Militarism and the Populist Playbook 297

Why militarism is such a surefire winner for populists is an interesting question, to which the answer is probably an unpleasant reflection on human nature. Atavism and racism are the easiest way to political success, despite the demonstrably catastrophic consequences.

For an economically dominant power to allocate its resources under the influence of militarism, and then project the resulting capability for extreme violence on less wealthy or organised states, is the time-honoured way for populist politicins to satisfy the atavistic urge they have whipped up, while minimising the catastrophic consequences at home. UK military power is not for “defence” and has never been for “defence” since the formation of the UK. It is for the projection of military power abroad. The destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen are all, in varying degrees, the result of the application of UK military force on weaker states.

These countries were unable to offer any significant military response; the major cost to the UK of destroying them has been the cost of munitions, supply and pay. Costs in British servicemen injured or maimed has been terrible for the individuals concerned but politicians don’t care; indeed our casualties are unrelentingly put to the service of whipping up more jingoism and militarism. British killed and maimed is of course a tiny number compared to the killed or maimed which Britain has inflicted.

There are other costs, of course. Almost all the terrorism in the UK has been blowback terrorism from this destruction abroad. There have also been resultant refugee flows which have disturbed the political equilibrium of all of Europe. But remarkably neo-conservative politicians are able to fashion those consequences into arguments for us to invade and kill still more frequently abroad.

Johnson’s announcement of an extra £16 billion of defence spending will be wildly popular with his electoral base, who love a bit of jingoism. It will be wildly popular with his MPs, because nothing lines the pockets of politicians and their close business associates as reliably as “defence” spending – except for Covid spending, but that giant chance to plunder the public purse will run out soon. In a country that could not afford to feed school children, a country that starves asylum seekers and lets kids drown in the channel rather than take them in, £16 billion extra to blow up other countries is no problem.

It is four times the amount of new money the government pledged yesterday to tackle the actual existential threat of climate change. To be spent instead on tackling a pretend existential threat. The idea that Russia or China wants to invade the UK is an utter nonsense. Neither has any plans to do so, nor has ever had any plans to do so. The UK has not been at war with either Russia or China for 150 years. We are however doing our best to provoke conflict, with billions more going into avowedly offensive cyber capability targeted on Russia and China. You also do not have to be a devotee of Isaac Azimov to understand that the pouring of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into the specific purpose of designing artificial intelligence to kill people is not necessarily a good long term goal. The advantage of these areas of spending for Tories is of course that outcomes are nebulous and thus the scope for super-profits and for corruption is simply enormous.

As I said, militarism is a very successful part of the populist brand. You therefore have this vast waste of money on offensive military capability being hailed by Labour under Sir Keir Starmer, the right wing muppet who leads the UK’s laughingly titled opposition. You also have, not coincidentally, a defence paper published on Tuesday by the SNP which tries to outflank the Tories from the right in extreme Sinophobia and Russophobia and proposes continued operations from Scottish bases post_independence by both US and English armed forces.

With the ousting of the left from Labour and the astonishing rightward gallop of the SNP, there is currently no realistic route to oppose militarism available in the UK’s – or Scotland’s – so called democratic electoral system.


Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations


Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:

Account name
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9
Etherium/ERC-20: 0x764a6054783e86C321Cb8208442477d24834861a

Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

297 thoughts on “Militarism and the Populist Playbook

1 2 3
  • N_

    Good stuff from George Galloway:

    I will be entering #Scotland on Thursday to continue my home improvements on my new house in the borders. If fined I will not pay. @Alliance4Unity

    If I am caught crossing the border when it is supposedly closed, I shall take exactly the same attitude.

    This is the tweet that George pins to the top of his Twitter page:

    Thank you kindly. The good people of England made me feel at home for 37 years. 5 of my children were born here. Many English people came out to hear me speak. And two English cities elected me to Parliament – against all odds. They will never be foreigners to me.@Alliance4Unity

    What we dearly need is a popular front against fascism. Sometimes that has not been the right position to take, but it is now. If senior Scottish police officers have resisted the Hitlerite Scottish government’s efforts to close the border (I’m not sure whether they have, but they have certainly said they won’t enforce the Hitlerite border-closing decree), then THANK YOU to them as well.

