We should chop America up into 7 different countries. Seriously.

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Only 7? Sounds a bit moderate. It’s interesting how these ideas keep getting circulated but never really catch on beyond the margins. Are that many people really that unhappy with the system? Or are political partisans really just equivalents of sports fans (with “extremists” like the Antifa and Alt-Right merely assuming the role of the football hooligans)?.

By Bonnie Kristian

The Week

Look, we had a good run.

Well, maybe “good” isn’t quite the right word … but certainly it’s been interesting. These United States were a grand experiment. But the experiment has gotten out of hand. It’s time to peacefully dissolve the union.

I know, I know. This is not what good Americans are supposed to suggest. “Four score and seven years ago” and all that. But to borrow a lesser-known phrase from that brief address, it seems to me we have tested whether this nation “can long endure,” and increasingly it is clear it cannot. It’s just not working. Do you really disagree? Do you like the way things are?

We are fresh off a midterm election which has guaranteed two years of gridlock and rancor. But the issues that animated this campaign season are in no sense resolved. David Brooks’ recent diagnosis of “two electorates” conducting entirely separate conversations and motivated by entirely different primal fears remains equally perceptive. Mutual partisan hatred is still nearly total. It is still the case that the sort of person who would attend a Trump rally and one who joined the Women’s March do not wish to share a country with each other.

They may not explicitly say so, but they do come very close. How else should we interpret, “If you don’t like it, leave,” or, “If [candidate] wins, I’m moving to Canada”? However unserious, these are basically expressions of a desire for separate nations. . .

 

 

via We should chop America up into 7 different countries. Seriously.

Iraq parliament calls for US forces to leave

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MEMO | November 10, 2018

Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, revealed on Friday parliamentarian moves to pressure the Iraqi government to evict US forces from the country.

Al-Assadi said that the previous Iraqi parliament had started the calls, but now the new parliament was calling for a clear timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, Arabi21 reported. He added that US forces had entered the country at the request of the Iraqi government for training purposes and assistance in fighting Daesh.

Yet Al-Assadi stressed that: “After the big victory against these gangs [Daesh], the Iraqi government has the right to evaluate the need for American forces to remain on Iraqi soil”. He also said that the calls for US forces to leave would be doubled during the next parliamentary term, noting that the parliament was likely to accept the existence of advisors and trainers based only on the need specified by the authorities.

Regarding the position of the government, Al-Assadi said: “The government has the right to estimate its need for advisors and trainers. The parliamentary discussions, which called for revealing the number, places and need for the American forces were not closed”.

He stressed however that the parliament is entitled to make the final decision regarding whether US forces remain in Iraq or are asked to withdraw.

via Iraq parliament calls for US forces to leave

Russia Opens Afghan Peace Conference In Moscow

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The conference marks Russia’s attempt to get the Afghan authorities and the Taliban together at negotiating table.

Sergey Lavrov said the meeting is meant to seek paths to national reconciliation in Afghanistan [Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters]
Sergey Lavrov said the meeting is meant to seek paths to national reconciliation in Afghanistan [Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters]

Russia is hosting talks in Moscow to end the war in Afghanistan, drawing delegates from a body appointed by the Western-backed government in Kabul and a group representing the Taliban, as well as officials from a dozen nations, including the United States.

Opening Friday’s meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the participation of both Afghan leaders and the Taliban was an “important contribution” aimed at creating “favourable conditions for the start of direct talks”.

“I am counting on you holding a serious and constructive conversation that will justify the hopes of the Afghan people,” he said before the talks continued behind closed doors.

Russia hopes “through joint efforts to open a new page in the history of Afghanistan,” the Russian foreign minister said.

He emphasised the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in Afghanistan, saying that it has relied on foreign sponsors in a bid to “turn Afghanistan into a springboard for its expansion in Central Asia”.

Pakistan, which has long been accused of providing support to the Afghan Taliban, would “definitely” attend, foreign ministry spokesman Muhammad Faisal told AFP news agency.

