Tonight once again, once again the same old discussion. The discussion being heard so many times but so little effective action being taken.
The discussion about the pending and increasing dilemma’s as how to deal with North Korea. North Korea perceived as an increasing threat, – North Korea being an increasing threat.
North Korea, with snowy mountains in the north and rugged ranges in the east with swift rivers flowing to the sea. A country ideal for growing rice and other crops, but being harsh in winter. A country with mud coated and thatched cottages being bleak, and black pigs lolled by barns, – and the digging of soils still being carried out by the kind of spade used by land working men.
Men and women, – like us, like everywhere.
The country where fishermen converge like seabirds in tiny fishing boats to catch a share for thousands of families to sustain the living conditions in an exploited land full of stricken poverty, – and malnutrition of far too many children.
A country once invaded by the Russians and denied free elections in history, with iron curtains dividing both the south and the north.
A country once invading the south with the US and Japan coming to the rescue of the south, – with finally the south and the north controlling each their own zone… Isolated now, close to the borders of China, – not only isolated in terms of trade and other good things with the outside world, – but foremost isolated as well as a country in terms of rational international diplomacy.
North Korea in 2001 still the country remaining communist, closely spied by its Government, cut off from almost all outside contacts and over and over armed.
One new young leader now with a massive war machinery behind him, in a way fragile and not mature as a person, – but coming forth from a family tradition of maximum power and ambition. Encapsulated in various inflated views about the world of North Korea and the real world.
Encapsulated by historic traditions within the army, a powerful army, – but the last powerful as well where it comes to keep up existing doctrines, which do not work.
Neither do they work for the many people who are poor in North Korea, the families with children and malnutrition being the events of the day, nor do they work for the outside world, – as North Korea is one of those nations enduring great difficulties to face the challenge to become civilised, and responsible, – in the way they deal with matters.
It is one of those countries who perceive in their isolation threats from the outside world, – perceive their family neighbour from the south as an enemy, – perceive the US as an enemy. And in all this are preparing for conflict, – being both irrational and pointless.
The facts are now that North Korea will conduct its third nuclear test soon, – that North Korea did sent a satellite into space in December and are preparing for both long range missiles eventually having the ability to carry nuclear and/or other weapons.
Reason does not seem to work as North Korea is perhaps the worst enemy of its own ideology, but reason never reached North Korea as isolation created fear and fear created the potential for major confrontation where nobody as head of any civilised state apart from China did visit North Korea in the eye of its Parliament.
It takes courage to prevent war and create dialogue. History showed on a few occasions that the actions of men are able to this, as once illustrated in the Israelite Parliament with the visit of a seemingly almost forgotten Egyptian President, who stood up for Peace being the last rationale argument to fight for.
Different circumstances though, the last, but the examples are there of men and women, people and Presidents taking action with a bigger interest at heart, proactive in style and determined to win their case, – as a lost case being the case of war goes at a cost of millions who are innocent and did not ask for it.
In the eyes of North Korea both the US and South Korea are earth enemies for reasons never being really clarified in face to face communication. Face to face communication with both modesty and strength, to reach both out and to try to diffuse inflated perceptions. Face to face communication – like eg happened in dialogues between Reagan and Gorbachev at a crucial time of the cold war right in the face of all hard-liners, – all hard liners being surprised of the break through being created at the time.
There is a situation now not being the place for making any threats, – as words lead to provocations and provocations lead to war and war leads to an instinct of willing to combat by every means.
It’s pointless, – pointless as it proved so many times in history!
Lets face it, we are not living any more in time of guns and bullets only, but the guns have been replaced by potential missiles and the bullets have been replaced by plain potential nukes, – either dirty or clean, but in both cases devastating in its implication once used by people who lead wars from behind their computer, – blind for the destruction of human life and culture
The new US Secretary of StateJohn Kerry liked engaging North Korea in the past at the time he was a Massachusetts Senator and this is the only way forward. Kerry, who replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined with South Korea and Japan in calling on the North to end its “provocative behaviour” or face “significant consequences from the international community” in a statement Sunday, – but he did not make endeavours to visit North Korea as yet. Being only joint by Japan and South Korea, statements of this nature have no impact on North Korea at all!
Media presented threats do not help. “There’s a reluctance in the White House to have a deal with North Korea only to have it repudiated again,” said James Acton, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. However, – some risk is required as the risk of war and not being able to end the process once the last is implemented is a greater risk, and again we are not simply speaking about guns. North Korea will master a delivery system for nuclear weapons, and it will join Russia and China as the only non-U.S. allies with such capabilities, – besides Iran perhaps. Kim Jong Un seems to shrug off pressure from most of the international community, including North Korea’s main ally, China, and go ahead with a third test. Bruce Bechtol, a former Pentagon intelligence analyst, said it is really not up to the United States solely to alter the North’s behaviour. He said Kerry’s instructions from Obama will likely be to work closely with the South Koreans and have them set the tone.
However the US needs to go into a straight dialogue with North Korea and Kerry needs to visit and speak to the Communist Parliament as only a minor shift in perception may change events in history, the last being of greater impact when a delegation of South Korea would visit the North. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term aimed at the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, – a shift of perception delivered perhaps even by the US President in North Korea.
The new US Secretary of State John Kerry would be well able to visit first, and discuss with the North Korean leadership the issues of concern. Such a visit will have a major impact and may help the required shift in perception which enables parties to reconsider existing strategies. Besides this benefit it will create some element of goodwill, – noticed by both Russia and China, as the US goes out of his way to avoid confrontation. However one should be watchful for this oppressive regime
If no change afterwards it will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours, leading simply to an avoidable war, – now.
Leadership by providing a change of perception works stronger than sanctions as sanctions proved to be the cut corner strategy not having an impact on historic based perceptions in this case, – the last neither being changed by media delivered warnings nor by measures being perceived as provocative
North Korea is able to test two devices at the same time, one with plutonium and the other with uranium, both then with more technological information and political damage being provided, – apart from the single fact that they are not far away from testing a thermonuclear device more powerful than any of their earlier devices being used, and again, – again straight on dialogue and working on a shift in perception with coöperation being the aim is a short-term goal of eminent importance, – even if this is against Pentagon advise.
Politically the new regime of Kim Jong-Un is more defiant to U.N. dictates than his predecessors, – just by still pursuing his nation’s nuclear aims. Neither stronger sanctions, nor the likely discontent of both Russia and China with his behaviour, appears to change North Korea’s young leader from its military driven aim and it is clear that only straight on discussions on both dismantling and cooperation might be helpful to change the perception that the US is not not the number one enemy, – as this is an inflated perception not based on any realistic facts, – unless the facts do change by further provocations by North Korea.
This is what the military leadership in North Korea needs to understand or facing the implications if North Korea indeed is going to face a nuclear threat for the region, with growing pressure from both China, Russia and the US.
The UN proved to be of no value to North Korea.
The aim is to get both China, Russia and the US on the same page of the strategic agenda as by not achieving this shift in perception with the North Korean leadership, this nation becomes a vey unpredictable nation at the potential cost of millions of people inside North Korea and outside its borders.
Hence steps of courage being required at the personal level to change those possible dynamics in history, as history will judge both in retrospect and relentless, on what “we” did to prevent “the North Korean problem” from evolving into a worst case scenario.
>”Don’t sweat the small stuff when so much else matters.”<
Predictions are not always easy and sometimes impossible. We have one certainty and this is that not nothing is certain. Our agenda for tomorrow based on today or yesterday may well work out, but sometimes it may get disrupted by the unexpected and we have to deal with things as they face us. The day may end differently than we expected, despite a good start perhaps and despite the fact that we assumed everything would by all right.
The same applies to predictions on a New Year, we hope for the best but nothing is certain. Same applies to the weather forecast. We may have good grounds to say it will be a sunny day tomorrow and go to the beach, but we may have to change plans as it proves to be a rainy day with a thunderstorm after eg a very humid day. Let’s be happy that the forecast that the world would end on the 20th of December was nonsense, nobody is able to predict those things.
In other words we may have our intentions but we are not sure whether they come true. Hence what I have to say about 2013 is based on assumptions, based on trends and certain facts perhaps but knowing as well that everything can be changed by the unexpected. In other words and if you like, read what is written below for your pleasure only. It is written by a country Physician, – so be on your guard as Physicians are not supposed to know anything about the future, not to speak about international developments. However what is said is not too difficult and perhaps we all know about it already. Besides this there is no pretension to be complete on those things as completeness on those things as far beyond our abilities.
2012 was for sure not the most dramatic year fortunately. As I said the world did not come to an end and for some this was a bonus, if they were aware of those predictions. Still there have been plenty of issues in 2012 with the seeds of events setting the scene for 2013. This includes eg the launch of a long-range rocket in North Korea, a country with just a new young leader.We had the conflict between Israel and Gaza, or actually as well the non – coöperation from Israel towards a new Palestinian State next door with still clearly significant Hamas impact and the potential of new rocket attacks from East Jerusalem, – if again a conflict situation. Hamas still being supported by Iran, not particularly Israels biggest ally so to say. We all know this. Nothing new. There has been always friction in this area.. Even in the Old Testament there were many reflections on struggle and endless fights. The problem now is that we have different means to start war’s. It’s a bit scary at times. Iran’s nuclear ambitions within this context are only adding oil on fear.
The ongoing civil war in Syria with endless killings and with the remote risk of escalation is an other example, and sadly spoken there is no reference for life at all in Syria (its leaders).. The only thing which is positive after the international community being tight into “non action” is that Russia is getting a bit over Syria with its troubles as well, which may aid international coöperation to end this pointless conflict, – based on a dictator hanging in for power. It’s a terrible example.
There are the current tensions between China and Japan about an absolute insignificant rock in the ocean, which means apparently enough for those countries to send Navy vessels to this direction. And we all hope that no idiot will start to sink a ship in this breeding conflict as little things can have major implications. However feel assured, neither the Chinese nor the Japanese are idiots, they need to show to their own people that they take this issue serious. However one may ask for what reason. One miscalculation or error in judgement may ruin plans. Interestingly Kennedy during the missile Cuba crisis in 1962 was at the end more concerned about his own Generals than about the leader of the Soviet Union at the time. Gives an indication perhaps that playing with fire may give unexpectedly a fire and sometimes a big one.
