Depending on whose political echo chamber I happen to be arguing with on a given day, one common criticism I run into a fair bit which many of my readers have surely also encountered is that I put all my energy into criticizing the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.

“You’re not anti-war, you’re only anti-AMERICAN wars!” they say, as though they’re delivering some kind of devastating slam-dunk point. “If you’re so antiwar, why don’t you criticize Assad’s war in Syria? If you’re such an anti-imperialist, show me where you’ve ever once criticized Russian imperialism, or Chinese imperialism?”

The argument being that someone who opposes US-led warmongering isn’t really motivated by a desire for peace and an opposition to war unless they’re also voicing opposition to all other violent governments in the world. If you’re only criticizing US imperialism and not the imperialism of other nations, you must be motivated by something far more sinister, perhaps a hatred for the United States of America.

I have three responses to this feeble line of argumentation, which I’ll list here for the benefit of anyone else who’d like to make use of them:

1. People making this argument never apply its own logic to themselves.

Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world. If you run into someone making this “you have to criticize all bad governments or your criticisms are invalid” argument on Twitter, just do an advanced search for their Twitter handle plus “Duterte” or “Sisi” or one of the other US-allied tyrants who the mainstream media haven’t spent years demonizing, and you’ll find that they’ve never made a single mention of those leaders the entire time they’ve had that account.

What this proves, of course, is that they don’t actually practice the belief that all misdeeds by all governments are equally worthy of condemnation. What they actually practice is the belief that one ought to criticize the governments they hear their television criticizing: Russia, China, Syria, Iran, etc. The governments the US State Department and the CIA don’t like. The disobedient governments. The governments which have resisted absorption into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

They don’t put the logic of their own argument into practice because it is impossible to put into practice. Everyone’s only got so much time in the day, so you have to choose where to put your focus. I personally choose to put my focus on the single most egregious offender in warmongering and imperialism. Which takes us to:

2. The US empire is by far the worst warmongering imperialist force on the planet.

US-led regime change interventionism is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful. This is an indisputable fact. Imperialists get very frustrated when I take my stand there in arguments online, because it is an unassailable position. That’s usually when the ad hominems start flying.

All things are not equal. This isn’t something you should have to explain to grown adults, but such is the nature of propaganda. It is true that other governments do evil things; as far as I can tell this becomes pretty much a given as soon as a government is allowed to have a military force and keep important secrets from its citizenry. Obviously Russia, China and other unabsorbed governments are no exception to this rule. But the US is worse, by orders of magnitude.

No other nation comes anywhere remotely close. No other nation is circling the planet with hundreds of military bases and engaged in dozens of undeclared military operations. No other nation has cultivated a giant globe-sprawling empire in the form of tightly knit alliances with powerful murderous governments like the UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia. No other nation is constantly laboring to sabotage and undermine any government which refuses to be absorbed into military and economic alliance with it using sanctions, staged coups, covert CIA operations, color revolutions, economic manipulations, propaganda, the arming of dissident militias, and launching full-scale military invasions. Only the US and the nations that its cancerous empire has metastasized into are doing anything like that on anywhere near the scale.

So since I, like everyone else, only have enough time in the day to oppose so many different evils in the world, I choose to pour my energy into opposing the single most egregious offender. An offender which doesn’t get nearly enough opposition, in my opinion.

3. I have a special responsibility for the evils of the empire in which I live.

When asked in an interview why he spends the bulk of his time criticizing his own government, Noam Chomsky replied:

“My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that: namely, I can do something about it. So even if the US was responsible for 2% of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2% I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.”

When people here in Australia ask about what I do for a living, I sometimes jokingly tell them I write about Australian foreign policy, which means that I write about US foreign policy. I’ve written many times about how Australia functions as Washington’s basement gimp, an impotent vassal which functions as little more than a US military/intelligence asset in terms of meaningful international affairs.

So all I really am doing here is applying Chomsky’s philosophy to the reality of an empire in which sovereign nations do not exist to any meaningful extent; as a member of a state within that empire I focus on US government malfeasance in the same way I would if I were living in Alaska or Hawaii.

All I’m doing is pointing my personal skill set at what I see as the biggest problem in the world: a murderous empire in which I happen to reside and therefore bear special responsibility for opposing. Which is simply the only sane stand for anyone to take, in my opinion.


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80 responses to “Why I Don’t Criticize Russia, China, Or Other Unabsorbed Governments”

  1. What I tire of is the moral equivalence bullshit that gets tossed at anyone who points out the hypocrisy and utter lunacy of this country’s policies throughout the decades and centuries. Its the equivalent of the “Well, what about the Nazis?” type of comment that’s thrown out at anyone in order to shut them down because they cant think of any logical reason to refute the argument. Of course every 2 to 4 years these same nimrodian intellectuals will traipse to their designating polling stations like well programmed robots because “This time it will be different”. No it won’t you dolts!

  2. If voting actually changed anything they’d make it illegal…. I believe someone said that about a hundred years ago. So far they’ve been proven correct. The voting and the criminality continues. Surprised?

  3. Stephen Morrell Avatar
    Stephen Morrell

    For us Reds, every government on ‘god’s green earth’ is up for criticism and overthrow. But five governments can be singled to be defended unconditionally from attack by imperialist or other lesser capitalist powers, despite their undemocratic, bureaucratic rule, and without giving an iota of political support to their governments. These governments are: China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and North Korea. They’re post-capitalist regimes that expropriated their capitalist classes and their imperialist overlords, despite them allowing to one extent or another capitalist penetration (eg, China a lot, North Korea very little).

    These countries need political revolutions to sweep away the Stalinist bureaucracies that rule and ultimately compromise them and install workers (and peasants) democracy (eg, soviets) to properly and democratically administer economies that essentially already are nationalised and subject to planning.

