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The Case for Pragmatism


The Case for Pragmatism

Robert Parry

Crashing global stock markets – punctuated by the bracing 1,000-plus point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the start of Monday’s trading before a partial bounce-back – are a reminder about the interdependence of today’s world economy and a wake-up call to those who think that the neocon-driven ideology of endless chaos doesn’t carry a prohibitively high price.


Let us not forget that neoconservatism is based in unshakable support for "free markets." Besides constant war, it has led to a corporate assault on the Constitution, and now the creation of TPP, TTIP, TISA, and the notion that corporations are entitled to profits they haven't yet earned or that belong to somebody else: workers or nations. And they will employ any means necessary to acquire those profits, through production and exploitation, the courts, or war.


Excellent analysis, Mr. Parry... one of your best.

And thank you for connecting so many dots when what passes for journalism and/or reporting today tends to be single-issue, linear analyses with--as you've often noted--Hollywood storyline plots that focus on simplistic good guy/bad guy scenarios in lieu of what's true.

Yesterday Dean Baker played cheerleader insisting that Stock market falls have nothing to do with the real economy. That's like giving a kid an aspirin for Cancer. This is far more on the mark and bears repeating:

"The prospects for a global recession, if not a full-scale depression, can no longer be ignored. And such economic hardship would only contribute to more death, devastation and destabilization."

Thins have spiraled out of control and with so much destruction and desecration so senselessly unleashed on so many lands, the whirlwind will not--like a rebellious genii--go back into its bottle (or containment cell).


After laying out all the costs--moral, financial, geo-political--of the Neocon team's enthusiastic spread of wars, Mr. Parry argues for diplomacy. And then centers on the following realization which is right-on:

"Yes, I realize that geopolitical pragmatism is anathema to many power centers of Official Washington, particularly the influential neocons, their benefactors in the Israel Lobby and the Military-Industrial Complex, and the many self-interested NGOs of the “human rights” community which favor “humanitarian wars” and seem to care little if their purity leads to even more suffering."

But then he turns what this group that RUNS Washington does into a plea to the American people. Even when Obama was elected, none of his positions while campaigning match his readiness to so totally serve the Military Industrial Complex. THAT is what gives the Neocons their marching orders; and the Moneyed Interests that own media also contribute to the shaping of an uber-martial foreign policy that has NOTHING to do with spreading prosperity, Democracy, or human rights. To the contrary, it eviscerates every one of those things.

It's possible that Bernie Sanders will shake the status quo either as outlier or genuine rival for "the U.S. throne." But how many candidates tell voters they will support THEIR interests only to push policies that favor Empire and Imperialism once they hold office? Without any system of accountability--judges that protect the 1%, a legal system that punishes today's "heretics" along with the poor, a congress bought and paid for, leaders in high office that get away with Crimes Against Humanity, and think tanks that finance seductive lies told often that deceive the American public--how can the statement below mean a damned thing?

"But – as the world’s economy teeters and global markets tumble – the American people no longer have the luxury of intervening willy-nilly around the globe."

It is NOT the American people that intervene. It's the military industrial state and its huge and heavily armed Hydra. As Thomas Friedman said long ago, "There can be no McDonalds without McDonnell Douglas." In other words, as John Perkins also related, the military is to global corporate capitalism what the hit man is to the Mafia bosses. Like I said a day ago, there is no longer anything that can distinguish organized crime from global corporate capitalism in service to a model that features endless disasters.

CRIMINALS are running not just our nation, but also most of the global economy.


I've been listening to individuals who may not hold my views about a number of things, but I think they are very wise when it comes to economics.

Gerald Celente makes the point that first it's trade wars, then currency wars, and then real wars. He also points out (as have others) that when economics get so bad and the serious problems (designed by persons who are currently still in charge) lack any form of honest (or systemic) solution, then WAR is often used. War gives the "deciders" an out. They can argue that their policies would have worked (and lifted all ships) had it not been for the costly demands of war; or they can argue that because of war, they don't have the luxury of implementing their version of remedial economic policies.

