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Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

‘Needlessly Provocative’: Austin Rebuked for Again Opening NATO Door to Ukraine and Georgia – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2021

“The Biden administration now faces a stark choice: commit to fight for Ukraine, creating a serious risk of war with Russia, or admit that NATO expansion has come to an overdue end.”

https://original.antiwar.com/?p=2012344249

by Brett Wilkins

Anti-war advocates on Monday warned that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin would be making a dangerous strategic blunder if he suggests that Ukraine and Georgia have a welcome mat toward full integration into the NATO military alliance – a move critics say would dramatically increase the risk of war between Washington, D.C. and Moscow.

According to The Washington Times, Austin will signal that NATO is holding an “open door” for Georgia and Ukraine as he visits the two nations and Romania this week.

“We are reassuring and reinforcing the sovereignty of countries that are on the front lines of Russian aggression,” a senior US defense official told reporters ahead of Austin’s trip.

Critics like Matt Duss, foreign policy to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), renewed long-standing warnings against potential NATO membership for the two former Soviet republics.

Duss, writing on his personal Twitter account, categorized the move as “needlessly provocative,” one that “will almost certainly receive wall to wall applause in DC.”

According to Antiwar.com contributing editor Daniel Larison:

Encouraging Ukraine and Georgia to believe that NATO membership is still in the cards for them is a serious mistake. It is not surprising that the Biden administration is maintaining the status quo on this issue, but it is a missed opportunity to reverse some of the damage that was done back in 2008 when this dangerous promise was first made to these aspirant states.

Keeping the “door” open to NATO expansion antagonizes Russia, and it strings Ukraine and Georgia along for no good reason. Many European allies will not support bringing these states into the alliance, and there is no compelling reason to add them.

Both countries would be extremely difficult if not impossible to defend in the event of a conflict, and they already have Russian or Russian-backed forces on their territory. Even if they were model democracies, which they most certainly are not, they would be poor candidates for the alliance.

Under Article 5 of the NATO charter – also known as the “collective defense” clause – the United States and other alliance members would be treaty-bound to fight Russia should war break out with Georgia or Ukraine. Russian troops invaded and occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia in 2008, and Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Ukraine is also widely considered the ancient cradle of Russian civilization.

Critics have long argued that NATO, formed in 1949 as a mutual defense pact against the Soviet Union, is a provocative anachronism in the absence of any threat from a long-defunct Warsaw Pact, and should be dissolved.

Peace advocates have greeted each actual or proposed enlargement of NATO – which currently counts 10 former Soviet or Warsaw Pact republics as members, and which has crept steadily eastward since its inception – by warning that such expansion threatens world peace.

My view remains: “After decades of overreach, the Biden administration now faces a stark choice: commit to fight for Ukraine [and Georgia], creating a serious risk of war with Russia, or admit that NATO expansion has come to an overdue end.” https://t.co/zovAz4K82u — Stephen Wertheim (@stephenwertheim) October 18, 2021

“After decades of overreach, the Biden administration now faces a stark choice,” writes Stephen Wertheim of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, “commit to fight for Ukraine, creating a serious risk of war with Russia, or admit that NATO expansion has come to an overdue end.”

Austin’s trip comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Monday that his country’s government was suspending its diplomatic mission to NATO and closing the alliance’s Moscow office. The move follows last week’s expulsion of eight Russian staff members from Russia’s mission in Brussels amid espionage allegations.

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams

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NATO’s Plans To Hack Your Brain | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2021

Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.”

In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of “Western liberal democracies.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/natos-plans-hack-your-brain

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com,

NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it.

The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare.

Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.”

Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.”

2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.”

“The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.”

The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare

While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.”

In a chilling disclosure, the report said explicitly that “the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.”

With entire civilian populations in NATO’s crosshairs, the report emphasized that Western militaries must work more closely with academia to weaponize social sciences and human sciences and help the alliance develop its cognitive warfare capacities.

The study described this phenomenon as “the militarization of brain science.” But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself.

Such all-encompassing militarization of society is reflected in the paranoid tone of the NATO-sponsored report, which warned of “an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” The study makes it clear that those “competitors” purportedly exploiting the consciousness of Western dissidents are China and Russia.

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US, British Surveillance Planes Circle Kaliningrad – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on October 5, 2021

Apparently Kaliningrad is a US security threat.

https://news.antiwar.com/2021/10/03/us-british-surveillance-planes-circle-kaliningrad/

by Jason Ditz

Spying activity is often driving tensions between NATO and Russia. This is the case in the Baltic right now, where US and British surveillance planes are very visibly active around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The surveillance is being conducted by RC-135W, planes that conduct electronic surveillance, surveying the electromagnetic spectrum in the area to gather intelligence.

