Current Affairs Politics

From The US-Backed War In Yemen To The US-Ally Israel And Segregated Palestine

No one can doubt the baleful influence of the Russian Federation in south-eastern Europe and the Middle East. The annexation of Crimea and the British-style partition of mainland Ukraine sent out a powerful message to the country’s immediate neighbours, including several former territories of the old USSR and Warsaw Pact, that Moscow was once again a force to be reckoned with in Eurasia. Likewise, Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war, turning the tide in favour of Bashar al-Assad’s despotic regime, heralded the Federation’s ambitions on a more global stage, giving it the kind of foothold in the region that the Cold War Soviets could only have dreamed of.

However, the naked and malignant ambition of Vladimir Putin should not blind us to other external misadventures in the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. While being wary of false equivalency, in many cases the international actions of the United States of America since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 have been broadly comparable with those of the Russian Federation since the invasion of Georgia in 2008. Effectively so if not always intentionally so. While the USA’s own wars against Islamist militants get the headlines, its proxy campaigns are just as ruinous. Take the conflict in Yemen, where American-sold planes flown by American-trained pilots drop American-made bombs on American-targeted objectives. The results have been horrendous, most noticeably in the recent slaughter of some forty schoolchildren in an airstrike by Saudi Arabia. As the political historian and author Rajan Menon notes for TomDispatch:

Saudi and Emirati warplanes officially have killed — and it’s considered a conservative estimate — 6,475 civilians and wounded more than 10,000 others since 2015. Targets struck have included farms, homes, marketplaces, hospitals, schools, and mosques, as well as ancient historic sites in Sana’a. And such incidents haven’t been one-off attacks. They have happened repeatedly.

By April 2018, the Saudi-led coalition had conducted 17,243 airstrikes across Yemen, hitting 386 farms, 212 schools, 183 markets, and 44 mosques. Such statistics make laughable the repeated claims of the Saudis and their allies that such “incidents” should be chalked up to understandable errors and that they take every reasonable precaution to protect innocents. Statistics compiled by the independent Yemen Data Project make it clear that the Gulf monarchs don’t lie awake at night lamenting the deaths of Yemeni civilians.

And if the above military actions were not bad enough, the United States’ allies are currently engaged in a full-scale naval blockade of eastern Yemen which has:

…cut the number of ships docking in the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeida from 129 between January and August 2014 to 21 in the same months of 2017. The result: far less food and medicine entered the country, creating a disaster for Yemenis.

That country, the Arab world’s poorest, has long relied on imports for a staggering 85% of its food, fuel, and medicine, so when prices soared, famine spread, while hunger and malnutrition skyrocketed. Nearly 18 million Yemenis now rely on emergency food aid to survive: that’s an unbelievable 80% of the population. According to the World Bank, “8.4 million more are on the brink of famine.”

The blockade also contributed to a cholera epidemic, which the shortage of medicines only exacerbated. According to a World Health Organization report, between April 2017 and July 2018, there were more than 1.1 million cholera cases there. At least 2,310 people died from the disease, most of them children. It is believed to be the worst cholera outbreak since statistics began to be compiled in 1949.

Incredible. Read the whole article at the TomDispatch website.

Meanwhile, the veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk visits Occupied Palestine. Or is it segregated Israel? It’s difficult to tell these days as the diplomatic hope of establishing a two-state solution in the contested region is made impossible by the imposition of new demography on the ground. There is no longer any Palestinian territory to form a nation-state out of. Just a collection of dispersed enclaves, islands of otherness among an ever-expanding, evermore atavistic Jewish State. It’s utterly depressing, and all the more so for those of us with some sympathy for the founding principles of the Israeli revolutionary generation. However that sentiment has been stretched thin, to the point of translucence, through disgust at the actions of successive governments in Jerusalem. Though, of course, there are Palestinians enough who will tell you that it was also so and that the crimes of the Nakba give proof of that.

With the birthrates of domestic Arab and Palestinian populations outstripping those of Jewish Israelis it is only a matter of time before the American-propped country will have to choose one of three options if it is to survive. Abandon its ethno-religious nature and become a secular and democratic nation-state along conventional Western lines. Formalise the proto-apartheid system of governance and law which has emerged over the last three decades and segregate its non-Jewish communities. Or reduce or remove those communities altogether, through sustained socio-economic persecution and deprivation, land and property appropriation, and outright expulsion or exile.

