Is the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) a ‘dead letter’?

Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

February 25, 2021

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

Be that as it may, Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings have assembled a group of establishment warmongers and aspirant social justice engineers that is second to none. Those who expected something different than the usual Democratic Party template have definitely been disappointed. Hostility towards China continues with warships being sent to the South China Sea and the president is seeking to create a new Trans-Atlantic alliance directed against both Beijing and Moscow. The Europeans are reportedly not enthusiastic about remaining under Washington’s thumb and would like some breathing room.

In a phone conversation where it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer ignore his bad behavior. The official White House account of the call included the following pithy summary: “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.”

And to be sure, there have already been a number of issues that Biden might have dealt with by executive order, like lifting the illegal and unjustified blockade of Cuba, that could have inspired some hope that the new administration would not be just another bit of old wine in new bottles. Alas, that has not taken place but for a series of moves to unleash another wave of illegal immigration and to “protect LGBTQ rights globally.” Biden has also retained a heavy military presence in Washington itself, possibly as part of a Constitution-wrecking plan to tackle what he is referring to as “domestic terrorism.” The domestic terrorists being targeted appear to largely consist of people who are white working and middle class and voted for Trump.

In some ways, foreign policy might have been the easiest fix if the new administration were really seeking to correct the misadventures of the past twenty years. Quite the contrary, Biden and his associates have actually reversed the sensible and long overdue policies initiated by Donald Trump to reduce troop strength in Germany and bring the soldiers home from Syria and Afghanistan. Biden has already committed to an indefinite stay in Afghanistan, America’s longest “lost” war, and has covertly sent more soldiers into Syria as well as Iraq.

As regards Latin America, the U.S. clearly is prepared to double down on regime change in Venezuela, continuing its Quixotic support of Juan Guaido as president. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State Tony Blinken has clearly indicated that there will be no end to deference to Israeli interests in the Middle East. Under questioning by Congress, he has insisted that Israel will be “consulted” on U.S. policy to include arms sales in the region, which has been interpreted to mean that Jerusalem will have a veto, and has confirmed that his view on Iran is identical to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are apparently promoting the view that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to construct a weapon within a few weeks, though they have not addressed other technical aspects of what would actually be required to build one. Netanyahu has been making the claim about the Iranian threat since the 1980s and now it is also an element of U.S. policy.

Biden and Blinken have also moved forward slowly on a campaign commitment to attempt renegotiation of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. As a condition to re-start discussions, the Iranian leadership has demanded a return to the status quo ante, meaning that the punitive sanctions initiated by Trump would have to be canceled and Iran would in return cease all enrichment activities. Biden and Blinken, which admittedly sounds a bit like a vaudeville comedy duo, have reportedly agreed to withdraw the Trump sanctions but have also suggested that Iran will have to make other concessions, to include ending its ballistic missile development program and ceasing its “meddling” in the Middle East. Iran will refuse to agree to that, which means that the bid to renegotiate could turn out to be nothing more than a bit of theater involving multilateral “discussions” hosted by the European Union and the pointless hostility between Washington and Tehran will continue.

And speaking again of Israel, there have been concerns expressed by the usual suspects because Biden had not called telephoned Netanyahu immediately after the inauguration. It may be true that the president was sending a somewhat less than subtle message signaling that he was in charge, but the call has now taken place and everything is hunky-dory. As a separate issue, the Jewish state has, of course, the world’s only secret nuclear arsenal, estimated to consist of at least 200 bombs, and it also has several systems available to deliver them on target. For no reasons that make any sense, the United States since the time of President Richard Nixon has never publicly confirmed the existence of the weapons, preferring to maintain “nuclear ambiguity” that allows Israel to have the weapons without any demands for inspections or constraints on their use. The most recent four presidents have, in fact, signed secret agreements with Israel not to expose the nuclear arsenal. Biden has apparently not done so yet, but appeals by international figures, including most recently South African Desmond Tutu, had produced some expectations that the new administration might break with precedent.

Giving aid to Israel is, in fact, illegal due to the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which bans U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that seek to acquire nuclear weapons. But Biden has already indicated that he would not under any circumstances cut aid to Israel, so the matter would appear to be closed. In any event the Symington Amendment includes an exemption clause that would allow the funding to continue as long as the president certifies to Congress that continued aid to the proliferator would be a vital U.S. interest. Given Israel’s power in both Congress and the White House it is not imaginable that its aid would be affected no matter what Netanyahu and his band of criminals choose to do.

So, it would seem that Biden is unprepared to either pressure or pursue any distancing from Israel and its policies, not a good sign for those of us who have encouraged some disengagement from the Middle East quagmire. And one final issue where some of us have hoped to see some movement from Biden has also been a disappointment. That is Julian Assange, who is fighting against efforts to have him extradited from England to face trial and imprisonment in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. Many observers believe that Assange is a legitimate journalist who is being set up for a show trial with only one possible outcome. The entire process is to a large extent being driven by a desire for revenge coming largely from the Democratic Party since Assange was responsible for publishing the Hillary Clinton emails as well as other party documents. Biden has already indicated that the process of extraditing Assange will continue.

So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests. Finally, it would be a good sign if Assange were to be released from the threat of trial and prison, if only to recognize that free speech and a free press benefit everyone, but that is perhaps a bridge too far as the United States moves inexorably towards a totalitarian state intolerant of dissent.

California Collapsing

Martin Sieff

February 24, 2021©

California now fulfills Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s nightmare vision in his prophetic masterpiece “The Possessed” as to what unlimited liberalism must inevitably create – if not stopped in its tracks and rolled back.

Where California goes today, the rest of the United States and much of the Western world goes tomorrow. But what we are now seeing in America’s most populous state is the complete internal collapse of the entire liberal progressive civilization and the society that has most frantically tried to fulfill it

For well over a hundred years, California, the self-styled “Golden State” has trail-blazed  the future of America especially through the two famously American industries of aerospace and motion pictures. Telecommunications, computers and Artificial Intelligence are now led from Silicon Valley and the state has dominated the national politics of the United States too.

California rapidly grew into the wealthiest and largest population US state. It has produced two two-term presidents (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan), one of the most important Chief Justices of the Supreme Court (Earl Warren) and the likely next president – current Vice President Kamala Harris if 78-year-old Joe Biden cannot complete his term.

From 1928 to 2004, 14 out of 19 winning presidential election tickets included someone from either California or Texas and Biden’s choice of Harris put California back at the heart of national electoral politics last year.

Politically, California remains rock solid liberal. It has not elected a single Republican to national or statewide office since reelecting incumbent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. In 2016, then-Governor Jerry Brown notoriously notoriously handed out state accreditation and driving licenses to untold hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, secure in the knowledge that they would all vote Democrat and so it proved. Registered Democrats now hold a 46 percent to 24 percent advantage over registered Republicans statewide.

California also holds a cast-iron grip on the national Democratic leadership in Congress through House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her key allies such as Congressman Adam Schiff, whose farcical bungles in the two impeachments of President Donald Trump did not dent his immutable position as one of Pelosi’s most youthful favored sons (he is merely 60) at all.

Yet now, California is in terminal collapse and crisis. Governor Gavin Newsom, farcically promoted by the national Mainstream Media (MSM) as a heroic White Knight in Shining Armor in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring has been exposed even in his own state as a catastrophic bungler and hypocrite who has never had a clue what he was – or more usually was not – doing. As I write, California’s sick and tired citizens are close to providing the 1.5 million signatures necessary to pull Newsom into what would certainly be a chaotic recall election.

California was also ravaged last year by the worst wild fires in its history. The slavish media – told what to think by the mindless Los Angeles Times (once a great newspaper) and even more infantile San Francisco Chronicle – bent over backwards to avoid acknowledging the real causes but they have been exhaustively documented.

Witless romantic Green environmental policies scrapped the centuries old, wise practices of creating firebreaks in forests between clumps of trees that would limit fire outbreaks in hot weather. Far from “protecting the trees” and wildlife, as the kneejerk Greens demanded, the ending of windbreak spaces instead allowed forest fires to blaze on an unprecedented scale and at record speed.

At the same time, multiple millions of people sweated in even luxury suburbs through the rolling heat waves without any air conditioning relief because the state electric grid -another victim of ignorant Green prejudice falsely masquerading as “science” – repeatedly collapsed, unable to generate the necessary reliable requisite power levels at vital times.

Los Angeles, the state’s largest city and arguably the most populous now in the United States, has become a byword for violent crime and especially the stronghold of the enormous, ultraviolent and rapidly growing MS 13 organization, routinely mislabeled as a mere “gang” in media reports. MS 13 has up to 50,000 members worldwide of whom at least 10,000, officially, and probably twice as many according to the private assessments of many police officers are in LA.

The Trump administration had remarkable success – again unacknowledged in the liberal media – in deporting many thousands of MS 13 members. However, President Joe Biden has already ensured with his initial Executive Orders that the old open border policies of both Democratic presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and Republican ones (Ronald Reagan and both George Bush’s) is being restored so they can flood back in again.

San Francisco – America’s “anything goes” city – is in even worse shape. Its most famous, historically popular and beautiful stylish locations are now swamped with aggressive, unsanitary street people who openly urinate and defecate in the streets. Public services, long superb, are now appalling.

Even the mindless liberal suburban classes who have relentlessly voted for and imposed these catastrophic polices over the past 40 and more years are now fleeing California as property values crash and taxes become too crushing even for them.

If California continues to trail-blaze the future for the rest of the United States, that future is now clear: It is a high taxation society with a huge, impoverished, unemployed and unemployable destitute class where the middle class is annihilated, organized gangs and general chaotic street crime including muggings, rapes and murders metastasize in all major urban areas and gangs more numerous and heavily armed than the police operate openly with impunity.

It is a society where unlimited abortion on demand to and even beyond the point of birth is acclaimed as a “moral” imperative supposedly superior to all the Ten Commandments.

For California now fulfills Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s nightmare vision in his prophetic masterpiece “The Possessed” or “The Devils ” as to what unlimited liberalism must inevitably create – if not stopped in its tracks and rolled back.

As goes California, so goes the rest of the United States: For a hundred years, since the infant silent movie industry entranced the entire world before and during World War I, that simple mantra has held true.

But if America’s future now has no future – what future can the rest of America look forward to?

Iran Rejects US Claim for Self-defense in Soleimani Case

Iran Rejects US Claim for Self-defense in Soleimani Case

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations [UN] said the US claim for legitimate self-defense in case of the January 2020 assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani is overwhelmingly rejected.

At the UN Security Council Open Arria Formula Meeting which was held in New York on February 24, Majid Takht Ravanchi called on the world to strongly stand against some countries which misuse “legitimate self-defense” to excuse their illegitimate measures.

The Feb 24 UN meeting focused on ” Upholding the collective security system of the UN Charter: the use of force in international law, non-state actors and legitimate self-defense.”

“First, the prohibition of the threat or use of force, save the two exceptional cases authorized by the Charter, is one of the greatest accomplishments of our Organization. This is a cardinal principle of international law, the preservation and full observance of which is our collective responsibility that must be fulfilled responsibly,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

“Second, states have intrinsically an obligation to protect their citizens and territories and accordingly, enjoy an inherent right to self-defense. The term “inherent”, clearly and adequately reflects the natural foundations and essential importance of this right, which of course, must be exercised only “if an armed attack occurs”. These are the well-drafted and well-crafted terms of the Charter. Obviously, it must also meet the criteria of necessity, proportionality, and immediacy,” he added.

There is a growing tendency by some states to resort to the threat or use of force through abusing the inherent right to self-defense, the ambassador noted, explaining that when the US forces, at the direct order of their President, brutally assassinated martyr Soleimani in Iraq, in gross violation of the basic norms and principles of international law, the US Government, through its communication to the Security Council President, desperately attempted to justify such an obvious act of terrorism through a series of fabrications and an extremely arbitrary interpretation of the Charter’s Article 51.

“Many international law scholars and practitioners have categorically rejected such an interpretation of the right to self-defense,” Takht -Ravanchi underscored.

Fourth, this alarming trend must be a source of serious concern to all States, and every effort must be made to reverse this extremely dangerous process. If unchecked, the right to self-defense will not only be abused more frequently by such States but also, will institute further exceptions to the principle of the prohibition of the threat or use of force, he added.

Fifth, measures taken in self-defense shall be reported to the Council “immediately”, Iran’s envoy emphasized.

Source

The Ukraine’s many ticking time bombs

THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 23, 2021

While the Ukraine has mostly been out of the news, there were bigger stories out there, things have gone disastrously wrong under “Ze” (Zelenskii) and the Ukraine is now looking at several time bombs which could explode at any minute. Here is a partial list of problems which the Ze administration will have to deal with in 2021: (in no particular order)

  1. The strengthening of the internal opposition to Ze’s rule
  2. The COVID pandemic, the vaccine scandal and the crumbling Ukrainian infrastructure
  3. The crackdown on free speech
  4. The persecution of opponents inside and even outside the Ukraine
  5. The (limited) rise of (putatively pro-Russian) OPZZh party
  6. The sharp rise in European rhetoric against Russia which the Ze admin will want to match and cater to
  7. The hardening of the positions of the LDNR
  8. A further increase in US/NATO saber rattling and provocations
  9. The regime in Kiev openly planning for a war against Russia

Still, before looking at each one of these threats, I think that we need to first look at what the Zelenskii presidency has meant to the Ukraine. To make a long story short, many (most?) Ukrainians are now realizing two things: first Zelenskii made many promises and kept none of them and, second, Zelenskii is even worse than Poroshenko (which is hard to believe or even imagine, but such is the sad truth). Early on, it did appear that Zelenskii might bring some real “change we can believe in”, the main one being that he would take action against the various Nazi death squads and open real negotiations with the Donbass. Neither of those actually happened. Zelenskii is clearly terrified of the political and military power of the nationalists and far from forcing the Ukronazis to abide by the rule of law, Ze comprehensively caved in to their agenda.

It is not my purpose today to analyse in detail what Zelenskii did or did not do, I will simply summarize it all by saying that Zelenskii was all talk and no action. Literally, he has completely neglected the many crises which have plagued the Ukraine since the so-called “revolution of dignity”. What he did do is preside over a sharp increase in the scope and magnitude of suppression of free speech (more about that below). He also tightened laws against the Russian language. And, of course, Ukrainian Su-27s escorted US B-1Bs along the border between Russia and the Ukraine (makes me wonder if these Ukrainian pilots have any honor or dignity left! But no, they are just servants, that’s all, meek servants of their overseas masters). These are just a few examples of purely political actions which are “for show only” but which do absolutely nothing to actually address any real problem.

A perfect example of this “all talk no action” approach was how Ze dealt with the COVID pandemic in the Ukraine. First, opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow and came up with a plan to help the Ukraine deal with the COVID pandemic: Russia would hand over her vaccine-development technologies to the Ukraine’s only advanced pharmaceutical company which could then produce Sputnik-V for the needs of the Ukrainian population first, and then for export. Considering that neither the EU nor the US has any inclination to offer vaccines to the Ukraine, and considering that the Ukraine has zero chances of developing its own vaccine, this solution would seem a no-brainer. But not in the ugly Banderastan the Ukronazis created on the ashes of the real Ukraine. Instead, the Ukrainian authorities announced that they would be getting their vaccines from China. There were only two problems with this “solution”: 1) the Chinese vaccine is only about 50%+ effective and 2) the money allocated to this purchase was immediately stolen and has now disappeared (it is being investigated, of course, but we all know how such “investigations” end). However, with all the hysterical anti-Russian propaganda of the Ukrainian Nazis, it was quite unthinkable for them to accept anything Russian publicly, including a vaccine (away from the public eye, the Ukraine still purchases a lot of things from Russia, including energy). Russia is, after all, a fake “Rus” populated by Ugro-Mongols (not “pure Slavs” like the Ukrainians imagine themselves to be), it is “Putin’s Mordor” and, last but not least, Russia is the official “aggressor-country”, how can a proud Ukie nationalist accept *anything* from this demonic country, even if this saves his life?

Besides, Ze personally explained that Sputnik-V has not been properly tested and that he did now want to turn the Ukrainian people into “guinea pigs” (apparently, he and his advisors are too dumb to read The Lancet; either that, or they don’t mind their own people dying as long as the priorities of political discourse are upheld). As a result, while normal Ukrainians are denied any possibility of vaccination, wealthy Ukrainians are already organizing special trips to Russia to get vaccinated (US diplomats in Moscow are also getting the Russian vaccine).

As a result of this kind of ideology-driven “policies”, the Ukraine is now begging the West for any vaccine (even the clearly dangerous ones!). In response, the US gave the Ukraine a refrigerator (presumably to keep any future vaccines properly refrigerated). As for the Ukrainian medical infrastructure it is, just like the rest of the Ukraine’s infrastructure, in shambles. In fact, it was in shambles long before the COVID pandemic. All the pandemic did was to make things worse and reveal the truth to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the COVID pandemic is hardly the only medical crisis facing the Ukraine: with a crumbling infrastructure, demoralized, demotivated and underpaid Ukrainian MDs who work in terrible conditions (many have emigrated, many to Russia, by the way), and no funds to deal with anything (the Ukraine is broke and is barely keeping one nostril above water by means of western loans). This situation is similar to the one Russia faced in the 90s during the “blessed times of democracy and freedom”, as seen by the West, and the “nightmare of the 90s”, as seen by most Russians.

It would not be honest to say that Ze did not try to deal with these problems at all. He did something: he ordered a massive crackdown against the opposition. These measures included banning, by executive order, the last three (rather moderate) opposition TV channels, by charging a Ukrainian blogger who lives in Spain with, I kid you not, “high treason” and by imposing sanctions on several opposition figures, beginning by Medvedchuk. And just to clarify – none of this was done legally or even in a vaguely lawful manner (how can a country impose sanctions on its own citizens? And without any judicial review!) . As expected, the US Embassy in Kiev gave these repressive measures their full and enthusiastic support. After all, according to Uncle Shmuel, this is all about “countering Russian disinformation”. In sharp contrast, the Ukranian public immediately understood what this meant (the Russian language Internet has also been blocked in the Ukronazi Banderastan, as are Russian social networks, books, art, music, etc.).

Like the typical imperial satrap that he is, Ze now rules almost exclusively by executive orders, always backed by the “muscle” of the Ukrainian “security services” (which, in reality, are the typical kind of absolutely corrupt third world “secret police” which the regular citizens are fearful of, but which those connected to the regime can always use as their personal terror squads; the Ukie “SBU” really reminds me of the kind of death squads I remember from Latin America in the 70s and 80s, say like this one).

Of course, the main reason for this crackdown on free speech can be found in the dramatic loss of popularity of Ze himself, but also because the arguments of the opposition are now becoming more popular, giving the opposition a sense of confidence. Alas, this confidence might not be warranted.

Let’s take the most famous Ukrainian opposition party, the “Opposition Platform for Life” abbreviated (in Russian) “OPZZh”. In the 2019 elections the OPZZh did very well, it came in as the 2nd party in the Rada after the “People’s Servant” party of Ze. That is true. But what is often forgotten is that OPZZh came in 2nd with only 13.05% of the vote and, even more importantly, the OPZZh has already “maxed out” its electoral potential. Why? Because this party is perceived by most Ukrainians as being pro-Russian and most Ukrainians are not pro-Russian at all. Many decades of anti-Russian and nationalist propaganda, from the Krushchev years up to today, combined with a massive and sustained Ukronazi propaganda aired by western radio stations and media, all have left their devastating impact on the self-perception and ethos of the Ukrainian people. This is especially true since the Ukraine lost both Crimea and the Donbass, which were strongholds of anti-Nazi political opposition to the Ukronazi regime. I just don’t see regions like Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk or Zhitomir ever giving a majority vote to the OPZZh, even if southern and eastern regions might. So while the OPZZh might get some more votes (say, in the southern regions of the Ukraine), it will probably never be enough to turn this self-described opposition party into a ruling one.

There used to be an alliance of opposition parties called “Opposition Block” which brought together various opposition movements and parties. Now its members have gone either to the OPZZh or founded their own sub-groups (like the 2019 version of the Opposition Block). The former Party of Regions has dissolved in abject shame, its clueless leaders mostly in exile, but a few strong and outspoken opposition figures did come from it, including Elena Bondarenko and Elena Lukash. I should also mention the name of Vadim Rabinovich, a very outspoken and articulate politician (whose main political liability is his Israeli passport).

All-in-all, there are definitely some interesting political figures in the opposition, but they do not, in my opinion, represent a viable option for the Kremlin and, frankly, they aren’t much of an option for the Ukraine either.

Still, for the Kremlin to put all its political eggs into the OPZZh basket does, to some degree, make sense. Why? Well, for one thing, OPZZh is the only major political force in the Ukraine willing to openly talk with the Kremlin. So you can say that the only option is by definition also the best one. But while Putin and the Russians are going through all the right motions with the Ukrainian opposition figures, I strongly suspect that the Kremlin knows what the real score is, and that this score looks very grim indeed. Simply put: there is no personality in the Ukraine capable of rallying enough people to finally kick Ze and his gang out of power. Why? Mostly because the Ukraine is ideologically and morally bankrupt. Well, financially, too, of course. But the main problem is that the only people with a vision for the future of the Ukraine are the Nazis. Nobody else is offering any halfway credible vision for the future of the Ukraine. Of course, this makes sense because the tragic truth is that the Ukraine has no future. None whatsoever. After all, it is an artificial country, created by Lenin and Khrushchev, whose national identity is solely based on hatred (see here and here) and whose constituent parts have mutually exclusive ideologies, beliefs and views.

It is quite remarkable that while under Poroshenko’s rule the opposition was persecuted both legally and illegally (unpunished murders of political dissidents happened in large numbers, nobody in the “democratic West” had anything to say about them!), Ze has actually gone one step further: he is clearly determined to declare that the entire opposition is composed not of Ukrainian opponents, but of traitors to the Ukraine, “Putin agents” and secret supporters of the “Russian world”. Hence, the latest series of crackdowns, lawsuits and administrative persecutions.

As always, the West only makes things worse. How? Well, since Biden won stole the US presidential election, the US-run comprador ruling classes in Europe are scrambling to show that they are just as anti-Russian as the new administration. That, in turn, encourages the regime in Kiev to show more anti-Russian aggression (in whatever form, does not really matter). This “change of tone” is immediately noticed in the Donbass and results in an escalation of the political rhetoric (and military “incidents”) in the LDNR. That, in turn, impacts the Russian political scene and resulted in things like the trip of Margarita Simonian, the editor-in-chief of the television news network RT and of the state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, to Donetsk were she publicly declared “Russia, mother, take the Donbass back home!” (“Россия, матушка, забери Донбасс домой!”). Of course, she insisted that this was her private opinion and that she was not speaking in any official capacity, which is true. But what is also true is that Simonian is a popular figure in Russia, and her words were immediately discussed on all the talkshows, VK, blogs and all the major TV channels. Everybody understands that while she was speaking in her own name, she was acutely aware of, shall we say, the “mood” in the Kremlin (and of the Russian street!) and that her saying that now will have a noticeable impact on the Russian political discourse, both the official onе and on the Russian Internet (Runet). This is a potentially very dangerous sequence:

  1. The US ups its anti-Russian rhetoric.
  2. The Europeans immediately follow suit and also escalate.
  3. The Ukronazis also immediately follow suit and also escalate.
  4. The LDNR republics warn of escalation and increase pressure on Russia.
  5. The Russians react to all of the above and harden both their rhetoric and actions.
  6. The West feels like it has to show its military power, but can only do so symbolically.
  7. Russia uses actual military capabilities to oppose western symbolic actions.
  8. The West accuses Russia of military escalation.
  9. The Russians officially declare that the West is 1) non-agreement capable (old argument) and 2) hypocritical beyond words.
  10. The West then uses its “soft” (political) power to harass Russia, only further making things worse (see #1 above)

This is exactly the kind of open-ended escalation which can result in a major cataclysm. As for Ukronazis politicians, they flood the air with triumphant declarations about their “new” missile “Neptune” which they could use to destroy the Crimean Bridge (see here or here for a good laugh!). Of course, the Russians know that the “new” Neptune missile is just a modernization of the old, 1980s era, Soviet Kh-35 missile, a subsonic missile with a 145kg (320lbs) warhead. The original Kh-35 had a 130km (70nmi) range, which was bumped up to 300km (160nmi) in Russia in 2015. The “new” Neptune also has a 300km range. In plain English this means three things: 1) the Russian air defenses can easily shoot down this slow flying missile 2) a 145kg warhead can’t do any meaningful damage to a huge structure like the Crimea Bridge and 3) Kiev is still up to no good and dreams of a reconquista.

But that is not all! Kiev is also promising to 1) build a new naval base not only on the Black Sea coast, but also on the Sea of Azov and 2) they are now working with the UK to build up these capabilities. Best of all, the western and Ukrainian propaganda outlets are open declaring that this is a strategy to defeat Russia (for a good laugh, read this). The truth is this: nevermind the Sea of Azov, the entire Black Sea is now a de facto “Russian lake” and Russia has the means to destroy any ship sailing the Black Sea within minutes, everybody knows that, at least anybody with any military background. In case of conflict, the survival time of these two Ukrainian bases would be counted not even in minutes, but in seconds. Deploying any force so near to the Russian border is basically suicidal.

One more example of the kind of insanity which has taken over the Ukraine with Ze in power: believe it or not, but the Ze administration has explained that the Ukraine gave NATO the “authorization” to overfly Crimea. Again, this is such a self-evidently stupid idea that I won’t discuss it on its merits. All I want you to do is imagine hearing all that crazy stuff if you were a Russian decision maker: would you simply ignore these nutcases or would you take the needed measures to make sure that none of that ever happens. Even Lavrov recently quoted the famous Roman wisdom “si vis pacem, para bellum” which, considering that Lavrov is most definitely a “moderate” tells you all you need to know about Russian responses to all this insanity.

The sad truth is that Ze’s Ukraine is no more viable than Poroshenko’s was. In fact, I would argue that the Ukraine is cracking at all its seams and that the only solution left just to delay, but not prevent, a Somalia-like style collapse is to import everything from abroad: from the EU, of course, but also from Russia (especially energy) which continues to provide the Ukraine with energy, even if this is rarely advertised (especially in the Ukraine). The Ukrainian energy sector is in ruins, as is the Ukrainian agricultural sector (the “agrarian superpower” promise also failed to deliver; it reminds me of Krushchev’s “corn crusade”…). None of that is ever reported in the West (for a good laugh, see herehere or here) except buried deeply in some reports like this rare admission “The informal sector in Ukraine is estimated to account for a third of the country’s GDP, and GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) is only 20% of the EU average”.

The reality of the collapse of the Ukraine is so serious that the international community has decided to provide COVID vaccines to the Ukraine through the COVAX program which Wikipedia defines as “the financing instrument that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income economies to access to COVID-19 vaccine funded by donors”. In fact, the decision has been made that the Ukraine will be amongst the first countries to benefit from this international aid program. Okay, in plain English this means this: since the Ukraine cannot produce a vaccine, and since the Ukraine has no money to purchase vaccines abroad, and since the epidemiological situation in the Ukraine (and in all the other poor countries) represents a real danger for developed and wealthy countries too, it only makes sense for the rich to inoculate the poor, if only to avoid being contaminated by them (yet another case of self-interest masquerading as charity).

The richer countries will have no option but to pay for the costs to inoculate those people who live in failed states and other indigent countries. Yet, even Ze himself had to admit that even this will not be enough. It sure looks to me like the US will peddle its worst vaccines (Pfizer) to the Ukrainians and still make a profit. Some opponents of the regime, like Anatolii Sharii (the blogger living in Spain and accused of “high treason”) suggested to do with the Russian vaccines what the Ukraine has already done with Russian energy: don’t buy it from Russia but, instead, let Russia sell her vaccines (Russia is the only country in the world with 3 tested and fully approved vaccines) to the EU which then can re-sell it to the Ukraine, thereby obfuscating the “aggressor-nation” origin of the vaccine from the public eye. This technique, called a “reverse”, is what the EU and the regime in Kiev came up with to avoid admitting the absolutely inadmissible fact that the Ukraine still only exists because Russia allows it to (if Russia was to cut off all ties with the Ukraine the latter would quickly collapse, if only because of a lack of energy).

