Tagged: popular

0

Talks with North Korea won't stop annual US-South Korea military exercises

In a turnaround, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said to President Donald Trump that the rogue nation will not carry out nuclear and missile tests during the two months that the U.S. and South Korea will conduct their annual large-scale military exercises on the Korean peninsula. In the past, the exercises have often drawn North Korea’s ire and prompted provocative North Korean missile and nuclear tests.

South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House Thursday night that the president had accepted to meet with Kim Jong Un by May. Chung also briefed Trump that in his meeting this weekend with Kim, the North Korean leader “pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”

And he added that Kim “understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue.”

The U.S. and South Korea postponed this year’s annual “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” exercises until after the Winter Olympics[1] and Paralympic Games[2] being held in South Korea. The exercises typically involve additional air, sea and ground forces beyond the 28,500 American troops[3] regularly deployed to South Korea.

“The focus during this time is the security and success of the Olympics,” said Lt. Colonel Christopher Logan, a Defense Department spokesman. “We will release additional information about future exercises after the Olympics.”

The Paralympic Games end on March 18, but the Pentagon[4] has not officially announced a start date for both exercises that are typically held every March and April.

According to a U.S. official, though, the Foal Eagle exercise will begin on March 31 and last for two months. The Key Resolve exercise will begin in mid-April and extend through the first week in May, the official said.

During Foal Eagle, large numbers of U.S. and South Korean military personnel carry out realistic training scenarios throughout South Korea. But Key Resolve involves only headquarters units reacting to computer simulations.

North Korea has often condemned the Foal Eagle exercise and used it as an excuse for its provocative missile and nuclear tests.

“North Korea objects to Foal Eagle because it involves U.S. troops coming to South Korea, and participating in realistic joint training, said Steve Ganyard, ABC News contributor. “It directly counteracts North Korean propaganda and points out the strength of the U.S. and South Korean military alliance.”

But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un[5] may have softened that stance with his recent overture for denuclearization talks with the United States.

South Korean officials who met with Kim this past weekend said he told them he understood why South Korea holds the exercises and said they would be hard to cancel anyway.

“If Kim sticks to his playbook, ceasing field exercises like Foal Eagle will be among the first North Korean demands,” said Ganyard. “He sees it as a way to weaken the South’s military defense and thereby divide the alliance.”

Ganyard said the first test of the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance will be if Kim’s demand gains popular support in South Korea while the U.S. would probably want to see North Korea make concrete proposals, particularly about doing away with its nuclear weapons program[6].

Traveling in Ethiopia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson[7] tempered expectations about North Korea’s offer of talks with the United States, noting it’s still too soon to tell if they are possible.

Prior to Chung’s dramatic announcement at the White House, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had tempered expectations about possible talks with North Korea.

While he acknowledged discussions about talks are “potentially positive signs,” Tillerson cautioned, “we’re a long way from negotiations.”

“We just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it,” said Tillerson. “I think the first step, and I’ve said this before is to have talks, to have some kind of talks about talks because I don’t know yet until we are able to meet ourselves face to face with representatives of North Korea whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations.”

Senior Korean officials arrived in Washington on Thursday to brief top U.S. officials with the specifics of Kim’s proposals for possible talks.

References

  1. ^ Winter Olympics (abcnews.go.com)
  2. ^ Paralympic Games (abcnews.go.com)
  3. ^ American troops (abcnews.go.com)
  4. ^ the Pentagon (abcnews.go.com)
  5. ^ Kim Jong Un (abcnews.go.com)
  6. ^ weapons program (abcnews.go.com)
  7. ^ Rex Tillerson (abcnews.go.com)
0

Talks with North Korea won't stop annual US-South Korea military exercises

In a turnaround, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said to President Donald Trump that the rogue nation will not carry out nuclear and missile tests during the two months that the U.S. and South Korea will conduct their annual large-scale military exercises on the Korean peninsula. In the past, the exercises have often drawn North Korea’s ire and prompted provocative North Korean missile and nuclear tests.

South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House Thursday night that the president had accepted to meet with Kim Jong Un by May. Chung also briefed Trump that in his meeting this weekend with Kim, the North Korean leader “pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”

And he added that Kim “understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue.”

The U.S. and South Korea postponed this year’s annual “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” exercises until after the Winter Olympics[1] and Paralympic Games[2] being held in South Korea. The exercises typically involve additional air, sea and ground forces beyond the 28,500 American troops[3] regularly deployed to South Korea.

“The focus during this time is the security and success of the Olympics,” said Lt. Colonel Christopher Logan, a Defense Department spokesman. “We will release additional information about future exercises after the Olympics.”

The Paralympic Games end on March 18, but the Pentagon[4] has not officially announced a start date for both exercises that are typically held every March and April.

According to a U.S. official, though, the Foal Eagle exercise will begin on March 31 and last for two months. The Key Resolve exercise will begin in mid-April and extend through the first week in May, the official said.

During Foal Eagle, large numbers of U.S. and South Korean military personnel carry out realistic training scenarios throughout South Korea. But Key Resolve involves only headquarters units reacting to computer simulations.

North Korea has often condemned the Foal Eagle exercise and used it as an excuse for its provocative missile and nuclear tests.

“North Korea objects to Foal Eagle because it involves U.S. troops coming to South Korea, and participating in realistic joint training, said Steve Ganyard, ABC News contributor. “It directly counteracts North Korean propaganda and points out the strength of the U.S. and South Korean military alliance.”

But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un[5] may have softened that stance with his recent overture for denuclearization talks with the United States.

South Korean officials who met with Kim this past weekend said he told them he understood why South Korea holds the exercises and said they would be hard to cancel anyway.

