Russia-US Relations: Faint Light at the End of Tunnel

Russia-US Relations: Faint Light at the End of Tunnel

PETER KORZUN | 21.06.2017 | WORLD

Russia-US Relations: Faint Light at the End of Tunnel

The US-Russian tensions have exacerbated after the American military shot down a Syrian warplane. In response, Russia said it was suspending a «de-confliction» communications channel used to avoid accidents in the air in Syria. «Any aircraft, including planes and drones belonging to the international coalition operating west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets», the Russian Defense Ministry warned on June 19. It should be noted that the US-led coalition operates in Syria without neither an invitation of the Syrian government nor a UN resolution. On June 20, the US hit a Syrian drone and Russian jets intercepted a US reconnaissance plane in the Baltic Sea.

These are just some recent events to illustrate the mounting tensions between the two states. It also happens at a time the US Congress is considering an anti-Russia bill, which would spoil the relations for many years if it becomes a law. Russia has begun to prepare its own punitive measures package in response.

Does the US really need the sharp deterioration of relations with Russia at a time the list of challenges keeps growing? America faces stiff competition from China, the concept of «axis of evil» is revived again to include Iran and North Korea, Cuba is to be viewed as a hostile neighbor again etc.

The exacerbation of Russia-US tensions takes place against the background of the arms control and non-proliferation regime being disintegrated. The crisis is looming large while the two powers fail to make progress. This is the first time there is no dialogue on arms control since the signing of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963 – the event to launch the creation of international regime to limit and reduce the existing nuclear arsenals and prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Indeed, the relations have never been so low since the days of the Cuban Crisis. But not all is doom and gloom as it seems to be. There is some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s dim and few people can see it at all but there is a glimmer of hope.

State Secretary Rex Tillerson is working on a new plan – a classified document – to improve the relations with Moscow. The head of Foggy Bottom has taken it upon himself to shape a coherent policy on Russia. According to him, «The two greatest nuclear powers in the world cannot have this kind of a relationship. We have to stabilize it and we have to start finding a way back».

Setting the existing insurmountable differences aside, the Secretary seeks a constructive working relationship on a set of issues where progress is possible, including the long-running civil war in Syria, North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear weapons program, cybersecurity and, finally, a range of long-term mutual geopolitical goals.

It happens at a time the State Department is looking for the right person to become the special envoy to deal directly with Russia on Ukraine. A US delegation headed by Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, the State Department’s number three official, is going to St. Petersburg on June 23 to address the problems hindering the normalization of the US-Russia bilateral relations, including such an irritant as the Russian embassy’s diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland taken away by the Obama administration.

A new Russia-US dialogue forum will be launched this September in Riga, Latvia. Experts and MPs will convene to discuss the thorniest issues and the ways to improve the Russia-US bilateral relationship. The contacts outside the government-to-government framework are the way to institutionalize links between the academic communities and members of parliaments of the countries involved in the process. The initiative has been launched by prestigious think tanks, including the US Atlantic Council, the Russian institutes of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) and of Contemporary Development (INSOR) and the Latvian Baltic Development Forum. Latvia will act as an intermediary. The event will be chaired by Alexander Vershbow, the former US ambassador to Russia and former Deputy Secretary General of NATO. At present, the Atlantic Council is headed by Jon Huntsman, who is expected to head the US embassy in Russia.

The first Russia-US top level meeting will take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7-8. The presidents could agree on some guidelines to steer the relationship but the working groups of experts and parliamentarians could make a significant contribution into improvement of the relations. The previous experience shows that working together they can generate innovative analysis and policy recommendations that better reflect the common ground between the United States and Russia that is so often obscured by mistrust.

These are the first rather small steps to put the relationship back on track. It’s a hard job but it can be done. But all the efforts may go down the drain if the Russia bill tucked into the broader sanctions package against Iran becomes a law. Moscow will have no incentive to discuss anything at all. The bill approved by the Senate is being considered by the House of Representatives now. It can be rejected or amended to leave the door open for both states returning to the policy of constructive engagement. The ball is in the court of US lower chamber of Congress.

No to the US Economic Blockade of Cuba! No to US Violation of Canadian Sovereignty!

Global Research, June 20, 2017

The Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC) denounces the violation of the sovereignty of Canada by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department. OFAC fined the American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) $87,255 for approving and financing between February 2011 and March 2014 the leasing by Honda Canada Finance Inc. of 13 cars to the Embassy of Cuba in Canada.

This is an unambiguous act of hostility against Cuba carried out within Canada by Washington. The extraterritorial application of the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba targets not only Canada, as the AHFC is a subsidiary of the American Honda Motor Company, which is itself owned by Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and based in Japan, not the U.S.

Because Honda Canada Finance Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary company of American Honda Motor Company, Washington insists that it follow U.S. law as demanded by the 1992 Torricelli Act and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act.

In short, U.S. law supplants Canadian law within Canada!

Not only is this a violation of the sovereignty of Canada, it contravenes the Canadian Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act (FEMA).

In response to the Torricelli Act and the Helms-Burton Bill, the Government of Canada specifically amended FEMA in order to protect Canada against the increasing extraterritorial nature of the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba. Thus, FEMA prohibits Canadian corporations from complying with the extraterritorial measures of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba

This violation of Canadian sovereignty by the U.S. Treasury Department illustrates that Washington not only wages an economic blockade against Cuba but also a diplomatic and political blockade.

Is this extraterritorial interference in Canadian sovereignty a warning that Canada-Cuba relations is now a direct target of the Trump administration?

The CNC calls on the Government of Canada to uphold the country’s sovereignty and reject this or any other effort to implement in Canada the internationally condemned and illegal U.S. economic blockade of Cuba.

The CNC urges the Canadian government and parliamentarians not to allow Canada’s policy towards and relations with Cuba to be targeted or undermined.

Featured image: Tony Seed’s Weblog

Trump threatens Cuba with ‘regime change’

On Friday, speaking to Cuban-American exiles in Miami, Florida, Donald Trump ordered tighter restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and a clampdown on US businessmen doing business with companies allegedly controlled by the Cuban military.

Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba. Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and the USA,” said Trump.

Trump called Raul Castro’s government brutal and vowed to liberate the island nation. “With God’s help a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve,” he thundered.

It is best for America to have freedom in its hemisphere whether in Cuba or Venezuela,” he added.

