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What Results When U.S. Invades a Country

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The U.S. Government certainly leads the world in invasions and coups. In recent years, it has invaded and occupied — either by military assault or by coup, but in either case followed by installing (or trying to install) a new regime there — a number of countries, especially Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

U.S. propaganda says that its invasions and military occupations (and it denies its coups) are to benefit the people in the invaded and militarily occupied countries, or to bring them ‘democracy’, and are not done merely to benefit the people who control the U.S. Government (which itself is not a democracy, and even the neoconservative — pro-invasion or “imperialistic” — American magazine The Atlantic has finally acknowledged this fact, even though it contradicts their continuing neoconservatism).

Polling and other evidences within the invaded/occupied countries shows the opposite of the U.S. claim: America’s invasions/occupations (after World War II, and especially after 2000) destroy those countries, not help them.

The most authoritative such study that has yet been done on this matter was recently released, and its findings regarding this matter will here be presented, and then supplemented with other relevant data so as to provide a fuller picture.

The U.N./Gallup surveys of the happiness/misery of the residents in 155 countries, as reported in 2017, were physically in-person interviews in almost all countries, but there was at least one exception, as they explained: “In Libya, telephone survey methodology has been used since 2015 owing to the country’s high rate of mobile phone coverage and ongoing instability which has made it too dangerous to use face-to-face interviewers.” That’s a highly euphemistic way of saying, actually: Libya was too dangerous, and perhaps too miserable, for opinions to be sampled by the ordinary methodology, the scientifically sound methodology, which is in-person interviews. It’s a way of saying this without even mentioning the invasion and war there — as if those things don’t even count. Therefore, the finding that Gallup reported about Libya is presumably being included in Gallup’s otherwise excellent report purely for Western propaganda purposes — they know that it’s not an actual scientific finding about Libya, not a finding that can reasonably be compared to the survey-findings in the other countries. As a result, Libya, which might have been the most miserable of all countries after the U.S.-UK-France-Canada invasion, scored in the top half of all countries, #68, 5.525. But, all of the other countries that the U.S. has recently invaded (the nations that are boldfaced below) scored at or below #132, 4.096 — Ukraine’s score — as is shown here below from that U.N. report:

Following are the happiness-scores of the bottom 24 out of the 155 happiness/misery-rated countries. (Iraq, which the U.S. had destroyed in 2003, perhaps is now recovering, and it scored as #117, with a score of 4.497; but, here only the bottom 24, the most-miserable of all of the 155 countries, are shown.) Here they are:

  • 132 Ukraine                                                        4.096
  • 133 Uganda                                                        4.081
  • 134 Burkina Faso                                              4.032
  • 135 Niger                                                             4.028
  • 136 Malawi                                                         3.970
  • 137 Chad                                                              3.936
  • 138 Zimbabwe                                   3.875
  • 139 Lesotho                                                        3.808
  • 140 Angola                                                          3.795
  • 141 Afghanistan                                               3.794
  • 142 Botswana                                    3.766
  • 143 Benin                                                            3.657
  • 144 Madagascar                                                3.644
  • 145 Haiti                                                               3.603
  • 146 Yemen                                                         3.593
  • 147 South Sudan                                              3.591
  • 148 Liberia                                                           3.533
  • 149 Guinea                                                         3.507
  • 150 Togo                                                              3.495
  • 151 Rwanda                                                        3.471
  • 152 Syria                                                              3.462
  • 153 Tanzania                                                      3.349
  • 154 Burundi                                                        2.905
  • 155 Central African Republic        2.693

Ukraine is (other than #117 Iraq) the least-miserable of the recently invaded countries, and perhaps the reason for this is that Ukraine was taken over by means of a coup, instead of by means of an outright and direct military invasion.

(You can see this coup happening, here. The way that U.S. President Barack Obama set it up is documented here. You can hear there his agent instructing the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine whom to place in charge of Ukraine’s Government once the coup will have been culminated (which happened 22 days later, and that person did get the leadership-position). It’s the full conversation. And here, you will see the phone-conversation in which top EU officials were shocked to find that it had been a coup instead of what Obama pretended, a ‘revolution’.) (These evidences are some of the reasons why the head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor called it “the most blatant coup in history.”)

