Those Despicable Foreigners 188

I have travelled this world much more extensively than either Obama or Romney, and I still do. I find everywhere, even in areas of conflict and economic difficulty, the vast majority of people are friendly, even kind, and have very similar aspirations, across cultures, to personal development and emotional fulfilment.

The striking thing about tonight’s US Presidential “foreign policy” debate, is when it did occasionally discuss foreign policy, the world out there was discussed not as a place of vast potential, but as a deeply disturbing place full of foreigners who are, apparently, all evil except the Israelis, who are perfect.

The vast benefits from cooperation and trade with “abroad” were not mentioned once that I noticed (though I confess the thing was so awful my attention wandered occasionally). Europe apparently doesn’t exist, other than Greece which is nothing more than a terrible warning of the dangers of not being right wing enough.

The correct attitude to all these foreigners that God so unfortunately and inexplicably placed on this planet, is apparently to maintain incredibly large armed forces, murder people with drones (they were both very enthusiastic on this one), place sanctions on them and declare them “currency manipulators”. The only surprising note was that both agreed that they could not kill everyone in Iran.

But “We can’t just kill our way out of this mess” was spoken with regret, rather than as an affirmation of the possibilities of cooperation instead. What a grim and joyless world view. Maybe I had better not step out of this hotel into Africa this morning; those Islamists might get me.

188 thoughts on “Those Despicable Foreigners

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  • oddie

    don’t know how you could bear to watch any of these highly-staged debates, and don’t know when americans will divorce themselves from israel.

    not perfect, and still calling Iran an “enemy”, but somewhat encouraging nonetheless.

    22 Oct: Arutz Sheva: Former Mossad Chief Dumps on Romney over Iran as Election Issue
    HaLevy also urged direct Washington-Tehran talks on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear development program.
    The former Mossad director took potshots at Romney, whom he said has delivered “a heavy blow to the ultimate interests of the United States and Israel.”
    “Obama has placed emphasis on negotiations,” HaLevy told Laura Rozen, writing for the Al-Monitor website that focuses on Middle East affairs and Arab media.
    “In this current election for the U.S. presidency, his hands are tied,” HaLevy reasoned. “He cannot proceed, because he cannot appear soft on Israel’s security.
    “Negotiating with Iran is perceived as a sign of beginning to forsake Israel. That is where I think the basic difference is between Romney and Obama. What Romney is doing is mortally destroying any chance of a resolution without war. Therefore when [he recently] said, he doesn’t think there should be a war with Iran, this does not ring true. It is not consistent with other things he has said.”…
    During the interview, HaLevy said that his view that “engaging” the enemy in dialogue also should have applied to Hamas but that it is “too late now” because “In order to meet public opinion, both Israel and the U.S. governments have tied our own hands. There is a law…which prohibits U.S. officials from talking to Hamas…In the end, you create an inherent disadvantage for yourself.”

    like u, craig, having travelled widely, it is clear to me that almost all peoples everywhere are decent, hard-working human beings who should not have to face threats, real or otherwise, on a daily basis. whether the next president is obama or romney, i do not see any change in foreign policy.

  • English Knight

    Romney was repeatedly throughout the debate referring to Islam,Islamists,Jihadists, with the votes of the hillybillies/rednecks that have been whipped into an Islamophobic frenzy by the zio press (and politicians)in mind.

  • Mary

    I have just seen a clip of it and it was very noticeable how much latent aggression there is within Obama. He seemed to be just able to contain it. Romney is not as intelligent but comes across as more laid back. It is of course just theatre. There is no choice for the American people because decent candidates do not attract the $billions that have been donated to these two hucksters.

    Craig comments on their joint perception of Israel as perfection. This is what happened to the Estelle at the weekend. 15 vessels versus one. And a fine display of their prowess by the Shabak as described by Elik Elhanan, one of the Israeli activists on board.

  • Debbie(Aussie)

    Why is that so many fail to see that where we (western civilisation)are what we have and have achieved would not have possible except on the backs of those countries(rest of the world) that we colonized. We are such greedy bastards.

