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Sanders warns U.S. against ‘quagmire’ of ‘perpetual warfare’ in Mideast for 20, 30 years

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Anyone hoping for a more realist U.S. foreign policy had to be buoyed by Senator Bernie Sanders’s performance in the New Hampshire debate last night. He said that the United States should stay out of the “quagmire” of “perpetual war” in the Middle East. He called out Hillary Clinton for backing “regime change” that just fosters turmoil. He said that Assad must stay in Syria. And he mentioned great interventionist foreign policy mistakes, from removing Saddam Hussein in Iraq to toppling Allende in Chile in 1973 to removing Mohammed Mossadegh as Iranian Prime Minister in 1953.

Mohammed Mossadegh

Mohammed Mossadegh

Indeed, the Mossadegh mistake of more than 60 years ago was trending last night; former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley also mentioned the Mossadegh coup as a foreign policy error.

Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton directly, saying that a “fundamental difference” between himself and the former secretary of state is that she is “too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be.” The Iraq war, he pointed out, created turmoil, instability and terrorism.

He opened the night with the warning about perpetual warfare, albeit with the inevitable political gestures on ISIS:

I’m running for president because I want a new foreign policy, one that takes on ISIS, one that destroys ISIS, but one that does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East, but rather works around a major coalition of wealthy and powerful nations supporting Muslim troops on the ground.

The quagmire language was reminiscent of the Vietnam War, of course. Sanders’s challenge also goes to all the hawks of the Republican Party. Sanders is putting out ideas that we can only hope gain traction in the political process. Though, no, he is not going so far as to say what so many thoughtful scholars of the realist left are saying, that terrorism is an understandable response to western intervention in the region. Today Sanders talks about Mossadegh, maybe he will talk about Sykes Picot tomorrow….

Sanders has sounded these anti-interventionist themes for a long time. A year ago he said he’d be damned if the U.S. led the fight against ISIS.

“I’ll be damned if kids in the state of Vermont — or taxpayers in the state of Vermont — have to defend the royal Saudi family, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.”

But last night he said so openly and forcefully with a national audience. He denounced the idea that the U.S. must be the policeman of the world, and did so in populist, almost isolationist scorn:

What I believe right now, and I believe this is terribly important, is the United States of American cannot succeed or be thought of as the policeman of the world, that when there’s an international crisis all over the world, in France, or in the UK– Hey just call up the American military and the American taxpayers, they’re going to send their troops, and if they have to be in the Middle East for 20 or 30 years, no problem.  I have a problem with that.

He challenged Saudia Arabia to go to war against ISIS rather than in Yemen and also called out Qatar:

Tell Qatar, instead of spending $200 billion on the World Cup, maybe they should pay attention to ISIS.

He said that the terrible blunder of the Iraq war had generated terrorism; and he called for an international coalition with Russia to deal with Syria, which means keeping Assad.

Yes we could get rid of Assad tomorrow, but that would create another political vacuum that would benefit ISIS…. Yeah, regime change is easy. Getting rid of dictators is easy… The truth is it is relatively easy for a powerful nation like American to overthrow a dictator…

But in the Syrian case, “the primary focus now must be on destroying ISIS and working over the years to get rid of Assad.” International coalitions, he said, would “move steadily and maybe slowly toward democratic societies.” Steadily but maybe slowly. That means about never.

Israel barely got one mention in the debate last night. Of course, we keep waiting for Sanders to mention that the Israeli quagmire of 50 years of occupation is fostering terrorism (which he understands; he went out to live in Israel when it was the socialist utopia of his youth). He does hint at the truth on his foreign policy web page:

Moreover, the failure to resolve that crisis [the Israel Palestine conflict] has helped fuel other conflicts in the region.

Crisis– a helpful world. In his piece on Sanders’s appeal at the National Journal, John Judis says the middle/upper-middle professionals who support Sanders are antiwar, and not at all troubled by his socialism. They throw around the word “revolution”:

What excited them is the belief that a “polit­ic­al re­volu­tion” is ne­ces­sary.

Dur­ing the past two dec­ades… the pro­gress­ive Left has again be­gun to stir. The con­trib­ut­ing factors have been var­ied—op­pos­i­tion to the Ir­aq war; the in­creas­ing power (es­pe­cially at the state level) of an ever-more-con­ser­vat­ive GOP; a grow­ing sense, in the wake of the Great Re­ces­sion, that con­spicu­ous con­sump­tion, polit­ic­al cor­rup­tion, and un­der-reg­u­lated cap­it­al­ism were all out of con­trol.

