Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Foreign Policy Press

The airstrikes by the US and its allies that killed 52 Syrian soldiers over the weekend and started the unraveling of the cease fire have quickly been replaced  in the headlines by news of an aid convoy being bombed and by Angelina Jolie's divorce from Brad Pitt.

The airstrikes, however, may have been ordered by officers in the US military who were opposed to the cease fire, some outside the mainstream media are speculating. If that's true -- and several US top brass are on record as "having reservations" about the cease fire deal made by US and Russian politicians -- it would be something akin to a mutiny, an ominous development in an already ominous set of recent developments.

The US has ground troops in Syria. Russia and China have ground troops in Syria. US provocations in the South China Sea against China continue and US provocations against Russia continue in Eastern Europe as the buildup of US and NATO troops on Russia's borders continues largely out of the public eye. Another 4,000 NATO troops were deployed to Poland over the weekend, joining thousands recently stationed along Russia's borders along with their armament and missiles. Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton met yesterday with the puppet president of Ukraine who was installed after the US engineered 2014 coup against Ukraine's elected president.

Another ominous aspect of all this is that the foreign policy press, the reporters who cover the state department and are covering the US war against Syria, are nothing more than cheerleaders for the US state department and military. I've been following some of them on Twitter where they can share the views that have to disguise when they write their articles. In their Twitter comments back and forth they reflexively blame Russia and Syria for things when their government blames Russia and Syria for things. They've internationalized the US propaganda line.

I quickly found this tweet by Steve LeVine of Quartz, forwarded by his colleague Laura Rozen of Middle East Monitor. He accepts as undisputed truth the US government lines that the bombing of Syrian troops was accidental and that Russia bombed the aid convoy, even though there's no evidence for either assertion and LeVine has no way of knowing what happened in either instance.

As a former reporter I can tell you that that's pretty routine, really. Reporters do that for a couple of reasons. One is to keep their sources happy. Their "sources" are the people who will answer their phone calls and who will give them the inside details when they are under deadline pressure and who will give them a headline story now and then in the very competitive field of journalism, which even though its competitive is also a community.

Another reason reporters toe a common storyline is that they are a social group. They hang out out together. They see each other day in and day out at press conferences and news events and sit and shoot the bs for hours and hours waiting for an official to show up for press briefings and things like that. After work they go the bars together, sleep together, develop friendships and romances and so on. Almost no one wants to be an outlier from their social group. In their Twitter comments the foreign policy press even criticize "the media" for how it covers things like the presidential campaign. In other words, they somehow see themselves as being different from other reporters, not of them. From the way they talk to each other it's obvious that they see their peer group as being the foreign policy establishment, government officials, think tank employees, and military brass and military spokespeople.

Meanwhile common Middle Easterners keep dying by the thousands and the nuclear armed superpowers edge closer and closer to war.

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