Sunday, June 17, 2018

And, Now... Something Crazy From The Fringe-- And My Best Wishes To Robert Mueller


Almost everyone and every organization has a wikipedia page, right? But not James George (Jim) Jatras and not the American Institute in Ukraine which he claims to be Deputy Executive Director of. And not Anthony T Salvia, the Executive Director of the American Institute in Ukraine. (I did find an Anthony T La Salvia, who in 2014 was an unsuccessful Democratic primary judicial candidate in Maricopa County. It can't be the same guy-- at least I don't think so.) More recently he served as a stooge for then-President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine who he wrote deserved a Nobel Peace Prize.

It's hard to find much about Jatras but I have a feeling he's a pretty well-known figure on some of the fringes of the pro-Putin extreme right. Like Paul Manafort, he was a Yanukovych partisan, paid to oppose NATO, the EU and the West. Eventually Yanukovych was overthrown and fled to Russia, where he still lives. Manafort is in prison awaiting trial and/or pardon. I don't know anyone who's quite sure where Jatras is but this is what he told Kremlin propaganda and disinformation organ, Sputnik last October:
[F]ederal authorities in our country today can throw anybody today in jail they want. They simply have to pile on some charges, try to catch you in some inconsistencies and they can bring criminal charges against you. It's generally assumed that this is being done to put the squeeze on somebody else; maybe they want to throw Manafort in jail, but what they really want is for him to divulge some sort of information about the campaign that they think he may be hiding... But the question is where Mr. Mueller wants to go with this, and I think a lot of people suspect that there is a partisan thrust to his investigation, that he has a lot of very partisan Democrats on his team and the real target is President Trump, not Mr. Manafort or General Flynn.

...Sputnik: Hard evidence of any real collusion is something that's been lacking right the beginning has it not, and do you think we're likely to see it by the end of this investigation, which is something that Russia has been asking for, for some time?

Jim Jatras: I don't know that we will, and the way the American media operates, I don't know if anyone expects them too-- it's enough for them to engage in speculation and hyperbole and say Russia this and Russia that-- when there is no real Russian connection at all.

And when you raise these points, it only appears in outlets like Sputnik or like RT or in the alternative media like or Zerohedge, and this is almost like samizdat-- it's almost like it doesn't exist here because it's not on CNN or in the mainstream media.
Sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? Yesterday Jatras had a guest post at Zerohedge. A little info on him that hasn't been covered up. He was born (somewhere) in 1955, claims to have gone to Penn State and to have gotten a law degree at Georgetown. He also claims to have worked in the U.S. consulate in Tijuana from 1979 through 1981 and as a foreign service officer for Russian affairs from 1981 to 1985 and then a policy analyst for always unnamed Senate Republicans until 2002. He's all over YouTube-- often on Russian propaganda outlets-- as a "former diplomat," which appears to be a major exaggeration of what he really was. Like this:

In 2015 Paola Chavez and Madison Jaros interviewed Jatras for ABC News: Meet the Man You’ve Never Heard of Who Desperately Wants to Be Vice President. Trump didn't pick him but it's an interesting interview. Jatras is anti-Choice, anti-LGBTQ, pro-NRA, anti-immigrant and, as he puts it, "anti-phony 'free trade' deals."

Yesterday's Zerohedge post could have been written by Trump, if Trump could write, or by a Putin propagandist (although, apparently it was)-- It's Time For America To Cut Loose Our Useless So-Called "Allies".
Let’s get one thing straight: the United States has no real allies. There are countries we dominate and control, more properly termed client states or even satellites. (True, given Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s lock-stock-and-barrel ownership of the American political class, it seems rather that we are their clients, not the other way around...) Conversely, on an almost one-to-one correspondence, countries that are not satellites are our enemies, either currently (Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria) or prospectively (China).

But do we have any actual allies-- that is, countries that provide mutual security for the United States, and whose contributions actually make us Americans safer and more secure in our own country?

Try to name one.

Let’s start with the granddaddy of our alliances, NATO. How does having a mutual defense pact with, say, virulently anti-Russian Poland and the Baltic States make America more secure? How does, say, tiny corrupt Montenegro, contribute to US security? Are these countries going to defend America in any conceivable way? Even if they wanted to, how could they possibly?

For that matter, against what ‘threat’ would they defend us? Is Latvia going to help build Trump’s Wall on the Mexican border?

