261985/trump-boeing-737-max-8-automation-tweet-debunked

I guess he missed the part about the 10 year safety record the US has had, using these way complex aircraft. Ya thin it may be training there donnie..you moron.
According to data compiled each year by the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), the number of international commercial airline accidents has been steadily declining for the past 45 years, down to 18 last year from 73 in 1972.
User avatar Bustedknuckle
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Location: USofA

13 Mar 2019 14:29

Dirt for the record I have received VA health care in NYC,Long Island and San Diego and it's always been excellent,w wait times similar to private insurance.
Yesterday I got some radio nuggets..in the next 12 years the population of folks over 65 years old will grow by about 40%..
With record low birth rates..nothing Trump is doing makes any sense..huge cuts to Medicaid..counter intuitive..reducing support for current programs reversing the trend of insuring more Americans. Messing with the VA health care system when the numbers of veterans needing care are not going away anytime soon.
Trump saying that countries like Belgium,Germany,Sweden and Norway no longer exist because they have had health care for all for 10 years or longer are batttscit, crazy.
Again we have to pick our battles..Trump wanting to remove technology from planes,cars and trains to make them cheaper rather than safer...crazy.
Trump saying he has personally witnessed a healthy child get autism a month or so after being vaccinated..again one of his crazy lies..
This guy is dangerous
Unchained
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Re:

13 Mar 2019 23:41

Robert5091 wrote:https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/13/paul-manafort-sentencing-1219274
Paul Manafort is scheduled to receive his second — and final — prison sentence Wednesday morning, bringing an end to Robert Mueller’s most public legal battle and capping a spectacular fall for the globetrotting GOP consultant and former chairman of the Trump campaign.


Considering all the [bleep]holes who Trump has pardoned, I reckon it won't be long until Trump helps out his old campaign manager (why not give him a job in the White House too? Geezus!)


Apparently NY state has just indicted him. If he ends up with a prison sentence in NY State Trump can't pardon him.
User avatar Koronin
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14 Mar 2019 03:25

News flash..the rich get preferential treatment from schools!!!

Laughed pretty hard when I saw one daughter w a body of pudding photo shopped face on to the body of a water polo star in action!! If you're gonna do it you might as well go big!!!
Bravo to all
Still remember watching some classics..
2 guys in jail,one asks the other "hey man what are you in for" slight pause..the other guy responds " cable tv theft".
Unchained
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Re:

14 Mar 2019 03:37

Unchained wrote:News flash..the rich get preferential treatment from schools!!!

Laughed pretty hard when I saw one daughter w a body of pudding photo shopped face on to the body of a water polo star in action!! If you're gonna do it you might as well go big!!!
Bravo to all
Still remember watching some classics..
2 guys in jail,one asks the other "hey man what are you in for" slight pause..the other guy responds " cable tv theft".



That's news? I thought everyone already knew that.
User avatar Koronin
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Re:

14 Mar 2019 03:38

Unchained wrote:News flash..the rich get preferential treatment from schools!!!

Laughed pretty hard when I saw one daughter w a body of pudding photo shopped face on to the body of a water polo star in action!! If you're gonna do it you might as well go big!!!
Bravo to all
Still remember watching some classics..
2 guys in jail,one asks the other "hey man what are you in for" slight pause..the other guy responds " cable tv theft".

similar to the version I heard years ago...
Inmate: "what are you in for?"
Inmate 2: "triple murder. You?"
Inmate: "I downloaded 23 episodes of the brady bunch"...

Unchained wrote:Dirt for the record I have received VA health care in NYC,Long Island and San Diego and it's always been excellent,w wait times similar to private insurance.
Yesterday I got some radio nuggets..in the next 12 years the population of folks over 65 years old will grow by about 40%..
With record low birth rates..nothing Trump is doing makes any sense..huge cuts to Medicaid..counter intuitive..reducing support for current programs reversing the trend of insuring more Americans.
Messing with the VA health care system when the numbers of veterans needing care are not going away anytime soon.
Trump saying that countries like Belgium,Germany,Sweden and Norway no longer exist because they have had health care for all for 10 years or longer are batttscit, crazy.
Again we have to pick our battles..Trump wanting to remove technology from planes,cars and trains to make them cheaper rather than safer...crazy.
Trump saying he has personally witnessed a healthy child get autism a month or so after being vaccinated..again one of his crazy lies..
This guy is dangerous

as for this, you'd think he'd be onto the healthcare of the elderly, considering his own age... or the fact his kids (excluding Baron) will be needing it in the not-too-distant-future
User avatar Archibald
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Re: U.S. Politics

14 Mar 2019 12:40

Once again, like football players kneeling during the National Anthem(about white cops killing unarmed young black kids, not 'patriotism'), the votes to curb Presidential over reach is the purpose, not funding his stoopid wall.
But Trump adds that “anybody going against border security, drug trafficking, human trafficking, that’s a bad vote.”


I guess he missed another briefing about the largest haul of cocaine..at a border check point..or the thousands apprehended asking for asylum..at a border check point..trump's an ***...
User avatar Bustedknuckle
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Re: U.S. Politics

14 Mar 2019 14:11

Bustedknuckle wrote:Once again, like football players kneeling during the National Anthem(about white cops killing unarmed young black kids, not 'patriotism'), the votes to curb Presidential over reach is the purpose, not funding his stoopid wall.
But Trump adds that “anybody going against border security, drug trafficking, human trafficking, that’s a bad vote.”


I guess he missed another briefing about the largest haul of cocaine..at a border check point..or the thousands apprehended asking for asylum..at a border check point..trump's an ***...


A couple of funny..not so many funny things about this..
Americans are the main market for the drugs. Our citizens are doing the drugs, yes Mexico and others are the supply, but only because of our created demand. The U.S. Government,especially Trump needs to do a practical look at a couple of the core questions..

Can the U.S. Government or anybody else stop Americans from desiring drugs?

Will spending money building fences,walls and barriers in remote areas stop drug traffic?

When the number of people attempting to cross the border generally decreases..but the number of families and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum when spend needed cash on a past problem rather than a growing reality?

When is overstayed visas, the main source of illegal immigration,be addressed and corrected? The illegal immigrants are flying,driving and walking into the country w legal documents allowing a temporary visit,but instead they disregard the law and overstay.

What is America doing about Mexico's desperate plea for help with illegal gun imports from the US? There are..two,2,dos,gun stores in Mexico. Their scourge export is drugs,America's is weapons.

When is the U.S. Government going to take illegal employment seriously? Nobody is going to come to the US if you can't work. Arrest and jailing people who have illegal employees is the main component of the solution. Just like other changes in attitude..stop arresting the one being raped arrest the rapist. We are slowly changing, Robert Craft is suddenly the bad guy and the Chinese sex worker is the victim.

Those are easy issues,right.Get Americans to stop wanting sexual release from a hired hand and get Americans to not want drugs
Unchained
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14 Mar 2019 15:45

Not since the early years of the Iraq War has foreign policy dominated American headlines as it does in the age of Trump. The United States in the ’90s enjoyed the narcissism of the “New World Order,” and journalistic glances abroad mainly flattered this self-conception. After Bush, Obama campaigned as an antiwar candidate, only to get the country embroiled in at least five additional conflicts, all more or less waged sotto voce, so as to minimize the tarnish imperial police actions could inflict on his Nobel. Trump is less trusted and manifestly less given to doing things quietly than Obama. With every gesture he makes to the outside world, whether through actual diplomatic summits, rhetorical saber-rattling, or simple racist bluster (“shithole countries”), the news is filled with a stream of developments centering on actors elsewhere in the world: trade war with China; withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal; the Syrian civil war; imprecations of “fire and fury” for North Korea; moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and the IDF’s carnage in Gaza. Trump’s son-in-law’s romance with Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, meanwhile, has masked the most lethal policy currently being enacted on the face of the earth, the Saudi-led war against the Houthis in Yemen, which has been actively aided by the United States; the unmasking of this policy following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has only moved foreign policy further into the foreground. Behind all of this chatter, November 8, 2016, remains on endless loop in part because Russian meddling has been deemed a Pearl Harbor–grade event.

But while the national security establishment has mobilized these conflicts in hopes of salvaging their preferred militarist approach to globalism, a left increasingly vocal about domestic policy—Medicare for All, jobs guarantee, Green New Deal—has only recently begun to search for its voice on foreign policy. After decades of quiescence, that voice is unpracticed. When Bernie Sanders, the most successful socialist politician in American history, gave a major address in 2017 laying out his international vision, it was full of refreshing candor and sound ideas. A foreign policy whose objective was “dominance,” he declared, had led to coups and military invasions, from Guatemala in 1953 to Iraq in 2003. Instead, Sanders called for a policy of “partnerships”—with governments and peoples—in service of democracy, human rights, social welfare, and environmental sustainability.

Just as he sought to make “democratic socialism” part of the mainstream by connecting it to Franklin Roosevelt’s “Economic Bill of Rights,” Sanders alighted on the Truman Administration’s European Recovery Program, more commonly known as the Marshall Plan, as a precedent for his foreign policy vision. Rather than “punish and humiliate the losers . . . we helped rebuild their economies. . . . We also provided them support to reconstruct democratic societies.” For Sanders, and for most liberals and progressives, the Marshall Plan is a foreign policy object with almost talismanic properties. It proves that the United States in the international arena is capable of substituting generosity for retribution, cooperation for enmity, and economics for military force, all in the pursuit of an enlightened self-interest.

The trouble is that this view is a myth. It licenses the belief that there was a good cold war and a bad cold war, that liberalism was forced to become militaristic against its will, and that an exercise in geopolitics was about something other than geopolitics—that is, a “liberal international order.” To deconstruct this myth requires understanding what exactly the Marshall Plan was intended to do, where it led, and what it meant for democratic aspirations at home and abroad. At the heart of this ideological complex may lie the reason why the left has so far failed to articulate a foreign policy for our age.

