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This article appears in the August 26, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]


Diane Sare and Scott Ritter Team Up

Diane Sare, LaRouche independent candidate for U.S. Senator from New York, and Scott Ritter, a former Marine Intelligence Officer, and former UN Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq, appeared on Cynthia Pooler’s Albany, New York based, “Issues that Matter with Cynthia,” on August 19. The full interview is available here.

Cynthia Pooler: Welcome to “Issues that Matter.” I’m Cynthia Pooler. I’m delighted to have two great guests this morning, Scott Ritter and Diane Sare, who’s running for the U.S. Senate in New York. Both of you were lucky enough to get on a certain list [a Black List of the Center for Countering Disinformation of Ukraine].

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Left: Schiller Institute; right: C-SPAN
Left: Diane Sare; right: Scott Ritter

Diane Sare: We were both on a list. Of the 72 people, the first 31 people on the list had spoken at a conference sponsored by the Schiller Institute of Helga Zepp-LaRouche. The topic of the conferences was how to resolve these situations without war. I can assure you that everybody who spoke there did not agree with each other on everything. In fact, Ukraine added to the list a farmer, a cattle farmer from Kansas, who was talking at the conference about the question of food shortages. But according to the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation, apparently, if you want to feed people, you might be a war criminal. So it’s really over the top.

The others are very prominent people, like Scott, who is well known for exposing the truth on various matters that have led us into wars which are really not justified, or legal, frankly. Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, people internationally who belong with think tanks, who have written articles that are very well informed on the history of the region and have another perspective. So clearly what you see is a policy of wanting this war to continue. I think the relevant question, and Scott can say more about this, is: Are members of the U.S. Congress and specifically Chuck Schumer, my opponent in November, funding a foreign organization in a foreign country to wage smear campaigns, against in this case, his political opponent, and also against American citizens, where we are supposed to have freedom of speech?

So maybe you can’t get rid of freedom of speech entirely in the United States, although they’re doing a pretty good job of that; you can have someone from overseas eliminate freedom of speech. And also, I will say as a public figure candidate, although they are trying mightily to blackout my campaign, but it’s not working, because I’m on the ballot.

But I definitely feel my security is at risk. I mean, we’re talking about neo-Nazis. We see what just happened here in New York with Salman Rushdie. So, I think it’s highly irresponsible. I think the Congress has to respond. The Schiller Institute just sent a letter, which both Scott and I signed, with about a dozen others of the Americans on this list, to Congress demanding an investigation of whether the funds that we are giving to Ukraine are going to this agency, which is attacking the First Amendment rights and endangering American citizens.

Scott Ritter: Well, first of all, salute to Diane for standing firm in the face of adversity. She’s 100% correct. This isn’t just about the suppression of free speech, which, of course, in and of itself is a huge issue. But the day that this list was released, I believe it was July 14, at a roundtable conference held in Kiev by the Center for Countering Disinformation. That roundtable was organized by a Congressionally funded non-governmental organization—that’s an American non-governmental organization—and attended by State Department personnel. So, this isn’t a case of just the United States using U.S. taxpayer money to pay the salaries and underwrite the creation of this Center for Countering Disinformation, who then published a list with American names on it, calling them Russian propagandists. This is about the United States organizing this, that the United States is conducting this, that the United States is using a foreign proxy, in an effort to intimidate and silence American citizens for daring to speak truth to a very complex issue. Apparently, if you embrace fact-based truth, you are a Russian propagandist. But it goes beyond this, because at the same meeting that Diane and myself, Ray McGovern, Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, and others were labeled “Russian propagandists,” we were also labeled “information terrorists” and that the goal of this center should be getting international support to have us arrested and prosecuted as “war criminals.” Now, I don’t give a flying, you-know-what about these labels. You want to try and arrest me, Ukraine? Bring it on, buddy. I spent my entire life preparing for creeps like you.

We need the United States government to cease and desist the funding of this effort, and to publicly distance itself from the Center for Countering Disinformation, [and say] no one on that list is a Russian propagandist.

