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Nobody’s Century

Never mind the “American Century”.  Ambassador and gadfly Chas Freeman says we’re in “nobody’s century” globally now.

Over the Sahara Desert approaching ancient lands and thousands of years of history. The Nile River flowing through Egypt past the pyramids of Giza up to Cairo in the delta; the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Dead Sea; Jordan River; and the Sea of Galilee are visible, as are the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Greece coming over the horizon. (NASA)

Over the Sahara Desert approaching ancient lands and thousands of years of history. The Nile River flowing through Egypt past the pyramids of Giza up to Cairo in the delta; the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Dead Sea; Jordan River; and the Sea of Galilee are visible, as are the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Greece coming over the horizon. (NASA)

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debate American foreign policy tonight.  Before they do, maybe we need to step back for a minute and look at the big picture.  The world is heading off in new directions.  Nobody’s the boss.  New powers are rising.  With new alliances.

If the 20th Century was the “American Century,” says Ambassador Chas Freeman, this is “nobody’s century” – and everybody’s.  The U.S. cannot assume it will have followers.  We’ll have to earn them, again.

This hour, On Point:  Reality check.  We’re updating the American view of the world, and the U.S. place in it.

-Tom Ashbrook


Chas Freeman, a career diplomat, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992.  He recently gave a pair of speeches on the state of U.S. foreign policy. You can find part one here, and part two here.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “He might take on educational achievement, noting that this country comes in only 28th in the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, and at the other end of the scale, 14th in the percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with a higher education. He might hammer on infant mortality, where the United States ranks worse than 48 other countries and territories, or point out that, contrary to fervent popular belief, the United States trails most of Europe, Australia and Canada in social mobility.”

Foreign Policy “Despite some successes large and small, Obama’s foreign policy has disappointed many who initially supported him. The Middle East initiatives heralded in his 2009 Cairo speech fizzled or never got started at all, and the Middle East today is more volatile than ever. The administration’s response to the escalating violence in Syria has consisted mostly of anxious thumb-twiddling.”

Foreign Affairs “In many parts of the world, freshwater is already a scarce resource. It constitutes only 2.5 percent of all available water on the planet. And only about .4 percent of that is easily accessible for human consumption. Of that tiny amount, a decreasing share is potable because of pollution and agricultural and industrial water use. All that would be bad enough, but many freshwater bodies are shared among two or more riparian states, complicating their management.”

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  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    How about a century in which individual liberties are valued, in which society’s resources do good for the people as a whole, and in which power is widely distributed?

    • sickofthechit

       Greg, how about we include the next 50 generations in your calculations of using our resources for the good of people as a whole? charles

      • http://www.facebook.com/guilty.apple.1 Guilty Apple

        Charles, that’s very possible if we stop demonizing genetically modified organisms.

        • sickofthechit

           I’m not against naturally genetically modified organisms, I am against unnaturally genetically modified organisms.

        • Don_B1

          In theory, GMOs can have a beneficial effect on feeding the world’s population; however, as in so much of what humans do, there can be highly detrimental side effects of the way humans implement them.

          Already there are studies showing that many of the supposed “benefits” of GMO plants, less use of fertilizers and pesticides, are not being realized; in fact, the opposite appears to be true. See:


          It appears that insects are developing resistance to the GMO “protection” requiring the use of even more toxic pesticides and more fertilizer. All these added fertilizers and pesticides are flowing through the rivers to the oceans and making them toxic, too.

          The use of GMOs has led to even more monocultures in the farm fields, which means that when a pest gets an advantage, the whole crop is at risk for being lost.

          Much of what is attempted with GMOs is a short-term advantage and comes with a huge long-term cost.

  • sickofthechit

    Maybe this should be the “Century of the Planet”, when we begin behaving as if we all realize we are on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere! charles a. bowsher

  • sickofthechit

    As far as “Tom’s reading list goes I would like to point out one thing.  Obama is playing the “long game”, he will not have daily, weekly, monthly or yearly successes. Instead they will take years, even decades to be realized. So to say the initiatives of the Cairo speech fizzled is to take an impatient child’s view of extremely complex issues that none of the public is really privy to nor needs to be.  It’s just like the outcry that the admin did not call Bengazi a terrorist attack quick enough.  Do you think maybe instead of revealing all they knew, maybe they were working behind the scenes attempting to track the perpetrators before they had a chance to go underground?  It is easier to find someone when they don’t know we are looking for them than announcing “This was done by 17 terrorists and we are tracking them in southern Libya. charles a. bowsher

    • StilllHere

      Long game, right, let’s judge him in a century and ignore the present day disasters.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        That’s what we did with Reagan and the Bush’s. In a century, Reagan and the Bushes will be seen to have been part of the Trickle Down Decline of America.

        • Ray in VT

          I tend to think that George H.W. Bush wasn’t too bad.  I think that he was fairly pragmatic, and I think that his historical reputation will be decent in the long run.  Eisenhower has been getting more recognition in recent years for some of the moves that he made concerning civil rights that had been relatively overlooked for many years.

          • sickofthechit

             cheney/bush will I hope always be the worst presidency in our nation’s history.

          • Ray in VT

            I have a pretty low opinion of those 8 years as well, but who knows.  Buchanan is certainly down at the bottom, and Harding’s had a pretty tough time in terms of how people have thought of him.  Hoover hasn’t gotten too bad of a rap.  He just wasn’t able to cope with the situation that happened early on in his tenure.  Who knows if we’ll get our Romulus Augustus.

          • Don_B1

            George H.W. Bush will get recognition for the things he did that did NOT win him applause from the radical right: particularly for not invading Iraq and for agreeing to raise taxes as part of a budget-balancing spending bill.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, who was that guy round about 1994 who spoke about all of the good reasons for not getting rid of Saddam back in 1991 due to all of the problems that such a move would create?

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Wouldn’t it be great if someone were to try to offer some kind of idea or direction to try to solve a problem, instead of complainig ? Something ? Give it a try yourself. Point to some project or study. Some product. Give an insight. Offer an offbeat solution. Why not try breaking the chains of historical norms ?



    The Millennium Project ( 2009)


    From :


    15 Global Challenges


    15 Global Challenges

    ( Note :Not to be confused with the Millennium Math Challenges of Harvard’s Clay Institute. )1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change? 1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change?

    This question, along with question number, 3, 8, 11, and 13 are related and interconnected. Some possible answers are :

    1A. Reduce population growth rates. ( see 3 below)

    1B. Encourage quality over quantity. Encourage novelty over uniformity. Here I refer you to the concept of 3- Dimensional printing, take a look for yourself, two quick videos, one of them on the prototype car, the “Urbee”. It gets 200 miles to the gallon on the highway and 100 miles to the gallon in the city. If this doesn’t sell you on 3-D printing, I suggest you ask your doctor for an MRI !



    2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?

    Check out a prior link I posted to the MIT -Massachusetts Institute of Technology at :



    3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?

    There are ( extremely !) more than enough resources, if you include resources in Space ( I am not accepting no for an answer on this one, despite Mr. Romney assertions ! ) The following website notes that the asteroid belt offers ( at current prices), over ( Wow, get this ! ) 100 Billion Dollars worth of mineral wealth per person on Earth !

    At :



    4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?
    This is already happening. I would like to change the question to, “ How can a more intelligent Democracy be constructed from the one we now have” ? Possible answer: More intelligent people. Why not consider (Nootropics) !


    5. How can policymaking be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives?
    What do you think ?

    6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?

    We need more distributive computing projects that pay actual money for our processing power and input. By linking globally we will create non stop number crunching analysis, with human interface abilities. We are WAY behind on this one !


    7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor?

    Break with historical ties. Maybe we should give up preconceived notions about poor versus rich. In a Universe with extreme resource deposits it makes no sense. The real difference in wealth, is a difference in intellectual abilities and access to technologies.


    8. How can the threat of new and reemerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced?

    Although world trade tends to be a good thing, it is no longer necessary for humans to continuously travel abroad to do business. We need better video feed and a faster internet to facilitate business.

