Last week the president of the Philippines signaled his desire to separate from US foreign policy and seek a rapprochement with China. The US is prepared to occupy five military bases in the Philippines and a long-standing mutual defense treaty. What's next?
By Ron Paul
While the mainstream media continues its obsessive reporting on the mud-slinging campaign for the White House, a dramatic development in China last week brought President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” to a sudden halt. Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, while in Beijing, announced his country’s “separation” from the United States. He told his Chinese audience, “Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States … both in military, but also economics.’’
The State Department was stunned and asked for a clarification. The Philippines has been a virtual US protectorate since 1898, when it became US property after the Spanish-American war. Even after gaining independence after World War II it remained a close Cold War ally, hosting US military bases until 1992. Just this spring, as US tensions with China were heating up over a Chinese reclamation project in the South China Sea, the US signed a deal to open five military bases on Philippine territory. The deal was considered of major importance in an increasingly confrontational US approach to the region.
Suddenly it appeared the deal was off. Was the Philippines about to sever diplomatic relations with the United States?
Shortly after making the statement, the Philippine president walked back slightly from what appeared a break with the United States. He did not mean total separation, he said, but rather a desire to loosen his country from the firm grip of US foreign policy. But the point had been made. The Philippines was not happy in its current relationship with Washington.
President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” has turned out not to mean improved trade and diplomatic ties with the region, but an aggressive stance toward China over, among other issues, the South China Sea. The US has concluded military agreements with Vietnam and the Philippines, and maintains strong military ties with Japan and South Korea.
The Philippines has been used as a US cat’s paw in South China Sea dispute and Duterte’s surprise statement signaled that he felt the relationship was too one-sided.
But the tension has been rising and the mood souring for some time. The US State Department has been critical of President Duterte’s admittedly brutal crackdown on illegal drugs, which has cost perhaps 2,000 or more lives. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry conveyed the US government’s concerns. As elsewhere, such condemnation by the US likely seemed hypocritical to the Philippine president, as the US leads the world in prison population with a large percentage serving long terms for non-violent drug crimes.
Last week a large protest was held in front of the US embassy in Manila in support of the president’s move toward a foreign policy independent from Washington. Demonstrators burned American flags and demanded the departure of US troops from their country.
Will US-Philippine relations continue to spiral downward? Or will Washington begin to see that its aggressive foreign policy, in Asia and elsewhere, is beginning to alienate allies? Or perhaps the next US administration will decide that a CIA “regime change” is in order for the independent-minded Philippine president. A US pivot away from confrontation with China would go a long way toward repairing strained relations with the Philippines and beyond. Let’s hope that’s Washington’s next move.
By Chris Rossini
If there's one positive thing that has come from this year's presidential election, it's that the divide between government and American citizens has been drawn for all to see. There is clearly an "us," and a "them".
What a wonderful opportunity for the ideas of Liberty.
You see, the "us" are having a rude awakening. Beliefs about government are being shattered left and right. The Fed can no longer hide in the shadows. The Keynesians are running on fumes. The media has been exposed as an arm of the government. The Neocons are trying to re-brand themselves. And Wikileaks has shown that politicians are nothing more than snake oil salesmen with armies at their command. Politics has lost its noble smokescreen.
This is all for the good. Government and its propaganda arms work around the clock to pull the wool over Americans eyes. Those who advocate freedom and liberty are ostracized as "fringe" and "kooks".
Well, now the propagandists have their backs against the wall. When false beliefs are shattered, new ones are often sought.
What a great time to be a pro-liberty!
Much too often though, the libertarian is overly focused with making instant converts. If the person that they're speaking to doesn't see and accept the truth right away, the libertarian too often throws up his hands and says "What's the use?" He then may go so far as condemning all of humanity as a lost cause that will never change. Tyranny will always prevail.
But this knee-jerk reaction couldn't be further from the truth. Change is the very essence of life. Constant and never-ending change is an absolute that we cannot escape.
Despite government walls constantly closing in on us, humanity is not a lost cause. People do in fact reverse course. Granted, it usually happens when the pain is overwhelming, but it happens nevertheless.
We're all here, aren't we?