But no country can live by “reversing” everything. Not only are “reversed” goods more expensive than the original ones (transportation costs money), but it’s not like the EU has enough energy or vaccines for itself. And while the Europeans have lied to the Ukrainians about pretty much everything and made innumerable promises about how the Ukraine will become “the next Germany” in the EU, the sad reality is that nobody in the EU gives a damn about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. EU politicians don’t even care about their own people, why should they care about anybody except themselves anyway? Remember, this is the “new EU” where the only truly “European values” left are greed, power and psychopathic hypocrisy. From now on when you think Europe, don’t think Henry Dunant (the founder of the Red Cross movement, long before Clara Barton who only founded the American Red Cross 18 years later) or J.S. Bach, but think Conchita Wurst: that is the new, Woke, face of Europe.

In fact, I would even argue that the *only* country in the world where people still *truly* care about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people remains Russia. This idea is, of course, 100% pure crimethink which nobody in the West will ever admit to it. Sadly, there are plenty of signs indicating that the traditional love the Russian people had for the Ukraine is quickly being replaced by a strong sense of disgust.

In this highly unfavorable backdrop it is now also becoming increasingly impossible for the Ukrainian propaganda machine to conceal the scope and magnitude of the deep crisis affecting the country: the quickening pace of the collapse of the Ukrainian infrastructure is simply impossible to conceal. And does one conceal stuff like the severe shortages in goods and services? Or how do you conceal an electricity outage?

Conclusion:

The Ukraine is facing a range of major problems which are unlikely to remain contained to the territory of the Ukraine. Things like crime, or a pandemic, or the rule of the mob are very hard to contain. Sooner or later these inevitably bleed over the border to the neighboring country which then, in turn, has to face the same threats. In theory, Russia, the US and the EU could get together and agree on an international rescue plan, but since the US and EU consider that they are playing a zero sum game against Russia, no western politician will ever openly advocate for a real collaboration with Putin’s Mordor. Putin recently declared that “why does everything revolve around the Nord Stream — 2? They want to make Russia pay for their geopolitical project “Ukraine”, that’s all. In fact, everything is quite primitive, everything is simple, we have long understood this, but this is the world in which we live”. Needless to say, Russia won’t agree to foot the bill for this disastrous experiment russophobic ethnogenesis, if only because she simply does not have the kind of reserves to pay for such a huge program. At most, Russia will continue to help the Donbass, and even in this case Russia (or the LDNR republics) could consider demanding reparations from Kiev and its western sponsors. Again, knowing how western arbitration courts work, that won’t happen either.

I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that the Donbass or Crimea will ever agree to return under Kiev’s rule, not de facto and not de jure. That is a given. Neither do I believe that the rump Ukraine is a viable entity. The only conclusion I can come to is this: a breakup of the Ukraine might be inevitable. In fact, such a breakup might even be desirable for all parties (except the russophobic warmongering ruling classes of the AngloZionist Empire who want to destroy Russia at any and all cost).

TURKEY’S ETERNAL CRUSADE ON PKK CONTINUES

South Front

Turkey is unrelenting in its crusade against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party and the People’s Protection Units, as two parts of a whole.

Ankara’s forces carry out frequent operations within and without the country, targeting both the Kurdistan Worker’s Party s (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG)’s interests and members. The Turkish government dubs both groups as terrorists, and does not shy away from invading the sovereign territory of other countries to pursue and “eliminate” their members and positions.

As a result, Turkey frequently encroaches on Syrian and Iraqi territory, and even has observation posts set up to target its Kurdish enemy.

It strongly opposes the Syrian Democratic Forces, a group whose core is comprised of the YPG, and receives heavy US support.

Most recently, between February 10th and the 14th, Turkey began its most recent operation in northern Iraq. In particular, it took place on the Gara Mountain in the Duhok Governorate of the Kurdistan Region. The result was such that both the PKK and the Turkish Armed Forces claimed victory, following the operation. The accounts of what transpired vary.

Turkey said it killed 53 PKK members, and captured 2. It admitted to losing 3 soldiers, while 4 of its troops were wounded in battle. According to the PKK, Turkey lost at least 30 soldiers, and dozens more were injured. A sort of collateral damage involved 13 Turkish hostages whose corpses were discovered in a cave network in the mountain area. Turkey and the US claimed that these were largely civilians, and some intelligence officers. The PKK claimed these were 13 Turkish military hostages. Turkey’s Defense Minister claimed many weapons and ammunition, as well as other equipment were seized.

In the aftermath, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to expand military operations which showed progress to other regions where threats are still significant.

Ankara’s aggressive and assertive actions are making many of the involved parties dissatisfied. Regardless it keeps carrying them out and shows no intention of stopping.

In Iraq, the Al-Nujaba Islamic Resistance Movement issued a warning to the Turkish Army against invading the country any longer. It said that it would suffer the same fate as the American Army whose convoys and positions continue to be targeted. Iraq maintains the posture that Turkey must withdraw fully from its sovereign territory. It should simply pack up its bases in the north of the country and vacate the premises.

In response, Turkey maintains that the West, and Iraq’s government aren’t doing enough to counter the alleged terrorist threat. Ankara claims it has its right of self-defense, even if it requires invading other countries.

Operation Claw Eagle 2 was of questionable success, if the numbers by the PKK are to be considered, against those provided by Turkey. These operations, however, are unlikely to stop, both in Iraq and Syria.

Erdogan seems hell-bent on solving all “security issues” and expanding Turkish activities in regions that are deemed threatening to Ankara’s interests.

Related

The art of being a spectacularly misguided oracle

February 22, 2021

The art of being a spectacularly misguided oracle

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The late Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski for some time dispensed wisdom as an oracle of US foreign policy, side by side with the perennial Henry Kissinger – who, in vast swathes of the Global South, is regarded as nothing but a war criminal.

Brzezinski never achieved the same notoriety. At best he claimed bragging rights for giving the USSR its own Vietnam in Afghanistan – by facilitating the internationalization of Jihad Inc., with all its dire, subsequent consequences.

Over the years, it was always amusing to follow the heights Dr. Zbig would reach with his Russophobia. But then, slowly but surely, he was forced to revise his great expectations. And finally he must have been truly horrified that his perennial Mackinder-style geopolitical fears came to pass – beyond the wildest nightmares.

Not only Washington had prevented the emergence of a “peer competitor” in Eurasia, but the competitor is now configured as a strategic partnership between Russia and China.

Dr. Zbig was not exactly versed in Chinese matters. His misreading of China may be found in his classic A Geostrategy for Eurasia published in – where else – Foreign Affairs in 1997:

Building in Beijing

Although China is emerging as a regionally dominant power, it is not likely to become a global one for a long time. The conventional wisdom that China will be the next global power is breeding paranoia outside China while fostering megalomania in China. It is far from certain that China’s explosive growth rates can be maintained for the next two decades. In fact, continued long-term growth at the current rates would require an unusually felicitous mix of national leadership, political tranquility, social discipline, high savings, massive inflows of foreign investment, and regional stability. A prolonged combination of all of these factors is unlikely.

Dr. Zbig added,

Even if China avoids serious political disruptions and sustains its economic growth for a quarter of a century — both rather big ifs — China would still be a relatively poor country. A tripling of GDP would leave China below most nations in per capita income, and a significant portion of its people would remain poor. Its standing in access to telephones, cars, computers, let alone consumer goods, would be very low.

Oh dear. Not only Beijing hit all the targets Dr. Zbig proclaimed were off limits, but the central government also eliminated poverty by the end of 2020.

The Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping once observed, “at present, we are still a relatively poor nation. It is impossible for us to undertake many international proletarian obligations, so our contributions remain small. However, once we have accomplished the four modernizations and the national economy has expanded, our contributions to mankind, and especially to the Third World, will be greater. As a socialist country, China will always belong to the Third World and shall never seek hegemony.”

What Deng described then as the Third World – a Cold War-era derogatory terminology – is now the Global South. And the Global South is essentially the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on steroids, as in the Spirit of Bandung in 1955 remixed to the Eurasian Century.

Cold Warrior Dr. Zbig was obviously not a Daoist monk – so he could never abandon the self to enter the Dao, the most secret of all mysteries.

Had he been alive to witness the dawn of the Year of the Metal Ox, he might have noticed how China, expanding on Deng’s insights, is de facto applying practical lessons derived from Daoist correlative cosmology: life as a system of interacting opposites, engaging with each other in constant change and evolution, moving in cycles and feedback loops, always mathematically hard to predict with exactitude.

A practical example of simultaneously opening and closing is the dialectical approach of Beijing’s new “dual circulation” development strategy. It’s quite dynamic, relying on checks and balances between increase of domestic consumption and external trade/investments (the New Silk Roads).

Peace is Forever War

Now let’s move to another oracle, a self-described expert of what in the Beltway is known as the “Greater Middle East”: Robert Kagan, co-founder of PNAC, certified warmongering neo-con, and one-half of the famous Kaganate of Nulands – as the joke went across Eurasia – side by side with his wife, notorious Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, who’s about to re-enter government as part of the Biden-Harris administration.

Kagan is back pontificating in – where else – Foreign Affairs, which published his latest superpower manifesto. That’s where we find this absolute pearl:

That Americans refer to the relatively low-cost military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq as “forever wars” is just the latest example of their intolerance for the messy and unending business of preserving a general peace and acting to forestall threats. In both cases, Americans had one foot out the door the moment they entered, which hampered their ability to gain control of difficult situations.

So let’s get this straight. The multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars are “relatively low-cost”; tell that to the multitudes suffering the Via Crucis of US crumbling infrastructure and appalling standards in health and education. If you don’t support the Forever Wars – absolutely necessary to preserve the “liberal world order” – you are “intolerant”.

“Preserving a general peace” does not even qualify as a joke, coming from someone absolutely clueless about realities on the ground. As for what the Beltway defines as “vibrant civil society” in Afghanistan, that in reality revolves around millennia-old tribal custom codes: it has nothing to do with some neocon/woke crossover. Moreover, Afghanistan’s GDP – after so much American “help” – remains even lower than Saudi-bombed Yemen’s.

Exceptionalistan will not leave Afghanistan. A deadline of May 1st was negotiated in Doha last year for the US/NATO to remove all troops. That’s not gonna happen.

The spin is already turbocharged: the Deep State handlers of Joe “Crash Test Dummy” Biden will not respect the deadline. Everyone familiar with the New Great Game on steroids across Eurasia knows why: a strategic lily pad must be maintained at the intersection of Central and South Asia to help closely monitor – what else – Brzezinski’s worst nightmare: the Russia-China strategic partnership.

As it stands we have 2,500 Pentagon + 7,000 NATO troops + a whole lot of “contractors” in Afghanistan. The spin is that they can’t leave because the Taliban – which de facto control from 52% to as much as 70% of the whole tribal territory – will take over.

To see, in detail, how this whole sorry saga started, non-oracle skeptics could do worse than check Volume 3 of my Asia Times archives: Forever Wars: Afghanistan-Iraq, part 1 (2001-2004) . Part 2 will be out soon. Here they will find how the multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars – so essential to “preserve the peace” – actually developed on the ground, in total contrast to the official imperial narrative influenced, and defended, by Kagan.

With oracles like these, the US definitely does not need enemies.

Bernays and Propaganda – Democracy Control

February 21, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog

http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Capitol_Sunrise-1024x576.jpg

From their experiences in the formulation, manipulation and control of public perception and opinion with the CPI, both Lippman and Bernays later wrote of their open contempt for a “malleable and hopelessly ill-informed public” in America. (1) Lippmann had already written that the people in a democracy were simply “a bewildered herd” of “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” (2) who should be maintained only as “interested spectators”, to be controlled by the elite “secret government”. They concluded that in a multi-party electoral system (a democracy), public opinion had to be “created by an organized intelligence” and “engineered by an invisible government”, with the people relegated to the status of uninformed observers, a situation that has existed without interruption in the US for the past 95 years. Bernays believed that only a few possessed the necessary insight into the Big Picture to be entrusted with this sacred task, and considered himself as one member of this select few.

“Throughout his career, Bernays was utterly cynical in his manipulation of the masses. In complete disregard of the personal importance of their sincerely held values, aspirations, emotions, and beliefs, he saw them as having no significance beyond their use as tools in the furtherance of whatever were the commercial and political ends of his hirers.”

In his book ‘Propaganda’, (3) (3a)(4) Bernays wrote, “It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was not possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace. The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Bernays’ original project was to ensure US entry into the European war, but later he primarily concerned himself with the entrenchment of the twin systems of electoral democracy and unrestricted capitalism the elites had created for their benefit, and with their defense in the face of increased unrest, resistance, and ideological opposition. Discovering that the bewildered herd was not so compliant as he wished, Bernays claimed a necessity to apply “the discipline of science”, i.e., the psychology of propaganda, to the workings of democracy, where his social engineers “would provide the modern state with a foundation upon which a new stability might be realized”. This was what Lippmann termed the necessity of “intelligence and information control” in a democracy, stating that propaganda “has a legitimate and desirable part to play in our democratic system”. Both men pictured modern American society as being dominated by “a relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses”. To Bernays, this was the “logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized”, failing to note that it was his European handlers who organised it this way in the first place.

Lippman and Bernays were not independent in their perverted view of propaganda as a “necessity” of democracy, any more than they were in war marketing, drawing their theories and instruction from their Zionist masters in London. The multi-party electoral system was not designed and implemented because it was the most advanced form of government but rather because it alone offered the greatest opportunities to corrupt politicians through control of money and to manipulate public opinion through control of the press. In his book The Engineering of Consent, (5) (5a) Bernays baldly stated that “The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process”. In other words, the essence of a democracy is that a few “invisible people” manipulate the bewildered herd into believing they are in control of a transparent system of government, by choosing one of two pre-selected candidates who are already bought and paid for by the same invisible people.

Even before the war, the ‘secret government’, i.e., the European handlers of Lippman and Bernays, had fully recognised the possibilities for large-scale population control and had developed far-reaching ambitions of their own in terms of “Democracy Control”, and using the US government once again as a tool. Their interest was not limited to merely the American population, but quickly included much of the Western world. With Lippman and Bernays as their agents, these invisible people had the US government applying Bernays’ principles in nations all over the world, adding the CIA Project Mockingbird (6) (7) (8(9) (10), the VOA (11) (12), Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty, and much more to their tools of manipulation of the perceptions and beliefs of peoples of dozens of nations. The US State Department, by now totally onside, claimed that “propaganda abroad is indispensable” for what it termed “public information management”. It also recognised the need for absolute secrecy, stating that “if the American people ever get the idea that the high-powered propaganda machine was working on them, the result would be disaster”. But the high-powered machine was indeed working on them, and continued to an extent that might have impressed even Bernays.

The history of propaganda and its use in manipulating and controlling public opinion in the US, and in Western democracies generally, is a long story involving many apparently disparate and unrelated events. A major crisis point for elite control of American democracy was the Vietnam War, the one period in history when the American people were treated to accurate media coverage of what their government was actually doing in another country. Due to the horrific revelations of American torture and brutality, public protests were so widespread that the US was on the verge of anarchy and became almost ungovernable. Americans were tearing up their military draft notices and fleeing to Canada to escape military service. Streets and university campuses were overwhelmed with protests and riots, at least until Nixon ordered the students shot in the back. (13) (14) (15) That was in 1970, but in 1971, Daniel Ellsberg stole “The Pentagon Papers” from the RAND corporation where he worked, and leaked them to the media, and that was the beginning of the end. After the political fallout and Nixon’s resignation, Bernays’ secret government went into overdrive and the American political landscape changed forever.

A major part of this ‘democratic overdrive’ was the almost immediate creation in July of 1973 by David Rockefeller, Rothschild, and some “private citizens”, of a US-based think tank called ‘the Trilateral Commission’. (16) At the time, Rockefeller was Chairman of Rothschild’s Council on Foreign Relations as well as Chairman of the Rothschild-controlled Chase Manhattan Bank. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Obama’s Foreign Policy Advisor, was a ‘co-founder’. The necessity for the formation of this group was officially attributed to the Middle-East oil crisis, but they focused on a much more important crisis – that of democracy, which was exhibiting clear signs of going where no man should go. At the time, with a modicum of free press remaining, the Washington Post published an article titled “Beware of the Trilateral commission” (17). They would not do so again. Any criticism of the Commission is today officially listed by the US government as a ‘conspiracy theory’. (18)

I could find no record of any report by the Trilateral Commission on the Mid-East oil crisis, and it appears their first major report, published by New York University in 1975 only two years after their formation, was titled, “The Crisis of Democracy” (19) (20), a lead writer of which was a Harvard professor named Samuel Huntington.

In the paper, Huntington stated that “The 1960’s witnessed an upsurge of democratic fervor in America”, with an alarming increase of citizens participating in marches, protests and demonstrations, all evidence of “a reassertion of equality as a goal in social, economic and political life”, equality being something no democracy can afford. He claimed, “The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960’s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, it manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services.”

Huntington, who had been a propaganda consultant to the US government during its war on Vietnam, further lamented that the common people no longer considered the elites and bankers to be superior and felt little obligation or duty to obey. We needn’t do much reading between the lines to see that Huntington’s real complaint was that the wealthy elites, those of the secret government, were coming under increasing public attack due to revelations of grand abuses of their wealth and power. They were no longer admired and respected, nor even particularly feared, but instead were increasingly despised. The people also abandoned trust in their government due to the realisation of the extensive infiltration of the White House and Congress by Bernays’ “shrewd operators”, leading to, in Huntington’s words, “a decline in the authority, status, influence, and effectiveness of the presidency”.

Huntington concluded that the US was suffering from “an excess of democracy”, writing that “the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires apathy and noninvolvement”, stating this was crucial because it was precisely these qualities of the public that “enabled democracy to function effectively”. True to his racist roots, he identified “the blacks” as one such group that was becoming “too democratic” and posing a danger to the political system. He ended his report by stating that “the vulnerability of democracy, essentially the ‘crisis of democracy’”, stemmed from a society that was becoming educated and was participating, and that the nation needed “a more balanced existence” with what he called “desirable limits to the extension of political democracy”. In other words, the real crisis in democracy was that the people were beginning to believe in the “government by the people, for the people” part, and not only actually becoming involved but beginning to despise and disobey those who had been running the country solely for their own financial and political advantage. And of course, the solution was to engineer a social situation with less education and democracy and more authority from the secret government of the elites.

Democracy, according to Huntington, consisted of the appearance but not the substance, a construct whereby the shrewd elites selected candidates for whom the people could pretend to vote, but who would be controlled by, and obey their masters. Having thus participated in ‘democracy’, the people would be expected to return to their normal state of apathy and noninvolvement.

Noam Chomsky also noted in an article that in the student activism of the 1960s and early 1970s, the nation apparently risked becoming too well educated, creating the Trilateral Commission’s ‘crisis of democracy’. In other words, the ignorance necessary for the maintenance of a multi-party government system was at risk of being eroded by students who were actually learning things that Bernays’ secret government didn’t want them to learn. “The Commission in a report decried the focus on what it called “special-interest groups” like women, workers and students, trying to gain rights within the political arena that were clearly “against the national interest” [of the top 1%]”. The Commission stated it was especially concerned with schools and universities that were not doing their job of “properly indoctrinating the young” and that “we have to have more moderation in democracy”. From there, the path forward was clear: young people in America would now be “properly indoctrinated” by both the public school system and the universities, so as to become “more moderate”, more ignorant, and above all to avoid demanding things like social equality and workers’ rights that were so clearly against the ‘national interest’ of the elites and their ‘secret government’.

Before Huntington and the student activism of the 1960s, we had another renowned expert on propaganda, politics and fascism, in the person of another American Jew, Harold Lasswell, who has been admiringly described as “a leading American political scientist and communications theorist, specializing in the analysis of propaganda”, with claims Lasswell was “ranked among the half dozen creative innovators in the social sciences in the twentieth century”. His biographer, Almond, stated firmly that “few would question that [Lasswell] was the most original and productive political scientist of his time”. (21) High praise indeed, reminiscent of that ladled onto Lippman and Bernays – and for the same reasons.

Even earlier, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the University of Chicago held a series of secret seminars on “communication”, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, that included some of the most prominent researchers in the fields of ‘communications and sociology’, one of whom was Lasswell. Like Lippman and Bernays before him, and Huntington et al after him, Lasswell was of the opinion that democracy could not sustain itself without a credentialed elite shaping, molding and controlling public opinion through propaganda. He stated that if the elites lacked the necessary force to compel obedience from the masses, then ‘social managers’ must turn to “a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda”, because of the “ignorance and superstition of the masses”. He claimed that society should not succumb to “democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests”, because they were not. Further, “the best judges are the elites, who must, therefore, be ensured of the means to impose their will, for the common good”. The Rockefeller and other Foundations and think-tanks have been slowly executing this advice now for almost 100 years.

Among the many results of the work of Lippman and Bernays was the subsumption, of initially the Executive Branch and eventually the Legislative Branch as well, of the US government, into a global plan of the European and American bankers and their US corporate and political interests. We speak openly today of the White House and US Congress being overwhelmingly controlled by the Jewish lobby and their multinational corporations, but this forest was planted 100 years ago. By the early 1900s we already had an American government firmly under the powerful influence of, and effectively controlled by, what Bernays termed the “secret government”, and which was controlled in virtually the same manner as the bewildered public herd. During his presidential election campaign in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt said, “Behind the visible government there is an invisible government upon the throne that owes the people no loyalty and recognizes no responsibility”, (22) and claimed it was necessary to destroy this invisible government and undo the corrupt union of business and politics. Roosevelt again:

“It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor and other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness. These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.”

Arthur Miller wrote that “Those who formally rule, take their signals and commands not from the electorate as a body, but from a small group of men. It exists even though its existence is denied, and this is one of the secrets of the American social order, but one that is not to be discussed.” And, as Baudelaire told us, “The devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist”. The truth of this is everywhere to be seen, but few want to look.

Returning to Bernays and his propaganda to save democracy, and the versions promulgated by his heirs, there were two intermixed currents in that river. The most important was for the (largely foreign) bankers and industrialists to regain full control of the US government, especially the economic sectors, the first step being to repair the loosened control of the political parties themselves and the politicians inhabiting them. There is an interesting Chinese document that accurately addresses the deep Jewish influence on the US government at the time, stating: “The Democratic Party belongs to the Morgan family, and the Republican Party belongs to the Rockefeller family. Rockefeller and Morgan, however, belonged to Rothschild.” (23) Then, new and extensive efforts were required to regain social and political control of the population. What they needed was a vaccine, not to protect the American people, but to infect them with an incurable disease pleasantly named ‘democratisation’, but which would be more readily recognisable as zombification. They succeeded.

Democracy had always been hyped in the West as the most perfect form of government, but under the influence of an enormous propaganda campaign it soon morphed into the pinnacle of enlightened human evolution, certainly in the minds of Americans, but in the West generally. Since a multi-party electoral system formed the underpinnings of external (foreign) control of the US government, it was imperative to inject this fiction directly into the American psyche. They did so, to the extent that “democracy”, with its thousands of meanings, is today equivalent to a bible passage – a message from God that by its nature cannot be questioned. Bernays and his people were the source of the deep, abiding – and patently false – conviction in every American heart that democracy is a “universal value”. One of the most foolish and persistent myths these people created was the fairytale that as every people evolved toward perfection and enlightenment, their DNA would mutate and they would develop a God-given, perhaps genetic, craving for a multi-party political system. This conviction is entirely nonsense, without a shred of historical or other evidence to support it, a foolish myth created to further delude the bewildered herd.

But there was much more necessary in terms of social control. By the time Regan replaced Carter in 1980, all the wheels were in motion to permanently disenfranchise American citizens from everything but their by now beloved “democracy”. Regan’s assault on the American public was entirely frontal, with Volcker of the FED plunging the US into one of the most brutal recessions in history, driving down wages and home ownership, destroying a lifetime’s accumulation of personal assets, dramatically increasing unemployment, eliminating labor unions almost entirely, and making the entire nation politically submissive from fear. Interestingly, the more that their precious democracy was impoverishing and emasculating them, the more strongly the American public clung to it, no longer retaining any desire for equality but merely hoping for survival. The eight years of Regan’s presidency were some of the most brutal in US history, but with the power of the propaganda and the willing compliance of the mass media, the American people had no understanding of what was happening to them. The lessons of the 1970s and the Vietnam War were learned well, and Bernays’ “invisible people” reclaimed the US as a colony, both the government and the people, the reclamation cleverly “engineered by an invisible government”.

The full Machiavellian nature of this propaganda, its true intent and results, will not be immediately apparent to readers from this brief essay. The next essay in this short series, a description of the further transition of Bernays’ propaganda methods to education and commerce, will fill in many of the gaps and permit readers to connect more dots and obtain a clearer picture of the entire landscape.

*

Introduction – If America Dissolves…  https://thesaker.is/if-america-dissolves/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 1 of 5 — https://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 2 of 5 — The Marketing of War — https://thesaker.is/bernays-and-propaganda-the-marketing-of-war/

Bernays and Propaganda – Part 3 of 5 –– Democracy Control


Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 30 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’.

His full archive can be seen at

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/

He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com

Notes

(1) https://alethonews.com/2012/07/31/progressive-journalisms-legacy-of-deceit/

(2) http://thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/MediaControl_excerpts.html

(3) https://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Edward-Bernays/dp/0970312598

(3a) https://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Bernays_Propaganda_in_english_.pdf

(4) https://archive.org/details/BernaysPropaganda

(5) https://www.amazon.com/Engineering-Consent-Edward-L-Bernays/dp/B0007DOM5E

(5a) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/The_Engineering_of_Consent_%28essay%29.pdf

(6) https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-the-cia-paid-and-threatened-journalists-to-do-its-work

(7) https://thenewamerican.com/cia-s-mockingbirds-and-ruling-class-journalists/

(8) https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/cia-report-on-project-mockingbird/295/

(9) https://allthatsinteresting.com/operation-mockingbird

(10) https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_mediacontrol03.htm

(11) https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/radio-liberty-and-voa-are-a-part-of-american-propaganda-machine-and-are-banned-in-the-usa/

(12) The VOA surrounded China from all neighboring countries, and including a massive presence in Hong Kong, broadcasting American seditionist propaganda into China (according to Bernays’ template) 24 hours a day for generations. It failed, and was finally shut down in 2019. Also, when the Taiwanese scientist identified the 5 original haplotypes of the COVID-19 virus and proved they had originated in the US, it was the VOA that harrassed the man so badly online that he closed all his social media accounts and went dark. Democracy being a coin with only one side, the US greatly resented China Radio International broadcasting “Beijing-friendly programs on over 30 US outlets, many in major American cities.” http://chinaplus.cri.cn/opinion/opedblog/23/20181006/192270.html

(13) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/kent-state-massacre-vietnam-war-national-guard-50-year-anniversary-a9497501.html

(14) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/reference/united-states-history/ohio-kent-state-university-shooting/

(15) http://news.cnr.cn/native/gd/20200606/t20200606_525118936.shtml

(16) http://www.antiwar.com/berkman/trilat.html

(17) https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1992/04/25/beware-the-trilateral-commission/59c48198-9479-4c80-a70a-a1518b5bcfff/

(18) http://mail.conspiracy-gov.com/the-new-world-order/trilateral-commission/

(19) https://www.trilateral.org/download/doc/crisis_of_democracy.pdf

(20) https://ia800305.us.archive.org/29/items/TheCrisisOfDemocracy-TrilateralCommission-1975/crisis_of_democracy_text.pdf

(21) https://www.nap.edu/read/1000/chapter/10

(22) https://www.sgtreport.com/2020/11/former-presidents-warn-about-the-invisible-government-running-the-united-states/

(23) The Age of Innovation 2013 Issue 6 95-97 pp. 3 of 1003, The database of scientific and technological journals of Chinese science and technology; http://www.cqvip.com/QK/70988X/201306/46341293.html

Sitrep: How Democratic is China?

February 21, 2021

Locally called Happy Grandpa

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

You can get it here:  https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Having recently read Godfree’s latest book, Why China Rules the World, I learned about trial spots, the history of these and how basically everything that is accepted by the population, gets trialed first, by the population.

We change pace on this regular sitrep and instead of bringing together a wide selection of information, we only look at one long read that may answer many questions, at least many of those that I see so regularly on The Saker blog.  This ends with Hong Kong as a new trial spot.


