Episode

2/24 The “Spoils” of War w/ Andrew Cockburn & Ken Klippenstein

February 24, 2022

Emma hosts Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor at Harper’s Magazine, to discuss his recent book The Spoils of War: Power, Profit, and the American War Machine. Then, Emma is joined by Ken Klippenstein, investigative reporter at the Intercept, to discuss his recent piece “SAUDI-RUSSIA COLLUSION IS DRIVING UP GAS PRICES — AND WORSENING UKRAINE CRISIS”. However, they begin by taking a step back to look at the developments of recent weeks, leading up to last night’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, looking to how the Biden administration has signaled their response, from guessing correctly at Putin’s aims yet still making every effort to ensure he followed through, to the consistent push for more and more intense sanctions, before Andrew dives into the actual conflicts at hand, in the Donbas region and elsewhere, and explores Putin’s desire to pin everything to Nazis and communists. This fittingly leads them to look at the development of the foreign policy tactic of sanctions, first moving back to its emergence in the 1960s against the Cuban people, hoping to starve them into revolution, before they look at how it developed in a pseudo-technocratic manner, just as drone warfare did, with US officials presenting newer and newer sanctions as “precise” and “targeted,” despite everything about their effects suggesting the opposite. Next, they look at the long-lasting devastation that sanctions have wrought, even if eventually lifted – as we saw in Iran – and dive into their pointlessness as a completely unproductive involvement in this conflict. He and Emma then explore the evolution of the Military-Industrial Complex, which has driven up the Pentagon budget by ~5% per year since 1954 all while it is suggested that our actual “fighting strength” is dropping. Andrew Cockburn makes sense of this by re-situating how we look at the issue, exploring how the MIC and Pentagon are only understandable when viewed as moneymaking machines, as he walks through myriad examples, from the Air Force developing worse planes simply because they’re costlier and employ more technological precision to Korean war tactics that centered on raiding communist trenches for clothing. They wrap up by tracking the consistent reaction to any dips in the Pentagon’s budgetary growth (not budget; growth), alongside warmongering lies from the 60s “missile gap” to nuclear lies in the Middle East. Emma also walks us through the developments in Ukraine last night, tracking the invasion and what little we know about the death toll as she works her way through this tragedy.

And in the Fun Half: Ken Klippenstein joins as he discusses his recent piece on the role of Saudi-Russian collusion in driving up gas prices and enflaming the crisis in Ukraine, from Saudi Arabia bolstering Russia’s role in oil production (starting in 2015) to strengthen Putin’s hand in advancing this conflict, to the easy decisions that the US could make in just moving away from 0il, as well as touching on Biden advancing sanctions against Yemen. Then, Emma is joined by Matt and Brandon as they take a call from Bro Flamingo and admire Laura Ingraham’s Interruption Angle. Binder also takes on certain “leftists” refusal to acknowledge their weirdly pro-war excuses or take accountability for how they disseminate their own opinions, and he, Matt #2, Brandon, and Emma go back and forth on the role NATO should’ve or even could’ve played in the run-up, before Eric Adams, massive proponent of solitary confinement, rants on the importance of socializing in our well being. Lastly, they go off on the active violent incitement against Trans people by the right, from Marjorie Taylor Greene to Eric Prince, plus, your calls and IMs!

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