  • Mary

    It was confirmed yesterday that five more Reaper UAVs have been ordered and will be controlled from computer screens at RAF Waddington, Lincs rather than at Creech in the US. I could find no mention in Hansard of this change being announced in the Defence debates and questions yesterday. Why not Mr Hammond? {}

    Hell brought to earth. ‘The most recent figures from the Ministry of Defence show that, by the end of September, the UK’s five Reapers in Afghanistan had flown 39,628 hours and fired 334 laser-guided Hellfire missiles and bombs at suspected insurgents.’

    This is an officer speaking about his experiences of using them in Afghanistan. He is still haunted. He seems to have been prematurely aged judging from his rather gaunt appearance and grey hair.

    ‘Too easy’: Ex-drone operator on watching civilians die

  • Petrus

    “I find everywhere, even in areas of conflict and economic difficulty, the vast majority of people are friendly, even kind, and have very similar aspirations, across cultures, to personal development and emotional fulfilment.”

    Sorry, Craig&Oddie, on this one I’m closer to this single-entry blog:

  • Debbie(Aussie)

    Disc World is an amazing way to see/look at ourselves through a fun house mirror. My favorite books of all.

  • iain orr

    Craig, I shared your depression at the tone and quality of this “debate”. The focus was on how to deal with enemies of the USA – those who were seen as threatening the interests and security of “the greatest country in the world”. As I listened (Radio 5 Live), I was especially struck by the uncertain way both candidates – especially Romney – articulated the names of foreign countries, their leaders and political movements. It was as if the whole subject was unpleasant and dirty, like picking up smelly non-American diapers. It made me realise that Homeland Security is a concept closely related to fear of impurity, dirt and disease.

    That impression of the USA’s political self-identity as based increasingly on being a chosen people threatened by enemies emerged also in a discussion of open borders and American identity led by Michael Sandel at a university in Dallas [Radio 4 from 09.00 today]. Coincidentally I’ve just finished a novel about a State Department liberal caught up by the McCarthy era – “The Sure Thing” by Merle Miller – which has a telling diagnosis: “The trouble with liberals, Brad, is that they consistently attibute the best of motives to their friends and the worst of motives to their enemies. They are sometimes wrong in both instances.” (Penguin 903, 1953 p 24.)

  • Jay


    Please don’t be so hard on Western Civilisation.

    We have made great inventions and a have a real appreciation of beauty and life.

    There is only a minority of people who are extremely powerful, who have shaped our way of thinking and how we set about our business.

    For example the Giant steel magnets and finacial systems and oil cartels with help from Gold owners and con artists have shaped the our history.

    There is a destroying nature about us but equally there is countenance aswell.

    It’s how our will is dominated that defines our struggle.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    I look forward to RT’s third party presidential debate on RT YouTube channel. Much like the UK the American people have little choice who governs their country.

    US foreign policy will still be driven by power structures in America – principally the military industrial complex and big oil.

    It is clear to me this involves creating civil war in Middle East countries with the primary objective of expanding Israel’s reach while appeasing Europe by helping a corrupt Turkey to rise as a central player.

    The ultimate aim is for the American empire to covet the Middle East and Iran’s fossil fuels, restricting China’s progression and neutralize Russia’s dominant role in the energy business.

    The control tactics are in place and the deception is strengthened by using the ‘war on terror’ to demonize Islam.

  • wikispooks

    Maybe I had better not step out of this hotel into Africa this morning; those Islamists might get me.

    Craig, You are a high profile irritant to the powers you so accurately satirise.

    Were your ruefully jocular musing – or something close – ever to become reality, it would be a safe bet that said ‘Islamist’ would have been facilitated/financed/ordered – whatever, by schhh – you know who.

    It is a sad reality that such events, from individual killings right up the spectrum of violence to war itself, have become a wearily routine phenomenon of the 21st century mad-house we all inhabit.

    Take care and best wishes in all you are doing.