By Godfree Roberts and first posted on Here Comes China

Like America, China is a republic and, like America, says it is democratic, but how democratic is China? A glance at history is always a good starting point

The People are supreme, the state is secondary and the Ruler is the least important: only those who please the people can rule. Mencius[1]

In Roman politics, citizens lost control of politicians after they elected them. It’s one of the system’s greatest weaknesses and it is no wonder that, like our Roman forebears, we regard government as our biggest problem[2]: we cannot compel them to keep their promises.

Imagine that, instead of hiring eloquent amateurs, we hired professionals–sociologists, statisticians, political scientists, economists–and told them to create solutions to our problems identified by publicly conducted surveys. Then they should support state and local governments to implement policy solutions, track public satisfaction with them for a few years and discard failed policies. California would probably try Canadian medicare and if their medical bills fell fifty percent and Californians showed a three year gain in healthy life expectancy, we’d elect a thousand volunteers and send them–all expenses paid–to Washington so they could audit the results and pass legislation.

That’s what China does and it’s why their democracy resembles Proctor & Gamble more than Pericles of Athens.

How Democratic is China–Really?

Large-scale national surveys, the Chinese Labor Dynamics Survey (Sun Yat-Sen University), the Chinese Family Panel Survey (Peking U), the Chinese General Social Survey (Renmin U), the Chinese Income Inequality Surveys (Beijing Normal U) and hundreds of polls by overseas scholars and institutions like Harvard University, Gallup, Edelman, World Values and Asian Barometer, rival the world’s best in sampling techniques, questionnaire design and quality control.

The results, all available online, are a treasure trove of democratic data that Mao created by wresting policy control from scholars and commissioning extensive surveys[3] saying, “Public opinion must guide our actions.” Today, says author Jeff J. Brown, “My Beijing neighborhood committee and town hall are constantly putting up announcements, inviting groups of people–renters, homeowners, over seventies, women under forty, those with or without medical insurance, retirees–to answer surveys. The CPC is the world’s biggest pollster for a reason: China’s democratic ‘dictatorship of the people’ is highly engaged at the day-to-day, citizen-on-the-street level. I know, because I live in a middle class Chinese community and I question them all the time. I find their government much more responsive and democratic than the dog-and-pony shows back home, and I mean that seriously.”

Mao introduced universal suffrage in 1951 (ten years before America[4]) on the basis of one person, one vote. Everyone voted to elect a legislature that would control of all legislation and approve all senior appointments. He even extended democracy to non-citizens, as Quaker William Sewell[5], a professor at Jen Dah Christian University in Szechuan recalls,

As a labor union member, I was entitled to vote. The election of a government in China is indirect. We at Jen Dah were to vote for our local People’s Congress. Then the Local Congresses would, from among their own members, elect the Duliang Congress. From these members and from the congresses of the great cities and many counties would be elected the Szechwan People’s Provincial Congress. Finally emerged the National People’s Congress, every member of which had in the first place been elected to a local body. The National Congress made the laws, elected the Chairman, and appointed the Premier and members of the State Council. In our chemistry group we discussed the sort of men and women who might best represent us; then we put forward half a dozen names.

Each group in our Jen Dah section did the same. All the names were then written on a board so that everyone might see who had been suggested. The names which several groups had listed in common were put on a short list. They amounted to over a dozen, any groups being still at liberty to put forward again any name which they considered should not have been omitted. Those whose names were on the short list had then to be persuaded to allow their names to remain. This took some time as a genuine sense of inability to cope made many of them reluctant to undertake such responsible work. Each person was discussed at length by the group. Those who were unknown were invited to visit the various groups so that they might be questioned. At length a still shorter list of candidates was obtained, which was cut down eventually, after further discussion, to the number desired.

When the day of the election came, the flags were flying and the bands with their cymbals and drums with their constant rhythm made it all pleasantly noisy. Voting slips were handed out at one end of the booth and students, all sworn to secrecy, were available to help if you couldn’t read. Then alone, or accompanied by your helper, you sat at the table and cast your votes. The list contained names which had by now become very familiar but there was a space at the bottom for additional names to be added should you so desire. A ring was to be put around those whom you wished to be elected and the paper dropped into the box. In England I had voted for a man I didn’t know, with whom I had never spoken and who asked for my vote by a circular letter and who had lost to his rival by over 14,000 votes. I had felt that my vote was entirely worthless. In China, at this one election, I had at least had the happy illusion that my vote was of real significance.

By the 1980s the electoral process had deteriorated, powerful family clans dominated local elections and villagers regularly petitioned Beijing to send ‘a capable Party Secretary to straighten things out’. So the government invited The Carter Center to supervise the process and, by 2010, voter turnout had outstripped America’s and the Prime Minister encouraged more experiments, “The experience of many villages has proven that farmers can successfully elect village committees. If people can manage a village well, they can manage a township and a county. We must encourage people to experiment boldly and test democracy in practice.” Five years later President Xi asked the Carter Center to reevaluate the fairness of election laws and to educate candidates in ethical campaigning, “Democracy is not only defined by people’s right to vote in elections but also their right to participate in political affairs on a daily basis. Democracy is not decoration, it’s for solving people’s problems.” Like Capitalism, Democracy is a tool in China, not a religion.

There are six hundred thousand villages and successful candidates, who need not be Party members, begin their five-year terms with a trial year at the end of which, if they fail to achieve their promised goals, they’re dismissed. Otherwise they spend their second year reviewing and adjusting their objectives, knowing that their successes could be propagated nationwide.

Village representatives choose peers to represent them at district level where further voting elects county representatives until, eventually, three thousand provincial congresspeople, all volunteers, convene in Beijing and strive for consensus as earnestly as they do in their villages. Congresspeople are volunteers, ordinary citizens whose progress to the national level requires prudence and common sense. Tiered voting makes it difficult to join a higher level assembly without the support from politicians below and impossible for the Party to completely control the process. As a result, one-third of National People’s Congresspeople are not Communist Party members, nor are other parties merely decorative. Parties like the China Democratic League[6], the Kuomintang[7] and the Jiusan Society[8] (whose all-PhD members campaign for climate initiatives, increased R&D budgets and data-driven health policies) regularly produce outstanding Ministers.

Is China’s Constitution Democratic?

The Constitution is clear: “The National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at various levels are constituted through democratic elections. They are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision. All administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the State are created by the People’s Congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.” Most legislation receives ninety-percent support in Congress but does this make the NPCC a mere ‘rubber stamp’ as critics claim[9]?

The ‘rubber stamp’ misunderstanding arises because policy development is managed like double-blind, randomized clinical trials, called Trial Spots, and Congress is primarily responsible for publicly evaluating data gathered on them. Europe has started universal income trial spots but China has been doing them for thirty years and has a mature system to support it and manage it.

It’s not hard to must ninety-percent support if the data is sound. Policy proposals are first tried in villages, towns or cities and the vast majority die during this phase for the same reasons that most scientific experiments fail. The process has created the most trusted government on earth but Congress is no pushover. Congresspeople visit, inspect and audit Trial Spot cashflows, calculate affordability and debate scalability and national impact.

When, after thirty years of engineering studies, the government presented its proposal to fund the Three Gorges Dam, Congress demurred. The project’s cost and scale were beyond most members’ imagination, retired engineers and foreign experts damned it and a million people who would be displaced criticized the project so vehemently that legislators demanded a similar dam be built nearby to demonstrate geological stability. The government duly built the Gezhouba Dam downstream yet, when they re-presented the funding request, just sixty-four percent of delegates supported it and, when the government decided to proceed, people loudly accused it of ‘ramming the bill through.’

Though China’s process is neither fully scientific nor totally democratic, labeling it ‘authoritarian’–a Western concept–also misses the point. China’s reliance on data for course corrections is its greatest strength, though even solid data does not guarantee smooth sailing. Fifty percent of legislation[10] is not passed within the planned period and ten percent takes more than a decade, thanks to the Peoples Consultive Congress, a gigantic lobby of special interest groups–including peasants, indigenes, professors, fishermen, manufacturers and Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party–who ensure that pending legislation does not damage their interests. Legislators must use both trial data and political tradeoffs to craft the laws which, by the time they emerge, have almost unanimous support[11]. Even then, legislation is issued ‘subject to revision’ because data collection continues after implementation, too.

Congress commissioned the Guangzhou-Shenzhen high speed rail Trial Spot in 1998 before voting to fund today’s massive HSR network. In 2016 the administration advanced legislation permitting genetically modified food crops because they had promised that GM maize and soybeans would be in commercial use by 2020. Two years later–after an intense public education campaign–a survey[12] found half the country still opposed to GM, ten percent were supportive and eleven percent considered GM ‘a bioterrorism weapon aimed at China’. Legislation was shelved. Venture capitalist Robin Daverman describes the process at the national level:

China is a giant trial portfolio with millions of trials going on everywhere. Today, innovations in everything from healthcare to poverty reduction, education, energy, trade and transportation are being trialled in different communities. Every one of China’s 662 cities is experimenting: Shanghai with free trade zones, Guizhou with poverty reduction, twenty-three cities with education reforms, Northeastern provinces with SOE reform: pilot schools, pilot cities, pilot hospitals, pilot markets, pilot everything. Mayors and governors, the Primary Investigators, share their ‘lab results’ at the Central Party School and publish them in their ‘scientific journals,’ the State-owned newspapers.

Beginning in small towns, major policies undergo ‘clinical trials’ that generate and analyze test data. If the stats look good, they’ll add test sites and do long-term follow-ups. They test and tweak for 10-30 years then ask the 3,000-member People’s Congress to review the data and authorize national trials in three major provinces. If a national trial is successful the State Council [the Brains Trust] polishes the plan and takes it back to Congress for a final vote. It’s very transparent and, if your data is better than mine, your bill gets passed and mine doesn’t. Congress’ votes are nearly unanimous because the legislation is backed by reams of data. This allows China to accomplish a great deal in a short time, because your winning solution will be quickly propagated throughout the country, you’ll be a front page hero, invited to high-level meetings in Beijing and promoted. As you can imagine, the competition to solve problems is intense. Local government has a great deal of freedom to try their own things as long as they have the support of the local people. Everything from bare-knuckled liberalism to straight communism has been tried by various villages and small towns.

Yiwu, a sleepy town in the middle of Zhejiang province, started an international trade Trial Spot in the 1980s and became the world’s center for small commodities like stuffed animals (and the subject of endless books and articles). Today, townships are running Trial Spots on smart towns, schools ran Trial Spots on academic quality, labor unions ran labor rights Trial Spots, state-owned enterprises trialed mixed compensation (cash and stock) and maverick officials tried ideas knowing that any damage would be contained and successes quickly replicated. Even the conservative Chinese Customs had ‘trade facilitation Trial Spots’ at border crossings.

The Health Ministry asked thirty-three Provincial Health Ministers–PhDs and MDs–to bring childhood obesity under control by 2030. The ministers involved a thousand County Health Directors and today hundreds of Childhood Obesity Awareness Trial Spots are running in cities and townships across the country. One billboard warns, rather dubiously, that obesity reduces children’s intelligence but wheat and chaff will be separated by 2030 and overweight children will become as rare as they were when we were young. Overall, the process keeps the government in sync with people’s wishes better than any on earth: 

Every five years since 1950, planners have readjusted the nation’s course towards the country’s ultimate goal of dàtóng, issued progress reports and gathered feedback. Results encouraged them to allow entrepreneurs to compete in non-essential industries like automobile manufacturing but showed that profits on essential services were as burdensome as taxes. Profiting from healthcare, they found, taxed every business needing healthy workers, and profits from education taxed every businesses that needs literate workers. The government now provides them at cost and even supports loss-making corporations (‘zombies’ to neoliberals) that serve a social purpose.

Are China’s Five Year Plans Democratic?

Researchers begin Five Year Plans with questionnaires and grassroots forums and, after mid-term assessments, Congress commissions scholars to evaluate and economists to budget for their recommendations. Teams then tour the country, appear on local TV, listen to local opinions and formulate proposals. One planner[13] explained, “Computers have made huge improvements in collecting and analyzing the information but still, thousands of statisticians, actuaries, database experts and technicians with degrees in urban, rural, agricultural, environmental and economic planning invest thousands of hours interpreting and analyzing this vast trove of data, statistics and information. Needless to say, for a continent-sized country with over a billion citizens, it takes hundreds of thousands of people to develop each Five-Year Plan.”

Next, the State Council publishes a draft Plan and solicits input from employees, farmers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, officials and specialists and feasibility reports from all twenty-seven levels of the bureaucracy responsible for implementing it. The Finance and Economics Committee analyzes the Plan’s budget and, after the State Council and Politburo sign off, Congress votes. Then discussion is suspended and implementation proceeds unimpeded. Here’s the cover sheet for the 12th Plan:

Over the five years, economic growth averaged 7.8%, services became the largest sector and consumption became the major growth driver, energy intensity fell eighteen percent and emissions dropped twelve percent, the urban-rural income gap narrowed, rudimentary health insurance became universal, three hundred million folk gained access to safe drinking water and one hundred million were lifted from poverty. Harvard’s Tony Saich, who conducts his own surveys, concludes that ninety per cent of people are satisfied with the government and surveys found that eighty-three percent think it runs the country for everyone’s benefit rather than for special groups. More remarkably, it’s run parsimoniously:

Legislation, once published in newspapers and posted on neighborhood bulletin boards, now blossoms online. Every draft is posted for citizens, non-citizens, national and international businesses alike to comment and critique–and they do. If there is strong pushback or resistance to proposed laws they’re sent back for amendment. And if that is too cumbersome there is the constitutional right to demonstrate publicly.

Today, smartphones, social media and streaming video to multiply the effects of public demonstrations (as 150,000 ‘mass incidents’ in 2018 testify). Rowdy protests–usually triggered by local officials’ unfairness, dishonesty or incompetence–are cheap, exciting and safe since police are unarmed. Indignant[14] citizens paint signs, alert NGOs and the media, recruit neighbors, bang drums, shout slogans and livestream their parade. Responses which once took months now take hours. Targeted officials–usually after a phone call from an angry superior–speed to the scene, bow deeply, apologize profusely, kiss babies, explain that they had no idea that such things were going on and promise brighter tomorrows. Since cell phones became ubiquitous local officials’ approval has risen from forty-five to fifty-five percent and, by 2025, should rival Americans’ seventy percent.

From land redistribution in the 1950s to communes in the 60s to the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Reform and Opening and anti-corruption, Chinese politics are almost unrecognizable from one decade to the next yet policy support rivals Switzerland’s. Tsinghua Professor Daniel Bell[15] credits democracy at the bottom, experiments in the middle and meritocracy at the top for a string of policy successes. And The New York Times’ Tom Friedman says wistfully, “If we could just be China for one day we could actually authorize the right decisions.”

Former President Hu Jintao, who formalized Trial Spots, wisely observed that there’s more to China’s democratic process than meets the eye, “Taking from each according his ability and giving to each according to his need requires democratic rule of law, fairness and justice, honesty and fraternity, abundant energy, stability, orderliness, harmony between people and the environment and sustainable development.”

Words to ponder.

https://www.herecomeschina.com/chinas-congress-in-action/embed/#?secret=7PZudnQV7E

https://www.herecomeschina.com/hong-kong-democracy-trial-spot/embed/#?secret=IFeCAeJegO

—————————————————————————————

[1] Confucius’ most famous disciple, Mencius, lived 372 BC – 289 BC.

[2] Record High Name Government as Most Important Problem. Gallup. February 18, 2019

[3] The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China. Wenfang Tang

[4] The Voting Rights Act of 1965

[5] William Sewell, I Stayed in China.

[6] The China Democratic League is for teachers from elementary school to universities. Since Confucius is China’s archetypal teacher and teachers are held at an high regards by the society as a whole, this is a highly influential party.

[7] The Kuomintang of China, KMT; (sometimes Guomindang) often translated as the Nationalist Party of China) is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei and is currently the opposition political party in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.

[8] The Jiusan Society is for PhD scientists, mostly physicists and engineers, whose position is ‘everything should be run by science’. Very big on pushing for climate initiatives, environmental protection, more R&D budget, better health policies, etc.

[9] Wikipedia

[10] Authoritarian Gridlock? Understanding Delay in the Chinese Legislative System. Rory Truex. Journal of Comparative Political Studies, April 2018

[11] The lowest recorded legislative support is sixty-four percent for the Three Gorges Dam project, which now repays its original investment every two years. It was the biggest, most expensive single-site project in history whose lake has changed the earth’s rotation, so legislators’ caution in their generation is understandable.

[12] Public perception of genetically-modified (GM) food: A Nationwide Chinese Consumer Study. Kai Cui & Sharon P. Shoemaker. npj Science of Food volume 2, Article number: 10 (2018)

[13] Jeff J. Brown, China Rising.

[14] Tang, Populist Authoritarianism.

[15] The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy.(p. 9) Daniel . Bell


If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Chinese President Xi Shared His Vision Of Win-Win Ties With America

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Chinese President Xi Shared His Vision Of Win-Win Ties With America

here are two main arguments in favor of President Biden responding positively to his Chinese counterpart’s suggestions other than the most obvious one that it’s simply the right thing to do in the interests of global stability.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had their first phone call last week since the latter was inaugurated last month. The Chinese leader used this opportunity to share his vision for win-win ties with America. He emphasized their common goals in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting the global economic recovery, combating climate change, and ensuring regional stability. President Xi also suggested reestablishing dialogue mechanisms to this end and cooperating more closely on a whole range of other issues such as financial, law enforcement, and military ones among others.

One of the most important highlights of their conversation was President Xi reminding his American counterpart that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang are China’s internal affairs and that the US must respect them accordingly. The US has been meddling in these issues over the past few years, so it’s important that it changes its behavior for the better in order for relations with China to finally improve. Provided that President Biden listens to President Xi’s advice, then both countries can focus on the boundless possibilities for win-win cooperation between them.

There are two main arguments in favor of President Biden responding positively to these suggestions other than the most obvious one that it’s simply the right thing to do in the interests of global stability. First, America is beset with numerous domestic problems at the moment which require the new administration’s full attention. It mustn’t remain distracted by following in former President Trump’s footsteps in trying to “contain” China since that would be a serious neglect of its responsibility to address issues as urgent as the COVID-19 crisis, America’s economic recovery, and the recent disturbing rise in domestic extremism.

Second, while President Biden provocatively spoke about his expectations for a continued so-called “extreme competition” between his country and China during a recent speech, he also added that he’ll seek to focus on what he described as the “international rules of the road”. This might be a euphemism for resorting to multilateral means in pursuit of advancing his predecessor’s goal of “containing” China, but it could also suggest a much-needed and long-overdue rethinking about the present trajectory of bilateral relations. Should that be the case, then it might result in a renewed impetus to comprehensively regulate their relations.

If the US starts by respecting China’s internal interests per President Xi’s advice, then it would go a long way towards getting ties back on track. The previously discussed possibilities for expanding upon what the Chinese leader described as “the most important development in international relations over the past half century or more”, the restoration and growth of China-US relations, would then be unlocked and the entire global community would benefit as a result of them working more closely together in pursuit of shared interests. Some competition might continue to exist, but it wouldn’t be “extreme” and could therefore be managed.

For example, the US-led Quad might come to take on less of a military nature and instead focus more on economic and political cooperation, ideally in a way that doesn’t imply any negative intent towards China. In that scenario, the Quad might even become a useful platform for managing China-US relations in the region, especially if its Australian and Japanese partners help facilitate talks on the eventual incorporation of China and the US into a larger trade bloc between them all. This could come about because of Canberra and Tokyo’s joint inclusion in two regional economic organizations.

They’re members of both the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China and the US have signaled interested in joining the first-mentioned while Beijing is already part of the second. The US also has a free trade pact with Australia and recently reached an economic deal with Japan in 2019. This creates the perfect backdrop for Australia and Japan to help bring China and the US closer on the economic front upon any rapprochement between them. That’s the most promising scenario that China and the US should work towards in the future.

America’s Middle East Policy Is Outdated and Dangerous سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

**Please scroll down for the Arabic Version first published in Al-Mayadeen **

A New Approach to the Gulf States Needs a Better Foundation

U.S. aircraft at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 2016

By Chris Murphy

February 19, 2021

In his 1980 State of the Union address, which came in the wake of the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter described in grave terms the risks of losing access to Middle Eastern oil. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” he said. “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” That pledge became known as the Carter Doctrine, and it has remained a defining feature of U.S. Middle East policy ever since.

At the time of Carter’s pronouncement, the United States relied heavily on oil imports to power its economy, and 29 percent of that oil came from the Persian Gulf. Even two decades later, little had changed: in 2001, the United States still imported 29 percent of its oil from the Gulf. But it’s not 1980 or 2001 anymore. Today, the United States produces as much oil as it gets from abroad, and only 13 percent comes from Gulf countries. The United States now imports more oil from Mexico than it does from Saudi Arabia.

Yet even as the driving rationale for the so-called Carter Doctrine has become obsolete, it continues to shape the United States’ approach to the Gulf—emblematic of a broader failure of U.S. policy to catch up with the broader changes to U.S. interests in the region since the 1980s. President Joe Biden should acknowledge new realities and reset the United States’ relationships in the Gulf in a way that promotes American values, keeps Washington out of unnecessary foreign entanglements, and prioritizes regional peace and stability.

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There are myriad reasons for strong relations between the United States and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decisions by Bahrain and the UAE to establish formal ties to Israel are a clear sign of the positive influence these countries can exert. Kuwait and Oman play powerful roles in mediating regional conflicts. The United States’ counterterrorism partnerships with GCC countries, while frequently flawed, are still crucial, as these governments often have information on extremist networks that U.S. intelligence cannot glean on its own. And the United States is broadening its people-to-people ties with the region: today, tens of thousands of students from the Gulf study at U.S. colleges and universities. Accordingly, the United States must make clear to Gulf allies that its goal is not to pull away from the region but instead to create a more substantive and stable link between the United States and the GCC.

But it is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf: the top two GCC priorities for the relationship—sustaining U.S. military assistance to fight regional proxy wars and maintaining U.S. silence on domestic political repression—will, in the long run, destroy the GCC countries themselves. The United States’ objective must be to replace this broken foundation with a new system that supports a peaceful Gulf replete with stable, diversified national economies and responsive governments—the kind of future that leaders such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman staunchly claim the Gulf is seeking. A U.S.-Gulf relationship built on economic, diplomatic, and governance ties, rather than just brute security partnerships, will accrue to the benefit of both U.S. and Middle Eastern interests.

AVOIDING PROXY WARS

The first step is for the United States to disengage from the GCC’s proxy wars with Iran. The Iranian government is a U.S. adversary, but the festering series of hot and cold conflicts in the region—in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen—has simply served to strengthen Iran’s influence and create cataclysmic levels of human suffering. A pullback from U.S. intervention in places such as Syria and Yemen will, no doubt, cause immediate consternation in the Gulf. By now, however, the enormous costs of the false belief that the United States can indirectly steer the outcomes in Syria and Yemen are crystal clear. In both theaters, the United States’ tepid, halfway military involvement was never substantial enough to tip the balance and has served instead to extend the conflicts. Washington suffers from a hubristic confidence in its ability to accomplish political goals through military interventions. Instead, the most significant effect of recent U.S. Middle East adventurism has been to fuel perpetual wars that embolden extremist groups and allow anti-American sentiment to grow.

It is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf.

Although the United States should retain its security partnerships with Gulf nations, the U.S. footprint should be smaller. Before the Gulf War, the United States was able to protect its interests in the region without massive military bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and without billions in annual arms sales to these same nations. The foreign policy community in Washington acts as if this massive military presence is now mandatory to protect U.S. interests, even though it wasn’t prior to the creation of the post-9/11 security state. U.S. bases are costly, drawing focus away from increasingly important theaters such as Africa and Asia; they create pressure on the United States to ignore serious human rights abuses lest criticism puts the troop presence at risk; and they stand out as military targets and propaganda fodder for Iran, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State (or ISIS). As U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin undertakes a global review of the United States’ military posture, the Biden administration should seriously consider reducing its military basing in the region. Reconsidering the costs and benefits of basing the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain would be a good start, as the United States’ massive footprint is becoming more trouble than it is worth.

Finally, although the United States should continue to sell military equipment to its partners, Washington should ensure that it is selling truly defensive arms. Today, too many American weapons are used irresponsibly and in violation of international law. Others, such as the recently announced Reaper drone sale to the UAE, fuel a regional arms race that runs counter to U.S. security interests. As it pulls back on systems with more offensive capabilities, however, the United States should still be willing to provide more advanced defensive weapons, such as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile technology, that fit the Gulf’s real security threats.

If Washington does these things, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will inevitably complain that the United States is abandoning them and empowering Iran. The Biden administration’s task will be to convince them that there is an alternative to a never-ending military contest with Tehran. A regional security dialogue that includes all parties can replace the arms race and proxy wars. This may sound like a utopian fantasy, but it is far from it. The green shoots of this dialogue have been showing for years, and able U.S. leadership, applying both vinegar and honey, can begin to create a structure for détente. And although the United States should not give the Emiratis or Saudis veto power over a bilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, a regional dialogue would tie the Gulf countries closer to the United States on Iran policy and likely give the GCC greater input on any future agreement Washington makes.

TESTING DE-ESCALATION

The Biden administration is best positioned to test the region’s readiness for this kind of de-escalation in Yemen. The pieces that have been missing—meaningful pressure and a credible interlocutor—are now moving into position as the Biden administration ends U.S. support for offensive operations and appoints a new special envoy to support the UN peace process. The United States is the only nation that can move the ball forward. If Washington can find a path toward peace in Yemen, where an inclusive post-Hadi Yemeni government coexists with Houthi leaders as the country rebuilds with international aid, it could be proof of concept for a broader dialogue.

De-escalation should be wildly appealing to the United States’ Gulf partners. Declining oil revenues mean these nations will soon need to make hard choices between investing in economic reforms and fighting wars in foreign countries. Given these persistent conflicts and the state control of local economies, attracting meaningful foreign investment to the region is largely a fantasy. For the United States, another benefit to decreased tensions between the Gulf and Iran is fewer incentives for Gulf interests to spread Wahhabi Islam throughout the Muslim world. This ultraconservative and intolerant brand of Islam often forms the building blocks of extremist ideology, and the Gulf-Iran feud fuels its export (alongside its revolutionary Shiite counterpart).

Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations.

The United States must also drive a harder bargain with the Gulf states on questions of human rights. In the wake of Donald Trump’s attacks on American democracy, it will be even more important for Biden to match his talk of the rule of law and civil rights with actions at home and abroad. The United States has difficult work ahead to rebuild its global brand, but ending Washington’s hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach in the Gulf will help.

Still, the U.S. conversation with the Gulf on human rights should be realistic. These countries will not become modern democracies overnight. If the Gulf really wants to attract international investment, however, it must address ongoing brutal crackdowns on political dissent and the lack of the rule of law. Serious outside private investment is unlikely as long as these nations torture political prisoners, maintain a draconian “guardian system” that restricts women’s ability to travel, and constantly harass dissidents abroad. Frankly, Gulf leaders should see expanding political rights as an existential issue. The United States must help these regimes understand that their long-standing social bargain of “no taxation, but no representation either” cannot last. As population growth outstrips oil revenues, royal families will soon no longer be able to afford that payoff. Once subsidies atrophy but repression remains, a disastrous storm of unrest will brew. Luckily, there are models of limited reform in the Gulf that can help the laggards inch along. Kuwaitis, for instance, elect a parliament that maintains some independence from the crown. Although this is far from modern participatory democracy, it provides some guideposts to which more repressive regimes can look.

NO COLD WAR REDUX

In pursuing this new course, some sky-will-fall adherents to the status quo will argue that if the Biden administration drives too hard a bargain, Gulf leaders will turn away from the United States and toward China or Russia. This argument is a red herring, one that plays on a misunderstanding of both the irreplaceability of military alignment with the United States and the willingness of China and Russia to get their hands dirty in Middle Eastern politics. This isn’t the Cold War: Russia has little to offer in the region, and as global oil usage continues to fall, Moscow will inevitably compete with Gulf countries for buyers. Although China will continue to look for economic opportunities in the region, it will be unwilling to play a real security role anytime in the near future. The Chinese navy isn’t going to come to the aid of a Gulf country under attack. If the Bahrainis, Emiratis, or Saudis threaten to turn to other powers, Washington can afford to call their bluff.

As a general matter, U.S. foreign policy has become dangerously anachronistic, an instrument tuned to play a song that the orchestra no longer performs. But U.S. policy is, perhaps, most inconsonant in the Gulf, where the United States’ interests have changed but its policy has not. Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations. It will be difficult, painful, and arouse loud protest. But the resulting order will be mutually beneficial, advancing U.S. interests while moving Gulf states closer to the future they claim to aspire to. As they say, the most worthwhile endeavors are never easy.

سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

الميادين نت

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

طائرة أميركيّة في قاعدة العديد الجويّة في قطر - أبريل 2016 (رويترز)

كريس مورفي – “فورين أفيرز” 19 شباط 22:39

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي، يشدد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، على أنّه لدى الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن “فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”.

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي يؤكد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، أنّ السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة “عفا الزمن عنها”، مبرزاً أنّ “السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، ولدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”. فيما يلي نص المقال: 

في خطاب حالة الاتحاد الذي ألقاه في أعقاب أزمتي النفط عامي 1973 و1979، وصف الرئيس الأميركي جيمي كارتر بعبارات خطيرة مخاطر فقدان الوصول إلى نفط الشرق الأوسط. وقال إن “أيّ محاولة من قبل أيّ قوّة خارجيّة للسيطرة على منطقة الخليج، ستعتبر اعتداء على المصالح الحيويّة للولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة.. وسيتمّ صدّ مثل هذا الهجوم بأيّ وسيلة ضروريّة بما في ذلك القوّة العسكريّة”. أصبح هذا التعهد معروفاً باسم “مبدأ كارتر” وظلّ سمة مميّزة لسياسة الولايات المتحدة في الشرق الأوسط منذ ذلك الحين.

حين أدلى كارتر بهذا التصريح كانت الولايات المتحدة تعتمد بشكل كبير على واردات النفط لتزويد اقتصادها بالطاقة وكان 29% من هذا النفط يأتي من الخليج. حتى بعد عقدين من الزمن لم يتغيّر شيء يذكر: في عام 2001، كانت الولايات المتحدة لا تزال تستورد 29% من نفطها من الخليج. لكننا لم نعد في عام 1980 أو 2001 بعد الآن. واليوم تنتج الولايات المتحدة نفس القدر من النفط الذي تحصل عليه من الخارج وتستورد 13% فقط من دول الخليج. تستورد الولايات المتحدة الآن نفطاً من المكسيك أكثر مما تستورده من السعوديّة.

ومع ذلك بالرغم من أن الأساس المنطقي لما يسمى عقيدة كارتر قد عفا عليه الزمن، إلا أنه يستمر في تشكيل نهج الولايات المتحدة تجاه الخليج – وهو رمز لفشل أوسع لسياسة الولايات المتحدة المتمثلة بتغييرات أوسع للمصالح الأميركيّة في المنطقة منذ الثمانينيات. يجب على الرئيس جو بايدن الاعتراف بالوقائع الجديدة وإعادة ضبط علاقات الولايات المتحدة في الخليج بطريقة تعزز القيم الأميركيّة وتبقي واشنطن بعيدة عن التشابكات الخارجيّة غير الضروريّة وتعطي الأولويّة للسلام والاستقرار الإقليميين.

هناك عدد لا يحصى من الأسباب لإقامة علاقات قويّة بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي – البحرين والكويت وعمان وقطر والسعودية والإمارات. إن قرارات البحرين والإمارات لإقامة علاقات رسميّة مع “إسرائيل” هي علامة واضحة على التأثير الإيجابي الذي يمكن أن تمارسه هذه الدول. تلعب الكويت وعمان أدواراً قويّة في التوسط في النزاعات الإقليميّة. إن شراكات الولايات المتحدة في مكافحة الإرهاب مع دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالرغم من كونها معيبة في كثير من الأحيان، لا تزال مهمة حيث تمتلك هذه الحكومات غالباً معلومات عن الشبكات المتطرفة التي لا تستطيع الاستخبارات الأميركيّة جمعها بمفردها.

وتقوم الولايات المتحدة بتوسيع علاقاتها الشعبيّة مع المنطقة: اليوم هناك عشرات الآلاف من الطلاب من الخليج يدرسون في الكليات والجامعات الأميركيّة. وبناءً على ذلك يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن توضح لحلفائها الخليجيين أن هدفها ليس الانسحاب من المنطقة، ولكن بدلاً من ذلك إنشاء رابط أكثر موضوعية واستقراراً بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي.

لكن حان الوقت للاعتراف بوجود خلل مركزي في نهج الولايات المتحدة الحالي تجاه الخليج: أهم أولويتين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي في العلاقة – الحفاظ على المساعدة العسكرية الأميركية لخوض حروب إقليمية بالوكالة والحفاظ على الصمت الأميركي تجاه السياسات الداخلية لدوله. القمع – سيدمر على المدى الطويل دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي نفسها. ويجب أن يكون هدف الولايات المتحدة هو استبدال هذا الأساس المكسور بنظام جديد يدعم خليجاً مسالماً مليئاً باقتصاديات وطنيّة مستقرة ومتنوعة وحكومات متجاوبة – مستقبل من النوع الذي يدعي قادة مثل ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان بقوّة أن منطقة الخليج تسعى إليه. إن علاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والخليج مبنية على العلاقات الاقتصاديّة والدبلوماسيّة والحوكمة بدلاً من مجرد شراكات أمنيّة وحشيّة سوف تعود بالفائدة على مصالح الولايات المتحدة والشرق الأوسط.

تجنب حروب الوكالة

الخطوة الأولى هي أن تنفصل الولايات المتحدة عن حروب دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالوكالة مع إيران. الحكومة الإيرانيّة هي خصم للولايات المتحدة لكن سلسلة الصراعات الساخنة والباردة في المنطقة – في العراق ولبنان وسوريا واليمن – عملت ببساطة على تعزيز نفوذ إيران وخلق مستويات كارثية من المعاناة الإنسانية. لا شك أن الانسحاب من التدخل الأميركي في أماكن مثل سوريا واليمن سيسبب ذعراً فورياً في الخليج. ومع ذلك  فإن التكاليف الهائلة للاعتقاد الخاطئ بأن الولايات المتحدة يمكنها توجيه النتائج بشكل غير مباشر في سوريا واليمن باتت واضحة تماماً.

في كلا المسرحين لم يكن التدخل العسكري الفاتر للولايات المتحدة جوهريّاً بما يكفي لقلب التوازن وخدم بدلاً من ذلك إطالة أمد النزاعات. تعاني واشنطن من ثقة متغطرسة في قدرتها على تحقيق أهداف سياسيّة من خلال التدخلات العسكريّة. بدلاً من ذلك كان التأثير الأكثر أهمية للمغامرات الأميركيّة الأخيرة في الشرق الأوسط هو تأجيج الحروب الدائمة التي تشجع الجماعات المتطرفة وتسمح للمشاعر المعادية لأميركا بالنمو.

على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تحتفظ بشراكاتها الأمنية مع دول الخليج إلا أن البصمة الأميركيّة يجب أن تكون أصغر. قبل حرب الخليج كانت الولايات المتحدة قادرة على حماية مصالحها في المنطقة من دون قواعد عسكريّة ضخمة في البحرين والكويت وقطر والسعودية ومن دون مليارات من مبيعات الأسلحة السنويّة للدول نفسها.

يتصرّف مجتمع السياسة الخارجيّة في واشنطن كما لو أن هذا الوجود العسكري الضخم أصبح الآن إلزامياً لحماية المصالح الأميركيّة، على الرغم من أنه لم يكن كذلك قبل إنشاء الدولة الأمنية بعد 11 سبتمبر. القواعد الأميركيّة مكلفة ما يجعل التركيز بعيداً عن المسارح ذات الأهمية المتزايدة مثل أفريقيا وآسيا؛ إنهم يمارسون الضغط على الولايات المتحدة لتجاهل الانتهاكات الجسيمة لحقوق الإنسان خشية أن تعرض هذه الانتقادات وجود القوات الأميركية للخطر؛ وهي تبرز كأهداف عسكريّة ومادة دعاية لإيران والقاعدة وداعش.

بينما يجري وزير الدفاع الأميركي لويد أوستن مراجعة عالميّة للوضع العسكري للولايات المتحدة يجب على إدارة بايدن التفكير بجديّة في تقليص قواعدها العسكريّة في المنطقة. إن إعادة النظر في تكاليف وفوائد تأسيس الأسطول الخامس في البحرين ستكون بداية جيدة حيث أصبح الدور الهائل للولايات المتحدة مقلقاً بالرغم من أن الأمر لا يستحق.

أخيرًا على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تستمر في بيع المعدات العسكريّة لشركائها، يجب على واشنطن التأكد من أنها تبيع أسلحة دفاعيّة حقيقيّة. اليوم يتمّ استخدام الكثير من الأسلحة الأميركيّة بشكل غير مسؤول وفي انتهاك للقانون الدولي. البعض الآخر مثل بيع طائرات “ريبر” بدون طيار التي تمّ الإعلان عنها مؤخراً للإمارات، يُغذي سباق تسلح إقليمياً يتعارض مع المصالح الأمنيّة الأميركية. مع تراجعها عن أنظمة ذات قدرات هجوميّة أكثر يجب أن تظل الولايات المتحدة على استعداد لتقديم أسلحة دفاعية أكثر تقدمًا مثل تكنولوجيا الصواريخ الدفاعية الطرفية عالية الارتفاع (ثاد) التي تناسب التهديدات الأمنيّة الحقيقيّة في الخليج.

إذا فعلت واشنطن هذه الامور فستشتكي السعودية والإمارات لا محالة من أن الولايات المتحدة تتخلى عنهما وتمكنان إيران. تتمثل مهمة إدارة بايدن في إقناعهما بوجود بديل للمنافسة العسكريّة التي لا تنتهي مع طهران. يمكن لحوار أمنيّ إقليميّ يشمل جميع الأطراف أن يحلّ محل سباق التسلح والحروب بالوكالة. قد يبدو هذا وكأنه محض خيال لكنه بعيد كل البعد عن ذلك.

كانت البراعم الخضراء لهذا الحوار تظهر منذ سنوات ويمكن للقيادة الأميركيّة أن تبدأ في إنشاء هيكل للانفراج. وعلى الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة لا ينبغي أن تمنح الإماراتيين أو السعوديين حق النقض (الفيتو) على اتفاقية نوويّة ثنائيّة مع إيران، فإن الحوار الإقليمي من شأنه أن يربط دول الخليج بشكل أقرب إلى الولايات المتحدة بشأن السياسة الإيرانيّة ومن المرجح أن يعطي مجلس التعاون الخليجي مساهمة أكبر في أيّ اتفاق مستقبلي.

اختبار خفض التصعيد

إن إدارة بايدن في وضع أفضل لاختبار استعداد المنطقة لهذا النوع من التهدئة في اليمن. القطع المفقودة من ضغوط ذات مغزى ومحاور موثوق به تتحرك الآن إلى موقعها مع إنهاء إدارة بايدن دعم الولايات المتحدة للعمليّات الهجوميّة وتعيين مبعوث خاص جديد لدعم عملية السلام التابعة للأمم المتحدة. الولايات المتحدة هي الدولة الوحيدة التي يمكنها تحريك الكرة إلى الأمام. إذا تمكنت واشنطن من إيجاد طريق نحو السلام في اليمن حيث تتعايش حكومة يمنيّة شاملة مع قادة الحوثيين وتعيد البلاد بناءها بمساعدة دولية فإن ذلك سيكون على مفهوم حوار أوسع.

يجب أن يكون وقف التصعيد جذاباً بشدة لشركاء الولايات المتحدة في الخليج. انخفاض عائدات النفط يعني أن هذه الدول ستحتاج قريباً إلى اتخاذ خيارات صعبة بين الاستثمار في الإصلاحات الاقتصاديّة وخوض الحروب في البلدان الأجنبيّة. بالنظر إلى هذه الصراعات المستمرة وسيطرة الدولة على الاقتصادات المحليّة فإن جذب الاستثمار الأجنبي الهادف إلى المنطقة هو إلى حد كبير أمر خيالي.

بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة هناك فائدة أخرى لتقليل التوترات بين الخليج وإيران تتمثل في حوافز أقلّ للمصالح الخليجيّة لنشر الإسلام الوهابي في جميع أنحاء العالم الإسلامي. غالباً ما تشكل هذه العلامة التجاريّة المتشددة وغير المتسامحة للإسلام اللبنات الأساسيّة للإيديولوجيا المتطرفة، ويُغذي الخلاف الخليجي الإيراني تصديرها (إلى جانب نظيرتها الشيعية الثوريّة).

يجب على الولايات المتحدة أيضاً أن تقود صفقة أكثر صعوبة مع دول الخليج بشأن قضايا حقوق الإنسان. في أعقاب هجمات دونالد ترامب على الديمقراطيّة الأميركيّة سيكون من الأهم بالنسبة لبايدن أن يطابق حديثه عن سيادة القانون والحقوق المدنيّة بأفعال في الداخل والخارج. أمام الولايات المتحدة عمل صعب لإعادة بناء دورها العالمي لكن إنهاء نهج واشنطن الذي لا يسمع ولا يرى الشر في الخليج من شأنه أن يساعد.  

ومع ذلك يجب أن تكون محادثة الولايات المتحدة مع دول الخليج حول حقوق الإنسان واقعيّة. لن تصبح هذه البلدان ديمقراطيات حديثة بين عشية وضحاها. ومع ذلك إذا كانت دول الخليج تريد حقاً جذب الاستثمار الدولي فعليها أن تتصدى للحملات القمعيّة الوحشيّة المستمرة ضد المعارضة السياسيّة وغياب سيادة القانون.

الاستثمار الخاص الخارجي الجاد غير محتمل طالما أن هذه الدول تعذب السجناء السياسيين وتحافظ على “نظام وصيّ” صارم يحد من قدرة المرأة على السفر ويضايق المعارضين في الخارج باستمرار. بصراحة يجب على قادة الخليج أن ينظروا إلى توسيع الحقوق السياسيّة على أنها قضيّة وجوديّة. يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تساعد هذه الأنظمة على فهم أن الصفقة الاجتماعيّة القائمة منذ فترة طويلة المتمثلة في “غياب الضرائب والتمثيل السياسي” لا يمكن أن تستمر.

نظراً لأن النمو السكاني يفوق عائدات النفط فلن تتمكن العائلات المالكة قريباً من تحمّل هذا المردود. بمجرد ضمور الإعانات واستمرار القمع ستندلع عاصفة من الاضطرابات الكارثية. لحسن الحظ هناك نماذج للإصلاح المحدود في الخليج يمكن أن تساعد المتقاعسين في التقدم. ينتخب الكويتيون على سبيل المثال برلماناً يحافظ على بعض الاستقلالية عن العرش. على الرغم من أن هذا بعيد كل البعد عن الديمقراطيّة التشاركيّة الحديثة إلا أنه يقدم بعض النقاط الإرشاديّة التي يمكن أن تنظر إليها الأنظمة القمعيّة.

لا داعي للحرب الباردة

في متابعة هذا المسار الجديد سوف يجادل بعض أتباع الوضع الراهن بأنه إذا دفعت إدارة بايدن عن صفقة صعبة للغاية فسوف يبتعد قادة الخليج عن الولايات المتحدة ويذهبون أكثر باتجاه الصين أو روسيا. هذه الحجة مضللة وهي حجة تلعب على سوء فهم كل من عدم إمكانية الاستغناء عن الاصطفاف العسكري مع الولايات المتحدة واستعداد الصين وروسيا لتسخير أيديهما في سياسات الشرق الأوسط.

هذه ليست الحرب الباردة: ليس لدى روسيا الكثير لتقدمه في المنطقة ومع استمرار انخفاض استخدام النفط العالمي ستتنافس موسكو حتماً مع دول الخليج على المشترين. على الرغم من أن الصين ستواصل البحث عن فرص اقتصاديّة في المنطقة إلا أنها لن تكون راغبة في لعب دور أمني حقيقي في أي وقت في المستقبل القريب. البحريّة الصينيّة لن تقدم المساعدة لدولة خليجيّة تتعرض للهجوم. إذا هدد البحرينيون أو الإماراتيون أو السعوديون بالتحوّل إلى قوى أخرى، يمكن لواشنطن ألا تنطلي عليها خدعهم.

بشكل عام عفا الزمن عن السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة بشكل خطير وهي أداة تمّ ضبطها لعزف أغنيّة لم تعد الأوركسترا تؤديها. لكن ربما تكون السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، حيث تغيّرت مصالح الولايات المتحدة ولكن سياستها لم تتغير. لدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج. سيكون الأمر صعباً ومؤلماً ويثير احتجاجاً شديداً. لكن النظام الناتج سيكون مفيداً للطرفين حيث سيعزز المصالح الأميركيّة بينما يقرب دول الخليج من المستقبل التي تزعم أنها تطمح إليه. كما يقولون فإن أكثر المساعي الجديرة بالاهتمام ليست سهلة أبداً.

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

Six Years after Obama-Biden Approved Aggression against Yemen, Why is Yemen Biden’s Priority?لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن؟

**Please scroll down for the Arabic original version published in Al-Mayadeen **

Six Years after Obama-Biden Approved Aggression against Yemen, Why is Yemen Biden’s Priority?

Source

Six Years after Obama-Biden Approved Aggression against Yemen, Why is Yemen Biden's Priority?

Yemen: In a letter signed by members of Joe Biden’s team, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan convey that “the United States owes itself and the victims of the war (in Yemen) to learn something from the disaster.”

The thing that the Biden administration learns from the disaster is the recognition of the US responsibility in the tragedy of Yemen for moral and strategic reasons, in the words of Blinken, who said will return the file of the war on Yemen to the US State Department, and restore the relationship with Saudi Arabia to what it was in Barack Obama period.

Urgently, the Biden administration appointed the US special envoy, Tim Lenderking, along with a political and military team, to accomplish the mission, and it hopes to prepare a road map that will restore respect to the US that bin Salman has slurred it in the Yemeni mud.
In this context, the US State Department began to drive the vehicle, by reversing the classification of Ansarullah as part of the list of terrorism, and activating the decision of Congress and the Senate in 2019, which decided to withdraw from hostilities in Yemen.

Despite condemning the defense of Ansarullah and the Yemeni army in Marib and Al-Jawf, and the attacks of Abha airport and Khamis Mushait, Tim Lenderking is discussing with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan what he called the “Yemeni political solution”, in reference to the cut off the backstage link between bin Salman and Trump.

This trend caused the UN envoy Martin Griffiths for the first time to visit Iran, seeking help in putting pressure on Ansarullah, seeking cheering Biden and waiting for the promised US hopes. However, Tehran guided him to Sana’a, which decided a solution and confronted the aggression, and he heard the Iranian initiative.

On the other hand, Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi clarifies that Sana’a does not accept wishes unless the Biden administration goes to stop the siege and aggression and acknowledge practical steps indicating atonement for crimes.

Tehran and Sanaa are indicating that the Biden administration should solve this crisis resulting from the US responsibility in the crime of aggression and the biggest humanitarian disaster in Yemen. This aggression led to a rift in the US Democratic Party between the Bernie Sanders wing, described as progressive on the left, and the traditional wing, as well as other sectors represented by Chris Murphy.

It is the rift that forces Biden to solve the Democratic Party’s crisis in the first place, hoping to overcome the crisis of his split, just as the crisis facing the Republican Party after the fall of Trump, especially since the anti-aggression wing on Yemen expresses structural changes in the US demography, which are indicated by the weight of “foreigners or the black race in American political life. This was the reason why Biden used the presidency for breaking the creep of white racism.

The US’s crisis that Biden hopes to alleviate in the same context, was caused by the Yemeni issue, not only before the Democratic Party, but also before the people of the world, especially the European peoples.

The United States is the one who covered the participation of European governments in crimes with Trump, and as soon as the coverage reduced the rhetoric so far, the European Parliament issues a resolution calling on the European Union to commit to halting the arms supplies for Saudi Arabia and to work for the withdrawal of Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Yemen.

The deeper crisis that exposed America’s racism inside and outside it is the loss of what Biden calls the US values. These values, exemplified by the theses of human rights, individual freedoms, and democracy … are a weapon in the hands of the US administration, to divert attention from the results of its brutality model in the misery of mankind and threatening the life of the planet.

It is a weapon of covering and launching the war to destabilize the fragile stability in some countries hostile to America, in order to open their markets and advance US interests and strategies on the other hand. The US’s responsibility for the Yemen disaster caused this weapon to rust for four years, which led Biden to make the Yemeni issue a priority, hoping to recharge it.

Mohammed bin Salman is the man whom Biden seeks to hang America’s dirt on; The front of the aggression against Yemen and America’s most brutal partner in killing. Biden is using him to relieve this heavy burden, not only because of the Yemen disaster, but also because of the human rights weapon.

In fact, Biden does not only turn the page of Trump, but also turns part of Obama’s page with Saudi Arabia and the partnership of Mohammed bin Salman. In his article in Foreign Affairs with Stephen Bomber, Robert Malley quotes a senior Obama administration official, at a National Security Council meeting in March 2015, as saying about bin Salman’s partnership: “We knew we might be riding in a car with a drunk driver.”

Iran and Sana’a intersect with Biden’s intentions to solve the US crises, if its solution helps in a solution for which Yemen made superhuman sacrifices for its sake and was subjected to various crimes against humanity, then the defeated is unable to impose conditions that he did not obtain in a destructive war, and he does not ask for free assistance to root out its thorns.

Translated from Al-Mayadeen

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لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن

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13 شباط 18:10

في اختياره اليمن أولوية إدارته، يأمل بايدن تضميد جراح أميركا المتورّطة بالهزيمة فيه، لكنه في هذه الأولوية يضع نصب عينيه التخلّص من محمد بن سلمان.

لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن؟
لماذا اليمن والتخلّص من ابن سلمان أولوية بايدن؟

في رسالة وقّع عليها أعضاء فريق جو بايدن، المرشّح للانتخابات الرئاسية في العام 2018، ينقل وزير الخارجية أنتوني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي جيك سليفان أن “الولايات المتحدة مدينة لنفسها ولضحايا الحرب (في اليمن) بأن تتعلّم شيئاً من الكارثة”.

الشيء الذي تتعلّمه إدارة بايدن من الكارثة هو الإقرار بمسؤولية أميركا في مأساة اليمن “لأسباب أخلاقية واستراتيجية”، بحسب تعبير بلينكن، الذي أخذ على عاتقه إعادة ملف الحرب على اليمن إلى وزارة الخارجية الأميركية، وإعادة العلاقة مع السعودية إلى مرحلة باراك أوباما بطي صفحة ترامب وابن سلمان.

على وجه السرعة، عيّنت إدارة بايدن المبعوث الأميركي الخاص تيم ليذر كينغ، إلى جانب فريق سياسي وعسكري، لإنجاز المهمة، وهي تأمل إعداد خريطة طريق تعيد الاعتبار إلى أميركا التي مرّغ ابن سلمان وجهها في الوحول اليمنية، ما انعكس على الداخل الأميركي، وعلى أميركا في العالم، وفي السعودية نفسها.

في هذا السياق، بدأت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية الانتقال إلى مقود العربة، بالتراجع عن تصنيف “أنصار الله” ضمن لائحة الإرهاب، وتفعيل قرار الكونغرس ومجلس الشيوخ في العام 2019، القاضي “بالانسحاب من الأعمال العدائية في اليمن”.

وعلى الرغم من الإدانة الأميركية لدفاع “أنصار الله” والجيش اليمني في مأرب والجوف، وفي هجومي مطار أبها وخميس مشيط، فإن تيم ليذركينغ يبحث مع وزير الخارجية السعودي فيصل بن فرحان ما سماه “الحل السياسي اليمني”، في إشارة إلى قطع صلة الكواليس بين ابن سلمان وجوقة ترامب.

هذا المنحى أطلق تحرّك “المبعوث الأممي” مارتن غريفيث لأول مرّة إلى إيران، طلباً للمساعدة في الضغط على “أنصار الله”، رجاءً بالتهليل لبايدن وانتظار الآمال الأميركية الموعودة، لكن طهران أرشدته إلى صنعاء التي تقرّر الحل ومواجهة العدوان، وتعيد على مسامعه المبادرة الإيرانية. في المقابل، يوضح القيادي محمد علي الحوثي أن صنعاء لا تأخذ بالأماني ما لم تذهب إدارة بايدن إلى وقف الحصار والعدوان والإقرار بخطوات عملية تدلّ على التكفير عن الجرائم.

طهران وصنعاء ترميان كرة اللهب في ملعب إدارة بايدن لحل أزمات أميركا الناتجة من مسؤوليتها في جريمة العدوان وفي أكبر كارثة إنسانية في اليمن. هذا العدوان أدّى إلى شرخ في الحزب الديمقراطي الأميركي بين جناح بيرني ساندرز الموصوف بالتقدمي اليساري، والجناح التقليدي، فضلاً عن تشقّقات أخرى يمثّلها كريس ميرفي.

هو الشرخ الذي يفرض على بايدن حلّ أزمة الحزب الديمقراطي في المقام الأوّل، أملاً بتجاوز أزمة انشقاقه، كما الأزمة التي يواجهها الحزب الجمهوري بعد سقوط ترامب، ولا سيما أن الجناح المناهض للعدوان على اليمن يعبّر عن متغيرات بنيوية في الديمغرافيا الأميركية، يدلّ عليها ثقل “الأجانب” من غير العرق الأبيض في الحياة السياسية الأميركية، وهو الذي حمل بايدن إلى الرئاسة على ظهر كسر زحف العنصرية البيضاء.

أزمة أميركا الأخرى التي يأمل بايدن تخفيف حدّتها في الإطار نفسه هي المسؤولية عن تمريغ وجهها في الوحول اليمنية، ليس فقط أمام الحزب الديمقراطي والأميركيين “الأجانب” فحسب، بل أمام شعوب العالم أيضاً، وفي مقدمتها الشعوب الأوروبية.

إن الولايات المتحدة هي التي غطّت مشاركة الحكومات الأوروبية في الجرائم بمعيّة ترامب، وما أن تخفّف التغطية بالكلام حتى الآن، يُصدر البرلمان الأوروبي قراراً يدعو فيه الاتحاد الأوروبي إلى الالتزام بوقف إمدادات العدوان بالسلاح، وإلى العمل لانسحاب السعودية والإمارات من اليمن.

الأزمة الأعم الأكثر عمقاً التي كشفت عنصرية أميركا في داخلها وخارجها، هي فقدان ما يسميه بايدن “القيَم الأميركية”، فهذه القيَم المتمثّلة بأطروحات حقوق الإنسان والحريات الفردية والديمقراطية الأميركية… هي سلاح ماضٍ في أيدي الإدارة الأميركية، لإشاحة النظر عن نتائج نموذج التوحّش الأميركي في بؤس البشرية وتهديد حياة الكوكب.

هي سلاح تغطية من جهة، وسلاح حرب لزعزعة الاستقرار الهشّ في بعض الدول المعادية لأميركا، من أجل فتح أسواقها وتعزيز المصالح والاستراتيجيات الأميركية من جهة أخرى. إن مسؤولية أميركا عن كارثة اليمن أصابت هذا السلاح بالصدأ طيلة أربع سنوات، ما أدّى إلى تعويل بايدن على أولوية اليمن، أملاً بإعادة شحذه.

المشجَب الذي يسعى بايدن إلى تعليق أوساخ أميركا عليه هو محمد بن سلمان؛ واجهة العدوان على اليمن وأكثر شركاء أميركا وحشية في القتل العاري، وهو يضع نصب عينيه التخفّف من هذه الورطة الثقيلة الأعباء، ليس بسبب كارثة اليمن فحسب، بل بسبب سلاح حقوق الإنسان أيضاً.

والحقيقة أن بايدن لا يقلب في هذا الأمر صفحة ترامب فحسب، إنما يقلب كذلك جانباً من صفحة أوباما مع السعودية وشراكة محمد بن سلمان. ففي مقالة روبرت مالي في “فورين أفيرز” مع ستيفين بومبر، ينقل عن مسؤول كبير في إدارة أوباما، في اجتماع لمجلس الأمن القومي في آذار/مارس 2015، قوله بشأن شراكة ابن سلمان: “كنا نعلم أننا ربما نستقلّ سيارة مع سائق مخمور”.

