Hillary runs as a populist because we’re easily fooled. Will we prove her wrong?

Summary: It requires an extraordinary blindness, willful blindness, to believe Hillary’s promises and not the expectations of her billionaire backers. Yet the enthusiasm for her among the 90% shows that we have learned nothing during the past 8 years. Stand by for her coronation and, if elected, disappointment.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

I’ve got to ask those supporters of {Obama}: How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for you?”
Sara Palin’s speech to the 2010 Tea Party Convention.
Much of what she said was correct. “Out of the mouths of…

True. She is, after all, running unopposed in the primaries.

Hillary Clinton on top

Americans trusted Obama and his campaign. Now we’re going to do the same with Hillary.

Obama promised “hope and change”. He gave us more of the same. He embedded Bush Jr’s policies (and expansion of some): massive increase in government surveillance, unprecedented use of the Espionage Act to persecute whistleblowers, massive expansion of the US military interventions (e.g., 674 military activities in Africa during 2014), assassination of US citizens, post-WWII record high in military spending (despite the Iraq and Afghanistan withdrawals), only a partial rollback of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich (and so perpetuating Bush’s deficits), etc.

Obama implemented a few social reforms (the 1% don’t care about the proles mating habits). He implemented ObamaCare so to relieve the pressure on corporations like Walmart and McDonalds to provide health care to the growing legions of working poor.

Here we go again

We get bold promises from Hillary in this speech at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City on April 14.

“There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker. There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive, as they have, and as I just saw a few minutes ago is very possible because of education and skills training, but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks. And there’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here over the last two days.”

Back to the Future

So what do her stakeholders think of this? That is, the people in the 1% who donated almost $2 billion to the Clinton’s foundation, and will donate an estimated $2.5 billion to her campaign? Listen to them, for they have the knowledge to accurately predict what Hillary will do as President. Politico asked them: “Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street backers: We get it” (a follow-up to the effusions of love from Wall Street they recorded in November). Excerpt:

It’s “just politics,” said one major Democratic donor on Wall Street, explaining that some of her Wall Street supporters doubt she would push hard for closing the carried interest loophole as president, a policy she promoted when she last ran in 2008.

… Far from creating genuine waves on Wall Street, Clinton’s comments were met with a resounding “meh.” … In the words of Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, a veteran of Bill Clinton’s White House who now advises billionaire environmentalist hedge fund manager and donor Tom Steyer, “The fact is that any Democrat running for president would talk about this. It’s as surprising as the sun rising in the East.”

You got to love people on the Left hoping for better results from Hillary than Obama, especially after repeatedly proving themselves powerless. For example, consider a particularly egregious issue: reform of the carried interest tax loophole (a gift to Wall Street giving a lower tax rate to hedge fund managers). Obama promised do so in the 2008 campaign, but made only weak attempts to do so (details here). It’s still there. The Wall Street moguls funding Hillary expect it remain on the books during the Hillary years.

Mr. Pennybags

Money speaks the truth

“Follow the money.”
— Advice by “Deep Throat” (FBI Assoc Director Mark Felt) to Woodward and Bernstein.

Open Secrets lists Hillary’s top donors in 2008. This lists the organizations who’s PACs, members, owners, and employees (and their immediate families) donated. Note that bankers, brokers, and lawyers dominate the list. These are not people funding social justice or any changes that hurt the 1%.

Hilary's Donors in 2008

For More Information

Recommended: “Stop Hillary!” By Doug Henwood in Harper’s, November 2014 — “Vote no to a Clinton dynasty.”

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about politics in America; especially see these:

See these posts about our mad presidential campaigns:

  1. About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process.
  2. Why do awesome people – like us – have such inadequate leaders? — Because we vote.
  3. The presidential debates are performance art. They’re Kabuki.
  4. A reminder that debates are fun, not politics: Reagan had Alzheimer’s in 1984 and we didn’t notice.

31 thoughts on “Hillary runs as a populist because we’re easily fooled. Will we prove her wrong?”