If the 2016 election marked the end of the cold war consensus in American politics—with the open return of socialism and white supremacy to the national stage, the traducing of the national security establishment, and the embrace of Russia by the eventual winner—then President Trump’s inauguration of a trade war with China is one of the more overt signs that we have entered a new era in international politics, the return of great power competition.1 Navigating this new global configuration of power, in which an ascendant China is the key coordinate, will require engaging with modes of thought that are currently uncongenial, while abjuring sweeping ideological gestures redolent of the thinking, typified by the Marshall Plan, that undergirded the last cold war. To the extent that Sanders speaks of China, his rhetoric shares unsettling affinities with this latter approach. If the left is serious about contending for power, then the statements of its leading figures on such bedrock questions of policy and strategy merit friendly but careful scrutiny.

Before World War II, the United States had interests in the western hemisphere and in the Pacific. In the former, it was effectively hegemonic: no foreign power dared engage in diplomatic or military actions against American wishes. American interests in the Pacific surged when the filibustering of American sugar planters in Hawaii and victory in war against Spain gave the US a territorial presence in the Western Pacific, celebrated as the springboard for a commercial assault on the vaunted “China market.” Recognizing the far greater commercial and military interests of Britain, Russia, and Japan, American strategy in Asia was limited to preventing anyone else from establishing hegemonic control.2

These foreign policy interests were large, and the United States frequently used military force in defense of them. But in comparison to what came after 1941, they appear trifling. Before then, American leaders had been unwilling to wield power to protect interests beyond these two spheres. Woodrow Wilson’s decision to enter World War I on the side of Britain, France, Italy, and Russia was seen in the 1920s and ’30s as an aberration. Though the term soon became one of abuse in the hands of advocates of globalism, many participants in the “America First” movement of 1940–1941 were merely giving voice to this longstanding precept of American foreign policy.

After Pearl Harbor, US presidents easily convinced the public that conditions beyond American borders had implications for national security, and that it was better to deal with potential threats where they arose. And yet the path from Pearl Harbor to a sprawling national security state and a globe-spanning military commitment was not direct. The US cut military expenditures four-fold in 1946. In Roosevelt’s original postwar plans, cooperation with the Soviet Union to prevent future wars was a first-order priority. Europe was to be a vast neutral zone between the USSR and the US, with Great Britain resuming its historical role of “offshore balancer” to prevent any one power from dominating the continent. Japan similarly was to be a neutral state, ensuring that there would be no hegemon in East Asia. In Roosevelt’s view, only a restrained posture of this sort would spare the US from massive and permanent military expenditures, widely feared as the road to a “garrison state.”

By 1948 at least, the basis for the Rooseveltian framework collapsed and the two superpowers stood on the precipice of war. The Marshall Plan was not just one of several stages on the path from cooperation to cold war, it was the decisive break: American policymakers decided that the agreements reached between Roosevelt and Stalin over Europe no longer served; a new European framework had to be established, and the Marshall Plan was the assault on the status quo that would deliver the desired result. A policy that advertised itself as one of peace was in fact a policy of war.

The central fact undergirding this interpretation of the origins of the cold war, exhaustively demonstrated through recent work in Soviet and American archives, was that in the immediate postwar period Joseph Stalin’s postwar posture was essentially defensive. Despite the overwhelming military preponderance of the Soviet Union in Europe, Stalin never once contemplated provoking a war with the United States by pushing the Red Army further west. His fundamental security considerations were that the countries of eastern Europe have governments friendly to the Soviet Union, and that Germany never be allowed to threaten the Soviet Union militarily.3

It is true that Stalin probed American resolve in Turkey and Iran. In response, the US dispatched economic and military aid. Following Senatorial advice to “scare the hell out of [the American people],” Harry Truman announced a new policy (the Truman Doctrine), which proclaimed an American policy of “containment.” In George Kennan’s words, the “free institutions of the western world” would be defended “by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points . . .” But despite its landmark status, from Stalin’s point of view the Truman Doctrine was merely a restatement of the American position. He backed down in Western Asia, out of an absolute unwillingness to sabotage great power cooperation. Truman’s speech, meanwhile, was attacked in the United States for being inflammatory and militaristic.

Containment proclaimed a global policy, but in fact the conflict of interest between the US and the USSR centered on one place: Germany. Over the course of 1946 and 1947, economic conditions in Western Europe appeared to be worsening, auguring political disaster. Kennan, the Marshall Plan’s true author, recognized that the war had produced exhaustion and demoralization among the masses and the leaders of Western Europe, a situation that Communist parties—whose prestige, thanks to their wartime resistance to fascism, was at its peak—were exploiting. Rather than combat Communism directly, Kennan proposed attacking the conditions that made societies vulnerable to it. To save bourgeois political systems in Western Europe, it was above all necessary to revive their economies. Kennan therefore proposed a program of large-scale economic aid, whose fundamental purpose was to transform the outlook of European workers, capitalists, and politicians. With America standing behind them, Kennan hoped they would see it was worth the effort to strengthen European economies, and this would inoculate their political systems against communist subversion. Through the extension of economic aid, Kennan also believed the US would gain geostrategic advantage, without having to take the politically unpopular step of making a military commitment to Western European security.

If Belgium, France, and Italy could have been shored up on their own, events might have unfolded differently. But the Americans concluded that there could be no economic recovery for the rest of Western Europe unless the German economy was revived, too. The German Rhineland was the industrial heart of Europe. Without its factories turning out steel and machines, without its mines yielding ton after ton of coal, recovery, American planners concluded, would stall everywhere else.

The trouble was that economic recovery for Germany ran smack into good faith agreements made between Roosevelt and Stalin only a few years earlier. From Stalin’s point of view, to revive Germany, and German heavy industry no less, was to risk a third German invasion of the east in five decades. The American plan amounted to a repudiation of the twenty million Soviet war dead. There was no conceivable way he could consent to it.

The true genius of Kennan’s scheme was not that it offered a helping hand to a continent worn down by years of war—it was that the plan took an act American leaders knew Stalin could only interpret as one of profound hostility and made it look like a gesture of generosity and peace. After a generation-marking speech at Harvard in June 1947, the scheme became forever associated with Secretary of State George Marshall. As American planners expected, the Soviet Union interpreted the offer of aid as an act of war.

In response, Stalin pushed French and Italian Communists to launch strikes to paralyze their economies. He cracked down on Central European governments that wanted to participate in the program. Eventually he launched the blockade of Berlin. When the western Allies pushed ahead with the establishment of a West German state, Stalin was led to conclude, not incorrectly, that the west was determined to “encircle” the Soviet Union with a hostile bloc of capitalist states closely tied to the US, now also likely to include Japan. As the key capitalist states of Western Europe and East Asia respectively, Germany and Japan were menacing enough on their own. But as independent centers of power, they would at least have been in rivalry with the United States. Subordinated to the US in a global capitalist bloc, they represented an existential threat.

Once the intensity of Soviet opposition to the Marshall Plan became clear, Western European governments began to argue that economic aid was not sufficient to repel the Communist threat. Kennan’s hope that an economic commitment could substitute for a military one proved badly mistaken: by ratcheting up US–Soviet tensions in Europe, American planners produced the conditions that made a permanent military alliance with European states seem like common sense. The Marshall Plan recast an act of aggression as one of munificence. By causing Stalin to fear the formation of a cinching, asphyxiating capitalist bloc, provoking him to fully “Sovietize” most of eastern Europe, the Marshall Plan made a propagandistic analogy—capitalism is to freedom as Communism is to totalitarianism—appear substantially closer to the truth. The costs to anticapitalist strivings everywhere in the west would be incalculable.

The Marshall Plan was one of the crucial pillars of an unprecedented configuration of power—a new form of non-imperialist Empire—that today enjoys the euphemistic name, the “liberal international order.” From 1952 on all of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced countries were in formal alliances with the single most powerful actor in the whole system. If all world orders involve some combination of coercion and consent, the integration of Western Europe and Japan into a US-led order allowed the US to project power everywhere, and to do so with a historically unprecedented degree of consent, at remarkably low cost. By and large these countries quickly returned to self-sufficiency, requiring essentially no US aid to keep their economies and political systems in robust working order after Marshall aid wound down in 1952. Until very recently, the conviction that this order served US interests was one of the few remaining points of transpartisan consensus in American politics.

Geopolitics is the discourse of the balance of power between leading states on a global scale. Under modern conditions, the sphere of geopolitics is practically unlimited: military bases, foreign investments, communications networks, and the ideological leanings of particular peoples all can affect whether one power or another is ascendant in any given part of the world. The Marshall Plan was a fundamentally geopolitical act—it was about ensuring American ascendancy in the economically and militarily vital region of Western Europe. It was one of the opening salvos in the unfolding project of containment, itself a totalizing principle of postwar American strategy. But the plan’s economic basis provided a cover for its geopolitical origins, and this erasure of geopolitics, which might be called the specific character of “Marshall Plan–thinking,” made possible the peculiar way in which American leaders played dumb, insisting on their own innocence as they turned a regional military and political rivalry into an all-encompassing, globe-spanning cold war.

A few years later, it was Marshall Plan–thinking that transformed the American involvement in Indochina from neocolonial meddling into a full-scale military intervention that led to the slaughter and maiming of millions in the Vietnam War. Ironically, early US justifications for interfering in Vietnam did not hide their rationale: Eisenhower’s domino theory was a forthrightly geopolitical statement, however questionable its assumptions. By 1965, when Lyndon Johnson committed US ground forces to the defense of a non-Communist South Vietnam, that theory, especially the postulate that the health of Japanese capitalism rose or fell with South Vietnam’s membership in the “free world,” no longer held water. Whereas the Marshall Planners had given an ideological gloss to a conflict they understood in fundamentally geopolitical terms, later American policymakers remembered only the gloss. Even though the Soviet Union had no interest in escalating conflict with the US over Vietnam, Johnson and his staff sincerely believed what for their predecessors had been mere rhetoric, that Communism anywhere was a threat to freedom everywhere. Just as US economic support had been necessary to put some spine into anticommunist forces in Western Europe in 1948, US military support in South Vietnam was now held to be necessary to persuade anticommunists everywhere that the US would defend its allies at all costs.

