Author Archives: Nicolas J S Davies

The science of killing has become an impractical instrument of political domination

Surveying the U.S.’s imminent defeat in Vietnam in his 1972 book, Roots of War, Richard Barnet observed, “ . . . at the very moment the number one nation has perfected the science of killing, it has become an impractical instrument of political domination.” Continue reading

Hillary Clinton & the dogs of war

A poll taken in Iowa before the presidential caucus found that 70% of Democrats surveyed trusted Hillary Clinton on foreign policy more than Bernie Sanders. But her record as Secretary of State was very different from that of her successor, John Kerry, who has overseen groundbreaking diplomatic breakthroughs with Iran, Cuba and, in a more limited context, even with Russia and Syria. Continue reading

Defeating terrorism—theirs and ours

France and Russia’s military responses to mass murders in Paris and Egypt echo the United States’ response to mass murders in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania in 2001. As Oxford University researcher Lydia Wilson told Democracy Now on November 17th, Islamic State (IS) is “seemingly delighted” by this warlike response to its latest atrocities. Continue reading

The record U.S. military budget

To listen to the Republican candidates’ debate last month, one would think that President Obama had slashed the U.S. military budget and left our country defenseless. Nothing could be further off the mark. There are real weaknesses in Obama’s foreign policy, but a lack of funding for weapons and war is not one of them. President Obama has in fact been responsible for the largest U.S. military budget since the Second World War, as is well documented in the U.S. Department of Defense’s annual “Green Book.” Continue reading

America’s endless air wars

U.S. Central Command’s latest figures on its aerial bombardment of Iraq and Syria reveal that this is the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign since President George W. Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003. In the campaign’s first ten months from August 2014 to May 2015, the U.S. and its allies conducted 15,245 air strikes, or an average of 51 air strikes per day. Continue reading

Is violence the answer or not?

U.S. leaders should make up their minds

As I write this on the 12th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the news is filled with its violent repercussions across the Middle East and the world. The latest atrocity is a multiple suicide bombing at 2 mosques in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, that have killed at least 137 people. Two days ago 24 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed in Tunis. Continue reading

Tick tock: The world blunders 2 minutes closer to doomsday

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the hands of the “Doomsday Clock” two minutes closer to midnight. After 3 years at 11:55, the new edition published in January shows the hands of the clock at 11:57, with the dire warning, “It Is 3 Minutes to Midnight.” Continue reading

How propaganda conquers democracy

Do we live in a country where citizens are critically informed on the issues of the day by media that operate independently of the government? Or do our political leaders deliberately plant a false view of events and issues in the mind of the public that complicit media then broadcast and amplify to generate public consent for government policy? Continue reading

Western imperialists have been bombing Iraq for 100 Years

President Obama’s campaign of aerial bombardment against ISIS in Iraq and Syria maintains a British colonial policy designed 100 years ago to avoid the consequences of putting large numbers of boots on the ground in what are now Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Continue reading

We should slice the Pentagon budget—it would save trillions and rescue America

Next week, Congress will begin debate on a roughly $601 billion Pentagon budget for FY2015. Before we let this pass unchallenged, let’s take a few minutes to put it in some historical perspective. Continue reading

Fiery chaos in Odessa: 42 perish after Ukrainians launch Waco-like assault

The group behind the clashes is Right Sector, the strike force of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Ukraine's government

The death toll in Odessa stands at 42 people killed, most of them burned to death or suffocated by smoke inhalation in the inferno at the Trade Unions House. There is no dispute over who were the victims and who were their killers. The victims were pro-Russian protesters who had occupied the building. The attackers who set fire to it with petrol bombs were members of Right Sector, the ultra-Nationalist strike force of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in February. Continue reading

93 countries that have changed their minds about Obama

And 31 where he's less popular than George W. Bush—including Kenya

During the Bush years, people all over the world were horrified by America’s aggression, human rights abuses and militarism. By 2008, only one in three people around the world approved of the job performance of U.S. leaders. The election of President Obama broadcast his message of hope and change far beyond U.S. shores, and Gallup’s 2009 U.S.-Global Leadership Project (USGLP) recorded a sharp rise in global public approval of U.S. leadership to 49 percent. Continue reading

