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Tag: Tom Engelhardt


Resurrecting the Unholy Trinity: Torture, Rendition and Indefinite Detention Under Trump

In the Middle East and elsewhere, the Trump administration has begun to signal that human rights aren’t exactly on its agenda.

Posted on Apr 6, 2017 READ MORE


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Demobilizing America: A Nation Made by War and a Citizenry Unmade by It

For more than 15 years, the U.S. has been fighting essentially failed or failing wars—efforts that seem only to spread the terrorism they’re supposed to eradicate.

Posted on Apr 4, 2017 READ MORE



The Art of the Trumpaclysm

Think of the president as the towering inferno of 21st century American politics, or a modern Godzilla eternally emerging from New York Harbor.

Posted on Feb 27, 2017 READ MORE



Crimes of the Trump Era (a Preview)

The “25/8” news cycle is already rolling, but the looting of America hasn’t really begun.

Posted on Feb 23, 2017 READ MORE



Normalizing Donald Trump’s Authoritarianism Is Not an Option

For lawmakers, pundits and journalists, “normalization” is code for a retreat from moral and political responsibility—and it should be viewed as complicity.

Posted on Jan 23, 2017 READ MORE



A Living Nightmare of Intelligence Groupthink

If you’re thinking of diving into the “intelligence community’s” latest quadrennial report on the future, I’ve done you an enormous favor and read it for you.

Posted on Jan 23, 2017 READ MORE



It Can Happen Here. (In Fact, It Did.)

After the election, here was the shock for me: It turned out that I, too, was an American exceptionalist. I deeply believed that our country was simply too special for The Donald.

Posted on Jan 4, 2017 READ MORE



Will Donald Trump Make ‘1984’ Seem Like a Nursery Tale?

I suspect we’re about to have the screw-you presidency of all time, far surpassing George Orwell’s vision. And believe me, that will prove to be dystopian beyond compare—or do I mean beyond despair?

Posted on Dec 26, 2016 READ MORE



Was 11/8 a New 9/11?

Forget Vladimir Putin and his rickety petro-state. The most dangerous nation on the planet now may be ours: belligerent, irrational, heavily armed and in possession of staggering powers to intervene, interfere, and repress.

Posted on Dec 2, 2016 READ MORE



With President Trump, Is the American Experiment Over?

The empire of chaos has made the trip homeward. It’s now with us big time, all the time.

Posted on Nov 14, 2016 READ MORE



How the American Political System Changed and No One Noticed

Whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected president, one thing is obvious: The vast edifice that is the national security state, with its 17 intelligence agencies and enormous imperial military, will continue to elaborate itself and expand its power in our American world.

Posted on Nov 4, 2016 READ MORE



The Age of Decline, Apple Pie and America’s Chosen Suicide Bomber

Thanks to perhaps trillions of words expended on him by nonstop commentators, pundits, talking heads, retired generals and admirals, former intelligence chiefs and ex-Bush administration officials, Donald Trump and his remarkable ego have become the wallpaper of our lives.

Posted on Oct 8, 2016 READ MORE



War, Peace and Absurdity

Nukes, bombs and a well-oiled machinery of privatized war—here are a few recent examples from the world of American-style war and peace that make me want to shout, “You must be kidding!”

Posted on Sep 24, 2016 READ MORE



A 9/11 Retrospective: Washington’s 15-Year Air War

Al-Qaida’s U.S. attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were barbaric atrocities of the first order. Almost 15 years later, similar acts continue to be unleashed across the Greater Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

Posted on Sep 8, 2016 READ MORE



Election 2016: The Greatest Show on Earth

There’s no way to sort out the issues that face this country or its citizens as the personalities onstage grow ever larger and more bizarre.

Posted on Aug 10, 2016 READ MORE



For the U.S., There’s No Business Like the Arms Business

Why do major U.S. exports like Hollywood movies and Midwestern grain garner regular media coverage, while trends in weapons exports remain in relative obscurity?

Posted on Jul 30, 2016 READ MORE



Letting Tarzan Swing Through History

Tarzan’s remarkable foresight in vanquishing the Belgian evildoers before the worst of King Leopold II’s reign of terror opens the door for his future films, where our hero stops historical catastrophes in their early stages.

