Diplomacy as a path to war, not as an alternative to it


Glenn Greenwald writes that the US is preparing a new bombing campaign in Libya to deal with the mess it created by its first bombing campaign. It must be recalled that Hillary Clinton was one of the leading architects and advocates of that disastrous policy during her tenure as secretary of state and gloated about the brutal death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the hands of a mob, even joking and chuckling about it, saying “We came, we saw, he died”.

That seems to be US foreign policy in the Middle East in a nutshell. Bomb and destabilize countries whose leaders you dislike. Then bomb again when the predictable chaos ensues. Bill Burns bemoaned the fact that in the US, diplomacy is used not to avoid war but to “clear the way for military action, or to clear up the aftermath”. Burns is not some lefty pacifist. He was a career diplomat involved in all manner of high-level activities on behalf of the US and ended up as deputy secretary of state under Clinton and what he describes accurately captures her approach before and during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat.

Meanwhile, Jon Schwarz reports that a prominent warmonger and backer of Clinton has bought the popular satirical magazine The Onion.

Many news outlets covered Univision Communications’ purchase last week of a stake in The Onion, the world’s leading news publication. According to NPR, Univision bought a 40 percent controlling interest in the company, and also acquired the option to buy the remainder of The Onion in the future.

But what’s gotten no attention at all is that Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s biggest fan and financial supporter, is Univision’s co-owner, chairman, and CEO. Saban and his wife, Cheryl, are Hillary Clinton’s top financial backers, having given $2,046,600 to support her political campaigns and at least $10 million more to the Clinton Foundation, on whose board Cheryl Saban sits. The Sabans are also generous supporters of the overall Democratic Party infrastructure, donating, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a total of $16.1 million since 1989 to Democratic and liberal candidates, party committees, leadership PACs, and federally focused 527s.

Saban badly wants Hillary Clinton to be elected president this year, vowing to provide “as much as needed” to see it happen, since “she would be great for the country and great for the world,” and “on issues I care about, [Clinton] is pristine plus.”

So what are the issues that Saban cares about? He is not shy about revealing that Israel is his main interest and supports extremely hardline policies against Palestinians and those countries that he thinks are enemies of Israel.

Beyond Saban’s deep connections to the Clintons, The Onion staffers likely have taken note of his statement that “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

The Onion, in the past, has published articles like Israel: Palestinians Given Ample Time To Evacuate To Nearby Bombing Sites, Israel Vows To Use Veto Power If Chuck Hagel Confirmed As U.S. Secretary Of Defense, and Israel Calls For Increase In U.S. Taxes To Fund Attacks On Gaza.

Saban said in 2014 that if Israel believed the anticipated international nuclear deal with Iran “puts Israel’s security at risk,” then Israel should “bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.”

It is no wonder that he supports Clinton. Whether The Onion changes its tone remains to be seen.

Comments

  1. Dave Huntsman says

    Mano, I think you’re mis-representing history here. The US and its allies, in Libya’s case, did not just bomb for the hell of it; in fact they did precious little, up until it became obvious that Ghaddafi was about to effectively commit genocide against the entire city of Benghazi. What would you be writing if we had done nothing at all, and he had pressed ahead – as he swore he was going to do – in destroying the city?

    It’s what happened – or didn’t happen – next that really caused the problem, as much as anything else. Ideally, the Security Council would have sent in a team to, first of all, to secure Ghaddafi’s weapons arsenals. But no one – not Republicans or Democrats in the US, or any of the European countries, or Russia or China – were willing to put the boots on the ground to secure those arsenals. The weapons flooded into Libya, essentially creating and arming new militias including many that had hitherto not even existed.

    I don’t think sitting by and watching whole cities decimated is acceptable. I also don’t think we should then shirk our responsibility to use our capabilities where it is then necessary to use it, to keep things from totally degenerating (like it has). Everyone, though, likes quick and easy ‘fixes’ – like bombing, like drones, etc. – rather than making and implementing the hard follow-on choices that that easy ‘fixes’ always create.

