December 2017

Mark Weber – Institute for Historical Review

This past year has been another busy and productive one for us. But we’ve also had to deal with new problems caused by bigoted groups that want to shut us down ... In 2017 we organized five meetings here in southern California. Over the years these educational gatherings have helped make the IHR an important networking center for like-minded people in the region ... Over the past year I’ve conducted numerous broadcast interviews with US and overseas media, appearing as a guest on radio and television broadcasts to talk about topical and historical issues. Most of these were with global television broadcasters that reach vast numbers of viewers.

Associated Press

President Donald Trump frequently casts his first year in office as a string of successes and campaign promises fulfilled. But less than a quarter of Americans think Trump has made good on the pledges he made to voters while running for president, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Among Republicans, just half say Trump has kept his promises ... As 2017 comes to a close, the majority of Americans painted a broadly pessimistic view of Trump’s presidency, the nation’s politics and the overall direction of the country. Just three in ten Americans said the United States is heading in the right direction, and 52 percent said the country is worse off since Trump became president ...

Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The United States, one of the world’s richest nations and the “land of opportunity”, is fast becoming a champion of inequality, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston. Entrenched poverty will be made far worse by policies being proposed by the Trump Administration, warned Philip Alston in a statement after a two-week fact-finding mission to California, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as Puerto Rico. “The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion, as the United States now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries,” said the independent human rights expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to look at poverty and human rights in countries around the world.

Philp Alston

... The United States is one of the world’s richest and most powerful and technologically innovative countries; but neither its wealth nor its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty ... US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world; Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives, compared to people living in any other rich democracy, and the “health gap” between the US and its peer countries continues to grow; US inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries; ... The US has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world; In terms of access to water and sanitation the US ranks 36th in the world; America has the highest incarceration rate in the world ...

B. Anderson - Fresno Bee (California)

Suicides, alcohol poisoning – and drug overdoses fueled in part by the opioid crisis – are the leading causes of rising death rates among white people in California, according to a new study that found the trend is widespread in rural areas of the state. Generally, death rates for people of color remain higher than for whites, but the study released by The California Endowment said death rates have been decreasing among blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders in California and are increasing for whites ... The deaths are a result of “when people feel a sense of loss and feel like they don’t belong,” Reyes said ... According to the new study: Death rates from drug overdoses doubled between 1995 and 2014 among young and middle-aged whites in California; ... The rate of suicides among middle-aged whites increased by 37 percent after 2000.

The Times of Israel

Israel and the United States have secretly signed a far-reaching joint memorandum of understanding providing for full cooperation to deal with Iran’s nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities, an Israeli TV report said. The document was signed on December 12 at the White House, culminating intensive talks between representatives of the major Israeli and American intelligence and defense hierarchies, headed by the US and Israeli national security advisers, H. R. McMaster and Meir Ben-Shabbat, respectively, the Channel 10 report said Thursday. Citing both American and Israeli officials, the report said the document is designed to translate into “steps on the ground” the positions set out by US President Donald Trump in his October 13 speech on Iran, in which he decertified the Iran nuclear deal.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

We are concerned by recent strident and stark public statements from key members of your Administration that paint Iran in very alarmist terms ... The depiction of Iran as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” is not supported by the facts ... Thirteen of the 14 Muslim Groups identified by the US intelligence community as actively hostile to the US are Sunni, not Shia, and are not supported by Iran ... Official pronouncements on critical national security matters need to be based on facts. Hyperbole in describing Iran’s terrorist activities can be counterproductive. For this reason, we call attention to Ambassador Nikki Haley’s recent statement that it is hard to find a “terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it.” The truth is quite different.

Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

... There was no congressional vote or pick-a-side public debate about attacking Syria with missiles or sending American troops to fight there. Yet last April, President Trump fired 59 tomahawk missiles at regime targets in Syria. And today, roughly 2,000 American troops are fighting ISIS in the country ... If the Trump administration adhered to the Constitution, Congress would have had to vote on whether or not to allow missile strikes against the regime — it declined to grant President Obama such permission when he sought it in 2013 — and whether U.S. troops will stay in Syria indefinitely ... The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune came closer to the mark when putting the impetus on all lawmakers to end their unseemly cowardice.

Charley Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them ... One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 235 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country ... Don't you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

Reuters

Turkey told U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday [Dec. 21] he could not buy its support in a United Nations vote on Jerusalem, and said the world should teach the United States a “very good lesson” by resisting U.S. pressure. Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that support a draft U.N. resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in Ankara U.N. member states should not let their decision in Thursday’s vote at the U.N. General Assembly be dictated by money. “Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars,“ he said.

IRNA (Iran)

The decision by the US President Donald Trump to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Holy Quds [Jerusalem] was a major mistake that cannot be explained from any strategic point of view, an American political theoretician said. John Mearsheimer said that it was a 'fundamental mistake' for Trump to declare that he was going to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Holy Quds city to recognize it as the capital of Zionist regime of Israel ... 'It was a major mistake, and huge numbers of foreign policy experts in the United States think that he made a major mistake,' said the American expert speaking at the University of Tehran on Monday [Dec. 11] ... Mearsheimer ... is the co-author of a book titled 'The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy'. The book made the New York Times bestsellers and has been translated into 19 languages.

VPRO (Netherlands)

Eye-opening Dutch television documentary on the power of the pro-Israel Lobby in the US, with stress on the impact of the "Israel Lobby" paper by professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Made by the Netherlands public television association VPRO, and broadcast on Tegenlicht (“Backlight"). Includes interviews with John Mearsheimer, Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to Secy. of State Colin Powell), John Hagee (cofounder of Christians United for Israel), Richard Perle, and Tony Judt (historian). Runtime: 52 mins.

Dr. Daud Abdullah - Middle East Monitor

... The General Assembly’s vote [Dec. 21] against President Trump’s decision on Jerusalem was a victory for the rule of law over the law of the jungle. It now leaves both the US and Israel isolated, disgraced and humiliated. Washington’s threat to cut aid to countries that voted not to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was an insult to the UN and a vicious assault on the sovereign rights of its members ... People around the world are simply tired of their arrogance and unethical conduct. As it stands, Trump’s threat is consistent with a long-standing policy of US blackmail and intimidation exerted within the UN to further Israel’s illegal claims. It was no different from the threats issued to impoverished nations to extract the controversial UN Partition Resolution 181 in 1947.

Dylan Matthews – Vox

Thousands of historians, economists, sociologists, and other researchers have spent more than 80 years trying to make sense of the Nazi Party’s sudden rise to power. The standard explanation is that German voters flocked to the party in Germany in 1932 and 1933 in response to the pain of the Great Depression, which conventional parties proved unable to end ... A new paper by a team of economic historians focuses on another culprit: austerity ... While the authors don't give a definitive answer, they note that the Nazis ran on an anti-austerity platform, complementing their hypernationalist and anti-Semitic themes. They promised tax breaks, to "maintain the social insurance system," to secure "a generous expansion of support for the aged," and to expand investment in highways.

