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Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

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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Joe Biden’s Demonic Phase | Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on April 17, 2021

Three weeks ago, Ol’ White Joe called Vladimir Putin “a killer.”  This week, Ol’ Joe called Vlad on the phone and suggested a friendly in-person meet-up in some “third country.” In the meantime, Ol’ Joe essayed to send a couple of US warships into the Black Sea to assert America’s interest in Ukraine, the failed state whose American-sponsored failure was engineered in 2014 by Barack Obama’s State Department. Turkey, which controls the narrow entrance to the Black Sea, was notified that two US destroyers would be steaming through its territory. Hours after the announcement, the US called off the ships. Then, hours after Ol’ Joe proffered that summit meeting, his State Department imposed new economic sanctions on Russia and tossed out a dozen or so Russian embassy staff. How’s that for a coherent foreign policy?

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/joe-bidens-demonic-phase/

James Howard Kunstler

Joe Biden’s party must be thinking — if you call it thinking — that being psychotic isn’t enough… it’s time to go demonic! How else to explain the supernatural doings of the folks in charge of things in our nation’s capital. The casual observer might suppose that these things are spinning out of control, but you also have to wonder how much Joe Biden & Company are spinning them that way. Are they looking to start a war, for instance?

Three weeks ago, Ol’ White Joe called Vladimir Putin “a killer.”  This week, Ol’ Joe called Vlad on the phone and suggested a friendly in-person meet-up in some “third country.” In the meantime, Ol’ Joe essayed to send a couple of US warships into the Black Sea to assert America’s interest in Ukraine, the failed state whose American-sponsored failure was engineered in 2014 by Barack Obama’s State Department. Turkey, which controls the narrow entrance to the Black Sea, was notified that two US destroyers would be steaming through its territory. Hours after the announcement, the US called off the ships. Then, hours after Ol’ Joe proffered that summit meeting, his State Department imposed new economic sanctions on Russia and tossed out a dozen or so Russian embassy staff. How’s that for a coherent foreign policy?

What’s going on in Ukraine, anyway? The US and NATO have prompted Ukraine to move troops and tanks toward the ethnically-Russian breakaway Donbass region. Russia countered by massing 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border. Though supplied with Western armaments, Ukraine’s ragtag and incompetent army has no ability to control the Donbass, nor do either NATO and the US have any real will to interfere there with their own troops — the logistics are insane. Mr. Putin’s elegant solution: evacuate the three-plus million Russians stuck in Donbass into Russia — which needs labor — ceding the empty territory to foundering Ukraine — soon to be an ungovernable post-industrial frontier between East and West. For a rich rundown on these matters, read Dmitry Orlov’s mordant disquisition on the subject: Putin’s Ukrainian Judo.

The lesson there is that the US has absolutely nothing to gain from continuing to antagonize Russia, and that the mentally weak Joe Biden is merely projecting the picture of a weakened and confused USA by keeping it up. Of course, a closer read might be that these hijinks are meant to distract from the more serious and consequential breakdown in relations between the US and China, currently engineered by the blundering team of Sec’y of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who went to Alaska recently to tell the Chinese delegation that they were morally unworthy of conducting trade negotiations, thereby torpedoing the trade negotiations that they went to Alaska to conduct. Smooth move fellas.

Unlike Russia, with its eleven time zones, which actually does not want or need any more territory, China is surely making hegemonic moves all over the place, not just around Hong Kong and Taiwan but in Africa and South America, while it strives to build the world’s largest navy, exports gain-of-function viruses, replaces the US in space exploration, and excels at weaponizing computer science. China’s weaknesses are a lack of sufficient domestic oil supply and food, which its current moves aim to correct. It was on its way to turning the US into a raw materials and food-crop colony when Mr. Trump came along and tried to put a stop to that. And now Ol’ Joe has cancelled that remedial action — after being on the receiving end of Chinese financial largesse in four years out-of-office. Nothing to see there, folks, says Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice, while in possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop, with its trove of incriminating memoranda.

On the domestic front, Joe Biden’s government only seeks to turn American life inside-out and upside-down, with the move to make the politics-neutral District of Columbia into a state, strictly to furnish two more senators for the DNC, and to pack the Supreme Court strictly to advantage the same DNC. Those Bills are being rushed through the House committees but something tells me they will die in the Senate. One also must wonder what exactly the rush is all about. I’ll tell you: something is up in the shadows. Something is lurking out there that is going to bring down Ol’ Joe Biden as an illegitimate chief executive. Could be some new non-ignorable evidence of his China grifting activities, or new non-ignorable evidence about the dubious ballot-tally in last November’s election. Could be something else.

Contrary to just about everybody I communicate with, I remain convinced that former US Attorney for Connecticut, now Special Prosecutor John Durham is still putting real cases together, and I suspect that his cases exceed the narrow spotlight of the origin of the Steele dossier, and I expect that indictments will be announced soon in a way that will shock the nation. Just sayin’… though nobody else is….

Meanwhile, the Wokester branch of Joe Biden’s party makes hay with the ambiguous killings of two more criminal suspects-of-color: first, Daunte Wright of Minneapolis, busy ignoring the open warrant out for him in failing to answer a previous warrant for his role in the 2019 aggravated burglary (that is, with a firearm) of a woman. He was out on $100,000 bail, but it was revoked in July 2020 when he got caught in possession of another gun. In the commotion of his resisting arrest, he got shot, tragically for officer Kim Potter, who somehow mistook her handgun for a taser. She is now teed up on a manslaughter case, while the Wright family is teed up for an $XX-million personal injury lawsuit settlement courtesy of ambulance-chaser Ben Crump. The city of Minneapolis is teed up for a municipal auto-da-fé of lootin-burnin-and-riotin in the name of “justice” — and the Derek Chauvin trial has not even concluded.