It is reminiscent of the Ron Paul revolution in the last presidential race, which also had a populist, anti-war character. Ron Paul’s son Rand has sold out to the hawks, alas, but there is surely a lot of antiwar feeling in the country that requires leadership and instruction. By talking about Mossadegh, Sanders (along with O’Malley) is doing that.

 

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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54 Responses

  1. joemowrey
    December 20, 2015, 12:41 pm

    Sorry, but I don’t see a professed Zionist such as Sanders making any real difference in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East in the long run. He will tow the Israeli line. So he wants Saudia Arabia to be our proxy war criminal against ISIS instead of against Yemen. Nice for the suffering innocents in Yemen, but how does that really improve the situation overall? Plus, it reflects his overall support of the illegal and immoral machinations of our fetid Empire .He’ll slaughter different innocents in different places, but the blood will continue to flow.

    • JWalters
      December 20, 2015, 6:34 pm

      Sanders was the first Senator to announce he would boycott Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. I think that’s fairly substantial given the Zionist lockdown of discussion in the U.S. Netanyahu is probably cheered by Wasserman-Schultz’s attack on Sanders.

    • Krauss
      December 20, 2015, 7:28 pm

      I don’t see a professed Zionist such as Sanders making any real difference

      100% Wrong. If he was towing the Zionist line, he would have demonized Assad/Iran.

      Sanders said what was necessary, but tough, to say: Iran needs to be part of the anti-ISIS coalition. The Zionists and the neocons don’t want to hear this, because the Iranian axis includes Hezbollah and of course Iran is the main regional rival to Israel. So you’re just ignorant/uninformed of the issues. You saw the same dynamic taking place with Rubio vs Trump/Cruz. Rubio took the Zionist/Neocon line. So did Hillary. Neither Bernie nor Trump/Cruz/Paul did.

      I did notice that once Bernie let it slip that Iran has to be part of the coalition, when he faced pushback from Clinton, he dropped Iran and just talked about Russia. The pol in him came out in front there, but what was said was said.

      Overall, it was also striking seeing the GOP field being MUCH more diverse in terms of foreign policy this year. If you remember 2012 it was basically Ron Paul vs the world. Today, not so much. Much more choice and the non-interventionists are leading! The leading two candidates, Trump and Cruz, are both non-interventionists. Trump more than any other GOP nominee with the possible exception of Rand Paul. That’s quite a turnaround from 2012 and 2008, 2004 and so on.

      What we’re seeing is a significant shift away from interventionism, away from the regime change crowd. It seems to be in both parties and a secular shift.

      If Bernie and Trump both win their primaries, we’ll have a unique situation in which no major presidential candidate is an interventionist or an ardent pro-regime change supporter for the first time in probably well over a century.

      The GOP candidate will likely either be Cruz or Trump. If Trump stumbles then Cruz will crush Rubio. I hope for Sanders but Hillary’s looking stronger than she did in 2008.

      Even so, even Hillary has toned down her rhetoric, even going as far as saying no ground troops to her plan. You can never quite trust her, especially with the neocons heaping praise on her. Still, it’s a signal if any that she understands the terrain has shifted and as a poll-driven candidate who has no real convictions, she’s better at that than anyone else.

      • RoHa
        December 21, 2015, 2:02 am

        “If he was towing the Zionist line,”

        Toeing. It isn’t hard to remember.

      • Mooser
        December 21, 2015, 3:34 pm

        “Dragging.” It isn’t hard to remember.

    • truthurts
      December 20, 2015, 11:05 pm

      “Sorry, but I don’t see a professed Zionist such as Sanders making any real difference in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East in the long run”
      100% correct
      i dont buy his political bullshit for a second. he’s just manipulating words. just like the saying goes; “talk is cheap and so are politicians.”
      and that other so very famous line, “money talks”

      • Kris
        December 21, 2015, 1:53 pm

        @truthurts: ” dont buy his political bullshit for a second. he’s just manipulating words.”

        Take a look at Bernie Sanders’ positions, here: https://berniesanders.com/issues/ . His position on Israel/Palestine is in the “War and Peace” section: https://berniesanders.com/issues/war-and-peace/

        These are just words, I know, but at least Bernie Sanders, unlike Clinton, is not one of Netanyahu’s best friends and supporters.