The Castro regime has sent arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela. It has supported human trafficking, forced labor and exploitation across the globe,” added Trump.

It would be talking to Holy Cow to remind Donald Trump that Washington has been arming Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt which are using them against Palestinian, Syrians, Yemenis and Lebanese. In 2016, Human trafficking in the United States rose 35.7 percent from the previous year.

US, the self-appointed champion for human rights around the globe – is also the worst human rights abuser when it comes to minors. According to the Family Research Council:

Each year, right under our noses, 100,000 American children are victimized by sex traffickers. Make no mistake, this is not a problem that’s just “over there.” These heinous crimes are happening in our own backyards”.

In 2007, UNICEF reported that the US and Britain  are the worst nations for children to live among the industrialized nations.

Cuban-American Israel-Firsters Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) are allegedly the authors of Trump’s anti-Havana rant.

Since Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March 2016, a lot of people felt happy believing that finally the five-decade old American crusade against Castro dynasty came to an end. But now they’re disappointed to find out that the ‘crippling sanctions’ against Cuba, like Iran, are still in force.

Washington lifted some travel restrictions against Cuban citizen. The US released the Cuban-Five in exchange for American Jew spy Alan Gross. US State Department even took-off Cuba from list of countries sponsoring terrorism. Iran and N. Korea are still on that list while Israel which had committed most terrorist acts against the US, never made to the list.

Commenting on Trump’s rant, Ellie Schwartz (Jew) at the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) said:

The way forward for US-Cuba relations is to not simply relax travel and trade restrictions, but to end the embargo once and for all. After half a century, it is clear that the embargo is a failed policy. It has done nothing to accomplish its primary goal of regime change. The embargo has not improved Cuban lives; it has succeeded only in further snubbing the Cuban people it claims to help. If Trump truly sought a better deal for the Cuban people, he would support continued engagement, trade, and travel to Cuba, and thereby increase opportunity for all.”

Both Cuba and Venezuela have no diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity. Both countries have recognized a separate Palestinian state. Cuban president Fidel Castro and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez have paid state visits to Iran. Iranian president Dr. Hassan Rouhani has also visited both Cuba and Venezuela.

JFK at 100

By Paul Craig Roberts

May 29, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  This Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017, is the 100th birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.

JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, as he approached the end of his third year in office. Researchers who spent years studying the evidence have concluded that President Kennedy was assassinated by a conspiracy between the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secret Service. (See, for example, JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass)

Kennedy entered office as a cold warrior, but he learned from his interaction with the CIA and Joint Chiefs that the military/security complex had an agenda that was self-interested and a danger to humanity. He began working to defuse tensions with the Soviet Union. His rejections of plans to invade Cuba, of the Northwoods project, of a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, and his intention to withdraw from Vietnam after his reelection, together with some of his speeches signaling a new approach to foreign policy in the nuclear age ( see for example, 

https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx ), convinced the military/security complex that he was a threat to their interests. Cold War conservatives regarded him as naive about the Soviet Threat and a liability to US national security. These were the reasons for his assassination. These views were set in stone when Kennedy announced on June 10, 1963, negotiations with the Soviets toward a nuclear test ban treaty and a halt to US atmospheric nuclear tests.

The Oswald coverup story never made any sense and was contradicted by all evidence including tourist films of the assassination. President Johnson had ro cover up the assassination, not because he was part of it or because he willfully wanted to deceive the American people, but because to give Americans the true story would have shaken their confidence in their government at a critical time in US-Soviet relations. To make the coverup succeed, Johnson needed the credibility of the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Earl Warren, to chair the commission that covered up the assassination. Warren understood the devastating impact the true story would have on the public and their confidence in the military and national security leadership and on America’s allies.

As I previously reported, Lance deHaven-Smith in his book, Conspiracy Theory in America, shows that the CIA introduced “conspiracy theory” into the political lexicon as a technique to discredit skepticism of the Warren Commission’s coverup report. He provides the CIA document that describes how the agency used its media friends to control the explanation.

The term “conspiracy theory” has been used ever since to validate false explanations by discrediting true explanations.

President Kennedy was also determined to require the Israel Lobby to register as a foreign agent and to block Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. His assassination removed the constraints on Israel’s illegal activities.  http://www.voltairenet.org/article178401.html

Memorial Day is when Americans honor those in the armed services who died serving the country. JFK fell while serving the causes of peace and nuclear disarmament. In a 1961 address to the United Nations, President Kennedy said:

“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us. It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race – to advance together step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved.”

Kennedy’s address was well received at home and abroad and received a favorable and supportive response from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, but it caused consternation among the warhawks in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The US led in terms of the number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, and this lead was the basis for US military plans for a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. http://prospect.org/article/did-us-military-plan-nuclear-first-strike-1963 Also, Many believed that nuclear disarmament would remove the obstacle to the Soviet Army overrunning Western Europe. Warhawks considered this a greater threat than nuclear armageddon. Many in high military circles regarded President Kennedy as weakening the US viv-a-vis the Soviet Union.

The assassination of President Kennedy was an enormous cost to the world. Kennedy and Khrushchev would have followed up their collaboration in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis by ending the Cold War long before the military/security complex achieved its iron grip on the US government. Israel would have been denied nuclear weapons, and the designation of the Israel Lobby as a foreign agent would have prevented Israel’s strong grip on the US government. In his second term, JFK would have broken the CIA into a thousand pieces, an intention he expressed to his brother, Robert, and the Deep State would have been terminated before it became more powerful than the President.

But the military/security complex struck first, and pulled off a coup that voided all these promises and terminated American democracy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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Iran: Socialism’s ignored success story

May 23, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriIran: Socialism’s ignored success story

Iran just completed their presidential election, but this article will not discuss the candidates, the result or the political consequences.

I work for Iran’s Press TV, which essentially makes me a civil servant, and I think it is correct for me to not reveal who I voted for in order to preserve my independence within the government. I’m quite happy to work for “the people” instead of “a person” – as in private media – and I will support which ever candidate the people choose.

Why will I support Iran’s government, whoever is in charge? Truly, it is not for my paycheck.

I support Iran because I support socialism where ever I can find it, and Iran has socialism in abundance.

Iranian Socialism has been so successful at redistributing wealth to the average person; has safeguarded the nation’s security despite being ringed by US military bases and repeated threats; has grown the economy despite an international blockade; has produced a foreign policy motivated on political principles; and has fought against the divisive identity politics which undermine human solidarity.

