The American Spirit and the Russian Soul

TomduBois-TheAmericanSpirit
The American Spirit was founded upon a false and troubling premise: that competition and winning, a.k.a., conquest, is the royal road to happiness. In fact just the reverse seems to be the case for the great majority of peoples, and apparently for the planet at large. Yet we Americans have been conditioned over many centuries to believe in this fantasy — that the “democratic” ideals of equality, fraternity, and liberty somehow thrive in a competitive, capitalist environment — that competition leads down the road to universal prosperity, as if this were a “good in itself.” ‘A rising tide,’ they say, ‘raises all boats.’ This too is a lie! And, even worse, if it were true, it would be fatal.

Competitiveness, economically or politically, is no panacea for the human condition, nor apparently, for the planet in general. Competition presumes a winner. And winning presumes losers. Winner take all. And losers? Gobbled up or decimated by the winner — the conqueror — of course! This is not a healthy approach for maintenance of life on earth. Quite the reverse. But this is how our Western mentality has worked. At least this is what it has aspired to. As Theodore Roosevelt succinctly put it at the turn of the 20th Century:

Of course our whole national history has been one of expansion… [T]hat the barbarians recede or are conquered, with the attendant fact that peace follows their retrogression or conquest, is due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway. – The Strenuous Life (1900).

Or as one Frenchman wrote to Thomas Jefferson one hundred years earlier:

The inhabitants of your country districts regard — wrongfully, it is true — Indians and forests as natural enemies which must be exterminated by fire and sword and brandy, in order that they may seize their territory. – P.S. DuPont de Nemours (1801).

It was upon this perverse foundation that our way of life, the trajectory of our competitive Western hegemony, was established. And, while we cannot simply blame the USA for having invented such a program, it is our culture that perfected this pathology of competition and conquest to the detriment of the greater human community, and quite contrary to the more primal human tendencies of cooperation and sharing (See Morton Fried, Columbia University, The Evolution of Political Society, 1967.)

So, we can at least surmise that there have been other (alternative) approaches to life over the vast millennia of human existence, some of which may have been more conducive to living on a finite planet. The well-mythologized Russian Soul may itself have been a product of just such an alternative — a view nourished in a wholly different atmosphere, over a period of fifty-thousand or perhaps, a hundred-thousand years, in the darkest reaches of the Central Siberian plateau. Early human remains (Denisova hominins) were unearthed a few years back in the Altai Mountains of Russia as a result of archeological work conducted over the past few decades. The human ‘project’ — if we may call it that — in those earliest millennia was apparently ‘cut from a different loin-cloth’ than is our modern project of competition and conquest. According to political anthropologists, the disposition of the earliest pre-civilized humans, represented as well by discoveries at Denisova Cave — a disposition still extant among the gentle, indigenous Altaian populations of today — suggest a radically different view of the world, of the human community, and its ecological niche. It was a world constituted upon tribal communitas and egalitarian sharing. Let’s call it, with Karl Marx, a pristine form of communism. And perhaps this is the real origin of the myth of the Russian soul.

The earliest Slavic, and later, Russian tribes, that came to inhabit the lands between the Carpathian and Ural Mountains — seem to have retained much of this same primal concern for family (rod), homeland (rod.ina), and kinship (rod.stvo) as found among earliest tribes occupying the Altai.

As Nikolai Gogol wrote in his famous short-story, Taras Bulba:

There have been brotherhoods in other lands, but never any such brotherhoods as on our Russian soil. It has happened to many of you to be in foreign lands. You look: there are people there also, God’s creatures, too; and you talk with them as with the men of your own country. But when it comes to saying a hearty word—you will see. No! They are sensible people, but not the same; the same kind of people, and yet not the same! No, brothers, to love as the Russian soul loves, is to love not with the mind or anything else, but with all that God has given, all that is within you. (1835)

After the revolution that saw the fall of the Tzarist regime, these same values were taken up yet again, dressed now in more modern garb, by the Marxist ideal of a communal life — a life grounded upon a profound sense of kinship and egalitarian sharing.