The ideological hypostatization of the conflict ruled out any measured assessment of its chances of success. Those chances were abysmal. In Western Europe, the US provided support to social and political forces that commanded, if not necessarily majorities, then certainly large swaths of public opinion. In South Vietnam, the US was backing a detested regime against forces most Vietnamese considered not foreign puppets but liberation fighters. For the sake of credibility, the US prosecuted an unwinnable war at unspeakable human cost. Throughout it all, many US policymakers convinced themselves that no amount of their barbarism could ever be worse than Communist totalitarianism, an outlook that also does much to explain the Reagan administration’s later sangfroid over CIA-sponsored Central American atrocities.

However, doubling down on Marshall Plan–thinking—this at first creative and later self-delusional erasure of geopolitics—was not the only available path for American foreign policy in the aftermath of World War II. Henry Wallace, Roosevelt’s second vice president and the most important administration left-winger to maintain influence well into the war years, articulated an alternative. The New Deal left’s essential conviction was that the long-term success of their programs depended on deepening the political transformation that the rise of the CIO unions presaged and that Roosevelt promised in his famous 1936 attack on “economic royalists.” For them the New Deal meant not merely technocratic reforms but open-ended class struggle. During the war, Wallace ran the agency that controlled US imports and exports, and he concluded that access to important raw materials was hamstrung by the poverty of overseas producers. Accordingly, Wallace proposed foreign aid to promote industrialization and increase living standards abroad. This precipitated a showdown with the business wing of Roosevelt’s coalition, which prevailed and eventually forced Wallace’s replacement as vice president by Harry Truman in 1945. Wallace’s deposition was metonym for the fortunes of the New Deal left.

After the war, Wallace emerged as the most prominent political figure opposing the Truman administration’s drift toward confrontation with the Soviet Union. Testifying before Congress in February 1948, he denounced the Marshall Plan. His central claim was that beneath the rhetoric of peace and cooperation was actually a “new crusading war, ostensibly against Russia, but actually against the march of people everywhere to a new life free of ancient reaction.” The peoples of Europe who had resisted fascist domination, “Catholic, Labor, Socialist, [or] Communist,” voted after the war for radical reforms to the social, economic, and political orders of their countries: “a new deal, a square deal that would end the misrule and privation of the old deal in Europe.” With the Marshall Plan, however, the US sought “to revive Germany as the great industrial center of a European military bloc,” and to “restore the power of the European monopolists and landowners over the people of Europe.” In Wallace’s view, it was the monopolists, the bankers, and the militarists who were dictating US policy towards Europe—and trimming the sails of the New Deal at home. The Marshall Plan and the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act were part and parcel of the same counterrevolutionary program, which sustained itself on the anticommunist fervor kicked up by both.

In place of the Marshall Plan, Wallace advanced a proposal for genuine international cooperation. Instead of the US government dictating terms for aid, money would go to the newly created United Nations, which would administer a far larger amount of aid on the basis of economic need, not geopolitics. The industrial center of Germany would be internationalized. During World War II, as the historian Stephen Wertheim has shown, advocates of the forward use of American military power to remake world order rebranded their militant interventionism as “internationalism” and rendered it the conceptual opposite of “isolationism,” now a term of obloquy. Wallace’s internationalism required no such semantic sleight-of-hand. In place of Henry Luce’s “American Century,” Wallace offered a “Century of the Common Man” founded on international solidarity between the democratic masses of the world.

Wallace likely knew that his proposals were doomed. Only if the forces of social transformation in the US itself were ascendant would such a foreign policy find political favor. That same year, Wallace scored only 2.4 percent of the vote in his Progressive Party candidacy for US President. But among that 2.4 percent was another source for a foreign policy based on a worldview distinct from that of the Marshall Plan: the country’s black radicals, foremost among them W.E.B. Du Bois. These writers placed the US’s history of racial slavery and segregation and European imperial rule in the same conceptual and historical universe. The close links between imperial rule and capitalist expansion helped make Du Bois and others into socialists and Communists. They detected sooner than anyone that the growing centrality of anticommunism in US foreign policy was being accompanied by a pronounced turn away from anticolonialism. Du Bois had been an active supporter of efforts to create the United Nations at the end of World War II, working closely with liberals like Eleanor Roosevelt. But as liberals moved right, Du Bois refused to go with them.

In the stifling political climate of the mid-century United States, Du Bois was isolated, so much so that he was effectively forced into exile in 1961 at the age of 93. But as American involvement in Vietnam escalated, attacks on US foreign policy in Du Bois’s spirit exploded. The antiwar movement of the 1960s unleashed a torrent of criticism of American imperialism, particularly for its racism, brutality, denial of self-determination, and complicity with colonialism. Eisenhower’s enigmatic 1961 warning of a growing “military industrial complex” furnished a summary term for condemning the fusion of capitalism, bureaucracy, and the means of violence in modern American society. Anticommunism even briefly lost its ability to shut down debate.

Within the antiwar movement, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, founded in Oakland in 1966, represented the vanguard. Anti-imperialism was absolutely central to the BPP’s political ideology and practice. Declaring the US to be an imperial power executing a program of “internal colonialism” of black ghettos in parallel to the external colonialism of its interventions in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, the Panthers called for domestic and international solidarity in service of a revolutionary overthrow of a racist and imperialist American state in favor of an egalitarian and socialist one.

The Panthers’ program did not merely condemn US foreign policy. The year before Nixon met Mao Zedong in China in 1972, Huey Newton went there and met Zhou Enlai. Panther solidarity with Communist governments was reciprocated: the North Vietnamese Army sent letters from American POWs home through the offices of the BPP. The Panthers openly embraced victory for the US’s enemies abroad as a means to win a struggle back home, and vice versa. Though they did not speak in the same language as Wallace, they, like him, were clear that only social transformation could lead to a redefinition of US interests, which in turn could give rise to an anti-imperialist US foreign policy. This was the last time that the US left articulated a foreign policy that dealt squarely with power in the international system.

After 1989 and the “end of history,” surviving Marshall Plan authors like George Kennan and Paul Nitze (his more hawkish successor at the State Department) thought that the demise of the USSR would allow the US to savor the fruits of a world in which everyone wanted to be America’s friend. But the most feverish Cold Warriors––the so-called “neoconservatives”––wondered why they should settle for offering carrots when the joy was in brandishing sticks. They quickly put forward a new doctrine, known as “primacy.” Primacists believe that the US should have such a preponderance of power that it could not only have its way in all questions of international politics, but could prevent any country from taking steps that might turn it into a challenger in the future.

Primacy reached its apogee of insanity in the neocon plans for the Iraq War, whose guiding idea was that the US could reconfigure an entire regional political order to suit its purposes, without fear of serious consequences. That policy’s catastrophic failure lowered American prestige, drained the US Treasury, and hugely diminished popular support for overseas adventurism. The biggest shock, however, was the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2009 and the extraordinary paralysis of the American state after the Tea Party wave of 2010, which together revealed the US to be a country fundamentally unfit for global economic and financial leadership. Since the financial crisis, observers have been fitfully waking up to the fact that the US is no longer the only power in the international system that matters. It has become increasingly difficult to ignore the presence and relative autonomy of regional powers, whether Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, or India and Pakistan in South Asia. Russia has been reasserting itself as an autonomous force in world affairs at least since the conflict with Georgia in 2008. The biggest factor, though, is China.

China’s ascent to great power status mirror’s the US’s in many ways. Like the US in the Gilded Age, the basis for China’s entrance into the first rank of global powers is its staggering economic growth. Averaging just shy of 10 percent of GDP growth annually for forty years, in a country of 1.4 billion people, it is the most spectacular economic feat in the history of capitalism. And like the US in the Gilded Age, China has benefited from a favorable international environment. In the late 19th century the British empire smiled upon the consanguine rising power, enabling the US to attract enormous amounts of foreign capital to its project of continental capitalist development. In the case of China, the US’s strategy of “convergence” has meant openly supporting and facilitating the country’s integration into the circuits of international capitalism, especially through endorsing China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 1999. Finally, the US’s willingness to import hundreds of billions of dollars a year of Chinese goods while exporting only a fraction of that to China, and to permit US firms to enter into joint ventures with potential Chinese competitors, have contributed hugely to China’s economic growth.

Proponents of “convergence” were convinced that as China liberalized economically, political reforms would inevitably follow. As these political reforms took root, China would come to share the US’s view on things, and would happily assume a position as a major power within an overall international order in which the US remained paramount. This was a risible belief, perhaps the most delusional expression of End of History liberal millenarianism. And yet “convergence” was the consensus position within the American foreign policy establishment for at least two decades. There are still many so-called “liberal internationalists” trying desperately to find ways to hold on to this vision. But it is now obvious that whatever “convergence” took place was a function of the US’s status as the sole superpower. Now that some countries are powerful enough to compete, at least regionally, they want to shape the international order to suit their own interests, which they quite understandably do not believe are coterminous with those of the United States.

Sensing that the US is strategically overextended, economically battered, and politically divided, China’s leaders have begun to do what any state in control of so vast an economic organism would: they have increased military expenditures and gradually sought to assert their prerogatives in East Asia. China has also begun fashioning a more global footprint, very much in the spirit that motivated countries like the US and Imperial Germany before World War I. Though to date China’s presence in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe is mainly economic, there is little doubt that China’s leaders see the country’s economic importance to so many other nations as a source of diplomatic strength. There is no reason to expect Chinese military bases on the Pacific Coast of South America anytime soon. But President Xi’s Belt and Road initiative, which involves nearly seventy countries and through which Chinese firms and Chinese capital will be employed on foreign infrastructure projects, is shot through with strategic considerations, just as the Baghdad Railway was for Germany, or the Panama Canal for the United States.