  2. ShowMetheData says

    We have heard of buying a media property(paper/web-site) to change its editorial policy.
    But maybe it’s just a case of buying to silence by putting The Onion out of business when the political satirical writers leave.

  3. Nick Gotts says

    Dave Huntsman@1,

    I admit I naively supported the initial actions by NATO states, which were, supposedly, aimed at preventing Gaddafi retaking Benghazi and killing many of its inhabitants by imposing a ceasefire and no-fly zone, and at strengthening existing measures to prevent weapons being supplied. If they had been limited to that – as obviously intended by UNSC 1973, the intervention would have been legally and in my view morally justifiable. While certainly not trusting NATO politicians, I underestimated both their willingness to launch aggressive action blatantly way beyond what the resolution authorised (and so illegal under international law), and the ability of airstrikes alone to bring down the regime. I was clearly wrong – the NATO leaders decided this was the moment to get rid of Gaddafi and (as they presumably thought) install a compliant regime; and with help from rebels who (surprise, surprise) turned out to include many Islamist jihadis, they did so – producing the current chaos, which is far worse for most Libyans than Gaddafi’s corrupt and brutal rule – and far more of a threat to the European states which led the intervention.

    Ideally, the Security Council would have sent in a team to, first of all, to secure Ghaddafi’s weapons arsenals. But no one – not Republicans or Democrats in the US, or any of the European countries, or Russia or China – were willing to put the boots on the ground to secure those arsenals.

    If Afghanistan and Iraq have not taught you that outside powers’ “boots on the ground” in the Islamic world do not lead to good outcomes, for the local inhabitants or even the invaders, you are clearly beyond rational argument.

    The weapons flooded into Libya

    It must be Opposite Day. Weapons flooded out of Libya (Gaddafi had used his oil wealth to buy huge quantities of arms) as his forces disintegrated, most notably to Mali, where those weapons (together with rebel persecution of blacks in Libya – both native Libyans, and those attracted from elsewhere to join Gaddafi’s forces or by economic opportunity) led to a huge expansion of the conflicts there, and also to Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria… The militias are largely composed of ex-members of Gaddafi’s forces, which dissolved into multiple mostly Islamist factions with supposed ideological differences (but the latter are often just markers of identity for local loyalties or ambitious warlords).

  4. lorn says

    The US prevented a massacre. It was, a the time narrowly focused and, by military standards, quite limited. In and of itself, it was the right thing to do.

    Unfortunately, as with any war, it is virtually impossible to determine how any action will play out. We made a limited attempt to coordinate with and support what seemed to be one of the more moderate parties. We gave it a shot but, given the nature of uprisings in heavily armed but previously totalitarian controlled nations with multiple factions, causes, tribes, and coalitions on the ground it wasn’t possible to determine the right one to back.

    As predicted some who wanted our backing simply lied about their goals and intentions to get our help. We backed for a time semi-secular forces who claimed they were larger and much more popular than they were. Forces that were quickly defeated. We helped a couple of groups claiming to be pro-secular movements dedicated to human rights who turned out to be pushing for an Islamic state through the use of terrorism. In the end we backed out and pretty much let things go.

    In the end we had, to the plus side: 1) prevented a massacre and 2) Our actions precipitated the end of a dictator who had blocked progress and used terrorism to destabilize a good portion of Northern Africa.

    On the negative side the war continues in a far less predictable way than the actions of a dictator. The various factions are still thrashing it out. Libya had huge stockpiles of weapons given it by the Soviet Bloc and in the chaos of war these stockpiles were: put to use, sold for funding, and generally dispersed to the rest of the area. That later point both did and didn’t make any difference. The Middle East was already awash in arms but it did glut the market for a time to the point where even poorly funded causes could get huge shipments for very short money, or simply because they shared an ideology. Radical Islamic leaders sometimes used large shipments as good will gifts.

  5. Who Cares says

    Ah yes the claim that Qaddafi was going to massacre Benghazi,
    Strange then that the US did not intervene when he uttered the same type of threat against rebels earlier.
    Oh yes, they didn’t tell you that did they? Or hat it was directed against people who would continue to resist him. He made the same threat before when he retook other parts of Libya and which incidentally did not suffer from bloodbaths that would stain the conscience of the world .
    The spin put on it by the US & the compliant media is the same as the one made by Khomeini about Israel and how history would judge that nation which was twisted into he wants to nuke the place yesterday.

