Kagan pushed regime change in Iraq, now says US must get over ‘trauma’ and do Syria

US Politics

Robert Kagan helped start the Project for a New American Century, the famous neoconservative shop that advised George Bush that Israel’s war with terrorism was our war and hurry up and topple Saddam Hussein because he has nuclear weapons. “If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors,” they wrote. Well the greater horrors came, hundreds of thousands killed and injured, Iraq torn apart, and ISIS rising.

With that sort of record, you’d think Kagan ought to be boxing holiday orders at a fulfillment center or doing Santa duty at the mall. Nope, he’s still pushing regime change from an elite platform. A year ago, the unrepentant Brookings scholar was wheeled out by the New York Times to counsel a more aggressive foreign policy for President Obama. And now he has an after-Paris piece in the Wall Street Journal with a typically-grandiose headline, The Crisis of World Order, urging policymakers to get over their Iraq “trauma” and for Obama to replace the Assad regime in Syria.

In recent years, the mere mention of U.S. ground troops has been enough to stop any conversation. Americans, or at least the intelligentsia and political class, remain traumatized by Iraq, and all calculations about what to do in Syria have been driven by that trauma.

No mention of the trauma to the people of Iraq of the war Kagan pushed. The American political class is suffering from “paralysis,” Kagan says. But Paris has changed all that.

“Perhaps there are Europeans today wishing that the U.S. will not compound its error of commission in Iraq by making an equally unfortunate error of omission in Syria. “

Here’s the plan, it’ll just take 50,000 troops:

America will have to take the lead, provide the troops, supply the bulk of the air power and pull together those willing and able to join the effort.

What would such an effort look like? First, it would require establishing a safe zone in Syria, providing the millions of would-be refugees still in the country a place to stay and the hundreds of thousands who have fled to Europe a place to which to return. To establish such a zone, American military officials estimate, would require not only U.S. air power but ground forces numbering up to 30,000. Once the safe zone was established, many of those troops could be replaced by forces from Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, but the initial force would have to be largely American.

In addition, a further 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops would be required to uproot Islamic State from the haven it has created in Syria and to help local forces uproot it in Iraq.

Of course the “heretofore immovable” Assad regime must go. Something the Israelis want too. Kagan never mentions Israel, of course. The neocons don’t want to be charged with misapprehending the U.S. interest.

At the same time, an internationally negotiated and blessed process of transition in Syria should take place, ushering the bloodstained Mr. Assad from power and establishing a new provisional government to hold nationwide elections. The heretofore immovable Mr. Assad would face an entirely new set of military facts on the ground, with the Syrian opposition now backed by U.S. forces and air power, the Syrian air force grounded and Russian bombing halted. Throughout the transition period, and probably beyond even the first rounds of elections, an international peacekeeping force—made up of French, Turkish, American and other NATO forces as well as Arab troops—would have to remain in Syria until a reasonable level of stability, security and inter-sectarian trust was achieved.

No mention of how the Syrian air force would be grounded or Russian bombing halted. Maybe Obama can just call Putin and tell him we’ve got it covered? (Snark) And only 50,000 troops to stabilize Syria. Like that really worked in Iraq.

And look at how he uses Paris:

At practically any other time in the last 70 years, the idea of dispatching even 50,000 troops to fight an organization of Islamic State’s description would not have seemed too risky or too costly to most Americans. In 1990-91, President George H.W. Bush, now revered as a judicious and prudent leader, sent half a million troops across the globe to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, a country that not one American in a million could find on a map and which the U.S. had no obligation to defend. In 1989, he sent 30,000 troops to invade Panama to topple an illegitimate, drug-peddling dictator. During the Cold War, when presidents sent more than 300,000 troops to Korea and more than 500,000 troops to Vietnam, the idea of sending 50,000 troops to fight a large and virulently anti-American terrorist organization that had seized territory in the Middle East, and from that territory had already launched a murderous attack on a major Western city, would have seemed barely worth an argument.

The Times exonerated Kagan a year ago — he “exudes a Cocoa-Puffs-pouring, stay-at-home-dad charm” — because of his powerful social connections. His good friend and fellow-armchair-gunslinger is Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel; more importantly his wife is Victoria Nuland, an assistant secretary of state under Obama and the daughter of a revered physician and author. Even more importantly, he has Hillary Clinton’s ear. “Mr. Kagan pointed out that he had recently attended a dinner of foreign-policy experts at which Mrs. Clinton was the guest of honor.” Kagan continues to be taken seriously, not because he has a booklined office and comes up with stentorian titles, but because is a member of a class of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, many of them also members of the Israel lobby, that won’t go away until their larger cohort, of blue state meritocrats and the Jewish organizations and Jewish donors, finally turns on them. People like Hillary Clinton and Anne-Marie Slaughter feel greater kinship to this warmongerer than they do to Jim Lobe, though Lobe has continually been right and Kagan has been repeatedly wrong.

P.S. Lobe is a friend of Weiss’s; he was given the Arthur Ross Media Award last week, presented by the American Academy of Diplomacy at a ceremony at the State Department. “The award was given in recognition of Mr. Lobe’s chronicling of the influence of the neoconservative movement on US policy in the Greater Middle East through his blog Lobelog.com.” Hat’s off to a great achievement.

Jim Lobe, on left

Jim Lobe, on left

 

 

64 Responses

  1. Krauss
    November 23, 2015, 2:27 pm

    Perhaps there are Europeans today wishing that the U.S. will not compound its error of commission in Iraq by making an equally unfortunate error of omission in Syria.

