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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Russophobia’

Russophobia Absurdity… As Russian Gas Rescues Europe’s Energy Crisis — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on October 11, 2021

Europe’s energy crisis and Russia’s readiness to alleviate vividly demonstrates a fundamental win-win partnership. That reality has become so obvious that objections to the relationship look increasingly irrational and ridiculous from their congenital Russophobia.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/10/08/russophobia-absurdity-as-russian-gas-rescues-europe-energy-crisis/

https://player.vimeo.com/video/628191705?h=21e18affda
Europe’s energy crisis and Russia’s readiness to alleviate vividly demonstrates a fundamental win-win partnership.

Russophobia and geopolitical cynicism know no bounds among certain Western politicians and media commentators. Thankfully, however, such a negative mindset is increasingly exposed for its ridiculous irrationality.

This week as Europe’s energy crisis broke new records in terms of soaring consumer prices, Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in with a promise to increase exports of natural gas. The news had an immediate calming effect on Europe’s energy markets which saw prices whipsawing to lower levels.

Rather than simply greeting the development as a positive move, there were predictably sinister comments from some quarters. Russia was accused in Western media of “holding Europe hostage” over the continent’s energy crisis and using its vast supply of natural gas as a “geopolitical weapon”.

Jake Sullivan, the United States national security advisor to President Biden, told the BBC that Moscow was “exploiting” Europe’s energy crunch.

This is an overwrought, convoluted way of interpreting what is normal economic interplay of supply and demand. But the irrationality betrays an obdurate mindset of Russophobia that is untenable. If politicians and experts are so possessed of such foolish bigotry then their assessments on the subject and much else besides are hopelessly unreliable.

Europe’s current energy crisis and market turmoil have nothing to do with Russia as a primary factor. The pent-up demand after a year of economic quiescence due to the coronavirus pandemic, the low storage of natural gas by European countries due to government policies, the switch to renewable energy sources not being able to meet demand, and the approach of winter – have all compounded the overall supply of gas. This has, in turn, caused benchmark prices for the fuel and other forms of energy to skyrocket. Gas prices are up more than five-fold. What has that got to do with Russia? Nothing, at least in causality.

Russia is historically Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas. It accounts for about 40 percent of the continent’s consumption. As President Putin pointed out this week, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom has met all its contractual deliveries of natural gas to Europe.

The allegation from some quarters that Russia is withholding gas supplies to Europe in order to exert political pressure on Europe is a baseless lie that stems from anti-Russia prejudice and propaganda.

The fact is Europe is faced with an energy crisis – partly of its own making – and Russia is able to alleviate it by increasing its already substantial supply of natural gas. What is there to complicate about a straightforward economic relation?

This week saw a technical step being completed for the opening of the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany and the rest of Europe. The new pipeline will greatly expand the existing flow of Russia gas to the European Union. German regulatory authorities are reviewing the new supply route and it may take a few months for delivery to become operational. The ball is in the EU’s court. If Europe wants more Russian gas that is its prerogative. How is that supposed to be Russia holding someone hostage? The slander is not only insulting, it is moronic.

Russia has proven to be a reliable supplier of energy to the rest of Europe over several decades, including during the former Cold War period when Western ideologues demonised the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”. Russia presently is ready to meet increased demand with a new supply route under the Baltic Sea while also honouring existing contracts for overland transit. The notion that Ukraine will lose out on transit fees is groundless as Moscow has repeatedly stated it will honour existing contracts with Ukraine up to 2024. Russia is not obligated to keep paying transit fees indefinitely if logistically more efficient supply routes are innovated. That is a reasonable exercise of Russia’s or any nation’s sovereign right.

The main obstacle to improving efficiency in energy trade between Russia and Europe is the negative political attitude of certain European politicians and successive American governments. Washington and its European surrogates have been playing anachronistic Cold War politics with a matter of vital interest for the whole of Europe. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline should have been completed over a year ago but was not only because of U.S. sanctions and the negative attitude of eastern European states. The irony is that the detrimental impact of Europe’s energy crisis on households and industries is attributable to the irrational objection by Washington and certain anti-Russian European states towards Russia as a natural strategic partner with Europe. Yet these culprits persist in their perversely pejorative mindset towards Russia, accusing the latter of wielding energy trade like a geopolitical weapon.

