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Some months ago, Phil Butler invited me to contribute to a book to tell the stories of some people who are active in countering the anti-Russian line that has become so predominant in the West. Having read it, I find a common thread among most of the contributors. And that is that some excessively one-sided coverage of events – the Sochi Olympics and Ukraine are often mentioned – triggered their scepticism. It couldn't possibly be that one-sided they thought and they started to look elsewhere for information. This swiftly made them realise that almost everything in the Western MSM about Russia (and many other topics) is lies. Once they understood that, there was no way back.


I recommend the book


I suspect most readers and commenters on this site have been through a similar journey. Anyway, here is mine.


I started work for the Canadian Department of National Defence in 1977 in the Directorate of Land Operational Research of the Operational Research and Analysis Establishment. I participated in many training games in real time and research games in very slow time. The scenarios were always the same: we (Canada had a brigade group in West Germany) were defending against an attack by the Soviet/Warsaw Pact side. In those days NATO was a defensive organisation and, as we later found out, so was the other side: each was awaiting the other to attack. Which, come to think of it, is probably why we're all here today.

I enjoyed my six years, often as the only civilian in a sea of uniforms, but I realised that a history PhD stood no change of running the directorate so, when the slot opened, I contrived to switch to the Directorate of Strategic Analysis as the USSR guy. I should say straight off that I have never taken a university course on Russia or the USSR. And, in retrospect, I think that was fortunate because in much of the English-speaking world the field seems to be dominated by Balts, Poles or Ukrainians who hate Russia. So I avoided that "Russians are the enemy, whatever flag they fly" indoctrination: I always thought the Russians were just as much the victims of the ideology as any one else and am amused how the others have airbrushed their Bolsheviks out of their pictures just as determinedly as Stalin removed "unpersons" from his.

That was November 1984 and Chernenko was GenSek and, when he died in March 1985, Gorbachev succeeded. While I didn't think the USSR was all that healthy or successful an enterprise, I did expect it to last a lot longer and when Gorbachev started talking about glasnost and perestroyka I thought back to the 20th Party Congress, the Lieberman reforms, Andropov's reforms and didn't expect much.

In 1987 two things made me think again. I attended a Wilton Park conference (the first of many) attended by Dr Leonid Abalkin. He took the conference over and, with the patient interpretation of someone from the Embassy, talked for hours. The Soviet economy was a failure and couldn't be reformed. That was something different. Then, on the front page of Pravda, appeared a short essay with the title "A New Philosophy of Foreign Policy" by Yevgeniy Primakov. I pricked up my ears: a new philosophy? But surely good old Marxism-Leninism is valid for all times and places. As I read on, I realised that this was also something new: the author was bluntly saying that Soviet foreign policy had been a failure, it was ruining the country and creating enemies. These two were telling us that the USSR just didn't work. As Putin told Stone, "it was not efficient in its roots".

These things convinced me that real change was being attempted. Not just fiddling around at the edges but something that would end the whole Marxist-Leninist construct. As far as I was concerned, it had been the communist system that was our enemy and, if it was thrown off, we should be happy. Sometime around then I was interviewed for a job at NATO and the question was what, with all these changes, was NATO's future. I said it should become an alliance of the civilised countries against whatever dangers were out there: the present members of course, but also the USSR, Japan and so on.

Well, that didn't happen did it? I remember a very knowledgeable boss assuring me that NATO expansion was such a stupid idea that it would never happen. He was wrong too.

In 1814 the victors – Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria – sat down in Vienna, with France, to re-design the world. They were wise enough to understood that a settlement that excluded France wouldn't last. In 1919 this was forgotten and the settlement – and short-lived it was – excluded the loser. In 1945 Japan and Germany were included in the winners' circle. At the end of the Cold War, repeating the Versailles mistake, we excluded Russia. It was soon obvious, whatever meretricious platitudes stumbled from the lips of wooden-faced stooges, that NATO was an anti-Russia organisation of the "winners".

But I retained hope. I think my most reprinted piece has been "The Third Turn" of November 2010 and in it I argued that Russia had passed through two periods in the Western imagination: first as the Little Brother then as the Assertive Enemy but that we were now approaching a time in which it would be seen as a normal country.

Well, that didn't happen did it?

And so the great opportunity to integrate Russia into the winners' circle was thrown away.

For a long time I thought it was stupidity and ignorance. I knew the implacably hostile were out there: Brzezinski and the legions of "think" tanks (my website has a collection of anti-Russia quotations I've collected over the years) but I greatly underestimated their persistence. Stupidity and ignorance; you can argue with those (or hope to). But you can't argue with the anti-Russians. Russia wants to re-conquer the empire so it invaded Georgia. But it didn't hold on to it, did it? No but that's because we stopped it. Putin kills reporters. Name one. You know, whatshername. Provocative exercises on NATO's borders. But NATO keeps moving closer to Russia. Irrelevant, NATO's peaceful. Putin is the richest thief in the world. Says who? Everybody. Putin hacked the US election. How? Somehow.

I quoted Hanlan's razor a lot – "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". And, stupidity and ignorance there were (a favourite being John McCain's notion that the appropriate venue for a response to a Putin piece in the NYT was Pravda. And then he picked the wrong Pravda! (But he won't hate Russia or Putin any the less if he were told that, would he?) At some point I came to understand that malice was the real driver.

I suppose it grew on me bit by bit – all the stupidity converged on the same point and it never stopped; but real stupidity and ignorance don't work that way: people learn, however slowly. I think the change for me was Libya. I started out thinking stupidity but, as it piled up, it became clear that it was malice. I'd seen lies in the Kosovo war but it was Libya that convinced me that it wasn't just a few lies, it was all lies. (My guess is that Libya was an important development in Putin's view of NATO/US too.)