    Lots of liberals rail against the post-capitalist societies because of their undemocratic and bureaucratic regimentation and political suppression of their populations. Yet despite their material backwardness they still manage to provide social services (eg, free healthcare, education, cheap housing, guaranteed employment, etc) that many in the ‘advanced’ west, especially the US, only dream of.

    A good historical analogy to think of is Napoleon. When the French revolution had overthrown feudalism, Napoleon was the end product of the shutting down of that revolution because it had achieved its aims and had no more need for radical democracy, guillotines or no. Wherever Napoleon successfully invaded, he implemented the Code Napoleon, especially across large swathes of Europe. The Code Napoleon swept aside many feudal relics that still weighed Europe down and this was progressive. Yet Napoleon crowned himself Emperor and was no democrat, and his modernisation efforts weren’t altruistic at all. But wherever he installed himself in power he was forced, by his own background and of the military forces he commanded, to impose the social conditions of the French revolution.

    The 20th century equivalent of Napoleon was Stalin, who after WWII created the Eastern Bloc/Warsaw Pact, essentially for narrow nationalist and also non-altruistic reasons — to prevent a repeat of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa. It wasn’t ‘international socialism’ at all that world anticommunism went into paroxysms over with their Cold War. The economies of Eastern Europe were nationalised and run along the same bureaucratic and corrupt lines as in the USSR. The last time the USSR did something that was socially transformative and progressive, ‘Napoleonic’, was its invasion of Afghanistan, but unfortunately wasn’t able to withstand the counterrevolutionary efforts of the imperialists to restore that benighted country to its former 7th century ‘glory’.

    By 1848 capitalism ceased to be a historically progressive force as epitomised by the French revolution. In its later imperialist stage it actively prevents any social modernisation of economically backward countries because imperialism dictates that these countries be kept in a ‘social-museum’ stasis to maintain effective rule via their local ‘compradore’ bourgeoisies who rely on age-old ‘traditions’ to control the local population. Feudal backwardness exists alongside the latest word in modern industry.

    In contrast to the five countries above, every other country on earth needs a social revolution to overthrow private property, specifically the private ownership of the means of production and distribution.

    The single biggest and most dangerous barrier to this, or to any social progress under imperialism, is of course US imperialism, which spent most of the 20th century and all of this one strenuously preventing the formation of any post-capitalist society the world over, snuffing out potential revolutions here and overthrowing mildly ‘socialist’ or progressive governments there — the ‘unabsorbed’ as Caitlin likes to call them. Rolling back the 1949 Chinese revolution would give imperialism an unimaginable new lease on life, and the US doesn’t have 400 of its military bases aimed at China for any other reason.

    While US should therefore receive the bulk of criticism, it’s also the one key country that social revolution is most needed in, as it still has the power to foment counterrevolution, even if not successful today it will still try tomorrow. The US’ unrelenting role in preventing humanity breaking free of the chains of capitalist imperialism can only be stopped when revolution occurs in the ‘belly of the beast’.

    1. Best comment I’ve read in a long time. Congratulations.
      Please elaborate on your last sentence. How, exactly, is the “revolution” going to occur and just exactly who is going to conduct it? For example, is the revolution going to be that voters vote for candidates who are going to, collectively, behave much differently than their corporate-owned predecessors? Are masses of people going to literally storm government buildings, remove their occupants, install themselves or others to “do the jobs” of the people that they have removed, presumably, then getting “paid” to do those jobs by the revolutionaries? What happens the day after this revolution? How are “things run” after that revolution?

      1. Stephen Morrell Avatar
        Stephen Morrell

        That’s a lot of big questions to answer in limited space and time. I’ll try and answer two.

        First, ‘What is To Be Done?’

        Right now there’s a crisis of revolutionary leadership — there is none.

        A revolution needs two essential ingredients: a social class with real social power to carry it out, and a revolutionary party to lead it. Spontaneous uprisings (street protests, storming and occupation of factories or government buildings and so on) are all well and good and certainly can ignite further struggles, but, expectedly, these will be suppressed by the overwhelming force of the bourgeois state if not properly led. If there isn’t a revolutionary party to provide the way forward after initial uprisings, to pick up the pieces as it were, then that will be the end of it — until the next conflagration, or the next, or the next.

        Witness the leaderless gilets juanes who’ve been tirelessly and repeatedly protesting in the face of cop terror for over a year and not gotten very far. The injection of the French working class, with its real social power (ie, the ability to start and stop production and the flow of profits), with the latest strike wave against pension reforms has momentarily transformed the situation in France. Above all, it has shown just how powerless the gilets juanes are. But even then, without a revolutionary leadership the French working class eventually will fall back (and the gilets juanes left to twist in the wind).

        Revolutionary mass parties aren’t built overnight. Historically, they emerge from small propaganda groups that grow exponentially into mass parties in the heat of struggle. The Russian Bolsheviks were virtually nothing in the beginning. Just prior to the 1905 Russian revolution, the St Petersburg Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDRP), both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, numbered less than 300 members. Just following 1905, the number in the Bolshevik faction in St Petersburg was reported to be 737 at the 3rd Congress of the RSDRP, with total RSDRP membership in St Petersburg around 2,000. Countrywide, at the fourth Congress in April 1906, the membership had grown to around 13,000 Bolsheviks and 18,000 Mensheviks. By 1907, a little over two years, the total membership of the Bolsheviks alone numbered about 46,000. Such exponential growth comes from major uprisings, which can be sparked by anything.

        The lesson from this is that a revolutionary organisation really only transforms from a propaganda group into a mass party when such major uprisings occur, when small numbers of cadre in a programmatically homogenous revolutionary organisation are able to effectively intersect them, that can split the base from existing mass organisations that show their true colours during a crisis. The critical mass of a few hundred initial cadre is important, but what’s even more important is their program.