        Clinton and Sanders are our only two choices for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders was the first Senator to announce he would not attend Netanyahu’s address to Congress; Clinton says Netanyahu will be one of her first guests in the White House.

        Bernie Sanders criticized Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza; Hilary Clinton defended Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza and said that criticism of Israel’s actions amounted to “antisemitism.”

        From The Times of Israel:

        BERNIE SANDERS:

        “I believe in a two-state solution, where Israel has security and the Palestinians have a state of their own,” Sanders said in answer to a question on how his administration would approach Israel. “The United States has got to work with the Palestinian people in improving their standard of living, which is now a disaster, and has been made much worse since the war in Gaza.”

        Sanders said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “overreacted” during the 50-day Israel-Hamas conflict in the summer of 2014. “War is terrible unto itself. But I think that Israel overreacted and caused more civilian damage than was necessary. They have very sophisticated weapons systems. They make the case, and I respect that, that they do try to make sure that civilians are not damaged. But the end result was that a lot of civilians were killed and a lot of housing was destroyed. There was terrible, terrible damage done,” Sanders said.

        According UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which based its figures on a variety of local and international sources, a total of 2,220 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed in the 2014’s Gaza conflict between the IDF and the Hamas terror group which rules Gaza. …

        Sanders refused to sign a Senate resolution in summer of 2014 that blamed only Hamas for the fighting. At a town hall in Cabot, Vermont, during the conflict, Sanders answered a constituent who asked him to “go further” by criticizing both Israel and Hamas.

        “Has Israel overreacted? Have they bombed UN facilities? The answer is yes, and that is terribly, terribly wrong,” Sanders said at the time. http://www.timesofisrael.com/bernie-sanders-accuses-netanyahu-of-overreacting-in-gaza-war/

        HILARY CLINTON:

        Asked if the Israeli response was disproportionate, she replied: “Israel was attacked by rockets from Gaza. Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult. Of course Israel, just like the United States, or any other democratic country, should do everything they can possibly do to limit civilian casualties. We see this enormous international reaction against Israel. This reaction is uncalled for and unfair.”

        Pressed on whether Israel was doing enough to limit civilian casualties, she answered: “It’s unclear. I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets. And there is the surprising number and complexity of the tunnels, and Hamas has consistently, not just in this conflict, but in the past, been less than protective of their civilians.”

        She said anti-Semitism was a factor in the unfair international reaction against Israel: “There are a number of factors going into it. You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism, especially with what’s going on in Europe today. There are more demonstrations against Israel by an exponential amount than there are against Russia seizing part of Ukraine and shooting down a civilian airliner. So there’s something else at work here than what you see on TV.”

        She said the conflict was “so effectively stage-managed by Hamas, and always has been. What you see is largely what Hamas invites and permits Western journalists to report on from Gaza. It’s the old PR problem that Israel has. Yes, there are substantive, deep levels of antagonism or anti-Semitism towards Israel, because it’s a powerful state, a really effective military. And Hamas paints itself as the defender of the rights of the Palestinians to have their own state. So the PR battle is one that is historically tilted against Israel.”

        Clinton said the deaths of so many children were “dreadful.” Asked to parcel out blame, she said: “I’m not sure it’s possible to parcel out blame because it’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war. Some reports say, maybe it wasn’t the exact UN school that was bombed, but it was the annex to the school next door where they were firing the rockets. And I do think oftentimes that the anguish you are privy to because of the coverage, and the women and the children and all the rest of that, makes it very difficult to sort through to get to the truth.

        “There’s no doubt in my mind that Hamas initiated this conflict and wanted to do so in order to leverage its position, having been shut out by the Egyptians post-Morsi, having been shunned by the Gulf, having been pulled into a technocratic government with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority that might have caused better governance and a greater willingness on the part of the people of Gaza to move away from tolerating Hamas in their midst. So the ultimate responsibility has to rest on Hamas and the decisions it made.”

        She added: “That doesn’t mean that, just as we try to do in the United States and be as careful as possible in going after targets to avoid civilians, that there aren’t mistakes that are made. We’ve made them. I don’t know a nation, no matter what its values are—and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position—that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas.”