I have actually seen Iran over the decades, unlike 99% of the journalists who claim to understand Iran, so you can’t dissuade me.

And I’m not even going to try to persuade you. This is not that article, either.

This article is to lay out for left-wing readers and supporters of socialism what should be crystal clear: Iran is a socialist nation. Even more than that: Iran is a socialist success story.

Iran, like all nations, has had its unique developmental history; of course we have been reading Marx just as long as anyone else, as well.

But the most convincing and simplest way I can put it to non-Iranians is this: Europe came to socialism through industrialization, theory and war, but Iran came to socialism through its religious and moral beliefs. The ends are the same, and that is all that should matter to anyone who is truly trying to promote socialism for the benefits it brings to the average person.

The problem is not us, it is you

I repeat: The problem is not us, it is you…when it comes to looking at Iran’s contributions to socialism.

I believe that around 99% of Westerners have no idea at all what Iran is really like. Unfortunately, this total ignorance about Iran and the Muslim world is the historical norm in the West.

The greatest contribution of Middle East scholar Edward Said was that his book, “Orientalism”, definitively proved through historical scholarship that the West has never, ever, ever been favorable towards the Muslim world.

Not in the 8th century, when Muslims were occupiers of the Iberian Peninsula, not in the following centuries when Islam was an ideological competitor to Christianity; not in the 15th century, when the Ottoman Empire occupied the Balkans; not in the 19th century, when the Europeans occupied the Middle East & North Africa; not in 1916, when they redrew the borders for the West’s benefit; not in 1945, when they bombed countries like Syria which had fought on their side against the Germans and the Italians; not in the 1960s, when their reaction to independence was neo-colonialism; not in 1979, when they created the forerunner of the Taliban; not during 2 wars in Iraq, a war in Syria today, etc. Said’s point was: Never has the West viewed or treated the Muslim world as equals, much less intellectual equals.

Given this history, why should us Iranians expect the reality of our high-achieving modernity to be accepted and admired?

LOL, believe me, I am over it! I write this to enlighten you, not me! I humbly hope that it works.

I will address the elephant in the room, and quickly: Yes, I assume that a large part of this prejudice is religious. Some Christians cannot accept that Islam promotes the most recent prophet of the monotheism which they both share.

Such religious prejudices are not my problem, and they do not blind my analysis of 2017 Iran.

No socialist believes in a “clash of civilizations” or “religious war”, anyway.

My point is not to criticize Europe for a lack of brotherhood with their fellow Abrahamic religion: My point is to criticize them in 2017 because most Westerners believe that that even the most leftist Iranian cannot even qualify as merely a “conservative social democrat”!

Can there never be a Muslim “democrat” or an Iranian “republican”?

The proof of this bias is the decades of Western support for the oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian Revolution and any Muslim attempt to allow their religion into their politics. This is even though Christian Democratic parties governed Europe for decades after WWII, and it is absurd to think that the Christian dogma is not upheld and promoted in European politics today.

So, if Iranians cannot even be allowed to fulfill 19th century notions, why would the West accept that 2017 Iran can be even more truly leftist than the merely centrist ideology of European social democracy?

Of course, the average European cannot accept this, and this is why Western Socialists are aghast at my idea that Iran is an “ignored Socialist success story”.

The radical left of European Socialism, which seeks to destroy organized religion, is especially aghast, but they are a tiny minority and on the way out, thankfully. They do not realize that they have already been drastically tempered, if not ousted, in the still-Socialist countries they purportedly admire: Cuba is full of Santeria and Pope pictures, yin-yangy Confucianism is being promoted in China, etc.

But these Western radicals are a minority who simply cannot accept that spirituality cannot be rubbed out, largely because they see it as a choice or a social conditioning instead of a part of many people’s intrinsic nature (if not theirs). A modern Socialist must accept that this fight has already been fought and decided. The capitalists certainly advance as we chase our tails….

Even if leftist detractors can get past religion, they immediately will talk about Iran’s human rights faults.

I respond: Yawn yawn yawn African-Americans fill US jails; Muslims fill France’s jails; this is the centenary of the British-orchestrated Persian Famine, which killed 8-10 million people and actually made Iran the biggest victim of WWI, that is just one Western/capitalist inspired famine/death/human rights violation yawn yawn yawn.

I am not here to say Iran is perfect – only God can be – I am saying that Iran is absolutely no worse than the West. It is an undeniable fact that the current Islamic Republic of Iran has far less blood on its hands than most – and Iran has not invaded a country in 300 years!

Religion, human rights – these are all classic diversions from the facts presented against socialist societies, and Iran certainly is one.

Iran checks all the boxes as a Socialist nation, and as Revolutionary Socialists

What are the key components of socialism? Let’s clarify our terms.

The first is leadership by an avant-garde party committed to defending the revolution: Iran certainly has this, and it crosses over Principlist/Reformist party lines.

The second is central planning of the economy: Whoever had won, they would be largely implementing the 6th Five-year plan (2016-2021). And there is also the “Resistance Economy” approach promoted by many, which is certainly anti-globalization.

The third is control over the media: This is mixed – I would say Iran does not really have this in the traditionally Socialist sense. Cuba has no private media, for example, while Iran has dozens of private newspapers and innumerable TV satellites. But Iran does have limitations, so let’s check this box.

The fourth is support for foreign liberation movements: When the history of Palestinian liberation is finally written, just as a now-free South Africa thanks Cuba for sending troops to Angola, will not Palestinians do the same for Iran’s decades of support? The same with Lebanon and now Syria, correct?

The fifth is democratically devolving as much democracy as possible in order to empower the average person: There is no doubt that Iran is the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East, and by a huge margin. The difference between Iran’s social-democratic procedures and guarantees in 2017 when compared with 1978 is obviously laughable. I write this from Paris, a nation in an 18-month state of emergency with no end in sight….

If your country has these five crucial components: Congratulations! You are in a socialist country!

A little bit more on each for the naysayers….

An Avant-Garde Party:

Iran is a one-party system – that party defends the 1979 Revolution. China is a one-party system – promoting Chinese communism. Many would say that the US is a one-party system – promoting imperialist capitalism.

The difference between Iran & China and the US is that in the former their one-party systems are formalized, explicit and well-known; in the US it is informal, but just as strong, and maybe even stronger.