Kaliningrad was historically Ostpreußen, a part of Germany, and before that Prussia. The Soviet Union took the land in 1946 after WW2. The exclave loomed large around the start of WW2, as the lack of a land connection between Ostpreußen and the rest of Germany was the source of a lot of tension with Poland. Germans were expelled by the Soviets, and Soviet citizens were moved in in the late 1940s.

During the Cold War, Kaliningrad was physically connected to the rest of the Soviet Union through the Baltic States, but with them now independent and in NATO, the exclave is unconnected, and often a target of NATO exercises.

From a strategic perspective Kaliningrad is used to monitor NATO operations, and Russia often threatens to deploy arms, including nuclear weapons, in Kaliningrad to counter US deployments in central Europe.

Very active surveillance, like the kind the US and Britain are conducting, would be considered a provocation if Russia was doing it, and probably will be considered provocation by Russia since it’s being done to them.

NATO is almost always needling Russia in the region, building up ever-growing numbers of troops in the Baltic states and  conducting growing military exercises, centered around engagements against Russia in general and Kaliningrad in particular.

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‘HMS Defender Versus The Russian Military: The Danger of Believing Your Own Propaganda’ – Ron Paul’s 28 June Column

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2021

Having had their bluff called, the UK government did what all governments do best: it lied. The Russians did not shoot at a UK warship, they claimed. It was a previously-scheduled Russian military exercise in the area.

Unfortunately for the UK government, in its haste to create good propaganda about standing up to Russia, they had a BBC reporter on-board the Defender who spilled the beans: Yes, the Russian military did issue several warnings, yes it did buzz the HMS Defender multiple times, and yes there were shots fired in the Defender’s direction.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/propaganda?e=4e0de347c8

June 28 – Less than two weeks after NATO members reaffirmed allegiance to Article 5 – that an attack on one member was an attack on all members – the UK nearly put that pledge to the test. In a shockingly provocative move, the UK’s HMS Defender purposely sailed into Crimean territorial waters on its way to Georgia.

Press reports suggest that there was a dispute between the UK defense and foreign ministries over whether to violate Russia’s claimed territorial waters with a heavily armed warship. According to reports, Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself jumped in to over-rule the more cautious Foreign Office in favor of confrontation.

As Johnson later claimed, because the UK (and the US) does not recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the UK was actually sailing through Ukrainian waters. It was an in-your-face move toward Russia just weeks after the US and NATO were forced to back down from a major clash with Russia in eastern Ukraine

This time, as was the case in eastern Ukraine, the Russians took a different view of the situation. Russian coast guard vessels ordered the HMS Defender to exit Russian territorial waters – an order they punctuated with rare live fire of cannon and dropping of bombs.

Having had their bluff called, the UK government did what all governments do best: it lied. The Russians did not shoot at a UK warship, they claimed. It was a previously-scheduled Russian military exercise in the area.

Unfortunately for the UK government, in its haste to create good propaganda about standing up to Russia, they had a BBC reporter on-board the Defender who spilled the beans: Yes, the Russian military did issue several warnings, yes it did buzz the HMS Defender multiple times, and yes there were shots fired in the Defender’s direction.

Similarly, in the spring, Russia rapidly deployed 75,000 troops on the border with Ukraine in response to a US-backed Ukrainian military build-up. The message was clear: Russia would no longer sit by as the US government and its allies intervened next door.

Russia now has demonstrated that it will protect Crimea, which voted in a 2014 referendum to re-join Russia. The Crimean vote was triggered by the US-backed coup in Ukraine. That is called “unintended consequences” of foreign interventionism.

The problem with the UK, the US, and their NATO allies is that they believe their own propaganda and they act accordingly. A famous 2004 quote attributed to George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, clearly spelled out this line of thinking. Said Rove, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

These two recent near-clashes with Russia demonstrate that the “reality” created by an almost religious belief in American or NATO exceptionalism can often crash hard against the reality of 75,000 troops or the Black Sea Fleet

The anti-Russia propaganda endlessly repeated by both political parties in Washington and amplified by the anti-Trump media for more than four years has completely saturated the Beltway and beyond. Even as the Russiagate conspiracy was proven to be a lie, the propaganda it spawned lives on.

Blustering Boris Johnson almost provoked a major war over an infantile desire to continue poking and prodding Russia in its own backyard. This time the war was averted, but what about next time? Will the adults ever be in charge?



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Copyright © 2021 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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G7: Desperately seeking relevancy – Asia Times

Posted by M. C. on June 11, 2021

History tells uss it won’t work. Just two examples: the British and French empires could not stop the rise of the US in the 19th century; and even better, the Anglo-American axis only stopped the simultaneous rise of Germany and Japan by paying the price of two world wars, with the British empire destroyed and Germany back again as the leading power in Europe.