قد يكون هذا المسؤول الكبير هو بايدن نفسه الذي لم يسمّه روبرت مالي، بدليل قطع اتصال بايدن مع ابن سلمان وإزالته عن جدول الأعمال، بحسب المتحدثة باسم البيت الأبيض جين ساكي، وبدليل آخر أكثر جدية عبّرت عنه إدارة بايدن في عزمها على ملاحقة ابن سلمان في جريمة قتل خاشقجي، بدءاً بنشر تقرير الاستخبارات الأميركية، وعزمها على ملاحقته بتحريك الدعوى التي قدّمها مستشار محمد بن نايف سعد الجبري أمام محكمة واشنطن ضد ابن سلمان وأعوانه.

أزمات أميركا الحادة التي تدفع بايدن إلى مساعي أولوية اليمن والتخفّف من ابن سلمان هي مشكلة أميركا وإدارة بايدن، فإيران وصنعاء معنيّتان بانسحاب قوى العدوان وفك الحصار والذهاب إلى حوار بين اليمنيين لإزالة آثار العدوان والاتفاق على الحل السياسي.

إيران وصنعاء تتقاطعان مع نيات بايدن لحل أزمات أميركا، إذا كان حلّها مساعداً في حل قدّم اليمن في سبيله التضحيات البطولية الخارقة، وتعرّض من أجله لشتى الجرائم ضد الإنسانية، فالمهزوم يعجز عن فرض شروط لم ينَلها بحرب تدميرية، ولا يطلب المساعدة المجّانية لقلع شوكه.

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Politics and Literature in a Dystopian Age. The Iron Heel, We, and Collected Essays of George Orwell

Politics and Literature in a Dystopian Age. The Iron Heel, We, and Collected Essays of George Orwell

February 20, 2021

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

1. Jack London and the Iron Heelhttps://thesaker.is/politics-and-literature-in-a-dystopian-age-the-iron-heel-we-and-collected-essays-of-george-orwell/

The Iron Heel is a dystopian novel by the American writer Jack London, first published in 1908.

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It is considered to be one of the earliest examples of modern dystopian fiction. It was the fourth of London’s earlier output which included, People of the Abyss (which was in fact journalism rather than literature) and the two novels, Call of the Wild, and White Fang. London was a difficult author to place given his very eclectic political and social philosophy; this was best epitomized in his own estimation as: ‘I am a white man and then a Socialist.’ But perhaps aptly described by Orwell as being a ‘doubtfully reliable Socialist’.

Be that as it may London was an avowed opponent of the capitalist system as he knew it, and how it functioned in the United States. In his book London imagines a proletarian revolution breaking out in the USA. Unfortunately, the revolution was crushed by the ruthless ruling class who staged a counter-revolution. There then followed a long period during which the newly established order was ruled over by a small group of tyrants known as the Oligarchs (Does this sound familiar? FL). The Oligarchs were served by an internal Praetorian Guard known as the Mercenaries. An underground struggle against the dictatorship was precisely the kind of eventuality which London could imagine. He foresaw the now familiar methods of totalitarian regimes which have become commonplace in our own time. For example, the way in which suspected enemies of the regime were made to simply disappear. Hardly novel in our own age.

One of the main themes of the book, however, was London’s incisive view that capitalism was not necessarily going to collapse due to its ‘internal contradictions’ – this being the rather crude orthodox and determinist Marxist view. This was and still is an unfortunate theoretical hiatus that the left continually fails to appreciate – namely, that the ruling class is not just an economic force, it is also a political/ideological force. This implies that the possessive class would be able to form itself into some vast corporation and even to evolve into a form of perverted socialism or State Capitalism. This view of London’s was also to gain some traction in the work of the American social/political theorist, James Burnham, and his theory of The Managerial Revolution. Like many of the radicals of the post WW2 period Burnham was a Trotskyist activist, and like many of the same persuasion duly abandoned Marxism for the following reasons. His seminal work The Managerial Revolution (1941), theorized about the future of world capitalism based upon its development in the interwar period. Burnham weighed three possibilities: (1) that capitalism was a permanent form of social and economic organization and would continue indefinitely; (2) that it was temporary and destined by its nature to collapse and be replaced by socialism; (3) that it was currently being transformed into some non-socialist future form of society. Since capitalism had a more or less definite beginning in the 14th century, it could not be regarded as an immutable and permanent form. George Orwell was impressed (not in a good way) by this work and wrote a review of the book. But I digress.

Returning to Jack London, however, perhaps the key passage in the book is London’s penetrating insight into the mentality of the Oligarchs. It reads:

‘’They, as a class (writes the imaginary author of the book) believed that they alone maintained civilization. It was their belief that, if they ever weakened, the great beast would engulf them and everything of beauty and joy and wonder and good in its cavernous and slime-dripping maw. Without them, anarchy would reign, and humanity would drop backward into the primitive night out of which it had so painfully emerged … In short, they alone, by their unremitting toil and self-sacrifice, stood between a weak humanity and the all devouring beast: and they believed it, passionately believed it.

‘’I (London) cannot lay too much stress on this high ethical righteousness of the whole Oligarch class. This has been the strength of the whole Iron Heel, and too many of the comrades have been slow or loath to realize it. Many of them have ascribed the strength of the Iron Heel to a system of reward and punishment. This is a mistake. Heaven and Hell may be the prime factors of zeal in the religion of a fanatic; but for the great majority of the religious, heaven and hell are incidental to right and wrong. Love of the right, desire for the right, unhappiness than anything less than the right – in short, right conduct is the prime factor of religion. And so with the Oligarchy – the great driving force of the Oligarchs is the belief that they are doing right.’’

In this connexion I seem to recall that, Lloyd Blankfein who was an American investment banker at Goldman Sachs and who served as senior chairman seemed to articulate the same sentiments, i.e. that he was doing ‘God’s Work.’ And of course there was Hillary Clinton pouring her scorn on the basket of deplorables.

For these and many similar passages it can be seen that London’s understanding of the nature of the ruling class – that is the characteristics that a ruling class must have if it is to survive as a ruling class – went very deep. London understood in a way that the left could not was that the capitalist is a cynical scoundrel, without honour or courage and intent in filling his own pockets. Yes, he is all of these things … but more. He is part of a politically and ideologically organized force of true believers which presents a formidable barrier to the would-be revolutionists who tend to underestimate their trickery. The resolve and belief of the ruling elite is, to use an American expression, their ‘manifest destiny’, and was their right to rule both at home and abroad, by force if necessary. He also knew instinctively that the American Businessmen would fight when their possessions were menaced because in their place, he would have thought so himself.

This is where London’s core beliefs exhibited a strain of brutality and an unconquerable preference for the strong man against the weak man. He was an adventurer and man of action as few writers had even been, all of which made him something of a political maverick. Nonetheless much of his time was spent working and lecturing for the Socialist movement, and when he was already a successful and famous man, he would explore the worst effects of poverty in East London (the city) and compile a book: The People of the Abyss – published in 1902. London died at the relatively young age of 41 in 1916.

2. Yevgeny Zamyatin – We

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Yevgeny Zamyatin, who died in Paris in 1937, was a Russian novelist and critic who published a number of books both before and after the Revolution. ‘We’ -was written in about 1923, and though it is not about Russia and has no direct connection with contemporary politics, it is a fantasy dealing with the twenty-sixth century and it was refused publication on the ground that it was ideologically undesirable. The book is not particularly Russian, for once you remove the Russian language, and perhaps one or two minor characters the babushkas who act as guardians of the Ancient House and D503’s building, what is left is a sort of generalised human society. Part of Zamyatin’s point, surely, is that his nightmare states lacks the warm smell and taste of long human habitation and lack any of the recognisable attributes of nationhood. OneState, as it is called is not to be blamed on the Americans or the Bolsheviks or the Industrial Lords of Manchester or Liverpool. It is a fate toward which a thoughtless humanity is hurtling.

We are in the twenty-sixth century, in Zamyatin’s vision of it, the inhabitants of Utopia have so completely lost their individuality as to be known only by numbers. They live in glass houses (this was written before television was invented), which enables the political police, known as the “Guardians”, to supervise them more easily. They all wear identical uniforms, and a human being is commonly referred to either as “a number” or “a unif” (uniform). They live on synthetic food, and their usual recreation is to march in fours while the anthem of the Single State is played through loudspeakers. At stated intervals they are allowed for one hour (known as “the sex hour”) to lower the curtains round their glass apartments. There is, of course, no marriage, though sex life does not appear to be completely promiscuous. For purposes of love-making everyone has a sort of ration book of pink tickets, and the partner with whom he spends one of his allotted sex hours signs the counterfoil. The Single State is ruled over by a personage known as The Benefactor, who is annually re-elected by the entire population, the vote being always unanimous. The guiding principle of the State is that happiness and freedom are incompatible. In the Garden of Eden man was happy, but in his folly, he demanded freedom and was driven out into the wilderness. Now the Single State has restored his happiness by removing his freedom.

But in spite of the vigilance of the Guardians the small and fragile of many of the ancient instincts still survive. The chief character in the story is D503 who is a gifted engineer, but like most of his contemporaries cuts a poor conventional creature who thinks and talks as he is told. However in a moment of madness he falls in love (a criminal act) with a certain I-330 female. During their clandestine romance it emerges that I-330 is a member of an underground resistance movement and succeeds for a while in leading him into rebellion. Come the insurrectionary moment it appears that the enemies of the Benefactor a more numerous than was thought. Characteristics of this subversive movement, apart from overthrowing OneState, were the diabolical practises of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.

After D-503s rather weak-willed attempt at defiance he makes amends and is ultimately saved from the consequences of his own folly. For their part, the authorities announce that they have discovered the cause of the disturbances: it became known that human beings were suffering from a disease called ‘imagination’.

This came as a bolt from the blue for D503; to think that he might be suffering from an ‘imagination’. He resolved to talking to a colleague about the condition.

‘’Have you heard about the new operation they have supposed to have developed?’’ Said a colleague.

Yes, I know, but why to you bring that up … because if I were you, I’d go and see about having the operation done.’’

Worse was to follow. D503 was feeling rather unwell and was persuaded to take himself to the Medical Bureau. He was quizzed as to why he had come by the less than welcoming medical staff.

‘’What’s the matter?’’ Why are you standing there?’’

Turned upside down like an idiot, hanging by my feet and burning with shame, D503 said nothing.

S said: ‘’Follow me.’’

I went obediently, swinging useless arms that belonged to someone else. I couldn’t raise my eyes. The whole time I was walking in a wide world turned on its head … We stopped. There were steps in front of me. One step more, and I see figures in white coats, doctors, and the huge silence … There were two of them. One shortish with legs like mileposts, used his eyes as though they were horns to toss the patients. The other was extremely thin. Had lips like scissors and a nose like a blade.

‘’You’re really in bad shape, said scissor nose. It looks like you are developing a soul.’’

A soul? That strange, ancient, long-forgotten word. We sometimes used expressions like ‘soul-mate’, ‘body and soul,’ ‘soul-destroying’, and so on, but soul …

‘’That’s dangerous … extremely dangerous,’’ I murmured.

‘’Incurable,’’ the scissors snapped.

This little tete-a-tete gave rise to a tantrum in milepost.

‘’What’s been going on? A soul? Did you say, a soul? What the Hell! Next thing you know we’ll have cholera again. I told you so … We should operate on all of them, on the imagination. Extirpate the imagination. Surgery’s the only answer … nothing but surgery …’’

(In passing we might add that this is all very suggestive of the Corona pandemic and mass inoculation of the population as part of the Great Reset, transhumanism and so forth. FL)

D503 duly underwent his corrective surgery like a model citizen after which it was easy for him to do what he has known all along that he ought to do – that is to betray his confederates to the police. Additionally and with complete equanimity he watches his ex-lover I-330 tortured by means of compressed air under a glass bell. I-330 along with the captured subversives were, to use the usual Stalinist vernacular, duly ‘liquidated’. In this ideal state death by execution, torture, freedom of speech and assembly, and abject barbarism were common-practice.

The death Machine of the Benefactor is an updated version of the French guillotine. In Zamyatin’s Utopia executions are frequent. They are staged publicly, in the presence of the Benefactor. There are the usual triumphal odes recited by the official poets and before a selected audience consisting of everybody who is anybody. The guillotine-Mark6 of course, is not the old crude instrument, but the latest version of a much-improved model. This instrument functions to literally liquidate its victim, reducing him/her in an instant to a puff of smoke and a pool of clear water. The execution is in fact, nothing less than a human sacrifice, and the scene of pomp and circumstance describing it is given deliberately the colour of the sinister slave civilizations of the ancient world. It is the intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism – human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself, the worship of a leader who is credited with divine attributes that makes Zamyatin’s book ahead of its time and a future world as described into a real possibility.

Such is nature of all totalitarian systems; the quest of perfecting an ideal society consistently fails simply because human nature is imperfect. This much may be true, but it does not follow that human imperfection is rigidly fixed and – mirabile dictu – human nature can be changed and that should be the objective. In the words of Martin Luther King: ‘’One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

3. The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell, Volumes 1 to 4 covering the period 1920-1950.

Note: I have left out Orwell’s novels and much of his journalism since these are well known, and decided to concentrate on his writings as contained in the 4 volumes put together from 1920 to 1950

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Eric Blair aka George Orwell (1) was born in Bengal in British India in 1903. His father was a minor customs official in the Indian Civil Service. When Orwell was four years old, his family returned to England, where they settled at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, a village near London, England. Having won a scholarship he was educated at what was possibly the most prestigious boys school in the UK – Eton. It was customary for boys from Eton to ascend to the highest positions in the British colonial and business class. This was not Orwell’s choice, however. After leaving Eton he joined the Indian Imperial Police and spent the years 1922-27 as a sub-divisional officer in Burma. The five years of isolation in Burma must have been decisive for his approach to writing; at a formative age he was removed from the world of intellectual discussion and the literary reviews with the quick succession of opinions and ideas and given instead action and responsibility and the solitude in which to meditate on the justice to which his work made him a party. It was during this period that Orwell produced two of his early essays, namely ‘A Hanging’ and ‘Shooting an Elephant.’

1. A HANGING: 1931

‘’It was in Burma … A sodden morning of the Rains (Monsoon). A sickly light like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail-yard. We were waiting outside of the condemned cells, a row of sheds with double bars, like small animal cages … in some of them brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars with blankets draped around them. These were condemned men waiting to be hanged within the next week or two.’’

Thus the scene was set for the brutal reality of British imperial rule in India.

‘’One prisoner was brought out of his cell. He was a Hindu, a puny wisp of a man, with a shaven head and vague liquid eyes.’’

Orwell and the other warders wanted to get this sordid little business over as soon as possible. They set out for the gallows. It was about 40 yards away. Orwell noted during the last walk of the prisoner:

‘’I watched the bare brown back marching in front of me. He walked clumsily with his bound arms but quite steadily, with that bobbing gait of the Indian who never straightens his knees … And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path.’’

The enormity of what he was bound to do began to dawn on Orwell. Taking a man’s life is a profoundly serious business even if he is only – in pure racist terms – a coolie. In such a situation simply being there, in the middle of all this, one is emotionally temporarily suspended. It’s not really happening, it is happening somewhere else, not here for God’s sake!

‘’It is curious but until that moment I had never realized what it is to destroy a healthy conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness of cutting a life short when it is in full-tide … He and me were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone – one mind less, one world less.’’

After the grisly denouement had been completed a sense of relaxation overtook the hanging party.

‘’The jail Superintendent reached out with his stick and poked the bare body; it oscillated slightly …The moody look had gone out of his face quite suddenly. He glanced at his wrist-watch. ‘‘Eight minutes past eight. Well, that’s all for this morning, Thank God.’’

In fact the whole mood of the hanging party had changed. Several people laughed. At what no-one seemed certain. Assistant Superintendent Francis who was walking by the Superintendent was making a joke of the whole proceedings.

‘’You will scarcely credit, sir, that it took six wardens to dislodge him, three pulling at each leg. We reasoned with him. ’My dear fellow’ he said ’think of all the pain and trouble you are causing to us!’ But no, he would not listen! Ach! he was very troublesome.’’

Job job, job done, to use an English expression. Everyone was now very relaxed after this nauseating little episode.

‘’I found that I was laughing quite loudly. Everyone was laughing. Even the Superintendent in a tolerant way. ‘You’d better all come out and have a drink,’ he said quite genially. ‘I’ve got a bottle of whisky in the car. We could do with it … We all drank together … We all began laughing again … had a drink together, native, and European alike, quite amicably. The dead man was a hundred yards away.’’

2. SHOOTING AN ELEPHANT – 1936

In this second essay Shooting an Elephant he describes how one morning he was called out to deal with an elephant that had run amok and killed a man. He sends for a rifle to defend himself, but when he eventually catches up with the animal, its attack of must is over and it is quietly pulling up tufts of grass and eating them. Orwell knows that the elephant is much too valuable to be shot out of hand – it is like an expensive capital good – and is anyway by now harmless. But the situation is now beginning to get out of hand. A crowd had gathered.

‘’At that moment I glanced at the crowd that had followed me. It was an immense crowd, two thousand at least and growing every minute. It blocked the road for a large distance either side. I looked at a sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes – faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot. They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick. They did not like me but with my magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I realised that I would have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me, and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me there with my rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East. Here it was that I, the white man, with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the leader of the piece; but in reality, I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys. He becomes a hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For the condition of his rule he must spend his life in trying to ‘impress’ the ‘natives’. And so in every crisis he has got to do what the natives expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.’’

It is generally agreed that both ‘A Hanging’ and ‘Shooting and Elephant’ are among the best essays that Orwell ever wrote, and they certainly provide the most classic examples of his method of progressing from the individual experience to the general conclusion. What is distinctive is his ability to record on the page the progress of a creative intelligence, producing ideas, not from the ideas of others, but from the experience of life itself.

3. MARRAKECH – 1939

‘’As the corpse went by the flies left the restaurant table in a cloud and rushed after it, but they came back a few minutes later.’’

Orwell had been exposed to third world poverty during his time in India, but this was of a different order. He had been advised by his doctor to leave the murk and fog of an English winter due to a bronchial condition and opt for sunnier climes in the searing heat of north Africa but along with the sunshine came the overpowering abject poverty.

‘’The little crowd of mourners – all men and boys, no women – threaded their way across the market-place between the piles of pomegranates and the taxis and the camels, wailing a short chant, over and over again … When the friends got to the burial-ground, they hacked an oblong hole about two feet deep, dumped the body in it and flung into it a little of the dried-up lumpy earth which is like broken brick. No gravestone, no identifying mark of any kind. The burial-ground is merely a huge mound of hummocky earth, like a derelict building lot. After a month or two no-one can be even certain where his own relatives are buried.’’

How quite different this was to Surrey and Hampshire or even the poverty of Jack London’s East End – People of the Abyss. The poverty was simply breath-taking, and Orwell did not hold back from offending the sensibilities of his readers.

‘’When you walk through a town like this – two hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom twenty thousand own literally nothing except the rags they stand up in – when you see how the people live, and still more how easily they die, it is always difficult to believe that you are walking among human beings … Do they even have names? Or are they a kind of undifferentiated brown stuff, about is individual as bees or coral insects. They rise out of the earth, they sweat and starve for a few years, and then they sink back into the nameless mounds of the graveyards and nobody notices they are gone.’’

In an interesting passage Orwell described what happened to him when he wandered into the Jewish ghetto in the city.

‘’When you go through the Jewish quarters you gather some idea of what the medieval ghettoes were probably like … I was just passing the coppersmiths booths when somebody noticed that I was lighting a cigarette. Instantly, from the dark holes all around, there was a frenzied rush of Jews, many of them old Grandfathers with flowing grey beards, all clamouring for a cigarette. Even a blind man somewhere at the back of one of the booths heard a rumour of cigarettes and came crawling out, groping the air with his hand. In less than a minute I had used up the whole packet. None of these people, I suppose, works less than twelve hours a day, and every one of them looks upon a cigarette as a more or less impossible luxury.’’

For anyone from the relative affluence of the developed world this would be a painful reading experience. Unfortunately, this is the real world – the global South – in which most people have to eke out a living. A little further on his travels Orwell came across a military column marching southward.

‘’As the storks flew northward the Negroes were marching southward. A long and dusty column of infantry, screw-gun batteries, and then more infantry, four or five thousand men in all winding up the road with a clumping of boots and a clatter of iron wheels … But there is one thought which every white man … thinks when he sees a black army marching past. How much longer can we go on kidding these people? How long before they turn their guns in the other direction?’’

Another author puts the situation more succinctly:

‘’The countries of the global South and the majority of their populations are victims of the capitalist/imperialist systems, whereas those of the North benefit from it. Both know this perfectly well, even though they very often either surrender to it (as in the South) or laud themselves for having it (in the North). A radical transformation of the system is not on the agenda of the North, whereas the South remains a region of tempests of repeated and potentially revolutionary revolts. Consequently the initiatives of the people of the South have, and will be, decisive in the transformation of the world – as is demonstrated by the history of the twentieth century.’’ (2)

NOT COUNTING ‘NIGGERS’ (SIC!) (3)

Clarence Streit was an American journalist who played a prominent role in the Atlanticist and world federalist movements and published a book (Union Now) which suggests that democratic nations starting with fifteen which he names, should voluntarily form themselves into a union, not a league nor an alliance, but a union similar to the United States, with a common government, common currency and complete internal free-trade. In the fullness of time other states could be admitted to the union ‘if and when they proved themselves worthy.’

Orwell comments:

‘’It is worth noticing at the outset that this scheme is not so visionary as it sounds. What is there about it that smells? For it does smell of course … Mr Streit has lumped together the huge British and French empires – in essence nothing but mechanisms for exploiting cheap coloured labour – under the heading of democracies. Here and there in the book, though not often, there are references to the ‘dependencies’ of the democratic states. ‘Dependencies’ means subject races. It is explained that they are going to go on being dependencies, that their resources are going to be pooled among the states of the Union, and that their coloured inhabitants will lack the right to vote in Union affairs … India for example is not yet ready for self-government and the status quo must continue.’’

This neatly coincides with the idea of earlier Fabians such as the playwright George Bernard Shaw who enunciated the view that ‘Good government is better than self-government’ (see Fabianism and the Empire) and even worse was the racist/eugenicist, H.G.Wells. He had written in 1902 that …’’those swarms of black and brown, and dirty white, and yellow who do not come into the new needs of efficiency were self-evidently otiose. The World is a World and not a charitable institution and I take it that they will have to go. The whole tenor and meaning of the World, as I see it, is that they will have to go.’’ (4)

How our latter day social and cultural engineers – Klaus Schwab for one – would fervently endorse those sentiments.

Orwell comments:

‘’Mr Streit is letting cats out of bags, but all phrases like ‘’Peace Bloc’’, ‘’Peace Front’’, etcetera contain some such implications; all imply a tightening up of the existing structure. The unspoken clause is always ‘not counting niggers’. For how can we take a ‘firm stand’ against Hitler if we are simultaneously weakening ourselves at home. In other words how can we fight Fascism’ except by bolstering up a far vaster injustice.

For of course it is vaster. What we always forget is that the overwhelming bulk of the British proletariat does not live in Britain but in Asia or Africa. It is not in Hitler’s power, for example, to make a penny an hour the normal industrial wage. It is perfectly normal in India, and we are at great pains to keep it so. One gets some idea of the real relationship between India and Britain when one reflects upon the annual per capita income in Britain is something over £80, and in India about £7. It is quite common for an Indian coolies leg to be thinner than an average Englishman’s arm. And there is nothing racial in this for well-fed members of the same races or of normal physique; it is due to simple starvation. This is the system we all live on and which we denounce when we see that there is no danger of its being altered. Of late, however, it has become the first duty of a good ‘anti-fascist’ to lie about it and keep it in being.’’

So ended the early period and development of Orwell’s undoubted literary talent and political insights together with his ideological convictions. He has been regarded as a towering figure, almost a patron saint of the left; and unlike many armchair revolutionaries, he was prepared to get down and dirty during his time serving in the POUM (Pardido Obrero Unificacion Marxista – Workers Party of Marxist Unity) militia during his time in Spain, where he nearly died of a neck-wound. He was also to experience extreme poverty in England and France during the great depression. Unfortunately, these combined events had a very deleterious effect on his health, and he died after suffering a lifelong battle against TB common among his earlier and famous contemporaries D.H.Lawrence and Anton Chekov.

However, there was an episode late in his life that caused some controversy on the left, this was his association with the Information Research Department (IRD). This was a secret Cold War propaganda department of the British Foreign Office, created to publish anti-communist propaganda, provide support and information to anti-communist politicians, academics, and writers, and to use weaponized disinformation and “fake news” to attack socialists and anti-colonial movements. Soon after its creation, the IRD broke away from focusing solely on Soviet matters and began to publish pro-colonial propaganda intended to suppress pro-independence revolutions in Asia, Africa, Ireland, and the Middle East. The IRD was heavily involved in the publishing of books, newspapers, leaflets, journals, and even created publishing houses to act as propaganda fronts, most notably Ampersand Limited. Operating for 29 years, the IRD was notable for being the longest-running covert government propaganda department in British history, the largest branch of the Foreign Office, and the first major anglophone propaganda offensive against the USSR since the end of World War II.

The IRD is most notable for being the government department to which George Orwell submitted his list of suspected communists (Orwell’s list), including many notable people such as Charlie ChaplinPaul Robeson, and Michael Redgrave. With the help of Orwell’s widow Sonia Orwell and his former publisher Fredric Warburg, the IRD gained the foreign rights to much of Orwell’s work and spent years distributing Animal Farm onto every continent, translating Orwell’s works into 20 different languages, funding the creation of an Animal Farm carton and working with the CIA to create the feature-length Animal Farm animated movie, the first of its kind in British history. Many historians have noted how Orwell’s literary reputation can largely be credited to joint propaganda operations between the IRD and CIA. The IRD heavily marketed Animal Farm for audiences in the middle east to sway Arab nationalism and independence activists from seeking Soviet aid, as it was believed by IRD agents that a story featuring pigs as the villains would appeal highly towards Muslim audiences. The IRD funded the activities of many authors including  Arthur KoestlerBertrand Russell, and Robert Conquest.

I suppose that the fact that this was a time of red scares and anti-communist witch-hunts that did much to poison the political atmosphere in the west. Even the putatively great humanist philosopher, Bertrand Russell advocated using the Atomic Bomb to destroy the Soviet Union in 1948. Readers should make up their own mind as to Orwell’s ‘conversion’ shortly before he died. But the idea of working with the CIA, and MI5 still rankles.

NOTES

(1) Eric Blair changed his name adopting George (After England’s patron saint Saint George) and ‘Orwell’ from the River Orwell in Suffolk

(2) Samir Amin – The Capitalist-Socialist Conflict & The North-South Conflict. – p.26 – From Capitalism to Civilization.

(3) The use of the pejorative term ‘niggers’ is somewhat unfortunate, but it should be read in the context of the essay and the meaning which is intended by Orwell.

(4) Anticipations – H.G.Wells – London 1918 – p.317

FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

Source

FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

February 20, 2021

A good sub-title for this interview could be “Lavrov Unplugged”.

A quote from the transcript (which incidentally was available faster than any other transcript from the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation ):

“… when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

….

All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.”

Video in Russian without subtitles or English voiceover as yet.

Question: There is a feeling that the West is very annoyed by the appearance of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. At first, they were very aggressive and wouldn’t let it go. When I talked with Minister of Trade and Industry Dmitry Manturov, he called it “the vaccine war.” Now the opinion has changed. Is this about the quality of the vaccine or is politics involved in this?

Sergey Lavrov: I think it is possible to use the logic of the Russian proverb that can be translated into English as “love it so but mother says no.” Western experts know that the Sputnik V vaccine is definitely one of the best, if not the very best. Otherwise, there would not be such a stream of requests for it, which is growing geometrically.

On the other hand, they realise that the spread of Sputnik V and other Russian vaccines that will soon enter the international market, will enhance our authority and status in the world. They do not want this to happen. But they have come to realise that their first response was simply outrageous in the context of the facts and medical science. When President Vladimir Putin announced the development of the vaccine in August 2020, the offensive was completely undiplomatic. Their response just betrayed their irritation, you are perfectly right.

And now many countries (the Czech Republic and others) are saying they can’t wait for the certification of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency. In Hungary, they believe they are ready to start vaccination and supplies are now underway. The number of requests from Europe is steadily on the rise. Just the other day, Prince Albert II of Monaco sent a request for the vaccine for the entire population of his principality.

After independent agencies published their scientific evaluations, the West had to admit that the vaccine was good. Yet, attempts to discredit it continue.