I don’t think this needs much further explanation but, for example, you cannot propose to end the Iranian Revolution and run for office. In France a presidential candidate in their recent election (Jean-Luc Melenchon) won 20% of the first-round vote by proposing to abolish France’s current 5th Republic.

Like all socialist countries, Iran is criticized for not having democracy but they do: it is simply within their own particular structure. Just as in the USSR, there was lively debate about how to advance their own system – should we following the right-wing model of socialism of Bukharin/Khrushchev or the left-wing model socialism of Lenin/Trotsky? – but there was no debate about deviating from their chosen national system, i.e. communism. When they did allow such debates under Gorbachev, Soviet Socialism was almost immediately subverted by capitalist reactionaries and consigned to oblivion.

Again, please examine the repression of communism in the US, South Korea, Greece, Italy, Chile, etc. for historical examples of capitalist “one-party systems”, which are definitely NOT avant-garde and promoting socialism….

The idea that Iran has no avant-garde party but is some sort of totalitarian structure governed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is only expressed by those who are supremely ignorant about Iran. For the second presidential election in a row Hassan Rouhani won despite not seeming to be Khamenei’s preferred candidate, after all.

Central Planning of the Economy:

I think I can illustrate Iran’s state of economic socialism with this anecdote: Back in 2013 all 8 presidential candidates were pushing for more privatization…not to promote capitalism, but because everything has already been nationalized for so long, LOL!

So Iran has already done the nationalizing, and maybe they need to do more? However, socialist countries have increasingly agreed that some revenue-producing businesses are needed to meet some of the basic needs of their people: North Korea has the Kaesong Industrial area, Cuba’s Port Mariel is giving some space to completely foreign-owned businesses, Vietnam and China have plenty of state-run capitalist enterprises, etc. The reality is that even producing things as simple as soap need some expertise, and very often only capitalist corporations can have that expertise.

That’s why the Iranian government went on a spending spree in 2016, but it was decidedly not your typical capitalism. (I do not want to appear to credit only the Rouhani administration because economic policy is produced by the entire government in 5-year development plans, as already noted.)

Iran was feted like a king in places like France and Italy because they were prepared to spend dozens of billions of euros. But what pleased me was how Iran spent: They demanded equal partnerships, joint ventures and technology transfers.

These are the ways in which foreign investment can be mutually beneficial and not exploitative – this was good for France too. I am not a dogmatic person who is absolutely against all capitalism, but I am against all exploitative capitalism.

My point is: It was a socialist spending spree, not a capitalist one. Iran did not just give money away; they did not waste money on vanity projects; this was not one billionaire dealing with another for their own benefit; they invested in Iran via long-term central planning, i.e. the socialist view of economic management.

This is not like France’s ruling “Socialist Party” recently selling off national industrial jewel Alstom to the United States’ General Electric: The French people got nothing for that. That was capitalism; that was globalization

Iran is not in favor of globalization – they are not even a member of the World Trade Organization, unlike 164 other countries. Some will say this is solely due to the opposition of the United States, but it is not: As many in Iran said during the election: membership in the WTO is against Iran’s principles…and these are socialist principles regarding the economy – there is nothing about the WTO in the Koran.

Control over the Media:

It’s true you can’t have Charlie Hebdo in Iran – hardly a major loss –but Iran is certainly no Cuba.

Iran’s refusal to crack down on TV satellites which permit reactionary, anti-revolutionary channels like BBC Persian and VOA Persian (UK and US government-funded respectively) appears to be a dangerous fire which Havana will not tolerate. This tolerance does give Iran “human rights” credibility with the West – well it doesn’t, but it should!

I would suggest that Iran is simply confident that foreign propaganda cannot overwhelm the obvious successes of the 1979 Revolution. I imagine that Cuba feels that they cannot take chances, being just 100 kilometers from the USA.

Of course, Cubans simply laugh at Western propaganda channels like the US government’s pathetic Radio Marti. Cubans are supremely intelligent politically and, after all, their education programs are decades older than Iran’s.

Iran, like Cuba and China, bans pornography. I note that such respect for sexuality and for women is a very basic tenet of Socialism. If your utopia includes unfettered access to porn I suggest that you are a libertarian, and not a socialist.

I remind again that the media glasnost implemented by Gorbachev was a major driver in the catastrophic implosion of the Russian Revolution. To privatize media means, necessarily, that you are giving those few people rich enough to actually start newspapers the chance to promote their obviously capitalist worldviews.

I, for one, am not about to cry over the lack of published capitalist, imperialist, sexist, racist, regressive anti-revolutionary nonsense, and neither are most Iranians. As sad as the Dutch may be about it – Iran is not Amsterdam!

Support of foreign liberation movements:

Some will say that Palestine is just a “distraction” from Iran’s own problems. Nonsense – this is a point of pride to all Iranians. This is a point of admiration for Iran from the entire Muslim world, just as it is a negative point for much of the Western world.

This is another way Iran is revolutionary Socialist country: they support oppressed countries on the basis of ideology. Perhaps Iran is not the “Mecca of Revolutionaries” which Algeria was in the 1960s, but let’s agree that the rate and scope of revolutionary movements worldwide are at a much lower level today, sadly.

Russia may support Syria, for example, but it appears more for Moscow’s self-interest and the idea of national sovereignty – which is the idea of national self-interest – rather than a moral-based ideology.

Call Iran the same as Russia – no insult there – but you cannot deny that Iran supports Palestine for reasons which are clearly to the detriment of their own success, i.e., they do it out of solidarity and morality. Were Iran to recognize Israel they would surely have the international dogs called off them…but Iran is a revolutionary Socialist society, as you are hopefully agreeing with by now.

Iran is also an anti-racist society, like all modern socialist societies.

They constitutionally protect minorities, with parliamentary seats for Armenians, Assyrians, Christians and Jews, despite their small numbers. Iran may not promote them, but their tolerance of local languages like Azeri and Kurdish far exceeds that of many minorities in Western Europe. Iran accommodates the 5th-largest number of refugees in the world, while French authorities put up gates and even ‘’anti-migrant boulders’’ to deny refugees even the barest shelter.

When it comes to religion they are extremely tolerant of ancient Iranian Zoroastrianism and all of the pre-Prophet Muhammad Abrahamic religions. Any religion after Prophet Muhammad? Well…it is an “Islamic” Revolution, after all.

