The 19th century US economy and armed forces needed industrial production of explosives (and fertilizer), eventually reaching monopoly status, and in turn the economy and armed forces supported the overseas Guano empire necessary to obtain those materials.
100 years ago today, the US, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy signed the Washington Naval Treaty. Intended to de-escalate a battleship arms race, it ended up marking the dawn of the aircraft carrier age, which makes it very relevant even now. Bill and Rachel.
Description: One hundred years ago this week, the Battle of Blair Mountain was in full swing in West Virginia as thousands of heavily armed union miners fought dug-in pro-owner militias. Bill and Rachel examine.
Description: Interventions, Interference, and Invasions: Nate and Bill lead a world tour of the post-WWII history of countries entering other countries’ civil wars and uprisings, for good or ill, and what it means for the future. (We talk about Cuba, Angola, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Indonesia, Guatemala, Libya, Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia, and many others.) People: Bill, Nate. Originally produced: October 20th, 2014. Re-edited and abridged: April 19, 2017.
– Kissinger’s plan to bomb Cuba and what the future of the embargo is
– CIA history: Why arming rebels has often failed and what it means for US plans in Syria now
– What does the future hold for international and unilateral military interventions in armed conflicts and crises? Is the UN still relevant?
Washington only compounds its culpability while simultaneously reducing the chances of finding a tolerable way out of the jam if it remains addicted to fanciful thinking.
And yet it remains wedded to a set of totally unrealistic propositions. This results in the creation of a make-believe world that bears no relation to reality.
Here are some of the biggest fictions that must be abandoned:
Jihadist Syrian frontrunners al-Nusra/al-Qaeda can be transmogrified into mere expressions of genuine Sunni grievances.
Nusra jihadists can be converted into the instrument for militarily crushing ISIS just because there is nobody else willing or able to a job America won’t take on.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulfies will give priority to defeating the various Salafist groups rather than to the removal the Alawite regime in Damascus.
ISIS’s financial lifeline can be cut without destroying the infrastructure of its oil trade and without getting Turkey to cease and desist its complicity in sustaining the oil trade.
The Russians can be “isolated” and denied a major role in determining Syria’s future by calling Putin dirty names and reciting the number of worthless partners in Obama’s ersatz coalition.
Phantom Syrian rebel armies devoted to tolerance and democracy – that don’t exist except in the escapist visions of Washington’s strategic non-thinkers – can be relied upon to win battlefield victories.
Establishing a no-fly buffer zone in northern Syria would do something other than satisfy Erdogan’s ambition to keep open his supply line to al-Nusra and his lucrative commercial dealings with ISIS.
Such a no-fly buffer zone would not contradict our purposes in Syria and would be tolerated by Russia.
It is within the power of the United States to shape the Middle East to its own specifications while contesting a legitimate place for Iran, Russia, Yemenese Houthis and anyone else who doesn’t hew the Saudi-Israeli-Erdogan line Washington has endorsed.