    9. How can the capacity to decide be improved as the nature of work and institutions change?

    Artificial intelligence and ongoing programs that teach “ game theory”, “ complex systems “ and “decision models and techniques “ would be a good start. Here is a link from “ Mind Tools “

    http://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_TED.htm10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction?

    Here I might say forget what you think you know and think outside the “ N – Dimensional Construct”. If this is meaningless to you, well that is good. Now your on your way to develop your own catch phrase that will get you off your butt. A more down to Earth approach would be to go to Wiki and read about subjects like “ Tit for Tat, Tragedy of the commons, Prisoner’s Dillmma etc..

     11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition?

    A more educated woman means less children, statistically. This reduces all forms of entropy produced by humans. Yes, sad but true. We humans can do a lot of damage. By having less children we should be able to focus on our shortcomings. Then maybe we can talk about having more of “us”.

    12. How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises?

    Here neuro-economics and the study of cognitive science may help. By understanding the human brain and how decisions are made and what goes wrong within it’s structures we will eventually be able to eliminate the source of demand that drives criminal enterprise and also eliminate the “ need” to be a criminal.

     13. How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?

    Somewhat answered above. But I note, there is no shortage of energy in the Universe ! At least not for any uses we may have. Just a lack of will to retrieve it.

     14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?
    Very large prize money should be offered to anyone or group that can solve anything that can’t seem to be solved.


    15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

    If so called artificial intelligence were to actually come to fruition, this would be an easy problem, as the machines of the future will be so sophisticated and fast that they will be able to simulate an extreme number of scenarios and compare outcomes.

    • Don_B1

      I would like to complement you for your fine contribution to this forum. I would like to make a couple of comments (maybe more later when I have had time to think about them).

      Item 13) needs to be elevated to the top or near top of our priorities. The disaster of run-away global warming/climate change as a result of our current use of fossil fuels will affect every one of the other items as it is at least a near existential problem for human civilization, at least in any form that we have a written history of. True, that population growth is how this problem got to be the big problem that it is, but it would have happened at a sustainable level, which many experts believe the world has either exceeded already or is about to.

      Item 4) on maintaining a robust democracy (or as it more literally says, moving from authoritarian to democratic rule). But the U.S. right now faces a polarization that threatens to render asunder the democracy we have. There seem to me to be at least two problems:

      a) The way we finance our campaigns, with money from the wealthiest driving the programs/policies offered by the candidates and the clever marketing of issues purported to benefit everyone while actually benefiting largely the wealthy. Thankfully not all the wealthy use their money in this way, but increasingly many are.

      b) The low-information voter, who apparently choses a legislator or president based on whether they would like to have a beer with them rather than looking deeply into analyses of how their policies would affect their lives. An analysis of how such voters make their decisions and how that might be improved seems to be a question whose answer might be necessary if democracy is to be preserved.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        On the phrase “… with money from the wealthiest driving the programs/policies offered by the candidates”

        Don, remember this. If people were to really get involved and vote as they should, it would be possible in some and maybe many cases to overrule the “moneyed” class. If this were to happen often enough, people with big money would be thinking twice about “backing losers”. People with money do not want to waste money or lose money !

  • Acnestes

    “Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations and ages it is the rule.” – Nietzsche

    I don’t think much has changed since Friedrich’s time and I’m not expecting it to any century soon.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      We’re no smarter than the Egyptians, Greeks or Romans… if not dumber in that we have ideologies that are the basis of mass hypocrisy and stand in the way of enacting practical policies and programs for the benefit of the majority.

      • adks12020

        True. We’re not smarter.  We just have more information and better tools than they had. We still seem to have very similar social, economic, and political problems a few thousand years later because in the end, we’re all still just human beings and all the human traits, good and bad, are still there.

        • Acnestes

          I think evolution produces a population with development something like a bell curve, with some of us 100,000 years ahead and some of us 100,000 years behind the midpoint.  Empathy and reflection are at the ahead end and pure self interest, aggression and orientation to the immediate (may I say savagery?) at the behind end.

          I think it was William James who observed that the saint may be the most highly developed sort of person, but unfortunately the saint is only adapted to survive in a perfect world.  The savages will make you a martyr every time!

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        MadMark, I disagree somewhat. We are in fact somewhat smarter. How else would you explain the general level of rising IQ(s), worldwide. I think the phenomena may well have something to do with a wider selection of foods and that we have access to, cleaner drinking water ( for many ), and the reduction of common toxins, such as lead, mercury, etc.. I know that these statements do not apply across the board for everyone, but in general I think it is true. The invention of the book and now the computer is pushing intelligence to new levels ( not just data levels). When we deal with commodities such as these two, our brains, “rewire” in new ways. Of course it is painfully obvious that we have not mastered our brains and emotions to the level necessary for “ Heaven on Earth”.

  • Ed75

    This is the age of Mary.

    • Ray in VT

      And what does Mary have to say about the proper role of America on the world stage, when it is appropriate to use our military power, and what role NATO and other international organizations should play in providing for collective peace and security?

      • Ed75

        Good question. Mary says, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Which now means, listen to the guidelines taught by his Church (the Catholic Church).

        She also said at Fatima that if the world does not stop offending God, worse wars (that was 1917) would follow. The miracle of the sun at Fatima, where the onlookers were terrified because the sun went back and forth in the sky and then seemed to hurtle toward earth, and dried all their clothing and the ground, is strangely reminiscent of what a nuclear bomb would do.

        • Ray in VT

          So does the Catholic Church think that we should intervene in Syria or declare China a currency manipulator?

          I am not particularly trying to be trite, but I do think that the notion that we should take our ques on foreign policy from the Catholic Church or the supposed words of supernatural entities to be about as reliable as consulting the I Ching.  One also does not need revelation to see or guess that there will be future wars or disasters.  A number of political figures saw the groundwork of future division in the Treaty of Versailles.

          • Ed75

            Well, the Church only give the principles, it then expects lay people to use their expertise in those areas. But John Paul pleaded with President Bush not to go into Iraq. Not bad advice. (A lot of the wisdom in the I Ching is probably consistent with the principles taught by the Church.)

          • Ray in VT

            and I can agree with some of the principles.  Others I have problems with.  I see no reason why the Church should get a say in my family’s reproductive decision or whether or not my two female friends can get married (legal rights like visitation and inheritance, not the sacred aspects).

            John Paul II had some very good positions, and that advise to former President Bush is some that I would agree with, but I do not want the positions of the Church to affect my liberties as a non-believer.

            On a side note, I saw a very nice exhibit in Montreal a few years back of Vatican relics, including John Paul II silver staff.  There were also some bones of saints and other such things.  It was a very interesting display, and I was very glad to have made the trip.  I wanted to say that because I do not want one to get the impression that I am anti-religious.  I am irreligious, but I not opposed to it, as some are.  I can see the good that it can and has done historically, although it has also done some very bad things.

          • Ed75

            I hear Montreal is beautiful, I’m trying to get to Quebec one day. The reason the Church has a say in reproductive decisions, etc., is that the Church has knowledge and authority in matters of faith and morals. Morality is the science of human acts, their goodness or evil, how to act well, and sexuality is a human act, so it falls under the science of morality. Additionally, a person’s sexuality addresses the physical and emotional center of the person and is not periperal at all, so it’s important for us to act well in this important area.

    • J__o__h__n

      Please save the nonsense until Friday’s update.

  • brettearle

    Just what does Ambassador Feeman think we should do in Syria?

    Shower the rebels with decisive fire power?

    Just what we need, when we’re trying to deal with Russia, vis a vis Iran.

    Obama has already drawn a line, for direct action–by announcing that any use of chemical weapons, by the Syrian government would illicit a direct response.

    So Ambassador Feeman wants, perhaps, what Senator McCain has always wanted, 5 DIFFERENT WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST:   

    Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran and Syria.

    How glorious!

  • donniethebrasco

    Who do you believe?  Obama said that he called Benghazi terrorism on day 1 and Biden said, “We didn’t know what happened?”