The U.N. happiness surveys have been taken in Ukraine not only after the coup, which occurred in February 2014, but before it, in 2013. At happiness index you can see the happiness/misery scores shown by Ukrainians during the years 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 (there was no survey in Ukraine during 2014, perhaps because of the rampant violence at that time.) In 2013, Ukraine’s happiness score was 5.057, but that steadily declined down to the 2017 score of 4.096, which placed Ukraine within the bottom 24 countries, all of which either were extremely poor, or at war, or both. You can also see there Ukraine’s resulting “World Happiness Index” rank for each one of those four years, 2013, before the coup, and then 2015-2017, after the coup. As you see there, Ukraine, which was #132  in 2017, had been #87 in 2013 before the coup. So: within just three years after the coup, it declined 45 places in the global rankings.

Some people might retort against this by saying that “happiness” is meaningless or unimportant and only physical welfare is ‘objective’,” but even on the most crudely physical measures, Ukraine has been enormously harmed by the U.S. coup. In 2013, Ukraine’s average annual household income was $2,601.40, and then it fell off a cliff and became $1,109.63 by 2015 and has stabilized at around that level since. Also, in 2013, Ukraine’s GDP was $183.31 billion, and by 2015 that had become $91.03 billion and stabilized at that level. Furthermore, some figures aren’t any longer even reported by the post-coup Ukrainian regime. For example, whereas the number of unemployed was shown in Ukrainian statistics in 2013, it disappeared in 2016 and subsequently. More information about the decline in Ukraine’s economic rankings can be seen here. The U.S. regime has been toxic to the Ukrainian people, no matter how one looks at it. But happiness/misery is the real bottom-line.

Two researchers, Tom Coupe and Maxym Obrizan, published together two separate studies, both in leading economics journals, one article titled “The impact of war on happiness: The case of Ukraine”, and the other titled “Violence and political outcomes in Ukraine — Evidence from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk”. They reported, in “The Impact of war on happiness”:

The average level of happiness declined substantially in zones that experience war directly. …

This decline is comparable to the loss of happiness a relatively well-off person would experience if he/she were to become a poor person. …

Regions that are not directly affected by the war are basically as happy as they were before the war.

In other words: all of the increase in misery occurred only in the regions that have been “directly affected by the war.” The Ukrainians who reside outside those regions are “as happy as they were before the war.” They’re not happier than before the war; they haven’t been helped by the war; but, the misery — so intense for them that it has already lowered the happiness-ranking of the entire nation, from 87 down to 132 — just hasn’t bothered them, at all.

In “Violence and political outcomes in Ukraine” they reported:

We also find that property damage is associated with greater support for pro-Western parties, lower support for keeping Donbas in Ukraine and lower support for compromise as a way to stop the conflict.

In other words: Ukrainians who live close to the Ukraine-Donbass border; that is, who live inside Ukraine but close to Donbass and so are in the Ukrainian portion of the conflict-zone (not in Donbass, where the vast majority of the “property damage” is actually occurring), have “greater support for pro-Western parties” (i.e., for the Obama-installed regime), but “lower support for keeping Donbas in Ukraine.” Although they endorse the overthrow that had been done of the pre-coup government (because they receive ‘news’media only from the post-coup regime, in the Ukrainian language), they want to get on with their lives without the war that’s since been causing them “property damage.” (U.S. propaganda notes that “the separatist-controlled parts of Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts ([the two Donbass] provinces) only have access to Russian TV channels” but avoids noting that the Ukrainian regime’s blocking of Russian-language media on the other side of that border — inside Ukraine — exists and is even more severe.) Apparently, Ukrainians near the border just want the war to end — no “compromise” — no negotiations, no Minsk process; they want their Government to simply quit trying to conquer Donbass, no negotiations about it, at all. And they’re ignored.

Right now in Ukraine, the central political controversy is between the U.S.-puppet President of Ukraine, who promises to conquer both of the two breakaway provinces, Donbass and also Crimea — but who hasn’t yet been able to do it — versus Ukraine’s political parties, in western and northern Ukraine, that derived from the organizations which had supported Hitler against Stalin in World War II and who still crave to kill Russian-speakers. Those passionately racist-fascist, anti-Russian, ideologically nazi, political organizations, are determined to actually carry out those additional invasions, no matter what the cost. However, according to this finding by Coupe and Obrizon, the Ukrainians who are suffering the “property damage” and whose personal scores on happiness have thus become so abysmally low as to have dragged the whole Ukrainian nation down to a 132nd ranking, are opposed to that nazi position, and they just want the war to end. And they’re ignored.