  1. A few small comments:

    Either I am wiser than I was in 2008 or Hillary’s version of “hope and change” is less believable than Obama’s was in 2008 but her campaign already seems like the re-election campaign of George W. Bush for his 5th term. Fantastic amounts of money flows in from old family friends with hidden agendas and deep pockets. Very few people I’ve met believe she will actually do anything she says; this is all about getting and holding power for yourself and a few friends. Regardless of who wins in 2016, life in the White House is going to look at lot like “Wolf Hall” with a bit less blood.

    The Republican refusal to submit anybody resembling a mainstream candidate bothers me. Admittedly the Iowa primary is still many months away; but the first key step, locking up REALLY wealthy donors, seems to be nearly done.

    In 2008, FM commented that the Republicans had been crushed for quite a while, I wasn’t sure I agreed with him at the time but it was easy to see how he drew the conclusion. In 2010, FM stated that he had been wrong in 2008 and the Republicans were back, I wasn’t sure I agreed with him at the time but it was easy to see how he drew the conclusion.

    Now, in 2015, I think we can finally make a more accurate statement about the outcome of the 2008 election. It crushed the mainstream part of the Republican party, which is still unable to field a tenable candidate. The right wing wackos were able to recover quickly and harass Obama but they have not been able to rule themselves effective since they won the Congress last year, much less the country. Voting “No” on everything is an effective way to stall the ruling party, especially if you are the ruling party. Barring the appearance of a mainstream Republican candidate, the public is going to face the most unpalatable choice of candidates since 2000.

    At this extremely early juncture the options appears to be:
    – the scion of the 1% who is so obviously lying to you (Hillary) or
    – the slightly insane scion of the 1% who survives the blood sport of the Republican primary whom you fear believes every horribly stupid idea they share with you (take your pick, the Republicans are all pretty awful)

    I started voting third party in 2000 and cannot see a reason to change now.

    1. Pluto,

      That’s a great comment. Got to be “best of thread.”

      (1) “I am wiser than I was in 2008 or Hillary’s version of “hope and change” is less believable than Obama’s was in 2008? …”

      I have the same impression. My guess (wild guess) is that the Dem leadership are just going through the motions. It’s pro forma, and logically so. After all, Hillary has no effective opposition in the primaries, and the Left has no recourse when she runs against a GOP wingnut.

      (2) “In 2010, FM stated that he had been wrong in 2008 and the Republicans were back”

      And so they are. Resurgent in the States — controlling more legislatures and governors. Majorities in both Houses of Congress. They haven’t gotten a lock on the White House, but have a stable of up and coming leaders to run for the Presidency in future years, whereas the Dem’s bench looks weak. Most importantly, the GOP is so strong it has forced the Dems to move to the center-right in order to survive. The supreme manifestation of power is forcing your opponent to become like you.

      (3) “the 2008 election. It crushed the mainstream part of the Republican party”

      I’d tweak that a little. It marked the final extinction of the center-right part of the GOP, which had been dying since 1964 (the Goldwater campaign).

      (4) “the public is going to face the most unpalatable choice of candidates since 2000.”

      They give us an echo, not a choice. If we choose not to work the political machinery, then others will — and will do so in their interest, not ours. Why would you expect any other outcome?

      (5) “I started voting third party in 2000 and cannot see a reason to change now.”

      My guess (speculation) is that the 1% applauds third parties. They get the 2 dominant parties; the small politically after remnant leaves them alone — and plays with itself in the corner. To use a poor analogy, it’s like fighting the NAZIs by invading Costa Rica.

    2. While I agree with your statement about the Republicans seeding new potential leaders at the State level, why doesn’t that translate into better Presidential candidates for 2016? Rubio is the only half-decent leader among the declared candidates and I do not think he has the organization or the backers to go the distance. Jeb Bush stands a decent chance to take the nomination if he runs but I am not sure which is worse, a second Clinton or a third Bush in the White House in early 2017.

