Get out your atlas. You will likely need it when you read farther here about the intriguing but little known story in a lesser known part of Alpine Europe: Italy’s northern territory of Alto Adige, better known as South Tyrol. I used an atlas for geographical details about the borderlands with which this article deals and where I have spent long periods. For it’s the details—often geographical—that will confound you every time. Such details make you aware that military planners of national strategy never spend enough time with their atlases. Over much of my lifetime I have passed through these border territories countless times, from north to south, south to north and yet I still discover new things about them.
“In this series, Daniel Ellsberg and Paul Jay explore Ellsberg’s latest book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. In the introduction to the book, Ellsberg writes:
“No policies in human history have more deserved to be recognized as immoral or insane. The story of how this calamitous predicament came about and how and why it has persisted over a half a century is a chronicle of human madness. Whether Americans, Russians, and other humans can rise to the challenge of reversing these policies and eliminating the danger of near-term extinction caused by their own inventions and proclivities remains to be seen. I choose to join with others in acting as if that is still possible.””
The Roman Catholic Church and the Peoples Republic of China are set to sign an agreement, which would formally end the hostilities between these two entities. The Chinese government will formally acknowledge the Pope as the leader of the Catholic Church in China. In exchange, the Pope will reinstate ex-communicated Bishops selected by the Communist Party to lead Catholics on the Chinese mainland. In this context, it is worth reviewing the shifts and evolutions of Catholicism in global politics.
One reason it’s so easy to get an American administration, the mainstream media, and the American people to jump on an anti-Russian bandwagon is of course the legacy of the Soviet Union. To all the real crimes and shortcomings of that period the US regularly added many fictitious claims to agitate the American public against Moscow. That has not come to a halt. During a debate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, candidate Ben Carson (now the head of the US Housing and Urban Development agency) allowed the following to pass his lips: “Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: Our spiritual life, our patriotism, and our morality.” This is a variation on many Stalinist “quotes” over the years designed to deprecate both the Soviet leader and any American who can be made to sound like him. The quote was quite false, but the debate moderators and the other candidates didn’t raise any question about its accuracy. Of course not.
Now, at last, a real “election influence” scandal – and, laughably, it’s got nothing to do with Russia. The protagonists are none other than the “all-American” US social media giant Facebook and a British data consultancy firm with the academic-sounding name Cambridge Analytica.
Shakespeare said it best, much ado about nothing.
That’s the “Russian interference” in the 2016 American election.
A group of Russians operating from a building in St. Petersburg, we are told in a February 16 US government indictment,1 sent out tweets, Facebook and YouTube postings, etc. to gain support for Trump and hurt Clinton even though most of these messages did not even mention Trump or Clinton; and many were sent out before Trump was even a candidate.
Cold War Number One: 70 years of daily national stupidity
Cold War Number Two: Still in its youth, but just as stupid
“He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.” – President Trump re Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Vietnam.
Lately we have been hearing a great deal about “blowback.” But the real menace we face today is global rollback. The goal of conservative rulers around the world, led by those who occupy the seats of power in Washington, is the systematic rollback of democratic gains, public services, and common living standards around the world.
I woke up in the early 1970s. Since such an awakening happened in my life, I believe something similar happens also in the life of others. Though I didn’t realize it I had stood for sometime at a crossroads. I had to take the left. This sounds reductive but in retrospect it feels that my transformation happened more or less like that. Before, I was one person. Afterwards—the interval might have been months long, maybe a couple years—I was another. No need to over-dramatize and claim that the event happened as if it arrived like a thunder bolt. In any case, over a period of time, in the same way revolution happens, I revolted against my own self of the time; against my old life. And I became another. Today, as a result, part of my personal philosophy of life is that people can and do change. Fundamentally.
Cold War then. Cold War now.
The anti-Russian/anti-Soviet bias in the American media appears to have no limit. You would think that they would have enough self-awareness and enough journalistic integrity -– just enough -– to be concerned about their image. But it keeps on coming, piled higher and deeper.
After decades of delaying, the United Nations finally released archives from the Second World War-era war crimes commission investigating the Nazi Holocaust. The source of those archives on Nazi war crimes were Western governments, including those in exile at the time of the war, such as the Belgian, Polish and Czechoslovakian. The time period covered is 1943-1949. Washington and London had long sought to halt the release. Why?
Brief: The so-called ‘military-industrial complex’ ushered in by the passing of the 1947 National Security Act is a luxury America and the world can no longer afford. The unprecedented threat posed by the over-privileged belligerents infecting U.S. military doctrine with their unbridled hegemonic ambition is redolent of that of the British Empire in the years leading up to the Great War in 1914. With Donald Trump advocating massive upgrades of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and full-spectrum dominance likely to remain integral to American foreign and national security policy making, along with musing on how we arrived at this point, we ponder the here and now, and an unthinkable, yet, still avoidable future.