Opinions of Peter Belmont
Speaking Truth to Power

Sanders v. Clinton —A Vivid Contrast

by Peter A. Belmont / 2016-06-05
© 2016 Peter Belmont


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A commenter on another blog has not unreasonably asked:

Why would anyone care about the hypocritical slogans of this base woman (Clinton)? * * * Between her and the hateful knucklehead Trump, America has no real choice. This country is doomed.
It seems to me that, if this commenter is right, then the Middle East is also doomed.

That is an aspect of the increasingly clear and always vivid contrast between Clinton and Sanders. Clinton likes things the way they are, likes political power to reside in the corporate board rooms and likes American military power to be in constant use; and Sanders wants political power to be transferred from the corporations to the people and American military power to be used only occasionally, if ever again necessary, for real defense.

Clinton is, then, counterrevolutionary, and Sanders is revolutionary. She would maintain status quo, he would turn it upside down.

Sanders’s revolution is not a matter of the Democratic Party convention alone: it is a matter of continuing effort as are all programs of essential change of status quo—as is, for instance, the effort to turn around the earth’s mad rush into global warming / climate change (GWCC). And although both Clinton and Sanders claim to wish to fight GWCC, Clinton is “in bed” with the corporations whose power, for 25 years, has stymied any serious attempt within the USA to stem GWCC, and Sanders is vocally against corporate hegemony.

Thus, the differences between Clinton and Sanders are not just about economics, as FDR-economic-similarities with Sanders might suggest.

They are about searching for a safe, secure, peaceful, and just world (Sanders) or maintaining a world perpetually at war (Clinton). They are about maximum effort to curtail GWCC (Sanders) or making nice with the multinational corporations which have stymied action on GWCC (Clinton)

They are also about searching for justice for the Palestinian people (Sanders) or maintaining Israel’s iron hold on Palestinian land and iron refusal to grant Palestinian human, national, and territorial rights (Clinton).

I am not alone in seeing a nexus between oligarchy-environmental disaster-Palestinian disaster (Clinton) and anti-oligarchy-environmental improvement-Palestinian rights (Sanders). The following essay by Naomi Klein is eloquent on this subject:Let Them Drown / The Violence of Othering in a Warming World.

And the differences between Clinton and Sanders are also about an end to Clinton’s well-beloved war-war-war, as Jeffrey Sachs tweeted:
Donald Trump is “dangerously incoherent” says HRC. HRC is dangerously coherent, for war, war, war. The choice is obvious. Bernie.
quoted in Sanders to Clinton: Yes, Trump’s Foreign Policy Ideas Are Scary. But So Are Yours.

Clinton is a creature of the military-industrial-imperialist-interventionist-complex. She doesn’t know and cannot imagine another way to “be”. And if she somehow wanted to be otherwise, she couldn’t imagine a way to break out. She is trapped in her “past”, by her fund-raising, and probably by her lack of imagination (and apparent lack of humane principles).

Taking her at face value, she believes that America is “great” (and “safe”) only when it is pulverizing other countries, usually in a push for cheap natural resources and monocultured produce—coffee, bananas, etc., produced by large commercial “farmers” in “third-world” countries where poor people are (as also increasingly in the USA itself these days) disposable, countries with the authoritarian governments that the USA has typically imposed and supported. Nowadays, American military and diplomatic power is also used to promote and protect the profits of holders of American copyrights and patents, the pharmaceutical industry being a notable recipient of such protection (think: TPP, TTIP, NAFTA, etc.; and think of the high cost of pharmaceuticals to Americans ourselves, as the USA’s fox-like corporatist (oligarchic) government runs the people’s chicken house.)

And the coming brou-ha-ha about Israel and Palestine is significant of the vivid contrast between Clinton and Sanders.

Clinton is inseparably intertwined with the American “deep security state run by the military and the CIA” that Sachs mentions. I call this “Big-Military”, the military-interventionist wing of the American oligarchy. The oligarchy is, of course, the Big-Money-behind-the-scenes folks—including Big-Military, Big-Banks, Big-Pharma, Big-Oil, Big-Agri, and so forth—who pretty much control American governance as it relates to money and military matters.

