We expect 17-year-olds to have learned a great deal starting from infancy, and yet full-grown adults have proven incapable of knowing anything about Afghanistan during the course of 17 years of U.S.-NATO war. Despite war famously being the means of Americans learning geography, few can even identify Afghanistan on a map. What else have we failed to learn?
Last weekend I was on Iranian TV being asked about the meeting in Tehran at which the presidents of Iran and Russia had refused to agree with the President of Turkey to stop bombing people in Syria. I said Iran and Russia were wrong.
I went in search of anything the United States was number 1 in that it shouldn’t be ashamed of, and came up empty. But I did find that the United States is number 1 in believing it is number 1. So, that’s something.
RT on Aug 1, 2018
On this edition of CrossTalk we consider only one question: Is Donald Trump’s “America First” policy in contradiction to the Washington Consensus idea of American Exceptionalism? The answer to this question will likely define Trump’s presidency and change the world in the process.
Israel has passed a law allowing its Minister of Education to ban from its schools any person or group who criticizes Israel — apparently something that no teachers or students in Israel are supposed to do either (though some do). The hasbara, or pro-war propaganda, spin on this is that it is protecting Israel’s brave Troops from (rhetorical) “attacks.” But one of the chief targets of the law is understood to be Israeli troops who speak about what it is they do. And the law explicitly identifies for banning from schools those who advocate “legal or political” actions, which tend to be taken against those who make laws and political decisions, not against Troops.
At the big “Treason Summit” “Russopocalypse” “Catastrovent” on Monday, journalist Sam Husseini tried to ask a question about banning nuclear weapons, and was physically hauled out of the room by officials from the “Land of Press Freedom,” Finland. Meanwhile, an Associated Press reporter was permitted to ask a perfectly respectable question pushing a blatant lie that risks nuclear war. Yay for press freedom!
The unproven allegation that the Russian government helped us find out how the DNC was screwing Bernie Sanders with his pants on is not actually a moral, legal, or practical reason to launch a spree of mass-killing of innocents, which is what every war since WWII has been.
Tear gas is among the least of the problems facing those who care about the murder and destruction of war. But it is a major element in the militarization of local policing. In fact, it is widely deemed illegal in war, but legal in non-war (although what written law actually creates that loophole is unclear).
There was something quite odd about the very welcome news that some Google employees were objecting to a military contract, namely all the other Google military contracts. My sense of the oddness of this was heightened by reading Yasha Levine’s new book, Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.
We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?