Weaknesses of the National Security Strategy 2022 – Part 5. USG falsely claims to respect the people’s verdict and defend democracy

In this series, Weaknesses of the National Security Strategy 2022, I’ve been discussing and refuting the claims made in the National Security Strategy 2022, which I refer to as the Sullivan & Biden NSS, even though it’s not clear whether or not Biden’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, wrote the document. Here we’ll look at another claim.

 

Claim 5. The competition in which the US is engaged internationally pits the USG and its support for ordinary people, democracy, and the sanctity of elections against Russia, China, and autocracy. Sullivan & Biden claim that the USG has a vision of openness, freedom, prosperity, and security, while China has a “darker vision.”[1] While this term is vaguely uttered and we’re never given a clear picture what Sullivan & Biden mean by the term, they eventually try to give a little more substance to this idea of a “darker vision” by claiming that the USG and its allies uphold democracy, but their “competitors” or “adversaries” uphold autocracy.[2]

At this point, policymaker rhetoric has clearly returned to the false, unsubstantiated Cold War notion that the “free world” is fighting an oppressive, “evil empire.” It’s important to notice that no proof is provided in the NSS to justify the claim that one side upholds democracy and the other autocracy. Nor have I seen proof in any other article where such a claim is made. We’re supposed to accept this assumption as truth, or as an “of course” that requires no further explanation: prejudice will fill in the empty spaces left by the total lack of evidence and details. It’s a topic already discussed in my earlier essays, including essays on Countercurrents and on my youtube channel labeled Parts 4C, 4E, 4H, 4I, 4K, 4L, 4R, and 4S. I’ll add or repeat just a few more points here but you can refer to these earlier essays for additional information about the allegedly-existing democracy vs. autocracy narrative.

It’s not clear how the USG could possibly be called a democracy. The American people outside the social and business circles that rule the nation have absolutely no voice in foreign policy. The two dominant parties’ slate of national candidates from whom we’re allowed to vote for president and Congress are largely from the same social and business circles and the same dysfunctional psychological patterns of human relations and values. We rarely if ever have any real choice at elections.

Moreover, wealth determines access to policymakers. Wealth determines the outcome of elections. Better to say each dollar has one vote than each person has one vote. And those people with lots of dollars, therefore, have many more votes than those with few. Even within Congress, the power of our elected legislators is drastically weakened by many procedures and circumstances, including the power of committee chairmen who can determine whether or not a bill even reaches the floor to be voted upon.[3] So you can call it a plutocracy, where wealth rules, and you can perhaps call it a kleptocracy, where policymakers and their business cohorts prey upon public tax dollars to serve their own interests, but you definitely can’t call it a democracy.

Yet Sullivan & Biden utter this meaningless piece of verbal candy: “These competitors mistakenly believe democracy is weaker than autocracy because they fail to understand that a nation’s power springs from its people.”[4] How can the power of the United States possibly spring from its people, when we have absolutely no voice in foreign policy and next to no voice in domestic policy? Our mouths are effectively taped shut by the censor machines of US mainstream media. The energy we have is channeled into jobs that consume most of our life energy because most Americans have to work a whole lot of hours just to make ends meet. Remember, one-quarter of us suffer from poor mental health, largely from the type of society in which we live.

It’s utterly ridiculous to say the United States’ power springs from its people when the kind of power Sullivan & Biden depend upon is what they’ve been shipping non-stop to Ukraine: weapons. If a nation’s power springs from its people, why is Biden now proposing an $842-billion-dollar budget for the Defense Department for 2024, a budget over which the American people have no power?[5] Why does the USG feel the need for 4,000 nukes?[6] If the nation’s power springs from its people, why not send 4,000 Americans skilled in non-violent conflict resolution, cooperative dialogue, and prejudice reduction to ease the tensions and communicate for understanding across the fronts of conflict between the US and Russia, between groups within Ukraine, and between those of different perspectives within NATO member nations?

The USG obtains power from its use of weapons and its use of money to bribe and coerce as described in the previous essay, Weaknesses of the NSS Part 4, such as in the 1960s when, as “leader of the free world,” the USG paid the South Korean government millions in aid to send its conscripted males to kill Vietnamese and fight the USG’s war in Vietnam.[7] Meanwhile, the South Korean government helped kidnap South Korean females, also part of the “free world,” to serve the interests of US troops based in South Korea.[8] This is not power that “springs from” the people. It is power over the people.