“If Kim sticks to his playbook, ceasing field exercises like Foal Eagle will be among the first North Korean demands,” said Ganyard. “He sees it as a way to weaken the South’s military defense and thereby divide the alliance.”

Ganyard said the first test of the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance will be if Kim’s demand gains popular support in South Korea while the U.S. would probably want to see North Korea make concrete proposals, particularly about doing away with its nuclear weapons program[6].

Traveling in Ethiopia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson[7] tempered expectations about North Korea’s offer of talks with the United States, noting it’s still too soon to tell if they are possible.

Prior to Chung’s dramatic announcement at the White House, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had tempered expectations about possible talks with North Korea.

While he acknowledged discussions about talks are “potentially positive signs,” Tillerson cautioned, “we’re a long way from negotiations.”

“We just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it,” said Tillerson. “I think the first step, and I’ve said this before is to have talks, to have some kind of talks about talks because I don’t know yet until we are able to meet ourselves face to face with representatives of North Korea whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations.”

Senior Korean officials arrived in Washington on Thursday to brief top U.S. officials with the specifics of Kim’s proposals for possible talks.

References

  1. ^ Winter Olympics (abcnews.go.com)
  2. ^ Paralympic Games (abcnews.go.com)
  3. ^ American troops (abcnews.go.com)
  4. ^ the Pentagon (abcnews.go.com)
  5. ^ Kim Jong Un (abcnews.go.com)
  6. ^ weapons program (abcnews.go.com)
  7. ^ Rex Tillerson (abcnews.go.com)
0

Talks with North Korea won't stop annual US-South Korea military exercises

In a turnaround, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said to President Donald Trump that the rogue nation will not carry out nuclear and missile tests during the two months that the U.S. and South Korea will conduct their annual large-scale military exercises on the Korean peninsula. In the past, the exercises have often drawn North Korea’s ire and prompted provocative North Korean missile and nuclear tests.

South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House Thursday night that the president had accepted to meet with Kim Jong Un by May. Chung also briefed Trump that in his meeting this weekend with Kim, the North Korean leader “pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”

And he added that Kim “understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue.”

The U.S. and South Korea postponed this year’s annual “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” exercises until after the Winter Olympics[1] and Paralympic Games[2] being held in South Korea. The exercises typically involve additional air, sea and ground forces beyond the 28,500 American troops[3] regularly deployed to South Korea.

“The focus during this time is the security and success of the Olympics,” said Lt. Colonel Christopher Logan, a Defense Department spokesman. “We will release additional information about future exercises after the Olympics.”

The Paralympic Games end on March 18, but the Pentagon[4] has not officially announced a start date for both exercises that are typically held every March and April.

According to a U.S. official, though, the Foal Eagle exercise will begin on March 31 and last for two months. The Key Resolve exercise will begin in mid-April and extend through the first week in May, the official said.

During Foal Eagle, large numbers of U.S. and South Korean military personnel carry out realistic training scenarios throughout South Korea. But Key Resolve involves only headquarters units reacting to computer simulations.

North Korea has often condemned the Foal Eagle exercise and used it as an excuse for its provocative missile and nuclear tests.

“North Korea objects to Foal Eagle because it involves U.S. troops coming to South Korea, and participating in realistic joint training, said Steve Ganyard, ABC News contributor. “It directly counteracts North Korean propaganda and points out the strength of the U.S. and South Korean military alliance.”

But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un[5] may have softened that stance with his recent overture for denuclearization talks with the United States.

South Korean officials who met with Kim this past weekend said he told them he understood why South Korea holds the exercises and said they would be hard to cancel anyway.

“If Kim sticks to his playbook, ceasing field exercises like Foal Eagle will be among the first North Korean demands,” said Ganyard. “He sees it as a way to weaken the South’s military defense and thereby divide the alliance.”

Ganyard said the first test of the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance will be if Kim’s demand gains popular support in South Korea while the U.S. would probably want to see North Korea make concrete proposals, particularly about doing away with its nuclear weapons program[6].

Traveling in Ethiopia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson[7] tempered expectations about North Korea’s offer of talks with the United States, noting it’s still too soon to tell if they are possible.

Prior to Chung’s dramatic announcement at the White House, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had tempered expectations about possible talks with North Korea.

While he acknowledged discussions about talks are “potentially positive signs,” Tillerson cautioned, “we’re a long way from negotiations.”

“We just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it,” said Tillerson. “I think the first step, and I’ve said this before is to have talks, to have some kind of talks about talks because I don’t know yet until we are able to meet ourselves face to face with representatives of North Korea whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations.”

Senior Korean officials arrived in Washington on Thursday to brief top U.S. officials with the specifics of Kim’s proposals for possible talks.

References

  1. ^ Winter Olympics (abcnews.go.com)
  2. ^ Paralympic Games (abcnews.go.com)
  3. ^ American troops (abcnews.go.com)
  4. ^ the Pentagon (abcnews.go.com)
  5. ^ Kim Jong Un (abcnews.go.com)
  6. ^ weapons program (abcnews.go.com)
  7. ^ Rex Tillerson (abcnews.go.com)
0

Talk of military intervention in Venezuela is absurd

In early February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a Latin America tour aimed at[1] promoting “democratic security”. But just before he set off on his trip, he speculated[2] on the possibility of a military coup in Venezuela. 

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” he said at an event at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tillerson’s comments came six months after US President Donald Trump threatened[3] military action in Venezuela. 

The Trump administration’s warmongering and threats have been accompanied by sustained bias in media reporting on the Venezuelan crisis[4]. While there have been deep prejudice and selective reporting on other countries that have been designated as official US enemies (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia), exaggeration, monolithic and hegemonic narratives and an indifference to complexity, nuance or opposing views in the reporting on Venezuela in prestigious publications have seen new heights. 