    Maybe we should ask the Europeans. Not their leaders, the people themselves.

    Quite astoundingly arrogant to speak on behalf of other people, to push the interests of Israel. Yet Kagan isn’t the problem; he is the symptom of the problem. Today there is no counter-balance to the neocons/liberal interventionists. Two sides of the same coin.

    The only force I can think of is really Barack H. Obama, who’s been getting persistently wiser and more cautious as his presidency has gone on. Clinton will undo this.

    After Samantha Power, and her disgusting prostrating for Jewish Apartheid, I’ve lost even the semblance of faith in the liberal interventionists and their “morality”. It’s like the “liberal” Zionists. When it comes down to it, they’re always on board on the program.

    Thus, I don’t believe in “reform from within”. But I do believe in power balance of hegemonic powers. The U.S. may not produce an intellectual insurrection, which is what we need now, but China, Russia and even India will force the U.S. into more modest postures.

    Kagan will move from being a Serious person whose council is sought to someone whose primary purpose is to cheer people up by giving them false hopes of potency when everyone knows the U.S. is slowly becoming less powerful by the day. The cheerleader over a slowly declining former superpower.

    I am under no illusion that the cheerleader will from time to time succeed in his propaganda, but the critical point is that the U.S. no longer calls the shots so that becomes irrelevant and Kagan by logical extension becomes irrelevant as well. The fact that Russia is even a player in Syria is proof of that. And the Chinese hegemony over East Asia has just begun. What else is there for the U.S? Even the UK is moving away from Uncle Sam. Sad.

    • bryan
      November 24, 2015, 12:22 pm

      “Perhaps there are Europeans today wishing that the U.S. will not compound its error of commission in Iraq by making an equally unfortunate error of omission in Syria.“

      The fact America horribly cocked up its Iraqi adventure by no means means that that tragic error should be repeated with regard to Syria, and in the process why not imply that Europe was to blame for that insanity. No mate, Cheney, Rumsfeld and your neocon/Zionist friends have direct responsibility for that disaster; they persuaded the naive idiot-in-chief Bush to be their poodle, and inherited also that poodle’s flea, Tony Blair.

      And if you want to invoke an American responsibility to prevent foreign occupation (“In 1990-91, President George H.W. Bush, now revered as a judicious and prudent leader, sent half a million troops across the globe to drive Iraq out of Kuwait”) then there is another notorious occupation that has been waiting almost 50 years for redress. Go to it! America can right the world’s wrongs single-handedly.

  2. Annie Robbins
    November 23, 2015, 2:30 pm

    With that sort of record, you’d think Kagan ought to be boxing holiday orders at a fulfillment center or doing Santa duty at the mall.

    thank you phil.

    • RoHa
      November 24, 2015, 2:45 am

      But people keep listening to, and believing, frauds and failures.

      Somehow, the fact that those prophets have been wrong every time does not seem to stop the media from giving them attention.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    November 23, 2015, 2:36 pm

    Jim Lobe is a superb journalist!
    He is prominently featured in the following series of videos:

  4. HarryLaw
    November 23, 2015, 3:33 pm

    Kagan “the Syrian opposition now backed by U.S. forces and air power, the Syrian air force grounded and Russian bombing halted”. Yes, a truly delusional proposal, this is a recipe for World war 3. Syrian and Hezbollah troops backed by Russian aircraft fighting the mythical “moderate” terrorists and US troops, the US would be invading a sovereign state in breach of the UN charter and all International law in order to topple a legitimate elected Syrian Government, absolutely crazy, you just could not make it up.

  5. surewin
    November 23, 2015, 4:01 pm

    I urge Robert Kagan to eat as many Cocoa-Puffs as he possibly can, and to share them generously with his wife.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 23, 2015, 4:38 pm

      i loved that cocoa puff’s line. nothing like the nyt trying to brand kagan as regular folks — when they’re so not.

  6. Kay24
    November 23, 2015, 4:18 pm

    You can file this under bizarre and delusional, First Lying Trump says he saw footage of thousands of American Arabs cheering on 9/11, now Crazy Corson says he saw it too,

    link to huffingtonpost.com

    They have nothing to run with, no experience, no stature as a solid candidate, so they lie instead, and do not give a damn if they are confronted with the lie. America seems to be short of credible candidates, we have liars and inciters come out of the sewer.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 23, 2015, 4:37 pm

      aw, one might think trying to start a rumor like that might advertise the very real (and documented) occurrence of the cheering israelis on their van.

      • Rusty Pipes
        November 23, 2015, 5:47 pm

        In this NPR analysis of Trump’s statement, the allegation about cheering Palestinians on 9/11 was recycled:

        MARTIN: Trump says – did he say he saw this on television, or he actually was in Jersey City? Or…

        MONTANARO: Well, so it appeared that he said that he saw it. He was not in Jersey City, and he later clarified that he’d seen it on TV. But he may be conflating that with Palestinians in the West Bank, who we’d seen on TV out in the streets celebrating. Republicans have – who are running against Trump have said that Trump’s rhetoric goes too far, although we’ve seen no signs of it hurting Trump at this point.

        Weren’t those clips of cheering Palestinians that were replayed over and over on cable from the Iraq War or some other event?

