David Stockman has agreed to send every Antiwar.com reader a free copy of his newest book, Trumped! when you take his special Contra Corner offer. Click here now for the details.
When President Trump blurted out the truth about Washington’s "bloody hands" during his interview with Bill O’Reilly this weekend, the mainstream media, Imperial City politicians and War Party factotums instantly broke into a chorus of spleen-busting outrage.
Now they are remonstrating and harrumphing feverishly because Trump called out Washington’s monumental conceit about "American exceptionalism".
As it happened, Fox News’ #1 bloviator and all around jackass responded to Trump’s eminently sensible suggestion of cooperation with Putin in the campaign against ISIS with what amounted to a verbal sucker punch:
O’Reilly: "But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer."
Trump shrugged the comment off, saying: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”
Truer words have never been spoken in the Imperial City – at least since the post-Vietnam era of the 1970’s.
Back then, Washington’s bloody hands in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians and the sacrifice of 58,000 American soldiers for no earthly reason could not be denied. For a few years, anyway, the people saw through the lies and propaganda of the Warfare State, and their elected representatives seemed to harken to Eisenhower’s warning about "undue influence" of the military-industry complex.
Congress actually throttled the defense budget by 30% in real terms, investigated and exposed the CIA’s illegal interventions and coups, and, via the Boland Amendment in the 1980s, even forbade covert actions to undermine the democratically-elected government in Nicaragua.
Indeed, by the end of that decade the specious "domino theory" propagated in the 1950s by the evil Dulles brothers during their tenures heading the CIA and State department had collapsed completely. The Soviet Union was not conquering the world one country at a time. Instead, the laws of free markets and personal liberty were inexorably sweeping the mutant Soviet state toward the dustbin of history.
Yet it was on the actual disappearance of the Soviet military threat after 1991 that the naked power lurking behind General Eisenhower’s prescient warning fully manifested itself. That is, when Boris Yeltsin starred down the Red Army, and when the aging communist oligarchs in Beijing realized that the printing press and export mercantilism, not the barrel of a gun, were more likely to guarantee their rule in the impoverished economy and starving countryside that was Mao’s horrendous legacy, Imperial Washington was left without an enemy.
And so it invented one through a policy of global hegemony. Washington declared itself, as the world’s only superpower, to be the "indispensable nation". It began to aggressively impose its will on the nations of the Persian Gulf and Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere, and for obvious reasons.
None of these petty disputes were material to the safety and security of the American people in their homeland. It didn’t matter a whit whether Kosovo was a province of Serbia or the majority Albanians or whether the greedy Emir of Kuwait or the brutal dictator of the artificial and unnecessary state of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, owned the drilling rights to the Rumaila oilfields which straddled their borders.
Yet without a tangible threat to national security, the vast conventional war machine that Ronald Reagan had inadvertently brought back to life in his mistaken defense build-up – and all the related apparatus of the American imperium in the CIA, State Department, foreign aid and security assistance and the various agencies of US propaganda – would have been pointless and redundant.
The post-communist world of the early 1990s was thus a mortal threat to their power, budgets and existence. So as we documented at length in Part 3 of Trumped! the CIA and its auxiliaries and cohorts in the Deep State demonized Iran, Saddam Hussein and eventually the rulers of Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, among others, in order to block the kind of full-bore military demobilization that was warranted by the vastly more pacific state of the world after 1991.
The resulting interventions, invasions and occupations succeeded wildly from the perspective of the Warfare State. To wit, not only did this destroy nation after nation and turn the greater middle east into a hell-hole of economic ruin and physical rubble, sectarian strife and anti-western blowback and murderous vengefulness, but it fostered in Washington an overweening arrogance and self-righteousness like nothing the world had seen since Imperial Rome.
In fact, check the modern history books. During the cold war decades when America had real industrial state enemies and the nuclear Sword of Damocles hung over the planet, the Washington foreign policy narrative was mainly about sober realism and avoidance of nuclear Armageddon. There was not much breast-beating about American exceptionalism and self-righteous moralizing.