The foremost strategic challenge for the United States is that China seeks a hegemonic position in East Asia, where in effect China would have veto power over the foreign policies of all other countries in the region. For the US, as the realist international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has explained, this is certain to be an unacceptable outcome, since hegemony in one’s home region is the surest footing from which to launch a bid for global supremacy, as the US itself did between 1890 and 1945. Also troubling will be China’s efforts to displace US-led international organizations in favor of Chinese-led ones, the first intimations of which can be seen in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a multilateral development fund intended to compete with the US-led World Bank. China furthermore harbors ambitions to achieve a greater international role for its currency. The economic benefits that accrue to the US on account of the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency are debated but surely immense. It will be many decades and a further financial crisis or two before the dollar is in danger of being bumped down to second place in the global currency league tables, but US administrations will take measures to delay this eventuality as long as possible.

Looking out a few decades from now, China’s rise presents the greatest threat to US global ascendancy since its beginnings in the 1890s, far greater than the Soviet Union posed after World War II, when the US alone accounted for 50 percent of the world’s total industrial production and essentially all of its advanced technologies. If there is a rational kernel to Trump’s “America First” foreign policy, it is surely that China represents the greatest long-term strategic challenge for the United States, and that US policy therefore must be reoriented around managing Chinese ambitions. Critically, the Trump administration is doing what several generations of US administrations have largely disavowed, which is to formulate foreign economic policy with an eye towards geopolitics. Though Trump’s invocation of national security concerns as a justification for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum is vaguely ridiculous, there are perfectly sensible arguments for taking measures to prevent China from using its enormous leverage over US corporations to get hold of technologies that have military implications.

While the rational wing of the foreign policy establishment increasingly focuses on China, recognizing that the generational war in the Greater Middle East is draining reserves of US power, the left is practically mute on the question. At different times, the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Ho’s Vietnam, and Fidel’s Cuba appeared to western leftists as instantiations of historical progress, worthy of solidarity. American leftists could conceive of their responsibility as advocating for a US foreign policy that would enable these societies to develop free of imperialist pressure. Though there is certainly a measure of historical justice in China’s latter-day rise, it is only by way of a particularly strained sort of “campism” that one can declare that the position of the US left should be solidarity with the China of Xi Jinping. Not that Xi’s regime is especially bad by global standards. But contemporary China’s embrace of capitalism suggests that a world in which China is hegemonic is not likely to be all that different from a world in which the US is hegemonic, at least measured in terms of the possibilities for transcending capitalist social relations and military conflict.

Though the arrogance of the George W. Bush Administration gave rise to a new, global antiwar movement, that movement never successfully articulated a tight link between the structure of power in American society and US national interests, except for the feeble cry of “no blood for oil.” The left remains adroit at criticizing US foreign policy for its deeply racialized exceptionalism and providentialism, for its hypocrisy, for its interventionism. None of this, however, is of any use in thinking through the questions thrown up by contemporary China, a country that has achieved a degree of power in international politics that makes it immune to almost all forms of US intervention, short of direct military conflict between two nuclear powers. Racism might well affect US attitudes toward China, but whatever racial animosity Americans harbor towards Chinese people can have no impact on American policy towards China, except to make it stupider and more self-defeating. China quite simply does not have to take any **** from the United States. What then could an adequate left foreign policy that went beyond familiar critiques of US imperialism look like, one that could address the problem of China?

Among the available intellectual resources three strands stand out. The first is realism, especially as espoused by the University of Chicago theorist John Mearsheimer and his Harvard University colleague Stephen Walt. Mearsheimer and Walt are advocates of a doctrine known as “offshore balancing,” arguing that the US should “forgo ambitious efforts to remake other societies and concentrate on what really matters: preserving US dominance in the Western Hemisphere and countering potential hegemons in Europe, Northeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf.” In practice, this would mean: doubling down on US alliances with Western European countries to prevent Russia from achieving preponderance in Europe, while at the same time refraining from provoking Russia by meddling in its “near abroad”; opportunistically supporting whichever of the Saudis or the Iranians appear weaker at any moment; and maintaining a powerful military presence in East Asia to deter China from taking any measures to upset the existing regional balance.

If the focus were only on the Middle East and eastern Europe, many on the left would find much to agree with in Mearsheimer and Walt’s writings. The trouble is that both straightforwardly believe that the security of the United States in the last analysis requires preserving US primacy. Their view is that it was a mistake to admit China to the WTO—not because this decision led to the outsourcing of US manufacturing jobs, but because entry into the WTO allowed China to become an economic and therefore a military rival to the US. It is not surprising that Mearsheimer and Walt consider the Marshall Plan one of the greatest acts in the annals of realist diplomacy. For them the only alternative to US primacy is US insecurity.

A second potential resource for a new foreign policy is republicanism. The most articulate and admirable of the republicans is the retired U.S. Army colonel and Boston University emeritus professor Andrew Bacevich. A gifted historian and a bracing critic of American militarism, Bacevich calls for a redefinition of American national interests around sustaining the planet, preventing great power war, and nuclear disarmament. He would eschew “humanitarian” military intervention by limiting the commitment of military forces to circumstances where “genuinely vital US interests are immediately at risk.” He would limit the President’s ability to plunge the nation into wars by restoring “some semblance of constitutional balance.” Unafraid to confront Trumpism on its terms, he supports a more rigorous means-ends test for US overseas commitments. One could certainly do worse than this.

Honorable and sensible as this approach is, Bacevich is hindered by his moralistic focus. A follower of William Appleman Williams, he extends the Wisconsin School historian’s argument that empire is a “way of life” for Americans by interpreting it through the lens of consumerism, in particular the overconsumption of oil, which Bacevich believes is responsible for much of contemporary American militarism, especially in the Middle East. In response to this argument, some mainstream thinkers have maligned Bacevich as an isolationist. The real problem, though, is that while he has savaged American involvement in the Middle East, he has also remained a committed cold warrior. And if the cold war was worthy, but the interventionist reflex in American foreign policy is bad, Bacevich is essentially forced to argue that what drove the disagreeable parts of US policy in the postwar decades was not actually great power rivalry, but instead something specific to American culture, which, following Appleman Williams, he calls “acquisitive individualism.” In calling for an anti-exceptionalist foreign policy, republican moralists like Bacevich ironically end up reinforcing exceptionalist narratives of American power. Furthermore their republican moralism inevitably leads them to issue bathetic pleas for an armistice in the culture wars in service of national unity.

A third potential source for a contemporary left foreign policy might be represented by Michael Lind, a co-founder of the New America foundation. Combining a certain sort of republicanism with realism to forge a kind of socialistic nationalism, Lind’s basic idea is that great power rivalry makes “class warfare constitutions”—borrowing here a concept from constitutional scholar (and Elizabeth Warren’s policy director) Ganesh Sitaraman—more likely. That is, under conditions of zero-sum security-cum-economic competition, the separate ruling classes of nation-states have strong incentives to shore up domestic support by offering deals to their national subaltern classes. These include limitations on what Lind calls “labor arbitrage,” whether through offshoring or immigration. Less labor arbitrage means tighter labor markets, empowering workers to demand higher wages, which pushes firms to increase productivity through the invention of labor-saving technologies. Higher productivity makes possible more generous welfare states, and helps national industries compete to supply the world with high-tech products. If technological leadership and a prosperous, patriotic citizenry are the surest guarantees of military preponderance, such an economic policy represents the best military strategy in an era of great power competition. Lind thinks this is basically what the US, Western Europe, and Japan did during the cold war. Not coincidentally, it was both “the golden age of capitalism,” and of US grand strategy. The consequence is that Lind believes the US, in order to confront China, needs to return to a “bloc” approach to foreign policy, pursuing deep relations with those countries that fall within its orbit, while actively working to reduce intercourse with rival blocs, meaning in particular a marked decrease in trade with China. As part of this shift, the US would offer concessions to the American working class, including immigration restrictions. American workers would be better off, shoring up the popular bases of US foreign policy to prepare for the difficult task of another era of great power rivalry.

The problem with this formulation is obvious: its socialism is a consequence of its nationalism, not the other way around. Lind’s brand of class compromise does not assume social transformation, only a slightly better deal for the working class. US workers, on this logic, should eat better so that they can more effectively confront Chinese workers in a generational struggle.

But Lind’s socialistic nationalism offers an important window onto what the contemporary American CEO class must be thinking. Having championed neoliberal globalization during the era of US unipolarity, American capitalists are now confronting the rise of an aggressively mercantilist China. The managers of key Western firms are extremely exercised that the Chinese have used their immense bargaining power to force western companies to give over proprietary technologies to Chinese firms (many of them state-owned) as a condition for access to China’s domestic market, especially for high-value capital goods. They fear a world-historic return of the repressed, in which Chinese firms, benefiting from low wages and backed by the Chinese state, underbid western competitors in the most lucrative, high value-added product and construction markets of the globe—hence their ambivalence about Trump’s trade war. Lind is also almost certainly right that the more powerful China becomes, the more vigilant the US government is going to be about denying Chinese companies access to technologies that may have national security implications. The recent arrest in Canada of the daughter of the founder of Huawei, the Chinese giant in the field of cellular infrastructure, on charges of circumventing US sanctions against Iran, is a striking instance of what may well become a general trend. If it continues, the result will almost certainly be a bloc-ification of the world economy, as security considerations increasingly insinuate themselves into international economic relations. However unappealing, Lind’s vision thus gives a glimpse of what a corporate-backed “left” foreign policy might look like if the American ruling class decides its best option is to exploit the rise of domestic socialism to shore up their own global economic and military hegemony.

Neither realism, republicanism, nor socialistic nationalism offers a blueprint for a left-wing foreign policy in our times. Realism assumes no change to the definition of national interests, and therefore argues unapologetically for a policy of avoiding great power war by courting it. Republicanism would fix American foreign policy by returning to ancient truths, a program which has nothing to say about how America should relate to a country whose ambitions in no way hinge on how the US governs itself, and little to say about the fact that those ancient truths were constructed on a foundation of racial slavery and genocidal expansion. Socialistic nationalism would bolster America’s ability to engage in great power rivalry by offering local concessions to American labor, but otherwise assumes and favors capitalism’s forward march.