Project Syndicate, for example, recently published a typical example of this overwhelming bias. In the article titled “D-Day Venezuela”, the country’s former planning minister, Ricardo Hausmann, called on Latin American countries to intervene militarily in Venezuela.[5]

Even the casual observer of Latin American[6] affairs would know how absurd this idea is and not surprisingly, it met shock and indignation throughout the region.

Why military intervention is a horrible idea

National sovereignty is a sacrosanct political value in Latin America, for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the history of foreign intervention in the region. 

{articleGUID}

Not only is advocating for military intervention morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal; the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the unilateral use of force that threatens the independence of any state. Undoubtedly, the price of military intervention would be a high death toll, both among civilians and soldiers. Hausmann might see interventions such as the US one in Panama in 1989 as “successful”, but the relatives of the hundreds of Panama citizens who died that winter and the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed, might think otherwise.[7]

Hausmann and others like him are making the case for military intervention on exaggerated portrayals of reality. Undeniably, there is hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages that are creating significant hardship for many Venezuelans, but Hausmann’s comparison of Venezuela’s current situation to that of Ukraine’s Great Famine of the 1930s in which millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviet government, is seriously off-base.

Hausmann uses these and other hyperbolic misrepresentations (like his comparison of Venezuela to Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to persuade readers that Venezuela needs a military intervention.

Hausmann also cites a New York Times article[8] and a similar Wall Street Journal piece[9] which use pictures of emaciated babies, combined with true reports of food shortages, to create the impression that there is a widespread famine. However, a careful reading of both articles uncovers that some of the victims are actually babies who cannot breastfeed, and therefore are reliant on infant formula for which there is a major shortage in the country. 

No doubt, this is a terrible tragedy, and the government should be denounced for allowing poor children (and adults) to die from lack of access to nutrition sources and medicine. Yet, what is happening in Venezuela isn’t comparable to the famine in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has cut off food supplies to “starve Yemen into submission,” as the New York Times editorial board recently wrote[10]. 

Note that the causes of the economic crisis are complex and while the Chavista government is very much responsible for it, this is hardly a new problem or simply associated to the heterodox policies, as Hausmann had alleged previously.[11]

Hausmann’s portrayal of Venezuela is an illustration of how influential people are pouring fuel into an already-raging fire, even though their historical analyses of Venezuela have been completely off-point. When Hugo Chavez won a referendum on whether or not he was to be dismissed in 2004, the opposition refused to accept his victory and Hausmann challenged the results in a co-authored econometric analysis.[12]

However, the referendum was held according to one of the most[13] reliable voting systems in the world and certified by Organization of the American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) observation teams. Hausmann challenged the results by using unreliable US polling data from Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB), which claimed Chavez actually lost by a margin of 59 to 41 rather than won by a margin of 59 to 41 and its pre-referendum polls differed majorly from the majority of other polls.[14][15]

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debunked[16] Hausmann’s claims, as did a panel of US statisticians who conducted an investigation for the CC and who found no evidence of fraud.[17]

This example is still crucially relevant today. The opposition went on to boycott the 2005 National Assembly elections, citing Hausmann’s paper as evidence that the referendum had been “stolen”.

Hausmann has continued this strategy, alleging in his Project Syndicate article that Venezuela is a “military dictatorship” and that the government “has stolen three elections in 2017 alone”.

In the October regional elections, there were indeed violations in one province[18], and despite allegations of rigging, the opposition failed to submit[19] any evidence of it. The opposition boycotted the July vote for National Constituent Assembly and part of it decided not to run in the December mayoral elections. It is impossible to know the extent of any possible tampering, as no opposition representatives[20] were present to audit the process, as in previous elections.

Who fears a peaceful solution?

Now more than ever, such domineering and flimsy analyses are dangerous as it can derail a possible peaceful solution in Venezuela. There is a possibility that ongoing negotiations will result in presidential elections acceptable to both sides.

Maduro is not popular and Venezuela remains a deeply polarised country. Yet, as economist Francisco Rodriguez, one of the world’s leading experts on Venezuela’s economy, noted recently, the governing coalition has still been able to mobilise nearly one-third of the country’s adult population to support its candidates and win.[21]

While there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

 

In other words, in spite of inflation of more than 1,000 percent in 2017, medicine and food shortages, and the country’s worst depression in history, Venezuelans still voted for the current government. This is because they fear that the opposition, whose most prominent leaders pulled off a short-lived military coup in 2002 and immediately resorted to violence, might be worse. The Chavistas also fear political persecution if the opposition were to take power.

It is important to note that despite Hausmann’s constant challenges to Venezuela’s election processes, he, along with Trump[22] and US Senator Marco Rubio (another staunch supporter of an anti-Maduro coup) fears that a democratically-driven negotiated settlement could actually work. And if such is indeed concluded, the fallacy of their warmongering would be exposed.

Currently, there is more talk and more pressure for the US to impose further sanctions on Venezuela. 