    Has anyone here got contacts in Coldstream? I doubt there’s a single person in that town who supports the closure of the border, except perhaps one pasty-faced internet saddo, never seen without a “Freedom!” badge, who when he finds streaks in his underpants that he changes once a week curses the English for putting them there and who can’t get an item back from the dry cleaner’s without ranting about how an Englishman treated him with disdain in 1983.

    I haven’t got my head around the Alliance 4 Unity project yet. George seems to be speaking from the heart as well as using his head. All power to his elbow.

    • yesindyref2

      Well, N_, you won’t be surprised that the ranting claw-stretching hissing George Galloway hasn’t read the Scottish Government guidelines, as he has nothing to worry about concerning his property and its maintenance. That is OK, it’s specifically exempted from the travel restrictions:

      “travel to move home or for activities in connection with the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that a person owns or is otherwise responsible for”

      and the good folk of Coldstream where the border is on a bridge don’t need to worry either as there’s a large range of exemptions for which they qualify, particularly if within 5 miles. Contrary to your extraordinary claim, the border is not actually shut! Here you go, you too can get better informed:

    • Republicofscotland

      So Galloway will travel and intentionally put other peoples lives at risk, what a bloody reckless fool of a man, he’s not a key worker or exempt, why should he be allowed to travel when others are heeding the regulations. I hope he’s caught and fined and sent packing, who on earth would vote for such a reckless and inconsiderate man, hopefully this has put paid to his rag tag sack of carpetbaggers heading North to resurrect their failed political career in the name of the union.

      Stay Home George don’t be stupid.

  • Wikikettle

    Listening to the lyrics of the Kinks song Ape Man….Wanting to sail away to a distant shore… in Scotland, only to find the SNP it won’t leave NATO, run by a married couple, wanting British War ships and as Tory as can be. Lots of angry folk in Scotland wanting freedom from Westminster, and rightly so. BUT please sort out your currupt leadership and don’t replace Westminster with the EU and the European Central Bank.

    • Goose

      It’s a lot easier influencing/changing policy in an independent Scotland under a proportionate system, than it is waiting decades & decades for Westminster’s glacial change under FPTP.

      And Sturgeon may decide to resign after independence is achieved – so as to preserve her legacy by going in glory, at the height of her popularity.

      • Kempe

        ” Sturgeon may decide to resign after independence is achieved “

        Or she might go on a world tour riding on a flying pig.

        ” so as to preserve her legacy by going in glory, at the height of her popularity. “

        You think things could turn sour in Scotland post independence?

        • Goose

          You think things could turn sour in Scotland post independence?

          Could be a bumpy ride for a few years, yes.

          Look at Churchill’s removal and Labour’s landslide by a war-weary UK in 1945.

          • Goose

            Tory Daniel Hannan writes in the Telegraph:

            [Devolution] was designed to, as Labour’s then Scotland spokesman George Robertson put it in 1995, “kill nationalism stone dead”.

            Leading Tories can’t help themselves, Hannan condescending as ever. They find it hard to hide the fact they view the Scots & Scotland ‘as a problem that needs to be contained’ somehow, rather than equal partners in the union,as Ruth Davidson presents things. Snidey articles like Hannan’s always betray the true Tory thinking.

            Hannan argues that it’s only when Scots have to raise their own revenues will they fall out of love with the Nationalists. Imho , it’s far more likely the reasons for remaining in the UK at that point would seem utterly nonsensical. It’s only the Barnett formula, which, it could be argued is unfair to other regions of the UK, and the fact it functions like a bribe, that keeps the union together.

          • Kempe

            You wrote of Sturgeon going in glory, at the height of her popularity, which seemed to suggest you thought things would get worse, at least for her, immediately after independence.

            You’re right of course in that things could get ‘bumpy’ for a few years whilst the new nation sorts itself out. Let’s hope things don’t get as bumpy as they did in Ireland post-independence.

          • Glasshopper

            You won’t win Indyref3, the inevitable consequence of a 1-1 stalemate. Because Indyref3 will be voted on the actual deal rather than the Moon on a Stick fantasy promoted by the SNP and co in Indyref 1 & 2.

            And the deal will not in any way resemble the kind of “independence” imagined here. You are correct that it will be very “bumpy” between Indyref 2 and 3.