        If a propaganda group has only some vague ‘left’ or ‘radical’ but ultimately reformist program that leads to dead end compromises (eg, advocating voting for bourgeois Democrats like Sanders or Gabbard or AOC), then a politically awakened mass movement that’s emerging from uprisings or a social explosion will be dissipated, or worse. When the US’s war on Vietnam was finally defeated, the antiwar movement essentially dissolved into Democratic Party politics because there was no critical mass of revolutionaries to split away its most politically conscious layers to form the nucleus of a vanguard revolutionary party. In short, revolutionary parties are built from the top down, as Lenin stresses in ‘What is To Be Done?’, and acquire a mass base and following in the heat of class struggle.

        Your second main question: how would things be administered after a revolution?

        Both the Paris Commune of 1871 and the Russian revolutions of 1905 and February 1917 spontaneously threw up communes (or ‘soviets’ in Russia) which became the germ of the new state power, of the future workers state. They rested on armed workers, and in Russia’s case also armed peasants and soldiers. When the Bolsheviks achieved a majority in the workers and soldiers soviets after August 1917, revolution was on the agenda and they were able to take state power in October 1917 (Julian calendar). In backward Russia wracked by civil war and the failure of the revolution to spread to an advanced country (eg, Germany 1918–23), the soviets gradually were emasculated and finally succumbed completely to the political counterrevolution led by Stalin in 1923–24. Stalin didn’t restore capitalism but nonetheless he personified the Russian ‘Thermidor’ and the horrors that followed. Yet despite Stalinist bureaucratic ineptitude, corruption and repression, the socialised and (bureaucratically) planned economy of the USSR was able to grow economically far quicker than any capitalist country.

        The lesson from this is that soviets (or communes) thrown up in a revolutionary situation will serve as the organs of the post-capitalist state because they are decision-making, deliberative bodies that have come out of struggle, that rest on an armed population who can recall elected representatives at any time. They won’t go away unless they’re smashed. Soviets aren’t a Parliament or Congress where everyone gets to vote once every few years for who will oppress them for the next few years.

        Soviet democracy works as a collegiate structure where higher level soviets can deal with issues and problems that go beyond local issues and problems. A centralised, democratically planned economy is the necessary and natural corollary of that, so the issues facing the whole polity can be dealt with, where the best solutions to environmental, social and human needs overall can be arrived at, and so on. Decentralised localism, so favoured by various utopians, anarchists, environmentalists, etc, can’t solve these bigger problems that confront the whole of society, or of humanity (ie, an international soviet is needed).

        Finally, under Lenin and Trotsky at least, no Soviet official was paid more than the highest paid skilled worker.

      2. Stephen, thanks for the rather detailed information about the Russian revolution etc. in a relatively short comment.
        IMO, the most contentious issue in whatever you want to call the present arrangement is that a microscopic percentage of the population owns or controls the vast majority of LARGE SCALE capital equipment, land and wealth (upon which the vast majority of people vitally depend) for their own astronomical profit. This present arrangement is remarkably similar to living in an infinitely large board game called “Monopoly”. The eventual, astronomically rich “winner” is now being winnowed out of the oligarchic class and fuck all the other players. Will the winner be Bill, Jeff, George or some middle eastern king?
        This “game” in which we are all living has to change to one in which the vast majority of people (players) collectively own and control the vast majority of LARGE SCALE capital equipment, etc. for THEIR OWN benefit (aka “profit”).
        I doubt that very many people beyond the microscopic percentage would find the latter arrangement objectionable, but, even so, apparently, the level of, shall we say, “discomfort” experienced today by the vast majority of people living in the present arrangement, in the first world, anyway, is not oppressive enough for those people to get off their asses and at the very least try to do something about it. And when they do indeed get off their asses, as the Yellow Vests are doing so bravely, to me it seems that they don’t really want wholesale (“systemic”) change. They merely want the microscopic percentage to be more generous with “benefits” – better pensions, cheaper gasoline, better health care, etc.
        I think that the living conditions for the masses are going to have to deteriorate even further (perhaps as a result of a serious war in which Main Street USA is seriously damaged) in order for the the majority of people to even start talking about an all-new arrangement, let alone mobilize to bring one into being. Too bad. What is IMO going to happen in the short term, on a more widespread basis, is something close to what’s going on in Hong Kong — “pro-democracy protesters” (mercenaries of competing oligarchs) becoming more and more violent, destroying more and more of things that have already been created — perhaps even the vital means of production — along with many more lives.

    2. You must be a writer for the Onion. I haven’t laughed so hard at so much straight-faced back slapping for the murder of millions in the name of “freedom” in quite awhile.

      1. Joe Van Steenbergen Avatar
        Joe Van Steenbergen

        That is the rub, isn’t it? Every time a country tries to monkey with Socialism, one dictator or another sets up camps and proceeds to eliminating non-believers and malcontents; mass slaughter. Take away a man’s right to his own property and you take away his liberty and his ability to take care of himself. But then, that’s the goal, isn’t it – to make us all dependent on the “benevolent” state.

      2. Stephen Morrell Avatar
        Stephen Morrell

        You don’t mean the 20 million the US has slaughtered since WWII in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. Or the 10 million that Hitler murdered in Germany and the 30 million Russians lives lost in repelling and finally defeating Hitler in the second imperialist war (for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’). The first imperialist (‘Great’) war for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ killed ~20 million. More can be adduced. In short, capitalism has a lot more blood on its hands than the worst excesses Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung combined.

