Archive for the On Foreign Affairs Category

Mr. Cameleon and the Arabs

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Trump and the Arabs with tags , on May 28, 2017 by playthell

Chillin with the King

Whatever Happened to Radical Islamic Terrorism?

Listening to the accolades heaped upon Donald Trump’s attempt at Middle-East diplomacy, I am reminded of the apocryphal tale of the talking dog.  It didn’t matter what the dog was saying; the fact that the dog was talking at all was cause for praises.  This story could serve as a metaphor or allegory for the low standard set for Trump’s performance as president.  So long as he does not utter some incoherent nonsense, make an outrageous claim, or tell a blatant lie, his public performances are declared a success and thoughtful Americas can comfortably exhale.

Yet even when the bar is set that low, a candid assessment of the President’s performance results reveals a mediocre performance at best and   a soulless, transparent charade at worse; with the President reading speeches prepared for him by others and trying to look deep.  What I saw on the podium was a clueless con-man trying to sell an impossible dream of peace and mutual friendship while choosing sides in the contentious disputes that have shaped the political realities of the contemporary Middle-East – a region rife with wars and rumors of war based on ancient disputes.

Trump’s speech was preceded by comments from King Salman, the Saudi Sovereign, which put forth their vision of the contemporary situation in the region, and appended a wish list for the US President to ponder.  The 50 heads of Muslim nations which supplied the raison d’etre for Trump’s visit, sat stiff as stuffed owls as the respectfully listened to the King while anxiously waiting to hear what Mighty Whitey – leader of the richest and most powerful military nation on earth – had to offer to their collective defense.  For the sad truth is that all of them have a Fatwa – a religious death warrant – issued by Caliph Ibrahim, the Supreme Ruler of the ISIS Caliphate.  Hence they were all dead men living on borrowed time, because their assassins will be seen as instruments of the will of Allah by the Jihadists who view them as apostates, for which the penalty is death!

Under Caliph Ibrahin….the Spawn of Saudi Whabbism

This is the Fate of Apostates!

King Salman, the absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia, presented a fawning speech that often sounded like panegyric to Trump and cast America in the role of Savior of the Saudi’s – indeed the entire Sunni Muslim world – from their enemies, whether Sunni Jihadists or the Persian Shiites of Iran.

Our meeting with His Excellency President of the United States of America, a country enjoying strong bonds of friendship and relationship with many of our countries, does reflect His Excellency’s keenness on enhancing cooperation and coordinating stances in various fields… our 55 Arab and Islamic countries attending the summit today with a population exceeding 1.5 billion, are an important partner in fighting the forces of extremism and terrorism and achieving world peace, security and stability. His Excellency holds many hopes and aspirations for cooperation with the Arab and Muslim worldAs we extend our thanks to and appreciation of His Excellency for his response to attend and participate in this summit, we reaffirm our happiness and gratitude for His Excellency’s choice of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and this summit as His Excellency’s first trip and external participation since assuming office.

As the Saudi King went on to address the issue of Islamic extremism and the scourge of terrorism, which was the central issue of the summit conference, his remarks took on a surreal quality that bore little resemblance to the facts. He declared: “We have to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism whatever their source, in compliance with the orders of our true Islamic religion. Islam was and will remain the religion of mercy, tolerance and coexistence..” 

To listen to the mutterings of the King, one would never suspect that Whabbism, the most extreme interpretation of Islam, was born in Saudi Arabia and spread throughout the Islamic world through the financing of Mosques and Islamic education by the Saudi government.  Hence it is no accident that Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda, and the majority of the terrorists who launched the devastating 9/11 attack on the US were Saudi Citizens.  Yet, according to the Saudi Monarch: “The Iranian regime spearheads the global terrorism since Khomeini revolution until today. Since 300 years ago, we, in this country, did not witness terrorism or extremism until Khomeini revolution emerged in 1979.”

The fact is that the use of terrorism and mass murder as a means of spreading Islam goes back to the time of the Prophet.  The Jihad, or “holy war,” was the dominant means by which Islam was spread in the middle ages.  And the modern Jihad was hatched in Egypt during the mid-20th century through the theology of the Muslim Brotherhood and was relocated in Saudi Arabia after the Egyptian nationalist leader and military strongman Abdel Gamal Nasser hung the principal theologian of the movement Sayeed Guthb in 1966, and his brother Muhammad Guthb fled to Saudi Arabia, where he was provided the means to establish an Islamic Studies department in King Faisal University.  One of his most enthusiastic students was Osama Bin Ladan!

Hence the Saudi King’s diatribe is a lie, what he accuses Iran of is true Saudi Arabia.  There have been no terrorist attacks sponsored by Iran against the US, or any other Western country.  The Islamist terror attacks on France, Belgium, Amsterdam, and Britain, which has just experience a devastating attack by a terrorist affiliated with ISIS, were all carried out by Sunnis whose radical theology grows out of the fanatical fundamentalism propagated by the Saudis.  King Salman’s speech was self-serving propaganda, disinformation, blatant lies designed to stroke the misguided and none too bright American President, who is clueless on these questions and does not appear eager to learn because it confirms his hostile view of Iran. It is a view of Iran that has gained wide currency among Americans despite the fact that all the terrorist groups that have launched attacks in western nations are Sunnis.

Trumps long and rambling speech that followed the Kings Tirade – a strange mixture of hyperbole, fantasy, historical amnesia, denial of present realities and outright lies – Trump extended the theme of Iran as the focus of evil and source of terrorism in the Middle-East.

Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.  But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room”.

This Condemnation of Iran, which has just held a democratic election to choose its leader, was preceded by abundant praise for the Kleptocratic Islamic Fascist Saudi Regime which is chosen by a medieval process of monarchal sucession:

“I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.

You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader — American President Franklin Roosevelt — King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy — and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.”

Nowhere in Trump’s speech does he mention the fact that all protest against the Saudi government is banned by law, and carries severe penalties ranging from mutilations to death!  The Saudi’s claim that this prohibition of dissent, which is a complete denial of democratic expression, is based on Sharia Law.  Hence the Saudi government cite chapter 4, verse 83 of the Koran to legitimize their police state tactics.  The text reads “And when it comes to them a concern for security or fear they divulge it, but if they had referred [their concern] to the Apostle and to those in a position of authority among them, those who are able to draw the right conclusion would have known [what to do]; and had it not been for the grace and mercy of God upon you, you would have followed Satan, except for a few” 

This passage was cited in a declaration of March 10, 2011 – three months after the commencement of the “Arab Spring” uprisings that swept several Arab tyrants from power – issued by the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, giving religious sanction to the Saudi government to suppress all “deviant and partisan connections and anything that leads to disunity and fragmentation of the nation.”  Which in effect means all protest against government policy.  Since unlike Catholicism or the Anglican Church there is no Pope or Arch Bishop, the “Senior Scholars” are the final arbiters of what Koranic text says. Just as the US Constitution means whatever the majority of the nine sitting Justices at the time says it means.