Obviously the Soviet articulation of that model was unsuccessful. The leasdership of the USSR was consumed by the selfsame assumptions as those of the West, both internally, as well as externally, in response to an aggressiveness of a competing Western hegemony. In fact, wherever hierarchical governing systems exist, the possibility of egalitarian relations fades to black against a need to compete, conquer, and control.

Needless to say, when the erstwhile Russian soul was fully exposed to the spectacular show and material plenty of the West, that soul began to lose its (moral) compass. And it has continued to wander further away over the intervening years. The loss of a more tribal base, and an egalitarian faithfulness that characterized the old Rus, is vanishing before our eyes. A new generation of Russians adheres to the same fatuous ideals and misguided strategies of the competitive and conquest-consumed West. And of course, Russia is even now being forced to adopt the self-same aggressive military tactics of the West, in order to compete for its own sovereignty. And Western propaganda beats the drum for this conquistador.

Comcast to Dreamworks and the rest of Hollywood, you’re owned mind and body by some powerful people who want war with Putin and Russia. You can argue the “war” part, but you cannot intelligently compare Russia’s news media to what 99 percent of Americans and Brits see all day every day. Is Putin rearming Russia? He’d damn well better be. What kind of leader would not with NATO at the front door and “We the People” turned into mindless zombies for billionaire arms dealers? (Russia Insider, Liar, Liar! Mainstream Media Won’t Like This One, Phil Butler.)

And whether they are billionaire arms dealers driving for the conquest of Russia and the privatization of its mineral riches in the hands of a few Western oligarchs, or the bankers at the IMF, headquartered in Washington, D.C., looking to disrobe, rape, and plunder the Greek islands… the competitive, capitalist, winner-take-all American Spirit is there in all its glory for all to see.

And the winner will take all. Or, perhaps not.

49 Responses to The American Spirit and the Russian Soul

  1. Pingback: The American Spirit and the Russian Soul | kulturCritic

  2. Disaffected says:

    I think the American “Spirit” is better termed the American Cancer these days, in that it’s metastatic, it’s aggressive, it’s highly resistant to treatment, and it’s deadly. Otherwise, great work. We’ve been an invasive nation since day one, as we were basically just the overflow from Europe, which was already overpopulated at the time. All of Europe’s long-established warring tendencies were thus exported to North America and subsequently transmogrified into a radically more virulent form. It won’t end well for any of us.

    • Ron says:

      It was those damned Scotch-Irish. Feisty little bastards.

      • Disaffected says:

        I’m one of them hot headed dumb bastards, so I know of whence you speak. Red hair (what’s left of it anyway), hot tempered, hate my job, overweight, consume blood pressure meds like breath mints, and drink like there’s no tomorrow. I think my liver and/or heart’s going to do me in early, which is probably a good thing. Men on my mom’s side rarely live beyond 60 and I’ll be 58 in six months. Like most Americans, there will be no mythical “retirement” for me, and likely no “healthcare” available at any price either, so an early out would honestly be a blessing, as long as it’s sudden and complete. The world we’ve constructed these days is not something I even recognize anymore, and I’m damn sure not interested in hanging around for another 30 or 40 years to see how it all turns out.

  3. “Obviously the Soviet articulation of that model was unsuccessful. The leasdership of the USSR was consumed by the selfsame assumptions as those of the West, both internally, as well as externally, in response to an aggressiveness of a competing Western hegemony. In fact, wherever hierarchical governing systems exist, the possibility of egalitarian relations fades to black against a need to compete, conquer, and control.”

    This excellent analysis explains what Americans call ‘Putin’s authoritarianism’. The US has gone so far in the direction of competing and winning that it cannot even conceptualize anything else. Recent statements in St Petersburg about cooperation surely went over most US heads. They have to be turned around by 180 degrees.