Secondarily, out comes the chest-cam video of Chicago police officer Eric Stillman shooting thirteen-year-old junior gang-banger Adam Toledo, in possession of a handgun, in a 3 a.m. chase down a West Side alleyway. So, Officer Stillman is teed up for some sort of career-ending action and Chicago is teed up for another round of lootin-burnin-and-riotin — sure to spread to other cities all over the country as the Woke vengeance campaign moves into its Satanic phase.

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Do We Not Have Enough Enemies? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2021

Biden also faces a new crisis of his own making. His “compassionate” policy on illegal immigration has been rewarded with scores of thousands of children, teenagers and families crossing our Southern border to be granted temporary residence while their cases await hearings.

With the border disintegrating, one would think the Biden administration would not be looking around for other crises.

Yet, in Tokyo, on the eve of his meeting with the Chinese in Anchorage, Blinken was playing the hawk: “China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law. … We will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/03/patrick-j-buchanan/do-we-not-have-enough-enemies/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked bluntly by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a killer,” Joe Biden answered, “Uh, I do.”

Biden added that he once told Putin to his face that he had “no soul.”

Biden also indicated that new sanctions would be imposed on Russia for the poisoning of dissident Alexei Navalny and for meddling in the 2020 U.S. election to allegedly help Donald Trump. Russia also faces U.S. sanctions for building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic to deliver natural gas to Germany.

With its president being called a “killer” by the U.S. president, Russia called Ambassador Anatoly Antonov home “for consultations.” In other times, such an exchange would bring the two nations to the brink of war.

What is Biden doing? Do we not have enough enemies? Does he not have enough problems on his plate?

The May 1 deadline for full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, negotiated a year ago with the Taliban, is just six weeks off. Do we stay and soldier on or depart? No decision has been announced.

If we stay, our forces in Afghanistan could, again, come under fire. If we leave, the Kabul regime could be shaken to its foundation and fall.

Leaving would be an admission that the U.S. failed, and the war is lost.

After the recent U.S.-South Korea military exercises, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister issued this threat to the Biden administration:

“We take this opportunity to warn the new U.S. administration trying hard to give off powdered smell in our land (that) if it wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”

There is talk of new North Korean tests of missiles and nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Tokyo this week that the U.S. goal remains “the complete denuclearization of North Korea” But Presidents Bush II, Obama and Trump all failed to achieve that goal.

With national elections in June, the clock is also running on the Tehran regime that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal. Does Biden intend to sign on again, as he indicated in the campaign he would, or walk away?

Biden also faces a new crisis of his own making. His “compassionate” policy on illegal immigration has been rewarded with scores of thousands of children, teenagers and families crossing our Southern border to be granted temporary residence while their cases await hearings.

With the border disintegrating, one would think the Biden administration would not be looking around for other crises.

Yet, in Tokyo, on the eve of his meeting with the Chinese in Anchorage, Blinken was playing the hawk: “China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law. … We will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”

China has enacted a new law that authorizes its coast guard to use force to defend Chinese sovereignty. And among China’s claims to sovereign control are the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed and controlled by Japan.

Blinken has warned the U.S. will fight to keep the Senkakus Japanese.

While in Tokyo, Blinken also denounced the generals’ coup in Myanmar, accusing Myanmar’s army of “attempting to overturn the results of a democratic election and … brutally repressing peaceful protesters.”

Former national security adviser to President Trump John Bolton has listed other areas where China is engaged in “unacceptable behavior.”

“A by-no-means-comprehensive list of Beijing’s transgressions that require U.S. attention would include: meddling, blatant and subtle, with U.S. public opinion; building military bases in the disputed South China Sea; menacing Taiwan, Vietnam and India; increasing strategic nuclear forces and egregious global cyberwarfare; empowering North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; concealing the origins of covid-19; stealing intellectual property and forcing technology transfers; and genocide against Uyghurs and the repression of Hong Kong.”

Perhaps the Anchorage talks can be extended to get all the items on Bolton’s agenda fully addressed.

Again, does not America have enough on her plate already?

Our national debt is now larger than our national economy. COVID-19 has killed half a million of us and is killing 1,000 a day more. We have a broken and bleeding Southern border being overrun with no end in sight.

Politically, our nation is divided as deeply as it was on the eve of the Civil War. We are caught up in a culture war, at the root of which is an irreconcilable conflict over whether America is a good and great country, perhaps the greatest — or a nation of whose history and founding we ought to be eternally ashamed.

If time is on America’s side in our cold wars with Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, is not the wiser policy to maneuver to avoid any new hot wars?

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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Ideological Imperialism Is Leading to a Bad End – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2021

During the Cold War, the United States regularly dumped over regimes we believed imperiled our cause — Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Congo in the 1960s. After the Cold War, the United States was a major mover in the “color revolutions” that changed regimes in Ukraine and Georgia.

According to Victoria Nuland, then of the State Department, now back again, $5 billion was pumped in to effect the overthrow of the democratically elected pro-Russian regime in Kiev and its replacement by a pro-American one.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/02/patrick-j-buchanan/ideological-imperialism-is-leading-to-a-bad-end/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When it was learned in 2016 that Russia may have hacked the emails of John Podesta and the DNC, and passed the fruits on to WikiLeaks to aid candidate Donald Trump, mighty was the outrage of the American establishment.

If Russia’s security services filched those emails, and a troll farm in Saint Petersburg sent tweets and texts to stir up rancor in our politics, it was said, this was an attack on American democracy and its most sacred of rituals — the elections by which we chose our leaders.

Yet, when it comes to interfering in the affairs of other nations, how sinless, how blameless, are we Americans?

During the Cold War, the United States regularly dumped over regimes we believed imperiled our cause — Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Congo in the 1960s. After the Cold War, the United States was a major mover in the “color revolutions” that changed regimes in Ukraine and Georgia.

According to Victoria Nuland, then of the State Department, now back again, $5 billion was pumped in to effect the overthrow of the democratically elected pro-Russian regime in Kiev and its replacement by a pro-American one.

This was the triggering event that caused Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea to secure his country’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol.