The continuation of Obama’s Presidency in 2013 may cause him more grey hairs, but his team approach will help to set the tone of international developments where both wisdom action and restraint are more balanced when the election outcome would have been differently. History has not always been that lucky.
Syrian dictator Assad still being in office with all the ongoing massacres will drive him into increasing isolation.Hopefully it is just a matter of time that international approval will help to stop the needless killings and extreme violence in this troubled country.The whole Middle East area is already troubled enough.
Needless to say that the Middle East will be most challenging in 2013, more so than in 2012. This since civilization festered area with religious hatred and conflict for certain will not easily find a harmonious solution for all parties involved. The most practical interim solution will be straight on US – Iran discussions to test Iran’s willingness to coöperate in multi part talks to restrict/reduce the chance of an escalating war without end.The emhasis should be to end all terror related violence as only this will encourage Israel to help the Palestinians into the developments needed with the protection of all people in the Israel/Gaza region.It is just wait and see whether it will go this direction, but it would be wise to include Iran subject to prove of genuine intentions to keep friendly relations with all neighbours in the area, including full safety guarantees for Israel.
It is amazing to see that the Euro crisis has been able to drag on for another year without a final conclusion. In December 2012 Greece is still in the Eurozone and different European countries are struggling with various intensity to stay straight, so to say. Unemployment ratio is increasing likewise the closure or reduction of various businesses. For many the belief in the Euro future is bleak with Germany however insisting that the Euro should survive. Needless to say that a potential fall of the Euro will have lots of implications for the people of Europe, but also for the nations with strong Euro connections.
Leadership changes took place in various countries during 2012 and generally spoken not much change can be expected immediately after those transitions. However, the leadership changes in both North Korea,China, Russia, Japan and other States will set the agenda for changing dynamics in 2013, with the inclusion at least of a stable and trustworthy foreign policy approach of the US under the same President with a good successor of Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. John Kerry is a foreign policy expert and an impressive elder statesman in the US Senate. He will not need much “in-house training” to aid US foreign policy on critical issues in 2013.
The most important issue perhaps of being resolved at present is unfortunately financial . If both the US and Europe are unable to solve their issues with the required political will, it will enhance the weakening of the “western hemisphere” in almost every dimension. Fiscal cliffs or not, the balance between outgoing’s and innings need to be right. The current US deficit and the Federal Reserve printing heaps of money not backed by any “golden standard” or “oil” is asking for trouble down the line with the risk of a massive new recession.Utterly complex matters within the US not fully controlled need to be be managed or controlled by vigorous new legislation. Gun control is important and a public topic at present but the system of financial self-regulation is vital for the US to continue to exist in the way it does and not go down the road as the Roman empire once did. Some countries perhaps would be delighted with a reduction of US power, but the risk of a significant reduction of US power could destabilise the world and President’s Obama’s second term will be vital to face and deal with the issues as they are.The potential foreshadow of social unrest and increasing violence as a result of a possible second recession makes gun control even more significant to protect US citizens against itself. The potential destruction of the US not necessarily may come from the outside but can come from the inside and the years ahead are critical for the US. Inflation and possible recession are going hand in hand if no firm control on the Federal Reserve, but the powers behind this are significant and dealing with this is a risk for the US President. However what needs to be done needs to be done. At the end of the day it is all people’s work translated into energy, rewarded by money, – which is decreasing in value by the private control of creating money by the Federal Reserve. Man made problems can be resolved by men, only if the political will to support the required directions resonates through various legislative branches in both Europe and the US.Without any predictions being possible it is wait and see how the dynamis in this area will evolve in 2013, knowing that any international conflict could ruin the efforts of each country to solve its balance between spending and cutting costs in a way which protects those who have worked hard for their money, but also those who live from their superannuation, those who are disabled and fragile in society, the elderly and the children included. “Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.” as was once said by Nathan Pyle, – however I doubt this for 2013 (in no uncertain terms).. Increasing costs for food and energy against reduced value of our money is harmful wherever we may live on this world, and still the majority of people can’t afford it anymore and live below any reasonable standard of living.
Various countries in the Middle East will face the problem of opposing Islamist groups taking responsibility of taking Government as many Islamists have their own political frictions with the potential of increasing sectarian conflicts in the years laying ahead. Initial peaceful countries could turn quickly into new areas of intense conflict.
The US has renewed interest in the Asian Pacific for both economical and security reasons after withdrawing from both Iraq and eventually in 2014 from Afghanistan, but the vacuüm created will have both Iran’s and India’s interest to have their perceived deserved share of influence. Also an area of different dynamics with an uncertain outcome at this stage after US withdrawal by the end of 2014.
It is anticipated that US dependence on oil exporting countries is going to reduce in quite sustained ways with significant “US dollar” issues. There is a tendency already of increasing countries less relying on the value of the US dollar with as final result (forgetting about a few other issues) that the US impact on foreign international policy may reduce in value and strength..
President Obama shortly in his second term will have greater influence to balance the critical important relationships between the US and China. The new President Xi from China needs to get agreement and support for a different set of policies in a rebalancing act on the Chines economy and the demands of some 350 million middle class people. The facts behind the conflict between Japan and China in the East Chines sea could be well that the Chinese government can’t afford to look weak. It is clear that the US has been worried about China for some time and it is not hoped that Japan might be forced to act in a very trivial conflict with apart from this the still contentious issues around Taiwan.
As we all know, words from leaders may lead to action and both feeding empty rhetoric and false sentiments besides fear, are unhelpful to balance the required coöperation between Washington and Beijing.Tha call for action goes together for the call for great care on both sides. Again note that it has been an international interest to have President Obama reelected as US “Commander-in-Chief”, even though a number of US citizens feel different about this.
Iran has been faced with various sanctions in 2012 together with increased inflation and unemployment.The desire of Iran to go nuclear and have potential weapons of mass destruction is going at a significant cost for Iran.It’s standing in the region as due to the Arab uprising is not as strong as it was before.It’s ally Syria is fully involved in a civil war and Israels insistence on a preëmptive attack may seem to have diminished somewhat, waiting what a second Obama term will deliver in terms of security for Israel. The question remains whether containment of a nuclear Iran is possible. Israel will still reconsider its options and in terms of US foreign policy it would be wise to test Iran on its willingness to have serious discussions on security matters in the Middle East area, including its place about Israel. If Israels security is without any doubt accepted it is neither in Israel’s interest nor intention to start a preëmptive war with Iran, but also this is a wait and see matter as how dynamics will evolve. Needless to say again that this is an area of both great concern and importance and proactive management from the US Administration is a need to keep the right balance as from other countries this can’t be expected, unfortunately. It’s a critical issue in US foreign policy in the Middle East and it would be hoped that John Kerry will be granted with a new US mission to explore the potential coöperation with Iran to balance US vital security interest in Israel, without a major Middle East war.
Climate change and the implications of Climate change, the protection against terrorism of any kind will remain high on the international agenda, likewise and hopefully increasingly the protection of human rights. The last often an issue of international lip service and a need being recognised but not often materialised where it proves to be required, including the issue of increasing human trafficking. Also in this domain we have to wait and see how international coöperation will work out, but at least a stable world will contribute and a world with increasing conflict will compromise, – any form of human rights! Hence the importance of the 2013 agenda that some countries are going to deal seriously with their own financial affairs as what we can learn from history is that the great depression of the 1930ties was one of the triggers of the second word war.
America’s stronghold as an economic power has been compromised in the past and it is by far nor sure this will be sorted in the future. A sudden recession or an unexpeced and escalating conflict could ruin each potential to overcome its problems if both leaders in Europe and the US are unable to get the required support to control internal economical dynamics not being sufficiently managed in the past. Fruitful international relationships are of ongoing importance, which will be really the challenge of 2013 with a new generation of leaders in vital countries of potential conflict.
Far more to say about 2013, but let’s leave this to the experts with more insight information about existing background dynamics. What often seems true on the surface is different from the inside, with the knowledge reaching this inside.
“In my time I have seen truth that was anything under the sun but just, and I have seen justice using tools and instruments I wouldn’t want to touch with a ten-foot fence rail” – William Faulkner (Knight’s Gambit 1949)
Justice, balance of power and peace
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating said the other day that China must be welcomed into the world as a shared partner and a vital economic power, not a military or political challenge to be contained. He made a speech in November 2004 in Beijing in which he stated that he believed that China would become an economic competitor of the United States, but not a strategic competitor, and its military growth was unlikely to be about force projection.
Keating still thinks “the rise of China is one of the great events of all economic and human history and I think this will be overwhelmingly a positive thing for the region and the world”.
Whilst the White House and the Pentagon have different views, Australia seems now verbally part of the US containment policy as part of a well prepared Presidential visit to Australia.
The US perception is that the model from China based on communism and the ruling of a committee is doomed to fail and President Obama is speaking about this in the Australian Parliament. President Obama says: “With our new focus on this region …. We’re here to stay. … History’s on the side of the free. … By upholding core principles, we partner with democracies.”
The speech is basically saying that the United States is back and some would say we can’t help thinking that the commentary was somehow about the old Soviet Union.
It should be clear that China is not the old Soviet Union and trying to contain China with new military alliances could well prove to be an error of judgement. This speech should have been held in Washington and not in the Australian Parliament.
Like the US needs space and being ready to defend it, China is entitled on space as well as long as the occupation of this space is not based on domination. China proves already in Africa to increase space and to make sure there is a supply of recourses for China, but all this is based on sound economic principles and a win win situation for countries being involved. As long it continues this way other countries have the benefit of China s as well, which is positive.
Containment of China unprovoked could lead to conflict. China need to be able to emerge, not as a dominating power but as a power contributing to both its own welfare and the welfare of other nations. Similar the US needs to play a role in the Asia-Pacific area, but based on the same principles and in concert with other powers, to watch and maintain stability and coöperation in this vital area.
The US position should not be based on inflated cold war sentiments being dominant some decades ago, within their stance against Communism in the former Soviet Union.
Let’s face it, apart from human rights issues which will be addressed in China for the better in the future, China never exposed real threat in foreign policy and their issues with the Chinese Sea are not much different from what the US feel as their entitlements close to their borders. Like the US, China is not free from injustice but on foreign policy “let’s not sweat the small stuff” as was once reflected in an interesting booklet, and let us “seek to understand first”.