  4. kulturcritic says:

    And this is what capitalism, competition and conquest is all about, my brother and sisters:

    From RI: “When democracy arrived in Russia after the collapse of communism in 1991, it was pretty much free for all. The country was under the grip of criminal syndicates, oligarchs and sundry opportunists. The economy, remote controlled by the IMF, was in free fall, without the bottom in sight.”

    “And yet in the western view, ‘God was in his heaven and everything was right with the world.’ The suffering of the Russian people didn’t matter to them. Rather, the pictures of once proud pensioners now reduced to trading their World War II medals for a loaf of bread were gleefully published by TIME, Newsweek, and The Economist.”

    • Disaffected says:

      US pensioners (I’ll be one soon) will soon know of the pain of Russian pensioners, Greek pensioners, et al. Pensioners, the sick, the infirm, and the poor represent deadweight to the capitalist system, and in a world rapidly running out of resources, deadweight will be eliminated without quarter.

  5. kulturcritic says:

    And just like Lee in Singapore before him:

    [Putin] rejected the notion that western democracy and values are universal. This is precisely what Lee had done in Singapore. As the Singapore Prime Minister was fond of saying, “I do not believe you can impose on other countries standards which are alien and totally disconnected with their past.” In his view, “to ask China to become a democracy, when in its 5,000 years of recorded history it never counted heads” was completely and utterly arrogant.

    • Disaffected says:

      And yet, just as with American Evangelicalism and any garden variety ponzi scheme, this is what drives western capitalism: the imperative for fresh converts/marks. It literally cannot function without them. The fact that 99% of Americans – including recent immigrants from the very countries countries being leveraged themselves – cannot see that speaks to the captivating allure of the promise of material wealth.

  6. monalisa says:

    What I recognize is that the US political agenda will never ever turn around, not even one degree much lesser 90 degrees. To think of 180 degrees could only happen if America would be conquered/severe “wounded” on its own soil and by and through its own “misgivings”. That it had been forced to kneel!
    True to the saying “the roasted/toasted returns home”….
    However, before this happens much much more millions will mourn over even more dead bodies and more orphans ….
    not to speak of “branded” soil and drinking waters in sovereign countries for the next 2.6 millions of years ….

    The US form of capitalism doesn’t favor equal winning in its pure and true concept.
    It will never consider and surely not accept other kinds of capitalist forms, Capitalism where equal forms of respect and adherence to share winning points would be prevalent.
    The US capitalist form is the Medieval form of the European Middle Ages, subduing everything with force and primitive brutality.

    There is no higher degree in the development in the USA: No real spirit has developed there a spirit to show a different way being ready to lead into our future on earth.
    To adhere to the primitive force of brutality in the political US agenda is prevalent.

    And-as an European citizen-I have to say that the last real European statesman was Charles deGaulle of France. (And I am not even French!)

    While Russians President Putin searches for ways to give his country and people a better prospect for the future and does everything to avoid confrontations and prefers peace talks his US counterpart adheres to warmongering and confrontations. Whereby the US populations will slip more and more into a country without even an intact infrastucture not to speak of an infrastucture much more up to date.

    monalisa

    • Ron says:

      The US population is busy with Gay marriage and the 12th Repub to throw his hat in the race. I just watched (out of complete boredom) American Sniper. It is sad to think that too many Americans think this is how it is supposed to be.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Look, the entire American mentality is melodramatic, after too much buttered popcorn at the movies over the years. Let them rewrite all the laws of the nation.  Let them destroy the family.  Let them invade and overthrow every country.  And let them figure out what to do once they’ve done it all.  Once the course was set and the trajectory began to escalate, there was no turning back.  This nation is the epitome of the nation-state.  Divide and conquer!  It began thousands of years ago with the breakup of the pre-urban clans to create “civil” hierarchic society; and we tried to replicate that momentous event in Afghanistan over the past decade plus… to no avail, obviously.  And we have continued to do that across this country — first to the indigenous populations, and so on.  Some even believe that the new gay-marriage law is intended to break up the traditional (urban) family; although I think that was achieved long ago by Henry Ford and Boeing.  In any event, let us not mourn the passing of this experiment in global marketing and racketeering.  Uncle Sam was bound to self-destruct from the get-go.  It is in the nature of the capitalist mindset to defeat the competitor, the enemy.  We have seen this enemy… and it is US!