But Diane is a political figure, Diane is running for office. And as she said, there are enough lunatics out there, including here in the state of New York, pro-Ukrainian groups loyal to the ideology of Stepan Bandera. If you drive right down here to the Catskills, you will see on the side of the road, the flag of the Bandera movement, the flag of Right Sector, the flag of the Azov Regiment, flying proudly. There are people out there who can very easily take as a cue the labeling of a prominent political figure, one who is in opposition to Chuck Schumer, Schumer who has apparently just gone all in for the neo-Nazi regime of Volodymyr Zelensky. Who knows what they [the Bandera movement] might do? I’m not going to talk anymore about it because I don’t want to give anybody any ideas.

But Diane’s right. This is a safety and security issue above and beyond a free speech issue.

But the free speech issue is of huge concern, not only in terms of using a foreign proxy funded by American taxpayer dollars to label Americans exercising their right of free speech as “Russian propagandists”—that has a chilling effect. I can tell you right now that I have been denied employment opportunities because of that very label. I am a freelance writer, I published in a number of outlets, and some of those outlets have said, we can’t publish you anymore because you are a “Russian propagandist.” So it has a chilling impact on that. And then, of course, there’s the security impact of being labeled an “information terrorist” at a time when the official policy of United States is to kill terrorists.

So, this is extraordinarily problematic. Now, the list has come down. They’ve taken it off their website. I give kudos to Diane for organizing events outside of Chuck Schumer’s office. I’d like to believe that the letters I wrote to Schumer, to Sen. Gillibrand and to Rep. Paul Tonko had a role in this. I did get a response from Paul Tonko, which was a ridiculous form letter that didn’t address any of the issues that I talked about. It literally explained why he supports Ukraine.

The list has come down, but the money is still there. The fact is, there was a meeting on July 14 organized by the United States government, an NGO funded by the U.S. government, attended by U.S. State Department personnel that set this in motion. It’s not good enough that the list came down. We need the United States government to cease and desist the funding of this effort, and to publicly distance itself from the work performed by the Center for Countering Disinformation, to include saying that no one on that list is a Russian propagandist. No one on that list is an information terrorist. No one on that list deserves to be arrested and prosecuted for war crimes. Everybody on that list, especially the Americans, were exercising their First Amendment right to speak freely. That’s what we need the U.S. government to do. That’s what we need the State Department to do. That’s what we need Chuck Schumer to do.

Pooler: Scott, two questions. How could anybody call you a war criminal when you’re working for peace? I don’t understand that.

Ritter: Well, you say working for peace. Let me just make it clear. I am not a pacifist. I am a former Marine. My job was war. What I do say is that I know war firsthand. And I hate war. I abhor war. The analogy that I use is sort of tongue in cheek, but it’s true. I love dogs. I think dogs are the greatest thing in the world. But if a rabid dog enters my neighborhood, I am going to “Atticus Finch” him. That’s a reference to To Kill a Mockingbird, and that means I’m shooting the rabid dog. There are rabid dogs in this world who need to be shot. And as a marine, I was prepared to do that difficult task on behalf of my country and defense of my nation. But I recognize that war is horrible and should be avoided at all costs. However, in the current conflict in Ukraine, I am not advocating peace at all. I am 100% on the side of justice, and justice is the sole purview of Russia in this regard. They were forced to carry out this war. I believe that Russia had no alternative but to carry out this conflict. I believe that facing down neo-Nazi nationalists who have the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on their hands—I’m not just talking about the 14,000 people murdered in Donbas, I’m talking about 120,000 Poles, 220,000 Russians that were slaughtered by the Banderist movement back in the 1950s—funded by the CIA, by the way. So, no, I’m not a pacifist in this case. I think rabid dogs need to be shot. And right now, Ukraine is full of rabid dogs. And I know, Diane, and you might disagree with me, but I just wanted to make it clear, I am not on the side of peace in this case. I think there is a horrific threat to international peace and security that resonates across Europe and the United States. This is the same ideology that my relatives went across the Atlantic to fight and destroy back in World War Two. And it’s alive and it’s well, and it’s living today in Ukraine. So, I’m not a pacifist in this regard. Now, if that makes me a Russian propagandist, that’s a label that people can throw out there. But I’m not a Russian propagandist. I’m as critical of Russia as anybody when it comes to certain things. But on the issue of Ukraine and whether or not Russia had a responsibility, a duty and a right to defend the Russian ethnic population of Eastern Ukraine from the horrific crimes being perpetrated against them by neo-Nazi Banderists, yeah, I’m on the side of Russia on this one.

