Thursday, June 14, 2018

Is Anti-War Fever Building in the U.S.?


Jimmy Dore highlights and discusses Bernie Sanders' recent foreign policy statement. Portions of Sanders' speech are discussed below, but the entire video is worth watching.

by Gaius Publius

Is anti-war fever building in the U.S.? One would not think so given all the signs — apparent public apathy toward multiple military involvements, happy compliance with "security" at the increasingly painful airport, lack of protests and so on.

Yet there are two signs I'd like to put forward as indicating a growing willingness to forgo foreign "entanglements" (undeclared wars), springing either from a weariness with them, a nascent abhorrence of them, or a desire to focus U.S. dollars on U.S. domestic solutions, like the hugely popular Medicare for All. (Click to see just how popular Medicare for All, called "Medicare Buy-In" at the link, is across party lines. UPDATE: The two are not identical, but the "buy-in" option is likely a good proxy for full Medicare for All.)

The first sign is Bernie Sanders, the most popular politician in America and by far its most popular senator, making statements like these in the speech linked and discussed in the video at the top of this piece. For example, at 9:00 in the clip, Sanders says (emphasis his):
SANDERS: In other words, what we have seen in time and time again, disasters occur when administrations, Democrat and Republican, mislead Congress and the American people. And when Congress fails to do its constitutional job in terms of asking the questions of whether or not we should be in a war. And I think we need to ask that very hard question today.

And here is the point that I hope the American people are asking themselves. Is the war on terror, a perpetual, never-ending war, necessary to keep us safe?

I personally believe we have become far too comfortable with the United States engaging in military interventions all over the world. ... We have now been in Afghanistan for 17 years. We have been in Iraq for 15 years. We are occupying a portion of Syria, and this administration has indicated that it may broaden that mission even more.

We are waging a secretive drone war in at least five countries. Our forces, right now, as we speak, are supporting a Saudi-led war in Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians and has created the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet today.
Talk like this is anathema in our militarized state, comments usually relegated to the fringes of public discourse. For Sanders to say this (and similarly anathemic remarks elsewhere in the speech) certainly denotes a shift, especially since Sanders during the campaign was not considered strong on foreign policy, especially progressive (non-orthodox) foreign policy.

As Jimmy Dore said in reply to the last sentence quoted above, "It's not Syria? Can you [say] "stop the butcher" is the worst? No. Turns out what we're doing is the 'worst humanitarian crisis in the world today,' committing siege warfare in Yemen, which ... is a war crime. And we're doing it, with Saudi Arabia."

Sanders also says we're "fighting terror" in 76 countries. Let that sink in, as Sanders wishes it to — we're engaged in military conflict in 76 countries, almost a third of the nations in the world. I'm not sure many in the lay public appreciate the importance, or the likely consequences, of that surprising fact. (For one example of those consequences, consider that foreign wars often come home.)

Elsewhere in the video Dore asks, "Do you see Chuck Shumer saying our wars have had 'dire consequences'?" Sanders, it seems to me, is launching a toe-to-toe battle with what right-wingers have lately been calling the American "deep state" and I've been calling the security establishment.

The second sign comes from Donald Trump during the campaign. This isn't just Sanders going out on a limb — taking a flier, as it were — on a deeply unpopular position. Consider how often Donald Trump, the campaign version, made similar statements: 

He also famously said this about NATO and its mission:
What I'm saying is NATO is obsolete. NATO is -- is obsolete and it's extremely expensive for the United States, disproportionately so. And we should readjust NATO.
If the U.S. security establishment is working to get rid of Trump, to take him out by whatever means necessary, campaign statements like that would be one of many reasons.

If Americans Could Vote Against the Forever War, Would They Do It?

I recently noted how different the outcomes are when the public indicates policy preferences with their votes versus polling data. DC politicians of both parties ignore polling with impunity. Votes, on the other hand, especially in party primaries, can force change — witness the Trump nomination and the Sanders (stolen) near-nomination.

In some ways, small but not insignificant, the 2016 election was a test of the anti-war waters, with Trump asking questions about the need and mission of NATO, for example, that haven't been asked in over a generation, and Clinton, the proud choice of the neocon left and right, in strong disagreement.

It's too much or too early to say that Trump's public pullback from U.S. hegemony helped his election, though that's entirely possible. But it's certainly true that his anti-Forever War sentiments did not hurt him in any noticeable way.