      • Republicofscotland

        “And Sturgeon may decide to resign after independence is achieved “

        Goose we want her gone long before that, for they’ll be no indyref whilst she and Murrell control the SNP, hopefully she’ll be gone for Christmas or the New Year, after having been proven to have broken the Ministerial Code.

          • Republicofscotland

            Oh I don’t know, there’s no PM at Holyrood to dismiss claims that she broke the Code, the inquiry is still live, and Sturgeon and Swinney are stalling for time.

      • N_

        “It’s a lot easier influencing/changing policy in an independent Scotland under a proportionate system”.

        What a cheap rhetorical technique, writing “it is a lot easier”. Such “positive thinking”, imagining your goal has already been achieved.

        There are many examples of supposedly “leftwing” people joining fascist nationalistic movements and hoping they’re going to have an influence once the said movements have gained power. Where do fascist movements tend to get a big chunk of their “base” from? Sometimes said movements have been entrenched in local administrations for a while too, such as the Nazis in Bavaria. Guess where the (former) supposedly “leftwing” people usually end up? One of two places: either they forget about being “leftwing” and avidly join in with the fingernail-pulling, or else they get rounded up. They don’t get allowed to exert a leftwing influence.

        This blog, for example, would be shut down in its present form within a few weeks of “independence”. Its author would probably be jailed, perhaps even killed.

        Any who genuinely think they would be in a stronger position to force a redistribution of wealth away from the bourgeoisie if the SNP were to get its own sovereign country are naive fools, suckers who are just being used. Political parties use suckers, yes, even in Scotland, land of heroes.

        The model is so close to the rise of Nazism that it hurts to recognise it. Out and out racist hatred is accepted among the fake leftwing types who back the SNP – as for example is well known to Manny Singh and George Galloway.

        “All work together for independence from foreign rule, then we’ll be able to make the place ever so leftwing afterwards” is total crap.

        Many areas of public administration in Scotland are already run by a corrupt thieving criminal fascist Party and they’d get stronger after independence, not weaker.

        • Squeeth

          A little over the top comrade, fascism, communism and bourgeois liberalism are three cheeks of the same arse. Never forget to include bourgeois liberalism.

  • Lee

    It is strange living in a world where neither populist nor progressive means anything like what they used to mean.

    Oh well, now that the fascists have taken up the name “populist”, and the corporate wall-streeters have taken the name “progressive”, I guess we’ll just have to come up with yet a couple of more names for a people-powered movement that puts people over profits.

    But, it is still strange to a veteran of a lot of people-based movements who were glad to call themselves “populist”, to start reading an article about ‘populists’ and then have to adjust to realizing that the author is talking about the fascists.

    Its a surreal world, but then again, that’s about where I came into this theater. Fortunately, I had training in my teens on how to deal with such a situation. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. The old magic still has power.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Yes, and then their’s “liberal” which now means bombing places to rubble.

    • PeeMer

      Yes that’s a very true point. It is particularly bizarre how nowadays the terms “left” and “progressive” has been appropriated by people who basically believe in deregulation, insecure working conditions and pursue a generally “divide and rule” philosophy with regard to social questions (or as they would put it a liberal economy, flexibility and identity).

      Of course “populism” have always had “leftist” and a “rightist” variants which were never quite the same as socialist or fascist. And whilst the terms fascism and racism have come to be almost interchangeable in meaning, during the 1930s whilst Nazism and Croatian fascism were extremely racist, Italian and in particular Spanish fascism were not racist.

      One very strange fact is that Nazi leaders, particularly after 1940, denounced the US as a mono-culture (as opposed, I guess, to a multi-culture). A strange world indeed. .

    • N_

      The political right has used the idea of “the people” for a long long time.
      There’s a great quote from Blanqui about this but I couldn’t find it.
      For “populist”, write “volkisch”.

  • Lee

    In the Sixties, the classic message was that poor whites and poor blacks had a lot in common and were usually spat upon and ripped off by the same people.

    Solidarity has always been a powerful lefty rallying cry.

    Now we see a world where the Establishment has obviously tried to destroy any notion of solidarity and divide the left into lots of tiny little camps. They’ve got everyone fighting each other, instead of fighting them.

    • Stevie Boy

      There’s no ‘easy’ cure once you allow your economy to be infected by the MIC.
      Jobs depend on wars, you want more jobs ? You need more wars. It’s a Catch 22.

