U.S. and other media continue their strong move towards baseless, aka fake, news. We recently caught the New York Times claiming that Russia started the war in Georgia, something the NYT had earlier debunked itself. The Washington Post claimed that Russian hackers were sneaking into the U.S. electricity grid. The story fell apart within a few hours. Nothing in it was true. Hundreds of pieces were written about “peaceful demonstrator” rebels in Syria, about 250,000 civilians besieged in Aleppo or Syrian government bombings of hospitals that lacked any base in reality.
That onslaught of fake news by repudiated media continues unabated in print, web and TV.
Yesterday a sensational piece in the Washington Post claimed that The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned:
The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.
The simple truth: These were people in political positions who serve “at the pleasure of the President”. They got fired even though some of them wanted to stay on. For bureaucratic reasons they had to write formal resignation letters. They did so after they were told to leave. There was also nothing sensational about that. It happens with any change of the President. As the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) explained:
While this appears to be a large turnover in a short period of time, a change of administration always brings personnel changes, and there is nothing unusual about rotations or retirements in the Foreign Service.
Only one higher manager in the State Department “survived” the 2001 change of administration from Clinton to Bush. There was no reason to think that the current change would be any different.
Another fake news item currently circling is that Trump has given order to the military to create safe zones for Syria. The reality is still far from it:
[H]is administration crafted a draft order that would direct the Pentagon and the State Department to submit plans for the safe zones within 90 days. The order hasn’t yet been issued.
The draft of the order, which will be endlessly revised, says that safe zones could be in Syria or in neighboring countries. The Pentagon has always argued against such zones in Syria and the plans it will submit, should such an order be issued at all, will reflect that. The safe zones in Syria ain’t gonna happen.
Another fake news item comes in the description of a Theresa May speech she yesterday held in front of U.S. Republicans. The BBC headlines: Theresa May: UK and US cannot return to ‘failed’ interventions. Sky News likewise headlines: Theresa May warns US and UK cannot return to ‘failed’ interventions. From the BBC piece:
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Mrs May was signalling there would be no more wars like those in Iraq and perhaps Afghanistan, and it was significant that she had chosen her US speech to signal such a shift.BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins said it was a hugely significant speech, arguably the biggest by a UK PM in the US since Tony Blair’s 1999 speech in Chicago advocating armed interventionism against dictators – something repudiated by Mrs May.
The claims by these BBC commentators are ludicrous. May did not call for less intervention as those comments make seem. Indeed she argued for more intervention. She argued against interventions for “values” (which were anyway always just a propaganda ploy) but strongly called for intervention for “interests”. She of course would not like such interventions to ‘fail’. From her speech:
It is in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over. But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
Shorter: “It is in the U.S. (and our ass-kissing country’s) interest to defend its interests by intervening for the sake of its interests.”
May destroys the fake facade of liberal interventionism, the “responsibility to protect” nonsense, and argues for wars of aggression for purely monetary or geo-political reasons – “interests” as she calls it.
That is not, as the BBC claims, “signalling that there would be no more wars like those in Iraq and perhaps Afghanistan” but the opposite. There will be more such wars and all will predictably end with bad consequences for those invaded as well as for those who invade.
This is May’s approval for Trump’s call for stealing Iraq’s oil:
[H]e suggested the costly and deadly occupation of the country might have been offset somewhat if the United States had taken the country’s rich petroleum reserves.”To the victor belong the spoils,” Trump told members of the intelligence community, saying he first argued this case for “economic reasons.”
“So we should have kept the oil,” he said. “But, OK, maybe you’ll have another chance.”
With stealing Iraq’s oil the invasion would have been in the U.S. and UK’s “interest”. As such it would not have “failed”.
(The end result though, would have likely been the same. The U.S. and its British sidekick would have been kicked out of the country.)
To turn such talk around and argue, as the BBC does, that May “repudiated” such wars, is worse than simple fake news. It is Orwellian.