This is the same ideology that my relatives went across the Atlantic to fight and destroy back in World War II. It’s alive and it’s well, living today in Ukraine [now].

Pooler: Would you concur, Diane?

Sare: Well, I want to make a point on this disinformation question. First of all, the United States played a despicable role. You can go back to 2014 when the Obama administration and Victoria Nuland overthrew the government of Ukraine. We have the phone call with Ambassador Pyatt, where they decide exactly who’s going to be in the government. So anyone saying that Ukraine had any independence from the United States is just not telling the truth. We also know, by the way, that Christopher Steele, then MI6, of the infamous Steele dossier, actually wrote close to 100 memoranda to Nuland and the State Department.

So, you see the old British great game, British geopolitics, which unfortunately has taken over our policy. We’re not acting like the United States. The coup happened. Then they had this Minsk process. The United States could have supported that. Had we supported that, we would never have come to this. There were many, many points, many turning points in the road, where this could have been prevented. And we created the conditions. My hypothesis, Scott, is that the reason why the Biden administration was so precise, or attempted to be, on which day Putin was going to invade Ukraine, was because they were planning the escalation in the Donbass. And I think they launched like 1600 shells on Donetsk. There was a certain offensive of this Nazi-infested military against the Donbass, which was planned for a certain date, and therefore they said, oh, the Russian invasion is going to occur a certain day. And not mentioning the provocation.

Pooler: Scott, I’ve got a question for you. I remember you from the early 2000’s when you were outspoken against the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. At that point, when you were talking about no WMDs, was there as much pressure as there is now in what you’re experiencing?

Ritter: Well, to be frank, the only pressure I feel today is the pressure of rejected employment opportunities. I don’t feel any pressure from the U.S. government. I don’t have FBI agents tailing me around, knocking on my door, harassing my family—I had all that back in the early 2000’s. The pressure back then was real. It was significant, it was oppressive. But they had warned me [not to report that there were no WMDs in Iraq—ed]. I don’t want to get too graphic, but when I resigned from my position as a weapons inspector at the United Nations, the CIA station in New York told me at the time that the FBI is going to—and he used a bad word and he indicated a place on my anatomy that they were going to do this to me—he said, just understand that that will happen. And that night, the FBI made a phone call to Dan Rather. And on national TV, I was accused of being an Israeli spy charged with espionage. The specific charges carry the death penalty. And that was all the FBI’s doing. Then the FBI proceeded to carry out a campaign of defamation against me. So it was very oppressive back then. I don’t have any of that going on right now. What I have right now is the chilling impact of being labeled a Russian propagandist at a time when the United States has fallen into a McCarthy-like knee-jerk reaction against anything Russia. This is the new Red Scare. So, there is a difference, and fortunately, I do have outlets that continue to allow me to write, and I earn an income from that. So, my family is not suffering. Like I said, I carry the labels sort of tongue-in-cheek, because I’m at the state in life where I just don’t care about what people think about me anymore. If you like me, I’m happy. If you don’t like me, I don’t care. If you want to call me a name, call me a name. It’s really like water off a duck’s back. Just don’t attack my family. If you want to take a swing at me, you know that’s your business. Please don’t. But if you do, understand, there will be consequences.