        Shifting to a focus on Netanyahu, Clinton said she has seen the prime minister “move from being against the two-state solution to announcing his support for it,” and issued a ringing endorsement for his demand for security control over the West Bank for at least the next few years — a demand that some have read as signalling the end of a two-state solution. http://www.timesofisrael.com/hillary-clinton-blasts-unfair-world-reaction-over-gaza-cites-anti-semitism-as-factor/

      • echinococcus
        December 21, 2015, 2:07 pm

        Kris,

        We’ve known BS’ positions for many years, before there was a .com directly manipulated by the proponent himself. It is all for imperialism, war and the Zionists getting away with murder as they always have. I just can’t understand how you can quote BS from his own website when the record is there, and it is damning.
        So he “supports the 2-state solution”. Fine. So do George Bush fils and all Zionists who know where their best interest is.
        Then well, there are only three (not exactly two, but that’s immaterial) choices inside the Demolican “Party”. So what? It’s the party in charge of managing US imperialism and war of aggression, significantly for the (goodwill) participants in this forum also managing full US support to Zionist invasion and genocide (the other wing of the duopoly being exactly the same but different in meaningless details of its cultural sensitivities, but that’s a personal opinion not relevant to solidarity with the Palestinian people.) I’m afraid support to such organizations and support to the struggle of the Palestinian people may prove incompatible.

      • Kris
        December 21, 2015, 3:14 pm

        @echinococcus: “I just can’t understand how you can quote BS from his own website when the record is there, and it is damning.”

        I didn’t quote Bernie Sanders from his website; the blockquotes are from articles in The Times of Israel. I am encouraged by his criticizing Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, and I am very much in favor of his stand on single payer healthcare.

        It seems to me that Bernie Sanders, or Martin O’Malley, would be less lethal presidents than H. Clinton or her fellow Republicans, both for us in the U.S., and for all those people abroad who will otherwise be our victims, whether through war, climate change, or economic force.”

      • echinococcus
        December 21, 2015, 10:27 pm

        Kris,
        You say you aren’t quoting BS himself rather than his disastrous record, but didn’t you write this?

        Take a look at Bernie Sanders’ positions, here: link to berniesanders.com . His position on Israel/Palestine is in the “War and Peace” section: link to berniesanders.com

        As for “The Times of Israel”, official Zionist propaganda is not to be preferred to the known record either.
        Also, I’ll observe that you shouldn’t be calling the Empress “Republican”: she very much belongs to and represents the “Democratic” wing of the imperialist dog-and-pony show, as also does Mr. Sanders who, in addition to being a supporter of all wars and a card-carrying Zionist who did Kibbutz time, hysterically defended the latest Gaza massacre in the name of a non-existent “right of Israel to defend itself”. Expecting any difference between the two liars in their acts would be pure folly. Again, watch their hands, not their lips. Liberal Zionists are the deadliest because they are a good pretext.

      • Kris
        December 22, 2015, 1:23 pm

        Ecchinococcus, do you think that Palestinians and most U.S. citizens will be better off if the Democrats nominate Clinton? I’m assuming, of course, that you don’t intend to vote for either the Republican or Democratic nominee, in any case. Maybe you are thinking that Green Party candidate Jill Stein would get more votes if Clinton is the Democratic nominee?

        Bernie Sanders did repeat the “Israel has the right to defend itself” mantra that is obligatory to everyone in Congress, unless they want the full force of Zionist Jewish money and media directed at destroying them.

        But then Sanders did take the very bold step of criticizing Israel for using excessive force, unnecessarily killing lots of people, bombing UN facilities, etc. This is very different from Clinton’s stance, which is that criticism of Israel amounts to “antisemitism.”

      • echinococcus
        December 22, 2015, 3:00 pm

        Kris,

        Why should I care who the Demolican or Repucrat nominee or electee is if by the nature of things heshe must be an imperialist leader anyway? As you say yourself, it’s compulsory. I still can’t see any difference between the Empress and the Mountebank. Lots of words, but where it comes down is upholding a “right” to invasion, “defend itself”, and US participation. Watch their hands, not their lips.
        I’m bringing this discussion here because of its huge consequences for Palestine. Anyone voting for any wing of the single party dictatorship is not only personally submitting to it but sabotaging the fight against it, which today can only be through massive abstention and third party vote –any.

    • Emory Riddle
      December 21, 2015, 10:00 am

      “..we keep waiting for Sanders to mention that the Israeli quagmire of 50 years of occupation is fostering terrorism (which he understands; he went out to live in Israel when it was the socialist utopia of his youth)”.

      Israel a socialist utopia! I wonder if the Palestinians saw it that way?

      PW, your tribalism is showing.