This is why the Saudi’s rejoiced at Trump’s statement:

I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith. In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust….And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect.”

In other words, you can do whatever you want to your citizens and not to worry about American interference. Before Trump could even return to American soil, the results of this new-found license from the “Insane Clown President,” as crack US journalist Matt Taibbi titled his recent book about Trump, the Sunni tyrant king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah of Bahrain, unleashed a violent attack on some Shiite demonstrators who were peacefully protesting the arrest of Imam Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the Shiite majority for performing religious duties.  Thus far there are reports that several protestors were injured in the attack and at least two have died!  The Iranian government has issue a statement blaming Trump for the murders.  That Trump envisions this as the path to peace in the Middle-East is another sign of his cluelessness; the Editor of Foreign Policy magazine calls Trump’s shameless embrace of these autocrats “un-American.”

Hence it is easy to see why these Arab tyrants prefer Trump to President Obama, who persistently criticized their record on human rights and insisted that the extension of democratic rights to their citizens was essential to peace and prosperity in the region.  Whereas Obama emphasized the Golden Rule, Trump stressed the rule of gold:

“Now, there is even more blessed news I am pleased to share with you. My meetings with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince, have been filled with great warmth, good will, and tremendous cooperation. Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.”

Upon hearing of the US-Saudi deal, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, sneeringly tweeted “Iran—fresh from real elections—attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation. Foreign Policy or simply milking KSA of $480B?”

Trump also stressed a willingness to supply Saudi Arabia, and by implication the other tyrants in the room, with state of the art American weaponry:

This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase — and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations. We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.  Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World. This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership.”

There was much frippery about the will of God in Trump’s speech, which I am certain the conferees took with a grain of salt from this ungodly man. “Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology? Will we let its venom spread through our societies? Will we let it destroy the most holy sites on earth?”  And judging from their blasé body language, Trump’s recounting of Islam’s glorious past in grand gluttonous phrases fared no better:

?The Middle East is rich with natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and massive amounts of historic treasures…Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths. Each year millions of Muslims come from around the world to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. In addition to ancient wonders, this country is also home to modern ones—including soaring achievements in architecture.  Egypt was a thriving center of learning and achievement thousands of years before other parts of the world. The wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria are proud monuments to that ancient heritage.  All over the world, people dream of walking through the ruins of Petra in Jordan. Iraq was the cradle of civilization and is a land of natural beauty. And the United Arab Emirates has reached incredible heights with glass and steel, and turned earth and water into spectacular works of art.”

In a room full of murderous Sunni tyrants with a death warrant on their heads, Trump could have quit after he promised American might would aid them in their fight against Shitte Iran; supply American arms; and join them in the fight against their fellow Sunni Jihadist. And most important is what Trump didn’t say.

No mention of the vicious oppression of women and gay people.  Not a hint that the Jihadist movement is fueled by a lack of democracy and the squandering of their countries wealth by avaricious rulers whose actions are unchecked by a free press. Independent secular courts, or popular dissent.  And not one reference to the phrase “Radical Islam,” for which Barack Obama was severely criticized by Trump and his Republican comrades!  It was the most dramatic about face I have yet witnessed in an American President on foreign soil.  Hence where many in the US press are waxing eloquent about the success of Trump’s parley with the Arabs, I am reminded of the old radio detective “Mr. Chameleon.”  If I had to characterize the gathering I’d sum it up as a meeting between the Joker and the thieves.

Dead Men Standing!
Trump Closing Ranks with the Sunni Tyrants

Anyone who wishes to take the time to read my essays on the Invasion of Iraq – see “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq,” The Arab Spring, “Sleeping in the Same Bed Dreaming Different Dreams, or the 12 essays on the Occupy Wall Street Movement, especially “Will Wall Street Rebels End up Like Jack the Bear” – will recognize that they now read like PROPHECY!  I point this out not to merely boast about my prescient powers, but to offer a good reason why you should take the prediction I am offering now seriously.

I am certain that when future historian examines the results of the policies Trump announced on this trip, they will conclude that its main affect was to help solidify and grow the Jihadist movement.  I say this because – as Professoe Luther P. Gerlach pointed out in his seminal study of mass movements “People,Power, Change” – the most powerful stimulus to a mass transformative movement for change is a real and clearly identifiable enemy who opposes their goals.  Hence I predict that the open embrace of Trump – whom many on the “Arab Street” view as the great Satan – by the tyrannical Arab regimes, will prove to be a colossal blunder that could exceed that of the Bush invasion of Iraq!

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Witness Trump’s Speech at the Saudi Summit
https://youtu.be/BoYDP2cWH-A
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 28, 2017
 

 

 

 

Arabian Knights

Posted in Barack's Second Inaugaration, On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Trump and the Arabs with tags , on May 21, 2017 by playthell

Donnie Dancing with the Sheiks

 Building Mid-East Policy on Sinking Desert Sands

The Donald’s moves in the Saudi Sword dance were as awkward and out of step as his evolving Middle East policy. Which is a lot like building your castle on sinking sands.  If the paramount objective of US policy in the region is to promote peace, Trump could not have made a worse beginning.  Alas, the House of Saud, whose 3000 princes control everything and own most of the vast wealth created from oil revenues is one of the world’s most corrupt, anti-democratic regimes.  And unless you happen to believe that “Allah” bequeathed his “gift” of oil to the Royal Family the Saudi regime is also a kleptocracy.

It is a regime with a medieval conception of the relation of the people to the monarchy and the official religion, and it is enforced with the iron fist of the police state – all things that Englishmen in America overthrew in a war with their mother country Great Britain in the 18th century that created the United States!   And while Donald Trump genuflects before the Arabian King, his regime is widely despised by many of the King’s subjects, as well as militant young Muslims throughout the Middle East.  I believe that this Newfound relationship with the House of Saud will prove more costly to the US than it is worth.

For instance, Trump was practically giddy about signing a deal with the corrupt Saudi regime for 110 billion dollars and he says the Saudis have pledged to spend another 300 billion dollars in the US.  And while the US quietly sold even more weapons to the Saudi’s under the eight years of the Obama Administration – due to the long standing US-Saudi alliance – Trump’s slavish genflection before the King of a regime that is hated by both the secular progressive forces and the Islamic Jihadist among the Sunnis, while expressing hostile intent toward Iran, the giant Shiite nation who share a border with the Saudis, is a prescription for armed conflict throughout the mid-east region and we have yet to see what he will promise the Israelis.