      • Rusty Pipes
        November 23, 2015, 10:18 pm

        Okay, I found some of the sources on this from a commenter’s old link. The PA early allegation about recycled old ’93 footage had no basis in fact. However, later MSM journalists did dispel the propaganda through fact-checking. Unfortunately, not only can a lie go around the world twice before the truth gets its pants on and not only are retractions often lost in a paper a few days after the fact, but journalists don’t bother to read or remember the retractions. Consequently, they let the initial lie (that MSM itself later discredited) get repeated over and over.

      • Kay24
        November 24, 2015, 8:56 am

        Not a peep about the dancing Israelis anywhere I see/hear. That is conveniently not referred to, nor has it been discussed even in passing. It is always the demonizing of Arabs/Muslims that is very loud, and often.

        GOP = GANG OF PREVARICATORS

      • Kay24
        November 24, 2015, 1:58 pm

        Why is the media ignoring this part of the story?

        “We Are Not Your Problem’

        According to the police report, one of the passengers told the officers they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan “during the incident” — referring to the World Trade Center attack. The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The other passengers were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.

        When the men were transferred to jail, the case was transferred out of the FBI’s Criminal Division, and into the bureau’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which is responsible for espionage cases, ABCNEWS has learned.

        One reason for the shift, sources told ABCNEWS, was that the FBI believed Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.

        After the five men were arrested, the FBI got a warrant and searched Urban Moving’s Weehawken, N.J., offices.

        The FBI searched Urban Moving’s offices for several hours, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives. The FBI also questioned Urban Moving’s owner. His attorney insists that his client answered all of the FBI’s questions. But when FBI agents tried to interview him again a few days later, he was gone.”

        link to abcnews.go.com

        Didn’t the zionist leader brag that 9/11 was good for Israel?

    • Bandolero
      November 23, 2015, 8:00 pm

      Kay

      While Bibi’s stooges of the ADL were upset about this comment of Trump, I liked the comment. I think it brings Bibi and his lobby into the defensive. I think many people see this comment as a reference to the so called “Dancing Israelis” – who many people suspect to be Mossad agents posing as Arabs celebrating 9/11 in realtime in New Jersey.

      link to youtube.com

      Of course, Bibi and his lobby don’t want to say what is really behind this story, so they came into the defensive while condeming it.

      • Kay24
        November 24, 2015, 4:05 pm

        Bandolero, read the ABC article I have linked here, it shows exactly how the Israeli spies operated, how they were questioned, and let go.

      • Jon66
        November 24, 2015, 6:00 pm

        Kal,

        “Oh, you mean just like Israelis indefinitely purposely put the screws on Palestinians to inflame the Muslim world to blowback reprisal and then have everyone fighting Islam and neutralizing the neighborhood problem for Israel without any cost to Israelis? – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

        Why would the Muslim world be any more inflamed by Israeli actions than the non-Muslim world?

    • Rusty Pipes
      November 23, 2015, 10:21 pm

      more likely he saw cable airing the same clip thousands of time of Palestinians celebrating (something entirely unrelated) on 9/11.

      • Bandolero
        November 23, 2015, 10:57 pm

        Rusty Pipes

        From what heard, Donald Trump said they were celebrating in New Jersey.

        Have you ever seen a clip of “Palestinians celebrating (something entirely unrelated) on 9/11” in “New Jersey” other than the “dancing Israelis”? I didn’t.

        I’m just waiting for that Trump claims that a radical Muslim head of state said:

        We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq” and further that he added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

        The Zionist lobby would go mad. Of course everyone knows that it was not a “radical Muslim head of state” who said this, but Netanyahu:

        link to haaretz.com

        But if Trump would say such a thing, what would the lobby say? Shall the lobby say the guy who made that outrageous assertion was not a “radical Muslim head of state” as Trump says, but Netanyahu? For me that’s hard to imagine. Hence, the lobby has got a problem with such assertions.

      • Jon66
        November 24, 2015, 8:32 am

        This was Churchill’s reaction to Peal Harbor.

        “To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all!…Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.”
        – Prime Minister Winston Churchill (after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor)

      • a4tech
        November 24, 2015, 8:56 am

        Churcill was a racist, genocidal rat not any different from Netanyahu. He probably was the mastermind for baiting the Japanese forces to attack Pearl Harbor by restricting their Pacific trade routes. The attack was not a unprovoked act of war on the US navy but a reaction to the Allies action prior to it.

      • diasp0ra
        November 24, 2015, 10:21 am

        @Jon66

        Fitting that you compare Netanyahu to another colonial racist imperialist.

        Was that supposed to help your point?

      • Jon66
        November 24, 2015, 1:20 pm

        “Fitting that you compare Netanyahu to another colonial racist imperialist.”

        Churchill was feeling alone and under threat of losing the war. He had been a lone voice crying out against the Nazis and the rest of the world stood by. My point was that neither Netty or Churchill was happy that Americans were attacked, but rather relieved that America would awaken to the threat facing them.

        While certainly imperfect and an inveterate colonialist, Churchill was the key figure in holding Britain together during the war. Like Lincoln in the American civil war. I would be proud if someone compared me to Churchill.

      • kalithea
        November 24, 2015, 2:39 pm

        @Jon66

        Oh, you mean just like Israelis indefinitely purposely put the screws on Palestinians to inflame the Muslim world to blowback reprisal and then have everyone fighting Islam and neutralizing the neighborhood problem for Israel without any cost to Israelis?