In different ways, both Henry Wallace and the Black Panther Party understood that postwar US foreign policy, which the Marshall Plan exemplified, was designed to ensure global capitalism’s survival, an essential condition for the bedrock national interest of preserving American capitalism. Changing US foreign policy, then, required transforming American national interests. This could only be done by recomposing the American state on the basis of genuine popular power. The alternatives they proposed sought to frame the global conditions that would allow socialism to flourish, both abroad and at home. The continuing vitality of the political revolution that Occupy and Black Lives Matter launched and that Bernie Sanders injected into mainstream politics represents the most hopeful sign that a political order based on that kind of real democracy could yet be achieved in the heartland of global capitalism.

Sanders’s recent statements on foreign policy suggest that he intuitively grasps this central truth. In a 2018 essay in The Nation, Sanders pins the worldwide rise of the authoritarian right—what his intellectual comrade-in-arms Yanis Varoufakis calls the “nationalist international”—on kleptocratic oligarchs who exploit people’s legitimate grievances against their political establishments to consolidate political and economic power. To fight authoritarian nationalists, Sanders calls for a “global coalition of progressive democrats” that will “promote unity, inclusion, and . . . economic, social, racial, and environmental justice.”

Yet in listing the oligarchic authoritarians oppressing the peoples of the world, Sanders includes “President Xi Jinping” who “has steadily consolidated power . . . as his government clamps down on political freedom and aggressively promotes China’s version of authoritarian capitalism abroad.” This is a grave misjudgment. If there is a “nationalist international,” its great power patron is Russia, not China. Russia is indeed a kleptocratic state with an economy built on little more than natural resource extraction. Confronting some aspects of Russian foreign policy by using the US’s power over the international financial and monetary systems to interrupt the financial machinery that keeps oligarchy grinding might be a reasonable proposition. But the Chinese party-state is not a kleptocracy. As for exporting its brand of capitalism, it is scarcely imaginable that whatever China is exporting could be worse than what the IMF, World Bank, and US Treasury did over three decades under the auspices of “structural adjustment” or in the rearguard of military invasions. Furthermore, China wields far more carrots than sticks in its foreign economic policy. And while China is not above bullying its neighbors, it has not intervened in their internal affairs to anything like the extent that Russia, much less the United States, has done even in recent years. Aside from pushing Russia and China closer to one another at the US’s expense, Sanders’s proposed strategy repeats the error of Marshall Plan–thinking, erasing a regionally specific geopolitical conflict by framing it as an all-encompassing ideological struggle.

Sanders’s comfort with framing the US–China conflict in ideological terms—even if that ideology is different from recent versions—leads in the wrong direction. The problem with China from the point of view of US interests is not the country’s authoritarianism, however unfortunate that may be; the problem is that Chinese and American interests in East Asia directly conflict, so much so that they threaten a dramatic ratcheting up of great power rivalry. What Sanders could have learned from the history of defeats for the US left after World War II is that great power rivalry is a threat to socialism, not a prod to it. It strengthens the hands of militarists, and enables capitalists to cloak every demand for governmental favor in the garb of national security. It fosters chauvinism and offers nationalism’s poisoned psychic rewards as an alternative to emancipation. Declaring ideological war against China is not a substitute for a real war: it only makes real war that much more likely.

The first principle of a left foreign policy must be reducing the scope for the kind of rivalry that bolsters militarism in the US and among the other great powers by expanding the space for constructive international cooperation. Possibilities include establishing a genuine global commons for natural resources, with formulas for sharing that ensure benefits flow to the countries that produce them. The US could also use its international power, in particular the power of the US dollar, to reduce the avenues—like tax havens and various forms of money laundering—through which oligarchs hold states hostage and vice versa. The US could work to bolster the security and independence of smaller countries in order to lessen the extent to which third countries’ need for economic concessions make them sites for geoeconomic competition between the great powers. This would be a welcome alternative to the US’s patronizing attitude up until this point, which has been to insist that countries attracted to China’s offers of aid and investment, especially heavily-indebted African countries, must be getting a raw deal—and putting their sovereignty at risk.

The surest way to reduce the scope for conflict is to center foreign relations on those areas in which there are genuinely common interests. Along with working to achieve a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through nuclear disarmament and economic cooperation, the US and China most urgently need to cooperate over climate change. If protecting the planet from catastrophic climate change became the hinge of US strategy, American as well as Chinese leaders might begin to conclude that cooperation is more in their respective national interests than rivalry.

Both countries might also have an interest in putting checks on the freewheeling and destructive nature of contemporary financial capitalism. China’s real estate and stock markets are gyrating out of control and could precipitate a global financial collapse. Some forms of capital controls in the interests of national and international economic stability could be pursued by China and the US working together. Likewise, inequality is a growing social problem in both countries, jeopardizing social stability. A 21st century Bretton Woods to create an international environment that refrains from punishing states for pursuing welfarist domestic policies might be in the interests of both countries. Crises like those befalling the European Union and the United States, as austerity helped lay the ground for a nativist upsurge, work against international stability and cooperation. China and the US would both benefit from a program of cooperation in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America that helped stabilize political and economic conditions in those places such that the flow of desperate migrants slows.

Even with all that, China will still likely decide that it is not willing to tolerate a system of US alliances in East Asia that constrains China’s freedom of maneuver in the region. At a minimum, this is a situation that will require careful diplomacy with other countries in East Asia to avoid the creation of hostile blocs poised for war. The United States, whatever its political complexion, will have to choose carefully when to contest Chinese actions, as in the secret construction of naval bases on dredged-up islands in territorial waters claimed by other countries that have not consented to them, and when to treat them as essentially legitimate under conditions of free international economic intercourse and national sovereignty, as with much Chinese overseas lending.

Nor may it be possible to hold off forever the day when the Chinese currency rivals the dollar in global markets. The last time such a change happened—when the British Navy and the pound sterling lost ground to the US Navy and the dollar before, during, and after World War II—the British tried in vain to persuade the Americans to forgo a dollar-denominated world economy in favor of a new, international currency. A contemptuous United States government gave the British the brush-off, and in fact used its leverage over a weakened Britain to hasten that country’s postwar decline. A more socialist America might wish to consider what measures of monetary internationalization would be in the US’s long-term interests, and which our current position of strength would enable us to implement today.

None of these suggestions are guarantees against great power rivalry. Much depends on the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party—now increasingly a one-man show—and their own desire for “a place in the sun,” as the German advocates of Weltpolitik once called it. One must also hope that the Chinese people, in particular China’s 200 million industrial workers, come to recognize that rivalry is very much serving the purposes of China’s own rulers and plutocrats, just as the vanguard of the European and American workers movements saw in the years before World War I. But a US foreign policy that treats China as an ideological foe plays directly into President Xi’s skillful deployment of the trope of Chinese humiliation at the hands of western imperialists. Meanwhile, the great risk of China’s rise to the ambitions of the US left is that fear of US relative decline will bolster our own militarists and monopolists.

The relative decline of US power vis-à-vis China is well underway, and is probably irreversible. The historical record provides no clear indication as to whether imperial decline is good or bad for socialist prospects. But logically and historically, the relative decline of one state means the relative rise of another. There are good reasons to welcome the end of US global hegemony, and to guard against the return of Marshall Plan–thinking in the guise of global ideological war against China, or perhaps a putative Russo-Chinese axis of authoritarian capitalism. But there are equally good reasons to hope that the US protects those strategic assets which give it autonomy in international affairs. Should genuine social transformation within the United States ever appear imminent, we certainly do not want it truncated by a hostile capitalist power on the other side of the world.

Aziz Rana wrote about the end of the cold war consensus in issue 30. ↩

Michael J. Green, By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific since 1783 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. ↩

The following paragraphs draw heavily on Benn Steil’s exceptional new history, The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018). Steil, a conservative historian based at the Council on Foreign Relations, fully accepts this historiographical consensus, and even radicalizes it. ↩
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14 Mar 2019 15:48

In our age of Republican minority despotism, attempts to grapple with anthropogenic climate destruction have been warped to encourage several varieties of despair, rendered acute by the ticking-time-bomb nature of the problem. The losses suffered by Earth and its populations — plant and animal — are neither reversible nor remediable. There is no future filled with reparations. There is no long moral arc. Ten or fifteen years ago it was possible to think of the polar bear and the white rhinoceros as martyrs, dying off to shame us into better harmony with the natural world. Not ruined archaic torsos but videos of extinct creatures would say, “You must change your life.” The same hope held with respect to coral reefs, forests, and certain small Pacific Islands. A dark glimmer of progressive thinking (the “bargaining phase,” as it were) was discernible in the Kyoto Protocol and at the Paris conference, where the prime minister of Tuvalu’s call to impose a strict not-to-be-exceeded target of a 1.5-degree-Celsius rise in global temperature — the minimum required to save his people from a homeless future in a world hostile to refugees and immigrants — was dismissed in favor of pragmatic mitigating maneuvers intended to induce the cooperation of holdout nations such as the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

At least now we can see things clearly — if only we could focus on the problem. Whatever they may say or tweet, the Trump Administration is not in denial about climate change. In fact, it has the perverse distinction of being the first US administration to address it head-on. In 2000, we had a presidential candidate who understood the perils facing us, even if he underplayed them to try to get elected. (By a margin of one United States Supreme Court justice, he was not elected.) Instead, the Bush Administration pretended climate change did not exist, though back then it was called global warming; “climate change” was a Bush/Rove term of obfuscation that eventually carried the day, even among scientists. President Obama spoke softly about the seriousness of human-driven climate change in public while his administration chipped away at automobile emissions and provided token green-energy incentives. These may have been the correct policies for a major, developed nation . . . in the early 1990s. But like much else after the financial crisis in 2008, the opportunity for a visionary shift in national focus — one that would have required investment at least equal to that being poured into the unwinnable war on terror — was bartered away to chase after an illusory political consensus with the terminally uncompromising opposition.