    You have to remember what your lies are.  That’s why it is so much easier to tell the truth.

    Is this the statement that, like Bill Clinton, “I correctly answered the question that you asked, but it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

    • brettearle

      You are trying to pin down specific words, unwavering reports, and definitive ideas–RIGHT after a tragedy, directly involving Americans in a Middle East country….where rumors can sometimes outweigh Intel–especially at the beginning.

      Your comment is nothing short of political bias that does not take into account the obvious confusion and frenzy that transpired, shortly after the event.

      It is almost shockingly naive.

      • donniethebrasco

         Naive is the American people believe the crap that Obama was selling in the 2nd debate.

        • AF_Whigs

          And far more naive are those who believe the repeated lies Romney is spouting every day.  Remember, the GOP is not concerned about fact checkers!

    • Shag_Wevera

      Did they change today’s topic?  I’m confused.

      • donniethebrasco

         You are confused, just like the White House is on foreign policy.

  • Gregg Smith

    Obama has been endorsed by Chavez, Castro and Putin. That tells you all you need to know about his foreign policy.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Is this a pivot, or does this post concern today’s topic somehow?

      • Gregg Smith

        On second thought it better illustrates Obama’s domestic policy views. My bad, never mind.

    • brettearle

      So what?

      There’s a chance that the Fascists of WWII might have endorsed Reagan’s politics over President Carter’s.

      That doesn’t make Reagan a Fascist nor do the endorsements you list above, make Obama a communist.

      As usual, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      And you are doing nothing–but what you USUALLY do:

      Which is to spew out vapid, hackneyed, ignorant propaganda against, and about, the President.

      Go ahead, spread your manure, across the land…..

      Tragically, it’ll fertilize nothing but idiocy. 

      • Shag_Wevera

        Well done!

        • brettearle


      • Gregg Smith

        Who pissed on your cornflakes this morning? Gee wiz. Reagan? “…might have endorsed”?

        What I wrote is true, take it for what it’s worth. It’s not about me.


        • 1Brett1

          …Just the persecuted messinger?

      • Don_B1

        I agree with you, brettearle, on everything except that Gregg Smith really DOES know what he is doing, and as you go on to say, he does that, and little else, every day. He is here to distract and deceive, period.

        • Gregg Smith

          I just cited some news, that’s all. I didn’t distract with phrases like “There’s a chance” or “might have”. I didn’t project any ideologies to anyone. I wasn’t nasty and impugned no one’s character. So there’s that.

          “Can you say that a little louder Candy?”

          • 1Brett1

            True, you didn’t say, “if Hitler and Stalin were alive, they’d be endorsing Obama”! But you were intentionally playing with the same ideas…

            Just stating news? Oh yeah, sure…

  • Shag_Wevera

    Oh it’s somebody’s century…


    1.  Unions in decline
    2.  Too much population, not enough work
    3.  collapsing wages and benefits
    4.  disintegrating safety nets
    5.  record corporate profits
    6.  gilded age level wealth gap.
    7.  citizens united ruling.

    on and on.

    There is a violent revolution out there somewhere on the other side, but we are nowhere near it

    • brettearle

       “Violent revolution out there somewhere on the other side”

      Is that what you want or feel we need?

      • Shag_Wevera

        It is just my best guess.  I don’t think I’ll live to see it.  I can’t imagine any other way the bourgoisie would relinquish their power.

        • brettearle

          Look. in a way, I think like you do, on this matter.

          The key to this, for me, is the growing plutocracy and the radicalization of the Right Wing.

          There are competent Economists who don’t believe that the Economy will ever regain the strength it once had.

          If that’s true, then a revolution is possible–but probably not for a number of years (as you said), unless…..

          unless…there is another 9/11 or worse.

          Then the possibility of revolution could VERY WELL speed up.

          • Don_B1

            The “violent revolution out there somewhere” could well be closer than we think, though I would certainly hope it would not be for a decade or more.

            If the Tea/Republicans enhance their  control of the federal government this fall, the “austerity now” policies that they are likely to implement are almost certain to plunge the country back into a recession. How bad it will be depends on what the financial sector has done with respect to leveraging debt and whether the increased unemployment affects consumer spending in a way that impacts the banks.

            Within 10 years or so, the effects of climate change will be so obvious and its eventual catastrophe of letting the unmitigated CO2 emissions continue will be obvious to all but the plutocrats, who will still refuse to let the political process work for everyone. It will depend on how much power they have been able to corral, from the current round of voter suppression and campaign finance control of elected officials to further ways to control the government that a Romney appointments to the Supreme Court could well find constitutional.

            Look at what is happening in Hungary, where one party with fascist leanings has attained “supermajority” control of government and used its new power immediately to rewrite Hungary’s Constitution and cement its power for the foreseeable future.

            What is even worse than imagining a violent revolution is the realization that most such revolutions do NOT result in a better government. Those who revolt seem to take on the methods of the previous oppressive government.

            That is what makes the 1776 Revolution in America an event unlikely to be repeated.

            That will leave the problems that led to the uprising likely unsolved.

          • brettearle

            Excellent Narrative.

            Maybe the Revolutionaries of the future should go back and study the Framers–before they forge ahead.

    • Gregg Smith

      1) Private sector Unions are a choice, if people choose them so be it. Public sector unions are an abomination that pits the government against the taxpayer.

      2) There’s plenty of work and plenty of room.

      3) It’s the collapsing economy, fix that.

      4) Obama has not offered a plan to save entitlements. He said he would.

      5) Who cares?

      6) So what?

      7) Free Speech, ain’t it  bitch?.

      Relax, we don’t need no stinkin’ revolution.

    • Brandstad

      Please note that the record corporate profits is mostly due to US government defecit spending….  Thank you Obama!


    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

      It not called the bourgeoisie anymore.

      They are now called the CRIMINAL ELITE.

  • Yar

    I loved the two speeches posted. I am sure I will enjoy listening to this hour’s conversation.  The US is definitely hawkish: An interesting thing about hawks is that juveniles have longer tail feathers than adults.  Our US foreign policy is juvenile in that we don’t adapt to changing conditions as fast as we should.  More critically we don’t understand the food chain that feed us as a top predator.  Global warming, along with 7 billion mouths to feed risks the entire world finding us guilty of crimes against humanity. 2 percent can’t consume 25 percent of world resources for very long, and never with world peace.  The environment can’t handle the US model of resource consumption for additional populations. The lion really does need to learn to eat straw.

    As hawks, the President is more mature than Governor Romney.  
    Speaking of fowls: What does Mitt Romney’s prancing rooster approach to foreign policy do to US standing in the world?

    • Coastghost

      Don’t know how closely related hawks are to eagles for the taxonomists, but it sounds like you have a genetically-modified griffin on your mind. Mythology lives!

    • donniethebrasco

       Obama tells the evil leaders around the world that he loves them.  While he is hugging them, they hear the buzz of drones in the distance.

      That is the Obama Doctrine.  I won’t call you out, but I might kill you if I decide I don’t like you anymore.

      • anamaria23

        What evil leaders has President Obama declared love for?   No hugs for Bin Laden and his syncophants. 

      • northeaster17

        @ Donnie…Have you enlisted so that you have a better chance to pursue yours and Romney’s bloody fantasies

      • AF_Whigs

        I think that’s more or less a description of US foreign policy for the last 200+ years.

  • donniethebrasco

    Today’s topics are hilarious.  If Obama looked good, both shows would be fawning all over Obama.

    However, in light of the end of the age of Obama, today’s shows are avoiding the coming demise.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The biggest illusion of the 21st century is the concept that America and “Americans” is all one thing like we are this big club all striving together for the benefit of America and Americans.

    It’s nonsense. We’re moving into a new age of feudalism – those with money and power have gone global, picking the best places in the world for them to make money while the workers are largely tied to the land and opportunities of where they live – like in days of old when peasants were basically the chattel of whatever castle owned them. And as the world economy continues to slow, the owners of the castles will make up for lost growth by squeezing more and more out of the peasants.

