Category Archives: NE Asia

Why Trump Is a Disaster: North Korea and US Alliances

Zamfir: I’m surprised you have a strong preference for Democrats over Republicans. To me it seems like a hopeless choice. If you vote Republican you’re voting for one set of evil elite interests, but not explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage; if you vote Republican you’re voting for another set of evil elite interests, and explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage.

Hard to pick between those two! What is the real advantage in voting Democrat in your opinion? (I guess I’d vote for Bernie, but then again I’d vote for Trump for similar reasons… Not that I expect either one would ever do much on anything I care about.)

Trump threatened to attack North Korea, a country with nuclear weapons! You cannot attack countries with nuclear weapons. They will use their nukes. They are unattackable.

Trump has starvation sanctions on North Korea. Trump is building tactical nuclear weapons that are supposedly “battlefield nukes.” The idea of this is to have nuclear weapons that are “minor” enough to use in a war. They are lesser weapons, but they are still as potent as the Hiroshima weapon. The dead truth is that Trump is readying us for nuclear war. These weapons are probably to use in a war against North Korea.

Trump’s blowing up all our alliances, and I actually support that, but not for the reasons he does. I support it because I hate most of our allies like the NATO countries, Canada, etc. You can’t blow up our alliances soon enough to please me. I don’t think Trump has any reasons for blowing up these alliances. He is probably just doing it out of incompetence. Trump’s simply the most incompetent president in history.

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The Rich Only Support Democracy when the Elected State Serves their Class Interests, Otherwise They Try to Overthrow It

Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.

Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.

I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).

As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.

I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.

So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)

You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?

Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.

A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.

So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)

The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”

The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.

The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.

Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.

Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.

And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.

I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.

The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.

So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.

Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.

The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of  power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.

Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.

I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.

Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.

The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.

The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?

The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.

Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.

After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.

As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.

After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.

The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.

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Mao Was Right

Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?

I dunno. There are some North Koreans worth up to $100,000. The party doesn’t seem to care much. There are many rich Chavistas and the Ortegas have plenty of money. There are some Cubans who are living quite well now – marble counter-tops and floors, etc. The state doesn’t care.

I suppose a good CP would just argue that moneyed people can be kept around as long as they support the party and the basic socialist nature of the system. Progressive rich people are not unknown. The father of the famous terrorist Carlos was a life member of the Venezuelan Communist Party and a millionaire.

Do the Chinese Communists (Chicoms) believe that the rich are inherently oppressive? I doubt it as the party is full of millionaires. There is even a billionaire in the party now pushing the rightwing politics of all billionaires everywhere. I think they ought to throw him out of the party.

Mao said reactionary and capitalist elements would be springing up in the party all the time, and you to wage more or less constant cultural revolution to keep the rightwingers from taking over the party. That’s one of the pillars of Maoism that distinguishes it from other Marxisms.

Then Deng came along, aaand…

Mao was right.

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Should the Rich and the Reactionaries Be Given Rights?

Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?

Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all. Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors.

Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies. Most of them are oppressors, of course. Don’t you even understand class politics or the nature of capitalism at all.

Those rich people who are pursuing their economic self interests in the class war, well of course they are our oppressors. The oppressors of me and mine anyway. I suppose they see us as oppressors. Marxist theory doesn’t say that anyway. It just says that when the rich pursue their self interests in the class war, everyone who’s not rich gets fucked. You want to call that oppression? You are welcome to. If you side with the rich, you are an idiot. Why would you side with your class enemies?

The rich are our class enemies. Does that mean they oppress us? I dunno. When they’re in power, they screw us over. All of the rich hate democracy, lie like rugs, and support violence, murder, terror, genocide, coups, and dictatorships anywhere the people take power.

Personally, I think all conservatives and reactionaries are pure filth. I wish they would all drop dead tomorrow. That way they would be where they belong: in graves. They’re nothing but pure garbage. Show me a reactionary or conservative anywhere on Earth that’s actually a human and not a lying, sadistic, murderous piece of scum. There aren’t any!

In a democratic society, of course the rich get their rights, but they abuse the fuck out of them, and anytime they people take power, the rich start using violence, coups, death squads, rioting, judicial and legislative coups, etc. to get their way. We let the rich take power all the time. They won’t let us take power at all. I’m glad the Chinese Communists took away the rights of the reactionaries.

Look what would happen if they had rights? See Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Philippines? That’s what happens when you give the rich and the reactionaries any rights at all. Right now they would be burning China to the ground like they are doing to Venezuela and Nicaragua because they are furious that a people’s government got put in.

If that’s the way they are always, always, always going to act, why give them rights? So they can destroy your country and take down any democratically elected government they don’t believe in?