Every single form of government has been tried, many times over. There have been empires galore throughout human history. And guess what? They're all gone! Not a single one has lasted, save the American version for the time being.
So it is the Empire that really has no hope. Empires have a failure rate of a cool 100%. They're the ones who are fighting against all odds. They last for awhile, and then they're gone. No exceptions.
Those of us who advocate liberty lean on the ideas of peace, voluntary interactions, private property and non-aggression. We have the ideas of truth on our side. Government leans on violence, forced interaction, theft and aggressive force. These are all huge errors!
If you're going to bet on truth versus error, at least be bold enough to bet on the truth.
Let those who are hell-bent on going down with the ship choose their own course. There's no reason to gain a majority. There are millions and millions of open eyes and ears out there who are seeing their beliefs about government severely challenged. They're the ones you're looking for.
A critical minority is all that it takes.
What a time to be pro-liberty!
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
Two nights ago, during the final presidential debate, the subject of the economy was covered. Since both candidates are interventionists, the prospects for the U.S. economy don't look good no matter who happens to win. Ron Paul debunks the latest debate myths on today's edition of Myth-Busters.
By Jeff Thomas
Throughout history, political, financial, and military leaders have sought to create empires. Westerners often think of ancient Rome as the first empire. Later, other empires formed for a time. Spain became an empire, courtesy of its Armada, its conquest of the New World, and the gold and silver extracted from the West. Great Britain owned the 19th century but lost its empire due largely to costly wars. The US took over in the 20th century and, like Rome, rose as a republic, with minimal central control, but is now crumbling under its own governmental weight.
Invariably, the last people to understand the collapse of an empire are those who live within it. As a British subject, I remember my younger years, when, even though the British Empire was well and truly over, many of my fellow Brits were still behaving in a pompous manner as though British “superiority” still existed. Not so, today. (You can only pretend for so long.)
But this does suggest that those who live within the present empire—the US—will be the last to truly understand that the game is all but over. Americans seem to be hopeful that the dramatic decline is a temporary setback from which they will rebound.
Not likely. Historically, once an empire has been shot from its perch, it’s replaced by a rising power—one that’s more productive and more forward thinking in every way. Yet the US is hanging on tenaciously, and like any dying empire, its leaders are becoming increasingly ruthless, both at home and abroad, hoping to keep up appearances.
Warfare is often the death knell of a declining empire—both in its extreme financial cost and in its ability to alienate the peoples of other countries. In the new millennium, the US has invaded more countries than at any other time in its history and appears now to be in a state of perpetual warfare. This is being carried out both militarily and economically, as the US imposes economic sanctions on those it seeks to conquer.
This effort has become so threatening to the world that other major powers, even if they do not have a history of being allies, are now coming together to counter the US.
The US is encouraged in its effort by an unnatural alliance between the countries of Europe. Although Europe is made up of many small countries, often with dramatically differing cultures, who have bickered with each other for centuries, the European Union has cobbled them together into an ill-conceived “United States of Europe.”
Although the relatively new EU is already clearly stumbling and is on the verge of fragmenting, their leaders are desperately attempting to hold the unlikely alliance together with the help of the US. Meanwhile, the other major powers of the world are going full steam ahead to ensure that, when the US and EU reach their Waterloo, the rest of the world will carry on independently of the dying empire.
They are not merely waiting along the sidelines for the collapse to come, awaiting their turn at the top of the pecking-order. They are actively preparing their position to, as seamlessly as possible, take the baton at a run.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton accused the Russians of rigging US elections in favor of Donald Trump in last night's debate. Could they be manipulating voters and the system? Would we ever do something like that?
Will it be a slug-fest or a slime-fest? One thing is sure - we won't hear much about how either candidate will tackle the real issues. Don't count on the debate moderator to ask probing questions, either. So we thought we'd ask the candidates the questions they should be asked tonight, but probably won't be.
By Justin Raimondo
The saga of Julian Assange seems to be drawing to a climax – one that will decide the fate of this historic whistleblower who, for years, has been a giant thorn in the side of governments everywhere.