  • Brandstad

    The world is on fire and the US is indecline…. this has nothing to do with the US foreign policy of the last four years! LOL Right!

    • jefe68

      When you consider that President Obama has pretty much kept most of the Bush administrations policies in place one can’t really find anything to point to in terms of partisan hand wringing. If anything the Obama administration has been a little better in diplomacy and they undid the regressive woman’s health care rulings that Bush put in place.


    • DrewInGeorgia

      It has to do with the US foreign policy of the last 30-35 years more than it does the last four years genius. Ditto on economical, educational, and industrial standing Globally.

    • Acnestes

      This smacks of the “Who lost China?” blame game of decades ago.  Nobody “lost” it – China just had it’s own agenda, thank you.  Same with the world at large today.  Why keep delusionally overestimating the influence the US has in countries and civilizations with values and ideas utterly indifferent to what we think about them?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    So, he helped sell out the American worker to Asia.

    Good to know.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    Oh looky, he’s an enable of the deprived and criminal Saudi Royals too.

    These are the Americans who are anti American in every way.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       I’d hardly call the Saudi royalty deprived.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

        You couldn’t find more depraved people on the face of the earth.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           You’re welcome for the editing advice.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

        Corrected to depraved.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    And the illusion continues – just who is “us”, anyway? Bain Capital, for example, was not in there slugging away for the benefit of the American worker.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    America is not broke.

    The elite stole the wealth.

    Remember that Americans when they come for everything you need to survive.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Thanks for this show, this guest.  I want a transcript, or a book!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    The danger is to the elites.

    They think they can hide from the world masses.

    There will be no hiding.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    There is a free world and a world still imprisoned.  America risks becoming the latter, but we’re not there yet.  The imprisoned world is held by the dictators that remain.

  • AC

    i dont feel like this is anything shocking. having grown -up ‘online’ w/friends from everywhere, this sentiment has been voiced already. tho as much as the US is hated, there is A LOT of anger towards the UK and France. (Africa really really hates France)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    The dollar would not be falling like a stone and need to be backed by a trillion dollar a year military if the elites hadn’t stolen the wealth of America.

    Get that straight.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       The dollar isn’t dropping like a stone at present.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

        QE1, QE2 QE3?

        They are trying and trying and trying.

        Sooner or latter to the depths baby.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           You said that the dollar “would not be falling…”  That’s present tense.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

            Take a look at the fall of the dollar over the past 12 years.

          • Don_B1

            The fall in value relative to other currencies of the U.S. dollar does make imported goods more expensive (as does the rise in the world price of oil, used to transport those goods) but that also means that those goods, at least some of them, can then be manufactured here creating jobs for Americans so they can buy those goods. Many companies have, in fact, brought back manufacturing, where apparel is one notable one.

            The other part of a lower value for the dollar is that our manufactured goods are cheaper in other currencies, enabling our manufacturers to sell goods and services abroad.

            All of this indicates that a lower dollar value can benefit the American worker. Those that it does not benefit much are those who want to travel or live abroad, where their cost of living in U.S. dollars rises with a lower dollar value.

            Guess which class of Americans are most in that position?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

            The Fed is trying. Printing and printing. The fall is coming. It’s the only way they know to get rid of the debt.

            Now, what you need to know is that when that happens the American people are going to be very very poor. 

            But the elites are going to be fine. In fact they are going to be richer then ever.

            They have already gotten their money out and are busy turning it into real assets.

          • Don_B1

            Quantitative Easing is the secondary way the Federal Reserve has to lower interest rates which can have a stimulative effect on the economy.

            The best alternative to the traditional way of stimulating the economy, the Federal Reserve’s lowering the discount rate, is not available in the current economy because the Fed has already lowered the discount rate to near zero, below which it cannot be lowered. This is the Zero Lower Bound, and is characteristic of a Liquidity Trap, where some people have money but no investment appeals because the returns are not enough. This occurs only rarely, thankfully, when the aggregate demand, due to an economic shock, falls and too many consumers do not have the ability or incentive to spend, there is no way a business can sell more goods or services to consumers with no money or the need to save rather than spend.

            But QE is rightfully called a secondary way because its effect is mild, which does not mean that it should not be tried when the government refuses to take up the need for additional spending when consumers, rightfully from their vantage point, can or will not increase spending.

            In other words, if the Republicans in Congress had not obstructed every attempt to increase aggregate demand by spending on needed infrastructure and basic research and education, the Federal Reserve would not be even contemplating using it.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

            So you are not agreeing with the argument QE is about inflating the debt away?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    Our resources are limited?

    Use the trillions you’ve stolen through the Black Budget buddy.

    • Denis

      What in the world are you saying with this nonsensical sentence?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

        Better start studying up on all the trillions that went into the Pentagon in the past 30 years  that no one can account for.

        And of course in the past decade, the transfer of wealth to the elite through our treasury, the bailouts, the GSEs.

      • Steve__T

         Not nonsense truth, this is just one reported occasion that happened in Iraq.


  • TomK_in_Boston

    The far right agenda has certainly led to a decline of the USA. We once stood out for our broad middle class prosperity and economic mobility, but 30 years of redistribution of wealth and income to the top with tax cuts, deregulation, union busting and offshoring have left us more like a 3′rd world nation where the dictator and his family and friends own everything.

    Our lead in science and technology is also slipping. Spending on R&D is decreasing relative to other nations (y’know, gvt spending is bad), the cost of higher education is rising because states don’t have the tax revenue to fund their universities. Nobody but us has bozos in leadership positions who don’t believe in evolution and who do believe humans can’t change the climate. Other nations are building their public infrastructure, airports, rail, etc  while we let them crumble or privatize them.tch

    With a choice between a Rockefeller republican and an Etchasketch, we’re not gonna take the obvious steps to reverse the trend, either. 

    • donniethebrasco

       The failure of America is cultural.

      We spend more and more money on a failing education system.  Our education system continues to enrich itself, but fail its students.

      Special ed and remedial education are now the rule, not the exception.  Parents and students are being railroaded by poor administrations and thinned curriculum.

      The only opportunity is to have the left and right figure out how to implement school choice that focuses on allowing higher education standard be met.

      There are too many 21 year olds attending school for free breakfast and free lunch and not to start a business or get a job.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Sounds more like donniethetalkingpoint. I do love that movie, tho.

        I know how to translate righty newspeak into English, “choice” = privatization. I do agree “special” and “remedial” are out of hand.

        Anyway I was talking about higher ed where the massive state de-funding of their universities is a big fat fact, as is our decline in spending on R&D compared to the international competition.

        There are too many 21 yr olds who have no job to find thanks to offshoring, or if they can find one it’s a 3′rd world peon’s job thanks to union busting and the greed of the romney types.

      • 1Brett1

        You make it sound as though kids are faking having special needs, and they are duping teachers and administrators so they can stay in school until they’re 21 so they can get free breakfasts and lunches and get out of working. You also make it sound as if teachers and administrators are deliberately perpetuating such practices…

        If that’s your view, you diminish whatever sliver of credibility you may have held prior to your comment here. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    This show shows the issue very well – the defined “us” and “them” has changed – but they talk like it hasn’t. “America” is not this monolith with one set of goals. Many here will (and have) sell America for a price.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    Oh, your Daddy Bush death squads are gone from South America?

    Boo hoo.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    He’s right to say that it’s long past time for Europe to defend itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1741643803 Charlie McNamee

     “Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow.” (Jesus)
    “A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet”
    (Lao Tzu)
    “You never achieve happiness until you stop pursuing it.”(Chuang Tzu)
          We have lost our spirituality. We judge everything materialistically, and we treat others by what we stand to gain from them. Eastern spirituality and Western spirituality have something to say which can help save us all. It’s that interiority is meaningless in today’s world, yet therein lies the pearl of great price.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       We never believed in the kind of “spirituality” in your first and third quotations–that’s why we’ve succeeded so far.