And do not bother Diane Sare. Whether you agree with her politics or not, and I happen to agree with much of what Diane Sare stands for, I think she would be a fantastic representative of the people of New York and the United States Senate. And God, we could only hope to have somebody of her wisdom and maturity there. But if you don’t agree with her, vote against her. That’s what Americans do. Vote against her, but don’t attack her. Don’t fall into this trap of allowing labels to dictate outcomes that nobody wants. So, Diane, I’m 100% behind you. And I will continue to fight this ridiculous label that they put on you. I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you that there are alternatives that are available, if the Congress continues to refuse to act. And one of those alternatives is perhaps filing an injunction in federal court to freeze all of U.S. taxpayer money going to Ukraine, until which time the question of how this money is being spent—is this money being spent to suppress the rights of Americans and to target Americans for potential physical harm—is finally answered by the U.S. government.

Sare: That sounds like a great idea. I want to also bring up something because you ask this question of pressure. There is a pressure that I think any sane person should feel, which is that, are we going to end up in a nuclear war? Are we going to see a situation where the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant gets shelled by the Ukrainians, and we get like a dirty bomb or something spreading all over Eastern Europe? These are real dangers. And that’s what I think is so criminal about the blacklisting of people, because we are actually—already way too many people have died in this conflict. The Russians, because they are being very careful to not kill civilians, are losing more people than they would lose if they were doing what the stupid media says. If they wanted to flatten Ukraine, they could have done that early on in a rather short time. And I’m not a military expert like Scott, but I imagine knowing what little I know about it, if Russia had wanted to flatten Ukraine, that would have been done long ago. So they are taking great pains to preserve any integrity that can be found there while getting rid of the elements that are a threat, not only to Russia but to peace everywhere.

So, there is a real pressure, because I think it’s dangerous. Secondly, I did an interview yesterday, and I’m not going to say the—it was a major news magazine. Who knows if they’re going to run it or not? It was more, I thought, like a fishing expedition. And then finally, the journalist, who was sort of young and probably didn’t know what he was saying, starts asking me, where do you get your information? Where do you get your information? he said, I’m working with—I think the name was Mary Blankenship. She’s at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She’s just a doctoral student or something, but she’s Ukrainian, and she’s getting her degree—she’s a “disinformation specialist.” And he said, I just interviewed so-and-so, and they said, they’re getting everything from “Moon over Alabama” and that’s just a Russian front.

And I said, look, stop with this story of a narrative and disinformation. There’s such a thing as truth, and you can reason. That’s what Socrates and Plato were all about. You can figure something out in your own mind.

Kennedy did not want to have nuclear missiles in Cuba, and we risked possibly nuclear war to end that threat. We know that James Baker III promised unequivocally to Gorbachev, that NATO was not going to move one inch to the East. It’s moved 1000 kilometers! and 14 more nations—I don’t know how many nations have joined. We’re creating a situation which we ourselves considered unacceptable, and we’re doing it to Russia. I don’t need a Russian propagandist to inform me that there is a strategic problem here and that NATO and the British and the U.S. are the aggressors. That is just obvious for anyone who thinks for themselves. But just the fact that we have this person, she’s from Ukraine and she’s embedded in Academia, and also works for the Brookings Institution, to make sure that they have their narrative. People who are well intended don’t do things like that! Scott and I and the other people on the list do not have a vast conspiracy of censorship in the press. What you see is what we’re doing.

Pooler: But now the list was taken down. Why? Why do you think it was taken down, Diane? Then I want Scott’s reaction.

Sare: There was a lot of pressure. I think some people might have realized it was a mistake, because of the backlash. I think that’s mainly it. I don’t think they’re having second thoughts and I don’t think we’re any less of targets. I just think they realize that maybe it was encouraging a process that they didn’t want to encourage.

I don’t need a Russian propagandist to inform me that there is a strategic problem here and that NATO and the British and the U.S. are the aggressors. That is just obvious for anyone who thinks for themselves.