To readers who haven't yet seen this, it's worth viewing:


An excellent article with one notable exception: It doesn't mention the primary aim of neocons, support/defense of Israel. That's why they're more than willing to sacrifice American lives in the Middle East. To neocons the U.S. military exists as a subsidiary of the Israeli Defense Force. Americans die in combat so Israelis don't have to.


Mr. Parry doesn't go nearly far enough in his call for pragmatism. He's assuming our country has some good intentions ( we don't like bad guys ) but use the perfect ( regime change ) to be the enemy of the good ( we get " worse " bad guys and chaos ). Hogwash! It presupposes we have good intentions. Which is ridiculous, at best. Merely look homeward, angel, and you will see a country that has 1/2 the white population living in a " garrison state " and liking it; thank you very much! We are the lovers of chaos and violence, of order and control, simultaneously. We want order and control over the poor and " the other " based in capitalism/dominionism and " predestination " in our Christian nation. We use violence and chaos to achieve and justify these latter ends. Most thinking Americans view this place as Thomas Wolfe did, " By God, I will spend the rest of my life getting my heart back, healing and forgetting every scar you put upon me when I was a child. The first move I ever made, after the cradle, was to crawl for the door, and every move I have made since has been an effort to escape. " Unfortunately, like a Stage 5 cancer, we are everywhere in our own collective body, and being eaten from the inside. " In God we trust, all " others " pay cash. " If they only had to pay cash they'd think they caught a break. The price for most in this world is much higher, often times.


I'd say it was J. Paul Getty who quite honestly said, in riffing on the Eight Beautitudes, " the poor may inherit the earth, but not its' natural resources. " Or, put differently since organized religion, " Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. " Talking Heads


I am tired of this canard. Israel is not the main component in the equation of U.S. aggression. In the past, when that poster (Ham,Bacon, Eggs) who was banned displayed a rabid anti-Semitism, YOUR posts came off as sensible and nuanced on this subject: the subject of Israel.


Although Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen and chockfull of weapons

Although the U.S. right wing macho brigade never met a war it didn't show enthusiasm towards starting

Although global oil sales are tied to the U.S. petro-dollar

Although major arms' merchants and weapons suppliers depend upon war AS product

Although the U.S. has an estimated 1000 bases all over the world and as Nick Turse has painstakingly chronicled, is heating up AFRICOM

Although banks make a killing on lending $ for wars and corporations grow rich rebuilding in their aftermath...

You STILL want to pin it ALL on Israel?

Israel via AIPAC is a player, but it's ridiculous to make it the ONLY player.

Are you going to push Israel as #1 factor in the Putin-Ukraine item, too?

NOTHING happens due to one interest, entity or factor. Events manifest as a result of "two or more" influences.

It is fair and accurate to cite Israel as one entity at the big poker table. To say it's ONLY Israel is another matter and it's neither accurate, nor pretty.


SiouxRose, you may want to believe Israel isn't a central tenet of neocon philosophy, but it simply isn't true. Neocons aren't responsible for all of U.S. policy but in the Bush years they were the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy and their hand is still active today (as in U.S. support for coup deposing the elected President in the Ukraine - see https://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/23/neocons-and-the-ukraine-coup/ ). Parry has commented on the primacy of Israel for neocons before:

"But, as U.S. officialdom and the American people should have learned from the Iraq War, neocon schemes often don’t play out quite as well in the real world – not that the neocons seem to care about the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis or the nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers who died fighting in the neocons’ Iraq debacle.

For the neocons, their true guiding star is to enlist the U.S. military as the enforcers of Netanyahu’s strategic vision. If Netanyahu says that Iran – not al-Qaeda and the Islamic State – is the more serious threat then the neocons line up behind that agenda, which also happens to dovetail with the interests of Israel’s new ally, Saudi Arabia."