Where, then, is the support for the war to be found (except amongst the U.S. Congress and President and the U.S. arms-makers whose products have been selling so well to Ukraine’s government and which are now being used against the residents of Donbass)? That support is to be found as far away from the conflict-zone as possible: in Lviv and the rest of far-western and northern Ukraine, the areas that were cheering Hitler’s forces in WW II, and where the ‘news’ media today are owned by U.S.-supported oligarchs and their NGOs.

Ukraine was a severely divided nation even before the coup. In the last Ukrainian election in which the residents within the Ukraine that then included both Donbass and Crimea voted, which was the election in 2010, the candidate who won Ukraine’s Presidency and whom Obama ousted, had won 90% of the vote in Donbass, and 75% of the vote in Crimea. However, in far-western Ukraine, his opponent — whom Obama had been hoping that Ukrainians would elect as Ukraine’s President in 2014 after the coup — won 90% of the vote. That’s the candidate whose party (though not herself) now dominates (in conjunction with the two outright nazi parties) the Ukrainian Government. The man whom the residents in the rump Ukraine chose, was the more moderate candidate, and he is increasingly being challenged by the nazis. (Ukraine is the world’s only nation that has two nazi political parties. Both of them have been clients of the U.S. Government ever since the end of World War II, but only with Obama did they win control of the country — that is, of its non-breakaway regions.) For example, on 18 January 2018, the AP headlined “Ukraine passes bill to get occupied regions back from Russia” and reported that, “Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday passed a bill that aims to reintegrate the eastern territories currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists, and goes as far as to declare support for taking them back by military force if necessary.” Though that position is a minority position amongst the Ukrainian public, it authentically represents the position that Obama wanted. In fact, he even overrode his own Secretary of State, John Kerry, to push for it. That’s the position of Ukraine’s two nazi parties, which are trying to replace the existing President. (Trump hasn’t yet made clear whether he backs them, but he is expected to.)

So: that’s Ukraine — the happiest of the nations that the U.S. has recently invaded.

——

UPDATE: On March 15th, the “World Happiness Report 2018” was issued, and here are the bottom-scoring countries:

  1. Ukraine (4.103)
  2. Togo (3.999)
  3. Guinea (3.964)
  4. Lesotho (3.808)
  5. Angola (3.795)
  6. Madagascar (3.774)
  7. Zimbabwe (3.692)
  8. Afghanistan (3.632)
  9. Botswana (3.590)
  10. Malawi (3.587)
  11. Haiti (3.582)
  12. Liberia (3.495)
  13. Syria (3.462)
  14. Rwanda (3.408)
  15. Yemen (3.355)
  16. Tanzania (3.303)
  17. South Sudan (3.254)
  18. Central African Republic (3.083)
  19. Burundi (2.905)

first published at The Saker

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Wendy Sherman’s China visit takes a terrible for the US turn

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Photo: Miller Center/ flickr

US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, had high hopes for the meeting in China. At first, the Chinese side did not agree to hold the meeting at all. The reaction had obvious reasons: Antony Blinken’s fiasco in Alaska left the Chinese disrespected and visibly irritated. This is not why they travelled all the way.

So then the State Department had the idea of sending Wendy Sherman instead. The US government actually needs China more than China needs the US. Sherman was in China to actually prepare the ground for Biden and a meeting between the two presidents, expecting a red carpet roll for Biden as if it’s still the 2000s — the time when it didn’t matter how the US behaved. Things did not go as expected.

Instead of red carpet talk, Sherman heard Dua Lipa’s “I got new rules”. 

That’s right — the Chinese side outlined three bottom lines warning the US to respect its system, development and sovereignty and territorial integrity. In other words, China wants to be left alone.

The bottom lines were not phrased as red lines. This was not a military conflict warning. This was China’s message that if any future dialogue was to take place, China needs to be left alone. China accused the US of creating an “imaginary enemy”. I have written about it before — the US is looking for a new Cold War but it doesn’t know how to start and the problem is that the other side actually holds all the cards

That’s why the US relies on good old militarism with an expansion into the Indo-Pacific, while aligning everyone against China but expecting the red carpet and wanting all else in the financial and economic domains to stay the same. The problem is that the US can no longer sell this because there are no buyers. Europeans also don’t want to play along.