They try to destroy by antidemocratic means any people’s or popular government any time it gets in.

And when they take power themselves, they usually put in a dictatorship.

This is what happens if they don’t get their way and the people elect a democratically elected people’s government:

Attempted coups by street violence: Nicaragua, Ukraine, Syria, and Thailand.

Attempted coups by economic warfare: Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Nicaragua.

Coups by legislative means: Paraguay and Brazil.

Attempted legislative coup: Venezuela.

Coups by judicial means: Brazil.

Coups by direct overthrow of the state: Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and Egypt.

Attempted coups by direct overthrow of the state: Ecuador and Bolivia.

Coup by insurgency: Haiti.

Attempted coup by insurgency: Syria.

Coups by direct invasion: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Panama, Libya, and Grenada.

This is what happens every time they get into power, especially if they take over a people’s government: 

Right-wing death squad authoritarian regime installed: Honduras*, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil*, Guatemala*, Chile, Philippines*, Uruguay, Bolivia, Indonesia*, and Ukraine*.

No I don’t have a problem taking away rights from reactionary fucks! Why should we give them rights? Give me one reason! One! One reason!

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The US Left: An Autopsy

James Schipper: Dear Robert

There is a real left in the US, the Politically Correct Left. Their darlings are the sexually abnormal, except pedophiles of course, colored people, and immigrants. To promote equality at home and to oppose imperialism abroad, which is traditional Leftism, is not a priority for today’s Leftism. Instead, we have the pursuit of diversity at home and the promotion of human rights abroad.

However, the pursuit of diversity is perfectly compatible with extreme inequality. If a CEO makes 200 times more than the companies lowest paid employee, but half of the CEO’s are female and 1/3 are non-white, then that is fine.

As to the promotion of human rights abroad, it is the modern equivalent of the White man’s burden. In practice, it means that the West will tell the rest what to do.

This is probably about right. The Cultural Left is the Left in the US. My previous post discussed Daily Kos, ground central for the left wing of the Democratic Party.

I talked about how awful they were on Venezuela, but they are just as bad on Syria and Russia. Sure, you can’t discuss the Israeli conflict, but you can sure support Israeli foreign policy in Syria.

I am quite sure that Iran is hated too.

Kos is somewhat sane on North Korea – they think that Trump threatening to attack a nuclear armed state is the height of insanity. Of course they will use their nuclear weapons if attacked. What do you expect them to do?

Well, one thing is for sure, and that’s that the Daily Kos and liberal Democrats in general support the Cultural Left to the hilt. That’s one thing they are quite Left on – culture. There is no species of nonheterosexual orientation or nonbinary gender that they will not shout the praises of to the skies.

And of course there is the continuous cheerleading for the dubious Black Lives Matter group and the Left’s favorite pets, the illegal immigrants.

There is also a lot of promotion of radical or gender feminism.

You don’t see a lot of White bashing or male bashing. Some Black, Brown, and feminist diarists write that sort of thing, but those diaries are not very popular, and the audience is mostly female or Black and Brown liberals. The male Kossacks generally stay off the hardline feminist diaries, and White Kossacks are not seen a lot on the radical Black and Brown diaries. After a while there, I decided that White liberal men were not as cucked as everyone says they are. They didn’t seem very interested in the male-bashing or White-bashing.

There even used to be some liberals on Daily Kos who were very much against illegal immigration. They tended to get shouted down, but they did have a voice. I believe recently Kos made a new policy that opposing illegal immigration on the site would result in a ban. It’s sad.

More liberals or more precisely those on the Left wing of US liberalism seem to have increasingly had it up to here with the Israelis. Even a number of liberal US Jews have finally had it with the Jewish state. Israel’s behavior gets more outrageous, belligerent and murderous by the day, and I would assume that as a liberal, even a Jewish liberal, it gets harder and harder to see these radical ethnic nationalists (the Jewish equivalent of Amrenners or Stormfronters) behave as violently and viciously as they do.

Syria is so much of a tougher sell, as the US Left and US liberalism has been doubling down on overthrowing Assad and even supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS in the process from Day One. However, even on Daily Kos, there are a few commenters who go against the Official Narrative on Syria. Maybe 20% of the total, but they are articulate and quite loud.

Even much of the actual US Left has been badly split on Syria. Alternet has been supporting overthrowing Assad, as has Pacifica radio and some authors on Counterpunch. On Alternet and Counterpunch, the readers are much more pro-Syria than the writers. Pacifica has faced a big backlash for its pro-intervention coverage. It’s more accurate to say that support for Assad’s regime has badly split the US Left than to say they have taken any coherent stand on the matter.

