Foggy Bottom neighborhood, Washington, D.C. At the northwest corner of the National Mall, near the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the U.S. Department of State, a $186 million palatial building designed by Canadian-Israeli architect Moshe Safdie and financed by private donors (weapons maker Lockheed Martin is one of them) is located the U.S. Institute of Peace.
It was created in 1984 by Ronald Reagan – a name you can trust when it comes to peace. Currently, its staff counts 262 full-time employees, plus a number of contractors in conflict zones. According to the website, they guide peace talks, advise governments, train police and religious leaders, support groups opposing extremism. And this all to help troubled countries solve their own conflicts peacefully. Isn’t it amazing?
This self-dubbed ‘nonpartisan’ institute is funded annually by the Congress and governed by a board of directors that includes the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the president of the National Defense University, and 12 others appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Nice guys, no doubt!
Beautiful souls like chairman Stephen J. Hadley, for example. Due to his remarkable curriculum, he was nominated to the institute board by President Obama in 2013. In fact, Hadley was national security adviser to President George W. Bush and advocated for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2015, he called for massive airstrikes on Syria and for flooding Ukraine with weapons. About the latter, Hadley is the guy who gifted us all that pearl of wise diplomacy about the ‘body bags of Russian soldiers’. His commitment to peace was to be fulfilled by sending weapons into a civil war zone in order to “raise the cost for what Russia is doing” there. [Since there were no Russian troops in Donbass, such strategy would have increased the number of Ukrainian casualties – Ed.] And he called for European governments to double their military spending. Of course, it all makes sense when you also happen to sit on the board of directors of Raytheon, a major defense contractor whose profits were greatly boosted in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. In 2014 alone, Hadley was paid cash and stock awards worth $290,000.
Am I wrong, or his attitude and skills contrast a little with the supposed mission of the Institute of Peace? Seems not. The original board of directors included a number of Reaganite neoconservatives, known for backing a policy of military strength, and the first chairman of the institute was Robert Turner, himself an appointee by President Reagan, who voiced support for the death squads in Nicaragua (the Contras). In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated to the board Daniel Pipes, an advocate for the invasion of Middle East countries. In 2011, President Obama chose ex-Ambassador Eric Edelman, who had served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense and the White House. He was in favor of an Israeli military strike on Iran and the deployment of nuclear weapons in East Europe to confront Russia.
Anyway, the U.S. Institute of Peace has a Vision: ‘a world without violent conflict.’
And indeed a Mission: ‘prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts around the world.’
And some Core Principles, the first of which is: ‘conflicts can be resolved without violence.’
You come upon a shitload of noble ideals and resolutions reading the institute’s website through. And if you’ve been brainwashed enough, that’s to say at least as much as the average American “freedom & democracy” advocate is supposed to be, you’ll likely have one of your best orgasms ever at the paragraph Organizational Goals, which reads, ‘Demonstrate America’s commitment to peace’. Conversely, in case you’re still in your right mind, you may choose either puke or burst out laughing. No country has ever brought more war to more places over the planet than the U.S. have. Probably, the sole and only honest line is retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel John Nagl’s: “[the U.S. Institute of Peace] prevents war from happening and ends them sooner on terms more favorable to the U.S.”
This view was expressed pretty well in senior advisor Mona Yacoubian’s article posted on the website in December 2018 and titled, “What Does the U.S. Troop Withdrawal Mean for Syria?” The subtitle provides the answer right away, “The move will undermine U.S. interests in Syria and the broader region.”
The U.S. military campaign and subsequent occupation of Syrian soil were not authorized by Congress (as per the U.S. Constitution) and violate international law (as per the UN Charter). The Institute of Peace opposes U.S. troop withdrawal because it would allow the Syrian government to reassert control over its own territory, and deems any possible negotiations between Damascus and the Kurds not in line with U.S. interests.
Yet the website reads, “To reduce future crises and the need for costly interventions, the U.S. Institute of Peace works with governments and civil societies to help their countries solve their own problems peacefully. It provides expertise, training, analysis, and support to those who are working to build peace.”