By contrast, from its first days the Trump presidency brought a series of cabinet appointments and executive orders clustered around the single purpose of hastening ecological collapse: Bring back coal! Shackle and corrupt the EPA! Remove climate change information from government websites! Withdraw from the Paris Agreement! A candidate whose platform called for pushing carbon dioxide levels past the frontier of scientists’ most dire predictions could not have expressed that desire more swiftly or succinctly. It was almost as if that were the whole point. As indeed it was.

There are two clearheaded ways to deal with what’s happening to the Earth. One is to Manhattan-Project the implementation of clean energy sources and immediately stop burning fossil fuels. We also need to ditch the patriarchal models of wealth and status reproduction that have been constitutive of nearly all expansionist, war-making, and resource-depleting societies of the past ten thousand years. While we do that, we can try to ameliorate the many catastrophes that have already been set in motion.

The other way, the path we’re on currently, is to concede that billions of people will see their economic and cultural lives ruined before dying off at a scale to make the casualties of World War II appear insignificant — and “gameplan” not to be among them. That’s what “winning” in the climate-changed future amounts to, and that’s the world the Republican Party has committed itself — and the rest of us — to endure: a social-Darwinist survival of the “fittest,” “wealthiest,” or most prepared, at least in the sense of stockpiling the most guns and canned food. It’s been painfully apparent since the term ecological refugee was popularized by a UN report in the mid-1980s that unthinkable numbers of people would be forced into migration in coming decades by climate change. Immigration, national borders, and food, water, and energy distribution will be the central issues facing all governments. From there it’s a short step, if it’s even a step at all, to a vehement resurgence of open racism and bigotry among those with the good fortune to inhabit the least immediately vulnerable areas, be they the highlands of Burma, the fertile Pannonian plain of Hungary, or the plunder-enriched sprawl of the United States.

Any unrest could be said to really be “about” climate change.
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The looming prospect of a panoply of belligerent, Blut und Boden regimes has always been one of the scariest potential political outcomes of widespread ecological collapse. Through a series of accidents and “influences,” we got our version early in the United States. We can and should get rid of it, but the paranoid energies that enabled its triumph are durable and already have pervaded much of the world. Trumpism is our first national response to climate change, and it’s a brutal, fearful, vengeful, and gloating response — one that predicts and invites warfare on a global scale. For all the terrible statistical projections, alarming models, and buried reports, what’s most immediately terrifying to the human imagination about climate change is the revelation of how large numbers of our species behave under conditions of perceived threat, scarcity, and danger.

Trump’s election has dragged us kicking and screaming into the Climate Change Era, even as so many of the discussions around Trump and his party distract us from seeing it. If there was ever a time when climate change, née global warming, was “a topic” to be discussed dispassionately, speculated about, and debated in chilly board rooms, classrooms, and One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, now it is a present danger and reality tangled up in every political issue. Any unrest, whether in the Sahel, the Middle East, or Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the Rohingya minority have been effectively wiped off the map — pretty much anything, even the uniquely stupid Brexit — could be said to really be “about” climate change. The same with the fates of New Orleans, Houston, Puerto Rico, and so on. The inextricability of people and climate has been understood and written about since at least the late 1980s and early ’90s, when Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature and Gore’s Earth in the Balance came out, but now the effects are far more pronounced. No one can plausibly claim ignorance. You either know and know, or you know and deny, or you don’t even know you know, but have absorbed the knowledge through subtler means, whether collective anxiety or just something in the air.

Once in a while, and with increasing frequency, climate change rises to the forefront of popular consciousness. It happened, for instance, in 2007, when An Inconvenient Truth won two Oscars and extreme heatwaves swept across the US and Europe, causing wildfires that torched over ten million acres of forest. A critical mass of people aided by the notion that others are doing something similar can break through the powerful psychological resistance and look the blinding thing in the face. It’s devastating and painful; you grieve and you panic. Even so, there’s relief in bringing something so painful into view, in holding it with your mind. But you can only look for so long. Resistance reasserts itself, and you slide back behind it. Next time you come out a tiny bit further before you retreat. This is how understanding happens, through a series of breakthroughs and retrenchments and consolidations, as with all efforts toward intentional growth. A single revelation is rarely enough. Even though “we know, we know,” as Bellow’s Mr. Sammler says about the human moral impulse, we also forget, forget.

So much of our daily behavior is confused and uncertain. We can’t seem to lead the lives we have and acknowledge the future simultaneously, even as we must. We keep our eyes on the middle distance — our hopes for the country (universal healthcare!) and for ourselves — and only feel the shadows on the horizon across our peripheral vision. We are everyday climate deniers the way we are everyday death deniers: we write our articles, save for “retirement,” canvass for causes that give us the most hope. We go to bars and ask our friends whether they plan to have kids. Those of us with kids have become “preppers” in both senses, drilling our toddlers with blocks, trilingual board books, and Raspberry Pis to ace the local magnet preschool’s entrance exam while lobbying high schools to teach organic farming and archery. Perhaps we should start cultivating other friends, those with hand skills, for when civilization breaks. But what will we be able to offer in return? We can edit their mission statements! More likely we’ll do the unskilled labor, like rusticated Chinese intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution. Perhaps our arrow-slinging children will bear us on their backs out of the civilization we ruined for them.

We’re not the first generation or nation to harbor such anxious fantasies. So, like Susan Sontag contemplating the end of the world in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis, we’ve been watching Japanese movies — the distracting disaster kind as well as the more realistic and subtle. In Akira Kurosawa’s 1955 I Live in Fear, a wealthy Japanese businessman, terrorized by news of the recently developed H-bomb, hatches a plan to sell his foundry and move his large family, plus mistress, to a Brazilian estate he is told will be safe even from the winds of fallout once the cold war superpowers finish annihilating each other and their allies. He screens a movie of the acreage to his family: breezes blowing in gentle waves through tall crops. His children don’t quite appreciate his consideration; they want a life like everyone else’s. They envy their father’s status and believe they’re entitled to inherit it. So they take the patriarch to civil court to have the businessman ruled incompetent by law.

Both sides appear to have legitimate claims in the realm of ordinary generational dispute, but in the face of atomic threat it’s not clear that building a fallout shelter or seeking a place of greater safety is any less rational than the children’s expectation that Japan’s semifeudal, postwar order will endure indefinitely to their benefit. The irony is that by acting to ensure some form of continuity — either bare life, genetic preservation according to the father’s wishes, or social continuity for the children — both parent and children violate that which they claim to value most highly. The businessman ends up burning his own factory, laying waste to his riches, and alienating his offspring, whose lawsuit against him makes a mockery of the traditionalist values they want upheld. It’s a tragedy in a postmodern sense, where the tragic does not consist, as Hegel thought, in the conflict between two equal goods, two equally valid demands, which can only be resolved by the next age or paradigm, but in a struggle between pointless desires and differing sets of human limitations.

The existential problem posed by the nuclear age, and now by climate change, is a variant of what Lauren Berlant calls cruel optimism: the instincts and habits that once served our survival and thriving, whether as social collectives or individuals, now work toward our destruction, and are revealed in many respects to have been working in that direction all along. This is what extinction feels like from the inside. The original English title for I Live in Fear is Record of a Living Being.

We can grasp the futility when we see it, yet we remain, to an extent, trapped. We streamed I Live in Fear during the final days of FilmStruck. We were even a little grateful to AT&T for shutting down the service to appease shareholders because it gave us something else to feel mournful about. Will all those amazing films become another minor province in Jeff Bezos’s empire, or will they be snuffed out by an algorithm? Some days the relentless monoculture of Amazon weighs heavier on our humanity than the continued deforestation of the actual Amazon. Who wants to live in a future where no one watches Tarkovsky or Bergman?

Intellectually, this is the most difficult: to let go of our impulses toward the infinite and the eternal, which in another era might have been satisfied by religion but which we learned to redirect into literature and culture. There was a powerful seduction in the idea that while individual humans may die, books and ideas provide humans a quantum of immortality. Even if we didn’t write a lasting work, we could participate in a community of shared meaning and purpose that predated us and would, because of our efforts, outlast us. The intimacy we may still feel with a long-dead writer or artist, even living ones we’ve never met, is the most special thing in the world. Such premises, though, cannot be reconciled with an understanding of what’s ahead. We delay grappling with the fact of death in favor of a kind of collective immortality of literature, of shared thought — but that kind of immortality is premised on the existence of our civilization and the maintenance of our traditions. And when human civilization ends, whether in the sudden collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet or with a giant methane fart or both, wet and smelly, it’s unlikely that whatever comes after will have much interest in shoring fragments against our ruins.

If our imaginations are robust enough, we can push ourselves to picture some posthuman, dominant life form for our post-catastrophic Earth. Fully conscious, autonomous Robo sapiens fueled by solar power, or new age crystals, or Tesla coils; fantastically evolved crystalline, anaerobic life-forms; or maybe the evolutionary champion will be a network of surviving flora with neural-network powers, like that planet from Solaris. Grant them, while we’re at it — because of our inescapable human narcissism — a curiosity similar to our own when it comes to precursor civilizations and species. Imbue at least one of them with the archivist’s desire to rummage, note, and classify (surely a bug in the program!) the data stored in some miraculously intact server, or in a hoarder’s paper library preserved in mummified splendor in the new desert conditions of America’s once Great Plains. What might they say about the literature produced by humans on the subject of global warming and climate breakdown during the crucial period from 1999 to 2019?