India has also sent its representatives at a “non-official level”, reassessing its policy on talks with the Taliban group.

The conference marks Moscow’s attempt to get the Afghan authorities and the Taliban together at a table. The US Embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomat to observe the discussions.

Russia’s first attempt to hold the conference in September fell through after the Afghan authorities refused to attend.

This time, the Afghan government has not sent its envoys, but members of the government-appointed High Peace Council (HPC) are attending the event. The council was established to lead reconcilation efforts with the Taliban.

Taliban officials and HPC members have met at past forums elsewhere, and while no formal talks were ever held they have had some face-to-face discussions.

Push for peace

The talks come weeks after newly appointed US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks with the Taliban group in Qatar. He will visit Afghanistan,Pakistan , the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from November 8 to 20 to push for peace negotiations with the Taliban.

Khalilzad’s meeting with the Taliban, which was overthrown from power by US-led forces in 2001, is part of efforts to find a way to end the 17-year-long war in Afghanistan.

“On his last trip to the region in October, Special Representative Khalilzad called on the Afghan Government and the Taliban to organise authoritative negotiating teams, and has been encouraged to see that both parties are taking steps in that direction,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The United States remains committed to a political settlement that results in an end to the war and to the terrorist threat posed to the United States and the world.”

A US watchdog agency said last week that the Afghan government was losing control of districts to the Taliban while casualties among security forces had reached record levels.

The government had control or influence over 65 percent of the population but only 55.5 percent of Afghanistan‘s 407 districts, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a report.

The latest phase of Afghanistan’s decades-old war began in 2001 when the US-led troops overthrew the Taliban government in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

via Russia Opens Afghan Peace Conference In Moscow

Russia and China Invest in Infrastructure, US Instead Spends on Military

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Eric Zuesse
https://www.strategic-culture.org/images/news/2018/11/06/or-41683.jpgChina’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments.

According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.)

The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops).

While the US Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer Russia, China, and all countries (such as Iran and Syria) that cooperate with those ‘enemies’ (and please click onto a link wherever you question the truthfulness of an allegation made here), Russia and China plan to improve their infrastructures, in order to boost their national economies and to minimize the impacts that (the mainly US-caused) global warming will have. These infrastructure projects are optimistic and long-term expenditures, which are being planned and built only because the countries that the US aristocracy are targeting to conquer, expect the US aristocracy to fail to achieve its clear #1 goal, of controlling the entire world and conquering them — of America’s rulers finally achieving the global fascist empire that, in World War II, Hitler and the other Axis powers had been hoping to become.

By contrast, US infrastructure is rotting; and, while every recent US President has promised to reverse that decline, none has done anything significant to repair this nation’s rotting infrastructure — it has always been just talk and empty promises. A nation that spends over a trillion dollars a year on ‘national defense’ can’t have much left over to spend on things that ‘can wait’ — such as repairing its bridges, roads, etc. — and so those repairs do wait, while even more money, than before, becomes devoted to purchases of new weaponry, such as the F-35 program. . .

 

via Russia and China Invest in Infrastructure, US Instead Spends on Military

Trump said the military was building migrant detention facilities along the border. The Pentagon says “NO”

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Exclusive: Pentagon balked at U.S. border troops building detention facilities – officials

Pentagon says troops won’t ‘come in contact’ with caravan migrants at Mexico border

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said last week the army was building “massive tent cities” to house more migrants detained along the border. The Pentagon said he was wrong.

The Trump administration pushed the U.S. military to build facilities to accommodate migrants detained under Trump’s new “catch but don’t release” policy, federal officials tell Reuters. But the Pentagon reportedly refused, and last week, an official told reporters no detention centers were slated for construction.

Last Thursday in a freewheeling speech, Trump said he’d soon require the detention of anyone caught illegally crossing the southern border. Even migrants seeking asylum would be detained while waiting for their asylum hearing, Trump added. Seeing as a massive “migrant caravan” was weeks from arriving in the U.S., Trump said he had ordered the military to build tent cities to house them all.