Naive perhaps but, for most of history stupidity has adequately explained things and malice is, after all, a species of stupidity.

So what's the point of writing? I'll never convince the Russia haters, and there's little chance of getting through to the stupid and ignorant. And most people aren't very interested anyway.

Well, this is where malice meets stupidity. If we consider the Project for a New American Century, the neocon game plan "to promote American global leadership", what do we see twenty years later? Brzezinski laid out the strategy in The Grand Chessboard at the same time. What today? Well, last year he had to admit that the "era" of US dominance, he was so confident of twenty years earlier, was over. There's no need to belabour the point: while the US by most measures is still the world's dominant power, its mighty military is defeated everywhere and doesn't realise it, its manufacturing capacity has been mostly outsourced to China, domestic politics and stability degenerate while we watch and there's opioids, spectacular debt levels, incarceration, infant mortality, недоговороспособны and on and on. Donald Trump was elected on the promise to Make America Great…. Again. Hardly the hyperpower to lead the globe is it?

The Twentieth Century was the "American Century" thanks to limitless manufacturing capacity allied to great inventiveness anchored on a stable political base. What is left of these three in 2017? Can America be made "great" again? And wars: wars everywhere and everywhere the same. And what other than malice has brought it to this state? Malice has become stupidity: the neocons, Brzezinskis, the Russia haters, the Exceptionalists, scheming "to promote American global leadership", have weakened the USA. Perhaps irreparably.

So, who's the audience today? The converted and people at the point when a little push can break their conditioning have always been there. But now there is a potentially huge audience for our efforts: the audience of the awakening.

Which brings me back to where I started. Except that it's the USA this time:


We're here and we're waiting for you: you've been lied to but that doesn't mean that everything is a lie.

About Patrick Armstrong
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76 Responses to HOW I GOT HERE

  1. Imagine says:

    Thank you very much for this; it is much needed.

  2. Anna says:

    Excellent says. Thank you!
    “The Twentieth Century was the “American Century” thanks to limitless manufacturing capacity allied to great inventiveness anchored on a stable political base.” — These three should be made into a ground rock of the US internal/foreign policies, not the Kagans-CIA adventurous spirit of war profiteering.
    “Malice has become stupidity: the neocons, Brzezinskis, the Russia haters, the Exceptionalists, scheming “to promote American global leadership”, have weakened the USA. Perhaps irreparably.” — True. They are the traitors and destroyers of the formerly great country.

  3. While he’s right on almost every point, all I can say is: Good luck with that.
    The trend of history is not reversed by bloggers. I simply don’t see a “huge audience of the awakening.” There may be a huge audience of discontented people, but they’re unlikely to 1) fully understand what’s going on, and 2) be able to organize enough to do anything about it. History may show such situations occurring, but the US is a big, diversified country and it moves like an iceberg and is unlikely to be diverted from its course (short of melting economically or militarily.)
    I’d start looking for a retreat in an area unlikely to be hit by nukes. Even better, move to a country that isn’t likely to be hit and where the population doesn’t already despise Americans (or certainly will if we start WWIII) – if such a country exists.

  4. turcopolier says:

    Well done. Thank you. The post Cold War expansion of NATO was madness driven by the “conditioning” of the Cold War decades. I railed against it then and was met with stony stares everywhere in the government. The influence of the Russia Haters like Zbig has been pervasive for a long time. In addition to that I would say that the US no longer has a foreign policy in the ME. Israel has a policy which reflects their cartoonish view of the supposedly universally hostile Gentile world. The US is engaged in attempting to execute that policy. If people think that is not true, they should consider the zombie utterances of Nikki Haley in Kinshasha and Tillerson in Geneva. pl

  5. “move to a country that isn’t likely to be hit”
    I don’t know if these are apocryphal stories but I heard somewhere that a couple in the 1930s had picked Iwo Jima as a safe place to wait out the coming trouble. And then there was a couple who moved to the Falkland Islands in the 1960s or 1970s.
    As for change in the USA, who knows? Obama was elected by people who wanted change and so was Trump. The desire is out there, at any event.

  6. I would just add Saudi Arabia to that. When I was reading up on jihadism it became clear how much SA had infiltrated academia and think tanks, to say nothing of mosques in the USA. IMO Jerusalem and Riyadh are united on one big issue and that is that Iran is the Big Enemy.

  7. SmoothieX12 says:

    The trend of history is not reversed by bloggers. I simply don’t see a “huge audience of the awakening.”
    Check out current POTUS and recall on what program he gained votes in November 2016. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

  8. johnf says:

    I also think that you only have to have followed Social Media during the Trump/Clinton election campaign and followed Twitter memes like draftourdaughters – posted and followed by millions of ordinary Americans – and showing great wit and irony and genuine feeling and contempt for Clinton’s virulent anti-Russian campaign, to realize that there are huge numbers of ordinary Americans who are thinking for themselves and not swallowing the warmongers propaganda.

