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Adam Smith wrote that the efficiency of markets relies on the free movement of goods. What happens when governments seize property in order to exert political pressure — or out of greed? A major, arguably the primary, incentive of the capitalist system is that it offers the potential of accruing wealth. Individuals and companies rely... Read More
On top of the $2 billion it already sent to Ukraine, the Biden administration has asked Congress to ignore its previous request for $10 billion to pay for updated COVID-19 vaccines for American citizens (Pandemic? What pandemic?) and send an additional $33 billion to Ukraine instead. The House of Representatives not only obliged but authorized... Read More
The effect of Western sanctions may cause historians of the future to look upon the conflict in Ukraine as a net defeat for Russia. In terms of the military struggle itself, however, Russia is winning. Watching American and European news coverage, you might ask yourself, how can that be? It comes down to war aims.... Read More
Team Politics has gone international! Who cares if you can't find Ukraine on a map? Festoon your home with Ukrainian flags! Change your Twitter avatar to a heart-shaped Ukrainian flag! Tattoo your entire body blue and yellow! It's all about Ukraine — until the next war or the Azov Battalion gets caught doing something awful,... Read More
"Find a way to be against the war in Ukraine, please." That was the subject line of one of my recent hate emails. "If you look through Mr. Rall's cartoons for the past month, there isn't a single one condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine," an anonymous online commenter chided. "There's plenty of ones based around... Read More
Even the wars that historians judge to have been noble and beneficial rely on popular support marketed and sustained by lies. Contrary to what the English government told its people during World War I, German soldiers didn't bayonet Belgian babies in their cribs. The "cocaine" U.S. troops claimed to have found in Panamanian dictator Manuel... Read More
Maybe it's time to change the flag on your social-media avatar. To the extent that objective guideposts exist in international relations, the United States has no legal obligation to defend Ukraine. Ukraine, a U.S. strategic partner, is neither an ally nor a member of NATO. Nor is it in our neighborhood. Much as the Monroe... Read More
American media outlets characterize Russia's invasion of Ukraine as, variously and concurrently, the bloodthirsty act of a Hitlerian madman, part of an attempt to reconstitute the former Soviet Union and, predictably continuing the silently debunked Russiagate narrative of the last six years, an assault on the concept of democracy motivated by President Vladimir Putin's supposed... Read More
Parents teach their children: You make a mess, you clean it up. Twenty years ago, the United States government transformed its naval base at Guantanamo Bay into a legal, moral and foreign-policy disaster. It's time for President Joe Biden to fulfill his promise to complete the task his predecessors didn't have the wisdom or desire... Read More
If Colin Powell's life has meaning, it is as a cautionary tale about the perils of going along to get along. Rarely has history offered such a stark example of a human being offered a clear existential choice between right and wrong. Hardly ever has so much hung in the balance for humanity and for... Read More
The British tabloid The Daily Mail is taking small-arms fire for publishing an article bearing the headline: "It's the trendy Taliban! Young fighters accessorize their traditional clothes with sunglasses, stylish trainers and own-branded baseball caps — while cracking down on Western dressing." Though the piece took note of the brutal comportment of Afghanistan's new and... Read More
Congress, the media and many voters are asking military officials this week: How did we lose the Afghanistan War? I've been reading a book, "The Afghanistan Papers," by Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock, that shows how America messed up its longest war. (Every now and then, corporate media hypes something that's actually worth reading.) What... Read More
President Joe Biden is taking heat from Democrats, not for his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan — that's popular — but for his haphazard pullout that, self-serving Rumsfeldian "stuff happens," "wars end messily" platitudes aside, could have been executed more efficiently. They blame George W. Bush for starting America's longest war, arguing that what he... Read More
If crisis creates opportunity, we couldn't possibly have squandered the possibilities presented by 9/11 more spectacularly. We certainly couldn't have failed its tests more completely. Twenty years after 9/11, it is clear that the United States is ruled by idiots and that we, the people are complicit with their moronic behavior. "We had to do... Read More
How will the Taliban govern Afghanistan? It may be up to us. The U.S. is out, but what the Biden administration and its Western allies do in the weeks and months ahead will have a big influence on whether the Central Asian country reverts to the insular, medieval barbarism of the 1990s or modernizes in... Read More
Thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands of dead Afghans, $2 trillion down the toilet, a Taliban victory that leaves America's international reputation in shambles. This disaster didn't happen by itself. Political and military leaders, aided and abetted by the news media, are responsible and should be held accountable. Voters let themselves be led by... Read More
You're going to read a lot of Afghan War postmortems in the coming days. Some have already been published. Don't listen to anyone who was ever in favor of occupying Afghanistan. They were wrong for thinking that the United States could have won. They were stupid to think that invading Afghanistan would prevent another 9/11,... Read More
Better late than never: Most Americans now believe that invading Afghanistan was a mistake. But what good does it do to recognize a screw-up unless you learn from it? Failure to understand what went wrong and why sets you up for doing the same thing later. That's what happened after Vietnam; rather than face the... Read More