    So to put it bluntly people in the US government were looking for a fig leave to be able to kill Qaddafi because he was defeating the rebels the US financed in the hope of overthrowing Qaddafi. Basically they duplicated what they were doing in for example Syria until the Russians stepped in (at the request of what is still the legal government meaning that the Russians are the only foreign power that isn’t violating half a dozen UN rules/mandates/whatevers by performing military actions there).

  6. laurentweppe says

    What would you be writing if we had done nothing at all, and he had pressed ahead – as he swore he was going to do – in destroying the city?

    That duplicitous western elites are way too prone to allow pseudo-secularist despots to slaughter their own people into craven submission so long as they keep the oil flowing.

  7. says

    The “rebels” were mostly cadre’d by CIA funded and trained professional opposition. Presumably playing foe the usual reward: a sinecure as totalitarian get-rich thug. The guy the rebels shot – general I forget his name – had spent a decade living in the US working in Langley before he established his rebel training ground just across the border, ready to establish a US-friendly puppet dictatorship.

    To be fair, Hillary probably had nothing to do with all that – that was all CIA/deep state.

    Hillary’s reference to Caesar’s comment on Gaul is an appropriately imperial reference, but I resent her use of it because she has never been as great a historical figure as Caesar. She’s strictly bush league.

  8. says

    I remember some of the early reports about the Libya uprising. There were some descriptions by Brit press about how the rebels seemed like a pretty thin group. There was a picture I wish I had saved, that had a few “operators” in the back ground. Bearded white guys, well dressed, well-fee, with nice gear, hanging out with the Libyan “rebels”… Nothing suspicious at all. Those articles and pictures seem to be gone; I’ve looked for them. Maybe I was hallucinating.

  9. StevoR says

    It must be recalled that Hillary Clinton was one of the leading architects and advocates of that disastrous policy during her tenure as secretary of state and gloated about the brutal death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the hands of a mob, ..

    ..Of Libyan people who hated the dictator who had oppressed them all their lives and who had fought and sacrificed a hell of a lot to defeat that dictator and who were celebrating that dictators death and “gloating” more than everyone else overseas ever could.

    Just like the Iraqui people were “gloating”and celebrating and tearing down statutes of their hated oppressive dictator Saddam Hussein when he fell. In addition to most of the Egyptian people “gloated” and celebrated en masses when the Egyptian army inspired and driven by their protest overthrew the budding dictatorship of the Hamasés-parent body Muslim brotherhood Mohammad Morsi when he was brutaly ruling their country.

    Meanwhile Syria has gone to shit (or worse) because the West did NOT intervene and topple its Russian backed despot. But then West can’t win if it does intervene anywhere either. Whatever we do internationally we lose – even indeed especially if we win we still wear the blame for the failings of other people and other cultures especially when we give them the power & freedom to do as they please.

    Because the peoples of Libya and Iraq and Egypt are always blameless and always perfect even when they choose to destroy their own nations (admittedly many of which like Iraq were never real and sustainable nations anyhow because arbitrary lines on maps do NOT nations truly make*) and when they turn against themselves and wreck their own lands that’s still always our western fault because we enabled them to be free to do it. Go figure.

    What should we do? Curl up in a corner and do nothing till they come to kill us? Get stuck to the tar baby that’s a fair %~age of this pale blue dot that’s horrible and self-destructive and hateful and violent and just fouled up by its own warped choices and belief systems? What do we do that works and keeps working and makes things better not worse??

    Really. I’d like to know. (Lemme guess – throw Israel and its 8 million Jews to the wolves like that will satisfy them and be ethically acceptable?)

    Would y’all be happier if Gaddafi was still in charge of Libya still being a murderous menace and terrorist sponsor and tyrant over his own long suffering people?

