Preliminary Peace

The Saker

June 28, 2018

By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard


cross posted with: 
http://www.stalkerzone.org/ishchenko-preliminary-peace/
source: http://alternatio.org/articles/articles/item/60630-preliminarnyy-mir


Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:trump-russia-mafia.jpg

The world press is being filled with noise about a meeting on the 15th of July between Putin and Trump in Vienna. The Kremlin neither confirms nor denies whether there is a meeting [at the time of writing this was true, however the Kremlin has since confirmed the there will be a meeting on July 16th – ed], and diplomats from both sides allegedly coordinate their positions.

July 15th is a date that is inconvenient for the Russian president. On this day, the closing of the FIFA World Cup is supposed to take place at 18:00, which the president of Russia will have to be present at. Of course, it is possible to fly early in the morning to Vienna, talk to Trump before midday, and to be already in Moscow by 18:00. But why makes things so tight? Especially as the Americans can deliberately try to prolong the meeting. Anyway, it is difficult to count on any arrangements. But if Putin is late for the closure of the 2018 World Cup because of a meeting with Trump, then this delay will emphasise the importance of the event for which all other major affairs were postponed.

But Trump manages to come to Vienna without hurrying after the NATO summit that has to take place on July 11th-12th in Brussels. He will even have the time for several bilateral meetings with allies after the summit.

If indeed the meeting has to take place in general, then in order not to give the impudent Yankees any excess tactical/information advantage it would be logical to move it to either the 14th or the July 16th [the 16th was later confirmed as the actual date of the meeting – ed]. After all, if the Americans can’t meet during these days, then Russia can still wait – there is no place to hurry to. The positions of Washington become weaker, so even if Russia will have to meet with the next US president, it will only be better for Moscow.

The entire course of the events preceding the current rumours about the emergency preparation of a meeting between the two leaders testifies that for the Americans the decision to hold a meeting between the two presidents was forced. It should be remembered that originally Trump stated that he is ready to accept Putin in Washington. Generally it is the newly elected head of State that usually makes a visit to their more experienced colleague. But the Americans got used to everyone considering it as an honor to come and bow before them. Indeed, if Putin came on a visit to Washington, the US could show at the symbolical level to their allies that their superiority in world politics doesn’t raise doubts. Even leaders that oppose them come to Washington to reach an agreement about peace.

Putin ignored Trump’s hints. After this Washington’s rhetoric sharply changed and US officials started claiming that there can’t be any meetings at the highest level until Russia makes concessions in Syria and in Ukraine. In the last month Washington again changed the narrative. Now it was found out that already for one and a half years Trump wakes up to the question: “When will my meeting with Putin take place?”. But the artful environment deceived the trustful President and boycotted his instructions. But, supposedly, Trump has now taken matters into his own hands and the meeting will take place very soon. Further, it was supported by semi-confirmed, at least not disproved, hearings about the preparation of a historical bilateral meeting in Vienna.

As a matter of fact Russia won a diplomatic campaign both already before the meeting and irrespective of the meeting. During one and a half years the US tried to impose a meeting from a position of force: in Washington and on preliminary conditions. Today it is about the preparation of a meeting on a neutral platform and without any conditions. Washington conceded on all points.

However, it doesn’t mean that the meeting will surely take place. Firstly, the Kremlin has no unambiguous conviction that it is worth agreeing to negotiations, foreknowing that there won’t be any compromise solutions, that the US all the same will push through their agenda, and that Washington will surely use the fact of the negotiations itself to strengthen their information positions. On the other hand Putin already repeatedly showed his ability to fascinate foreign leaders, which subsequently facilitated contact with them. Besides this, Russia can also use the meeting for information and propaganda purposes. Moreover, at present the position of the Kremlin is stronger because it is the US who pushed for compelled concessions and showed that this meeting is more needed by them.

The question consists in whether it is worth speaking with people who aren’t yet ready to make a constructive proposal. It is possible to suggest to them to go and think about it, but they can take offense and the general situation will worsen. It is possible to begin negotiations, recognising that in the course of communication it will be possible to come to a mutually acceptable compromise. Both options of behavior have their strengths and weaknesses. In recent years Russia preferred to be involved in negotiations… well, and then we’ll see – we will always have the time to quarrel, but we can reach an agreement anyway.

It is certainly clear that one shouldn’t expect a breakthrough in Vienna. Even if negotiations will be completed in the best way, the heads of States will only declare their intention to remove bilateral contradictions and to live in peace and friendship, while the process of reach a concrete agreement after this can last years and end with nothing.

Trump can’t make a compromise right now, because he’s just severely fallen out with practically all the civilised world, from China to Canada. He has a trade war and personal hostility towards everyone. If in these conditions he makes concessions to Russia, then it will mean that the US abandoned the fight for world leadership and tried to preserve a part of its former weight in the union with Russia. But then all their former allies competing in race each other to Moscow with offers of friendship, brotherhood, and eternal loyalty. And this will additionally weaken the positions of the US.

That’s why it is necessary for Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels to receive at least some unity (at least on minor questions) in order to speak with Putin in Vienna on behalf of the united West, which is still agrees with American primacy. So then his position will look at least in equilibrium with the position of Russia.

In turn Putin can’t concede to Trump in Ukraine or Syria, and he can’t refuse an informal, but very effective union with China. Each of these points is an important knot, connecting together the network of global coordination created in recent years by Russia for the purpose of ensuring security. The loss of one link in the chain will affect in the most fatal way the efficiency of the others. In the worst case scenario – the domino effect is possible, and in the best one – a considerable decrease in the effectiveness of the system and a disbalance in the actions of allies is possible.

But, taking into account the sharp weakening of the American global positions in the first half of 2018, Russia doesn’t see any sense in general in discussing the possibility of any concessions. Only a compromise solution of problems, assuming that the US will leave the foreign countries that closely border Russia, as an exclusive sphere of Russian interests in which they impudently intruded about 20 years ago. It is after this that it will be possible to discuss trade and economic interests of Washington. Finally, the balancing of the American budget is impossible without balancing trade and the termination of the expensive aggressive foreign policy is in the common interests of the whole world.

The world is interested in helping the US overcome the most severe crisis in which they herded themselves into and reform the American economy, but only in exchange for the abandonment of an active military policy, a sharp decrease in the military budget, a reduction in the number of mobile expedition forces – including aircraft carrier groups, the re-organisation of the structure of the American Armed Forces in favour of an exclusively defensive position that allows to reliably protect the US from an invasion, but doesn’t allow to perform large-scale overseas operations.

As we understand, today the US still hasn’t ripened for such radical compromises. That’s why a possible meeting in Vienna is only the first step. The US already agreed to speak on the conditions of others, but still doesn’t agree to form a constructive agenda. And they will come to this decision. The main thing is that it isn’t too late for the American economy.

 

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Is Trump-Kim Deal Really Peace Or Is It A Set Up For War?

June 14, 2018 (Brandon Turbeville – Activist Post) – Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are perhaps the two most unpredictable leaders in the world with everyone wondering from day to day what new provocative statement will be ushered from official channels. However, the two most unpredictable leaders appear to have found common ground, perhaps even kindred spirits, during the course of the Singapore Summit when both men came away with an apparent mutually beneficial deal that will see the de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

While there have been no real concrete agreements as a result of the talks, the North Korean side has pledged its commitment to the denuclearization of the peninsula, while the American side has strongly suggested that it will put its military exercises on hold with South Korea.

The first step seems to be an agreement for both sides to work toward recovering the remains of Korean war dead and their immediate repatriation.

Beyond that, the statement agreed to by both parties reads as follows:

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump, and Chairman Kim Jong Un, state the following:

The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

Reaffirming April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un, commit to implementing the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to holding follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

DONALD J. TRUMP
President of the United States of America 

KIM JONG UN
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 

June 12, 2018
Sentosa Island
Singapore

The talks have now concluded with the remainder of the negotiating to take place between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterpart with some suggesting that the next stage is the freeing of American spies incarcerated in North Korea.

The Reaction From American Political Circles

While Republicans, having never met a war they didn’t like, attempted to keep their rage at the idea of peace under control, many like chicken hawk Lindsey Graham appeared on national media to tone down praise of Trump and warn against showing weakness and removing troops from one of America’s many war zones. Essentially, they are arguing that America should dictate the terms, Kim should agree, and there should be no American concessions of any value.

Democrats, however, have predictably been frothing at the mouth at even the idea of peace, particularly a peace negotiated by “literally Hitler” himself, Donald Trump. These warmongers and psychotics have railed against even talking to Kim Jong Un, claiming that there should be no peace whatsoever with a nation that has such horrible human rights violations, as if the United States has not racked up enough of those same violations of its own. These critics complain that Trump is engaging in “appeasement” of some kind which seems impossible to explain to anyone using logic or who is restrained by reality.

But what is actually happening with this summit? Is it a true and genuine desire for peace or is it just cover for the next war to take shape over the next several years?

The Potential Positive

It is difficult for any genuine anti-war activist to oppose the recent talks between the United States and North Korea. After decades of technical war, threats to “obliterate” North Korea, constant nuclear tests, repeatedly provocative war games, innumerable threats against one another, not to mention the tension between South and North Korea, two countries that have long wanted to talk to one another, the fact that tensions seem to be easing can scarcely be considered a bad thing.

While it is unfair that the United States and its “allies” can maintain nuclear weapons stockpiles as they march across the globe slaughtering innocent people while other countries cannot, an end to nuclear proliferation (across the board) is also desirable. If both countries can come to an agreement to, at the very least, stop provoking one another, America will have taken a greater step toward peace in Singapore than it has in decades.

For all their public appearances, both Trump and Kim have appeared legitimately happy at the results of the meeting and both have expressed high hopes for the future. Trump even went so far as to tweet that the “nuclear threat” from North Korea no longer existed. But is there more to the deal than just a desire for peace?

Despite America’s desire for war or, at least the appearance of potential war, both Koreas have expressed a desire to not only talk but to reunifyIn an historic meeting in April, 2018, the presidents of North and South Korea met and agreed to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and begin negotiating an end to the Korean war. Despite the influence of the United States on South Korea and the human rights nightmare of North Korea, it still remains clear that both Koreas have an interest in ending the war, bringing about peace, and perhaps moving forward with integration.

While it may publicly appear that the recent US/NK peace deal was a mutual desire between both parties to de-escalate and move towards peace, some analysts question whether or not that is the case and posit that the deal may have actually been made as a strategy of last resort on the part of the North Koreans.

As Andrew Korybko writes for Eurasia Future in his article, “The Trump-Kim Deal Is The First Example Of The ‘New Washington Consensus’,

As it currently stands, China has monopolized a large chunk of its neighbor’s economy, not out of any malicious or neo-imperial intentions but simply because it’s been the only lifeline to the “Hermit Kingdom” since the Soviet Union collapsed and Moscow cut off all of its previous aid to the country. For all practical intents and purposes, China controls the North Korean economy, an open secret that’s known to even the most casual observers even if it’s “politically incorrect” to publicly say and is regularly denied by Beijing. The never-ending international sanctions had the effect of scaring off most other investors, and Russia entered the game way too late in the past couple of years to make any tangible difference. Moreover, by the time that Moscow got interested in North Korea’s economic potential as a transit stateconnecting the investment-hungry but energy-rich Far East region with cash-flush but energy-poor South Korea, international sanctions became tighter, and Russia itself also signed onto them together with China.

The cumulative effect of this latest development, particularly in terms of China’s honest participation in the latest round of sanctions (for reasons related to its unease at having a nuclear-armed neighbor play the “useful idiot” in bringing American anti-missile infrastructure closer to its borders), was that North Korea had little choice other than to negotiate with the US and reconsider its nuclear capabilities. Faced with the real fear of experiencing another nationwide famine such as the one that reportedly struck the country in the 1990s, Chairman Kim’s immediate interests were purely economic, and he painfully came to perceive of his “big brother” in the north as a Great Power who isn’t above playing political games in pursuit of its self-interests. In China’s defense, its global strategy of multipolarity was being endangered by what it considered to be Kim’s recklessness in engaging in so many nuclear and missile tests, but regardless, the bonds of trust were irrevocably broken between these two.That, however, doesn’t mean that North Korea regards China as an “enemy”, but just that the young Kim had a rude awakening in terms of how the real world works, learning first-hand that slogans of ideological solidarity about a shared “communist struggle” don’t compensate for his country’s disadvantageous position as a pawn on the Hyper-Realist “19th-Century Great Power Chessboard”. Disheartened by this realization and likely feeling some natural resentment towards his former benefactors, Kim decided to enter into unprecedented denuclearization talks with the US, though prudently taking care to involve China in all manner of his consultations so as not to inadvertently make an actual enemy out of it given how easily this very sensitive situation could have turned into a fast-moving security dilemma between Pyongyang and Beijing had he not had the wisdom to do so. Seeking sanctions relief and a “counterbalance” to China, Kim ultimately agreed to the Singapore Summit with Trump.