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Why Do Some Countries Lack a Class Conscious Working Class?

John Engelman: Contrary to what Karl Marx said, for most people most of the time loyalties of nation, race and ethnicity are stronger than loyalties of class. The working class in the United States has always been more diverse than the working class in European countries. It is becoming more diverse with the influx of non whites.

To get class consciousness you really need a homogeneous working class. It helps if the working class is ethnically distinct from the upper class. In Scotland the upper class is English, or Anglicized Scottish. That is to say Scottish, but educated in England, and often speaking with English accents.

The clear majority of Scots vote for the British Labour Party. English workers are more likely to vote for the British Conservative Party.

The argument is circular in a sense because as you look around the world, generally what you see in most cases is an ethnically homogenous working class.

Would you describe the working classes of Latin America as homogeneous or diverse? They seem to be a mixture of White, Indian and Black and the mestizo, mulatto and Zambo mixtures, correct? Yet the diverse working classes down there have high working class consciousness despite their diverse nature.

Aren’t North African and Gulf countries fairly mixed between Blacks and Arabs?

Certainly in Arabia, lands with diverse working classes of Kurds, Arabs and Iranian working classes are all very left.

I believe Sri Lanka even with the vicious Tamil versus Sinhalese war, the diverse working class is leftwing. In Burma the working class is very left although there have been wild ethnic wars sputtering on for decades.

In Russia and other nations of the former USSR, there are many ethnic minorities, but the workers are still working class.

A recent exception is Ukraine where workers have gone radical Right. The former Yugoslavia is still very leftwing even after all of the ethnic conflict and even slaughter of past years. Spain’s working class is very radical despite an armed conflict in the Basque region and separatists in Catalonia. The different religions hate each other in North Ireland, but the Scottish Protestant workers are as class conscious as the Irish Catholic ones. Switzerland is divided between three ethnic groups – French, Germans, and Italians – yet it is a very leftwing country.

The extreme tribalism in Africa has not prevented the working classes from being class conscious.

Is the working class of England voting Tory yet? Or do you just mean that they are more likely to vote Tory than the Scots are?

Most workers in Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Africa, the former USSR, China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Japan, South Korea, Nepal are the same ethnicity as the ruling classes of those places, yet workers have a high degree of class consciousness in all of those places.

The places where working class consciousness has been harder to develop were those that had a Chinese ruling class as in Philippines and Indonesia.

I think we need to come up with some better theories about the poor class consciousness of the US working class. If you are looking for examples elsewhere, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, the Baltics and Colombia are places with quite poor working class consciousness.

In Australia it is recent as US style conservatism is imported.

A similar trend is underway in Canada and has been since Thatcher in the UK. But the UK is in nearly a revolutionary situation. A lot of the working classes are militant and radicalized, while a lot of the country has at the same time gone Tory. When Thatcher died, there were anti-rich riots in housing estates across the land. Thatcher was burned in effigy in the streets. Can you imagine that happening in the US?

The recent riots in the UK also had a class undercurrent. I was dating a British woman at the time, and she told me that local storeowners who treated the community well were spared by rioters. Rioters focused on stores selling upscale goods to the rich. Many corporate outlets were also smashed.

She told me that a number of those outlets had a reputation for not paying taxes to the UK by hiding money offshore. She said the rioters knew who those companies were, and they were brutally singled out. Many outlets were burned to the ground. Can you imagine heavily Black rioters in the US having class consciousness like that?

The Baltics are a case of entire nations full of complete idiots who hate Communism so much that they went into an extreme overreaction against Communism and turned against anything socialist, left, liberal or mildly progressive. Fascist heroes including many Nazis with a lot of Jewish blood on their hands were celebrated. Communist parties were outlawed, and Russian minorities were viciously maltreated.

Radical rightwingers were elected in all of these lands, and Chicago Boys Friedmanite experiments were undertaken. The results were predictable. In the recent economic crash, the most neoliberal European countries were the most devastated of all. Estonia was eviscerated, and Latvia was almost wiped off the map. 1/3 of the Latvian population left the country, including almost all of the educated people.

The Philippines and Indonesian cases are up for discussion, but these are Latin American situations of a ruling class of a different ethnicity than the working classes holding forth brutally and anti-democratically over the people. In addition, the workers have little consciousness.

Taiwan has a similar legacy where extreme hatred of Communism resulted in being ruled by reactionary fascist anti-Communists for decades. There is a nascent Left now, but it has little power yet. The wealth of the country seems to have gotten in the way of working class consciousness. Probably the extreme anti-Communism helped too, as any working class movement could be quickly portrayed as Communist.