        • Disaffected says:

          I think all the current LGBT crap is just meant to keep the divisions growing. Any morality implied by it all is purely incidental. Anything that keeps the populace stirred up these days is a good thing for BAU, as it diverts our attention from all the more serious matters.

        • Ron says:

          Read a really good book that basically describes what you wrote. It’s called Deer Hunting With Jesus by Joe Bageant.

          • Disaffected says:

            Great book. All of Joe’s stuff is good. HBO’s VICE focused on Ukraine this week too. Very good handling of the issue from a mostly Russian perspective. Americans have very effectively been brainwashed to blindly accept that whatever the MIC (the US’s own ministry of propaganda) tells them is true, even when it’s transparently false. Something along the lines of “we’ll allow you to have all the cheap consumer stuff you can ever want if you’ll allow us to have complete control.” Talk about a faustian bargain.

          • Disaffected says:

            Although I think Joe went a good deal too easy on his redneck relatives. There’s only so much ignorance you can forgive when the ability to know better is clearly available.

            • Ron says:

              Agreed. Ignorant and proud is the slogan around here.

            • Disaffected says:

              Only made it up to Virginia once in my time over in Georgia. The South was an odd place, until I compared it to all the other places I’ve been since at least. At least the American south has a coherent narrative and history, something the east and west coasts and great midwest don’t share for the most part, having so eagerly and so long ago sold their historical identities for a little coin.

              I came across a great video short (about 45:00 in 3 parts) yesterday produced by Southerner Ray McKinnon called The Accountant that sizes it all up pretty well. I think this might have been what Joe Bageant was getting at. The “money lines” come in the middle of part two.

              • kulturcritic says:

                Sow what was the money line?

              • Disaffected says:

                After walking two brothers, one in particular, through their increasingly horrific options for saving the family farm, which had been in the family for generations, Ray McKinnon’s eccentric accountant finally delivers the following soliloquy concerning their true predicament:

                It’s brilliant actually. [What is?] Their plan! One world, one culture, one corporation, whatever you want to call it. First they take away the little man’s ability to produce his own food, by devisin’ a system where he’s got easy credit with easy terms. Once they get him hooked, then they change the rules. Suddenly, they want their money and they want it yesterday. So this little farmer works hard, plants more crops, adds more hogs. But then like magic, the price drops. Supply and demand, they say.… That’s when a farmin’ corporation comes in, takes this fellow’s land, leavin’ him no choice but to go to town to work for some manufacturing corporation. Or retail.

                But they ain’t done with him, ’cause see, boy, this farmer still has his culture, and that scares ’em. His roots — based in independence, even rebelliousness — his “countryness,” if you will. So what do they do about that? That’s where them multimedia corporations step in. They begin to bombard their new company man with caricatures and stereotypes of hisself. “Gomer Pyle,” “Dukes of Hazzard.” “Beverly Hillbillies,” “Hee-Haw,” and so on and so forth till finally he can’t trust his own reality. He don’t know what it is no more. He starts actin’ country instead of bein’ country.

                …Until finally, one day, this farmer, this man, who once worked on the land and with the land can finally be controlled. So he won’t question his purpose for making rivets or sitting in front of a computer screen for 40 years until he gets downsized and dies! Or worse, takes his severance pay and retires to Branson Missouri.

                …Let’s just say that one day your grandchildren will be eating cornbread that’s sweet and drinking ice tea that ain’t, and they’ll think that’s the southern tradition. You see what they done boys, what is ain’t, and what ain’t is. They turned it all upside down and you ain’t even noticed.

                But the whole short is really good. It won the Oscar for best live action short in 2001, which means of course that no one’s ever heard of it.

                • kulturcritic says:

                  I would agree with the soliloquy and your assessment.