      • echinococcus
        December 21, 2015, 10:34 pm

        Not only the tribalism (which he acknowledges) but his strange conception of a non-internationalist socialism. I suppose growing up with and within Zionism won’t be easy to get rid of. Give him high marks for trying in earnest.

    • Kris
      December 21, 2015, 2:03 pm

      joemowrey, check out these interviews from The Times of Israel, this one with Bernie Sanders http://www.timesofisrael.com/bernie-sanders-accuses-netanyahu-of-overreacting-in-gaza-war/ , and this one with Hilary Clinton http://www.timesofisrael.com/hillary-clinton-blasts-unfair-world-reaction-over-gaza-cites-anti-semitism-as-factor/ .

      Sanders criticized Israel for the slaughter in Gaza, and Clinton defended Israel and said criticism was due to “antisemitism.”

      There is certainly a better chance of better U.S. policies in the Middle East with Bernie Sanders.

  2. David Doppler
    December 20, 2015, 1:36 pm

    Again, great coverage. I couldn’t watch the whole thing, then relied on the NYT to summarize. No mention of Mossadegh, there. In searching to see what coverage there was, I couldn’t find any about the debate, and precious little about Sanders Foreign Policy in the MSM. But here’s a fine article at Salon.com about his recent speech at Georgetown, and the tendency to dismiss him as not serious on foreign policy, because he’s not saying what hawks (i.e., the Elite Establishment) want to hear:

    “Our response must begin with an understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy. It begins with the acknowledgement that unilateral military action should be a last resort…and that ill-conceived military decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilize entire regions for decades. It begins with the reflection that the failed policy decisions of the past – rushing to war, regime change in Iraq, or toppling Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, or Guatemalan President Arbenz in 1954, Brazilian President Goulart in 1964, Chilean President Allende in 1973. These are the sort of policies that do not work, do not make us safer, and must not be repeated.”
    http://www.salon.com/2015/11/25/bernie_sanderss_refreshingly_sane_foreign_policy/

    This seems like an indictment of CIA covert operations as generally applied to engineering regime change through violence with “plausible deniability.” And there are several different forms in his bag of “failed policy decisions.”

    Iraq involved “fixing the intelligence” to match the policy, adopted very publicly. I believe many of those other actions were taken covertly, without public debate, blamed on locals to preserve “plausible deniability,” and who knows how much the President or the Congress, which alone has constitutional authority to declare war, knew about these decisions. Certainly, killing a foreign ruler is an act of war.

    So Sanders seems very much on board with holding the Elite Establishment accountable, but can he do that without mentioning AIPAC? or what his own Zionism means to him as an American politician?

    I still think Hillary has the best shot, but it is tantalizing to imagine that, at some point, she and Sanders will have a donnybrook on her pledge of allegiance to “neoliberalism,” its money men, and their “policy advisors.” And, surviving this, will have to do it all over again, against Trump, who won’t be so nice, in how he discusses these issues and people.

    • Boomer
      December 20, 2015, 2:35 pm

      re: “. . . then relied on the NYT to summarize. No mention of Mossadegh, there. In searching to see what coverage there was, I couldn’t find any about the debate, and precious little about Sanders Foreign Policy in the MSM . . . ”

      Right. Schedule the debate for the Saturday night before Christmas to minimize the audience, then minimize the coverage. Wouldn’t want to upset the masses.

    • oldgeezer
      December 20, 2015, 3:56 pm

      The one thing that has always amused me (not in a particularly comedic way) is that the US seemed to ignore the plausible part of the deniability. It was always very in your face and would never have passed muster had it not been for the thousands of nukes. Rather insulting to anyone half awake or aware.

    • JWalters
      December 20, 2015, 6:39 pm

      I agree. Sanders appears to be trying to inch (safely) toward informing the public about reality.

  3. Annie Robbins
    December 20, 2015, 1:37 pm

    the good news is we have a little time. the bad news is there’s a sense of inevitability and defeatism regarding clinton. she’s like the huge shopping center w/ walmart, barnes&noble and petco with a full parking lot plopped down right outside of a small town where the small businesses are going out of business. how do you compete with that? i just don’t see anyone overtaking her before the primary even tho we have a little bit of time. but i think we’ll have 2 conservatives on the ticket, no choice for someone like myself.