Just yesterday I read a somewhat ambiguous statement by President of France Emmanuel Macron. He put us and the Chinese into the category of those who are trying to gain advantages in the world arena at the expense of their medical achievements. The day before yesterday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen spoke with an emphatically negative connotation about the supplies of the Russian vaccines to foreign countries.

We must follow the correct position of principle, first voiced by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, notably, that we were the first to develop the vaccine, and we will continue to increase its production. This is not easy, we do not have enough capacities, and this is why we are negotiating with India, South Korea and other countries. At the same time, he said we are open to the broadest possible cooperation.

There is one more important point. When this issue was discussed at the UN the other day, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the countries that have this vaccine or have the money to buy it, not to forget about the poor. In the meantime, attempts are being made to accuse us of trying to gain geopolitical favour by supplying it abroad. This is an obvious discrepancy. It is clear that the West is poorly prepared for this discussion.

Question: So, it’s about the same as when President Putin said at the Davos Forum that the world cannot continue creating an economy that will only benefit the “golden billion,” and we are actually accused of supplying the vaccine for the benefit of the “golden billion.” Still, are they talking about the vaccine like this just because it was made in Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t see any other reason, because no one even tried to conduct a medical or a scientific test. They just said right away that it was impossible just because it’s impossible, meaning that “no one can do this that quickly.” It was only in October 2020, when the West said they would be able to report on their achievements. President Putin announced in August that the Russian-made vaccine was ready for rollout.

Unfortunately, I often see that the response to everything we do, say or offer is, at best, questioned right off the bat. Usually, they say that “the Russians are playing their geopolitical games again.”

Question: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who was here recently and met with you, said that Russia is distancing itself from the West. At the same time, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said we are open to cooperation with Europe. You said we are ready to break up, but we are not breaking off our relations. What really stands in the way of normal relations between the EU and Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: A biased attitude, by and large. I worked with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, a good colleague of mine, when he was Spanish Foreign Minister. Now many, in an attempt to give a controversial dimension to the High Representative’s visit to Russia, forget how it all began. In May 2019, Mr Borrell said: “Our old enemy, Russia, says again ‘here I am,’ and it is again a threat.” We then asked his protocol service to confirm what he said. We were told that it was a figure of speech and that he was misunderstood. However, this attitude shows.

We are seen as a stranger. In my interview with Vladimir Solovyov, replying to his question as to whether we are ready to break off with the EU, I gave an affirmative answer because there are no relations to talk about. As former US President Barack Obama once said (although he said it about the Russian economy), relations have been “torn to shreds.”

Indeed, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement [between the EU and Russia] entered into force in 1997. It contained a number of declarative goals for moving towards common economic, humanitarian and cultural spaces. For many years, we used a mechanism of summits, which were held every six months in Russia and in the EU alternately. In fact, our entire Government held annual meetings with the European Commission to discuss the participants’ responsibilities in the context of over 20 sector-specific dialogues. We were building four common spaces and roadmaps for each of them. These were 100 percent substantive and specific projects. It was all destroyed, just like the Partnership and Cooperation Council, within which the Russian Foreign Minister and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy reviewed the entire range of relations. This disappeared long before the Ukraine crisis.

Many in our country are just waiting for a chance to pounce on the Russian Government’s foreign policy. We are being asked how we can say that we are ready to break off with the EU when it is our largest trade and economic partner. If we take the EU as a collective partner, it is our largest partner in terms of gross trade. For example, in 2013 (before the Ukraine events) Russia became a WTO member. From that moment, our trade relations were built on the principles advocated by that organisation rather than the EU’s principles. As a single trade bloc, the EU also participated in the WTO. We traded with member countries based on WTO guidelines. If you think the EU is a valuable trade and economic partner, here are some statistics for you: in 2013, the United States was the EU’s biggest trading partner with about $480 billion, followed by China with $428 billion and Russia with $417 billion. That is, these numbers are of the same order of magnitude. Where do we stand now? In 2019, EU’s trade with the United States stood at $750 billion, with China $650 billion, and with Russia at about $280 billion. In 2020, it was $218 billion, if counting with Great Britain, and $191 billion without it.

The reason? It’s the sanctions imposed by our “valued” and largest economic partner for reasons that have never relied on any facts whatsoever. At least, no facts have ever been presented to us. We understand Crimea. We understand Donbass as well. It’s just that the EU admitted its inability, or perhaps, unwillingness, to prevent the anti-constitutional coup with an open Russophobic slant and chose to turn things upside down. Brussels shifted the blame to us and imposed sanctions on Russia rather than the putschists, who, by and large, spat on the guarantees of the European Union, which signed the corresponding agreements, totally ignoring, as I said, the fact that the actions of the government, which they supported, were openly and violently anti-Russian.

Question: Without the events in Ukraine, would our relations with the West have sunk to where they are now?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult for me to talk about this. After all, later there were other events linked with the accusations of “the poisoning in Salisbury.” No facts were presented. We were not allowed to meet with our citizens. No evidence was offered. Everything was similar to what is happening now with the alleged poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

Question: It seems the West is looking for a pretext to spoil our relations.

Sergey Lavrov: They are looking but there are many pretexts: it’s always possible to use something as an excuse to put the relationship on the required track. But it’s not that they want to spoil relations. I don’t think this is their main goal. They want to bolster their self-esteem. Now they are starting to act like the US, revealing the mentality of an exclusive group of states. I quoted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. When asked why they continue discussing sanctions against Russia and what goals they had achieved by imposing sanctions, he replied that he didn’t believe sanctions should be used for any purpose. What matters is that they don’t leave any action by the Russian Federation unpunished.

The concealment of facts that could somehow confirm accusations against us started long before the crisis in Ukraine. We can recall 2007 – the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in the hospital. There was a coroner’s inquest. Later this trial was declared “public.” In George Orwell’s logic, in Britain this means a “secret trial” during which no inquisitorial procedures of the secret services may be presented. You know, these are system-wide problems.

I listed what we used to have in our relations with the European Union. Nothing is left now, not even sporadic contacts on some international issues. As regards the Iran nuclear programme, we are taking part in the work of the collective group of countries, which are trying to somehow put this programme back on track. This is not part of our relations with the EU proper. In the Middle East, we have a Quartet of mediators consisting of Russia, the US, the EU and the UN. In other words, this is multilateral cooperation rather than our relations with just the EU.

With regard to who is taking steps to prevent our relations from further decline, at least a little, we were thinking about that when Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was getting ready to visit Moscow. He suggested cooperating in healthcare and vaccines. We have already discussed this here. As a Brussels institution, the EU will hardly be allowed to contact Russian agencies or companies independently regarding the vaccines. We would sooner cooperate directly with the producers of AstraZeneca, as this is already taking place.

On the eve of Mr Borrell’s visit, we invited his experts to make a joint statement on the Middle East by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Our positions are nearly identical on the matter and we thought it would be appropriate to urge the Quartet to resume its activities and call for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, respect for the relevant UN resolutions, and so on.

We gave them a page and a half text that was easy to approve after the first reading. Several days prior to his arrival, we were told that “it did not work out.” I will reveal a secret because this is a blatant example. I asked Mr Borrell at the negotiating table: “What about this statement? Why didn’t it work out?” He started turning his head all around. It was clear from his reaction, and he confirmed this later, that nobody had even told him about it. These are the people that deal with what some of our liberals call “relations with the EU.”

Question: Concluding this theme, I’d like to say that as a man born in the USSR, I understand that during the Soviet-Western confrontation we had different ideologies, economies and so on. Later, I thought that everything was the same on both sides. They were for democracy and we were for democracy; they had a market economy and we had a market economy. So what are the differences? Why do we fail to find a common language to this day? I thought we found it in the 1990s? Why did we find it then?

Sergey Lavrov: We found it at that time because nobody in the Russian Federation disputed the answer to the question of who was ruling the show. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has talked about this many times. We decided that was it – the end of history. Francis Fukuyama announced that from now on liberal thought would rule the world. Now there are attempts to push this liberal thought to the fore again in a bid to gain international influence. But when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

Initially, having become President, Vladimir Putin and his team tried to convey this message through diplomatic signals that educated and smart people would be bound to understand. But nobody listened. Then the explanations had to be made politely but openly in the Munich speech. All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.

Question: Regarding the sanctions. Bloomberg posted a news item today that new sanctions against Russia are planned concerning the Nord Stream 2, however, they are not going to be tough but rather “soft.” On the other hand, they report that the Americans want to thwart the Nord Stream project but without irritating Germany. Where are we in this situation?

Sergey Lavrov: We are a country that completely complies with the contractual obligations undertaken by our companies that are part of the project, along with the EU companies that joined it. The current situation is largely due to a decision taken by what we call the European Union, a decision that proves beyond doubt what sort of alliance it is. A few years ago, when the Poles, and others sharing their attitude, attempted to impede the Nord Stream project, the Legal Service of the European Commission was asked for legal advice, official opinion. The service presented a document which stated in no uncertain terms that the investment project had been launched long before amendments were made to the EU’s gas directive, the Third Energy Package. That’s it. Period. This issue should be closed for any person who has respect for the law. But no, the European Commission took this opinion and launched its own quasi-legal procedure which resulted in the conclusion that the project had indeed been launched much earlier, yet it fell under this third energy package and the gas directive. That’s what kind of a partner we have in this “relationship.”

This is about how we can “pounce” on them and express readiness to break relations with them when they are our main economic partner – that’s what kind of a partner they are. Meanwhile, now Germany alone is fighting for the project.

And in fact, Joe Biden’s administration will not cancel anything which was done by Donald Trump except for leaving the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Democrats are returning there now.

The NATO defence ministers meeting has just ended. But there was no let-up in US demands to pay 2 percent of a country’s GDP for defence needs, i.e. for purchasing US weaponry. There was no backing off the demands on Europe regarding Nord Stream 2 – to stop participating in some matters that undermine European security. They see it better from across the ocean, right? This is about who is the boss. Europe also wants to run the house but it was taken down a peg. The situation around Nord Stream 2 is straightforward.

For now they are saying publicly that bargaining is underway and possible agreements between Washington and Berlin are being discussed, including that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may be allowed to be completed and even start operating. However, if at the same time gas transiting via Ukraine is going to be falling, then Nord Stream 2 must be shut off. I cannot decide for Germany, however, it is obvious to me that this proposal is humiliating. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his meeting with parliamentary party leaders, this is yet further evidence that they want Russia to pay for their Ukraine geopolitical venture.

Question: Do we have to pay for this geopolitical project?  Why do they think we have to pay for it?

Sergey Lavrov: Because they don’t feel like lashing out on it. They need the Ukrainian regime for the sole purpose of constantly irritating Russia and finding new reasons to support their Russophobic policy. They want to weaken anything around us – Belarus, Central Asia, and now also the South Caucasus, as they got nervous after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s successful mediation mission between Armenia and Azerbaijan: why was this done without them? They are now trying to infiltrate this region and step up their activities there. All of that has nothing to do with the Cold War-era ideology of a showdown between the two systems you talked about a few minutes ago. It has to do with the fact that our Western partners are unwilling, unprepared and unable to speak on an equal footing, whether with Russia, China, or whoever. They need to create a system where they will be the boss regardless. This is why they are taking an increasing dislike to the United Nations since they cannot have total control of it.

Question: Do you see the EU as a monolith, or as something more loose, with certain processes unfolding inside and some countries, no matter what, starting to talk about their willingness to be friends with Russia? In the case of the sanctions, the key figures behind them are, strange as it may seem, the Baltic States, which do not play a prominent role in the EU but, for some reason, everyone is listening to them.

Sergy Lavrov: It sounds inappropriate to refer to the EU as a monolith a mere couple of months after Brexit. This “monolith” is not the same as before. If you mean a monolith in a figurative sense, my answer is no. Quite a few countries are maintaining relations with Russia. The visit of Josep Borrell was the first trip by an EU official of this level to Russia in three years. In the same three years, about two dozen ministers from European Union member countries have visited Russia. We are having a great dialogue, without wasting too much time on confrontation and moralising. Indeed, all of them do have their assignments – a couple of sheets of paper from which they read a script approved by the “party committee” in Brussels.

Question: Do you mean they bring a notebook with instructions with them?

Sergey Lavrov: Certainly. They do not dare to veer off course. This, for example, goes for Alexey Navalny, or the Skripals as in the previous case, or human rights. Now scientist Yury Dmitriyev from Karelia is in the spotlight. They flatly refuse to accept evidence of his involvement in crimes, like pedophilia. They read from their notebook and I would adduce my arguments to the contrary and describe our vision of this or that situation and wonder why we cannot obtain evidence on the Navalny case or the Skripal case. In response they simply read again from their notebook. Apart from this discipline induced by the bloc member states’ solidarity, we discuss things normally. Yes, the EU sets the terms on which [its member countries] participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while we are trading with these countries in the WTO on the terms that were agreed on for Russia to join this organisation. But the EU has nothing to do with this cooperation in trade and investment activity, except for its attempts to restrict trade and economic ties with the sanctions.

You mentioned the Baltic States. Indeed, they run the show in this respect to a great extent. I have talked to your colleagues about this on more than one occasion. When in 2004 there were hectic activities to drag them into the EU, Russia and Brussels maintained a very frank dialogue. The President of the European Commission at the time was Romano Prodi. In 2005, the objective was set to move to visa-free travel.

Question: Nobody has any memories of this today.

Sergey Lavrov: We remember this when we reply to those who ask how we dare say that we are ready to break relations with the EU. You mentioned the Baltic States. We had long been negotiating an updated version of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the EU, which the EU terminated in 2014. It was expected to go a bit beyond the boundaries of the WTO rules and allow us to negotiate additional trade preferences. At one time there was an objective to establish a free trade zone, but this has long since fallen into oblivion. However, there were plans to update the agreement in order to liberalise trade even more, in addition to the WTO rules. In 2014, they ceased to exist – another example of breaking down our relations.

A visa-free travel agreement was also finalised back in 2013. We had met all of the EU requirements: we agreed that only people with biometric passports would be eligible for visa-free travel and that those who violated EU entry rules or any other EU rules while in an EU country during a visa-free period would be subject to readmission. We signed the relevant agreement. Everything they asked for, and that suited us, was done. Later, when it was time to sign the agreement and then ratify it, the EU said: “Let’s wait.” It did not take us long to learn why they had said this, all the more so as they did not try to conceal their motives. This Brussels team decided that it was politically incorrect to approve a visa-free travel agreement with Russia prior to offering it to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Question: In other words, Russia was made dependent on other countries?

Sergey Lavrov: It sure was, at the Baltic States’ initiative. This is also important for understanding the nature of our relations. This is an attitude from people who decided that they were European, which is not at all the case. Russia sees Europe in all its diversity. If the “party committee” in Brussels does not like it, we cannot force them to.

Question: Europe stretches at least to the Urals.

Sergey Lavrov: Correct. In 2009, when Jose Manuel Barroso was President of the European Commission, we held a Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk. Our European colleagues arrived later in the day. We went out for a walk along the embankment. We were showing them around the city and Mr Barroso said: “It’s amazing. It took us 13 hours to get here from Brussels, and it’s still Europe.” This is the key message behind the slogan “Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Question: I’m going to ask you about one other country, Belarus. There will be a presidential summit on February 22. President Lukashenko will come to Russia. Recently, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei gave an interview to the RBC media holding and mentioned Belarus’ multi-directional foreign policy. Do you think we have managed to work well with Minsk on integration? What should we expect from these talks?

Sergey Lavrov: The term “multi-directional” should not be used as a profanity. Most normal states want it. Russia, too, has used a multi-directional approach as the basis of its foreign policy since 2002. In our understanding, a multi-directional approach is possible only if based of equality, respect and a balance of interests, as well as mutual benefit. This is the only way it can work.

First, they threaten us with sanctions, and then the same people are saying that we “had it coming” and impose unilateral restrictions on us, and then say that we are “bad” because “we are looking to the East.” Everything has been turned upside down.

Russia is a Eurasian country. We have close contacts with Europe, which have been cultivated for centuries, before anyone even thought of a European Union, and the Europeans fought and competed against each other. By the way, we often helped them achieve peace and fair outcomes in wars.

Question: We even saved the monarchies?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they are aware of it. The republic in the United States, too, to a certain extent.

However, our European neighbours have severed almost all of our ties and left only sporadic contacts on international crises that are of interest to the EU in order to keep a profile on the international arena. In many ways, the EU is driven by a desire to be seen as an important operator in Syrian and other matters. If we are not welcome here, we will simply continue to work with our other neighbours who are not prone to whims like that.

Objectively, our trade with the EU is almost half of what it was in 2013. Our trade with China has doubled over the same period.

Question: Back to Minsk. What can we expect from talks between President Putin and President Lukashenko on February 22?

Sergey Lavrov: There are some who want to interpret Minsk’s words about the multi-directional nature of its foreign policy as proof of its “unreliability” as a partner and ally. I do not think so.

In the Council of Europe, of which Belarus is not a member yet, we advocate the CoE establishing relations with Minsk. We supported the accession of Minsk to a number of Council of Europe conventions. We have always been in favour of Belarus enjoying normal relations with its western neighbours. I’m not sure what the CoE will do next. Russophobia has swept over most of the EU countries, and the most “violent” ones are in charge of the agenda.

I read the remarks by President Lukashenko (not all his interviews, but they were cited) to the effect that he sees no obstacles to deepening integration. Progress will depend on how President Vladimir Putin and President Lukashenko agree on things.

There are two more days to go before the talks. I don’t think we should be speculating on the outcome of the summit. We will know everything soon.

Question: Recently, US President Joseph Biden said the United States will no longer be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” (ostensibly, Donald Trump did this). How can we build our relations now? Are there subjects we can discuss with Washington? Are they ready to talk with us?

Sergey Lavrov: These comments on who is rolling over or will be rolling over in the face of someone’s actions illustrate a very deep split in US society. It reached a level of personal enmity that is aggressive and contrary to American political culture. The politicians did not particularly mince their words during previous presidential campaigns or prior to elections to Congress, but I don’t remember anything comparable to what is being said now.

Our liberal media promote a tough pro-Western line. In looking for objects of criticism in Russia, they are infringing on the threshold of decency and getting personal. They are very crude, and behave not like journalists but like inveterate propagandists, accusing others of propaganda.

The fact that the New Start Treaty was extended in time is a very positive step. This shouldn’t be overrated, but it shouldn’t be underrated, either. In his election speeches Joseph Biden mentioned his willingness to extend it, but these were election speeches after all. His promise could be interpreted differently later, but he extended this important document for five years without any conditions, like we suggested. If this had not happened, there would not have been a single instrument of international law, not only in Russian-US relations but in the entire range of multilateral ties, that contained any restrictions in the sphere of disarmament, arms control and nuclear weapons non-proliferation.

It is very important that just a few days prior to February 5, 2021, the date the treaty was extended for five years, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and US President Joseph Biden reaffirmed their intention to promote talks on strategic stability in these new conditions, in their first telephone conversation after the US presidential election. The situation has changed substantially since 2010: We and the Americans have acquired new weapons some of which are covered by the treaty. We announced this last year. We said that they must be taken into account. Some other weapons are not covered by the treaty – they are basically very different because of their physical characteristics.

Question: Are you talking about hypersonic weapons?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, the United States also has such weapons. Hypersonic weapons are partly covered by the New START Treaty, if these are ballistic missiles.

The New START Treaty already covers some weapons systems, so we now have to include these weapons systems in the Treaty for the next five years and see how all this will be verified. But it does not cover some weapons.

The United States has developed a new system called the Prompt Global Strike (PGS). By the way, this system implies a non-nuclear strike. We have suggested negotiating all issues without exception that have an impact on strategic stability and the legitimate interests of the contracting parties.

Question: Did they agree to this? Are they ready?

Sergey Lavrov: In October 2020, we submitted draft joint understandings to the Trump administration. This rough outline shows how we can sit down and start negotiating the agenda. We have received no reply from them. Instead of addressing this matter, Marshall Billingslea, the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, mostly made vocal statements that the United States was all for it but that the Russians did not want to do this.

When I spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, I reminded him that Russia had submitted its proposals to the Trump administration, which dealt with this matter and many other issues, including cybersecurity and concerns over interference in each other’s domestic affairs. We would like to get back to them, and to hear the Biden administration’s opinions in this regard. We realise that they now need some time to settle down in the White House and the Department of State. I hope that this will not take too long.

There are still some questions on disarmament, for example, the lineup of participants in the disarmament process. The US position on China, approved by Donald Trump, remains unchanged; the same concerns a number of other matters.

Regarding multilateral talks, first of all, this should not annul Russian-US agreements because we have several times more nuclear weapons than other nuclear countries. Second, if we make this a multilateral process, then all prospective participants, primarily the five nuclear powers, should reach a voluntary agreement. We will never try to persuade China. We respect the position of Beijing, which either wants to catch up with us or proposes that we first reduce our arsenals to China’s levels and then start on the talks. All circumstances considered, if this is a multilateral process, then we will get nowhere without the United Kingdom and France. The Trump administration insisted that China should take part and at the same time said about its allies that they were the good guys, literally. This sounds funny. Apart from the complicated and lengthy disarmament process, we do not have so many promising spheres where we can cooperate constructively.

Question: Does this mean that their vision of the issue is entirely different or that they are reluctant to negotiate?

Sergey Lavrov: They think that they are the boss, and this mentality is still here and it determines the perception of their enemies. So far, they have not designated China as an enemy, but they have called us an enemy a couple of times. Democrats have an additional motivation for expanding this policy. Their position is that, supposedly unlike with Donald Trump, they will be “no Russian tail wagging the dog.”

Question: Don’t you think that Democrats have come to power with the intention of taking revenge against Russia, and that they will implement Donald Trump’s anti-Russia plans that he failed to accomplish in four years.

Sergey Lavrov: They made such statements during the election campaign. Joe Biden and his supporters said openly that the Trump administration had gone soft, that it was constantly making advances and working for the Russian intelligence. Donald Trump said that he was conducting the toughest policy with regard to Russia. He said that he liked Vladimir Putin, but he introduced more sanctions than all of his predecessors taken together.

We are also witnessing a cowboy-style showdown there. But this is normal for US politics, especially today. Disagreements between liberals who considered liberalism an irreversible trend have become aggravated to the greatest possible extent. Donald Trump, who did not like liberal principles and approaches, suddenly took over. He tried to think more about the basic interests of the American founders, the people who moved there (and it has always been a nation of immigrants), and who accepted its laws. So, the big question is whether people should remain loyal to the country that has accepted them, or do they want to erode its principles?

Question: Should they try to fit in?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they want to be the boss. Everything boils down to this once again.

Question: Karabakh, the subject of that. Fortunately, the war is over and a peace agreement has been inked. We covered extensively the role Russia and Azerbaijan played. I have a question to do with Turkey. I was in Azerbaijan during the war and heard many people say that the Azerbaijanis are supportive of the Great Turan idea (a state that covered the territory from Turkey to Central Asia). Is Moscow concerned by Turkey becoming a stronger state?

Sergey Lavrov: This opinion is entertained by a portion of the society. I’m not going to give a percentage of how many people support this idea. I’m not sure many of those who informed you about this really know what “Great Turan” is all about.

The relations between Turkic-speaking peoples have become an integral part of cooperation between Turkey and the corresponding countries, including Azerbaijan and a number of Central Asian states.

There is the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States, in which we participate as observers. A number of our republics are interested in contacts with it and are promoting their specific projects.

There is TURKSOY  ̵  the International Organisation of Turkic Culture. There’s also the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries. All of them have been functioning for a long time now. They draft their own plans and hold functions. Their cooperation is mainly based on cultural, linguistic and educational traditions.

Speaking about the Great Turan as a supranational entity in a historical sense, I don’t think that this is what Turkey is after. I don’t see how former Soviet and now independent countries can be supportive of this idea in any form. On the contrary, their foreign policies and practices focus on strengthening their national states.

Turkey has its interests which include its fellow tribesmen who speak the same language. We also want the Russian World to communicate. We have created an extensive network of organisations of our compatriots living abroad; we are opening Russian World centres at universities in different countries with purely linguistic, educational and scientific goals.

The Centre for the Russian Language and Culture created by the Russkiy Mir Foundation was recently closed in Krakow. This is an obvious step for Poland, as well as for the Baltic States, which are fighting everything that is Russian. Ukraine followed in their footsteps and shut down several media outlets and imposed a language ban. We are well aware of all this. We will keep raising this matter at the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the corresponding UN agencies. One cannot pretend that this comes with the “growth” and the “coming of age” of the Ukrainian nation, which, as they say, is an “ill-fated” one. The Ukrainians claim that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great. In that case, they should be responsible for the orders they introduce. The EU, and Germany and France as the Normandy format participants, avoid performing their duties when it comes to “educating” Ukraine in terms of making it comply with the Minsk agreements, and this has become a chronic behaviour pattern which does not reflect well on Germany or France.

Question: It was announced that Ukraine was recognised an unfriendly state. How will this affect relations between us?

Sergey Lavrov: This is just a descriptive attribute. What’s friendly about it? Russian schools are being closed, customers and shop assistants are not allowed to speak their native language, and the Nazis are burning Russian flags.

Question: This is reminiscent of the Baltic States 20 to 30 years ago.

Sergey Lavrov: Back when the Baltic States were about to be admitted to the EU, we asked the Brussels bureaucrats, the Eurogrands, whether they were sure they were doing the right thing. The problems that are at odds with the membership criteria persist, including non-observance of the rights of the Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia and Estonia. We were told that the Baltic States are phobic of Russia (war, the so-called occupation, etc.), the EU will bring it into its fold, it will calm down and ethnic minorities will be happy and contented. Things turned out the other way round. The Russians were not granted any rights, and statelessness is still there.

Question: Let’s go back to Turkey: Ankara’s stronger position, its active role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, President Erdogan’s visit to Northern Cyprus (which a Turkish leader has not done for quite a while). What does Moscow think about it?

Sergey Lavrov: As far as Turkey and Northern Cyprus are concerned, we see it as Ankara’s relations with its “fellow countrymen.” I have not heard about Turkey refusing to honour the UN obligations accepted by the conflicting parties. These obligations include seeking a mutually acceptable solution and creating a bicommunal bizonal federation. There is a discussion of whether the federation will be strong or weak. But there is no disagreement about the fact that it must be one state. Although not so very long ago, it was the common opinion that the entire project would fail and they would have to create two states. We understand that Ankara is interested in Cypriot Turks living in equality and their rights being observed. We support the idea that the same motives with which Turkey explains its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, including with respect to hydrocarbons, should determine its dialogue with Greece and Turkey.

On February 17, 2021, I spoke with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who told me that on January 25, 2021, he had had a probing conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. They did not iron out all issues. But it is good news that a dialogue was established. They agreed to continue it. On February 18, 2021, I spoke with Mevlut Cavusoglu. We continued sharing opinions following the telephone conversations between President Putin and President Erdogan on Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and our bilateral relations. New power units of a nuclear power station are under construction; the TurkStream project is ongoing. There is much common ground between our countries when it comes to energy.

In October 2019, the first Russia-Africa Summit in history was held in Sochi. A record number of heads of state and heads of government attended. In the course of the preparations for the summit, we reviewed the development of our relations with African countries and the current state of affairs, including from the perspective of expanding our presence on the continent which political scientists consider to be the most promising in the long term. We reviewed other countries’ presence in Africa. Since 2002, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from 12 to 42. Turkey’s trade with the region is estimated at around 20 billion dollars a year and Russia’s trade is around 15 billion dollars. This is to say that Turkey has an eye for potential.

Question: Perhaps Turkey is disappointed with the EU because nobody accepted it?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe it could partially be the case. In its contacts with the EU, Ankara continues to insist that the EU promised it accession. Turkey is spreading its wings and gaining weight despite the existing economic problems at home. Turkey mainly goes on by accumulating its national debt but this model is widely common around the world.

Question: 2020 is the year of the pandemic. During such times, countries should join forces and help each other. Do you think that this was the case? Or did the world fail to put aside disagreements and rally together even when it came to the COVID-19 infection?

Sergey Lavrov: Now this conversation is back to square one. There are no ideologies anymore. But this ideology-based, politicised perception of the Russian vaccine was not a very good signal. The Sputnik V vaccine was announced in August 2020, many months after the G20 summit (March 2020) where Vladimir Putin strongly advocated cooperation in vaccine production. Even then, we were ready to create joint scientific teams. But Western countries and their companies, unwilling to help competitors, did not respond to that proposal. So much for unification in this purely medical field.