Not only is it inaccurate to call the United States a democracy, it’s also unclear why Sullivan & Biden call Russia an autocracy. This also has been discussed in my earlier essays. And note that while my own research focus has been largely on Russia and the Mid-East, USG accusations against China are also highly suspect, as described in the “Behind the Smokescreen Report,” as well as several other highly interesting and relevant articles and videos about China, Russia, and Western propaganda on the Transnational Foundation’s website at https://transnational.live.[9]

Ignoring US support for Ukraine’s 2014 coup which toppled a democratically-elected leader and installed a pro-NATO leader,[10] oblivious of nearly 80 years of USG undemocratic foreign election interference and the support and instigation of coups abroad,[11] coups that were undemocratic both in their process and their outcome, Sullivan & Biden have the gall to maintain, “the United States will continue to defend democracy around the world.”

Sullivan & Biden then cry out: “We know that for all of the effort that it takes, our democracy is worth it.”[12] What are they talking about? We don’t even have a democracy! It’s a plutocracy! Yet Sullivan & Biden make it sound like all this “effort” is actually successful in creating democracy! I’ve contacted my legislators many times about policies that enrage me. I know several other people that write letters to their legislators. And guess what! It doesn’t make a difference! All their effort wasn’t worth it. I write letters to my legislators protesting US weapon shipments and get responses “reassuring” me that my legislators have backed bills to send yet more weapons. I and others have written letters to the editor and op-eds. And it doesn’t make a difference. The effort wasn’t worth it.

So whose efforts are Sullivan & Biden speaking of when they say those efforts are worth it? The efforts of weapon corporation Lockheed & Martin to convince NATO to expand eastwards across Europe to the doorstep of Russia? In the first three quarters of 2021, Lockheed Martin had already contributed $11 million to US policymakers.[13] What does it get in exchange? Billions in contracts, a strong influence over US foreign policy, the expansion of NATO and requirements that new members discard Soviet weaponry and purchase US weaponry.[14] Now how much money did you contribute to US policymakers? What did you get in exchange? We shouldn’t have to give any money at all to make a difference in a democracy!

While the legislative branch turns a deaf ear to our voices, the executive agencies, meanwhile, pass undemocratic regulations. Consider the idiotic ban on incandescent light bulbs, a ban first initiated by Bush Jr. and then more recently activated by the Department of Energy and Biden. The purpose of the ban was to “save energy.” The opinion of the American population was not sought. The severely deleterious effects on both mental and physical health of the ban, including permanent damage to the retina caused by LED lights, were not considered.[15] The failure to properly measure the painful maximum brightness of LED lights was also ignored.[16] Look online. There are petitions from people opposed to this incandescent light bulb ban and opposed to the use of LED light in vehicles’ headlights.[17] None of these people were asked their opinion before the ban was imposed, before the LED lights went into vehicles, and before LED lights were used to light up our computer monitors. Yet many of these people suffer terribly from the effects on their eyes and their minds of the presence of LED lights and the absence of incandescent lights.

And remember, this ban was created by the Department of Energy, which is also in charge of the US nuclear arsenal. Hmmm. Let’s think now. We’re trying to save energy. Light bulbs. Nukes. Hey! Wouldn’t it save a hell of a lot more energy to ban nuclear weapons instead of lightbulbs? It might also save on some very messy accidents. The incandescent light bulb is condemned for “wasting” energy as heat rather than light, even though some of us like that heat. Now consider nuclear weapons. They waste an awful lot of energy—not only in their manufacture, but in their use! All that heat, light, sound, death, destruction, DNA damage of species after species. What an absolute waste! There’s absolutely no point in manufacturing them.

But no! Even though the American population would likely overwhelmingly prefer incandescent light bulbs to nukes, those Americans who get to determine what will be the law in our “democratic” country stamp all over our wishes and thoughts. They don’t even want the decision put to a public vote: would you rather ban nukes or incandescent light bulbs?

Obviously, the nuclear weapon corporation and their like-minded policymakers want to keep nukes. And someone owning or investing in LED bulbs wants to push LED bulbs. And that’s “our democracy” that Sullivan & Biden exclaim is “worth” “all of the effort.”