The world and the US are justified concerned about the movements from both Iran and North Korea and allowing those countries getting away with nuclear military expansion would be the same mistake as was allowing Germany to rearm itself after the 1st world war. In a broader sense the US itself after the second world war has been involved in various conflicts until recently where the legitimate question could be raised why matters were not dealt with differently as those conflicts did cost millions of lives, – all for some part due to CIA and Pentagon driven policy. The freedom in the US goes that far that when a US President is not alignment with Pentagon and/or CIA policy he may be assassinated like happened with President John F Kennedy in November 1963. The result was a dramatic escalation of US military involvement in Vietnam at a cost of millions of lives and like Australia followed US footsteps in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it followed US footsteps in Vietnam without ever realising that those choices in essence were ill contemplated, based on dependence and not interdependence.
The Pentagon at the time of former President G.W.Bush has been working on a new China war plan with the most advanced weapons being ready for use in case of conflict. The US announced only this week the creation of “the Air Sea Battle Office”, which is precisely designed how to work out how to counteract China’s growing missile dominance, its dominance in the region with fighter aircraft, new versions of fighter aircraft and warships.
Some realism is right. Whilst not being in favour for any arms race, any country is running a defence policy. The US is doing the same. What we see evolving requires the need to prevent domination of any country, the Pentagon policies included. Hence we need a region accommodating China without building a military structure around it. The US would not like it when other countries would do this at the disadvantage of the US. China likewise does not like this at the disadvantage of China. Australia again without much realistic consideration is again following the footsteps of the US-based on dependence. “Australia’s dependence on a major power lies deep in our national psyche” said Malcolm Fraseronce.
Within context countries like Iran and North Korea impose a far greater danger than China and trying to contain China will only improve the chance on conflict among superpowers on those potential dangerous nations,- which is simply stupidity in the worst possible way. China has enormous leverage on those countries and seeking support and coöperation from China as an ally and not a country requiring to be contained in the dogmatic views of the Pentagon, would make the world a safer place.
If we look at history we may hope that any US President is fully in charge of the Pentagon and it’s generals and President Obama’s message in the Australian Parliament is considerably coated with Pentagon policy, brilliantly delivered however but to be watched carefully on the implications for the region. Australia did swallow the rhetoric against China without taking the long-term view.The point is that there is already the 7th US fleet in the Pacific with bases in Okinawa and Guam, but the new message is that the US is getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan and that they are coming here. There are many Republicans in the US talking about “knocking China over” and whilst President Obama is far more moderate he represents a country showing extreme dynamics. US Congress is a reflection of at times dysfunctional Republican behaviour and taking the long view I don’t think Australia should be dragged into policies of the Pentagon which were not always that fruitful in the past. On foreign policy matters we can’t complain about China till so far where as US foreign policy could have been dealt with clearly differently on various occasions. There was once a Pacific war and we don’t need a new one! China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and China reflects an emerging power with no evidence of desiring to dominate the world as they know history. They represent a country where despite human rights issues some one and a half billion of people have been dragged out of poverty and by no means should this country be compared with the former USSR. Obviously nothing is fool-proof in history but this applies to the US as well and whilst Australia is an important ally of the US, good intentions in this area are always subject to proof and if Obama’s rhetoric will be followed by strongly driven Pentagon policies in the Asian Pacific region we may need to be perhaps on our guard of the US as well because an increase of US military activity in history was not rarely followed by US inflicted war down the line, – at times.
Pentagon and CIA policies are stronger than US Presidents at times, even in the US as a democracy. Whilst President Johnson could not coop anymore with his own inflicted escalation of the Vietnam war, he resigned in 1968. The most succesful Presidential candidate opposing the Vietnam war (Robert Kennedy) was assassinated by the military wing of the Pentagon (the CIA) and this provided a more Pentagon friendly candidate, Richard Nixon, the chance to be elected US President and continue Pentagon driven policy.
The reflections of Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd on the recent 7.30 News report were more of a hardline response to China and for a person with such a claimed insight knowledge of China this was not a demonstration of wise and insightful diplomacy as Australia as a middle power did change position after Obama’s visit, as it would seem.
As a middle power Australia should be more independent in it’s role in the Pacific as the “core values” of the US did not always seem what it could and should have been, and foreign policy of China till so far did show greater stability than what the US did if we count the wars over the last decades and the millions of deaths in military conflict. Democracy can be the core value but history did prove that democracy was neither perfect nor always carried by people who had high standards of integrity and a broader view.
Kevin Rudd said: “We’re not going to have any national security policy dictated by any other external power.” However the exemption seems the US and the Pentagon. Kevin Rudd represents Australian policy when he later says: “That’s a sovereign matter for Australia. We don’t seek to dictate what the Chinese about their national security policy.”
Australia would be wise not to allow their own national security to be dictated by either the US or China. The difference is that China till so far made no efforts to instruct Australia on issues of national security but the US did.
For the region applies that Australia as a middle power needs to play in concert with other powers and not co creating an alliance to contain a super power like China, which neither provoked Australia in any way nor provoked any other country in any significant way.
This means that it is in Australia’s interest to have both productive and friendly relations with the US and China, providing leverage and an example in better communication when those 2 super powers may get carried away with different opinions.
Whilst safe with President Obama, the US under some Republican Presidents was not always the country defending the core values of both Democracy and human rights. It would seem that there are too many ideas what the core values of a democracy should be. The majority vote at a particular time in history is not always the right choice and does not always show the right action as being clearly demonstrated in US Congress.
The development of Australia as a great middle power continuing to play the role being required, as happened in the 1980s and ’90s did include foreign policy like APEC and it’s leaders’ meeting, the ASEAN regional forum, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Canberra Commission for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Cairns Group etc. This should not be thrown away by a Pentagon dominated foreign policy in Australia.
Neither that we have foresight in how power will evolve in the United States Government in the years lying ahead, nor do we have foresight how power will evolve in China, but as a great middle power Australia has an obligation to maintain a pleasant and peaceful co-existence with surrounding states and a close military alliance with the US to contain China whilst not being provoked as a nation will not pay any dividend to Australia and is compromising the role Australia could play as a middle power, and as such the foreign policy of Australia at present (if not revised) could prove to be a floored one by principle and on principle with little insight in historical dynamics.
The policy of containment of China at this stage in history is wrong and without proper base, guided actually by US rhetoric and Australia should have known better. Former US Vice President Al Gore did describe in his book “The Assault On Reason” the US dynamics when George W Bush ordered forces to invade Iraq, the damage being done to the US as a democracy as Bush played the public with a fear of terrorism campaign whilst the US Senate stand mute then, like it stayed mute on various other occasions including political assassinations.
Australia should not allow “assault on reason” within the Asia-Pacific area and whilst the dynamics in Australian Parliament may show at times doubt on reason both in terms of style and quality, as a country we need to be stronger than this.
The answer to this problem is that what could have been done differently yesterday can be corrected tomorrow and only fools don’t change their mind in the course of history. New beginnings depend on endings and to make them in the right way the right time and for the right reason!
Richard Milhouse Nixon (1913-1994 was born in Yorba Linda (California) in a lower middle class quaker family of an Irish background. After his degree at Duke University he worked for 5 years as a lawyer and served in the US Navy from 1942 until 1946.
He became a Republican member of US Congress in California by 1946. Whilst campaigning he pictured his democratic opponent as communist sympathiser. His tactical abilities allowed him to make a quick rise in political circles and he was an important member of the House Committee on “Un American Activities” whilst worker on the Elgar Hiss case. In his early Congressional years he was assisted by various people, including Jack Ruby ( as far as Department of Justice memo)
He became Vice – President under Dwight D Eisenhower when Eisenhower did win the elections in 1952. As Vice President he was known for his outspoken exchanges with Nikita Khrushchev during a visit to Moscow in 1959. He lost the presidential elections very narrowly from John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1960. He lost then in 1962 the elections in California for the Governor position of this State.
Thereafter he became a succesful Wall Street lawyer. About 1967 he decided for an extensive tour around the world, visiting both Europe, the Middle East, Vietnam, Africa and Latin America. Whist reportedly undecided to run for the Presidential elections in 1968 he published an article called “Asia After Viet Nam” in the “Foreign Affairs Journal” reflecting on his policy of removing American combat troops from Vietnam. In this article he projected his potential Administration opening a way to China as well. Once decided to run for the Presidency in 1968, he mentioned in the 1968 campaign that he had a secret plan for a complete withdrawal from Vietnam. He returned to win the Presidential elections in 1968 with only a small margin benefitting in retrospect strongly from the assassination of his potential Democratic opponent Robert F Kennedy in June 1968. The unrest on top of this at the Democratic Convention in Chicago with police forces crushing anti Vietnam war protestors created on national TV a picture of unrest in the US and Nixon promised to change this situation. The US in 1968 was a country with strong divisions with strong opposition against the war in Vietnam and by far the majority of US citizens wanted to stop this war. Martin Luther King, jr was assassinated on the 4th of April 1968. He was a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights movement and representing as well a growing opposition against the war in Vietnam. The New York Senator Robert Kennedy has been for months agonising on the question whether he should oppose both President Johnson and the war, but the growing and escalating violence decided him to run eventually for the Presidency at a relatively late stage, – however gaining increasing support from both the movement of social justice and those who were against the war. A large number of African Americans trusted him as because he seemed genuinely compassionate about the still existing social injustice in the US. There were however powerful groups in the US who did not want a second Kennedy in the White House and both the assassination on MLK and RFK caused the anti-war movement losing its strongest leaders. This needs to be discussed in some detail as it will show some of the forceful background dynamics pushing all in the same direction. Within this context the main obstacles for Richard Nixon’s election were resolved as the strength of the movement against both the war and for more social justice was reduced within a climate of unrest, which was obvious after 2 vital assassinations in a row and the war in Vietnam still going on. Many years later Coretta Scot King (MLK’s wife) did win a wrongful death civil trial against Loyd Jowers and other unknown co-conspirators in 1999. Jowers received $100000,- to arrange the assassination on MLK and the Jury was convinced that Government Agencies were parties to the assassination plot. It would seem that the LBJ government was involved at setting the stage of this assassination, using James Earl Ray as a scapegoat, as publicly on TV confirmed by Jowers on ABC’ Prime Time Life. Jowers stated that both the mafia and the US Government were involved in the MLK assassination. Reportedly Memphis police officer Lieutenant Earl Clark fired the fatal shots. The conspiracy did include J Edgar Hoover, Richard helms, the CIA, the Memphis Police Department(MPD), Army intelligence and organised crime. A very key person within the civil right movement was on the government payroll, responsible for infiltration and sabotage. Readers may wonder about the evidence of this revelation but this evidence was uncovered and put before a Jury in Memphis,TN, in November 1999. Seventy witnesses testified under oath with 4000 pages of evidence, much of it was it new. The news of one of the most national security trials was suppressed, as tends to happen in the US at times. It was clear that the 1997 reports of the House Select Committee on Assassinations re James Earl Ray justified verdict were wrong: he was not the one who murdered MLK!