      • N_

        Fact of the day: the medical-industrial complex is five times bigger than the military-industrial complex in both the US and Britain.
        But I’m not trying to direct attention away from the mil-ind complex. In any case they are working together and even fusing to some extent, in this epoch of what is essentially biological warfare. But every day in the media there are big stories placed by Big Pharma, the same way that a lot of the news is dominated by the aims of the mil-ind complex. A rule of thumb used to be that the Times was run by weapons and security interests, the Guardian by pharmaceutical interests. That made much more sense than talking about the Tories and Labour.

  • Republicofscotland

    So Auld Queen Lizzie had a plan to thwart Scottish independence if we voted yes in 2014.

    “As the Scottish National Party, under the leadership of Alex Salmond at the time, prepared its bid to break away from the Union in a 2014 vote, the Queen is said to have prepared an intervention. Lionel Barber, a Financial Times’ former editor, claims the Queen’s son Prince Andrew told him of his mother’s plans during lunch – one week before the referendum.”

    • Peter+Close

      So the Queen confided to Prince Andrew that she planned a radical breach of the constitution if she didn’t like the referendum result? Wouldn’t this be analogous to Don Corleone, or Michael, telling Fredo about the secret plan to overthrow all of the other Families?

    • N_

      The Daily Express is the pits! We all know about the “think very carefully” move that the monarch made. But who seriously thinks she did it off her own bat?

      Then two years later her involvement may even have tipped the balance for Leave in the Brexit referendum. It was on the front page of the Sun just before the vote. The winning margin was less than 4%. A case of “It was Her Maj wot won it”?

  • Celine

    You are absolutely right and very brave to criticise our ” glorious army”. Boris is just one more on the list of shameless politicians.

  • Alex Cox

    Excellent article. I have three notes…

    “Populist” doesn’t necessarily mean warmonger. Huey Long and Bernie Sanders were both populists, I think, and neither took pro-war positions. And even the “populist” currently in the White House hasn’t started any new major wars and has tried, half-heartedly, to end a couple, only to be thwarted by the bipartisan consensus.

    Wasn’t Britain part of the expeditionary force which invaded Russia at the end of WW1, to stamp out Bolshevism? That would be an act of war against Russia, committed 102, rather than 150, years ago.

    The SNP’s extremely right-wing position regarding independence is akin to the Catalans’. For better or for worse, the Catalan independence movement is a right wing one, whose foreign policy includes membership of NATO.

    Thank you for making me think three new thoughts before breakfast!

    • Kempe

      The British also supplied material aid to the Finns during their war against Russia in 1939. There was a plan to send 100,000 British troops but the war ended before it could be put into operation.

      • Bayard

        “their war against Russia”

        Nicely put, neatly obscuring the fact that it was the Soviets that attacked Finland, not the other way around.

        • bevin

          Nicely put yourself, neatly obscuring the fact that Finland allied with Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 and continued its attacks-in alliance with the Nazis- until, in September 1944, the end was nigh.
          Finland was largely responsible for the siege of Leningrad which lasted more than 800 days and the deaths of about 1.5 million.

          • Kempe

            Finland wanted it’s annexed territory back. No surprise they were prepared to enter into an alliance with anyone who could help.

          • Bayard

            “Nicely put yourself, neatly obscuring the fact that Finland allied with Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 “

            Completely ignoring the fact that that was two years after the USSR attacked Finland without even bothering to declare war.

            “Finland was largely responsible for the siege of Leningrad which lasted more than 800 days and the deaths of about 1.5 million.”

            That’s a long way from Finland. Weren’t there some Germans involved? also Italians, Romanians and Hungarians. Funny that Finns aren’t mentioned in the Wikipedia article. You’d better get editing. Don’t forget your sources!

          • Bramble

            Oh, the modern view is that fascism, being nationalist, business friendly and supported by bankers, was not nearly as bad as communism. That threatens the main pillar of our society, the rule of the elite and the maintenance of the corporatist, war economy, and so is the ultimate evil. Since Russia is now just as much a neoliberal economy as the USA, the (neo)liberal “progressives” have had to rechristen it “authoritarian” instead, and accordingly apply the term liberally to other states which they deem “enemies”. This is amusing, as it has gone along with the election in certain western democracies of nationalist demagogues who utterly lack any kind of authority, moral or otherwise.

