March 2012

March 28, 2012

The global conflict of 1914-1918 was the most destructive military clash in history, surpassed only by World War II. The war that American historian George F. Kennan called “the original catastrophe” not only brought destruction, misery and death to millions, it shattered the seemingly secure Western world order. It broke the confidence of Europeans in themselves and their long-held values, brought down dynasties that had ruled for centuries in Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany, and forced a drastic reassessment of cherished assumptions about life and society. The leaders of the major European countries that plunged their countries into protracted, fratricidal war were not evil or stupid men. But they were short sighted, and they badly miscalculated. The fighting ended with solemn assurances by the victorious leaders of the US, Britain and France, who then betrayed their pledges, thereby laying the foundation for an even more devastating second world war.

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March 21, 2012

America’s ever more obvious cultural disintegration and social paralysis, and its erosion of national identity and purpose, are not minor or temporary problems, but are symptoms of a deep-rooted social-political illness and a systemic failure of the country’s democratic-capitalist System. In large measure, this sickness is the predictable, inevitable consequence of America’s basic ideology of “pursuit of happiness” individualism. A guiding outlook that was useful, and perhaps even necessary, in an earlier age is now a liability. The ideology laid out in the US Declaration of Independence greatly encouraged this country’s astonishing dynamism, growth, inventiveness and prosperity, especially during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But the core outlook that once contributed to this country’s development is incapable of sustaining a stable and healthy society. Especially in recent decades, America’s “pursuit of happiness” ideology has, inevitably and inexorably, been hastening our nation’s social-political dissolution and decline

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March 14, 2012

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and the Jewish-Zionist “amen corner” in the US insist that Iran must not be allowed to acquire even the capability of developing a nuclear weapon, and they threaten war to keep that from happening. But diplomats, military leaders, scholars and specialists are warning of the catastrophic consequneces of any military strike against Iran. As US and Israeli intelligence officials acknowledge, Iran is some time away, perhaps years away, from developing nuclear weapons. And even with nuclear weapons, specialists point out, Iran would be much less dangerous than most people assume. It would not be an “existential” threat to Israel, which itself already has a large and illicit nuclear weapons arsenal. Most Americans believe — mistakenly — that Iran has nuclear weapons. Such mass ignorance is understandable, given how the US public is systematically misinformed, misguided and misled by a mass media beholden to sectarian and partisan interests, and by political leaders who put their career interests ahead of what’s good for the American people and humanity.

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March 7, 2012

We’re often told that Hitler started World War II. The reality is not so simple. In early 1939, Hitler asked Poland’s leaders for a peaceful resolution of the long-standing Danzig issue by permitting the city-state to return to Germany, in accord with the wishes of its people. But the Poles rejected a diplomatic solution, confident that they would prevail in any armed clash, and emboldened by a British pledge of military support in case of war. In the months that followed, tensions between Germany and Poland worsened, with growing violence against Poland’s ethnic German minority population. As the outstanding British historians A. J. P. Taylor and B. H. Liddell- Hart, along with other scholars, have pointed out, Hitler did not want and did not prepare for a general war in 1939. He sincerely sought peace with Britain and France. US President Franklin Roosevelt secretly encouraged Britain, France and Poland to adopt belligerently anti-German policies, and to reject any peaceful resolution of the German grievances. The British and French declarations of war against Germany transformed a limited German-Polish conflict into a global war. As often happens in history, leaders in all the major countries involved badly miscalculated in 1939.

13 MB / 32 kbps mono / 0 hour 56 min.