  4. Strange how sometimes magic happens. It happens when you let your mind run free. When, to steal a lyric from Keller Williams, you let the old imagination fly.
    A couple of days ago, I was sitting around. Talking to myself, since its too cold to go outside and talk to the cows. I’m telling myself stories about the old Fox Theater in Atlanta, about how just before I got to Atlanta they’d fixed up this big, old theater that had opened to the premier of Gone With the Wind. Telling myself stories about how it was always a special place to listen to music, because musicians tended to walk out on stage and see the crowd and see the theater and just go “Wow!”. Shows at the Fox weren’t the regular old “if its Tuesday, this must be Toledo” sort of shows, but was instead the sort of place that was a highlight for the musicians to play there, and it could be heard in the music.
    Fast Forward a couple of days, and its New Year’s Eve. I’m old now, don’t really make any plans to go out. But, it occurred to me at about 10 oclock that I should be listening to music. So, I went and looked up one of my favorite bands, one I’ve seen on several NYE’s in the past, a band which happens to be from Georgia. Turns out, they are playing a run of three nights at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.
    Back a couple of days ago when my flying imagination started thinking and telling stories about the Fox Theater, everyone was probably getting ready for the first show. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some old friends of mine from back in the day were all excited about the first night’s show. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit.
    Amazing what can happen when we let the old imagination fly! 🙂
    Bear’s Gone Fishin! 🙂

  5. You know, ever since 9/11, there have sprung into existence a large number of “Jedi” alternative media websites — for example, Wikileaks, Sputnik News, RT, Russia Insider, Consortium News, The Saker, Al Jazeera, The Canary, Pravda, Tass, East-West Accord, Canadian Patriot, Paul Craig,, John Plilger, Moon of Alabama, The Duran, Information Clearing House, MediaLens, The Intercept (mostly gone over to the Dark Side, IMO, but still has the occasional nugget of truth), Counter Punch, Iran Daily, Truth Dig, World Socialist Web Site, Zero Hedge, Patrick Buchanan, Breitbart, Global Research, Craig Murray, InfoWars, and this web site, to name just a few.
    Then, on the outright-Dark Side, we have virtually all of the “traditional”, corporate-controlled MSM such as WaPo, NYT, LAT, CNN, MSNBC, Guardian, BBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, “turned” NPR etc., peddling mostly outright lies, with their huge budgets and multi-millionaire actors/talking heads.
    How do we know if the Jedi or the Darth Vaders are winning? Ultimately, IMO, by whom their viewers/readers/VOTERS elect to public office. Up until voting day, one might draw some conclusions by watching poll numbers, but, as the polls before the 2016 vote proved, polls might not accurately predict voter behavior on voting day. However, I very much doubt that candidates whose poll numbers are under say 20% a couple of weeks before voting day will be elected. One of the latest polls of D candidates I’ve seen is here:
    Tulsi Gabbard, an outright antiwar candidate is polling at 1%. Bernie Sanders, the man who in 2016 endorsed war-criminal Hillary after the DNC stabbed him in the back, is at 21%. (Remember that Bernie has announced that he will, once again, support whoever is the D nominee for POTUS.) Biden, the man who rode shotgun for war-criminal O’bomb’em and oversaw the US coup in Ukraine, etc., is polling at 32%.
    Quite obviously, the Jedi want to provide information that is as much as possible truthful and will lead voters to elect, for lack of a better expression, on their foreign policy agenda, antiwar candidates; and the Dark Side media are promoting outright lies, myths and Deep State propaganda that will help voters rationalize to themselves electing more in a long line of American Exceptionalist-believing warmonger candidates like the ones that preceded, and might yet include, the present POTUS and congress-people.
    Therefore, IMO, the Jedi will have “lost” this war of words if warmongers are elected in 2020 and the Dark Side which includes the military-industrial complex will have “won” this war of words if warmongers (those who will keep the present, 70-year-old, whatever-you-want-to-call-it arrangement going) are elected.
    How are the Jedi doing so far?
    Now a more difficult question: Would Donito Assolini’s re-election be a victory for the Dark Side or for the Jedi? (Before answering, keep in mind that DA hasn’t, as yet, anyway, started any new US wars of aggression, and that Syria, unlike Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, is still in sovereign existence and recovering and rebuilding after a so-far-failed, US-controlled, regime-change operation. What would Syria’s situation almost certainly be today if Hitlery had won in 2016? What outcome did/does the Dark Side want in Syria? BTW, just maybe Hitlery will throw HER hat in the D ring; she’ll screw Bernie yet again; Bernie will once again endorse his oppressor; we’ll have a nice replay of Nov. 2016; Putin will be once again blamed for Her loss, Orange for colluding with Putin, if the Ds maintain majority in the house, impeachment 2.0, etc. etc. right up to 2024. Yummy!)

    1. Wow, managing to attack Bernie and tell us how wonderful Trump is all in the same filibuster. Yep, go out and vote for Trump because its sure to improve the world. That makes as much sense as most of the rest of the propaganda.

      1. Bernie is a tool. Anyone who was so willing to be screwed by Hillery is nothing less.

    2. Nice. One must remember, however, that all opposition is controlled opposition, one way or another. Ultimately there is but one God.

      “Bringing balance to The Force” might sound nice in theory but in reality it simply equals out the light with the dark, the consequence of which yields a boring and ultimately mind numbing grey. BWOE, there is no place for grey on the symbol for Yin and Yang, our existence consists of the duality both light and dark. To that effect “balance” implies grey, null, void, the final journey into the abysm of all abysms.

      Worst yet, balance means no more sequels. Are we truly ready for that? Be thankful Kali’s own solutions appear to be interminably delayed.

  6. the way I look at it, I have no say in what foreign governments do as I am not a citizen of those states. the one that taxes me and kills people in my name, I- sadly- don’t really have much say in that either, the evil empire continues without listening to us, definitely not listening to me, other than if it is to spy on me, or figure out how to tax me more or limit my freedoms. “don’t shoot” is my political slogan at this point.

  7. Caitlin, you are correct, people never “apply their own logic to themselves”. What motivates imperialism? Power. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. This is evident in how nations form alliances. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. The desire for power is the cause of war.