                • Disaffected says:

                  The one brother ends up taking his own life, just as the accountant recommended, so that the other brother can have enough money to save the farm. His next best option would have been to murder his wife for her insurance money. The joke is that the farmer on the next lot over, and whom you see in the opening scene driving his tractor with one artificial arm with a hook on it, sacrificed that limb for an insurance settlement in order to save his farm.

                  All of which rings true for any farmer still trying to make it. Just two generations ago my extended family back in Nebraska owned three farms, although all three were on the ropes. Now only one remains, and that one was mostly inherited by my cousin from a man he worked for who died and didn’t have any kids to leave it to. My cousin never got married and had any kids either, so when he dies that one will be gone as well. I think he mostly rents it out to tenant farmers now anyway.

                  Ray McKinnon’s most famous role is the almost second husband of the George Clooney character’s wife (Holly Hunter) in O Brother, Where Art Though?

        • Malthus says:

          When this grand experiment in divine rights and exceptionalism comes to an end there are going to be some really surprised walking dead in this country. What a show it is going to be. No one could dream this up. It is just to perfect.

          • Disaffected says:

            It’s quite apparent now that the grand plan involves a “rolling up the red carpet” of sorts, so that first the US/GBR and the most favored nations of the EU are left standing, and then gradually the US/GBR, and finally the US alone. Of course the true plutocrats of this world have long known that nation states are just so 20th century, so their specific locations and political affiliations have long been trivial as well. The US was chosen simply for convenience, because it had the most easily exploitable political and financial systems, which had already funded by far the largest military, police, and nuclear forces to boot. In other words, US citizens by birth and residence hold no special place in providence either. They (which is to say, we) are little more human casualties of marginal ultimate utility, to be disposed of in the end along with all the rest of the usual casualties of global capitalism.

            In the end, US hegemony will likely be revealed as a cruel joke not because the US itself couldn’t exercise it, but because the true executors of hegemony were always much larger than the silly notion of US nationhood.

      • Disaffected says:

        Yes, the Liberal left is now spun up over “tranny” rights of all things, and in the process actually making the conservative right look sane again. Imagine that!

  7. kulturcritic says:

    More for the RI piece:
    Both Putin and Lee have similar views on how much democracy is enough, and how much is the tipping point where democracy delivers chaos. Like Lee, Putin is unapologetic about his actions. In a speech at the Kremlin, Putin said Russia would follow its own view on democracy and shrug off any “standards enforced on us from outside”.

    • Disaffected says:

      Putin is proving to be the only leader in the world today with any true vision beyond the next quarterly earnings report. And that just irritates the shit out of American Exceptionalists.

  8. northsheep says:

    Your description of the American spirit reminds me of Morris Berman’s enlightening portrayal in several books of the US as a hustler culture. As for the Russian soul, I think we agree that the battle for it is likely to be lengthy, and the contamination from what The Saker calls anglo-zionist imperial contamination could easily prove fatal. One can only hope that the egalitarian faithfulness you speak of wins out. One consolation: the pathogen appears to be killing its imperial source organism faster.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Yes, Northsheep, it does appear that way

    • Disaffected says:

      Berman absolutely nails (and is completely unforgiving in doing so) the American zeitgeist. Needless to say, he’s not tremendously popular at home anymore. His analysis of the motivations behind the civil war [No, it wasn’t primarily about slavery at all, but freeing up labor to be mobile, and thus more easily exploited, a battle that continues with greater intensity than ever to this day.], in particular, were fascinating, and paint a picture of a United States still a lot more divided than it might seem.

  9. kulturcritic says:

    George W. Bush summed up this mindset in classic fashion after 9/11 when he urged Americans to go shopping and visit Disney World and leave the fighting to the pros. War, in short, has become yet another form of social control. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176016/tomgram%3A_william_astore%2C_%22hi%2C_i%27m_uncle_sam_and_i%27m_a_war-oholic%22/#more

    • Disaffected says:

      Funny things is, I’ll bet W was only dimly aware of what was going on on 9/11. Of course he was briefed on the broad strokes, but I think Cheney kept him in the dark about most of it, the better to ensure that he didn’t slip up and accidently reveal something critical. Definitely not the brightest bulb in any room he was in, and the perfect stooge to masquerade as president during such a critical juncture in history.

