Sunday, February 18, 2024



I started this post in late-January.  Then stuff happened.  I'm posting it now because the overall observation remains valid.  The thesis is this: The various geo-political struggles going on today are often just conflicts between different sets of scumbags.  It is up to ordinary folks to do their best to objectively look at each conflict and decide what the facts are and how the victory of one side or the other will best weaken the more dangerous party.  Generally speaking, NONE of these actors are on our side and therefore we should NOT see ourselves as being part of any team.

Now, I'm not saying that I genuinely believed the Biden administration when anyone within it claimed they were deeply troubled by the slaughter of the Palestinians as they continued to send weapons to the Israelis who are doing the slaughtering.  I don't believe that for a second.  But I was of the opinion that this slaughter is Netanyahu's doing.  That Netanyahu orchestrated this crisis and that the USA is going along with it because Israel is a strategically important ally and people scumbags like Biden go along with stuff like this from time-to-time for the sake of convenience.  Like, it's not really all that important to Biden one way or another if 500,000 Palestinians die, or 500,000 Ukrainians, 40,000 Venezuelans, or 45,000 US-Americans per year for over a decade, or 1,000,000 Iraqis, or 4.5 million (mostly Arabs) in the USA's GBWT. [There is no link for the 500,000 Palestinians because at present the actual death-toll is estimated at 30,000, with the rest of that number being potential deaths from disease and starvation under present conditions.  There is no link for the 500,000 Ukrainians because our corporate-imperialist mainstream media (including Google) are absolutely terrible.  They post garbage like 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed to 500,000 Russian soldiers killed.  Absolute propaganda garbage.]

But anyway, my point was that Biden didn't instigate this but he doesn't really care.  His administration's empty words about "urging restraint" or whatever are just for public consumption.  Of course Biden could cut-off the weapons, but there would be at least a domestic political price to pay for that.  The Republicans once invited Netanyahu to Washington to speak to Congress and condemn Obama's proposed treaty with Iran.  I am not one of those people who believes that Israel (by which those sorts of people mean "The Jews") owns and runs the USA.  But I am someone who disputes the notion that all a US president has to do is pick up the phone and an Israeli PM will instantly follow orders which is how Noam Chomsky (for instance) occasionally describes the relationship.

I believe this nightmare is Netanyahu's and, going against my usual thinking, I believe he conspired with others to bring it about.  My thinking follows the line of argument from this comment from this Open Thread from Moon of Alabama:

After Izzzy intelligence obtained Hamas' detailed plan for Oct 7th they analyzed it.

Important for analysis would be continuous monitoring of whether the reality on the ground - Hamas' current activities - matched the detailed plans.

So that is what they did. Unit 8200 "the Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps" made the decision to stand-down and cease the real-time monitoring of the tactical communication of Hamas operatives on their radios.

Wait! Did I really mean "stand-down and cease monitoring"? They instead increased their diligence in monitoring. Right?

Nope. Unit 8200 claims that everyone up and down the military/intelligence chain of command approved the ceasing of monitoring.

So what is going on here?

It couldn't be a false-flag in progress as there are thousands of IDF troops surrounding the Gaza border, a false-flag could never work. Oh, there **were** thousands of troops until just before Oct 7th when they withdrew for temporary duty in the West Bank.

But a false-flag still wouldn't work. Hamas could be dispelled by the quick arrival of support troops.

Oh no, the troops didn't arrive in force for hours. What gives?

Still, a false-flag doesn't make sense unless there is a purpose. What good would the death of Izzzy civlians do? Oh, but it created blood lust which was then harnessed to "justify" the cleansing of Gaza and subsequently, the West Bank.

But, there would be no blood lust if the casualties were light. The Hannibal Directive wasn't implemented for that purpose was it? They didn't implement the Hannibal Directive for ulterior motives?

Or did they?