  8. what are we in the u.s. to do. there isn’t one candidate that is really anti empire. sanders is good on the domestic front, to an extent, but he goes along with the russia bashing/provocations, which means he doesn’t do much if anything to support assange and other whistleblowers. the whole system is rotten.

    1. Here is what to do pretzelattack:

      Trying to figure things out is an effort that preoccupies most of our time. Recently,
      I was having trouble with the front brakes on the 06’ Harley. I had changed the front tire and renewed the brake fluid. I thought I had bled them sufficiently to purge any air in the system. But, I still had mushy front brake and sometimes right to the handle grip and NO brake. Took them apart and cleaned them, checked the pistons for movement (several times) everything was good (scratching my head). Finally, noticed the problem. I must have bent a rotor when I was wrestling with the tire change. It was hitting unevenly on the pads and would take at least two pumps of the handle to force the pad to the rotor. Phew!! Figured it out. See, we have to occupy ourselves with important things in life. The little things like world domination, enslavement, weather manipulation, fiscal failure, climate collapse, and social seizure will fix themselves. Fixing those front brakes is something that I can figure out! The Buddhists would term that “right action.” “Chop wood, carry water.” Focus on those things in life you can control, and do them exquisitely well. This behavior is meant to take our minds off the larger picture.

      Happy, Happy New Year

      1. Sorry, forgot to mention to the ‘young lady’ authoress of this blog:
        Keep chopping the wood and carrying the water. You do it exceedingly well!!

    2. You have to look outside the empire’s two parties to find anti-empire candidates. I vote Green Party ( I wish I could convince everyone that at the very least we should boycott the empire’s parties, by either voting Green, or another party that does not take corporate money, or write-in Julian Assange, or boycott elections altogether.
      When I say boycott empire parties, I mean not just voting against them in presidential elections, but also all other offices, down to dog catcher. I also mean not sending money to anyone running as a Democrat or Republican. I also mean changing your voter registration to unaffiliated or to any party other than Democrat or Republican, because being registered as one of them is like voting for them every day.

  9. ‘Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world.’

    Many can & do…

    Russia’s glorious past (and present):
    ‘There are in the U.S.S.R. privileged and exploited classes, dominant classes and subject classes. Between them the standard of living is sharply separated. The classes of travel on the railways correspond exactly to the social classes; similarly with ships, restaurants, theatres, shops, and with houses; for one group palaces in pleasant neighbourhoods, for the others wooden barracks alongside tool stores and oily machines. .It is always the same people who live in the palaces and the same people who live in the barracks. There is no longer private property, there is only one property – State property. But the State no more represents the whole community than under preceding régimes’ (What the Russian Revolution Has Become, Robert Guiheneuf, 1936).

    Under one god…

    O Great Stalin, O Leader of the Peoples,
    Thou who didst give birth to man,
    Thou who didst make fertile the earth,
    Thou who dost rejuvenate the Centuries,
    Thou who givest blossom to the spring . . .
    (Pravda, 28 August, 1936).

    Mao, like Lenin before him, hastened the development of capitalism.

    Today wealthy Chinese outnumber their US counterparts for the first time. Additionally, China is leading the way in minting new billionaires: two per week! The estimated net worth of the 153 members of China’s Parliament and its advisory body amounts to $650 billion! Further evidence is supplied by an article titled ‘Always Stay Professional’. Inside China’s Booming Butler Schools, Nothing But the Best Will Do’ (Time, 1 November, 2017). Here we learn that some of China’s 1,590,000+ millionaires wish to live the life of Riley Downtown Abbey style! ‘Students pay 50,000 rmb ($7,500) for a six-week course on food presentation, how to iron shirts the proper way, and maintaining serene decorum at all times…. Students learn how to choose fine wine but also good Chinese liquor, teach tai chi, perform a tea ceremony and caddy on the golf course. For many, it’s another world.’ Indeed. ‘…15-hour days and endless drilling. How to clean a toilet, iron a tablecloth, use tape-measures and plastic blocks to get table placings perfectly aligned. It’s a regimen of burns, blisters and bottomless cups of coffee’. According to a Peking University report from 2016, the income disparity is getting worse with the top 1 percent owning a third of the country’s wealth and the bottom 25 percent of the population just 1 percent. The 99% never voted for this!

    1. These are not criticisms of “governments everywhere in the world”. They are criticisms of the USSR (not even Russia, which is today’s reality), and China. They are contributions to a discussion from the past.

      1. ‘These are not criticisms of “governments everywhere in the world”.’

        That would be a very long post! Besides, I doubt anyone has criticised all 190+.
        More seriously, as I have said elsewhere, ‘the vast majority of those existing in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, Libya, Russia and Syria have far more in common than they do with their respective generals, politicians and economic overlords, a fact recognised before, during and after the war to end all wars.’

        ‘They are criticisms of the USSR (not even Russia, which is today’s reality), and China.’

        The class division of the USSR persists in Russia, as elsewhere, today.
        Most of my comment about China refers to ‘today’s reality’.

  10. As a citizen of Canada, I likewise criticize “Canadian foreign policy” which is pretty much dictated by the Pentagon and the Six Eyes conspiracy to confuse the western world.

    I’ve watched in shame as Canada cheered on that trained idiot Guaido who tried to take over Venezuela. I’ve just watched Canada cheer and support the right wing military dictatorship who threatened to murder a fairly-elected Morales and all his indigenous government leaders. I’ve watched Canada fuck over Haiti twice, piss off Cuba, support the fascists in the Ukraine, and actually lead and orchestrate NATO’s war crime destruction of Libya, and turn a blind eye to the latest OPCW scandal as if it never happened.