Posted on Jul 20, 2016 READ MORE



Where Did the American Century Go?

If huge swaths of the world have begun to disintegrate in an era when minority insurgencies and terror outfits are the worst opponents the U.S. faces, consider what chaos could come to regions where a potentially hostile power remains.

Posted on Jul 9, 2016 READ MORE



Class of 2016, Tell Us Who We Are

Graduates, we need you to take these last four hard years and everything you know, including what you weren’t taught in any classroom, and tell those of us in desperate need of fresh eyes just how our world should be described.

Posted on Jun 6, 2016 READ MORE



American Power Under Challenge: Masters of Mankind (Part 1)

We cannot gain a realistic understanding of who rules the world while ignoring the “masters of mankind,” as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires and the like.

Posted on May 11, 2016 READ MORE



Donald Trump Is a Sign of American Decline (but Not in the Way You Think)

Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate to run openly and without apology on a platform of American decline.

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 READ MORE



Donald Trump and the New ‘News’ Zone

This presidential season’s relentless flood of “news” about Trump may actually be the opposite of news. Believe it or not, there is still a world out there filled with problems we know so much less about than we should because we’re all immersed in the same Trump soup.

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 READ MORE



Entering Uncharted Territory in Washington

The new American system that’s been emerging from its chrysalis in recent years already had demagogic, authoritarian and autocratic tendencies. So don’t blame it all on Donald Trump.

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 READ MORE



Trump’s Storm Troopers and the Possibility of American Fascism

If indeed Trump is a mere “proto-fascist,” then what ingredients, if any, are still needed for the emergence of an authentic 21st century American fascist movement?

Posted on Mar 16, 2016 READ MORE



Been There, Done That: The American Way of War as a Do-Over

Yearly do-overs are a hell of a way to run a war, but they’re a great mechanism for ensuring that no one will need to take responsibility for a disaster of 14 years and counting.

Posted on Mar 12, 2016 READ MORE



War, What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing.

You could think of American war in the 21st century as an ongoing experiment in proving just that point.

Posted on Feb 26, 2016 READ MORE



‘The Finest Fighting Force in the History of the World’

Here’s my 21st century rule of thumb about this country: If you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so.

Posted on Feb 10, 2016 READ MORE



Failed States and States of Failure

Here, amid Washington’s remarkably unwinnable wars, interventions, and conflicts, is a range of tomorrow’s headlines that could be written today and stand a painfully reasonable chance of coming true.

Posted on Jan 25, 2016 READ MORE



You Won’t Like It, but Here’s the Answer on Islamic State

Some advice for your presidential candidate of choice—whoever he or she might be. Just don’t expect it to necessarily be an easy sell to all Americans.

Posted on Jan 20, 2016 READ MORE



Why Islamic State Is the Minor Leagues of Terror

As 2016 begins, terror remains the 800-pound gorilla (in reality, a marmoset) in the American room and just about the only national security issue that truly matters. So why shouldn’t I join the crowd? First, let’s put Islamic State in perspective.

Posted on Jan 6, 2016 READ MORE



Winners and Losers in Our New Media Moment

Remarkably often these days, the “news” is a single hyped-up story reported frenetically and yet formulaically, often in near-apocalyptic fashion.

Posted on Dec 16, 2015 READ MORE



Emperor Weather

If he comes to power, history will end in some sense. There will be no hope of democracy because he won’t care a whit about what we think, say or do, nor of revolt—because you can’t revolt against physics.

Posted on Dec 7, 2015 READ MORE



The National Security State’s Incestuous Relationship With Islamic State

Paris changed everything; Paris changes nothing. Each view is, in its own way, undoubtedly true. And here’s a third sentence I know to be true: This can’t end well.

Posted on Nov 19, 2015 READ MORE



14 Years After 9/11: An Improbable World

Fourteen years of wars, interventions, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, black sites, the growth of the American national security state to monumental proportions and the spread of Islamic extremism across much of the greater Middle East and Africa.

Posted on Nov 16, 2015 READ MORE



American War in the 21st Century: A Scam, a Swindle and a Fraud

In the post-9/11 years, “reconstruction” and “war” have really been euphemisms for what, in other countries, would be recognized as a massive system of corruption.