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Hillary Is Still Worse Than Trump on Militarism

From a year ago, but instructive nevertheless.

Sure, Trump is a horrifying hawk, and all of his promises about keeping us out of foreign wars have turned to crap. He has assembled one of the most hawkish cabinets one could imagine, including the terrifyingly insane John Bolton, the scariest man in America. Pompeo isn’t much better. Haley is catastrophic as UN ambassador.

Trump has already been far worse than Obama on war, especially in Syria. He has been much more bellicose than Obama on North Korea and Iran and even on Venezuela, on which he has threatened to launch an attack. He has also been much more hawkish on Russia, sending lethal military aid to Ukraine and attacking Russian forces a number of times in Syria.

His nominee for Secretary of State, Pompeo, recently bragged that the US had killed 200 Russians. It’s not true, and more about that later, but it’s a chilling thing to say.

In addition, since Trump came in, the rebels have made a number of miraculously precise artillery attacks on Russian forces and the Russian Embassy. A number of Russian soldiers, including some high ranking officers and even a general, were killed. A number of these Russia-killing attacks were by ISIS, and US advisers were known to be in the direct vicinity at the time. In fact, ISIS forces had just driven a convoy past US forces, and US forces had not done anything. A lot of people are saying that there is no way the rebels could have pulled such accurate high profile attacks on Russians that they did, and that the US must have helped them target these Russians.

So the US has already killed a number of Russians in Syria. Obama hadn’t killed one Russian. Trump, instead of being Putin’s pet, should instead by named The Russian Killer.

Trump removed all of the Rules of Engagement that Obama had put in for air strikes against ISIS. These rules had been quite strict and reasonable, but they had resulted in a number of civilian casualties. After removing the ROI’s, civilian casualties due to US strikes rose by 5-10 times. Trump killed a lot of Syrian civilians for no good reason.

However, Hillary’s comments about destroying Syria’s airfields go far beyond anything that Trump has even done so far, so as horrific as Trump has been on military matters, Hillary still probably would have been worse.

War Psychosis runs deep in US society, infecting all US elites across the spectrum and much of the clinically insane US population. We are simply a people who love war and get off on killing as many people as possible. We are a nation of bloodthirsty killers.

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Two, Three, Many My Lais!

Here.

My Lai wasn’t the only such massacre conducted in the Vietnam War by US  troops. There were many more, but the number of killed in each incident was typically fewer. Numbers were often 10-20, but ranged from five to 30 all the way up to 100. Most took place between 1966-1968.

In fact, there were 19 Allied massacres in My Lai’s province alone in the first three months of 1968. A number of them were conducted by ROK South Korean troops.

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Are There Any Americans Who Don’t Engage in Pure Black and White Thinking?

Alex: Robert, thanks for the warm welcome.

I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I would say that your views defy categorization, which I find refreshing. Of course, you’re free to apply any label you like to yourself. I personally have been exposed to enough narrow ideologies to find most such labels distasteful. I would rather people apply labels like ‘open-minded’, ‘numerate’, or ‘principled’ to themselves instead of an ideological designator which is as much about tribal affiliation as it is about personal philosophy. If people were really honest, they could even apply terms like ‘selfish’, or ‘biased towards short-term outcomes’ and nobody could fault them because we’re all that way to some extent.

Of course I am a man of the Left and I always have been. I am a liberal, progressive, socialist, whatever you want to call it. Exactly.

And the problem is that in the US, you pretty much have to define yourself as liberal or conservative. I suppose it is possible to be a Centrist, but I don’t hear many folks identifying that way.

Of course I am a man of the Left and I always have been. I am a liberal, progressive, socialist, whatever you want to call it.

However, once you designate yourself on the left of the spectrum like that, you are given a checklist of 1,000 different issues, and you have to check the “liberal” position on every single damn one of them. If you fail to check even one, everyone on the Left flips out, says you are not a liberal/progressive/socialist/whatever, and instead you are a reactionary/conservative/fascist/Nazi/Republican. Well, I am not any of the latter. I have examined all of those philosophies in great detail, and I despise those people. I do not fit in with them at all. However, only conservatives have been friendly to me, even though their philosophy is crap. Everyone on the Left by and large hates my guts.

So I am a man without a country, so to speak.

Really if you gave me a list of Left positions, I might check most of them. More importantly, if you gave me a list of rightwing opinions, I would not check too many of them. But I would check a few. But you can’t even check a few, you see. You can’t even check one.