    • Malthus says:

      What? We here in the land of the free are controlled? Good god who would have thought? It seems all civilizations are. Control is the underlying definition of civilization.

  10. Disaffected says:

    Could be the start of something big:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/06/29/world-markets-plunge-bank-lines-grow-amid-greece-financial-crisis/

    This is how it will appear to Americans when our time comes too. Bank “holidays,” then limits on withdrawals, then “sorry folks, it’s all gone,” as the era of big finance goes up in smoke to reveal the usual cast of winners and losers. Which, even in the aftermath, the authorities will continue to steadfastly refuse to call by its proper name: P-O-N-Z-I S-C-H-E-M-E.

    • Disaffected says:

      And of course now we’re learning there’s more. Puerto Rico’s going to miss payments (at least ) too, and China’s stock market is exhibiting signs of imminent collapse now too. It seems to be only a matter of time now before some innocuous event or another sets the dominoes falling. Greece has still to vote on accepting the terms of the EU “bailout,” but their finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who is a prominent poster over at NakCap from time to time, has already vowed to resign if they accept. Interesting times ahead!

      • Disaffected says:

        Looks like the Greek’s rejected the EU terms Sunday but Varoufakis resigned anyway as an “olive branch” of sorts. But apparently this doesn’t signal a Greek exit from the EU yet, so who the hell knows what happens next. What it probably does mean is that forgiving the debt for even a small state like Greece is a big deal, so that can’t be a good indicator for the EU overall, where presumably the wealthy northern countries could carry the economic ball all by themselves. Could it be that a lot of the imaginary wealth Germany, France, and the Benelux have acquired is just tribute paid by/stolen from the periphery countries? A sort of mini US/GBR wealth pump empire model if you will.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/business/international/yanis-varoufakis-abruptly-resigns-as-greek-finance-minister.html

      • Disaffected says:

        Look like, to virtually no one’s surprise, that the Greek melodrama will continue to play itself for another quarter or two at least, as they have accepted the terms of yet another bailout. [Since they didn’t have a currency plan in place to implement quickly, they really had no other choice. It was either that or go back to the barter system again and likely get occupied by EU shock troops to boot.] Of course this is doing nothing but letting the strains continue to build on a world financial system that is long overdue to implode again, with after effects that are sure to be exponentially worse than 2008. Maybe just in time for another presidential election year in the US, giving all the deficit hawks in the US an excuse to impose austerity here in the homeland in earnest for one and for all!

  11. Disaffected says:

    And just in time for 2016 and the next US puppet in charge, Obama announces the next “generational” war effort! Conveniently funded through US “dark world” back channels of course. Hey, why let an imaginary boogeyman man go to waste? How long will Americans continue to fall for this shit?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-makes-rare-visit-to-pentagon-for-update-on-islamic-state-operations/2015/07/06/1c5d1728-23e7-11e5-aae2-6c4f59b050aa_story.html

    • kulturcritic says:

      DA… this clown, Obama… is talking about increasing the surveilance on the homeland as well. Increasing the police state here, as we continue to pour needless taxpayer $$ into pretending to eliminate our ISIL PARTNERS in Syria and Iraq

      • Disaffected says:

        Obama, the gift that keeps on giving. And it really was true all along. The Dems are too good a political foil to waste. Why let an authentic right wing R get elected and have his true motives transparently revealed right from the start, when you can elect a D like Obama or Hillary, both ostensibly “leftist liberals” of the highest degree, who then govern several degrees to the right of any Republican in the field. All while the R Congress critters, FOX News, and talk radio keep the outrage against liberals dialed up to the max, because the stupid-assed American public is simply too stupid to know the difference. The whole thing is surreal now and reads like something straight out of 1984. Man did Orwell ever have this all figured out!