      Meanwhile Congressional Republicans are doing their level best to ensure that Hillary gets elected by being incapable of leading or even agreeing with each other. This leads to my thesis that the Republicans have not really healed, perhaps because they desperately need the Center-Right members that they kicked out of the party over the last 16 years. Jeb Bush might win by appealing to that constituency if he can keep the right-wing crazies in his own party from burning him at the stake if he offers the center-right an olive branch.

      Your comments on the weakness of the Democratic party leaders are accurate but somewhat less important because when it comes to leadership, “the Democrats fall in love while the Republicans fall in line.” This leaves the Democrats forever shallow in the leadership department but able to quickly leap from one leader to another. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Obama all benefited from this and the last Democrat to come up through the ranks was Tip O’Neil and he retired a long time ago.

      Your comments on third parties makes sense but I can see no other choice. I have participated in both local Democratic and Republican party groups and have been appalled by the slavishness of the members and the absolute hostility to anything resembling a new idea by the chairpeople. In my experience, Tea Party members are vastly more willing to consider new possibilities than the local party chair in either major party. This means that my only other option besides third party is to fail to vote and that is even worse than voting third party.

      1. Pluto,

        I agree with your overall view, but not on some important details.

        (1) “why doesn’t that translate into better Presidential candidates for 2016?”

        The GOP is now a kind of revolutionary vanguard (the extreme wings of both parties see themselves that way, but the Right has taken control of the GOP while the Left are almost powerless in the Democrats. Revolutions are messy; they take time to produce each new generation of leadership (as the previous generation is either burned away of passed by new views).

        (2) ” Congressional Republicans are doing their level best to ensure that Hillary gets elected by being incapable of leading or even agreeing with each other.”

        IMO that seems quite irrelevant to to their presidential prospects. Also, I doubt 10% of Americans have any idea about the internal dynamics of the GOPs in Congress.

        (3) “the Democrats fall in love”

        Yes, that’s my point in this post. Still, it’s likely to generate another round of disappointment. “Insanity is repeating one’s actions while expecting a different results”.

        (4) “This leaves the Democrats forever shallow in the leadership”
        I don’t understand. Candidates for leadership emerge from lesser offices, not primary contests.

        (5) “I have participated in both local Democratic and Republican party groups”

        Yes, that’s why you fail. “I”. It’s America today, with its citizens atomized and hence powerless. I’ve written about this extensively — it’s clearly seen in our fiction.

    3. “My guess (speculation) is that the 1% applauds third parties. They get the 2 dominant parties; the small politically after remnant leaves them alone — and plays with itself in the corner.”

      That is true under the prevailing rules. For my money, there’s no single political strategy that offers a better return than state-level campaigns for instant runoff/ranked preference voting.

      1. Snake,

        I agree, and disagree. It’s a matter of strategy and tactics. Reformers have made the same mistake for generations. They build campaigns around some single issue. Even if they win the cause has only an incremental effect, but does not fundamentally change anything. There is no magic bullet, no single policy measure that changes the political equation.

        The progressives of the late 19th century went through the same learning curve (which we have forgotten), eventually realizing that the key to change is building an organization. Thinks like “instant runoff” are useful things for the organization to do, each with incremental benefit.

  2. robertobuffagni

    Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton…as an Italian, I have something personal to say about Mrs. Clinton. I remember her genially paraphrasing Julius Caesar, or maybe Caesar’s salad, and saying: “We came, we won, he died” about Ghaddafi, tortured and slaughtered by “insurgents” financed by U.S.A., France, UK.

    Shamefully, Italian government caved in, and gave his abjectly cowardly assent, his humiliating participation in an aggression which, as anybody could forecast, resulted in: bloody anarchy in Lybia (with Ghaddafi, Lybia had the best pro capite income in Africa), endless stream of real and fake refugees coming on the shores of Sicily which we Italians have to put up with somehow, end of ENI’s (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, Italian energy multinational) first role in Lybia’s oilfields, to sum up: a real catastrophe for Lybian people, a major political blunder, and a major damage to Italy’s national interest. (N.B.: Ghaddafi’s coup was organized by Italian secret services, with US government assent, against British-sustained King Idris regime).

    Thank you, Mrs. Clinton.