      • diasp0ra
        November 24, 2015, 3:00 pm

        @Jon66

        No, being a lousy tipper or a bad driver would make someone imperfect. What Churchill was, was a genocidal tyrant:

        I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place. – Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937

        I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes. – Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919

        This is genocidal. How is this mere “imperfection” to you? This person who thinks in categories of “Master races”. How can anyone show any shred of admiration for someone who thought this way? Especially a Jewish person that knows through history how genocidal this idea of master race is. He’s literally calling for war crimes and gassing entire tribes.

        Are you truly proud to be compared to such a person?

        Birds of a feather, I suppose.

      • lysias
        November 24, 2015, 3:16 pm

        Churchill was responsible for the Bengali famine of 1942-3, which killed some 3 million people. Despite the pleas of responsible officials like Viceroy Lord Linlithgow and Secretary of State for India Amery, he long refused to supply Bengal with badly needed food supplies. This is all described in Madhusree Mukerjee’s book Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II. Bengal Famine of 1943.

        The policy failures were as bad as during the Irish Potato Famine. And about twice as many people died.

        I would call what happened then genocidal.

      • Mooser
        November 24, 2015, 4:57 pm

        “Churcill was a racist, genocidal rat not any different from Netanyahu. He probably was the mastermind for baiting the Japanese forces to attack Pearl Harbor by restricting their Pacific trade routes.”

        And after Japan had gone through all the trouble of establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere to help all those people and “trade” with them, too.
        I mean, restricting “trade routes”? That’s awful.

      • Jon66
        November 24, 2015, 6:10 pm

        After the French surrendered and the Russians aligned with Hitler, only Churchill and the historically English colonies stood in the way of Nazi conquest. I don’t know if there was another man who could have rallied the English through the early war years. I’m not denying his wrongs, but I do not think it is hyperbole to credit him with the defeat of Nazi Gerrmany. If he had made peace with the Nazis as many had wanted, Stalin would have been on his own.

        But the question isn’t really about Churchill, but rather to put into perspective the reasons an ally might welcome the involvement of others in its cause. Was Netty happy because Americans were dead or because he felt America would understand the common enemy of terrorism?

      • Kris
        November 24, 2015, 8:51 pm

        @jon66: “After the French surrendered and the Russians aligned with Hitler, only Churchill and the historically English colonies stood in the way of Nazi conquest. ”

        It was the courage and sacrifice of the people of the Soviet Union that defeated Hitler.

        August 23, 1939: The Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression pact.
        Sept. 1, 1939: Germany struck Poland.
        Sept. 3, 1939: Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.
        June 25, 1940: France fell to Germany.
        June 22, 1941: Germany invaded the Soviet Union , ending the non-aggression pact.

        The Red Army was “the main engine of Nazism’s destruction,” writes British historian and journalist Max Hastings in “Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945.” The Soviet Union paid the harshest price: though the numbers are not exact, an estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers. At the same time, the Germans suffered three-quarters of their wartime losses fighting the Red Army.

        “It was the Western Allies’ extreme good fortune that the Russians, and not themselves, paid almost the entire ‘butcher’s bill’ for [defeating Nazi Germany], accepting 95 per cent of the military casualties of the three major powers of the Grand Alliance,” writes Hastings.

        The epic battles that eventually rolled back the Nazi advance — the brutal winter siege of Stalingrad, the clash of thousands of armored vehicles at Kursk (the biggest tank battle in history) — had no parallel on the Western Front, where the Nazis committed fewer military assets. The savagery on display was also of a different degree than that experienced farther west.

        By 1943, the Soviet Union had already lost some 5 million soldiers and two-thirds of its industrial capacity to the Nazi advance. That it was yet able to turn back the German invasion is testament to the courage of the Soviet war effort. But it came at a shocking price.

        In his memoirs, Eisenhower was appalled by the extent of the carnage:

        “When we flew into Russia, in 1945, I did not see a house standing between the western borders of the country and the area around Moscow. Through this overrun region, Marshal Zhukov told me, so many numbers of women, children and old men had been killed that the Russian Government would never be able to estimate the total.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/05/08/dont-forget-how-the-soviet-union-saved-the-world-from-hitler/

      • Philemon
        November 24, 2015, 9:48 pm

        @Mooser

        “Churcill was a racist, genocidal rat not any different from Netanyahu. He probably was the mastermind for baiting the Japanese forces to attack Pearl Harbor by restricting their Pacific trade routes.”

        Naw, that was FDR. Churchill, Smurchill. Okay, FDR was maybe a tad anglophilic, but he was solely responsible for the political decision to deploy the Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor, over Admiral King’s strenuous objection. The Navy wanted the Fleet safely based in San Diego. And if you think this had anything to do with any humanitarian outrage over Japan’s treatment of the Chinese, well, there’s this bridge… FDR and his backers wanted in on the war because of the money.

      • Jon66
        November 24, 2015, 11:22 pm

        Kris,

        Certainly the Russians lost more men. But the non-aggression pact was a conspiracy of Stalin and Hitker to divide Poland, Latvia, etc. The Russians conspired with the Nazis to allow them to begin WWII without fear of the Eastern Front. Churchill had been screaming about the Nazis before Munich and was pilloried. At the outset of WWII from Sept ’39 til June ’41 it was Britain that opposed the Nazis and held out refusing to concede. The Russians may never have entered the war if the Nazis hadn’t betrayed them. It was Churchill who held the wolves at bay. The Soviets suffered greatly, but perhaps there would have been no war if Stalin had opposed Hitler instead of assisting in August ’39.