Donnie Genuflecting Before the Tyranical Saudi King

Selling American Integrity for Petro dollars

After signing the arms deal Trump turned to the camera and announced that it would create “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!   However that is problematic since the Saudi’s want many of these Americans weapons to be manufactured in Arabia. Yet it is a good bet that showering arms on the reactionary Saudi’s with no restrictions on their use could ignite a wider war than we have yet seen in the Middle-East.  And it will surely involve direct engagement of US forces in a war that could pit the US against Iran and all the anti-Saudi forces in the Sunni world, including anti-royalists’ insurgents within Saudi Arabia!   In this scenario, the 400 billion dollars that the Saudi’s have pledged to spend in the US will prove to be chump change when we subject it to a cost/benefit analysis.

We need only consider the fact that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the war of choice in Iraq, is projected to cost a total of four trillion dollars by a Noble Prize winning economist at Columbia University.  To put this enormous sum in perspective, it is twice the amount of money that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated it would have cost to completely rebuild the entire infrastructure of the US: roads, bridges, power grid, create a high-speed train system, etc.  And it is four times the paltry trillion dollars that Trump has request for infrastructure development. Trump has asked for.  Alas, the war that could result from the US arming the backward House of Saud with advanced US weaponry will make the conflict spawned by the invasion of Iraq look like a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

On the eve of America’s invasion of Iraq I wrote a 3,000 word critical essay titled “The Iraq Attack: Bushes March of Folly,” warning against the aggressive action and pointing out that it was based on a bogus analysis of the role Iraq supposedly played in the 9/11 attack on US soil.  That essay now reads like prophecy and can be read on this cite under the title: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq” at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2009/08/07/the-prophetic-commentary-on-iraq/.

My careful analysis of the real reason for the Iraq invasion, How the Iraq War Was spawned in a Think Tank,” can also be read on this cite at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2011/05/06/the-iraq-war-was-spawned-in-a-think-tank/.  Furthermore, my essays on the Arab Spring, which were written in real time as events unfolded, are also posted on this site under different titles, are full of accurate predictions.  Hence, I have a solid and easily verifiable record of analysis and prediction of developing conflicts Middle East.

I have cited my record of successful prediction in the turbulent Mid-East not to brag, but to point out why you should pay attention to what I am saying on the present issue.  And my paramount point here is to say that the direction American foreign policy is taking under the puppet President Donald Trump should be question not applauded, and anxiety not jubilation is the proper response to it.  After all, despite the attempt at an instant makeover, Trump is a clueless buffoon with no independent understanding of the critical issues in the Middle-East.  In truth, he is an embarrassing ignoramus and pugnacious anti-muslim bigot who just a few weeks ago was advocating killing he families of terrorists – which would have included several prominent Saudi families such as the Bin Ladins, who are very close to the Royal Families.

So what is the reason why Trump is being embraced by the House of Saud?  Well, Trump is interested in making big arms deals with the Saudi’s without any moral restraints on how or where they are deployed, and he is foolishness enough to wade into an 1800 year old conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites based on an obscure theological dispute. President Barack Obama, a brilliant and highly moral man with an in-depth understanding of the complex problems of the Middle-East, who had promised those of us who voted for him to withdraw American forces from the region, did impose moral constraints on US dealings with the Saudi’s and pursued a more balanced policy in the region to the extent that vital American interests would allow.

The difference between President Obama’s knowledge of the critical contemporary issues and their historical evolution, and Trump’s ignorance of them, explains why Trump’s first trip to the Middle East was to Saudi Arabia and President Obama went to Egypt. For a better understanding of this see: “Of All the Places in the Muslim World, Why Egypt” at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2009/09/17/of-all-the-places-in-the-muslim-world/. Just as Bush’s failure to understand the issues around the historical reasons why Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein could not possibly be allies, caused him to buy a rationale for the disastrous invasion of Iraq.  And Trump’s ignorance of the history and present conflicts in the Middle East threatens to lead us into an even wider war into the region.

A gaggle of TV talking heads are making much of how well Trump and the Saudi Royals are hitting it off.  But there is no mystery here, it can be summed up in the old addage: “Birds of a feather flock together.”  The House of Trump and the House of Saud have a lot in common.  Both revere unchecked power and a disdain for a free press, independnt courts, and protest from the people.

Both Trump and the Saudi Royals worship personal wealth, dwell in vulgar opulence without a care for the impoverished multitudes beyond self-serving lip service, and both view women as basically the property of men.  And both want to keep America on a petroleum based economy.  In view of these realities, it is wise to view “The Donald’s” diplomacy with a jaundiced eye: skepticism not jubliation should guide our conclusions.

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The Vulgar Opulence of The House of Saud

 

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How the King’s Subjects Live

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The House of Trump

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Trump’s Voters

She believes Donald Trump is her Savior

But other Poor Folks know better!

Detroit: The Decaying Post Industrial City

Urban Warriors: The Boggs Institute:

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Watch Donnie Do the Sword Dance with Saudi Shieks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f35TUFmCtYY
 Watch Trump Sing the 110 Billion Arms Deal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Vu6djvsPk
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 21, 2017

Was Sarin Gas Used in Syrian Attack?

Posted in Guest Commentators, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , on April 18, 2017 by playthell
  At the Scene of reported Sarin Gas Attack
 A Brief Clinical and Epidemiologic Comparison with the Japan Attacks

The June 27, 1994 sarin terrorist attacks in Matsumoto, Japan, and on March 20, 1995, in the Tokyo subway, provide the most through epidemiologic and pathologic case reports currently available for the evaluation of mass poisonings with this extremely toxic gas. The facts regarding the Japanese attacks are as follows.