Ritter: I agree. The optics were horrible, and I think the State Department recognized that they were dangerously exposed by having their representatives attending a meeting—that the Embassy used a U.S. congressionally-funded NGO to organize, to attack the First Amendment rights of Americans. Including, I would like to believe, they may have actually engaged some brain cells and realized that it’s one thing to silence Scott Ritter. But to silence Diane Sare, a candidate for Senate at a time when she’s running against the guy who led the charge to get this money put out there, who in attacking Rand Paul for the crime of saying, “hey, maybe we want an inspector general to account for all this money,” and calling that guy Putin’s handmaid, you know, labels. Maybe they realize they were dangerously overexposed.

But, Diane, I just got to say: [speaking sarcastically] Are you really concerned about what’s going on in Zaporizhzhia? You’re such a Russian propagandist! I mean, my God, come on. It’s only nuclear catastrophe—it’s only Chernobyl! You know, really, quit using Russian talking points. All right? We need to be very clear about this, that Zelensky needs his electricity, so he has to burn down the village to save it! He has to shell the nuclear plant to get the electricity. Stay on message, Diane. Stay on message!

I’m being facetious here. I mean, if you’re a thinking human being and you are not concerned about the potential for a nuclear catastrophe at Zaporizhzhia as great or greater than Chernobyl, frankly speaking, you’re un-American and you’re inhuman. This isn’t about taking a pro-Russian stance. This is about taking a pro-life stance. I don’t mean in the traditional way that it’s used here in the United States. I’m talking about saving the planet, saving the people, creating a world where future generations can live in peace and harmony without the fear of deadly nuclear contamination. This is the problem with labels, because when you apply a label like this, it has a chilling effect on discussion, debate, dialogue, the critical building blocks of American democracy. What makes this country have great potential is that we have the ability to have an informed citizenry, people who are informed not by receiving talking points from the U.S. government, but are informed by their own intellectual curiosity that is exercised through the process of engagement, where differing opinions are laid out there and, through polite discussion of the facts, are debated, discussed. And from that, individuals can reach their own opinion and then use those opinions to empower themselves politically at the polling place, voting for people that best represent that which they believe in.

When you put labels out there, you destroy this. You eliminate this, by saying that anything that is counter to the Ukrainian government position is simply Russian propaganda. It has a chilling impact on this debate. It is a frontal assault against American democracy as much or even more so than this blacklist, because the label against 72 people is one thing. But to label anybody who dares speak out about what’s going on in Zaporizhzhia, as a Russian propagandist, you’re putting the fate of the world at risk. That’s the danger of this kind of ridiculous blacklist and the labels that are attached to it.

Pooler: Diane, Scott and I are both represented by NY Rep. Paul Tonko, and if Paul Tonko is going to respond in a ridiculous fashion, don’t the people in Congress and in the Senate, don’t they know the facts? What do you think, Diane?

Sare: I think there’s a combination of factors. First of all, when I had run for Congress ten years ago, and spent a lot of time down there, you got a very peculiar sense that you were talking to pod people. What I mean is, you’re meeting with someone who presents a face, but you don’t know what’s behind that face. And therefore, there seems to be a great gap between what they might know as a person, and what they do as policy. They seem to be incapable of thinking through what impact things would have. I don’t know if that’s because so many of them are on drugs, which I think is a problem, I’m afraid.

But the Senate voted unanimously, 100 to 0, to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism—100 to 0! Now, Rand Paul knows better than that. Josh Hawley—there are people who clearly, I think, know better than that. So why on earth would they do something so idiotic? And I understand now even the disgusting State Department, the fascist-infested State Department that we have, is trying to stop this from passing in the House as well, because if the House and Senate agree, if it becomes the U.S. policy that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism, that is not just a spoken thing, that changes everything on diplomacy. One of the reasons we’re alive today is because Kennedy was able to talk to Khrushchev and had various back channels. You do something like this, and you’re closing off a potential to ever end this war or to avert catastrophe.