  9. Bill Herschel says:

    For me the turning point was realizing that The New York Times (and the Manchester Guardian) is at the very heart of the rabid anti-Russian propaganda. As I said to SWMBO, find a pro-Russian article in the New York Times in the past three years. And when I say pro-Russian, I include neutral, anything at all that isn’t a full bore attack. These are supposed to be intelligent, unbiased, analytical outlets. They aren’t. (Of course, I realize the counter-argument is that there is nothing good to say about Russia. Or, more succinctly, why don’t you move to Russia? My reply is that I don’t want Russia as an enemy. Why would I and why would any man?)
    I would pose the following question to PA. Given that just about every technique possible has been mounted against Russia to destroy its political system and society, would you be surprised if some of these techniques were used against the U.S. by Russia? If Trump makes Taylor the head of the Federal Reserve, he will have been the most disruptive, inflammatory, divisive political leader in the history of the U.S. I think it is a reasonable question to ask whether the U.S. can survive much more of Trump.
    Now, I realize that there are a great many Trump supporters not only within the sound of my voice but also in the comments to this blog. And I also realize that hypothesizing that Trump’s actions could be directed in any way by Russia places me in a tin foil hat. I realize that. But eliminate the impossible… What is more, how much influence would Russia have to have on Trump to get him to come along?
    And I would also add the observation that German tanks swept the field at the start of WWII and Russian tanks annihilated them (and the Japanese) at the end.

  10. 1. I do not believe that there is any connection/influence between Russia and Trump. Period. That was a lie made up to excuse the DNC’s swindle.
    2. Russia wants a quiet life and has no interest in trying to bring down a foe as dangerous in its death throes as the USA would be.
    3. That having been said, I believe Moscow and Beijing know that the US is going down and are hoping to manage the fall as best they can.
    4. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there were a note somewhere in the two akin to Kennan’s Long Telegram arguing that the US is going down, it’s a matter of time, be patient and try to contain it.
    5. Trump is a symptom, not a cause.

  11. FB Ali says:

    Patrick, re Saudi infiltration. It is not only in the USA, their pernicious Wahhabi ideology, riding on the back of their huge petrodollar resources, has infiltrated the whole Muslim world. This is what has created the Jihadi monster that was born there, and now stalks the world.
    Most Muslim populations adhered to a moderate form of Islam prior to this invasion. Now, these adherents have either been converted, or find it expedient to adopt extreme discretion to continue to live their lives. Anyone bold enough to still speak out against it runs the risk of being accused of blasphemy and killed.
    The USA is complicit in this development, initially to use it against the Soviet Union, and later against other “enemies” such as Iran. Attempts to divert this Frankenstein monster towards other targets, as in Syria, will only delay the inevitable, when it turns upon its creators in SA and the UAE, as stooges of the Christian West, its ultimate enemy.
    The foolish Saudi princeling, who now talks of revising the Wahhabi creed, doesn’t realise that he is digging the grave of the House of Saud.

  12. FB Ali says:

    I agree fully with your conclusions.
    As for the equivalent of the Kennan argument, I think it was clearly underlying the recent statements by Putin at the Valdai Club and by Xi at the party conference.

  13. J says:

    Patrick, Colonel,
    There is much afoot in the Ukraine, this time sadly on the religious side of things.

  14. Yes indeed. Without the Wahhab-Saud connection and implied blessing to give them legitimacy, the Saud family are just a bunch of bandits who seized Arabia.

  15. Willybilly says:

    Fully agree with your five points PA, and happy to tell you that in our neck of the woods we have been saying exactly that years ago…., especially points 2 to 4; and the point of “ managing the inevitable fall of the US…..

  16. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Thank you for this excellent article. However, I think you are being too charitable by defining malice as just another species of stupidity. While the term “stupid” fits those deceived by the propaganda, wouldn’t “evil” be a better descriptor of the malice displayed by zio-con and wahhabi high-priests?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  17. Pacifica Advocate says:

    In Re~Wahabbism:
    Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines offer alternatives to neuter that trend. These countries have maintained a good bit of independence from the Saudi/US sphere of thought, and in many cases it is because the Chinese populations, in those countries, are closely tied to the Muslim countries.
    Notably, those Chinese people are neutral on the Taiwan-vs.-Mao question. I have met and learned from a good lot of them, who have come to Taiwan to learn. They are practical, and understand not only Taiwan’s precarious status, but also the value in maintaining that status for as long as possible.
    There are very few Chinese in SE Asia who think that Taiwan would be best served by a declaration of independence.
    There are very few Muslims in SE Asia who are friends with those Chinese who are linked to Wahabbi groups.

  18. Koros, Hybris, Ate and eventually Nemesis. You have to be a bit stupid the repeat that, don’t you think?
    Surely to be malicious and provoke trouble and take delight in others’ troubles leads to your disaster and, altogether, is pretty stupid.
    But I take your point. I used the words because of Hanlan’s Razor.

  19. Pacifica Advocate says:

    >>>Check out current POTUS and recall on what program he gained votes in November 2016. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
    Check out Google and Twitter censorship of major news outlets, as well as the massive censorship of blogs and alternative media–oh, wait: that would be media mercenaries complicit in peddling un-American narratives, right?
    Either way, it’s fucking censorship.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:


  21. kooshy says:

    Mr. Ali very well said, as I am very sure you have already read, Crown prince MBS is trying to blame their adoration of ultra militant extremist Islam on Iranian revolution, in this suggestion, he wants his audience to believe hey chose this path to defend the Islam they practice against the islam or Majos Iranians that could affect the Sunni Islam. Therefore I believe they have thought what explanation can win both western audience as well as Muslim sunni audience. To one side it blames it to Iranian Revolution and to the other side he suggest they have defended the Sunni against Shia founding and promoting militant extremist Sunni Islam.