  • In Matsumoto members of the Aum Shinrikyo group released sarin in a residential area. It was a) an attempt to murder magistrates deliberating a real estate dispute; and b) an assessment of the poison’s efficiency for mass murder. The logistics of the crime included a refurbished refrigerator truck containing a heater for vaporization of twelve liters of liquid sarin, and powerful fans to diffuse a thick cloud of gas near the residencies of the involved judges. The sarin was 70 percent pure.
  • Over six hundred residents and rescuers were poisoned, fifty-eight were hospitalized, and seven were killed. The calculated mortality-morbidity ratio was approximately 1.16 percent (7/600). (“Sarin Poisoning in Matsumoto, Japan, The Lancet 7/29/1995)
  • On March 20, 1995, during the peak of morning rush hour a second sarin attack disrupted several Tokyo subway lines. This attack was focused on the stations close to the Tokyo National Police Agency and other central government centers. Aum Shinrikyo members punctured plastic bags of liquid sarin in subway cars jammed with workers headed to government offices. The liquid sarin was 30 percent pure.
  • More than six thousand passengers and rescue workers were injured—eight hundred required hospital treatment or evaluation and twelve died. The mortality/morbidity ratio was 0.18 percent. (Yanagisawa, N. “Sarin Experiences in Japan,” Journal of Neurologic Science.
Sarin Victims in Tokyo Subway

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II – On April 4th, helicopters or airplanes of the Syrian Arab Army dropped airborne ordnance over the village of Khan Sheikhun, Idlib Provence, Syria. The village was under the supervision of several groups currently in armed opposition to the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Mr. Assad’s government has secured the support of the Russian armed forces, the Lebanese Hezbullah, and Iranian forces under the command of the Iranian revolutionary guard.

  • Casualty reports were extremely variable. Injury numbers ranged from three hundred to more than five hundred, and reported deaths ranged from early accounts of fifty-eight to eighty-seven. Later sources reported fatalities in excess of one hundred, with children’s deaths ranging from ten to twenty-seven. Many of the major world journals, such as the New York Times have reported mortalities in the ranges above.
  • Thus the reported mortality-morbidity would range from approx 72/500 to 100/300. This gives a range of 14.4 percent and 33 percent. Expressed in percentages, this represents an increase between 1,241 percent and 16,666 percent. The purity was not reported. However, earlier studies of weaponized sarin, in this region, particularly in the Iran-Iraqi War, had a purity in the 30-60 percent range.

Discussion:

The reported Iblid mortality-morbidity ratios are incompatible with sarin use as the etiological agent in the attacks of April 4, 2017 Khan Sheikhoun, Iblid Provence, Syria.

This could be due to several reasons:

  1. Another unidentified chemical agent was used.

2- Differing mortality-morbidity due to the differing mechanisms of gas dissemination. However, the two Japanese poisonings had, markedly, more intensive, prolonged exposures, which should have produced higher mortality-morbidity rates.

3-The differing availability of treatment and evacuation? While the Japanese civil defense was better equipped overall, the organizations involved in Syrian rescue operations had basic response preparations for the gas attacks and were able to evacuate injured patients to better-equipped Turkish medical facilities.

4- The casualty count was exaggerated.

5- The 1994-95 Japanese studies were unreliable.

 

Conclusion:

Currently no credible evidence exists confirming sarin as the etiologic agent responsible. Hence the claim that sarin was the etiologic agent is highly unlikely.

Sources:

“At Least 58 Killed in Alleged Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria.” April 4, 2017.www.independent.co.uk, accessed April 4, 2017

Khaddar, Kareem, Schams Elwazer, et al. “Suspected Gas Attack in Syria Reportedly Kills Dozens.” CNN. April 7, 2017.

“Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U. S. Blames Assad.” April 4, 2017. New York Times.

Seto, Yasuo. “The Sarin Gas Attack in Japan and the Related Forensic Investigation.”www.opcw.org, accessed April 11, 2017.

“Scores Reported Killed in Gas Attack on Syrian Rebel Area.” April 4, 2017. Reuters.

Yanagisawa, N. “Sarin Experiences in Japan: Acute Toxicity and Long-term Effects.” Journal of Neurologic Science. November 1, 2006.

——. “Sarin Poisoning in Matsumoto, Japan” The Lancet, July 29, 1995.

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By: Dr. Joseph Harris, MD
April, 2017
Harlem, New York
Note: Dr. Harris has worked as a physician in Rawanda and other war zones. he was participant at Doctor’s Without Borders when the were awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

The Most Dangerous Nation on Earth!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War, Playthell on politics with tags on April 17, 2017 by playthell
American Nuclear Armed  Fleet Steaming for Korea: An Invincible Armada?

How Trump’s Policies Can Lead to Human Extinction

Recently I had a conversation with a professor of physics in Berkley about climate change; from his pained facial expressions and the resignation in his body language, I could tell this was not his favorite subject.  As it turns out the warming of our planet is something he had thought about quite a lot, and I would soon learn that physicist of all schools everywhere in the world are thinking about it.   And it soon became clear that not nearly enough people outside of the scientific community are thinking about the crisis seriously.

I knew the feeling.  For over half a century I have been trying to warn my fellow citizens, anybody who would listen really, that we are living in the absurd situation where our entire civilization…and all life on this planet, could be extinguished in a ball of radioactive fire hotter than the sun within an hour from now by nuclear weapons.  To my knowledge, I am the only pundit who writes about the looming catastrophe of nuclear war on a regular basis.  Most either don’t understand it, or are too depressed about its consequences to ponder the problem; it is too ghastly to contemplate.

In an important regard the Physicist and I shared a similar burden: having an intimate and sure knowledge of how the extinction of our species could occur.  He as a result of his profession, me because of my service on a Strategic Air Command base stationed at the DEW – Distance Early Warning – line in Glasgow Montana, a remote location in the Great Plains near the Canadian border.

Our mission was the nuclear destruction of the Soviet Union.  The fact that I enjoyed a Top-Secret security clearance and was in a unit tasked with the security of the planes and their nuclear payloads, as well as the war fighting plans, provided me a birds eye view of the results of a nuclear war.  It was terrifying, but it is much more dangerous now! The physicist also understands the devastating affect of  nuclear weapons, but he has no idea of the probability of its use; the scenarios whereby such an unspeakable event could happen.

However, when it comes to climate change his great fear is not simply that it is happening, but that it may already too late for any human action to reverse this calamity, this ticking ecological time bomb set in motion by the sustained human assault on mother nature.  He told me the ice caps at Earth’s poles are melting, and this will make life nearly unbearable in many parts of the world that are at, or below, sea level. Islands in the pacific, as well as American cities like Miami and New Orleans will disappear, low lying sections in Manhattan and Brooklyn will also be under water.

The planet will also experience highly destructive weather events that will make the worst hurricanes we have seen look like relatively mundane events.  And they will occur with far greater frequency.  But that was not the worst of it; he also said that there are vast quantities of methane gas stored under the icecaps sufficient to poison the air and make it unbreathable!  By the time he was through painting a vivid portrait of the horrors looming over the future of our planet, the reason for his pessimism became palpable.

An Inconvient Truth….

Although Trump Denies it…The Ice Caps are Melting!

Alas, I could feel his pain.   For we must live with the horror of knowing that it is a man-made disaster, and that this disaster is the creation of a hand full of arrogant, cold-blooded, know-it-all politicians, scientist and militarist.  This is but a small fraction of humanity, and in a democratic political system they can be stopped if it is the will of the majority.