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36 comments on “From The US-Backed War In Yemen To The US-Ally Israel And Segregated Palestine

  1. “No one can doubt the baleful influence of the Russian Federation”

    On the contrary, to describe Russia’s actions as ‘baleful’ is to fall for the mainstream media’s demonisation program – which also includes Syria, Iran (and in the past, the IRA) and nationalism in NI and Scotland. Russia’s ‘takeover’ of Crimea was backed by a popular vote on the ground, and the ‘insurrection” in eastern Ukraine was prompted by the US and EU backed neo-Nazi coup on the existing government, and the similarly backed attempt to get Ukraine to join the EU and NATO. Russia’s motivations are self-defensive, while US actions which you describe are primarily aggressive and are aimed at sustaining their existing position of attempted world domination.

    Similar qualifications apply to “Assad’s despotic regime” – the last election in Syria was certfied by international observers a being free and fair.- Assad had a large majority. If he is so unpopular and ‘despotic’ how has he managed to get a very large part of the Syrian Army to support him? And again, the Syrian civil war was fomented by the US and Saudi Arabia using jihadists to try to bring down Assad – the reasons are oil (pipeline) related – look it up.

    Knowing your clear and accurate views on the remnants of the British Empire in Ireland, I’m surprised that you seem to accept this sort of propaganda.

    • PS The rest of your article however is absolutely fine and commendable. Keep it up!

      • PPS Russia is in Syria at the express invitation of the Syrian Government – unlike the US, UK, France and Turkey.

        • Well said Rab. May I just add there is no comparison to Russia’s defence of its people in Georgia,Crimea and regions of the Ukraine as to the West’s invasions etc of soverieign countries. In fact the above article demonstrates how uninformed the author is concerning these regions.
          The very fact that South Ossetia already had agreed peacekeeping Russians troops in that region long before the CIA trained and educated Georgian president launched attacks on them, isn’t taken into account when folk lament that the ‘Russians invaded Georgia. A cowardly deplorable act of aggression that even upset Georgians. So much so that he fled the country rather than face a trial for his illegal acts whilst in power. This CIA puppet was then dispatched to the Ukraine and was made governor of Odessa. He overseen the murder of Russian people in that area. Most notably at the union building were dozens of people sought refuge from Ukrainian mobs. The mobs barricaded them in and set fire to the building burning them alive. The mobs even laughed and urged the folk in the building to jump to save themselves.
          Alas all this is lost or ignored by the intelligentsia when they gobble up all the fake contrived yarns about Russia aiming to rule the world. Jesus wept.

        • The Syrian “government” is Assad, his family and their cronies. Lets not get carried away here. Syria is functionally no different from other dictatorships in the region.

    • I have no problem admitting that the Ukraine situation is far from a black-and-white issue, even if one takes the Russians out of it. But Putin remains a quasi-dictator who has enriched himself, his family and associates over the last couple of decades. He is beyond doubt a corrupt individual. And his influence in Ukraine has been for the worse.

      Syria is a dreadful dictatorship and was one well before the current civil war. Just because it was relatively peaceful and the trains ran on time didn’t make it any better than its neighbours. And they are a bad bunch 😉

      • I would be grateful if you would back up your implied views on Putin I.e how he has enriched himself? And btw, the politicians you are fond of ‘enrich’ themselves too lest we forget.
        As for Syria and Assad, if you can’t see what is going on in that region of the world I.e Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria I give up. The odd thing about Syria is that western terrorists are contented to see jihadist rule Syria rather than the secular nation it is/was. Yip, Jews,Sunnis,Shias,alawites and Christians lived side by side before the west interfered. How long do you think that will last if the ‘rebels’ obtain power?

      • Do you think Arlene and her cronies haven’t enriched themselves? Do you thing that at least half of the UK tory party and a few Labour MP’s too, are not in it to enrich themselves? Do you think that a good percentage of both Republican and Democrat politicains in the US are not there to enrich themselves? So why single Putin out?

        Your instincts as far as the UK intrusions in NI are good – but you have to expand these critical visions to the rest of the UK and US mainstream media. They are not there to inform us – they are there to pull the wool over our eyes. Anyone the mainstream media demonises is very likely to be on your/our side. The coverage of Israel is the mirror image of the coverage of Syria. Try reading Sodium Haze, Media Lens, Consortium News. PS Sorry if this sounds condescending – it’s not meant to be. – I’m getting long delyas as I type – -difficult to get nuances.