Having predictably been briefed on the psychological-economic factors that drove Kim to come to the Singapore Summit and in all likelihood agree beforehand on what the outcome of this historic event would be, Trump came to the event with the fullest of confidence but also with a secret ace up his sleeve to sweeten the deal that he was about to publicly clinch with his counterpart. It’s now been revealed that Trump showed Kim a Hollywood-style four-minute video extolling the economic and developmental benefits that North Korea could receive if its Chairman chooses the right path at this once-in-a-lifetime crossroad that the film dramatically hints he was fated to appear at. Evidently, Kim must have really enjoyed the promising message that was conveyed because all of his body language immediately after his private viewing of this film with Trump during their one-on-one meeting was exceptionally positive and radiated happiness, sincerity, and confidence as he agreed to advance his country’s denuclearization.

In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Korybko also stated that

After all, North Korea already blew up its only nuclear testing site, and its leader raced to win back Trump’s approval for the Singapore Summit instead of the reverse. This implies that the US is negotiating from a position of strength while North Korea is doing so from weakness, showing which of the two wants denuclearization to happen more. The lesson that both parties learned is that their highest representatives need to watch their words in order to not provoke either side into responding with anything dramatic as a means of saving their reputations, thereby potentially endangering the forthcoming talks and complicating North Korea’s strategic surrender to the US in exchange for promised aid and investment.

So the question is whether or not the North Korean side felt it had no other option than to move forward with a political deal, much like the Iran deal, in order to save face and survive. After all, it is not reasonable to require North Korea to disarm from its only real deterrent while the its enemy who has been breathing down its neck for the last several decades simply promises not to attack it.

A more important question, however, is whether or not the United States is negotiating in good faith or whether this new “deal” is just another “Iran deal” to feign an effort for peace while preparing for and even initiating war.

The “Libya Model”

Given that the United States has done nothing with its foreign policy but conduct illegal imperialist wars against sovereign countries that provided no threat to it now for decades, the concept that the United States is negotiating in good faith is hard to believe. It is particularly hard to believe when the United States had only recently engaged in epic harassment – politically, diplomatically, and militarily – against North Korea. Even more so, when the National Security Advisor and repeated war criminal John Bolton, stated plainly to FOX News Sunday that “We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004.”

Libya negotiated in good faith with the Bush administration and eliminated its nuclear weapons. Seven years later, the country found itself on the wrong end of a U.S. backed destabilization effort which soon became a proxy war and quickly became a NATO invasion. The result? Libya was left in absolute shambles where it remains to this day. Race slavery was instituted by some of the many Islamic fundamentalist militias supported by the United States to overthrow Ghaddafi who was himself sodomized by a bayonet and executed on camera. Bolton elaborated further on the “Libya Model” reference on CBS’ Face The Nation where he stated,

In the case of Libya, for example—and it’s a different situation in some respects—those negotiations were carried out in private. They were not known publicly. But one thing that Libya did that that led us to overcome our skepticism was that they allowed American and British observers into all their nuclear-related sites. So, it wasn’t a question of relying on international mechanisms. We saw them in ways we have never seen before.

Notably, the North Korea talks are taking place in public even if they aren’t being met with high praise.

Interestingly enough, Kim Jong Un seems to have a clear understanding of why giving up one’s nuclear weapons is a bad idea, particularly when it comes to the United States. In 2011, as Libya sunk under the waves of chaos, Kim stated that Ghaddafi’s decision to give up his nuclear weapons was a mistake. A North Korean Foreign Ministry official also described the “de-nuclearization” process as “an invasion tactic to disarm the country.” The official also stated that the “Libyan model” touted by Bolton was proof that North Korea’s strategy was the right one and that nuclear weapons was the only way to keep peace on the peninsula.

Surely, Kim Jong Un has not forgotten his own wisdom in terms of dealing with the United States. After all, there is little difference between dealing with a Bush, Obama, or Trump administration.
On the other hand, even seasoned leaders like Ghaddafi fell prey to deception and false promises of the U.S. For this reason, it cannot be ignored that one possibility as to why the United States seems so interested in peace at this point is related to removing Kim’s nuclear deterrent.

The Iran Deal Precedent

On Tuesday, May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be pulling out of the “Iran Nuclear Deal” which was struck under the Obama administration, a deal that he repeatedly called a “bad deal” and even “the single worst deal I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody.”

“The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime,” President Trump said. “In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.”

He added that “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.”

Yet there was absolutely no evidence to back Trump up on his claims. Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats have stated that Iran is living up to its commitments. Still, Trump has argued in the past that, while Iran may be sticking to its commitments, it is violating the “spirit” of the agreement by “fostering discord” in the region.

This is highly ironic considering that the United States is the single biggest fosterer of discord in the Middle East alongside Israel. It’s also false that Iran is “fostering discord” and that it is not living up to its end of the deal. It should also be pointed out that Iran was doing nothing wrong in terms of its nuclear program before the deal and should never have been bullied into signing it to begin with.

Now, a sovereign country who has a right to pursue a nuclear energy program is being told by aggressive nuclear states that it cannot be allowed to be armed in the same manner, develop an adequate energy program, or defend itself against the aggression of the very states marching across the region and repeatedly stating their desire to overthrow, destabilize, or invade Iran.

But while this move may have come as a shock to some, it shouldn’t have. After all, the Iran deal itself was nothing more than the first step in the coming war on Iran. This can be seen clearly in the pages of the corporate-financier think tanks who develop and present US foreign and domestic policy. For instance, the Brookings Institution, as Tony Cartalucci writes, “whose corporate-financier sponsors include arms manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, energy giants Exxon Mobil, BP, Aramco, and Chevron, and financiers including Bank of America, Citi, and numerous advisers and trustees provided by Goldman Sachs,” wrote in 2009 of the plan to use just such a “deal” to then justify military action against Iran.
The Brookings Institution Report – Which Path To Persia?

The plan for a Western or a Western/Israeli attack on Iran, along with the theatre of alleged US-Israeli tensions leading up to a strike and outright war, has been in the works for some time. For instance, in 2009, the Brookings Institution, a major banking, corporate, and military-industrial firm, released a report entitled “Which Path To Persia? Options For A New American Strategy For Iran,” in which the authors mapped out a plan which leaves no doubt as to the ultimate desire from the Western financier, corporate, and governing classes.

The plan involves the description of a number of waysthe Western oligarchy would be able to destroy Iran including outright military invasion and occupation. However, the report attempts to outline a number of methods that might possibly be implemented before direct military invasion would be necessary. The plan included attempting to foment destabilization inside Iran via the color revolution apparatus, violent unrest, proxy terrorism, and “limited airstrikes” conducted by the US, Israel or both.Interestingly enough, the report states that any action taken against Iran must be done after the idea that Iran has rejected a fair and generous offer by the West has been disseminated throughout the general public. The report reads,

…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context— both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

From the writings of Brookings, it is readily apparent for all to see what the latest browbeating over the “terrible” Iran deal and how the Iranians are not living up to their obligations under the agreement coming from the Trump administration are all about. The United States has bullied Iran into accepting a deal it should never have had to agree to in the first place and now the U.S. is attempting to add restrictions and obligations that were never part of the deal to begin with and/or claim that Iran is not living up to its end of the deal. If Iran can be represented as having been uncooperative, Iran will be painted as having refused “a very good deal.”

As the report states, any action taken against Iran must be done after the idea that Iran has rejected a fair and generous offer by the West has been disseminated throughout the general public. For that reason, the idea is being promulgated that Iran was offered a great deal at the disadvantage of the United States but Iran would not abide by even this agreement, continuing to insist on gaining nuclear weapons to destroy the U.S. and poor innocent Israel, forcing America’s hand after diplomacy failed.

Ironically, it is admitted by the authors of the report that the Iranians are not governed by lunatics intent on nuking the world but by entirely rational players. Still, they move forward with a number of options for attacking Iran. It should thus be obvious to anyone reading this report that the US, NATO, and Israel are uninterested in peace with Iran and are entirely focused on war and Iranian destruction.

“The so-called ‘Iran deal,’ introduced during the administration of US President Barack Obama, represents precisely this “superb offer,” with Flynn’s accusations serving as the “turn down” ahead of the “sorrowful” war and attempted regime change the US had always planned to target Tehran with,” writes Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer Report.

The report continues to discuss the citations that could be used for an attack on Iran, clearly stating its intentions to create a plan to goad a non-threatening nation into war. It states,

The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

Conclusion

While steps toward peace should be lauded, we must be sure these steps are actually being taken toward peace and not to another “Libya Model.” North Korea may want to re-enter the world at large but it must not do so if the end result will be the destruction of the country yet again. Since Kim Jong Un already has nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them, he has significant bargaining power in any negotiation. Upon giving those weapons up, however, he will have placed North Korea in a precarious position. It may be too early to tell as of yet what will be the result of the Trump-Kim agreement but, for now, those who truly desire peace must keep a watchful and skeptical eye open.

Brandon Turbeville writes for Activist Post – article archive here – He is the author of seven books,Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions andDispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

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‘Russia-US direct conflict in Syria was close, but avoided’ – Assad to RT (MUST SEE)

The Saker

May 31, 2018

A very interesting interview of Syrian President Bashar Assad who confirms that Russia and the US were very close to war in April and that the Syrian plan to deal with the AngloZionist threat is to further beef-up Syrian air defenses.  The man makes perfectly good sense to me.  The Saker

Related

 

Presidential Decree On national objectives and strategic tasks of Russian Federation’s development in the period up to 2024

May 28, 2018

translation by Miles for the Saker Blog

P R E S I D E N T OF R U S S I A N F E D E R A T I O N

DECREE № 204

Signed 07 May 2018

On national objectives and strategic tasks of Russian Federation’s development in the period up to 2024

To facilitate breakthrough scientific, technological and socio-economic development of Russian Federation, increase of population, increase of standard of living, creation of comfortable living environment and to create conditions and opportunities for self-realization and development of talents of every person, I hereby ORDER:

1. Government of Russian Federation to ensure attainment of following national objectives of development of Russian Federation in the period up to 2024:

a) Securing sustained natural growth of population in Russian Federation;

b) increasing life expectancy to 78 years (by 2030 – to 80 years);

c) Securing sustained growth of citizen’s real income, as well as growth of pensions above the level of inflation;

d) halving the poverty rate in Russian Federation;

e) Improving living conditions of no less than 5 million families per year;

f) acceleration of technological development of Russian Federation, increasing in the number of organization implementing technological innovations to no less than 50 percent of the total number of organizations;

g) ensuring accelerated implementation of digital technologies in economy and social sphere;

h) securing the Russian federation’s place amongst the top five world economies, ensuring economic growth at a rate above world average while sustaining macroeconomic stability, which includes keeping inflation rate at a level not higher than 4 percent;

i) creation of high-productive export-oriented subsector in basic sectors of economy, first of all in manufacturing and agriculture industries. Such subsector should be manned by highly-skilled personnel and develop on the basis of modern technologies;

2. Government of the Russian Federation is to:

a) adopt by 1 of October 2018 General Directions of activities of Government of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024, as well as Projection of socioeconomic development of Russian Federation for the same period, establishing mechanisms and resourcing for attainment of national objectives specified in paragraph 1 of this Decree;

b) develop (amend) according to national objectives specified in paragraph 1 of this Decree, in conjunction with federal and regional public authorities and present for review by Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects by the 1 October 2018 national projects (programmes) in following areas:

Demography

Healthcare

Education

Housing and urban environment

Ecology

Safe and high-quality roads

Labor productivity and support of employment

Science

Digital economy

Culture

Small and medium-sized business and support of sole proprietorship

International cooperation and export.

3. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national programme of demographic development must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Increase of healthy life expectancy to 67 years;

Increase of total fertility rate to 1,7;

Increase of percentage of citizens leading healthy lifestyle, as well as increase the percentage of citizens systematically engaged in physical fitness and sports;

b) Completion of following tasks:

Implementation of mechanism of financial support of families at the childbirth

Creation of conditions for employment of women with children, including 100 percent availability of preschool education facilities for children below age of 3 (by 2024);

Development and implementation of programme for systemic support and increase of quality of life for citizens of senior generations;

Creation of system of motivation for citizens to lead a healthy lifestyle, including healthy diet and rejection of unhealthy habits;

Creation of conditions for all groups and categories of population to engage in physical fitness activities, sports, mass sports, including increase of availability of sport infrastructure, as well as preparation of sports reserve.

4. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for healthcare must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Lowering mortality rate amongst working-age population (to 350 cases per 100,000 population), mortality rate from circulatory system diseases (to 450 cases per 100,000 population), mortality rate from tumors, including malignant ones (to 185 cases per 100,000 population), infant mortality rate (to 4,5 cases per 1000 births);

Elimination of personnel deficit in primary medical care facilities;

Ensuring annual preventive medical examination coverage for all citizens;

Ensuring optimal availability of primary medical care facilities for population (including residents of settlements situated in remote areas);

Optimization of work of primary medical care facilities, reducing wait time for citizens in said facilities, simplifying procedures for setting up appointment with a doctor;

Increasing volume of exported medical services no less than fourfold compared to 2017 level (to 1 billion USD annually);

b) Completion of following tasks:

Completion of development of primary medical facilities’’ network with use of geospatial information system for the purposes of healthcare, given the need to build out-patient medical facilities and midwife centers in settlements with population between 100 and 2,000 as well as taking into account use of mobile medical complexes in settlements with population below 100;

5. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for education must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Ensuring global competitiveness of Russian education, securing Russia’s place amongst top ten leading countries for quality of general education;

Raising harmoniously-developed and socially responsible individuals on the foundation of moral and spiritual values of peoples of Russia

b) Completion of following goals:

Implementation of new educational methods and technologies on all levels of basic and secondary general education, which should ensure successful development of basic skills and abilities, increase students’ motivation to learn and level of their involvement in the process of education, as well as updating the content and perfecting methods of education in “Technology” educational domain;

Creation of effective system for identifying, support and development of talents and abilities of children and youth, based on the principles of justice and universality and which objectives should be self-determination and vocational guidance of all students;

Creation of conditions for early development of children below age of three, implementation of a program for psychological, pedagogical, methodological and consultative assistance to parents, whose children receive in-family pre-school education;

Creation of modern and safe digital environment for education, which ensure high quality and accessibility of all types and levels of education;

Implementation of national system for professional growth of teaching staff, encompassing no less than 50 percent of teachers in general-education schools;

Modernization of vocational education, including by implementation of adaptive, practical-oriented and flexible educational programs;

Creation of a system for constant updating of professional knowledge by employed citizens, as well as for learning new professional skills, including obtaining expertise in the area of digital economy by all who willing;

Creation of a system of vocational contests with objectives to provide citizens with opportunities for professional and career growth;

Creation of conditions for development of mentorship, support of civil initiatives and projects, including in the area of volunteering;

Doubling the number of foreign nationals receiving education at Russian high education and science facilities, as well as implementation of set of measures to employ best of them in Russian Federation.

6. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for housing and urban environment must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Provision of affordable housing for families with average income (including creation of an option to buy (build) housing with use of mortgage with interest rate below 8 percent;

Increase of housing construction volume to no less than 120 million square meters annually;

Radical increase of the comfort level of urban environment, increase of index for quality of urban environment for 30 percent, halving the number of cities with adverse urban environment as calculated in said index;

Creation of mechanism for direct citizen participation in creation of comfortable urban environment, increase of proportion of citizens participating in resolving the matters of urban environment to 30 percent;

Ensuring steady decrease of housing stock that is unsuitable for a living;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Perfecting mechanisms of financing housing construction, including development of mortgage securities market and gradual shift from attracting funds into participatory construction of apartment buildings and other real estate objects to other forms of financing housing construction, which should ensure citizen rights’ protection and reduction of risks for them;

Modernization of construction industry and increase of quality of industrial construction of housing, including through imposing restrictions on use of obsolete technologies and through promotion of implementation of cutting-edge technologies in design and construction, perfecting of the mechanisms of state support for construction of standard housing;

Decrease of administrative burden on developers, perfecting legal framework and procedures of regulating housing construction activities;

Ensuring efficient use of lands for purpose of mass housing construction under conditions of preservation and development of green funds and territories that contains objects of ecological, historic and cultural, recreational, wellness or other importance;

Creation of mechanisms for development of comfortable urban environment, complex development of cities and pother settlements with taking into account index of quality of urban environment;

Creation of mechanisms of resettlement of citizens from housing that is unsuitable for a living, which should ensure observation of housing rights as stated by laws of Russian Federation;

7. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for ecology must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Effective managements od industrial and consumer waste, including elimination of all unsanctioned dump sites within cities’ limits, identified as such by 01 January 2018;

Radical decrease of atmospheric air pollution in large industrial centers, including decrease of aggregate amount of air pollution emissions in most polluted cities by no less than 20 percent;

Increase of quality of drinking water, consumed by population, including for residents of settlements that do not have modern systems of centralized water supply;

Ecological rehabilitation of water bodies, including river Volga and preservation of unique water systems, including lakes Baikal and Teletskoe;

Preservation of biological diversity, including via creation of no less than 24 specially protected natural areas;

b) Completion of the following goals:

Creation of comprehensive system of solid household waste management, including elimination of dump sites and recultivation of lands where it was situated, creation of conditions for recycling of all industrial and consumer waste, disposal of which are prohibited;

Creation and efficient operation of a system for civil control, aimed at identification and elimination of unsanctioned dump sites throughout territories of all constituents of Russian Federation;

Creation of modern infrastructure for safe management of waste with first and second hazard classes, and elimination of most hazardous objects of accumulated environmental damage;

Implementation of comprehensive plans for lowering air pollution emissions in big industrial centers, including cities Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk, Lipetsk, Magnitogorsk, Mednogorsk, Nizhniy Tagil, Novokuznetsk, Norilsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Cherepovets and Chita, with taking into account summary calculations for permissible negative environmental impact in each of those cities;

Ensuring use of a system of environmental management based off best available technologies by all object with significant negative environmental impact;

Increasing the quality of drinking water via modernization of water supply system with use of prospective technologies of water preparation, including technologies developed by military-industrial complex;

Environmental rehabilitation of water bodies, including implementation of project, aimed at three-fold decrease of proportion of contaminated wastewater, discharged into river Volga, sustainable operation of water management complex of Lower Volga and preservation of Volga-Akhtuba floodplain’s ecosystem;

Preservation of unique water bodies, including implementation of project for preservation of lake Baikal and measures for litter-cleaning coasts and coastal zones of lakes Baikal, Teletskoe, Ladoga, Onega and of rivers Volga, Don, Ob, Yenisei, Amur, Ural, Pechora;

Preservation of biological diversity, including increasing acreage of specially protected natural areas, by 5 million hectares, reintroduction of rare animal species, creation of infrastructure for environmental tourism in national parks, as well as preservation of forests, including via reforestation of all areas where forests has been cut down or otherwise destroyed;

8. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for creation of safe and high-quality toads must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Increase of proportion of regional roads meeting statutory requirements in their total length to no less than 50 percent (compared to their length as at 31 December 2017), as well as well as adoption of said requirements by regional public authorities, which should be based on federal-level requirements for road safety;

Decrease of share of overloaded federal and regional roads by no less than 10 percent in their total length as compared to 2017;

Twofold decrease in number of accident concentration sections (accident-prone areas) of road network as compared to 2017;

Decrease of road accidents –related mortality by a factor of 3,5 as compared to 2017 – to a level not exceeding 4 deaths per 100,000 population (zero mortality by 2030);

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Increasing proportion of roads meeting statutory requirements in biggest urban agglomerations to 85 percent of their total length;

Adoption of new mechanisms of development and maintenance of road network, including use of infrastructural mortgage, life-cycle contracting and best technologies and materials;

Increasing disbursement rate to regional budgets for revenues from excise duties on fuel and lubricants to 100 percent;

Implementation of publicly accessible system for control of accumulation and spending of road funds on all levels (in 2019);

Creation of mechanisms of economic stimulation of preservation of regional and municipal roads;

Implementation of new technological requirements and standards for outfitting the roads, including standards based on digital technologies, aimed at elimination of accident concentration sections;

Implementation of technologies for automation and robotization of traffic management and traffic rules compliance oversight;

Increasing penalties for drivers who violate traffic rules, as well as increasing requirements for the level of their professional training;

9. Government of the Russian Federation while executing in tandem with regional public authorities national programme for labor productivity and support of employment must ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Increase of labor productivity on middle and big-sized enterprises of basic non-resource-based sectors of economy by no less than 5 percent annually;

Bringing into participation in aforementioned programme at least 10 regions of Russian Federation annually;

Bringing into participation in aforementioned programme at least 10,000 middle and big-sized enterprises of basic non-resource-based sectors of economy;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Stimulating implementation of cutting-edge management, organizational and technological solutions for increase in labor productivity and equipment modernization, including via tax preferences;

Reducing statutory and administrative limitations which prevents labor productivity growth, as well as phase out of non-productive and obsolete jobs;

Creation of a system for methodological and organizational support of labor productivity growth at enterprises;

Creation of a system for personnel training aimed at teaching of foundations of labor productivity growth, including via use of digital technologies and platform solutions.

10. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for science must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Ensuring Russia’s place amongst top five leading countries, conducting scientific research and development in areas, defined by priorities of scientific development;

Ensuring attractiveness of work in Russia for leading Russian and foreign scientists and promising young researchers;

Accelerated growth of domestic spending from all sources for scientific research and development as compared to country’s GDP growth;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Creation of cutting-edge infrastructure for scientific research and development and innovation activities, including creation and development of network of unique research facilities of Megascience class;

Modernization of no less than 50 percent of instrument base of leading facilities conducting scientific research and development;

Creation of world-class scientific centers, including networks of international mathematics centers and centers for genomic research;

Creation of no less than 15 world-class research and education centers, based on integration of universities and research facilities and their cooperation with organizations of real economy;

Creation of comprehensive system for training and professional growth of scientific and pedagogical personnel, aimed for creation of conditions for conducting scientific research and development by young scientists, creation of research laboratories and competitive science teams;

11. Government of the Russian Federation while executing in tandem with regional public authorities national programme “Digital Economy of Russian Federation” must ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Threefold increase in domestic spending (calculated as proportion of GDP) from all sources for development of digital economy as compared to 2017;

Creation of sustainable and safe information and telecommunication infrastructure for high-speed transfer, processing and storage of big amount of data, accessible by all organizations and households;

Predominant use of domestic-made software by public and municipal authorities and organizations;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Creation of legal framework for digital economy, based on flexible approach to each sphere, including implementation of civilian circulation in sphere of digital technologies;

Creation of global competitive infrastructure for transfer, processing and storage of data, predominantly on basis of domestic developments;

Ensuring training of high-quality personnel for digital economy;

Ensuring informational security on the basis of domestic developments which ensure protection of interests of individual, organization and state during transfer, processing and storage of data;

Creation of cross-cutting digital technologies, predominantly on the basis of domestic developments;

Implementation of digital technologies and platform solutions in areas of public administration and provision of public services, including for the benefit of population, small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Transformation of high-priority sectors of economy and social sphere, including healthcare, education, industry, agriculture, construction, urban environment, transport and energy infrastructure, financial services through implementation of digital technologies and platform solutions;

Creation of comprehensive system for financing project for development and/or implementation of digital technologies and platform solutions, including venture financing and other development institutions;

Development and implementation of national mechanisms for coordinated digital economy development policies implementation between states – members of Eurasian Economic Union;

12. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national programme for culture must pay special attention to necessity to:

a) Strengthening of Russian civic identity as based on spiritual, moral and cultural values of Russian peoples;

b) Creation (reconstruction of museum complexes and complexes for cultural education, including concert halls, theatrical, musical, choreographical and other creative arts schools, as well as exhibition spaces;

c) Providing children’s schools and colleges for music, artistic and choreographical schools and colleges and creative arts schools with necessary equipment and materials;

d) Supporting youth talented in music, including through creation of National Youth Symphony Orchestra;

e) Creation (reconstruction) of club-type organizations for cultural recreation in rural settlements, development of municipal libraries;

f) Creation of virtual concert hall in no less than 500 cities of Russia;

g) Creation of conditions for screening of national movies in settlements with population below 500,000;

h) Professional training for personnel in field of culture;

i) Modernization of regional and municipal youth theaters and puppet theaters through reconstruction and capital repairs;

j) Support of volunteer movements, including in the field of preservation of cultural heritage;

13. Government of the Russian Federation while executing in tandem with regional public authorities national project for development of small and medium sized businesses and support of sole proprietorship must ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following benchmark figure: increase in number of employed in the area of small and medium sized business, including sole proprietors to 25 million people;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Improvement of conditions for doing business, including simplification of tax reporting for entrepreneurs, who use cash-register equipment;

Creation of a digital platform for support of production and marketing by small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Perfecting of the system of procurement used by biggest contractors to buy from small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Simplifying access to concessionary financing, including annual growth in volume of soft loans provided to small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Creation of a system for acceleration of small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors, which include infrastructure and support services and their accelerated development in the areas of betterment of urban environment, science and technology, social sphere and ecology;

Modernization of the support system for small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors, who engage in export trade, increase of proportion of such exporters in total volume of non-resource exports to no less than ten percent;

Creation of a support system for farmers and development of agricultural cooperation;

Creation of favorable conditions for self-employed citizens through creation of a new taxation scheme which should include automated transmission of sales information to tax authorities of the Russian Federation as well as unified payments on proceeds which should include social insurance contributions;

14. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national programme for development of international cooperation and exports must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Creation of global competitive non-resource-based sectors in manufacturing industry, agriculture and service industry, total share of exported goods and services from which must be no less than 20 percent of country’s GDP;

Reaching volume (in monetary terms) of exported non-resource non-energy related goods and services of no less than 250 billion USD annually, including engineering goods – 50 billion USD annually, agriculture products – 45 billion USD annually, as well as exported services – 100 billion USD annually;

Creation of effective system for division of labor and production cooperation inside Eurasian Economic Union for reasons of increasing trade volume between member states of the Union by a factor of 1,5 and increase of volume of cumulative mutual investments by a factor of 1,5;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Directing industrial, agriculture and trade policies, including mechanisms of state support, towards achievement of international competitiveness of Russian goods and services to ensure their presence on external markets;

Reducing administrative hurdles and procedures in the area of international trade, including cancellation of excessive licensing requirements for exports and in the area of foreign exchange controls, creation (by 2021) of “one stop window” system for interactions between international trade actors and supervisory authorities;

Completing creation of a set of flexible financial instruments for support of exports (by 2021), including extended pre-export, export and equity financing, leasing and long-term support measures;

Elimination of logistical limitations for exporting goods through use of railroads, motor and sea transportation, as well as construction (modernization) of State border crossing points;

Creation of unified system of institutions for export promotion, which should include modernization of Commercial Missions of Russia;

Completion of creation of common markets for goods, services, capital and labor force inside Eurasian Economic Union, including final elimination of barriers and limitations, cancellation of exceptions in economic cooperation, while simultaneously intensifying the use of mechanisms for joint projects activity.

15. Government of the Russian Federation to prepare in accordance with Strategy of spatial development of Russian Federation in collaboration with regional public authorities and by 01 October adopt a comprehensive plan of modernization and expansion of backbone infrastructure, which should ensure by 2024:

a) Development of “West-East” and “North-South” transport corridors for cargo transportation, through, among others:

Construction and modernization of Russian sections of automotive roads related to “Europe – West China” international transportation route;

Increase of capacity of Russian seaports, including ports of Far Eastern, North-Western, Volga-Caspian and Azov-Black sea basins;

Development of Northern Sea Route and increase flow of goods through it to 80 million tons;

Reduction of travel time by railroads for cargo containers, in particular, on route from Far East to western border of Russia to seven days, as well as fourfold increase in the volume of transit container cargo, transported by railroads;

Creation of nodal multimodal cargo transport and logistics centers;

Increase of carrying capacity of Baikal/Amur and Trans Siberian railways by a factor of 1,5 to 180 million tons;

Increase in carrying capacity of railway links to seaports of Azov/Black sea basin;

b) Increase of a level of economic interconnectedness throughout territory of Russian Federation via expansion and modernization of railway, air, road, sea and river infrastructure, including:

Gradual development of transport linkages between regional administrative centers and other cities driving economic growth, including elimination of infrastructural limitations on territories with economic development potential, adjacent to such transport linkages;

Reconstruction of regional airports’ infrastructure and expansion of network of inter-regional regular passenger aviation routes bypassing Moscow to 50 percent of all internal regular air routes

Creation of foundations for development of high-speed and superhigh-speed railway communications between big cities;

Increase of carrying capacity of internal waterways;

c) Guaranteed provision of affordable electricity through, among other means:

Electrification of “East-West” and “North-South” transport corridors, including Baikal/Amur and Trans Siberian railways in conjunction with development of transport infrastructure;

Development of centralized energy systems, including modernization of generating capacities of thermal, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants in accordance with the needs of socioeconomic development;

Sustainable power supply of consumers in the Russia’s regions, first of all, Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol city, Kaliningrad region, as well as regions comprising Far Eastern federal district;

Development of distributed power generation, including on the basis of renewable energy sources, particularly for remote and isolated energy districts;

Implementation of intelligent power grid management systems based on digital technologies;

16. Government of Russian Federation to:

a) Prioritize budget allocations of a federal budget for execution of national projects (programmes) mentioned in subparagraph “b” of paragraph 2 of this Decree while preparing annual draft federal budget for next financial year and planning period;

b) Ensure priority redirection of additional federal budget revenues towards execution of national projects (programmes) mentioned in subparagraph “b” of paragraph 2 of this Decree.

17. This Decree is coming into effect on the day of its official publication.

President of

Russian Federation

V. PUTIN

 

Moscow, Kremlin

07 May 2018

US Envoy Holds Image of Al-Quds without Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock!

 May 23, 2018

Friedman Quds image

US Ambassador to the Zionist entity David Friedman was photographed Tuesday holding an aerial image of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) bearing a simulation of the so-called “Third Temple” instead of the Al-Aqsa holy mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

First reported on the ultra-Orthodox news site Kikar Hashabat, the photo of Friedman holding the poster was taken during a tour of Bnei Brak held by the Achiya organization, which aids Israeli children who suffer from learning disabilities, Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported.

A statement issued by the embassy later claimed that Friedman “received the photo from one of the organization’s employees and “was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken.”

According to the statement, Friedmen was “deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy.”

The embassy which has been recently relocated from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds in a provocative move by Washington, said that the US policy “is absolutely clear: we support the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.”

For its part, Achiya has issued an apology to Friedman and the embassy, saying a staff member on its behalf presented the picture to the ambassador, who “was unaware of its content,” the Israeli daily reported.

SourceIsraeli media

Making sense of Russian political ambiguities

The Saker: Making Sense Of Russian Political Ambiguities

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

Introduction: the world is not Hollywood

The past couple of weeks saw a number of truly tectonic events taking place simultaneously in the USA, in Russia, in Israel, in Syria, in Iran and in the EU. I think that it would also be reasonable to say that most of those who opposed the AngloZionist Empire have felt feelings ranging from mild disappointment to total dismay. I sure did not hear many people rejoicing, but if somebody was, they were in the minority (uncharacteristically, Mikhail Khazin, for example). These reactions are normal, we all form expectations which can be, and often are, disappointed. Still, even when the news is clearly bad it is helpful to keep a number of things in mind.

First, people, countries and events are not frozen in time. They are processes. Processes, by definition, are subject to change, evolution and (even radical) changes in direction.

Second, each process carries within itself the seeds of its own contradiction. This is what makes processes dynamic.

Third, people are imperfect. Even good people make mistakes, sometimes with tragic consequences. Yet it would be wrong to separate them all into either “infallible hero” or “abject villain and loser”. In fact, I would argue that any kind of mistake, especially a serious one, carries within itself its own contradiction which, in turn, can end up “energizing” the original process by creating a different set of circumstances.

All this is to say that the real world is not like Hollywood when the outcome of the story is only 90 minutes or so away. The real world is at war with the Empire and in this war, like in any other wars, there are mistakes and losses on both sides Both sides make mistakes and the results of these mistakes affect the future course of the war.

I would argue that in the past couple of weeks Russia suffered not one, but several PR disasters. I would also argue that the Zionists have had some tremendous PR successes. I will list them further below, but I want to suggest to you that PR disasters and successes are not quite the same as real-world, tangible victories. Furthermore, PR disasters and successes can sometimes be useful, as they reveal to the world previously overlooked, or underestimated, weaknesses. Finally, PR disasters and successes, while existing mostly in the realm of perceptions, can have a real-world effect, sometimes a dramatic one.

The usual chorus of Putin-haters who immediately declared final victory is completely mistaken and their reaction is the reflection of an infantile understanding of the complex world we live in. In the real world, a person like Putin can, and usually does, commit mistakes (PR and real-world mistakes) and the enemy can mount very effective counter-attacks. But the outcome of the war is not decided on a single battle. Furthermore, in politics, like in regular warfare, tactical mistakes and successes do not at all imply operational or, even less so, strategic successes. During WWII the German military usually performed better than the Soviet one on the tactical level, but the Soviets were superior on the operational and strategic levels. We all know how that war ended. If you want to read a good analysis and debunking of the “Putin caved in” nonsense, I recommend the article ”Russia Betrayed Syria”: Geopolitics through the eyes of a fearful “pro-Russia” Westerner” by Ollie Richardson.

The other extreme is to deny, against all evidence, that there is a problem or that mistakes have been made. That kind of stubborn flag-waving is actually unhelpful as mistakes are inevitable, and the first step towards mitigating them is to recognize them. The extreme version of that kind of flag-waving (pseudo-)patriotism is to denounce a person brining up problems as a traitor or a defeatist.

It is with all this in mind that I would like to revisit what has taken place and try to gauge what the real-world consequences of these PR events might be.

Part one: Putin disappoints

Quick summary: Putin re-appointed Medvedev, appointed Alexei Kudrin as Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of Russia and Vitalii Mutko as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of construction, he then hosted Bibi Netanyahu in the Kremlin while the latter bombed Syria right before, during and after Netanyahu’s visit. Finally, there is the disgraceful zig-zag about the S-300 for Syria: first, yes we will do it, then, no we won’t. All these events can, and should, be carefully analyzed and explained, but I don’t think that it makes sense to deny that most people feel a sense of disappointment over it all (except, of course, the bright geniuses who will claim that they knew all along that Putin was “fake”, but this is precisely the “Hollywood-thinking” types on whom any real analysis would be lost in the first place).

I would argue that even those who think that this is no big deal and that nothing terrible happened will not, if they are honest, deny that Putin must have known, without any doubt, that his decisions would be unpopular with the Russian public and that, very uncharacteristically for him, he deliberately chose to ignore his only public opinion and favor other considerations. That is something very new and, I think, something important.

There are roughly two camps vying for power inside the Kremlin: I call them the Atlantic Integrationists and the Eurasian Sovereignists. The former group is a pure product of the 1990s. We can think of them as “liberals”, IMF/Washington Consensus/WTO/WB types; folks who came to power thanks to the regime of oligarchs which ran Russia from about 1990 to 2000 and which was both deeply pro-American and which had extremely close ties to Israel and the various political Jewish and Zionist organizations in the West. The latter group is primarily a product of the armed forces and the security services. The “bridge” between the two is, by the way, the Russian military industrial complex in which both groups are represented. Unsurprisingly, most Russian “elites” (defined simply as people who made their fortune or, at least, a good living in the 1990s and after) support the Atlantic Integrationists, while most “regular” Russian people overwhelmingly support the Eurasian Sovereignists. This is why Putin is so popular and Medvedev never was. What is interesting is to look into how these groups relate to Israel and Zionism.

In a past article, I have already looked at the complex and multi-layered relationship between Israel and Russia. At this point we need to look a little deeper and see how each of these groups relates to Israel and Zionism.

Atlantic Integrationists: unsurprisingly, they are pro-Israeli to the hilt. For them, Israel is a totally normal country, even to be admired, as they all have personal/family and business ties to Israelis in Israel and in the USA. While there is no official version of AIPAC in Russia, let’s just say that the ADL would give the Atlantic Integrationists a perfect score for loyalty and service.

Eurasian Sovereignists: here, things are much more complicated. Some Eurasian Sovereignists are profoundly anti-Zionist ideologically, while others don’t really care. But even for those who have no love for Israel, or who are deeply opposed to the Zionist influence in Russia in the 1990s or even today (especially in the Russian media), do not necessarily find it useful to say much about it. Why? Primarily because they think, and I would say correctly so, that being pro-Russian (in the sense of patriotic and wanting a truly sovereign Russia) does not have to entail being anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish. Furthermore, there are, and have always been, patriotic Russian Jews who have been an integral part of the Russian culture and history. Just like I often write that for Russians, Muslims are not “aliens” in the way many westerners perceive them, and Jews are not “aliens” for Russians either. This is why you can often meet the following Russian type: they will bitch and complain about all the Jewish “crooks and politicians”, but have “good” Jews as their closest and best friends. This is not blindness at all, this is the expression of the fact that to loathe an ideology is one thing, but to collectively feel hostility towards a group of people you know very well is a completely different proposition. I will never cease to repeat it: Russia is, has always been, and still remains a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society in which the presence of “others” simply is a fact of life.

Then there is the WWII factor, which the Israelis and Russians Zionists have been extremely skilled at exploiting to the max: Russians and Jew are united in a common memory of the horrors the Nazis inflicted upon them and they also often sense that West Europeans and US Americans are, well, maybe not quite as sincerely sympathetic to their plight even if political correctness forces them to pretend to be. As a result, you will find that most anti-Zionist Russians, while surely not “ADL compatible” in their views, hate the Nazis and everything western racism stands for no less than Jews would. If fact, when faced with the modern wave of rabid russophobia, many Russians say “we are the new Jews”, meaning that everything evil on the planet is blamed on them regardless of fact or logic. Like it or not, but that common memory does bind Russians and Jews in a profound way.

I can already imagine the rage and disgust my words above will trigger in western Jew-haters for whom the world is split into two groups: Jew-haters (good) and all those who “sold out” to “the Jews” (as if there was such monad as “the Jews”). All I can tell them is this: don’t project your reductionist world view on others, especially not on Russia. If you do, you will never “get” Russia and you will be stuck with the kind of proverbial nonsense like “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.

Part two: The Empire Strikes back

The past couple of years have been terrible for the Zionists, both in the USA and in the rest of the world. First, there was the crushing defeat of their candidate in the USA and the election of a candidate they rabidly hated. Then there was the Russian military intervention in Syria which prevented them from overthrowing the last secular “resistance” regime in the Arab world. In Russia, “their” Atlantic Integrationists were slowly but surely losing power and all in all, the western sanctions turned out to be a blessing for Russia. Putin’s popularity was soaring to new heights and the the global “Zionist house” was on fire. In the USA, the Zionists counter-attacked with lightening speed and with a devastating effectiveness, breaking Trump in about 30 days (as shown by Trump’s betrayal of Flynn and later Bannon). After that, Trump made appeasing AIPAC his full-time job.

But that left another problem: while the US was re-taken under control, Russia, in the meantime, had succeeded in developing the capabilities to completely negate the entire US ABM system, to make much of the surface fleet obsolete and severely to impair the ability of US airpower to operate in airspace contested by modern Russian air defenses. In other words, in purely military terms, this was “game, set, match for Russia”.

[Sidebar: to those shocked by this statement and who would dismiss this as “Russian propaganda” I will submit the following: US military power is predicated on the following:

  1. The ability to deploy a carrier strike group anywhere on the planet.
  2. The ability to protect that carrier strike group from any major counter-attack.
  3. The ability to strike any country in the world with enough missile and airstrikes to break its will to continue to fight.
  4. The complete and total control of the skies (air supremacy). US forces simply never train for a combat scenario where they don’t control the skies or, even less so, when their enemy does.
  5. The very strong belief that no enemy would dare attack major overseas US bases.
  6. The very strong, quasi religious, belief that US military technology is superior.
  7. The absolute certitude that the US mainland would never be hit in a counter-attack.

None of the previous beliefs are based in reality anymore and, in fact, their opposite is true. This is why when dealing with a near-peer or peer enemy the US armed forces are more or less useless. The only very notable exception is the US nuclear triad and the US submarine fleet. The current situation in Syria (and by implication, Iran and Russia) is finally gradually bringing this new reality to the awareness of US decision-makers and military commanders.]

This is why Russia, albeit with only a tiny contingent, succeeded in turning the tide of the war in Syria and even now presents the AngloZionists with a frustrating challenge:

a (comparatively) tiny contingent of Russian forces completely derailed the Empire’s plans for the entire Middle-East: not only is there a real change of peace breaking out in Syria, but the situation is far from having the Takfiris and Shia killing each other in Syria and Lebanon (a key part of the Israeli plan for the region). Hezbollah, Iran and the Syrians are now in a victorious coalition on the ground with the “Axis of Kindness” forces roundly defeated.

So the Israelis decided on a simple, very effective and very dangerous counter offensive plan: 1) start a war between the USA and Iran by creating an acute crisis as a result of the US reneging on its legal obligations and 2) bait Iran into a counter-attack in response to Israel air operations against Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in Syria. But for that plan to succeed, Russia needed to stay out.

So far, at least, it looks like the Israelis have convinced the Russians to stay out. But is that perception really well founded?

Part three: factors inhibiting Russia

First and foremost, as I have already explained in great detail in the past, Russia has absolutely no legal or moral obligation to support, protect, arm, train or otherwise assist anybody in the Middle-East. None. Russia has already done more for Syria than the entire Arab/Muslim world combined with the notable exception of Iran and Hezbollah. As for the Arab/Muslim world, it has never done anything for Russia and still is doing nothing. So those who like to whine about Russia not doing enough simply have no case whatsoever.

Second, the Russian air defense and air forces in Syria have only one mission: to protect the Russian task force in Syria. Whoever got the idea that Russia is supposed to shoot down Israeli aircraft or missiles over Syria has not been paying attention to public Russian statements about this. The notion that the Russian task force in Syria is there to engage US/NATO/CENTCOM forces is just as ridiculous.

Third, and contrary to a frequently held misconception, the Syrian government, Iran, Hezbollah and Iran have different agendas in the Middle-East. Yes, they are de-facto allies. They also have the same enemies, they often work together, but they all think of their own interests first. In fact, at least in the case of Iran and Russia, there are clear signs that there are several ‘camps’ inside the Russian and Iranian government and the ruling elites which have different agendas (I highly recommend Thierry Meyssan’s recent articles on this topic here and here). To think that any or all of them will instantly come to the defense of any one of them is supremely naïve, especially when the aggressor (Israel) is backed by the full power of an already warmongering Empire run amok.

Fourth, the sad reality is that Russia, unlike Iran, never took a principled position concerning the nature and behavior of the state of Israel. I very much deplore that, and I consider it a shame, but I hasten to add that this shame is shared by every single country on the planet except Iran, Bolivia and, maybe, to some extent Turkey. Not to excuse anything, but only to explain, there is very little awareness amongst Russians about the true nature and behavior of the Israelis, and most of what makes it to the media is hopelessly pro-Israeli (hence the almost constant presence of the likes of Iakov Kedmi, Avigdor Eskin, Evgenii Satanovskii and other Israeli agents – they don’t even really bother to deny it – on Russian TV). The Russian media, especially the TV stations, could easily get a “ADL seal of approval”. Simply put: the vast majority of Russians don’t feel that the plight of the Palestinians or the constant Israeli attacks on neighboring countries is their problem.

[Sidebar: such a view can appear very self-centered until you recall the kind of “gratitude” Russia got in the past from her former interventions. There are countries out there who exist only because Russia decided that they should exist and which today are members of NATO. I won’t even go into the “Slavic brotherhood” or, for that matter, “Orthodox brotherhood” nonsense. The only people with whom Russia truly has a strong bond are the Serbs. The rest of them were more than happy to backstab Russia as soon as convenient. Thus history has taught Russia a painful lesson: give up on any naïve notions of gratitude or brotherhood. Very sad, but true. Today, even countries like Kazakhstan, Armenia or Georgia are showing a very ambivalent (and even ambiguous) attitude towards Russia. As a result the idea that Russia owes some form of protection to anybody out there has almost no support in Russia.]

Fifth, even the Eurasian Sovereignist’s analysts and media in Russia have this absolutely amazing “blind spot” about Israel and the Zionist ideology: I think of analysts whom I sincerely admire and respect (like Sergei Mikheev or Ruslan Ostashko) and whose analysis is superb on pretty much everything and who simply never mention the power and influence of what is clearly a powerful pro-Israeli lobby inside Russia, especially in the Russian media (even when they mention the power of the Israel lobby in the USA). Considering how different the tone of much of the Russian Internet is, the only explanation I have for this situation is that any public anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist statements are career-terminators in Russia (we also clearly see the same phenomenon at work with RT and Sputnik). You can completely forget about any Russian religious figures speaking up, and that goes both for the Orthodox and Muslims: they all take their orders from the Kremlin and have no personal opinion on anything (I am only talking about the “official” senior religious leaders – the rank and file faithful do not display this type of behavior).

Sixth, there are plenty of people in Russia who fully realize two simple things: first, a war between Iran and the Empire would be disastrous for the Empire (and therefore great for Russia) and, second, the Iranians are also “problematic” allies at best who have their own version of “Atlanticists” (remember the “Gucci Revolution”?) and “Sovereignists”, which means that tensions, or warfare, between Iran and the USA would be greatly advantageous for the anti-US camp inside Iran (just like the rabid russophobia of western politicians did more to re-elect Putin than any of his own campaign rhetoric). To put it crudely, if the Israelis are dumb enough to attack the Iranians, and if the US Americans are subservient enough to Israel to join into the fight – why should Russia take great risks and openly stand in the way? Finally, any conflict with Iran (which will most likely also involve the KSA) will have oil prices skyrocket. What do you think this will do to the Russian economy?

Seventh, the war which Israel is currently waging against Iran and pro-Iranian forces in Syria is entirely a symbolic war. Even the Pantsir which was recently destroyed by the Israelis (with the usual pro-Israeli PR campaign) was not even on combat alert: the unit was not even camouflaged and its crew was standing around and smoking. The Israelis are masters at making this look all very impressive and heroic, but in military terms, this is nonsense: they clearly hit a unit which was not even part of the action (whatever that “action” was).

The basic rule of warfare still remains valid today: unless you can put boots on the ground, your efforts will never have a decisive military effect. And thank God for the fact that nobody in the “Axis of Kindness” has any credible ground forces; not the Israelis (remember 2006?); not the Saudis (look at Yemen); and most definitely not the USA (when is the last time they beat somebody capable of resisting?). That is why the AngloZionist Empire always tries to use proxies like the Kurds or the “good terrorists” to fight on its behalf. Thus the Russian military specialists fully understand that even if the Israelis bombed Syria for the next several months, they would not be able to change the fundamental correlation of forces on the ground. Hence, the Israeli strikes are mostly about PR.

Still, for all these reasons, and more, we all have to come to terms with the fact that Russia is what I would call a “limited actor” in the Middle-East. I have been saying from day 1 – when some were having visions of Russian airborne divisions (supported by MiG-31s!) landing near Damascus – that “the Russians are not coming” (see herehereherehere and here). Furthermore, I tried to explain that the Russians are under no obligation whatsoever to protect or save anyone anywhere, including in the Middle-East (see here). Finally, I tried to explain that the Russian-Israeli relationship is a multi-layered and complex one (see here) and that Putin is facing some tremendous internal opposition which he has failed to successfully tackle (see here). But trying to describe a complex reality is often a futile task in a world in which simple, black and white, binary-kind of representations are the rule and where every complex argument is immediately turned into a long list of straw-man misrepresentations. This is still very much the case with the latest developments.

Those who say that “Putin sold out” are wrong, but so are those who think that “the Russians are coming” to save anybody. It is just not going to happen. Russia will not fight a war against Israel (unless she is attacked first) and Russia will only support Iranian operations and policies insofar as the Iranians negotiate a deal with the Russian and coordinate their efforts. As soon as Iran, or Hezbollah, make a move without prior consultations with Moscow, they will be on their own to deal with the consequences.

Part four: is Russia caving in to Western and Israeli pressure?

Setting aside the issue of the Russian role in the Middle-East, there remains the issue of why Putin failed to deliver on what was clearly a mandate of the Russian people to get rid of at least of the most hated personalities in the Russian government. Most folks in the West know how toxic Kudrin is, but the promotion of Mutko is nothing short of amazing too. This is the man who is most to blame for the gross mismanagement of the entire “Russia doping scandal” operation and who is absolutely despised for his incompetence. Now he is in charge of construction. There is even a good joke about this: Putin put Mutko in charge of the construction industry because the Russian construction market badly needs some doping. Funny, sure, but only so far. When I see Rogozin removed for his “poor management” (now put in charge of the Russian rocket and space industry) and Mutko promoted, I wonder if they have all gone crazy in the Kremlin.

We can all argue ad nauseam why exactly this has happened, but let’s first agree on one simple fact: Putin has failed to purge the Atlantic Integrationists. The big expectation of him getting a strong personal mandate from the people and then finally kicking them out of the Kremlin has, alas, been proven completely unfounded. There are a couple of interesting explanations out there such as:

  • Objectively, the Medvedev government has done a very decent, if not good job, with the economy. True, some/many believe that mistakes were made, that there were better economic policies available, but it would be hard to argue that the government completely failed. In fact, there are some pretty strong arguments which indicate that the Medvedev government (see this article discussing this in detail and it’s machine translation here and this article and its machine translation here)
  • Putin’s very ambitious internal economic growth program needs the support of the interests represented by the Atlantic Integrationists. In fact, internal development and economic growth are the core of his very ambitious political program. Possibly not the best time to purge the Kremlin from those who represent the interests of Russian big business.
  • The Medvedev “clan” has been weakened (see here for details) and now that it has been put on a much shorter “technocratic” leash, it is far less dangerous. In fact, it has been been subdued by Putin and his allies. Lavrov and Shoigu are both staying, by the way.
  • Trump’s reckless behavior is deeply alienating the Europeans to whom Putin is now presenting negotiation partners which they would trust (imagine Merkel and Rogozin in the same room – that would not go well!). Check out this excellent article by Frank Sellers in The Duran looking at the immense potential for Russia-EU cooperation.

Meh. I am personally unconvinced. How can Putin say that he wants serious reforms while keeping the exact same type of people in command? If indeed the Medvedev government did such a great job, then we is there any need for such major reforms? If Putin’s power base is indeed, as I believe it to be, in the people, then why is he trying to appease the financial elites by catering to their interests and agenda? Most crucially, how can Russia free herself from the financial and economic grip of the Empire when the Empire’s 5th column agents are (re-)appointed to key positions? And in all of Russia was there really nobody more qualified than Mutko or Kudrin to appoint to these positions?

Of course, there always this “Putin knows something you don’t” but I have always had a problem with that kind of logic which is essentially an open-ended universal cop-out. I hope that I am wrong, but to me this does strongly suggest that Putin is on the retreat, that he has made a major mistake and that the Empire has scored a major victory. And I will gladly admit that I have yet to hear an explanation which would explain this, never mind offer one of my own.

On the external front, has Russia caved in to Israeli pressure? Ruslan Ostashko offers a very good analysis of why this is hardly the case: (I don’t necessarily agree with his every conclusion, but he does make a very good case:

Yes, Netanyahu *did* with his repeated strikes on Syria, thumb his nose at Putin (that famous Israeli chutzpah at work for you!), and yes, Putin wining and dining Netanyahu was a painful sight and a PR-disaster. But on substance, did Israel get Russia to “betray Iran”? No, and not because the Russians are so heroically principled, but because Israel really has nothing to offer Russia. All Israel has is a powerful pro-Isreal lobby inside Russia, that is true. But the more they use that lobby the more visible it becomes, the more questions at least Eurasian Sovereignists will ask.

The Israelis sure don’t want to give the impression that the run Russia the way they run the USA, and Netanyahu’s reception in the Kremlin recently has already raised a lot of eyebrows and the impression that Putin caved in to the demands of this arrogant bastard are not helping Putin, to put it mildly. A lot of Russian analysts (Viktor Baranets, Maksim Shevchenko, Leonid Ivashov) wonder what kind of arguments Netanyahu used with Putin, and the list of possibilities is an outright uninspiring one.

Part five – another truism: there is a difference between excellent, good, average, bad and terrible

Even if the situation in Russia has changed for the worse, this is hardly a reason to engage in the usual “Putin sold out” hysteria or to declare that “Russia caved in”. Even when things are bad, there is still a huge difference between bad and worse. As of right now, Putin is not only the best possible person to be the President of Russia, Russia also continues to be the objective leader of the resistance to the Empire. Again, the black-and-white “Hollywood” type of mindset entirely misses the dynamic nature of what is going on. For example, it is quite clear to me that a new type of Russian opposition is slowly forming. Well, it always existed, really – I am talking about people who supported Putin and the Russian foreign policy and who disliked Medvedev and the Russian internal policies. Now the voice of those who say that Putin is way too soft in his stance towards the Empire will only get stronger. As will the voices of those who speak of a truly toxic degree of nepotism and patronage in the Kremlin (again, Mutko being the perfect example). When such accusations came from rabid pro-western liberals, they had very little traction, but when they come from patriotic and even nationalist politicians (Nikolai Starikov for example) they start taking on a different dimension. For example, while the court jester Zhirinovskii and his LDPR party loyally supported Medvedev, the Communist and the Just Russia parties did not. Unless the political tension around figures like Kudrin and Medvedev is somehow resolved (maybe a timely scandal?), we might witness the growth of a real opposition movement in Russia, and not one run by the Empire. It will be interesting to see if Putin’s personal ratings will begin to go down and what he will have to do in order to react to the emergence of such a real opposition.

Much will depend on how the Russian economy will perform. If, courtesy of Trump’s megalomaniacal policies towards Iran and the EU, Russia’s economy receives a massive injection of funds (via high energy prices), then things will probably stabilize. But if the European leaders meekly cave in and join the sanctions against Iran and if the US succeeds in imposing even further sanctions on Russia, then the Medvedev government will face a serious crisis and the revival of the Russian economy promised by Putin will end up in an embarrassing failure and things could also go from bad to even worse. As for right now, our always courageous Europeans are busy handing the latest Eurovision prize to an Israeli (Eurovision prizes are always given to countries the EU leaders want to support) while the self-same Israelis “celebrate” the new US Embassy in Jerusalem by murdering 55 Palestinians (and promised to kill many more). So let’s just say that I am not very hopeful that the Europeans will grow a spine, some balls, a brain or, least of all, acquire some moral fiber anytime soon. But maybe they will be greedy enough to reject some of the most outrageous US demands? Maybe. Hopefully. After all, the European supine subservience to the USA has to the EU billions of dollars already…

Part six: dealing with the S-300 fiasco

The entire S-300 business for Syria has been an ugly mess but, again, more in the PR realm than in the real world. The constant “we will deliver, no we won’t, yes we will, no we won’t” creates a terrible impression. The explanations for this zig-zag make things only worse. Let’s take a look at what those who do not disapprove of this zig zag are saying. Their arguments go more or less as follows.

  • The S-300s would place the Israeli Air Force at risk not only over Syria, but also over Lebanon and even Israel. This is overkill because Russia never moved into Syria to fight a war against Israel. So the entire idea of delivering S-300s to Syria was a bad idea in the first place.
  • Syria does not really need S-300s. Lavrov and others mention the S-300s as a threat (because the Israelis really fear these systems), but in reality what Syria needs are Buk-M2E (see analysis in Russian and it’s machine translation here).
  • The Russians made a deal with Israel and in exchange for the non-delivery of the S-300s (see analysis in Russian here and the machine translation here) they are getting something very tangible: Israel will stop supporting the “good terrorists” in Syria thereby making it much easier for Damascus to finish them off.

I don’t like these arguments very much except for the 2nd one. First, I do agree that the Buk-M2E is a very modern and capable system with some advantages over the S-300 in the Syrian context, but I would still add that the infamous sentence “Syria has got all it needs” is an absolutely terrible and ridiculous statement (read Marko Marjanović devastating critique of it in his article “Israel Took out a Syrian Pantsir Air Defense Unit, S-200 Radars. Russia: ‘No S-300 Transfer, Syria Has All It Needs’” for Russia Insider). I think that this “Syria has all it needs” is yet another of these self-inflicted PR disasters and an absolutely ridiculous statement until you take it one step deeper.

So, if by “Syria has all it needs” you mean “Syria has no need for any other help” or “the Syrian air defenses can deal with any Israeli or US attack” – then this is total nonsense. Agreed. But if you just rephrase it and say “Syria has all the types of weapons it needs”, then I think that this is basically true. By far the single most important air defense system for the Syrians is the Pantsir-S1, not the S-300 or any other system.

As early as June of last year I wrote a column for the Unz Review entitled “Russia vs. America in Syria” in which I had a section entitled “Forget the S-300/S-400, think Pantsir”. I wrote that at a time when most observers were paying no attention to the Pantsir at all, and the entire world seemed obsessed with the S-300 and S-400s. I still believe that the Pantsir is the key to the outcome of the struggle for the Syrian airspace. But Syria, and Iran, need many more of them. Basically, the ideal situation is numerous Russian, Iranian and Syrian Pantsirs all over Syria, all of them integrated with already existing Russian long radar capabilities and supported by modern electronic warfare. With enough Pantsirs deployed and on full alert (not like the one the Israelis recently destroyed) and fully integrated into a single air defense network, the Syrians would be able to mount a very robust air defense capability, at a relatively cheap cost, without offering the Israelis any high value and lucrative targets.

Pantsirs can deal with most of the US and Israeli threats even if, unlike their S-300/S-400 counterparts, they cannot engage aircraft at long distance (hence the suggestion to deploy some Buk-M2E’s to approximate that capability). The truth is that S-300’s were never designed to operate more or less autonomously or to intercept cruise missiles or bombs. Yes, they *can* do that, but they were designed to deal with long range high value targets and within a multi-layered system which included many other systems, such as the Buks, Tors, Pantsirs and even Iglas and Verbas MANPADs. That multi-layered air defense system is currently abscent in Syria and would take a lot of time and money to deploy. In contrast the Pantsirs can function completely autonomously, can detect any target up to 50km away, track and engage it 20km away, protect itself and others with its 30mm guns up to 3km away. Pantsirs can even do that while moving up to 30km/h on rough terrain. This makes it an extraordinarily effective and survivable air defense system, which is relatively easy to hide, deploy and engage with no warning for the enemy. By the way, the Pantsir can also use both its 30mm canons and its missiles against ground targets, including tanks. No current air defense system can boast such a combination of capabilities.

Russia needs to deliver as many of those Pantsir-S1 systems to Syria as physically possible. A large number of Pantsir’s in Syria would present Israel and the USA with a far bigger headache than a few S-300s. Currently there is something in the range of 40-60 of such Pantsir’s in Syria. This is far from enough considering the magnitude of the threat and the capabilities of the threat. That number needs to be at least doubled.

However, and regardless of the real-world technical and military aspects of the issue, the Russian zig-zags gave the world a terrible impression: the Israelis attack a Russian ally, then the Russian promise to do something about it, then Netanyahu goes to Russia, and Putin meekly caves in. This is all a massive self-inflicted political faceplant and yet another major mistake by Putin and other Russian leaders.

Frankly, the main Russian mistake here was to *ever* mention S-300s deliveries to the Syrians.

Part Seven: the lessons from the Divine Victory of 2006 – survival is victory

In 2006 Hezbollah inflicted a massive and most humiliating defeat upon Israel. And yet, there is some pretty good evidence that it all began by a mistake. Not by Israel, by Hezbollah. Check out this now often forgotten statement made by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah:

“We did not think, even one per cent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not”

Amazing, no? Hassan Nasrallah spoke these words after Hezbollah’s superb victory against the “invincible Tsahal”. The truth is that Hezbollah had underestimated the violence and magnitude of the Israeli attack. Not only that, but Israel did not lose a single inch of its territory while all of Lebanon, not just the south, was viciously bombed and scores of civilians died. Hezbollah did destroy a few “indestructible” Merkava tanks and almost sank the Israeli Navy’s flagship. But compared to the damage and pain inflicted by the Israelis, this was nothing. Even Hezbollah’s missiles had a comparatively small effect on the Israeli population (mostly just the typical Israeli panic). And yet, even if politicians did not want to admit it, it was as clear as can be for both sides:

Hezbollah had won a “Divine Victory” while the Israelis had suffered the worst defeat in their history. Why? For a very simple reason: Hezbollah survived.

That’s it and that’s crucial. Olmert and his goons had set out to destroy Hezbollah (or, at least, disarm it). This is what Trump will probably try to do to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this is what the AngloZionist Empire is trying to do to Russia: eliminate it.

Once the goals are thus defined, then the definition of victory is also obvious: surviving. That’s it.

For Hezbollah, Iran or Russia to defeat Israel, the USA or the entire Empire, there is no need to plant a flag on the enemy’s main symbolic building like what Soviet soldiers did in Germany. All they need to do to win is simply to survive because the other’s sides survival is predicated upon their elimination, it’s really that simple. Israel cannot claim victory as long as Hezbollah exists, the USA cannot claim world Hegemony if Iran openly defies it, and the AngloZionist Empire cannot clain world hegemony over the our planet as long as the Russian civilizational realm openly challenges it. So while all the talk about the Iranians wanting to “wipe Israel off the map” is just a typical ziomedia invention, it is true that by their very existence Hezbollah, Iran and Russia do represent an existential threat to Israel, the USA and the Empire.

This is the biggest and the fatal weakness of the AngloZionist Empire: its survival depends on the colonization or destruction of every other country out there. Every independent country, whether big and powerful, or small and weak, represents an unacceptable challenge to the hegemony of the “indispensable nation” and the “chosen people”, which now try to rule over us all. This might well be the ultimate example of Hegelian dialectics at work in geopolitics: an Empire whose power generates it’s own demise. Many empires have come and gone in history, but the globalized world we live in, this dialectical contradiction is tremendously potentialized by the finite conditions in which empires have to operate.

Conclusion one: support for Putin and Russia must only be conditional

Over the past few years, Putin and Russia haters were predicting doom and gloom and all sorts of betrayals (or Novorussia, Syria, Iran, etc.) by Putin and Russia. Then time passed and all their predictions proved false. Instead of just talking, the Russians took action which proved the nay-sayers wrong. This time however, the Russians said and did a number of things which gave *a lot* of fuel to the Putin-haters and the only way to undo that is to take real action to prove them wrong. Right now as a result of these self-inflicted PR-disasters Russia looks very bad, even inside Russia were many Putin supporters are confused, worried and disappointed.

Externally, the Syrian and, especially, the Iranians need to come to terms with the fact that Russia is an imperfect ally, one which sometimes can help, but one which will always place its personal interests above any other consideration. In a personal email to me Eric Zuesse wrote “I think that Putin and Netanyahu are negotiating how far Israel can go and what Russia can accept — and what cooperation each will provide to the other — drawing the red lines of acceptability, for each side”. I think that he is spot on, but I also think that Putin is wrong in trying to make a deal with Israel, especially if a deal is at the expense of Iran. Ostashko is right. Objectively Israel has very little to offer Russia. But if this kind of collaboration between Russia and Israel continues, especially if Iran is attacked, then we will know that the Israel lobby inside Russia is behind these policies which go counter to the Russian national interest. We will soon find out.

In the meantime, Lavrov can’t try to get a deal going with Israel and, at the same time, whine about the “US Plan on Arab Troops Deployment in Syria ‘Sovereignty Violation’”! How about the never-ending violation by Israel of Syria’s sovereignty? How it is less repugnant than the one being perpetrated by the USA? Are such statements not fundamentally hypocritical?

We can observe a paradox here: Putin has criticized the evil immorality of the western society and imperial policies many times (most famously in Munich and at the UN). But Putin has never said anything about the evil immorality of the state of Israel. And yet Israel is the center of gravity, the nexus, of the entire AngloZionist Empire, especially since the Neocons turned Trump into their subservient lackey. In this, and in so many other areas, Russia needs to follow the example of Iran whose leaders have shown far more morality and principled policies in spite of Iran being much smaller and comparatively weaker than Russia.

In 2006 a thousand men or so of Hezbollah dared to defy the entire AngloZionist Empire (the US was, as always, backing Israel to the hilt) and they prevailed. Russian soldiers have shown time and again, including recently in Syria, they they have the same type of courage. But Russian politicians really seem to be of a much more tepid and corruptible type, and there is always the risk that Putin might gradually become less of an officer and more of a politician. And this, in turn, means that those of us who oppose the Empire and support Putin and Russia must imperatively make that support conditional upon a clearly stated set of moral and spiritual principles, not on a “my country right or wrong” kind of loyalty or, even less so, on a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of fallacy. Should Putin continue in his apparent attempts to appease the Israelis a new type of internal opposition to his rule might gain power inside Russia and new internal tensions might be added to the already existing exernal ones.

Right now Putin still has a lot of “credibility capital” left in spite of his recent mistakes. However, Putin recent decisions have raised a lot of unpleasant questions which must be answered and will so in time. In the meantime, as they say in the USA, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and settle for anything in the middle”. The Scripture also warns us not to make idols of leaders: “Trust not in princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no safety” (Ps 145:3 LXX). The worldly evil we are fighting, today in the shape of the AngloZionist Empire, is but a manifestation of a much deeper, spiritual evil: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). The young men and women from the Shia movement Amal got it right when they chose the name “Party of God” for their movement when they created Hezbollah in 1985. And Iran was right when it became an Islamic Republic: if we want to defeat the Empire we need to always let spiritual matters and moral crieria remain above any of our “pragmatic” worldly political considerations or national/ethnic loyalties: that is how we can defeat those who place a dollar value on absolutely everything they see in their narrow materialistic worldview.

Conclusion two: the quest for “Russian values”

Russian political ambiguities are the direct result of the fact that Russia, as whole, has yet to define what “Russian values” really are. The historical Russia was founded on Patristic Christianity and the Roman civilizational model and the Soviet Union on Marxism-Leninism. The 1990s marked the total triumph of materialism run amok. But unlike Hezbollah or Iran, the “New Russia” (as I like to call it) is not based on anything other than a Constitution written mostly by US advisors and their proxies and a general opposition to the western civilizational model (especially since 2014). Being against something is not an inspiring, or even tenable, political or moral stance (as the White Guards discovered during the Russian civil war). Furthermore, in her confrontation with an AngloZionist Empire which stands for absolutely nothing besides base instincts, Russia needs to stand *for* something, not just against something else. As long as Russia will not firmly define and proclaim a set of spiritual/moral values she stands for, the current zigs-zags will continue and Russian policies will prove to be inconsistent, at best.

[Sidebar: here I want to contrast the Russian society at large with the Russian armed forces who, besides having a lot of good equipment, have a very strong and clear ethos and a rock solid understanding and clarity about what they stand for. This is why Russian soldiers have consistently and spontaneously been willing to sacrifice their lives. The Russian civilian society still lacks that kind of clarity, and Russian politicians, who are no better in Russia than elsewhere, often make use of that. The Russian armed forces are also the one institution with the strongest historical memory and the deepest roots in Russian history. I would argue that they are the only institution in modern Russia whose roots truly go back to before the 1917 Revolution and even much further back than that. As descendant of “White Russians” myself I have always found it uncanny and, frankly, amazing how much closer I have felt to Russian military officers than to Russian civilians. To me it often feels as if there were two types of Russians simultaneously coexisting: the “new Russian” type (still in the process of being defined) and the military officer corps (Soviet or post-Soviet). That latter type almost instinctively made sense to me and often felt like family. This is hardly a scientific observation, but this has been my consistent personal experience].

There is a very high likelihood that Israel will succeed in triggering a US attack on Iran. If/when that happens, this will trigger a political crisis inside Russia because the space for the current political ambiguities will be dramatically reduced. On moral and on pragmatic grounds, Russia will have to decide whether she can afford to be a bystander or not. This will not be an easy choice as their shall be no consensus on what to do inside the ruling elites. But the stakes will be too high and the consequences of inaction prohibitive. My hope is that a major military conflict will result in a sharp increase of the power and influence of the military “lobby” inside the Kremlin. Eventually and inevitably, the issue of Israel and Zionism will have to be revisited and the pro-Israeli lobby inside Russia dealt with, lest Russia follow the same path to self-destruction as the USA. For this reason the concept of “true sovereignization” is the one patriotic slogan/goal that Eurasian Sovereignists must continue to promote (regardless of the actual terminology used) because it points towards the real problems in Russian internal and foreign policies which must be addressed and resolved. This will be a long and difficult process, with victories and setbacks. We better get used to the idea that what happened in the past couple of weeks will happen again in the future.

The Saker

Mrs Merkel Goes to Warshington. Nothing Happens. But That Means Something.

by Sergio Weigel for the Saker Blog

May 11, 2018

When Angela Merkel had visited Trump in Warshington on April 27 nothing really happened. Both put a good face on things and declared a yawn inducing “unity despite differences”. Despite all the pressure Warshington had built up so thoroughly, the vassal did not rebel against his master, but left him empty handed. I am not a Merkel fanboy, quite the contrary, but right now her Teflon qualities come quite in handy. Let me explain.

Blow the trumpet with empty pressure

Trump had threatened German car makers with a 35% import tariff. This is a “smart” move in so far as that the car industry indeed is Germany’s biggest industry, but if he really ever did that, it wouldn’t hurt German economy too much. The market share of the US for German car manufacturers in 2016 was 10%, which is a lot. They sold 1.33 million cars in the US (not “millions” like Trump claimed). However, 800.000 of those were already produced in the US. The rest has been manufactured in Mexico, which is a NAFTA country. Even if Trump were to negotiate, pardon, extort a harsher NAFTA deal, it would be hurting American companies as well and certainly not leading to 35% tariffs. BMW, Mercedes, VW, they all have plants in the US, however and ironically, most cars built in the US by German car manufacturers are exported overseas. There is no reason to think the industry couldn’t stomach tariffs that affect only a few cars manufactured in Mexico at best. So, Trump might have thought he was practising his martial art of the deal by using extortion, but I’m sure Merkel was briefed accordingly.

What’s more interesting are the goods the EU is contemplating to retaliate with just in case: bourbon, Levi’s, Harley Davidson. Is there a better indicator about the state the US economy is in? If the US wants to go to trade war, fine, but it is usually commendable to pack suitable weapons before entering the battlefield. There is absolutely nothing the US could fight a trade war with. Besides, and this is something I hope German and Chinese strategists take into consideration: essentially they’re giving away their goods for free. What do they get in return? A currency that is most likely soon to be worthless junk. And even worse, the bulk of consumer spending in the US, 70% of its GDP after all, is based on debt. Housing debt is skyrocketing again. Essentially we are exactly where we were short before the crash of 2008. Germany alone had lost about €1 trillion in worthless US junk in 2008, which the banks had bought repackaged and camouflaged as “investments”. I doubt the bankers have been smarter this time, because investment bankers are major idiots who see the world through Excel sheets. And then there is the big question: how many crashes can the US economy still land before it will stay down, knocked out dead? Or before all of its citizens but a few gated communities live in tents? The biggest debtors of the US are Japan, China and Germany. They should really find ways to get rid of this toxic waste and convert it to gold instead. Alchemy! The best way for the EU to retaliate would be to sanction US bonds and thus force European investors to invest in Europe instead, or find other incentives for them to avoid the toxic waste coming out of the US.

Anyway, Trump exempted the EU from his bogus, extortionary trade tariffs – for now at least, he says. All other differences between Germany and Warshington remained intact. All these issues go so completely against the heart of German economic and geopolitical interests but also against Germany’s self-concept of its role on the international stage and German diplomacy, that I just can’t see them falter. It would be like firing a gun at the inside of your knee. German elites might slap themselves in the face to please their American masters, for example by sanctioning Russia, but not the knee, never the knee. Vassal or not, standing firmly on the ground is at the core of German mentality. Also, Germany is not the meek, guilt-ridden nation it once was anymore.

Defense spending to the rescue of US economy

There is, however, one self-slap Germany could do without hurting its legs. It wouldn’t even do much more than tickle the face a little and that would be to increase the defense budget to the demanded 2% of the GDP. There surely are political forces in Germany who would love to see that. Atlanticists and Russophobes, who have infected all of German political, academic and public life like in no other western (!) European country. Ursula von der Leyen, our mother-of-seven career girl and defensive ministress, for example. However, the center of the Atlanticist epidemic sits among our mainstream media hacks. This is the biggest leverage Warshington has on Germany, because the media essentially controls the politicians.

Therefore, consequently, since the Ukraine crisis we’ve been bombarded with doomsday news about the deplorable state of the Bundeswehr’s military hardware. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but it’s curious that such news comes simultaneously with demands on increasing the German defense budget by American think tanks like the German Marshall Fund and now by Donald Trump. If it is true, helicopters and aircraft must have been inoperable long before. It wouldn’t surprise me, because from what I’ve heard from friends who’ve been in service, the management of the Bundeswehr is, well, unfortunate to say the least.

However, Merkel’s lip service to increase the defense budget in 2019 has already been invalidated in practice when finance minister Olaf Scholz published his budget plan for the next four years just five days after Merkel’s flying visit. The defense budget will indeed be increased, from €37 billion to €38.5 billion this year, and it is planned to be increased to €42 billion by 2021 which amounts to €1.25 billion increase per year. Measured against Germany’s 2017 GDP of €3,686.6 billion this would be a “massive” increase from 1.0% to 1.04% for this year, a ridiculous two fifth of a tenth of a percentage point. However, if you consider GDP growth of recent four years you will find the numbers 1.9%, 1.7%, 1.9% and 2.2% respectively. All economic indicators look great for Germany, so growth rates around 2% for the future are realistic. Let’s do a silly thought experiment and project linearly for ten years and see how an increase of 2% in GDP and an annual increase of €1.25 billion in defense budget will work out regarding his master’s wishes for the lackey’s defense budget. Mind you, this is truly a silly thought experiment, because lineary projection in Excel sheets is what bankers do and they are, as mentioned above, idiots. Also, we simply don’t know what will happen. I expect to hear the Death Knell of the Anglo-American empire far earlier, for example, by failure of its most vital organ, the Dollar, and that would change everything in ways we cannot even anticipate. But here are the numbers. All monetary values are in billion euro, the last column is the interesting one:

Year GDP GDP Incr. (2%) Defense Budget DB Incr. Def. Bud. % of GDP
2017 3,686.60 73.73 37 1.25 1.00
2018 3,760.33 75.21 38.25 1.25 1.02
2019 3,835.54 76.71 39.5 1.25 1.03
2020 3,912.25 78.24 40.75 1.25 1.04
2021 3,990.49 79.81 42 1.25 1.05
2022 4,070.30 81.41 43.25 1.25 1.06
2023 4,151.71 83.03 44.5 1.25 1.07
2024 4,234.74 84.69 45.75 1.25 1.08
2025 4,319.44 86.39 47 1.25 1.09
2026 4,405.83 88.12 48.25 1.25 1.10

Can you see how ridiculous this is? Even if Trump gets a second term, which personally I doubt very much at the moment, he won’t see his wet dream for Germany fulfilled. Besides, even if it was going to be the case, Germany wouldn’t be making large arms purchases in the US. It’s not as if Germany and her neighbors didn’t have their own efficient arms industries. By far the most weapons of the Bundeswehr, from aircraft, submarines, ships, tanks and guns, are European made and often technologically superior (mainly German submarines and tanks) to what the US can offer. Would France and Germany stop their plans to develop their own 5th generation fighter jet and buy F-35s instead? Nah, remember the knee. Why buy terribly expensive foreign hardware and be left behind technologically when you can develop your own and both use and sell it? Trump desperately wants to create jobs – or so he says, he is actually destroying them should trade tariffs be implemented – so he seeks to sell weapons because what he and his employers really want is to strengthen the notoriously weak US military industrial complex. Either way, the bottom line of the meeting is: Germany shrugs, defies his master’s demands and rather concentrates on completing Nord Stream 2, which will provide for tremendous income and political leverage.

Personally, I think Germany should work on its own version of an S-400 anti-aircraft defense, Kalibr cruise missile, and similar electronic warfare systems like Russia appears to have. I’m convinced German engineers could do that. Such technological advance would be beneficial in any case, but I absolutely see it as a possibility that in a not too distant future, Germany might have to fight off the occupation forces of the United States. But that’s just me and my male intuition, I hope I’m wrong. Other than the US, or rather the US regime, Germany has no enemies and thus doesn’t need to raise anything. A proper, working (!) defensive military like that of Switzerland would be all that’s needed – just in case. For that purpose such formidable weapon systems in domestic production would be perfect. It could also satisfy the powerful German arms industry as it would mean big domestic contracts as a substitute to unmet Atlanticist demands.

German-Russian cooperation – that which must not, can not be

One word about Nord Stream 2. I dunno if it is reported in any international media, it hardly is in German media, but the EU circus around it is a ham-handed joke. I can’t prove it but it smells heavily of US meddling. Now that Germany has started to build the pipeline, the usual suspects, that is the UK, Denmark and what I like to refer to as the Idiot Belt (Baltics, Poland, Ukraine, often extended by the Scandinavian countries – Finland has permitted construction though) are going bezerk, trying to sue for stopping the project etc. The Baltic idiots have even been to Warshington in March because of it. For what? Suggesting more tariffs? Seeking reassurance that the Americans are willing to frack their country to Swiss cheese for their LPG energy security? Their Russophobia is, as always, baseless. Russia has never used its gas or oil to pressure the EU into anything. Europe has been buying Russian/Soviet gas since the 1960s and it has always been delivered reliably. The only exceptions happened when the ever so smart Ukrainians had sudden outbursts of PMS. This thing is gonna be built, regardless of what the former empire now US aircraft carrier or the Idiot Belt think. Europe is dependent on Russian gas, that is simply a reality. Russia is an absolutely reliable partner relying on revenue from that gas, so where is the problem? Maybe it really takes 70+ years under US occupation to understand who’s reliable and who isn’t, so the Baltics and Poland might come to their senses by 2060 – given Warshington can hang on for so long.

The real reason Warshington and London oppose Nord Stream 2 is the same why two world wars and a Cold War with all its devastating side effects all over the world have been fought until today. The whole geopolitical arc of suspense since the late 19th century is about the Anglo-American establishment, sea powers, trying to prevent Germany and Russia – now extended by Iran and China, land powers, from cooperating and thus establishing Eurasian integration with the Americans left out (Britain will be on board, they’re already member of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). As the first Secretary General of NATO Lord Ismay described the purpose of NATO in 1952: to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down. This has been Anglo-American policy since about 150 years. Now they’re wetting their pants because Nord Stream 2 is a major step forward in German-Russian rapprochement and cooperation. Since they cannot crap all over China’s One Belt, One Road project, they are trying it with Nord Stream 2. The Idiot Belt is always willing to dance to their tune and thus rabble-rouses against it. In the end they won’t be able to prevent Eurasian integration anyway, and the Idiot Belt will bashfully ask to be integrated as well. The world is approaching a multipolar world with a German-Russian-Chinese juggernaut as its cornerstone.

The cranky bully and the happy lackey

Is it any wonder the US is cranky? Year by year, Germany and China switch places as the world richest exporter. Even more so, Germany’s current account balance (CAB), that is the trade balance, is by far the largest in the world in absolute amount. In contrast, that of the US is by far the lowest despite them ranking 2nd in total exports. That, of course, must hurt their pride given that Anglo-Saxons are always so keen on rankings and hierarchy. Although, it should be added that this doesn’t go without problems for Germany domestically, let alone for the Euro zone. But that’s an issue for a different article.

With its enormous economic power and magnificent diplomatic relations in every direction Germany can very well be counted as a global power of its own right, even if completely different from the other three, namely America, Russia, and China. What the apostles of raising Germany’s defense budget, be it domestic Atlanticists, the arms lobbies or King Parting himself, don’t understand is the special kind of power Germany has, which would be undermined by military adventurism. Our military alpha mom Ursula von der Leyen and her buddies from all the Atlanticist think tanks always talk about that if Germany wants to take more international responsibility, it will need more military power for reassurance, usually followed by the snippy remark to stop leaving the dirty work to others. This is complete bollocks, and here’s why:

First, every single war the “West” has fought since the bombing of Serbia has been fought in the interest of the chief-boss of colonial war nations: the US, usually followed by a fawning UK. If it goes against one of its former colonies, the French usually feel committed to throw a few bombs into the mix as well. Therefore, it is safe to say that since about 20 years the “West” is fighting FUKUS wars. This is not to say, Germany wasn’t part of it, it played a vicious role in breaking up Yugoslavia and bombing Serbia, it was and still is part of pummeling Afghanistan for something they haven’t done, they provided AWACs in the bombing of Syria, and of course they’ve been a massive force behind the Maidan putsch. But except for breaking up Yugoslavia, none of it was in the interest of German power politics, not even slicing Kosovo out of Serbia. Had Germany been in the lead, the Middle East would still be intact. So what dirty work are they talking about? I’d rather say that Germany managed to stay mostly out of other people’s dirt. What the apostles of more defense spending actually mean when they say “taking more international responsibility” is doing more dirty work for an increasingly broke Warshington.

Second, German power lies in its massive economy and silent but brilliant diplomacy, which could be much, much better if we didn’t have this cranky bully sitting on our shoulders, shouting commands in our ears. After the war Germany was not only in ruins, its reputation was understandably FUBAR. While the Soviet occupational zone, the DDR, didn’t have much freedom, they still managed to reconcile with East European countries and soon played the second most important role within the context of Soviet imperialism. The same is true for the Anglo-American occupational zone, the BRD, and the context of Anglo-American imperialism. Ironically, during the Cold War the Anglo-American occupiers gave West Germany much more freedom than they did afterwards or try to withhold now. This very often led to terrible results as well. West Germany was one of Pinochet’s closest allies and trade partners, it sold the chemicals and knowhow to Saddam Hussein necessary to gas Iranians and Kurds, and still today it is one of Saudi Barbaria’s main weapons suppliers, not to mention the submarines that gave the Zionist colony second strike capability. Nonetheless, Germany’s success is based on trust, on building and maintaining trust, and it was and still is hugely successful. Why should it put that in jeopardy by becoming a military bully like the FUKUS countries?

Third, why should Germany ignore its history? I don’t mean any past guilt for Nazi crimes, I mean a simple look at it. Weimar republic aside, Germany has always prospered in peace time yet terribly suffered in war time, from the Thirty Years War to both world wars, and blatantly failed when it tried to militarily bully others. The only thing Germany needs right now is freedom from the Anglo-American empire to remember and develop its true, mostly benevolent nature.

Applause, Mr President, applause

If it wasn’t for the serious looming danger of war, we should all thank Trump and his administration for their efforts. O’Bomber brought Russia and China together, Trump has brought the two Koreas to what seems to be serious reconciliation and, with pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, he not only managed to ruin even the last residue of US credibility but also to put Germany into the “West’s” driver’s seat and thus to bring it closer to Russia, China, and of course Iran. Ha! The irony… it’s like when somebody tries to be gravely serious and ends up being involuntarily funny.

What Trump needs to learn is that his business tactics a) don’t work very well in politics and b) they only work in America. It’s a cultural thing. I’ve been working for two different American owned companies for almost three years in total, so I learned a thing or two about how the American mindset works in business, mostly by observation. First, they demand a lot, so the best tactic is to offer them as little as possible and never to make any concessions or promises. If you can’t avoid it, make sure to stay below of what you can deliver. Second, never expect them to keep their promises. I am not saying they’ll never keep them, but it’s just better not to expect anything. They like to pretend something else was agreed upon if they want to see a deal altered, or that it was a misunderstanding, or whatever. Just don’t expect that a deal is a deal, it’s not, it is just something temporary along the line. Third, they want everything done quickly. Just be patient, remain calm, and stoically stand your ground. It’ll drive them crazy as they don’t understand the concept of quality, but again, remain calm and be friendly. Fourth, they tend to be disproportionately confident and beyond any criticism, so it’s best to pretend to criticize someone or something else or learn the artful skill of making your criticism sound like praise. Just don’t shy away if criticism is needed. The worst thing to do in the face of a narcissist is to succumb to their ways as it just enables them. You need to trick them.

These are just my own personal observations of American businessmen, not of Americans in general, and surely not meant to offend anyone (except American businessmen perhaps). However, I believe Merkel has been coached by someone, because Trump truly is a caricature of what I’d just described. She has handled him very well. I’m not saying he is a joke, not at all, but his narcissism is written all over his hairdo and behavior. It needs a Teflon lady who might be many things, but narcissistic or easily impressed are not any of them.

His obnoxiousness just doesn’t work and apparently neither he nor anyone around him seems to get it. With Germans, or Europeans in general, you have to deal differently if you want to achieve something. Business is based on trust and trust is based on friendliness and reliability, not on demands and extortion. If you still can’t leave it and want to twist arms, you will have to make sure that your arm is strong enough. Right now America’s arms (pun intended) are weaker than they have ever been in history. This is a new experience they cannot handle, which makes it dangerous, because their other arms are still dangerously strong, and narcissistic rage is almost impossible to contain once in motion. Right now, Warshington makes the impression of a narcissistic bully ready to go off at any moment, while his friends are turning away one by one in shrugging nonchalance.

The staffers of the White House should do a little soul-searching, maybe early morning meditation circles with incense and yoga in the garden, and earnestly ask themselves if there really is anything left they can threaten countries like Germany, China, Russia, and Iran with that can yield results other than mutual destruction, and whether it is even worth it. The Dollar has an expiry date stamped all over its face and they should rather make use of it as long as there still is something left by diverting military spending into domestic investments in infrastructure (a converse Berlin Wall to Mexico doesn’t count) and education (direly needed) among other things. But they are doing the exact opposite. Right now it seems that Trump is slashing all governmental structures and putting everything on the military. This is a very dangerous sign. What if Warshington is willing to go all alone, I mean only with their symbiotic Zionist and Saudi partners in crazy, against Iran as the empire’s last defiant struggle?

In mainstream media coverage it appeared as if the meeting between Merkel and Trump was futile because nothing had happened, but in truth, Trump achieved nothing, yet Merkel and her Teflon style achieved everything. No tariffs, no sanctions on Nord Stream 2, that’s all Germany needed. That Trump would perform a pactum interruptum and pull out of the Iran nuclear deal was to be expected. I doubt Merkel was delusional enough to think otherwise. Germany is now as independent and sovereign as it hasn’t been in 73 years – I hope they’ll seize the opportunity and not once again duck away in fear of a leadership role. The US is as isolated as it has never before been in its history, standing there with egg in their face, brooding and fuming over why no one loves them anymore.

Sergio’s Bio:  A child of the Cold War, Sergio’s political imprint started early when his parents became activists of the 1980s peace movement. With a Portuguese-German background he grew up to become a patriot but not right, left but not liberal, a fan of Marx but not a socialist, and many more of such but-nots. An ardent reader of books, he despises groupthink, hypocrisy, euphemisms and ideology. He prefers clarity, sincerity, history, geopolitics, philosophy, and economic/monetary theory. He makes a living as a programmer and IT consultant, but his passion lies in intellectual sparring, culinary delight, music, traveling and cycling.

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