    Now you’d think that Canada, being uniquely situated under all the missile trajectories between Russia and the US, would try just a little harder at diffusing Cold War II and talking seriously and openly about ways to reach world peace. But oh no, our elected politicians here are deep into secrecy now, far too worried about their wardrobe for the next public appearance, and just read on queue from the Script that is provided by the American Empire.

    Canadians generally just suck it up like “we’re the good guys”, not realizing we’ll only get 5 minutes warning that the Big Chessgame on thie Pale Blue Dot is finally over.

    1. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
      Julius Skoolafish

      Not forgetting the Richard McLaren (the whorish McLaren report for WADA), and of course these peas in a brothel … John Howard and Stephen Harper telling us in their own original words about Iraq.

      As an Australian, I share your shame.

  11. Trust me, Caitlin, you are definitely not in the same realm as Noam Chomsky.

  12. in her very stately holiday-new-year communique, Tulsi declared that indeed we live in a very dangerous world, especially with rogue countries like “North Korea, saber rattling”… thus we definitely need to pu our guards up to protect our great country, blah blah blah…. i blocked her off on twitter. i’ve had the phony balony alternative candidate…

    1. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
      Julius Skoolafish

      Yes, Ms Gabbard has made several slip-ups – on Syria especially.

      This is why the DPRK is a threat – musically. Please enjoy the Moranbong Band playlist.

    2. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
      Julius Skoolafish

      I had hoped to start at No 12 – Zigeunerweisen – trying again

  13. Joe Van Steenbergen Avatar
    Joe Van Steenbergen

    Thanks, again, Caitlin; nice piece. As I have said more than a few times, yours is the only work that I read daily; I find it difficult to find other authors whose work is so rewarding to read. That said, I find also that I learn from and enjoy reading the work of your regular commenters. They are, by and large, an eclectic, intelligent and well-read group, and I’m glad and thankful to them for their contributions.

  14. we are accomplices of all the crimes committed in our name and on our dime, as well as by us as killers for hire, until we throw out body on the line and stop the crime. especially us who live in the headquarters of the crimes and benefit, willingly or not, consciously or not, from the crimes.

    1. i’d like to see a general strike, before people start throwing their bodies on the line. we’ve got lots of bodies, but they’re a lot better armed.

  15. There is an insidious corruption when liberals/leftists do go along with War State attacks while proclaiming they are against military intervention, outright war, or counter insurgencies, etc. For example, while this class of liberals and leftists proclaimed that they were against Trump’s missile attacks on Syria, they fall into the trap of rhetorically attacking Assad (and other villains of the state) using the themes and tropes of the War State. These liberals give the War State moral and intellectual cover and justification for war. “Assad is committing genocide which you openly admit. Why you are against stopping genocide?. Let the bombs fly.” These liberals use the language of xenophobia, aggression, conspiracy to attack foreign leaders (and their peoples) in line with the War State, And then wonder why the defense budget is so expanded or in fact support the growth of the defense budget to “deter” aggression–While mind you being against war. One popular youtube liberal literally goes in convulsions in his attacks on the Russians not realizing his rhetoric is the rhetoric of war — who would of course deny they were advocating war with Russia.

    1. Are you talking about Keith Olberman?

      1. Young Turks. But Olberman is also one of thee worst.

    2. >>using the themes and tropes of the War State.

      Bless our hearts, that’s all we know. It’s all we have heard for 80 years.

      I’d use “they” rather than “we” but I swim in the same fishbowl.

  16. Caitlin, you cleared the air with this piece like no one else can – scarily spot on. I have dual citizenship of Sweden and Australia, would that leave me divided in my political opinions you may ask? Not one iota – they are both equally subservient to their imperial US master, both led by whimpering cowards without an ounce of integrity. I despise them both with commensurate vehemence. – I will never forgive them for their all too willing collusion with the evil and criminal powers seeking to destroy Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks.

    1. do / can you vote for both elections? what do you think about your privilege to do so if you wish to?

  17. The madness is distributed over many realms of American life, with the common denominator of a thinking class fallen into disordered thinking. The disorder is led by the information media and higher education with their crypto-Gnostic agendas for transforming human nature to heal the world (in theory). It includes a grab-bag of delusions and deliberate mind-fucks ranging from the morbid obsession with Russian interference in our affairs, to the crusade against free speech on campus, to the worship of sexual perversity (e.g. the Transsexual Reading Hour), to the campaigns against whiteness and maleness, to the incursions of woke-ness in the corporate workplace, to the cynical machinations of economists, bankers, and politicians in manipulating financial appearances, to the effort to divorce reality from truth as a general proposition.
    This forcast is available here:

  18. Thank you once again Caitlin Johnstone.
    We live in a bubble filled with a dense fog of lies.
    Trying to free our far-away neighbours from their own bubbles, while doing nothing to clear our own blindness is a dumb strategy, obviously doomed from the very start.

  19. The US is responsible for some grim statistics. More innocent people killed at home and abroad since WW2 than any other country. The US has overthrown more democracies than any other country. The US has installed or supported more despotic leaders than any other country. The US has more military bases abroad than any other country. The US has exported more killing equipment than any other country. The US spends more on killing equipment than any other country. The US is responsible for more climate change than any other country. The US started and sustains the nuclear weapons that threaten us all. At home an abroad the US uses deadly force to deal with problems. The US compels other countries to cooperate with US policy with economic threats or sanctions that have killed millions and in some cases lasted for decades. US foreign aid is often “tied” aid that forces the recipient to spend this money or act in a way that the US wants. The US has promoted the acquisition of skilled workers, doctors, nurses, etc from many poor countries instead of spending money to train Americans. The US has more billionaires than any other country. The US allows billionaires and rich corporations to run the country and pay little or no tax. Racism and poverty are is still alive and well in America.
    USA #1!!!

    1. You are very wrong about climate change. China in the early industrialized period is by far the country with the worst pollution on the planet. Dont have tome or desire to check your other statements.