William N. Grigg

In August 1914, Europe's major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon ... With Christmas approaching, the scattered and infrequent gestures of goodwill across enemy lines increased ... In a sense, the war itself was being waged within an extended family, since both Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II and England's King George V were grandsons of Queen Victoria ... Numerous accounts in letters and journals attest to the fact that on Christmas 1914, German and English soldiers played soccer on the frozen turf of No Man's Land ... The informal truce held through Christmas and, at some points along the Front, through the following day (known as "Boxing Day" to British troops). But before New Year's Day the war had resumed in all of its malignant fury, and the suicide of Christendom continued apace.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

A new ruling in Jewish law permitting a specific genetic test to be used as proof of Jewish descent for certain Ashkenazi Jews is being promoted as a possible solution for potentially hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens from the former Soviet Union (FSU) having difficulty proving their Jewish status. The ruling comes from Rabbi Yosef Carmel, who is both co-head of the Eretz Hemdah Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies and a senior rabbinical judge ... According to the rabbi, experts in Jewish genealogy and history have determined that fully 40 percent of all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from just four Jewish women who left the Middle East over 1,000 years ago and settled in Europe ... He also avers that there is “no such thing as a Jewish gene,” explaining that the mitochondrial genetic test simply determines ancestry, not Jewishness.

Alexander Beider - Forward

... Since the late 19th century, the so-called “Khazarian theory” has promoted the idea that a bulk of Ashkenazic Jews living in Eastern Europe descended from medieval Khazars, a semi-nomadic Turkic people who founded a powerful polyethnic state in the Caucasus and north to the Caspian, Azov and Black seas. The theory received a boost with the 1976 publication of “The Thirteenth Tribe,” a book by Arthur Koestler ... No direct historiographical data is available to connect the Jews who lived in Eastern Europe in the 14th century with their co-religionists from the 10th-century Khazaria ... Globally speaking, all arguments suggested by proponents of Khazarian theory are either highly speculative or simply wrong. They cannot be taken seriously. This has never stopped the theory from being popular.

Associated Press

Israel has announced it is leaving UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] citing the U.N. cultural agency's "systematic attacks" on the Jewish state. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Friday that the decision was based on the organization's "attempts to disconnect Jewish history from the land of Israel." He said the official letter of departure will be submitted before the year's end and that Israel will leave the organization by the end of 2018. Earlier this year the U.S said it will withdraw from UNESCO, also at that time, citing similar reasons. Israel has long complained of perceived anti-Israel bias within the U.N., where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

AFP

... Palestinian Christians still say Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is spoiling their Christmas. In Bethlehem, thousands plan to celebrate on Sunday and Monday, including the Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, built on the site considered the birthplace of Jesus ... The irony that American Christian support is one of the driving factors in Trump’s embassy move is not lost on Palestinian Christians. They see their fate as part of the wider Palestinian community, which views Israel’s occupation as the largest problem they face ... Palestinians from the West Bank, including Christians, need special permits to visit Jerusalem, while the Jewish state has built a wall surrounding most of the city.

S. Pruitt - History Channel / A+E

... Setting aside politics, what’s the history behind the different greetings? How did a simple salutation get so controversial? Much like “Merry Christmas,” it turns out that “Happy Holidays” also has religious roots ... As for “holiday,” the word emerged in the 1500s as a replacement of the earlier medieval word “haliday,” which itself had supplanted the Old English “haligdæg,” meaning holy day ... By the middle of the 20th century, the phrase was well established in popular usage ... A 1937 ad proclaimed: “A gift of Camels says, ‘Happy Holidays and Happy Smoking!’” Other ads from the 1930s and early 1940s stuck to “Season’s Greetings,” but all featured jolly, grinning Santa Clauses, reindeer, Christmas trees and other recognizable Christmas symbols.

Associated Press

President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital looms large in Christmas festivities this year in the traditional birthplace of Jesus ... Bethlehem also offers a stage for a Palestinian rebuttal: Banners proclaiming Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine have been draped over facades on Manger Square as a backdrop for Christmas TV broadcasts to a global audience. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is keenly felt -- perhaps even more so at Christmas -- in Bethlehem, just a few miles south of contested Jerusalem ... The vast majority of Palestinians are Muslims, but Abbas -- like the late Yasser Arafat -- values close ties with the Christian minority, regularly attending Christmas Eve Mass at the Church of the Nativity, which is broadcast live.

Donald Neff

On March 16, 1957, Israel withdrew under unrelenting United States pressure from all the territory it had occupied in the Sinai peninsula during its invasion of Egypt less than five months earlier ... Eisenhower sent a forceful note to [Israeli premier] Ben-Gurion to withdraw. Again Ben-Gurion refused. At the same time, the influence of Israel's supporters became intense. The White House was besieged by efforts to halt its pressure on the Jewish state ... Ike did not depend only on words. While he expressed his principled position in public, privately that same day he sent a stern message to Ben-Gurion warning of punitive actions if Israel did not withdraw ... America and Eisenhower emerged from the crisis with enhanced moral authority and prestige around the world.

BBC News

In Japan at Christmas time there is one song that choirs across the country sing. It's Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and one choir of 10,000 people is getting ready for their performance. So how did this piece of music become tradition in Japan?

The Telegraph (Britain)

The famous First World War football match of the Christmas Day truce started after a ball was kicked from the British lines into No Man's Land. The disclosure emerged in a previously-unseen letter describing the famous match. Staff sergeant Clement Barker sent the letter home four days after Christmas 1914 when the British and German troops emerged from their trenches in peace. He described how the truce began after a German messenger walked across No Man's Land on Christmas Eve to broker the temporary cease-fire agreement. British soldiers went out and recovered 69 dead comrades and buried them.

Video

A postwar British report on Christmas in 1942 Germany, at home and on the front, using wartime German newsreel footage. Runtime: 53 secs.

Max Abrahms, John Glaser – Los Angeles Times

... The rollback of Islamic State must come as a shock to the chorus of journalists and analysts who spent years insisting that such progress would never happen without toppling the regime of Bashar Assad — which is, of course, still standing. A cavalcade of opinion makers long averred that Islamic State would thrive in Syria so long as Assad ruled because the Syrian Arab Army was part of the same disease ... But these popular arguments were, to put it mildly, empirically challenged. The case for regime change in Damascus was reminiscent of the one cooked up for Baghdad in 2003: ... The notion that Assad “won’t fight” Islamic State was always wrong. The notion that “defeating Islamic State also requires defeating Bashar Assad” was, likewise, always wrong.

RT News

Facing a wave of anti-Israeli protests, the German police have introduced additional measures to stop any outbreaks of anti-Semitism. They have even banned taking US and Israeli flags to rallies to prevent them from being burned. “Any dangerous objects as well as the US and Israeli flags are not allowed at the demo,” the Berlin police wrote in a Twitter post ahead of a pro-Palestinian rally on Friday ... However, these were not the only measures introduced by the police in an attempt to stop what it sees as growing anti-Semitic sentiments at the rallies that have swept the German capital following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel ... “No offensive utterances would be tolerated,” the police also warned.

Philip Giraldi

The unfortunate Donald Trump Administration decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel serves no visible American interest, in spite of what some of the always-loyal-to-Israel punditry has been suggesting ... The evolving situation is likely to develop into Israel and the United States versus the rest of the world ... The truth about Israel is quite unpleasant, so it has been necessary to construct a completely untrue but compelling counter-narrative which relies psychologically on cultivation of claims of perpetual victimhood linked repeatedly to the holocaust.

The Hill (Washington, DC)

President Trump’s low approval rating has made him the least popular first-year president on record, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll released Saturday. The survey shows the president's approval rating sitting at 32 percent, while 67 percent disapprove. Trump's approval rating has remained steady in the poll from September, but is down ten points from March. Another AP-NORC poll conducted this month found strongly pessimistic attitudes among Americans toward the president in his first year in office. Only three in ten Americans polled said the U.S. is headed in the right direction, while 52 percent said the country is worse off since Trump entered office in January.

The Associated Press

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to denounce President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, largely ignoring Trump's threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him. The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem "null and void" was approved 128-9 — a victory for the Palestinians, but not as big as they predicted. Amid Washington's threats, 35 of the 193 U.N. member nations abstained and 21 were absent. The resolution, sponsored by Yemen and Turkey, reaffirmed what has been the United Nations' stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem's final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians ... The United States and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the measure ...

Associated Press

Ahead of a dramatic vote at the United Nations on Thursday, the United States made an unprecedented threat to fellow members of the international community: those who vote against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital risk diplomatic retaliation and losing American financial aid. But when the dust settled, the biggest recipients of American aid — most of them Muslim or Arab countries — rejected the threat, leaving the White House facing a tricky dilemma as it plots a course forward for the Middle East. Key Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia, all banded together against the US ... The three most important countries in Europe — Britain, France and Germany — all voted against the U.S. on Thursday. That could signal trouble if the U.S. seeks European support for its peace plan down the road.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... What was Haley’s motive in indicting Iran? Was this part of a new propaganda campaign to drum up support for America’s next big Mideast war? There are reasons to think so ... We started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. NATO started the war in Libya. The U.S. helped trigger the horrific Syrian civil war by arming “rebels.” Only when President Bashar Assad looked like he was about to fall did Russia and Iran intervene on his side ... Are we now to fight a new Mideast war against a larger enemy than any of the others we have fought, to clean up the bloody mess we made of the region by our previous military interventions? Before we march, with Haley as head cheerleader, Trump should consider the likely consequences for his country, the Middle East, and his presidency.

Eric Margolis

... A trove of recently declassified Cold War documents reveals the astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990 ... The Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were shamelessly lied to and deceived by the United States, Britain, and their appendage, NATO. All the western powers promised Gorbachev and Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand eastward by ‘one inch’ if Moscow would pull the Red Army out of East Germany and allow it to peacefully reunify with West Germany ... Now, with NATO forces on its western borders, Russia’s deepest fears have been realized ... Instead of carrying on about Hitler’s duplicity after Munich, we should look at our own shameless behavior after 1990.

Reuters

Austria is set to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government after the anti-immigration Freedom Party and Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives struck a coalition deal to share power almost equally ... Kurz, who is just 31, and Freedom Party (FPO) leader Heinz-Christian Strache announced their deal on Friday night, handing the far right a share of power for the third time in the Alpine republic, after more than a decade in opposition. The FPO will take control of much of Austria’s security apparatus, in charge of the foreign, interior and defense ministries. The People’s Party (OVP) led by Kurz will control the powerful finance ministry as well the justice and agriculture portfolios.

Haaretz (Israel) and DPA

Shortly after the new right-leaning Austrian government was sworn into office on Monday, officials have announced a number of trust-building steps they will take in order to improve relations with Israel and the Jewish people ... According to the new Austrian government’s work plans, they will give citizenship to the relatives of Austrian victims of the Holocaust ... Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that the plan would grant approximately 200 thousand people with Austrian citizenship, adding that not all of those eligible would necessarily be interested in this option ... On Monday, Strache repeated his announcement regarding his commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism ... The government's work plan also added that Austria recognizes Israel as "a Jewish state" and supports Israel's security interests.

JTA

A professor emeritus from an esteemed university in the Netherlands whose father was a Nazi called Jews “parasites” in a televised interview. Jan Tollenaere, a lecturer on medicinal chemistry who retired from the Utrecht University in 2001, also questioned the historical record on the Holocaust in an interview aired Thursday by the Canvas broadcaster in Belgium about children of Nazi collaborators. Tollenaere, whose father, Raymond, was in charge of propaganda for the Belgian pro-Nazi collaborationist government of Flanders during the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, said Jews “are not a nice people, I don’t feel any warmth toward them.” They are, he added, “parasites, speculators and mean people.”

Eric Margolis

The US has maintained the fiction for decades of being an even-handed mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. This week, President Donald Trump finally junked this tired, old canard by agreeing to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from its current headquarters in Tel Aviv. There was huge symbolism in this move that met with universal condemnation. It means the US is abandoning any chance of a two-state solution, which was the original UN plan for Palestine. Henceforth, Palestinians will subsist in a Jewish unitary state as a powerless, restive underclass. Washington is violating international law, the 1993 Oslo Accords, and countless UN resolutions ... Trump is surrounded by ardent Greater Israel supporters in Washington and New York that include his immediate family, and so-called ‘advisors’ from the extreme far right.

Reuters

The United States was further isolated on Monday over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital when it blocked a United Nations Security Council call for the declaration to be withdrawn. The remaining 14 council members voted in favour of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem." "What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said after the vote, adding that it was the first veto cast by the United States in more than six years.

L. Morris - The Washington Post

... The Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there has provoked widespread opposition among Christians across the Middle East ... The pope of the Egyptian Coptic Church, who leads the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East, has called off a scheduled meeting with Pence in Cairo. The Chaldean Church in Iraq warned this week that the White House move on Jerusalem risks sparking regional violence and extremism and demanded that the Trump administration respect U.N. resolutions on the city. In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, which is about 12 percent Christian and is a scheduled stop on Pence’s tour, religious leaders turned off the city’s Christmas tree lights last week to protest the White House announcement.

Patrick Cockburn – The Independent (Britain)

President Trump and the Israeli government will have foreseen and discounted a Palestinian “day of rage” and protests among Muslims everywhere in the wake of the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move its embassy there. They assume that this will all blow over because US allies such as the rulers of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt will be satisfied with pro-forma protests, and the Palestinians are too weak to do anything except demonstrate ineffectively. The US and Israel could be miscalculating ... The immediate consequence of Trump’s action is that the US becomes weaker because it has carried out another initiative of which the rest of the world disapproves.

Curt Mills - The National Interest

A year on from the election of Donald Trump — which some hoped would usher in a new era of foreign policy “realism” and “restraint” (in contrast to the swashbuckling days of the last Republican administration) — many of those same voices are gravely disappointed. “There is no realism and restraint in American foreign policy in the Trump era,” the editor of The American Conservative, Robert Merry, said at a recent conference ... “Here in Washington, in particular … Democrats and Republicans alike subscribe to that sentiment” of a unique, near-providential and irreplaceable role of the United States on the global stage, Bacevich argued. “We hear it, in the repeated references to America as ‘the indispensable nation.’” ... Still, some are hopeful a restrainer-leaning alliance structure can cohere.

S. Assi - The New Arab

... Perhaps more than any Arab or Muslim leader, certainly more than his Saudi successors, Ibn Saud's devotion to the Palestinian cause rested on solid moral ground. Fleshed out in his famous meeting and correspondences with US President Franklin D Roosevelt more than half a century ago, it would colour Arab and Muslim popular imagination of Israel and Palestine for decades to come. In November 1938, at the peak of the Arab Revolt in Mandate Palestine, Ibn Saud wrote to Roosevelt: "The Jews have no right to Palestine and their claim is an act of injustice unprecedented in the history of the human race." ... The king reportedly declined generous American aid in return for his support of Jewish immigration to Palestine, warning that the United States had to choose between the Arabs and the Jews.

John Glaser - Cato Institute

... We have a hyper-interventionist foreign policy. Over the last century, according to the Rand Corporation, “there was only one brief period – the four years immediately after U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam – during which the United States did not engage in any interventions abroad.” Indeed, “the number and scale of U.S. military interventions rose rapidly in the aftermath of the Cold War, just as [rates of global] conflict began to subside.” According to data from the Congressional Research Service, the United States has engaged in more military interventions in the past 28 years than it had in the previous 190 years of its existence ... This suggests a truly perverse defect in the way we are carrying out foreign policy.