    • northeaster17

      If it can not be monetized it has no right to exist. That’s my take on whats happening in the world these day’s. Such a foolish way.

  • Davesix6

    The US didn’t win the cold war, the USSR defaulted and it fell in our laps. Really Ambassador Freeman?
    That line may work when addressing a group of disgruntled leftist or college students but for those of us who remember the cold war it is simply foolishness.
    The Soviet Union fell because their Socialist/Communist form of government was lacking and our system of Free Enterprise worked.
    I simply don’t understand the defeatest left wing attitude, this nation is “acceptional” because of Freedom.
    I do however agree with you on the debt problem.
    Our debt will continue to grow and is impossible to payback so long as we are using “Fiat Currency” and printing money out of thin air.
    Fiat currency has failed throughout history, we have got to get back to the “Gold Standard” or the pyramid will colapse and this nation indeed the entire world will suffer.

    • jefe68

      You have an interesting narrative that is convenient as it helps back up your world view. However Ambassador Freeman is right, the US outspent the former USSR and they could not keep up.

      By the way we don’t have a free enterprise system, we have a capitalist system that is a lot of things, but it’s not a free market system.

      How are we exceptional? I’m sick of this myth being used to describe our nation as it’s based on a lot notions that are false.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Leadership has to be based upon understanding. To negotiate from a position of strength, one has to have a foundation based upon facts.

    Washington’s practice of patronage in diplomatic assignment does no one any good. The financial elite seem to feel entitled to run the government, but wealth is not a qualification or indicator of probability of successfully legislating for the benefit of the country. – Rowney’s large and in charge bluster comes out of his magical thinking bubble; it’s all part of flag waving fear mongering. Not good can come of any of that.

    • hennorama

      “Not [sic] good can come of any of that.”

      Actually, enormous good can come of that, for the few who are “large and in charge,” of course.

      I agree with your sentiment overall – merit is far better than patronage-enabled “entitlement”.

  • Coastghost

    Are we (not only Americans) not hiding from history if we dare think that the year 2101 will arrive (large assumption) without the globe having gone through at least World War III (a real WWIII, not the Cold War+ nonsense of academic policy advisors)? We already see the 2007 to 2012 period as the most severe worldwide economic downturn since the Great Depression. Isn’t it the case that a global war will erupt inevitably after which temporary “settlement” of these myriad issues will have been attained satisfactorily for whatever handful of decades follows such conflict?

  • AC

    i’m sooo glad he’s mentioning this! i’ve wondered why more businesses don’t jump on board about infrastructure issues – they’re the ones who will suffer the most!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    Tell Americans how the Chinese are buying our farmland as we speak.

  • ToyYoda

    Rare earth metals are not rare, that’s a misnomer. If you don’t believe me, look it up on wikipedia. We have them here in the states, and we just don’t want to mine them because of the environmental impact.

    Please speak to the fact that neither party wants to address this but instead use “rare” as a political tool to accuse China of unfair trade practices.

    • AC

      i’m not sure you know how mining/mineral rights are handled.
      often we don’t mine them because the chinese pay the american owners NOT to. the government can not tell it’s private citizens what to do with their properties as far as  i know…

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Sure they can.

        It rarely ever goes that far though.

        The simple principle of Capital Gain dictates whether or not supply is increased. Can’t have supply skyrocketing now can we?

      • Davesix6

        AC, actually ToyYoda makes a good point.
        The government can and does actually tell private citizens what they “cannot” do with their properties.

        The EPA does this daily in the name of “environmental impact”.

        No one wants dirty air or water, it’s just really gotten crazy in the past few years and very difficult for “clean” economic growth with this EPA.

        • AC

          it is not this EPA; in point of fact, it is new knowledge!! there are methods, but they’re expensive – you’re just falling for the whiners who don’t want to follow the steps – trust me, i’ve met many, they’re a bunch of lazy, sloppy whiners
          also, i have ‘insiders’ perspective – trust me, mining companies are willing to give you a fortune for your rights, the govt doesn’t stand a chance! owners are more than happy to take the money – look up uniroyalities.

      • ToyYoda

        China pays Americans not to mine minerals? Where did you learn about this, that’s a bold statement. In fact Molycorp and announced last year that it plans to mine for rare earth minerals. Also, last year a mining company in Australia announced the same. Both are in response to the high price of the minerals fetch on the market.

        Whether China isn’t bribing or is (which I completely doubt), that’s not my point. My point is that lots of tech, science, trade, political, and economical articles state rare earth metals being controlled by China (they own 95% of the supply from mines), but the tacit assumption is that therefore China owns 95% of the metals and thus is bullying everybody. And that is complete nonsense. This nonsense is then used as political tool, and this is the problem that I have; turning general ignorance into political gain, whether that be Republicans or Democrats.

        • AC

          as a practicing geological engineer, i get a lot of industry newsletters and publications; i apologize i can’t recall the exact one where i read that – i tried to google it just now, but it is only showing econominic stats, some similar to yours.
          But it is a small world in this field, and i did believe ti when i read it – i think in fact it was written as a warning not to let our knowledge of dealing with these minerals to slip; not suprised it has taken effect, USGS has been studying this for a while.
          Also uncontested at the moment is Afghanistan

          “The United States Geological Survey is actively surveying southern Afghanistan for rare earth deposits under the protection of United States military forces. Since 2009 the USGS has conducted remote sensing surveys as well as fieldwork to verify Soviet claims that volcanic rocks containing rare earth metals exist in Helmand province near the village of Khanneshin. The USGS study team has located a sizable area of rocks in the center of an extinct volcano containing light rare earth elements including cerium and neodymium. It has mapped 1.3 million metric tons of desirable rock, or about 10 years of supply at current demand levels. The Pentagon has estimated its value at about $7.4 billion.”
          A good many free studies and publications can be found through USGS; some you may have to pay for some but you can look here:
          as to whether or not bullying is occurring, I am as dependent on peripheral information as you are, (policy makers tend to view us as only the ‘nerds’ who know the ‘products’)according to wiki under the geopolitical considerations; it was “officially denied”..

          • AC

            they treat us like nerds too, very annoying.

  • sanjukta_ghosh

    While these sentiments may not be completely new, what IS new is the person articulating these ideas — a Nixon admin. adviser.  It exposes to me how far the right in America is.  The center does not hold….

  • Michiganjf

    The Chinese have a better idea of the new world reality:

    Pay market prices for resources world-wide, then reap the benefit by spending less on the military to secure resources by intimidation, and use the rest of the savings on infrastructure and bolstering a consumer class.

    We’ll vote for Romney instead.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

      Or, if you want to continue on that route (which all of Washington does) then make the corporations pay for the military that protects their interests around the world and their supply chain.

      • Michiganjf


    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       The Chinese economy still has too much in the way of command and control, and China is spending a lot on building a military.

      • Michiganjf

        Yeah… so much so that the U.S. still spends more than the next 13 nations combined.

    • Steve__T

       Not me

    • Michele

       I guess it depends on what you call market rate.  The Chinese were paying Nigerians the equiv of $4 US/month to build roads for an oil pipeline.  Not exactly market rate wages.  It’s the same old story: Dominant power pays indigenous population pennies for the natural resources then sells goods back to them made from the resources for huge profits.

  • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

    Ambassador Freeman is speaking plain, hard, common sense informed by history. Huzzah for him. I doubt Americans will listen…but hope springs eternal.

    I hope.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

      Problem is he spent his life creating this sorry state for this country.

      Until I hear a renunciation of his life’s work it’s rather empty words now.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         That’s an ad hominem argument.  Address the ideas that he’s raising right now.  We’re not interviewing him for a new assignment.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

          It goes to credibility.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             Not at all.  Address the idea as it’s presented.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

            I’ve been addressing them as he says them.

    • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

       As I said, he is informed by history…his own included. And if you don’t learn lessons for the present and future from history, you are truly lost.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GYOKNNUKGSRTSA4RNFMUJRO5WE Greg

    Obamacare and Romneycare.