But the current US financial embargo is already causing great economic hardship and human suffering. The government cannot restructure or even roll over its debt so it has been forced to cut imports drastically. This is worsening the shortages of medicine and food, as well as deepening the economic depression.[23]

But while there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

This is what happens when one group of people achieves such unprecedented hegemony in the representation of a country and their narrative is unchallenged in mainstream media.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

References

  1. ^ aimed at (py.usembassy.gov)
  2. ^ speculated (thehill.com)
  3. ^ threatened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ Venezuelan crisis (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ typical example (www.project-syndicate.org)
  6. ^ Latin American (www.aljazeera.com)
  7. ^ Charter of the United Nations (www.un.org)
  8. ^ article (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ piece (www.wsj.com)
  10. ^ wrote (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ had alleged (nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com)
  12. ^ a co-authored econometric analysis (ksghome.harvard.edu)
  13. ^ most (www.smartmatic.com)
  14. ^ certified (www.cartercenter.org)
  15. ^ unreliable US polling data (web.archive.org)
  16. ^ debunked (cepr.net)
  17. ^ who found no evidence of fraud (www.cartercenter.org)
  18. ^ one province (www.foxnews.com)
  19. ^ failed to submit (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ as no opposition representatives (www.smartmatic.com)
  21. ^ noted (foreignpolicy.com)
  22. ^ Trump (www.aljazeera.com)
  23. ^ cannot restructure (www.aljazeera.com)
0

Talk of military intervention in Venezuela is absurd

In early February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a Latin America tour aimed at[1] promoting “democratic security”. But just before he set off on his trip, he speculated[2] on the possibility of a military coup in Venezuela. 

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” he said at an event at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tillerson’s comments came six months after US President Donald Trump threatened[3] military action in Venezuela. 

The Trump administration’s warmongering and threats have been accompanied by sustained bias in media reporting on the Venezuelan crisis[4]. While there have been deep prejudice and selective reporting on other countries that have been designated as official US enemies (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia), exaggeration, monolithic and hegemonic narratives and an indifference to complexity, nuance or opposing views in the reporting on Venezuela in prestigious publications have seen new heights. 

Project Syndicate, for example, recently published a typical example of this overwhelming bias. In the article titled “D-Day Venezuela”, the country’s former planning minister, Ricardo Hausmann, called on Latin American countries to intervene militarily in Venezuela.[5]

Even the casual observer of Latin American[6] affairs would know how absurd this idea is and not surprisingly, it met shock and indignation throughout the region.

Why military intervention is a horrible idea

National sovereignty is a sacrosanct political value in Latin America, for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the history of foreign intervention in the region. 

{articleGUID}

Not only is advocating for military intervention morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal; the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the unilateral use of force that threatens the independence of any state. Undoubtedly, the price of military intervention would be a high death toll, both among civilians and soldiers. Hausmann might see interventions such as the US one in Panama in 1989 as “successful”, but the relatives of the hundreds of Panama citizens who died that winter and the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed, might think otherwise.[7]

Hausmann and others like him are making the case for military intervention on exaggerated portrayals of reality. Undeniably, there is hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages that are creating significant hardship for many Venezuelans, but Hausmann’s comparison of Venezuela’s current situation to that of Ukraine’s Great Famine of the 1930s in which millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviet government, is seriously off-base.

Hausmann uses these and other hyperbolic misrepresentations (like his comparison of Venezuela to Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to persuade readers that Venezuela needs a military intervention.

Hausmann also cites a New York Times article[8] and a similar Wall Street Journal piece[9] which use pictures of emaciated babies, combined with true reports of food shortages, to create the impression that there is a widespread famine. However, a careful reading of both articles uncovers that some of the victims are actually babies who cannot breastfeed, and therefore are reliant on infant formula for which there is a major shortage in the country. 

No doubt, this is a terrible tragedy, and the government should be denounced for allowing poor children (and adults) to die from lack of access to nutrition sources and medicine. Yet, what is happening in Venezuela isn’t comparable to the famine in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has cut off food supplies to “starve Yemen into submission,” as the New York Times editorial board recently wrote[10]. 

Note that the causes of the economic crisis are complex and while the Chavista government is very much responsible for it, this is hardly a new problem or simply associated to the heterodox policies, as Hausmann had alleged previously.[11]

Hausmann’s portrayal of Venezuela is an illustration of how influential people are pouring fuel into an already-raging fire, even though their historical analyses of Venezuela have been completely off-point. When Hugo Chavez won a referendum on whether or not he was to be dismissed in 2004, the opposition refused to accept his victory and Hausmann challenged the results in a co-authored econometric analysis.[12]

However, the referendum was held according to one of the most[13] reliable voting systems in the world and certified by Organization of the American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) observation teams. Hausmann challenged the results by using unreliable US polling data from Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB), which claimed Chavez actually lost by a margin of 59 to 41 rather than won by a margin of 59 to 41 and its pre-referendum polls differed majorly from the majority of other polls.[14][15]

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debunked[16] Hausmann’s claims, as did a panel of US statisticians who conducted an investigation for the CC and who found no evidence of fraud.[17]

This example is still crucially relevant today. The opposition went on to boycott the 2005 National Assembly elections, citing Hausmann’s paper as evidence that the referendum had been “stolen”.

Hausmann has continued this strategy, alleging in his Project Syndicate article that Venezuela is a “military dictatorship” and that the government “has stolen three elections in 2017 alone”.

In the October regional elections, there were indeed violations in one province[18], and despite allegations of rigging, the opposition failed to submit[19] any evidence of it. The opposition boycotted the July vote for National Constituent Assembly and part of it decided not to run in the December mayoral elections. It is impossible to know the extent of any possible tampering, as no opposition representatives[20] were present to audit the process, as in previous elections.

Who fears a peaceful solution?

Now more than ever, such domineering and flimsy analyses are dangerous as it can derail a possible peaceful solution in Venezuela. There is a possibility that ongoing negotiations will result in presidential elections acceptable to both sides.

Maduro is not popular and Venezuela remains a deeply polarised country. Yet, as economist Francisco Rodriguez, one of the world’s leading experts on Venezuela’s economy, noted recently, the governing coalition has still been able to mobilise nearly one-third of the country’s adult population to support its candidates and win.[21]

While there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

 

In other words, in spite of inflation of more than 1,000 percent in 2017, medicine and food shortages, and the country’s worst depression in history, Venezuelans still voted for the current government. This is because they fear that the opposition, whose most prominent leaders pulled off a short-lived military coup in 2002 and immediately resorted to violence, might be worse. The Chavistas also fear political persecution if the opposition were to take power.