      • a4tech
        November 25, 2015, 1:22 am

        Philemon – “Naw, that was FDR. Churchill, Smurchill. Okay, FDR was maybe a tad anglophilic, but he was solely responsible for the political decision to deploy the Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor, over Admiral King’s strenuous objection. – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

        My bad, but Churchill was desperate to drag US into the war and I’m sure he had a backscene role to play with the Allied provocations that led to Pearl Harbour.

        Japan had zero interest in preemptively attacking the then neutral US Navy while being stretched thin over East China and SE Asia.

      • lysias
        November 25, 2015, 12:33 pm

        Only one of the items in the Churchill-FDR correspondence has not been declassified and released. It was a message from Churchill to FDR sent very shortly before Pearl Harbor.

        It has been speculated it had to do with the Japanese fleet then on the way to attack Pearl Harbor.

        Another possibility is that it had to do with the Battle of Moscow, then in full swing.

        Of course, it could have been about both.

      • Kris
        November 25, 2015, 1:01 pm

        @jon66: “The Soviets suffered greatly, but perhaps there would have been no war if Stalin had opposed Hitler instead of assisting in August ’39.”

        There also may have been no WWII if Britain and France had not refused to reach a collective-security agreement with the Soviet Union in 1938, or if Britain and France and the U.S. had not imposed such harsh measures on Germany after WWI.

        It is interesting to speculate about how WWII could have been avoided, especially now, when our government and the mass media are directing our hostility at Russia.

        The Soviet Union had been unable to reach a collective-security agreement with Britain and France against Nazi Germany, most notably at the time of the Munich Conference in September 1938. By early 1939 the Soviets faced the prospect of resisting German military expansion in eastern Europe virtually alone, and so they began searching about for a change of policy.

        On May 3, 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin fired Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov, who was Jewish and an advocate of collective security, and replaced him with Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov, who soon began negotiations with the Nazi foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop.

        The Soviets also kept negotiating with Britain and France, but in the end Stalin chose to reach an agreement with Germany. By doing so he hoped to keep the Soviet Union at peace with Germany and to gain time to build up the Soviet military establishment, which had been badly weakened by the purge of the Red Army officer corps in 1937.

        The Western democracies’ hesitance in opposing Adolf Hitler, along with Stalin’s own inexplicable personal preference for the Nazis, also played a part in Stalin’s final choice.

        For his part, Hitler wanted a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union so that his armies could invade Poland virtually unopposed by a major power, after which Germany could deal with the forces of France and Britain in the west without having to simultaneously fight the Soviet Union on a second front in the east. The end result of the German-Soviet negotiations was the Nonaggression Pact, which was dated August 23. link to britannica.com

      • oldgeezer
        November 25, 2015, 1:06 pm

        “Japan had zero interest in preemptively attacking the then neutral US Navy while being stretched thin over East China and SE Asia. – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

        I’m not sure the oil embargo put in place and enforced by the US constitutes zero interest.

      • Philemon
        November 25, 2015, 8:57 pm

        oldgeezer,

        FDR was really lucky that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stopped short of bombing Pearl Harbor’s fuel tanks.

      • RoHa
        November 25, 2015, 9:28 pm

        Kris, there is no contradiction between

        “After the French surrendered and the Russians aligned with Hitler, only Churchill and the historically English colonies stood in the way of Nazi conquest. ”

        and

        “It was the courage and sacrifice of the people of the Soviet Union that defeated Hitler.”

        Though, of course, he should have said “British Empire” rather than “English colonies”.

        It is undeniable that the Wehrmacht was destroyed by the Soviets.

        But it is also true that British Empire forces stopped the Germans at the Channel. British Empire forces (RN, RCN, RAN) took control of the surface of the Atlantic and Med. early in the war, and continuously fought the German submarine fleet. (British code-breaking was a major factor in this.) British Empire forces took control of Vichy Syria and defeated the Germans and Italians in North Africa.

        When the Soviets started fighting the Germans, British Empire forces supplied them via the Arctic convoys.

        It was that initial British refusal to concede that made the Soviet success possible. And Churchill (monster that he undoubtedly was) did play a major role in that refusal.

      • Kris
        November 26, 2015, 11:02 am

        @RoHa: “Kris, there is no contradiction…”

        You’re right, RoHa. My concern is not with a non-existent contradiction, but with the Russia-bashing that our mass media is pushing 24/7 now, along with Muslim-bashing. My point was that we should not forget either the decisive role that the Soviets played in defeating the Nazis, or the unimaginable suffering that they experienced.

        We are being conditioned right now to see Muslims, Russia and Putin as monsters, and ourselves as innocents. This strategy of demonization has been used many times before, and bodes ill.

      • lysias
        November 26, 2015, 6:12 pm

        The comments sections of Washington Post on-line articles about the shootdown of the Russian bomber are full of people accusing anyone saying anything good about Russia or casting doubt on the Turkish version of events of being a Russian-planted troll. These people have nothing good to say about Russia and seem still to be living in the Cold War.

        Their comments are so stupid as to create suspicion that they are themselves plants, either members of military psyops units or people hired by defense contractors.

        If they are, that could support the view of people like Paul Craig Roberts that the Turkish shootdown was inspired by neocons in the U.S. government, or possibly by the whole U.S. government.

      • RoHa
        November 26, 2015, 7:58 pm

        From the comments on British and Australian newspaper sites, it seems to me that the demonization of Russia isn’t working too well. I see a lot of comments supporting the Russians and admiring Putin. Muslims and Islam do, though, get plenty of critical comments. Sometimes nearly as many as our Prime Ministers.