I mean, occasionally someone will say something about what FDR knew about the Japanese armada heading towards Pearl Harbour.  But at the end of the day, would Roosevelt really allow the US Pacific fleet to be crippled like that?  Personally, I doubt it.  Same with 9-11.  In that case, I personally believe that bush II and Cheney intentionally slowed all the institutional efforts to monitor things, but that the "inside job" theory is nonsensical due to the hundreds of actors required to keep silent and who would supposedly have stayed silent for 23 years.  Sometimes it's just like it was with Stalin being warned about Hitler attacking the USSR: Stalin received numerous warnings of an impending attack that turned out to have been false.  He believed that Churchill's warnings in particular were false and were intended to provoke a Soviet-German war to take the pressure off of Britain.  All of those false alarms reinforced his belief that Hitler would never invade the USSR until he had his western flank secured.  In this case, nobody accuses Stalin of having allowed Hitler's invasion.  Instead they accuse Stalin of gross incompetence.  The reality is that while Stalin might have been too personally invested in his own theory, which turned out wrong, he wasn't completely irrational.

But in the case of the Hamas attack on October 7th, 2023, we have Israeli intelligence, Egyptian intelligence, even (according to Biden) US intelligence, warning the Israelis and speaking out about it and it just seems to me that the racist psychopath Netanyahu wanted this to happen this way.  Just as him and his propagandists are unashamed to concoct lies about forty beheaded Israeli babies, or Hamas fighters gang-raping an Israeli woman and then playing an impromptu game of soccer with one of her severed breasts during a military raid, ... stupid claims that have since been debunked, Netanyahu was willing and able to murder hundreds of Israelis to create a measure of bloodlust in Israeli society that would allow him to pursue this genocide for his own narcissistic purposes.

But this interview between Danny Haiphong and Michael Hudson has Hudson asserting that this is very much Biden's war and it is part of his adminstration's insane desire to start a war with Iran and thereby re-establish US dominance over the Middle East.  (Hudson argues, as many others have, that this purely military solution is a symptom of the declining power of the USA diplomatically, economically and culturally.):

The fact is that the rest of the world not only finds America unnecessary, but America and its NATO allies to be the major threat to their own prosperity. So they’re essentially splitting into their own world. And the BRICS group is expanding its trade relations, its investment relations, and especially its financial clearing and monetary operations to be independent of the dollar, de-dollarizing, and certainly independent of the euro, which seems to have no visible means of support right now, and going their own way. 

Now, that is exactly what has led the United States to push Israel [essentially] to follow Netanyahu’s belligerence, because the United States says, We realize we’re losing power. 

We know that it’s really not a stalemate. We know that we’ve lost the chance for world dominance. We may be re-elected by telling people, you know, it doesn’t really matter. 

But we know that it does matter. The last chance we have to assert American power is military. And the main military prize is the Near East now, just as it was after 9-11, when Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld pressed for an invasion of Iraq to begin grabbing its soil and to essentially create America’s foreign legion in the form of ISIS and al-Qaeda Iraq. So now America has two armies that it’s using to fight in the Near East, the ISIS/al-Qaeda foreign legion (Arabic-speaking foreign legion) and the Israelis. The plan is—and America is willing to fight to the last Israeli, just as it’s willing—it’s trying to fight to the last Ukrainian in order to make this final grab of the Near East in fighting Iran. 

This is a crazy idea, but it seems that that’s exactly what is being planned. 

General Petraeus, who lost the war in Afghanistan, has said, we’ve got to conquer Iran. That’s going to be—we can regain all the power that we’ve lost by attacking Iran. And so now it looks like President Biden is hoping to make a political comeback by saying, Well, we may not have blocked Russia and Ukraine, but at least we’ve conquered the Near East. 

Notice that in neither of these scenarios do Biden or Netanyahu come off as innocent.  No. Whatever the truth is, they're both scumbags.  And what we have to understand is that we're living in a world dominated by scumbags.  Since Biden, the Deep State, and the US imperialist oligarchy are scumbags, it is somewhat gratifying to see their efforts to maintain animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran begin to fail as (with the mediation of China) both countries come to some sort of diplomatic understanding.