    1. Roberto,

      It is amazing how the Democrats have become a “war & domestic surveillance” party, such a transformation from their views in the 1970s. But it’s less surprising when we think about our past and present. The Democrats were the pro-foreign war party in the 1st part of the 20thC (until WWII), with the GOP the “isolationist” party (i.e., against foreign wars, as were the Founders). After WWI we had two pro-war parties (Ike prevented our intervention in Vietnam; Kennedy and Johnson surged us into Vietnam — to the GOP’s applause).

      But after Vietnam the Dems became the peace party. The GOP attacked them for it, and voters repeatedly punished the Dems for it. It’s a democracy, so the Dems trimmed their sails to accommodate public opinion.

      So thank not just Mrs. Clinton, but us as well. America. The American voters who supported the Libyan intervention, and the others who did not actively oppose it.

  3. I have said in the past that the political machinery that brought us into this swamp of corruption and decay will not likely operate well in reverse to get us out, but honestly I had no idea that meant a Clinton and possibly a Bush dottering in their old age sitting in the Whitehouse. Didn’t Rome also empower a sequence of placeholder nincompoops during her final years?

    1. Peter,

      You raise some important points!

      (1) I am astonished that the media overflows with nattering about Clinton’s gender. We have thousands of years of history with women rulers, and they’re quite common since WWII — with no obvious difference in performance. On the other than we know people’s performance almost always deteriorates with age, and if elected Hillary will turn 70 in her first year of office. That’s as dumb as allowing that 73 year old Tulsa “reserve deputy” (appointed due to political pressure, lied about his training) on the streets to shoot people by mistake.

      (2) “swamp of corruption and decay”

      What? Corruption, as usually defined, in the US is far less than found in most of its past — and far less than during its worst years before cleaned up in the Progressive Era. As for “decay”, almost every measure of social pathology is improving. That we’re too lazy to govern American and allow the 1% to do so — in their own interest, of course — is neither corruption or decay in any usual sense of the words.

      (2) Comparison with the late years of Imperial Rome, before its fall.

      I cannot see any reasonable basis for that analogy. We do, imo, have some similarities with the late days of the Roman Republic — although without the bloody internal wars (fortunately). Note that this was a period of prosperity for Rome, a period of rapid geographic expansion — which contributed to the stresses that destroyed the Republic.

    2. ” On the other than we know people’s performance almost always deteriorates with age, and if elected Hillary will turn 70 in her first year of office.”

      Very true, but American government, and especially the Democratic Party, has been turning into a gerontocracy for a while now. I can’t look at this list without seeing little Yuri Andropov cherubs turning cartwheels:


      Over the course of my life, I believe there have been at least three Supreme Court members who were obviously decrepit, but who just hung in there waiting for the election of a president on their team. (Rehnquist’s junkie years — but by prescription, so it’s OK! — gets him an honorable mention.) Of course thanks to the marvelous design handed down by the sainted Founders, apparently guys like that can hang on as long as they have a pulse. A vegetable judge is fine, maybe even best — he’s that much less likely to be “swayed by the passions of the mob”.

      1. Snake,

        Another great comment! Aging leaders are a definite sign of regime decay. Lots of examples, few good!

        France in 1941: President Albert François Lebrun (age 61), replaced by Philippe Pétain (84). The army was commanded by Maurice Gamelin (69) and Maxime Weygand (73).

        The final years of the Soviet Union, with its sclerotic and decrepit leaders. And post-crash Japan, with its elderly leaders running a rapidly aging society.

    3. robertobuffagni

      Thank you for your kind reply. I shall not comment further, because criticizing American policy on an American website would be uncivil of me.

  4. On youtube I watched most of the major Republican candidates at the 2015 cpac convention. If you listen to what they said, it is a certainly that their policies would be extremely beneficial to the 1% and do great harm to the working class. All of them also promised to be super hawks on foreign policy. They would be able to choose Supreme Court picks who would reinforce their plutocratic policies for decades to come.

    The choice will be between one of them and Hillary. I can see no choice but to vote for Hillary.