It is important to note that despite Hausmann’s constant challenges to Venezuela’s election processes, he, along with Trump[22] and US Senator Marco Rubio (another staunch supporter of an anti-Maduro coup) fears that a democratically-driven negotiated settlement could actually work. And if such is indeed concluded, the fallacy of their warmongering would be exposed.

Currently, there is more talk and more pressure for the US to impose further sanctions on Venezuela. 

But the current US financial embargo is already causing great economic hardship and human suffering. The government cannot restructure or even roll over its debt so it has been forced to cut imports drastically. This is worsening the shortages of medicine and food, as well as deepening the economic depression.[23]

But while there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

This is what happens when one group of people achieves such unprecedented hegemony in the representation of a country and their narrative is unchallenged in mainstream media.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

References

  1. ^ aimed at (py.usembassy.gov)
  2. ^ speculated (thehill.com)
  3. ^ threatened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ Venezuelan crisis (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ typical example (www.project-syndicate.org)
  6. ^ Latin American (www.aljazeera.com)
  7. ^ Charter of the United Nations (www.un.org)
  8. ^ article (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ piece (www.wsj.com)
  10. ^ wrote (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ had alleged (nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com)
  12. ^ a co-authored econometric analysis (ksghome.harvard.edu)
  13. ^ most (www.smartmatic.com)
  14. ^ certified (www.cartercenter.org)
  15. ^ unreliable US polling data (web.archive.org)
  16. ^ debunked (cepr.net)
  17. ^ who found no evidence of fraud (www.cartercenter.org)
  18. ^ one province (www.foxnews.com)
  19. ^ failed to submit (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ as no opposition representatives (www.smartmatic.com)
  21. ^ noted (foreignpolicy.com)
  22. ^ Trump (www.aljazeera.com)
  23. ^ cannot restructure (www.aljazeera.com)
0

Talk of military intervention in Venezuela is absurd

In early February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a Latin America tour aimed at[1] promoting “democratic security”. But just before he set off on his trip, he speculated[2] on the possibility of a military coup in Venezuela. 

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” he said at an event at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tillerson’s comments came six months after US President Donald Trump threatened[3] military action in Venezuela. 

The Trump administration’s warmongering and threats have been accompanied by sustained bias in media reporting on the Venezuelan crisis[4]. While there have been deep prejudice and selective reporting on other countries that have been designated as official US enemies (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia), exaggeration, monolithic and hegemonic narratives and an indifference to complexity, nuance or opposing views in the reporting on Venezuela in prestigious publications have seen new heights. 

Project Syndicate, for example, recently published a typical example of this overwhelming bias. In the article titled “D-Day Venezuela”, the country’s former planning minister, Ricardo Hausmann, called on Latin American countries to intervene militarily in Venezuela.[5]

Even the casual observer of Latin American[6] affairs would know how absurd this idea is and not surprisingly, it met shock and indignation throughout the region.

Why military intervention is a horrible idea

National sovereignty is a sacrosanct political value in Latin America, for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the history of foreign intervention in the region. 

{articleGUID}

Not only is advocating for military intervention morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal; the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the unilateral use of force that threatens the independence of any state. Undoubtedly, the price of military intervention would be a high death toll, both among civilians and soldiers. Hausmann might see interventions such as the US one in Panama in 1989 as “successful”, but the relatives of the hundreds of Panama citizens who died that winter and the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed, might think otherwise.[7]

Hausmann and others like him are making the case for military intervention on exaggerated portrayals of reality. Undeniably, there is hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages that are creating significant hardship for many Venezuelans, but Hausmann’s comparison of Venezuela’s current situation to that of Ukraine’s Great Famine of the 1930s in which millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviet government, is seriously off-base.

Hausmann uses these and other hyperbolic misrepresentations (like his comparison of Venezuela to Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to persuade readers that Venezuela needs a military intervention.

Hausmann also cites a New York Times article[8] and a similar Wall Street Journal piece[9] which use pictures of emaciated babies, combined with true reports of food shortages, to create the impression that there is a widespread famine. However, a careful reading of both articles uncovers that some of the victims are actually babies who cannot breastfeed, and therefore are reliant on infant formula for which there is a major shortage in the country. 

No doubt, this is a terrible tragedy, and the government should be denounced for allowing poor children (and adults) to die from lack of access to nutrition sources and medicine. Yet, what is happening in Venezuela isn’t comparable to the famine in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has cut off food supplies to “starve Yemen into submission,” as the New York Times editorial board recently wrote[10]. 

Note that the causes of the economic crisis are complex and while the Chavista government is very much responsible for it, this is hardly a new problem or simply associated to the heterodox policies, as Hausmann had alleged previously.[11]

Hausmann’s portrayal of Venezuela is an illustration of how influential people are pouring fuel into an already-raging fire, even though their historical analyses of Venezuela have been completely off-point. When Hugo Chavez won a referendum on whether or not he was to be dismissed in 2004, the opposition refused to accept his victory and Hausmann challenged the results in a co-authored econometric analysis.[12]

However, the referendum was held according to one of the most[13] reliable voting systems in the world and certified by Organization of the American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) observation teams. Hausmann challenged the results by using unreliable US polling data from Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB), which claimed Chavez actually lost by a margin of 59 to 41 rather than won by a margin of 59 to 41 and its pre-referendum polls differed majorly from the majority of other polls.[14][15]

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debunked[16] Hausmann’s claims, as did a panel of US statisticians who conducted an investigation for the CC and who found no evidence of fraud.[17]

This example is still crucially relevant today. The opposition went on to boycott the 2005 National Assembly elections, citing Hausmann’s paper as evidence that the referendum had been “stolen”.