      1. no the us is responsible for more of it, not the same as saying it is responsible for the most right now, but then there is the fact it consciously exported its manufacturing to china.

        1. Quibble quibble quibble. Loose with facts like all climate change alarmists.

          1. it’s not a “quibble”. your statement was factually wrong. the early industrialized period is a long time ago, and china wasn’t industrialized in the 19th century. you have no clue what you are talking about, but you catapult that fossil fuel propaganda like you were paid to do so.

    ​Moon of Alabama has an important story:
    ​ On Friday a volley of some 30 107mm Katyusha rockets hit the K1 base which houses Iraqi and U.S. troops near Kirkuk, Iraq. One U.S. mercenary/contractor died, two Iraqi and four U.S. soldiers were wounded. Instead of finding the real culprits – ISIS remnants, disgruntled locals, Kurds who want to regain control over Kirkuk – the U.S. decided that Kata’ib Hizbullah was the group guilty of the attack.
    Kata’ib Hizbullah is a mostly Shia group with some relations to Iran. It is part of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) which were founded and trained by Iran to stop and defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) when it occupied nearly a third of Iraq and Syria. KH is like all PMU units now under command and control of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
    To take revenge for the death of one of its mercenaries the U.S. air force attacked five camps where Kata’ib Hizbullah and other Iraqi forces were stationed…
    The strikes were designed to kill those who still fight ISIS in its most virulent hide outs.​..
    ​ In the aftermath of the American strikes, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said, “We have already confirmed our rejection of any unilateral action by coalition forces or any other forces inside Iraq. We consider it a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region,”
    The U.S. and Israel have already killed hundreds of Iraqi forces that are aligned with Iran. But these were the most egregious strikes.
    There is no doubt. The U.S. forces will have to (again) leave Iraq​.​ (I have doubts. JD)

  21. There is a modicum of justification for promoting Russia and China. What are they going to do, fuck it up?

    1. lucky ducks, they have it so easy, thanks to the evil empire..

  22. Well, I DO criticize the non aligned, for not standing up more often to the largest, most violent criminal enterprise in the history of the species.

    Any who attempt any justification for its violent actions is a member of the syndicate, a moron, or delusional to the level of incompetence.

    Governments are all gangs of Sociopaths In Charge. Fortunately, few have the resources to become the icon of evil the US and its minions have become. Unfortunately, few have the resources to resist them either.

  23. Rarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good. The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime. They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers. This fine article can be read here:

  24. Brilliant! As always! If you’re not a member of team parrot, anything you say is a threat to the narrative, disguised as news, by the Stepford wifeonized journalists pretending to be journalists. If you have an independently functioning brain, your focus has to be on what’s the biggest threat to the planet you live on and make your fellow human beings aware of it!

  25. At least the US is consistent, it tyrannises itself as well:

    “Though only five percent of the world’s population lives in the United States, it is home to 25 percent of the world’s prison population.” Rand Paul

    The United States had the highest prison population rate in the world, at 716 per 100,000 people. More than half of the countries and territories had rates below 150 per 100,000.

    One Million US Veterans Are In Prison, And 18 Commit Suicide Every Day

    Mass Shooters are Disproportionately US Veterans

    1. The way to solve this is make more crimes a capital offense and then execute them quickly. Amazing how that works in some countries. For example thailand executes you for drug trafficing. Just think how much we could lower our prison population by executing them. That is just one example. We should also do the same for all these other countries with lower prison populations. We should also not feed them as some countries do. Just lock them up. Would lower our costs.

    2. Also dont forget Malaysia. Their prison population is liw because they have mandatory death for murder and drug trafficking. We dont have to atrest less prople, just execute more.

  26. Nailed it. The USA is the problem. The USA and all its little vassal states UK France Germany Australia New Zealand Canada Germany Italy and Poland

    1. you left Israhell out. the worst of all by far.

  27. Certainly can’t argue with what you wrote about being the worlds capitalist/policeman. Country was never intended to be such but it’s hard to keep the wealthy under control in a republic. It has taken a turn that I don’t recognize from my own 80 yrs or even that of my parents understanding. Most of my family now are European immigrants and are disappointed with what they’ve discovered in their new country. They, like many expected to find a progressive empathetic country and are having a hard time accommodating what they see and the conservatives hate.

  28. So, we are supposed to criticize Assad for invading Syria?
    OK, I knew the “We Want To Kill Everyone We Can’t Enslave” Crowd used some shaky thought masquerading as logic at times, but accusing Assad of invading his own country is a good one.
    Just simply recognizing borders and that a nation (like America) doesn’t have the right to run around the world invading anyone they want would be at least one small step towards avoiding global nuclear war. The nation invading a country on the other side of the world that has never attacked it is clearly a different case from a nation defending against such attacks.

    1. stop making sense. you’re upsetting the apple cart.

  29. I was shocked by Iraq precision bombing.
    Then found Noam Chromsky, and learned more horrors.
    After a few years found the bottom line of my beliefs.
    It is simple, and hard to refute in most arguments.
    Question — How many people were killed?
    There is NO excuse for any person or country to
    murder others continuously, period.

  30. And yet another excellent article from Ms Johnstone who is a much kinder person than I am. I call my ” community ” Satanville because surely Satan runs everything here. Every ” narrative ” about the U.S.A. in the MSM is the exact opposite of any reality. My government is by far the most evil enterprise existing on this earth.

    1. you haven’t been invited to any polite society parties in the last decades have you?