        But the ISIS/ISIL thing truly is revealing. It’s long been known that the plutocrats, following the same model casinos use, fund both sides of every election (and even that’s assuming they merely fund them, when we know they do so much more), so as to cover their bets either way. Now we know they fund both sides of the wars we fight in too, although to be fair, historical allegations of that same behavior go back to at least WWII, where Prescott Bush was allegedly instrumental in funding the Nazi war machine. I think the main difference this time is that ISIS was pretty much wholly created by US/Israeli interests this time. No US/Israeli involvement, no ISIS, period. Meanwhile, “true blue, patriotic Americans” who wallow in all the red, white, and blue horseshit are led around like a bull by a nose ring due to their inability to believe that their own government (or elements thereof who are in control) would sell them out so blatantly. I’ve ran into that same sentiment on every MSM site I’ve posted on, and it is SO, SO FRUSTRATING! It’s true! Americans just plain CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!

        • Disaffected says:

          LOL! Even the head puppets slip up and reveal their true intentions from time to time! I think we’re back to the quandary we’ve had regarding Obama since day one. Is he doing this all under “duress,” was he a willing conspirator all along, or is it possibly a combination of the two? The big boys in charge obviously can’t brief ALL the presidential candidates (the ones who don’t know already, that is) about the true nature of things ahead of time, so I’m inclined to believe Obama was at least partially in the dark before he took office. I’ll bet that first national security briefing really had his head spinning! And as I’ve (and many others) speculated before, I think the infamous Salahi White House State Dinner “Intrusiongate” affair right after Obama took office might well have been a MIC “shot across the bow” toward a young president who possibly imagined himself to have free will in foreign policy decisions. In that case, he certainly took his lessons to heart!

          But my personal view is that by the time they get to national attention politically, virtually all candidates know that things are not quite what they seem, depending on their time within the beltway and their level of access. The fact that relative outsiders can gain access from time to time is not particularly troubling, as they’re thoroughly vetted ahead of time through all the same channels that big money vets everyone and everything. In the exceedingly rare circumstance that a truly naive and idealistic outsider could manage to navigate all of that, the exigencies of power would be quickly explained and the implied threats against him/her and theirs would be made explicit.

          No surprise then that the top two candidates in the field for 2016 are both legacy pledges then, is it? Both thoroughly pre-vetted and thus pre-compromised as well! Wanna bet this trend continues for at least as long as “The United States of America” continues to hold presidential elections?

  12. the Heretick says:

    The Russians have an identity forged through over 1,000 years of trials and tribulation, we Americans are the bastard children of history, sold a bill of goods from the very beginning.

    Americans have no spirit, the promises made to the people were, and are, hollow, so therefore we are an empty vessel; all pomp and circumstance, but nothing in the guts but a deep hunger.

    The perfect simulacrum of a country. Fractured, traumatized, angry, ruled by cynical beasts.

    • Disaffected says:

      I just thought it was hilarious that Obama – the president that was going to put an end to all the Bush war non-sense is now calling for (with a straight face no less!) the next “generational war” against ISIS, which even in the charitable view is an enemy wholly spawned by the US , and in the accurate view is actually a US back channel funded strawman enemy, set up for no other reason than to perpetuate the GWOT, which had been losing steam a bit of late with the elimination of the first two US strawman villains, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. But you’re exactly right HT, it’s all simulacrum now. The appearance of a legitimate democracy standing tall in the face of existential evil on all sides. I imagine in a well appointed sitting room somewhere our dear leaders having a chuckle or two over brandy and cigars, as they marvel at how easy it was to put all this over on the naive American sheeple. Once they got away with 9-11, they knew the rest would be just icing on the cake.

  13. Disaffected says:

    Wonder how long it will be before we get the real story on this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/09/business/dealbook/new-york-stock-exchange-suspends-trading.html?_r=0
    China’s markets have been plunging of late as well, so who the hell knows what’s going on now.

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