  22. Imagine says:

    Artificial Intelligence increases the efficiency of intellectual operations exponentially, without increasing their wisdom [unless explicitly designed in]. Good gets done faster, but stupid gets done faster and stronger too. Helping a poorly-designed system move faster only leads to it flailing itself apart like the Tacoma Narrows bridge.
    Recent events include the breath-taking black-holing of freedom of press at the United Nations:
    the equally breathtaking attempt to make it a 20-year-prison federal felony to criticize Israel in the United States:
    and Israel Minority-Report jailing people for posting on Facebook:
    “if you get to their house a week before the attack the kid doesn’t know that he is a terrorist yet”.
    The CIA now has over a thousand programmers. How do you see boosted efficiency of Deep State operations playing out in the real world in the coming years?

  23. LeaNder says:

    Surely to be malicious and provoke trouble and take delight in others’ troubles leads to your disaster and, altogether, is pretty stupid.
    unfortunately for us average citizen hubris doesn’t quite work as excellently as it does in Greek tragedy?
    My no doubt innocently ignorant experience is that as as long as you are well embedded in whatever system you can well survive its fall.
    But yes in that context Iraq seemed to be something of a new age experience, whatever that new age may be.

  24. Stumpy says:

    PA, Colonel,
    Excellent article.
    There is nothing like travel and living abroad to broaden one’s perspective. Little wonder that US citizens who have never ventured outside their home state, let alone country, simply fail to grasp the gravity of the world situation, particularly in countries where the expedient discretion, as FB Ali gently states, means survival. Where it takes little courage to make it through the day, the risk is falling into a state of passive complacency. Opiated, in a sense.
    Having grown up in the Central American sector I can tell you, as a child in an expat household, our lives contained a geometrically larger array of moving parts compared to those who have never left the home country. While my childhood revolved around riding a bicycle in the boulevards and beautiful parks of the city, whatever peers I had have long since fled the violence, as I have, and those who remain might as well be in a warzone. Such a beautiful yet toxic beauty, Mexico.
    So, if your question is, “where would I move to be safe when the proverbial s hits the f?”, part of me thinks that living close to the most likely target for nukes to hit, in the first wave, is a practical solution, to be unaffected by the aftermath. Can’t afford to move to Dubai, after all. In the meantime, you should see my banana peppers and parsley this year.

  25. kooshy says:

    PA thank you for this well explained awakening, exposing this dangerous and unnecessary malice on US Russia relations. I just hope, someday, someone can explain and expose this same unnecessary malice that exist on Iran US relation, which unfortunately like the “Russia an evil empire and our enemy for ever” is cleverly implanted deep within the american mentality.

  26. rkka says:

    In Russia, the traditional Sufi and Hanafi interpretations of Islam are turning back the Wahabi influence, which was growing as Saudi $$$ and preachers had been admitted back in the catastrophic ’90s. The tide has turned there.
    I got here through my study of World War II in the East, and the diplomatic history of the immediate prewar period.
    I learned that Munich was about destroying the French-Czech-Soviet alliance of 1935 that had Adolf stymied, and not about ‘Peace in our Time.’
    I learned that in August 1939 the Polish government preferred facing the German attack alone, rejecting obviously needed military assistance from the only source geographically able to provide it.
    I learned that the Polish Government in Exile thought that a division-sized Soviet mechanized force encircled by 4 Panzer Divisions and suffering a 90% casualty rate 15 km NE of Warsaw in early August 1944 was “…just standing by, passive and ostentatious…” and that Western governments at the time preferred to believe this lying accusation rather than Stalin’s truthful report that the Germans had brought up 4 Panzer Divisions, even though British monitoring of German radio broadcasts reported German radio publicizing the German defeat of a Soviet mechanized force on the outskirts of Warsaw.
    To this day this accusation is made in general English language accounts of the war in the East.
    Then as a somewhat older young man I observed that the end of ‘Soviet genocide’ in several Soviet successor states was accompanied by catastrophic increases in death rates, and equally catastrophic collapses in birth rates as the populations suffered a degree of impoverishment unprecedented in any developed country in peacetime.
    And as I entered middle age, I saw two of the most ruthless and rapacious Russian oligarchs who profited as Russians died being turned into human rights icons of Sakharov’s stature, while the man who broke their power and under whose governance Russians began flourishing once again being subjected to a tidal wave of media vituperation from the Anglosphere.

  27. David Foglesong The American Mission and the “Evil Empire” details a remarkably long American concern about Russia as a sort of delinquent brother. And this despite the very considerable help Russia gave the Union side in the Civil War. But it’s still rather a mystery to me
    But Iran’s easy — it’s been put there with considerable and expensive effort by Jerusalem and Riyadh)helped of course by memories of the hostage event). I know of no more idiotic sentence than “Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and al quaeda/IS/Daesh is the biggest terrorist actor” and yet the State Dept repeats it every year. How anyone can utter that sentence, I don’t know. But it’s placed in their heads and nobody dares laugh out loud. And here we see the convergence of the Israeli and Saudi influence.

  28. That’s a big question. Briefly, I don’t think the Deep State/Borg/Consensus is actually very efficient. My suspicion is that the collection program, for example, has just become a bureaucratic exercise in getting bigger and bigger. When, for example, was the last terrorist attempt in the US prevented? (And I don’t include the numerous fake entrapment efforts).
    But see William Binney for more on this.