All parties involved did not take any chance. It was agreed that MLK would not leave Memphis alive and at the time of his assassination he was under complete surveillance with various guns loaded in his direction if the attempt from one party would fail. Like the JFK assassination, but different, it was an ambush. MLK was not only a Civil Rights activist, he was even far more than a voice against the war in Vietnam, hence authorities decided to take him out of the picture. Regarding the RFK assassination there is no doubt that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan fired a gun but it did not cause the death of RFK. Multiple shooters were in the small area were RFK’ assassination took place. At least 9 shots have been fired at the end of the night Kennedy did win the primaries in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel. The LAPD destroyed key physical and photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony. LA County Coroner and Chief Medical Examiner Dr Thomas T Noguchi prepared the autopsy report on RFK where the headshot damage not only reflected a pathologic impossibility, but it ruled out as well Sirhan’s gun as the offending weapon in RFK’s death. Sirhan is still in jail, being convicted of first degree murder.
Video images identified 3 former CIA agents were very close to RFK at the time of his assassination (Morales,Joannides and Campbell). David Morales was the Chief Operations at JM-Wave, training Cuban exiles in 1963 in covert actions against Fidel Castro. Morales and Campbell have talked with each other in the in the hotel lobby prior to the assassination (witness report David Rabern). Campbell has been reportedly in and around various police stations in the 2 months before the RFK assassination. Joannides has been the Chief of Psychological Warfare Operations at JM -Wave. He had retired from his CIA position but returned back to active duty in 1978 as the liaison between the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Not sure who nominated him in this position but obviously Joannides failed to tell the HSCA that he ever worked at JM-Wave, as such maintain his covert identity and compromising the entire Congressional investigations. It was Joannides obstructing the HSCA to get access to vital information (crucial documents) about the JFK assassination during the re-investigations on the assassinations of JFK and MLK. The lead investigator of the HSCA Gaeton Fonzi concluded that Morales was directly involved in the JFK assassination as due to revenge of the Bay of Pigs.
Before we start on former US President Richard Nixon note that Richard Nixon and George Herbert Bush (the later US Vice-President and US President) have been integral to the Bay of Pigs operations. As Vice-President, Nixon worked under President Eisenhower, together with Allen Dulles from the CIA and other senior CIA staff on the strategic planning of the Bay of Pigs. The bestselling book “Plausible Denial” by Mark Lane in 1991 reflects on both CIA involvement in JFK’s death. The later President Bush was at the time of the Pay of Pigs a CIA operative and the FBI confirmed in documents being released many years later that Bush sr was involved in the CIA briefing the day after the JFK assassination.The role of FBI Chief Hoover in the JFK assassination is most controversial as well. Gerald Ford as member of the Warren Commission leaked all confidential information to FBI Chief Hoover. Without claiming to be correct in all details the general picture of key CIA people being involved in both the JFK and RFK assassination with Bay of Pigs links, Richard Nixon a close friend of Hoover with Bay of Pigs links, Herbert Hoover a profound RFK hater, major CIA background powers in favour of the Vietnam war etc etc give the background why RFK was killed in 1968 and how Hoover’s extra police actions in Chicago after 2 vital assassinations in a row did prepare the road for Nixon to get elected. Nothing is foolproof in life and in theory Hubert Humphrey could have won the 1968 elections but he was too closely associated with Lyndon Johnson who was most unpopular. Besides this LBJ warned Hubert Humphrey that if he would publicly oppose the Administration’s Vietnam war policy he personally would destroy Humphrey’s chances to get the Democratic nomination. Not much luck for Humphrey with such a boss and such mighty coöperation with FBI Chief Hoover. It was in both LBJ’s interest and Hoovers interest that all government secrets would stay secret and from this point of view with LBJ’s background knowledge about Nixon and Gerald Ford -(fully shared with FBI Chief Hoover)- ,..Richard Nixon would be the best choice to remain the status quo on secrecy and the war in Vietnam as being supported by the CIA. With both MLK and RFK out of the way the strong anti Vietnam war movement was at least for some part broken as part of a Government conspiracy similar as happened in 1963 with JFK. Most of the same key players were still in power.
With opposing LBJ about the war in Vietnam and running for the Presidency in 1968 Robert F Kennedy did sign his own death sentence, like MLK did when he spoke out against the war in Vietnam with so much people following him, like JFK did when he opposed the CIA and the Pentagon Generals when he despised their advise at times and decided to withdraw from Vietnam. No one can oppose the real background powers in the US, not even President Obama. This is America ladies and gentlemen, this was America and in a way it still is America. In the 1960ties there have been criminals in US Government systems neither allowing justice nor allowing peace in Vietnam at a stage this was desired. They robbed the Nation of people who perhaps not being perfect tried to do what was good in a particular time in history and the tool of the government was simply assassination and make the way free for people who would serve the needs for the American military establishment in the White house, rather than the need of the voters, – the parents who had to let their children go to Vietnam and had to receive the medals of honour when they died courageously in pointless war dictated by a corrupted government policy guided by the war heads of the Pentagon from which both Eisenhower and Truman said that their powers were far out of proportion. The US seemed to be a Republic with a Democratic image, but the real government was not a government from the people and for the people. It did not serve the people. It played the media. And when opposing powers were too strong, when the forces towards more justice developed with fierce and without fear, it became overruled and crushed by both the police and the military. Such things do happen in countries who at least are honest enough not to claim they are a democracy. The many dirty wars of the US are not a reflection of real democracies based on the values of those who prepared the US Constitution. It is this Constitution which needs to be protected to get a better Union. Not a Union only being able to survive with assassinations of those who give to the moral values and justice within this Union.
Obviously Nixon did promise the public a secret way out of Vietnam, whilst in secret preparing for the opposite if he was elected. By adding to the general feel of unrest in Chicago FBI Chief Hoover added in a strategic way to the chances of victory for Richard Nixon.
Once President Nixon nominated his campaign Director Bob Haldeman White House Chief of Staff, foreign policy decisions were made in close coöperation with Henry Kissinger. interestingly Secretary of State William Rogers was by far not always prior aware about some of the Administrations enterprises. Speechwriter for Richard Nixon Ray Price reflected on “the light side” and “the dark side” of Richard Nixon. He was however reelected in 1972 with a large majority. His Administration from 1974 sustained remarkable controversy over the Vietnam war. The invasion in 1970 of Cambodia and his approval of heavy bombardments on North Vietnam took his toll in the public opinion and he signed in 1973 a cease-fire.
A strategic arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union was signed during his Administration and he was the first President to reopen US relations with China in 1972. The Watergate burglary as will be detailed later brought his Presidency totally down. Being the first US President to resign from office he avoided as such impeachment. The new President Gerald Ford gave him a full pardon in in 1974.
It would seem Nixon’s staff frequently conspired to keep the “darker side” of Nixon – as Ray Price reflected on – in check and obviously Nixon himself was involved in this. As it proved however, Nixon participated in some conspiracies with high level support outside the White House.
On the 3rd of November 1969 Nixon declared that his Administration would not give in to the demands of anti-war demonstrators, sympathising with “The great silent majority of Americans” to back him up in his efforts for a “just and lasting peace”. Nixon knew how to play the game of politics by doing what “the doves wanted” but meanwhile seeking ready coöperation with both the CIA and the Pentagon. In April 1970 Nixon ordered extra American troops into Cambodia. During a nation-wide student protest 4 students were killed by the National Guard at Ohio Kent State University. Nixon backed down a bit at the 1970 midterm elections preparing as well against the balanced and dignified Democratic senator Edmund Muskie from Maine, who wanted to run for the 1972 elections. Nixon’s state visit to China did raise his popularity. He signed 3 months later as well a treaty with the Soviet Union restricting from both sides establishing anti ballistic missile systems apart from limiting offensive missile launchers. Meanwhile however Nixon had responded already in the second part of 1971 to the publication of the Johnson Administration’s classified “Pentagon Papers”. This publication was unauthorised and provided an insight in the origins of the Vietnam war. Nixon assigned a group to prevent leaks of classified information and harassed perceived enemies of his Administration. FBI Chief Hoover proved to be very helpful with this. Some weeks after Nixon returned from the Soviet Union, four men were arrested at the Watergate complex as due to burglary into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. After his reelection in 1972 the Watergate burglars were convicted and several of them implicated Nixon’s closest associates. It proved that the Watergate-break-in was only one of the several acts of both sabotage and political espionage carried out by the Nixon Administration. Nixon tried to keep away secret tapes from hearings by the “principal of separation of powers”. He had however to provide many of the required tapes but not everything. The unravelling of the Nixon Presidency was unstoppable now and in 1974 the “House Judiciary Committee”started to discuss Nixon’s impeachment. It proved that Nixon had engaged in extensive domestic wiretapping apart from his questionable tax deductions through which he paid almost no federal income tax in 1973. On the 24th of July 1974 the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to give the tapes he had withheld. Those tapes were supposed to contain evidence of Nixon’s personal involvement in the Watergate operations including reflections about Watergate burglars being engaged in CIA operations. The verdict was that if he would not leave office on his own decision, he would be impeached, convicted and removed from office. On the 8th of August 1974 Nixon announced his resignation and Vice-President Ford was administered the Presidential oath on the 9th of August.
Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of America was supported by powerful circles in Washington when he was elected President in 1968. The US was unsettled as due to social unrest, in part due to the Vietnam war and in part as a result of the aftermath following 2 assassinations of perhaps both the most prominent political figures (MLK and RFK) representing the movement of social change and justice , – including the end of the war in Vietnam. I repeat this once more to put some matters in perspective.