    • Qualtrough
      November 23, 2015, 11:08 pm

      It gets even stranger. Trump has tweeted the following and says it vindicated him:

      “In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”

      That is clearly a reference to the following incident:

      link to abcnews.go.com

      These were five Israelis, not Palestinians. The incident has never been adequately explained and remains extremely suspicious.

      So, in short, not only is there no evidence of Palestinians in the US celebrating the attacks, the Israelis that DID celebrate the attacks have been transformed into Palestinians.

      • kalithea
        November 24, 2015, 2:20 pm

        The look of satisfaction:

        The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men’s faces. “They were like happy, you know … They didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange,” she said.

        Linkage to the PNAC agenda i.e. your problem is our problem therefore our goal is one:

        According to the police report, one of the passengers told the officers they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan “during the incident” — referring to the World Trade Center attack. The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The other passengers were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.

        And who carries around $4700 in their sock??? And they were found with box cutters in their possession. It seems to me that box cutters were a little too popular that day and maybe these aren’t the only things linking these Israeli moving guys to the authors of 9/11.

        The look of satisfaction that the very credible witness Maria noticed on their faces brings to mind a certain banner that was strategically placed in a GWB photo-op statement on Iraq: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Only in the latter case it was far from the truth; in the case of 9/11 however the following questions are still with the jury:

        Did Israel know about the 9/11 plan before it happened? Were those Israelis merely satisfied bystanders or is there more linkage than a thought/premise common to both Kagan and one of those happy Israelis and the box cutters and is there more here than we know? Oh and one more question: who benefits?

        Netanyahu seemed to think Israel is ‘benefiting from attack’ as it ‘swung American public opinion.’

      • lysias
        November 25, 2015, 2:04 pm

        Trump, despite his bravado, doesn’t dare say it was Israelis.

        If he didn’t remember that when he made his first comment, I’m sure he was reminded of it soon thereafter.

    • bryan
      November 24, 2015, 12:40 pm

      Kay – the cheering Arabs were mistakenly identified – they were actually cheering Israelis. You know they all look the same, because over 50% of Israelis (the lower status ones) are of Arab origin, and even those from northern Europe, after a few decades living in the Levant, acquire a healthy sun-tan.

      • kalithea
        November 24, 2015, 2:32 pm

        And because some Israelis look like Arabs and speak the language; it’s not too difficult for them to mingle with Arabs, gain their confidence, find out what they’re up to and maybe get some collaborators.

  7. Boomer
    November 23, 2015, 6:51 pm

    “Do”: link to urbandictionary.com

    In the process, we may well “do” ourselves, as well as many others, as we did in Iraq. But it isn’t the “Golden Rule” kind of “doing” Mr. Kagan has in mind. He reads a different scripture.

    This would be Robert Kagan, cofounder of the Project for a New American Century, husband of Victoria Nuland, our Asst. Secty. of State who led the charge to “do” Ukraine, overthrowing an elected government, which was trying to compromise with protestors we helped to provoke, not long before another election was scheduled. (As another poster recently pointed out–Harry Law I believe–we have ignored an election in Syria too. We don’t need no stink’n elections . . . unless they go our way.)

    This reminds me of Thomas Friedman’s explanation for our unprovoked attack on Iraq: to tell the Arabs “suck on this.” What a classy political class we have. How fortunate we are to have such wise people in charge.

  8. Bandolero
    November 23, 2015, 7:50 pm

    If it was not so serious, I think the best way to handle this essay of Kagan would be The Onion to reprint it. It’s a sick joke, and for sure, Kagan knows it.

    The fun is already starting at the beginning when Kagan says the crisis in Syria caused France and Germany to ally with Russia. Of course, anyone with a bit of knowledge understands, that it was the Kaganist war on Iraq which made France and Germany ally with Russia. Everyone remembers “French fries” being renamed “Freedom fries” as France didn’t join the Kaganist war on Iraq, and of course, who could deny, that Schroeder went to align with Russia and China after Washington was angry with him for not joining the Kaganist war on Iraq. And so on and so on. According to Kagan, the “liberal” world order – where the Zionist lobby rules – was defended back then by Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and now it should be defended by- of course – troops of the great “liberal” power of Saudi Arabia in Syria.

    And, then, of course, 10.000 to 20.000 US troops will do the job to re-occupy Iraq – supporting local forces under the command of Qassem Suleimani of course – and while liberating Mosul these sparse US troops will be so bored to have time to also occupy Syria, according to Kagan. of course. And, of course, this time, Qassem Suleimani will run away from the battlefield as soon as he hears US troops are coming instead of sending the commander of the US troops an SMS declaring that he is in charge for the region, acccording to Kagan, of course.

    I can’t wait for Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton to pick up this Kaganist war plan just for having their Presidential amibitions destroyed by The Onion, or if the Onion is too zionist to do it, then by Putin, Khamenei and Soleimani.

  9. Walker
    November 23, 2015, 8:16 pm

    Phil, if Jim Lobe is a friend of yours you are moving in the right circles.

    Lobe was one of the earliest to write about the connections that neoconservatives who were pushing war had to Israel, prior to the Iraq invasion. He is a stand-up guy, an all-around good citizen.

  10. WH
    November 24, 2015, 2:13 am

    ‘an illegitimate, drug-peddling dictator’ – as if that sort of thing has ever bothered the US when it served their purposes!