This is perhaps a pedantic point but an important one on a verbal, Foucauldian level: Has there been any “revolution” in the world since WWI which was not “socialist”? I can’t think of any, because without a socialism component it cannot be a revolution – it can only be a continuation of the capitalist/feudalist/bourgeois status quo, or a military coup.

Empowering people:

The two fundamental tenets of socialism are redistribution of wealth and empowering the average person so that they can reach their full potential. Dismantling the social roadblocks thrown up by capitalism against the non-wealthy has clearly been a major goal of the Islamic Revolution, and I can quite easily prove it has been achieved with a tremendous amount of real-world success.

Since 1990 – when the West’s attack dog of Iraq was beaten off – no country’s Human Development Index has improved more than Iran’s, with the lone exception of South Korea.

Everyone should take notice, especially Socialists, as it is we anti-capitalists who prize human development – not economic development – above all.

That’s why I’m going to leave the Human Development Index as the only proof of success. For me, I have so many other econometrics, anecdotes and personal reflections to prove that Iran has succeeded in creating a new, better, modern society that to do so is quite boring.

Bottom line: It is obvious that I do not have to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Despite the tremendous amount of opposition, violence and propaganda, Iran has advanced the most in the past 3+ decades.

I say “the most” because, unlike South Korea, Iran has done this without 30,000 US troops currently on its soil; it was not preceded by decades of brutal dictatorship which slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people (mainly leftists); and they did not collaborate with the Americans in the division of their nation which currently causes the greatest possibility of thermonuclear war.

Iran didn’t get to #1 as many others did: by capitalism and imperialism.

Iran’s recent election had a 73% voter turnout rate, ranking it #12 in the world. Unlike many of these other 11 countries, Iran does not compel citizens to vote. There is obviously tremendous support for the Iranian system from the Iranian people because…they are not blind to success, I would say!

The hardest thing to get people to do when it comes to socialism (or Iran) is to think realistically: Nobody can achieve “perfect” socialism. No country has 100% voter turnout. No country has zero human rights violations.

But for Iran you have add on another layer of misconception: Many of the “restrictions” in Iranian society predate 1979 by centuries: women were largely wearing the hejab before then; unmarried people, especially young women, also lived at home before 1979; alcohol could send you to prison then and now.

My point is: Iran is a culturally conservative nation, and it was like that long, long before 1979. You will have to simply trust me that Iranians don’t need a government to make them want to live in a society which appears conservative to modern Western standards.

Again, Iran is not Amsterdam, LOL! Maybe you can talk about the royal court in Shiraz in the 14thcentury as being a hotbed of drunken poetic reveling, but this is does not reflect the reality of life for the average person.

Only an Iranian will agree quickly with this statement and move on: Take away the 1979 Revolution and you would still have many of the same rules in place – they would just be enforced informally.

I will, lastly, put it this way: Take away the mullahs, and you still have to deal with my grandmother!!!!!

But to believe that the government has not empowered people since 1979…well, back then the average woman had 7 children, was illiterate 70% of the time, and the UN was not calling its health care system “excellent”.

Today, the birthrate is 1.7 children per woman, the overall literacy rate is 93% and the right-wing Washington DC-based think-tank the Brookings Institution runs dumbfounded articles with headlines like “Are Iranian Women Overeducated?”.

All in 30+ years…and have you thought it was capitalism that did it?!

Socialists who ignore Iran are not really Socialists at all

Do you still want to think that Iran is a country solely motivated by religious radicalism and not the ideals of socialism? Well, then I place you on the right and the left, and that is the point of this article.

It is bad enough that the right (capitalists, imperialists) not only co-opt Socialist ideas as their own (social security, Medicare, Medicaid, affirmative action programs, welfare, free schooling, free nurseries, etc.), but it is laughable when the left refuses to see the leftism in Iran because it does not fit with their preconceived, totally inflexible notions.

Any true Socialist/Communist should realize that attacking Iran is doing a capitalist’s job for them.

And how can someone who proclaims to be a “leftist” have the exact same interpretation of Iran as a right-wing capitalist does?

Again, it is simply laughable that Iran is “not” what it really is.

But this is what always happens: Chinese communism “is not really communism”…despite having 1-party rule, a state-run economy, control over the media, support for Vietnam and North Korea, and the 2nd highest HDI improvement from 1970-2010.

North Korean communism is just a “cult of personality”…despite expelling the Japanese, resisting the Americans, maintaining their independence, security and high-level of education. Cuba is just the Castro dictatorship and, again, not communism.

This is all anti-socialist propaganda – for capitalism there can never be ANY “Socialist success story”.

You remain adamant that you do not want to implement all the principles of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in your country?

Fine, it is your country to decide for as you like. Like I wrote, no worries – Iran hasn’t invaded in 300 years and it sure seems like our military is necessarily focused on defense.

But just because you disagree with some aspects of the 1979 Revolution I encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I remind you that I needed only one fact to prove that Iran has been improving at a rate which is essentially the best in the world over the last 3 decades – how far below Iran does your country rank, hmm?

I write this article because practically no media in the English language will ever pursue the links between Iran and socialism. We leftists know this not just anti-Iran bias, but a much larger anti-Socialist bias.

However, it is truly suicidal to ignore the left-wing successes in Iran because, even if you reject some of them, Iran has clearly found MANY modern solutions to our MANY modern problems: surely some of them can be of use to you, right? Is Iran ALL wrong?

Of course not – only Satan can be all wrong.

Therefore, I advise those fighting against capitalism and imperialism: Please afford Iran a bit more respect and interest than you would afford Satan!

And now I take our victory lap

I can only laugh at those who say Iran’s revolution has failed!

“Oh really? Who was the puppet that was installed? Who was the king that was restored? What is the name of the popular democratic revolution which replaced the peoples’ one of 1979, because I have not heard of it and I still see many familiar faces from 1979?”

The revolution has succeeded, and I am not sorry to say so.

Not that I care about your opinion – this is for YOUR own benefit: YOU will not win socialism, anti-capitalism or anti-imperialism in your country if you cannot learn from the successes of others.

But sadly, your inability to recognize socialism in Iran imperils all of us, because the people worldwide cannot win in the long term if even like-minded leftists cannot stick together to work against fascism, capitalism and racism.

But Iran, Cuba, China, etc. – we can win enough of these things for ourselves, at least.

We are doing just fine – steady as she goes, eh? All thanks to central planning, as the capitalists veer from crisis to crisis, with the 1% sucking up a greater percentage every time. Our election had huge participation rates, as usual, dwarfing the European cultures who probably want to claim they invented voting, along with everything else. Asia has heard it all before….

For the non-Western readers: I know that the vast majority of you already support Iran. I have talked with too many of you over my life – I know better. I also know that for us “field slaves” we have to give that impression in order to survive, sometimes, or at least to avoid annoyances.

Anyway, many Westerners appear to misunderstand Socialism completely: they don’t realize it is intrinsically a global idea; they think the Franco-German-Russian (European) variety is the only one. More Eurocentrism blinding them to reality, and necessarily limiting them….

But I look across the West and I see nothing but leftist failure after leftist failure: The fall of communism in Russia, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the obvious absorption of “left” parties into the dominant right-wing parties, the rise of austerity, the advance of globalization at the expense of national interests….

So the next time you look at Iran, you should applaud it as a rare socialist success. Iranians will certainly keep living their path of creating modern socialism, Inshallah.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Macron wins – the 24% who voted for him rejoice, the rest sigh

May 09, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriMacron wins – the 24% who voted for him rejoice, the rest sigh

Communist ideas have won concessions from industry, but they have been unable to stop high finance from exploiting workers.

That is the big battle today. Only revolutionary and heavily socialist countries like Iran, Cuba and China – as well as dictatorships like South Korea in the past – have been able to stop domination by international finance.

France, however, has fearfully rushed into the arms of the candidate who wants your wages to pay for bad loans: former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron.

It’s almost insulting to take orders from a 39-year old who didn’t come to power at the end of the gun or at the front of a massive revolution, because how can such a young person not be the puppet of older, richer interests?

There’s no way Macron is as smart, experienced and mature as he believes himself to be, or as they want us to believe. It’s “not polite” by French campaign standards, but I note that his record as Economy Minister produced only economic stagnation and record-high unemployment.

I talk to people in France about how they will vote all the time, even though it’s also “not polite” by French standards. Hogwash. Emmanuel only has two appeals: first, he is young and new blood in a country run by an aged, corrupt aristocracy, and second, he is not Marine Le Pen.

Of course Emmanuel won: Le Pen lost in 2nd round head-to-head polling at all times and against everyone. I mean in every…single…poll since polling began in January.

We were hoping against hope, and because hope was a terrible, incompetent, neo-fascist candidate – hope lost.

Huge change from 2012 – there is no joy in Mudville. I can assure you that France’s spirit of resistance was alive and well in 2012. Ahhhh, austerity was so young back then – it’s so firmly-rooted now.

Francois Hollande was elected on a promise to fight high finance, fight Germany, end austerity and renegotiate EU treaties. The French people were 100% correct to be so optimistic – who can live in cynicism?

But who could have expected that Hollande would make such an undemocratic U-turn? His U-turn threatened to destroy the European Union, which has only been given a stay of execution with Macron’s victory. Even though Hollande couldn’t even run for re-election, nobody with any sense of justice thinks that is fair reparations.

I must pause here for a word on civil war: France talks about the possibility of a civil war an inordinate amount. And I perceived this years before this election involving Le Pen.

In the US that’s relegated to beyond the suburbs…half the country, sure. Of course, the English say the same thing. The Spanish may split over Catalonia. Scotland may break off. Ireland remains divided. Italy barely has a government. Belgium didn’t have one for a year (such Parliamentary gridlock is France’s future).

Only the Germans are happy with their leadership. And why not: everyone in the West “admires them”. Not me – higher poverty rate than France, for starters.

My point is: Western society, and not just France, is fractured in a terrible, horrible way. The lack of unity – even if only perceived – is staggering for a region of the world enjoying such enormous relative prosperity. There is, clearly, a problem in their culture.

Cuba doesn’t have this problem. Nor China. Iran – once you get out of rich North Tehran – will almost certainly have a higher voter participation rate in their elections this month than France, and France’s is still among the highest in the West.

The fear of civil war is a major Western phenomenon, and it was a major reason why people voted for Macron/against Le Pen

What do you expect? You’re all divided into parts of unequal sizes

That’s what identity politics is: Is a Black’s ideas worth more than a Gay? Seems like a Transgender rules the roost in 2017, especially if he/she has to go to the bathroom.

Can the White Nationalists fly their flag at the statehouse or not? We better ask the opinion of the left-handed homemakers north of the Mason-Dixon but west of the Mississippi who prefer jam to Nutella on partially-cloudy days – I’m sure their lobby group is being formed.

Or you could just have what works: Class politics.

Us versus the 1 billionth percent, the 8 people who own half the world’s wealth.

Anyone who supported Le Pen was browbeaten with insults against their character, intelligence and morality. Identity politics are not only about inclusion – I am in this group – it is about exclusion: You have to be like this or you are not in this group.

And who doesn’t want to be in the group the entire media (no exaggeration) said was the “good” one?

Because France does not accept multi-culturalism, promoting assimilationism instead, identity politics in France has a different face. The “in group” here is simply “France”. That’s why Macron saved this big PR gun for the final week of campaigning: “The National Front is the anti-France party”.

It resonated, even though the National Front is the most hyper-patriotic party.

Anyway, I ardently supported Marine Le Pen for two weeks – between the two rounds of voting – does that make me anti-France? Or does it make me a fascist and a racist? I’d swear at you but this is a family publication.

Fascism is a real dirty word over here. It’s not that way in the US because American fascists won WWII and thus were never discredited, like over here. People here had relatives die fighting German, Austrian & Italian fascists.

The past is indeed history, and history is indeed past

France also succumbed to the idea that the fascists their grandfathers fought are the real problem, as if France fought a civil war instead of the Germans in World War II.

More than identity politics, Macron won because France was convinced that the father of Marine Le Pen is more important than her ideas to rectify the very different problems of 2017. But high-speed trading didn’t exist in 1941. There was no European Union. In 1941 there was actually a Left in the West, LOL.

“You don’t see it, Ramin,” they told me “the threat of the National Front.”

What I see is you guys taking a backseat to Germany.

But, I’m exaggerating: I see France colluding with the Germans. Again, just like in World War II.

That is EXACTLY what has happened! Check the data: Which banks are leveraged in Greece? German AND French are the top two. Who funds the European Central Bank? The main percentage comes from Germany, with France in a very close 2nd place – we are talking dozens of billions of much-needed euros.

Acting as if Germany pays everything, does everything, plans everything – this is an Anglo-Saxon view not based on reality. I assume it is related to the historical Northern European view of their genetic supremacy over everyone else, including Southern and Eastern Europe.

But, that’s just more identity politics. It ignores the class view, as usual. The reality is that French capitalism is hugely a part of the neo-imperialist project of the European Union to cannibalize other Europeans – it’s not all Germany.

Le Pen would get that – Macron would think I am speaking Greek. Oh well.

Crying ‘terrorism’ is not just for kicks and giggles

But let’s not insult everybody in France as being class ignoramuses – this is not America: the French got two such bad candidates by another primary tactic of high-finance: the security state.

The first round vote was on April 23, and I already wrote a column about how terrorism was in the headlines an inordinately suspicious amount in the week prior to that vote.

And in the 14 days since April 23rd France’s security state made sure terrorism-related raids and announcements were in the headlines almost every day. Should we be surprised anymore? I made a list:

April 24-26: Fourteen arrests made in France and Belgium on terrorism.

April 25: Five more arrests in alleged Marseilles planned terrorism attack.

April 25: National homage to the cop killed on the Champs-Elysees.

April 27: Raid on an alleged terrorist’s home in Réunion. Two cops shot.

April 28: Citing the war on terrorism, police will ban traffic information apps from warning of radar traps and other police stops.

May 2: Five arrests in anti-terrorism.

May 3: Judgment in a high-profile “apology of terrorism” case.

May 3: In the lone presidential debate Macron said that terrorism will be the “focus of his 5 years”. 30 minutes of terrorism discussion, which preceded the debate on the European Union.

May 4: National day of homage to all cops killed in France.

This is an incomplete list. I can assure you that the French anti-terrorism units do not work this often in normal times – we’d all be in jail if they did.

The canard of terrorism was employed by Hollande to undemocratically ram through right-wing economic measures designed to benefit the bondholder class. It was also used to put Macron in office and, as I listed, Macron plans to keep it there.

Ultimately, there is still no plan in effect to win concessions from high finance. Le Pen would not have provided a solution, but she would have at least been a monkey wrench; she would at least have provided a temporary respite; she would at least have provided the chance to discuss solutions.

Finance is international, but Europe requires a unique solution because the creation and support for the European Union means they have a uniquely European problem.

I have no ideas, and neither do the faux-left supporters of Macron. They just keep telling me: “We’ll take to the streets to fight austerity”. Hey, jerk, check the scoreboard – we did that all the time under Hollande: we lost.

Macron will continue the neoliberal policies which didn’t work while he was minster, and they will not work now.

Ultimately, the election of Macon just kicks the can down the road. Prior to the election this was repeatedly written by mainstream journalists to describe the necessary economic “reforms” France resisted implementing. Absurd, these “deforms”.

What is postponed are the revolutionary, pro-communist changes which put finally the people ahead of the financial class, which is the new aristocracy.

Postscript – the Macron Era, Day 1 of 1,826.25

The above was written on election night. I was planning to finish it in between my 10 scheduled live interviews for Press TV, but at this point in the column the Le Pen camp refused my entry to their headquarters, denying me a place to do some of those interviews and also to finish this column.

I wasn’t the only one – Le Monde, Mediapart and reportedly many other media were the victims of the Le Pen campaign’s allegedly accidental and regrettable choice to choose a small, swanky locale for their HQ.

Maybe such treatment was a harbinger of things to come and we dodged a bullet by avoiding the National Front and their anti-press neo-fascism?

Problem is, Macron banned Russian media a couple weeks earlier.

Problem is, prior to that Hollande took Press TV and all Iranian media off France’s state-run satellite Eutelsat, in a clear case of censorship.

Anyway, the day after the election Hollande joined Macron for the WWII Victory Day memorial and then immediately flew to Berlin to meet Merkel. Isn’t that fitting? And there were thousands already protesting Macron, with plenty of police brutality. I wanted to cover it but my cameraman begged off, citing fatigue. Honestly, I felt the same way.

Glass half-full: Macron is from the younger, less-racist generation. Maybe he’ll be able to take a firm stance on France’s xenophobic nonsense?

Problem is, his team threatened to close the nation’s Islamophobia watchdog, saying they are “in danger.” Pretty Le Pen-like, if you ask me, which is what I always said.

I really cannot even stomach reading the mainstream media’s take on France’s election, but people seem to be talking like Trump was avoided in France. People only say that because the economic angle – the class angle – is systematically repressed in favor of the economic angle.

Macron is going to wage an (economic) extremist war on the French public, and who can be excited about that? Nobody is excited about Macron here except unmarried, middle-aged women, who have finally found someone who won’t ignore them. I don’t want to rain on their honeymoon, though, so “Sweet dreams, ladies.”

Just do the math: 25% abstained and 12% submitted blank ballots (LOL, a record), meaning only 67% of the total electorate issued an acceptable vote. That drops Macron’s alleged final score of 66% down to 42% of the total electorate. Now subtract the 43% of Macron’s voters who say the voted to block Le Pen. That means only 24% of the total electorate voted for Macron’s personality or his policies.

Only 24% of France truly voted for Macron. So forget what the financial/foreign press says: there is no joy in Mudville, French democracy has struck out.

But the beat goes on. And for the next five years I’m covering the exact same news beat – Hollande (Jr.) and austerity.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Why the West will never either defeat or forgive Russia

 

Historically, Russia has always fought intuitively for the survival of all mankind. Of course, the events do not always look this way. But whatever they look like, this huge country has repeatedly rebuffed the most powerful forces of evil which were becoming a threat to the very existence of our planet.

By Andre Vltchek

During the Second World War, the Soviet (mostly Russian) people sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children for the sake of the victory over Nazism. No other country in the modern history has ever had to go through such hardship.

Right after this victory Russia, along with China and Cuba, launched the most incredible and noble project of all times: the systematic destruction of the Western colonialism. All over the world the oppressed masses rose up against the European and North American barbarity, and the Soviet Union was ready to become a beacon of hope for them, to provide them with substantial financial, ideological and military aid.

As the oppressed and disadvantaged nations, one after another, gained their independence, in all the capitals of the Western world there was growing hatred of the Soviet Union and the Russian people. After all, the looting of “non-white” continents was considered a natural right of the “civilised world”.