    1. Gloucon,

      I agree. But that’s how many conservatives probably will feel as well as they vote for the GOP candidate. It’s inevitable in a system where we vote for a coalition candidate — rather than a small party that more closely matches our views, with the coalition made in the back rooms after the election.

      I like our system better, but it doesn’t seem to be working well. The quality of the candidates is too low, and after the election we learn that they agree on so many things that they disagreed about on the campaign trail. Imagine what we would have thought about Obama if he had told us what he was actually going to do?

      Jim Hightower on the two parties

  5. robertobuffagni

    Thank you for your solicitation. I’ll try and synthesize my opinion about U.S.A.’s current foreign policy in Europe.

    1) After 1989, OTAN {NATO} lost its political justification. It has become a) an useful tool for USA’s foreign policy, b) a threat for Russia, c) instrumental to incapacitate any European countries’ impulse towards political independence and autonomy.

    2) In Europe, the main geopolitical objectives of American foreign policy seem to be the following: a) encircle Russia, perhaps fostering regime change; b) forbidding any serious rapprochement between Germany and Russia.

    3) Until b) was mainly pursued by endorsing EU, and letting Germany economically dominate in Europe in exchange for staying politically impotent, it was a tolerable strategy, even if Mediterranean countries were and are paying an high economic and political price for it. When the American government , to reach a), began toying with nuclear fire in Ukraine (a country which I can reach in a day driving my car, and whose borders are 465 km far from Moscow, capital of a nation which owns 8.000 nuclear strategic warheads) I think that any European sporting an average I.Q. should begin to remember an Italian proverb: “Dagli amici mi guardi Iddio, che dai nemici mi guardo io”: “Please, God, protect me from my friends, my foes I’ll manage by myself”. I’ll add that in my opinion, if the regime change succeeded and Putin were overturned, his replacement would not be a “liberal” friend of America, but a much more warlike Russian nationalist (please watch Russian TV, on the web there are many talk show subtitled in English: they are openly talking about all that).

    4) Middle East and Africa are very close to Europe, and especially to Italy. The American governments choice of playing the religious Islamic card against nationalist governments in Northern Africa and Middle East (“Arab Springs”, Saddam Hussein, Assad, Ghaddafi) is a major blunder whose (dire) consequences Europe and Italy are going to pay for generations.

    5) Conclusion: in Europe, the U.S. of America has become a force of chaos, not of order. Sooner or later, even European peoples will realize that, and there will be consequences.

    1. Roberto,

      I agree with your opening. And your conclusion, as I explain in Is America a destabilizing force in the world? I agree with much of the rest, esp that a successor to Putin is more likely to be from the Right than the Left (is there a Left in Russia’s power structure?). Some of the rest doesn’t match how I see the world — but then, we all the world through a cloudy lens.

      The biggest difference is that I do not believe the US does not have a grand strategy. For details see The Myth of Grand Strategy. Our leaders have frames of thought, which give continuity between administrations (despite so much turnover at the higher levels). Our agencies each have a desire to expand, largely at the expense of other agencies (i.e., the long conflict between DoD and State, which ended in complete victory for DoD during the Johnson and Nixon administrations). These add up to an inchoate mix of policies, poorly thought through, which we pretend is a strategy.

      Also, two details.

      (1) I don’t believe its accurate to say the US has not played the “religious Islamic” card against the nations you named — although we did against Afghanistan, which was a “dire blunder”. The Arab Spring arouse without our support, rising against many governments the US supported. That we have helped to overthrown so many secular governments that were replaced by islamic governments results from the incompetence of US leaders, not policy (e.g, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen).

      (2) It is a big exaggeration to say that the US is “toying with nuclear fire in Ukraine”. Not every conflict with Russia risks nuclear war. In fact even during the Cold War there were only a few periods of brinksmanship that were so severe. That period ended with the Cuban Missile crisis. It’s a fun thing for geopolitical experts to allege, giving undue significance to the mostly trivial political games they analyze. Another example of this exaggeration is the the Kargil War in summer 1999 between India and Pakistan, commonly but falsely described as bringing them to the brink of atomic war (details here).