Ted Galen Carpenter - The American Conservative

... It is painful for any American to admit that the United States has acquired a well-deserved reputation for duplicity in its foreign policy. But the evidence for that proposition is quite substantial. Indeed, disingenuous U.S. behavior regarding NATO expansion and the resolution of Kosovo’s political status may be the single most important factor for the poisoned bilateral relationship with Moscow. The U.S. track record of duplicity and betrayal is one reason why prospects for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomacy are so bleak. Actions have consequences, and Washington’s reputation for disingenuous behavior has complicated America’s own foreign policy objectives. This is a textbook example of a great power shooting itself in the foot.

Philip Giraldi

... What is wrong about the whole Trump team is that they all seem to believe that you can go around the world kicking the shit out of everyone without there being any consequences. And they all hate Iran for reasons that continue to be obscure but may be connected to their relationships with – you guessed it – the neoconservatives and the Israeli Lobby! Yes, the neocons are back ... What all this means is that, now that the Palestinians have been disposed of and the Israelis rewarded, we can expect armed conflict with Iran within the next year, followed by increased hostility towards Moscow as Russiagate continues to play out.

Gary North

Because I was a revisionist historian at the age of 16, back in 1958, I am more aware of the development of revisionist history over the years than most people are ... Revisionist historians are dismissed as conspiracy historians. This is a popular designation ... There is a high price to pay for being a revisionist historian ... In contrast to revisionist history, there is a conspiracy history ... A revisionist historian reads at least a dozen books, or in the case of the Kennedy assassination, maybe a hundred books ... When somebody questions almost every official account of everything, you know that he is not a revisionist historian. He is a conspiracy historian. It takes too much work to study any major event in which there may have been a cause that is completely different from the government’s official version.

Robert Higgs

... When people are offended or otherwise greatly displeased by historical analysis, they often employ the term "historical revisionism" as a synonym for falsified, distorted, or doctored accounts that fly in the face of what they, their history teachers, and perhaps even the most respected university historians believe to have been the case. The irony of such use of the term "historical revision," which makes it practically a swear word, is that revisionism is and always has been an integral part of historical research and writing.

Dan Spielberg

… Revisionism continued to be suppressed and obscured for most of the rest of Barnes' life, but before he passed away in late 1968 he had the gratifying experience of seeing revisionism make something of a come-back among the New Left who were beginning to criticize American war-making in general and not just the Vietnam war. I think it can be safely stated that if the foreign policy advocated by those such as Harry Elmer Barnes had been followed, we would not be in the dire situation we are in today, with the U.S. military occupying Iraq and preparing to take Iran …

Harry Elmer Barnes

... Unless and until we can break through the historical blackout, now supported even by public policy, and enable the peoples of the world to know the facts concerning international relations during the last quarter of a century, there can be no real hope for the peace, security and prosperity which the present triumphs of science and technology could make possible. The well-being of the human race, if not its very survival, is very literally dependent on the triumph of revisionism.

Murray Rothbard

Revisionism as applied to World War II and its origins (as also for previous wars) has the general function of bringing historical truth to an American and a world public that had been drugged by wartime lies and propaganda ... Revisionism brings to the artificial frenzy of daily events and day-to-day propaganda, the cool but in the last analysis glorious light of historical truth. Such truth is almost desperately needed in today's world.

S. Kanazawa, N. P. Li – Journal of Research and Personality

Recent developments in evolutionary psychology suggest that living among others of the same ethnicity might make individuals happier, and further that such an effect of the ethnic composition on life satisfaction may be stronger among less intelligent individuals. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health showed that White Americans had significantly greater life satisfaction than all other ethnic groups in the US, and this was largely due to the fact that they were the majority ethnic group; minority Americans who lived in counties where they were the numerical majority had just as much life satisfaction as White Americans did. Further, the association between ethnic composition and life satisfaction was significantly stronger among less intelligent individuals.

R. R. Reno - First Things

... Not only have Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and other elite universities become decadent, they have failed in their self-appointed task. The leaders they proffer our society are increasingly incapable of leading. Our academic leaders oversee a campus culture often riven by conflict ... For the last half-century, graduates from places like Princeton have been in charge. They are making a wreck of things — not for themselves, of course, but for the rest of society ... Young people are not trained at these schools to be judicious, generous partisans in our political battles. The ideological homogeneity makes liberal students smug and insular — and conservative students radical and combative. There’s no denying a simple fact: Elite universities, subsidized by gigantic endowments, have failed as civic institutions.

N. Burleigh – Newsweek

In the year since Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington’s corruption, Americans have become more, not less, convinced that Washington is corrupt, and that the White House is the most corrupt institution in U.S. government. A new public opinion poll conducted over the past two months found that Americans don’t believe that Trump is cleaning up the government. In fact, the opposite is true: 58 percent of people surveyed say the level of corruption has risen in the past twelve months, up from 34 percent who said the same in January 2016. And more Americans put the blame at the top: 44 percent now believe that most or all of the officials in the Office of the President are corrupt ...

N. Sherman - BBC News

Republicans are planning to pass a massive tax cut, despite their own avowed fiscal conservatism and warnings the legislation could balloon the federal deficit by at least $1 trillion. US national debt passed $20 trillion earlier this year ... The debt itself is fuelling the fastest-growing spending item: the Congressional Budget Office expects annual net interest payments, which totalled about $240 billion in 2016, to hit $770 billion in 2027... Total debt, including obligations to programmes such as Social Security, more than doubled between 2000-10, when it exceeded $12 trillion. It represented 128 percent of GDP last year, according to the OECD ... Analysts say the US has the capacity to sustain high borrowing levels. But there are concerns about the medium-term debt ...

AFP

The US military plans on staying in Syria as long as necessary to ensure the Islamic State group does not return, a Pentagon official told AFP on Tuesday [Dec. 5], as the fight against the jihadists winds down. “We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to -- to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups," Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said. The United States currently has approximately 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria, where they have been helping train and advise Kurdish and Arab partner forces in the fight against IS. Now that the jihadists have been cleared from all but a few pockets of territory, the United States is assessing its future presence in the civil war-torn nation.

Gideon Levy - Haaretz (Israel)

... We should thank this dangerous man: He tore off the disguise and put an end to the masquerade. Trump told the world the truth: The United States is not an honest broker, it never was and never will be. It is the greatest collaborator with the Israeli occupation, supporting, arming and funding it ... In deciding to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and only of Israel, he [President Trump] left no room for doubt: America is with the occupation, with Israel and only with Israel ... The European Union will also have to adjust to reality and understand that winter is coming. Up to now, the EU has been in America’s shadow, its faithful servant when it comes to Middle East policy.

K. Mizokami - The National Interest

Israel’s submarine corps is a tiny force with a big open secret: in all likelihood, it is armed with nuclear weapons. The five Dolphin-class submarines represent an ace in the hole for Israel, the ultimate guarantor of the country’s security, ensuring that if attacked with nukes, the tiny nation can strike back in kind ... This so-called “second-strike capability” is built on the principle of nuclear deterrence and ensures potential enemies will think twice before attacking, knowing Israel’s submarines will be available to carry out revenge attacks ... The result is that at any given time Tehran is likely in the nuclear crosshairs of an Israeli submarine ... The German government has just recently given the go-ahead for yet another set of three more Dolphins.