The first decade of the 21st century yields some fine specimens of humans actively grappling with the oncoming catastrophe without quite knowing how close it would be. Elizabeth Kolbert’s pieces for the New Yorker in those years were framed as various encounters and profiles with archaeologists, glaciologists, climatologists. They have the deep narrative structure of mystery stories. What does the study of Greenland’s ice cores reveal about potential freshwater availability at the equator? What does the presence of dolomite particles in sediment dredged from the Gulf of Oman tell us about a crippling drought that destroyed an ancient Sumerian civilization in less than four years? In 2005, she quoted the code of James Hansen’s climate modeling program as if it were a piece of the Rosetta Stone or a monitory Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. The tone was doom-edged but reassuring. The conditional tense was a feature: This could happen if; this might happen. The line of thought was, as often as not, analogical: Other civilizations died, we too could die. Trust the experts, they said, a message for the public but also for an assumed audience of powerful “deciders” in Washington. Kolbert’s articles were about forms of what one might call deep listening: to the winds, the cores, the fragments of pottery from a city that had devolved so quickly that one could learn in a matter of moments which pieces had been produced by the flourishing and which by the dying civilization. Nobody listened, so these now feel like the opening scenes in one of those alien invasion films that humans watch to entertain and placate themselves, in which a lone specialist must warn everyone before it’s too late and is never heeded until it is.

By 2009, Kolbert turned to explaining the Anthropocene and climate change through the die-off of charismatic megafauna. The essays collected in The Sixth Extinction are less mystery and more of a style used in accounts of the great crimes of human history — think Lucy Dawidowicz’s The War Against the Jews on a transhuman scale. The conditional tense was banished because it was already happening. Again to no great avail. Once the Great Barrier Reef turned bone white and it became clearer that humans could not avert their fate, a new chapter opened on mainstream magazine doom mongering. Climate writing was no longer the exclusive province of science writers. The gentler show-don’t-tell gospel of Kolbert or even Bill McKibben was joined by varieties of Revelations — passing from what Nathaniel Rich terms the “Apprehension” phase to what he calls, with Wagnerian pathos, the “Reckoning.” What will the Robo sapiens make of the end-is-nigh warnings of New York (“It is, I promise, worse than you think”) or the Times Magazine (“we failed to solve this problem when we had the chance”)?

Even Kolbert seemed to have caught the mood: by 2017 or 2018, the ratio of her long features to weekly or daily comments flipped in response to the slew of the government’s many outrages. Where political leaders had been in the background of her earlier pieces, the name Trump appears increasingly in headlines, reflecting again his megalomaniacal dominance of the news cycle and the world. Could one man literally be responsible for breaking the climate? It seems so, yes. At this late hour, Kolbert recently returned to interview Hansen. Haunted by guilt at his failure to break through the toxic cloud of obfuscation and denial and hostility, he leaves a message to the planet: “The simple thing is, I’m sorry we’re leaving such a **** mess.”

In other precincts, where powerlessness was more quickly intuited or accepted, a mode of climate elegy surfaced. Safely ensconced in a surviving lookout tower, a pair of books, Philip Connors’s Fire Season and A Song for the River, offer accounts of what it was like to have been a professional witness to the disruption of the natural cycles of forest fires. Both engage with and test one’s faith that nature provides “for such loss . . . abundant recompense” and that humans may, if they so choose, find evidence for renewal in the contemplation of conflagration. Connors writes as one who knows himself to be part of a dying breed, one of few “officiants at an ongoing funeral for the forest we had found when we first assumed our posts.” The forest acreage dwindles from development and overgrazing; the fires no longer burn themselves out after being allowed to clear away dead and overgrown brush. There is more desiccated and dead forest to burn with each year. The river dries up in places and is threatened by a major dam project intended to benefit some politically connected farmers on unsustainable land.

That the loss of our climate also produces a climate of loss should be no mystery. The elegy, too, though, is a symptom of humans’ nearly unbearable optimism in the face of the catastrophe about to engulf them. Mourning implies, by the very act of committing to mourn, a hope for renewal and survival — or at least a belief that the author, if not the book itself, will find “pastures new,” as an earlier elegy has it. At the heart of even the best literature about climate change, we find this ghost of consolation for something which ought to leave us inconsolable.

The human belief in immortality seems to have tricked us, allowing us to project ourselves into a humanless future that nevertheless reads and sifts the ashes of human culture. This leap of faith — a belief that memories and cultural traces can persist past our ability to comprehend how those traces will be shaped and interpreted — animates Roy Scranton’s more stoic than elegiac Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene, which, like Kolbert’s earlier work, offers a perverse sort of consolation: Because we were able to recover the texts of earlier cultures and civilizations — like the ancient Sumerians, and the Akkadians, the Mycenaeans, the Hellenes, and the Romans, all of whom were doomed by forces beyond their control — some Beings, human or not, might recover us. “We must build arks,” Scranton urges, “not just biological arks, to carry forward endangered genetic data, but also cultural arks, to carry forward endangered wisdom.” We should live now the way the philosopher Jonathan Lear (in Radical Hope) suggested the Crow Nation learned to survive their cultural genocide by European settlers, by imagining ourselves as remote ancestors to a posterity we have lost any right to claim as our own. Our integrity consists in our willingness to surrender our culture without abandoning it.

Of potentially greater predictive and preparatory value for what awaits us in the short term are the apocalyptic effusions of pop culture that do not reference climate change at all. The world is destroyed more times in a Hollywood studio executive’s calendar than in all the creation and decreation myths of Hindu mythology. The Walking Dead absorbed the attention of millions when The Sixth Extinction, a wild success by publishing industry standards, sold about 360,000 copies. Partly this is because the zombies are us — duh! — but “us” in a way that allows us to displace responsibility for the destruction we wreak on that which we love best, which also happens to be ourselves. When disasters strike, as they have already and will again, they will feel external, set in motion by forces so deeply structural that they might as well be “natural.” Our willed ignorance is part of what allows us to fantasize about surviving the consequences of our ignorance.

Such are the fantasies and thoughts we entertain under the flat, blinding lights of our neighborhood Trader Joe’s, housed in the basement of a new luxury mall. We maneuver our cart around the ant-like evening crowd, join the queue winding through crates of packaged snacks and produce. Everyone is civil in this underground bunker. Everyone looks like a corpse going through the motions. It’s the bourgeois bread line of apocalypse. The impressive chaos management of the employees reminds us of FEMA and the thought that we may soon live in box stores, like the refugees from the Paradise wildfire out in California. And why are these lights so awful?

At least we know the answer to that one. One of few successful attempts to reduce carbon emissions in the United States in the 21st century resulted in the slow replacement of heat-generating yellow incandescent light bulbs with cold white-blue light-emitting diodes. LED — it doesn’t stand for “lower emission density,” although that’s what they want us to think. Of course we would sacrifice a little aesthetic indulgence if it meant saving the planet. But the back-of-envelope math suggests that even if every incandescent bulb used in the United States for residential and commercial applications were replaced by its diode equivalent, the likely total differential would be a percentage point of our total energy use.

The question of who gets to live, and how, has always been the realm of politics.
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Why is this trivial benefit, at significant cost to quality of life, the stated objective of a law of the land? Could it be that this depressing-seeming side effect of state-enforced limitations on our lighting choices is in fact its primary effect? That its intrusion into the intimate routines of private life and the big rituals of public life, like shopping, taking a walk at night through our favorite urban haunts, or spending hours in a hospital waiting room, was meant to socialize us, lumen by lumen, into the asceticism the crisis seemed to call for: a joyless, penitential Protestant inheritance through which we could prove our own moral fitness for salvation by how little we indulged?

The lights give us headaches; we catch ourselves raving. We like to think of ourselves as people who believe in good governance and ecological stewardship. The minor virtue of foregoing the small pleasures of incandescence can make us feel engaged with sustainability and help us avoid the larger duty of addressing more difficult problems, like the two-thirds of energy we waste in generating and transmitting electricity, or the climate catastrophe itself. So many people changing so many light bulbs makes it feel like the degree of impact must be similarly momentous. On the other hand, for people who hate “big government” and also deny the Anthropocene, this same policy confirms their biases: a ridiculous, nannying regulation with no significant benefit. The case of light-bulb regulations is a miniature of all that was wrong with the discussion of offsets, trade-offs, and watching your carbon footprint in the early to mid ’00s. And the political consequences of the ascetic approach to saving the environment have been epically disastrous.

Truly, we have **** it up in so many ways! Yet while climate change increasingly feels like an inescapable doom upon humanity, our only means of recourse remains political. Even under the heavy weather of present and near-future conditions, there’s an imperative to imagine that we aren’t facing the death of everyone, or the end of existence. No matter what the worst-case models using the most advanced forecasting of feedback loops may predict, we have to act as if we can assume some degree of human continuity. What happens in the next decades is instead, as the climate reporter Kate Aronoff has said, about who gets to live in the 21st century. And the question of who gets to live, and how, has always been the realm of politics.

The most radical and hopeful response to climate change shouldn’t be, What do we give up? It should remain the same one that plenty of ordinary and limited humans ask themselves each day: How do we collectively improve our overall quality of life? It is a welfare question, one that has less to do with consumer choices — like changing light bulbs — than with the spending of trillions and trillions of still-available dollars on decoupling economic growth and wealth from carbon-based fuels and carbon-intensive products, including plastics.

The economist Robert Pollin makes a convincing case that only massive investment in and commitment to alternative energy sources stands any chance of lowering emissions to acceptable levels. All other solutions, from “degrowth” to population control, will fall well short of intended targets while causing greater societal pain and instability. To achieve a fairly modest 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions within twenty years, Pollin suggests in a recent New Left Review essay, we would have to invest, per year, “1–1.5 per cent of global GDP — about $1 trillion at the current global GDP of $80 trillion,” and continually increase that investment, “rising in step with global growth thereafter.” Whether we call this a Manhattan Project for renewable, sustainable energy or a Green New Deal, as Pollin and politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have named it, the point is to change the political discourse around climate change from either mindless futurism of the kind that proposes large scale “geoengineering” projects or fruitless cap-and-trade negotiations at the mercy of obstructionists. Only a great potlatch of what we have can save us from a bonfire of the vanities on a planetary scale.