      • The Ukraine did fare very badly under the USSR in particular. The Holodomor in the 1930s was horrific (although Stalin wasn’t Russia, and the USSR saw at least two horrible famines in Russia as well.). Also The Chernobyl Disaster, played a largely forgotten role in making many Ukrainians suspicious of Moscow. (In fact, even at Chernobyl the engineers in the control room spoke Russian, while the maintenance men and grunt workers spoke Ukrainian.)

        However, the ties between Nazis, Nazi-Collaborators, and Neo-Nazis and the Ukrainian separatists has a long and sordid history.

        In the case of Syria, unfortunately there are some noticeable parallels to Cambodia in the 1970’s. Between ISIS and the Khmer Rouge. The Lon Nol regime and The Assad regime. Putin’s intervention in Syria and Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia. Maoist influences then and Wahhabist influences now. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s a similar dynamic.

  2. I’d call it Occupied Palestine, rather than Segregated or Apartheid-that would be more accurate. Apartheid doesn’t work because there are too many Israeli Arabs and Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Segregation is imprecise, because Jim Crow was heavily defined by people who lived Cheek in Jowl, being made to use separate public facilities, and “colored sections” on the backs of buses, movies theaters, etc. and about children being forbidden to attend the same schools, eat at the same tables etc under any set of circumstances.

    While I wouldn’t call Putin a “good guy” by any stretch, that doesn’t mean even home grown Ukrainian separatists are on the side of angels. Many of them would name Adolf Hitler as the Greatest man of the 20th century. The history is not all that similar to Ireland’s with the UK at all. Tsars are Soviet leaders were often despotic in the Ukraine-as they were in Russia as well. It’s clearly much more complicated than saying either that Ukrainian separatists are on the side of angels or saying they are all a bunch of Western puppets.

    As for the US and Russia, what you are looking at again (like in the Cold War) is a destructive dance with no winners. Both countries use each other to justify bad things at home and abroad.

    Now with allegations of Putin having meddled in US Election 2016, most anti-Trump protests in the US are filled with anti-Russian posters-much of it not exactly PG-Rated. (I’m an American who speaks Russian). I try to tell people that going on a massive Russophobic trip might make things worse, because Putin can likely that against his own dissidents in Russia. Some people do listen to me. (Obviously the people I can talk to are a drop in the bucket.) But many dismiss me as being in the pay of the alt-right, Trump, or even Putin. I’ve even been accused of being a white supremacist who has an affinity with Russians simply due to their color. In fact, one of the harshest claims that I was motivated by “subconscious racism” was by a gay man whose portrait of Trump and Putin looked more than a little homophobic too me.

    • Anybody that truly believes that Putin got Trump elected needs to take a long walk in the fresh air. Unfortunately people are often found in denial when it compromises their long held beliefs and opinions. For eg a lot of Irish folk think the Clintons were just splendid! And big bad nazi(revealed only after he decided to run for office) Trump stole the presidency from HRC! Jesus wept. I suppose it’s better to blame Putin than to risk the US public examining and exposing what really lost Clinton the election.

      • There was a perfect storm of unpleasant factors that got Trump into office. I’m not prepared to dismiss the possibility of Russian meddling at this point. I just don’t want any investigation to take the form of widespread anti-Russian fervor, because it could backfire.

        But there really isn’t one thing to “expose”. There were a lot of unpleasant factors that brought Trump into office. Low voter turnout. The winner-take-all state system (which isn’t even in the Constitution, and isn’t the same thing as the Electoral College). The whole bullshit email scandal and the possibility Comey violated The Hatch Act (a rule that says the FBI shouldn’t try to influence elections). The simple fact that it’s notoriously difficult for an incumbent party to get a third term in The White House.

        It was all an ugly perfect storm if there ever was such a thing.

        But in my thinking both the “economic distress” and “pure sheer racism” narratives of how Trump got into office are pretty much nonsense. The truth is that the US doesn’t so much have a massive need for any “soul searching” or “self-examination” over Trump as it has a massive problem with voting infrastructure, chronic low voter turnout, and an arcane system of voting for President that we’ve sort of fallen into by default.

        • ar an sliabh

          The Americans were pretty much “done” after Bush. Now we can only wait and see how hard they will hit the ground. As always, it is their incredible corruption and the insatiable thirst for the next high that got them there. They are incorrigible. What is going on there now just makes me groan in disbelief almost every day.

