The Messianic Syndrome

Sunday, July 2, 2023 5:49 PM

Let me know when we go off a cliff.—They Drive By Night

Zurich, Switzerland

Dear Friends + Interlocutors,

Some of you no doubt have been waiting anxiously for my diatribe focusing upon Tom Friedman’s latest column in the NY Times. Tom is the self-important, know-it-all NYT opinion writer who irritates me the most. Well here it is...

I’m on another “research” trip in Europe, to soak up as much western civilization as I can before it further self-destructs into quasi-oblivion under the baleful influence of America—or more precisely, in thrall to the crusading crackpots who have hijacked America.

Most hotels in Europe provide the NYT, international edition, free of charge at breakfast, so I glance at it more than I should. I terribly miss the International Herald Tribune in days of yore The NYT bought the Trib out. Alas, the IHT is not coming back, any more than Jean Seberg or SX-70 film.

[In the IHT, I would enjoy and be educated by their foreign policy columnist, William Pfaff. Here was a man with wisdom and judgement you could count on. The fact that he lived in Paris, outside the Washington orbit, probably had something to do with it. Comparing Tom Friedman to Pfaff is to compare a dwarf to a giant.] 

Halfway through What Happens to Putin Now? (June 27th), Friedman proclaims, “President Biden, take a bow.” In a sane world, any informed American observer interested in the well-being of America, and not in a hidden agenda, would be screaming, “Get the hook!” for this corrupt, arrogant career politician whose current dementia in the office of POTUS does not delete a lifetime of bad policy calls. 

It should never be forgotten that Prez Obama put vice-Prez Biden “in charge” of Ukraine back when Drone King Obama had his hands full trying unsuccessfully to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan, two prior Neocon catastrophes. It can persuasively be argued that Joe Biden is the single person most responsible for the Ukraine racket and the current war. 

But Tom feels that Biden should be congratulated for assembling a coalition “to confront Putin in Ukraine” and thereby “revealed Putin’s Potemkin village.” OMG. Is that the job of a U.S. President? Really? What does Ukraine have to do with anything? Is this all about Putin? What does he have to do with anything?

Simply put, I fail to comprehend why the USG is involved at all—legitimately involved—in a place called Ukraine. Wasn’t it part of the former USSR? Being realistic and honest, shouldn’t it be considered a Russian sphere of influence?  

Hasn’t Crimea been Russian for hundreds of years? Didn’t it vote to join the Russian Federation in 2014 after the CIA and State Department instigated a violent coup in Kiev? Isn’t Russia's Black Sea fleet headquartered in Crimea? Inquiring minds want to know. 

I don’t claim to be an expert on Ukraine. I don’t want to be an expert on Ukraine. I would be delighted never to hear about Ukraine again. I felt the same way about the disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan escapades. Who has the time to waste? 

Speaking of Iraq, please recall that it was Joe Biden, then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who greased the skids for that fraudulent crusade, when he pretended to believe the Cheney-Bush lies about Iraq's WMD, and presided over dubious Senate hearings to support those lies. 

Generally speaking, in view of Washington’s sorry foreign policy track record since 1990, how can we believe anything generated from the USG? It is a terrible thing to say, I grant you, but facts must be faced. In the aftermath of the Cold War, Washington has gone off the rails. I’m wondering if Ukraine will be the Endstation.

Returning to Tom, he has strong Israeli connections, going back to his days living on a Kibbutz. In his column, he quotes a former Israeli diplomat named Alon Pinkas, “Biden understood from the start that Putin is the epicenter of an anti-American, anti-democratic, fascist constellation that needs to be defeated, not negotiated with.”

Tom likes how Pinkas describes it. Great. So negotiations are off the table. The defeat of Putin is required. And just how far is the U.S. supposed to go in this enterprise to defeat Putin? Tom does not say. He probably has no idea. On the other hand, without missing a beat, he revisits a problem he first raised in May 6th, 2022: The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America

Today Tom states, “…We should be worried as much by the prospect of Putin’s defeat as by any victory…. What if he is toppled?...There is no nice, decent Yeltsin-like or Gorbachev-like figure with the power and standing to immediately take over.” This is only common sense, an issue never broached by official Washington. 

Back then, in May 2022, Tom was more expansive, “... we are dealing with some incredibly unstable elements, particularly a politically wounded Putin. Boasting about killing his generals and sinking his ships, or falling in love with Ukraine in ways that will get us enmeshed there forever, is the height of folly.” A broken clock is right twice a day.

Since there is no rational reason or constitutional justification for U.S. involvement in Ukraine, I have wondered why it is happening. It could be Washington's overpowering busybodyism. This is a sub-condition or manifestation of the Messianic Syndrome, which I first diagnosed back in 2005 with respect to H.W. Bush’s response to the 1990 annexation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein…

“After initial uncertainties, Bush Sr. suffered a messianic syndrome attack. This is a peculiar illness associated with a number of U.S. Presidents, starting with Woodrow Wilson. When combined with the crack-up of the Soviet Union, courtesy of a Jihad in Afghanistan, and with the cessation of the Cold War, which left an avalanche of expensive weapons lying around, the urge to do something pyrotechnic, counter-productive and pointless proved irresistible.”

The Messianic Syndrome surfaced in Gulf War I, in the follow-up murderous economic sanctions on Iraq throughout the 1990’s, in the forgotten Kosovo war of 1998-99, in Gulf War II, aka, Operation Iraqi Freedom of 2003 and subsequent occupation of Iraq, in the ghastly 20-year war in Afghanistan, and now with the instigation and ongoing promotion of the war in Ukraine to dethrone Putin, fragmentize Russia and remove it from the Great Power chessboard. 

How any of this madness has benefited America is a mystery. When will Washington officialdom learn to mind its own business and understand that it does not own the world? America has real problems to address within its own borders. Pontificators at the NY Times might do less harm to America and for sure be less of a menace to humanity at large if they focused on that.