Robert Parry is one of my favorite columnists. He is truthful, has a sense of justice, and delivers a firm punch. He used to be a “mainstream journalist,” like me, but we were too truthful for them. They kicked us out.
I can’t say Parry has always been one of my favorite journalists. During the 1980s he spent a lot of time on Reagan’s case. Having been on corporate boards, I know that CEOs seldom know everything that is going on in the company. There are just too many people and too many programs representing too many agendas. For presidents of countries with governments as large as the US government, there is far more going on than a president has time to learn about even if he could get accurate information.
In my day Assistant Secretaries and chiefs of staff were the most important people, because they controlled the flow of information. Presidents have to focus on fund raising for their reelection and for their party. More time and energy is used up with formalities and meetings with dignitaries and media events. At the most there are two or three issues on which a president can attempt leadership. If an organized clique such as the neoconservatives get into varied positions of authority, they can actually “create the reality” and take the government away from the president.
As I have reported on many occasions, my experience with Reagan left me with the conclusion that he was interested in two big issues. He wanted to stop the stagflation for which only the supply-side economists had a solution, and he wanted to end, not win, the cold war.
Both of these agendas put Reagan at odds with two of the most powerful of the private interest groups: Wall Street and the military/security complex.
Wall Street for the most part opposed Reagan’s economic program. They opposed it because they understood it as Keynesian deficit pump-priming that would cause an already high inflation rate to explode, which would drive down bond and stock prices.
The CIA and the military opposed any ending of the Cold War because of the obvious impact on their power and budget.
Left-wing journalists never picked up on this, and neither did right-wing journalists.
The left could not get beyond Reagan’s rhetoric. For the left, Reagan was trickle-down economics, Iran/Contra, and the fired air traffic controllers.
The right-wing liked Reagan’s rhetoric and blamed him for not delivering on it.
For the left, the Reagan years were a traumatic time. Robert Parry has never recovered from them. He can scarcely write a column about events today, which are horrific in comparison, without dragging Reagan into it. Parry doesn’t realize it, but if it is all Reagan’s fault, little wonder it has been impossible to hold Clinton, Bush 1 and 2, and Obama accountable.
Having written these lines, I already detect the denunciations coming my way for again attempting to “rehabilitate Ronald Ray-Gun.” Reagan does not need rehabilitating. This column is not about Reagan, and it is not a criticism of Parry. It is praise for Parry’s column, “‘Group-thinking’ the World into a New War.” Read it.
The pattern since Milosevic (and before) has been to demonize a foreign head of state and to take the US to war to get rid of him. That way the secret agenda is achieved under the cover of the necessity of deposing a bad or dangerous ruler.
Parry describes this well. Group-Think plays the important role of preventing any dissent, any suspicion of the case against the demonized person, and any examination of the real agenda that is being pursued.
Now it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who is being demonized. As Parry and I and Stephen F. Cohen, the most knowledgeable of the Russian experts, appreciate, Putin is not Saddam Hussein and Russia is not Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, or Iran. To foment conflict with Russia that could lead to war is worse than irresponsible. Yet, as Parry writes, “from the start of the Ukraine crisis in fall 2013, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every mainstream U.S. news outlet have behaved as dishonestly as they did during the run-up to war with Iraq.”
When Professor Cohen pointed out, correctly, that the lies about Russia, Ukraine, and Putin were hot and heavy, the propagandists had to get rid of the man with the facts. The New Republic, a hang-out for low IQ fools, called America’s leading Russian expert “Putin’s American toady.”
From Parry’s reporting, it appears that Group-Think has spread from the media and foreign policy community into the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which has decided that academic careers require adherence to the government’s propaganda line, which means the neoconservatives’ line.
As I have written on a number of occasions, facts no longer play a role in American political life. Fact-based analysis is also disappearing from academic life and no longer plays a role in official economic reporting. A matrix has been created, an artificial reality that channels the energies and resources of the country into secret agendas that serve the interests of the ruling private interest groups and neoconservative ideology.
The United States government and the American people cannot contend with reality, because they do not know what the reality is.
In America’s make-believe world, neoconservative toadies such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, set the Group-Think tone, while knowledgeable experts such as Stephen Cohen are tuned out.
In effect, America is both blind and deaf. It lives in delusions. Consequently, it will destroy itself and perhaps the world.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.