But Saudi Arabia is run by a horrible, HORRIBLE ruling class, and Mohammed bin Salman (its de facto ruler) is a horrible person in particular.  And the government of Iran is horrible.  And, I'd probably have to say the same about the government of China, although I don't pay attention to the news much because they're full of ridiculous propaganda.  I'm not sure what the truth is about China's treatment of the Uyghurs, or human rights in general, but I'll go out on a limb and say that the Communist Party of China, while less bellicose and more meritocratic than the corrupt, decayed US oligarchy, are probably cold-blooded, amoral psychopaths.

We have to understand that we are observing contests between psychopathic scumbags.  When Iranian women protest against their oppression by their misogynist government we should wish them well.  But we should also realize that any assistance/publicity given to them by the US government/media system is calculated.  We should also acknowledge that the USA might have some involvement in at least some of these protests.  We should acknowledge that any US-backed alternative to the current Iranian ruling class will be scumbags serving US scumbag monstrous agendas.  Given these facts, we should only hope that the Iranian people whose values we share, fight against their own government, whose values we oppose, in their own way without the interference of the cynical, hypocritical, duplicitous, USA ruling elite.

When we see the USA's hegemony unravelling in the Middle East, with China brokering a truce between Saudi Arabia and Iran we should celebrate it.  Because the Sunni-Shia rivalry has been ruinous for ordinary Muslims (and ordinary non-Muslims) in that part of the world.  Because the USA is exploiting this rivalry to punish Iran for its revolution in 1979 which expelled US influence from the country and humiliated the USA with the hostage crisis (the US leadership is inordinately thin-skinned and holds grudges seemingly forever).

The weaker the international hegemony of the USA, the more possible it is for there to be openings for ordinary people.  Look at what the USA's ruling class does to its own people!  Look at their incarceration rate!  Look at their healthcare bankruptcies!  Look at their infant mortality figures!

Through the orchestrated creation of a global oligarchic order (the seemingly as natural as the ocean currents process of "globalization") the USA has constructed an international order bent on exporting this rancid system to every corner of the globe.  I submit that NATIONAL economies, controlled by NATIONAL capitalists, served by politicians beholden to those domestic capitalists, will be easier to confront and challenge than politicians and capitalists with the whole weight of the world behind them.  

Think about it!  THEY can relocate anywhere they want to if a government tries to regulate them against their will.  They have constructed international restrictions on the powers of national governments that have eliminated the abilities of those governments to limit corporations' freedom to pollute the environment or to allow those governments to protect vital industries.

Furthermore, the weakening of the USA's global hegemony would make the world more peaceful.  The USA couldn't have done something like the invasion of Iraq during the Cold War.  Look at what a charnel house it has made of the Middle East since the 1990's.

I could start typing about NATO vs. Russia.  But I've written enough posts on this blog that if you read it you already know what I think.  If you're new here, just browse around on the topic and you'll find out.  But with regards to this post, ... yeah, I think Putin is a scumbag.  But he was provoked into this war.  The USA's ruling elite wants either a Russia so weak as to be docile, and perhaps even weak enough to be raped with impunity, or it wants to break Russia up into weaker states that can definitely be raped with impunity.  The Biden administration continued the Obama-Clinton policy of working with shit-head nazis to attack Russia until Putin said enough's enough.  In this particular contest of scumbags, NATO is the more dangerous party and it is the aggressor.

Oh yeah.  I just remembered that last night I dreamed that Donald Rumsfeld was working in a college cafeteria.  I think he was volunteering.  In the dream it didn't surprise me that he was still alive because I forgot that he died a few years ago.


Anonymous said...

You may be interested?

The “they’re all in it together” rebuttal canard

zoombats said...

Indonesia's Prabowo has just joined the parade of scumbags. The swamp just got a little muddier.

Danneau said...

Much conditioning has taken place over the decades of my life, insisting that there are only white hats and black hats, obviating choice and enforcing the acceptance of much misconduct on the part of whoever we chose to favour. It takes some serious rethinking to declare a pox on the house of all and sundry, and usually entails cutting off avenues of action for want of a group to support. I strained my neck nodding at the content of this post, so, thank you.

thwap said...


