Thursday, November 21, 2019

Congrats, Dems! You've Empowered A Pack Of Paranoid Neocon Morons

By David Stockman - November 21, 2019 at 09:15AM

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Sometimes you need to call a spade a spade, and yesterday's testimony before Adam's Schiff Show by former NSC official Tim Morrison is just such an occasion. In spades!

In his opening statement, this paranoid moron uttered the following lunacy, and it's all you need to know about what is really going on down in the Imperial City.
I continue to believe Ukraine is on the front lines of a strategic competition between the West and Vladimir Putin’s revanchist Russia. Russia is a failing power, but it is still a dangerous one. The United States aids Ukraine and her people so they can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia here.  
Folks, that just plain whacko. The Trump-hating Dems are so feverishly set on a POTUS kill that they have enlisted a veritable posse of Russophobic, right-wing neocon cretins -- Morrison,  Taylor, Kent, Vindman, among others -- to finish off the Donald.

But in so doing they have made official Washington's real beef against Trump crystal clear; and it's not about the rule of law or abuse of presidential power or an impeachable dereliction of duty.

To be sure, foolish politicians like Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and the Clintonista apparatus at the center of the Dem party are so overcome with inconsolable grief and anger about losing the 2016 election to Trump that their sole purpose in life is to drive the Donald from office. But that just makes them "useful idiots" or compliant handmaids of the Deep State, which has a far more encompassing and consequential motivation.

To wit, whether out of naiveté, contrariness or just plain common sense, the Donald has declined to embrace the War Party's Russian boogeyman and demonization of Putin. He thereby threatens the Empire's raison d'etre to the very core.

Indeed, that's the real reason for the whole concerted attack on Trump from the Russian Collusion hoax, through the Mueller Investigation farce to the present UkraineGate and impeachment inquisition. The Deep State deeply and profoundly fears that if Trump remains in office -- and especially if he is elected with a new mandate in 2020 -- he might actually make peace with Russia and Putin.

So in Part 1 we advert to the basics. Without the demonization of Russia, Ukraine would be the no count failed state and cesspool of corruption it actually is, and not a purported "front line" buffer against Russian aggression.

Likewise, it would not have been a recipient of vast US and western military and economic aid -- a condition that turned it into a honeypot for the kind of Washington influence peddling which ensnared the Bidens, induced its officials to meddle in the 2016 US election, and, in return, incited Trump's justifiable quest to get to the bottom of the malignancy that has ensued.

So the starting point is to identify Russia for what it actually is: Namely, a kleptocratic state sitting atop an aging, Vodka-chugging population and third-rate economy with virtually zero capacity to project 21st century offensive military power beyond its own borders.

That truth, of course, shatters the whole foundation of the Warfare State. It renders NATO an obsolete relic and eviscerates the case for America's absurd $900 billion defense and national security budget. And with the latter's demise, the fairest part of Washington's imperial self-importance and unseemly national security spending based prosperity would also crumble.

But in their frenzied pursuit of the Donald's political scalp, the Dems may be inadvertently sabotaging their Deep State masters. That's because the neocon knuckleheads they are dragging out of the NSC and State Department woodwork are such bellicose simpletons -- just maybe their utterly preposterous testimony about the Russkie threat and Ukrainian "front line" will wake up the somnolent American public to the absurdity of the entire Cold War 2.0 campaign.

Indeed, you almost have to ask whether the bit about fighting the Russkies in the Donbas rather than on the shores of New Jersey from Morrison's opening statement quoted above was reprinted in the New York Times or The Onion?

The fact is, the fearsome Russian boogeyman cited by Morrison yesterday -- and Ambassador Taylor, George Kent and Lt. Colonel Vindman previously -- is a complete chimera; and the notion that the cesspool of corruption in Ukraine is a strategic buffer against Russian aggression is just plain idiocy.

Russia is actually an economic and industrial midget transformed beyond recognition by relentless Warfare State propaganda. It is actually no more threatening to America's homeland security than the Siberian land mass that Sarah Palin once espied from her front porch in Alaska a decade ago.

After all, how could it be? The the GDP of the New York City metro area alone is about $1.8 trillion, which is well more than Russia's 2018 GDP of $1.66 trillion. And that, in turn, is just 8% of America's  total GDP of $21.5 trillion.

Moreover, Russia' dwarf economy is composed largely of a vast oil and gas patch; a multitude of nickel, copper, bauxite and vanadium mines; and some very large swatches of wheat fields. That's not exactly the kind of high tech industrial platform on which a war machine capable of threatening the good folks in Lincoln NE or Worchester MA is likely to be erected.

And especially not when the Russian economy has been heading sharply south in dollar purchasing terms for several years running.

Indeed, in terms of manufacturing output, the comparison is just as stark. Russia's annual manufacturing value added is currently about $200 billion compared to $2.2 trillion for the US economy.

And that's not the half of it. Not only are Russia's vast hydrocarbon deposits and mines likely to give out in the years ahead, but so are the livers of its Vodka-chugging work force. That's a problem because according to a recent Brookings study, Russia's working age population -- even supplemented by substantial in-migration and guest worker programs -- is heading south as far into the future as the eye can see.

Even in the Brookings medium case projection shown below, Russia's working age population will be nearly 20% smaller than today by 2050. Yet today's figure of about 85 million is already just a fraction of the US working age population of 255 million.

Russia's Shrinking Work Force

Not surprisingly, Russia's pint-sized economy can not support a military establishment anywhere near to that of Imperial Washington. To wit, its $61 billion of military outlays in 2018 amounted to less than 32 days of Washington's current $750 billion of expenditures for defense.