That should give the meeting of “America is Back” and “Global Britain” in Cornwall the status of a mere, quirky historical footnote.

https://asiatimes.com/2021/06/g7-desperately-seeking-relevancy/

The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”.

The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva – which certainly won’t be a reset.

The controlling interests behind the hologram that goes by the name of “Joe Biden” have a clear overarching agenda: to regiment industrialized democracies – especially those in Europe – and keep them in lockstep to combat those “authoritarian” threats to US national security, “malignant” Russia and China.

It’s like a throwback to those oh so stable 1970s Cold War days, complete with James Bond fighting foreign devils and Deep Purple subverting communism. Well, the times they are-a-changin’. China is very much aware that now the Global South “accounts for almost two-thirds of the global economy compared to one-third by the West: in the 1970s, it was exactly the opposite.”

For the Global South – that is, the overwhelming majority of the planet – the G7 is largely irrelevant. What matters is the G20.

China, the rising economic superpower, hails from the Global South, and is a leader in the G20. For all their internal troubles, EU players in the G7 – Germany, France and Italy – cannot afford to antagonize Beijing in economic, trade and investment terms.

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have no takers. Including Japan and special guests at Cornwall: tech powerhouse South Korea, and India and South Africa (both BRICS members), offered the dangling carrot of a possible extended membership.

Washington’s wishful thinking cum P.R. offensive boils down to selling itself as the primus inter pares of the West as a revitalized global leader. Why the Global South is not buying it can be observed, graphically, by what happened for the past eight years. The G7 – and especially the Americans – simply could not respond to China’s wide-ranging, pan-Eurasian trade/development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The American “strategy” so far – 24/7 demonization of BRI as a “debt trap” and “forced labor” machine – did not cut it. Now, too little too late, comes a G7 scheme, involving “partners” such as India, to “support”, at least in theory, vague “high-quality projects” across the Global South: that’s the Clean Green Initiative , focused on sustainable development and green transition, to be discussed both at the G7 and the US-EU summits.

Compared to BRI, Clean Green Initiative hardly qualifies as a coherent geopolitical and geoeconomic strategy. BRI has been endorsed and partnered by over 150 nation-states and international bodies – and that includes more than half of the EU’s 27 members.

Facts on the ground tell the story. China and ASEAN are about to strike a “comprehensive strategic partnership” deal. Trade between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CCEC), also known as the 17+1 group, including 12 EU nations, continues to increase. The Digital Silk Road, the Health Silk Road and the Polar Silk Road keep advancing.

So what’s left is loud Western rumbling about vague investments in digital technology – perhaps financed by the European Investment Bank, based in Luxembourg – to cut off China’s “authoritarian reach” across the Global South.

The EU-US summit may be launching a “Trade and Technology Council” to coordinate policies on 5G, semiconductors, supply chains, export controls and technology rules and standards. A gentle reminder: the EU-US simply do not control this complex environment. They badly need South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Wait a minute, Mr. Taxman

To be fair, the G7 may have rendered a public service to the whole world when their Finance Ministers struck an alleged “historic” deal last Saturday in London on a global, minimal 15% tax on multinational companies (MNCs).

Triumphalism was in order – with endless praise lavished on “justice” and “fiscal solidarity” coupled with really bad news for assorted fiscal paradises.

Well, that’s slightly more complicated.

This tax has been discussed at the highest levels of the OECD in Paris for over a decade now – especially because nation-states are losing at least $427 billion a year in tax-dodging by MNCs and assorted multi-billionaires. In terms of the European scenario that does not even account for the loss of V.A.T. by fraud – something gleefully practiced by Amazon, among others.

So it’s no wonder G7 Finance Ministers had $1.6 trillion-worth Amazon pretty much on their sights. Amazon’s cloud computing division should be treated as a separate entity. In this case the mega-tech group will have to pay more corporate tax in some of its largest European markets – Germany, France, Italy, UK – if the global 15% tax is ratified.

So yes, this is mostly about Big Tech – master experts on fiscal fraud and profiting from tax paradises located even inside Europe, such as Ireland and Luxembourg. The way the EU was built, it allowed fiscal competition between nation-states to fester. To discuss this openly in Brussels remains a virtual taboo. In the official EU list of fiscal paradises, one won’t find Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Malta.

So could this all be just a P.R. coup? It’s possible. The major problem is that at the European Council – where governments of EU member-states discuss their issues – they have been dragging their feet for a long time, and sort of delegated the whole thing to the OECD.

As it stands, details on the 15% tax are still vague – even as the US government stands to become the largest winner, because its MNCs have shifted massive profits all across the planet to avoid US corporate taxes.

Not to mention that nobody knows if, when and how the deal will be globally accepted and implemented: that will be a Sisyphean task. At least it will be discussed, again, at the G20 in Venice in July.