          • Not really. The US has survived The Civil War, so we can survive this, the real issue is the shape of it.

            Corruption? In the sense of things such as bribing judges, skimming company or government funds, or stealing public money? The rates of that are fairly low in most places.

            If anything when it comes to voting infrastructure the bigger obstacle tends to be outdated or just plain odd laws that the local officials pretty much obey.

            • ar an sliabh

              I think you need to take your blinders off. Just the fact that most Americans pay as much in taxes as we do over here, and don’t even get half the benefit is a sign of corruption. Toilet seats for planes still go for for $1,000, no theft of tax payer money, no way. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it any less of a theft. Try leaving the country with more than $25,000. You have a good chance of getting caught, but literally billions of dollars in drug money make it across the border, no problem. As for judges, I highly recommend looking at recent civil litigation awards and the details about ignoring rules of evidence, etc., as long as enough money is at stake. They are a big cairn of corrupt cac. You will survive, no doubt, you already have. You’re now just be like all the other former “great powers,” struggling in the muck with the rest of us. I think your hardest times for this century are right ahead of you. No they are not based on your outdated and odd laws, they are based on ignorance, plain old selfishness and arrogance. Glad I don’t live there permanently anymore. Don’t get me wrong I love your country, it is mine too (I’m a dual citizen), but they have been taking things to extremes.

              • One point of fact, I’ve been a political activist in different parts of the US since about 2002. I have seen my share of different things. And I stand by my statement. Corruption not just in the sense of breaking the law, but in terms of bending rules for money motives, are in the end a relatively small part of the problem.

                Cases like $1000 toilets are easy to sensationalize, they are peanuts compared to the crumbling infrastructure that was built in the Eisenhower era. Ireland is about where the US was in the 1970s in terms of this “cycle”, basically when these things are as spanking new and beautiful as they were originally, but they still work well and are easy to take for granted. Yes, those were words of warning to citizens of the Irish Republic.

                As for drug money and lawyers frankly the US doesn’t have a worse problem with drugs or drug trafficking then many EU countries. Lawsuits out of control? In fact, the per capita number of Civil Lawsuits has been declining for several decades. In particularly the number of Bankruptcies have fallen off a cliff thanks to Obamacare.

                A lot of what we have in the US are a lot of cultural leftovers from the high crime rates of much of the late 20th century. Of course, violent crime rates in the US have pretty much tanked since the 1990’s and nobody agrees on why, but the culture hasn’t caught up with that fact after decades of high crime. Our infrastructure, politics, culture, and cities still bear the scars of a problem that has largely faded away, but the conversation on how to deal with that is just barely starting. Most Americans still believe that crime rates are skyrocketing when they’ve been dropping for over 20 years.

                Also basic political reforms have been put off for too long, and partly because both the left and right have their own sets of biases against them.

              • ar an sliabh

                The U.S. is statistically the largest consumer of drugs, legal or illegal in the world. On average, U.S. Americans report quadruple the use of illicit drugs than the next country in line. They also have the highest incidence of people seeking treatment (almost as many as are estimated to be using in most European Union countries). I have spent over twenty years in the non-profit sector in the U.S. and other countries (but mostly the U.S.) in organisations aiding people, and the statistics mirror my personal experience. Drug producers and countries in dissolution like Afghanistan (and who has a huge hand in the drug trade there? – IMHO that is also corruption) may occasionally surpass U.S. statistics, but all-in-all, when considering all forms of intoxicants, the U.S. is the undisputed number one consumer in the world. Made possible only by the wealth of the consumer and the enormous corruption in their political system. Trillions on unnecessary wars or “military actions” (with expensive toilet seats and equipment in constant need of high maintenance and large amounts of spare parts – I know that first hand by serving in a couple of those, I too was young and believed what I was told once) is also corruption, along with not using taxes collected to repair infrastructure (since you mentioned it) for repairing the infrastructure in question. These are, in the end, and again, in my opinion only, not relatively small problems, because they kill people.

                Yes, “normal” crime is down in the U.S. I think that is mostly because of the internet (jk), but it also comes at the price of millions of incarcerations, that could have probably been avoided for the most part, if reasonable alternatives to incarceration existed (not like here in Ireland, where we just put them back in the street for a repeat), especially for juvenile and first-time offenders. I think there have been some really positive developments in that department recently in the U.S.