Americans are politically fractured, but they agree that our longest war was a mistake. Seventy-seven percent of Americans, including many Republicans, told a recent CBS News poll that they agree with President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. That's a reversal from the conflict's early days, when between 85% and 90% of Americans supported... Read More
Concern-trolling over the dismal plight of women in Afghanistan is powerfully appealing to liberals who look for reasons for the United States to maintain a military presence there. If and when the Taliban return to power, the warmongers argue, the bad, old days of stonings, burqas and girls banned from school will come back —... Read More
Now that President Joe Biden has pulled the U.S. military out of Afghanistan, it's clear that we have little to show for more than $2 trillion and thousands of soldiers killed over two decades of occupation. We will soon be back where we were on Sept. 10, 2001, when the Taliban governed Afghanistan. Afghan government... Read More
President Joe Biden deserves nothing but praise and support for his decision to honor America's commitment, which was negotiated between the Trump administration and the Taliban, to finally withdraw from Afghanistan. After more than 20 years of wasted lives, endless property damage and the squandering of billions of U.S. tax dollars that would have been... Read More
No one is blameless in the ongoing violent conflict between Israel and stateless Palestinians. Both sides target and kill civilian noncombatants. But let's put an end to false equivalence. "A pox on both houses" is not a morally or politically sound response to the one-sided war between Israel and Hamas. Israel wants war. If it... Read More
Riding in the back of a truck into Afghanistan during the 2001 U.S. invasion, a journalist colleague from Russia who served in the Red Army during the 1980s asseverated that he was happy to be back in country. "Because this time," he said, swinging his hands to indicate the swarms of refugees, bombed-out villages and... Read More
We've been in Afghanistan 20 years, Joe Biden's generals told him. All we need is a little more time. The president overruled them, ordering a complete withdrawal of American troops by Sept. 11. Madiha Afzal and Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution articulate the opposition to Biden's decision to call it quits. Remove the U.S.... Read More
Censorship in mainstream corporate American media outlets is subtle. It's not so much that they spin the truth. It's that they omit pertinent facts and exclude relevant points of view. So it is with politics. Among the tools available to messaging and framing experts is "flooding the field" — dominating the news with a blizzard... Read More
Terrified political leaders watched the police who were assigned to protect them melt away. They fled as an angry mob of hooligans, riled up by sketchy allegations of rigged elections, stormed up the stairs of the government building that hosted the debates and deliberations of their venerable democracy. The rioters, reactionary right-wingers from the nation's... Read More
President Donald Trump is terrible. Joe Biden is just as bad. In some ways, the Democrat is worse. You shouldn't vote for either one. Trump is erratic and unpredictable, which is dangerous. Even so, Biden is worse than Trump on international relations. At the center of the president's worldview is a deep, admirable and prescient... Read More
I shouted the text of my latest story about the invasion from a Palm Pilot into a balky Iridium satellite phone. It was at least my third attempt, and the battery was dying. A Village Voice employee assigned to take dictation on the other side of the world interrupted me. "I don't understand," she said,... Read More
Russia — OK, not the actual Russian government but a private troll farm company located in Russia — bought $100,000 worth of political ads on Facebook designed to change the outcome of the 2016 election. Except that only a small fraction of those ads were political. Also except that the small fraction was divvied up... Read More
War, many people believe, often results from cultural differences and misunderstandings. President Donald Trump's assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani has Americans considering the possibility that we may soon add Iran to our list of unwinnable wars in the Middle East. As that calculus unfolds, no one questions the assumption that there are irreconcilable differences between... Read More
"In ten years or so, we'll leak the truth," the Dead Kennedys sang. "But by then it's only so much paper." But it might just score you a Pulitzer Prize. Award bait and bragging rights are no doubt the principal goals of The Washington Post's self-congratulatory data dump, "The Afghanistan Papers." The papers — 2,000... Read More
As a society degenerates, life cheapens. The rhetoric that follows death coarsens. Respect paid to fallen rivals is replaced by triumphalism. Historians observed this trend in ancient Rome. As republic turned to empire and domain expanded — and so also arrogance and hubris — vanquished chieftains who previously might have been allowed to keep their... Read More
The first draft of this column came not to bury but to praise Donald Trump. I planned to applaud the president's peace initiative with the Taliban, his strategy of ignoring the corrupt and discredited puppet regime Bush installed in Kabul and his desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. This was a move I have... Read More
There is no other way to say it: It was a political assassination. Osama bin Laden was unarmed. SEALs captured him alive. Following brazenly illegal orders from Washington, they executed him. "The (Obama) administration had made clear to the military's clandestine Joint Special Operations Command that it wanted bin Laden dead," The Atlantic reported on... Read More
British goon cops acting at the request of the United States government entered Ecuador's embassy in London, dragged out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and prepared to ship him across the pond. After this event last month, most of the mainstream media reacted with spiteful glee about Assange's predicament and relief that the Department of Justice... Read More
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Against the wishes of her New York Democratic constituents, Hillary Clinton voted with Senate Republicans to invade Iraq. (It was a pivotal vote. Without Democratic support, George W. Bush’s request for this war of aggression would have failed.) Humayun Khan, 27, was an army captain who got killed during that invasion. Eight years later, the... Read More