Posted on Nov 12, 2015 READ MORE



Kissinger, the Bombardier: How Diplomacy by Air Power Became an All-American Tradition

Henry Kissinger’s example has coursed through the decades, shedding a spectral light on the road that has brought us to a state of eternal war.

Posted on Nov 9, 2015 READ MORE



The Demobilization of the American People and the Spectacle of Election 2016

At the center of the 2016 election is Donald Trump. For a historical equivalent, you would have to imagine P.T. Barnum running for president. And strangely enough, it all started with 9/11.

Posted on Oct 29, 2015 READ MORE



What If They Gave a War and Everyone Came?

What if the U.S. had not invaded Iraq in 2003? How would things be different in the Middle East today? Let’s take a big-picture tour of the Middle East and try to answer those questions.

Posted on Oct 24, 2015 READ MORE



Creating an Un-Intelligence Machine

Reports that U.S. Central Command employs some 1,500 analysts indicate that the military has been ramping up its own labyrinthine set of intelligence structures that are drowning in “information.”

Posted on Oct 15, 2015 READ MORE



It’s Safe to Be Paranoid in the U.S.

If you look at the country that its top politicians hardly mention without defensively wielding the words “exceptional” or “indispensable,” the exceptional thing is this: As a great power, the United States still stands alone on planet earth, and Americans can exhibit all the paranoia they want in remarkable safety and security.

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 READ MORE



Where Did the Anti-War Movement Go?

Without an anti-war movement, the spectacle of mayhem and slaughter that has been at the heart of the Iraq War has passed largely unnoticed in the U.S. In an era in which successes have been in short supply for two administrations, consider this a major one.

Posted on Aug 13, 2015 READ MORE



Entering the Nuclear Age, Body by Body

In an excerpt from her new book, “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,” Susan Southard takes us directly beneath the mushroom cloud over Nagaskai with five teenage survivors, through the very first moments of what has become an unending nuclear age.

Posted on Aug 6, 2015 READ MORE



A Message in a Bottle From My Mother: Requiem for the Home Front

In these decades, when we’ve gone from an American version of people’s war and national mobilization to peopleless wars and a demobilized populace, war has remained a constant, but we have not. Given that, I want to offer one small cheer, however belatedly, for my mother the caricaturist.

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 READ MORE



The Superpower Conundrum: The Rise and Fall of Just About Everything

The greatest power in history can’t build a single mile of high-speed rail? And its Congress is mired in an argument about whether funds can even be raised to keep its highways more or less pothole-free?

Posted on Jul 2, 2015 READ MORE



Our Jihadis and Theirs

National security officials and politicians have been pounding home the message that the “greatest threat” to Americans is a jihadist movement thousands of miles away. With that in mind, let’s take a quick survey of national insecurity in a country armed to the teeth.

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 READ MORE



Writing History Before It Happens

With an emphasis on the U.S. national security state and its follies, here are my top nine American repeat headlines, each a surefire news story guaranteed to appear sometime, possibly many times, between June 2015 and the unknown future.

Posted on May 20, 2015 READ MORE



A Letter of Apology to My Grandson

When I stumbled into the future in all its grim horror, I felt an urge that seemed uncomplicated: not to hand your mother and uncle a degraded country, planet, new century without lifting a finger in opposition, without at least trying. I felt the need to mobilize myself in a new way for the future I’d seen.

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 READ MORE



Transition From Fossil Fuel to Green Energy Is Gaining Traction

Four key trends could speed the transition to renewables: the world’s growing determination to put a brake on climate change; a sea change in China’s stance on growth and the environment; the increasing embrace of green energy in the developing world; and the growing affordability of renewable energy.

Posted on Apr 16, 2015 READ MORE



The New American Order

Political campaigns and elections; the privatization of Washington; the de-legitimization of traditional governance; the national security state as an untouchable fourth branch of government; the demobilization of “we the people.” These are five areas in which the outlines of the new U.S. order are emerging.

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 READ MORE



Ten Commandments for a Better American World

My suspicion is that what’s right and moral is also what’s practical and realistic. In that light, let me offer Ten Commandments for a better world in general.

Posted on Mar 2, 2015 READ MORE


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