          • N_

            The official Finnish position is to refer to the “Continuation War”, a case of “I’m not lying to you” or “the lady doth protest too much”.

        • Squeeth

          Lots of things that happened in eastern Europe in the late thirties had their origins in the dissolution of the Tsarist empire. “The Finns” suppressed the local communists by the usual methods; the bourgeois regime could hardly claim foul when they got a taste of their own medicine. In 1944-45 they got off lightly.

      • lysias

        There were also Anglo-French plans in 1939-40 for a bombing campaign against the Soviet oil industry in Baku and the Caucasus (Operation Pike) that were stymied by the collapse of France and the capture by the Germans of Allied plans.

    • BrianFujisan


      The SNP are NOT the Wider Independence Movement… We, the people of Scotland are.

      Stay safe

  • FranzB

    CM – “Almost all the terrorism in the UK has been blowback terrorism from this destruction abroad. ”

    You sort of wonder about that. The canary has a story about a spy cop who worked for the SDS who encouraged some trade unionists to fire bomb a charity shop. Apparently the charity shop was run by an MI6 asset who was an Italian fascist suspected of being involved in the Bologna bombing. Question is why was a spy cop trying to set up trade unionists to fire bomb this MI6 asset? See story – Jeremy Corbyn wanted this fascist deported, but the then Tory government weren’t interested.

    • Pyewacket

      Franz, it elicits further curiosity to consider that in most, so called, UK Terrorist incidents, involving a tragic loss of life, going back to 7/7, the perpetrators have almost all been known to the security people, no doubt on first name terms in some cases. The killer of the soldier Lee Rigby, and the Libyan responsible for the Manchester Arena bombing are both good examples, but these connections, although often revealed, never get discussed any further, and there will never be any public scrutiny achieved through judge led Inquiries or Inquests. Kind of makes you wonder if Operation Gladio was just an earlier exercise in what we are seeing now ?

  • M.J.

    “There must be no bullying and no harassment. But if you do it, and are useful to me, I will back you up.” Foreword to a code for Ministers

  • N_

    The “defence review”, i.e. the decision on what long-term multibillion pound weapons contracts the government should sign, has been a major factor in high-level British politics for a few years now. It has never been reported in the media as such.

    Dominic Cummings was given a role in it last July.

    I doubt Cummings has really been sacked. The line about “Princess Nut Nuts” was bullsh*t. One minute’s clear thought is enough to show that Carrie Symonds has very little influence. Indeed she is probably not even still in a personal relationship with Boris Johnson. [*]

    No formal announcement of Cummings’s leaving his job, or of the acceptance of his resignation, has been made. No letters between him and Boris Johnson. Nothing. All we’ve had is a photo of him looming in a doorway with a richly-lit room behind as twilight falls outside, then walking away carrying a cardboard box.

    Clearly SOMEONE is giving SOMEONE ELSE to believe that Cummings has been removed from CERTAIN responsibilities. And indeed he may have been. After all he was told to p*iss off where HS2 was concerned. The responsibilities he has been removed from may be related to the defence review (which is huge but minor compared with “medical”, although in any case they are twining together.)


    (*) In June 2019, the line was that “The truth is that (Boris and Carrie) love each other very much [awww how sweet! – N_ note…no wait, this is Shagger we’re talking about…] and (they) want to get married as soon as the time is right.” Always be on your guard when you hear the words “the truth is”. When they said “as soon as the time is right”, they presumably meant “once he is divorced from his present wife”, because he was still married to Marina Wheeler at that time. (That’s the first time I’ve heard of an engagement being announced when one of the parties is married to somebody else.) Boris Johnson used to carry two passports, including even when he was British Foreign Secretary (!), but there is no suggestion he was ever an intending bigamist. They announced their “engagement” when Carrie got up the duff. That was the point of the announcement. Later he paid off his wife and his divorce seems to have been finalised in May 2020. So when will the “time be right” for his third marriage, to the assumed mother of his ?th child? Willl they leave it until their son follows in his dad’s footsteps and “volunteers” on the kind of occupied territory called a “kibbutz”? Rumour has it Carrie long ago gave him Shagger his marching orders, that she stays in Camberwell, and that no marriage will be forthcoming. He’s too busy shagging violinists – or “spilling wine on the sofa” in media speak.