It is the United States that is cynically using Europe’s energy market as a geopolitical weapon with a view to selling its own expensive and environmentally dirty liquified natural gas. There is also a bigger ideological aspect to all this skulduggery. If Russia and Europe were permitted to develop their naturally mutual partnership in energy trade the consequence would undermine the contrived propaganda construct of Russia as a “threat” to European security. That construct is vital to maintain for the purpose of promoting the U.S.-led NATO military alliance and lucrative American weapons sales to Europe. It is also vital for Washington’s hegemonic influence over European allies by polarising relations with Russia.

Europe’s energy crisis and Russia’s readiness to alleviate vividly demonstrates a fundamental win-win partnership. That reality has become so obvious that objections to the relationship look increasingly irrational and ridiculous from their congenital Russophobia.

Be seeing you

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RAY McGOVERN: The Pitfalls of a Pit Bull Russophobe – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on November 25, 2019

Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/22/ray-mcgovern-the-pitfalls-of-a-pit-bull-russophobe/

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Fiona Hill’s “Russian-expert” testimony Thursday and her deposition on Oct. 14 to the impeachment inquiry showed that her antennae are acutely tuned to what Russian intelligence services may be up to but, sadly, also displayed a striking naiveté about the machinations of U.S. intelligence.

Hill’s education on Russia came at the knee of the late Professor Richard Pipes, her Harvard mentor and archdeacon of Russophobia. I do not dispute her sincerity in attributing all manner of evil to what President Ronald Reagan called the “Evil Empire.”  But, like so many other glib “Russia experts” with access to Establishment media, she seems three decades out of date.

I have been studying the U.S.S.R. and Russia for twice as long as Hill, was chief of CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch during the 1970s, and watched the “Evil Empire” fall apart.  She seems to have missed the falling apart part.

Selective Suspicion

Are the Russian intelligence services still very active? Of course. But there is no evidence — other than Hill’s bias — for her extraordinary claim that they were behind the infamous “Steele Dossier,” for example, or that they were the prime mover of Ukraine-gate in an attempt to shift the blame for Russian “meddling” in the 2016 U.S. election onto Ukraine. In recent weeks U.S. intelligence officials were spreading this same tale, lapped up  and faithfully reported Friday by The New York Times.

Hill has been conditioned to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin and especially his security services are capable of anything, and thus sees a Russian under every rock — as we used to say of smart know-nothings like former CIA Director William Casey and the malleable “Soviet experts” who bubbled up to the top during his reign (1981 – 1987).  Recall that at the very first meeting of Reagan’s cabinet, Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

Beyond Dispute?

On Thursday Hill testified:

“The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.” [Emphasis added.]

Ah, yes.  “The public conclusion of our intelligence agencies”: the same ones who reported that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would never surrender power peaceably; the same ones who told Secretary of State Colin Powell he could assure the UN Security Council that the WMD evidence given him by our intelligence agencies was “irrefutable and undeniable.”  Only Richard-Pipeline-type Russophobia can account for the blinders on someone as smart as Hill and prompt her to take as gospel “the public conclusions of our intelligence agencies.”

A modicum of intellectual curiosity and rudimentary due diligence would have prompted her to look into who was in charge of preparing the (misnomered) “Intelligence Community Assessment” published on Jan. 6, 2017, which provided the lusted-after fodder for the “mainstream” media and others wanting to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on the Russians.

Jim, Do a Job on the Russians

President Barack Obama gave the task to his National Intelligence Director James Clapper, whom he had allowed to stay in that job for three and a half years after he had to apologize to Congress for what he later admitted was a “clearly erroneous” response, under oath, to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. And when Clapper published his memoir last year, Hill would have learned that, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s handpicked appointee to run satellite imagery analysis, Clapper places the blame for the consequential “failure” to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” [Emphasis added.]

But for Hill, Clapper was a kindred soul: Just eight weeks after she joined the National Security Council staff, Clapper, during an NBC interview on May 28, 2017, recalled “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique.” Later he added, “It’s in their DNA.” Clapper has claimed that “what the Russians did had a profound impact on the outcome of the election.”

As for the “Intelligence Community Assessment,” the banner headline atop The New York Times on Jan. 7, 2017 set the tone for the next couple of years: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” During my career as a CIA analyst, as deputy national intelligence officer chairing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and working on the Intelligence Production Review Board, I had not seen so shabby a piece of faux analysis as the ICA. The writers themselves seemed to be holding their noses.  They saw fit to embed in the ICA itself this derriere-covering note: “High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

Not a Problem

With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan,  were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by “all 17 intelligence agencies” (as first claimed by Clinton, with Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, repeating that canard Thursday, alas “without objection).”  Himes, too should do his homework.  The bogus “all 17 intelligence agencies” claim lasted only a few months before Clapper decided to fess up. With striking naiveté, Clapper asserted that ICA preparers were “handpicked analysts” from only the FBI, CIA and NSA. The criteria Clapper et al. used are not hard to divine. In government as in industry, when you can handpick the analysts, you can handpick the conclusions.