I've mentioned in the past that I don't follow events that closely anymore, and why that is. So I'd never heard of this Prabowo fellow.

I found CBC article about his electoral lead.

I think it's precious how the CBC refers to his "dark past" while they themselves are providing cover for Israel's genocide via the sin of omission.

The fools probably don't understand the true gravity of what they're doing, or the consequences for their credibility with non-shitheads. Because they're worthless, shrivelled souls.

thwap said...


Your comment was gratifying to read. I'm a jaded pessimist, but I still think it's important to have some sort of idea about what's going on in the world.

You know, ... like when some progressive bloggers were linking approvingly to how the deaths of Ukrainian children at the hands of monstrous Russian imperialists might necessitate a nuclear war in order to stop it.

For the record, in 21 months of the Russia-Ukraine/NATO war, 521 children have been killed. Compare that with 3,774 children killed during seven years of the Saudi-Yemeni War. Then compare that with the 13,000 Palestinian children killed by Israel in three months in Gaza.

I don't notice any pro-Ukraine/NATO progressive bloggers endorsing that we nuke Israel. Instead they hand-wring about Biden and Blinken trying to limit civilian casualties.

My point being that I followed the Ukraine crisis because it might have led to nuclear war.

I speak out and attend rallies and write letters about Gaza because it exposes all of our society's self-adulation for the complete bullshit that it is. Who the fuck can watch a Hollywood superhero movie, ... or anything out of Hollywood, ... after this atrocity?

But yeah, your larger point was how to navigate between picking a side vs. total detachment, and I'm glad I was able to help.

thwap said...


Thanks for the link. I haven't read anything from Off Guardian in a while. I think I'll respond to that article with a post. It was certainly food for thought.

zoombats said...

Prabowo had an illustrious career in massacre of the east timor population under the watchful eye of the now recently deceased scumbag Kissinger

thwap said...


Suharto, Mobutu, Duvalier, Somoza, Pinochet, Marcos, ... those are the sort of leaders that the "rules-based international order" wanted in the "less developed countries."

That era is crumbling under its own failure now. But there will be spasms as it dies.

Purple library guy said...

Huuuge comment, which is off to the side somewhat; I had to chop it in parts:

Mmm . . . I'm not finding that Off-Guardian article very interesting, actually. It appears to be some people upset at being straw-manned responding with a straw man. And neither side sounds to me like it makes much sense as described, and I've never actually heard of the whole controversy.

So, to start off with, BRICs is not a monolith; the countries in it are very different in both their politics and in their relationships with oligarchs.

India has no real power centre other than private sector oligarchs--even the whole Hindutva deal is basically their baby. They are fairly internationally oriented and are classic neoliberals, happy to cannibalize their country for more personal wealth. They're just in BRICs so they can be at the big kids table.

Russia does have a separate state power centre, and Putin has demonstrated its teeth. Russia's capitalist oligarchy has been globalist in its orientation from the start, and indeed many of them seem to be only loosely attached to Russia itself. Putin made a deal with them which was basically, quit the most egregious fouling of your own nests and I won't put you in jail. They remained powerful, internationalist, and fairly parasitic. But because of all the sanctions, the war economy, and the war patriotism, Russia may currently be having a shift from transnationally-oriented oligarchs to national bourgeoisie, with the oligarchs increasingly pushed into a choice between their national and international holdings--either they just leave Russia entirely and become international rich people, or they stay in Russia, lose access to a lot of their international holdings and markets, and orient inwards or towards trade with their allies who ignore the sanctions.

China obviously has a strong state sector. And, it also has a lot of really rich people, some of whom seem to have quite a bit of power. But it's really hard to figure out just how penetrated the state is by the hyperwealthy in China. Obviously somewhat, because how would it not be? Clearly not as completely as in the United States, because they regularly cut individual oligarchs down to size or in the case of serious crimes even execute them. If the Sacklers had lived in China, they would be dead right now. And when, I think it was the Ten-Cent guy, started talking neoliberal and criticizing the Chinese government's non-neoliberal ways, something happened and suddenly he apologized and then shut the hell up from there on, and his social network platform got hit with tough regulations. The Communist Party seems to have its own ideology which is not neoliberal and may not even be entirely capitalist, and it does not primarily draw the new talent from the corporate sector. Meanwhile, the hyperwealthy in China are not nearly as internationalist as the Russian or even the Indian ones. Maybe it has to do with China's rules against foreign ownership, maybe it has to do with the Chinese government controlling a lot of the finance, maybe it's about China's sheer size, but China seems to be the centre of their world.