Ritter: Yeah, Fortunately, I believe that the Senate resolution is a “sense of Congress,” meaning that it doesn’t have the force of law, and the President therefore is not required to act on it. The State Department has already said that we can’t do this terrorist label thing because to do that would be to terminate any potential of interaction. And the Russians have said straight up, if you do that, we’re shutting down all diplomatic relations, we’re closing our Embassy, we’re kicking you out. There will be no connectivity, because there’s no reason to work with you ever again. Anybody who says, “That’s okay, we don’t need them Russkies,”—guys, you do know that the only remaining nuclear arms treaty that we have with Russia, the New START treaty, expires in 2026. And while this may just be 2022, four years in arms control time, is not a long time. It takes a lot of effort to do things. Russia has expanded its nuclear arsenal to include weapons today that are not covered by New Start. So, there is a drive within the United States to negotiate a new arms control treaty that includes these weapons. And, of course, Russia would want to include things as well. This takes time to negotiate. Four years suddenly isn’t that much time, especially considering that we may very well be changing horses midstream, so to speak. Not only do we get the potential of a Republican dominated Congress after the midterms, but in 2024, there’s a real possibility that we won’t have a Democrat in office, which means whatever’s being negotiated has to be negotiated responsibly, so that it has bipartisan support.

Any time you say bipartisan support in Washington, D.C., the level of complexity goes up by several orders of magnitude, because of the compromises that have to take place, etc. Suddenly four years isn’t enough time at all. And then if you complicate this further by going through this ridiculous, politicized talking point, that Russia is a state sponsor of terror, and you terminate all diplomatic interaction between the United States and Russia, there will be no arms control treaty—not only a new one, the old one is going to die. And when that happens, we are in a very, very dangerous place. Because once you eliminate the arms control treaty, and the verification processes involved, you eliminate the ability to peek inside, and see what’s going on. And you can get a certain element of confidence when you say, okay, we know what the Russians are up to, and the Russians say, we know what the Americans are up to. You suddenly shut that door and all you have is darkness, what happens is you start to think the worst. Oh, my God, the Russians could be doing a, b, c, d, e, f, g, and the Russians are going, oh, the Americans are probably doing X, Y, Z. Therefore, we need to respond by doing this. And now you have an arms control race that’s spiraling out of control with no trust, no interaction, no way to stop it.

And one day you’re going to wake up to find that the nuclear missiles have flown, and the world is over. You’re either going to get that 200-300,000-degree suntan, which is instantaneous death—you’ll probably wish for that, because the other option is to just wait for that lingering death that’s going to come with nuclear winter—radiation, lack of food, and things like that. You really want to watch your family die that way? Do you really want to do that? And I’m not trying to be over the top here. It’s what happens when you have global thermonuclear war. The world ends. It’s not a joke. This is reality. These weapons exist. And if we’re not trying to get rid of these weapons by engaging in responsible disarmament with the Russians, the Chinese, getting the French, the British involved, eventually getting the Israelis, the Pakistanis, the Indians involved, the North Koreans involved, getting rid of nuclear weapons should be the goal of every human being on the planet, because nuclear weapons represent nothing other than the destruction of all mankind. If they’re used, we all die. Build a weapon knowing that if you use it, you kill everybody, get rid of them! And if you can’t talk with the people that have them—that’s why labelling Russia a state sponsor of terror is one of the dumbest moves Americans could do. And guess what the U.S. Senate just did? They confirmed that we have 100 idiots in office.

Sare: Yeah, hopefully they’ll have one less after November!

Ritter: That’s what I’m saying, let’s put one person who’s not an idiot in office. Let’s put Diane Sare in office so that we have one voice of sanity!

If it becomes U.S. policy that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism ... that changes everything on diplomacy. We’re alive today because Kennedy was able to talk to Khrushchev, and had various back channels.