    • N_

      The line that Carrie Symonds was a key influence in the appointment of Allegra Stratton is probably false as it stands but although I don’t believe Symonds has much power the line is nonetheless interesting and revealing, which puts it in the category of “disinformation”. (Much disinformation is largely true, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to know in which respects it is true!)

      Which weapons and other commercial interests own the biggest shares in Allegra Stratton? The same question could be asked about leading journalists such as Statton’s mate Robert Peston, or Laura Kuenssberg, or for that matter about permanent secretaries in the civil service, but don’t ever expect this kind of thing to be asked in the media or by any faction in an important political party.

      Also one has to force oneself to keep an open mind, and it may be of relevance that Carrie’s dad seems to be in with Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle.

      But it is almost certain that “Nut Nuts” is a propaganda element, designed to direct attention (or “gaze” would be a better word than “attention”) away from what is important. Ditto the cardboard box.

  • Carl

    Populist is the Economist and Guardian’s preferred term for anything that deviates from their emaciated liberal centre ground politics; a politics defined by austerity, neoliberal globalization, and aggressive policing of the world. Corbyn and Sanders, worse even than being anti-Semites, were both populists. Mercifully both were easily dispatched, replaced by good non-populists — Corbyn by a ‘forensic’ cipher of the security state, Sanders by a decrepit cipher of the credit card industry. Clearly the non-populists have won the battle of ideas.

    • Ken Kenn

      Clearly the non-populists have won the battle of ideas.

      The interesting thing is that the non populists themselves don’t have any ideas ( of their own) but their role/purpose and incomes derive from- stopping people with ideas gaining any traction in society or the media in general.

      The Guardian and many parts of the BBC are very good at ‘ covering’ a movement or a political/economic theory but note carefully that they will never discuss anything deeply in front of a large audience.

      Even if they lower themselves to do so any debate/discussion the debate is highly parameterised and of course the best propaganda – the things you are not allowed to see

      You can’t discuss something you don’t know about can you?

      No discussion in front of the children – might give them ideas.

      This is the role of the Centrists.

      The funny thing is that the same people have a go at Brexiters for being nostalgia freaks.

      Blairism in 2020 – will it work?

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “Clearly the non-populists have won the battle of ideas.”

      Well their ideas are all over the BBC and Guardian etc. but is that the same thing?

    • Squeeth

      Liberal doesn’t mean centrist, it means far right; Neo-liberal means neo-fascist (far right).

  • laguerre

    There’s been a lot of discussion on this thread about how populism doesn’t actually mean right-wing politicians offering simplistic popular solutions which can’t really be achieved. That may be true, but it would be more correct to say that the meaning of the word has slid, and that today it does mean precisely that. What in ancient Athens was called demagoguery, but that word is no longer of the moment. So what, language changes.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “So what, language changes.”

      Does anybody make an organised effort to bring about such changes for a political purpose?

      • laguerre

        Yes, of course that’s part of it, e.g. Australia deal, but not all. It’s a question of how you denominate a phenomenon. What is wrong is to attempt to keep a language static, as the Brits seem to think the Académie Française does (though in fact it doesn’t in practice).

    • Stevie Boy

      And the wicked witch will soon be back in business, thanks to sleepy Joe.
      The peoples of Syria, Iran and N Korea can expect more state orchestrated genocide thanks to the new regime.

        • Wikikettle

          Laguerre. Max Blumenthal of Grayzone, has detailed the people who will be running the Biden foreign policy. Most are from the Obama Clinton administration and interventionist think tanks. I agree that Clinton and Rice would have great difficulty with passing the Senate selection hearings. However their policies would would be the same if not the old names.

          • laguerre

            So some people who are somewhat like Clinton, and apparently incapable of adapting to new circumstances. That’s my view – that things have changed since 2016, and even known warmongers (rather than people ready to follow orders in order to advance their careers) may not be situated to launch wars. John Bolton didn’t get a lot of wars launched, and a greater warmonger than he is difficult to imagine.

  • Patrick Hertel

    I believe it’s time for you to read “The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism” by Thomas Frank and find out what populism is (and is not)

  • Wikikettle

    Ireland is not in NATO but still not Independent of the European Central Bank. Sanctions against Russia and Iran have made these countries more self sufficient and Independent. Its madness that you can buy a fish in Waitrose, fish farmed in the Pacific. It was significant that the luxury cars got even more bigger before the Crash and the Wars. As you sow, so shall you reap.