    • Citizen
      December 20, 2015, 2:15 pm

      Along with Sanders and O’Malley, Trump’s not in favor of reflexive regime change either & like them, he places first priority on defeating ISIL. All three take the attitude, take one thing at a time. Putin says the goal in Syria should be to allow the Syrians themselves to elect whomever they want. I think there’s lots of voters who don’t go along with the notion we shouldn’t work closely with Putin to terminate ISIL. Of course Hillary & GOP contenders object strenuously to that. They don’t say it directly, but they believe that would aid and abet Hezbollah and Iran.

    • Mooser
      December 20, 2015, 4:11 pm

      “but i think we’ll have 2 conservatives on the ticket”

      As good a way as any to put it. So far saddest Pres. election of my lifetime.

    • JWalters
      December 20, 2015, 6:47 pm

      Discouraging people is part of the strategy. Shock and awe. The resistance has to be determined and smart. It’s a war of information. Take advantage of every opening to hit hard. Not let up. Every person informed is ground gained. Contests can turn even in the final phase. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

    • echinococcus
      December 20, 2015, 6:55 pm

      Bah. And if a miracle happens and Sanders gets past the post, you get the same warmongering, but liberally. So what?

    • John Salisbury
      December 21, 2015, 7:14 pm

      Annie I would endorse Jill Stein.

  4. Scott
    December 20, 2015, 1:55 pm

    He was pretty good, though it could have been better. Here’s a suggestion: https://twitter.com/michaelbd/status/678402357026283521

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    December 20, 2015, 2:03 pm

    “Indeed, the Mossadegh mistake of more than 60 years ago was trending last night; former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley also mentioned the Mossadegh coup as a foreign policy error.”

    Interesting – but not surprising – that these people see the toppling of a popular leaderonly in terms of what is and isn’t good for the US.

    Besides, I’m not sure if the Mossadeq coup d’etat was an ‘error’ for US foreign policy. The Pahlavis served US – and Israeli – interests very well until the Islamic revolution in 1979. Neither the Americans nor the Israelis want an independent, democratic Iran, whatever they might say for public consumption. A return to the Pahlavis, or similar, would suit them much, much better than the genuine democracy Iran may have been becoming back in the Mossadeq days.

  6. Citizen
    December 20, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Note that the US won’t even arm the Kurds decently although they are the most effective fighters against ISIL. US gets OK from Iraqi regime, who then curtails arms shipments to the Kurds. That fact, taken together with US not working closer with Putin against ISIS, reveals other priorities the US has in the region, which weren’t discussed in the debates so far. Most glaring: Israel. US handling of Turkey viz a viz Russia & Israel, and of Iraq’s current shia regime’s affinity with Iran.

  7. Boomer
    December 20, 2015, 2:30 pm

    re “Ron Paul’s son Rand has sold out to the hawks”

    Really? In the opening statements in the most recent Republican debate, he seemed pretty negative about military interventions in general, and in the Middle East in particular. He sounded downright dovish compared with a lot of the other guys up there. Some of them did everything to show their “strength” except arm wrestle and sing “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,” as did a former Republican nominee. I didn’t watch all of the debate, nor do I follow Paul’s other comments, so I may be confused, but I don’t see him as a hawkish candidate. Of course, it’s all academic. Looks like the election will be between Mrs. Clinton and someone who isn’t named Paul.

  8. yonah fredman
    December 20, 2015, 3:49 pm

    Sanders is still a long shot, but this differentiation: his dissension from the hawkish position that Hillary embodies, is probably his best bet to defeat her. Hillary’s strength stems from Sanders’ weakness among black (and Hispanic?) voters. His strength is the university educated whites and they are not enough to defeat Hillary. Obama’s victory in 2008 over Hillary had more to do with his overwhelming support among blacks than with his anti war position.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 20, 2015, 4:36 pm

      Obama’s victory in 2008 over Hillary had more to do with his overwhelming support among blacks than with his anti war position.

      is this your hunch or is there any supporting evidence from this?

    • Mooser
      December 20, 2015, 4:45 pm

      “Obama’s victory in 2008 over Hillary had more to do with his overwhelming support among blacks than with his anti war position.”

      Wow, “Yonah” I thought Obama’s victory had more to do with his overwhelming support among Democrats!
      Oh well, I guess with Obama not running, the Democrats may lose all those voters to the Republicans.

    • Kris
      December 20, 2015, 4:48 pm

      Obama’s victory in 2008 over Hillary also had a great deal to do with the fact he was not Hillary.

      At least that was a big factor in the caucuses hereabouts.