What Germany wants

Without Germany there would not have been real advance on the EU-China Investment Agreement late last year. With a new US administration, the deal is stalled again. Outgoing chancellor Merkel is against China-EU economic decoupling – and so are German industrialists. It will be quite a treat to watch this subplot at the G7.

In a nutshell: Germany wants to keep expanding as a global trading power by using its large industrial base, while the Anglo-Saxons have completely ditched their industrial base to embrace non-productive financialization. And China for its part wants to trade with the whole planet. Guess who’s the odd player out.

Considering the G7 as a de facto gathering of the Hegemon with its hyenas, jackals and chihuahuas, it will also be quite a treat to watch the semantics. What degree of “existential threat” will be ascribed to Beijing – especially because for the interests behind the hologram “Biden” the real priority is the Indo-Pacific?

These interests could not give a damn about a EU yearning for more strategic autonomy. Washington always announces its diktats without even bothering to previously consult Brussels.

So this is what this Triple X of summits – G7, NATO and EU-US – will be all about: the Hegemon pulling all stops to contain/harass the emergence of a rising power by enlisting its satrapies to “fight” and thus preserve the “rules-based international order” it designed over seven decades ago.

History tells uss it won’t work. Just two examples: the British and French empires could not stop the rise of the US in the 19th century; and even better, the Anglo-American axis only stopped the simultaneous rise of Germany and Japan by paying the price of two world wars, with the British empire destroyed and Germany back again as the leading power in Europe.

That should give the meeting of “America is Back” and “Global Britain” in Cornwall the status of a mere, quirky historical footnote.

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The Tightening of the NATO Noose — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2021

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/18/the-tightening-of-the-nato-noose/

Brian Cloughley

NATO’s military noose round Russia’s borders is being tightened in order to force Moscow to react to surging provocation, Brian Cloughley writes.

One of the most recent developments on the NATO front line was a meeting of the so-called ‘Bucharest Nine’ which the analytical agency Stratfor states “is a group of NATO’s easternmost members, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Most of these countries share strategic interests on issues such as deterring potential Russian aggression, keeping close cooperation with the United States, diversifying their sources of energy, and developing joint infrastructure projects.” The purpose of the video get-together, attended by President Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, was, according to the US-NATO military alliance “to take the agenda forward” in its mission “to consolidate views on issues of interest in the Alliance for the participating nations, and to support joint security projects.”

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery. The Taliban have no intention of permitting democracy in Afghanistan, when they eventually take over, after NATO’s retreat, and the country will be plunged into a maelstrom of theocratic bigotry and barbarity.

NATO followed the US into Afghanistan in August 2003 with the mission “to enable the Afghan authorities and build the capacity of the Afghan national security forces to provide effective security, so as to ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for terrorists.” It declares that the war and the transition to a training role in 2015, have represented “NATO’s longest and most challenging mission to date: at its height, the force was more than 130,000 strong with troops from 50 NATO and partner nations.” And they still got whipped by a few thousand militants who objected to the presence of foreign forces in their country.

So it’s back to Europe for US-NATO, having had a fun-war on Libya in 2011 when it blasted the country in the name of peace. This fandango of savagery was named “Unified Protector” but all it protected was the profits of Western arms manufacturers. After seven months of bombing and rocketing the country, involving 9,600 airstrikes, the then NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen went to Tripoli and declared he was “proud of the part the Organization and its partners played in helping the country and the region.” But as we know only too well, the country is in chaos.

As I wrote six years ago, two prominent figures involved in the US-NATO war on Libya were Ivo Daalder, the US Representative on the NATO Council from 2009 to 2013, and Admiral James G (‘Zorba’) Stavridis, the US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the military commander of NATO) in the same period. As they ended their war, on October 31, 2011, these two ninnies had a piece published in the New York Times in which they made the absurd claim that “As Operation Unified Protector comes to a close, the alliance and its partners can look back at an extraordinary job, well done. Most of all, they can see in the gratitude of the Libyan people that the use of limited force — precisely applied — can affect real, positive political change.”

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Butting Heads With China and Russia: American Diplomats Are Outclassed — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2021

To cite yet another dangerous example of playing with fire that one is witnessing in Eastern Europe, the simple understanding that for Russia Belarus and Ukraine are frontline states that could pose existential threats to Moscow if they were to move closer to the west and join NATO appears to be lacking. The U.S. prefers to stand the question on its head and claims that the real issue is “spreading democracy,” which it is not.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/13/butting-heads-with-china-and-russia-american-diplomats-are-outclassed/

Philip Giraldi

United State engagement in complicated overseas quarrels should be limited to areas where genuine vital interests are at stake.