South Africa is a pure corporate kleptocracy, its kleptocrats only restrained from being completely internationalist by their orientation towards gulping down goodies corruptly shoveled to them by the South African government, which they own. I cheer for their quite socialist trade union movement. Their version of "multipolar world order" would certainly be one dominated by international oligarchs.

Brazil is very complicated. It has class struggle, it has different factions of the bourgeoisie, it has fascist fundamentalist churches funded by the US, it has race issues, all kinds of stuff. Its international policies can swing wildly depending on which political side is currently in charge. I wish the Movimiento Sin Tierra could somehow take over.

Purple library guy said...

Part 2:

Iran, who are in the BRICS club now, want a multipolar world order because they think it would get them out from under sanctions and because they don't much like the boss of the unipolar world order. Their oligarchs would probably be happy to be internationalist--they don't seem to have put a lot of effort into import substitution--and don't see much chance of that unless the world government isn't out to get their country.

OK, that was long, but the point is that the motivations for a new "multipolar" world order by these countries are quite different, along with what they would want to do with one if they got it, and not only the degree but also the kind of influence their respective very rich people have differs wildly among them. So for instance, if the Russian oligarchs were really running the Russian show, Russia would have no interest in a multipolar world order--that is an almost purely state-oriented, nationalist position; Putin and I think most Russian state elites want Russia to be what used to be called a "regional power"--a state with a strong degree of independence and a lot of influence over the states near its borders. And they realized that they can't have that under the current dispensation, so they want something more decentralized. But the Russian oligarchs never gave a shit about any of that. So the Russian push for a multipolar world has nothing to do with oligarchs and everything to do with state-oriented motivations. India may not actually care that much about a multipolar world order--they certainly prefer to keep a foot in the US camp--but to the extent that they do, the oligarchs are certainly involved, and want it to be an internationalist, free-trade-y kind of thing. And so on; all the countries involved approach the idea differently. And for the two most important, Russia and China, what their oligarchs might want are not the primary issue. My best guess with respect to China is that China wants a multipolar world because they knew some time ago that they were going to become a peer competitor with the United States whether they really wanted that situation or not, knew that the United States would probably not forgive them for it no matter what they did, and knew that the United States would therefore eventually try to strangle China, economically and militarily, and both the Communist Party and the rich Chinese capitalists agreed that would be bad for business unless the US could be somehow restrained and cut down to size. They agreed on this because Chinese capitalists are mainly a national bourgeoisie.

So. The impetus towards a "multipolar" world order comes from various motivations that differ among the different countries, and some of them involve internationalist oligarchs while others do not and may even actively cut against the interests of international finance capital.

Meanwhile, I read tons of leftist and anti-US stuff, and I don't ever remember anyone saying the "multipolar" world order being pushed for by the BRICS would be fundamentally different in its orientation towards international capitalism. About the only thing anyone ever says would be good about it is, the basic idea of not having a single boss enforcing particular kinds of stuff would leave more wiggle room for everyone else, since the multi poles would all have to agree before they could make anything too terrible for a country doing its own thing. So the article presenting this supposed, and indeed supposedly dominant, camp claiming China et al's multipolar world would be this wonderful paradigm shift . . . far as I know, this camp they're reacting against, um, doesn't exist. Not on the left, anyway--maybe some of the pro-Russia alt-right are into that idea, but come on, you can't expect right wingers to have an analysis of capitalism.

Purple library guy said...