    Nothing but lots of money to the bloodsucking health insurance companies for little healthcare.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

    The world is changing and it is hard to accept. We are declining in our superpower status and this is not totally bad. We helped bring it about. Our decline is less the result of becoming weak, but rather other countries becoming stronger economically as a result of our quest to help them be free.

    Our country has always been a promoter of democracy and free markets. We have always opposed repression, dictatorships and central control. We cherish our own freedom and the freedom of others. A historically defining moment was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It was the beginning of the fast end of the Soviet Union. It was also the beginning of other nations believing they also could be free and determine their own future.

    China is another example of peoples quest of freedom. China’s ruling power in the 1970′s made a strategic decision to convert much of its economic apparatus to a more open system to unleash the power and ingenuity of its people by capturing the benefits of our free market system while at the same time centrally controlling other strategic decisions of their country. This central control will not be able to withstand the power of the people. The freedoms given to China’s economy will slowly and surely wrestle control of the central government from the communist party.

    The China experiment is another example of the United States relinquishing some of its world influence by promoting freedom and free markets in other parts of the world. China will be the historic legacy of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, far surpassing Watergate.We are slowly waking up to the fact that our promotion of freedom also means we are promoting competitors to our standard of living. As these countries become better competitors wanting more of the good life and using more energy. As this happens prices will rise and we will have little choice but to find other sources of cleaner energy.

    “Per capita consumption rates in China are still about 11 times below ours, but let’s suppose they rise to our level. … China’s catching up alone would roughly double world consumption rates…

    If India as well as China were to catch up (with the United States), world consumption rates would triple. If the developing world were suddenly to catch up, world rates would increase eleven fold. It would be as if the world population ballooned to 72 billion people (retaining present consumption rates).” The York Times, January 2, 2008

    The above quote is somewhat outdated but the reality remains even more serious. Russia and Brazil are forming a middle class and free markets. Countries in southern Africa are becoming more prosperous as a result of gaining freedoms and exploitation of their abundant natural resources. The Arab Spring will mean more prosperous countries and citizens in that part of the world competing for the worlds bounty.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       One problem is that we haven’t always supported democracy.  See our history with Iran in the fifties and with Central and South America throughout the Cold War as examples.

      The principle is good, but like humans generally, we don’t always live up to it.

      • hennorama

        Indeed, the brief history of the USA is filled with compromise and pragmatism in the face of threats, internal and external, both real and imagined.

        However, history shows the inexorable rise of democracy and peace, in spite of these threats and our frequent reversion to the basest aspects of human nature.

        We can always do better, but we’ve done pretty dang well overall.

  • divine582

    Wonderful topic. Can the Ambassador comment on the Federal Reserve and the global central banking involvement?

  • mikepiehl

    Someone PLEASE fix our foreign policy! Any good bouncer will tell you you can defuse a fight better with kindness than with a show of force.
    (Patrick Swayze in “Road House” fires on bouncer: “You don’t have the temperment for the job.”)

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    We do have an exceptional idea.  At the founding of this country, we declared a principle of liberty for all.  It’s taken time, and we’re not there yet, but the idea was something new.

  • Davesix6

    Whoa Ambassador! How in the world can you go from this nation not being exceptional to listing some of our best attributes and resources?

    Such as fertile land, abundant water, ingenuity, enough shale oil and natural gas to become energy self sufficient.

    Ambassador you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth, so to speak.
    How can you bemoan our not ratifying the Kyoto Accords and then tout the fact that we have enough shale oil and natural gas to become energy self sufficient?

    Don’t get me wrong I agree with you, we do have enough oil, natural gas and coal to become truly energy self sufficient, at least for a time, it just sounds as though you have not really made up you mind.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Great show today! Thank you Ambassador Freeman. Tom, and OP Staff!

  • Davesix6

    Ambassador, Sharia law applies to everyone in any nation that it is made the law of the land, regardless if they are Muslim or not.

  • Don_B1

    The Ambassador may not be well informed on Sharia Law. I have read from a number of Islamic clerics that what is called Sharia does not come from the Koran, but from Arab “traditions.” There are less “Ten Commandments” in the Koran than in the Christian Bible.

  • brettearle

    As much as I think Tom Ashbrook is one of the best, he should never have let Ambassador Freeman suggest that Israel’s and the USA’s saber-rattling is empowering Iran toward acquiring a nuclear weapon!

    I don’t get it.

    Ahmadenijad (sp?) has been screaming for the Jewish state’s annihilation, for years, and Freeman’s blaming the country who is being threatened?


    • elzarrow

       If you shove a person up against the wall and threaten violence and their life, as the U.S. and Israel have done with Iran since ’79 and more intensely recently, the person will attempt to protect self if not retaliate.  Possibly the only option for Iran’s self-protection from U.S./Israel is the nuclear option.  I don’t support nuclear weapons in any country, including the U.S., but this is the reality of how we have approached Iran in recent years.

      • brettearle

        You’re full of bull.

        Because alcohol is legal–does that mean we should legalize marijuana and endanger even more people on the road?

        We need less nuclear weapons not more.

        Israel has never threatened Iran.  Nor has Iran ever claimed that Israel has ever threatened it.

        Israel has ALWAYS talked of destroying military installations, as a pre-emptive strike to protect its own security.

        All Iran does is talk about destroying the entire state of Israel.

        You are–nothing less than–ENTIRELY FULL OF BULL…..

        • Steve__T

           I know that it is hard to hear the truth, that people think that the US and Israel, have been unfair, It their view if you have something more substantive than yelling your full of… they may listen rather than dismiss your opinion as very one sided and not worth reading.

          • brettearle

            What IS substantive IS in my comment above.

            If Ahmadenijad’s threats were misinterpreted–via translation problems–THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WOULD HAVE CAUGHT ON TO THIS YEARS AGO.

            Many in the MSM are Left-leaning and are much more Labor than they are Likud.

            I have stated something VERY VERY substantive.

            It is YOU who doesn’t want to hear, what I am saying, if you claim that my comment is all bluster and nothing else.

          • brettearle

            What IS substantive IS in my comment above.

            If Ahmadenijad’s threats were misinterpreted–via translation problems–THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WOULD HAVE CAUGHT ON TO THIS, YEARS AGO.

            Many in the MSM are Left-leaning and are much more Labor than they are Likud.

            I have stated something VERY VERY substantive.

            It is YOU who doesn’t want to hear, what I am saying, if you claim that my comment is all bluster and nothing else.

    • spiral007

       please go and do some research to verify your statement about ‘Ahmadinejad screaming for Jewish states annihilation’.  Can you provide a link? 

      What was actually SAID by Ahmadinejad was:

      The full quote translated directly to English:

      “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”

      Word by word translation:

      Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).

      The word “map” was never used. The Persian word for map, “nagsheh” is not contained anywhere in his original Farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase “wipe out” ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran’s president threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” despite never having uttered the words “map.” “wipe out” or even “Israel.”

      • brettearle

        Oh, sure, Mr. Linguist…..Oh, sure.


        The Mainstream Media are OFTEN resistant to Israeli policy.

        If what you say has any Truth, to it, whatsoever, it would been exposed by the Left-Leaning Press.

        You’re also full of Bull……

    • Michele

       Do you know what goes on in closed door meetings?  He clearly stated that Israel and the US threaten Iran almost daily.  I will take the Ambassador’s word over yours.  I have read your posts ranting against another poster Dee and I would suggest that you are as extreme in your views as she is in hers.  There is a middle ground where the truth exists.  Neither side has clean hands and nor are there any clear cut victims here. 

      The bottom line is that we all need to GROW UP on a domestic and global scale.

      • brettearle

        You assume that I am only pro-Israel–simply because I go after the commenter, here, who refers to “Zionists” every chance she gets.

        You would be wrong, Expedient Breath.

        I deplore some of Israel’s policies–ESPECIALLY the Settlements issue.

        But I DON’T go around screaming about Israel-hating Jihadists, LIKE DEE DOES ABOUT ZIONISTS.