With the exception of the impending departure of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, if it occurs, the White House seems to prefer to use aggression to deter adversaries rather than finesse. The recent exchanges between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Alaska demonstrate how Beijing has a clear view of its interests which Washington seems to lack. Blinken initiated the acrimonious exchange when he cited “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.” He then threatened “I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be” before adding “I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister responded sharply, rejecting U.S. suggestions that it has a right to interfere in another country’s domestic policies, “I think we thought too well of the United States, we thought that the U.S. side will follow the necessary diplomatic protocols. The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength. We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.” Yi had a point. Ironically, most of the world believes that the U.S. represents a greater threat to genuine democracy than does either China or Russia.

In another more recent interview Blinken has accused the Chinese of acting “more aggressively abroad” while President Biden has claimed that Beijing has a plan to replace America as the world’s leading economic and military power. U.S. United Nations envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield has also delivered the same message that Washington is preparing to take no prisoners, pledging to push back against what she called China’s “authoritarian agenda” through the various agencies that make up the UN bureaucracy. Indeed, the United States seems trapped in its own rhetoric, finding itself in the middle of a situation with China and Taiwan where warnings that Beijing is preparing to use force to recover its former province leave Washington with few options to support a de facto ally. Peter Beinart in a recent op-ed observes how the White House has been incrementally increasing its diplomatic ties with Taiwan even as it both declares itself “rock solid” on defending while also maintaining “strategic ambiguity.”

China understands its interests while the U.S. continues to be bewildered by Beijing’s successful building of trade alliances worldwide. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin, reputedly an excellent chess player, is able to think about genuine issues in three dimensions and is always at least four moves ahead of where Biden and his advisers are at any time. Biden public and video appearances frequently seem to be improvisations as he goes along guided by his teleprompter while Putin is able to explain issues clearly, apparently even in English.

A large part of Biden’s problem vis-à-vis both China and Russia is that he has inherited a U.S. Establishment view of foreign and national security policy options. It is based on three basic principles. First, that America is the only superpower and can either ignore or comfortably overcome the objections of other nations to what it is doing. Second, an all-powerful and fully resourced United States can apply “extreme pressure” to recalcitrant foreign governments and those regimes will eventually submit and comply with Washington’s wishes. And third, America has a widely accepted leadership role of the so-called “free world” which will mean that any decision made in Washington will immediately be endorsed by a large number of other nations, giving legitimacy to U.S. actions worldwide.

What Joe Biden actually thinks is, of course, unknown though he has a history of reflexively supporting an assertive and even belligerent foreign policy during his many years in Congress. Kamala Harris, who many believe will be succeeding Biden before too long, appears to have no definitive views at all beyond the usual Democratic Party cant of spreading “democracy” and being strong on Israel. That suggests that the real shaping of policy is coming from the apparatchik and donor levels in the party, to include the neocon-lite Zionist triumvirate at the State Department consisting of Tony Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Kagan as well as the upper-level bureaucracies at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, which all support an assertive and also interventionist foreign policy to keep Americans “safe” while also increasing their budgets annually. Such thinking leaves little room for genuine national interests to surface.

Biden’s Secretary of State Tony Blinken is, for example, the perfect conformist bureaucrat, shaping his own views around established thinking and creating caveats to provide the Democratic Party leadership with some, though limited, options. Witness for example the current White House attitude towards Iran, which is regarded, along with Russia, as a permanent enemy of the United States. President Biden has expressed his interest in renegotiating a non-nuclear proliferation treaty with the Iranians, now being discussed by diplomats without direct contact in Austria. But Blinken undercuts that intention by wrapping the talks in with other issues that are intended to satisfy the Israelis and their friends in Congress that will make progress unlikely if not impossible. They include eliminating Iran’s alleged role as a regional trouble maker and also ending the ballistic missile development programs currently engaged in by the regime. The downside to all of this is that having a multilateral agreement to limit Iranian enhancement of uranium up to a bomb-making level is very much in the U.S. interest, but it appears to be secondary to other politically motivated side discussions which will derail the process.

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Rudderless, Leaderless, and Drifting | Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on May 1, 2021

Then there is the fantastically stupid agitation and provocation on the home-front of the Democratic Party-sponsored Woke Jacobins, who are too dumb to even understand that if you want a police-state, you need police. Rather, they want to live in chaos and anarchy, the Satanic version of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the looters play in the stores all day and the jails have gone away. Joe Biden pimped for that hustle Wednesday night, too, declaring the nation systemically racist and “white supremacy” the nation’s greatest domestic menace. Oh really? Not our own DOJ, FBI, and the rest of the Intel Community?