Indeed, it might well be asked how Russia could remotely threaten homeland security in America short of what would be a suicidal nuclear first strike.

That's because the 1,600 deployed nuclear weapons on each side represent a continuation of mutual deterrence (MAD) -- the arrangement by which we we got through 45-years of cold war when the Kremlin was run by a totalitarian oligarchy committed to a hostile ideology; and during which time it had been armed to the teeth via a forced-draft allocation of upwards of 40% of the GDP of the Soviet empire to the military.

By comparison, the Russian defense budget currently amounts to less than 4% of the country's anemic present day economy -- one shorn of the vast territories and populations of Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and all the Asian "stans" among others. Yet given those realities we are supposed to believe that the selfevidently calculating and cautious kleptomaniac who runs the Kremlin is going to go mad, defy MAD and trigger a nuclear Armageddon?

Indeed, the idea that Russia presents a national security threat to America is laughable. Not only would Putin never risk nuclear suicide, but even that fantasy is the extent of what he's got. That is, Russia's conventional capacity to project force to the North American continent is nonexistent -- or at best, lies somewhere between nichts and nothing.

For example, in today's world you do not invade any foreign continent without massive sea power projection capacity in the form of aircraft carrier strike groups. These units consist of an armada of lethal escort ships, a fleet of aircraft, massive suites of electronics warfare capability and the ability to launch hundreds of cruise missiles and other smart weapons.

Each US aircraft carrier based strike group, in fact, is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, at least one cruiser, a squadron of destroyers and/or frigates, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft. A carrier strike group also sometimes includes submarines and attached logistics ships.

The US has eleven such carrier strike groups. Russia has zero modern carrier strike groups and one beat-up, smoky old (diesel) aircraft carrier that the Israeli paper, Haaretz, described as follows when it recently entered the Mediterranean:
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, a leftover from the days of Soviet power, carries a long history of mishaps, at sea and in port, and diesel engines which were built for Russia’s cold waters – as shown by the column of black smoke raising above it. It needs frequent refueling and resupplies and has never been operationally tested.
Indeed, from our 19th floor apartment on the East River in NYC, even we could see this smoke belcher coming up Long Island Sound with an unaided eye -- with no help needed at all from the high tech spyware of the nation's $80 billion intelligence apparatus.

Yet Morrison had the audacity to say before a committee of the US House that we are aiding Ukraine so we don't have to fight Russians on the banks of the East River or the Potomac!

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For want of doubt, just compare the above image of the Admiral Kuznetsov belching smoke in the Mediterranean with that of the Gerald R. Ford CVN 48 next below.

The latter is the US Navy's new $13 billion aircraft carrier and is the most technologically advanced warship ever built.

The contrast shown below serves as a proxy for the vastly inferior capability of the limited number of ships and planes in Russia's conventional force. What it does have numerical superiority in is tanks -- but alas they are not amphibious nor oceancapable!

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Likewise, nobody invades anybody without massive airpower and the ability to project it across thousands of miles of oceans via vast logistics and air-refueling capabilities.

On that score, the US has 6,100 helicopters to Russia's 1,200 and 6,000 fixed wing fighter and attack aircraft versus Russia's 2,100. More importantly, the US has 5,700 transport and airlift aircraft compared to just 1,100 for Russia.

In short, the idea that Russia is a military threat to the US homeland is ludicrous. Russia is essentially a land-locked military shadow of the former Soviet war machine. Indeed, for the world's only globe-spanning imperial power to remonstrate about an aggressive threat from Moscow is a prime facie case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Moreover, the canard that Washington's massive conventional armada is needed to defend Europe is risible nonsense. Europe can and should take care of its own security and relationship with its neighbor on the Eurasian continent.

After all, the GDP of NATO Europe is $18 trillion or 12X greater than that of Russia, and the current military budgets of European NATO members total about $280 billion or 4X more than that of Russia.

More importantly, the European nations and people really do not have any quarrel with Putin's Russia, nor is their security and safety threatened by the latter. All of the tensions that do exist and have come to a head since the illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 were fomented by Imperial Washington and its European subalterns in the NATO machinery.

Then again, the latter is absolutely the most useless, obsolete, wasteful and dangerous multilateral institution in the present world. But like the proverbial clothesless emperor, NATO doesn't dare risk having the purportedly "uninformed" amatuer in the Oval Office pointing out its buck naked behind.

So the NATO subservient think tanks and establishment policy apparatchiks are harrumphing up a storm, but for crying out loud most of Europe's elected politicians are in on the joke. They are fiscally swamped paying for their Welfare States and are not about to squeeze their budgets or taxpayers to fund military muscle against a nonexistent threat.

As the late, great Justin Raimondo aptly noted,
Finally an American president has woken up to the fact that World War II, not to mention the cold war, is over: there’s no need for US troops to occupy Germany.

Vladimir Putin isn’t going to march into Berlin in a reenactment of the Red Army taking the Fuehrer-bunker – but even if he were so inclined, why won’t Germany defend itself?
Exactly. If their history proves anything, Germans are not a nation of pacifists, meekly willing to bend-over in the face of real aggressors. Yet they spent the paltry sum of $43 billion on defense during 2018, or barely 1.1% of Germany's $4.0 trillion GDP, which happens to be roughly three times bigger than Russia's.

In short, the policy action of the German government tells you they don't think Putin is about to invade the Rhineland or retake the Brandenburg Gate.

And this live action testimonial also trumps, as it were, all of the risible alarums that have emanated from the beltway think tanks and the 4,000 NATO bureaucrats talking their own book in behalf of  their plush Brussels sinecures.

David Stockman is a Ron Paul Institute Board Member. For information on how to subscribe to his Contra Corner website,
 click here.


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