President Johnson voiced private concerns in 1964 that Vietnam would become a second Korea but he was already so much compromised by his own past, including CIA and FBI collaborations, not being able to take a different course of action. Hence he did not go for a second term. However again, he warned his Vice-President Hubert Humphrey not to turn against the Vietnam war as otherwise his chances on the Democratic nomination would be destroyed. In a way LBJ did aid in the process to get Nixon elected.
Both the Pentagon and the CIA have the perception that Presidents come and go and as long as the military interests of the US are not compromised, they take no obvious interest who has the reigns in the White House, as long long term interest are not at stake. Those long term interests are fairly restricted to the military US interests. Needless to say that those views may clash with the Presidential powers in the White House. Prominent people in US politics may be succesful to be elected Commander in Chief with profoundly different views on the strategic views of the US in the future, in which case “national security” will be considered. This is the reason that both JFK and RFK became the victim of assassination plots to make the way free for persons who were able to coöperate more with those background powers.
The strategic powers of both those Government Agencies are very strong and do own all the means to drive their points in ways the public has no knowledge of. This does not mean that all people working for either CIA or Pentagon are wrong. Most of them are highly regarded professionals with both courage and integrity, however both Organisations are that large that some people at the wrong time in certain positions can make significant differences to the culture by which those Agencies work. This culture does not change overnight with a new Chief or Director, if the previous one had a controversial impact.. The right US President at the time can make a huge difference with nominating people with high credentials in those positions, – however the wrong President at a certain time can make from this point of view devastating failures with implications beyond imagination. It clearly makes the system of US Governance not fool-proof, as corruption may as such develop at the highest levels of US powers,- whilst both Congress and the public are kept in the dark. Richard Nixon was one of those Presidents, allowing collaboration with those forces who have neither much conscious nor morality. Strict regulation and control of those powers is required as a national security interest which favours the many in the US, and not only a few in Washington. The reflections in retrospect of some insiders of both FBI and Military establishment including the CIA do speak in clear terms about involvement in terrible actions throughout decades, neither controlled by the President nor with insight from Congress. The Eisenhower administration warned already for the excessive powers of both the CIA and the Pentagon and it has been clear what those powers are able to inflict if opposed by powerful different views, but also what they are able to inflict to regain control via the persons being elected US President.
Coming back on what has been stated before: it proved that Nixon had engaged in extensive domestic wiretapping, apart from questionable tax deductions through which he paid almost no federal income tax at all in 1973. On the 24th of July 1974 the supreme Court ordered Nixon to give the tapes he had withheld. Those tapes were supposed to contain evidence of Nixon’s personal involvement in the Watergate operations, including reflections about Watergate burglars being engaged in CIA operations. The verdict was that if he did not leave the White House on his own decision, he would be impeached, convicted and removed from office. On the 8th of August 1974 Nixon announced his resignation and Vice President Gerald Ford took over as US President on the 9th of August. Only 1 month in his Presidency, Ford pardoned Richard Nixon completely, avoiding as such further investigations in the Watergate burglary as this would have far more implications than the public knows. Gerald Ford has been part of the Warren Commission with the task to investigate the JFK assassination. Gerald Ford “the CIA man in Congress” had very close links with Allen Dulles, ex CIA Director who was sacked by John F Kennedy. Gerald Ford had close links with Nixon, in part as he became his Vice-President at a time when there was the potential that Richard Nixon could run in trouble over Watergate. This all happened when FBI Chief Hoover was still alive. Obviously we know that Spiro Agnew had to resign but his succession was for strategic reasons vital. Gerald Ford was a very close with FBI Chief Hoover as well. This Presidential Pardon for Nixon will be discussed in the next chapter
The question as whether President Nixon did contribute to the country needs to be answered in the affirmative. As a person and a President he appeared to have major flaws. As will be revealed later he was compromised already before entering the White House. After the JFK assassination he was the second US President (we will discus this later) who should have been convicted after a full further Watergate investigation. Nixon had a very strong personal ambition and drive, by nature he was often unpredictable and at times leaning on his staff.
Did he violate justice at the time of his Presidency and before? The answer is yes. He deserved to be impeached and sadly the Watergate scandal was never further investigated as it would have revealed a more darker side of Nixon than we know.
Strictly spoken by any moral standards he was not suitable for the US Presidency and in terms of timing we can be glad in retrospect that he was not the “Commander-in-Chief” during the Cuban missile crisis. The world would not have existed anymore as he would have done what Allan Dulles presented him. Cuba would have been attacked and the Russian Commanders would have ordered to fire installed nuclear missiles back to the major cities in the US.
Let’s say that history has been mild from this point of view, but history has been relentless in terms of corrupting powers at the United States government.People may have skill and talent, but if they have a lack of conscious justice gets violated and things go wrong. Error’s are always possible. Genuine people make them but they are genuine to admit them and correct them. The problem with Nixon was that he was not very genuine. It was somewhat wishful thinking perhaps when he said: “I am not a crook!”
Lets face it, the US as a country of generally genuine people is far more than the sum of the failures and corruptions of past Governments, but neither the past nor the future can take away the criminal actions which took place and processes need to be in place that this will never ever happen anymore as the US needs to raise above the standards from the past!
“I am making a collection of the things my opponents have found me to be, and when this election is over I am going to open a museum and put them on display” -LBJ.
Perhaps Lyndon Baines Johnson neither needs a museum to put his assumed actions by his opponents on display, nor does he need the archives and classified documents to support his actions, – as history will deal with this eventually when at about 2029 any of the secret documents not being destroyed over time, will be disclosed to the public.
His Presidency marked a change history would take, neither by choice of the public, nor by justice assumed to be operating in the systems of US government. His Presidency and the entire Executive branch at his time is still surrounded in some mystery.
Many historians tried to describe both the man and his years in public office, and all have been succesful in giving some details of this man in action, smart and bright in his background dealings, charming at times in private conversations, – but at the same time a man to be dealt with with caution. Lyndon Johnson would not shy away from any operation if the last would save his public career.
Whilst discussing LBJ, the question might be raised how far a person is prepared to go to compromise justice if so required, to save his personal and public reputation against any wrong doings in the past. Obviously the last depends on what happened in this past.
From any person to become US President it might be assumed that apart from the drive to power there are generally spoken good intentions to contribute to the country. Once being faced with the responsibility of the US Presidency the perception of people in this role do change in line with the requirements of this role and the broader responsibilities, – extending by far the responsibilities of being a US Senator or Governor. Still the element of choice is around to compromise yourself based on wrong advise, compromise yourself as result of the history you have (of perhaps being compromised already) and people being prepared to help you at the highest level as long as you know “you owe them” as well. The scenario’s are always complex, different as well, for each US President. Some US Presidents have been in a position never ever being compromised in the past, entering from this point of view with a clear conscience in the White House. They had nothing (“terrible”) to hide, don’t need the favours from FBI and others to protect their past from becoming public knowledge. Speaking in the present, they don’t need to “pay back” with certain favours and deals never to be made public. Strictly spoken this is the best position as when you are principal centred you can’t go much wrong, despite genuine errors and mistakes perhaps. However if this is not the case and you are already compromised before entering the White House, the level of dependence on those who are prepared to protect your history from becoming public knowledge (within the same systems of the Executive branch) are not without risk. Some may compromise themselves even further in those complex scenario’s where conscience is slowly losing control of the actions being required, even at the highest level of public office in the US. “Review of the JFK assassination 2011″ in the June 2011 edition of this blog gives an extensive picture of the level of criminal corruption at the Executive branch of the United States of America when Johnson took over from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th US President.
As will be illustrated on LBJ – power can be dangerous, especially if the systems of governance at times are allowed to work outside the domain of the law without being detected at the same time by the systems who are supposed to protect the law, and the integrity of public office. At times it proved that all those systems suffered from widespread criminal infestation never as such being acknowledged by the US from historic point of view.
At the end of the day it all depends on the people operating those systems at the Executive branch, however it depends as well on the people operating the Legislative branch within the US, as both the House and the US Senate have much powers. However they proved not always to work with the public interest at heart as due to dominating powers at the background compromising this public interest.
In the above spirit US Presidents from LBJ until the latest Bush Administration will be discussed, not as an attack on the American system of government, but as a concern that the systems of governance (the physical exercise of managing both power and policy in the US) has been so weak for decades in the democratic republic of the US. It is a reflection of a deep-rooted unresolved problem where it seems that the Union of the US as a concept has neither been perfect nor optimal. The last however is a minimum requirement.
People who were or became US President did live in the White House at a certain time in history, had to face certain pre-existing dynamics and most of the time they tried to deal with this as good as possible within the given circumstances. They could make a personal choice to grow in those circumstances and leave a legacy despite some violations of justice. As an US President it is almost impossible to make always the best possible decision at any given possible time, as much is dependent on the perception and advise being created within both cabinet, advisers and Agencies. However where justice get compromised still there is the personal choice to make it better or worse, to make it better or bitter.
It is the dilemma we all face as people, however within the position of the highest executive powers this requires the wisdom to be aware that once’s actions may decide the lives and wellbeing of many others. It can make a Nation grow or break on its fundamentals, its future. It can make a Nation develop in surplus or deficit, both morally and financially.
Within this context we start with Lyndon Baines Johnson, or LBJ as he was often called.
Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973) was born close to Stonewall in Texas and his family with a Baptist background was quite involved in State’s politics. He worked as a high school teacher and after the Japanese attack on “Pearl Harbour” he joined straight away the US Navy.
He was a “New Deal” Democrat representative in 1937 before actually joining the Navy during the war. In 1948 he did win the race to be the Democratic senator for Texas and under the Presidency of John F Kennedy he served as Vice President. LBJ has been the majority leader in the Senate since 1955 and after the JFK assassination on the 22nd of November 1963 in Dallas (Texas) , he became the new US President without having initially an electoral mandate. With a huge majority he was elected in the US Presidential elections of 1964 and managed without much resistance to pass the Civil Rights Act through Congress in 1964. This bill was largely prepared already by JFK the previous year, not popular at the time. The battle for civil rights as we know has been a long one and significant incidents during the Kennedy Administration prepared the Kennedy team for the required legislative changes to pass Congress once reelected, but history took a different course of action..