Kyle Mizokami - The National Interest

... There is no doubt that Israel does have a small but powerful nuclear stockpile, spread out among its armed forces. Israeli nuclear weapons guard against everything from defeat in conventional warfare to serving to deter hostile states from launching nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks against the tiny country ... Experts generally assess the country as currently having approximately eighty nuclear weapons ... These weapons are spread out among Israel’s version of a nuclear “triad” of land-, air- and sea-based forces scattered in a way that they deter surprise nuclear attack ... As long as one submarine is on patrol, some portion of Israel’s nuclear deterrent remains invulnerable to a nuclear first strike, guaranteeing the ability to launch a nuclear counterattack.

J. Bekhrad – BBC News

... An ancient religion – still being practised today – suggests that what many take for granted as wholesome Western ideals, beliefs and culture may in fact have Iranian roots ... Prior to Zarathustra [Zoroaster], the ancient Persians worshipped the deities of the old Irano-Aryan religion, a counterpart to the Indo-Aryan religion that would come to be known as Hinduism. Zarathustra, however, condemned this practice, and preached that God alone – Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom – should be worshipped ... The entire faith of Zoroastrianism is predicated on the struggle between God and the forces of goodness and light (represented by the Holy Spirit, Spenta Manyu) and Ahriman, who presides over the forces of darkness and evil.

Telegraph (Britain)

Authorities will investigate an anti-semitic theory that the 1918 killing of Tsar Nicholas II was a “ritual murder” following comments by a bishop close to Vladimir Putin. Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, who is heading a Russian Orthodox Church commission investigating the execution of the Romanov family by firing squad in Yekaterinburg, said at a conference on Monday that many members of the commission believe it was a ritual murder that held special significance for Bolshevik commander Yakov Yurovsky and his men. “Ritual murder” has in the past referred to a theory that the last emperor was the victim of a Jewish conspiracy, as Mr Yurovsky was of Jewish heritage. Russia's investigative committee said it would look into the claim ... The announcement drew an outcry from Jewish groups.

Larry Sand - City Journal

... No institution in America is less accountable than unionized, government-run school systems. Virtually no one gets fired when they do a poor job ... And when the public schools are shown not to be living up to their promises, the educrats move the goalposts to disguise their shortcomings ... Alarm bells sounded when the 2017 standardized test results in California were announced. They revealed that about 50 percent of schoolchildren can’t read at grade level. The news was especially dismal for black schoolchildren — almost 70 percent failed to read at grade level ... In San Francisco, only 19 percent of black students passed the state test in reading ...

National Security Archive - George Washington University

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. The documents show that ... subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... How did Israel gain title to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights? Invasion, occupation, colonization, annexation. Those lands are the spoils of victory from Israel’s 1967 Six-Day War. Is Israel being severely sanctioned like Russia? Not quite. Her yearly U.S. stipend is almost $4 billion, as she builds settlement after settlement on occupied land despite America’s feeble protests ... What we are witnessing in Crimea, across the Middle East, in the South China Sea, on the Korean peninsula, are nations more willing than we to sacrifice and take risks, because their interests there are far greater than ours. What America needs is a new national consensus on what is vital to us and what is not, what we are willing to fight to defend and what we are not.

Middle East Monitor

A major new survey of American Evangelical Christians has found stark generational differences over support for Israel, Haaretz reported. According to the survey, American evangelicals under 35 are “less likely than their older counterparts to offer unquestionable support for Israel, and are more likely to hold positive views of the Palestinians”. While 76 per cent of evangelicals over the age of 65 have a “positive” view of Israel, among evangelicals under the age of 35, the number was only 58 per cent ... Overall, the survey of 2,000 individuals shows that 25 per cent of US evangelicals support Israel “no matter what it does”, while 42 per cent support Israel in general, but not “everything it does”.

Philip Giraldi

... Both Saudi Arabia and Israel know they cannot defeat Iran and its proxies without the active participation of the United States. That would require shaping the “threat” narrative to start with a series of relatively minor military actions that appear defensive or non-controversial to draw the United States in without really appearing to do so. American involvement would be against Washington’s own interests in the region, but it would serve Saudi and Israeli objectives, particularly if the situation is inherently unstable and is allowed to escalate. Both the Saudis and, more particularly, the Israelis have powerful lobbies in Washington that will push a friendly Congress for increased U.S. involvement, and the Iranophobic mainstream media is likely to be similarly positive in helping to shape the arguments for American engagement.

Paul R. Pillar – The National Interest

Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to go with his campaign of seeking confrontation with Iran, his administration already has provided disconcerting parallels with the techniques an earlier U.S. administration used in selling its launching of a war against Iraq. Among these techniques is the cherry-picking of intelligence not to inform policy-making or to enlighten the public but instead to inculcate false perceptions among the public and thereby to muster support for a policy already chosen. The parallels have become remarkably close as the Trump administration has tried to get people to believe there is some sort of cooperation and common purpose between Iran and al-Qaeda ... Such misuse of intelligence means foreign policy is being made on the basis of badly mistaken premises.

Editors - Mondoweiss

Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and getting architects busy on designing the new U.S. embassy represents a special new challenge for supporters of the two-state solution. While Trump gave lip service to such an outcome, his moves are such a rebuke to Palestinians and their Arab neighbors that it has destroyed any credibility the U.S. claimed to have as a broker, and made it impossible for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate with the United States. The move is meant to “appease” big donors such as Sheldon Adelson as well as evangelical Christians, Marc Ginsberg, a former ambassador to Morocco, said angrily on MSNBC. Trump, he said, “pushed the two state solution over the cliff.”

Stephen Zunes - The Progressive

President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy would be moved to that multi-ethnic and multi-faith city. No other government in the world formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or has its embassy there, instead basing their diplomatic offices in Tel Aviv ... Trump’s announcement is actually the culmination of years of pressure by a large bipartisan majority of Congress and leaders of both political parties towards the White House ... The platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties have called for recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The New York Times

In an open letter published on Friday by Hyperallergic, more than 120 academics and artists have urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove five public monuments and markers they say celebrate racism. The letter singles out the Christopher Columbus monument at Columbus circle, the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt outside of the American Museum of Natural History, the Dr. J. Marion Sims statue in Central Park, and two commemorative markers bearing the names of Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval ... The letter’s signers, who include the well-known artist and art historian Deborah Willis and the art critic and theoretician Hal Foster, argue that the monuments and markers honor figures who represent a variety of racist views and practices.

The New York Times

Ten days before Donald J. Trump took office, Sheldon G. Adelson went to Trump Tower for a private meeting. Afterward, Mr. Adelson, the casino billionaire and Republican donor, called an old friend, Morton A. Klein, to report that Mr. Trump told him that moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a major priority ... For Mr. Trump, the status of Jerusalem was always more a political imperative than a diplomatic dilemma ... The Adelsons have long been leading donors to pro-Israel groups and causes, and have forged a close relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They have used their casino fortune to push the Republican Party and its politicians to embrace that line ... The Adelsons were persuaded and donated $20 million to a political action committee that supported Mr. Trump’s campaign ...

Eli Clifton - LobeLog

... Before Trump was even sworn in as president, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, showed a remarkable willingness to follow directions from Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The transition team appears to have worked at the request of Netanyahu to defeat a UN resolution criticizing Israel’s ongoing settlement construction. Reporting on Friday advanced the story, revealing that Kushner told former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to call members of the Security Council in an effort to stop the vote ... [Sheldon] Adelson and his wife Miriam spent more than $80 million on Republicans in 2016, and he gave $5 million to Trump’s inauguration. Adelson and his wife Miriam also contributed $35 million to help elect Trump.