Sare: I wanted to bring something up while we’re here and get Scott’s take on it. Over a year ago, Helga Zepp-LaRouche had this insight about Afghanistan, that we were pulling our troops out, we were getting out of there. We left it as a total disaster. But, she said, look, isn’t it in the interest of Russia, China, India, all the nations in the region, that this place be stabilized? Is there some way that this horror that we left there, with 22 million people facing death by starvation, now could be an arena—I know it’s hard to imagine with the characters that we have running American policy—but could we not get the U.S., China, Russia, India—I mean, Pakistan even allowed India to ship a trainload of grain through Pakistan to get to Afghanistan. It seems to me that you might be able to figure out a way to change the dynamic of relations among these major powers, if you took an area that was sort of outside of the immediate conflict—it’s not Taiwan, it’s not Ukraine. And you said, look, don’t we want this place to be stable? And of course, you have to talk to the Afghan people. You’re going to have to talk to the Taliban or whoever is there—and say, look, why don’t we agree that we’re going to work together to allow this country to become a modern, developed nation? That was the policy at the end of World War Two. Isn’t it stunning what Germany, which under the Nazis committed unspeakable crimes and atrocities, or what Japan committed—we had a different approach, and those nations are very advanced and relatively civilized today. So, what about that? Is there any universe in which we could consider that this case of Afghanistan, which is suffering so much, could be a place where we could develop trust among these major players and change the whole dynamic?

Ritter: We could do that instantly if we wanted to. The problem is, Afghanistan is part of Central Asia, which is part of this trans-Eurasian Economic Union that Russia and China and India are all working together to try and create. And that represents a direct economic threat against the United States, the G7, the European Union. So rather than trying to help out the Afghan people as penance for the 20 years of slaughter that we imposed on them, what we’ve opted to do instead is shackle them, hamstring them. We’re denying them access to their money, their money that’s in international banks we refuse to give to them. And then the CIA, in all of its infinite wisdom, is promoting the creation of a resistance movement so that the horrors of war continue inside Afghanistan. We’re seeking now to turn Afghanistan into a sea not of stability, but instability, because we see that as a poison pill that brings down the potential for this trans-Eurasian Economic Union.

The United States is doing the exact opposite. You’re correct. Had we had reasonable people in place, we could have a better situation in Afghanistan today, tomorrow, immediately. Instead, we’ve taken a contrary point of view simply because we say we don’t want to deal with the Taliban the way they are right now. They won! You deal with the winners. And the best way to moderate extremism is to create the conditions of moderation. And you do that by improving the economy, creating stability. The best way to extend extremism is to create extreme conditions of poverty, of health disasters, and, of course, of a looming civil conflict. And that’s the policy of the United States.

Look, I love my country. I’m an American patriot, believe in the Constitution, I believe in our ability to do good. But we are literally at this stage in our development as a nation the greatest threat to international peace and security, because we don’t represent anything other than ourselves. We don’t care about anybody who doesn’t have the term “American citizen” after their name. We do policies that bring harm and suffering to people, and we just don’t care. We don’t care as policy makers. We don’t care as citizens. And that’s the biggest condemnation out there to the people of America. Wake the heck up, start caring about people around the world as much as you care about your family! Because at the end of the day, and I’m not trying to be all kumbaya, lovey-dovey. I’m not. But, you know, we are a global family. The world is a village. The whole thing’s a village! And what we need to understand is that there’s interconnectivity between things going bad in one place in the world, which resonate all around the world. And right now, the United States—and this is a challenge I put out there, Cynthia, and maybe we can talk about this later—I challenge anybody who’s listening, anybody who’s listening, find me one good thing America is doing in the world today. One good thing. Let’s do it. Give me one good thing we’re doing. You’re going to have trouble doing that. And what you’re going to give me is going to be so minor, so inconsequential compared to all the bad we’re doing. And we don’t have enough time in the week to cover everything bad we’re doing in the world. Why is America the bad guys? Diane’s 100% right. We could be the good guys in Afghanistan. We could be the Saviors. We could be the ones that come up with a solution. But we’re not.

Pooler: On that note, we have got to end this conversation. It’s been great, and I hope to get you back together again to talk about issues as things evolve.

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