Our only hope is to come together in a concerted action to stop them.  That’s why I write essays like this and post them on the internet for free; getting the word out is far more important than money. The fate of the earth is at stake.  Never was the political axiom truer: “In a popular democracy the people eventually get the kind of government they deserve!”

As I put the finish touch on this essay it is Easter Sunday morning, and the famous presidential historian David McCullough is being interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning.  He is quoting a past president who said: “Only men who are honest and wise should occupy this office.”  The crux of our problem is that we now have a man in office who is anthesis of wisdom or honesty!

And despite the pro-Trump, rah! Rah! America blather, I am listening to from Joe Scarborough this monday morning – who is supposedly the “thinking man’s conservative” – and an expert from the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs, at present Trump is doing some dumb and dangerous things.  at present he has ordered the nuclear armed US Navy to cruise off the coast of North Korea, whose government has issued a warning that if they believe they are about to be attack they will launch a preemptive strike with all their might…including nuclear weapons.  When this warning is considered in light of an impulsive belligerent Donald Trump’s announcement that his approach to international crisis is to be “unpredictable,” we have the perfect scenario for a catastrophe!

Hence instead of worrying about the “irrational North Korean leader with the funny haircut,” as one American commentator pompously put the problem; I think we should be terrified of the irrational American leader with the funny hairdo!  For so long as The Donald – a vain, ignorant, pugnacious, megalomaniacal charlatan –  remains in the Oval office with the power to remove the US from the international climate control treaty, and launch nuclear weapons, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS THE MOST DANGEROUS NATION ON EARTH!

God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign….

……No more Water, the Fire Next Time!

 

The USS Vincet leads the Fleet Steamimg Toward Korean Waters
http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/04/11/us-warships-north-korea-uss-carl-vinson-sje-orig.cnn
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 17th, 2017

April Fools?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Uncategorized with tags , on April 7, 2017 by playthell

Dumb and Dumber

Trump Strikes Syria!

“All Motion is Not Progress” observed Mao Tse Tung, a revolutionary philosopher and leader of the great Chinese Revolution.  Americans who are applauding the strike on Syria with 59 Cruise missiles, at a cost of nearly 30 million dollars for the missiles alone, should take a pause and consider the implications of this action by our government.  The paramount questions that begs an answer is: what is the strategic objective of US policy in Syria, and what role does this strike play in achieving that goal?

Based upon the public pronouncements of Donald Trump, who ordered the strike, and his surrogates the answers to these questions are elusive.  This is because we have a President for whom the complexities of international relations are at best a mystery, as is the art and science of governing in general.  Hence for years he has been an ardent opponent of the US taking any action against the Assad government.  The comments of this tweeting twit on Twitter are prolific on this question.

Yet when a chemical weapon was dropped on a group of Syrian civilians, some reports claim in was the deadly Sarin gas, Trump was quick to blame it on President Obama’s weakness in failing to act in 2013, when somebody launched a gas attack in Syria. The criticism of President Obama’s failure to take military action is based on the fact that he had drawn a “Red Line” in the sand that would prompt an American military response if Assad crossed it.

However, President Obama’s reluctance to act militarily in this case was based on several factors: Uncertainty as to who employed the gas; the fact that he had pledged to voters that he would end America’s protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and keep us out of new wars in the Middle-East, and failure of the US Congress to authorize a military attack on Syria which he requested.  Many people who voted for Obama did so based upon his promise of pursuing peace, I know I did.

Hence in my view, President Obama’s management of the Syrian situation displayed Solomonic wisdom. Furthermore, I would argue that this was characteristic of his approach to foreign policy in a turbulent time that witnessed the revolutionary outburst of mass movements collectively called the “Arab Spring,” the conflict in the Ukraine which could have thrown us into a military conflict with a nuclear armed Russia, and the rise of the militant Islamic Caliphate called ISIS, which arose from the ashes of the misbegotten US attack on Iraq.  How fortunate we would be if only Trump were only half as wise.

All objective observers of US foreign policy during the Obama administration agree that his actions were well thought out and based on a strategic vision of international relations; he sought to build effective alliances with concerned parties in troubled areas of the world, and acted deliberately not impulsively.   None of this is true of Donald Trump.  He has no strategic vision because he does not appear to have ever thought deeply about anything beyond his next real estate or branding deal.  His abdominal ignorance of the problems that he must now address is exemplified by his recent observation “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” and his sudden discovery that there are atrocities being committed against children in Syria.

Trump’s ignorance and indifference to the enormity and complexity of the Syrian conflict was exemplified in the policy statement by his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson: “The fate of President Assad will be determined by the Syrian people.”  To begin with, this was a repudiation of the Obama doctrine that the pre-condition for a permanent settlement which could bring peace to Syria was the removal of Assad from office. Tillerson’s announcement was no fluke; it was a restatement of a long-held belief of his boss, whose views on the matter are widely documented in the public record.

Hence Trump’s attempt to blame President Obama for the recent gas attack is the acme of hypocrisy! It is the pronouncement of a shameless charlatan and pathological liar. At the time, while others condemned Obama for his restraint in Syria, “The Donald” praised it!   His attempt to cast blame on Obama now is a transparent attempt to shift the blame from his ill-conceived policy of support for Assad expressed by Tillerson: Which is the real cause of the chemical attack. Since both Trump and Tillerson are novices at politics and foreign affairs, they failed to recognize that their statement was viewed by Assad as a green light to do whatever he wanted!

Viewed from this perspective, Trump’s attack on Syria must be seen as a smoke screen designed to deflect his responsibility for the horrendous gas attack on Syrian civilians; which the whole world viewed with stunned horror.  Hence, like the clueless scatter brain that he is, Trump acted on impulse and attacked Syria.  This is not part of any strategic plan because he has none.  This is verified by the fact that just a few days ago he had no problem with Assad’s leadership – as Tillerson’s policy statement nad Trump’s long record of support for the Syrian butcher will testify.

All observable evidence suggest that Trump gave no more thought to this assault on a sovereign country – with no attempt to get the support of the United Nations, the Arab League, the US Congress, or any of the regional powers – than his pre-dawn Twitter attacks.  It is an erratic, irrational, temper tantrum with no thought about its consequences.  And as the dawn of a new day approaches – Alas, I am writing this in the wee hours because the gravitas of the questions raised by this latest American military assault invades my dreams and destroys any attempt to sleep – we can only wonder what new dramas it will bring.