        For you to suggest that I am from the opposite extreme only shows up your own political bias and your own kneek-jerk reactions, without trying to see below the surface, my friend.

        When a man or a woman uses an ethnic-political buzzword, EVERY CHANCE SHE GETS, regardless of what she is talking about, then she is POLLUTING THE PROCESS.

        And she must be called out.

        You are missing the point.

        Bibi’s acquiescence to the Radical Right Zionists, in his country, is an OUTRAGEOUS OBSTACLE TO MIDDLE EAST PEACE.



        You have missed the subtlety of my argument–and my guess is that you will not have the courage to reply.

        • Michele

          Firstly, I do not appreciate name calling as it is childish.  Moreover I did not state that you are pro-Israeli.  I stated that your views are as extreme as the other poster.  You have made my case for me with your latest rant.

          I would also respectfully disagree that  there is subtlety in your argument.

          • brettearle

            Either my views are extreme–because they are pro-Israel and Dee is anti-Israel–or they are OBVIOUSLY NOT extreme.

            What you object to is my VEHEMENCE.

            I despise the kind of political bigotry that we see with one COMMENTER WHO USES “ZIONISTS” EVERY CHANCE SHE GETS.

            THAT……..is EXTREME….

            You don’t LIKE IT……because I AM CALLING HER OUT….and it is VERY VERY likely because you agree with her much more politically, than you do, both sides.

            Otherwise, you would not be defending her much. less the Ambassador.


            Care to call him EXTREME?

            Where is your ongoing courage to respond to this comment, my friend?

          • Michele

             I do not agree with extremism on any side.  I am not defending anyone’s position having merely pointed out that your extremism is the same as the other poster’s. Regardless of the opinions you posit.

            Moreover, I clearly stated in my original post that neither side is innocent and stand by that opinion.  The overall discourse is
            not furthered by entrenched views regardless of their political stripe.

            Disagreeing with someone over their opinions can be done in a respectful way that does not include name calling and shouting. 

            Additionally, it may seem as if I am defending the other poster because while she expressed an opinion it seems your idea of calling her out is really to silence or shut her down.  I do not fully agree with either of you in your views.  As I stated earlier there is truth on both sides.

            I might add that it is odd that you would ask where my “courage” in responding to you is before giving me that opportunity. 

            Trust me, my courage has been tested on many occasions – this however is not one of them.

          • brettearle

            You are completely wrong about what I say and why I say it.


            I see both sides–as you do.

            BUT SHE DOESN’T.

            But…..IT IS OK, WITH ME, THAT SHE DOESN’T.















            WHERE ELSE?

  • elzarrow

    Chas Freeman for president!!!!

    • Amy Hendrickson

       Yes, or at least secty of state!!

  • elzarrow

     This is not the case in India or the UK, for instance, where Muslims may use Sharia law in certain legal cases within their community

  • Yar

    The only state George McGovern carried in 1972 was Massachusetts.  The scary thing is that you were right about Nixon. What did you know then, and what do you know now about Mitt Romney? Why doesn’t Massachusetts believe in Mitt Romney as a potential leader?  After all he was your Governor.  

    • J__o__h__n

      Romney would not have been re-elected governor (and he lost when he ran for senate).

      • jefe68

        That’s for sure, he spent the the last two years of his governorship gearing up to run for president.
        He was also prone to putting the state he was governor of down in ways that were harmful to attracting businesses to the state. Some governor if you ask me the man was not fit for that state office and he’s even less fit for the presidency.  

        • pete18

           It’s a far more impressive resume than community organizer.

          • Mike_Card

            To some.

          • 1Brett1

            “community organizer”? That’s the best you can come up with as a retort to the idea that the people of Massachusetts are putting Obama 30 percentage points ahead of Romney because they are familiar with a governing Romney and reject him as a potential president based on how he lead his state as governor? …Such a tired meme, “community organizer,” that didn’t even have relevance during the last election.

          • pete18

            No that’s my response to your critique of Romney as being unfit for office. In 2008, Obama was one of the most unprepared candidates in Presidential history with a resume of accomplishments and experience as thin as Joe Biden’s hair.

          • 1Brett1

            “no, that’s my response to your critique…” 

            Um…a response comes after a comment. You weren’t responding to any comment I made when you used the “community organizer” phrase; my comment comes afterward.

            Nevertheless, you’ve missed the points you WERE responding to, and you’ve missed my point, as well…

          • pete18

            Well, to address your rather petty and irrelevant concern, I’ll switch “your” to “jefe68′s” in my response.

             Massachusetts almost always votes for the Democrat in Presidential Elections. That  Pavlovian twitch 
            in the voting booth doesn’t diminish Romney’s CV any in contrast to Obama’s two- line resume, nor does it make Obama’s disastrous last four years look any less the pile  of debris that it has been.

          • 1Brett1

            You might have a point if Obama were only slightly ahead (he’s way beyond that), but MA did elect Romney governor, right? Also, Pavlov dealt with only reflexive behaviors. Voting isn’t a reflexive behavior, no matter how much you try to insert such an awkward metaphor. Bad metaphor showing a lack of understanding of basic behavioral principles, maybe use  metaphors you know something about Next time…

          • pete18

            Yeah, because surely I didn’t want to sugest that the Massachusetts voter was”reflexive”

          • 1Brett1

            You don’t know what “reflexive” with regard to the autonomic nerve system means, do you?

          • Don_B1

            When President Obama worked as a community organizer, after graduating from Columbia University, he was finding ways for union workers to find solutions for their working lives, helping them learn how to solve grievances and increase their pay to make better lives for themselves. See:


            to learn how the community organizer improves the lives of people at the local level.

            Also, read this about Governor Mitt Romney:


  • Dee

    Romney’s leading by example is for the US to be “So 
    Big and Powerful no one will dare oppose the US”. 

    Romney, like the neocons and Zionist hawks he repre-
    sents need to be reined in and charged with their war 
    crimes accordingly–against defenseless people. 


    Check out JFK’s take on the world in 1963 and get the 
    sense of the manmade conflicts we are involved in to-
    day.This must end and the Jewish land thieves must 
    driven off Palestinian land in the territories and with-
    draw our troops from Afghanistan and special forces 
    and drones from the Arabian Pennisula & North Africa.

    jfk’s commencement address at the U. ofWashington

    • brettearle

               LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,




      NO SIREEE!




      • Steve__T

         No need to scream, I am sure you are sensitive of her post but I don’t think ranting does you well. Peace.

        • Mike_Card

          If, in fact, this avatar is feminine.

        • brettearle

          There IS a need to scream.

          When we have a radical zealot, in our midst–who looks for the slightest reason to include a small group of ethnic/religious ideologues, in her broad arguments about the world–then WE DO HAVE THE NEED TO SCREAM.

          This kind of EXTREME BIAS is not good for debate, is not good for the country, and IS NOT GOOD FOR “ON POINT’S THREAD”.

          This distorted thinker POLARIZES EVERYBODY.

          for …who….and….what….she…..is

          • OregonEric

            brettearle, you say “single her out,” yet condemn her for singling out whom SHE finds dangerous and offensive – the Zionists.

          • brettearle

            You don’t know what you’re talking about.

            It is commonly accepted that two of the only major news outlets who support Israel, to any real degree, are Fox News and The Economist.



      • OregonEric

        I applaud Dee’s bringing up subjects that the US media will not, and agree with her wholeheartedly!

  • Lauren Smith

    Where can I find a link to the show from today online.  I was highly impressed with the presentation, discussion, and content and would like to send it along.  Thank you for putting such appropriate and thought provoking presenters on our media.

  • ttajtt

    is the pole(S) to shift? is that 2012?  finger prints of the gods, and voices of the rocks talk of pre-poler shift civilizations.  

  • Amy Hendrickson

    What a delight to hear such good sense! Thank you Tom Ashbrook and

    His points about our first building an international legal structure after
    WWII and then ignoring international law in all ways post 9/11,
    is similar to a point I made in a letter to Congressman Barney Frank
    several years ago.