  • Jan Wiklund

    [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    Well, the arch-populist Donald Trump really promised to end the wars and take home the soldiers. Apparently he thought that that was an election winner. That he finally didn’t end the wars is another matter – he kept rather quiet about it, and he wouldn’t if he had thought that people really wanted wars.

    Not even the Germans wanted wars in the 30s. When the tanks begun to roll the Nazis were appalled about the lack of enthusiasm among the German people.

    So I think only the arms industry is happy about wars. The US practically has no other industry. That’s why they are belligerent.

    • N_

      The US does have other parts of its economy than weapons:

      * drugs (legal and illegal),
      * commercial sex,
      * protection rackets (“insurance” and “security”),
      * lies (media, films, TV, advertising),
      * landlordism,
      * loansharking, and
      * gambling.

      Other than that, it hasn’t got much.

      The whole gun culture in the US relates – in fantasy land, it might be said, but “In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false” (Debord) – to the interface between war and a kind of cultural populism. To look through one window at it: the ideas of “preppers” differ greatly between the US and say Britain. All preppers know about “bugging out”, but in Britain there isn’t the same “turn your house into a fortress and shoot anybody who comes close” attitude. Few preppers in Britain keep firearms. A few gun nuts may be into prepping because they think it goes with keeping a gun, but I don’t count them as serious preppers. In the US guns and looking forward to shooting loads of people as if playing a sicko video game are an intrinsic part of it. Which is not to say that most US gun owners would be able to last long in a real war. As soon as a blast put in their windows, they’d have to make sure they didn’t get down on the carpet too quickly because they might hurt their beer guts!

      Regarding Trump and war, what might he do in that department before he leaves office? And that soon becomes more complicated than what one failed former casino owner might do before he gets removed from the White House.

      There have been some naval incidents between the US and Russia. One was when a US warship entered Russian waters and the Russian navy had to threaten to ram it to get it out. That was near the Russian border with North Korea.

      The big hot war at the moment is Turkish-backed Azerbaijan versus Armenia. Trump has business connections in Baku. However, if he wants to shove his head further up Erdogan’s fundament he may find that Putin has already taken up residence there. Horrendous crimes are being committed against Armenians right now.

      Israel has armed Azerbaijan. They also want Turkey to be able to move its forces into Nakhichevan. The Zionist-controlled “foreign policy” press is already jumping up and down celebrating how putting another part of the Caucasus into the Turkish sphere of influence is a smack in the face for Iran.

      Many Daesh scumbags fresh out of Syria have also been fighting on the Turkish/Azeri side.

      • N_

        Interesting article on a London Stock Exchange-registered company connected with John Sanunu, George W Bush’s former chief of staff, that mines gold along the Armenian-Azeri border. Leading company figures seem to have “known in advance” of the Azeri attack on Artsakh.

  • PeeMer

    Whilst I get the point of Roisin Lanner’s Tiktok video, quite a few of the countries shown on it as having been invaded by Britain are a little far-fetched !

    • N_

      A lot could be said about the role of the City of London, which financed the British empire… (Westminster is a distraction 😉 .)

  • N_

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said some strange stuff yesterday to the Commons Select Committee on Defence about Dominic Cummings’s support for what he called the “defence settlement”.

    What I will say is that Dominic Cummings was actually a big supporter of this defence settlement and that shouldn’t be underestimated. A number of people recognise this is an anxious time in the future stability of the globe and he was a supporter, alongside a number of others in Number 10, of giving defence a settlement.

    As opposed to nobody in Number 10 supporting it? I mean the British government is supposed to be centralised. Was there some kinda question mark over the prime minister’s commitment to allowing the British state a “defence settlement”? Is Ben saying Boris has got snow on his boots?

    The very word “settlement” practically gives up the pretence that this isn’t commercial.

    Meanwhile…the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia (in which, unusually in international wars, there is undeniably a good side, namely Armenia) looks as though it could turn into a war between Turkey and Russia.

    Azerbaijan has been using white phosphorus weapons to burn forests in which Armenian civilians have been hiding.

  • Steeve Greene

    “You also have, not coincidentally, a defence paper published on Tuesday”

    Don’t you mean not UNcoincidentally?

    UK are pikers compared to the US.

1 2 3

Comments are closed.