Nor is the American oligarchy merely American: it is global, based on multinational corporations. As we read here
Like a mythical sea monster, the true nature of a Wall Street-London centered global corporatocracy is often talked about but rarely seen. However, on rare occasions, a tentacle breaks the surface and affords the public an opportunity to examine and assess its true, gargantuan dimensions.

Just such a moment occurred when leaked diplomatic letters from the Colombian Embassy in Washington D.C. revealed just how far the United States government is willing to go on behalf of the corporate-financier interests that clearly shape the entirety of its foreign policy.

Do Israel and the USA share core values, as Clinton and many other establishment politicians of both parties so tirelessly asseverate? Read the Clinton speech at AIPAC; AIPAC, of course, as a part of America’s Big-Money oligarchy which funds politicians of both major parties, is clearly one of the “BIGs” of the oligarchy and may reasonably be called Big-Zion. Clinton tells AIPAC:
The United States and Israel must be closer than ever, stronger than ever and more determined than ever to prevail against our common adversaries and to advance our shared values.

Well, Israel is clearly an imperialist state, created in 1945-50 by terrorism, first against the British and then against the Palestinian Arabs, and maintained after 1950 by making war on its neighbors without ever giving a sign of a willingness to curtail its expansive territorial ambitions—that is, giving no sign of desiring an ultimate well-defined Israeli territory smaller than all of Mandatory Palestine.

And this is exactly in line with the foreign policy of America’s “deep security state” except that the USA does not use its military to seize territory.

But Americans (I mean the people, not the “deep state” or oligarchy or plutocracy) do not see imperialism as a “core American value”—the way Big-Military does. They are mostly ignorant of the USA’s constant war-fighting and constant interventions in foreign countries.

So Clinton’s claim that America’s values and Israel’s are the same puts her squarely at odds with the values of the American people as Sanders sees them (and as young voters seem to embody them).

Thus the Clinton/Sanders controversy puts the question on Israel/Palestine clearly: Do Americans want to support not only Israel’s security but also its rapacious appetite for Palestinian land (Clinton) or do they want to support Israel’s security but without supporting its denials of Palestinian human, national, and territorial rights (Sanders).

Support for Palestinian rights is part of Sanders’s message. It is overwhelmingly not part of Clinton’s.

And the USA’s corporatist government, government by oligarchy, is overwhelmingly a focus of the contrast between Clinton and Sanders.

The Sanders “platform” sees that the oligarchy (Big-Money) must have its wings clipped, starting with Big-Banks but not ending there. GWCC must be seriously addressed urgently as the crisis it is.

But Clinton is part of the oligarchy. She lives, breathes, luxuriates (and is funded both politically and personally by) the oligarchy. Clinton is the preferred candidate of those who would maintain the power of the oligarchy. Clinton is the candidate of government of, by, and for Big-Money.

Sanders belongs to no-one. He desires government of, by, and for the people.

Sanders believes in an American foreign policy which espouses cooperation and downplays war. Clinton believes the exact opposite.

Under a Sanders presidency (or even a presidency greatly influenced by Sanders’s proposals), America might seek an end to Israel’s post-1967 military (“belligerent”) occupations and other elements of its efforts, since 1948, to erase Palestine from the map and make the world forget Palestinian human, territorial, and national rights. The reasons behind Israel’s long-continued occupation are addressed here: see “What’s behind the US media’s special relationship with Israel?”
It was not always the case that US media were so one-sided, the filmmakers note. For a brief period following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, mainstream media began to question if a new “imperial Israel” had arisen.

Not everyone sees Israel/Palestine as a central concern; but it is emblematic of the vivid contrast between Clinton and Sanders. Clinton goes with Big-Zion as she goes with all the rest of our oligarchic system of governance. Sanders wishes to set our government and our people free of the shackles of oligarchic control. And these issues touch on all economic issues, on all issues of war and peace, and on all issues of foreign policy.

The contrast between these candidates could not be greater.


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