Just as when George W. Bush invaded Iraq with the spectacular bombing spree labeled “Shock and Awe,” millions of Americans are applauding this attack on Syria by American military forces.  I titled my essay on Bush’s attack “March Madness,” and I warned of its unintended consequences;which verily came to pass pretty much as I predicted.  I am titling this essay “April Fools?”  The title reflects my contention that this strike is not well thought out and the unintended consequences could prove disastrous.

Aside from the fact that we might have injured or killed some Russian military personnel, which would throw us into a crisis with a nuclear armed Russia that can reduce every city in the United States to a pile of radio-active rubble in a half hour from now, this attack on Syria is as illegal under international law as was the invasion of Iraq.  Yet after all is said and done, the most alarming thing about this attack is the real possibility that Trump launched it to improve his popularity in the opinion polls, where his approval rating is at a historic low.

As cynical as this sounds, when we consider the fact that Trump closed America’s doors to the children of war torn Syria seeking refuge in America, despite pictures every bit as horrible as those from the gassing, a thoughtful person cannot help but view his present concern for their welfare with a jaundiced eye, a cynical attempt to benefit from their tragedy.  As depraved as this seems, it is typical behavior for a “con man” with “no moral center;” which is how Donald J. Trump was routinely described by his fellow Republicans…..before he won the election, moved into the Oval Office, and promised to make all their right-wing dreams come true.

One of the most troubling questions raised by this attack is, if Trump can so quickly turn on a Head of State whom he has supported for years, what effect will this have on other nations at whom Trump has directed a steady stream of threats and invective such as North Korea, Iran and even China.

As I write the Chinese leader is visiting with Trump at his palatial estate in Florida, where he spends almost as much time as he spends in Washington, at great expense to American tax payers.  Although his home town, New York City, is much closer: he dare not come here.   In fact, Trump is so dispised in this city he may never be able to come home again!  It will be interesting to hear what Chinese President, Xi Jinpin, has to say about the attack on Syria.  Being a disciplined political actor skilled at the art of diplomacy I suspect his remarks will be restrained, respectful of the norms that mediate relations between nations.

Xi Jinping is here on a mission to improve relations with the US, China’s main trading partner.  As the leader of a nation with 20% of the world’s population, the Chinese are very careful to avoid military conflicts despite their formidable armed forces.  It is a policy that serves them well; it has allowed them to modernize at a rapid pace and grow the second largest economy in the world, which is predicted to surpass the US in GDP by 2050.

The paramount principle that guides Chinese foreign policy is non-interference in the affairs of other sovereign countries.  And they stick to this policy without significant deviation.  They have the largest army in the world but no foreign bases or troop deployments.  On the other hand, the US, with a fraction of China’s population have bases and soldiers all over the world and are fighting in multiple wars that seem unending.

The amount of blood and treasure we expend on foreign military adventures – along with the failure of the plutocrats to pay their fair share of taxes – is the principal reason why we cannot afford to rebuild our aging crumbling infrastructure, which is essential to our prosperity.  The Chinese see this all to clearly, and they are determined not to follow our example of meddling in everyone’s affairs as if the Gods gave America a mandate to rule the world.

This is why I am convinced that the Chinese will not play the role of disciplining North Korea for developing a nuclear weapons program that the US has assigned them. And given the US attack on Syria, the North Koreans are probably going on a war footing for real, imperiling the future of South Korea, which would be devastated if a war broke out on the Korean peninsula.

However listening to the pundits and the politicians on both sides of the aisle, as they raise their voices in something resembling victory cheers, I dispair for the prospects of peace.  The danger of perpetual war is real and is reflected in the comment of that old warmongering chameleon John McCain: “This is not the beginning of the end….but the end of the beginning.”  

History will judge Trump and his belicose confederates with unrelenting candor…and their deadly devious deeds will be duly noted.  But, alas, dealing with the unintended consequences of the Twittering Twit’s impulsive bombing of Syria, remains the burden of all Americans at this moment.

It’s On!

The US War on Syria has begun!
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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Dissents

Tellin it like it is!

There is an avalanche of opinions now being expressed on Trump’s attack on Syria, but none is more compelling than that of Congresswonam Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic Representative from Hawaii.   Congresswoman Gabbard’s remarks are especially important because she is a former combat officer from the Afghan war,  Her experience in combat there has made he a passionate non-interventionists who is hostile to “Chicken Hawks” who promote wars for other’s to fight.  Like Donnie Trump . a notorious Vietnam era draft dodger, who avoided the war not for principled philosophical or religious reasons. but because he was a rich, entitled, cowardly party boy.  The great columnist and native New Yorker, who also hailed from Queens like Donnie, had this to say of his Homie: “Trump is a fake tough guy who couldn’t fight his way out of an empty lot!!!”
Athough celebrated corporate pudits such as Thomas Friedman, the three time Pulitzer Prize winning Foreign Affairs columnist at the New York Times, Joined by David Ignacious and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, are gushing over the reckless bravado of Donald Trump,  I remain highly skeptical about the mission’s motive, utility and consequences.
Yet because he is such a pompous know-it-all the contrarian in my soul cannot resist pointing out that Tommy Friedman was grieveously mistaken about the Iraq War; he went so far off the beam in supporting Bush’s war of choice with spurious ahistorical arguments that he was forced to write a column apologizng to his readers for having led them astray  by “not asking the right questions.”  On the other hand my essay, written on the eve of the invasion, has withstood the test of time and been confirmed by history.   Titled “The Iraq Attack: Bush’s March of Folly,” it reads as if it were written by Nostradamus, and can be read on this site under the heading “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq.”
What Friedman and other “major” corporate  mooks of both of both political pursuasions had to say on that subject is analyzed in my essay “How the Iraq War Was Hatched in a Think Tank.”   The fun part of this essay is when their views about the Iraq War is compared to mine!   Alas, what these same pundits had  to say on Trump’s bombing of Syria last night sounds like pompous American exceptionalist bullshit when compared to what  Tulsi Gabbad had this to say about the fake President’s military adventure:
 “It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States’ attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning. If President Assad is indeed guilty of this horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians, I will be the first to call for his prosecution and execution by the International Criminal Court. However, because of our attack on Syria, this investigation may now not even be possible. And without such evidence, a successful prosecution will be much harder.”
A Decorated Combat Officer

For more on this remarkable woman search her name on this site.
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 7, 2017

 

 

Stumbling Towards Armageddon!

Posted in Did Russia Interfere in the US Election?, On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War with tags , , on December 18, 2016 by playthell
atomic-finger
What the end of the World Looks Like
 On the Danger of Covert Cyber-Wars between Nuclear States

As I write a very scary scenario is developing that features a rapidly escalating conflict between the US and Russia.  From all appearances it seems that we are in a state of cyber-warfare with Russia and millions of Americans are giddily pushing our government to become more aggressive in taking the offensive!