Once elected with such majority of voters Johnson with the complete backing of the US military powers, ordered in 1965 the Airmobile Division and forces of the CIA to go to Vietnam to increase the US fighting strength, followed by an increase in military fighting strength from 75000 to 125000 man on the ground. This evolved quite quickly after the 1964 elections in 1965. As often happens in history there needs to be a trigger to get public opinion on board when it applies to extending or starting war. LBJ used a surprise Vietcong attack at Pleiku in which 6 American military advisers were killed and 116 wounded on the 6th of February 1865. LBJ’s aides assisted him with a 2 stage and premeditated contingencies plan , prepared several months before the attack. The first step was a retaliation airstrike in North Vietnam and the second step was to intensify the air war. History shows this was implemented in 1965.
It proved that LBJ decided on this level of intervention without really considering the costs and implications. Looking at the last Bush Administration we see that history tend to repeat itself, however the triggers are different. Bush used 9/11 to go to war in Afghanistan and the second step was the war in Iraq. He as well did not consider the costs and the wider implications, a legacy which did leave the US with both a material and immaterial deficit, billions of dollars lost and not being accounted for, a multi trillion budget deficit, more than a million lives being lost and human rights being compromised at the limits against the Convention of Geneva.
As part of the slogan “The Great Society” LBJ implemented a few economic and social welfare programs, including MediCare for the elderly and legislation to improve education, whilst increasing the war efforts. He needed this public support at the domestic front to carry out in close coöperation with the military powers a most excessive war program in Vietnam, as this was the agenda of the military leaders in the US.
As a result of the huge war implications in Vietnam an active anti-war movement within the US started to grow with fast increasing levels of public dissatisfaction with LBJ. LBJ was pushed by both the CIA and the Pentagon not to change direction and as both the CIA and Pentagon were the background powers playing a part in the JFK’s assassination with LBJ’s full approval and awareness beforehand, he had not much choice to continue the way it was to aim for a US military victory. By the end of August 1966 only 47% in the US did approve Johnson’s Presidency. The war became increasingly unpopular. By 1968 more than 500000 US military troops were concentrated in Vietnam. The war was costing some 2 billion dollars a month and meanwhile more bombs were dropped in Vietnam than during the second world war.
Within this context the new York Senator Robert Francis Kennedy decided to run for the Presidency in 1968, being a major representative of the anti-war movement and social justice.
LBJ faced “a catch 22 position”. He became aware that the Vietnam was an “ugly war” after his new Defence Secretary Clark Clifford following the replacement of Robert McNamara tried to seek a political solution. LBJ was stuck. With RFK being likely a successful candidate and both the CIA and Pentagon still pushing the war in Vietnam he was facing a predicament. The background US powers were loyal to him as there was a reciprocal arrangement between him and the background powers regarding the premeditated JFK assassination and him (LBJ) taking over as US President. Johnson had no other choice than to resign, in despair. Before this, LBJ did fully support the JFK assassination cover up with installing the Warren Commission and highly CIA favourable representatives running the historical falsehood this Commission provided to mislead the US people and Congress. With LBJ deciding not to be reelected anymore in 1968 it did not mean that the CIA and Pentagon’s directions about Vietnam had changed. This direction needed to be continued after 1968, with still being the issues around the JFK assassination a matter of “national security” not to be disclosed and the direction of Vietnam as part of the same “national security” not to be discontinued. It opened the way for new background dynamics neither to be compromised nor to be disclosed. The powers behind the US President were very smart in playing the democratic systems within the US at their own benefit.
The RFK assassination including the assassination of Martin Luther King, jr facilitated elections in which Richard Nixon could be elected. Lyndon Johnson could not face the Vietnam war anymore where he could not find a way out without repercussions. He was an unpopular President and as reflected he would likely lose the 1968 elections anyway.The week after LBJ declined to accept the nomination from the Democratic Party for another term as President – Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles after winning the California primaries, which would almost secure him to get the Democratic nomination and the Presidency in November 1968.
The anti-war demonstrations were stronger than ever before and the strongest representatives of the anti-war movement were actually Martin Luther King,jr and New York Senator Robert Francis Kennedy. Both the CIA, the FBI with Hoover and the Pentagon were opposed to the anti-war movement, opposed against a potential RFK being President in 1968. RFK would have been neither a US President being compromised by the military establishment nor by either the CIA or Hoover from the FBI. With RFK winning the California primaries in June 1968 he became the person who would likely defeat Nixon in 1968. Nixon was aware of this, like FBI Chief Hoover as well.
Nixon was from CIA perspective 100% save for US military policy and the anti-war movement needed to be broken. First by taking Martin Luther King,jr out of the picture and when Robert Kennedy increased in popularity and became the likely candidate to win the elections after the primaries in California, the premeditated strategy was to assassinate Kennedy as he was considered to be at this stage the main obstacle for CIA’s defined “national security” . The implications would be horrendous if Kennedy would be elected President in 1968. He was perhaps even more determined than his brother John J Kennedy. Both the FBI (with Hoover still being the Chief) and the CIA could not face this prospect as with RFK being President the withdrawal from Vietnam would become a fact. Hoover would likely lose his job with everything he inflicted at the background of the various scenes he played a role. However needless to say the JFK assassination with a floored Warren Commission report would be vigorously investigated again and CIA involvement with Lyndon Johnson’s part would be disclosed to the public. As such Kennedy would likely get both Congressional and public support to reorganise the CIA and bring LBJ to justice. RFK became a security risk. As a US Senator of New York he was of no harm but being the potential next President after Johnson would open all the past corruptions from US Government and “Bobby” would not take any nonsense. He did not make it. The cover up was smart and well swallowed by the American public. The question is who gave the order to take him as a second Kennedy out of the picture. Not unlikely there was Presidential approval from Johnson, because Johnson was prepared to pay any price to avoid history catching up on him, and so were the background powers at the same time.
Unrest outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (Illinois) with riots and protests by thousands of anti-war demonstrators (many of whom favoured McCarthy) were crushed on life television by brutal police force from Chicago (after the RFK assassination in June 1968), – which increased a growing sense of general unrest with the public. The police acted on strict orders from the FBI (Hoover).
Both the combination of LBJ being unpopular, the riots in Chicago and the discouragement of both African – Americans and liberals after the assassinations of both MLK and RFK contributed to that former Vice President Nixon (under Eisenhower) did win the Presidential elections from Hubert Humphrey (LBJ’s Vice President). Johnson had warned his Vice-President that when he would oppose the war in Vietnam, he would destroy his career.
Robert Kennedy’s assassination did not only play Nixon in his favour, but it played Nixon’s close ally Hoover and the CIA in their favour as well, besides the Pentagon. LBJ likewise did not need to worry about RFK anymore. The secrets of the 22nd of November 1963 in Dallas would be even more secured with Richard Nixon than with Hubert Humphrey, as both Nixon and Johnson had a silent agreement on this issue as both were involved.
The background powers in the US proved to be succesful in their strategic approach with impact on public opinion as well. Richard Nixon did win the Presidential elections carrying 32 States and 301 Electoral votes. Richard Nixon was an old close ally of both Hoover and the “old” military establishment.
The level of LBJ’s violations of Justice
Lyndon Baines Johnson was a highly controversial politician to start with. Smart as a politician, but corrupt before he became even Vice-President.
His involvement in the Bobby Baker scandal did never see the public light in full and the fact that he has been reportedly facilitating an assassination to silence the person who would potentially make his involvement and other corruptions public during the time he was Majority leader of the Senate gives an indication how far he was prepared to go to save his public reputation. He had people working for him to do “the dirty work”.
His ambitions to take over from JFK started already early in the White House and he was able to create at an early stage already a good relationship with both Hoover and the CIA. After the Bay of Pigs predicaments he had further dealings with Allen Dulles (who was fired as CIA Director by Kennedy) and Richard Nixon (the architect of the Bay of Pigs plans in Cuba). An important “oil representative” from Texas had a CIA assignment and a growing role at the time. His name was George Herbert Walker Bush, the son of Prescott Bush (1895–1972) a vivid JFK opponent, a close friend of both Nixon and Eisenhower.
Johnson’s relations with both President Kennedy and in particular Robert Kennedy were strained at times, the least. Robert Kennedy from the beginning was against LBJ’s nomination for the Vice Presidency. Especially both Robert Kennedy and Johnson’s relationship was very tense, – and when Robert Kennedy in his function as Attorney General got to know more about Johnson’s background including his profound corruption (and an earlier assassination) he decided with his brother the President that the time was there to find an alternative for the Vice Presidency of LBJ in 1964.
Johnson was actually a very practical choice during the elections of 1960 as within his role of Majority leader in the Senate he was quite popular. He was known for his tactical approach and many background dealings and very capable in this role. Actually he had hoped to win the democratic Presidential nomination in 1960 and personally he felt he deserved it more than Jack Kennedy.
Days before the JFK assassination Robert Kennedy was in the process of leaking most damaging information to Life Magazine about the Bobby Baker scandal in which Johnson was clearly involved. It would blow his political career for once and for all, however the 22nd of November 1963 did change history for once and for all.
FBI Chief Hoover assisted LBJ to prevent the Bobby Baker scandal leaking to the press after LBJ’s inauguration.
We may assume with LBJ knowing that Robert Kennedy was in the process of ending his political career was determined to prevent this happening at all costs. As he reflected to his mistress on various occasions he felt often utterly embarrassed by the Kennedy’s and before the 22nd of November 1963 he reflected to her that this would soon over, and that it would never happen again.
In retrospect Lyndon Baines Johnson should have been never US President. With a positive public image initially of being reliable and pleasant perhaps he proved otherwise to be ruthless, calculated, unstable, – and violating justice in the worst possible way against US Constitution and against the US law. The JFK assassination, the Warren Commission, key witnesses being assassinated, the Vietnam war etc do cast a very dark shadow on this otherwise capable man. Being capable and being a person of good integrity not always goes well together as proved in Johnson.
His social reforms were good. It did help public approval whilst LBJ preparing with both the CIA and the Pentagon an immediate and drastic change in the Vietnam policy after the assassination of JFK. There is obviously more to his general Presidential legacy than mentioned in the above.
However concentrating on the issue of violating justice, the measure of this man was not what he did do wrong at an incidental time of his life by error or mistake or by a relatively minor flaw of character. The issue with LBJ is what he did do wrong as a deliberate act to screw up a Nation as part of a Coupe d’Etat where he was personally involved, allowing as such the assassination of President John F Kennedy. The orchestrated cover up afterwards in which various other people were killed are part of this history. He got his way, escaping with an FBI assisted cover up of the Bobby Baker scandal when he became President and was forced in a predicament to escalate the war in Vietnam with many American and other soldiers being killed, within a conflict which actually was the conflict of South Vietnam.