The headlines on the meeting in the US press are less flattering than usual. If the US is serious about China policy it has to be prepared to listen to much more of that in the future. And perhaps to, yes, sit down and be humble.

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Why Jen Psaki is a well-masked Sean Spicer

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When Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed up on the scene as White House Press Secretary, the reaction was that of relief. Finally — someone civil, normal, friendly. Jen Psaki’s entry this year was something similar. People were ready for someone well-spoken, well-mannered, even friendly as a much welcome change from the string of liars, brutes or simply disoriented people that the Trump Administration seemed to be lining up the press and communications team with on a rolling basis. After all, if the face of the White House couldn’t keep it together for at least five minutes in public, what did that say about the overall state of the White House behind the scenes?

But Psaki’s style is not what the American media and public perceive it to be. Her style is almost undetectable to the general American public to the point that it could look friendly and honest to the untrained eye or ear. Diplomatic or international organization circles are perhaps better suited to catch what’s behind the general mannerism. Jen Psaki is a well-masked Sean Spicer, but a Sean Spicer nevertheless. I actually think she will do much better than him in Dancing With The Stars. No, in fact, she will be fabulous at Dancing With The Stars once she gets replaced as White House Press Secretary.

So let’s take a closer look. I think what remains undetected by the general American media is veiled aggression and can easily pass as friendliness. Psaki recently asked a reporter who was inquiring about the Covid statistics at the White House why the reporter needed that information because Psaki simply didn’t have that. Behind the brisk tone was another undertone: the White House can’t be questioned, we are off limits. But it is not and that’s the point. 

Earlier, right at the beginning in January, Psaki initially gave a pass to a member of her team when the Politico stunner reporter story broke out. The reporter was questioning conflict of interest matters, while the White House “stud” was convinced it was because he just didn’t chose her, cursing her and threatening her. Psaki sent him on holidays. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Psaki has a level of aggression that’s above average, yet she comes across as one of the most measured and reasonable White House Press Secretaries of the decade. And that’s under pressure. But being able to mask that level of deflection is actually not good for the media because the media wants answers. Style shouldn’t (excuse the pun) trump answers. And being able to get away smoothly with it doesn’t actually serve the public well. Like that time she just walked away like it’s not a big deal. It’s the style of “as long as I say thank you or excuse me politely anything goes”. But it doesn’t. And the American public will need answers to some questions very soon. Psaki won’t be able to deliver that and it would be a shame to give her a pass just because of style.

I think it’s time that we start seeing Psaki as a veiled Sean Spicer. And that Dancing with the Stars show — I hope that will still run despite Covid.

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As Refugees Flee Central America, the Mexican Public Sours On Accepting Them

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Authors: Isabel Eliassen, Alianna Casas, Timothy S. Rich*

In recent years, individuals from Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) have been forced out of their home countries by extreme poverty and gang violence. While initial expectations were that the Lopez Obrador administration would be more welcoming to migrants, policies have slowly mirrored those of his predecessor, and do not seem to have deterred refugees. COVID-19 led to a decrease in refugees arriving in Mexico, and many shelters in Mexico closed or have limited capacity due to social distancing restrictions. Now that the COVID-19 situation has changed, arrivals could increase again to the levels seen in late 2018 or 2019, with overcrowded refugee centers lacking in medical care as potential grounds for serious COVID-19 outbreaks.

Mexico increasingly shares a similar view as the US on this migration issue, seeking ways to detain or deport migrants rather than supporting or protecting them. For instance, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute has been conducting raids on freight trains to find and detain migrants. Public opinion likely shapes these policies. In the US, support for allowing migrants into the country appeared to increase slightly from 2018 to 2019, but no significant majority emerges. Meanwhile, Mexican public opinion increasingly exhibits anti-immigrant sentiments, declining considerably since 2018, with a 2019 Washington Post poll showing that 55% supported deporting Central Americans rather than providing temporary residence and a 2019 El Financiero poll finding 63% supportive of closing to border to curb migration.

New Data Shows the Mexican Public Unwelcoming

To gauge Mexican public opinion on refugees, we conducted an original web survey June 24-26 via Qualtrics, using quota sampling. We asked 625 respondents to evaluate the statement “Mexico should accept refugees fleeing from Central America” on a five-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. For visual clarity, we combined disagree and agree categories in the figure below.