Hausmann has continued this strategy, alleging in his Project Syndicate article that Venezuela is a “military dictatorship” and that the government “has stolen three elections in 2017 alone”.

In the October regional elections, there were indeed violations in one province[18], and despite allegations of rigging, the opposition failed to submit[19] any evidence of it. The opposition boycotted the July vote for National Constituent Assembly and part of it decided not to run in the December mayoral elections. It is impossible to know the extent of any possible tampering, as no opposition representatives[20] were present to audit the process, as in previous elections.

Who fears a peaceful solution?

Now more than ever, such domineering and flimsy analyses are dangerous as it can derail a possible peaceful solution in Venezuela. There is a possibility that ongoing negotiations will result in presidential elections acceptable to both sides.

Maduro is not popular and Venezuela remains a deeply polarised country. Yet, as economist Francisco Rodriguez, one of the world’s leading experts on Venezuela’s economy, noted recently, the governing coalition has still been able to mobilise nearly one-third of the country’s adult population to support its candidates and win.[21]

While there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

 

In other words, in spite of inflation of more than 1,000 percent in 2017, medicine and food shortages, and the country’s worst depression in history, Venezuelans still voted for the current government. This is because they fear that the opposition, whose most prominent leaders pulled off a short-lived military coup in 2002 and immediately resorted to violence, might be worse. The Chavistas also fear political persecution if the opposition were to take power.

It is important to note that despite Hausmann’s constant challenges to Venezuela’s election processes, he, along with Trump[22] and US Senator Marco Rubio (another staunch supporter of an anti-Maduro coup) fears that a democratically-driven negotiated settlement could actually work. And if such is indeed concluded, the fallacy of their warmongering would be exposed.

Currently, there is more talk and more pressure for the US to impose further sanctions on Venezuela. 

But the current US financial embargo is already causing great economic hardship and human suffering. The government cannot restructure or even roll over its debt so it has been forced to cut imports drastically. This is worsening the shortages of medicine and food, as well as deepening the economic depression.[23]

But while there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

This is what happens when one group of people achieves such unprecedented hegemony in the representation of a country and their narrative is unchallenged in mainstream media.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

References

  1. ^ aimed at (py.usembassy.gov)
  2. ^ speculated (thehill.com)
  3. ^ threatened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ Venezuelan crisis (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ typical example (www.project-syndicate.org)
  6. ^ Latin American (www.aljazeera.com)
  7. ^ Charter of the United Nations (www.un.org)
  8. ^ article (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ piece (www.wsj.com)
  10. ^ wrote (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ had alleged (nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com)
  12. ^ a co-authored econometric analysis (ksghome.harvard.edu)
  13. ^ most (www.smartmatic.com)
  14. ^ certified (www.cartercenter.org)
  15. ^ unreliable US polling data (web.archive.org)
  16. ^ debunked (cepr.net)
  17. ^ who found no evidence of fraud (www.cartercenter.org)
  18. ^ one province (www.foxnews.com)
  19. ^ failed to submit (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ as no opposition representatives (www.smartmatic.com)
  21. ^ noted (foreignpolicy.com)
  22. ^ Trump (www.aljazeera.com)
  23. ^ cannot restructure (www.aljazeera.com)
0

Trump's military parade would turn US troops into toy soldiers


Troops march over the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., as they head towards the Pentagon during the National Victory Day Parade on Saturday, June 8, 1991. The celebration to honor Gulf War troops drew an estimated 800,000 spectators. The Lincoln Memorial is visible in background. (Doug Mills/AP)

When I was graduating from Army basic training, our unit was assigned to put on a program for the families of arriving recruits. It was a carefully choreographed spectacle to show them what their family members would learn in the coming weeks.

In one part of the performance, three newly minted soldiers proclaim why they decided to join the military. Some said they came from a family with a long military tradition. Others said they wanted to defend their country from those who would harm it. Others still said they just had a general love of their country and freedom. It was carefully rehearsed, with the three soldiers who spoke chosen by the drill sergeants.

But there was one condition: The speakers could not say that they enlisted for college money.

This strikes at the heart of a problem that President Trump’s parade[1] is a mere symptom of: We are not honest with ourselves about our military, and our blind worship of the institution is troubling.

This year the United States will spend $824.6 billion on defense. Meanwhile, social safety nets get gutted, schools go without heat, tens of thousands die from opioid overdoses, and infrastructure crumbles.

The military is rarely open to criticism. Any negative remark by a public figure must be prefaced with “but we are thankful for our brave soldiers, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.” The sentiment has become a mindless tic, a meaningless platitude that is nonetheless repeated.

No other institution earns such veneration. Sanitation workers, who have a dangerous job and play a larger role in the day-to-day comfort of U.S. citizens, are not thanked for their service. No one points them out to their child and says, “That is what a hero looks like.”

Worse, it seems that the people who are the most vocal in their support of the troops are the first ones to march along when the war drums get beaten. By the twisted logic of U.S. military worship, questioning a war is tantamount to betraying the troops. Antiwar protesters are shouted down, proven right and forgotten. Then the cycle repeats.

We are a nation that uses the threat of crippling university debt to persuade kids to risk their lives in pointless wars. This is difficult to accept. It is far easier to thank them for their service and say that the pain is for a worthy cause.

American rituals include buying a new yellow ribbon magnet for the SUV after the old one gets faded by years in the sun, standing for the national anthem, saying that we shouldn’t accept Syrian refugees while there are still homeless veterans, and then forgetting about the homeless veterans as soon as the refugees get turned away. These rituals help distract us not only from how callously we treat our own citizens, but how callously we treat the world as a whole.