              • For one thing the NPVIC does not entail “giving away” other states electoral votes. It an agreement of the states involved in the compact regarding what they would do with THEIR OWN electoral votes-as is their right. If you look at early US history you will find that states had a wide variety of methods for doing so. The company does not “bypass” the Constitution, and isn’t even intended to be a consistent advantage to either party. It’s more about dealing with a run of unhealthy feedback loops created by winner take all within states. Indeed the movement is pretty bipartisan.

                As for the reason crime dropped in the US. I don’t believe incarceration was a factor. I personally favor the “childhood lead exposure” theory.

        • That pretty much sums up my thinking too, Grace.

          The 2015-2016 presidential campaign saw a confluence of several factors, major and minor, which gave Trump the White House. In the major category I would list the Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton, who everyone knew was a less than ideal selection. In the minor category would go Russian interference. But, as I said before, it was Clinton’s election to lose.

          The winner-takes-all or first-past-the-post system is almost one of the worse electoral systems ones can have in a democracy. There is no surprise that it has given us Trump and Brexit. Two-party systems, which FTP favours and sustains, are inherently unfair.

          I wouldn’t discount the racism argument, albeit in more ethno-nationalist terms, but it was certainly one of many contributing factors. Trump made sly racism his dog whistle tactic well before 2015.

          • I’d say the claim that the election was “Hilary’s to lose” vastly underestimates among other things how difficult it is for either party to hold the White House for more than two terms. (Congress is a totally different ball-game, in that incumbents tend to be MORE advantaged the longer they’ve served.).

            HRC won the popular vote by a wider margin than most recent victors, and gained more votes in history than any Presidential candidate other than Obama. And she had the closest thing to a true multi-party race we’ve had in a long time.

            I’d say that puts more blame with the winner-take-all state system, than anything you can likely find by Monday Morning Quarterbacking Clinton’s campaign.

            There is a movement for something called The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to insure that the winner of the popular vote does become POTUS without any Constitutional Amendments or changes to the Electoral College itself. But that would really be only the beginning of the need for election related reforms and technical challenges at every level.

            Sadly since the 1960 and 70’s the American left has developed a flaming bias that says any mere talk of election related or political process related reform automatically makes you a cold-hearted elitist.

            With regards to racism I’m not say it’s gone in America. I’m more saying that with the Southern strategy its potential to attract voters to the GOP has been “maxed out” for decades.

            • ar an sliabh

              I agree with most of that, actually, but there no other parties in the United States that have any significant of voters. The “socialist” aspect (Bernie) of the Democrats was coldly cut down in an intra-party coup. Racism is alive and well and is thoroughly stoked by all sides, all races. There seems to be money and political gain in it. When I got to the United states some 30 years ago, it was pretty bad (especially as a minority), unless you lived in California or other very progressive state. Now, it doesn’t matter where you are, you are uncomfortable in what ever hide you display to the outside (maybe that’s fair, of sorts). The President of the country asking if there are any of a particular race present at his speech, how truly revolting. The problem with the election laws in the United States is well known, but it is also a conundrum, as the Electoral Colleges guarantee states with less population to have input in federal elections. Removing this part, or removing any of the Bill of Rights, technically constitutes a dissolution of the Union, as it gives any state the right to exit. The other thing is, just because of one a-hole, do you really want to subvert everything that’s been pretty much working well for hundreds of years, invalidate your laws, tear down your justice system, destroy your country’s inner stability, sully yourself with Nazi Storm-Trooper attacks on the politically different thinking? This idiot is not worth it. He really is not. Vote him out when his time is up. At least he hasn’t started a (new) war. At some point though, they really all have to sit down and build a “Second Republic” with a new Constitution, ratified by referendum in each state. It’s been over 200 years, it would be about time. Good luck with that though.

              • As a matter of fact Ar an sliabh, much of what you’ve said involves a number of myths about the US Constitution and the Electoral system.

                The Electoral College wasn’t “designed” for any reason. Not to guarantee anything to small states, not to prevent the rise of a dictator, not to prevent “tyranny of the majority” and not to give the slave owning planter class an advantage. All these narratives about The Electoral College exploit partial truths so they “sound right”. But they aren’t actually true.