Part 3:

Thinking of alt-right, there's one odd little detail that makes me wonder about this article: The insistence on the importance of the United Nations as some kind of marker of oppression. Really, what? That sounds like right wing conspiracy theory to me. The United Nations has a small budget which it does not control. It has very little power for the most part. The Security Council is deeply undemocratic, but to the extent it does anything it mostly acts as a brake on unilateral power exercises by any one major power. As for the rest of the UN apparatus, as far as I can tell it does more good than harm--not a lot of good, but not all that much harm either. Sometimes an agency will be used, usually by the US, to do some dirty, but a lot of the time they're just sort of plugging away with well meaning staff deploying their limited budgets and influence as best they can, and co-ordinating some stuff that needs to be co-ordinated. And I've never seen any, and I mean any, actual evidence that the UN is anything other than that. By and large, I think nearly all the countries of the world support the UN based on that understanding. China and Russia support it as a claim to legitimacy--they contrast the vague "rules-based" international order of NATO with their professed dedication to the actually written-down rules of international law and the United Nations. It gives them a ready-made thing to reach for that already has broad respect, where if they tried to invent their own thing it would inevitably seem self-serving.

So when I see someone talking about the UN like it's some kind of boogey man and as if China's reason for talking about the UN would be . . . being prompted by international think tanks?! I get leery. China is fairly capitalist, but it cares very little about the interests of international capital or international capitalist oligarchs, and the UN is . . . less swayed or controlled by international capital than one would expect given how much control international capital has in general. Still substantially, but the UN is not the WTO, say, much less the WEF. It is NOT the entity international oligarchs would choose for a stalking horse. People who spin conspiracy theories about the UN do so for two reasons: 1. Other people are already spinning such theories and they have been influenced by this, and 2. It sounds like some kind of world government, and that must be bad, right? It's stupid.

As to all these "pillar policies", being internationally co-ordinated . . . there are none. Governments like information about their people; the more authoritarian, the more they like it. Corporations like information about their customers and anyone they think might plausibly become a customer and anyone who might get in the way of people becoming customers . . . so, pretty much everyone. Given technological tools to get it, both will employ those tools and try to make them legal. And they all try to keep up with the Joneses--they see someone else using an effective surveillance tool, they'll want it too . . . and Palantir or whoever will be happy to sell it to them. Just because they're all nefarious doesn't mean they're all co-ordinated.

Finally, the article seems to be claiming that while the unipolar approach was good enough before, now the international elites need a multipolar one to properly do all these supposed "pillar policies" . . . but since it is also saying that those policies are backed by ALL countries, including the backers of unipolarity, I don't see where this makes any sense, or why international oligarchs should have any reason to care whether the world order is a unipolar one (that does what they want) or a multipolar one (that does what they want).

Purple library guy said...

Part 4:

So yeah, I think that Off-Guardian article is bullshit. Sure, there are international oligarchs and yes, they control many things and have think tanks and so on. And, they may not lose much if a “multipolar” world order replaces the “unipolar ‘rules-based’” one; that’s not the point, was never the point, and hardly anyone ever claimed it was the point. But they will probably lose something, if only because China’s capitalism is quite nationalist and China’s finances are largely nationally controlled. It is certainly amazingly unlikely that a cabal of internationalist oligarchs have been scheming to replace the US-led world order, which has been amazingly good to them.

thwap said...

Purple library guy,

I think that I'll still write my post in response to that article, even though you've said a lot of things I was going to say.

Very quickly: In my original post I mentioned how national oligarchs, controlled by national policies by national electorates would be easier to handle than the current globalized oligarchy who can hide behind the international rules of trade that their national political hirelings signed.

I was going to take issue with that weird talk about the United Nations. I was going to read it a little closer and see what else that writer or Off Guardian was talking about first.

Another thing I wanted to re-read to see if I got it right was their contention about multipolarity replacing unipolarity. Were they really saying it was all just the same oligarchs continuing the same project but just under a new name? It sort of sounded like that at times, but, again, I wanted to re-read the piece.

Lastly, ... the degree to which political actors are dominated or not by both national and international oligarchs was something I wanted to flesh out my thinking before I replied right away.

thwap said...

Purple library guy (and anyone else)

I was also going to say, ... am also going to say something about the Westphalian State System.