It’s the same “democracy” they falsely describe this way: “We will continue to reckon openly and humbly with our divisions and we will work through our politics transparently and democratically.”[18] Who even knew Biden was passing the ban? He snuck it through in April 2022, when the rest of the world was glued on Russia’s actions in Ukraine.[19] Biden’s actions were neither transparent nor democratic.

And where was the transparency and democracy in the USG’s involvement in the 2014 Ukraine coup? An unknown source recorded Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt selecting who would be the next leader of Ukraine once Viktor Yanukovich was sacked. They even referred on tape to Biden, who was then vice president, and Sullivan, who was his National Security Advisor as vice president, with the implication that they’re also willing and involved in selecting and forming Ukraine’s new government.

Why were US policymakers involved in Ukraine’s internal political affairs, even to the extent of selecting its president for Ukrainians? And why did Americans learn about this only through a leaked tape? And why, instead of investigating the behavior of the USG, did US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, who admitted about the taped conversation, “‘I didn’t say it was inauthentic,’” condemn Russia, who was accused of leaking the tape, for stooping to “a new low in Russian tradescraft”?[20]

In other words, according to the US media, it wasn’t the USG that had stooped by violating transparency, democracy, and Ukraine’s sovereignty, by denying Ukrainians the right to a democratically-elected leader, and by reportedly helping to arm and train the ultra-ring-wing groups that turned the peaceful protests of 2014 into the violent coup—none of that was considered criminal, undemocratic, or even indecent: it was Russia that had stooped by revealing USG transgressions of national and international law with a recorded conversation.

The lack of transparency regarding the reported role of the USG in exploding the Nord Stream pipelines that are owned by Russia and NATO allies Germany, the Netherlands, and France—thus violating international law, the US Constitution, and even the NATO alliance—is equally astounding![21] Here we have Biden repeating that NATO will defend every inch of its territory if attacked. Russia hasn’t attacked NATO. China hasn’t attacked NATO. But it looks like the USG has! So will NATO attack the USG? Or is the USG not bound by the NATO charter, just like it’s not bound by every other national and international law?

Sullivan & Biden proclaim: “And it is our democracy that enables us to continually reimagine ourselves and renew our strength.”[22] What in God’s name are they talking about? It’s been the same image imposed upon us by the USG for 245 years: The USA is here to conquer, whether through overt physical power or covert financial power and political manipulations: first the Native Americans, then the Philippines and Cuba, then Haiti, Nicaragua, and Panama, much of the rest of Latin America, Japan, Europe largely through election interference, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, nations of Africa and the Middle East, and now Russia and China! 800 bases worldwide and growing!

There is absolutely no re-imagining going on whatsoever. It’s all the same banal thing: conquer, make profits, build weapons, build roads, get societies hooked on fossil fuels and the latest in technology, expand, conquer, repeated over and over. Very boring. Very stale. No heart. No spirit. No wisdom. No merriment and joy. No freedom. No deeper sense of meaning beyond money and control. No broader connection with all the species of life and with the parts of the planet. So human-centered. So materialistic. So shallow and unsatisfying. No wonder they keep striving to conquer and win the “race to the top.” They never achieve satisfaction. And they won’t find it on top either.

A clue to Sullivan & Biden’s idea of how they want to “renew our strength” lies in this statement: “Our economy, our population, and our military power continue to grow.”[23] Yeah, sure, the economic benefits to those on top are growing, but not for the rest of us. Perhaps if they measured economic growth in a more enlightened way, they’d realize this. And why do they consider a growing US population to be a sign of strength? The world is enormously overpopulated. The traffic even in small towns has become a headache. Within the United States, everything has become much too crowded. Even the mountain trails have become packed with hikers. Try finding a public beach where people aren’t packed together like sardines and where you can actually swim without running into someone else. Of course, the social circles that make US foreign policy have their own private beaches, pools, and islands.

And why on earth should US military power be continuing to grow? Is the current arsenal truly inadequate? Were previous purchases so bad that everything is already outdated and decrepit? Or is planned obsolescence built into the weapons so they fall apart every few years? You know, if the USG were actually liked, it wouldn’t need so much military power. If the USG weren’t trying to impose its ideas upon everyone, it wouldn’t need so much military power. I suppose that since the USG is so bankrupt in wisdom, intuition, and skills in making genuine, egalitarian social connections, it has to rely upon military power to force others to accept it and to feel popular and liked, even if only in a shallow, artificial, pressured type of way.