When it comes to real geopolitical friction, look in the other direction, at China. Not only is US weakness vividly obvious to them, they are substantially responsible for it, having successfully launched the bio-weapon Wuhan virus that pushed the disordered US economy over a cliff, and then helped install their errand boy in the oval office. Among other stupidities, the USA allowed most of its advanced microchip manufacturing capacity to relocate in Taiwan. We can’t run anything here from cars and refrigerators to municipal water systems, and probably even our war weaponry, without continuous supply and resupply of these chips. Game this out.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/rudderless-leaderless-and-drifting/

James Howard Kunstler

While the China-sponsored hologram known as Joe Biden dazzled a sparsely-filled House chamber Wednesday night with a plan to turn the USA into the Big Rock Candy Mountain, events were spinning out of control so fast elsewhere that Rachel Maddow’s head was revolving like the demon-possessed little girl in The Exorcist, spewing a pea soup stream of Woke hysteria at her credulous audience. What’s got her noggin in a twist?

“Conspiracy Theorists” are auditing the 2020 election ballots in Arizona, causing “grave concern,” she gushed. An army of DC-based Lawfare attorneys attempted to quash the audit earlier in the week on the grounds that the vote had already been certified and that was that. But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin ruled otherwise, that it was the prerogative of the state Senate to authorize it, and the audit continues. Democrats continue trying desperately to hit the pause button on the process. The venue, an old civic arena, is only rented until May 14, so physically disrupting the audit may be their only hope to prevent discovery of massive, widespread election fraud — exactly what the Democrats have aimed their firehose of propaganda against since last November.

The question is: what actually happens if the auditors come up with clear and conclusive evidence proving that the ballot count was wildly incorrect due to fraud? Might the Arizona legislature have to de-certify the results? One big tamale is the US Senate seat that former astronaut Mark Kelly, Democrat, took from Republican Martha McSally, giving the Dems a 50 plus one (Kamala Harris) vote advantage. Whoops, there goes Ol’ Joe’s agenda, right there. Might Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have to submit to audits? Will it take lawsuits to prompt the courts in those states to order it? More importantly, does it shift public opinion further in the direction of cynicism and mistrust of the establishment — including their local officials and the news media?

The numbers are already pretty grim: 70 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats say they doubt the veracity of the 2020 election. Will the discovery that massive, widespread election fraud actually occurred lead to a constitutional crisis? How will Joe Biden survive in office if a growing percentage of the public sees him as illegitimate? And what might happen if the establishment attempts to blow the whole matter off? Can they still say “nothing to see” when the public has seen so much that they can’t unsee?

None of that will happen in a vacuum. Plenty of other events are roiling in the background with the potential to go critical. Joe Biden’s proposals to jack the US economy by $5-plus-trillion won’t be very good for the credibility of the US dollar, with other countries already eager to dissociate themselves from dollar-based global trade payment arrangements. But that’s just financial esoterica compared to what’s happening on-the-ground across America, with households running on debt and back payments for rent and mortgages piling up, and landlords and banks taking the hit in the meantime. There’s no Heimlich maneuver for a nation choking on debt. And that plan to become the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where they hung the jerk who invented work, is liable to disappoint even the mesmerists in the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Also, meanwhile, the US continues to stupidly stir the pot in Ukraine, to provoke war over the breakaway Donbass region in order to give NATO a reason to exist. The Russians don’t want or need to take responsibility for what has become a failed state. But Ukraine has been their buffer from European invasions for centuries and they won’t permit it to become a forward base-of-operations for NATO. Does the USA actually have any real interests there — other than to justify the earnings of defense contractors? The Biden family is not even taking any more payments out of there (as far as we know).

When it comes to real geopolitical friction, look in the other direction, at China. Not only is US weakness vividly obvious to them, they are substantially responsible for it, having successfully launched the bio-weapon Wuhan virus that pushed the disordered US economy over a cliff, and then helped install their errand boy in the oval office. Among other stupidities, the USA allowed most of its advanced microchip manufacturing capacity to relocate in Taiwan. We can’t run anything here from cars and refrigerators to municipal water systems, and probably even our war weaponry, without continuous supply and resupply of these chips. Game this out.

Then there is the fantastically stupid agitation and provocation on the home-front of the Democratic Party-sponsored Woke Jacobins, who are too dumb to even understand that if you want a police-state, you need police. Rather, they want to live in chaos and anarchy, the Satanic version of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the looters play in the stores all day and the jails have gone away. Joe Biden pimped for that hustle Wednesday night, too, declaring the nation systemically racist and “white supremacy” the nation’s greatest domestic menace. Oh really? Not our own DOJ, FBI, and the rest of the Intel Community?

The FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani was an interesting development on that front. The little imp that is Merrick Garland may have chosen the wrong guy to mess around with. If the bozos in DOJ actually charge him with something, they’ll find themselves in a special hell of discovery — that is, discovery of conclusive evidence that the DOJ has become a criminal operation actively working against the public interest. I daresay the truth is that just about everything the DOJ has done for the past five years involves the covering up of their own crimes, and a case against Mr. Giuliani will be just the wedge to open up public recognition of all that. That’s going to be a little bit of a problem when the people lose all faith that their public officials were elected fairly and honestly.

There’s a lot to push through and sort out in the months ahead. We’re all on ship, leaderless and rudderless, heading into a summer maelstrom.

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The Endless War With Russia | The Z Blog

Posted by M. C. on April 22, 2021

This is why the Germans are not rushing to support the empire on this. Germans have been dealing with the Russians for a very long time. they will be dealing with Russians long after the American empire is gone. Backing the yesterday men of Washington does not look like the best move for the Germans. America’s Varian Disaster may not be a military defeat, but instead be a diplomatic catastrophe. This attack on Russia could be what breaks the NATO coalition.

https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=23520

Without formally announcing it and for reasons no one has bothered to explain, the American empire has declared war on Russia. That is the clear message the Biden administration is sending with the new round of sanctions. They have also kicked out some Russian diplomats. More importantly, the US is telling US banks they cannot have any dealings with companies working on Nord Stream 2, the big natural gas pipeline the Russians are building to supply gas to Europe.

In fairness, the war with Russia started before Biden was installed. You could argue it started back in the Bush years when they convinced the former Soviet republic of Georgia to annex parts of South Ossetia. The Bush people were making noises about adding Georgia to NATO, which did not sit well with Russia. From their perspective, this was a provocative act of aggression. It was correctly seen as an effort to surround Russian with states loyal to the American empire.

Team Obama promised to cool things down with the old enemy. They made a big show of the “big reset” with the Russians. Hillary Clinton did a photo-op with the Russian foreign minister in which they jointly held a big red button labeled “reset” on which each had their hand. Of course, administrations come and go, but the usual suspects that actually run imperial foreign policy never change. By the end of the Obama years, they were claiming the Russians rigged the presidential election.

Under Trump there was a real effort to call off the attacks on the Russians, but the usual suspects responded to that with two impeachment efforts. First there was the coup effort led by the FBI to get Trump removed. The claim was that he worked with the Russians to rig the election. Then there was the effort launched by the usual suspects in the State Department. It is easy to forget but pretty much everyone involved in the first impeachment trial had a connection to Ukraine.

Now of course, Ukraine is at the center of the Biden administration’s efforts to start a shooting war with the Russians. They have encouraged the Ukrainian president to declare his intention to return the Crimea to Ukraine, by force if necessary. Then they offered military guarantees in the event of war with Russia. The Russians have responded by putting their military on high alert. They have moved forces onto the border of Ukraine in preparation for a shooting war.

As if the guarantees to Ukraine are not enough, the Biden people immediately deployed long range nuclear bombers to Norway. They put bombers in Portugal as well and raised the strategic posture at the same time. Russian and NATO air forces are having regular incidents on the border of Russia. These are deliberate provocations. The hope is there is an incident that would warrant escalation. The fact that this happened as soon as Biden took office says it was not the doing of his people.

One obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this now two decade long effort to start a war with Russia is the President no longer controls foreign policy. Obama and Trump tried to normalize relations with Russia, but both were thwarted by the semi-permanent foreign policy establishment. Many of these people now have financial dealings with Ukraine, which goes ignored by Congress. Joe Biden is a vegetable and his family is literally on the payroll of the Ukrainians.

Of course, there is the madness of it all. Why is the American empire trying to start a war with Russia? One reason is money, of course. The usual suspects would like to raid Russia for natural resources. The parasitic financial system of the West is running out of domestic capital to burn, so Russia is seen as a new opportunity for plunder. There is also the grudge they have with Putin, who put an end to the looting. No one holds a grudge like the people running the American financial system.

There is also the fact that the foreign policy establishment is packed to the gills with people who were selected for their hatred of Russia. This goes back to the Cold War when foreign policy was simply about Russia. When the Cold War ended, those people did not retire. They did not stop selecting for people who shared their views on Russia and have the same cultural connections to the East. The maps have changed, but the people who see themselves as map makers has not changed.

One not so obvious reason is the need for liberal democracy to have an enemy. Like the Athenian Empire 2,000 years ago, the American empire is the result of conflict and as such it is designed to have an enemy. For half a century, the Russians were the enemy around which the empire was organized. They tried to replace Russia with Islam, but the Muslims proved to be a poor adversary. Cultural inertia has brought the American empire back to Russia as the enemy they need to survive.