  29. Barbara Ann says:

    I could not find an inverse for Hanlon’s Razor, perhaps Armstrong’s Razor should be coined.
    Thanks for sharing your personal journey Patrick. Mine took the form of simply seeking out (often unpopular) viewpoints that sought to explain World events, rather than simply report them – or worse; parrot Establishment interpretations of the same (e.g. most TV news – to Richard Sale’s point). This path took me to your own blog and ultimately to SST.
    As for the audience of the awakening; what else can we pin our hopes for Humanity on? Bloggers such as yourself, our gracious host and SST’s other contributors represent the new frontline in the eternal struggle which pits intellect and civilization against our more base instincts. So long as a critical mass of citizens retain the ability to recognize the truth when they finally discover it, there is hope. Valuable information has the fortunate quality of being very easy to spread and very hard to ‘un-spread’.
    But a disparate collection of enlightened bloggers a government does not make. The real problem we face is that in the largely post-ideological Western World, increasingly the people with the strongest convictions about how our affairs should be managed are those whom we should probably least trust in positions of power. Adam Curtis also makes the excellent point in HyperNormalisation that the political class is now desperately short of both ideas and power – and hence no longer in a position to actually materially change people’s lives. Corporations and the market economy are the only power left – politics is relegated to window dressing.
    Democracy itself no longer seems to represent the gold standard for good governance. Abysmal foreign policy and a trend towards Nationalism everywhere from India to the US itself have devalued the concept. Contrary to a Cold War article of faith, autocracies (Russia, China) now counter our malign/stupid foreign policy with rational/sane alternatives.
    Perhaps Mankind has outgrown democracy, at least in it’s latest incarnation. I have no wish to live is either of the Asian super states, where I would doubtless not have the freedom to write as I do now. Yet is is hard to avoid the conclusion that right now the West has lost it’s way and the East appears both willing and capable of picking up the mantel of Global leadership.

  30. FB Ali says:

    Kooshy (@ 3.14 PM),
    The nonsense about Iran causing Wahhabism, that the Saudi princeling MbS is spouting, is mainly for the Western audience; it will not cut any ice with other Sunnis.
    Pacifica Advocate (@ 2:39 PM),
    You are either mistaken or have an agenda. The Wahhabis have deeply infiltrated Muslim organizations in Indonesia and Malaysia, as recent mass demonstrations there have shown (they forced the former governor of Jakarta, a Christian, to be sent to prison for blasphemy; see
    I don’t know much about diaspora Chinese and Taiwan, but I seriously doubt your version of their attitudes.

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The English desired a war between Germany and USSR. I have come to the conclusion that they preferred NAZIs to Communists, Germans to Russians.
    They were successful in getting their war, but as its consequece they lost their great power status and had to become a minor adjunct to USA; a phyrric victory.
    And there is that loss of blood and treasure.

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Its roots are in Old Testament Protestanism among Northern European peoples. They have paid a very heavy price for their unrequited love and they are not about to cut their losses.
    The Puritans in USA have witnessed the demise of CSA, won WW2 and the Cold War and I should think they fully expect to prevail against Iran, Sia, and even Jihadi Muslims.

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Western World is emphathically not post-ideological; its EU version is against religion and its dominant weltanschauung is one of Bouregeois Rationality-the stuff they teach in Business Schools.

  34. steve g says:

    Many thanks to Mr. Armstrong and others here
    for a updated tutorial on not only current events
    but the ramifications of the policies that drive them.
    My new mantra when dealing with others of the
    “leftist” bent when they exhibit either complete
    denial or outright dismissal of “alternate facts”
    is “None are so blind as those who refuse to see”

  35. JohnsonR says:

    Excellent, thank you. I’ve picked up a Kindle copy and am thinking about picking up a couple of paperbacks to pass on to acquaintances who are pretty conventional in their politics but who imo might be amenable to the message that the “Kremlin trolls” they constantly hear about are actually reasonable men. I’ll read it through first, though, because “red-pilling” is always a ticklish operation and can easily backfire.

  36. MRW says:

    Excellent post, Patrick.
    All, here are two interesting posts to read that show part of the cloud all this is floating in, IMO. (May seem utterly OT to many. I see them as grouting that describes the patterns.)
    In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War. By Tyler Durden, Oct 28, 2017
    The Long Night Ahead. By John Robb, Sept 27, 2017.

  37. Croesus says:

    re #3, #4: In ~2002 Dennis Ross became the charter chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI). Among the first papers the Institute commissioned was Salomon Wald’s study of the prospects for Jewish – Chinese relations, given the expectation that USA superpower status was on the decline and would be eclipsed — Israel’s Kennan Telegram.
    I haven’t searched for a JPPPI paper re Jewish – Russian relations — probably doesn’t need a paper — but a year or two ago the Institute initiated a study of Jewish – Indian relations.
    Israel’s strategy seems to be less “containing US decline toward a soft landing” and more, protection of their own interests.

  38. rkka says:

    “The English desired a war between Germany and USSR. I have come to the conclusion that they preferred NAZIs to Communists, Germans to Russians.”
    I concur with both points.
    “They were successful in getting their war, but as its consequece they lost their great power status and had to become a minor adjunct to USA; a phyrric victory.”
    No they weren’t. In Chamberlain’s own words what he wanted was “…Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against Communism…” He hoped to persuade Adolf to abandon his objectives in the West to pursue his objectives in the East. Unfortunately for Neville, Adolf insisted on both. Being involved in a ruinous war with Germany was not at all part of Neville’s plan.