  • Mary

    A comment on medialens this morning.

    The profound political insights of Mark Mardell
    Posted by Hidari on October 23, 2012, 5:28 am

    “A BBC opinion poll of nearly 22,000 people in 21 countries suggests the rest of the world hopes Mr Obama stays at the helm. Curiously, the only country where he doesn’t come out on top is Pakistan – where most didn’t have a preference.”

    Yes why, in Pakistan, a country Obama has repeatedly and illegally bombed, mýght the Pakistani people not care who ýs bombing them?

  • Jay

    If we had control of our money system, it may be that by utilising our labour, we could build roads, dig canals, improve the countryside, go back to more manual organic farming methods, cultivate and harvest plant , grow and rebuild.

    We need system that works for us and the need to nurture.

    Sadly we have many stumbling blocks. The domination of Liberal Democracy and human rights being one.

    I am sorry but the right to sit around on our fat lazy arses on welfare is our own right but should n’t be given to us as our only option.

    Please we need to define our ideals and work ou a concensus that benefits.

    1. Nature.
    2. Nurture.
    3. Survuve.
    4. Prosper everyone, especially those in need.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    US had always positioned itself above all others. Manifest Destiny, Monroe Doctrine, Axis of Evil etc, all seem to me manifestation of American superiority and exclusivity. To challenge this one needs to come up with something more than just verbal criticism (I mean Russia, China and some EU nations) and employ anti-Americanism more wisely.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Talking about demonizing Islam the ‘terrorists’ on trial in the UK are accused of making IED’s – in the kitchen of course and using household products i.e. hair dye, brick cleaner, nail polish remover, drain cleaner- that sort of thing, by a jihadist with a degree in chemistry, using an Internet cook-book of course.

    Clearly the emphasis is on IED because the Syrian government under the demon Assad is frightening the downtrodden Syrian people by dropping IED ‘barrel bombs’ from the air. Not to be beaten the US Information Agency, with a little help from rather wrinkly British WW2 propaganda experts is coming back from behind after the not too gory chemical weapons, followed by cluster bombs black propaganda failed to gain traction at the UN.

    Yet the aim remains the same, to justify a casus belli for NATO intervention to be spear-headed by Turkey. Most people are big suckers for all things military and blood and horror is a viable weapon in the USIA arsenal.

    The hidden agenda of this propaganda coup is pretty obvious: having failed to win the ‘hearts & minds’ of the population, the terrorists and jihadists for hire (al-Qaeda) have resorted to a disinformation campaign to discredit the authorities and cover up their atrocities against peaceful civilians in Syria.

  • Dunc

    Oh, Franklin Roosevelt told the people how he felt
    We damned near believed what he said
    He said, “I hate war, and so does Eleanor
    But we won’t be safe ’til everybody’s dead.”

  • Michael Stephenson

    Since you’re in Accra perhaps you can shed some light on this ARA Libertad situation? How and why is the Ghanaian government playing debt collector for vulture capitalists against a sovereign nations naval assets?

  • Adriana

    Here in Australia the ABC has just broadcast a 30-minute program on Israel’s fears about being nuked by Iran, and how Mossad-CIA have murdered Iranian scientists as part of their (apparently understandable if not admirable) attempt to slow Iran’s progress towards the bomb. Nothing but a piece of pro-Israel propaganda, but I won’t complain to the ABC because my last complaint along similar lines just got me a long answer about why I was wrong and how it’s OK to perpetuate the myth that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

  • Herbie

    This explains everything you need to know about how “politics” works today.

    Everything that is going on today is laid out here, the whys and wherefores etc:

    What isn’t mentioned is the enormous waste in life, environment and wealth, and all of it totally unnecessary. Its only function is to perpetuate the wealth and greed of small elites. To protect themselves, they construct a kind of protection racket. They will protect us from all these bogey men they’ve invented themselves, and the best bit is that in order to better protect us they must enslave us, for our own protection of course. We’re in the final stage of that now – total surveillance, stopping, checking, ludicrous laws, interning, division and rule through identity politics. You see, ultimately it’s we who are their real enemy. The rest are fictions to a purpose. We’re the real deal. Their only enemy.