The catalyst for this growing hostility toward Russia, a nation situated on the other side of the globe thousands of miles away that Americans love to hate, is an assessment by our intelligence agencies that the Russian government tampered with our recent presidential election in an effort to help elect Donald Trump…who is far more pro-Russian in his views that Hillary Clinton; a warmed over cold warrior with long standing anti-Russian attitudes.  As a consequence of the spook’s conclusions regarding a covert Russian cyber assault on our political process, there is a growing cry among Americans for president Obama to do something dramatic in order to teach the Russians a lesson they will never forget.  They are crying out for a full scale cyber-war while apparently giving but little consideration to where it could lead.

Of all the bizarre behavior that human beings engage in, the euphoria that accompanies the decision to go to war is the ultimate folly. For whatever the outcome there will be bloody murder, massive carnage and destruction, and squandering of large quantities of the nation’s treasures that are making war. The strange and tragic character of warfare is highlighted by the fact that only human beings, who claim dominion over all other animals due to our uniquely developed brains which enable us to reason, engage in the systematic slaughter of their own species.  Yet despite the best efforts of our greatest philosophers, scientist and other deep thinkers, alas no one has found a formula for ending this plague upon humanity.

Yet it is indisputable that in the age of nuclear armed states that stockpile doomsday weapons of mass destruction with the capacity to destroy all life on this planet, humanity will find a way to end war or war will put an end to us. I wish I could share the optimism of Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese revolutionary philosopher/activist, who confidently proclaimed “The bomb will not destroy man…man will destroy the bomb.  The atomic bomb is a paper tiger.”  But knowing what I know about nuclear weapons, having seen them up close and gaining an intimate knowledge of their destructive capacity while serving in the United States Strategic Air Command, empowered with a Top Secret security clearance, I am far more aware than most citizens of the world as to the danger their very existence poses to our survival.

Indeed, I believe that every nation that stockpiles nuclear weapons is existentially engaged in a crime against humanity that dwarfs all the crimes of Nazi Germany….it ain’t even close!   It is no accident that General George C. Marshall, the most important American military officer from the Second World War, was deeply concerned that by dropping atomic bombs on Japan Americans would eclipse the Nazi’s war crimes! Yet when I entered the Strategic Air Command 15 years later, the colonel who introduced us to the atomic weapons on the base at Glasgow Montana – whose mission was the nuclear destruction of the Soviet Union – cavalierly dismissed the bombs dropped on Japan as “little more than fire crackers compared to the ordinance that we have on this base.”  He pointed out that the blast power of those bombs was the equivalent of 20.000 tons of TNT and the ordinance on our base had “megatons capacity.”

The Colonel went on to point out that if fully armed, the 25 bombers on our base could wreak enough destruction that the continuation of life on earth would be problematic.  That was in 1960, over half a century ago, when nuclear weapons system were relatively primitive compared to those deployed by the US and Russia today.  And it has made the world a far more dangerous place.  When I was in SAC the main strategy for nuclear war centered around intercontinental Strato-Bombers, mainly the B-52 on the American side, and some comparable aircraft on the Russian side.  The Nuclear Triad existed then – bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles – but the bombers were the main delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons.

A half century later this equation has radically changed; it is the ballistic and cruise missiles that are now the main nuclear strike force, and these weapons are largely dependent upon computers in the launch process. Herein likes the potential for an accidental catastrophe that could destroy our planet.  In times past the means to launch a nuclear war required a great technological/industrial complex.   But today a computer whiz sitting in a cave in Pakistan could possibly provoke a nuclear exchange by hacking into the military computer systems of Russia, China or the USA.   They only need to access one, and make them think they are under attack by the others to start a nuclear war.

Hence when President Obama talks publicly about launching cyber- attacks against Russia, and threaten to do some of them as covert actions, he is setting the stage for a third party to step in and wreak havoc.  Nothing that any of the experts on Cyber-warfare have said addresses this very real possibility.  What the world needs now, most of all, is for Russia, China and the US to convene an urgent summit meeting to hammer out a treaty regarding the use of Cyber-space, just like they have done regarding germ warfare and poisonous gases.

Nevertheless, this event, Russian interference in the US election, should be treated as just another incident in the long history of international espionage; a practice in which the US has engaged more vigorously than any other nation state.  The US has subverted elections; organized the assassination of foreign leaders, overthrown democratically elected governments; engaged in torture; trained torturers and militarily attacked unoffending nations thousands of miles from our shores and slaughtered well over a million innocent souls whose only offense was that they sought to organize their societies in ways that Americans disapprove of.  And these actions are justified by recourse to the bogus doctrine of American Exceptionalism, a dangerous myth with no basis in historical fact.

That these transgressions are not well known to a willfully ignorant US electorate is part of our tragedy.  Yet with such a tawdry record the US government’s pretense that the Russian hacking of the Presidential election represents some special species of evil that they have never seen before is ludicrous and dangerous hypocrisy.  And it is rapidly fueling a hysterical hatred for Russia that could force US leaders to take some actions that we shall soon regret.

Failure to convene an international conference between nuclear armed states with the greatest haste could well lead us down the path to extinction. In the meantime, the critical question facing Americans is whether the election of Donald Trump – a man who lost the popular vote to Hillary by almost three million votes, won the Electoral College by less than a hundred thousand votes spread over three states, and is wholly unqualified for the job – is legitimate.  This is the issue that should consume our interests at this historical moment.

Is The Donald Legit?

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at his South Carolina campaign kickoff rally in Bluffton, S.C., Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

An incompetent Demagogue who got elected President

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Watch Dr. Stephen Cohen Explain US Russian Relations
http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/12/17/exp-gps-1218-stephen-cohen-us-russia-cold-war.cnn
Our most learned and insightful Russian Scholar speaks to CNN
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For a quick lesson on Nuclear Weapons watch this video

 What would Nuclear War be like?

https://youtu.be/tW7IgKJWtqk
Watch this brilliant lecture with dramatic graphics on Nuclear War
Presented by Dr. Irwin Redlener
Columbia University Professor 
World Renowned authority on disaster Preparedness
 (What Would Happen in Washington DC was Nuked?)
https://youtu.be/WCme_K6MYLY
A Presentation of the History Channel
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
December 18, 2016

It Was Bound to Happen!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On Nuclear War with tags , on November 24, 2016 by playthell

a-new-russian-missile-ii

A Russian Nuclear Missile capable of hitting US Targets.