Work with governments? Build peace? Really?
As for the Syrian crisis, their project was called, “The day after: Supporting a democratic transition in Syria.” It dates back to 2012 and was funded by U.S. State Department, the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch and Norwegian NGOs, and involved also the German Institute of International and Security Affairs. For at least six months, 40 representatives of various Syrian opposition groups met undisturbed and unreported in Berlin under the tutelage of the institute’s experts to plan how to set up a post-Assad government. Does this sound like bringing confronting sides to the negotiating table to hammer out a fair solution?
What exactly the institute did was to plot in cahoots with Western-backed opposition groups. That’s to say the jihadists, the al-Qaeda linked terrorists, the rebels that Obama dubbed moderate, those who used to moderately slaughter, moderately pillage, moderately enslave and moderately behead.
It focused on developing plans for a post-Assad Syria, to replace a sovereign government with a client government made of these nice guys and then overwrite Syrian institutions on terms more favorable to the U.S. It sounds somewhat in the same vein as Iraq and Libya. Cheap peace, I’d say.
However, it’s a fact that the institute works at least with one government…
In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense completed the National Defense Strategy (NDS), an assessment of how to protect the U.S. and its interests. The document is classified, but a summary was released publicly. It addresses important issues: the nature of the strategic environment, priority objectives, roles, and missions of the armed forces, investments in capabilities and innovation to be made over the following five-year period. In November 2018, the Institute of Peace released a report called ‘Providing for the Common Defense’, in which a commission of its experts offered further recommendations concerning U.S. defense strategy. Isn’t this rather unusual for an institution focused on ‘promoting international peace through nonviolent conflict resolution’?
The introduction states that “the U.S. confronts a grave crisis of national security and national defense” because “an array of adversaries and rivals are challenging U.S. interests and global security”, and that “this document expresses our view of the dangers the nation faces and the steps that should be taken to meet them.”
The report identifies potential conflicts with the “powerful authoritarian regimes possessing significant influence and even greater ambitions” Russia and China, “brutal, erratic, and aggressive” North Korea, and the “world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism” Iran. Evidence of the allegations is likely to be provided in the next report. Now, let’s just say that Iran is a cause of concern because of its “increasingly influential allied militias in the region” (those who strongly contributed to defeat ISIS) and its “growing military capabilities” that could “target U.S. military facilities and critical infrastructure in the Persian Gulf, and inflict substantial costs on America and its partners.” The partners they refer to are Israel and Saudi Arabia, which eagerly contributed to fund, train and arm ISIS terrorists and are top customers of American-made weapons they use for bombing Gaza and Yemen respectively (causing major humanitarian catastrophes not noteworthy to the Institute of Peace).
Core principle number 3 of the Institute of Peace reads, ‘We will be guided by facts’. Fine! As for the ‘aggressive’ North Korea, how many countries has it invaded so far? The MSM portray it as a threat to global security but provide no evidence to that effect. The facts the institute should take into consideration and be guided by are that during the Korean War, the U.S. dropped some 650,000 tons of bombs, including 43,000 tons of napalm, killing about 3 million civilians. According to U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay (nicknamed: Old Iron Pants, The Demon, Bombs Away LeMay, The Big Cigar), “We […] burned down every town in North Korea […] and some in South Korea too. Over a period of three years or so, we killed off – what – 20% of the population as direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure? […] This seemed to be acceptable to everybody.”
Those glory days are gone. In recent years, Russia and China have changed the rules, and now they willingly thwart U.S. hegemony. Both have increased bilateral trade and cooperation with North Korea, which is set on its way to integrate into the region’s wider economy and have a role in shaping the future of the Korean peninsula. Iran is far from being isolated and will keep promoting its interests and competing with Saudi Arabia. A growing number of countries are asserting an independent and increasingly influential role in regional and global economy.