America’s coup machine: Destroying democracy since 1953

Soon after the 2004 U.S. coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide’s lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami. He began his talk with a riddle: “Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?” The answer: “Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C.” This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well. Continue reading

We need to end the disastrous failure of the ‘war on terror’

Twelve years into America’s “war on terror,” it is time to admit that it has failed catastrophically, unleashing violence, war and instability in an “arc of terror” stretching from West Africa to the Himalayas and beyond. If we examine the pretext for all this chaos, that it could possibly be a legitimate or effective response to terrorism, it quickly becomes clear that it has been the exact opposite, fueling a global explosion of terrorism and a historic breakdown of law and order. Continue reading

9 ways America has fueled the bloody civil war in Syria

America has undermined opportunities for a ceasefire in Syria and a peaceful political transition

President Obama’s threats against Syria are framed by the carefully crafted image of a responsible superpower reluctantly drawn into a horrific conflict caused by others. But the reality is very different. Continue reading

Syria: Where the Obama Doctrine of covert war spectacularly backfired

The U.S. policy of arming proxies in Syria is a formula for unlimited escalation and mass destruction

Barack Obama’s rise to power in 2008 raised fundamental questions about the duty of a newly-elected government in a country that has been engaged in war crimes, from aggression against other countries to systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions and human rights laws. Continue reading

Peace plan nixed: How the West fueled the ever-growing carnage in Syria

On Tuesday March 27, 2013, Kofi Annan gave a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. In his usual careful and diplomatic tone, Annan spoke firmly against Western calls for more direct military intervention in Syria. Continue reading

Obama: 20,000 air strikes in his first term. Now what?

Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm’s way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials, even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the “war on terror” falsely promised to end but has instead escalated and sought to normalize. But drone strikes are only the tip of an iceberg, making up less than 10 percent of at least 20,130 air strikes the U.S. has conducted in other countries since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Continue reading

Homer Simpson and the WMD in Iraq . . . (doh) . . . I mean Iran

Most Americans now understand that the U.S. war against Iraq was based on lies cleverly disguised as secrets. Instead of consulting its intelligence agencies and making a decision on war and peace based on objective analysis, the U.S. government made a political decision to go to war and then manufactured false “intelligence” to support that decision. Continue reading

Obama’s America: Waiting for blowback

The United States has suffered three widely acknowledged military disasters since the end of the Second World War: in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. The American public responded to each crisis by electing new leaders with a mandate to end the wars and avoid new ones. But in each case, our new leaders failed to make the genuine recommitment to peace and diplomacy that was called for. Instead, they allayed the fears of the public by moving American war-making farther into the shadows, deploying the CIA and special operations forces in covert operations and proxy wars, sowing seeds of violence and injustice that would fester for decades and often erupt into conflict many years later. Continue reading

When presidential politics collides with secret war

Not a week goes by without a new strategic leak from the White House about President Obama’s personal role in the CIA’s secret wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Iran. Continue reading

Checkmate in the great game?

On May 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that an important expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be on the agenda at its upcoming summit in Astana in Kazakhstan on June 15. If the expansion is approved, India and Pakistan will join China, Russia and the Central Asian republics as full SCO members, and Afghanistan will join Iran and Mongolia as a new SCO “observer.” Continue reading

Bin Laden assassination sets stage for withdrawal from Afghanistan

April has been a bloody month for US forces in Afghanistan, with 45 Americans killed, compared to only 20 last April. And now the Taliban has announced the start of a “spring offensive” that may soon draw comparisons to the Tet offensive in Vietnam in 1968. Meanwhile US allies are doing less and less of the fighting in Afghanistan, reducing their share of casualties from 37% in early 2010 to only 25% so far this year. America is gradually being left to fight its war on its own—or not . . . Continue reading

‘You can’t drop bombs and not kill people’

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb told the BBC Saturday that Libya has about 50 air defense sites and that most of them are located in populated areas. If U.S. planes dropped only two “precision-guided” bombs on each of them, the chances are that at least 20 of those bombs would miss their targets and hit something or somebody else. Continue reading