Overall, a plurality (43.84%) opposed accepting refugees, with less than a third (30.08%) supportive. Broken down by party affiliation, we see similar results, with the largest opposition from the main conservative party PAN (52.90%) and lowest in the ruling party MORENA (41.58%). Broken down by gender, we find women slightly more supportive compared to men (32.60% vs. 27.04%), consistent with findings elsewhere and perhaps acknowledgment that women and children historically comprise a disproportionate amount of refugees. Regression analysis again finds PAN supporters to be less supportive than other respondents, although this distinction declines once controlling for gender, age, education and income, of which only age corresponded with a statistically significant decline in support. It is common for older individuals to oppose immigration due to generational changes in attitude, so this finding is not unexpected.

We also asked the question “On a 1-10 scale, with 1 being very negative and 10 very positive, how do you feel about the following countries?” Among countries listed were the sources of the Central American refugees, the three Northern Triangle countries. All three received similar average scores (Guatemala: 4.33, Honduras: 4.05, El Salvador: 4.01), higher than Venezuela (3.25), but lower than the two other countries rated (US: 7.71, China: 7.26) Yet, even after controlling for general views of the Central American countries, we find the public generally unsupportive of accepting refugees.

How Should Mexico Address the Refugee Crisis?

Towards the end of the Obama administration, aid and other efforts directed at resolving the push factors for migration in Central America, including decreasing violence and limiting corruption, appeared to have some success at reducing migration north. President Trump’s policies largely did not improve the situation, and President Biden has begun to reverse those policies and re-implement measures successful under Obama.

As discussed in a meeting between the Lopez Obrador administration and US Vice President Kamala Harris, Mexico could adopt similar aid policies, and decreasing the flow of migrants may make the Mexican public respond more positively to accepting migrants. Lopez Obrador committed to increased economic cooperation with Central America days into his term, with pledges of aid as well, but these efforts remain underdeveloped. Threats to cut aid expedite deportations only risks worsening the refugee crisis, while doing little to improve public opinion.

Increasingly, the number of family units from Guatemala and Honduras seeking asylum in Mexico, or the United States, represents a mass exodus from Central America’s Northern Triangle to flee insecurity. Combating issues such as extreme poverty and violence in Central American countries producing the mass exodus of refugees could alleviate the impact of the refugee crisis on Mexico. By alleviating the impact of the refugee crisis, refugees seeking asylum will be able to navigate immigration processes easier thus decreasing tension surrounding the influx of refugees.

Likewise, identifying the public’s security and economic concerns surrounding refugees and crafting a response should reduce opposition. A spokesperson for Vice President Harris stated that border enforcement was on the agenda during meetings with the Lopez Obrador administration, but the Mexican foreign minister reportedly stated that border security was not to be addressed at the meeting. Other than deporting migrants at a higher rate than the US, Mexico also signed an agreement with the US in June pledging money to improve opportunities for work in the Northern Triangle. Nonetheless, questions about whether this agreement will bring meaningful change remain pertinent in the light of a worsening crisis.

Our survey research shows little public interest in accepting refugees. Public sentiment is unlikely to change unless the Lopez Obrador administration finds ways to both build sympathy for the plights of refugees and address public concerns about a refugee crisis with no perceived end in sight. For example, research in the US finds public support for refugees is often higher when the emphasis is on women and children, and the Lopez Obrador administration could attempt to frame the crisis as helping specifically these groups who historically comprise most refugees. Likewise, coordinating efforts with the US and other countries may help portray to the public that the burden of refugee resettlement is being equitably shared rather than disproportionately placed on Mexico.

Facing a complex situation affecting multiple governments requires coordinated efforts and considerable resources to reach a long-term solution. Until then, the Central American refugee crisis will continue and public backlash in Mexico likely increase.

Isabel Eliassen is a 2021 Honors graduate of Western Kentucky University. She triple majored in International Affairs, Chinese, and Linguistics.

Alianna Casas is an Honors Undergraduate Researcher at Western Kentucky University, majoring in Business Economics, Political Science, and a participant in the Joint Undergraduate/Master’s Program in Applied Economics.

Timothy S. Rich is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Western Kentucky University and Director of the International Public Opinion Lab (IPOL). His research focuses on public opinion and electoral politics.

Funding for this survey was provided by the Mahurin Honors College at Western Kentucky University.

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