Many people in retrospect do consider the war in Vietnam an error of judgement, hence JFK reportedly -and with evidence at the time – wanted to withdraw just before he was assassinated. This was not what the military background powers wanted and together with Lyndon Johnson, supported by the parts of the Executive branch a pending Coupe d’Etat was in the process of preparation. Johnson convinced Kennedy that it was important to go to Dallas in Texas to sort some frictions out in the Democratic Party which would boost his Kennedy’s support in the 1964 elections. Kennedy was warned for going to Texas but the 1964 elections were important and the reasoning of Johnson made sense. Johnson would look after some security issues and both the CIA and FBI would prove to be helpful.
The Coupe d’Etat on the 22nd of November 1963 did change the direction for the US for many years to follow, with still implications in the ruling systems, – neither allowing nor permitting justice about the failures of those years during various Administrations afterwards.
Likewise the might of both the CIA and the Pentagon with Presidents either unable or unwilling to tighten control, did escalate both the losses of human lives and the costs of various pointless war’s at a level to bring a Nation on the verge of total financial collapse in 2011, apart from gross injustice being inflicted over the past decades. This happened by choice, neither controlled within the Executive branch nor regulated within the Legislative branch.
In terms of US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice, the participation in the Coupe d’Etat as it happened in 1963, the orchestration of the worst possible political crime in US history buried in the graves of many, did actually create a precedent or authority to continue certain trends at the Executive branch increasing the disconnection between citizens and the government.
This was possible in the US and in a way it is still possible. The US Constitution is at the heart of Justice, but neither the Executive branch nor the Legislative branch did allow the justice systems to work in the US as it should be. It would benefit the country so much if this would change and this first chapter on the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson gives an indication where it should have changed.
“Democracy…while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams (1735 – 1826)
“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people”. – John F Kennedy (1917 – 1963)
“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions”. – Barack Obama (1961 – )
In addition to the first chapter the following comments are justified as part of a broader introduction.
The circles of Washington are mysterious , dark and deep, and each President has to balance wisely before he sleeps, – balance wisely before he sleeps.
Robert Frost with his quote: “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, – and miles to go before I sleep…”, – phrased it slightly differently.
However, – despite the promises the balance of how far one can go and except degrees of injustice to meet perhaps more justice eventually, proved different for each US President. Sometimes it takes an inch, sometimes it takes indeed miles. However in general much depends on the integrity, the ideology and the wisdom of the US President, besides obviously the circumstances to be addressed, – but also the persons being nominated (or already in place) to advise the President on matters of both domestic and foreign policy.
Many issues as we know evolve in close coöperation with a variety of advisers, apart from e.g. Agencies such as the FBI, the CIA and the Pentagon. Those Agencies in good hands serve for certain the right purpose as long as they stick to their original assignments.
“Profiles in Presidential violations of Justice” does not discuss the current US President ( Barack Obama) as such as he still is at an early stage of his Presidency. The article “Interim assessment of a President” (within this Blog) gives a more detailed indication on this remarkable first African American President.
Presidential dynamics have not been always the same in US history and the selection of people in key positions of the Pentagon and the CIA (after President Truman established the CIA in 1947) are and will be always vital where it comes to both competence and integrity within the scope of the various obligations of those Agencies, – especially where US Presidents rely on the intelligence provided by those Agencies.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” does neither go into the finer details on the lives of some US Presidents in the past, nor does it mention the broader legacy in any extended detail.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” is a reflection only on some significant incidents against the principles of justice, some worse than others. However what those Presidents did at crucial moments during their Presidency against this justice, sometimes already before entering this office, has been a touchstone of their character. Not rarely it did effect far too many people.
Any new President at the start is facing the challenge to set up a cabinet of capable, effective and reliable people. Besides this there is the building up of relationships with the various existing Government agencies including the Pentagon, which are all vital to set the tone for the rest of the Administration in the years lying ahead. All those people and groups contribute to the making of a President but obviously the Presidency itself provides the required choices to show what lies ahead. Those final choices give directions, – either being in the positive or in the negative. Once an US President get compromised it is difficult at times to get out of it, depending on the strength of character. John F Kennedy took e.g. the full blame of the Bay of Pigs failures which was however related with poorly provided information by the CIA. Presidential failures still, whether they are genuine or deliberate, provide valuable lessons for the future. Deliberate actions to mislead the public with a criminal background or intend are obviously far more serious than the genuine mistakes anybody can make in such a place, as long there is evidence that some quality ways to reach certain decisions were in place.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gives an insight in the complexities and different dynamics of various Presidential Administrations and the choices being made. It starts from the 22nd of November 1963 (when President John F Kennedy was assassinated) until the 21st of January 2009 when the last Bush Administration ended and the Obama Administration did begin.
The greater call for all Presidents was to do better for the country and serve as such, besides obviously personal ambitions. Those last 2 aspects might have been different for each President. The ways and the programs have been different as well. Likewise the level of integrity has been different for earlier Presidents being faced with the bigger questions and the larger picture, which did include the Presidential coöperation with various US security Agencies and the dealings with both US Congress and US law. It proves that whatever is public knowledge is not always the truth, and that some Presidents were in principle and by principle compromised already before they took the Presidential oath to the Constitution.
Some US Presidents did contribute towards a program for domestic reforms whilst at the same time approving various CIA covert operations at a level neither in line with morality nor US law.
Both the Pentagon and the CIA have the duty to protect the interests of the US and make recommendations to the President, who has the final responsibility of decision-making.
Both Agencies have admirable people on board with the highest levels of integrity and duty of service where it comes to the protection of the US against dangers from abroad, – whether those dangers are inflicted by eg Al-Qaeda terrorist cells at present, or dangers of so-called rogue states who may prove an increasing danger in the future. The past showed however under various Presidents that those Agencies were not governed (anymore) by some reasonable required standards of morality, or accuracy in providing intelligence or security information. Neither did it prove that the Presidential powers as they were exercised were in line with the required standards given by US Law and Constitution.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gives at least an insight where and how those standards with some Presidents failed, and it gives an insight why they failed and which areas of systems might be subject for further improvement.
Dangerous situations may arise when Government Agencies are not operating under the full control of the US President, or when e.g. the nominated persons being CIA Director or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have full control of both “the culture” and working dynamics of their own organisations, or when they simply hide information for the purpose of their own agenda’s. The system fails as well when those Agencies (the FBI included) have an Organisational agenda neither being in alignment within the Constitutional balance of powers, nor with US law.
History proves that there have been incidents in which US Presidents acted on proper and correct information of those Agencies, however history proves as well that if the US President would have acted on the intelligence provided, – the world would not have existed anymore as due to failures to give complete information as required. The Cuba crisis in 1962 is a clear example of this.
The Assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963 did show many years later CIA involvement, including involvement at the highest US political powers in the cover up. All for various dark reasons and both – needless to say – against the Constitution and the US law. The public was seriously misled by the Warren Commission and some do show that the “9/11 Commission” was of similar nature with the intend to mislead US citizens. The people supposed to protect the Constitution and the law at the time, were reportedly involved in various cover up’s at the highest levels of Government, – which is neither a good reflection of a democracy nor the justice systems being supposed to be fully operational without discrimination of any nature.
History does further show that US Presidents already compromised before they even started their Presidency, were unlikely to resist the pressures from above Agencies. For this reason they did collaborate in close coöperation with some of those Agencies at times the independent view and the wisdom of the President was required to make final decisions. The lack of required integrity did involve certain activities neither known by the public, nor by Congress, – and obviously profoundly against US law or common justice.
In the most positive scenario, “Profiles in US Presidential violations of justice” may support further discussion to improve the regulation systems within “the US balance of powers”. The last actually to protect the US against itself. If those systems do not improve, some historical events being reflected on would be able to repeat itself with an unpredictable and different identity. Those situations could potentially provoke the most dangerous situations the US as a Republic and Democracy could face.
US Presidents may fail for various reasons, as long as the detection systems (including the internal checks within the Constitutional balance of powers) do not fail, and as long it is clear that neither US Presidents, nor the CIA, neither Officials of the Pentagon nor any other Agency, are able to work outside the powers of the law, or the Constitution, or outside the legitimate requirements of US Congress.
US Presidents (with full Congressional support) need to be strong enough to rule the major background powers in the US, – based on fair common sense and proper value systems with evidently both the broader picture in mind, together with a high level of integrity.
Within the context of those earlier Presidential dynamics including a variety of covert operations for different reasons, it is realistic to say that never ever had the US so much to lose or so much to gain, and that all decisions within the US Constitution delegated to the Executive branch should be based on merit and purpose for the US future itself. Hence the political system in the US needs to work optimal in line with the principles provided by both the law and the Constitution.
With the fall of communism but still an ongoing Arab – Israeli conflict; with wars in Vietnam and Iraq behind us, but still the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as part of the war in Afghanistan (where the “war on terror” designed to defend Western values escalated into a conflict with disregard for human rights), – we now may face a reality that China may overtake the US as the world’s greatest superpower. Where the Holocaust did show genocide at a never experienced scale, the cold war brought us close to global nuclear destruction in 1962 through incomplete management and advise of both the CIA and the Pentagon against the dangers inflicted by the Soviets. It was wise management however of John F. Kennedy as President which saved the world due to his independent and broader views. The US needs internal protection that a history of military confrontation for the wrong reasons, is not going to compromise a future for the right reasons.
The US has a history of many costly wars which brought the federal budget deficit at record level without any proportionate benefit, however never took it the time and the opportunity to reëxamine its own attitude and responsibility in the many predicaments it both faced and created.
It takes the wider community of US Government Executives and Controlling powers to raise the US above the standards of the past, and to embrace both the opportunities and challenges of the future with a wise balance of principle centred leadership where proper value systems are at the core of the decisions being made. The last to ease a direction towards more positive global dynamics, based on fruitful interdependence with in the end a better economy and prosperity for those nations being involved. This direction includes reduction of terror activities by at least not provoking this terror within the domain of US power.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gets at the heart of this required principle centred leadership – with examples where it went wrong against both the Constitution and the law.