Sullivan & Biden insist that the United States will be “drawing dreamers and strivers from around the world.”[24] What? It sounds like they’ve been reading middle-school history textbooks about how the United States was a “land of opportunity” once-upon-a-time for immigrants. But that was a century ago. Things have changed. What percentage of Americans find their dreams ever come true? For how many Americans are their dreams crushed? Come to think of things, for how many were their dreams crushed a century ago? And why can’t Sullivan & Biden realize that many of us are daily crushed—or a part of our being permanently set to “uneasy horror”—knowing that the USG has this immense military and nuclear power it can unleash without any democratic voice from us? Without any sense of humanity for its targets! Knowledge of this frightful power that’s held in the most autocratic way and used unnecessarily in the most despicable manner by the USG is degrading and crushing to us—to Americans!

Sullivan & Biden write: “As Americans, we must all agree that the people’s verdict, as expressed in elections, must be respected and protected.”[25] Are we all rolling our eyes now? Why, Sullivan & Biden, were you involved in the Ukraine coup of 2014 which totally disrespected the Ukrainian people’s verdict?[26]

Why was the USG heavily involved in the Russian elections to create the victory, or the stated victory, of Boris Yeltsin in 1996?[27] The Clinton administration funded Yeltsin’s campaign. Several sources from across the political spectrum report on the USG’s direct and heavy interference in the 1996 Russian presidential election. According to Alan Gillman on the World Socialist Website, the US pushed the IMF to give Russia $10.2 billion so that Yeltsin could send out checks for back pay and pensions to Russians, to make him look good. The USG worked on crafting Yeltsin’s image, including staging an artificial script with Clinton that was intended to manipulate the audience by portraying Yeltsin as tough and Clinton as intimidated. The USG developed negative ads against Yeltsin’s political competition.

Time magazine even boasted about all the details of American involvement in ensuring Yeltin’s victory in a cover story of July 15, 1996. As the magazine reports, at the start of their efforts, the Americans involved in the Yeltsin campaign found that only 6 percent of the Russian electorate would actually vote for Yeltsin. In other words, the USG knowingly and deliberately was thwarting the opinions of 94 percent of the Russian population that disliked Yeltsin, largely for his corruption, not to mention the likely 100 percent of Russians (100 percent minus Yeltsin) who didn’t want USG interference in their elections.

By the time Yeltsin announced his run for president in 1996, “he had become one of the most despised figures in Russia, having presided over the catastrophic consequences of the privatized Russian economy.” Already by late 1993, Yeltsin’s policies “had provoked such massive opposition that Yeltsin, by means of a dictatorial decree, dissolved the parliament.” Opponents took over government buildings in Moscow, and Yeltsin “using critical intelligence provided by Washington, called out the military” and began shelling and bombing, killing an estimated 2,000 people. This is the man portrayed by the USG as the face of democracy.

But even with the huge USG effort to manipulate Russian minds and steer the 1996 presidential campaigns, it’s not even certain that the extremely-despised Yeltsin with approval ratings lower than Stalin’s actually did win the election. Reportedly, the USG kicked in its services again by helping Yeltsin to claim that he had won, when, in fact, he had not.[28]

Yet Sullivan & Biden have the audacity to flat out lie in the NSS 2022 that “As Americans, we must all agree that the people’s verdict, as expressed in elections, must be respected and protected.”

So why has the US National Endowment for Democracy been interfering in Russia’s political process? Why did NED support Aleksei Navalny and portray him as the heroic, innocent face of democracy to run against Putin, despite the fact that Navalny had less than 2 percent of the Russian population’s support and had made utterly racist, derogatory comments?[29] How can USG support for Navalny be considered democratic? How can USG support for any foreign candidate be considered democratic when it amounts to significantly interfering in foreign elections to promote some candidates and falsely accuse other candidates of misdeeds?

If “the people’s verdict, as expressed in elections, must be respected and protected,” then why are Sullivan & Biden now trying to lay the psychological, economic, political, and military groundwork for a coup against Putin in Russia? Why is the USG trying so hard to isolate Putin from Russians, to portray him to Americans as malicious, aggressive, unhinged, and cut off from the Russian population?

Why, if it respects elections, is the USG pursuing a program of character assassination against Putin in order to lay the groundwork for a coup? It is a program of false character assassination no different from what the USG has done to numerous other democratically-elected leaders abroad, campaigns that have toppled leaders, killed them, sometimes even butchered them, destroyed other nations’ democracies, and ushered in decades of brutality, torture, murder, and hell that made millions of people probably wish they’d never been born?[30]

Why did two drones target the Kremlin on May 3, 2023? Are we expected to believe that the USG had nothing to do with this, just like it supposedly had nothing to do with the Nord Stream explosions? Putin was elected. Coups, by definition, are not democratic. As Putin stated in Munich in 2007, “Incidentally, Russia—we—are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.”[31]

If “the people’s verdict” is so sacred, why don’t Sullivan & Biden realize that interfering to falsely skew the people’s minds is cheating the people and canceling the democratic meaningfulness of their verdict? Why, if “the people’s verdict” is sacred, is the USG the world’s Number One interferer in foreign elections abroad? According to Dov Levin’s 2020 book, in the years 1946-2000, the USG interfered in foreign elections a whopping 81 times. Russia interfered less than half that: 36 times.[32] These numbers don’t even include the massive numbers of USG-inflicted coups.

Note that this election interference really took off after Germany’s defeat in WWII. After 1945, Germany, Italy, and Japan were no longer players in WWII, and we’re led to believe that the USG also ended its part in the war. But did it? Or were USG goals different from what we were taught by school history books? Looking at the evidence of USG invasions, coups, and weapon shipments since WWII, it’s possible that the USG has never stopped striving to achieve what may have been its covert, ulterior WWII goal: world domination.

If USG goals were to stop the aggression and inhumanity of the Nazi Germans and the Japanese, USG behavior would have been much more consistent. But it’s been highly inconsistent. The USG built up the Nazi war machine, fought against Nazis, worked with Nazis, and brutalized populations during WWII, such as in Greece, that fought against Nazis. It fought against the Japanese, worked with Japanese, and brutalized populations of the Philippines, Koreas, and China that fought the Japanese. It fought against Italy and then supported pro-Mussolini parties on the heels of WWII.[33] It played all sides. This was not a war about morality. I’m beginning to think it was and is a war that’s not over yet in USG eyes because it’s a war for world domination.

The only thing that offers some symbolic, shallow, misleading evidence of democracy at the national level in the United States is the existence of elections. But the principles of equality and actual representation by means of those elections and by means of having equal abilities to influence our representatives are missing in action. Therefore, these elections are a charade. Perhaps for this reason, US policymakers always make such a big deal out of elections, in their desperation to gloss over their lack of actual substance and meaning with a lot of hype and shallow analysis and commentaries. Plus, there’s nothing else the USG can point to that might possibly be evidence of the existence of democracy. And so Sullivan & Biden and the entire US propaganda machine make it sound like elections are such wonderful things in the United States. But the choices we have to vote for are pathetic! It’s like saying, “You can vote either for this sack of potatoes over here or this fungus over there. And be grateful you have the freedom to vote. God bless America.”

Frankly, if ever there were Russian interference in US elections in the soft form of influencing social media and providing information outside of mainstream media (and I’m not suggesting there should be interference), it would only help counteract the utterly undemocratic, plutocratic US campaign and election process which deliberately gives extremely unequal footing to the various presidential candidates and extremely unequal footing to the wealthy and powerful in selecting and steering those candidates. Just read up on the support given Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s political rise to power by the Crown family of the weapon corporation General Dynamics.[34] Then consider Obama’s record of enormously increasing US weapon exports during his two terms.[35]

Consider how mainstream media handled the presidential campaigns of Dennis Kucinich in 2004 and 2008. He was called names, ridiculed for running, not even allowed to debate by the TV stations, and mocked for not having enough money! He was extremely popular, but amongst donors who generally had smaller sums to donate. In other words, ordinary Americans of ordinary, modest possession of wealth loved him.  Where in the US Constitution is it stated that candidates for US president must have a certain sum of money? US media makers’ ridicule of Kucinich for not having enough money betrays the fact that this nation is a plutocracy and not a democracy and it’s become so accepted that even the media supports that!

US policymakers are indignant about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential campaign by means of using social media to influence potential voters. Ironically, as Alan Gillman points out, the candidate who was allegedly harmed by the alleged interference, Hillary Clinton, was the wife of the president, Bill Clinton, who screwed the Russian population with the massive USG interference in Russia’s 1996 presidential elections.[36] Alleged Russian social media interference in 2016 is small potatoes—a few French fries really—compared to the heavy-duty USG election interference abroad.

But there’s another aspect of this interference that’s not addressed. The US media and wealthy donors, including the weapon industry, continually and powerfully interfere in the campaign processes of US presidential candidates so that certain ones will be elevated in the public’s eyes above others. But ignoring the huge consequences of American interference in American elections, Sullivan & Biden write, “America will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections. We will act decisively to defend, and deter disruptions to our democratic processes, and we will respond to future interference using all appropriate tools of national power.”[37]

To people like Sullivan & Biden, the only interference in the US democratic process that’s criminal is foreign democratic interference. That may seem sensible at first glance. But look again: it’s not whether the interference is American or foreign that bothers people like Sullivan & Biden, it’s whether or not the interference promotes the current establishment of those particular social and business circles that rule the United States.

Pro-establishment Americans are welcome to interfere as much as they like! In fact, it’s encouraged! But Americans like Kucinich who try to bring into the debates enlightened, peaceful, just, and intelligent ideas and who bring attention to the needs of those who aren’t wealthy—well, they’re just not allowed to debate for long on TV.[38] They’re forced to cave in for lack of funding. And foreign democratic interference, unless it’s from nations that support the US foreign policy establishment, such as Israel, is considered undemocratic because it thwarts the power of the dominant Americans running the government.

My own theory, and perhaps there’s evidence to consider for or against it, is that the type of campaign and election interference that won’t be tolerated, the type that’s considered undemocratic, is interference that increases political opportunities for non-establishment, non-wealthy Americans who favor non-violent conflict resolution. However, wealthy, pro-corporate, pro-war American interference in both US elections and foreign elections alike, even arming foreign factions interested in staging a coup, are all accepted as “democratic.”

Sullivan & Biden declare: “Democracies and autocracies are engaged in a contest to show which system of governance can best deliver for their people and the world.”[39] Again, what on Earth are they talking about? What contest? Which autocracies are trying to show that an autocratic system of governance can best deliver for their people and the world? And what is Biden trying to deliver to the American people? Is he talking about material goods? Or quality of life? Or a voice in government? More time off from work? Access to nature? Less excavation and construction? The NSS and the entire US propaganda machine display a complete lack of substance to this notion of the existence of a contest between democracies and autocracies.

This lack of substance, the lack of evidence that a contest is taking place between democracies and autocracies, and the lack of evidence that those nations Sullivan & Biden label as democracies and autocracies actually are democracies and autocracies, suggest that the very concept of such a contest is a lie that’s being used by Sullivan & Biden and the US policy and media making establishment to falsely justify the USG’s hostility towards both Russia and China.

Kristin Christman has been independently researching US foreign policy and peace since 9/11. Her channel focuses on US-Russian relations at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-10lk-CwU-5vAElcg. Kristin graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Russian, and she holds Master’s degrees in Slavic languages from Brown University and public administration from SUNY Albany. She has been a guest with former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter and UNAC coordinator Joe Lombardo on Cynthia Pooler’s program, Issues that Matter, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDlaLNJih7UPeace Review: A Journal of Social Justice recently published her article on suicide, culture, and peace in their special edition on suicide, Vol. 33 No. 4.  [email protected]

[1] National Security Strategy 2022, Oct. 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov, 7.

[2] NSS 2022, 3, 7.

[3] Henry Waxman with Joshua Green, The Waxman Report:  How Congress Really Works (New York:  Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2009), 84, 151.

[4] NSS 2022, 4.

[5] C. Todd Lopez, “Competition with China Drives FY 2024 Budget Request,” Mar. 28, 2023, https://www.defense.gov.

[6] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Status of World Nuclear Forces,” Federation of American Scientists, updated Nov. 2018, https://fas.org.

[7] Anthony Kuhn, “A Vietnam War massacre case from 1968 forces a new reckoning in South Korea,” Aug. 12, 2023, https://news.wgcu.org.

[8] Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korea Created a Brutal Sex Trade for American Soldiers,” May 3, 2023, New York Times.

[9] Gordon Dumoulin, Jan Oberg, and Thore Vestby, “TFF’s ‘Behind the Smokescreen’ Report,” Transnational Foundation, Aug. 6, 2021, https://transnational.live.

[10] Democracy Now, Interview with Steve Cohen, “A New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests US Was Plotting Coup,” Feb. 20, 2014, https://www.democracynow.org.

[11] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, rev. ed. (London: Zed Books, 2014);

James D. Cockcroft, Latin America: History, Politics, and US Policy (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1998);

Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes (New York: Doubleday, 2007);

Steve Kangas, “A Timeline of CIA Atrocities,” http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/CIAtimeline.html. (Kangas was killed in 1999.);

Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013).

[12] NSS 2022, 7

[13] Ariel Gans, “Defense Lobbying Hits Eight-Year High Ahead of Defense Spending Bill,” Open Secrets, Dec. 9, 2021, https://www.opensecrets.org.

[14] William D. Hartung, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (New York: Nation Books, 2012), 180, 194-97.

[15] Marc Lallanilla, “LED Lights May Damage Eyes, Researcher Says,” May 13, 2013, https://www.livescience.com.

[16] Peter Veto, Kent Chamberlain, Noah Sabatier, and Mark Baker, “A quest for new metrics to curb the increase in glare from LED lighting,” Jan. 22, 2023, https://peterveto.me.

[17] Change.org, “Ban Blinding Headlights and Save Lives!” https://www.change.org;

Change.org, “Incandescent Bulbs—Reversing the Upcoming Ban” https://www.change.org.

[18] NSS 2022, 7.

[19] Thomas Catenacci, “Biden Administration Moving Forward with Incandescent Light Bulb Bans in Coming Weeks,” Fox News, Apr. 1, 2023, https://www.foxnews.com.

[20] Dan Murphy, “Amidst US-Russia Tussle over Ukraine, a Leaked Tape of Victoria Nuland,” Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 6, 2014, https://www.csmonitor.com.

[21] Seymour Hersh, “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline,” Feb. 8, 2023, https://seymourhersh.substack.

[22] NSS 2022, 3.

[23] NSS 2022, 7

[24] NSS 2022, 3.

[25] NSS 2022, 16.

[26] Democracy Now, Interview with Steve Cohen, “A New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests US Was Plotting Coup,” Feb. 20, 2014, https://www.democracynow.org.

[27] Greg Rosalsky, “How ‘Shock Therapy’ Created Russian Oligarchs and Paved the Path for Putin,” NPR, Mar. 22, 2022, https://www.npr.org;

Gerald Sussman, “The Myths of Democracy Assistance: US Political Intervention in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe,” Monthly Review, Dec. 1, 2006, https://monthlyreview.org;

David A. Strickland, “Overriding Democracy: American Intervention in Yeltsin’s 1996 Reelection Campaign,” https://journals.uair.arizona.edu.

[28] Alan Gillman, “Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin: When the White House Fixed a Russian Election,” World Socialist Website, Jun. 14, 2017, https://www.wsws.org.

[29] Andre Damon, “The US Government and the Russian Election,” World Socialist Web Site, Dec. 27, 2017, https://www.wsws.org.

Alec Luhn, “Despite His Politicized Trial, Aleksei Navalny Is Still a Divisive Figure in Russia,” The Nation, July 22, 2013, https://www.thenation.com.

[30] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, rev. ed. (London: Zed Books, 2014);

James D. Cockcroft, Latin America: History, Politics, and US Policy (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1998).

[31] Vladimir Putin, 43rd Munich Conference on Security and Policy, Feb. 11, 2007, https://russialist.org.

[32] Kim Hjelmgaard, “The US Is the Biggest Election Meddler of Them All, New Book Claims,” USA Today, Sept. 4, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com.

[33] Blum, Killing Hope;

Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea (New York: W.W. Norton, 2013), 28-33.

[34] Global Research News, “Obama was the Candidate of the War Lobby Funded by the Crown Family,” Sept. 5, 2013, https://www.globalresearch.ca.

[35] Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle, “U.S. arms export boom under Obama seen continuing with Trump,” Business News, November 9, 2016, https://www.reuters.com.

[36] Gillman, “Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.”

[37] NSS 2022, 16.

[38] Democracy Now, “Kucinich & Braun Blast ABC for Reducing Campaign Coverage,” Dec. 12, 2003, https://www.democracynow.org.

[39] NSS 2022, 7.

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