    If Iraq was still in Saddam’s hands or maybe in the hands of Uday or Qusay Saddam his raping, murdering evil sons? Would Iraq be better and happier and the world be nicer were that the case? (How many Iraqi lives would be lost then over how long?)

    If Mohammad Morsi still ruled Egypt imposing his theocratic Hamas-like grip turning that land into greater Gaza?

    Or if these lands were all the same as the control test of Syria where we’ve done sod all to intervene and left the merciless dictator and the pitiless extremist terrorist opposition – who’ve turned out even nastier (when they haven’t just run away or been plain useless) to fight it out betwixt ’em? Endless civil war and carnage and suffering and millions upon millions of migrants flooding out because the various bloodthirsty warring sides have made their battleground homeland hell?

    I don’t shed any tears for Colonel Q-Ga-Kha..however the flip he wanted to spell his idiotic name. I don’t grieve for Saddam and sons loss and I won’t shed a tear when (not if – almost definitely) Mohammad Morsi meets his metaphorical maker. The nations that suffered under them have durn well earnt the right to cheer their deaths.

    One thing these cases have in common – its Muslims killing Muslims and Westerners trying to make things better as best theycan, which ok always backfires but then in the case of these countries everything always does whatever we and they do. How fucking depressing it all is.

    Anyone got abetetr way?Asilver bullet? A magic answer?

    Oh, let me guess. Destroy Israel and appease ém that way. Yeah. That’ll work. Or y’know not. Jyst make thinsg worse as usual. Cheery flippin’ world ain’t it?

  10. StevoR says

    * Go Kurdistan. They are one group of people in the region who have done the right thing consistantly and do deserve their nationhood to be recognised and respected and a happy ever after.

    Them and the Israelis.

    Both different oppressed indigenous peoples who do deserve a hell of a lot better.

    Go Kurds, I wish y’all the best.

  11. StevoR says

    Get stuck to the tar baby that’s a fair %~age of this pale blue dot that’s horrible and self-destructive and hateful and violent and just fouled up by its own warped choices and belief systems?

    And yes I do know that applies to more than just Muslim countries but also a lot of people in our lands too and our cultures too.

    Sometimes I just despair and hate the world.

    It flippin’sucks.

    Tea party to Taliban, Israel-bashers to Hamas and Global Overheating and bushfires to arsonists and pedos. Too many people are just too fucked up.

    But then the world is worth fighting for and has good in it still.

    Think and be kind.

    There’s too much cruelty and hate and stuff that’s not thoughtful nor kind to do otherwise.

    (Yeah, mea culpa, I’m imperfect and have messed up many times before and no doubt will many times again too. I don’t claim to have the /an answer myself. Wish I did. Any youse peeps know it? Don’t hold back!)

  12. says

    SteveoR:
    Westerners trying to make things better as best theycan

    You really believe that? I can’t believe it’s possible to be that naive but you appear to have accomplished it.

  13. laurentweppe says

    One thing these cases have in common – its Muslims killing Muslims and Westerners trying to make things better as best theycan

    It’s more Muslims killing Muslims, and rich, spoiled Westerners saying “See? These primitive can’t rule themselves, now let’s choose which enlightened autocrat we’ll support so he can keep these moronic cattle-like plebs subjugated

    ***

    Oh, let me guess. Destroy Israel and appease ém that way. Yeah. That’ll work.

    Right now the West’s dominant policy: Don’t do a thing while Israel’s intellectual elites get the fuck out and the parasitic far-rightist ruling class exhausts the country’s resources and international goodwill keeping up its unsustainable voters-bribing settlement-industrial complex IS pretty much destroying that country.

  14. StevoR says

    @ ^ laurentweppe : I disagree with you on both counts there. Don’t think that’s how it is at all. You have your views, I have mine.

    @ 13. Marcus Ranum : Yes, for the most part and for the most people when it comes to Westerners generally trying to make things better as best they can I do believe that.

    I don’t say its always the case and I certainly don’t say they are always right about how they do it or go about doing it but yes. The answer is yes. ‘Bout 95 times outta 100. Probably ~ish. Same applies for most people regardless of global background, most likely. I hope and think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *