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Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’

Russia Is Winning the Financial War

Posted by M. C. on June 24, 2022

By Alasdair Macleod

Goldmoney

The ending of the petrodollar era

https://www.goldmoney.com/research/russia-is-winning-the-financial-war

Sanctions have backfired on those described by Vladimir Putin as the unfriendly nations. It is setting in train a series of events likely to undermine the whole Western financial system, as prices rise driving interest rates higher, and economic activity shrinks. These developments alone are leading to contracting bank credit, crashing stock markets, and sharply higher bond yields.

Last week, I wrote about the impact on the banking system and the likely consequences. Russia, China, and associated nations who depend upon them for trade and economic development are now moving to protect themselves from what is emerging as a full scale systemic and fiat currency crisis for the dollar and the entire Western financial system. 

These developments are hastening the end of the petrodollar era and the dollar’s role as a reserve currency.  A central Asian replacement is planned to be a new super-currency used for cross-border payments, based on an index of a basket of commodities and currencies of the participating nations. Including currencies is a mistake, but otherwise the proposition has merit. 

This article explains why and how a properly constructed scheme would work. I demonstrate why it could act as a de facto gold standard.

Its designers intend this new trade currency to appeal to other important nations, such as Saudi Arabia, into using a commodity-linked currency for settling their trade payments, replacing the dying petrodollar. But its success could prove to be fatal for the fiat dollar and other Western currencies. With the demise of the dollar, the new super-currency can be expected to lead eventually to some national currencies adopting gold standards.

The ending of the petrodollar era

Put Ukraine to one side, it’s not the major issue. We should realise what really matters to us all is the real war, which is Russia’s attempts to banish American hegemony in Europe. While in the West we have an image of President Putin as an evil despot determined to take Ukraine back under Russian control, in a speech at St Petersburg’s International Economic Forum this week, Putin’s diagnosis of the West’s problems was more to the point than anything you will hear from our own Dear Leaders: Joe, Boris, Emmanuel, Olaf, et al. It is worth citing relevant extracts from the official English translation of Putin’s speech to highlight his economic understanding of the pickle we in the West have got ourselves into:

“Surging inflation in product and commodity markets had become a fact of life long before the events of this year. The world has been driven into this situation, little by little, by many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policies pursued by the G7 countries, including uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debt. These processes intensified with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when supply and demand for goods and services drastically fell on a global scale…

“Because they could not or would not devise any other recipes, the governments of the leading Western economies simply accelerated their money-printing machines. Such a simple way to make up for unprecedented budget deficits…

“I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. By comparison, only a few countries have a bigger gross domestic product. The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent, or 2.5 trillion euros.

“Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called – please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it – we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.

“The rising prices, accelerating inflation, shortages of food and fuel, petrol, and problems in the energy sector are the result of system-wide errors the current US administration and European bureaucracy have made in their economic policies. That is where the reasons are, and only there.”[i]

Putin shows that he has at least a superficial understanding of where the West has erred with its neo-Keynesian monetary and economic policies. While some of the economic and monetary elements in his address can be criticised, Putin’s grasp of these subjects puts him head and shoulders above his opposite numbers in the G7.

It is from this disadvantage that the US is trying to impose dollar hegemony on Russian interests in the financial and currency war. We must consider the geopolitics of the matter. 

See the rest here

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A World Leader Tells the Truth About the Western Elites

Posted by M. C. on April 30, 2022

By Vasko Kohlmaye

“I want the ordinary citizens of Western countries to hear me as well: they are now trying to persuade you that all your difficulties are the result of some hostile actions of Russia, that your own purse should be used to pay for the fight against the mythical Russian threat. All of this is a lie.

The truth is that the current problems faced by millions of people in the West are the result of years of action, error, short-sightedness, and ambition on the part of the ruling elites of their states. These elites are not thinking about how to improve the lives of their citizens in Western countries. They are obsessed with their own self-interest and super profits.

This is evidenced by data from international organizations, which clearly show that social problems, even in the leading Western countries, have only worsened in recent years, that inequality, the gap between rich and poor, and racial and national conflicts are on the rise. The myth of a Western welfare society, of the so-called golden billion, is crumbling. I repeat, today the entire planet has to pay the price for the West’s ambitions, for its attempts to maintain its elusive dominance by any means.

The imposition of sanctions is a logical continuation, a concentrated expression of the irresponsible, short-sighted policy of the governments and central banks of the United States and EU countries. It is they who in recent years have with their own hands unleashed a spiral of global inflation, their actions have led to an increase in global poverty and in inequality, to new flows of refugees around the world. And the question arises: Who will now be responsible for the millions of starving deaths in the world’s poorest countries due to growing food shortages? Again, this is a serious blow to the entire global economy and trade, to the credibility of the U.S. dollar as the main reserve currency.”

Guess who made this statement:

  1. Justin Trudeau
  2. Elon Musk
  3. Joe Biden
  4. Boris Johnson
  5. Novak Djokovic
  6. Emmanuel Macron
  7. Other

Click here for the answer.

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The Hive Mind

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2022

One of the transcendent features of left-wing people, regardless of time and place, is their complete lack of self-awareness. The great blind spot for all left-wing people is the reflection in the mirror. They are incapable of seeing themselves other than as the hero in a great struggle. This story out of Canada about the correlation between Covid-loving and Putin-hating is a great example. The Left thinks it confirms their righteous hatred of their enemy, but it merely confirms their lack of self-awareness.

According to the story, “Unvaccinated Canadians are about 12 times more likely than those who received three doses to believe Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was justified, according to a new survey by national polling firm EKOS.” Now, polling is a dodgy business, so this could be a fake poll designed to titillate the far-left. The fact that such a scenario is possible, however, is more proof of the general thesis about the far-left’s lack of self-awareness.

There are two ideas advanced in the coverage of this poll. One is that the unvaccinated are immoral, so it stands to reason that they support the evil Hitler guy.  The Left all over the West has been fixated on the vaccine as a moral signifier. They rushed to be the first to prove their piety within the Covid cult and they rushed to condemn the vaccine skeptics as ignorant hooligans. The Left would have embraced face tattoos for the vaccinated if it was an option.

See the rest here

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John Mearsheimer on why the West is principally responsible for the Ukrainian crisis

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2022

The political scientist believes the reckless expansion of NATO provoked Russia

https://archive.ph/artIo#selection-575.0-575.84

THE WAR in Ukraine is the most dangerous international conflict since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Understanding its root causes is essential if we are to prevent it from getting worse and, instead, to find a way to bring it to a close.

There is no question that Vladimir Putin started the war and is responsible for how it is being waged. But why he did so is another matter. The mainstream view in the West is that he is an irrational, out-of-touch aggressor bent on creating a greater Russia in the mould of the former Soviet Union. Thus, he alone bears full responsibility for the Ukraine crisis.

But that story is wrong. The West, and especially America, is principally responsible for the crisis which began in February 2014. It has now turned into a war that not only threatens to destroy Ukraine, but also has the potential to escalate into a nuclear war between Russia and NATO.

The trouble over Ukraine actually started at NATO’s Bucharest summit in April 2008, when George W. Bush’s administration pushed the alliance to announce that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members”. Russian leaders responded immediately with outrage, characterising this decision as an existential threat to Russia and vowing to thwart it. According to a respected Russian journalist, Mr Putin “flew into a rage” and warned that “if Ukraine joins NATO, it will do so without Crimea and the eastern regions. It will simply fall apart.” America ignored Moscow’s red line, however, and pushed forward to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. That strategy included two other elements: bringing Ukraine closer to the EU and making it a pro-American democracy.

These efforts eventually sparked hostilities in February 2014, after an uprising (which was supported by America) caused Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, to flee the country. In response, Russia took Crimea from Ukraine and helped fuel a civil war that broke out in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

The next major confrontation came in December 2021 and led directly to the current war. The main cause was that Ukraine was becoming a de facto member of NATO. The process started in December 2017, when the Trump administration decided to sell Kyiv “defensive weapons”. What counts as “defensive” is hardly clear-cut, however, and these weapons certainly looked offensive to Moscow and its allies in the Donbas region. Other NATO countries got in on the act, shipping weapons to Ukraine, training its armed forces and allowing it to participate in joint air and naval exercises. In July 2021, Ukraine and America co-hosted a major naval exercise in the Black Sea region involving navies from 32 countries. Operation Sea Breeze almost provoked Russia to fire at a British naval destroyer that deliberately entered what Russia considers its territorial waters.

The links between Ukraine and America continued growing under the Biden administration.

See the rest here

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Sanctions against Russia Are the Lockdowns of 2022 | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on March 9, 2022

As Austrian economists have long pointed out, it is no coincidence that the century of total war rose at the same time as the era of central banking. By relying on debt and the printing press rather than direct taxation, nations could hide from the public the immediate costs of war. Over time, global powers have turned central banks into weapons themselves. America’s abuse of its power has even forced longtime allies to speak out.

https://mises.org/power-market/sanctions-against-russia-are-lockdowns-2022

Tho Bishop

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is nearing its second week. Vladimir Putin’s military continues its push west, with clear attempts to encircle Kyiv. To date, thankfully, America and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have held off pleas from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to enforce a no-fly zone, which would risk the eruption of a new hot world war. So instead, along with supplying arms, intel, and—potentially—runways and planes to Ukraine, the focus of the West has been economic warfare.

What is not clear is whether the West is prepared to deal with the actual consequences of this approach.

It seems that with every passing day, America and its allies find tools to escalate financial pressure on Putin. What began with targeted sanctions on the Russian leaders and oligarchs has expanded to cutting off Russian banks from SWIFT, broad attacks on Russian industries, and now complete bans on Russian oil and other exports by some—though not all—NATO countries. Moreover, Western corporations have reinforced these policies by indiscriminately banning Russian customers from various services.

This coordinate blanket canceling of Russia is not a tool crafted by the necessity of the situation, but rather a new application of the form of warfare that the West has become the most comfortable with. America’s weaponization of the dollar-backed financial system began with the war on terror, utilized against rogue state actors like North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela (the latter two Washington is now seeking assistance with for oil) and is increasingly used against domestic enemies.

Even the Swiss historical tradition of neutrality has failed to hold in an era of financial war.

Unfortunately for the West, Vladimir Putin is a far shrewder adversary than Kim Jong Un or Nick Fuentes. Russia is not only a major energy provider to global—and, in particular, European—markets but is a globally important exporter of wheat, fertilizer, metals, and other strategically important resources. To add to these concerns, the West has become increasingly frustrated by the refusal of other global powers—including India, Brazil, Mexico, and China—to follow their lead.

None of this should be particularly surprising. China’s interest in using Russia as a foil against American global hegemony has been clearly illustrated for years—even prior to Trump-era escalation and the covid outbreak. Nations like India, Brazil, and Mexico have seen the rise of nationalist political parties that have echoes Putin’s critiques of the globalist West.

Already Putin has demonstrated a willingness to wield his natural resources as a wedge to pull traditionally subversive global actors away from America’s leadership. The Russian government has made a list of countries that have been hostile to its military actions and has directed trade to favor countries that have remained neutral. Meanwhile, Russian nationalists have celebrated the West’s economic response to the Ukraine invasion, identifying the possibility of shifting consumer trends away from America- and Europe-based companies toward Eurasian products.

As a result, it is precisely the Russians that are the most culturally aligned with the West that are the most penalized by the American response to Putin’s actions. This is similar to the way American sanctions against Iran most victimized the most liberal members of their society.

While the West has made vividly clear its sense of moral self-righteousness in imposing this financial warfare, it is less obvious whether there are any planned off-ramps to deal with the shock back home. In America, gas has already hit all-time highs, while market signals indicate that the cost of food, energy, and other vital resources is soon to follow. In response, the Biden White House and its allies have lectured Americans on the virtues of electric vehicles and other forms of “green energy.” Not even Tesla’s Elon Musk believes this line of logic holds up.

Ultimately any attempts by Western governments to soothe the concerns of their citizens depend upon convincing them that the very same expert class that believed preconflict inflation was “transitory” is intellectually equipped to handle this new conflict. It is uncertain how successful they will be.

The question largely left unasked as firefights continue to play out on Ukrainian streets is what the long-term consequences of the West’s financial war on Russia will be. If peace were to break out tomorrow, what would that mean for market actors?

Many of the same leaders that have engaged in an increasingly vicious economic conflict with Russia supported debilitating lockdowns in the face of covid. In the case of the latter, many seemed to act as if the economy could simply be turned on and off with relative ease—like a computer suffering from an operating malfunction. The world is still dealing with the consequences. How long will the scars from this last?

What if Russia and China are serious about undermining America, the dollar, and its subservient allies? What if Putin recognizes that the economy of the debt-saturated West is far weaker than our policy makers believe it is? Is there any reason for Americans to question the judgment of the decision-makers at the Fed or Treasury?

As Austrian economists have long pointed out, it is no coincidence that the century of total war rose at the same time as the era of central banking. By relying on debt and the printing press rather than direct taxation, nations could hide from the public the immediate costs of war. Over time, global powers have turned central banks into weapons themselves. America’s abuse of its power has even forced longtime allies to speak out.

In 2020, global powers ignored the economic consequences of lockdowns in order to “boldly” respond to the perceived risks of covid. The damage done was catastrophic, and the impact of the policies was minimal.

In 2022, many of those same global powers are destroying the lives of innocent Russians to signal their virtuous opposition to invasion. Unfortunately, when the dust settles, the underlying damage done to their nations may be far worse.  

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Opening Salvos Thrown – What Are Putin’s Next Steps in Ukraine?

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2022

Why has Putin not shut off the gas to a Europe that is rapidly running out of it?

Because to do so would target civilian populations. If he’s not targeting civilians in Ukraine to minimize their anger at being invaded, then why would he use that weapon now against civilians in Germany who hold the key to getting overthrowing the insane politicians and oligarchs who provoked this war in the first place?

Author: Tom Luongo

Last week I wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin rewrote the rules for the geopolitical game board. A week into his campaign to officially “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine” it’s clear to me that Putin’s ambitions lie far beyond this stated goal.

He will, however, stick to that script until that part of the campaign is complete.

Today I want to start outlining where we go next and to do that we have to describe where we are.

Looking around the reports that are the most credible (and properly bracketing for any partisanship) we are staring at a complete, effective neutralization of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) to hold any of the ethnically-dominant areas of Ukraine.

In a post for my patrons on February 25th, responding to an excellent article by Alistair MacLeod I wrote the following:

MacLeod: Both sides probably do not know how fragile the Eurozone banking system is, with both the ECB and its national central bank shareholders already having liabilities greater than their assets. In other words, rising interest rates have broken the euro system and an economic and financial catastrophe on its eastern flank will probably trigger its collapse.

I’ve been banging my shoe on this table for 3 years now.  If the US/NATO respond with some kind of guerilla war here to hang Ukraine like an albatross around Putin’s neck, as we should expect, then Europe is in big trouble financially.  

Because the financial war will keep escalating as Putin responds militarily.  Remember, he’s openly threatened the ‘decision makers’ here.  And no amount of mealy-mouthed CIA/MI6 disinformation will deter him from action anymore.  

This is always what I meant by “spooks start civil wars, militaries end them.”  There is no more War for Ukraine.  

I still believe that. This isn’t a war for Ukraine, it’s a war for the future of the entire world. Ukraine represents the hill both Davos and Russia have chosen to live or die on.

The Afghanistan Gambit

Davos has refused to let President Zelensky surrender because if he does then legally there is no more war to sanction Russia with. It’s not Putin’s War at that point, it is a settled conflict and terms negotiated.

At that point what’s left of Ukraine can be carved up into pieces. It’s way to early for that to occur, so you’ll see constant threats of peace talks, but that’s only to assuage the fears of the capital markets, which is where Davos has the most control over the situation.

The primary goal of the information war from the West is to push capital markets as far in its favor as possible, keeping things within the bounds of the ‘acceptable’ to avoid any short-term pain. Gold is still under it’s all-time high, which is just hilarious.

That said, in that same post I put up this map of a future Ukraine which I felt, conservatively, would be in effect by the end of this year. Events are moving far faster than that, however.

Chernihiv and Sumy are also in play, as is Lviv as a bargaining chip to Poland. As Fmr. Col. Douglas Macgregor pointed out on Fox News recently, everything east of the Dnieper River will become part of a new Novorussia, if not part of the Russian Federation.

Clearly this is Putin’s initial goal, the partitioning of Ukraine. He’s moved militarily, the EU and the rest of the West have responded financially. Their hope is to turn Ukraine into a quagmire, a la Afghanistan (per Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks), which they hope Russia will not be able to sustain after being choked off from the global economy.

The financial sanctions regime put in place so far are brutal but also full of holes wide enough for Putin to maneuver within and around because of the well understood facts of Russia’s dominance as a global supplier of life-sustaining commodities for the entire world.

This is an asymmetric war.

There isn’t much farther the West can go financially. They’ve seized Bank of Russia foreign assets, for pity’s sake. What other weapons do they really have in their arsenal which can threaten Russia with?

They have, in effect, executed their nuclear first strike against Russia. Once you’ve gone nuclear, where do you go next? Real nukes? Yes, that’s a possibility, sadly, given the people we’re talking about.

On the other hand, Russia has so far only committed the necessary troops to neutralize Ukraine. So, in this respect, big advantage Russia.

See the rest here

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Many Predicted NATO Expansion Would Lead to War. Those Warnings Were Ignored

Posted by M. C. on March 4, 2022

It has long been clear that NATO expansion would lead to tragedy. We are now paying the price for the US’s arrogance.

https://www.cato.org/commentary/many-predicted-nato-expansion-would-lead-war-those-warnings-were-ignored#

Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Senior Fellow

This article appeared in The Guardian on February 28, 2022.

TOP

Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine is an act of aggression that will make already worrisome tensions between Nato and Moscow even more dangerous. The west’s new cold war with Russia has turned hot. Vladimir Putin bears primary responsibility for this latest development, but Nato’s arrogant, tone‐​deaf policy toward Russia over the past quarter‐​century deserves a large share as well. Analysts committed to a US foreign policy of realism and restraint have warned for more than a quarter‐​century that continuing to expand the most powerful military alliance in history toward another major power would not end well. The war in Ukraine provides definitive confirmation that it did not.

Thinking through the Ukraine crisis — the causes

“It would be extraordinarily difficult to expand Nato eastward without that action’s being viewed by Russia as unfriendly. Even the most modest schemes would bring the alliance to the borders of the old Soviet Union. Some of the more ambitious versions would have the alliance virtually surround the Russian Federation itself.” I wrote those words in 1994, in my book Beyond Nato: Staying Out of Europe’s Wars, at a time when expansion proposals merely constituted occasional speculation in foreign policy seminars in New York and Washington. I added that expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia”.

What was not publicly known at the time was that Bill Clinton’s administration had already made the fateful decision the previous year to push for including some former Warsaw Pact countries in Nato. The administration would soon propose inviting Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to become members, and the US Senate approved adding those countries to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1998. It would be the first of several waves of membership expansion.

See the rest here

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Vladimir Putin – ‘Empire of Lies’ Speech – Full – February 24, 2022

Posted by M. C. on March 3, 2022

This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behavior is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics. Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.

I will begin with what I said in my address on February 21, 2022. I spoke about our biggest concerns and worries, and about the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?

See the rest here

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Ukraine Invasion Scheduled for Wednesday Canceled

Posted by M. C. on February 16, 2022

Over recent weeks, AP’s ace reporter Matthew Lee and colleagues had been repeatedly led down the White House garden path by the likes of broken-record “the-Russians-are-coming-and-it-could-be-Wednesday” national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Might it be that, this time, at least one AP honcho became so weary of this drivel, that s/he decided to go ahead and publish before receiving the customary Guidance Memo from the powers that be, telling the Establishment media how to spin major events?

by Ray McGovern

“’Foiled again!’ rose the cry from those expecting Russian President Vladimir Putin to step out of character and risk war, just as he finally succeeds in getting the U.S. to take Russia’s security concerns seriously – and even address them.” Today we can simply recycle the above lede sentence from our article four weeks ago: Godot Likely To Arrive Before Russia Invades Ukraine.

New this time, and so far unique, is the lack-of-spin headline and lede that the AP promptly used yesterday in reporting on the significance of the talks held in Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. (Headline and lede sentences follow.)

Russia ready to discuss confidence-building measures, Putin says after talks with Germany’s Scholtz

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow is ready for talks with the US and NATO on limits on missile deployments and military transparency, in a new sign of easing East-West tensions. The statement came after Russia announced it is pulling back some troops from exercises that have raised fears of a potential invasion of Ukraine.

Has AP Learned a Lesson?

Over recent weeks, AP’s ace reporter Matthew Lee and colleagues had been repeatedly led down the White House garden path by the likes of broken-record “the-Russians-are-coming-and-it-could-be-Wednesday” national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Might it be that, this time, at least one AP honcho became so weary of this drivel, that s/he decided to go ahead and publish before receiving the customary Guidance Memo from the powers that be, telling the Establishment media how to spin major events?

This time, the “guidance” came from President Joe Biden himself, who stuck to Sullivan’s ad-nauseam alerts that a Russia invasion “remains distinctly possible.”

Reuters, too, apparently got the Memo in time and dutifully reported:

The Kremlin sought to portray its moves as proof that Western talk of war had been both false and hysterical.

“February 15, 2022 will go down in history as the day Western war propaganda failed. Humiliated and destroyed without a single shot fired,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Russia’s defence ministry published footage showing tanks and other armoured vehicles being loaded onto railway flatcars. But Western military analysts said they needed more information to judge the significance of the latest troop movements.

Putin With Scholz

At yesterday’s press conference, Chancellor Scholz at times played straight man for Putin, calling the announcement of the Russian troop pullback a “good signal” and agreeing that diplomatic options are “far from exhausted”, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had reported to Putin on Monday. Here’s what’s important (and was given appropriate prominence in AP’s reporting).

Putin at the presser with Scholz:

“… as [Lavrov] reported yesterday, the [US and NATO] responses still contain a number of considerations that we are not only ready to discuss but that we have actually suggested to our partners over the years. I am referring to our proposals on European security, certain weapons systems, notably, intermediate and shorter-range missiles, and military transparency. We are ready to continue this joint work. … [Emphasis added.]

So far, the NYT has omitted that statement by Putin, which, coming yesterday together with the troop pullback, is highly significant. That the Times “forgot” to include it is yet another sign that even the most sensible, rudimentary negotiations on key matters of concern to Russia will be resisted tooth and nail by the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-MEDIA-Academia-Think-Tank) complex in which the NYT is right there in the middle, the fulcrum – the key “M.”

Still, some Times editor apparently insisted on slipping in the important acknowledgment by Mr. Biden today that:

“Neither the US or NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not, do not have plans to put them there as well.” [Emphasis added.]

Biden made this commitment to Putin during the telephone call of Dec. 30 that Putin had urgently requested. It amounts to a major concession and enabled Moscow to conclude that at least one or two of Biden’s retinue – or Biden himself – have their heads screwed on right.

In sum, at the risk of boring Antiwar.com readers who have heard this many times before, this issue represents the most fruitful negotiating path. A key remaining question is whether the MICIMATT can thwart it. All in all, yesterday gave a glimmer of hope that if others of the MEDIA follow AP’s example, US citizens will become better informed of the realities and thus be chary of giving credulity to officials like Jake Sullivan. As President Eisenhower warned 61 years ago, only “an informed citizenry” can prevent inordinate accretion of power by the MIC, the Military-Industrial-Complex.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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What Putin Wants

Posted by M. C. on February 7, 2022

The answer is “Yes”, it does. In fact, Russia has become the biggest obstacle to Washington’s ambitious plan to project power across Central Asia in order to capitalize off the region’s explosive growth. Putin has foiled that strategy by strengthening the Russian economy and rebuilding the nations defenses. Keep in mind, the globalist plan for Russia was to create a fragmented, federalized system that opened its vast resources to foreign exploitation while weakening the center of political power in Moscow. Here’s how foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski summed it up in an article titled “A Geostrategy for Eurasia”:

By Mike Whitney
The Unz Review

“I’m convinced that we have reached the decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, Munich Security Conference, 2007

How much do you know about the crisis in Ukraine? See if you can answer these 7 questions.

Question 1– Does the Biden administration’s push to bring Ukraine into NATO violate agreements the US has signed previously?

1–Yes

2–No

The answer is “Yes”. In Istanbul (1999) and in Astana (2010), the US and the other 56 countries in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) signed documents “that contained interrelated principles to ensure the indivisibility of security.”

What does that mean?

It means that parties to the agreement must refrain from any action that could affect the security interests of the other members. It means that parties cannot put military bases and missile sites in locations that pose a threat to other members. It means that parties must refrain from using their respective territories to carry out or assist armed aggression against other members. It means that parties are prohibited from acting in a manner that runs counter to the principles laid out in the treaty. It means that Ukraine cannot become a member of NATO if its membership poses a threat to Russian security.

Is any of this hard to understand?

No, it is perfectly clear.

So, when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims that “every nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements”, he is being deliberately misleading. Stoltenberg knows that both NATO and the United States agreed that they “would NOT strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others.” He also knows that NATO and the US are legally obligated to act in accordance with the agreements they signed in the past.

Naturally, Russia is challenging Washington on this matter. Here’s what Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a press conference last week:

“Today, we are sending an official request to our colleagues in the countries of the Alliance and the OSCE via the Foreign Ministry with a pressing request to explain how they intend to fulfill the commitment not to strengthen their security at the expense of security of the others… This will really undermine relations with the Russian Federation as it will be a gross violation of obligations taken by the presidents of the US and other member states of the alliance.”

And here’s a similar quote from Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov on Tuesday:

“The United States concentrates on the right of states to choose alliances, enshrined in the declarations of the Istanbul (1999) and Astana (2010) OSCE Summits. At the same time, it ignores the fact that these particular documents condition this right on the obligation not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. The main problem is that NATO countries are strengthening their security by weakening Russia. We do not agree with such an approach.” (Tass)

Bottom line: The US and NATO are shrugging off their obligations to achieve their geopolitical objectives. Not surprisingly,
no one in the western media has reported on this issue even though there is incontrovertible evidence supporting the Russian position.

Question 2– The Biden administration has been pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to exaggerate the likelihood of a Russian invasion in order to fuel public hysteria and intensify Russia hatred?

1– True

2– False

This is “True”. On Thursday, senior Ukrainian officials told CNN that a call between Zelensky and Biden “did not go well.” They said Biden claimed “that a Russian attack may be imminent, saying that an invasion was now virtually certain.” Zelensky, however refuted the claim saying that the threat from Russia remains ‘dangerous but ambiguous,’ and “it is not certain that an attack will take place.”

“Do we have tanks on the streets?” Zelensky asked. “No. When you read media, you get the image that we have troops in the city, people fleeing … That’s not the case.”

The Ukrainian president also urged Biden to “calm down the messaging…. We do not see an escalation greater than” last year. He later added that “he was taking the danger in stride.”

Zelensky’s attempts to downplay the hyperbolic reports in the media, confirm that the current “crisis atmosphere” is largely an invention of the western media. In this way, the coverage is very similar to the fabricated “Russiagate” hoax.

Question 3– Ukraine has been in a state of crisis since the US-backed coup in 2014. Have the warring parties settled on a way to end the conflict?

1– Yes

2– No

The answer is “Yes”, they have. The Minsk Agreement was signed in February, 2015. Regrettably, the Ukrainian government has made no attempt to comply with the treaty’s terms.

“The signing was preceded by the summit of leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany who agreed to a package of measures to alleviate the war in the Donbas.” In other words, everyone agreed that these measures would end the fighting and bring the conflict to a close.

Both sides agreed to a ceasefire, a withdraw of troops and military equipment from the war-zone, and to recognize the de-facto autonomy (aka- “special status”) of the Donbass region. This would be followed by general disarmament and a reestablishing of Ukrainian control over its Russian border.

Over the years, Putin has called repeatedly for Minsk to be fully implemented, but Kiev has stubbornly refused. Even though the Ukrainian government has signed the agreement, they are determined to intensify hostilities and prolong the war.

On Wednesday, February 2, Ukrainian authorities once again demonstrated their opposition to the agreed settlement. According to reports in the Russian media:

“Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba …ruled out providing special status and veto power to Donbass…

“No Ukrainian region will have a right power for national state decisions. This is set in stone! There will be no special status, as Russia imagines it, no voting power,” he said.” (Tass News Service)

Keep in mind, there is no Minsk Agreement without the “special status” provision which amounts to de facto autonomy conferred on the Russian-speaking people of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Special status is the glue that holds the agreement together as it assures the people of those provinces that they won’t be arbitrarily and viciously persecuted by hostile elements in the government. So, when the Foreign Minister rules out special status, he is, in effect, removing the cornerstone upon which the entire treaty rests.

Was the Ukranian FM’s statement crafted by officials in the US State Department?

Probably. After all, a unified, prosperous Ukraine at peace with its neighbors does not jibe with Washington’s imperial ambitions. What the Biden​ administration wants is a splintered, bankrupt failed state riven by ethnic animosities that can be easily manipulated by political outsiders who see Ukraine as an essential part of their geopolitical strategy.

Washington does not seek an end to the hostilities. Washington wants to perpetuate the status quo.

Question 4– Did Putin expect the US and NATO to seriously address Russia’s security concerns?

See the rest here

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