    • JWalters
      December 20, 2015, 6:51 pm

      African-Americans overwhelmingly supported Hillary until Obama won overwhelmingly white Iowa.

      • Scott
        December 20, 2015, 8:48 pm

        What JWalters said

    • yonah fredman
      December 21, 2015, 10:00 pm

      I took a look at the democratic primary results of 2008. I think that Obama won the nomination due to a number of causes including: solid support among blacks and momentum created by victories in the early primaries, even in states where black votes were not a significant factor. He was a very inspiring candidate and once a certain threshold of success was crossed, the prospect of an Obama presidency became exciting, particularly because of the breakthrough nature of first black president. I think that a white candidate who had been similarly anti war in his position would not have beaten Hillary and that the excitement created by the prospect of the first black presidency was a greater factor than his anti war stance. (One should also mention that at least as a candidate he is an inspiring speaker and Hillary is better on policy than on inspiration, better with a small room than with a big crowd.)

      • Mooser
        December 22, 2015, 10:38 am

        Shorter “Yonah”: “Obama is black! So he only became President cause black people voted! Did I mention he was black?”

  9. David Doppler
    December 20, 2015, 5:17 pm

    IDF General Levin (ret) defends “Breaking the Silence,” but only in Israel: http://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-top-idf-officer-takes-out-ad-to-support-breaking-the-silence/

  10. JWalters
    December 20, 2015, 6:23 pm

    Many people talk about America’s foreign policy as if America is a monolith. But it’s a split personality. On one side are those who favor America’s stated ideals of universal human rights. On the other are, in FDR’s apt term, the “banksters”.

    FDR didn’t choose that term to be cute. He knew these people personally, and he was telling the American people that, to an important degree, the big bankers on Wall Street are literally gangsters. They are a mafia, a mob.

    Marine General Smedley Butler has told how the Wall Street gang approached him to lead a coup against FDR. Despite the clear evidence, all on the record, this episode has “disappeared” from America’s “official” history.

    Butler also revealed that in his time as a Marine he had been more of a muscle man for corporations than democracy. These corporations used America’s military as their corporate enforcers.

    Former banker John Perkins (“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”) confirmed Butler’s account. Perkins explained how the big banks would make an offer to a foreign leader that he couldn’t refuse, mafia style. Either millions of dollars for him and his family to live very well, or be killed. And once a person joins the mob they don’t leave.

    Another deep insider, Col. Fletcher Prouty told a similar story about manufacturing the Vietnam war. And we now know that the Iraq war was manufactured. And currently we see Wall Street’s “official” party frothing to send thousands more Americans to die in more wars.

    That is the context in which the DNC’s Datagate occurred. An acquaintance who has built company data systems had some interesting comments about it. He said that two data sets that needed to be kept isolated would each be put in a separate “database”, essentially its own self-contained data castle with its own security measures, beyond usernames and passwords. A person in one castle, searching through the data in their own castle, would NEVER be able to see data in the other castle. It would require special, additional programming to let someone in one castle access data in the other castle. There would be no flimsy “wall” that could easily come down, temporarily commingling the data from the two castles.

    Further, Wasserman-Schultz’s use of this incident to block the Sanders team from accessing their own data in their own castle is absurd. And using it to smear Sanders’ integrity, one of his central assets, is exactly like the “Swift Boating” of John Kerry’s war record. It’s a Karl Rove tactic. And the timing of this attack and smear is “perfect”.

    Sanders’ call for an INDEPENDENT investigation is correct, NOT an investigation by Wasserman-Schultz’s people. Since it involves the possible subversion of democracy, the appropriate agency to do an independent investigation would be the FBI.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 20, 2015, 10:03 pm

      interesting jwalters. i have not been following datagate but i’ve heard of it. bring it on!

    • Bandolero
      December 21, 2015, 2:17 am

      JWalters

      Many people talk about America’s foreign policy as if America is a monolith. But it’s a split personality.

      Seymour Hersh has just written a bit more on the “split personality” that the US is – suggesting the sabotage of the Israel lobby’s and Hillary’s wet dream of regime change in Syria was not the work of Obama, but his military chiefs did it on their own:

      Military to Military

      Money quote:

      … ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’ …

      I think that’s a must read. And, of course, as everybody knows that Hillary was one of the biggest supporters of regime change in Syria by arming ISIS, Al Qaeda and the likes, that should be the major line of attack against Hillary. But, sadly, Bernie seems too feckless to mount a serious attack on Hillary for this, he’s just too nice.