    In a situation where the US  is more and more incapable of imposing its will and agenda on the rest of the world, we will benefit most from a solid institutional structure of the rule of law. It is clear that our financial dominance is sliding, and the attempt to continue our military dominance based on borrowing 29% of our spending clearly cannot continue.

    If we want real security, what we need is a structure of international
    law, and what a blessing that would be for everyone on the planet.

    Beyond considering the morality of such a structure, for  a
    country such as ours, that is becoming only one of many prosperous
    countries and may soon not have the largest economy, it would be very
    smart to protect ourselves, and in the process, everyone else, from just the kinds of aggression that we’ve perpetrated on Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries, and from drone attacks such as those we’re inflicting on Pakistan and Yemen.

    Surely we wouldn’t want another power to inflict these kinds of attacks, or domination on us, and our best bet is a solid international structure that protects all.

    Thank you, Ambassador Freemen for your many reasonable points. I
    look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  • ttajtt

    where on earth has human kind NOT changed the – air water soil sun, – keys to a healthy environmental web? and whom got gets what for its replacement? 

  • hennorama

    I find Amb. Freeman’s ideas quite intriguing, and hope they become more widely discussed:

    - Listen to people abroad and take their views into account

    - Find a basis for cooperation with rising powers

    - China’s challenge is principally economic, not political or military, yet our response (a military “pivot to Asia”) is primarily military, “as if that’s all we know how to do”

    - We don’t have much margin for error due to our economic malaise and the rise of other economic powers, notably China

    - We can’t afford all of the things we’re trying to do around the world, especially militarily

    - We need to use our natural advantages to better effect

    - We have compromised our own Bill Of Rights in response to 9/11, in the name of security, reducing the attractiveness of our ideas to others around the world in the face of such compromise

    - We should aspire to be the best, yet evidence shows we are far from the best in health care, etc.

    - Power is more diffused worldwide and the world is more democratic, therefore we can’t lead “by carrying the big stick” but need instead to lead more by example, starting with improving our own circumstances at home

    - People worldwide have tuned out and turned away from US ideas, due to American military actions and political bluster and the hypocrisy of how we’ve compromised our founding ideals

    - We’re in a difficult period and need to recognize and respond to this fact more rapidly

    In sum – cooperation rather than confrontation, in recognition of the rise of others, combined with our relative decline.  Leadership by example rather that at the point of a gun.  Strive to be the best rather than settle for mediocrity.  Exchange and debate ideas, rather than stridently react in panic to external threats.

    Amb. Freeman’s ideas have some resemblance to both Thomas Friedman’s concepts about American decline (“That Used To Be US”), and Tom Engelhardt’s view of the US military’s “eternal war” making us both stong and weak, simultaneously.


    Tonight’s debate should be interesting, but I doubt many of these concepts will be discussed, unfortunately

    • Bruce94

      I agree.  This was a great show to set up tonight’s debate.  How interesting that Amb. Freeman suffered the same fate as other Obama agency nominees whose credentials were ignored by GOP Congressional obstructionists, and whose appointments were rejected or withdrawn due to unprecedented GOP abuse of the filibuster and advice & consent rules— confirming the GOP axiom:  “Government is not the solution to the problem, Government IS the problem…just elect us Republicans and we’ll prove it.”

      With the exception of some alleged statements that were probably lifted out of context concerning the Tiananmen Square protests and some of his public critique of the “Israeli lobby” (which were not mentioned much in this interview), I agree with most everything that he asserted regarding the need to revamp our role in the international community.

      One area where Freeman lost me, however, was U.S. “energy self- sufficiency.” Last time I checked oil & gas were fungible commodities in limited supply sold and distributed globally.  Assuming there are sufficient oil stocks in the U.S., Canada & Mexico to sustain our economy into the foreseeable future, if the U.S. cannot guarantee that it would necessarily be the highest bidder, then those resources would not be the game changer for us that Romney alleges. Furthermore, most estimates put the total oil reserves of the U.S. at 2% of the world’s supply—hardly enough to meet our profligate demand (i.e. U.S. oil
      consumption at 20% of the world’s supply). And most of the oil we haven’t
      already extracted is not easily accessed;
      its removal would entail more expensive, riskier technology driving up price and
      potentially creating more BP-type disasters. “Energy self-sufficiency” via a “Drill, Baby, Drill” strategy like Romney is proposing is, thus, a fool’s errand.  What is required is nothing less than a
      re-industrialization policy tied not only to
      revival of our auto industry, but also to development of renewable, clean energy and green technology.  Only one candidate, Obama, has identified this as a priority (see The Recovery Act & Auto Rescue) and budgeted for it with the creation of the ARPA-E, which will transform our energy future unless
      Romney et al prevail and dismantle it on the altar of short-term gain, windfall
      profits to a few multinationals and cont. wreaking of havoc on the Earth’s

      Amb. Freeman did nail it, without doubt, when he correctly identified Romney’s Neo-Con mind-set, which would likely divert substantial resources in the fed. budget to a bloated Defense Dept. and promote more ill-conceived, military adventures abroad.  Also one wonders just what kind of Romnesia Mitt was hit with when he identified Russia as “without question our number one geo-political foe.”  Did he sleepwalk thru the end of the Cold War or what?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dhrosier Dreighton Rosier

    “A country as rich as America …”  President Obama used this phrase to justify a social program, revealing he asks that we take for granted that we are still so rich.  We have college graduates with large student loans they cannot pay because they cannot find work that pays enough to live and pay bills.  In spite of that we import people from foreign countries where there is suffering and give many of them college educations at taxpayer expense.  This is indefensible.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Depends on what you mean “we”. The USA as a whole is still rich – the GDP keeps increasing. However, voodoo economics has diverted all the growth and income to the top. So, instead of broad prosperity, we have a 3′rd world model of super-rich and peons.

      If 10 people gain $100,000, or if one person gets $1,000,000 and nine get nothing, the group has had the same increase in wealth.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564925407 Jason Fordham

        The model of what actually happened in the US to each $1,000,000 of stimulus is best illustrated with 100 people:  1 person got $930,000, and the other 99 shared $70,000 – $700 each, on average. If you were already poor, and struggling to keep putting food on the table, you got very little indeed.


        • TomK_in_Boston

          With our current system of ultra low taxes at the top and deregulated corporations, as GDP increases, the 99% get very little indeed. The way to make the ongoing richness of the USA as a whole relevant to most of the citizens is big tax increases at the top.

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  • TomK_in_Boston

    The second half of the 20′th century was “American” in science and technology for several reasons. Adolf Hitler drove the german scientists he didn’t kill to the USA, and german leadership passed to the USA. Then post-WW2 we had rapidly expanding government spending on scientific research, government spending on the GI Bill to let those returning GIs go to college without the 21′st century curse of “student loan debt”, and rapidly expanding state government spending to provide nearly free, high quality, public higher education. Throw in the Apollo project, and we got an explosion in science and technology, the internet, biotech, etc.

    Now, gvt spending and taxing have become bad. Some states fund less than 10% of their “State Universities”, to keep taxes on the rich low, so tuition is rising. Support of science is falling compared to our international competitors. We produce fewer PhDs while they produce more. We cut back while they expand. We even have legislators who don’t believe in science, they are more like medieval clerics.

    We can lose that #1 position in science and technology just like germany did, with horrible implications for the economy. The only way to keep the lead is with more government spending, funded by higher taxes on the rich. It’s absurd that our future is sacrificed so that people with accounts bursting with more wealth than they can figure out what to do with don’t have to make a little “shared sacrifice”, y’know, the thing that the class warriors are always asking from the middle class.

  • Patrick McCann

    This guy is against drone strikes and detaining enemies on the battlefield – yeah, I’m going to take him seriously.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIFA3QXPIWZF6Z5N76C57OM3S4 Paul

      Why not stretch your feeble imagination and just try.

  • john__riley

    “Are we living in a dream world?”
    The citizenry of this country condones drone strikes.  Unacceptable.  Yet who is willing to say NOT IN MY NAME?
    Great guest.

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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