Maybe a Problem After All

“According to several current and former intelligence officers who must remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue,” as the Times says when it prints made-up stuff, there were only two “handpicked analysts.”  Clapper picked Brennan; and Brennan picked Clapper.  That would help explain the grossly subpar quality of the ICA.

If U.S. Attorney John Durham is allowed to do his job probing the origins of Russiagate, and succeeds in getting access to the “handpicked analysts” — whether there were just two, or more — Hill’s faith in “our intelligence agencies,” may well be dented if not altogether shattered.

Be seeing you

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There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity…You can smell it. It smells like death.

 

 

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Libertarianism In One Country – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2019

“I ask you to put aside for a moment the dramatic news reports from
the Caucasus and imagine something more placid: ordinary New Yorkers or Washingtonians,
asleep in their homes. Then, in a flash, hundreds perish in explosions at the
Watergate, or at an apartment complex on Manhattan’s West Side. Thousands are
injured, some horribly disfigured. Panic engulfs a neighborhood, then a nation.”

A few years later, we didn’t have to imagine it, because we were living
it.

…opposition to US intervention is on the rise, as is support for libertarian politics in this country: Let’s not blow it by adopting the discredited ideas of our neoconservative enemies and jumping into bed with the National Endowment for Democracy.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2019/07/28/libertarianism-in-one-country-2/

Originally published March 28, 2014

This week [at the time this was written] marks the fifteenth anniversary of the bombing of Serbia by President Bill Clinton – and the beginning of Antiwar.com as a full-time full-coverage news site. It’s a double anniversary fraught, for me, with irony. Back then the Big Bad Bogeyman wasn’t al-Qaeda, which had barely crept into the American consciousness, although Osama bin Laden was a known quantity. No, the Enemy of the Moment was Russia, which was desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to block Washington’s eastward expansion – and it looks like that moment has returned with a vengeance.

With Russophobia all the rage – they’re even warning us Putin, not content with Crimea, is about to invade the North Pole! – we’ve come full circle, back to where we started. But we aren’t exactly in the same place.

In 1998 the anti-interventionist movement was tiny, and our readership reflected that. With the cold war over, and many conservatives deciding it was time to “Come Home, America,” as Pat Buchanan put it, our audience and base of support came increasingly from the right side of the political spectrum. Liberals were deserting the antiwar movement in droves, cowed – or won over – by the “humanitarian” interventionists and the 24/7 cycle of war propaganda beamed at them by CNN, back then the one and only cable news station. We called it the “Clinton News Network” because there was Christiane Amanpour, married to State Department spokesman James Rubin, lying nonstop for hours on end.

And while the idiotic Slobodan Milosevic was the official Enemy, standing behind him were the Russians, who were furiously resisting the eastward advance of the NATO-crats. Putin soon dumped Milosevic, however, and reconciled himself to the subjugation of Serbia – but the West was hardly finished. Russia was still standing, and, worse, Boris Yeltsin, the West’s favorite drunkard, was gone. In his place stood Vladimir Putin, former KGB official and hater-of-oligarchs, who went after Yeltsin’s crowd of parasites and drove them out of the country. If the former Warsaw Pact countries were going to be plundered by Commies-turned-“capitalists” and then looted by the IMF, Putin was determined that Russia would avoid their fate.

The West, led by the United States, had other plans, but Putin managed to sidestep them and get on with his task of rebuilding a country wrecked by Bolshevism, decimated by alcoholism, and threatened with outright hooliganism. In the process, he created a system that was neither free nor particularly efficient – but it was far better than what had gone before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tracing the Rush to War, by Craig Murray – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on April 17, 2018

Nothing we have done in the Middle East has made sense. Everything we have done has led to misery.

http://www.unz.com/article/tracing-the-rush-to-war/#april-9th-the-rush-to-war

I have never ruled out the possibility that Russia is responsible for the attack in Salisbury, amongst other possibilities. But I do rule out the possibility that Assad is dropping chemical weapons in Ghouta. In this extraordinary war, where Saudi-funded jihadist head choppers have Israeli air support and US and UK military “advisers”, every time the Syrian army is about to take complete control of a major jihadist enclave, at the last moment when victory is in their grasp, the Syrian Army allegedly attacks children with chemical weapons, for no military reason at all. We have been fed this narrative again and again and again… Read the rest of this entry »

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