Mehdi Hasan - The Intercept

... Why aren’t more members of Congress or the media discussing the Trump transition team’s pretty brazen collusion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to undermine both U.S. government policy and international law? Shouldn’t that be treated as a major scandal? Thanks to Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy. That’s the kind of collusion with a foreign state that has gotten a lot of attention with respect to the Kremlin – but colluding with Israel seems to be of far less interest, strangely.

Philip Giraldi

... The first phone call to Kislyak, on December 22, was made by Flynn at the direction of Jared Kushner, who in turn had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama Administrating was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a U.N. resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included a call to the Russians ... Israel, not Russia, was colluding with the Trump Administration prior to inauguration day to do something highly unethical and quite probably illegal, which should surprise no one.

Institute for Historical Review

Here is the complete text of Hitler’s historic address of Dec. 11, 1941, in which the German leader recounts the reasons for the outbreak of war in September 1939, explains why he decided to strike against the Soviet Union in June 1941, reviews the dramatic course of the war thus far, and deals at length with US President Roosevelt's hostile policies toward Germany. Hitler details the US government’s increasingly belligerent actions against Germany and Italy, and concludes by announcing that Germany was now joining Japan in war against the United States.

Eric Margolis

... The Trump administration now has the choice of a total naval blockade of North Korea, mining its ports, and destroying the Yalu River bridges, over which flows oil, food and strategic materials. It sounds simple on paper but North Korea is quite capable of vigorous responses, like bombarding parts of Seoul or mining South Korean and Japanese ports. It’s not the kind of spitting match in which any thoughtful American leaders ought to become engaged. Over 90 percent of Americans cannot name or locate the capital of North Korea or explain the reasons for a major war against this strategic but remote nation ... Trump has put the US on a path to war in the Korean Peninsula that few want, neoconservatives and crazies aside, and that could poison the entire planet.

JTA

The umbrella group representing Dutch Jewry accused a pro-Palestinian former prime minister of antisemitism. The Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands, or CJO, in a statement Wednesday made the explicit allegation for the first time against Dries van Agt and the Palestinian advocacy group he founded called The Rights Forum. Van Agt, who served as prime minister from 1977 to 1982, has fought accusations of anti-Semitism since the 1970s. CJO’s claim was over statements it said van Agt made last week at a Utrecht event organized by the Young Socialists in Dutch Labour that the party “is good for the Palestinians despite the strong Jewish lobby” in its ranks.

Daniel Davis – Breaking Defense

... The time has come for a major overhaul of American foreign and defense policies. We must abandon nation-building and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. Our national security objectives in the Middle East can be more effectively accomplished via active and robust intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts. American affairs abroad should be redirected away from an obsessive attempt to solve problems using lethal combat power and instead focus on expanding U.S. economic opportunity and beneficial trade policies. Core functions of the U.S. government are to defend our population and facilitate a healthy economy. Misusing the military is counter to both objectives.

Daniel Larison - The American Conservative

... Conflating U.S. interests with the interests of clients is not new, but it is still remarkable how completely Trump has tried to blur American interests with Israeli and Saudi ones in particular since taking office ... A “no daylight” standard in relations with other states is never desirable, and it is frequently dangerous for the patron government that adheres to it ... Since both Israel and Saudi Arabia have increasingly divergent interests from ours, and since both have become increasing liabilities over time, ensuring that there is “no daylight” between them and the U.S. requires subordinating our preferences and policies to theirs on a regular basis.

Y. Maxtone-graham - Daily Mail (Britain)

... Anyone who enjoys reading the systematic dismantling of a reputation will relish this riveting exposé [titled Freud: The Making Of An Illusion]. It’s written not by a scientist or psychologist, but by an eloquent American Emeritus professor of English, Frederick Crews. Over 650 pages, he builds up a portrait of Freud as the most vile, medically useless, misogynistic, snobbish, petulant, jealous, crazy, sex-obsessed creep you could ever hope not to look up at from a couch — and a man whose ‘treatment’ you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy ... Not once in this account does Freud do or say a single kind or unselfish thing. Though a doctor, he had no Hippocratic sense that each human being deserved respectful treatment ... Freud liked to diagnose his patients with whichever ‘ailment’ was currently preoccupying him.

Alexander C. Kafka - The Chronicle of Higher Education

... Sigmund Freud may be out of fashion, but who could dispute his profound contributions to science and culture? Frederick Crews could — and has, for close to four decades. He has urged a clear-eyed view not just of psychoanalytic theory but of the integrity, process, and motivations of Freud the man. Now, eleven years in the works, comes his capstone biography of the Master, Sigmund Freud: The Making of an Illusion ... The result feels like a scorching summation for the prosecution ... Kindly Viennese doctor? Crews's Freud is an unimaginative scientist, a horrible clinician, and a charlatan ... Crews’s Freud will be scarcely recognizable to those envisioning the beneficent, tender Viennese doctor ... He is a reckless, greedy, bullying, inept, and monomaniacal clinician. He fosters some patients’ addictions to morphine, cocaine, or both.

Laurence Rees - History Extra

... From the outset, Soviet aggression was treated differently to German aggression. On a practical level this was because the British had already shown that they could not defend Poland against one aggressor, let alone two. But it was also because the mandarins in the Foreign Office considered the eastern borders of Poland somewhat ‘fluid’ – after all, they had only been fixed the treaty that ended the Polish-Soviet War less than 20 years earlier ... Behind the scenes, the British felt there was a clear balance to be struck between ‘morality’ and traditional, old-fashioned, national self-interest.

Daily Mail (Britain)

An early version of the 'King's Speech' reveals Britain was preparing to declare war on Germany before Hitler invaded Poland. George VI's address to the nation, depicted in the 2010 movie starring Colin Firth as the stammering monarch, had been written at least nine days beforehand. The three-page document that has come to light is entitled 'Draft King's Speech' and is dated August 25, 1939. The document, which was written on August 25, 1939 - seven days before Germany's invasion of Poland - has come to light after 74 years ... In the Oscar-winning film, Colin Firth's royal character was given little time to prepare for his defining address to the nation but in reality it appears the speech was being readied for him more than a week beforehand.

Mark Weber – Podcast

Much of what we're told about the how World War II began is misleading, distorted or just plain untrue. It's often claimed, for example, that after taking power Hitler moved quickly to build a large army and air force to conquer Europe. In fact, and as reputable scholars have quietly acknowledged, Third Reich rearmament in the years before the outbreak of war in 1939 was remarkably modest. Hitler neither wanted nor planned for a major war. The British and French declarations of war against Germany, which were secretly encouraged by US President Roosevelt, transformed the limited German-Polish conflict into a major, European-wide war.

Herbert Hoover

… The fourth abysmal loss of statesmanship was when the British and French guaranteed the independence of Poland and Rumania at the end of March 1939. It was at this point that the European democracies reversed their previous policies of keeping hands off the inevitable war between Hitler and Stalin. It was probably the greatest blunder in the whole history of European-power diplomacy. Britain and France were helpless to save Poland from invasion … The fifth major blunder in statesmanship was when Roosevelt, in the winter of 1941, threw the United States into undeclared war with Germany and Japan in total violation of promises upon which he had been elected ... The greatest loss of statesmanship in all American history was the tacit American alliance and support of Communist Russia when Hitler made his attack in June 1941.