                Basically a number of setups for an Electoral College were proposed, but no real agreement was reached. So they sort of “sat on it”, and said “OK, each state has this number of votes, so they can sort of do whatever they want with it.” In fact, the legislature of each state determines the manner in which the electors are chosen ( Article II, Section 1, Clause 2). The story of how it evolved from a system where in most states the Legislature voted on the Electors is convoluted-although most had the current winner-take-all system by 1880 or were admitted (or re-admitted) into the Union with it.

                The concept of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact-the pact where states agree to place their electoral votes for the popular vote winner when and only when there are enough states in the compact to secure an EC majority-has been checked out by a bipartisan group of Constitutional Scholars and Lawyers, not to mention a lot of top experts on Interstate Compacts. Nobody can poke a hole in it.

                Even getting an Instant Vote Runoff system for electing the POTUS could be done with a simple Constitutional Amendment . No need to create a new Constitution wholesale, alter the current structure of Congress, or allow anyone to leave The Union. Those are all common myths in held in the US by people from all over the political spectrum.

                Even Senators were not universally elected by Popular Vote until 1912 with the 17th Amendment. Prior to that there were rumors saying that voting for all members of Congress would require dissolving the Senate, or a whole new Constitution, and that it would lead to a dictatorship, and crazier things.

              • ar an sliabh

                The Electoral College is part of Article II of the Constitution, which clearly defines the number of voters each state is entitled to. No one is “sitting” on anything and it is not a myth. Forming a compound of states to “give away” electorial votes to another state for the purpose of securing a popular vote win is usurping the purpose of the article. Not worth it for Trump. Somehow people always forget that when you change things like this or try to circumvent them, when the tide of opinion turns, the other side will use them as well. I don’t want another Trump when the economy fails, or worse.

                Anything can be done with a constitutional amendment, that is absolutely true. If they propose a constitutional amendment, the first thing they may want to consider amending is the 2nd amendment, I think it is highly problematic.

              • ar an sliabh

                I accidentally cut off the part that the Article directs the states to derive their own system for choosing the Electoral Voters, which is completely in line with the individual states choosing their representation in the vote, which is clearly a design for giving them a voice in who will fill these offices. It would be unreasonable for any entity to join any compact without having a clear right to representation, which is what this article guarantees for the presidential election. If a state chooses to “sit” on the process it uses for selection, or does not have definitive rules, that is not a federal problem. The allocation of the number of voters is what is, in the end, decisive. The individual States have a lot of rights. I do not believe very many will agree to have theirs taken in a push for a constitutional amendment. The right to this representation along with the rights stipulated in the Bill of rights, forms the contract of the individual states with the union. This is what each state ratified when they joined. Last time I checked, there is no clause in the U.S. constitution that states that, should one of these rights be judged abridged by a compound of other states in the union, that the contract with those who insist on that right is preserved.

        • Again, there was no Russian interference. It’s a smokescreen to blind the US public from what’s really going on. People on this forum should already be aware that some of the names alleging ‘Russian collusion’ overseen the Iraq fake dossier scandal as well as sending FBI undercover agents to Ireland(re omagh bomb) and yet these same people are viewed with credibility and authority, go figure.

      • HRC handed Trump the presidency through her own arrogance and so on. But accepting this obvious fact doesn’t mean discounting the influence of Putin and company. People see these ties in simplistic terms, media dumbed down explanations or late night TV pop-culture references, when what we are talking about is a convergence of business interests going back to the post-Cold War era in Russia and the rise of the kleptocracy in Moscow. Which Trump and his associates bought into at a very early stage. It’s not as bad as presented but it is still pretty dirty.

        • One factor that is way bigger than any one individual is the issue of “Authoritarians”.

          Unfortunately every culture has them. But historically Americans with those tendencies didn’t have an obvious political “home”. They tended have low political engagement, and to be swing voters or people who voted for the party their relatives or drinking buddies favored by default. So despite various movements that appealed to authoritarians they had minimal influence over major parties and factions within them. But then a perfect storm starting with The Civil Rights Movements and Southern Strategy, controversy over Vietnam War, Feminism and Backlash, Rise of Right Wing talk radio in the 1990’s and more, you had a sustained migrations of Authoritarian minded people into the GOP. And it’s finally gotten to a point where they DEMAND control of the GOP.