To that end, Eisenhower came near to a major disarmament agreement with Kruschev in late 1959 and early 1960 and Johnson tried again with his meeting on US soil in Glassboro, New Jersey with Kosygin in 1967. Likewise, Nixon went to Moscow and signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) agreement with Brezhnev in May 1972 – not long after his historic meeting with Mao earlier that year in Beijing.
In short, most of today’s insufferable cant about American exceptionalism emerged during the last 25 years after the cold war ended. That’s when neocon ideology caused Washington to wreak murderous high-tech military destruction on much of the greater middle east – from Kabul to Tripoli – and then to justify it with an utterly spurious theory of moral superiority.
Any nation that has inflicted the pointless and wanton destruction that is evident in the Pashtun homelands of Afghanistan, the rubble that remains in Anbar Province of Iraq or the wreckage of Aleppo and Benghazi is not exceptional at all; it has blood on its hands like few empires that went before.
So after Donald Trump by inadvertence or honesty, as the case my be, stated the obvious, Imperial Washington came down on his head with rhetorical guns blazing. The archetypical expression came for the Wall Street Journal‘s insufferable neocon warmonger, Bret Stephens, who tweeted,
"Trumps puts US on moral par with Putin’s Russia. Never in history has a President slandered his country like this……"
The truth undoubtedly hurts, but moral equivalence was not even Trump’s point. If anything, he was just suggesting that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And that, more to the point, whatever Putin has done or hasn’t done in his own country is no basis for America’s foreign policy nor does it bear on the safety and security of the American people.
Within hours, however, every robo-writer of headlines and all the Kool-Aid drinking pundits were gesticulating loudly about Trump’s alleged "moral equivalence" outrage.
Not to be outdone from the right, Nancy Pelosi piled-on with even more hysterical rhetoric:
"I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump. I think we have to have an investigation by the FBI into his financial, personal and political connections to Russia and we want to see his tax returns so we can have truth in the relationship [with] Putin, whom he admires……"
Right. For the sin of stating the obvious truth about Imperial Washington’s bloody hegemony and Putin’s self-evidently reasonable fear of NATO’s provocative encroachments on his borders – including the US instigated overthrow of a Russia-friendly government in its historic Ukrainian vassal state – the entire Washington establishment has come down on the Donald like a ton of bricks.
Yet the foolish boys and girls of Wall Street continue their daredevil antics in the stock market on the hideously erroneous theory that Donald Trump is going to preside over a renaissance of the American economy.
There is no point in asking about what they are smoking. Donald Trump is not going to usher in a giant Fiscal Stimulus or preside over anything that resembles a revival of capitalist prosperity.
Imperial Washington has flat-out gone mad in its delusional self-righteousness and risible claims that the wanton destruction inflicted on the world by current US policy is justified by American exceptionalism. Its response to the O’Reilly interview is just one more piece of evidence that Trump will not be allowed to govern – or even remain in the Oval Office for much of his term.
You have been warned to get out of the casino. Again.
P.S. I’d like to send you a free copy of my latest book, Trumped! Click here for the full details of how to claim your copy. Justin Raimondo said my book is “[T]he single best treatment of [Trump and Trumpism] that I have seen." If you claim your copy according to the terms I’ve arranged, I’ll even make sure your copy is autographed.
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.
Read more by David Stockman
- How Syria and Ukraine Drove the Russia Hawks Insane – July 20th, 2018
- The New Handmaids of the Warfare State – Dems and the Liberal Media – July 19th, 2018
- The Vlad and Donald Show – A Glorious Blow for Peace! – July 16th, 2018
- Time for a Mercy Killing at NATO – July 11th, 2018
- America First, Helsinki and Trump’s Existential Threat to the Empire – July 2nd, 2018