Despite the Trump administration’s request, “the U.S. military declined a draft proposal … last month to build housing for detained migrants,” officials told Reuters. General Terrence O’Shaughnessy confirmed last week that the Pentagon was only working on requests to build facilities to support border patrol personnel and members of the military deployed to the border. And with 15,000 troops headed south to meet the much smaller — and shrinking — caravan, the Pentagon-sanctioned project will likely keep the military plenty busy. Kathryn Krawczyk

 

via Trump said the military was building migrant detention facilities along the border. The Pentagon Said “NO”

Donald Trump’s Tough Talk About The Border Deployment Doesn’t Match What’s Really Taking Place

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Migrant Caravan: Pentagon Refuses Trump Order to Deploy US Troops to Border

“He creates this word picture for people that these troops are going to be hurling back invaders at the border. That’s just not the case.”

Soldiers from the 97th Military Police Battalion and the 41st Engineer Company from Fort Riley, Kansas, string concertina wire near the Mexican border.

Department of Defense  Soldiers from the 97th Military Police Battalion and the 41st Engineer Company from Fort Riley, Kansas, string concertina wire near the Mexican border.

The image President Donald Trump has presented of what US troops will be doing along the southern border bears almost no resemblance to what military leaders say the troops will be doing.

Trump has promised the US military would be blocking “very bad thugs and gang members” from crossing into the country, and he’s painted a picture of armed US troops repelling “very tough fighters” from entering the country. “We hope nothing happens,” he said Thursday during a White House address. “But if it does, we are totally prepared.”

That bellicose language, however, is a clear exaggeration of what Pentagon planners anticipate the up to 7,000 active-duty troops will actually be doing.

The deployment includes no ground combat units. The troops are not allowed to detain or arrest anybody at the border. They are barred from enforcing immigration or criminal law. There is no indication that troops will be manning border checkpoints. Of the 39 units dispatched, only seven are military police units. The rest are trained to do engineering work and provide logistical support or medical assistance.

Five of the units are made up of public affairs specialists, combat photographers, and media support staff — troops assigned to provide photos and news releases about what the other units are doing. As of Saturday afternoon, the Defense Department’s media site had posted more than 350 photos and videos showing the troops’ deployment and arrival in Texas and Arizona. . .

 

via Donald Trump’s Tough Talk About The Border Deployment Doesn’t Match What’s Really Taking Place

Here’s who owns a record $21.21 trillion of U.S. debt

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Far too many people on the center left and center right have bought into the idea that nations such as Russia or China are genuine enemies of the global system, and far too many people on the far left and far right have bought into the idea that these nations represent credible alternatives to the global system. While it is certainly true that the Washington-London-Brussels-Berlin-Tel Aviv-Riyadh axis is the real international ruling class, the Asian powers are merely backwater provinces in the global system that are occasionally unruly.

The major Asian nations like Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan, etc., whether they are officially “allies” or “adversaries” of “the West” or not, are still just components within global capitalism. They may have large populations, and their nuclear weapons may make them impervious to invasion, but their real function within global capitalism is to provide cheap labor for Western corporations and cheap loans for Western governments. America’s national debt, for example, is bankrolled both by “allies” like Japan and Saudi Arabia and “adversaries” like Russia and China.

Nor it is helpful to criticize Zionist power without engaging in a parallel or even more vituperative criticism of Anglo power. Israel is more like California, New York or Texas in the sense of essentially being a province of the USA that has a lot of influence over the policies of the federal government and, by extension, foreign policy and international relations. The way to look at it is like this: Imagine if the USA had about 120 states rather than 50, with 30 more in Europe, and dozens more in the Middle East and East Asia, with Israel (along with Saudi Arabia) being among those states with the most influence, with the other Asian nations being territorial colonies of Western capital. . .

via Here’s who owns a record $21.21 trillion of U.S. debt