      • This was a long time coming; as an American, I have heard and witnessed working class anger at the so called establishment for decades. Ross Perot got a sizeable turnout in 1992, thus giving the election to Clinton. Trump won largely because he was the”anti” candidate. While I personally would never vote for such a troll ( I didn’t vote for Hillary either, because of her glaring hypocrisies) people around the world are witnessing the breaking down of normal American politics, aided by right wing propaganda channels like Fox News and Info wars. The only good thing I see is the emergence of progressive Democratic Socialists, who are largely ignored and sabatoged by the elite rulers of the Democratic Party. As for myslf? I will NEVER vote Democrat again. They’ve ignored their base for decades, and have betrayed the loyalty of the common American working class.

        • For one thing the vote count ran on a very odd definition of “working class”. Namely they defined it as “doesn’t have a college degree” without any reference to income or occupation-Mark Zuckenberg doesn’t have a college degree and neither did Steve Jobs.

          Another problem with the “ignored working class” story is that if you look specifically at union members, you don’t see many of them flipping to Trump. Mostly you just saw the same depressed turnout in labor union workers, that you found in African Americans and Latinos. (And the Clintons have long been as popular with African Americans as the Kennedys once were with Irish-American voters.)

          This was a structural problem in voting that Clinton did not create, and has been decades in the making. No one group or entity is to blame for this.

          As for the authoritarians it’s really a myth that working class people were more susceptible to it than the middle class or affluent. This cut across all socioeconomic strata. The only group these days where Authoritarianism doesn’t at least somewhat predict GOP support would be African American ladies-even the African American men, are slightly influenced by this factor. EVeryone else is at least moderately influenced.

        • ar an sliabh

          She ran a great campaign and got most of the votes. The only mistake she made was not stumping in the states she felt secure would vote for her (be it out of self-assurance or arrogance, or maybe she was just getting tired). She of all people knew that that is part of the system in the U.S. She lost those states by a minute margin. She is not the first to lose with a popular vote advantage. She won’t be the last. That’s what it really boiled down to, plain and simple. I wish most Americans would know what Democratic Socialism meant, and not just regurgitate the “buzz-word” to get attention. I agree with Mick an as so far that both, the Democrats and the GOP must go. Neither represent the people or do anything that does not benefit themselves. I don’t think anyone should be allowed to spend more than 16 years as a paid politician, and should get no permanent benefit, aside form a small pension commensurate with the years served. This life-time massive pension for a few years of service, along with a special life-time medical plan, etc…, when the rest of the population must fear for their state pension (social security) and elder medical care, is absolutely ridiculous. Put them on the same plan as everyone else, that way they will make sure it is a good one, and have them struggle along with their constituency for most of their professional life, that way they will ensure that the rest of us can actually make a living of it (like real socialistic equality of the people demands).

          • Hilary Clinton had to run a campaign with limited resources, and had to play in the manner she and her advisers believed was best. Sometimes hindsight is 20/20.

            As for politician benefits, may I remind you that they were largely put in place so one wouldn’t have to be independently wealthy to run for office.

    • But non-Jewish Israelis are increasingly reporting segregation-like conditions within Israel, even the traditionally favoured minorities like the Druze. So, while not on a South African apartheid level or near it, the potential is there. And in the Occupied Territories it is difficult to qualify it as anything but segregation, given the carve up and creation of miniature Bantustans for Palestinians to survive in.

      I’m very much a political realist and see Putin in that light. The Russian muscle-flexing in Eurasia is really no different to the US and its backyard concerns in Latin America in previous decades. Both are equally wrong.

      • Fair enough. But the problem I see with relabeling the problem Apartheid or Segregation is that it seems to take a two-state solution off the table. At best any such a move could be premature. IMHO the two-state solution should not be written off as an option despite the potential difficulties of that path and relative unpopularity with Israeli Arabs.

        • The two-state solution died a long time ago. The only option left now is either to be a decaying and increasingly isolated theocracy-state, especially as the US too is weakening significantly, or to have a unified state with equal rights for all, including a right of return for Palestinians.

          • And it’s possible, that a single state solution will be the one that isn’t viable. For one thing simply dissolving Palestinian authorities with no equivalent replacement, might fail at protecting them. A one-state solution could be susceptible to high-conflict or failure.

            A potential downside to the two-state is that it’s likely some Israelis WILL have to leave their current resident and move either to area within what becomes the Jewish state, or maybe even in some cases back to the country they came from (sometimes the US) if it’s an area where Jews face no immediate danger/persecution.

            But either way to give up on a Palestinian state runs a real risk of selling the Palestinians a poorer deal and both sides a set-up for nothing but ongoing and destructive rivalry.

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