I'll go further: If Sanders runs in 2020 and adds anti-war messaging to his program, we'll certainly see the title question tested.


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At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was this blunt honesty and bravery when he grovelled at HER! coronation?

Things would now be so much better if you had been like this instead of agreeing to be HER! footstool, Bernie.

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed with the above.

"...Yet there are two signs I'd like to put forward as indicating a growing willingness to forgo foreign "entanglements" (undeclared wars), springing either from a weariness with them, a nascent abhorrence of them, or a desire to focus U.S. dollars on U.S. domestic solutions, like the hugely popular Medicare for All."

I'm presuming by context that you refer to these signs as being among the electorate as opposed to among the elected.

I'm sure that a plurality of the electorate is weary with all the arbitrary aggressive wars with no end and that are all unwinnable in any measurable way. I doubt that there is a plurality of abhorrence on principle, though there is a certain measured abhorrence to the monetary costs, but only among americans with a 5th-grade math aptitude. When couched as a war on "terror" (dog whistle time: islam), a plurality of us Christian talibanists are in LOVE with killing them in any and all ways available.
And, context validation, I certainly know that the ONLY demographic where MFA is hugely popular is among the non-billionaire and non-Nazi electorate.

You see, in spite of Bernie and a small minority of other democraps, MFA is anathema to both money/Nazi parties in DC (and in CA, it turns out).

HOWEVER (!) it is also a fact that both sects of the money know that those in the electorate shall always vote either for the Nazis who love wars or the democraps who love wars. The principled in the electorate have nobody to vote for and they know it, so all who participate do so as a protest against the Nazis.

Those who wage war (the elected) are immune to anti-war fever. Those in the electorate who experience anti-war impulses will still vote for wars when the time comes. They always have. no other choices exist.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

again, read the news, Sanders will not run in 2020.
The DNC just disallowed it.
And Bernie has already proved that he won't run as an independent.

Your thesis will not be tested in 2020.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger scott martin said...

Again is the pay by post, or word count? You seem to have a lot of free time. The pay must be great. Still looking for that yet to be named blog, website, PAC, to join your yet to be named new world order, pixie dust fueled third party that will rise from the ashes of the Democratic party, on its yet to be named platform that will reach all voters to propel our next generation to the star spangled utopia that you promise. Just tell us where to go to sign up. I already have a tin foil hat so I can skip that step.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Party Force is strong with this one.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger scott martin said...

Waiting ... crickets...cobwebs... tumbleweeds... more crickets... I get it. For a guy with all the answers... What blog, website, think tank can I join to help start this Gandalfian third party to rise to national power? Where do I go? Whats the secret hand shake? Its easy. Led us man.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

scott, I certainly don't need to SOLVE the problem.
All I do is iteratively DEFINE the problem.

The problem is that when you vote for democraps, YOU make the problem worse.

For you to infer or derive or discern a solution, YOU first must understand the problem. Clearly that EPIPHANY still escapes YOU.

And, yes, I concede that all who have not had the epiphany and who are part of the problem are quite likely to bitch about he who always points this out.

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Martin has to be getting paid to be a Party hack since he clearly thinks he's got all the answers while the rest of us have none, yet I don't recall seeing his face here until very recently.

Instant Karma's gonna get you, Scottie. Woof!

At 4:47 PM, Blogger scott martin said...

Oh, you’re a Republican. No solutions just finger pointing. Gotcha. I disagree. YOUR solution is third party nonsense supporting no one and nothing, starting a new party in a system that does its best to deter it, without capital or structure, rather than trying to change the current party. YOUR definition as you describe it, is pointing out the party is to the right of its voters with some bizarre Nazi fetish is just empty headed hyperbole.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger scott martin said...

I have been a long time lurker since before Barry ran as a Progressive and turned into Bill Clinton. I wont vote in a blue dog, new dem, alec inspired wall street shill just like you. I agree with your assesment but not your solution. Nice try though. Again with the deflection. Attack the messenger not the message. Again where do we go? What alternative to these craps then? Tell us

At 5:47 PM, Blogger scott martin said...

Where did everyone go? Maybe I am too long winded, too many syllables. Grimlock method then. Dem bad. GoP bad. Bern bad. Hill bad. Who good? What do?

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just waiting for you to wear yourself out, scott.

As I've oft repeated, the problem isn't who is not elected among the 'craps. It's who is.