  11. HarryLaw
    November 24, 2015, 4:25 am

    Kagan said it would take 50,000 US troops to take over Syria, Rumsfeld retired General Shinseki when he told Rumsfeld that at least 200,000 troops would be needed post Iraq invasion, he was proved right. Also the US had the sympathy of the Kurds and to a lesser extent the Shia in Iraq. The insurgency was conducted largely by the Sunni who numbered approximately 5 million. Compare this with the potential opposition to a US invasion, if those polls and the election last year reflect the support that Assad has and I think they do, then 50,000 troops to subdue a hostile Syrian population of over 20 million people would be woefully short,probably by some 5 to 8 hundred thousand. That’s not even counting the Russian and Iranian response. The role of Santa at the mall would be too big a challenge for Kagan’s intellect.

  12. JLewisDickerson
    November 24, 2015, 4:30 am

    RE: “Robert Kagan helped start the Project for a New American Century, the famous neoconservative shop that advised George Bush that Israel’s war with terrorism was our war and hurry up and topple Saddam Hussein because he has nuclear weapons.” ~ Weiss & Robbins

    SEE – “Wars: US Militarist Factions in Command” /by James Petras / DissidentVoice.org / November 19th, 2015

    [EXCERPT] . . . The US war on Iraq was an important part of Israel’s agenda to ‘re-make the Middle East’ to establish its unchallenged regional hegemony and execute a ‘final solution’ for its own vexing ‘Arab (native Palestinian) problem’: It was made operational by the powerful Zionist faction within the Executive (White House), which had assumed almost dictatorial powers after the attack on 9/11/2001. Zionists planned the war , designed the ‘occupation policy’ and ‘succeeded wildly’ with the eventual dismemberment of a once modern secular nationalist Arab state.

    In order to smash the Iraqi state – the US occupation policy was to eliminate (through mass firings, jailing and assassination) all high level, experienced Iraqi civil, military and scientific personnel – down to high school principals. They dismantled any vital infrastructure (which had not been already destroyed by the decades of US sanctions and bombing under President Clinton) and reduced an agriculturally advanced Iraq to a barren wasteland which would take centuries to recover and could never challenge Israel’s colonization of Palestine, let alone its military supremacy in the Middle East. Naturally, the large Palestinian Diaspora refugee population in Iraq was targeted for ‘special treatment’.

    But Zionist policymakers had a much larger agenda than erasing Iraq as a viable country: They had a longer list of targets: Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Libya, whose destructions were to be carried out with US and NATO blood and treasure (and not a single Israeli soldier).

    Despite the fact that Iraq did not even possess a functioning air force or navy in March 2003 and Afghanistan in late 2001 was rather primitive, the invasions of both countries turned out to be very costly to the US. The US completely failed to benefit from its ‘victory and occupation’, despite Paul Wolfowitz’ boasts that the pillage of Iraq’s oil fields would pay for the entire project in a ‘few months’. This was because the real Zionist plan was to destroy these nations – beyond any possibility for a quick or cheap imperialist economic gain. Scorching the earth and salting the fields is not a very profitable policy for empire builders.

    Israel has been the biggest winner with no cost for the ‘Jewish State’. The American Zionist policy elite literally handed them the services of the largest and richest armed forces in history: the US. Israel-Firsters played a decisive role among Washington policy-makers and Tel Aviv celebrated in the streets! They came, they dominated policy and they accomplished their mission: Iraq (and millions of its people) was destroyed.

    The US gained an unreliable, broken colony, with a devastated economy and systematically destroyed infrastructure and without the functioning civil service needed for a modern state. To pay for the mess, the American people faced a spiraling budget deficit, tens of thousands of American war casualties and massive cuts in their own social programs. Crowning the Washington war-makers’ victory was the disarticulation of American civil and constitutional rights and liberties and the construction of a enormous domestic police state.

    After the Iraq disaster, the same influential Zionist faction in Washington lost no time in demanding a new war against Israel’s bigger enemy – namely Iran. In the ensuing years, they failed to push the US to attack Tehran but they succeeded in imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. The Zionist faction secured massive US military support for Israel’s abortive invasion of Lebanon and its devastating series of blitzkriegs against the impoverished and trapped people of Gaza.

    The Zionist faction successfully shaped US military interventions to meet Israel’s regional ambitions against three Arab countries: Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The Zionists were not able to manipulate the US into attacking Iran because the traditional militarist faction in Washington balked: With instability in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US was not well positioned to face a major conflagration throughout the Middle East, South Asia and beyond – which a ground and air war with Iran would involve. However, the Zionist factions did secure brutal economic sanctions and the appointment of key Israel-Centric officials within the US Treasury. Secretary Stuart Levey, at the start of the Obama regime, and David Cohen afterwards, were positioned to enforce the sanctions.

    Even before the ascendancy of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Tel Aviv’s military objectives after Iraq, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen had to be spaced over time, because the non-Zionist factions among Washington’s elite had been unable to integrate occupied Afghanistan and Iraq into the empire. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to dissidentvoice.org

  13. yonah fredman
    November 24, 2015, 9:07 am

    Certainly given Russia’s presence in Syria, let alone Iran and Hezbollah, this casual, nothing to it attitude is mere posturing. I do not believe Hillary or the Donald would follow Kagan’s advice. Rubio, something to worry about, but neither Hillary nor the Donald would do something like this, particularly given Russia’s presence.