There is also the humanitarian sphere. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made calls during the pandemic to suspend all unilateral sanctions in fields directly affecting food, the supply of medicine and medical equipment, in order to alleviate the suffering of the population in countries that were under unilateral sanctions (regardless of their reasons). There was no reaction from the initiators of those sanctions (primarily the US and the EU). Also, there was no response to President Vladimir Putin’s proposal, at the G20 summit, to create ‘green corridors’ for the period of the pandemic, to move goods under the most relaxed rules – without tax, duties, tariffs, delays, or special customs inspections.

We are all in the same boat, and it’s not so big. Some forecasts say this situation will continue for a long time, and the coronavirus will be a seasonal infection, and it is not at all the same as the flu or other diseases, so we will have to use precautions permanently, use PPE. This realisation should somehow prod countries to more open cooperation, especially those that up until recently had some doubts.

True, there have been some good shifts. One of them is the United States’ return to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some hotheads in Washington believe that, now that they have returned, they will make others do their bidding. There are fewer than 50 Chinese people in the WHO Secretariat, 25 Russians, over 200 Americans, and more than 2,000 NATO representatives. The past US administration said China was manipulating the WHO. That is not true. Otherwise, we are admitting the complete helplessness of 2,000 NATO members who should be the majority in the WHO Secretariat.

Nevertheless, there are some positive results though. This problem has been recently considered at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. It is important now to focus on equitable collaboration within the WHO. Besides the attempts at carrying out “soft coups” and establishing their own rules in the organisation, hardly based on consensus, an idea has been suggested to move the main decision-making on global health policies outside the universal organisation. We have been pointing out this tendency for some time now – the one to replace international law with a rules-based world order. As it turns out in reality, those rules boil down to working out all decisions in a circle of those who agree with you rather than in a group with universal representation where you have to argue your case and search for balances and compromises. And then you just present the decision as ‘the ultimate truth’ and demand that everyone respect it.

This underlies the Franco-German initiative for a new multilateralism and some limited partnerships in the West. For example, Paris has launched an International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. Under this non-universal, non-UN partnership, the EU creates the so-called ‘horizontal’ regime of sanctions to be imposed on anyone that France-initiated partnership points at. A similar sanctions regime is being created for cybersecurity. Instead of any open-ended discussion, the French are promoting some partnership to defend freedom in cyberspace. This is another example of rules on which ‘order’ will be based.

There are attempts to start similar groups outside the WHO. But people’s health is not a field where one can play geopolitics. Unless there is a conspiracy behind this to reduce the population of the Earth. Many are now starting to develop such theories and concepts.

Ten Years Ago: “Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa

Part II

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, February 20, 2021

Global Research 9 March 2011

Author’s Note:

The following article was published almost ten years ago on March 9, 2011, at the outset of the US-NATO “humanitarian” military intervention in Libya.  Libya’s crude oil reserves in 2011 were twice those of the United States.

In retrospect. the 2011 US-NATO led war on Libya was a multi-trillion dollar trophy for the United States. It was also, as outlined in my 2011 article a means to establishing US hegemony in North Africa, a region historically dominated by France and to lesser extent by Italy and Spain.

The US-NATO intervention was also intent upon excluding China from the region and edging out China’s National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), which was a major player in Libya. 

Libya is the gateway to the Sahel and Central Africa. More generally, what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa at the expense of France’s historical spheres of influence, namely a process of neo-colonial redivision.

Recent developments confirm this process. In the course of the last decade, starting with president Nicolas Sarkozy, France has become a de facto US proxy State. 

Michel Chossudovsky, February 15, 2021

***

The geopolitical and economic implications of a US-NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching.

Libya is among the World’s largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US.

“Operation Libya” is part of  the broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which consists in gaining control and corporate ownership over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas, including oil and gas pipeline routes.

“Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, possess between 66.2 and 75.9 percent of total oil reserves, depending on the source and methodology of the estimate.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The “Demonization” of Muslims and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, January 4, 2007) .

With 46.5 billion barrels of proven reserves [2011 data], (10 times those of Egypt), Libya is the largest oil economy in the African continent followed by Nigeria and Algeria (Oil and Gas Journal). In contrast, US proven oil reserves are of the order of 20.6 billion barrels (December 2008) according to the Energy Information Administration.  U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves)

The most recent estimates [2011] place Libya’s oil reserves at 60 billion barrels. Its gas reserves at 1,500 billion m3. Its production has been between 1.3 and 1.7 million barrels a day, well below its productive capacity. Its longer term objective is three million b/d and a gas production of 2,600 million cubic feet a day, according to figures of the National Oil Corporation (NOC).

The (alternative) BP Statistical Energy Survey (2008) places Libya’s proven oil reserves at 41.464 billion barrels at the end of 2007 which represents 3.34 % of the world’s proven reserves. (Mbendi  Oil and Gas in Libya – Overview).


Oil is the “Trophy” of US-NATO led Wars

An invasion of Libya under a humanitarian mandate would serve the same corporate interests as the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. The underlying objective is to take possession of Libya’s oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country’s oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya’s oil wealth into foreign hands.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ranked 25 among the world’s Top 100 Oil Companies. (The Energy Intelligence ranks NOC 25 among the world’s Top 100 companies. – Libyaonline.com)

The planned invasion of Libya, which is already underway [February-March 2011]is part of the broader “Battle for Oil”.  Close to 80 percent of Libya’s oil reserves are located in the Sirte Gulf basin of Eastern Libya. (See map below)

Libya is a Prize Economy. “War is good for business”. Oil is the trophy of US-NATO led wars.

Wall Street, the Anglo-American oil giants, the US-EU weapons producers would be the unspoken beneficiaries of a US-NATO led military campaign directed against Libya.

Libyan oil is a bonanza for the Anglo-American oil giants. While the market value of crude oil is currently well in excess of 100 dollars a barrel, the cost of Libyan oil is extremely low, as low as $1.00 a barrel (according to one estimate). As one oil market expert commented somewhat cryptically:

“At $110 on the world market, the simple math gives Libya a $109 profit margin.” (Libya Oil, Libya Oil One Country’s $109 Profit on $110 Oil, EnergyandCapital.com March 12, 2008)

Foreign Oil Interests in Libya

Foreign oil companies operating prior to the insurrection in Libya include France’s Total, Italy’s ENI, The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), British Petroleum, the Spanish Oil consortium REPSOL, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Hess, Conoco Phillips.

Of significance, China plays a central role in the Libyan oil industry. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) had a workforce of some 400 employees. The total Chinese workforce in Libya was of the order of 30,000.

Eleven percent (11%) of Libyan oil exports are channelled to China. While there are no figures on the size and importance of CNPC’s production and exploration activities, there are indications that they are sizeable.

More generally, China’s presence in North Africa is considered by Washington to constitute an intrusion. From a geopolitical standpoint, China is an encroachment. The military campaign directed against Libya is intent upon excluding China from North Africa.

Also of importance is the role of Italy. ENI, the Italian oil consortium puts out 244,000 barrels of gas and oil, which represents almost 25 percent of Libya’s total exports. ( Sky News: Foreign oil firms halt Libyan operations, February 23, 2011).

Among US companies in Libya, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) decided barely 6 months ago (October 2010) not to renew their oil and gas exploration licenses in Libya. (Why are Chevron and Oxy leaving Libya?: Voice of Russia, October 6, 2010). In contrast, in November 2010, Germany’s oil company, R.W. DIA E signed a far-reaching agreement with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) involving exploration and production sharing. AfricaNews – Libya: German oil firm signs prospecting deal – The AfricaNews, 

The financial stakes as well  as “the spoils of war” are extremely high. The military operation is intent upon dismantling Libya’s financial institutions as well as confiscating billions of dollars of Libyan financial assets deposited in Western banks.

It should be emphasised that Libya’s military capabilities, including its air defense system are weak. 

Libya Oil Concessions

Redrawing the Map of Africa

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa. The objective of US-NATO interference is strategic: it consists in outright theft, in stealing the nation’s oil wealth under the disguise of a humanitarian intervention.

This military operation is intent upon establishing US hegemony in North Africa, a region historically dominated by France and to lesser extent by Italy and Spain.

With regard to Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, Washington’s design is to weaken the political links of these countries to France and push for the installation of new political regimes which have a close rapport with the US. This weakening of France is part of a US imperial design. It is a historical process which goes back to the wars in Indochina.

US-NATO intervention leading to the eventual formation of a US puppet regime is also intent upon excluding China from the region and edging out China’s National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). The Anglo-American oil giants including British Petroleum which signed an exploration contract in 2007 with the Ghadaffi government are among the potential “beneficiaries” of  the proposed US-NATO military operation.

More generally, what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa, a process of neo-colonial redivision, the scrapping of the demarcations of the 1884 Berlin Conference, the conquest of Africa by the United States in alliance with Britain, in a US-NATO led operation.

The colonial redivision of Africa. 1913

Libya: Strategic Saharan Gateway to Central Africa

Libya has borders with several countries which are within France’s sphere of influence, including Algeria, Tunisia, Niger and Chad.

Chad is potentially an oil rich economy. ExxonMobil and Chevron have interests in Southern Chad including a pipeline project. Southern Chad is a gateway into the Darfur region of Sudan, which is also strategic in view of its oil wealth.

China has oil interests in both Chad and Sudan. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed a farreaching agreement with the Chad government in 2007.

Niger is strategic to the United States in view of its extensive reserves of uranium. At present, France dominates the uranium industry in Niger through the French nuclear conglomerate Areva, formerly known as Cogema. China also has a stake in Niger’s uranium industry.

More generally, the Southern border of Libya is strategic for the United States in its quest to extend its sphere of influence in Francophone Africa, a vast territory extending from North Africa to Central and Western Africa. Historically this region was part of France and Belgium’s colonial empires, the borders of which were established  at the Berlin Conference of 1884.

Image Source www.hobotraveler.com

The US played a passive role at the 1884 Berlin Conference. This new 21st Century redivision of the African continent, predicated on the control over oil, natural gas and strategic minerals (cobalt, uranium, chromium, manganese, platinum and uranium) largely supports dominant Anglo-American corporate interests.

US interference in North Africa redefines the geopolitics of an entire region. It undermines China and overshadows the influence of the European Union.

This new redivision of Africa not only weakens the role of the former colonial powers (including France and Italy) in North Africa. it  is also part of a broader process of displacing and weakening France (and Belgium) over a large part of the African continent.

US puppet regimes have been installed in several African countries which historically were in the sphere of influence of France (and Belgium), including The Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.  Several countries in West Africa (including Côte d’Ivoire) are slated to become US proxy states.

The European Union is heavily dependent on the flow of Libyan oil. 85 percent of its oil is sold to European countries. In the case of a war with Libya, the supply of petroleum to Western Europe could be further disrupted, largely affecting Italy, France and Germany. Thirty percent of Italy’s oil and 10 percent of its gas are imported from Libya. Libyan gas is fed through the Greenstream pipeline in the Mediterranean (See map below).

The implications of these potential disruptions are far-reaching. They also have a direct bearing on the relationship between the US and the European Union.

Greenstream pipeline linking Libya to Italy (right)

Concluding Remarks

The mainstream media through massive disinformation is complicit in justifying a military agenda which, if carried out, would have devastating consequences not only for the Libyan people: the social and economic impacts would be felt Worldwide.

There are at present three distinct war theaters in the broader Middle East Central Asian region: Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq. In the case of an attack on Libya, a  fourth war theater would be opened up in North Africa, with the risk of military escalation.

Public opinion must take cognizance of the hidden agenda behind this alleged humanitarian undertaking, heralded by the heads of state and heads of government of NATO countries as a “Just War”. The Just War theory in both its classical and contemporary versions upholds war as a “humanitarian operation”. It calls for military intervention on ethical and moral grounds against “rogue states” and “Islamic terrorists”. The Just war theory demonizes the Gaddafi regime while providing a humanitarian mandate to US-NATO military intervention.

The heads of state and heads of government of NATO countries are the architects of war and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an utterly twisted logic, they are heralded as the voices of reason, as the representatives of the “international community”.

Realities are turned upside down. A humanitarian intervention is launched by war criminals in high office, who are the unchallenged guardians of the Just War theory.

Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo,… Civilian casualties in Pakistan resulting from US drone attacks on towns and villages ordered by president Obama, are not front page news, nor are the 2 million civilian deaths in Iraq.

There is no such thing as a “Just War”.  The history of US imperialism should be understood. The 2000 Report of the Project of the New American Century entitled “Rebuilding Americas’ Defenses” [pdf file no longer accessible] calls for the implementation of a long war, a war of conquest.

One of the main components of this military agenda is: to “Fight and decisively win in multiple, simultaneous theater wars”.

“Operation Libya” is part of that process. It is another theater in the Pentagon’s logic of “simultaneous theater wars”.

The PNAC document faithfully reflects the evolution of US military doctrine since 2001. The US plans to be involved simultaneously in several war theaters in different regions of the World.

While heralding the need to protect America (i.e. “National Security”), the PNAC report does spell out why these multiple theater wars are required.

What purpose do they serve. Are they an instrument of peace? The usual humanitarian justification is not even mentioned.

What is the purpose of America’s military roadmap?

Libya is targeted because it is one among several remaining countries outside America’s sphere of influence, which fail to conform to US demands. Libya is a country which has been selected as part of a military “road map” which consists of “multiple simultaneous theater wars”.  In the words of former NATO Commander Chief General Wesley Clark:

 “in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).

Part I

Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US NATO Attempted Coup d’Etat in Libya?

U.S. WANTS TO NEGOTIATE WITH IRAN AS ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH EXCHANGE THREATS

South Front

Read this article in German: LINK.

Hezbollah, one of Israel’s sworn enemies and a staunch ally of Iran continues its tough rhetoric against Tel Aviv.

On February 17th, the group released a 2-minute video titled “Oh Zionists, You Have Military and Security Targets Within Your Cities.”

The footage contained a threat to strike 10 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targets throughout Israeli cities.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah was shown warning Aviv Kochavi, Chief of General Staff of IDF with “total war”.

The Hezbollah video warning of war if the IDF chose to initiate it came in response to large-scale drills that the IDF held in recent weeks.

During the exercise, IDF pilots trained to hit up to 3,000 targets per day in case of all-out confrontation.

This tougher rhetoric from Hezbollah is not something uncommon. What makes it significant is that the movement can afford to make it even tougher due to the Biden Administration formally being less supportive of Israel.

On February 18th, US President Joe Biden told Iran that it was ready to take part in EU-sponsored talks to restore the Iran Nuclear Deal.

This seems as a large concession, and causes a sense of urgency in Israel. For the first time since he entered into office, Biden accepted a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the conversation, Biden affirmed the US commitment to Israel’s security, and mutual defense cooperation. He said that the flow of weapons, equipment and funding would continue. It all appeared very hollow and according to script.

Similarly, to what US President Barack Obama did, Biden promised to increase Israeli military aid, but that also means it will not get any more “tangible” support.

This is all good and well, but it simply means “you will not feel as special as you were when Donald Trump was around.”

Separately, another Axis of Resistance enemy, Saudi Arabia is suffering by Yemen’s Ansar Allah (the Houthis).

On February 17th, the Houthis captured the significant Marib Dam, as they push towards Marib city and consolidate power in the surrounding areas.

The city is the last major stronghold of the Saudi-led coalition in central Yemen. If it falls, which seems quite plausible, the Houthis will have even more opportunity to push into southern Saudi Arabia.

In their past raids they have captured hundreds of Saudi-led coalition soldiers and various equipment.

February 2021 seems to be the month of the Axis of Resistance, with Iran’s campaign of non-compliance with the Nuclear Deal giving fruit. Hezbollah, the Houthis and the pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and Syria further seem to be achieving limited success.

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What a return to the Iran nuclear deal means ماذا تعني العودة إلى الاتفاق النوويّ الإيرانيّ

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

What a return to the Iran nuclear deal means

Dr. Wafiq Ibrahim

The conditions for returning to the nuclear agreement are increasing, and with it the possibility of building a real world peace between the most powerful countries in the world increases.

The reason for this optimism is that four members of the agreement — France, Britain, Germany and the United States — will meet at night for the first time since the Americans withdrew from the agreement in 2016.

Since Russia is also committed to its membership and Iran, there is a high probability that the nuclear agreement will be reintroduced as stipulated in its basic terms in 2015.

The conditions for return do not seem to be difficult despite Saudi-Israeli attempts to block it and pressure the United States not to return. This is because these two countries are determined to continue to regard Iran as an enemy of the Western public order and its alliances in the Middle East.

Former U.S. President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2016, claiming Iran had violated it. But the rest of the member states and the International Energy Organization did not agree with his claims, which led to the disruption of the work in the last four years in a row and turned into a U.S.-Iran conflict in which Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered alongside the Americans, but France, Britain and Germany continued to demand Iran to remain a member of the agreement alongside Russia, which since the beginning of the dispute has declared strong support for Iran.

It is therefore a political struggle that takes the form of technical disagreements. As for the reasons, it is Iran’s success in building deep alliances, starting with Afghanistan with its main forces, and ending with deep political influence in Pakistan. Iran has also managed to penetrate Into India, where it succeeded in building deep relations with its Shiites and in Yemen, where it forged one of the most important relations with the Houthis, who form its main force and defeated with them Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the British and the Americans in battles that continue.

Iran also supported Iraq and allowed it to defeat the Americans, their allies, and ISIS. As for Syria, it is a great story in which Iran supported preventing the overthrow of the Syrian state and its expansion into three quarters of its country. As for Lebanon, Iran was able to support Hezbollah in such a way that it became the main force in a major axis standing in the face of “Israel” and its slaves in the region.

These achievements are the root cause of The U.S. Western Saudi-Israeli hostility to Iran, and it is the reason for the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Can Iran bow to renegotiating its alliances extending from Afghanistan to Lebanon?

There are reasons to prevent this.

Firstly, the West knows that Iran’s alliances have become armed forces within their own countries and it is not easy to confront them, and it has become almost impossible to attack them by “Israel” or any Arab forces. As for the negotiations over its status, this is a hopeless act, because it is close to catching their countries.

Therefore, the only thing left for the Americans and their alliances is to search for new means of rolling into politics, meaning that the Americans accept political settlements between the forces allied with Iran and the forces affiliated with the Americans, but not within the framework of imposed truces, but rather agreements that lead to the conduct and regularity of public business in the country.

Will a return to the nuclear agreement lead to regular internal actions in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon?

It seems that things are going to this direction because there is no alternative, especially since the two parties to the conflict are never thinking of leaving the areas they are sponsoring in Iraq and Syria due to their national and regional importance.

It turns out, then, that the nuclear agreement is an internal agreement that grasps many internal regions of countries in the Middle East, and this makes it very important and confiscates the external powers of these countries, i.e. it can use the entity that controls it in the Middle East conflicts, which is also an international one that serves the interest of recommending another team in the conflicts of the countries to control the most important oil and gas region in the world.

It is clear that the nuclear agreement is an internal agreement that holds a lot of the internal areas of the countries in the Middle East and this makes it very important and confiscates the external powers of these countries, i.e. it can use the entity that controls it in the Middle East conflicts, which is also an international one that serves the interest of recommending another team in the conflicts of the countries to control the most important oil and gas region in the world.

Will the European-American meetings succeed in preparing for a return to the nuclear agreement as a mechanism for turning Middle Eastern conflicts into draft agreements and freezing their flames?

There is a vague point in this agreement and you go on to wonder if Russia actually accepts to work on an international agreement that excludes China from what is the actual instrument of conflict with the U.S. side?

There is an ambiguous point in this agreement and it raises the question whether Russia actually accepts working on an international agreement that excludes China from it, whereas China is the actual tool for the conflict with the American side?

This is a difficult point for which the Russians may find a solution, namely, limiting the nuclear deal to the Iranian nuclear issue exclusively, provided that the bulk of international relations remain free, and this would re-weave the Sino-Russian-Iranian relations that they believe can catch up with the American giant and possibly overtake it after awhile.

Therefore, the world is in the atmosphere of the Iranian nuclear agreement and is awaiting its results on which it will build its next movement.

If the U.S. movement wants to attract Iran from the Sino-Russian axis, then the Russian role has taken upon itself to freeze the Iranian role at the steps of the nuclear agreement, providing that it paves the way for a Sino-Iranian-Russian movement that will not delay the completion of building a system of alliances that may include more countries than the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia believe. This means that the nuclear deal will not reduce international conflicts and may establish deeper and more violent international conflicts.

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ماذا تعني العودة إلى الاتفاق النوويّ الإيرانيّ

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-450-780x470.png

د. وفيق إبراهيم

ظروف العودة الى الاتفاق النوويّ تزداد ويرتفع معها احتمال بناء سلام عالميّ فعلي بين الدول الأقوى في العالم.

أسباب ارتفاع هذا التفاؤل هو انعقاد لقاء ليليّ بين أربعة من أعضاء الاتفاق هم فرنسا وبريطانيا والمانيا والولايات المتحدة للمرة الأولى منذ انسحاب الأميركيين من الاتفاق في 2016.

وبما ان روسيا متمسكة بعضويتها وإيران ايضاً فهذا يعني وجود احتمال كبير لإعادة العمل بالاتفاق النووي وفق ما نصت عليه شروطه الأساسية في 2015.

يبدو أن ظروف العودة ليست صعبة على الرغم من المحاولات السعودية الإسرائيلية لعرقلتها والضغط على الولايات المتحدة لعدم العودة. وهذا سببه إصرار هذين البلدين على الاستمرار في اعتبار إيران عدواً للنظام الغربي العام وتحالفاته في الشرق الاوسط.

وكان الرئيس الأميركي السابق ترامب انسحب من الاتفاق النووي في 2016 بزعم أن إيران خرقته. لكن بقية الدول الأعضاء ومنظمة الطاقة الدولية لم توافق على ادعاءاته، ما أدى الى تعطيل العمل به في السنوات الاربع الأخيرة على التوالي وتحوّل الأمر نزاعاً أميركياً – إيرانياً دخلت فيه «إسرائيل» والسعودية والإمارات الى جانب الأميركيين لكن فرنسا وبريطانيا والمانيا ظلت تطالب إيران بالبقاء في عضوية الاتفاق الى جانب روسيا التي أعلنت منذ انطلاق الخلاف تأييدها القوي الى جانب إيران.

هو إذاً صراع سياسيّ يرتدي شكل خلافات تقنية، أما الأسباب فهي نجاح إيران في بناء تحالفات عميقة بدءاً مع أفغانستان مع قواها الرئيسيّة وصولاً الى نفوذ سياسي عميق في باكستان. كما أن إيران تمكنت من التوغّل في الهند، حيث نجحت في بناء علاقات عميقة مع شيعتها ولم توفر اليمن، حيث نسجت واحدة من اهم العلاقات مع الحوثيين الذين يشكلون قوتها الأساسية وهزمت بالاشتراك معهم السعودية والامارات والبريطانيين والأميركيين في معارك لا تزال متواصلة.

كذلك فإن إيران دعمت العراق وأتاحت له فرصة الانتصار على الأميركيين وحلفائهم وداعش. أما سورية فهي حكاية كبرى دعمت فيها إيران منع إسقاط الدولة السورية وساندت تمددها الى ثلاثة أرباع بلادها. أما لبنان فتمكنت إيران من إسناد حزب الله بشكل أصبح فيه القوة الأساسية في محور كبير يقف في وجه «اسرائيل» وزبانيتها في المنطقة.

هذه الإنجازات هي السبب الأساسي للعداء الأميركي الغربي السعودي الإسرائيلي لإيران، وهي سبب الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق النووي.

فهل يمكن لإيران الرضوخ لإعادة التفاوض على نقاط تحالفاتها الممتدة من افغانستان الى لبنان؟ هناك معطيات تحول دون هذا الأمر.

اولاً الغرب يعرف ان تحالفات إيران أصبحت قوى وازنة مسلحة داخل بلدانها وليس سهلاً التصدي لها، كما أنه أصبح شبه مستحيل مهاجمتها من طريق «إسرائيل» او اي قوى عربية. اما لجهة المفاوضات حول وضعها فهذا عمل ميؤوس منه لأنها تقترب من الإمساك بدولها.

لذلك لا يتبقى أمام الأميركيين وتحالفاتهم إلا البحث عن وسائل جديدة «كامنة» تتدحرج نحو السياسة، أي أن يقبل الأميركيون بتسويات سياسية بين القوى المتحالفة مع إيران والقوى المحسوبة على الأميركيين انما ليس في إطار هدنات مفروضات بل اتفاقات تؤدي الى تسيير الأعمال العامة في البلاد وانتظامها.

فهل تؤدي العودة الى الاتفاق النووي الى انتظام الاعمال الداخلية في افغانستان واليمن والعراق وسورية ولبنان؟

يبدو ان الأمور ذاهبة الى هذا المنحى لانتفاء البديل خصوصاً أن طرفي الصراع لا يفكران أبداً بترك المناطق التي يرعونها في العراق وسورية وذلك لأهميتها الوطنية والإقليمية.

يتبين اذاً ان الاتفاق النووي هو اتفاق داخلي يمسك بالكثير من المناطق الداخلية للدول في الشرق الأوسط وهذا يجعله هاماً جداً ويصادر القوى الخارجية لهذه الدول أي يصبح بإمكانه استعمال الجهة التي يسيطر عليها في الصراعات الشرق اوسطية وهي ايضاً دولية تصبّ في مصلحة تزكية فريق آخر في صراعات الدول للسيطرة على أهم منطقة نفط وغاز في العالم.

فهل تنجح اللقاءات الأوروبية – الأميركية في التمهيد للعودة الى الاتفاق النووي كآلية تحول الصراعات الشرق أوسطية الى مشاريع اتفاقات وتجمّد لهيبها؟

هناك نقطة غامضة في هذا الاتفاق وتذهب الى التساؤل اذا كانت روسيا تقبل فعلاً العمل في اتفاق دولي يُقصي الصين عنه بما هي الأداة الفعلية للصراع مع الطرف الأميركي؟

هذه نقطة صعبة قد يجد الروس لها حلاً وهي اقتصار الاتفاق النووي على الموضوع النووي الإيراني حصراً على أن يبقى القسم الأكبر من العلاقات الدولية حراً وهذا من شأنه إعادة نسج علاقات صينية روسية إيرانية ترى أن بإمكانها اللحاق بالعملاق الأميركي وربما تجاوزه بعد مدة من الزمن.

العالم اذاً في أجواء الاتفاق الإيراني النووي يترقب نتائجه التي يبني عليها حركته المقبلة.

فإذا كانت الحركة الأميركية تريد جذب إيران من المحور الصيني الروسي، فإن الدور الروسي أخذ على عاتقه تجميد الدور الإيراني عند مندرجات الاتفاق النووي على أن يفسح المجال لحركة صينية – إيرانية روسية لن تتأخر في استكمال بناء منظومة تحالفات قد تشمل من الدول أكثر مما تعتقد الولايات المتحدة و»إسرائيل» والسعودية. بما يعني ان الاتفاق النووي لن يختزل الصراعات الدولية وقد يؤسس لصراعات دولية أكثر عمقاً وأشد عنفاً.

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The start of the return to nuclear deal train انطلاق قطار العودة للاتفاق النوويّ

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

The start of the return to nuclear deal train

Nasser Kandil

– The speed with which the administration of US President Joe Biden deals with the Iranian nuclear file does not apply to what is being fancied and promoted by those who linked their fate in the region with the illusion of American supremacy and Iran’s weakness, who said that months will pass before Washington considers the Iranian nuclear file, within a week of Biden’s inauguration, he appointing Robert Maley, known for his positions calling for returning to the agreement without delay, as special envoy on Iran, for returning to the agreement without delay and discussing issues of disagreement under the umbrella of the agreement, to the point of the choice that the President adheres to.