Pelosi or hoyer or Crowley (or a list of a dozen wannabes just below) will be there no matter which new/blue/fascist is not. They'll also be there no matter how many Pramilas manage to sneak in.

The problem isn't any individual that is or is not elected. The problem is the FUCKING PARTY!!.

The party must go. if it does not, nothing changes. You can bitch all you want about how hard it will be to make the party go away, but short of that, nothing changes.

So... that makes you a big part of the problem by being against the only solution. You can throw insults and ad hominems around all you want. Nothing changes. You're still the problem.

At 10:16 PM, Blogger scott martin said...

So third party right as the only solution. Party must go. No one vote Democrat right? So again who do we vote for, and where do we go? Simple questions man without swearing. Anyone running in 2020 has adopted the Sanders model. Young voters will pull the party left. Shills will become a minority again. Changes are happening. Sooner or later voters who elect Dems will expect them to be Dems not moderate Republicans. If not your third party dream splits the vote and the GOP who are demographically handicapped will still win. Unless Sanders is your third party, labor party guy. Then maybe...if not this is just rage for the sake of raging.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger scott martin said...

And for clarity, you are on a Democrat site that promotes at least some Dems, and you are encouraging them not to vote Dem, and offering zero alternatives except burn it all down or am I missing something? Its a shame. You seem like a smart guy that knows of the DLC takeover, the corporate wing tyranny, the slide to everything pro business pro profit, and understands voting blue no matter who is laughable. But isnt it inevitable of your third party that some members will become more corrupt as power and money swirl in starting the process all over again? So does anything change?

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous zeeman said...

NEVER! big money says NO! and big money will prevail.

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

scott, clearly you are epiphany proof.

last time: yes, the party must go. your claim that "changes are happening" is correct. However the changes are opposite of what you think they are. I've supported this time and time again with facts and data. DWT ferkrissakes has supported this in nearly every one of their posts. The party is moving further rightward even as you shriek that we must vote for those adopting the Sanders model. Your delusion prevents you from discerning the bat that crushes your nads. DWT at least discerns the bat... but still demands its nads be crushed again. Different parts of the problem but identical results.

If voters elect democraps, even the better ones (but, like Ro and Pocan, DWT has shown they are NOT really better, are they?), you affirm the party and its tyrannical hold on policy and access (moneyed only).

The ONLY way to change is to starve the democraps of votes, even the 'better' ones.

I suppose if you had a cancer, you'd ask that the doctors only excise part of it... right???

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott, your final query at 10:51 is valid.

I agree that the entire democrap party must go. it's too far gone to ever be fixed.

However, money will also never go away, so the question of it corrupting whatever occupies the vast left vacuum after the ullusory democraps are gone is quite valid.

In the end, of course, it's up to voters to reward good people and punish the bad ones. The same goes for whatever party those people cleave to. In a binary system, it's much more difficult to do this for the exact reasons you embody -- the fear that not voting for a crappy candidate will mean that a Nazi will win.

Do I have confidence that a new left movement can numerically overwhelm the Nazis? Yes.
Do I have confidence that the voters will relentlessly insist that the new left movement remain faithful to them? no.

My HOPE would be that the very first thing a new left wave would do would be to legislate money out of politics forever BWO a constitutional amendment, by defining in the constitution a "person" as being only a single bipedal hominid and not a corporation, think tank, committee or any other grouping of money or people.
This would be a big step forward.

But, as I said, in the end it's up to us. And I have no delusions any more about the quality of the electorate in this shithole.

I do know, though, that the status quo is untenable. If the democraps are not destroyed, we all shall be.

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anti-war fever? We should be so lucky! I am heartily sick of these bloody expensive illegal and unconstitutional "wars" against guerrilla gangs (not even countries: guerrilla gangs!) that will prove nothing in the long run other than our Congress Critters are fools for spending so much money on the military who can't even keep track of where the money is spent. The last I read is that they can't find $21 Trillion (that's with a T!)

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as Obamanation declared that the Deplorables cling to their false religion and their steel penises to feel manly, Scottly wraps himself around Pelosi's ankles rather than be a man and see reality for what it is. There is no hope with either lying branch of the Corporatist Party. Each time the "republicans" step to the right, the "democrats" do as well so as to maintain contact with their masters.

It was said in the past that the GOP was the Daddy Party and the Democrats were the Mommy Party. Daddy is seriously addicted to power and abuse while Mommy is so seriously co-dependent that she can't leave, not even to save her cowardly son Scottly from having to grow up in such a toxic household.