Andrew Beaujon - Washingtonian

... This particular bust came into Uncle Sam’s possession seven decades ago. At the end of World War II, Allied soldiers seized it from the Eagle’s Nest, the Führer’s Austrian mountaintop redoubt. It was more than a simple piece of war booty. Seventy-two years after V-E Day, the Army still owns the statue as well as hundreds of other pieces of German propaganda and wartime art— all of which reside on post at Fort Belvoir. The collection includes four watercolor paintings by Hitler himself. They’re under lock and key in a flat file inside a vault. It’s not easy to get to the Army’s Nazi-art stash ... The roughly 600 objects housed at Fort Belvoir also provide revealing glimpses at the rise of fascism ... All in all, Gilkey’s team wound up confiscating 8,722 pieces of art.

Philip Giraldi

... Indeed, one might argue that there is a tendency in Washington to see the world and even domestic policies through Israel’s eyes. One might even suggest that the United States government is being progressively Zionized because of the free hand that Israel and its supporters have, which gives them the ability to seek benefits for Israel that they would be unlikely to pursue for the United States ... Less well known is the inroads Israel has made with the American military establishment ... The infiltration by little Israel of key sectors of the bureaucracy of a seemingly oblivious giant United States is extraordinary by any measure, but it has been brought about by a highly focused and well-funded powerful domestic lobby that has remarkable access both to the political class and to the media.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... In this new century, U.S. leaders continue to draw red lines that threaten acts of war that the nation is unprepared to back up ... In the post-Cold War era, the rhetoric of U.S. statesmen has grown ever more blustery, even as U.S. relative power has declined. Our goal is “ending tyranny in our world,” bellowed George W. Bush in his second inaugural ... We no longer speak to the world with the assured authority with which America did from Eisenhower to Reagan and Bush 1. Our moment, if ever it existed, as the “unipolar power” the “indispensable nation” that would exercise a “benevolent global hegemony” upon mankind is over. America needs today a recognition of the new realities we face and a rhetoric that conforms to those realities.

J. Sheerin - BBC News

... As President Trump pointed out, George Washington was a slaveholder. So might the stone obelisk dedicated to the father of the nation, looming over the heart of his eponymous capital city, be the next battleground in the US culture wars? Or even Mount Rushmore? ... Washington saw himself as a benevolent master, but he did not tolerate suspected shirkers on his farm, even when they were pregnant, elderly or crippled ... When some of his slaves absconded during the Revolutionary War to find protection - humiliatingly, for him - with the enemy, Washington did not let up in his efforts to reclaim what he saw as his property.

Mehdi Hasan - The New York Times

... President Trump has staffed his administration with hawks who believe that the road to solving the Middle East’s problems runs through Tehran ... Mr. Trump, like Mr. Bush before him, is beating the drum for war in the Middle East. But he needs a pretext for an attack on a sovereign nation that, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. The American public fell for a false pretext in 2003 — and it cannot afford to do so again. Saddam Hussein was not allied with Al Qaeda; for all its faults, neither is the Iranian government.

Stephen J. Sniegoski

... The supporters of Israel believe that the Trump administration, even though better than Obama’s, has not done what is necessary to prevent Iran from achieving regional dominance. It is highly significant, however, that they do not provide actual substantive evidence to show that Iran poses a threat to the United States, the defense of which is the stated purpose of the American military. More than this, there is no real evidence to show that Iran threatens Israel’s survival ... The basic view of Israel’s supporters is that the U.S. must keep Iran militarily and economically weak, so that it cannot challenge, in any way, Israeli regional dominance.

Charles Lutton -- Institute for Historical Review

… Pearl Harbor revisionism has come of age. From the first writings of John T. Flynn, to George Morgenstern's masterful study, to the work encouraged by Harry Elmer Barnes, the testimony of participants in the events, and the latest findings of "second-generation" historians who are not satisfied merely to retell the standard accounts, this endeavor to uncover the truth has not been marked by paranoid "conspiracy theories" or reactionary "Roosevelt baiting." What revisionists have accomplished is a sober re-appraisal of the origins of the Pacific War, and the making of a strong case for remembering December 7, 1941, as President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy."

Robert Higgs

... Most important, the U.S. government engaged in a series of increasingly stringent economic warfare measures that pushed the Japanese into a predicament that U.S. authorities well understood would probably provoke them to attack U.S. territories and forces in the Pacific region in a quest to secure essential raw materials that the Americans, British, and Dutch (government in exile) had embargoed ... So effective has been the pro-Roosevelt, pro-American, pro-World War II faction that in this country it has utterly dominated teaching and popular writing about U.S. engagement in the "Good War."

Middle East Monitor

The former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Dries van Agt has said that “Israel – for those who do not know – has a range of nuclear bombs and is the most dangerous country in the Middle East”. Speaking at a session organised by the Socialist Youth Association in the city of Utrecht on the Palestinian-Israeli issue van Agt said, “Israel seems to the world public opinion as if [it is] living under constant threat as a small place among a number of Arab countries”. “The entire world turns a blind eye to the blockade imposed on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, including the Netherlands” he said ... Van Agt, who is a diplomat of the Christian Democratic Union Party, was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1977-1982.

Reuters

Israel is willing to resort to military action to ensure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons, the intelligence minister said on Thursday in Japan where he is seeking backing for US President Donald Trump's tougher line on Tehran ... “If international efforts led these days by US President Trump don’t help stop Iran attaining nuclear capabilities, Israel will act militarily by itself," Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in an interview in Tokyo ... Israel has taken unilateral action in the past without the consent of its major ally, the United States ... A strike against Iran, however, would be a risky venture with the potential to provoke a counter strike and roil financial markets ... He also urged sanctions to stop Iran from establishing Syria as a military base to launch attacks on Israel and action to put a halt to Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles.

Associated Press

Weeks ahead of the expected completion of a UN database of companies that operate in Israel’s West Bank settlements, Israel and the administration of US President Donald Trump are working feverishly to prevent its publication. While Israel is usually quick to brush off UN criticism, officials have said that they are taking the so-called “blacklist” seriously, fearing its publication could have devastating consequences by driving companies away, deterring others from investing and prompting investors to dump shares of Israeli firms. Dozens of major Israeli companies, as well as multinationals that do business in Israel, are expected to appear on the list ... The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements, built on occupied land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state, to be illegal.

C. Campbell – Time magazine

... Khorgos is a linchpin in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative. Formerly known as One Belt One Road, it’s a rekindling of the ancient Silk Road through a staggeringly ambitious plan to build a network of highways, railways and pipelines linking Asia via the Middle East to Europe and south through Africa ... A total of 900 separate projects have been earmarked at a cost of $900 billion, according to the China Development Bank ... The new Silk Road is the purest illustration of Beijing’s budding influence as Washington is consumed with partisan bickering and fumbles for a coherent foreign policy. China has wrapped an amorphous group of projects in a tidy package that speaks to inclusiveness, cooperation and altruism.

K. Calamur - The Atlantic

... The most visible aspect of Beijing’s ambition to extend its economic and political influence around the world is the Belt and Road initiative, a massive infrastructure plan that aims to connect China to its Asian neighbors and farther afield. Think of it as a hub-and-spoke model: China, the hub, builds infrastructure in countries around the world, the spokes, in order to facilitate trade. China is building roads, bridges, seaports, and airports in more than 60 countries to facilitate the import of raw material in order to further fuel its own economic growth while it searches for new markets. Unlike the West, China offers cheap loans, doesn’t ask questions about human rights or the environment, and doesn’t export its political ideology. As a result, thousands of China’s workers are overseeing projects as far afield as Belarus, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka ...