      1. robertobuffagni

        Thank you very much for your detailed, considered reply. I’ll add just a footnote:

        a) our “biggest difference” does not exist, because I think, just like you, that the U.S. of A has no conscious, deeply thought grand strategy (I am just summarily informed, and maybe I’m grossly wrong, but in American policy I see nothing of the kind of Kennan’s “long telegram” strategic grasp). When I wrote “geopolitical objectives” I should have written “geopolitical trends”, because in my opinion, these are the results, voluntarily intended or not, of American policy (I’ll add that sometimes I may lack in precision, writing in English, which is a self-taught language for me).

        b) the “religious Islamic card”. I was referring (inaccurately, as you correctly write) to the following:

        1. American help and/or green light in recruiting and financing, mainly by Saudi Arabia, of Islamic militias in order to destabilize Syrian and Libyan regimes

        2. American green light to “Arab springs”, which surely were, as you point, spontaneous: but in those kind of countries, if you weaken or undermine nationalist authoritarian regimes, you will inevitably empower religious and tribal based forces (especially if you back up a representative, democratic regime, where parties and constituencies will be formed along ethnic, tribal and religious fault lines). Thank God, in Egypt the Army took power (as it has been doing for the latest 40 centuries).

        c) “Toying with nuclear fire”. I think that you are perfectly right, in a Clausewitzian, rational view: the same I was taught in Military Academy, when I was a young man. But in my current, middle-aged opinion, I think that we’d better let a little space in our thoughts even to a different, let’s say “Herodotian” point of view. Once Herodotus wrote: “Nobody is such a madman to prefer war on peace”; but he had, of course, to add that nonetheless, men are continually at war. Looking for an explanation, he said that war happens because the Gods want it (it’s the same conclusion Tolstoy came to). The Gods, i.e. chance, or destiny; or destiny under the dress of chance.

        In Ukraine, there’s a real, even if slight, possibility of a direct military confrontation between OTAN and Russian forces. For Russia, whatever its government may be unless a Quisling, it is a vital interest that Ukraine does not become an OTAN member. Mistakes, misperceptions of each other’s intentions, rational and irrational fears, internecine and blinding power struggles, risky but necessary forecasts of future changes of the reciprocal balance of power, all those humble emissaries of the malignant will of Herodotus’s Gods undoubtedly exist (as we saw in many occasions, the most famed and notorious taking place in the summer of 1914). And I think that all those malignant delegates are very happy and can work much better, when one of the rivals (or both) lack strategic clarity.

      2. Roberto,

        Thanks for the explanation! A few more points.

        (1) Re US support for Islamics overthrowing regimes

        (1) “mainly by Saudi Arabia”
        That’s happening a lot. But not with our support, or even agreement. Our Saudi and Israeli allies do many things without our permission, and some against our wishes and interests.

        (2) The “green revolution”

        (a) I don’t believe our support for them — after they started — shows our support or intention to support Islamic revolutions. The hope (perhaps delusional) was that these would lead to western-like secular governments. The initial elements starting these were largely (or appeared to be largely) westernize intellectuals. Our “true” intentions and values are shown, imo, in Egypt — where the authoritarian government (which we supported for so long) quickly crushed the revolution — and we renewed our support for them. I doubt that this surprised anyone in the Arab world, or that they doubted for a moment where our true loyalty laid.

      3. Roberto,

        I forgot #3: “Toying with nuclear fire”.

        If I understand what you’re saying, you characterize our policy in Ukraine as “toying with nuclear fire” because there might be a violent direct confrontation between the US trainers and support troops and Russians AND that will start an escalation that leads to nuclear war. That seems a characterization. There have been many direct confrontations on such a small scale between US and Russian forces during the 70 years since WWII. Sometimes violent. Nobody cares in Moscow or DC. Just as there have been countless incidents on the Korean border zone without war starting.

        As you analogy with 1914 shows, wars start when one or both of the nations involved want war. To characterize a situation as that because of such a microscopic theoretical chain of possibilities is not analytically useful. All anyone can say is “well, OK” and move on.