  39. JohnsonR says:

    The trend of history is not reversed by bloggers
    Maybe not, but I believe it’s quite likely one disastrous US war was prevented by the actions of bloggers – the intended US attack on Syria in 2013. I’ve been arguing online (below the line) against the US sphere’s stupid recent wars since there was an internet to argue on (I’m not dogmatically pacifist, by the way – I supported the Falklands War, for instance, which I regard as the last incontrovertibly legitimate war fought by Britain or by the US). As a result I’ve been a Milosevic stooge, a Saddam apologist, a Gaddafi puppet, a Putin troll and an Assad dupe. Not bad for a Thatcher-voting, NATO-supporting (in the Cold War), previously lifelong Conservative supporter.
    In none of those cases other than Syria was the issue ever close enough for internet opinion and alternative media to sway the executive power. But in the case of Syria in 2013, the disastrous bloody precedents of Iraq and Libya were hanging right there, still bleeding, before everyone’s eyes, and as a result there was a more widespread sentiment against the war than in any of the previous cases. And the opinions and the arguments of the men standing against attacking Syria were ultimately unanswerable by its advocates. In the normal course of events that would have made no difference – the authorities would just have made sure as usual that the dissenting opinions were mostly kept out of the mainstream and that was usually enough to suppress political resistance, and make the politicians believe they could get away with ignoring it.
    But in 2013, there was still sufficient freedom to express dissenting views that many people could find the opinions of the dissenters and the alternative information they supplied, and see the arguments of the interventionists being repeatedly destroyed in below the line debates (it’s no coincidence that many below the line discussion forums run by newspapers such as the Spectator Blogs and Telegraph in the UK were closed or heavily suppressed shortly afterwards on “hate speech” grounds). The issue was close, and there were men in the UK House of Commons emboldened to oppose the resolution sought by Cameron to authorise an attack on Syria, whether motivated by honest disagreement or (more often, imo) fear that they would be held responsible for the consequences of a disastrous war.
    The issue was close enough that it also required a calamitous display of managerial incompetence by Cameron and Miliband in the Commons, both of whom were supporters of this latest war of aggression. As I remember it (it’s going back a bit now), Miliband wanted to posture a bit and had his party vote against the attack resolution, expecting the government to bring forward a slightly modified resolution he would then support, but Cameron panicked when Labour voted against the motion and it was defeated, and he went into damage limitation and finger-pointing mode. In what was, in my lifetime, among the most glorious victories for common sense ever in the UK Parliament, a government motion to wage a war of aggression was actually defeated!
    The issue then moved on to the US, where Obama had seemingly already decided to attack Syria (and supposedly had told the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham this beforehand), but he feared the consequences of going ahead without public backing in case of costly failure, and he decided to seek Congressional support as political cover. As in the UK, I believe one of the reasons the usually reliably cowardly and incompetent men and women in Congress failed to nod through an approval was because of the efforts of bloggers in helping to crystallise and motivate public opinion.
    Obama bottled it, two years later the Russians stepped in openly, and the rest is history.
    We dodged a bullet in 2013, imo, and bloggers helped to achieve that. Certainly the liars in the mainstream media were not much help – they were mostly as bought and paid for by the other side as they were over Iraq in 2003.

  40. Walker says:

    India and Bangladesh also follow a more moderate brand of Islam, do they not? It’s worth noting that Indonesia, India and Bangladesh are the first, third, and fourth countries ranked by Muslim population. (Pakistan is #2).

  41. Walker says:

    Do you know the story of Wilmer McLean? His house was used as Confederate General Beauregard’s headquarters during the first battle of the American Civil War, Bull Run. After having cannonballs land in his fireplace he vowed to get as far away from the war as possible. He moved to rural Appomattox, Virginia. Four years later the war ended in his parlor when General Lee surrendered to General Grant there.

  42. blue peacock says:

    What do you mean by “the US is going down”? Can you please elaborate?

  43. αρtɛt says:

    excellent , important, piece, thank you

  44. JohnB says:

    An excellent post and reflects my own journey too, many thanks.

  45. JohnB says:

    The Zerohedge article is a real shocker and not being reported at all in the UK. Surprise, surprise.

  46. The Porkchop Express says:

    I have long intended to read Emmanuel Todd’s “After the Empire.” Finally got around to starting it yesterday. I literally put it down not fifteen minutes ago after finishing a chapter that spoke briefly to US/Russia relations and then read your post.
    Todd makes a number of specious claims and he is mainly postulating, though he makes it clear that he is not anti-American but rather politically opposed to US imperial pretensions, but his general thesis seems rather sound. Namely that, because of globalization, the US is far more dependent on the rest of the world than we care to admit. This dependence may result in a number of paths forward for the US and is the result of multiple things: history, demographic factors, increased global literacy, and international economics. Because of a lesser need to rely wholly on the US as global protector the imbalance in the understanding of American “indispensableness” has resulted in the US requiring a certain level of global instability and the use of what he calls “theatrical micromilitarism” to continue to maintain any imperial designs it may harbor. Which I think would dovetail with your thesis of malevolent behavior.
    While I haven’t finished the book yet, and he has promised a more detailed chapter on Russia, it seems he is postulating it is more the responsibility of the rest of the world to assist/convince the United States in understanding/seeing that is time for the US to pull back the reigns on its imperial designs so that the loss of power/prestige/etc… doesn’t result in the US lashing out violently or unreasonably.
    So when I read “the audience of the awakening” I was curious if you meant this more specifically toward an American audience or a more global one? Both?
    At any rate, appreciate the post.

  47. MRW says:

    Yes, indeedy.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Another fantasist.

  49. Bill Herschel says:

    How do you support this statement:
    “RUSSIA INC. I expand on something I wrote some time ago. Russia is a “full-service” economy. One of four on the planet. It and China are going up; the USA and the EU are going down.”
    The U.S. GDP is rising. The stock market is booming. We are at full employment. I don’t see the going down part.

  50. Walrus says:

    Fantasy indeed. The Chinese are very conscious of the fact that the Bumi Putra have a long history of anti chinese pogroms often justified by islamic sentiments. Saudi has been investing in Wahabi madrassas in Asia for at least 30 years as well. The result is a toxic mixture of jihadism, nationalism and anti chinese sentiment.