In 1993, as the United States was considering whether to send troops to intervene in Bosnia, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell[2], then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to his memoir.

“What’s the point of this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” she pointedly said.

Powell was so disgusted that he had to leave the room, he recalled. He later said, “American GIs are not toy soldiers.”

That is what this parade will be. A shining display of America’s toy soldiers for the country and the world to see. They can all witness the United States proudly displaying its No. 1 priority: A killing machine more powerful than the world has ever known, and that keeps growing because it is never satisfied. A machine that is always looking for the next target.

Military parades are popular in tin-pot dictatorships for a reason. They hide a suffering populace behind rows of military vehicles and fighter jets screaming overheard — fighter jets whose hourly operating costs are enough to to feed, clothe and shelter a family of four for a year.

If the parade lasts an hour, at least two people will have died from opioid overdoses before it finishes.

Jason Berger served the Army in Iraq and was honorably discharged as an enlisted specialist. Twitter: @JasonBerger1 [3]

References

  1. ^ President Trump’s parade (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell (content.time.com)
  3. ^ @JasonBerger1  (twitter.com)
0

Trump's military parade would turn US troops into toy soldiers


Troops march over the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., as they head toward the Pentagon during the National Victory Day Parade on June 8, 1991. The celebration to honor Gulf War troops drew an estimated 800,000 spectators. (Doug Mills/AP)

When I was graduating from Army basic training, our unit was assigned to put on a program for the families of arriving recruits. It was a carefully choreographed spectacle to show them what their family members would learn in the coming weeks.

In one part of the performance, three newly minted soldiers proclaim why they decided to join the military. Some said they came from a family with a long military tradition. Others said they wanted to defend their country from those who would harm it. Others still said they just had a general love of their country and freedom. It was carefully rehearsed, with the three soldiers who spoke chosen by the drill sergeants.

But there was one condition: The speakers could not say that they enlisted for college money.

This strikes at the heart of a problem that President Trump’s parade[1] is a mere symptom of: We are not honest with ourselves about our military, and our blind worship of the institution is troubling.

This year the United States will spend $824.6 billion on defense. Meanwhile, social safety nets get gutted, schools go without heat, tens of thousands die from opioid overdoses and infrastructure crumbles.

The military is rarely open to criticism. Any negative remark by a public figure must be prefaced with “but we are thankful for our brave soldiers, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.” The sentiment has become a mindless tic, a meaningless platitude that is nonetheless repeated.

No other institution earns such veneration. Sanitation workers, who have a dangerous job and play a larger role in the day-to-day comfort of U.S. citizens, are not thanked for their service. No one points them out to their child and says, “That is what a hero looks like.”

Worse, it seems that the people who are the most vocal in their support of the troops are the first ones to march along when the war drums get beaten. By the twisted logic of U.S. military worship, questioning a war is tantamount to betraying the troops. Antiwar protesters are shouted down, proven right and forgotten.

Then the cycle repeats.

We are a nation that uses the threat of crippling university debt to persuade kids to risk their lives in pointless wars. This is difficult to accept. It is far easier to thank them for their service and say that the pain is for a worthy cause.

American rituals include buying a new yellow ribbon magnet for the SUV after the old one gets faded by years in the sun, standing for the national anthem, saying that we shouldn’t accept Syrian refugees while there are still homeless veterans, and then forgetting about the homeless veterans as soon as the refugees get turned away. These rituals help distract us not only from how callously we treat our own citizens, but also how callously we treat the world as a whole.

In 1993, as the United States was considering whether to send troops to intervene in Bosnia, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell[2], then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to his memoir.

“What’s the point of this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” she pointedly said.

Powell was so disgusted that he had to leave the room, he recalled. He later said, “American GIs are not toy soldiers.”

That is what this parade will be. A shining display of America’s toy soldiers for the country and the world to see. They can all witness the United States proudly displaying its No. 1 priority: a killing machine more powerful than the world has ever known and that keeps growing because it is never satisfied. A machine that is always looking for the next target.

Military parades are popular in tin-pot dictatorships for a reason. They hide a suffering populace behind rows of military vehicles and fighter jets screaming overheard — fighter jets whose hourly operating costs are enough to feed, clothe and shelter a family of four for a year.

If the parade lasts an hour, at least two people will have died of opioid overdoses before it finishes.

Jason Berger served the Army in Iraq and was honorably discharged as an enlisted specialist. Twitter: @JasonBerger1 [3]

References

  1. ^ President Trump’s parade (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell (content.time.com)
  3. ^ @JasonBerger1  (twitter.com)
0

Trump's military parade would turn US troops into toy soldiers


Troops march over the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., as they head toward the Pentagon during the National Victory Day Parade on June 8, 1991. The celebration to honor Gulf War troops drew an estimated 800,000 spectators. (Doug Mills/AP)

When I was graduating from Army basic training, our unit was assigned to put on a program for the families of arriving recruits. It was a carefully choreographed spectacle to show them what their family members would learn in the coming weeks.

In one part of the performance, three newly minted soldiers proclaim why they decided to join the military. Some said they came from a family with a long military tradition. Others said they wanted to defend their country from those who would harm it. Others still said they just had a general love of their country and freedom. It was carefully rehearsed, with the three soldiers who spoke chosen by the drill sergeants.

But there was one condition: The speakers could not say that they enlisted for college money.

This strikes at the heart of a problem that President Trump’s parade[1] is a mere symptom of: We are not honest with ourselves about our military, and our blind worship of the institution is troubling.

This year the United States will spend $824.6 billion on defense. Meanwhile, social safety nets get gutted, schools go without heat, tens of thousands die from opioid overdoses and infrastructure crumbles.

The military is rarely open to criticism. Any negative remark by a public figure must be prefaced with “but we are thankful for our brave soldiers, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.” The sentiment has become a mindless tic, a meaningless platitude that is nonetheless repeated.