        The reason nukes have dampened conflict whenever they’re acquired (e.g., Pakistan – India) is that for the first time war means a high possibility of death for national leaders. Since “it’s good to be King”, national leaders no longer find such brinksmanship useful. That’s not a law, like gravity, but probably will be the pattern until we get a leader with nukes willing to die for his cause.

  6. robertobuffagni

    Thank you very much for your reply, it’s enlightening listening to your informed point of view. Footnote: in Ukraine, I’m not afraid of a small, marginal escarmouche between US trainers and/or support troops and Russian military, as you say it would be swiftly brushed under the rug. I’m worrying about something like that: Ukrainian government is on the brink of falling, in Kiev the regime is crumbling, wishing to send a message to Moscow OTAN mobilizes massively, let’s say on the Polish/Ukrainian border, someone on any side opens artillery fire, borders are crossed and blood is drawn. Putin makes a mistake or his hand is forced, and he invades Ukraine. Next, all options are on the table.

    1. Roberto,

      “OTAN mobilizes massively”

      The odds of that are imo smaller than microscopic. The Cuban Missile crisis terrified both sides. During the 53 years since then all nuclear powers have strongly avoided direct military confrontations. The odds of NATO doing so for Ukraine — which few in America can find on a map — is so close to zero as to defy calculation. That the European members of NATO would cooperate in such a thing has odds so close to zero that my calculator cannot show it.

      1. robertobuffagni

        Of course, I hope very much to be wrong. Maybe I worry because here, we can easily find Ukraine on the map: it’s very close. Thank you.

      2. Roberto,

        You can test your theory. As people you know in Europe — especially German and French — if they’d supporting sending troops to fight in Ukraine. I doubt you’ll find many.

        That’s overwhelmingly so in the US. I suspect it is even more so in Europe.

      3. robertobuffagni

        Among my European acquaintances there are no psychopaths, so that I can answer immediately: no, nobody feels like sending European troops in Ukraine. Unfortunately, if you think that in Europe we, European peoples, have a better control on political decisions by EU than you, American people, have on American government policy, you are wrong.

        Example: in 2005, a draft of European Constitution has been subjected to referendum in some European countries. Vast debate, harsh political battle, vote. A clear majority of the peoples of France and Nederland voted “no”. What happened? The same political content has been redrafted in 1.000 pages, written in deeply incomprehensible legalese, modifying numberless articles of existing international treaties, and subjected to French and Nederland Parliaments. Answer: yes. French and Nederland Constitutions forbid referendums about international treaties.

        Elections may decide something in sovereign nation States (that’s why they are so manipulated by the powers that be); but EU is an oligarchic apparatus which feeds itself stealing sovereignty from nation-States, and where real decisions are taken by people whom nobody ever elected. European parliament (which is indeed elected by all EU peoples) has no power to decide European policies, and if, by a miracle, some God bestowed it real political power, the day after you’d have total paralysis, because there is a European civilization, but there is no European people, and languages, cultures, ethics, histories, interests of European countries are too different. Three times political leaders have tried to unify Europe in a European Empire: Charles V in XVI century (legitimation: Catholic religion), Napoleon in XIX century (legitimation: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité), Hitler in XX century (legitimation: National Socialism). They all failed.

        Coming back to my worries, please read the following quotation, and maybe you’ll understand then better.

        «In a leaked recording of a private conversation, Sikorski said that Warsaw’s alliance with Washington is worthless and even damaging as it “creates a false sense of security in Poland,” as cited by Wprost, which published excerpts from the alleged exchange between Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski, an MP and former finance minister. “We will get a conflict with both Russians and Germans, and we’re going to think that everything is great, because we gave the Americans a blowjob,” Sikorski reportedly said. According to Wprost, he called the Poles “total suckers” for their stance and repeated the phrase “complete bullshit” numerous times during the conversation.

        »“The essence of Sikorski’s statements indicates his political realism,” the Russian Foreign Ministry later said in a comment as cited by RIA Novosti. As for the use of strong language, “it’s is probably a kind of a response to the offensive and rude remarks by [Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria] Nuland about the European Union,” the ministry suggested. […]
        »Back in February, a leaked phone call revealed Nuland saying “f**k the EU” as she was discussing the shape of the future Ukrainian government with the US ambassador to Kiev.