‘Our NATO allies help out in Afghanistan,’ we are told.  NATO-Schmato-- it’s Americans who do almost all the fighting and dying. It’s our treasure being wasted there. Maybe without the fig leaf of an alliance mission, we might long since have reevaluated what we still are doing there after 17 years.

But comes the answer, ‘Russia!’ Except that Russia isn’t a threat to the United States. Despite their hype even the most antagonistic Russophobic countries in NATO themselves don’t really believe they’re about to be invaded. And even if they were, that still doesn’t make Russia a threat to us-- or wouldn’t except for the very existence of NATO and a forward American presence on Russia’s borders and in the Black and Baltic seas littorals. How does gratuitously risking conflict with the one country on the planet whose strategic arsenal can annihilate us make Americans safer?

As Professor Richard Sakwa has observed, ‘NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence.’

Let’s look at other supposedly valuable alliances.

Why do we need South Korea and Japan? ‘China!’ But except for a nuclear stockpile much smaller than our intercontinental deterrent China doesn’t present a military threat to us. ‘Yes, but Beijing poses a danger to South Korea and Japan.’ Maybe, maybe not. But even if that is so why is it our problem?

Why do we need Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and bunch of other Middle Eastern countries? We aren’t dependent on energy from the region as we arguably were when Jimmy Carter proclaimed a vital national interest there four decades ago. ‘Well then, Iran!’ But the Iranians can’t do anything to us. ‘Yes, but they hate Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc., etc.’ Again, what’s that got to do with us?

In each case the argument of a US interest is a tautology.

The US ‘needs’ allies for the sole purpose of defense against purported threats not to us but to those very same allies. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone.

It would be bad enough if these faux alliance relationships were only detrimental in terms of getting embroiled in quarrels in which we have no interest, wasting money and manpower in areas of the world where our security is not at stake. But there’s also a direct economic cost right here at home.

Jatras and Kislyak

Based on the claimed need for “allies” US trade policy since World War II could almost have been designed to undermine the economic interests of American workers and American producers. Starting with Germany and Japan, our defeated enemies, we offered them virtually tariff-free, nonreciprocal access to our huge domestic market to assist with their economies’ recovery from wartime destruction; in return, we would take their sovereignty: control of their foreign and security policies, as well as their military and intelligence establishments, plus permanent bases on their territory.

This arrangement became the standard with other countries in non-communist Europe, as well as some in the Far East, notably South Korea. As much or more than puffed-up claims of military threats (and companies that benefit from inflated military spending) lopsided trade is the glue that keeps the satellites in place. In effect, our “allies” cede geostrategic control of their own countries and are rewarded at the expense of domestic American economic interests. Already of questionable value in its heyday, this pattern not only survived the end of Cold War 1 but continued to grow, contributing to the rise of Cold War 2.

Put into that context, this is where Trump’s tariffs dovetail with his other blasphemies, like expecting the deadbeats to pony up for their own defense. He challenges them to reduce tariffs and barriers to zero on a reciprocal bilateral basis-- knowing full well they won’t do so because it would spoil their cozy arrangement at the expense of American workers. He threatens the sanctity of the North Atlantic Treaty’s vaunted Article 5 obligation of mutual defense on whether countries meet a two percent of GDP level of military spending-- knowing that few of them will since they don’t in fact face any external military threat and would rather keep the money.

In his own unvarnished, zigzaggy way, Trump is doing what he said he would: putting America and Americans first. As he has said, that does not mean hostility towards other countries, whose leaders have aduty to put their countries and peoples first as well. It means both stopping our allies’ sandbagging us, while restoring to them their unsought-for-- and for many of them, undesirable-- sovereignty and independence.

In the final analysis, what the likes of Rick Wilson are really afraid of is disruption of a decades-old, crooked racket that has been so lucrative for countless hangers-on and profiteers. As James P. Pinkerton, former aide to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, describes it:
‘[T]he basic geopolitical foundations of the last seven decades are being challenged and shifted-- or, as critics would prefer to say, being subverted and betrayed. Yet in the meantime, even as his myriad foes prepare their next political, legal, and punditical attacks, Trump is the man astride the world stage, smiling, shaking hands, signing deals-- and unmistakably remaking the old order.’
Let’s get on with it.

Into the Swamp by Nancy Ohanian

Labels: , , , , ,


At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moron continues to embarrass u.s. again.

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What embarrasses me is that too many "Americans" do nothing about The Dotard.


Post a Comment

<< Home