Each Presidential profile offers material for sustained discussion as it does touch base on the fundamental question which direction to go in a world facing more dangers than ever before. The response on problems, crisis and disasters is as important as those pending disasters, crisis and problems itself and it will be clear that US response in e.g.areas of foreign policy has been highly inadequate and dangerous at times.
The following 8 chapters will picture the problems and foundations of the decision-making US Presidents differently and the last epilogue will summarise some events.
Next article will start with Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President who took over after the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
Whilst democratic movements spread across the globe the concept of “democracy” being potentially at risk is more clear than ever before, – not really only by those countries opposing the principles of democracy, but even more at times by those who are supposed to protect it.
On a positive note for the US, the 2011 Obama Administration seems to work within the balance of powers as being provided within the US Constitution more at least than some of the previous Administrations, – operating clearly with more value systems at the centre. This is the way it should be and perhaps he is the first US President since Kennedy and Carter with value systems at the core of his Administration in terms of domestic policy. However the practicalities do not prove to be easy and with his level of strength and providing leadership, it is still wait and see how he will break with the tradition of the US being involved in war’s which should not be there in the first instance.
Presidential powers exercised during previous US Administrations however created a precedent within the US of using the “arm” of the CIA to engage in most secret covert operations, both within and outside US mainland and in part against all forms of human rights and/or dignity. The last with the ability even to keep Congress out of the picture with collective organised cover up’s and controlling the media, – besides suppressing existing justice systems as they should be able to work in a free society.
The US is neither sufficiently protected against the phenomenal powers from some internal background forces, which does include the CIA and the Pentagon, – nor from the collective systems of separation of powers with internal checks and balances to work in alignment of the Constitution and the law. Legislation is required to change this to better ways of law enforcement at the Executive branch of the US, as such to protect the US against itself. With the wrong persons in power at the main divisions of this Executive branch, the systems of governance might turn out to be a total failure, with cover up’s in place to hide matters from both Congress the public and the world.
Presidential powers are inappropriately able to collide (largely e.g. on foreign policy issues and military operations) with the existing background powers and vice versa; whilst Congress can be kept in the dark with the required investigations or hearings being delayed, – various justice systems being obstructed as well within e.g the FBI, – and with other help if so required. Besides this the media can be and has been controlled for many years. As such democracy at its worst proves both to be repugnant and intolerable, – whilst no systems are in place to correct this; nor systems being in place to reopen insufficient and past Government initiated investigations and held e.g. former Presidents (including members of their Administrations) accountable within the obligations of fair justice for all, – and not the few most powerful being excluded for those principles of the same justice.
Collective ignorance for the profound risks of a democracy not being exposed for its existing decay and failures (with both complete and right historical reflections on the past) – whilst voters are either misled or do not take notice – will provoke even worse decay to come with “the balance of power” being more compromised than ever before. Worsening repressive systems and corrupting elements may have free play at the highest positions in the US (if not stopped) if the US by error may choose the wrong President as happened with the Bush Administration not that long ago. At present this former US President is not able to visit Switzerland without the risk of being arrested as due to war crimes and human right abuses, which does show that at least something went wrong. Even for some US citizens who claim their systems of Government are always right and pretend to have proper knowledge of the US Constitution. Some even claiming that President Obama is to blame for everything what is wrong. The dangers of right wing extremism are unfortunately quite evident in the US and though no Party may claim to be perfect, the Democratic Party in the US has at present the best credentials to facilitate the required reforms as the Republicans (as “an Organisation”) lost any sense of direction. Obviously this may change in the future with new talent and vision and skill perhaps arriving at some stage.
Some may say the US is a Republic only. However this Republic is still based on democratic and constitutional principles of the separation and balance of powers, not being allowed those principles and common US values being compromised by either currents within the CIA or Pentagon. Existing powers at the level of the President or Congress seem to have insufficient oversight, – if senior management within both Pentagon and CIA are unable to get their Organisations under control and in line with both US law and the Constitution. With both the wrong President and ill selected people in top positions of both the CIA and the Pentagon the US is in danger of being an enemy of itself.
Both within the Military and CIA are enough very highly regarded people with dignity for their own country, not willing to sacrifice the US Constitution and the implications of this Constitution on the altars of human rights abuses, whether it is in the US or anywhere else in the world. Sounds excessive perhaps but “9/11” e.g. was largely an internal job as far as former Division Chief of the FBI Ted Gunderson concerned. It was an internal job as well as far as Major General Albert Stubblebine concerned, who was the Commanding General of the United States Army Intelligence. Still many people ask for clarification on 9/11, even at the highest levels of the Military Branch as the contradictions did not add up and the most evil systems within the US itself could have been part of the massacre in 2001, to give the US President an excuse to go to war.
Preserving democracy as the best possible governance against historically profound failures of the alternatives is subject to prove, provided by the Democracy itself. The US has to work on this to keep up its credibility, not only for its own people, but in the face of the world as well.
Secret powers within democracies have the ability within the dark corners of the world to degrade the meaning of democracy into the “bludgeoning of the people by the people and for the people”, without mechanisms to control those powers responsible for this ugly manifestation of inhumanity.
The Greek city state Athens, once being reflected on as the highlight of democracy, developed by its people probably the finest form of direct democracy ever being created. Obviously with its purest form this is not practical anymore in current times and places. Introduced by its popular leader Cleisthenes in about 500 BC there was the ecclesia which was inviting all eligible citizens over the age of 18 to meet on a regular base to discuss important state business by debate. In those days they would reach a decision based on the majority of those being around by a show of hands.
Pericles, the Athenian leader, at a funeral speech delivered 430 BC paid tribute to the constitution of those days which favours the many and not the few, indicating the importance of liberty and equality before the law. Political preferment should be based on merit and neither through the wealth of power and money nor class, – was his perception.
Both Plato and Aristotle warned for the potential of democracy being put at risk by those who are persistent unruly unstable and corrupt. The lessons go through history with major powers coming up and major powers going down as due to self inflicted obstruction of justice. Not only this. The power of imperialism with overstretched military resources and lack of economic durability have been at the foundations of the fall of Great Powers in history, together with poorly controlled internal corruption.
If we look at history, super powers crumbled down as a result of corrupting powers colluding within a culture of decay. Democracies are not without those risks if existing decay is not eliminated within the process of proper law enforcement. The US needs to manage its affairs as it proved that military expenditure out with any proportion compromised economic growth within proportion. Frankly the US has increased its risk of following the similar pathway as Great Powers in the past, running out of the recourses to stay sustainable. The deepening controversy about spending priorities as shown in US Congress, with a politics of short term advantage and long-term disadvantage provide the base of potentially spiralling down dynamics.
At the heart of democracy lies the question of the supreme powers of state (created by the people for the people), to protect lawfully the rights of people being restricted to prevent the misuse of powers to cut those same rights as implemented by the Constitution. This failed at unimaginable scale during the last Bush Administration. The trend of allowing the major background powers in the US to have more say in public policy since the assassination of JFK, accelerated during the last Bush Administration. The corrupting Government investigations about the realities of the CIA orchestrated 9/11 drama, provided a ruthless US Executive Branch to go to war at pleasure, as by choice there was a stand down in the security systems and by choice there was a US controlled demolition of the various towers in the lower Manhattan area of New York in 2001. This direction could prove in US history -in retrospect – the last straw over which the US lost its potential to continue to be sustainable. The Obama Administration has to stick to the conduct of US Presidents neither being critical against those provoking powers nor to stop the war in Afghanistan at once, without running the risk to be assassinated by extreme right wing elements.
The limitations of powers by the Executive branch with its far too much dominating Agencies must be exercised with the consent of the voters, but is the only reason the US could survive as a sustainable Democracy with full backing of US Congress. The trend to be involved in various pointless war’s , apart from those who have both security and moral merit with the approval of Congress, may drive the US to bankruptcy.
As shown, the relation between people and state on the justified balance between might and right is still an issue after centuries of battle. Political mechanisms to make sure that those who govern at various levels remain accountable can’t be guaranteed only by regular elections and competition.
The reality of the political process and operating powers remain a concern, as some of the most basic constitutional rights and obligations have been compromised during the last decades. Often behind closed doors and in the dark corners of those places where detection was being made difficult and operating justice systems being prepared to compromise the truth by those people already being compromised.
Both President Truman and President Eisenhower warned against significant background powers within the US with connections deep within those separation of powers and elaborate systems of checks and balances. Those background powers decide at some extend – together with the Presidential powers being exercised – the direction of the US Government. Sinister branches of those background powers carry a history of human atrocities in a wide variety, both within and outside the US. When those powers were under threat by political opponents in the US, assassinations or smear campaigns have not rarely been the tools of choice to stay in control and prevent exposure.
Those collective background powers, working somehow together, are at some extend able to attract those US Presidents who are able to remain the status quo of both secrets and society, misleading not rarely – and profoundly!- the majority of the voters.
Democracy can be a charming form of government full of variety, but not rarely full of disorder as well at various levels.
It should not happen that democratic societies are in a position to get “criminals” eventually in positions perhaps affecting branches of government, – whilst law enforcement each country deserves is unable to extinguish the malicious effect those people may have on their systems of governance. This is decay in the foundations of a democracy as profoundly demonstrated during the last US Administration and not resolved by tighter legislation. It can happen any time again with even worse implications.
It is not in our poor power to add or detract the value of those who struggled before us and could not stay around to finish their task, those who fought for fairness and justice against the senseless acts of bloodshed which ignored our common humanity on the battlefields of civilian slaughter.
This is what happened with 9/11 and during various war’s, the last of which were “open” at times but more often they took place as part of secret operations.
The violence of the increasing decay in institutions with indifference and inaction do show the sickness of the soul of a country anywhere possible on this world with different gradations.
The US is an example of a Republic based on the principles of a democracy where more proactive management is required in terms of legislation to prevent the various abuses of power, as too many people lost their lives and to many compromises were made at the cost of an economy in shambles as a result of excessive and pointless war activities in the past.
When we can’t resist the temptation to meet disagreement with force we breed violence and this violence will breed retaliation and potential terror. We need to be strong enough to defend ourselves against any evil powers who want to get the better of us, but whilst living on this planet the short time we have, we need to realise that those who live in our times are our brothers and as such we need to act against inhumanity hatred or blind revenge, – as our common goal on earth is at a different level, regardless the need indeed to extinguish the dangers of terror.