        »Sikorski’s words came as a shock for many in Poland as the minister has always been known for his critical stance towards Moscow and passionate support of stronger ties with Washington. In early June, he suggested the US could establish a military base in Poland as the country felt threatened by the Ukraine crisis. “America, we hope, has ways of reassuring us that we haven’t even thought about. There are major bases in Britain, in Spain, in Portugal, in Greece, in Italy. Why not here?” Sikorski told the New York Times.»

      4. Roberto,

        You raise two important questions, quite distinct issues.

        First, who in western europe wants war? I doubt you can find many willing to engage in war with Russia, from the top to bottom. I doubt many in Europe’s military have much interest in military adventures. Also, wars are different from most political actions (such as the EU constitution follies you accurately describe). Elites want public support for wars. Body bags coming home can destabilize regimes, awakening people from their political torpor.

        Second, you discuss the quite separate issue of European unification. That’s a big and complex subject, a too much of topic drift for here. However, I just mention that while you accurately describe Europe’s history — things do change. It’s possible that out of the fire of WWI and WWII the basis for an EU nation was created (as the revolution & Napoleonic wars created France and the US civil war paradoxically created a strong United States).

        That the Greek people still support the EU — despite their long deep suffering, with little prospect for improvement — shows the depth of public support for the idea.

        That does not mean that Europe will unify. Merely that it is a possibility that should not be dismissed as impossible.

  7. Madame Walmart proactively sought donations from Tata Consultancy Services amongst similar others garnering $3Million. If you want to spend the last weeks of your job training your H1-B replacement then she’s the one to vote for.

    LA Times
    “Clinton is successfully wooing wealthy Indian Americans, many of them business leaders with close ties to their native country and an interest in protecting outsourcing laws and expanding access to worker visas. Her campaign has held three fundraisers in the Indian American community recently, one of which raised close to $3 million, its sponsor told an Indian news organization.”

  8. robertobuffagni

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply. Yes, I think that you are right: in Europe, almost nobody want war; even if I must add that the European man in the street is’nt worrying about war because we have professional armies, and until now, the bombs have been falling on somebody elses’s heads; for example, we Italians are fighting in Afghanistan, where we lost not so few soldiers for absolutely nothing even minimally regarding Italy’s interests, and nobody gives a fig because they think that our soldiers are well paid professionals (heard many times with my personal ears). I do not share this attitude, maybe because I have been an officer and I have seen war, and among my acquaintances and friends many are and/or have sons in the military.

    I am worrying because I am afraid that we stumble into war, like sleepwalkers. Why? Maybe, because I am getting old. Maybe, because I think that the quality of our ruling classes is so desperately low that something like that might really happen. See, all over Europe, and especially in the ex Warsaw Pact countries, after 1989 many of the politicians who came into power are ex-communist turncloaks, who stopped being cravenly subservient to URSS just to begin being cravenly subservient to USA (Poland is a case study, but even in Italy, the majority governing party is the ex Communist Party under a different name; and Mrs. Merkel began her political career in East Germany’s intelligence). They are subject to blackmail for their politicval past, and after having seen their former God catastrophically fail, they understood, with Dostoevsky, that “everything is permitted”, i.e., you can give up dignity and your nation’s interest and live happily on a good salary ever after.

    About Europe and its unification, well, we should make a very long story too short; maybe we’d better wait another occasion to discuss it.

    I thank you once more for your attention and kindness.

    1. Roberto,

      My knowledge of Europe is minimal (like most Americans), but what little I know suggests that your armies are not configured for war. That’s a commonplace of history.

      As for losses in Afghanistan, I wonder what role they serve. A common tactic of rulers is putting restive elements of the population in the military. This keeps them from more socially disruptive pursuits. Sending them off to fight small cheap foreign wars keeps them busy. A few die; the rest become veterans — usually conservative useful members of society.

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