  • JimmyGiro

    I blame ‘moral relativism’. If the people can’t tell a hawk from a heron, and arse from quim, then they are not going to have a grasp of the differences between right and wrong.

    Once education is subverted in this way, then bureaucracies can do and say what they want in broad daylight, and still claim to be leading a ‘democracy’; safe in the knowledge that the hoi palloi are emotionally attuned, yet intellectually disengaged.

  • Herbie


    If you blame moral relativism then you’re on the same page as Strauss and the neocons. His elite political philosophy in part outlined above is supposed to be an antidote to moral relativism, which he claimed was the end result of individualism.

    Really what he’s arguing is that individualism is dangerous for the many. They must be enslaved to myths and bogey men.

    The elite can do as they please so long as they maintain the myths in public. You’ll note that they’re not planning democracy anytime soon. That would be the antithesis of their philosophy.

    Who knows. When you look at the world and people and the ease with which they’re fooled and manipulated, perhaps the only answer for the knowing is to join them, as of course many have done.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Quite correct Herbie in your link which needs the central point exposed – here it is:

    Schmitt, Strauss, Yoo and all of the other boneheads who have adopted a crazed disconnection from reality are worshippers of “thanatos” … the “drive towards death” diagnosed by Freud and others. Many of them write lustfully about the beauty of the noble death on the battlefield.

    Sanity lies in reconnection with the beauty of the everyday: the beauty of nature, of lovers, of children, of community, of an intellectual insight, of a brilliant engineering breakthrough, of a life of service, of art, of quiet prayer and meditation.

  • kingfelix


    Strauss influenced Schmitt influenced the neocons.


    But it hardly explains why a particular sliver of the US elite choose to embrace those ideas, beyond ‘4% of the population are psychopaths.’

    It needs to go further back, anyway. There is analysis that, for example, states that WWII was not between the Allies and the Axis powers, but was a dispute over whether Germany or the US would replace Britain as the preeminent global power. Americans back then were already preparing for global dominance as soon as WWII wound down, forcing decolonization by the European Powers, etc. The Monroe Doctrine and America’s own wars against the Spanish and conquest of the Philippines, etc, all happened well before any of what that article states.

    Let me ask a counterfactual.

    Do you really think the US’ foreign policy would look that diferent today if Leo Strauss (and his ideas) had never reached the US?

    My bet is even without Strauss, even without 9/11, we’d be somewhere pretty near where we are today.

    As for the ‘external enemy’ being manufactured, that is often refereed to as Diocletian’s theory, PROBLEM->REACTION->SOLUTION
    and dates back thousands of years before Schmitt/Strauss etc.

  • Herbie

    In terms of the chronology question Strauss is a describer rather than an advocate. He’s much more philosophy than politics. The political practice of neoconism is carried out by the students of his students in the present time and since the early 90s as a definable movement. Rulers will have been acting as Princes and Philosopher kings for millenia of course. Strauss is bringing it together.

    This kind of stuff only becomes an issue in the 1930s as a big existential problem to be solved. Communism or Fascism. How do we deal with the masses, but it’s being thought about earlier with PR, and of course is there in the concept of the mob, throughout history.

    It’s difficult to see that America would be quite as it is today without Strauss’ students codifying the neocon practice in such a brutal manner. I don’t doubt that foreign policy would be the same as it is for all powerful countries, but I think the domestic situation would be very different and there would have been much less an attack on civil liberties. It has been quite a concerted and and well-informed attack that I suspect wouldn’t have been so successful had there not been some serious thinking behind it.

    I’d suggest there not much point in talking about Diocletian or Hegel’s dialectic in the abstract. Protection rackets and invented enemies works better in terms of communicating the idea.

  • Jay


    We are workers, we are homemakers, and family orientated.
    We are altruistic and we are good Samaritans.

    Trust me.

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