Russia and China have also enhanced their bilateral defense ties and extended them both to Iran and North Korea. The U.S. still has the world’s only global military capability, able to deploy anywhere, but it’s evident that even such capability no longer effectively sustains American leadership. The U.S. cannot play anymore its long-standing role of global bully. The report warns that “should war occur, American forces will face harder fights and greater losses than at any time in decades”, and lays out five scenarios in which they could find themselves outmatched. What’s interesting, and troubling indeed, is that for each scenario it provides the year in which it would take place.
2019: Nuclear Escalation with North Korea and War with Russia
Tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs prompt President Trump to withdraw U.S. civilians from South Korea as a precautionary measure. Kim Jong Un misinterprets this as a prelude to war and strikes first at ports, airfields, and U.S. military facilities in South Korea. The conflict rapidly escalates. Knowing that his only chance of survival is to shock America into backing down, he launches nuclear-armed ballistic missiles at American bases on Okinawa and Guam, and announces that if an immediate ceasefire won’t be accepted, nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles will hit continental U.S. (a threat against which U.S. missile defenses offer only uncertain protection).
NATO-Russia tensions ignite as well. Responding to false reports of atrocities against Russians living in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, Russia invades those countries under the guise of a peacekeeping mission and declares that strikes against her forces will be treated as attacks on Russia itself, implying a potential nuclear response. Meanwhile, Russian submarines sever trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables, and Russian hackers shut down power grids. The Russian military goes as far as to damage / destroy U.S. satellites. American cities are paralyzed, mobile phones and the Internet are rendered inoperative, financial markets plummet, the banking system is thrown into chaos.
2020: Belorussian Maidan and Russia Hacking U.S. Elections
Mass protests against Lukashenko in Belarus prompt Russian intervention. The U.S. and its European vassals impose economic sanctions. Russia responds by exploiting U.S. vulnerabilities in cyberspace. Russian hackers launch massive cyberattacks on the U.S. electoral infrastructure, tampering with registration rolls and vote counts.
2022: The U.S. Loses Access to the South China Sea
China has been deploying advanced military capabilities on islands in the South China Sea for nearly a decade. Large parts of the Western Pacific have turned into “no-go” zones for U.S. forces. Amid tense trade talks, China imposes heavy tolls on maritime traffic and restricts transit by commercial vessels from unfriendly nations. The economic effects are immediately felt in U.S. financial markets, consumer prices, and manufacturing and agricultural communities.
2024: China Retakes Taiwan
Chinese armed forces, whose missile / air / surface / undersea capabilities have continued to grow over the years, undertake a surprise attack on Taiwan. The Taiwanese Navy is rapidly crippled, large-scale amphibious landings are carried out, and eventually, the island is taken over with ease.
The report purports to consider these hypothetical scenarios of aggression against the U.S. whereas the plotting and implementing of such scenarios are part of a strategy of aggression against emerging powers that oppose U.S. global hegemony. Each of them can be ignited through one of the methods of hybrid warfare tactics (proxy war, civil unrest, clandestine actions, cyberattacks, disinformation, propaganda, psychological operations) that the upper echelons in Washington master with unparalleled expertise. It’s no accident that Chapter 4 of the report reads, “the most likely conflicts the U.S. would seek to deter or win might begin with a small confrontation that escalates quickly”. The U.S. armed forces could suffer “unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets” because its military capacities have stagnated due to insufficient defense spending while Russia’s and China’s have continued to grow. This would be the end of the “world of unusual prosperity, freedom, and security” that the U.S. has managed to build thanks to its “unequaled military might” in the post-World War 2 era [incidentally, they make no mention of the 20 to 30 million dead caused by U.S.-led wars, proxy wars, military coups, and intelligence ops carried out in the same period of time – Ed.]
Seems it’s time to make “hard choices and the necessary investments”. The experts of the Institute of Peace come forward with a lucid and reasonable proposal: a 3 to 5% increase per year in military spending (which currently equals one quarter of U.S. federal budget). That’s really giving peace a chance.