  51. J says:

    Here’s what the new Saudi Prince has been pitching:
    Looks like the old adage that PT Barnum uttered has come true, there’s a sucker born every minute. The Saudi soon-to-be-king has thrown out his bait, and the neophyte are biting, hook, line, and sinker.

  52. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Pacifica Advocate 28 October 2017 at 02:39 PM
    All it takes to refute this delusional nonsense you spout is one word:

  53. johnf says:

    Entirely agree with that.
    I also think that Trump’s victory was down to an anti-war vote in the mid-Western states which had previously voted Sanders in the primaries. And, whatever his grotesque contortions in office (mainly to placate AIPAC), he still seems broadly to be sticking to that script. In Britain we don’t appear to have either a prime minister or a government, so I’m not sure who they’re going to declate war on (except on each other).
    I think the Western electorates have turned their back on war.

  54. confusedponderer says:

    FB Ali,
    re: “The foolish Saudi princeling, who now talks of revising the Wahhabi creed, doesn’t realise that he is digging the grave of the House of Saud.
    A foolish princeling indeed. The nutters he’s empowering and funding have no great respect for their supporters, in fact, by declaring their caliphate without asking Saudi princes they challenged the Saudis, who asssert that they alone have the right to declare such things.
    AQ and ISIS folks are unlikely to forgive such views. What happened to Ghaddafi speaks for itself. Supporting these folks is not just ruthless and murderous, but also quite shortsighted. That said, err, written: The Saudi princeling may, while at it, just be digging his own grave.
    And to add to these idiotic ideas also absurdities – the princeling is ‘en passant‘ chasing other weirdo dreams, like for example building NEOM, “the greatest city” of the world or something. Yes, clearly, what the Saudis need is more big cities.
    IMO the problems with princelings like that come from the fact that they never needed to work for their privileges and wealth. They inherited both.
    Since they just ‘have it’, they don’t appreciate the trouble involved of building it. Pissing wealth away is a right of privilege, not a matter of sense or sensibility. The latter are questions that don’t come up.
    So, the Saudis, after bombing the country for a considerable time, don’t succeed in Yemen.
    What they brought the place is a lot o killing, a siege, murderous Islamists like AQ and ISIS, and while at it, the threat of hunger and a hard cholera epidemy. Fighting on the ground doesn’t go well, and thus they ask for other Arabs, Pakistanis and Egyptians to fight for them the war they started, while blaming, of course, Iran.
    With such glorious ‘missions accomplished’, let’s generously call it ‘a Saudi royal serial success’.

  55. Look around you. Up or down since you were a kid?

  56. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Is your query above a rhetorical device?
    Thanks for any clarification
    Ishmael Zechariah

  57. Fred says:

    Sounds like we can cut welfare, SNAP and a whole lot of other transfer payments since people can find jobs all over the place.

  58. turcopolier says:

    Peggy Noonan said on Mornin’ Joe a week ago that the non-coastal middle and blue collar classes feel that society is collapsing around them. and that Trump’s presidency and the rise of the GOP generally reflect that. She might not be invited back for a while. pl

  59. confusedponderer says:

    When I was in the army in my military service I was a ‘Funker’ in a communications regiment that was supporting III. Korps in Koblenz.
    I was told during my NBC detect and decon training by an officer that the warsaw pact had aimed thirty (or so) nukes on the town of Koblenz. It left me speechless.
    Koblenz surely was a ‘high value target’. There were a lot of soldiers in and around town, and a corps HQ and a lot of civilians around. But thirty nukes? That IMO was simply a grand and deadly overkill. Because it was ‘doable’?
    I thank the Lord that the Cold War never ‘got hot’. The heat and blast aside, radioactive stuff is a bad news for anyone, and it drifts.
    I remember we were advised for a couple years after Chernobyl to not collect mushrooms in the woods, and not to eat them, because they had been consistently exposed to radioactivitive crap from the plant that drifted over to central and western Europe and fell down.
    That fallout, iirc caesium stuff, can still be measured – some 31 years after the accident happened.
    Well, the point is, central Germany is some 1600 km away from Chernobyl, and they, well, we, just were ‘in the wind direction’. Close enough for fallout.

  60. I think the audience is world-wide. I’m told, for example, that the German media is even more anti-Russian than the English-speaking media. But we see people waking up all over the place. The essence of the awakening is some trigger that makes the individual realise that our masters don’t have our interests at heart and are lying to us.

  61. Jerusalem and Riyadh working together : and much longer than we suppose they did on what apperead about it in public…

  62. LeaNder says:

    I’m told, for example, that the German media is even more anti-Russian than the English-speaking media.
    Well that’s German hubris once again. Familiar?
    Concerning the latest US sanctions as you may imagine there was unisono applause from all over the place in media. For a moment it seemed the big fear that our most important protection against the biggest enemy out there was wavering in its guarantee to protect us. Given the new emperor and his defense recollection strategy. Mind you. North – East – West – South pretty united in fact. My God, once again the Russians are coming. We finally have to pay for out own defense? Considering Russia even for the most block-headed German it was quite easy to understand one day they would seek their well-deserved revenge.
    The Southern even forgot for a moment that Switzerland could turn from defensive to offensive. You know: “Die Schweitzer kommen”. A well rehearsed fear in the deep South …

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup, 2 million 850,000 jobs are removed from US and 2 million 450,000 jobs were created in 3rd World countries by US corporations. Such a massive wealth tranfer will have, at first, social consequences, and later, historical ones.
    Caveat Emptor

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Germans are also deeply prejudiced against Iran.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Aramco IPO, NEOM, and allowing women to drive, as well as public speeches about economic reform are addressed squarely at the greedy, gulible, and stupid faranjis – like Americans.
    It is an attempt at seduction and at damage control.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, the were caught in their own spider web.