  31. Caitlin, as usual you capture my thoughts and express them in a way I never will be able to. I have never found it to be productive to state my opinions on-line because they are not mainstream. I was never a TV watcher as a child, and now rarely if ever watch anything on the TV, especially not the news, which means that my opinions are not formed by the narrative that the always biased, news corporations put out broadcast.
    I am tickled when I am called a Kremlin troll because I point out that not only RT and Sputnik are state sponsored, but some is the BBC, which simply reads out any press release from any ministry as gospel without any checks at all? This is not journalism…..why should state propaganda peddlers be entitled to the status of journalist.
    I read my news and ask question about the motives that might lie behind say, Assad always gassing his own people when he is winning battle and gaining ground? People who watch the BBC, SKY, FOX, CNN etc never ask themselves this question. Why did Putin on the eve of the World Cup make a botched attempt to kill a former agent, Skrypal, thus poisonings this prestige gained from hosting the Cup? Why use a nerve agent? Why not just have someone shoot Skrypal? Again no-one in mainstream journalism ever asks these questions.
    On the eve of the Iraq war I hear Donald Rumsfeld say to journalists in a voice indicating it was a tiresome question he was answering “We know Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, we know where they are.” There were a room full of “journalists” in the room none of whom asked the single question “Well if you know where they are why don’t you call up Hans Blix and tell him where they are?” (Hans Blix was the chief weapons inspector that got next to know air time.) The following day, Colin Powell prostituted himself in a speech to the US using satellite images that were fakes….or at least the ‘mobile chemical weapons trailer’ turned out to be a residential caravan.
    I think forming opinions by watching TV news is about as accurate as believing the claims of advertisers on TV. But having formed opinions sadly very few have enough honesty to say ‘sorry I was wrong’.

    1. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
      Julius Skoolafish

      Great comment.

      Someone once share the following quote with me and when I am going to ‘confront’ a friend or family member with a given topic I usually start with this quote and explain how I myself have suffered many injuries to my self esteem, but how liberating(!) it is once you have admitted you were wrong (or rather, ignorant/unaware) and can now embrace the truth.

      “Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.”

      Thomas Szasz, author, professor of psychiatry (1920-2012)

  32. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
    Julius Skoolafish

    I see Duterte was mentioned. Duterte is also a great reader by the way.

    **Duterte & Sun Tzu’s Art of War**

    I have a relative from the Philippines. She just exudes respectfulness, morality and decency on a level few aspire to. She just adores this man – of and for his people.

    **Duterte Interview with RT’s Maria Finoshina**

    Or here with with Marina Kosareva of RT

    … a bit of a history lesson and he doesn’t hold back re foreign policy – he knows who his friends are

    1. Duterte frequently says that he’d like to put a gun to my head and murder me.

      1. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
        Julius Skoolafish

        So you are boasting that you are a drug dealer?

        “And do not destroy [with drugs] the young people of Davao City because they are our assets … And –do not corrupt them with drugs. Do not destroy their minds … because I will kill you. I was very clear with that. Do not destroy my country. Do not destroy our young people. Because if you do that I will kill you.” (Second video from around 1:30 – 2:30)

        1. thomas szasz was highly critical of governments targetting drug users.

        2. Such hate speech should not be allowed here. This person just threatened my life because they don’t like the choices I freely make for myself. They have no idea of where I live, or what the local mores are. Just a blind, religious, fascist hatred and a desire to kill me.

  33. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
    Julius Skoolafish

    On Syria – I always share and encourage family and friends to search for some videos of interviews with President Bashar al-Assad himself but for now, this one with Asma (First Lady of Syria) comes to mind.

    Asma al Assad tells of her struggle against cancer

    Talk about grace and radiance from the “Lioness of Damascus”.

  34. Julius Skoolafish Avatar
    Julius Skoolafish

    Thank you Caitlin – I have a couple of responses (triggered links) if I may

    As I wandered past an unfortunate homeless man the other day (feeling powerless) I was wondering whether Michael Kirby would be heading up a UN Commission on Human Rights in Australia, as he has done on the DPRK, effectively weaponizing ‘human rights’ using the most despicable shady characters as his prime witnesses.

    Then I thought of this video …

    President Xi Jinping – inspects poverty alleviation achievements in SW China

  35. “Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world” says Caitlin. This is not true. Jehovah’s Witnesses do it all the time. I suppose there must be other groupings that do the same thing but they are less culturally accessible to me. Can any conclusions be drawn from this, and particularly and politically serviceable conclusions?

  36. “Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world” says Caitlin. This is not true. Jehovah’s Witnesses do it all the time. I suppose there are other groupings that do the same thing, but they are less culturally accessible to me. Can any conclusion be drawn from his fact, and in particular any politically serviceable conclusions?

  37. Good answer, Caitlin. It is important to clarify your reasons in this way, rather than responding directly to criticism, which can easily be seen as defensive and therefore less (or not) valid.

  38. Your argument seemed a lot more involved than need be, there’s really only one bitch in the room and that’s the US, but then again, you notice that the same bitches that run the US, also run the UK and France? The same bitches! Somebody I think is having a big time problem with incest, and it’s really beginning to show.

  39. Right on! As usual.n.m

  40. I have found that presenting those kinds of cogent arguments to critics is completely lost on them!

    I don’t have time/bandwidth to engage. They will be the last people to come around IMO!

    Just keep up the good work, don’t look back (they might be gaining on you) and go for the open space ahead! Happy New Year to all of us! This year & the US election will determine whether humans have a home going forward!

    1. “Managers lie to keep their jobs and prestige.” It might seem like I repeat this sentence in every thread with small variations, but in the broad sense, in and out of the workplace (whose neoliberal logic and morality have infected nearly everything in society), I contend that it is a narrative with great explanatory and predictive power.

      1. You are right. However most managers are lied to as well. First line supervisors are not even considered management and in large companies middle management are disposable. Years ago a friend worked for a well known national bank. He told me only the VP and above reached retirement age. Everyone else were fired or cut by attrition etc. Before they were eligible.

        1. The big silicon valley high tech firm I worked for was that way. You had to be a VP or higher to be allowed to have grey hairs. Everyone else had the corporate boot up the rear by that time.

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