In the USA and Europe such words as “colonialism” and “imperialism” very quickly acquired a negative connotation, at least, outwardly. So demonising the Soviet Union (leaving alone attacking it) for supporting the struggle for liberation on all the continents would have been counterproductive. Instead, there were developed theories about the “Empire of evil”.

Russia has always been an “obstacle”. This enormous country has been preventing brutal plans of Washington, Berlin, London and Paris. Plans of controlling and plundering the entire world.

However, the more noble the deeds are, the dirtier the attacks on them become.

Russia has always been known for its incredible ability to mobilise its forces, to throw all its resources to achieve a single, deeply humanistic and moral, goal. In its struggle there has always been something sacred, something high and extremely important.

‘Arise, the great country, arise to fight to death!’. This is how begins one of the greatest patriotic songs of the World War II. When Russia is fighting, it is only the victory that is important for it. The victory at any cost.

Russia was destined to fight for the fate of the entire world. If you do not believe in fate, you’ll never understand the famous “Russian soul”. It is not about a religion, as for the most part Russia is anarchist and atheistic. But it believes in destiny and accepts it.

Besides, in most cases, Russia hardly had a choice. It was the end of mankind that was an alternative to the victory.

So, when the very existence of the world was under threat, Russia always rose – fierce and frightening but, at the same time, incredibly beautiful in its anger and determination. It fought with every handful of its land, with every heart of its people. And it almost always won. But it did so at a terrible price – having buried millions of its sons and daughters, and having plunged itself into the sea of ​​unimaginable sorrow and pain.

Moreover, there never was anyone nearby to comfort it. While the fires were still raging, while the faces of mothers and wives who had lost their close ones were still wet with tears, the country already was being spat upon, mocked and humiliated by the treacherous Western regimes and their propaganda.

Its heroism was belittled, its victims were mocked. It was alleged that its millions who had given their lives for mankind had actually died for nothing.

In exchange for its heroism Russia has never asked for anything, except for two basic things: recognition and respect. And yet, it has never received either.

Now Russia is rising again, it is beginning the epic struggle against the ISIS, a monstrous parody of the Muslim faith, created and armed by the West and its regional mean hangers.

Russia was forced to act. After all, who else could have done it? After centuries of the Crusades and barbarian colonialism of the West there is almost nothing left of the Middle East, one of the cradles of our civilisation. The Middle East, plundered and humiliated, has turned into a mosaic of miserable client states standing in service of the West. Tens of millions have been killed. All that could have been looted has been. The socialist and secular governments have been pressed to the wall and overthrown.

I have worked a lot in this region and can attest that, perhaps, with the exception for Africa, there is no greater victim of the West’s greed and barbarism in the world.

Syria and Iraq, two desperate, long suffering, mortally wounded countries, appealed to Russia for help. And it agreed to provide it.

Oh yes, I can already hear the cacophony of shrieks about the ‘Russian interests’ and ‘spheres of influence’, coming from Europe and the North America. Because there is nothing sacred in the West. There can not be anything sacred there. Because everything there is tainted with grim sarcasm and nihilism … If the West behaves like a thug, the picture of the rest of the world should also be drawn in the same colours. After all, the West has neither allies nor feelings. Only interests. It is not my idea, it was said to me over and over again when I was living and working in the destroyed parts of Africa.

But I do not care what they say in Paris and Washington. What matters is what they say in Iraq, Syria and Libya. And I will explain to you how things are there: if you go to the barber and say that you are Russian, the people will rise, hug you and weep.

Russia will never attack other countries, but if it comes under attack itself, its fury can be terrifying, especially during a war. ‘Who comes to us with a sword, shall perish by the sword!’, said the Novgorod prince Alexander Nevsky in the XIII century.

The recent incident with the Russian bomber that was shot down over Syria by the Turkish Air Force increases the risk of a wider regional war. Turkey, a NATO member country, is spreading terror all over the region: from Libya and Somalia to Iraq, Syria and its own Kurdish territories. It is torturing people, destroying a lot of them (including journalists), robbing millions of their natural resources and dissipating (mostly with Qatar’s money) the most extremist Islamist teachings.

I met Recep Tayyip Erdogan many years ago, in the early 1990s in Istanbul when he was still the mayor of the city, and I was “licking my wounds” after the publication about the West systematically destroying Yugoslavia.

‘Do you speak Turkish?, he asked me once.

‘Not very well,’ I replied. ‘Just a little’.

‘But you know perfectly well how to pronounce the name of our party!’, he exclaimed. ‘This proves how important we are’.

From the very first meeting I realised that he was an aggressive villain with delusions of grandeur and the inferiority complex. And yet, I had no idea that he would go so far. But that is exactly where he has gone. And because of it millions of people are suffering all over the region.

Now he has shot down the Russian bomber and invaded Iraq.

Turkey has repeatedly fought with Russia and almost always lost. Moreover, in the period between the two world wars it was able to survive only with the help of the Soviet Union. So, it should have twice thought over the next step.

Russia does not just “wage wars”. Its struggle for the survival of mankind is nothing but a work of art, poetry, a symphony. It’s hard to explain but it’s true. Everything is intertwined there.

To meanly shoot down the Russian Su-24 is the same thing as to spit on the graves of 25 millions who died in the Second World War. It is a disgusting and stupid move. In Russia people do not act like this. In Russia, if you want to fight, you fight face to face with your adversary.

But if you kill like a coward, if you invade devastated neighbouring countries, one day it can be not the Su-24 that you will see in the sky, but heavy bombers.

Russia can not be defeated. There are many reasons for that. One of them is very pragmatic: it is a nuclear superpower. Another is that Russia usually fights for a just cause. And it does it with all its might and with all its heart.

But for Russia, the planet Earth would no longer exist. At least, in the form we are used to seeing it in. The West and its Christian fascist states would fully control the world. And they would treat “sub-people” like animals (even worse than they are doing now); there would be no boundaries, no limits to theft and destruction.

The so-called “civilised world” (the one that builds its theatres and schools on the bones of the others) would, without the slightest resistance, go to the full control over our planet.

Fortunately, Russia exists. And it can not be defeated. No one will ever manage to do it. And that is why the West will never forgive it for standing up for the poor and oppressed.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and  “Fighting Against Western Imperialism.  Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear“. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Posted January 24, 2016

Pravda

 

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