Let me give you another example. I think a $15 minimum wage is a terrible idea. But I am very much pro-worker. I just don’t think that is the way to deal with working class problems in the US. That would cause more problems then it would cure. When I say that, everyone on the Left gets outraged and says, “I thought you were for the workers!” As in, if you are  pro-worker, you have to support a $15/hr wage. Well, I am pro-worker, and I think that wage is a terrible idea.

Everything is black and white here. I like a lot of what Putin does, but I agree that he does some bad things, and I will gladly rattle them off. When I do this, Putin-haters (everyone) is outraged and yells, “I thought you were pro-Putin! See, even you admit he’s bad.”

You see in the US you have to take positions. If you hate Putin, nothing he does is good. Same with Trump, Assad, Kim Jong Il, or other bogeymen. Most everyone on the Left in the US says all of these men are pure evil. If you point out that these people are good or correct in some certain way, everyone flips out. “You support Kim Jong Il!” Well, no I don’t, but he has the right to defend his country.

People who are pro-Democrat or anti-Assad or whatever will never admit that there is one bad thing about Democrats or one good thing about Assad. You can’t.

If you say one bad thing about Democrats, they’re not “good” anymore. If you say one good thing about Assad, he’s not “bad” anymore.

Let’s say we are talking Putin. My conversation partner is a Putin-hater. Literally everything Putin does is pure evil. I am taking the opposite point and supporting Putin on a number of issues. But if I concede Putin is bad in one way, my partner starts jumping up down and yelling, “Even you say he’s bad!”

If you concede one point, if you say you’re guy is bad in even one way, in the US, you just lost the argument. Because the other guy never concedes a point. In the US, the way people think is that the person who never concedes on anything wins, and the person who concedes a point or two loses.

Literally almost everyone I meet in this country is exactly like this. Most people I have known in my life are like this. I know several people with 140+ IQ’s, and they are complete black and white thinkers, so it’s not down to intelligence.

Humans just can’t seem to handle cognitive dissonance. They can’t deal with gray areas. Gray areas make people nuts. A gray area means the good guy’s not good anymore, and the bad guy’s not bad anymore. We can’t have that.

Ever since I appeared on the Net, people have been screaming that my politics is utterly irrational and insane. That is simply because I am Left on some things and Right on others. In America, apparently that is the definition of insanity. Recently someone commented that I am “all over the place.” That’s right. If you live in a permanent gray area, you will always be all over the place.

Which brings me to my original question: Just how many Americans are not black and white thinkers? I would also like to ask if it is a human characteristic rather than an American one. Will you generally find the same black and white thinking everywhere you go in the world?

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Yes, the Vietnam War Was Wrong, and Yet, Thank You for Your Service

I did not like this war one bit, but I think we should go easy on the guys who fought over there. Face it, they are just pawns. Their country called, they answered. If if their country called them for a dubious thing, the fact that they answered is still worth something. My main beef against the US military is that we hardly ever fight on the side of the good guys anymore. We are always for the bad guys or at least fighting for some dubious cause.

And we commit war crimes like crazy, though we seem to be getting a lot better about this. The Rules of Engagement in Iraq were much stricter than in Vietnam and certainly than in Korea, where I wonder if we were even following any rules at all. We need to knock it off with the White Phosphorus already though. We no longer use napalm (thank God!) and we have ended the use of cluster bombs (good show!). We really need to end the use of all depleted uranium ammunition though. The stuff is toxic as Hell and it’s got to go.

Almost no enemy POW’s were executed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I am afraid that we did this in Vietnam (CIA’s abominable Phoenix Plan), and in Korea, it looks like there were some terrible cases of this and even of US troops executing hundreds of South Korean civilians. My Lai was not the only massacre in Vietnam. There were many more smaller ones. It was fairly common for US soldiers to rape and murder young Vietnamese women villagers, especially in enemy territory. No, I do not approve of setting huts on fire in villages. Free-fire zones were a complete abomination. Carpet bombing with B-52’s is madness. The use of Agent Orange was an outrage.

US troops were not really monsters. After Tet, severe cynicism set in among US soldiers. Drug use skyrocketed, especially heroin, and I believe ceasefires were often negotiated with the local NVA or Viet Cong. Fragging or assassination of hated officers by those under the command rose to epidemic levels. Many to most of the men felt that the cause they were fighting for was complete bullshit, and they were probably right. We had a draft in the US, and those men were called up and ordered to serve. You can hardly fault a soldier for being drafted into war.

But I will say that the US military is damn good. And I can respect that. The 173rd Airborne was legendary in Vietnam. It has long been said to be one of the finest units in the US military, and I believe they may still exist.

Does it make sense to say that you thought the war was a great big mistake and still thank the men who served for their service? I don’t know, but I am going to do it anyway.

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