  14. JLewisDickerson
    November 24, 2015, 9:16 am

    RE: “Kagan pushed regime change in Iraq, now says US must get over ‘trauma’ and do Syria”

    MY SNARKCASM: Git-R-Done, y’all! ! !*

    * SEE: “Hillary’s War Whoop” | by Mike Whitney | Counterpunch.org | November 20, 2015

    [EXCERPTS] If you’re one of the millions of Americans who think Hillary Clinton would make a lousy president, then pat yourself on the back because she pretty much proved it yesterday. In a presentation to the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton made it clear that if she’s elected in 2016, she’s going to drag the country straight to war. Invoking the same imagery as her ideological twin, George W. Bush, Clinton fulminated for more than an hour and a half on Syria, war, terrorism, war, no-fly zones, war, radical jihadism, war, and “metastasizing threats”, whatever the heck those are. Oh, and did I mention war?

    Seriously, while regretful Democrats can claim that they never thought Obama would turn out to be the disappointment he has been, the same can’t be said about Clinton. Madame Secretary has a long pedigree and the bold print on the warning label is easy to read. There’s simply no excuse for anyone to vote for a proven commodity like Hillary and then complain at some later date, that they didn’t know what a scheming and hard-boiled harridan she really was. Clinton’s hawkishness is part of the public record. It’s right there for everyone to see. She voted for Iraq, she supported the Libya fiasco, and now she’s gearing up for Syria. Her bloodthirsty foreign policy is just slightly to the left of John McCain and his looneybin sidekick, Lindsey Graham. Simply put: A vote for Clinton is a vote more-of-the-same death and destruction spread willy-nilly across the planet in the endless pursuit of imperial domination. It’s that simple. Here’s an excerpt from her speech:

    “…let’s be clear about what we’re facing. Beyond Paris, in recent days, we’ve seen deadly terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey, and a Russian civilian airline destroyed over the Sinai. At the heart of today’s new landscape of terror is ISIS. They persecute religious and ethnic minorities, kidnap and behead civilians, murder children. They systematically enslave, torture, and rape women and girls. ISIS operates across three mutually reinforcing dimensions—a physical enclave in Iraq and Syria, an international terrorist network that includes affiliates across the region and beyond, and an ideological movement of radical jihadism. We have to target and defeat all three. And time is of the essence. ISIS is demonstrating new ambition, reach, and capabilities. We have to break the group’s momentum, and then its back.”….. ~ Hillary Clinton on National Security and the Islamic State – A Conversation With Hillary Clinton, Council on Foreign Relations, 19 November 2015

    Get the picture? ISIS is everywhere; Syria, Iraq, Europe, the US, in the closet, under the rug…everywhere. So we need to get busy and kill them all pronto before they rape our women, behead our children and turn us all in to sex slaves.

    Ever heard that mantra before? Maybe just once or twice?

    Of course this is all music to the ears of the weapons manufacturers, the pudgy bankers and the other ne’er-do-wells who assemble at these elitist gatherings. They just love the idea of everlasting war, perpetual war, war stretching in all directions across all continents forever and always. That’s the perennial dream of elites, isn’t it; making sure that we’re all at-each-others-throats so they can lend us the money to buy the weapons to kill each other as efficiently as possible? That’s like Braham’s Lullaby to these guys, but for everyone else, it’s holy hell.

    And what, pray tell, does Clinton have in store for us all once she’s sworn in and comfortably ensconced in the Oval Office? Well, more war, of course. Check it out:

    “The United States and our international coalition has been conducting this fight for more than a year. It’s time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate and deny ISIS control of territory in Iraq and Syria. That starts with a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allies’ planes, more strikes, and a broader target set…..And we should be honest about the fact that to be successful, air strikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS. . .

    CONTINUED AT – link to counterpunch.org

  15. kalithea
    November 24, 2015, 11:34 am

    Omg! Again, so many great articles on this site pulling me in and I wish I could comment on others and maybe I’ll have the time but I really need to comment here now.

    First of all, Robert Kagan is an agent of Israel and every signatory on that letter with dual citizenship should be stripped of their American citizen. It’s obvious, very obvious that Mr. Kagan here is being informed by Mr. Netanyahu to push this agenda as it represents the next PNAC stage the fulfillment of that lunatic plan to actually destroy the Middle East and destroy everyone else fighting Israel’s wars and send of everyone else’s children to die in those wars in pursuit of Israel’s regional hegemony.

    And notice too this paragraph in Kagan’s insane plan: What would such an effort look like? First, it would require establishing a safe zone in Syria, providing the millions of would-be refugees still in the country a place to stay and the hundreds of thousands who have fled to Europe a place to which to return.

    This is a man trying to fix the refugee problem that this U.S./Israeli/Saudi proxy war in Syria caused so that should a future election take place in the new utopian Syria, Israelis can be assured that Assad will be voted out of power by having the refugees return to ensure a Sunni majority, but on the other hand, Israel still denies the right of return for Palestinian refugees that would produce a Palestinian majority in Israel, and this is the height of hypocrisy and chutzpah. However it doesn’t end here there’s more to say about this insane delusional plan. For now I’ll leave it at this.

  16. James Canning
    November 24, 2015, 1:24 pm

    Robert Kagan is of course one of those who pushed hardest for the idiotic US invasion of Iraq. And the primary object of that idiotic military adventure was “protecting” Israel.

  17. RoHa
    November 27, 2015, 12:06 am

    Nice article by Pilger, here. He compares the Khmer Rouge and ISIS.

    link to intifada-palestine.com

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