– A month before Biden entered the White House, two files were moving in parallel, the file of the restoration of US-European relations being the entrance to the understanding on the road-map to return to the nuclear understanding with Iran, which was translated by a meeting, the first of its kind in five years, that includes the US Secretary of State and foreign ministers. France, Germany and Britain, during which Washington announced its readiness to attend a meeting within the framework of the 5 + 1 formula, with the presence and participation of Iran. US President Joe Biden expressed to the Munich Security Conference his readiness to engage in a formula that would open the way for a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, with reference to the files of the dispute with Iran, and the intention to solve it by negotiating and annexing it to the agreement, which of course is rejected by Iran. In parallel, the second file, which is the U.S. pressure on Saudi Arabia from the gate of stopping arms deals under the slogan of stopping the war on Yemen, and declassifying Ansar Allah from the lists of terrorism, to release the investigations related to the killing of journalist Jamal Al-Khashoggi and the role revealed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

– Washington began the preparations for the return to the agreement, with President Biden’s contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and putting him in the form of the American decision, as reported by Reuters, and Washington took decisions in the size of legitimising the return to the agreement and withdrawing the US legal cover for any sanctions that were imposed on the third parties after the American withdrawal from the agreement in the era of former President Donald Trump, by withdrawing the request submitted by the Trump administration to the UN Security Council to re-impose the UN sanctions on Iran that were lifted in accordance with the UN resolution that approved the agreement, and the withdrawal book that recognises the illegality of the previous US request, and in parallel it cancelled Washington restrictions that the Trump administration had imposed on Iranian diplomats in New York.

– Iran welcomed Washington’s steps, but it was not satisfied that it did not solve the issue of sanctions, which depends on Iran’s retreat from the measures it has taken to reduce its obligations stipulated in the agreement, and the most important measures that it will take within days unless Washington offers convincing measures for Iran to back down from the sanctions. In the days leading up to February 23, there are signs that Tehran is asking Europe to take steps that translate its commitment to the Iran agreement, and Washington’s withdrawal of an earlier request to return to UN sanctions on Iran and prove the illegality of the request, putting at the forefront the hypothesis that Europe will activate a mechanism Financial trading with Iran called  Anstex, which Europe was unable to operate in the time of the Trump administration and can now be activated and proven to be useful, with billions of dollars belonging to Iran held in European banks, and Iranian deals with European companies frozen pending payment mechanism.

– President Biden has repeated more than once the phrase, that America has returned, boasting that this is an expression of America’s diplomatic strength, meaning that America has returned to its glory days and its ability to determine the paths of the world, and which is being said that America has only returned to the nuclear agreement, and that the way back is not according to the whims and desires of its president, who discovers every day the limitations of his options and the difficulty of acting as dictated by the balance of power that is no longer in favour of his country in the world, in parallel with preserving face, claiming supremacy, the ability to draw paths, and demonstrating retreat in the form of dictation. Time has changed, the equations have changed, the options are limited, and the state of denial will not help, and swallowing the bitter cup one time, is less bitter.

انطلاق قطار العودة للاتفاق النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

لا تنطبق السرعة التي تتعامل من خلالها إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن مع الملف النووي الإيراني مع ما يتوهّمه ويروّج له الذين ربطوا مصيرهم في المنطقة بوهم التفوّق الأميركي وضعف إيران، والذين قالوا إن شهوراً ستمرّ قبل أن تنظر واشنطن في الملف النووي الإيراني، فبدأ تعيين روبرت مالي مبعوثاً خاصاً حول إيران، خلال أسبوع من تسلّم الرئيس بايدن، وأشارت شخصية هذا المبعوث المعروفة بمواقفها الداعية للعودة إلى الاتفاق من دون إبطاء ومناقشة قضايا الخلاف تحت مظلة الاتفاق، إلى وجهة الخيار الذي يلتزمه الرئيس الأميركي.

قبل أن ينقضي شهر على دخول بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، كان ملفان يتحرّكان بالتوازي، ملف ترميم العلاقات الأميركية الأوروبية من مدخل التفاهم حول خريطة طريق العودة الى التفاهم النووي مع إيران، الذي ترجمه اجتماع هو الأول من نوعه منذ خمس سنوات يضمّ وزير خارجية أميركا ووزراء خارجية فرنسا وألمانيا وبريطانيا، أعلنت خلاله واشنطن استعدادها لحضور اجتماع ضمن إطار صيغة الـ 5+1، بحضور ومشاركة إيران، وتوجه موقف الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن أمام مؤتمر ميونيخ للأمن بالاستعداد للانخراط في صيغة تفتح الطريق للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، تحت سقف دائم للإشارة لملفات الخلاف مع إيران، ونيّة حلها بالتفاوض وضمها للاتفاق، وهو طبعاً ما ترفضه إيران. وبالتوازي كان يتحرك الملف الثاني وهو الضغط الأميركي على السعودية من بوابة وقف صفقات السلاح تحت شعار وقف الحرب على اليمن، وإلغاء تصنيف أنصار الله عن لوائح الإرهاب، وصولاً للإفراج عن التحقيقات الخاصة بقتل الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي وما تكشفه من دور لولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان.

بدأت واشنطن إجراءات التمهيد للعودة إلى الاتفاق، باتصال أجراه الرئيس بايدن برئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو ووضعه في صورة القرار الأميركي كما أوردت وكالة رويتر، واتخذت واشنطن قرارات بحجم شرعنة العودة للاتفاق وسحب الغطاء الشرعي أميركياً عن أية عقوبات نجمت على الأطراف الثالثين بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق في عهد الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، وذلك من خلال سحب الطلب الذي قدّمته إدارة ترامب إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي لإعادة فرض العقوبات الأمميّة على إيران التي رفعت بموجب القرار الأمميّ الذي صادق على الاتفاق، وما في كتاب السحب من اعتراف بعدم شرعية الطلب الأميركي السابق، وبالتوازي ألغت واشنطن تقييدات كانت إدارة ترامب قد فرضتها على الدبلوماسيين الإيرانيين في نيويورك.

إيران رحبت بخطوات واشنطن، لكنها لم تكتف بها باعتبارها لا تحل قضية العقوبات التي يتوقف على رفعها تراجع إيران عن الإجراءات التي اتخذتها بتخفيض التزاماتها التي نص عليها الاتفاق، والأهم الإجراءات التي ستتخذها خلال أيام ما لم تُقدم واشنطن على إجراءات مقنعة لإيران بالتراجع عن العقوبات. وفي الأيام الفاصلة عن موعد 23 شباط ستشهد خطوات، برزت مؤشرات على وجهتها بمطالبة طهران لأوروبا باتخاذ خطوات تترجم التزامها بالاتفاق مع إيران، وبسحب واشنطن لطلب سابق بالعودة للعقوبات الأممية على إيران وإثبات عدم شرعية الطلب، ما يضع في الواجهة فرضية إقدام أوروبا على تفعيل آلية المتاجرة المالية مع إيران المسمّاة أنستكس، والتي عجزت أوروبا عن العمل بها في زمن إدارة ترامب وبات بإمكانها تفعيلها وإثبات جدواها، مع مليارات الدولارات العائدة لإيران والمحجوزة في المصارف الأوروبية، والصفقات الإيرانية مع شركات أوروبية والمجمّدة بانتظار آلية التسديد.

كرر الرئيس بايدن في أكثر من مرة عبارة، إن أميركا عادت، متباهياً بأن ذلك تعبير عن القوة الدبلوماسيّة لأميركا، قاصداً أن أميركا عادت الى أيام عزها وقدرتها على تقرير مسارات العالم، والذي يجري يقول إن أميركا عادت فقط إلى الاتفاق النووي، وإن طريق العودة ليس على هواها ومقاس رئيسها، الذي يكتشف كل يوم محدودية خياراته وصعوبة التصرّف بما تمليه موازين القوة التي لم تعد لصالح دولته في العالم، بالتوازي مع حفظ ماء الوجه وادعاء التفوق والقدرة على رسم المسارات، وتظهير التراجع بصورة الإملاء من فوق. فالزمن تغير والمعادلات تغيّرت، والخيارات محدودة، وحال الإنكار لن تنفع، فتجرّع الكأس المرة دفعة واحدة أقل مرارة.

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Intelligence-gathering missions over the waters of the Baltic, Black Seas and Barents Seas.

Intelligence-gathering missions over the waters of the Baltic,  Black Seas and Barents Seas.

February 19, 2021

By Nat South for the Saker Blog

This is part of a series on air missions carried in proximity to Russian borders, (NATO members and Sweden), principally intelligence-gathering missions, supported by air tankers. Flights tracked were mostly either over the waters of the Baltic, Black Seas and more rarely, Barents Seas.

The latest briefing follows on an article written back in May 2020, [1] on my blog with several visuals included. This time, I have attached graphs showing an overview of the situation, as seen and reported by social media aircraft tracking accounts.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Fig-1-Flights-stats-Jan-2021-300x153.jpg

All in all, a total of at least 69 flights were noted by social media aircraft tracking accounts for January 2021 alone, account for 20 days in the month. This list is not exhaustive and there may be more flights than publicly available on aircraft tracking sites, notably, flights in the Arctic and over the Northern Pacific. However, it must be noted that the Russian Arctic borders as well as over the Sea of Japan and Russia’s Far East (Western Pacific) aren’t very well tracked by aircraft tracking sites and as such data is sparse and difficult to obtain.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Fig-2-Flights-stats-Jan-2021-300x239.jpg

The data compiled for the graphs only includes aircraft carrying out intelligence gathering missions, along with some of the supporting air refueling tankers. This list does not fighters, transport or bombers.

NATO stated that aircraft were scrambled around 350 times [2] for “Russian jets”. This means transport, fighters ( especially those transiting to and fro Kaliningrad to St Petersburg) and also bombers. NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu stated that “In recent years, we have seen an increased level of Russian military air activity close to the Alliance’s borders. The figure mentioned for 2019 was 290 times, (82% difference).

Likewise, the Russian MoD also reported increased activities close to Russian borders, and gave figures during briefings for this back in March and June 2020. “NATO’s military activity near our borders increases every year. The Alliance’s land and sea units are being built up. NATO membership is expanding. The US global missile defense system is being deployed.” Defence Minister Shoigu, 25 March 2020.

The Russian MoD later reported in November 2020, that Radio-Technical Troops (RTT) of the Russian Aerospace Forces detected and tracked “approximately 2,900 combat aviation aircraft and more than 1,100 reconnaissance aircraft,” in 2020. TASS [3] [4].

Russian quick reaction alert (QRA) fighter aircraft were scrambled over 170 times (*) in 2020 to intercept foreign aircraft near Russia’s borders. How many of these were US and NATO aircraft is not known though. However, a glimpse of the action and activities can regularly viewed on social media aircraft tracking sites. Previously I compiled the statistics provided by the Russian MoD and Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, as a regular infographic, to obtain an total overview of the figures for 2020, [5], however the consistency of the data wasn’t regular several times, so the figures are below those cited by Lieutenant-General Andrei Yudin in November. USA military intelligence gathering aircraft have not only kept tabs on the Russian military but are frequently keeping tracks on Chinese, Iranian, North Korea’s various military units and activities. Curiously, very recently, a couple of RC-135, “Rivet Joint” have kept watch on Cuba, in addition to several flights off Venezuela in the past years.

As can seen from the above graphs, the Kaliningrad region gets put under an intense spotlight almost on a daily basis, accounting of at least 39% of intelligence-gathering and monitoring flights by NATO members (and Swedish too, since they seem to be coordinated) along Russian borders. Note: I wrote more specifically about the relevance and importance of region in a previous blog article [1]. The Black Sea region was divided up in segments, (Crimea and Southern Russia FIRs, in order to highlight the types of movements of flights. Noticeably, the Global Hawk drone deployed the farthest and the greatest extent, (from Donbass, right across to Georgia), while air refuelling tankers tended to stay in one area, just in the outer limits of the Crimea FIR.

Part of the air activity in late January was linked to the deployment of two US Navy destroyers, the ‘USS Donald Cook’ and the ‘USS Porter’, in which they “conducted a multi-domain maritime operation with NATO AWACS & US Navy P-8A aircraft. [6]To sum up, in recent years, both NATO and the Russian MoD report increased military activities along their borders, yet the activities carried by NATO are significantly more intensive due to the probing nature of intelligence-gathering missions and the high frequency of such missions alone. It is highly doubtful that Russia airforces would endeavour or try to carry out anyway near the level of missions, the way that they are have been undertaken by NATO members, the US and its partners around Russia.  (*) This number is significantly less than what NATO reports to have done itself in response to Russian military flights, (350), and reflects the nature of intercepts, principally in response to intelligence-gathering missions.

Types of aircraft
Sweden- Gulfstream S102B Korpen (GIV) electronic intelligence (ELINT), heavily-modified Gulfstream business jet.

USA / UK operators- RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft

USA / NATO operators- E-3 AWACS airborne surveillanceUSA (UK operators)- USN Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime interdiction, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW).

UK- Sentinel R-1 long-range, battlefield-intelligence, target-imaging and tracking radar.

US Army- Beechcraft RC-12 Guardrail is an airborne signals intelligence collection platform SIGINT.

KC-135R – The mainstay of the USAF air refuelling capability.Denmark – Challenger 604 Surveillance and maritime patrol.

LINKS

[1] https://natsouth.livejournal.com/15087.html

[b] https://natsouth.livejournal.com/15196.html

[2] https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/correction-bc-eu-nato-russian-jets-story-75138277

[3] TASS https://tass.com/defense/1241809

[4]TASS https://tass.com/defense/1228699

[5]https://natsouth.livejournal.com/16616.html

[6] Tweet https://twitter.com/USNavyEurope/status/1354857706155356170

After neutrality: internationalization … another controversial file in Lebanon! What is the solution? بعد الحياد: التدويل ملف خلافيّ آخر في لبنان فما الحلّ؟

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

After neutrality: internationalization … another controversial file in Lebanon! What is the solution?

Brigadier General Dr. Amin Mohammed Hatit

As if Lebanon was short of additional controversial files, so the internationalization of the Lebanese crisis came to fill in the presentation of this deficiency, and to create additional divergence between the Lebanese parties and to increase the vertical division around dangerous paths that may raise the entire Lebanese fate, and bring us back to the first point of disagreement over identity and the entity itself as well as the political tracks. Addressing Lebanon’s fate with its general and superficial proposals, which may sometimes amount to lightness, is totally incompatible with the eagerness of Lebanese groups that have fought to defend Lebanon’s territory when they were occupied or when faced with the enemy’s attempt to reoccupy them. If anyone who wants to put forward internationalization has specific ideas to get Lebanon out of the crisis in which it is mired, let him put his detailed draft and guarantee the topics for which he wants to get an answer, and then indicate whether these topics need an external will, an external decision or an international will to impose them.

On the issue of neutrality, for example, we previously explained how closely the issue is related to the external will, and that neutrality in the first place cannot be established in a country unless it is accepted by the close surroundings first and the international system in general, otherwise it will not be of any use, and we showed that Lebanon in its and location and current reality is between a friendly sister state, and an enemy entity that usurps the land of Palestine that covets Lebanon and produces anxiety and worries for him, in light of this situation, it is impossible to be neutral if the two countries do not accept, an acceptance that cannot be requested or obtained before addressing all Lebanese dangers, concerns and concerns related to the sister state and the enemy entity, which is out of reach, circumstance and possibility, even impossible.

If we transcend the issue of neutrality, which is sterile in itself and illogical in its circumstance, because it is uprooting the Lebanon’s emotional connection with the interests of its brothers and brothers and making Lebanon move in an orbit outside of itself, even outside the regional and international belonging, races, religions and geographies. If we go beyond that, we will be surprised by the presentation of something far worse, which is internationalization, and placing Lebanon under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which means bypassing the Lebanese decision and conducting it with the stick and the international force. Here we ask, is this what they wants from the introduction of Chapter VII or internationalization? What is the meaning of internationalization in the first place and as a goal?

Is it intended to call abroad to review resolution 318 /1920, under which the French High Commissioner established Greater Lebanon a century ago? In other words, will the intended internationalization be a request for France and Britain its partner in Sykes-Picot, and the perpetrator of the crime of giving Palestine to the Jews to establish a state for them under the name “Israel”? Will the required internationalization be summoning these colonial countries to review the Lebanese entity and allocating Palestinian refugees and displaced Syrians with with some of its land to solve the problem of “Israel”?

Or will internationalization be an International Trusteeship of the United States this time leading to America’s extradition of the decision to review Lebanon’s border with occupied Palestine by land and sea? That is, to draw a new land border other than the one drawn by the “Pollet NewKamp” agreement, which Trump dropped from his map attached to his vision of peace, as denied by Frederick Hoff himself (delegate – American mediator) falsely claiming that Lebanon has no land border with Palestine and therefore dropped the map attached to Decree 6433 / 2011? Or is it intended to impose a maritime border between Lebanon and occupied Palestine that contradicts Lebanon’s rights in its economic zone, as proposed by Frederic Hoff himself and gave Israel an area more than 1790 km 2 (360+1430) of Lebanon’s maritime area?

Or is it that the demands of internationalization want to strip Lebanon of its power by which it liberated the land and established the equation of effective strategic deterrence, that paralyzed “Israeli” aggression and imposed the equation of “tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye” and military objective with the equivalent military objective whatever its location and nature? Does the owner of the idea of ​​internationalization want to summon foreign armies to implement what Israel has been unable to confront the resistance weapon?

In 2007, 14 years from now, and in the face of the impasse of governance in Lebanon, Mr. Hassan Nasrallah called for a Lebanese national conference, which he called a “cold-blooded constituent conference” to develop national solutions to what stands in the way of the Lebanese path in governance, politics, administration, security and defense. Then, today, some of those who rejected the idea of the Constituent Conference and the National Conference on Lebanon’s internal issues applaud those who put forward the idea of internationalization despite its implications or what may include an implicit abdication of sovereignty, an independent national decision or the independence of Lebanon, a recognition of the shortcomings or lack of political majority, and the need for external guardianship that is exercised in the form of mandate or colonization and imposes its decision on Lebanon and the Lebanese and market the country and its people with the stick of foreign interests.

These disadvantages and risks are not removed by some of the explanations that have been attached, because to say that Taif agreement was international, or that the international resolutions issued by the Security Council is internationalization, is an inaccurate approach so as not to say more, in Taif it was a Saudi hosting and external assistance to the Lebanese deputies who agreed on an improved version of the government they included in a document they called the “Document of National Accord”, Taif agreement was not an external decision imposed on Lebanon by any chapter of the UN Charter. International resolutions are resolutions that mean Lebanon’s relationship with an external party, which is incompatible with what is raised here.

The Lebanese situation has become dangerous, which imposes caution and accuracy in dealing with it, and it is not permissible at all to entertain or waste effort or time with proposals whose owners do not realize its dangers, and they provoke suspicion, confusion and misbelief, and therefore we say who had a draft solution should presents it for discussion in a sincere national dialogue, and to avoid excitement that generate doubts, and separation. And if the hidden goals of all these platform proposals are to reach what America and “Israel” want in stripping Lebanon of its real and effective sources of power and confiscating its rights, then, from now we say that those who have shed blood for these things will not be spared it in the future in order to protect Lebanon’s national gains, its sovereign rights and its real historical affiliation, and then to remember something inevitable, which is that the world today is busy with its worries about us.

بعد الحياد: التدويل ملف خلافيّ آخر في لبنان فما الحلّ؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

كأنّ لبنان كانت تنقصه ملفات خلافيّة إضافيّة فجاء مَن طرح التدويل للأزمة اللبنانية ليسدّ بطرحه هذا النقص، ويحدث تباعداً إضافياً بين الأطراف اللبنانيّة ويزيد في الانقسام العموديّ حول مسارات خطرة قد تطرح المصير اللبناني برمّته، ويعيدنا إلى نقطة الخلاف الأولى على الهوية والكيان بذاته فضلاً عن المسارات السياسيّة والمصيرية الأخرى. فتناول مصير لبنان بطروحات فيها من العمومية والسطحية ما قد يصل إلى الخفة أحياناً هو أمر لا يتناسب مطلقاً مع حرص فئات لبنانية امتشقت السلاح للدفاع عن أرض لبنان عندما احتُلت أو عندما واجهت محاولة العدو لاحتلالها مجدّداً. وإذا كان لدى من يريد طرح التدويل أفكاراً محدّدة لإخراج لبنان من الأزمة التي يتخبّط فيها فليقم بوضع مشروعه التفصيلي ويضمّنه المواضيع التي يريد أن يحصل على إجابة لها، ثم يبيّن إن كانت هذه المواضيع بحاجة لإرادة أو قرار خارجي أو إرادة دولية لفرضها.

ففي موضوع الحياد مثلاً، بيّنا سابقاً كم أنّ الموضوع وثيق الصلة بالإرادة الخارجية، وأنّ الحياد أصلاً لا يمكن أن يرسى في دولة ما لم يكن قبول به من المحيط اللصيق أولاً والمنظومة الدولية عامة وإلا لا تكون له أيّة جدوى، وبيّنا أنّ لبنان في واقعه الحالي وموقعه الجغرافي بين دولة شقيقة صديقة شريكة له في الهموم، وكيان عدو مغتصب لأرض فلسطين يطمع بلبنان وينتج له القلق والهموم، في ظلّ هذا الوضع يستحيل أن يكون محايداً إنْ لم تقبل الدولتان وهو قبول لا يمكن أن يطلب أو يحصل عليه قبل معالجة كلّ الأخطار والقلق والهموم اللبنانية ذات الصلة بالدولة الشقيقة والكيان العدو وهو أمر بعيد المنال ظرفاً وإمكانية حاضراً حتى الاستحالة.

فإذا تجاوزنا أو طوينا موضوع الحياد، الطرح العقيم في ذاته وغير المنطقي في ظرفه، لأنه يجتثّ قنوات ارتباط لبنان الشعوري بمصالح أشقائه وإخوانه ويجعل لبنان يتحرّك في مدار خارج ذاته لا بل خارج الانتماء الإقليمي والدولي أعراقاً وأدياناً وجغرافيّة، إذا تجاوزنا ذلك فإننا نفاجأ بطرح أمرّ وأدهى هو التدويل ووضع لبنان تحت الفصل السابع من ميثاق الأمم المتحدة أيّ تجاوز القرار اللبناني وتسييره بالعصا والقوة الدولية. وهنا نسأل هل هذا ما يريده من طرح الفصل السابع أو التدويل؟ وماذا يُراد من التدويل أصلاً وهدفاً؟

هل يُراد استدعاء الخارج لمراجعة القرار 318 / 1920 الذي بموجبه أنشأ المفوض السامي الفرنسي لبنان الكبير منذ نيّف وقرن من الزمن؟ أيّ هل التدويل المقصود سيكون بمثابة طلب لفرنسا وخلفها بريطانيا شريكتها في سايكس بيكو، ومرتكبة جريمة إعطاء فلسطين لليهود لإقامة دولة لهم تحت اسم «إسرائيل»، فهل التدويل المطلوب سيكون استدعاء هذه الدول الاستعمارية لمراجعة الكيان اللبناني وتخصيص اللاجئين الفلسطينيين والنازحين السوريين بشيء من أرضه لحلّ مشكلة «إسرائيل»؟

أم هل التدويل سيكون وصاية دولية أميركية هذه المرة تفضي إلى تسليم أميركا قرار مراجعة الحدود اللبنانية مع فلسطين المحتلة براً وبحراً؟ أيّ لرسم حدود برية جديدة غير تلك التي رسمتها اتفاقية «بوليه نيوكمب» والتي أسقطها ترامب من خريطته المرفقة برؤيته للسلام، كما أنكرها فريدريك هوف ذاته (المندوب – الوسيط الأميركي) مدّعياً كذباً وتزويراً بأن ليس للبنان حدود برية مع فلسطين ولذا أسقطتها الخريطة المرفقة بالمرسوم 6433 / 2011؟ أو يُراد فرض حدود بحرية بين لبنان وفلسطين المحتلة تناقض حقوق لبنان في منطقته الاقتصادية كما اقترح الأميركي فريدريك هوف ذاته وأهدى بموجبه «إسرائيل» مساحة تتجاوز 1790 كلم 2 (360+1430) من مساحة لبنان البحرية؟

أم أنّ المطالِب بالتدويل يريد تجريد لبنان من أحد فروع قوته التي بها حرّر الأرض وبها أقام معادلة الردع الاستراتيجي الفاعل فحمى لبنان وشلّ اليد «الإسرائيلية» عن الاعتداء عليه وفرض على «إسرائيل» معادلة «السنّ بالسنّ والعين بالعين…» والهدف العسكري بالهدف العسكري المكافئ له أيّاً يكن مكانه وطبيعته؟ هل صاحب فكرة التدويل يريد استدعاء الجيوش الأجنبية لتنفيذ ما عجزت عنه «إسرائيل» في مواجهة سلاح المقاومة؟

كثيرة هي الشكوك والظنون التي تُثار أو تثور في الذهن عندما تطرح فكرة التدويل، فهل من يطرحها يدرك ذلك؟ أم أنّ «عاطفته الجامحة المدّعاة بأنها عمل من أجل لبنان» حجبت عنه الرؤية السليمة وجعلته من غير قصد يعمل لتقريب أجَل لبنان وإنهائه من غير أن يدري؟

في العام 2007 أيّ قبل 14 عاماً من الآن ووقوفاً عند مأزق الحكم في لبنان دعا السيد حسن نصرالله إلى مؤتمر وطني لبناني أسماه «مؤتمراً تأسيسياً يُنظم على البارد» لبلورة حلول وطنية لما يعترض المسار اللبناني في الحكم والسياسة والإدارة والأمن والدفاع، وبدل أن تلاقيه العقول بالحجة والقلوب بالثقة، كان العكس تماماً وكان الرفض الحادّ الذي لا مبرّر له سوى الخبث والعدائية الغرائزية، ثم تجد اليوم بعضاً ممن رفض فكرة المؤتمر التأسيسي والمؤتمر الوطني حول مسائل لبنان الداخلية يصفقون لمن يطرح فكرة التدويل رغم ما تنطوي عليه أو بما قد تتضمّن من تنازل ضمني عن السيادة والقرار الوطني المستقلّ أو استقلال لبنان وإقرار بالقصور أو عدم بلوغ سنّ الرشد السياسي وإظهار الحاجة إلى وصاية خارجية تمارس بشكل انتداب أو استعمار وتفرض قرارها على لبنان واللبنانيين وتسوق البلد وشعبه بعصا المصالح الأجنبية.

انّ هذه المساوئ والمخاطر لا يزيلها بعض ما استلحق من شروحات، فالقول بأنّ الطائف كان تدويلاً، أو أنّ القرارات الدولية الصادرة عن مجلس الأمن هي تدويل، هو مقاربة غير دقيقة حتى لا نقول أكثر، ففي الطائف كانت استضافة سعودية ومساعدة خارجية للنواب اللبنانيين الذي توافقوا على صيغة مطوّرة للحكم أدرجوها في وثيقة أسموها «وثيقة الوفاق الوطني» ولم يكن الطائف قراراً خارجياً فرض على لبنان بأيّ فصل من فصول ميثاق الأمم المتحدة (إلا إذا كان النواب باعوا القرار أو أكرهوا عليه، وهذا ما ينكره جميع من كان في الطائف). أما القرارات الدولية فهي قرارات تعني علاقة لبنان بطرف خارجي الأمر غير المتوافق مع ما يُطرح في المسألة هنا.

إنّ الوضع اللبناني بات من الخطورة ما يفرض الحذر والدقة في التعاطي معه، ولا يجوز مطلقاً التسلي أو هدر الجهد أو الوقت بطروحات لا يدرك أصحابها مخاطرها كما أنهم يستثيرون فيها الشبهة والالتباس وسوء الظنون لأنها طروحات حمّالة أوجه، وعليه نقول من كان لديه مشروع حلّ للأزمة اللبنانية التي نقرّ جميعاً بوجودها لا بل بملامستها درجة شبه الاستعصاء، نقول من كان لديه مشروع حلّ فليدرج مشروعه ووسائل اعتماده في مخطوطة يعرضها للنقاش والحوار الوطني الصادق الهادف، وليتجنّب الإثارة وتوليد الشكوك التي لا تزيد الوضع إلا تباعداً أو تفسّخاً. وإذا كانت الأهداف الخفية من كلّ هذه الطروحات المنبرية الوصول إلى ما تريده أميركا و»إسرائيل» من تجريد لبنان من مصادر قوّته الحقيقية والفعّالة ومصادرة حقوقه، فإننا من الآن نقول إنّ من قدّم الدماء في سبيل تلك الأمور لن يبخل مستقبلاً من أجل حماية مكتسبات لبنان الوطنية وحقوقه السيادية وانتمائه الحقيقي التاريخي، ثم ليتذكر أمراً لا بدّ منه وهو أنّ العالم اليوم مشغول بهمومه عنا فلننشغل نحن بهمومنا ولا نطرحها على الآخرين.

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