      So, we likely have to wait for The Donald to go ballistic against Clinton for her support of Al Qaeda & Co in Libya, Syria and elsewhere. Trump already started a bit of that, but that could become much more aggressive as soon as Hillary will be his major enemy:

      http://husseini.posthaven.com/in-defense-of-the-rise-of-trump

  11. echinococcus
    December 20, 2015, 7:01 pm

    Sure. From the same guy who voted the War Powers. And never saw a war he didn’t support in word or deed.

  12. Kay24
    December 20, 2015, 10:02 pm

    It is time the American people realized that we get such a bad response from the rest of the world, is because of our interfering, violent, arrogant ways. Shouting about axis of evils, that the demons are always out to get us, does not solve any problem. It is time Americans were told why there are so many angered people out there in the world – for decades we have bombed, killed, interfered, toppled, and acted so arrogantly, that the chickens are beginning to come home to roost.
    Any good we do in the world is overshadowed by our negative behavior. We are the cause of extremists banding together, attacking civilians, and retaliating for the deaths and injuries of thousands. We give them reason and then whine that we are being targeted. For instance,
    who are we to decide we have to take over their oil, or need democracy?

    We need to change our policies, and change our ways – doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results is insane. There are thousands out there who want revenge for the deaths of those we have killed, it is a predictable reaction.

    Unfortunately, our leaders prefer to continue on this deadly path, and we keep facing the consequences.

    • a4tech
      December 20, 2015, 11:50 pm

      Any good we do in the world

      Like what?

      • Annie Robbins
        December 21, 2015, 12:04 am

        Like what?

        americans? are you kidding me. we do cool stuff all the time. check this out:

      • Mooser
        December 21, 2015, 1:07 am

        “Like what”

        “a4tech” can you see, by the dawn’s early light Reg Kehoe and His Marimba Queens?

      • Kay24
        December 21, 2015, 2:12 am

        Like what? Do some research yourself before someone laughs at your question.

        One bad thing we do is arm and aid Israel. Now that stinks.

  13. Kay24
    December 20, 2015, 10:20 pm

    That birthright brainwashing seems to be working:

    “Adam Sandler criticized Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters and movement to boycott Israel in an appearance on the Howard Stern Show on Tuesday.
    “I’m disgusted they single out Israel,” Sandler said on Stern’s Sirius satellite radio show. “That (they say), ‘We can’t play Israel.’ All these f***ing nice Israeli people are getting a ‘f*** you’ from Roger Waters.
    “I’m very pro-Israel and when someone says sh** about Israel, I know people say sh** about Israel and they f***ing won’t play there … and when you go off on Roger Waters I love that you do that,” Sandler said.
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.692258

    The decades long occupation, civilian massacres, and land thefts, seems to be acceptable too.
    It seems being pro Israel makes them blinded to it’s crimes.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 20, 2015, 11:42 pm

      the Howard Stern Show .. what a cesspool. talk about lack of moral highground. adam sandler is a has been.

      • Kay24
        December 21, 2015, 2:08 am

        Yes, birds of a feather and all that. I never liked Sandler’s amateurish movies anyway. :))

  14. ivri
    December 21, 2015, 2:21 am

    Just a minute, sorry to interrupt, but the title is about Sanders and wars in the Mid-East but I am shocked not to see Palestine mentioned even ONCE in the discussion above! (but mentioned in the article)
    Could it be that the issue lost importance in the present general Mid-East context?

    • just
      December 21, 2015, 10:02 am

      No. You wish. So does Israel.

      Israel has fomented much misery and mayhem in the region and hell on earth for the Palestinians.

  15. Boo
    December 21, 2015, 10:09 am

    You’d be delighted — not “shocked” — if nobody ever mentioned Palestine again.

    Or if nobody ever mentioned Protective Edge, or Dania Ersheid, or Neveen Jamjoum, or Ali Dawabsheh, or …

    Or if nobody ever mentioned the USS Liberty again.

    “Never Forget”

  16. sehsane
    December 21, 2015, 11:05 am

    The political discourse of Bernie Sanders projects refreshing elements of morality and humanism that transcend the commonly held notions of traditional liberalism. It is to be hoped that his moral compass will inspire him to re-examine his position regarding the tragedy of the Palestinian people under occupation away from the constraints of political expediency and in line with what in his heart he knows to be just and moral. Failure to do so will expose him as a political cynic.

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