The neocon connection to Israel is well known:

"Ahmad demonstrates in painstaking detail how the neocons in the Bush administration--especially in the Pentagon (Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith--think 'Feith-based intelligence') and the office of the vice president (Lewis 'Scooter' Libby)--aggressively advanced the (Israeli) case for the [Iraq] invasion. 'It's a toss-up whether Libby is working for the Israelis or the Americans on any given day', British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw remarked. Joe Klein, a centrist columnist for Time magazine (and himself Jewish) wrote that the neocons pushed for the invasion 'to make the world safe for Israel'. As Ahmad notes, however, the neocons operate on the basis 'of what they think are Israel's best interests' (his emphasis): whether the war, which has significantly strengthened Iran, was actually in Israel's interests, is highly contestable. Many Israelis opposed the war. But as former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan contends, neoconservatism 'is about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel'. The neocons are more accurately seen as Likud-centric than Israel-centric.

Against the widely-held view that Israel does America's bidding, Ahmad shows how Israelpolitik is at odds with both US geostrategic interests and those of global capital. Big Oil, the Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce have locked horns with the Israel lobby on multiple occasions over sanctions on Syria, Iran, Libya and other states--measures that the lobby pushed hard but the corporations opposed fiercely. 'US support for Israel, when considered not in abstract but concrete detail, cannot be adequately explained as a result of American imperial interests', the late anti-Zionist and leftist writer Israel Shahak observed. 'Strategically, Israel is obviously a huge burden for the US', notes Sullivan. This view is becoming increasingly clear to many observers and indeed to more and more in the US foreign policy establishment."

I have a lot of respect for Parry but it is surprising that the role of Israel wasn't more than a casual mention in his article about the "the neocon-driven ideology of endless chaos".


Good article Mr Parry, with one glaring exception:

"But the chaos that these neocons and liberal interventionists inflict on the world"

They are not "liberal interventionists" but "NEOLIBERAL interventionists". This distinction is crucial, as Frank Luntz would tell you.

We are mostly liberals here.


Not all neocons are Jewish - look at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. As for the neocon connection to the coup in the Ukraine being 'inventive':

"Neocons and the Ukraine Coup
February 23, 2014

Exclusive: American neocons helped destabilize Ukraine and engineer the overthrow of its elected government, a “regime change” on Russia’s western border. But the coup – and the neo-Nazi militias at the forefront – also reveal divisions within the Obama administration, reports Robert Parry."



There is a dearth of Ukraine coverage but Robert Parry is among the few doing serious journalism on this crisis, another is Professor Stephen Cohen. Each week, on Tuesday, Prof. Cohen speaks about these issues on the conservative John Batchelor radio program out of New York; here's this Tuesday's program:



Many conflate Israel and Jews. It's wrong to do so. Jews worldwide aren't responsible for Israel, Israelis and those who support Israel's policies are. Many Jews, like those in Jewish Voice for Peace, oppose Israel's policies. Conflating Israel and Jews is used as a tactic to suppress discussions about Israel (and neocons) by pretending criticisms of Israel (or neocons) are actually criticisms of Jews.

Criticism of Israel is not equal to criticism of Jews. The fact that many neocons are Jewish does not make criticism of neocons a criticism of anyone other than neocons.


You reframed the matter to reinforce your own stance. Obviously, it's Zionists in AIPAC and obviously, this group is influential. What YOU do is leave out all of the other influential players particularly the Oil Barons, the bankers, and the MIC along with its weapons' designers. Unless you take ALL empowered players into the calculus, it would appear that you have An Agenda.


Siouxrose, I didn't reframe it, Parry's piece is about neocons - which is why I posted about them. You're acting as if I said the only influence on U.S. policy is that of neocons. I didn't - although they drove it during the Bush years and still have a significant impact today. Their greatest failure to get their way thus far has been the Iran agreement, which they and Netanyahu vehemently oppose. They also weren't able to get the U.S. into a ground war in Syria. So there are other factors at play.

I think your criticisms are unjustified.


As usual the US is on the wrong side of history. If anyone had a dollar for each of the lives lost to foolish American interventionism, they would be a multi millionaire. Sooner or later America will reap what it has sown and the poor, very stupid American populace will say to each other, "Why do they hate us so"?


"There is always a fixation about getting rid of some designated “bad guy” even if the result is some “far-worse guys.”

Sounds like a description of American politics ....


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