His role in exposing the machinations of the US government over the years earned him the plaudits of liberals – until the Bush era ended, and he started exposing the crimes of the Obama administration and – most pointedly – the hypocrisy and venality of Hillary Clinton and her journalistic camarilla. Now we see right-wing figures like Sean Hannity and – yes! – Donald Trump praising and defending him, while the ostensible liberals take up the cry of the Clinton campaign that he’s a “pawn of the Kremlin” and a “rapist.” Even Glenn Greenwald, formerly a comrade-in-arms, who together with Assange helped Edward Snowden evade the not-so-loving arms of Uncle Sam, has lately sought to distance himself from the founder of WikiLeaks (over the value of “curation”). Nice timing, Glenn!
Funny how that works.
Now we see that the Ecuadorian government, which has provided sanctuary for Assange ever since the frame-up “rape” charges by the Swedes were brought, is succumbing to pressure from Washington to silence him. As Assange released the now famous Podesta emails, that – among other things – exposed the collusion of the media and the Clinton campaign in delicious detail, John Kerry demanded that the Ecuadorians cut off Assange’s Internet access – and they meekly complied. Of course, since leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has openly endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and openly abhors Trump, this is hardly surprising: this is how the left operates internationally, as well as in this country – if you stray from the party line it doesn’t take long before the knives come out, aimed directly at one’s back.
In any case, Correa’s betrayal seems to have been short-circuited by the ever-resourceful Assange, who is still releasing incriminating emails. This is someone with a Plan!
Coincident with all this is the culmination of the long “legal” process initiated by the Swedish government, which is falsely accusing Assange of “rape.” He was supposed to have met with Swedish prosecutors on Monday, but has put off the meeting until November 14 – after the US elections.
Given Sweden’s bizarre laws on the subject, and the provenance of his accusers, the smear campaign aimed at Assange has zero credibility. No one believes these charges (and remember, he has never been formally charged) aren’t motivated by Washington’s stated desire to get him extradited to the US on “espionage” charges – and there isn’t anyone who thinks that the British government (which has spent millions making sure he stays holed up in Ecuador’s embassy) wouldn’t do so given half a chance.
Is it a coincidence that the way the Establishment tries to destroy those who oppose it is by hurling sex charges at them? They did the same thing to Dan Ellsberg: it’s the oldest trick in the book.
Equally ridiculous are the accusations that Assange is a “Russian agent.” To begin with, despite the US government’s propaganda, there isn’t a lick of real evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC emails, or any of the other emails published by WikiLeaks It could just as easily have been an insider. The fact of the matter is that, although they try to project the illusion of their own omniscience, they just don’t know.
What’s instructive is that the liberal media, which is not even bothering to hide its support for Hillary Clinton, is echoing Washington’s campaign to discredit Assange as a Kremlin tool. And of course the neoconservatives, who are solidly in Clinton’s camp, have always hated Assange, and are glad to join the chorus.
Assange has done more than any single figure to expose the machinations of governments worldwide to murder and plunder the rest of us: as the declared enemy of the powerful, he is their principal target – and it behooves those of us who defend liberty and transparency to rally around the banner of Wikileaks.
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since August of 2012, with governments all over the world – and especially our government – determined to get him, smear him, and discredit him by any means necessary. Yet he continues to expose them, even in these straitened circumstances, without regard for his own health, happiness, or ultimate fate. He is a hero for our times – in an age when the heroic seems entirely absent. And he is now in more danger than ever before: what with the leftist Ecuadorian government, eager to curry favor with Hillary Clinton, wavering in his defense, and with Mrs. Clinton herself wondering “Can’t we just drone this guy?”
Assange’s fate, whatever it turns out to be, limns our own: if he goes down, then, in a sense, so do we all. Because what that means is that there’s no room for truth-tellers in our world, and no tolerance for heroes. And that’s not the kind of world I care to live in.
This article was originally published at Antiwar.com
According to the US media, the battle for Mosul is key to Washington's counter-ISIS strategy. What happens if a city of up to 1.3 million inhabitants is destroyed in the process? What about Aleppo? Will ISIS fighters be allowed to escape into Syria? We look into what the mainstream media is ignoring.
Eavesdrop on a Liberty Report story planning session as we prepare for Tuesday's episode on the battle for Mosul!