  67. SmoothieX12 says:

    posted and followed by millions of ordinary Americans – and showing great wit and irony and genuine feeling and contempt for Clinton’s virulent anti-Russian campaign, to realize that there are huge numbers of ordinary Americans who are thinking for themselves and not swallowing the warmongers propaganda.
    Absolutely, 100% true. Remarkably, a huge percentage of these Americans are not urbanites from affluent and “liberal” and supposedly “educated” centers.

  68. LondonBob says:

    Nonsense, the Bolsheviks who were still running the Soviet Union wanting their world revolution with its war of conquest, whilst Hitler wanted his lebensraum in Eastern Europe. Hitler had no interest in merely reuniting German populated lands, and he was of course a genocidal maniac, two points on which many took a more hopeful position as the alternative would be disastrous. At that point in time when the Soviet Union had already racked up a death toll of millions it was quite rightly regarded as enemy number one whilst people hoped Hitler’s rhetoric was just that.
    There was little Britain could do stop a war, although Chemberlain et al tried. France was still traumatised by their horrendous losses in WWI, Italy was ruled by Mussolini, the US stood aloof with no interest in maintaining the post war settlement, whilst Germany and Russia were determined to undermine it and gobble up as much of Eastern Europe as possible. There were no real options to prevent a generalised war, and that is what they got.

  69. J says:

    Russia pledges investment in Saudi NEOM city

  70. Barbara Ann says:

    Assume you were responding to my earlier post and I agree with you re MBA curricula largely substituting for political manifestos these days in the West. My point was that the all-pervasive business school market forces dogma that triumphed at The End of History effectively represents the absence of a political ideology. Guess it comes down to whether a single consensus world-view without significant opposing doctrine can still be called an ideology.

  71. johnf says:

    Indeed in the West these days it seems that the more you are “educated” the more credulous and downright stupid you are likely to become, and the less “educated” you have been the more rational and level-headed you are likely to be.

  72. Bill Herschel says:

    Thank you for directing me to this essay. It doesn’t prove that “the USA and the EU are going down”, but it demonstrates emphatically that Russia is a formidable nation as it has been throughout history. It is a question of leadership, and if the evidence that the USA is going down is the quality of its leadership, it’s going down.

  73. blue peacock says:

    I’m a Millenial so my “real world” experience is limited. Having said that my experience is that somethings are up while others are down. My own personal standard of living is significantly higher than my parents had at my age.
    However, I get that the median household income has stagnated for over a decade and wealth inequality is worse than in the 1920s. There are many explanations depending on your point of view. My bias is that fiat currency and growth in government, particularly the backstop of financial institutions, drove the financialization of the US economy and the concomitant growth of debt across all sectors. This has enabled “ponzi finance” as described by Hyman Minsky. It is this belief in no consequences that has financed all kinds of wasteful expenditures including the unending wars that the US is engaged in globally.
    You make 3 points to distinguish the prior period when the US was “up”.
    1. Unlimited manufacturing capacity. I agree with you that the US voluntarily shipped its manufacturing base overseas. Ross Perot rang the bell in his quixotic presidential campaign and has been proven prescient. Bill Clinton and the establishment Democrats & GOP are responsible for this. It is clear they did this at the behest of Wall St as they have been the primary winners. Bob Rubin played a huge role in steering the Clinton Administration in this regard as Treasury Secretary and as the prior CEO at Goldman Sachs focused on the benefits to his group. I watched a video of Sir James Goldsmith debate Laura Andrea Tyson, Clinton’s trade chief on the Charlie Rose show. I think it is a must watch for anyone who would like to understand the “free trade” debate in the 1980s & 90s.
    2. Great inventiveness. Patrick, I would argue that “inventiveness” has actually accelerated in the US. From communications to autonomous systems to biotechnology and in several other areas the US has been at the forefront of innovation for the past several decades. The market capitalization of US technology companies created just in the last 2 decades is staggering.
    3. Stable political system. I recently watched Ken Burns Vietnam documentary. Relative to the 60s we have a remarkably stable political environment. No doubt there is substantial angst but compared to then there is so much more social stability.
    I agree with you that Putin is today the most mature and sophisticated national leader on the world stage. Russia needs to be very grateful that a leader of his ability strode on to their stage at such a crucial juncture. I watched his interviews with Oliver Stone several times and I came away very impressed.
    I am a contrarian on China however. Xi continues to consolidate his authoritarian power by eliminating his rivals. This removes any chance for a more inclusive political environment in China. Couple this with the greatest expansion of credit in history which has exploded Chinese banking system assets as well as Shadow Banking assets. That last time an emerging great Asian power did this was Japan in the 1980s. Many don’t realize that the Japanese banks were the largest by assets in that period. We have seen what happened there when the credit cycle reversed. Chinese expansion of credit over the last 2 decades has been on steroids relative to Japan in the 80s.
    I want to conclude that IMO the election of Trump is a symptom of a change in attitudes of the American people. While Trump may be considered by some as an ignorant buffoon and divisive, this is not about him. Instead it is about the average American citizen no longer so easily bamboozled by the MSM and the status quo political and corporate establishment. In this regard the ability of people like you and Col. Lang to provide alternative viewpoints and analysis is shaping public opinion at the margins. And change begins at the margins.

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