In the short term, a true Green New Deal would need to be more like a Green Shock Doctrine. As hurricanes, fires, and floods pile up, each one would provide the occasion to unhook more people from the fossil-fuel grid. At the scale Pollin envisions, it would be naive to assume that a switch from fossils to renewables could happen smoothly. There would be disruptions to almost every aspect of economic life, including food supplies, the power grid (even the internet!), and daily work rhythms and commutes. There would be black markets in banned fuels, and even some forms of violence, like the current populist French riots against Macron’s gasoline taxes. If even such small measures aimed at reducing carbon consumption result in such aggressive pushback, there is no reason to be moderate. Compared with what awaits us if we continue as we are, such shocks are as a rainstorm to a hurricane, or the 1977 blackout of New York City to the bombing of Dresden.

The economic costs of climate change can already be measured by toting up the losses incurred during every single hurricane, wildfire, drought, and war of the past ten years or longer. Because these costs have not yet been borne by any of the major stakeholders in the US or — really — the global economy, they are written off as the price of doing business. No sane group of investors or empowered body of citizens, however, would make these trade-offs to ensure a few more years of short-term profits when measured against the prospects of what would be the last and most profound crash in the history of capitalism.

The immediate switch to sustainable energy on a global scale also addresses one of the intellectual stumbling blocks that has bedeviled even well-intentioned climate-change policy makers: what to do about so-called developing societies. Unlike the ascetic cap-and-trade system, we aren’t required by this switch to turn to Indian or Chinese middle classes and say, “we deny you the quality of life that we enjoyed.” We should have never enjoyed it in the way we did — that was well understood, then as now, if for different reasons. The extraction-based political economy that buoys a specific stratum of India, Brazil, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula states, and China is objectionable on nearly every level; there’s no “global justice” legitimacy to the idea that past resource exploitation by Western powers entitles the elites of postcolonial developing countries to squander the future of their own citizens and the rest of the planet. Wholesale disaster under the banner of postcolonial nationalism will not feel better than under the banner of revanchist white nationalism.

Does this sound madly utopian? If so, it’s because the fossil-fuel industry — and that term, industry, must now include governments like Russia’s and our own — has been successful at obscuring how close we are to being able to switch over to renewable energy. The relevant technologies of solar, wind, hydro, and even nuclear power all exist. Architects and green industrial designers know how to make structures that aren’t just energy efficient but even net-energy positive. Under political conditions other than our current ones, we’d have great reason for optimism.

But unlike with other utopian programs, no one seems to see the promise. “Decouple now” and “Renewable or bust” don’t seem likely to harness the diverse interest groups currently opposed to Trump and the Republican Party. Most of us prefer to remain in the dark when it comes to energy. It’s still far easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of carbon-based capitalism. But what other choice do we have, America? Let’s get right down to the job — nearsighted, psychopathic, queer, angelic, diabolical, whatever we are, harness that most renewable of resources, human will, and put our shoulders to the wheel.
aphronesis
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14 Mar 2019 23:01

Shame it didn't get 67 votes, but this seems to end up in courts.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/14/senate-national-emergency-declaration-vote-trump
Donald Trump has threatened to use his presidential veto after the US Senate delivered a sharp rebuke to the president on Thursday, voting to overturn his declaration last month of a national emergency in order to divert taxpayer funds to the US-Mexico border.

In a 59-41 vote, 12 Republicans joined every Senate Democrat in a rare move to block the president’s effort to divert billions in funding to build his long-promised border wall without congressional approval.

The Democratic-controlled House passed the measure last month, and its approval in the Senate will probably force Trump to use the first veto of his presidency. The defections on Thursday fell far short of the 67 votes needed to override the veto, however.

Moments after the vote, Trump tweeted simply: “VETO!” He later added praise for “all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!”

Earlier on Thursday, Trump had attempted to constrain the defections by warning Republicans that a “vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!”

But Trump ultimately failed to allay the concerns within his party that the action violated the constitution’s separation of powers, which confers the power of the purse to Congress.
"Are you going to believe me or what you see with your own eyes?"

Don't mention Khashoggi! It’s a collusion witch hoax!
User avatar Robert5091
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14 Mar 2019 23:13

Remember Venezuela? First power blackout, now oil refinery fire.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/14/591057/Venezuela-terrorist-attack-fire-oil-facility-Guaido-United-States
Venezuela says the US and the country’s Washington-backed opposition are behind a “terrorist attack” on an oil facility in the crisis-hit Latin American state.

The blaze broke out at the Petro San Felix heavy oil processing plant in eastern Venezuela late Wednesday. There were no reports of casualties.

Speaking to state television, Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo accused the head of the opposition-ruled Congress, Juan Guaido, who has named himself as Venezuela’s interim president, for triggering the incident.

The minister said on Twitter that Guaido and the opposition were "intensifying terrorist incursions" against the state-owned oil company PDVSA to impact Venezuela's vital crude exports.

‘US after bloodshed’

Quevedo also accused Guaido of collusion with the United States. "Traitors!" he wrote, adding "the US has decided to rob Venezuela of its oil resources... (and) wants blood to flow."
"Are you going to believe me or what you see with your own eyes?"

Don't mention Khashoggi! It’s a collusion witch hoax!
User avatar Robert5091
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15 Mar 2019 00:18

Since the drugs come through ports of entry, a wall/fence/barrier is most definitely not going to do anything at all to curb it. Same with those in the country illegally. Most came on legal visas and just over stayed them.
User avatar Koronin
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Re:

15 Mar 2019 01:56

Koronin wrote:Since the drugs come through ports of entry, a wall/fence/barrier is most definitely not going to do anything at all to curb it. Same with those in the country illegally. Most came on legal visas and just over stayed them.

The drugs that don't come through ports, come through tunnels and by boat, a wall won't stop those either. As has been discussed, if the drugs don't come from the southern border, they will come from somewhere else because the demand is there.
jmdirt
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Re: Re:

15 Mar 2019 05:22

jmdirt wrote:
Koronin wrote:Since the drugs come through ports of entry, a wall/fence/barrier is most definitely not going to do anything at all to curb it. Same with those in the country illegally. Most came on legal visas and just over stayed them.

The drugs that don't come through ports, come through tunnels and by boat, a wall won't stop those either. As has been discussed, if the drugs don't come from the southern border, they will come from somewhere else because the demand is there.


Exactly.
User avatar Koronin
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15 Mar 2019 11:23

Worth a read -
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article227819279.html
Documents unsealed Thursday in a South Florida court case provide the most convincing evidence yet that Russian spies piggybacked on a Russian-tied foreign tech company with offices in Florida and Texas to hack the Democratic National Committee and party leaders.

The documents were unsealed in the aftermath of a failed defamation lawsuit brought against online news company BuzzFeed by XBT Holding and its founder, Aleksej Gubarev. BuzzFeed had identified him and his company when it published in January 2017 the so-called Trump dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
...
Weeks before the dossier was published by BuzzFeed, but at a time when it was in the hands of the FBI and numerous news organizations including McClatchy, a top official of the State Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, was found dead in his car the day after Christmas.

First news reports in Russia said Gen. Oleg Erovinkin, 61, was murdered in Moscow and found dead in the back of his car. Hours later, the story in Kremlin-linked news sites was that he’d had a heart attack.

It has been widely rumored that Erovinkin was Steele’s source.
"Are you going to believe me or what you see with your own eyes?"

Don't mention Khashoggi! It’s a collusion witch hoax!
User avatar Robert5091
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Re:

15 Mar 2019 13:29

Robert5091 wrote:Remember Venezuela? First power blackout, now oil refinery fire.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/14/591057/Venezuela-terrorist-attack-fire-oil-facility-Guaido-United-States
Venezuela says the US and the country’s Washington-backed opposition are behind a “terrorist attack” on an oil facility in the crisis-hit Latin American state.

The blaze broke out at the Petro San Felix heavy oil processing plant in eastern Venezuela late Wednesday. There were no reports of casualties.

Speaking to state television, Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo accused the head of the opposition-ruled Congress, Juan Guaido, who has named himself as Venezuela’s interim president, for triggering the incident.

The minister said on Twitter that Guaido and the opposition were "intensifying terrorist incursions" against the state-owned oil company PDVSA to impact Venezuela's vital crude exports.

‘US after bloodshed’

Quevedo also accused Guaido of collusion with the United States. "Traitors!" he wrote, adding "the US has decided to rob Venezuela of its oil resources... (and) wants blood to flow."


I remember and we in the US have our very own version of Maduro.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/trump-tough-people-military-police-bikers.html
I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad


This should scare the shite out of everybody..except the ignorant 'deplorables, of course..trump really is an idiot.
Remove him and there will be a military-supported coup to keep him in office? Yeegads.
User avatar Bustedknuckle
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15 Mar 2019 21:45

Aphro..this is not a case of be careful what you wish for..the world over everybody thinks that they see greener grass on the other side. When all those people find out that car ownership,city living and abandoning all connection to the land there is no real way to assess our natural conditions.
Here in California we have an all out assault on everything. Gas tax model not working. Team Trump trying to turn back time, relaxing water and air pollution standards. Trump arguing for the auto industry that more lax emission standards are good for everyone, the environment can't talk so it doesn't have a vote or voice.
Surfing or fishing you can see debris in the water. Plastic product use changes anger the public..bags,straws .are a starting point but business and consumers don't conceptualize how it can help.
Fires burning themselves out is forbidden by design. Homes built in remote and or dangerous areas are victims rather than risk takers. Build your house in a flood prone area..again you are still the victim after 2 or 3 rebuilds to your property often w government cash.
Pretty straight forward..if your house is hit by disasters like fire flood or hurricane a few times in a decade, you don't have bad luck just piss poor planning.
Look at the demands on a river like the Colorado..Trump claims he will help cities and farmers..unless he can make it rain he can only offer a helping of the endless schit, he is full of..

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-29/what-drought-trump-tells-californians-were-going-solve-your-water-problem
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