Ironically, this new fight with Russia could turn out to be the disaster that seems to be the natural end of all empires. A shooting war with Russia will end in disaster for the empire because it would be a disaster for Europe. Russia would seize Ukraine in short order and this would result in an air war in the skies over Europe. Then Syria would unleash a million migrants from the south. It would be a catastrophe that would be blamed on Washington, one that would probably end NATO.

This is why the Germans are not rushing to support the empire on this. Germans have been dealing with the Russians for a very long time. they will be dealing with Russians long after the American empire is gone. Backing the yesterday men of Washington does not look like the best move for the Germans. America’s Varian Disaster may not be a military defeat, but instead be a diplomatic catastrophe. This attack on Russia could be what breaks the NATO coalition.

There is also the domestic situation. Despite the blaring from the regime propaganda organs, the Biden regime has limited support among Americans. Half the country thinks he is illegitimate, while the other half is instinctively dovish. They are also more focused on the domestic pogroms against their enemies. A war now would be a disaster domestically for the empire. Half the country would be rooting for the Russians, just because they hate the American government.

This entry was posted in Foreign Affairs by thezman

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For What Should We Fight Russia or China? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 7, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/04/patrick-j-buchanan/for-what-should-we-fight-russia-or-china/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Last Monday, in a single six-hour period, NATO launched 10 air intercepts to shadow six separate groups of Russian bombers and fighters over the Arctic, North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

Last week also brought reports that Moscow is increasing its troop presence in Crimea and along its borders with Ukraine.

Joe Biden responded. In his first conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden assured him of our “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbass and Crimea.”

Though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and we have no treaty obligation to fight in its defense, this comes close to a war guarantee. Biden seems to be saying that if it comes to a shooting war between Moscow and Kiev, we will be there on the side of Kiev.

Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answered that if the U.S. sends troops to Ukraine, Russia will respond.

Again, is Biden saying that in the event of a military clash between Ukrainians and Russians in Crimea, Donetsk or Luhansk, the U.S. will intervene militarily on the side of Ukraine?

Such a pledge could put us at war with a nuclear-armed Russia in a region where we have never had vital interests, and without the approval of the only institution authorized to declare war — Congress.

Meanwhile, off Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea, which Beijing occupies but Manila claims, China has amassed 220 maritime militia ships.

This huge Chinese flotilla arrived after Secretary of State Anthony Blinken put Beijing on notice that any attack on Philippine planes or ships challenging Beijing’s claim to rocks and reefs of the South China Sea that are in Manila’s exclusive economic zone will be backed by the U.S.

Our 70-year-old mutual security treaty with Manila covers these islets and reefs, said Blinken, though some are already occupied and fortified by China.

Apparently, if Manila uses force to assert its claims and expel the Chinese, then we will fight beside our Philippine allies. This amounts to a war guarantee of the kind that forced the British to declare war on Germany in 1939 over the invasion of Poland.

Two weeks ago, 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the largest incursion yet by Beijing over the waters between Taiwan and Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. As national security correspondent Bill Gertz writes in today’s Washington Times:

”China is stepping up provocative activities targeting regional American allies in Asia … with an escalating number of military flights around Taiwan and the massing of more than 200 fishing ships near a disputed Philippines reef.

“China also raised tensions with Japan, announcing last week that Tokyo must drop all claims to the disputed Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited island chain that Japan has administered for decades but that Beijing recently claimed as its territory.

“The most serious provocation took place March 29. An exercise by the People’s Liberation Army air force that included 10 warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone is what analysts say appeared to be a simulated attack on the island. It came just three days after an earlier mass warplane incursion.”

While China appears clear about its aims and claims to virtually all of the islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea as well as Taiwan — it is less clear about its intentions as to when to validate those claims.

As for the U.S., does the present foggy ambiguity as to what we may or may not do as China goes about asserting its claims serve our vital interests in avoiding war with the greatest power on the largest continent on earth?

If red lines are to be laid down, they ought to be laid down by the one constitutional body with the authority to authorize or declare war — Congress. And questions need to be answered to avoid the kinds of miscalculations that led to horrific world wars in the 20th century.

Are the reefs and rocks the Philippines claim in the South China Sea, claims contradicted by China, covered by the U.S. mutual security treaty of 1951? Are we honor-bound to fight China on behalf of the Philippines, if Manila attempts to reclaim islets China occupies?

What is our obligation if China moves to take the Senkakus? Would the United States join Japan in military action to hold or retrieve them?

What, exactly, is our commitment to Taiwan if China attempts to blockade, invade or seize Taiwan’s offshore islands?

John F. Kennedy in the second debate with Richard Nixon in 1960 wrote off Quemoy and Matsu in the Taiwan Strait as indefensible and not worth war with Mao’s China.

With its warnings and threats, China is forcing America to address questions we have been avoiding for about as long as we can.

China is saying that it is not bluffing: These islands are ours!

Time to show our cards.

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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