Consider the reaction in this capital to the arrest and imprisonment of dissident Alexei Navalny, following his return from Germany, where he had been treated for chemical poisoning, allegedly by Putin’s security services.

In an editorial, “Nothing But a Poisoner,” The Washington Post thundered:

“Western governments should be doing what they can to help this unprecedented challenge to Mr. Putin’s autocracy survive and grow…

“Mr. Putin has dedicated himself to exploiting the weaknesses in democratic systems. Now is the time to return the favor.”

Consider what the Post is calling for here:

The U.S. and NATO nations should openly side with protesters in Russia’s cities whose goal is the overthrow of Putin and of the internationally recognized government of Russia.

How, one wonders, would Americans react if Putin openly urged worldwide support for the “Stop the Steal” mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election?

Though Americans are divided over racial, cultural, social and moral issues, liberal interventionists still talk of our “universal values” that represent the future toward which all nations should aspire. Among these are the values of democracy as practiced in the United States.

These are the standards by which other nations are to be judged. And nations that do not conform to these standards are candidates for U.S. interference in their affairs. Ours is an ideological imperialism of a rare order.

Where did we Americans acquire the right to intervene in the internal affairs of nations — be they autocracies, monarchies or republics — that do not threaten or attack us?

When we have intervened in these nations militarily, disaster has most often been the result. It was partly because the regimes of Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen did not comport to our ideas of good governance that we went in militarily to change them. Result: millions of dead, wounded and displaced Arabs and Muslims all across the Middle East. A historic calamity.

When the Arab Spring arose, we embraced it. The democratic revolution was here! And what happened in the largest Arab nation that responded as we insisted, Egypt?

An ally of 30 years, President Hosni Mubarak, was ousted. The Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power. It was replaced a year later by a new general, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, a man more ruthless than Mubarak.

This week, the generals in Myanmar (Burma) ousted the civilian leadership of the country and assumed full power. President Joe Biden reacted reflexively, calling it a “direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy.”

“In a democracy,” said Biden, “force should never seek to override the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election.”

Derek Mitchell of the National Democratic Institute, a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy, explained: “Democracy is one of the pillars of the Biden Administration’s foreign policy agenda. They recognize they have to address this pretty seriously. The question is what to do.”

Actually, the larger question, the basic question is why the internal affairs of Burma, a nation 10,000 miles from the United States, are the business of the United States.

The post-Cold War world, where America stood in moral judgment of the democracy credentials of all other nations, and acted against those that did not sufficiently conform, is coming to an end.

And if we do not give up this ideological imperialism, that end, especially where Russia and China are concerned, could come sudden and soon.

The Best of Patrick J. Buchanan 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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Concern Troll Is Concerned, Elbe Day Edition – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2020

https://original.antiwar.com/thomas-knapp/2020/04/26/concern-troll-is-concerned-elbe-day-edition/

On April 25, 2020, US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement commemorating the 75th anniversary of “Elbe Day” – the day, presaging the end of World War 2 in Europe, when Russian and US troops met near the German towns of Strehla and Torgau.

The Wall Street Journal reports that this congenial interaction between the two presidents “stirs concern among” members of Congress and officials at the US Departments of State and Defense.

What’s inherently controversial about the Trump/Putin statement that wasn’t controversial about the similar 65th anniversary message from Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev?

The supposed concern appears to have little, if anything, to do with actual foreign policy matters.

Yes, the US is still at odds with Russia on various issues – Russian support for new states which seceded from Ukraine after a US-backed coup in that country, and Russian support for Syria’s government against US-backed rebels, to name two.

But it’s not like US-Russian relations were particularly great in 2010, either. The Obama-Medvedev statement came less than two years after Russian troops kicked US-allied Georgian invaders out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and after Medvedev’s announcement that he intended to respond in kind to proposed US missile deployments in Poland.

The supposed “concern” seems to be that playing nice with Russia might undermine “stern messages” the US government keeps sending to the Russian government in the form of sanctions.

What we’re seeing here is not “concern,” but “concern trolling”: Per Oxford Dictionaries, “the action or practice of disingenuously expressing concern about an issue in order to undermine or derail genuine discussion.”

There’s a deep divide within the US political establishment at the moment over whether the next US Cold War should pit Americans against Russia or China. Iran and Venezuela are dark horse contenders, but ever since the 2003 Iraq fiasco it’s become a lot more difficult to portray smaller regional players as convincing “threats.”

The growing Trump faux-populist wing of the establishment prefers China, at least for the moment, because the faux-populists already have a trade war going with the Chinese, and because they have a temporary “COVID-19 as a manifestation of the Yellow Peril” gravy train of nonsense they can hitch a ride on.

Establishment Democrats and Republicans prefer Russia as perpetual Enemy of the Week because they’re conservative. It’s been Russia most of the time since shortly after that first Elbe Day. Why change horses in mid-saber-rattle? They’re concern trolling Trump because he’s not reading from their script (it doesn’t help that he beat their favored 2016 presidential candidate, another thing they blame on Russia).

So, why not eschew Cold War altogether, relax, and enjoy a long overdue “peace dividend?”

Unfortunately, that’s not one of the options that the “all options are on the table” crowd of “serious people” (read: “Concern trolls whose political and financial interests require constant Cold War”) are willing to even put on said table.

Thanks to Cold War concern trolls, world peace remains further away today than it got in April 1945.

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Trump is right about who’s to blame for bad relations with Russia

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2020

The Chinese and Russians (and most of the rest of the world) simply cannot process the notion that the United States is run by clueless amateurs who stumble from one half-baked initiative to another, with no overall plan (except, of course, to persuade the Persians to become America’s friends rather than enemies).

People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding ‘Orange’ revolution in Ukraine. ‘They lied to me,’ Putin said bitterly of the United States. ‘I’ll never trust them again.’ The Russians still can’t fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine. They underestimate the stupidity of the West.”

http://www.atimes.com/article/trump-is-right-about-whos-to-blame-for-bad-relations-with-russia/

By DAVID P. GOLDMAN

July 17, 2018

US President Donald Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming Washington for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct…

Full disclosure: I was a card-carrying member of the neoconservative cabal that planned to bring Western-style democracy and free markets to Russia after the fall of Communism. As chief economist for the supply-side consulting firm Polyconomics, I got an appointment as an adviser to Boris Yeltsin’s finance ministry and made several trips to Moscow.

Of course, the finance ministry really was a family office for Yeltsin’s oligarch friends, who were too busy stealing Russia’s economy to listen to advice. The experience cured me of the neoconservative delusion that democracy and free markets are the natural order of things.

Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the US elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics…

The Maidan coup was the second American attempt to install a Ukrainian government hostile to Moscow; the first occurred in 2004, when Condoleezza Rice was Secretary of State rather than Hillary Clinton. As I wrote in Asia Times a decade ago, “On the night of November 22, 2004, then-Russian president – now premier – Vladimir Putin watched the television news in his dacha near Moscow. People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding ‘Orange’ revolution in Ukraine. ‘They lied to me,’ Putin said bitterly of the United States. ‘I’ll never trust them again.’ The Russians still can’t fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine. They underestimate the stupidity of the West.”

American efforts to promote a democratic opposition to Putin have failed miserably, and as John Lloyd wrote recently at Reuters, the Russian president remains genuinely popular. This remains a source of perpetual frustration for the neoconservatives, who cannot fathom why dictatorships still exist…

Thanks to President Trump, Russia (as well as China) now understands that America’s intervention in Iraq was not a deliberate effort to destabilize the region, and that its support for Sunni jihadists in Syria was not a deliberate effort to create an Islamist monster with which to destabilize Russia. Under the headline “They’ll never believe we’re that stupid,” I wrote in May 2015:

“Beijing and Moscow made up their minds some time ago that the United States had deliberately unleashed chaos on the Levant as part of a malevolent plan of some kind. The Chinese and Russians (and most of the rest of the world) simply cannot process the notion that the United States is run by clueless amateurs who stumble from one half-baked initiative to another, with no overall plan (except, of course, to persuade the Persians to become America’s friends rather than enemies).

Incompetence has consequences. One of the consequences will be that our competitors and adversaries will take us for knaves instead of fools, or even worse, will recognize that we are fools after all.”

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Dems: please list all of Trump's ties to Russia here ...

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Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts: American Oil | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/russia-strikes-back-where-it-hurts-american-oil/

Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts: American Oil

Amid mounting sanctions aimed at crippling Moscow’s economy, Putin seems resolved to do the same to Trump’s re-election.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world’s largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia’s refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.

Russia’s motives appear to be far different—its target isn’t Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia’s goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers “share the pain”.

The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660, targeting “persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.”

The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela’s oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.

Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were “driving into a corner” relations between the two countries, threatening the “the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people.” Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump.

“Yes, I did,” Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”

Putin’s comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump’s continuous praise of Putin’s leadership style only reinforced these concerns.

Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin’s refusal to respond in kind to President Obama’s levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump Tweeted. Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin’s refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.

This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and “stupid” move.

“Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies,” Putin remarked. “So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don’t understand.”

From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the “political paranoia” on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, “will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead.”

While President Trump entered office fully intending to “get along with Russia,”  including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions, the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment.

While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia’s energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.

The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that “They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse,” adding that “The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years.”

By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin, the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of “power colonialism” that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.

From Russia’s perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production—which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019—and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.

If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies “share the pain,” they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as “fracking,” to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi’s were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.

The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs—none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.

It’s clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon.  According to the Russian Finance Ministry, said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain—U.S. shale oil companies cannot.

In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for “trade and investment.” Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the “importance of orderly energy markets.”

Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October,” famously said, “Russians don’t take a dump without a plan.”

Russia didn’t enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated—to defeat U.S. shale oil—and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.

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How Turkey Lost a Battle of Wills, and Force, to Russia  | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

Putin seems to be able to keep things more under control in his back yard when there is no one putting obstacles in his path.

Some think he is today’s leading statesman.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-turkey-lost-a-battle-of-wills-and-force-to-russia/

Erdogan talked tough, but in the end had to surrender gains to Moscow and Damascus.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) shake hands at the end of a joint news conference following an inter-delegation meeting at Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

When the history of the Syrian conflict is written, the fighting that took place between the Syrian Army and its allies on the one side, and the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on the other, from early February through early March 2020 in and around the Syrian town of Saraqib, will go down as one of the decisive encounters of that war.

Representing more than a clash of arms between the Syrian and Turkish militaries, the Battle for Saraqib was a test of political will between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. History will show Turkey lost on both accounts.

The Battle for Saraqib had its roots in fighting that began back in December 2019, in the form of an offensive carried out by the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, against pro-Turkish opposition forces in and around Idlib province. The Syrian-Russian offensive represented the collapse of the so-called Sochi Agreement of September 17, 2018, which established what were known as “de-escalation zones” separating the Syrian Army from anti-government rebel forces in Idlib. As part of the Sochi Agreement, Turkey set up a dozen “observation posts”—in reality, fortified compounds housing several hundred troops and their equipment—throughout the Idlib de-escalation zone.

In exchange for legitimizing the existence of fortified Turkish observation posts, the Sochi Agreement mandated specific actions on Turkey’s part, including overseeing the establishment of a “demilitarized zone” within the de-escalation zone where tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers were to be excluded, and from which all “radical terrorist groups” would be removed by October 15, 2018. Moreover, Turkey was responsible for restoring transit traffic on two strategic highways linking the city of Aleppo with Latakia (the M4 highway) and Damascus (the M5 highway.)

While Turkey established its fortified observation posts, it failed to live up to any of its commitments under the Sochi Agreement—no demilitarized zones were created, no heavy equipment evacuated, and no “radical terrorist groups” removed from the de-escalation zone. This last point was of particular note, since the most prominent of these “radical terrorist groups”—Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS—was also the largest and most effective of the anti-Assad groups operating in Idlib province.

The objective of the December 2019 Syrian military offensive was to achieve through force of arms what Turkey had failed to do—restore transit traffic capability for both the M4 and M5 highways and, in doing so, evict HTS and other anti-Assad rebel groups from the de-escalation zones. By early February 2020 the Syrian Army had, through its advances, surrounded a number of Turkish observation posts, putting Turkey in the politically difficult situation of sitting and watching while the anti-Assad forces it had helped create, train and equip were being defeated on the field of battle.

Turkey sought to blunt the Syrian advance on Feb. 3, by reinforcing its observation post located near the strategic town of Saraqib, which overlooked the juncture of the M4 and M5 highways. Whomever controlled Saraqib likewise controlled both highways. When a large Turkish military convoy heading toward Saraqib was brought under Syrian artillery fire, killing five Turkish soldiers and three Turkish civilian contractors, Turkey responded by shelling Syrian Army positions, killing scores of Syrian soldiers. This was the opening round of what would become the Battle for Saraqib and represented the first large-scale combat between the Syrian and Turkish militaries since the Syrian crisis began in 2011.

The Syrian attack on the Turkish Army in Idlib was a red line for President Erdogan, who in a statement made before Turkish parliamentarians on Feb. 5, warned that “if the Syrian regime will not retreat from Turkish observation posts in Idlib in February, Turkey itself will be obliged to make this happen.” Erdogan backed up his rhetoric by deploying tens of thousands of Turkish troops, backed up by armor and artillery, to its border with Syria, while continuing to dispatch reinforcements to its beleaguered observation posts inside Idlib.

On Feb. 6, the Syrian Army captured Saraqib. Four days later, on Feb. 10, Turkish-backed rebels, backed by Turkish artillery, launched a counterattack against Syrian Army positions around Saraqib, which was beaten back by heavy Syrian artillery fire. In the process, the Turkish observation near the village of Taftanaz was hit by Syrian shells, killing five Turkish soldiers and wounding five others. The Turks responded by striking Syrian Army positions throughout Idlib province with sustained artillery and rocket fire.

Speaking to Turkish parliamentarians after the attack on Taftanaz, Erdogan declared that “we will strike regime forces everywhere from now on regardless of the Sochi deal if any tiny bit of harm comes to our soldiers at observation posts or elsewhere,” adding that“We are determined to push back (regime forces) behind the borders of the Sochi deal by the end of February.”

The capture of Saraqib and the vital M4-M5 highway juncture allowed the Syrian Army to seize control of the entire M5 highway for the first time since 2012. The Syrian Army then proceeded to push west, toward the city of Idlib, closing to within eight miles of the provincial capital. In order to blunt the Syrian advances, Turkey deployed hundreds of Special Forces who integrated into the ranks of the anti-regime units, helping coordinate their attacks with Turkish artillery and rocket supporting fires. Starting Feb. 16, the rebel fighters, supported by Turkish Special Forces, launched a relentless attack against Syrian Army positions in and around the village of Nayrab, located mid-way between Idlib and Saraqib. Nayrab eventually fell on the night of Feb. 24. The cost, however, was high—hundreds of rebel fighters were killed, along with two Turkish soldiers.

The Turks and their rebel allies then turned their sights on Saraqib itself, pushing out of Nayrab and securing a foothold in Saraqib’s eastern suburbs and cutting the M5 highway in several locations. The Syrian Army had shifted most of its offensive power to the southwest, where they were advancing toward the M4 highway. The Syrians called in fighters from Hezbollah and pro-Iranian militias to help stabilize the Saraqib front. The Turkish military, in an effort to break up Russian and Syrian aerial attacks, began employing man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), firing more than 15. While none of these hit their targets, they did cause the Russians and Syrian to abort their attacks and leave the area.

In retaliation for the Turkish employment of MANPADS, Russia and Syrian aircraft struck a Turkish mechanized battalion operating in southern Idlib on Feb. 27, killing more than 33 Turkish soldiers, and wounding some 60 more. This attack sent shock waves through Turkey, with Erdogan threatening to punish all parties responsible, including the Russians (who denied their involvement in the attack, despite evidence to the contrary.)

On March 1 President Erdogan ordered Turkish forces to carry out a general offensive in Idlib, named Operation Spring Shield, intended to drive Syria and its allies back to the positions they held at the time of the Sochi Agreement in September 2018. The combined Turkish-rebel offensive immediately stalled in the face of steadfast Syrian resistance, backed by Russian air strikes. The Syrian Army recaptured Saraqib and took control of the entire M5 highway, reversing the earlier Turkish gains.

By March 4, the situation facing the Turkish-backed rebel fighters was so dire that they gave up all pretense of independent operations, and instead intermixed themselves within the Turkish outposts to avoid being targeted by the Russian Air Force. Erdogan, recognizing that the game was up, flew to Moscow on March 5 for an emergency summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where they negotiated the terms of a new ceasefire agreement.

The Moscow Summit was a bitter pill for Erdogan to swallow. Although formulated as an “additional protocol” to the existing September 2018 Sochi Agreement, the deal struck between Erdogan and Putin in Moscow was very much a document of surrender for the Turks. His fiery rhetoric and threats to push the Syrian Army and its allies out of Idlib the contrary, Erdogan was compelled to accept a new “de-escalation” zone defined by the frontlines as they stood on March 6.

Moreover, the Turks were now compelled to share enforcement and monitoring of a 12-kilometer “demilitarized zone” straddling the M4 highway with Russian military patrols. Lastly, adding insult to injury, the Turks were denied a no-fly zone over Idlib, ceding control of the air to the Russian Air Force, while still being required to disarm and remove all persons belonging to terrorist organizations, which in this case meant HTS, the most numerous and effective of the anti-Assad rebel groups. In short, Russia secured for Syria all its hard-won victories, while ceding nothing to Turkey save a face-saving ceasefire.

For Syria and Russia, the Battle of Saraqib was about restoring Syrian sovereignty over the totality of Syrian territory; for Turkey, it was about securing lasting Turkish control and influence over the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. Turkey lost on both accounts. While Turkey has been allowed to maintain its chain of fortified “observation posts”, the vast majority of these are surrounded by the Syrian Army, and of no military value.

Moreover, the dismal performance of the Turkish Army and its anti-Assad allies against the Syrian Army and its allies, including the Russian Air Force, in the Idlib campaign as a whole, and the Battle of Saraqib in particular, have put to rest any thoughts Erdogan might have retained about imposing Turkey’s will on either Damascus or Moscow; Turkey now knows that there will not be a Turkish military solution to the problem of Idlib.

 

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Which target after Syria?, by Thierry Meyssan

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

The option of attacking Saudi Arabia rather than Turkey from now on has been activated by the Pentagon, it is believed to be known in Riyadh, although President Trump is imposing delirious arms orders on it in exchange for its protection. The dissection of Saudi Arabia had been envisaged by the Pentagon as early as 2002 [3].

Turkey has an actual army, has Russian missile systems that would be difficult to defeat and is home to US nukes.

Saudi Arabia it is?

An empire builders work is never done.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article209439.html

by Thierry Meyssan

Events in the “Broader Middle East” since 2001 have followed a relentless logic. The current question is whether the time has come for a new war in Turkey or Saudi Arabia. The answer depends in particular on the resumption of hostilities in Libya. It is in this context that the Additional Protocol negotiated by Presidents Erdoğan and Putin to resolve the Idleb crisis must be interpreted.

| Damascus (Syria)

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The initial map of the “reshaping of the Broader Middle East”, published by Colonel Ralph Peters.

19 years of “war without end”

President George W. Bush decided to radically transform the Pentagon’s missions, as Colonel Ralph Peters explained in the Army magazine Parameters on September 13, 2001. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed Admiral Arthur Cebrowski to train future officers. Cebrowski spent three years touring military universities so that today all general officers have taken his courses. His thoughts were popularized for the general public by his deputy, Thomas Barnett.

The areas affected by the US war will be given over to “chaos”. This concept is to be understood in the sense of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, i.e. as the absence of political structures capable of protecting citizens from their own violence (“Man is a wolf to man”). And not in the biblical sense of making a clean slate before the creation of a new order.

This war is an adaptation of the US Armed Forces to the era of globalization, to the transition from productive capitalism to financial capitalism. “War is a Racket,” as Smedley Butler, America’s most decorated general, used to say before World War II [1]. From now on, friends and enemies will no longer count; war will allow for the simple management of natural resources.

This form of war involves many crimes against humanity (including ethnic cleansing) that the US Armed Forces cannot commit. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld therefore hired private armies (including Blackwater) and developed terrorist organizations while pretending to fight them.

The Bush and Obama administrations followed this strategy: to destroy the state structures of entire regions of the world. The US war is no longer about winning, but about lasting (the “war without end”). President Donald Trump and his first National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, have questioned this development without being able to change it. Today, the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski thinkers pursue their goals not so much through the Defence Secretariat as through NATO.

After President Bush launched the “never-ending war” in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), there was strong contestation among Washington’s political elites about the arguments that had justified the invasion of Iraq and the disorder there. This was the Baker-Hamilton Commission (2006). The war never stopped in Afghanistan or Iraq, but it took five years for President Obama to open new theatres of operation: Libya (2011), Syria (2012) and Yemen (2015).

Two external actors interfered with this plan.
- In 2010-11, the United Kingdom launched the “Arab Spring”, an operation modeled on the “Arab Revolt” of 1915, which allowed Lawrence of Arabia to put the Wahhabi in power on the Arabian Peninsula. This time it was a question of placing the Muslim Brotherhood in power with the help not of the Pentagon, but of the US State Department and NATO.
- In 2014, Russia intervened in Syria, whose state had not collapsed and which it helped to resist. Since then, the British – who had tried to change the regime there during the “Arab Spring” (2011-early 2012) – and then the Americans – who were seeking to overthrow not the regime, but the state (mid-2012 to the present) – have had to withdraw. Russia, pursuing the dream of Tsarina Catherine, is today fighting against chaos, for stability – that is to say, for the defence of state structures and respect for borders.

Colonel Ralph Peters, who in 2001 revealed the Pentagon’s new strategy, published Admiral Cebrowski’s map of objectives in 2006. It showed that only Israel and Jordan would not be affected. All other countries in the “Broader Middle East” (i.e., from Morocco to Pakistan) would gradually be stateless and all major countries (including Saudi Arabia and Turkey) would disappear.

Noting that its best ally, the United States, was planning to cut its territory in two in order to create a “free Kurdistan”, Turkey unsuccessfully tried to get closer to China, and then adopted the theory of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Zero problems with its neighbours”. It distanced itself from Israel and began to negotiate peace with Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Iraq etc. It also distanced itself from Israel. Despite the territorial dispute over Hatay, it created a common market with Syria. However, in 2011, when Libya was already isolated, France convinced Turkey that it could escape partition if it joined NATO’s ambitions. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a political Islamist of the Millî Görüş, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he was not a member, hoping to recoup the fruits of the ’Arab Spring’ for his own benefit. Turkey turned against one of its main clients, Libya, and then against one of its main partners, Syria.

In 2013, the Pentagon adapted the “endless war” to the realities on the ground. Robin Wright published two corrective maps in the New York Times. The first dealt with the division of Libya, the second with the creation of a “Kurdistan” affecting only Syria and Iraq and sparing the eastern half of Turkey and Iran. It also announced the creation of a “Sunnistan” straddling Iraq and Syria, dividing Saudi Arabia into five and Yemen into two. This last operation began in 2015.

The Turkish General Staff was very happy with this correction and prepared for the events. It concluded agreements with Qatar (2017), Kuwait (2018) and Sudan (2017) to set up military bases and surround the Saudi kingdom. In 2019 it financed an international press campaign against the “Sultan” and a coup d’état in Sudan. At the same time, Turkey supported the new project of “Kurdistan” sparing its territory and participated in the creation of “Sunnistan” by Daesh under the name of “Caliphate”. However, the Russian intervention in Syria and the Iranian intervention in Iraq brought this project to a halt.

In 2017, regional president Massoud Barzani organised a referendum for independence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Immediately, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran understood that the Pentagon, returning to its original plan, was preparing to create a “free Kurdistan” by cutting up their respective territories. They coalesced to defeat it. In 2019, the PKK/PYG announced that it was preparing for the independence of the Syrian ’Rojava’. Without waiting, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran once again joined forces. Turkey invaded the “Rojava”, chasing the PKK/YPG, without much reaction from the Syrian and Russian armies.

In 2019, the Turkish General Staff became convinced that the Pentagon, having temporarily renounced destroying Syria because of the Russian presence, was now preparing to destroy the Turkish state. In order to postpone the deadline, it tried to reactivate the “endless war” in Libya, then to threaten the members of NATO with the worst calamities: the European Union with migratory subversion and the United States with a war with Russia. To do this, it opened its border with Greece to migrants and attacked the Russian and Syrian armies in Idleb where they bombed the Al Qaeda and Daesh jihadists who had taken refuge there. This is the episode we are living through today.

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Robin Wright’s “Reshaping the Broader Middle East” map, published by Robin Wright.

The Moscow Additional Protocol

The Turkish army caused Russian and Syrian casualties in February 2020, while President Erdoğan made numerous phone calls to his Russian counterpart, Putin, to lower the tension he was causing with one hand.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to curb the Pentagon’s appetites if Turkey helped the Pentagon restart the “endless war” in Libya. This country is divided into a thousand tribes that clash around two main leaders, both CIA agents, the president of the Presidential Council, Fayez el-Sarraj, and the commander of the National Army, Khalifa Haftar.

Last week, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Libya, Professor Ghassan Salame, was asked to resign for “health reasons”. He complied, not without expressing his bad mood at a press conference. An axis has been set up to support al-Sarraj by the Muslim Brotherhood around Qatar and Turkey. A second coalition was born around Haftar with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but also Saudi Arabia and Syria.

It is the great return of the latter on the international scene. Syria is the culmination of nine years of victorious resistance to the Brotherhood and the United States. Two Libyan and Syrian embassies were opened with great pomp and circumstance on 4 March, in Damascus and Benghazi.

Moreover, the European Union, after having solemnly condemned the “Turkish blackmail of refugees”, sent the President of the Commission to observe the flow of refugees at the Greek-Turkish border and the President of the Council to survey President Erdoğan in Ankara. The latter confirmed that an arrangement was possible if the Union undertook to defend the ’territorial integrity’ of Turkey.

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With keen pleasure, the Kremlin has staged the surrender of Turkey: the Turkish delegation is standing, contrary to the habit where chairs are provided for guests; behind it, a statue of Empress Catherine the Great recalls that Russia was already present in Syria in the 18th century. Finally, Presidents Erdoğan and Putin are seated in front of a pendulum commemorating the Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire.

It was thus on this basis that President Vladimir Putin received President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Kremlin on March 5. A first, restricted, three-hour meeting was devoted to relations with the United States. Russia would have committed itself to protect Turkey from a possible partition on the condition that it signs and applies an Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-Escalation Area [2]. A second meeting, also of three hours duration but open to ministers and advisers, was devoted to the drafting of this text. It provides for the creation of a 12-kilometre-wide security corridor around the M4 motorway, jointly monitored by the two parties. To put it plainly: Turkey is backing away north of the reopened motorway and losing the town of Jisr-el-Chogour, a stronghold of the jihadists. Above all, it must at last apply the Sochi memorandum, which provides for support only for the Syrian armed opposition, which is supposed to be democratic and not Islamist, and for combating the jihadists. However, this “democratic armed opposition” is nothing more than a chimera imagined by British propaganda. In fact, Turkey will either have to kill the jihadists itself, or continue and complete their transfer from Idleb (Syria) to Djerba (Tunisia) and then Tripoli (Libya) as it began to do in January.

In addition, on March 7, President Putin contacted former President Nazerbayev to explore with him the possibility of deploying Kazakh “blue chapkas” in Syria under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This option had already been considered in 2012. Kazakh soldiers have the advantage of being Muslims and not orthodox.

The option of attacking Saudi Arabia rather than Turkey from now on has been activated by the Pentagon, it is believed to be known in Riyadh, although President Trump is imposing delirious arms orders on it in exchange for its protection. The dissection of Saudi Arabia had been envisaged by the Pentagon as early as 2002 [3].

Missiles were fired this week against the royal palace in Riyadh. Prince Mohamed ben Salmane (known as “MBS”, 34 years old) had his uncle, Prince Ahmed (70 years old), and his former competitor and ex-heir prince, Prince Mohamed ben Nayef (60 years old), as well as various other princes and generals arrested. The Shia province of Qatif, where several cities have already been razed to the ground, has been isolated. Official explanations of succession disputes and coronavirus are not enough [4].

Translation
Roger Lagassé

 

 

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Anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on February 28, 2020

Nuland is perhaps best known for her role in spending $5 billion in U.S.
taxpayer money to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. She
is married to leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, which Sanger fails
to mention, and is currently a nonresident fellow at the liberal
interventionist Brookings Institution. She also works at former Clinton
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s consultancy, presumably for the
Benjamins. Albright, one might recall, thought that killing 500,000
Iraqi children through U.S. sanctions was “worth it.”

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/27/anonymous-sources-and-the-guys-and-gals-who-made-the-iraq-war-a-reality-are-now-claiming-that-the-kremlin-is-at-it-again/

Philip Giraldi

 

Those hapless individuals who run the United States are again slipping into a fantasy world where Americans are besieged by imaginary threats coming from both inside and outside the country. Of course, it is particularly convenient to warn of foreign threats, as it makes the people in government seem relevant and needed, but one might recommend that the tune be changed as it is getting a bit boring. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and Russian President Vladimir Putin must pause occasionally to eat or sleep, so the plotting to destroy American democracy must be on hold at least some of the time.

Yes, anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! Hints over the past year that Putin might try to replay 2016 in 2020 only do it better this time have now been confirmed! Per one news report the enemy is already at the gates: “U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost President Donald Trump’s re-election.”

And there’s more! In a New York Times article headlined “Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Vladimir Putin is eager both to take the sheen off U.S. democracy and for a counterpart who is less likely to challenge his territorial and nuclear ambitions,” it was revealed that the Kremlin is intending to also help Bernie Sanders, so whichever way the election goes they win.

According to the Times Bernie has been “warn[ed]… of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat.” The article then goes on to explain, relying on its anonymous sources, that “…to the intelligence analysts and outside experts who have spent the past three years dissecting Russian motives in the 2016 election, and who tried to limit the effect of Moscow’s meddling in the 2018 midterms, what is unfolding in 2020 makes perfect sense. Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders represent the most divergent ends of their respective parties, and both are backed by supporters known more for their passion than their policy rigor, which makes them ripe for exploitation by Russian trolls, disinformation specialists and hackers for hire seeking to widen divisions in American society.”

The Times article was written by David Sanger, the paper’s venerable national security correspondent. He is reliably wedded to Establishment views of the Russian threat, as is his newspaper, and strikes rock bottom in his assessment when he cites none other than “Victoria Nuland, who in a long diplomatic career had served both Republican and Democratic administrations, and had her phone calls intercepted and broadcast by Russian intelligence services.” Nuland, clearly the victim of a nefarious Russian intelligence operation that recorded her saying “fuck the EU,” opined that “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” Nuland is perhaps best known for her role in spending $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. She is married to leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, which Sanger fails to mention, and is currently a nonresident fellow at the liberal interventionist Brookings Institution. She also works at former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s consultancy, presumably for the Benjamins. Albright, one might recall, thought that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. sanctions was “worth it.”

Given the fact that Russia will have very limited resources in their effort to corrupt American democracy, which is, by the way, doing a very good job of self-destruction without any outside help, how exactly will they do it? Sanger explains “As they focus on evading more vigilant government agencies and technology companies trying to identify and counter malicious online activity, the Russians are boring into Iranian cyberoffense units, apparently so that they can initiate attacks that look as if they originate in Iran — which itself has shown interest in messing with the American electoral process… And, in one of the most effective twists, they are feeding disinformation to unsuspecting Americans on Facebook and other social media. By seeding conspiracy theories and baseless claims on the platforms, Russians hope everyday Americans will retransmit those falsehoods from their own accounts. That is an attempt to elude Facebook’s efforts to remove disinformation, which it can do more easily when it flags ‘inauthentic activity,’ like Russians posing as Americans. It is much harder to ban the words of real Americans, who may be parroting a Russian story line, even unintentionally.”

So those wily Russians are making themselves look like Iranians and they are planning on “feeding disinformation” to “unsuspecting Americans” consisting of “conspiracy theories” and “baseless claims.” Sounds like a plan to me as the various occupants of the White House and Congress have been doing exactly that for the past twenty years. That we had a national election in 2016 in which a reality television personality ran against an unindicted criminal would seem to indicate that the effort to brainwash the American people has already been successful.

The usual bottom feeders are also piling on to the Russian interference story. Jane Harman, former congresswoman who once colluded with Israeli intelligence to lobby the Department of Justice to drop criminal charges against two employees of AIPAC in exchange for Israel’s support to make her chair of the House Intelligence Committee, warns “How dangerous it would be if we lose the tip of the spear against those who would destroy us.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan also has something to say. He is “very disturbed” by his conviction that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in support of President Trump. He said “We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.” Brennan is best known for having orchestrated the illegal campaign to vilify Trump and his associates prior to, during and after the 2016 election. He also participated in a weekly meeting with Barack Obama where he and the president would add and remove names from a “kill list” of U.S. citizens residing overseas. He and his boss should both be in prison, but they are instead fêted as American patriots. Go figure.

Time to take a step back from the developing panic. As usual, the U.S. government intelligence agencies have produced no actual evidence that Moscow is up to anything, and there are already reports that the Office of National Intelligence briefer “overstated” her case against the Kremlin in her briefing of the House Intelligence Committee. Sure, the Russians have an interest in an American election and will favor candidates like Trump and Sanders that are not outright hostile to them, but to claim as the NY Times does that Russia has incompatible “territorial and nuclear interests” is a stretch. And yes, Moscow will definitely use its available intelligence resources to monitor the nomination and election process while also clandestinely doing what it can to improve the chances of those individuals they approve of. That is what intelligence agencies do.

In American Establishment groupthink there is one standard for what Washington does and quite a different standard for everyone else. Does it shock any American to know that the United States has interfered in scores of elections all over the world ever since the Second World War, to include those in places like France and Italy well into the 1980s? And in somewhat more kinetic covert actions, actually removing Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, Salvador Allende in Chile, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Mohamed Morsi in Egypt just for starters, not even considering the multiple plots to kill Fidel Castro. And it continues to do so today openly in places like Iran and Venezuela while also claiming hypocritically that the U.S. is “exceptional” and also a “force for good.” That anyone should be genuinely worrying about Russian proxies buying and distributing a couple of hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of ads in an election in which many billions of dollars’ worth of propaganda will be on the table is ridiculous. It is time to stop blaming Russia for the failure of America’s ruling class to provide an honest and accountable government and one that does not go around the world looking for trouble. That is what the 2020 election should really be all about.

 

Be seeing you

madeleine-albright

 

 

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