Reflections on the New Russian Missiles

Often virtually alone among American pundits, I have repeatedly warned about the danger of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.  My abiding fear is that, given the vast superiority in conventional forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – an American led military alliance whose raison d’etre was the containment of the Soviet Union by military encirclement – the continued expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe will eventually lead to nuclear war.  Hence I have argued against such menacing intrusions into the region, because given the critical role of computers in the launch function of nuclear weapons systems: Accidental nuclear war is more likely than ever.

This is due to two major factors: The US refusal to recognize Russia’s Sphere of Influence, and Article Five of the NATO Treaty which commits the US to engage Russia militarily should they have a military conflict with Latvia!  Alas, very few Americans are even aware of this fact, let alone understand that it could precipitate a conflict that could destroy the world.  In fact, most media commentators talk about the antagonism between Russia and NATO i.e. the USA, as if it were a wrestling match not a march toward Doomsday.   The deployment of this new missile system forces us to confront the terrifying reality of nuclear holocaust.

The question being asked by most American foreign policy analyst is “why now?”  The answer given by a professor at the Naval War College, who serves as a consultant to MSNBC, is that there are two basic reasons for President Putin’s decision to deploy the missiles just now: Putin’s “contempt” for President Obama, and based on the things Trump has said regarding improving relations with Russia Putin feels that Trump would never go to war due to a conflict between Russia and a former member state of the Soviet Union.

I think it is more the former than the latter; Putin would have considered such a move too risky earlier in the Obama presidency, especially when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  An anti-Russian hawk whose views were forged in the heated environment of the Cold War era, such a move on Putin’s part, although perfectly reasonable in view of NATO’s strategy of encircling Russia with military proxies, would have been a dangerous act of brinksmanship.

And under a Clinton presidency would have plunged the world to the edge of disaster.  Hence if there is any silver lining to be found in the dark clouds that surround the election of Donald Trump, it is that he does not share Hillary’s hostility and paranoia regarding Russian military power and Putin’s intentions.  Although it has been used against him by Democrats and Republicans alike whose attitude toward Russia was forged during the Cold War, Trump’s position that we should be friends with Russia rather than enemies, and NATO is a dangerous anachronism whose cost is far greater than its benefit to the US is the more enlightened position.  Even it is true – as his critics commonly claim – that Trump has no real knowledge of the situation and is just guessing: He is like the broken clock that’s right twice a day.

The most surprising thing regarding the deployment of these new Russian missiles is that it should come as a surprise to anyone who has been observing NATO’s strategy in Eastern Europe with any degree of objectivity.

a-new-russian-defensive-missile-batteryIskander Missile Battery in Kalingrad

I have written repeatedly this would happen, and Professor Stephen Cohen- arguably the most insightful American scholar on Russia – has issued many dire warnings that NATOs aggressive actions  was pushing Putin into a corner and he would be forced to take a stand.  Now it has happened and the world is a more dangerous place because of it.  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was unambiguous about Russian intentions in deploying the Iskander Missiles:

“Russia is doing all that is necessary to protect itself against the backdrop of NATO’s expansion toward its borders. NATO is indeed an aggressive bloc, that is why Russia is doing everything that is necessary.  Russia has all the sovereign rights to take the necessary measures across all the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Although Russian officials are reluctant to specify the exact model of missiles they deploy, Viktor Ozerov –  the Senator who Chairs the Defense and Security Committee in the Upper House of their parliament – told the news channel Russia Today that the Russian decision to deploy these new missiles was a response to the danger to Russian security posed by the US cruise missiles recently deployed to Poland and Rumania – two former members of the disbanded Warsaw Pact, the Russian dominated counter-part to NATO.  Senator Ozerov explained:

“One of the reasons why Russia opposed the deployment of the American ABM [anti-ballistic missile] system in Europe was the concern that this infrastructure may be quickly converted to deploy strike systems, in particular land-based cruise missiles. These concerns are being confirmed today.   In response to that we will be forced to beef up our air and space defense system in that direction, [and to] deploy additional forces to defend our military facilities and command centers. This includes the deployment of S-400 and Iskander systems in Kaliningrad, and the formation of new units in the Western and Southern military districts”

Both of these missile systems are defensive in nature.  The Iskander system is capable of firing cruise and ballistic missiles, and the S-400 is an anti-missile system designed to protect critical Russian sites such as cities and strategic missile silos, both of which are critical to the survival of the Russian nation.  Hence in view of NATO’s steady encroachment into the Russian sphere their statement to the Associated Press that the Russian missile deployment “does not help to lower tensions or restore predictability to our relations”  or “avoid incidents and the risk of misunderstandings” rings hollow.

Like a town crier in the night, Professor Cohen has been sounding the alarm in a thus far futile effort to get American policymakers to turn away from the road to war with Russia.  Reading his cautionary writings in retrospect they seem like exhortations from Old Testament prophets warning the Princes and Powers of their time to reject the path of death and destruction and choose the path of live preserving righteousness.

 Conventional NATO Forces amassed on the Russian Border
nato-forces-on-russian-border-ii
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nato-forces-on-the-russian-border-iv
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nato-forces-on-the-russian-border-iii

The US would not permit similar Russian forces in Mexico or Canada

Cohen argues that this build-up is unprecedented even during the last 40 years of the US/Russian Cold War and amounts to the opening of a “NATO Eastern Front.”  This kind of military mobilization accompanied by bellicose rhetoric and saber rattling, looks like preparation for war to a country that has been invaded from the west twice and lost millions of its citizens in their struggle to resist.

Due to America’s self-righteous arrogance fueled by the dangerous mythology of “American Exceptionalism” – which is shared by both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, but ironically not Donald Trump – is pushing us straight on course for a military conflict with Russia.  Professor Cohen candidly points out the suicidal folly of this policy.

What NATO is mobilizing there is a lot more than a couple of divisions here and a couple of divisions there, some armor here and some there.  We need to understand that tens of thousands of western troops will be parked now permanently, they may say that they are rotating, but they are there permanently on Russia’s borders. Along with nuclear-ready missiles, along with a lot of tanks and, above all, in Russia’s eyes, the missile defense installation.  The US builds up forces all around Russia and then blames Moscow for Holding on to Nukes this is so serious, so fraught with the possibility of war.”

Alas, According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist, who are the world’s foremost authorities on the causes and consequences of nuclear war:  “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.”  To note the dire state of the human predicament, as I write the scientist have set the Doomsday Clock at three minutes before midnight!  Let us hope…and pray if you are the prayerful type, that our leaders can be persuaded to change their nihilistic course before the hand strikes midnight…..

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Dr.Stephen Cohen on the Myth of Missile Defense

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
November 23, 2016