This is it! I’ve been preparing this “Everybody’s Lying About Islam” essay and video series for a very long time. Saudi Arabia is a problem, and nobody talks about it. So let’s talk about it. The standard establishment “Islam is a Religion of Peace” line is true to a degree. But it is deployed to deflect attention from Saudi Arabia and its very real and malign effect on world-wide Islam. Because US politicians (Trump included) spend all their effort protecting Saudi Arabia, the country most responsible for 9-11, many Americans get the accurate sense that they’re being lied to. They question why radical Islam remains a problem after 15 years of supposedly fighting it. Unfortunately this leaves them open to the Islamophobic line peddled across the political spectrum from Donald Trump to Bill Maher. The essay does what no corporate media outlet is interested in doing. It documents the US-Saudi relationship from FDR on down, and illustrates the horrific effects the relationship has had. 9-11 is nowhere near the worst of it.
This video is the first in a looong series I have prepped on the topic. Of course if you want the full story, I suggest you buy the essay “Everybody’s Lying about Islam”, available now on the Amazon Kindle. As I say in the video, it will tell you more about “what’s really going on” than a year of watching Fox News, or a year of reading the New York Times.
I find most discussion of the Syrian Civil War in the United States to be a bit childish. I get that nation-states are best understood as selfish infants that run around breaking anything they can get away with. But we ought to at least try to evolve. The first step in this would be looking at the Syrian proxy war and its origins honestly. It’s becoming harder to ignore the fact that the Syrian civil war would have been dramatically less bloody, and finished long ago if it weren’t for foreign actors. When people bring up the obvious facts of US, NATO or Gulf imperialism and what it has done to Syria, the standard response from the leading lights of our foreign policy community has become, “Well what about Russian, and Iranian Imperialism!!!”. It’s the equivalent of “But he started it Mommy!”. Well they didn’t.
This video lays out the basic facts of the conflict that Fox News and the New York Times are ignoring. It conclusively answers the question: “Who Killed Syria?”
Donald Trump has had a pretty extraordinary week. He’d already made himself a lot of friends in Washington, DC through his willingness to bomb Syria. But on Wednesday in particular he reversed himself on a number of issues he campaigned on. He is now endorsing positions he campaigned against when Hillary held them. This shift is heartening in some ways. People are breathing a sigh of relief. But can we trust him? And is a return to the Washington, DC playbook such a good thing anyway? I don’t trust Trump. And my roommate Ray really doesn’t trust Trump. Click here to view our wide-ranging discussion. It strays a little closer to the Democratic party line than I’m happy with, but hey, enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Words are important. Last week’s video on Gibraltar inspired a lot of confusion in the comments. People didn’t seem to understand why I found the statement from the UK’s Michael Howard so offensive. So this video explains in detail. Using violent words in a time of international uncertainty can lead to violence. History shows us this.
The video was already too long, so I left out examples of how this happens. In the pre-industrial era you could see this sort of thing all the time. Lands were ruled by Kings and Nobles, with a delicate sense of honor, who would sometimes start wars over verbal insults. The Spanish Armada, the most famous example of tension between Spain and Great Britain is one example. The Spanish tried to invade Britain for a number of reasons, among them religious words, but some of them were personal. Phillip II of Spain was angry that the English Queen Elizabeth had rejected his son’s hand in marriage.
You can see the importance of the words of leaders in the run up to World War I. Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 tells the tale. For decades European leaders used belligerent nationalist talk about their enemies to legitimate their rule. They found that this got out of control. Their newly moneyed and literate publics took these words to heart, and ran ahead of their rulers in their hatred of the other. World War I was started by a perfect storm of idiocy, but a lot of it started with words. When the few leaders with sense could see what was happening, they found that they were constrained by the nationalist beast they had unleashed. That beast ended up eradicating the power, and sometimes the lives of most of Europe’s royal families. It’s a great book, and an important read as we fall back into the nationalist maelstrom. I’d suggest giving it a look…
Trump just took the first of what I expect will be many military actions. By destroying one of Assad’s airfields he’s taking a bull in a china shop approach, and it’s hard to see how this works out well. What this video emphasizes, and what very few people ever mention, is how weak Assad is. Prior to the Russian intervention he was reliant on a diminished air force to brutalize his people. Assad is a very bad man. But we should not be working towards the collapse of his regime. At the moment, Assad controls most of the population centers of the country. The rebel forces have been getting progressively more fundamentalist throughout the six year war. If Assad loses his air power, there is little to stop those forces from making great strides. Any serious movement by these forces towards Aleppo, or Damascus will result in tremendous new refugee flows. By taking this action, Trump has given the Jihadists a new lease on life. It is hard to see how this action benefits anybody other than Al Queda and ISIS.
After Ray and I shot this video I began to see reports that Russia had been informed of the attack before it was carried out. This is of course a good thing. We really want to avoid blowing up Russian soldiers. But the question of timing is important. Did the Russians know this was coming two hours before, or 24 hours before? Presumably Assad knew about this as soon as the Russians did. You can’t pack up an airbase in a day, but you can certainly fly out all the useful elements. Assad friendly media is reporting that 15 fighters were destroyed. This could be a real problem. If Assad just lost 15 useful fighters, then his air force has been significantly degraded, and the rebels have a new lease on life. But if they were 15 old or broken down fighters then this is largely cosmetic. So Trump’s action was either horrifically misjudged or useless. Either he’s given Idlib’s Jihadists an incredible gift, or he’s just engaged in the classic Clintonite “Shooting a 30 million dollar rocket at a tent to poke a camel in the ass”. Either way, it’s hard to see this action as a useful one.
Over the past day or so, we’ve seen a ridiculous controversy over the status of Gibraltar emerge. This territory, attached to Spain, but owned by Great Britain for 300 years or so, has made it into the news for the first time in a while. It’s a silly story, but it stems from much more serious developments. On Wednesday of last week, the Brexit process finally got underway. The Gibraltar issue, and the deranged comments of former Conservative leader Michael Howard, aren’t all that serious. But there’s nothing funny about the story.
It’s only the first of many Brexit related crises to come. As this Brexit process unfolds over the next two years there are going to be a lot of angry people. The British government has made promises to its people that will not be honored. The unraveling of the EU system across Great Britain will have tremendous effects, and may even result in the unraveling of the EU itself. Petty arguments over things like Gibraltar may seem ridiculous today, but they may not a few years from now. As the over-arching systems dissolve in acrimony, these idiot nationalist issues will come to the fore once again. The Gibraltar story isn’t funny because it’s a sign of things to come. Check out today’s video to learn more.
This video marks one of those “satisfying but not satisfying” moments. It’s quite unpleasant to be proven right so quickly. For over a year now I’ve been warning that the disintegration of the EU would lead to a resurgence of nationalist issues between European states. I’m a bit shocked to see one come up so early, and so far West. I’ve also predicted that this disintegration will lead to broader violence a decade or so down the line. I hope I’m wrong about that. Check out my Brexit play-list to learn more.