Jon Basil Utley - The American Conservative

While Washington is seeking a pause in the rapid growth of its international trade, the rest of the world is moving full speed ahead. There is no better example than the fast developing New Silk Road, China’s vast project to facilitate its trade with Europe and connect Central Asia to the world economy ... China is charging ahead while America is unable to build infrastructure and compete abroad, strangled by Washington’s alphabet soup of inbred agencies ... Equally, I often think that for the cost of our unending, useless wars against Muslim nations, we too could have new highways, canals and high-speed rail all over our nation too. The New Silk Road is a shining symbol of the dynamism of China. Its vast push to commercialize central Asia is expected to become the greatest public works project in history.

Axios

Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on ABC'S "This Week" that nuclear war has become "more probable than it used to be. And it scares me to death, quite frankly." Mullen also said he has concerns about the fact that generals have taken such high-ranking and high-profile roles in the Trump administration, and that he was disappointed that John Kelly has shown he'll be "supportive of the president no matter what."

Eric Margolis

... Nuclear war is absolutely unthinkable. Totally crazy. Yet serious discussion is underway in military and neocon war circles about a nuclear war against North Korea and, even crazier, against Iran and Russia ... Trump has already ringed North Korea with heavy bombers, strike aircraft, three heavy aircraft carriers and fleets of warplanes in Japan, South Korea and Guam ... Meanwhile, senior military officers and some in Congress who actually mastered high school are trying to figure out how to keep the volatile Trump away from the nuclear trigger ... Some senior officers say they would refuse to obey an illegal order. But none refused when it came to the unjustified attack on Iraq and war against Syria.

Sputnik News (Russia)

Red Cross Norway has come up with a polarizing initiative to raise a monument over the graves of the Nordic country's Nazi soldiers, as a place of remembrance for their descendants. During WW2, more than 800 Norwegian volunteers lost their lives serving in Hitler's Waffen SS during the war. Their graves are spread across large areas of Eastern Europe. Many have never been found at all. Citing the Geneva Convention, Mads Harlem, the head of Red Cross Norway's legal team, argued that the Norwegian authorities have the responsibility to ensure that all those who have lost family members in combat must have a place to remember the fallen, regardless of what side they fought for.

C. Cuthbertson - Epoch Times

The economic cost of the opioid crisis in 2015 was $504 billion, or 2.8 percent of GDP, according to estimates from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). This is over six times larger than the most recent estimated economic cost of the epidemic. CEA said previous estimates greatly understated the economic cost by undervaluing the most important component of the loss: fatalities resulting from overdoses. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died of a drug overdose involving opioids ... More than 64,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2016, according to preliminary numbers — representing 175 deaths a day last year. The death toll so far in 2017 is even higher, mostly due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil.

Jewish Telegraph Agency

A Russian Justice Ministry official repeated a local bishop’s claim that Jews murdered the last czar for ritual purposes, spurring a protest by Russia’s largest Jewish group. Marina Molodtsova, a senior investigator for a special ministerial committee on the 1918 slaying of Nicholas II of Russia, said Monday at a Moscow conference that her committee will conduct “a psycho-historical examination” to find out whether the execution of the royal family was a ritual murder, Ria Novosti reported. At the same event, Father Tikhon Shevkunov, a Russian Orthodox Church bishop, said that, according to “the most rigorous approach to the version of ritual murder, a significant part of the church commission [on Nicholas II’s killing] has no doubt that this murder was ritual.”

The Washington Post

The Trump administration is expanding its goals in Syria beyond routing the Islamic State to include a political settlement of the country’s civil war, a daunting and potentially open-ended commitment that could draw the United States into conflict with both Syria and Iran. With forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies now bearing down on the last militant-controlled towns, the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria could be imminent — along with an end to the U.S. justification for being there ... An abrupt U.S. withdrawal could complete Assad’s sweep of Syrian territory and help guarantee his political survival — an outcome that would constitute a win for Iran, his close ally. To avoid that outcome, U.S. officials say they plan to maintain a U.S. troop presence in northern Syria ...

Press TV (Iran)

Mark Weber responds to questions about the drawn out talks in Geneva between Syrian opposition groups, which are backed by the US and Saudi Arabia, and the internationally recognized Syrian government of President Assad. Runtime: 3:09 mins. The opposition groups, which have suffered great military setbacks over the past year, are now trying “to win a victory in Geneva that they have not been able to win on the ground,” says the American historian and director of the IHR in this Nov. 27 interview. These groups, Weber says, continue to press for the removal from power of President Assad and his government, which have become much stronger and more firmly entrenched in recent months.

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle - Times of Israel

Three years after a bill prioritizing Holocaust instruction in Pennsylvania schools was signed, the state Board of Education reported that a commanding 90 percent of schools now provide age-appropriate education on the Holocaust, genocide and human rights violations as a standing part of their curricula. A survey on the bill, Act 70, conducted by an ad hoc committee, reported that 710 of the state’s 775 school entities are in compliance. Many districts and charter schools offer instruction on multiple levels. While the instruction was not mandated, it was “encouraged,” said board officials ... State education officials lauded the effort to enact Act 70’s provisions at a press conference on Nov. 9 arranged by the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, which represents Jewish communities throughout the state.

Mark Weber

… Holocaust remembrance is not, as its supporters claim, a noble effort motivated by sincere concern for humanity. Instead, this relentless campaign is an expression of Jewish-Zionist power, and is designed to further Jewish-Zionist interests … Jewish death and suffering do not deserve to be venerated more than the death and suffering of non-Jews. The Holocaust remembrance campaign deserves scorn, not support, because it is a one-sided effort that serves narrow Jewish and Israeli interests and bolsters Jewish-Zionist power.

Associated Press

A German court has upheld two convictions of a well-known neo-Nazi for Holocaust denial and sentenced her to 14 months in prison. Ursula Haverbeck, 89, was sentenced Tuesday by a district appeals court in Detmold for repeatedly denying the Holocaust, which is a crime in Germany. Haverbeck had appealed her 2016 conviction for writing to the Detmold mayor during the trial of an Auschwitz guard claiming the death camp was only a labor camp. In closing arguments at that trial she again denied the Holocaust, prompting another conviction. Several courts have sentenced Haverbeck to prison sentences in the past, including a Berlin district court in October, but Haverbeck has remained free pending appeals.

Eric Margolis

... Americans and Canadians like to believe they won the war in Europe and give insufficient recognition to the decisive Soviet role. Most Europeans would rather not think about the matter ... Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today. Let’s do the numbers. The Soviet armed forces destroyed 507 German divisions and 100 allied Axis divisions (according to Soviet figures) .... The Red Army accounted for 75-80 percent of Axis casualties in World War II ... No one likes to admit it was Stalin who defeated Nazi Germany. Stalin killed far more people than Adolf Hitler ... At that time, both Roosevelt and Churchill lavished praise and thanks on the Soviet Union, admitting its “gigantic effort” in defeating Hitler’s Germany. Today, however, we have chosen to forget who really won the war in Europe.

Associated Press

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said both Israel and Egypt pushed the United States to “bomb Iran” before the 2015 nuclear deal was struck. Kerry is defending the deal during a forum in Washington. He says kings and foreign presidents told the U.S. that bombing was the only language Iran would understand. But Kerry says that was "a trap" in many ways because the same countries would have publicly criticized the U.S. if it bombed. Kerry says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "genuinely agitating toward action." Kerry says he doesn't know whether Iran will resume pursuing a nuclear weapon in 10 to 15 years after restrictions in the deal sunset. But he says it was the best deal the U.S. could get.