Everyone can see that changes need to happen, but those who demand to be shown and told where and when and how this will all happen before they will admit it's necessary are the anchor which prevents any movement.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger scott martin said...

I didnt vote in the last two Presidential elections because they refused to run a Democrat, Pelosi’s lapdog hardly. ( you forgot her superdelegate daughter by the way), but you sold me. I see the error of my ways. So step one: Dont vote for a Democrat even decent ones, step two: ??????????? we win something? What is it?

At 9:27 AM, Blogger scott martin said...

Oh and I dont hide behind anonymity by the way. Just saying. Own it man. Lead on. Preach. You should maybe get a blog, sell merch, get an audience, make even more money in your spare time.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that you are such a dork, Scottly. You make up such marvelous crap to justify yourself.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger scott martin said...

I was hoping Howie would ban us but I will leave you with this. I am doing exactly what you say to do. I stopped voting Dem nationally. And what next? Still no answers just blather. I am one of you already, right?

We need candidates. Libs vote for something, conservatives against. We are gonna need 287 house members that can not be ex dems or republicans because they are nazis and cant be trusted and 66 senators in the same vein so we can make corporations corporations again, and a president who cant be an ex dem because their are no decent ones, to nominate supreme court justices that also have held no party membership, to help our agenda judiciously without any money, volunteers, state and local offices etc. This is so much easier than the from within strategy.

Find us our non affiliated 350 ish people we can get behind, and we can talk local and state elections later and I assume grow our own attorneys. And thats Mr Dork to you. Respect.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott, I need to point out that there are at least 3 of us responding to you. 10:21 isn't me.

I'll leave you with this. you're doing the right thing. At the local and state level I still occasionally ping a democraT but not often. I've seen too many come up from the local and state level, go to DC and immediately lay down for the highest bidder(s). Pelosi is probably the patron saint for these (sold her soul for the gavel starting when Clinton formed the DLC). patty murray in the senate.

I look for Green candidates who aren't total loons. In my STATE, we always have a list of independent candidates, some of whom are intriguing, who I vote for. My county and city slates are Nazis and worse Nazis, but I'm still able to write in so I do. There are democraps but they can't win here.

Finally, I ask this of you. R + D for prez in 2012 was 98.7% of the total. In 2016 it was down to about 95%.
What if... $hillbliiary had gotten 25% instead of 48%? What if Jill Stein + the others got 23%? Would the Greens (and fucking Bernie!) realize that there is really a THERE there? Would good people (like Elizabeth, Pramila and others) and some money start migrating over? Would Bernie ... ok prolly not Bernie, but maybe Pramila or someone like that decide that there was enough potential there to act as the progressive pied piper and lead us all out of the desert?? Remember, besides the 23% NOT for the bankers' whore, there is the 25% plus another 50 million + who don't vote but might, you know, WANT TO...

I've been hoping for some kind of catalyst for decades. It'll take something cathartic or someone charismatic and believable or both. Bernie could have been both... and he blew it. Still waiting.

If, in the national election the democrap for prez was unelectable and a competitive "other", maybe Green, was available, you'd see state democraT parties fold up and associate with whatever movement Pramila or whomever starts. It would take about 6 months.

They could run on eliminating corporate personhood, ridding politics of money, MFA and peace. Well, maybe not peace. Americans love war.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also remember that a lot of state party affiliates are totally pissed off at being ratfucked by the jackboots of the DNC and DxCCs. Those state orgs wouldn't have to be strong-armed as long as there was a competitive and very left-leaning alternative at the national level.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doin' good work there Scott!

I chime in every so often against the Brock troll(s), but generally don't get into paying for their lunch with an argument. I don't always agree with this site, but I clearly understand their mission. The Brock trolls do too and would rather people like you not vote rather than vote for the progressive.

I do urge you to vote 3rd party when the opportunity presents itself. I have voted for Jill Stein twice for president, because she is the only candidate that was even close to my views. I have also voted in most Democratic primaries for the person who best represents my views, but I am not beholden to them if the candidate that wins sucks.

Most progressive 3rd party candidates are going to caucus with the 'democraps' regardless of what our Brock troll says, so voting for the most progressive is more important than the label behind their name.

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of us, says you Scottly? No one defends that rodent-fornicating Party as much as you do. That alone sets you apart.


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