No other institution earns such veneration. Sanitation workers, who have a dangerous job and play a larger role in the day-to-day comfort of U.S. citizens, are not thanked for their service. No one points them out to their child and says, “That is what a hero looks like.”

Worse, it seems that the people who are the most vocal in their support of the troops are the first ones to march along when the war drums get beaten. By the twisted logic of U.S. military worship, questioning a war is tantamount to betraying the troops. Antiwar protesters are shouted down, proven right and forgotten.

Then the cycle repeats.

We are a nation that uses the threat of crippling university debt to persuade kids to risk their lives in pointless wars. This is difficult to accept. It is far easier to thank them for their service and say that the pain is for a worthy cause.

American rituals include buying a new yellow ribbon magnet for the SUV after the old one gets faded by years in the sun, standing for the national anthem, saying that we shouldn’t accept Syrian refugees while there are still homeless veterans, and then forgetting about the homeless veterans as soon as the refugees get turned away. These rituals help distract us not only from how callously we treat our own citizens, but also how callously we treat the world as a whole.

In 1993, as the United States was considering whether to send troops to intervene in Bosnia, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell[2], then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to his memoir.

“What’s the point of this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” she pointedly said.

Powell was so disgusted that he had to leave the room, he recalled. He later said, “American GIs are not toy soldiers.”

That is what this parade will be. A shining display of America’s toy soldiers for the country and the world to see. They can all witness the United States proudly displaying its No. 1 priority: a killing machine more powerful than the world has ever known and that keeps growing because it is never satisfied. A machine that is always looking for the next target.

Military parades are popular in tin-pot dictatorships for a reason. They hide a suffering populace behind rows of military vehicles and fighter jets screaming overheard — fighter jets whose hourly operating costs are enough to feed, clothe and shelter a family of four for a year.

If the parade lasts an hour, at least two people will have died of opioid overdoses before it finishes.

Jason Berger served the Army in Iraq and was honorably discharged as an enlisted specialist. Twitter: @JasonBerger1 [3]

References

  1. ^ President Trump’s parade (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell (content.time.com)
  3. ^ @JasonBerger1  (twitter.com)
0

Trump's military parade would turn US troops into toy soldiers


Troops march over the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., as they head toward the Pentagon during the National Victory Day Parade on June 8, 1991. The celebration to honor Gulf War troops drew an estimated 800,000 spectators. (Doug Mills/AP)

When I was graduating from Army basic training, our unit was assigned to put on a program for the families of arriving recruits. It was a carefully choreographed spectacle to show them what their family members would learn in the coming weeks.

In one part of the performance, three newly minted soldiers proclaim why they decided to join the military. Some said they came from a family with a long military tradition. Others said they wanted to defend their country from those who would harm it. Others still said they just had a general love of their country and freedom. It was carefully rehearsed, with the three soldiers who spoke chosen by the drill sergeants.

But there was one condition: The speakers could not say that they enlisted for college money.

This strikes at the heart of a problem that President Trump’s parade[1] is a mere symptom of: We are not honest with ourselves about our military, and our blind worship of the institution is troubling.

This year the United States will spend $824.6 billion on defense. Meanwhile, social safety nets get gutted, schools go without heat, tens of thousands die from opioid overdoses and infrastructure crumbles.

The military is rarely open to criticism. Any negative remark by a public figure must be prefaced with “but we are thankful for our brave soldiers, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.” The sentiment has become a mindless tic, a meaningless platitude that is nonetheless repeated.

No other institution earns such veneration. Sanitation workers, who have a dangerous job and play a larger role in the day-to-day comfort of U.S. citizens, are not thanked for their service. No one points them out to their child and says, “That is what a hero looks like.”

Worse, it seems that the people who are the most vocal in their support of the troops are the first ones to march along when the war drums get beaten. By the twisted logic of U.S. military worship, questioning a war is tantamount to betraying the troops. Antiwar protesters are shouted down, proven right and forgotten.

Then the cycle repeats.

We are a nation that uses the threat of crippling university debt to persuade kids to risk their lives in pointless wars. This is difficult to accept. It is far easier to thank them for their service and say that the pain is for a worthy cause.

American rituals include buying a new yellow ribbon magnet for the SUV after the old one gets faded by years in the sun, standing for the national anthem, saying that we shouldn’t accept Syrian refugees while there are still homeless veterans, and then forgetting about the homeless veterans as soon as the refugees get turned away. These rituals help distract us not only from how callously we treat our own citizens, but also how callously we treat the world as a whole.

In 1993, as the United States was considering whether to send troops to intervene in Bosnia, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell[2], then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to his memoir.

“What’s the point of this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” she pointedly said.

Powell was so disgusted that he had to leave the room, he recalled. He later said, “American GIs are not toy soldiers.”

That is what this parade will be. A shining display of America’s toy soldiers for the country and the world to see. They can all witness the United States proudly displaying its No. 1 priority: a killing machine more powerful than the world has ever known and that keeps growing because it is never satisfied. A machine that is always looking for the next target.

Military parades are popular in tin-pot dictatorships for a reason. They hide a suffering populace behind rows of military vehicles and fighter jets screaming overheard — fighter jets whose hourly operating costs are enough to feed, clothe and shelter a family of four for a year.

If the parade lasts an hour, at least two people will have died of opioid overdoses before it finishes.

Jason Berger served the Army in Iraq and was honorably discharged as an enlisted specialist. Twitter: @JasonBerger1 [3]

References

  1. ^ President Trump’s parade (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Madeleine Albright asked a question of Army Gen. Colin Powell (content.time.com)
  3. ^ @JasonBerger1  (twitter.com)